Friday, August 7, 2020

Princeton Pros

So apparently the Minnesota Wild of the NHL have a rescue dog that they've named "Hobey."

Hobey, despite no ability to actually do any of his own social media, has just short of 7,000 followers on Twitter.

Hobey is of course named after Hobey Baker, the Princeton Athletics icon who played hockey and football before graduating in 1914. Baker died shortly after the end of World War I when a plane he was flying crashed in France.

Today the award for the top player in men's college hockey each year is named the Hobey Baker Award. As you probably know, the rink at Princeton is the Hobey Baker Rink.

And now the Minnesota Wild have a dog named Hobey.

And, recently, Hobey was the recipient of some Princeton gear.
He's a good-looking dog.

Hobey the dog is enough to get TigerBlog to officially announce that his favorite NHL team will now be the Minnesota Wild, with the exception of any team that has a Princeton alum on it. Also, TB's allegiance is to the Princeton alum, not the team, so if he changes teams, TB's allegiance changes as well.

To be clear, TB is rooting for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Eric Robinson and the Dallas Stars and Taylor Fedun.

The NHL is currently in its restarted playoff format. It's a bit confusing and all, but it's fun to have hockey in the middle of the summer.

Princeton alums have been busy in the world of professional sports of late. You can follow how they're doing in the weekly "Princeton Pros" update that appears on goprincetontigers.com.

The weekly piece updates Princeton alums in Major League Baseball, the NHL, the WNBA, the Premier Lacrosse League and the National Women's Soccer League.

That's a lot of alums. And that doesn't take into account the NFL, which should have quite a few Princeton players.

TigerBlog thought this was a great tweet from the women's basketball staff off a zoom call from the other night:

That's a lot of really good basketball players on one screen shot. Or two. With the Princeton women's basketball team, you can never fit all the good players on just one screen shot.

The WNBA season is featuring two Princeton alums, Blake Dietrick of the Atlanta Dream and Bella Alarie of the Dallas Wings.

If you go to the WNBA website and look for player stats, the default setting seems to be alphabetical by player's first name. If it comes up like that for you, then you'll notice that Bella and Blake are separated by only one person, Betnijah Laney, a Rutgers alum.

Going alphabetically, Bella has seen her minutes go up considerably. After playing 12 minutes total in the first two games, she averaged 22.3 for the next three, including being on the court at crunch time. She has not yet become the offensive force that made her the all-time leading scorer in Princeton women's basketball history, and it has to be an adjustment not just for her but for all players who were the feature of their team's offense in college once they get to the pros. Hey, Bill Bradley had to do the same with the Knicks.

Still, she did go from two points in her first two games to 16 in the next three. She has also shown she can be a strong WNBA rebounder, with nine in the game against Chicago the other night.

What Bella has done seamlessly in the WNBA is continue to block shots, including four against Chicago. In fact, she was tied for third in the league in blocks per game after five games.

As for Dietrick, she has been as solid pro player for the Dream, playing 20-plus minutes per game and bringing solid play at both ends and court leadership when she's on the court. She had her career high of 13 points against Las Vegas on July 29.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Late Show

So TigerBlog actually did stay up all the way to the end of the Premier League Lacrosse game Tuesday night.

And it didn't start at 10:30. It started about 10:45, not until the New York Rangers-Carolina Hurricanes game ended on NBC Sports Network before it.

That was okay for TB, since at the same time the hockey game was winding down, so was "A Few Good Men" on one of the other channels. TB put it on just in time to hear Lt. Weinberg say he had to head out to Andrews, which meant that it was only a few seconds until Colonel Jessup took the stand.

TB is reasonably sure he would have watched that scene even if it had overlapped with the start of the game. Maybe not if it overlapped with overtime or something like that, but hey, as movie scenes go, it doesn't get too much better than that. If ever.

That's another topic for another day, though.

The game, which ended close to 1, was a playoff game between the Archers and the Atlas. It was the third of the three elimination games Tuesday, and it set up the semifinals tonight.

The Archers feature Princeton alums Tom Schreiber and Ryan Ambler. Both of them would make huge contributions in the game Tuesday night, which their team would win 11-9.

Schreiber finished the game with three goals and two assists and essentially took over in the first half, when the Archers built an early lead that proved to be an insurmountable cushion. Ambler had two points, an assist on one of Schreiber's goals and then the late goal to make it 11-9, shortly after TB said he thought Ambler was about to score.

As TB watched the game, he retweeted some of the highlights of the Princetonians on the Princeton men's lacrosse Twitter feed. Then he noticed that someone else was tweeting and retweeting as well, including this gem:
The person who did that is TB's colleague Chas Dorman. He was wise to include Boyle in the tweet.

