In the zone
Why can't life be like baseball?
Hey, when you're hot, you're hot, and nobody was hotter last week than Fighting Illini right fielder Casey Fletcher.
One day, coach Dan Hartleb said Fletcher was player of the day. After Fletcher kept hitting, Hartleb updated his status to player of the week.
After Fletcher led a three-game sweep of Michigan State, Hartleb promoted Fletcher to "Player of the Month" in the hopes that the son of former major league catcher Darrin Fletcher would keep it up.
Coaches have a tendency to get greedy, but Hartleb's high hopes are understandable. The Oakwood native went 8-17 for the week with five home runs and 10 runs batted in. The theatrics were good too, particularly his 10th inning, game-winning screamer down the third base line that drove in the winning run in a 5-4 victory against the Spartans.
Suffice it to say, the crowd loved it.
More accolades followed. Fletcher was named the Big Ten's Player of the Week and was recognized as one of the five top performers of the week by NCAA.com.
Since that kind of hitting is rare, we feel compelled to add a plaudit of our own and thereby name Fletcher the first winner of the editorial page's most valuable player award.
The News-Gazette spends much of its editorial page energy devoted to local, state and national affairs. Considering the quality of government in Illinois, that can be tiresome.
If only all of our politicians were as short on rhetoric and long on production as Fletcher. If only they, like Fletcher, knew where they wanted to run and how to go there. If only they protected the public interest the way Fletcher protects the plate. If only they guarded the public purse with the zeal Fletcher displays patrolling his outfield turf. If only ....
That's probably never going to happen. But a baseball field can be a field of dreams, so why not dream big?