Tuesday Throwdeeps: Pigskin Recruiting, Linkster +++

That the US Open was still underway, and I hadn’t had an opportunity to write about it yet, did not deter The Professor from scolding me.

“So when are you going to give a shout out to former Cardinal golfer Adam Hadwin?

“He’s leading the US Open for heaven’s sake.”

He had me. I suppose.

Transparency here. As much as I love U of L sports, the golf team has never been on my radar. I had seen somebody mention somewhere that Hadwin was a former Cardinal, and thought, “That”s cool.”

My next thought, and how I responded to Prof, “Well, isn’t there always some guy we’ve never heard of atop the leaderboard after the first day, only to fade into his own parade?”

Which to Hadwin’s credit and doggedness, he did not, finishing T7 at -1.

Under par for an entire US Open. World class. Continue reading Tuesday Throwdeeps: Pigskin Recruiting, Linkster +++

Hump Day Hum: Inner City Blues, The Letter +

So, I ran into Scotty Davenport the other day by the Water Company Reservoir, where he was taking a break from his jog.

When he noticed it was me who stopped and rolled down the car window, he smiled and waved.

Because it’s what I do, I shouted, “You need to get the Cardinals to come play you at Freedom Hall!”

Have you ever seen how Davenport reacts on the sideline when he doesn’t like a call, how his demeanor changes, how he goes after the ref, and doesn’t give up? Well, that’s what happened when he heard what I said.

His animus wasn’t directed my way, but in the direction of U of L.”

“Never gonna happen. Never.

“It’s just that volleyball . . .

“Who do Louisville fans hate the most?”

Before I could answer, he did so himself.

“Kentucky. Well, Louisville’s the same person.” Continue reading Hump Day Hum: Inner City Blues, The Letter +

Card Nine’s Season Ends in a Grinder

Of the nuances of another game we love, Larry Bird once observed — and I paraphrase — a free throw made or missed in the 1st quarter is just as important as one in the final seconds.

This thinking applies in college baseball, both micro in a specific game being contested, but also macro if somewhat differently over the course of the long season.

In ultra-steamy College Station, Texas, U of L’s Cardinals dropped two one-run Super Regional affairs, grinders in balance until the final AB. To a similarly talented ball club, blessed to be sleeping in their own beds.

Playing in familiar confines, before a rabid Aggie crowd with that institutional 12th Man attitude, as loud and quirky and inclined to try to get under foe’s skin as any in the land.

Given how the collegiate post-season is structured, what happens in March and April and May informs the scenario come tournament time.

I can’t help but wonder what if . . . Continue reading Card Nine’s Season Ends in a Grinder

Regional Roundup: Cards Balk Way to Supers

Monday. Inclemency imminent.

Loser packs spikes for season. Winner to College Station for Super Texas Death Match.

High Noon. Do not forsake me, oh my darlin’.

PRP fave son Garrett Schmeltz surrenders two to Wolverines in top of 1st.

Looking to capture third straight in Astro stripes, U of L Cardinals blast back in their half.

Knapczyk single. Metzinger walk. Two go down. Usher doubles to right. Two score. Masterman drives him home. Humphrey HBP. Beard single scores another. Bianco HBP. Sacks full. Knapczyk bunt RBI. Metzinger walks again, run scores. Rushing reaches on error, Bianco tallies.

And, just like that, Cards up 7-2.

The fun had just begun. Continue reading Regional Roundup: Cards Balk Way to Supers

Monday Musings: Oh That Letter & More

I’ll weigh in the NCAA baseball regional, after we know whether the Cards advance or not.

 * * * * *

Just briefly again. Truly happy for Josh Heird, who has handled himself like a true mensch from the moment he was named Interim AD, until he deservedly got the job.

And for the University of Louisville, which made a wise choice.

From his deft handling of the Chris Mack situation, to the hiring of Kenny Payne, which has galvanized the community, to his manner during the AD hiring process, Heird displayed intelligence, maturity, and the skill set to lead U of L sports into the future.

At the baseball game over the weekend, several staff members expressed what a decent and nice fellow Heird is. How he made them feel a part of the team, not just an employee.

Very cool.

 * * * * *

As for the Fossilized Forty, “the group of over forty business leaders of which we represent,” well, I should not go here, but cannot help myself. Lucifer makes me do it.

Shame on you. Continue reading Monday Musings: Oh That Letter & More

Thursday Throwdowns: Satt Snaps Back, Heird Hiring & Mo’

Love, love, love how Coach Scott Satterfield responded, when WDRB’s Tom Lane asked his reaction to Jeff Brohm’s not so veiled statement a few weeks back about someday returning to U of L to be head football coach.