Ryan Boyle is another Princeton alum. He is also one of the greatest players ever to play at Princeton, a two-time first-team All-American, and his Tiger legacy includes an assist on the game-winning goal in the 2001 NCAA championship game (Princeton's sixth title) and then what is probably the best individual three or four minutes TB has seen from a Princeton athlete in the 2004 NCAA quarterfinals, a 9-8 OT win over Maryland.

Boyle scored two unassisted goals late to tie it, one with 1:55 to play and then the other with 12 seconds to play. He then assisted on Peter Trombino's goal in the overtime to win it.

TB's headline after the game: "Boyle Wills Princeton Past Maryland In Overtime And Back To The Final Four."

Boyle's quote after game: "The thought that this might be the end of my career never entered my mind."

Of course, this isn't to be confused with the goal that Boyle scored with four seconds to play in the 2002 quarterfinals, giving the Tigers a 14-13 win over Georgetown. TB's headline from that one: "Final 0:04." It's his best headline ever.

Boyle went on to a long career in professional and international lacrosse, and he's one of the very, very few players to have won an NCAA Division I championship, a professional outdoor championship (in his case Major League Lacrosse; the PLL is in its second year) and a World Championship. 

These days Boyle has emerged as a great lacrosse color commentator. He has done games on ESPN and in the studio, and he is in Utah with the PLL for the two weeks of games there.

His style as a broadcaster is basically an extension of how he was as a player, which is also an extension of his personality. He is either the most laid-back intense person TB has ever met, or the most intense laid-back person TB has ever met.  

Boyle's go-to emotional responses to things like incredible plays or bad decisions are either a small chuckle or a quick sentence of incredulity. At all times during the broadcast he appears to be having fun, even well into his third game of the day, as was the case Tuesday.

Going a bit deeper, though, he broadcasts like he played. He sees everything, with no detail unnoticed, and his mind puts the dots together faster than anyone else's.

This is especially noticeable on replays. Often times broadcasters will watch a replay and either wait for the replay to unfold to say what is at that point obvious or say something definitive that the replay then shows isn't exactly what happened. In Boyle's case, the play happens and then he'll say something like "you'll see what set that up is this ..." and then the replay shows him to be correct.

It's an incredible talent to have, to see a game that clearly and then be able to quickly articulate what you've seen to the audience. He also has a great balance between explaining the game to viewers who might not know lacrosse while not overdoing that aspect for those who are serious lacrosse fans.

Boyle's next games are tonight, as the Archers take on the Chaos at 8 Eastern (NBC Gold Package) and then the Whipsnakes and Redwoods at 10:30 on NBC Sports. The final is Sunday at 12:30 on NBC.

That's 12:30 pm, not 12:30 am.

Either way, if the Princeton guys are playing, TB will watch.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Finally, The Answers

TigerBlog felt like a little kid again last night.

Why? Because he wanted to watch a game on TV that started at 10:30 at night. He's usually either asleep by then, or about to be.

When he was a little kid, of course, there were always games on late at night that he'd want to stay up and watch. He'd either try to last until way past his bedtime, often fueled by a nap, and his record in those situations was pretty much perfect - he never made it to the game he wanted to see without fallig asleep.

The game last night was the one between the Atlas and Archers in the Premier Lacrosse League elimination round. The Archers feature Princeton alums Tom Schreiber and Ryan Ambler.

Could he make it past midnight to watch it? Should he take a nap during the day?

Of course, there are big differences between watching the game last night and watching a West Coast game in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The two biggest are 1) there was no school to go to the next day and 2) he could simply watch it this morning when he woke up, though that would mean not checking any messages or social media until he rewatched it.

As an aside, TB sometimes thinks it would be interesting to see how he would have reacted to what are now commonplace words and phrases before they became so. For instance, had you told him when he started at Princeton that one of the best ways to reach his audience would be through a "blog," he would have had no idea what you were saying.

The same applies to this sentence: You don't have to stay up to watch the game because you preset YouTube TV to DVR it, but you will have to avoid text messages and social media from your iPhone.

And with that, here are the trivia questions, and now the answers, from last week:

* Princeton basketball, between the men's and women's programs, has won the Ivy League Player of the Year award 20 times. That list of 20 includes one three-time winner and three two-time winners.

In all, there have been 15 different Princeton basketball players who have won the Ivy League Player of the Year award. How many of those can you name?

