One eighth grade morning, Mike Schmuhl, ’05, woke up, got dressed and headed to Saint Joseph’s High School in South Bend to catch a glimpse of what his academic, athletic and social future might hold. Little did he realize that his day spent shadowing the life of a high school freshman would lead to a career 14 years later. Pete Buttigieg, now the mayor-elect of South Bend, greeted Schmuhl at the door to give him a tour. The rest … is history. Schmuhl was selected as the Democratic party chairman for Indiana’s 2nd District Sunday after managing winning campaigns for Buttigieg this year and U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly last year. He is also working as Buttigieg’s chief of staff, assisting Buttigieg with his transition into office. “I think we’re a great team and we’re very invested in the future of South Bend, and we want to get more young people involved in the process,” Schmuhl said. Yet, the ties between Buttigieg and Schmuhl run deeper, as both of their fathers are professors at Notre Dame. English Professor Joseph Buttigieg and Robert Schmuhl, the director of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, have known each other for years,Mike Schmuhl said. “Our dads are friends … I think they started [at Notre Dame] the exact same year,” Schmuhl said. While Buttigieg headed to Harvard after high school, Schmuhl decided to pursue a History major and European Studies minor at the University of Notre Dame. His involvement on campus ranged from playing football for O’Neill to writing for the school paper. “I was an Assistant Scene Editor for The Observer in — I believe 2001 and 2002,” Schmuhl said. “I used to do music reviews when I was at The Observer and I did Snoop Dog and I did a Battle of the Bands … music reviews and concert reviews and album reviews and it was really funny … I had no idea probably what I was writing about or anything like that.” As a junior, Schmuhl spent a semester in Washington, D.C., interning for “Meet the Press” with the late Tim Russert. The 2004 Democratic Primaries were the big news item at the time, and Schmuhl said the experience hardened his interest in politics and journalism. “One of the main reasons I got involved with politics and journalism was I did the Washington, D.C. program my junior year,” Schmuhl said. “[Interning with ‘Meet the Press’] was awesome and just a great experience.” After graduating in 2005, Schmuhl took a job as a journalist in Minneapolis, then became a radio and television producer for The Washington Post for three years. Schmuhl said while he enjoyed being a journalist, his interest in serving South Bend drove him back home. “I love the [Washington] Post and I love journalism but … I guess my interest to get involved in my hometown and my community was too strong,” Schmuhl said. He came back to South Bend in 2009 and has worked in politics ever since. “I think the fundamental reason … why Pete ran for mayor and why I moved back home was that a number of the people that we grew up with had a choice, … [and they] chose to leave South Bend,” Schmuhl said. “And Pete and I, through this election and hopefully through his service as our next mayor, hopefully we can change that because it’s a great place to live. It’s a great place to grow up. There’s a lot more to South Bend than meets the eye.” Robert Schmuhl said he is proud of his son, who has worked on the district and municipal levels of government since he came back to South Bend. “Mike’s always been fascinated by the workings of government and politics,” Robert Schmuhl said. “He returned to South Bend in 2009 to become civically involved … Young people deserve their chance, and we’re proud of him.” Though he never took a class with his dad, Schmuhl said his father influenced his career pursuits. “When I was little, I had this great interest in news and politics because my dad and mom and I would watch ‘NBC Nightly News‘ before dinner every night,” Schmuhl said. “I just grew up with a great appreciation for … my dad’s interest in news and politics and culture, and the apple did not fall too far from the tree.” As the new Democratic chairman for Indiana’s 2nd District, Schmuhl coordinates Democratic events in North Central Indiana and serves on the state’s Central Committee, which is the governing body of the Indiana Democratic party. Schmuhl said he also recruits candidates to run for office and hopes that young people will get more involved in local politics. Anything that connects Notre Dame students to the city of South Bend is a great thing for the community, he said. “We want to make sure that there are no barriers between the universities and our communities and the city of South Bend, because when we have fewer barriers, then you’ll start to see that we’re a definitive college town,” Schmuhl said. “I think that South Bend residents and Notre Dame students need to think of their future collectively — that the community will be better off if Notre Dame succeeds in graduating young smart people that can serve the community, and Notre Dame succeeds if the city of South Bend has more jobs and economic growth and more prosperity for all of its residents.”
