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You asked, our butlers answered: Northwestern Mailbag!

How we think Northwestern should renovate Ryan Field, why we enjoy Malort, Grand Unified Theory snuck in here somehow, Internet jokes, whether the ‘Cats can win a Big Ten title, and Josh Gasser being mentioned in the same breath as Evan Eschmeyer. It was weird.

You asked, we answered (some of them)!

Thanks for your readership during Northwestern Week—putting out 10 articles between the two of us was a lot, but your feedback and the ensuing conversations makes it worth it. We hope you learned something but, more importantly, gained some new Northwestern jokes to skip right to the comments to make.

Does Northwestern now have the best football practice facilities in the B1G?
If not, who does? Is there any school in the country with a wider gulf between quality of practice facility versus quality of actual stadium?

LPW: I think for a while the biggest gulf in practice facilities vs gameday facilities was at Minnesota before the Athletes Village came around. I think we now have the best practice facilities in the conference.

MNW: UCLA also caught up in 2017 with the opening of their new football facility—they still have to go 30 minutes to play at the Rose Bowl, but...I mean, Rose Bowl. As of right now, on the opposite end, Florida plays in an iconic stadium...with a dump of a training facility (though they’re building a new one).

We talked about it a bit in the Mailbag Call comments, but I really think Northwestern has a chance to be truly innovative with supposedly upcoming updates to Ryan Field. GTom asked an excellent question about some of the renovations we’d prefer to see and noted that Ryan Field’s original design was supposed to have towers on both sides of the field. Some responses:

From my perspective: The north end (open towards Welsh-Ryan) and west side (towers, weird mini upper deck) are the distinctive features that should be preserved. The south end and east stands are generic AF and could be radically changed, though I don’t think there is a huge need to change their overall layout (cutting a few thousand seats would make sense given attendance, but I think it’s only worth doing if there is a big payoff elsewhere).

My basic goals would be to improve the internals and bring the audio-visual (especially the audio, which is terrible) equipment up to a high standard. Widen concourses, improve bathrooms, improve food service facilities, add permanent lights (assuming this could get permitted, which I’m not sure is true). None of this is going to make a huge difference on attendance, but it’s worth doing anyway.

I’d be in favor of turning the current south stands into something distinctive — a hill for kids/students/general admission to stand/sit on blankets, a “food truck” spot for all your at-game dining needs, etc….something to make it a bit more distinctive.

Definitely fix the sound, but also find a way to keep more sound in the stadium — if you’re going to be a small capacity stadium (and NU arguably should be, given its fanbase/alumni size) at least make it a small LOUD stadium.
-C.E. Bell

Sorry, Chad, you’re still not getting paid for this.

As a visitor who enjoys going to Ryan Field, I support your suggestions. IMO it would be smart/nice if the most extensive exterior renovations (which are of lesser concern than food & vendors) would be done on the South along Central Street. That’s where you have your heaviest car & foot traffic (as you know better than I) and something regal or stately would work good for this area. A decent facade shouldn’t be too expensive. Lights are probably the least important as they can be rented out.

I chimed in that my vision for the Northwestern Ryan Field renovations would be to redo the Central Street entrance: A large stone facade (possibly relocating the Jumbotron to the South End Zone) that can hold the ticket offices, with a beer garden (or food truck garden, as C.E. Bell suggested—for free and for SBN’s profit, we’ll reiterate) stretching toward where the Hannibal statue currently sits on the hill above the end zone.

Basically, copy the Purdue model, but add some Chicago and local touches.

Okay, you guys had other (less serious) questions, too. If it’s not included, we just didn’t have much to say:

Are the three forces of the Standard Model [of particle physics] unified at high energies? And is there a theory which explains the values of all physical constants?
-Hollywood Hawk Hogan

MNW: The only real answer I could give to this is that, when I was in 8th grade Earth Science, our (close to retirement) teacher who occasionally show us documentaries so she could smoke under the vent hood or drink rubbing alcohol or whatever. I remember two things: (1) a really cool image of lava and magma and whatever else spewing out of a volcano, and (2) Stephen Hawking admitting that if black holes existed, he would owe Kip Thorne a year’s subscription to Penthouse.

Mrs. Sexton banged her head on the vent hood and squawked her way to her desk, where the remote was. I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me...

Do you people really drink Malört or is it just some rotgut you have around to take the occasional shot with visitors to your neck of the woods to prove some kind of “we like bad liquor!” syndrome?

LPW: Speaking for myself, Malört is the shot you take with visitors. It is awful. However, my boss once ordered a Berwyn Mule for the table, which uses Malört instead of whiskey or vodka as the base.

MNW: I have to be in the right mood, but I genuinely don’t mind Malört as a shot when I’m out in Chicago. Of course, that doesn’t negate the joy you feel in others’ misery when they take a shot of it.