It took TigerBlog awhile to figure out the math on that one, but it adds up. There have been 11 players who on its once (so that's 11), and then a three-time winner (that takes it to 14) and the three two-time winners (which makes 20).

So the question requires 15 different names.

Answer -
men (11): Armond Hill, Frank Sowinski, Craig Robinson (twice), Bob Scrabis, Kit Mueller (twice), Sean Jackson, Sydney Johnson, Steve Goodrich, Brian Earl, Ian Hummer, Spencer Weisz
women (4): Addie Micir, Niveen Rasheed (twice), Blake Dietrick, Bella Alarie (three times)


* Princeton had 11 players score a touchdown during the 2019 football season. How many can you name?

Answer -
Graham Adomitis, Jacob Birmelin, Dylan Classi, Collin Eaddy, Trey Gray, Andrew Griffin, Andrei Iosivas, Sam Johnson, Zach Keller, Zach Kelly, Ryan Quigley


* Before the Coronavirus pandemic ended the hockey seasons, both the Princeton men and women won their last games, both in the ECAC playoffs, on overtime goals. Who scored the goals?

Answer -
Women: Mariah Koepple
Men: Mark Paolini

* Princeton has had five players between the men and women score overtime goals in NCAA championship lacrosse games. Name them.

Answer -
Women: Theresa Sherry
Men: Andy Moe, Kevin Lowe, Jesse Hubbard, B.J. Prager

* The two oldest individual outdoor men's track and field records were set  in 1982 and 1983 by the same athlete. Name him (extra credit for the events).

Answer -
Augie Wolf (discus, shot put)

* One Princeton softball player has a career batting average of better than .400. Who is it? (Hint, she graduated in the 1980s).

Answer -
Linda Smolka (.411, not too shabby, and she had a .446 average as a senior)

* Who was the first Princeton men's soccer player to win the Ivy League Player of the Year award?

Answer -
Current head coach Jim Barlow

* Princeton has had 11 field hockey players who had at least 100 career points. Can you name them?

Answer -
Michelle Cesan, Allison Evans, Kirsty Hale, Ilvy Friebe, Amy MacFarlane, Hilary Matson, Ryan McCarthy, Mollie O'Malley, Katie Reinprecht, Clara Roth, Kat Sharkey

* Two Princeton women's volleyball players have reached at least 500 kills in a season. Name them?

Answer -
Rose Kuhn and current head coach Sabrina King, both in 1998

* Who holds the Princeton baseball record for career home runs? Hint - it's not Mike Ford, who hit more last year with the Yankees than he did in his entire Princeton career. Second hint - the home run record holder also holds the record for most career punts by a Princeton football player, which is a relatively fascinating double.

Answer - Matt Evans

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Year In Review

TigerBlog has a lot of songs on his iTunes.

When he hit the button to randomly play them yesterday when he sat down to work, the first one that came up was "Manic Monday," by the Bangles. That seemed a bit eerie, since it was, you know, Monday.

So what was the second song to come up?

"Monday, Monday," by the Mamas and the Papas. Now that was downright freaky.

He only has three other songs with the word "Monday" in the title: "Come Monday," by Jimmy Buffett, and "I Don't Like Mondays," though he has two versions of that one, by the Boomtown Rats and another one by Bon Jovi, and then lastly "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters.

The song after "Monday, Monday" was "Jersey Girl," the version by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. None of the other "Monday" songs played all day.

As far as the rest of the week goes, he has no songs with Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in the title (though one, "Voices Carry," by a group called Til Tuesday). He has one Friday, four Saturday and two Sunday.

Someone should write a great song about Wednesdays. They'd make a fortune.

Anyway, that was the random start to TB's Monday.

The planned start included putting up the 2019-20 Princeton Athletics Year in Review. You can see it here:
Tiger Athletics 2019-20


For the third straight year, the Year in Review has been done in an Adobe Spark format. Before that, there have been any number of different ways of retracing the previous academic year's achievements.

As TB wrote in the first sentence of this year's review: The 2019-20 athletic year was unlike any that had ever come before it at Princeton University – and Princeton Athletics goes all the way back to 1864.

That is for sure.

Princeton was on the verge of having one of the most amazing years it has had in a long time. Instead, it ended up with having a year that nobody wanted or could have foreseen, a year that left Princeton to wonder what might have been.

At the same time, out of that hurt came a new kind of resolve, and Princeton can be very proud of the way it handled things. It wasn't the end of the year that anyone wanted, but the lessons that were learned and the way Princeton's athletic values played into that were as inspirational as any on-field achievements would have been.

The COVID-19 pandemic marked the end of the athletic year in mid-March.

