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George Will and Miami Baseball

It's not exactly Marlins related, but it came up in a thread and a comment on Friday, so I thought I'd clarify (or attempt to here).

George Will attended Friday night's game between the University of Miami and Florida State University.  He even threw out the first pitch and wore a UM baseball hat (I'm desperately trying to track down a photo).

The question we've been trying to answer is: "Why?"  Will has no obvious tie to the state of Florida or the University of Miami.  Why he'd be at a college baseball game on a Friday night is even more of a mystery.

More recently we've learned that Will will be the commencement speaker at Miami this year, so that could help to explain his presence on campus Friday night (though commencement is not until May 13th).  

All things considered, Will's affiliation to Miami is likely tied to University President Donna Shalala. Shalala is not only the person you likely know from the evening news. She's also a huge sports fan. I wrote about her a little last year when she braved some of the hottest weather I've ever experienced to watch the Canes in the baseball Super Regionals. I've also seen her shaking hands with friends of UM at numerous road football games (eventually I think Donna is going to recognize me by name on sight alone - not because I'm anyone special, but because she seems to do this with a lot of people).

And my favorite thing of all about Donna Shalala?  George Steinbrenner has gone on record as saying that she is the best shortstop who ever played for him.

In trying to track down information about Will and UM, I came across this article, which you might find interesting (it's an interview of Shalala with someone from NFL.com).