Satt: “Yeah, I mean, I heard a little bit about it, but I don’t worry about it. He’s got a job. I’ve got a job. So, I think, for me, I don’t worry about any outside noise, distractions. Because that’s all they are, you know? Our job is to wake up every day to do the best job we can possibly do with our team. I owe it to everybody in this building — the 115 players we have in the locker room, the staff that we have running around this building — to do the best we can do every single day and to put a product on the field that’s gonna go win championships. And that’s what we’re here for. And we go win championships, and we’re going to keep this thing rolling for years to come. So, he might have to wait a little bit more time before he has to come back.”

Said it before but indulge me as I repeat. Continue reading Thursday Throwdowns: Satt Snaps Back, Heird Hiring & Mo’

Monday Musing: The Tourney Draw & Griff’s Shot

Idling at entrance of the Cul de Sac, the Cardinal Nine hit reverse in the ACC tourney, driving themselves out of a possible coveted Top #8 seed in the NCAA tourney.

So, a #12 it is.

It could be worse. There’s a regional on the home diamond at the Jim.

Last year the Cards were in line at the Dairy Kastle, when they ran out of soft serve at closing time. While 64 schools advanced to the playdown.

Despite the double meltdown last week at Truist Park, this campaign isn’t over, U of L lives for another day.

While the Cards might have hoped for more clutch knocks last week, it would appear they’re only going to advance as far as the guys taking the mound carry them.

Last week’s hurling performances fell short of engendering hope.

Their ace and closer gave up the tying and winning runs in the opener against Pitt. And umpteen hurlers failed to derail the Ramblin’ Wreck, who loaded the bases in four different innings, and scored a lot of runs.

But, as we wags are wont to offer, everybody’s equal at the moment.

A part of me wants to point out that U of L fans should also be pulling for TCU, Louisiana and Oral Roberts. Those are the three schools journeying to College Station to join #5 seed regional host Texas A&M. The winner of the foursome here plays the survivor of that one in a Super, at the home of the higher seeded school.

You do the math.

Then again, I must admonish myself as I so very often admonish others.

It’s the post season. You only play whom you play. Continue reading Monday Musing: The Tourney Draw & Griff’s Shot

So, Yeah, I Went to Watch DJ Wagner

OK, I’ll hold off on my usual self referential hoo ha and cut to the chase.

DJ Wagner and his New Jersey Scholars mates opened their stay at the Louisville session of the EYBL Saturday morning with a 73-71 W over ProSkills.

Bottom Line: Yes, Milt’s grandson is a baller you would like to have playing for your favorite school.

Even my less than astute eye can tell that.

In spite of his his superprep top of his class or close to that status, he doesn’t preen. He doesn’t posture. He doesn’t complain to the refs.

He plays the game. He stays focused.

He handled the rock 4, 5, 6 times before ever taking a shot. He sees the court. He finds his teammates. His passing is deft.

He’s a great ball handler.

Like elite players do, he accelerates effectively when taking the ball to the rim. Especially on straight line drives, when he was relatively unimpeded thanks to sets being run by his squad. Continue reading So, Yeah, I Went to Watch DJ Wagner

Tuesday’s Cardinal Chitter, Chatter & Clatter

Yes, I know it’s baseball season.

And that, as I write U of L hoops coach Kenny Payne is announcing the long-expected but just confirmed hiring of Milt Wagner. To some sort of hybrid position that the Compliance Office has, one would assume, advised won’t hinder the recruitment of a certain grandson.

But, can we talk football for a moment?

Of course, the fingers on the keys to the Smith Corona belong to me.

 * * * * *

By all accounts during recent seasons the Atlantic Coast Conference has been considered the least powerful of the self-designated Power 5.

Gridironly speaking. (OK, last year also in men’s b-ball, but that was an outlier, and today isn’t about that.)

What a difference a year makes. Continue reading Tuesday’s Cardinal Chitter, Chatter & Clatter

Cards Seize Moment in Regular Season Finale

Baseball, lest we forget in this age of rave, is a pastime.

A pastoral series of moments to be savored, then won, lost, survived.

Instances of engagement to be built upon, or having succumbed, to rue.

On a sultry Saturday at the Jim, two Top 20 outfits — Louisville, Virginia — both attempting to close out their regular campaigns with victory in a series then split, there was such a moment.

It  evoked tension thick as the humidity.

The finale against Virginia started early in hopes of avoiding impending inclemency.

So too the Cardinals in a reversal of their early and fatal travails on Friday in a way-behind-from-the-get-go setback.

In the bottom of the first, Levi Usher knocked in a couple of Card baserunners with a two-out single. An inning later, Ben Bianco batted in Isaac Humphrey. Ben Metzinger went yard. Jack Payton also cleared the fence with a solo shot.

Thanks to that assault, and rookie starter Carson Liggett’s back to back scoreless frames, Louisville led 6-0.

As happens, the Cardinal bats quieted. The Cavalier’s stayed silent, thanks to the steadiness of reliever Tate Kuehner. For a bit anyway. Continue reading Cards Seize Moment in Regular Season Finale