By that point, Princeton had won a league-best six championships (field hockey, women's volleyball, wrestling, women's basketball, men's indoor track and field, women's swimming and diving). The wrestling title was the 500th in Princeton history, a number only one other league school is even within 250 of matching.

Princeton's fall, which included a field hockey run to the NCAA championship game, left the Tigers in 28th place in the NACDA Directors' Cup. When the shutdown came on that surreal Wednesday in March, Princeton had 18 nationally ranked teams that were still competing between winter teams that were ready for the postseason and spring teams that were priming themselves for their own championship runs.

You will never be able to convince TigerBlog that had the pandemic not come along, there would be a team, or multiple teams, who would have won national championships in 2019-20. The women's hockey team certainly had as good a shot as anyone, having just knocked off No. 1 Cornell in the ECAC championship game. There were multiple wrestlers who also could have gotten to the top of the podium.

The men's lacrosse team was flying high. The men's and women's lightweight rowers were as well. All three of them were ranked in the top three nationally.

Even teams that had no realistic chance at a national championship were in great positions.

The men's basketball team was playing its best heading into the Ivy League tournament. The men's hockey team had struggled all year and the won an ECAC playoff series at Dartmouth in overtime in Game 3.

And then there was the women's basketball team. The Tigers had rolled to a 26-1 regular season. Were they Sweet 16 bound? Better than that?

In the end, these are all unanswerable questions. The Spark document has a whole section devoted to them.

And yes, that will always sting.

Then again, the way everyone handled the situation was, as TB said before, inspirational.

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Game-Winners

Okay, okay.

TigerBlog knows he still owes you the answers to the trivia questions from Thursday. He was going to go there Friday, and then the news about the Chi Family Fund For Excellence and Inclusion came along.

That left today - until he saw the two Princeton alums who scored overtime goals in the Premier Lacrosse League over the weekend.

So you'll have to wait for those answers, unless you already looked them up on goprincetontigers.com. And it won't be tomorrow, because he has something else planned for then.

Don't worry. He'll get to them.

And to keep that trivia theme going, he'll give you one more question: Which Princeton men's lacrosse player has scored the most career points without ever being named first-team All-Ivy League?

He'll even answer that one in a few paragraphs.

First, though, there is PLL lacrosse.

This is Year 2 of the PLL, which has a different model than other leagues. There are seven teams, up one from a year ago, and those teams do not have home cities.

In Year 1, the league went from venue to venue, usually with two games on Saturday and one on Sunday. Then it was off to another spot the next week.

That was the plan again this year, except that the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change of plans.

Instead, the entire league season was to be played in a two-week span in Utah. The first week would be group stage games, with four per team.

Those games were to set up the playoff round, which is single elimination. That begins tomorrow.

There are three Princeton alums who are playing in Utah, and they've all made dramatic impacts.

TB will start with the Archers, who feature Tom Schreiber and Ryan Ambler.

The Archers won their first three games before falling yesterday to the Whipsnakes 17-11 in a game that determined the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Archers game Friday night was particularly dramatic, as the team defeated the Chrome 13-12 in overtime.

Chrome had the lead in the final 15 seconds, only to have Schreiber tie it with an individual effort that maybe nobody else would have pulled off.

You can see that here:

This led to the game-winner, courtesy of Ambler.

If you're looking for underrated Princeton men's lacrosse players of all time, you might want to include Ambler on the list.

In fact, Ambler is the answer to the trivia question. He ranks 13th all-time at Princeton with 158 career points, and he's also eighth at Princeton with 92 career assists, and those numbers don't take into account that he is also among the program's all-time leaders in leadership and toughness.

He was a three-time All-Ivy pick as a Tiger before graduating in 2016 - two second-team selections and one honorable mention.

In the game Friday night, Ambler made one of the most extraordinary plays you will ever see a lacrosse player make for the Archers win.

Here is his overtime goal. Keep an eye on the catch that precedes the shot:

TB has watched that clip about, oh, a thousand times already and he marvels at the catch each time.

So that's Schreiber and Ambler.

Next up is Zach Currier. There is only one Zach Currier, and there is simply nobody who plays harder than he does. There's also nobody anywhere in any sport who hates losing as much as Currier does.

Currier is in his first year in the PLL after winning a Major League Lacrosse championship with the Denver Outlaws. He is with the Waterdogs, the expansion team in the league, one that had been close without a win in its first three games.

Currier was hurt off the opening face-off of the 'Dogs' first game, and he missed the second one. He seems to be fine right now.

