All posts by seedyk

Mt. Rushmore of Louisville Sports

In the wake of Bill Russell’s passing, my current favorite sportswriter Joe Posnanski riffed in a blog about who would be on a Mt. Rushmore of American Sports? He also considered one for the city of Boston.

Russell he observed was a given for both.

Like Top 10/100/Whatever lists, such an endeavor by default always generates disagreements.

It’s why we do them, right? We all need something to disagree on, or so I’d observe.

So, as it happens I’ll steal another’s idea. Because Joe’s conjecture got me to thinking what Louisville sports figure’s faces would be carved on such an elevation? (I guess you could do one for U of L too , but that only came to mind right now as I compose.)

So here goes nothing. Well, something actually. If just to pass the time until the fall sports season kicks off.

I’m so very sure you shall free to disagree with one or some of my selections.

For me, three are No Brainers. Continue reading Mt. Rushmore of Louisville Sports

Russell & Scully: Two Icons Gone

Boston Celtics Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson in action. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Rare is the occasion when you can consider a person, and can say beyond peradventure, “They are the best ever at what they do.”

We lost two this week.

Bill Russell, the greatest winner in American sports. Not only basketball.

Vin Scully, the greatest broadcaster in American sports. Not only baseball.

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I have a vague memory that I might have seen Bill Russell play in person once.

At some point in the early to mid 60s, if memory serves, there was a preseason NBA doubleheader at Freedom Hall. One of the games featured Philly — either the Warriors or 76ers — because I remember walking up and standing next to Wilt Chamberlain, who was the biggest human being I’d ever seen

Though my memory is shoddy, I believe the Celtics played the other game. Continue reading Russell & Scully: Two Icons Gone

Hope’s Afoot & Other Media Day Takeaways

On the way out to Cardinal Stadium for the dog and pony show a/k/a Football Media Day, I noted the sky was Grantland Rice blue-gray. Appropriately enough, even though it was a bit muggier than the day which caused college pigskin’s flowery bard of yesteryear to wax poetic about a quartet of Notre Damers in the ’20s.

When I exited, the sun was out.

Which is a good enough way to metamorphize the spin that is always attendant at such annual inaugural rites.

On the elevator up to the press level, a fellow who’d been at as many of these as me and I were riffing on what we’d hear.

“Great to be back.

“Really looking forward go hitting the field.

“Guys have been doing some great work in the weight room, and are bigger and stronger.”

Etc, etc. Or yada, yada, yada if you happen to be a Seinfeld acolyte.

Truth is, of course, there’s not much to learn here. Actual practice hasn’t started. Everybody’s undefeated at the beginning of August.

But the event does herald that the arrival of opening kickoff is not long off. That alone makes it a joyous, if tedious occasion. Continue reading Hope’s Afoot & Other Media Day Takeaways

Last Friday before Football (Practice)

Before we get on to other matters, a moment of silence please for the dearly departed.

In a world that seems to be falling apart before our very eyes, now we have to deal with yet another significant loss.

Flags at half mast please in memoriam of the demise of the Choco Taco.

(Silence.)

Of course this frozen treat wasn’t Graeter’s, or a trip to Polly’s Freeze for a shake or Gelato Gilberto.

But at those times, like 10:30 at night and you need something cool and sweet and the freezer is empty, and those places mentioned above are either closed or too far to drive at that hour, and you don’t want to hassle with a full grocery, there’s always Convenient.

(Whatever those places are called these days, they’ll always be Convenient to me.)

The freezer case is by checkout with the array of drumsticks and Klondike Bars and Fudgesicles. I most always went for the Choco Taco.

Not that it really tasted any better than any of those other mundane choices. But, it was a legit mix of ice cream, chocolate, nuts and soggy taco wrap in appropriate proportions for each bite*. It could be consumed before it melted.

*Grew up with Drumsticks, but after you’ve eaten the top, there’s no nuts or chocolate left to counterbalance the ice cream and cone underneath, a functional flaw. Continue reading Last Friday before Football (Practice)

Hump Day Hoedown

Yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

My throwback.