“Obviously we all know what we have in front of us with Kershaw going in Game 6,” Cubs ace Jon Lester said after his victory in Game 5 Thursday night. “Hopefully he’s not the good Kershaw and we get kind of the mediocre guy that gives up a few runs.”It sounds like Lester is aware Kershaw has not been at his best often on the elimination stage. But Kershaw was pretty close to it last Sunday when he held the Cubs to two hits over seven scoreless innings, pitching the Dodgers to a 1-0 victory in Game 2 at Wrigley Field.He is being asked to do it again against a Cubs team that came to life the past two games and now will be playing at home where they had the best record in baseball (57-24) during the regular season and have gone 3-1 in the postseason.“Pitchers definitely don’t have an advantage,” Kershaw said of facing the same team in such close succession. “I don’t know if the hitters have an advantage. But pitchers — the more you see somebody, the more familiar you get with them. I mean, that’s true for sure.“I don’t think there’s anything that you do to counteract it. I said this the other day … there’s no secrets in the game right now. There’s so much information. They know every pitch that I throw and every count and every situation. So it’s just a matter of not really focusing on that and just trying to compete every single pitch and execute every single pitch. You may have a little less margin for error facing them the second time. Just be better, I guess.”Kershaw might do well to offer that same directive to the bullpen behind him.His undoing in past postseasons, the Dodgers’ relief corps was supposed to be a strength this October. It has not been. The bullpen has been culpable in each of the Dodgers’ three losses in this series, allowing 18 of the 26 runs the Cubs scored in Games 1, 4 and 5.The Dodgers’ only victories in the NLCS have come by shutout in Games 2 and 3 with Kershaw and Rich Hill doing the heavy lifting. Those two are lined up to start again this weekend — if Kershaw can play hero first.“It’s going to be a formidable event,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said with apparent relish of the series returning to Wrigley Field. “If they’re on top of their game — let’s start with Kershaw. If he’s on top of his game, it’s going to be another very close, low-scoring game. We just have to be at our best to eke out as many runs as we can. And on the other side, you have to pitch better than good pitching to win.“We have to go back there and play our A game to beat these two — or the first outstanding pitcher and hopefully that’s all we have to face.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> Before this postseason run began, the Dodgers declared their independence.No more would their October fortunes be tied to one man. No more would Clayton Kershaw have to carry them on his back as far as they would go. Even Kershaw acknowledged he felt “different” about his level of responsibility for his team’s postseason fate this year.And yet, it has come to this again. The Dodgers are asking Kershaw to rescue them once again and carry them forward, to fight at least another day, when he takes the mound for Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday at Wrigley Field.“I do believe in momentum,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the Chicago Cubs outscored the Dodgers 18-6 to win Games 4 and 5 at Dodger Stadium. “But I also believe that the next day’s starting pitcher has a lot to do with momentum. So I like our guy.” Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez assessed his team’s dire situation with faux simplicity.“We’ve won two games in a row before,” he said. “It’s nothing we can’t do Saturday and Sunday.”Kershaw has been in this position before. Annually, it seems.Since 2013, Kershaw has pitched in five postseason games with the Dodgers facing elimination. They have won three of those five although Kershaw has a 5.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in those games.But Kershaw is on a roll. In his past three appearances in elimination games — he went seven innings and held the New York Mets to one run (a win in Game 4 of last year’s NL Division Series), pitched into the seventh again only to have his bullpen let him down (but the Dodgers won Game 4 against the Nationals) and came back two days later to close out the Dodgers’ Game 5 victory in Washington.