In fact, Currier joined Ambler with an overtime goal of his own, giving the Waterdogs the first win in franchise history. Because of how great Currier is at all the intangibles, it's easy to forget that he's also good at the tangibles, as his 24 goals and 34 assists in his brilliant senior year at Princeton showed.

His overtime goal was shot with the kind of confidence that Currier brings to every situation:


Next up is the single-elimination phase.

The Waterdogs play in the second game of the Tuesday tripleheader, which starts with the Chrome against the Chaos at 5:30 Eastern. Then it's the Waterdogs and the Redwoods at 8, followed at 10:30 by the Archers and Atlas.

The semifinals will be held Thursday (the Whipsnakes are the top seed), and then the final is Sunday.

The first week of the PLL has been great to watch for every lacrosse fan. The games have also gotten prominent windows on NBC and NBC Sports Network, which were supposed to inundated with Olympic coverage instead.

As much as TB loves the Olympics, having all this lacrosse to watch has been a great substitute.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Who Is YS?

TigerBlog has met YS Chi enough times to have come up with one word to best describe him.

That word?

Positivity.

Chi just oozes positivity in every conversation, whether it's in Jadwin Gym or on the phone from thousands of miles and a continent or two away. It's something innate for him, TB believes, and it's impossible to miss.

There are other words that describe him as well, of course.

He's generous. He's loyal. He's philanthropic. He's very, very Princetonian.

When you combine all of these things, it's not a surprise that he's made such amazing contributions to Princeton, and to Princeton Athletics. He's given in every way a person can, with his time, his donations, his enthusiasm.

Chi's latest contribution to Princeton is "The Chi Family Fund For Excellence And Inclusion," which was announced today. From the release:
Specifically, the gift will directly benefit Princeton's steadfast commitment to recruit, develop and retain coaches and administrators from broad and diverse backgrounds; create professional education programming that builds high performing employee teams that value diversity; and constantly foster a workplace in which all feel valued and supported to pursue their full potential and contribute their best.

This gift follows an earlier one that created the Chi/Ingram Endowment Fund, which "provides the Department of Athletics with supplemental funding for a team or teams whose coach or coaches demonstrate excellence in teaching and developing student-athletes not only as players but also as people"

The two gifts speak volumes about YS Chi.

They are investments in people. His commitment is to taking young people and helping them grow, giving them the foundation to reach their fullest potential. This involves mentoring them directly, something he's done countless times.

It also involves giving those who are in position to influence them - specifically Princeton's coaches and senior athletic administrators - the tools necessary to lead at the highest levels.

The fund for excellence and inclusion comes at an important time. Princeton Athletics has been taking steps and having major discussions in this area, and the department is fully committed to the work, something that YS is 100 percent behind.

So who is YS Chi?

He's a member of the Class of 1983 (the Chi/Ingram Fund is in conjunction with his classmate John Ingram). He has been very involved with the Friends of Princeton Golf, even going so far as to caddie for Tiger alum Kelly Shon in the U.S. Open.

He's also a leader in the media and technology industry.

In his primary role as Director of Corporate Affairs and Asia Strategy for RELX, he is responsible for government affairs, corporate communications and corporate responsibility. As non-executive Chairman of Elsevier, he works directly with governments, customers and in industry associations worldwide.

He has also recently served as chairman of the Association of American Publishers and is a past-president of the International Publishers' Association. He has also been a key part of dozens of charitable, educational and industry boards, beyond serving as a Princeton Trustee.

And he is as big a Princeton as there is, which begs a question: Was he an athlete during his time at Princeton?

The answer to that is that he was not.

YS stands 5-4, and, in his joking words, "was not built to be an athlete." But he's always loved sports.

He's loved the competition. He's loved the impact it's had on the people who compete. He's loved the way that sports and character and leadership are all connected.

He grew up playing sports, especially soccer, tennis, swimming and volleyball. He was good at all of them, not just great at any of them. While a Princeton student, he was in the stands for pretty much everything, any game he could attend to show support for his friends who happened to be playing.

In many ways, he reminds TB a bit of TB, who himself has always valued the athletic experience, who was very good but not great at a lot of different sports as a kid and who was never able to compete on the college level. As YS said, it's "an incredible social medium" to be part of a team, and TB has spent his career attempting to chronicle what that means to the people who are able to participate, for the people who could not.

YS?

He's made a different kind of impact, a more direct one. He's given in ways that most people cannot, and not just financially.

And the leaders and athletes at Princeton have been the beneficiaries. In a major way.

With the Chi Family Fund for Excellence and Inclusion, that legacy adds another chapter.

