SU coach to Gophers’ rooters: You are pathetic

by Michael Dougherty

Van Halen has changed lead singers twice, so it’s within reason they wouldn’t mind changing the lyrics of one of their songs from “Jamie’s Cryin'” to “Jacquie’s Cryin’.”
The subject of the name change is Michigan State softball coach Jacquie Joseph, who spent a good part of her squad’s three-game series with the No. 23 Gophers complaining and arguing with the three-man umpiring crew.
Joseph, whose team’s season ended thanks to the Minnesota sweep, was so incensed with the weekend’s happenings that she would not even allow her club to shake hands after the final game.
The hand shake is customary in all collegiate athletic competitions and is a symbol that stands for sportsmanship. But Joseph said her club was late for a plane and couldn’t participate.
“I don’t know what her reasoning behind it was,” Gophers associate coach Julie Standering said. “It only takes two minutes to shake hands. She’s a visitor of our field, and it just leaves an image that our women see. It’s poor sportsmanship.”
Gophers head coach Lisa Bernstein-O’Brien chose her words carefully because she said she’s been in Joseph’s shoes before.
“She was out of her comfort zone,” Bernstein-O’Brien said. “We’ve all been there, so she did what she thought she needed to do to motivate her team.”
But Gophers pitcher Steph Klaviter said she didn’t think it helped the Spartans.
“It was a big game, but I don’t think our coaches would have gotten as crazy as she did,” she said. “She was really picky about a lot of little things.”
Those little things included pulling her team off the field during Saturday’s first game. With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Shannon Beeler singled to left, bringing Amber Hegland to the plate.
Hegland squared around to bunt, but pulled back when the pitch came in high. The ball went off the catcher’s glove, and Beeler hustled down to second base. Home plate umpire Nate Shannon said Hegland had fouled the pitch off, but it was obvious she hadn’t.
An argument ensued, and third base umpire Jay McGivern overruled Shannon and called it a wild pitch.
Joseph was irate, so she promptly ordered her team to come into the dugout. Shannon told Joseph she had one minute to get her squad back onto the field, so Joseph begrudgingly agreed.
After Hegland popped out, the umpires suspended the game because of driving rain, and pushed its completion back to Sunday.
However, a good night’s rest was apparently not what Joseph needed to cool down, as she started her arguing antics immediately.
Whether it was whining about the players standing on the edge of the dugout, or complaining Minnesota’s run-scoring celebrations were too far out on the field, it didn’t matter. The coach was clearly perturbed with the thought that her team’s season was about to end.
Some of the pumped-up crowd of 623, the fourth largest in Gophers history, taunted Joseph, asking her if she was getting paid by the hour because of her many trips to argue with the umpires.
“She was upset, and things just weren’t going her way,” Standering said. “We were a better team this weekend, and we deserved everything we got.”
Joseph refused to comment about her actions, and when the crowd started heckling her when she refused to shake hands, Joseph began screaming at the fans.
“You’re pathetic,” she screamed. “We’ve got a plane to catch.”
The most confrontational moment came in the first inning of game three. Joseph was arguing that Gophers catcher Erin Brophy was blocking the plate on a play at home, and Standering approached Joseph and McGivern.
“I walked over there and said, ‘Are we going to get the game underway here?'” Standering said. “And before (McGivern) even said anything to me, Jacquie turned to me and said, ‘You’re not invited in this conversation.’
“We had recruits here, and I’m glad, because they are probably not going to go to Michigan State.”