With apologies to Grantland Rice:
Outlined against a blue-gray May sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Evans, Kleist, Brackeen and that kid who draws “Tanked Life” (Steven?). They formed the crest of the Daily Cardinal cyclone before which another fighting Badger Herald softball team was swept over the precipice at Vilas Park Friday afternoon, as a few dozen spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the muddy green plain below.
A cyclone can't be snared. It may be surrounded, but somewhere it breaks through to keep on going. When the cyclone starts from Vilas Hall, where the candle lights still gleam through the Wisconsin sugar maples, those in the way must take to storm cellars at top speed.
Friday the cyclone struck again as The Daily Cardinal beat The Badger Herald, 7 to 6, with a set of star batsmen that ripped and crashed through a strong Herald defense with more speed and power than the warring journalists could meet.
After winning last year's game the cyclone was indeed snared early on, falling behind the Herald 4-0 after the first two innings. With that advantage, the Herald players could perhaps be forgiven the faintest hints of optimism.
Maybe, they might have thought, this year would be different from the last. Maybe this team was good enough. Maybe their newspaper isn't a visually boring bastion of the passive voice that people flip past on their way to read drivel like “SO to the coastie wearing Uggs!!!1 lolz.”
But this year wouldn't. That team wasn't. And their newspaper is.
The Cardinal cyclone soon restored order to the world, crushing that optimism in a valiant comeback and pulling past their Herald counterparts with great hitting, expert baserunning and a suffocating defense led by pitcher Matt Kleist. The Cardinal cruised to the win as Kleist pitched his way through a tense final inning that ended when Herald Sports Content Editor Kelly Erickson popped out with the tying run on third base.
“It was a rocky start, but once the Herald actually started obeying its batting order and not putting the same five guys up to bat every inning, we turned it around,” Kleist said.
Epic comebacks that will echo in the halls of glory for an eternity aside, Friday's game was packed with intense action, controversial calls and the thrilling specter of a six-foot, seven-inch photo editor attempting to reverse direction in a muddy field to avoid getting doubled up on a fly out. It was truly a sight to behold.
Umpire, journalism professor and cigar enthusiast James Baughman ruled over a heated but fair game between the rivals, often taking anticipation-packed extra seconds to call base runners out or safe to up the intensity whenever he could.
“One of my good friends from Harvard used to always tell me, 'Jim' – and he'd always talk like that and I would tell him 'What is wrong with your jaw?' – anyway, he'd always tell me, 'Jim, you simply have to make the most of the spotlight when it's on you.' And I've lived with that advice every day since,” Baughman said. “The only other place where I have so much attention on me is my cats at feeding time, but we all know how fickle Grady is.”
After the game, Cardinalistas moved on to the flip cup table to dominate their foes in another arena, before shifting their focus back to kicking the Herald's ass in the last weeks of the semester. The cyclone, as it always does, rages on.