And the man who is making it happen is just a good old-fashioned, down-to-earth nice guy, on top of everything else.

That's what defines him. That, and his incredible positivity.

Princeton Athletics is much the better for it.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Trivia Day

TigerBlog finally got a chance to watch Season 8 of "Homeland," the final season in the series centered around an on-again, off-again CIA agent/asset/rogue warrior Carrie Matheson and her one-woman homeland security adventures.

Actually, before TB watched Season 8, he rewatched Seasons 1-7, just to remind himself of the series. If you've been reading TB for years and years, you'll remember that the show was a big part of the Sunday nights of the Princeton women's basketball team back nearly a decade ago when it started.

In fact, team manager Amanda Roman wrote a guest blog about how the team gathered to watch the season finale back in 2012. This is the how TB started his short intro of her piece:
The Princeton women's basketball team usually starts four seniors. It's another senior, one who comes off the bench, who has volunteered a guest TigerBlog to discuss the women's basketball team's obsession with "Homeland."

Not bad. Comes off the bench. The manager. Pretty good.

You can read her whole story HERE.

As he rewatched the series, TB concluded that Season 1 wasn't as incredibly great as he remembered and that Season 2-7 were much better than he remembered.

Then came Season 8, which was, he thinks, the best season start to finish. It's either that or Season 1, which while not being the best single season of anything he's ever seen is still thrilling.

"Homeland" did something that's really tough to do, and that's end a series on top of its game. If you've never seen it, you should definitely check it out.

It's one of the 10 best TB series TB has ever seen.

So now what?

It's trivia time.

Princeton basketball, between the men's and women's programs, has won the Ivy League Player of the Year award 20 times. That list of 20 includes one three-time winner and three two-time winners.

In all, there have been 15 different Princeton basketball players who have won the Ivy League Player of the Year award. How many of those can you name?

It took TigerBlog awhile to figure out the math on that one, but it adds up. There have been 11 players who on its once (so that's 11), and then a three-time winner (that takes it to 14) and the three two-time winners (which makes 20).

So the question requires 15 different names.

Oh what the heck.

TB will give you a whole day of trivia questions.

* Princeton had 11 players score a touchdown during the 2019 football season. How many can you name?

* Before the Coronavirus pandemic ended the hockey seasons, both the Princeton men and women won their last games, both in the ECAC playoffs, on overtime goals. Who scored the goals?

* Princeton has had five players between the men and women score overtime goals in NCAA championship lacrosse games. Name them.

* The two oldest individual outdoor men's track and field records were set  in 1982 and 1983 by the same athlete. Name him (extra credit for the events).

* One Princeton softball player has a career batting average of better than .400. Who is it? (Hint, she graduated in the 1980s).

* Who was the first Princeton men's soccer player to win the Ivy League Player of the Year award?

* Princeton has had 11 field hockey players who had at least 100 career points. Can you name them?

* Two Princeton women's volleyball players have reached at least 500 career kills. Name them?

* Who holds the Princeton baseball record for career home runs? Hint - it's not Mike Ford, who hit more last year with the Yankees than he did in his entire Princeton career. Second hint - the home run record holder also holds the record for most career punts by a Princeton football player, which is a relatively fascinating double.

So should TB give you the answers today? Nah, he'll give you a chance to answer them yourself.

If you can't wait, you can get all of the answers on goprincetontigers.com.

If you can get a perfect score on the questions, then you are a Princeton Athletics genius.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Happy 77th Birthday Bill Bradley

Today is the 29th, right?

TigerBlog has been all confused. He sent his BrotherBlog and Joe, the official TB brother-in-law, an anniversary greeting Monday. He thought it was nice of him to remember their special day.

Except Monday was the 27th. And their anniversary was the 28th, or yesterday.

TB actually realized his mistake before he heard back from either of them, so he sent a follow-up email correcting his mistake. It's from his newspaper days. You can always have a correction.

Actually, TB's favorite correction story from his own newspaper days came after the local high school tennis writer had made some sort of minor error. Hey, these things happen - and who is TB to say anything about an error when he doesn't even know what day it is?

Anyway, the editors were putting together the correction when one of them, possibly the single most cynical person TB has ever met - and 1) TB has met some cynical people and 2) this particular person is one of TB's all-time favorites - suggested this: "the paper regrets the tennis coverage."

Tremendous.

Meanwhile, happy anniversary to BB and Joe. At least TB had the right week.

And one thing TB didn't realize is that his brother's anniversary came on the same day as the birthday of the greatest Princeton athlete of all-time.