Will jNW ever put together some sort of 1 book, 1 team program where the entire wildcat student section coordinates what esoteric collection of pretension they’ll all read during the games?

MNW: That would require them to show up first, and the way they’ve been turning out to games lately, I don’t see the student section doing much beyond shrinking in footprint if things keep up. The school already loses money on those tickets; with the changes to the athletics spending at Northwestern, I can see students losing rows and priority.

Sorry, that didn’t answer your question. Hot, Flat, and Crowded was the shit I got assigned freshman year for One Book, One Northwestern. Fuck Thomas Friedman.

Oh hey is this where I ask LPW about the status of the rec script?

LPW: I haven’t worked on it in a while. I’ve been busy with my job and life and haven’t had enough time to do exploratory programming in a bit.

Were the ‘Cats good enough in 1973 to add sentimental value to that Nova?

Why did BRT put a Northwestern sticker on her car?

MNW: I’m just amazed (1) someone was forward-thinking enough to invent a team that didn’t yet exist and create a bumper sticker for it, and (2) that BRT could fit into a Nova. Either she’s basically sitting on the floor to drive that thing, or her head pokes out the top like Dino in The Flintstones.

In the comments of the Mailbag Call, buckyor dated that sticker to the mid-80s, when he was in attendance at NU. I’d love to meet the person that had that sticker on his/her car.

A few of you had Stanford questions...

Why doesn’t NW have a dancing tree mascot? Kansas State already has a Willie Wildcat, so why not let your inner-Stanford shine for all the world to see?
-3rd Floor East stacks

LPW: Stanford can keep that abomination. Willie is great.

Why not just come out and change your name to Stanford East.

MNW: Why not just come out and change your name to West Iowa.

Of course, this is OTE/the Internet, so we need to ask a few of the same questions...

Is the stadium audio pc still on Windows 95 to support the cat growl/grown audio?

MNW: I was at a Minnesota Lynx game last Saturday, and I realized that when the opposing team is shooting free throws, the Lynx in-game sound people will play catnoise.wav to encourage the fans to make noise! I got excessively excited and embarrassed my wife.

How do we get U. of Chicago back into the B1G so we can reclaim our one true rival?

MNW: Illinois is well on its way to D-III; no need to rush.

LPW: They’re never coming back, GTom.

True or false?
If Alex Agase were coaching in 2015, he would have admitted, Peavy caught the ball.

LPW: Get over it.

Will we see a return of Air Willy [sic]?

LPW: If that happens there Northwestern fans will direct their butlers to throw that foul balloon into Lake Michigan. I think the odds of Air Willie returning are as high as Purdue bringing back Rowdy or Nebraska abandoning Lil’ Red.

MNW: I, too, think Internet jokes are funny.

I want to highlight a couple questions I really enjoyed:

Which player made the most of his ~10 years playing in the Big Ten:
Evan Eschmeyer
Jess Settles
Brian Cardinal
Josh Gasser

MNW: This is an excellent list, and Brian Cardinal has to be up there. I would put Alex Olah forth as a suggestion, and the inclusion of Aaron Craft in the comments was obviously spot-on.

Also, fuck Chris Kramer, wherever he is.

2018 Wrigley Gum Bowl: Northwestern vs BC, or Virginia?

MNW: Lost in my thoughts on the Wrigley Field game and the SEC’s lack of the balls to come play in the Wrigley Gum Bowl was this: There ain’t no way Northwestern’s playing in this game. Six or seven home games a year in Evanston and one of the numerically-smallest fanbases in Chicagoland means the Big Ten’s criteria for the Wrigley Gum Bowl will be:

  1. 8-4 or worse record.
  2. Is not Northwestern
  3. Is preferably from the East Division but not Maryland or rutger (that won’t be a problem)
  4. Did not play at Northwestern that season
  5. Has embarrassed Northwestern with good attendance at Ryan Field/Welsh-Ryan Arena

Welcome to the Gum Bowl, Indiana/Minnesota/Iowa/Nebraska/Michigan.

And of course, the age-old question:

Is Fitzy ever going to actually win a title (division or otherwise) in the B1G?

MNW: I kind of torturedly and poorly worked through this in both Tuesday’s potluck and Thursday’s article, but...yeah, I honestly do think that he will. And I think it’ll be the leadership and talent of Hunter Johnson that gets them there.

Feel free to remind me of this terrible, terrible hot take when he flames out with a 1:3 TD:INT ratio and transfers to Illinois State.

LPW: I think we will eventually.

Thanks for tuning in to Northwestern Week, everyone.

B1G 2018: Northwestern Week

Monday: Preview | Potluck (worst 10-win season) | Mailbag Call

Tuesday: Coaches | Potluck (10th Assistant)

Wednesday: Traditions | Podcast | Potluck (Transfer Season)

Thursday: Facilities | Potluck (Predictions)

Friday: HATE | More HATE

Saturday: Mailbag