Okay, you can make a case for a very, very small handful of others. Hobey Baker, for one, and his birthday was Jan. 15. Or Dick Kazmaier, born on Nov. 23.

In this case, TB was referring, of course, to Bill Bradley, who turned 77 years old yesterday. How did TB come to realize that it was Bradley's birthday?

He heard it on "Pardon The Interruption."

TB didn't even realize the sports talk show was back on the air until yesterday, when he saw it in the channel guide. It's his favorite sports talk show, especially with Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon together. It's not forced and there's no screaming. It's just informed discussion with some genuine humor mixed in, not the phony kind where everyone laughs at nothing.

Anyway, it's back on.

If you haven't seen it, the show starts with a list of the biggest topics of the day, and the duo spends two minutes or 90 seconds talking about them. There is one segment of that and then another, and then when the final break is over, Kornheiser says "Happy Time people" and then talks about something light, such as an anniversary or something like that.

Or, as was the case yesterday, a birthday.


TB was only half paying attention at the time, but it certainly got his attention.

The only part he didn't like was when Kornheiser said "Princeton?" with great shock when he mentioned that the Tigers reached the 1965 Final Four, led by Bradley.

Other than that, Kornheiser had great things to say about Bradley. He talked about his time with the Knicks, with whom he won two championships. He mentioned his time as a Rhodes Scholar and how he went on to become a three-term U.S. Senator from New Jersey.

He also said that he figured that one day he would have become President.

Of course Bradley is by far Princeton's all-time leading scorer in basketball with 2,503 career points. Actually he's the Ivy League's all-time leading scorer. And he has the 11 highest single-game scoring totals in Princeton history as well.

And, best of all, Kornheiser also mentioned John McPhee twice.

It was the magazine article about Bradley's senior year entitled "A Sense Of Where You Are" and the subsequent book of the same name that really launched McPhee's career. He and Bradley have stayed extremely close through the years.

And so it went from not realizing that "PTI" was back on the air to having a segment on Bill Bradley and then ultimately some quality air time for John McPhee.

How much better than that does it get?

And so happy 77th to Bill Bradley, one day later.

It is one day later, right? It's the 29th, right? So yesterday was the 28th?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Claire Thompson, Nominee

You want to see a great picture?

Check out the shot that accompanies the story on goprincetontigers.com of the four Princeton women's hockey players who won the coaches' association scholar-athlete award.


Pretty artistic, right?

TB is a big fan of such pictures. He loves the pictures of helmets on the turf, looking up at the stadium behind. Or the ones of the sticks all lined up behind the bench. Or the close up of the starting block. Or the net of the goal.

Such pictures add great flavor to events, if they're done right. TB always appreciates when Princeton's photographers come back from a game with that sort of creativity, beyond just the game action itself.

By the way, the four players who were honored with the AHCA award were MacKenzie Ebel, Sharon Frankel, Claire Thompson and Sylvie Wallin. You can read the story HERE.

Also by the way, back on Dec. 3, 2018, TB wrote this after watching the Tigers defeat Quinnipiac 3-2 at Baker Rink:
TigerBlog knows very little about hockey, though he could tell from watching it that No. 4 on Princeton was very, very good. That turned out to be defenseman Claire Thompson, who was a calming influence who helped keep Quinnipiac off the board for those first 58 minutes. TB was impressed with how Thompson was playing, and that was before she scored Princeton's second and third goals of the night.

Some things are just obvious.

Thompson, by the way, turned out to be more "great" than just "very, very good," as an athlete and a student. The AHCA academic award was her third, and she's already won three ECAC academic awards, with one more to be announced. She has also been a multiple time Academic All-Ivy selection.

As a player, this is from a different release: She helped Princeton to two NCAA tournaments, the 2019 Ivy League title, and the 2020 ECAC tournament championship, and graduated as Princeton's fifth-leading all-time scorer among defensemen, with 87 points. She was a three-time All-ECAC honoree, including a first-teamer in 2019 and a 2020 ECAC all-tournament team member, and she was a three-time All-Ivy League pick, including first team in 2019. Thompson was selected for Canada's team at the 2020 IIHF World Women's Championships, though the event was canceled due to COVID-19.

That other release was the one announcing that she has been chosen as Princeton's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Throw in that she was an ecology and evolutionary biology major who graduated with high departmental honors, and it's easy to see why.

The Woman of the Year Award originated in 1991 to recognize female athletes who have an outstanding record in athletics, academics, service and leadership. There will be 30 finalists announced in August, and the winner will be chosen in the fall.

No Ivy League athlete has ever won it. The league takes all of the individual school nominees and chooses to advance one or two to the next round of evaluations. Of course, just being the institution's nominee is impressive enough, given that Princeton has about 100 or so female athletes in each class.

The award, as an aside, recognizes nominees from every NCAA school, regardless of division. Interestingly, in the last five years, the award has recognized two Power Five Conference athletes, one Division II athlete and two Division III athletes.

Award or not, Thompson had an incredible career on every level.

The last two years were among the best in the history of the women's hockey program. Princeton played in the 2019 NCAA tournament in Minnesota, and the Tigers followed that by winning the first ECAC championship in program history this past season.

The Tigers were primed to make a serious run at winning it all in this year's NCAA tournament when the championships were postponed due the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the last paragraph in the Woman of the Year nomination story:
Thompson plans on attending medical school, and she will continue training with an eye on competing for Canada in the 2022 Olympic Games while also continuing research on infectious disease in society.

As TB has said before, this is definitely the kind of person you want representing your institution.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Watching The Former Tigers

So TigerBlog had it all messed up yesterday as far as watching Princeton alums in professional sports.

He thought it was going to be the WNBA game between Princetonians Bella Alarie and Blake Dietrick at 2, and then the Princeton-heavy Archers (Tom Schreiber, Ryan Ambler, Josh Sims) versus Princeton alum Zach Currier in a Premier Lacrosse League opener at 4.

As it turns out, it wasn't the Archers against Currier's new team, the expansion Waterdogs, but instead the Atlas. TB said this last year - if you're not going to have teams represent cities, then at least make their names much different. Between Atlas and Archers and Chrome and Chaos, it's a bit confusing.

Also as it turned out, the WNBA game started at 5, not 2. So at 2 there was the Major League Lacrosse championship game, where Boston defeated Denver 13-10.

Denver would have won if Currier was still an Outlaw, as opposed to being the No. 1 pick in the entry draft by the Waterdogs in the PLL. Also, TB was still rooting for Denver and Princeton assistant coach Chris Aslanian, who scored three goals in the game.

There was also the Yankees-Nationals baseball game, in which Princeton alum David Hale pitched an inning in the 3-2 New York win. It was Hale's second appearance of the year for the Yankees, and yet another Princeton alum, Mike Ford, got a hit in his only at-bat of the weekend.

TB put on the PLL game at 4, just in time to see Currier take the ground ball off the opening face-off and go right to the goal, where he appeared to score the first goal in Waterdogs history. Instead, his goal was waved off because his foot was on the crease line (it was, as the replay showed), and he got an inadvertent shot to the head for his troubles.

By 5 TB had the lacrosse game on the TV and the women's basketball game on his computer.

Neither Alarie nor Dietrick started in the game, but both got in the game by the end of the first quarter. In fact, when the quarter ended, both players were on the court together.

Between the two, there were six first-team All-Ivy League selections, four Ivy League Player of the Year Awards, three All-American honors and 2,936 career points. There were also six Ivy League title and six NCAA tournament trips.

It was a well-played back-and-forth quarter, one that ended with Dallas ahead 28-27. Dietrick had a three-pointer, along with two assists and a rebound. She was also Atlanta's top ballhandler.

Meanwhile, back at the lacrosse game, the Waterdogs had the lead into the fourth quarter. For an expansion team, the Waterdogs have a lot of talent, and they have Currier, who is the ultimate winning player who makes every big play you need and can do absolutely anything - fearlessly - on the field.

His resume includes championships in MLL, in the indoor National Lacrosse League and the indoor World Championships with Canada. He was also on the Canadian team that lost the 2018 field World Championship 9-8 to the United States in an good a lacrosse game as has ever been played.

The Atlas scored three straight, tying the game at 10-10, as the WNBA game had some technical issues with the clock and logistics. By the time the game restarted, the Waterdogs were behind, and they'd actually lose the game 11-10.

It'll be the Archers and Atlas tonight at 9:30 on NBC Sports Network. TB is sure of that one.

He would have rather it had been Currier against the Archers yesterday, but that game will be coming up tomorrow at 7, also on NBC Sports.

As for the rest of the basketball game, Alarie didn't get much playing time. Dietrick got a ton and made the most of it, finishing with five points, five assists and three rebounds. The Dream led most of the way and always seemed to be in total control, but the Wings hung around and hung around and got within two late. The drama disappeared with an endless break to check on how many fouls a player had, and the final was Atlanta 105, Dallas 95.

And as for having the opportunity to watch some pro sports again, that alone was really good. Adding the Princeton connections made it even better.