If you don’t know which former Cardinal it references, you be in the wrong place. Just sayin’.

If you do, eat your heart out.

I throw it up there, because all signs are pointing to the Cardinal men’s hoops returning to where it once belonged.

It’s going to take awhile. So, be patient.

 * * * * *

My man who is periodically at practice reported in last evening.

FYI, he shall henceforth be known as Gym Eyes. Here anyway. Not sure his bride will find it as cute as I do.

Unfortunately, I was sitting in my car outside the grocery when he rang me up. So I didn’t have paper and pencil in hand to take notes. My memory on the wane, I’ll only be able to talk in generalities.

The big takeaway is that everybody on every drill looked markedly if incrementally improved over GE’s last look see a couple of weeks ago.

The coaching staff is emphasizing conditioning. Drills will be blown dead if players are not going full speed. As happened at least once when Josh Jamieson blew a stop the proceedings of the guys he was working with. I’m advised the team was broken into two groups on Tuesday, the bigs and the perimeters. Continue reading Hump Day Hoedown

ACCess ACClimation ACCentuation

This is the time of year when I should be obsessing about M Cunningham’s durability (while wondering about those $900 kicks he wore the other day), whether Monty Montgomery will be fully back, and will the secondary stabilize?

And beyond those contemplations, how much will really tall Josie Williams add to Jeff Walz’s phalanx of bigs, can KP coach as well as he can win the room, and, of course, will that rising senior from Jersey play for his dad’s coach or his grandpappy’s  teammate? Or shake up the hoops universe and take his talents elsewhere?

But . . .. but . . . but instead of thinking Xs and Os and out of bounds plays, instead of focusing on the guys in pads and cleats and sneakers, about that three game obstacle course to open the gridiron campaign, I’m obsessed with the guys in suits, what they’re conjuring up with their cash flow charts and TV stats.

Oy!!!

 * * * * *

The other day the Professor and I were lamenting the pickle many/most wags seem to believe U of L and its league seem to be in, given the Cards middle of the road stature  and its positioning in regards to the accelerating shift in college sports.

At one point, I began reminiscing about how it was when we were in high school. Continue reading ACCess ACClimation ACCentuation

Can We Talk Some Pigskin?

Yes, it is the apex of summer. More or less.

The Temperature/ Humidity Index — that’s what we called it in the days of my yout as Cousin Vinnie would call them — is going to reach 106 this week. Not exactly outlined against the gray blue sky the Four Horsemen rode again weather.

Still I’m ready to talk about some college football . . .

. . . because I as is my custom annually wended my way out to my purveyor of choice to plunk down an Andy plus a bit of silver for Phil Steele’s ’22 College Football Preview.

It’s 352 pages of everything even the most diehard of diehard pigskin obsessives could possibly want to know about the upcoming campaign. And way too much more.

It is biblical. Even though King Phil updates his yearly, unlike King James I, f/k/a King James VI of Scotland, whose version of his treasured tome has remained relatively unaltered since some time in the mid 1700s. Which predates college pigskin’s first shrine, Franklin Field in Philly, by a century and a half, give or take a 365 or two.

We know for certain of the gridiron annual’s importance thanks to the imprimatur of “The Current Voice of College Football,” Kirk Herbstreit: “The season officially starts every year when I get my copy of Phil Steele’s magazine.”*

*Dispensation has been granted to the former QB at THE, even though, heretic as it may be, he’ll also be calling Thursday night NFL now for Jeff Bezos.

The reality is that Steele’s too much is truly too much. Way more analytics and numbers and breakdowns and team reports and abbreviations (there’s a glossary, also too voluminous) and history and predictions than I can or really wish to consume. Also there’s so much info contained therein, that the print is too small for my aging eyes to read more than a few minutes at a time, and I refuse to use a magnifier. Continue reading Can We Talk Some Pigskin?

Tuesday Tantrums: On the Court, In the Courthouse

Former future U of L superstar.

That’s the snarky phrase I’ve used time and time again through the years to denote some gotta-have-sure-to-get-but-didn’t recruit destined for Louisville but not as much as the fanbase hoped for recruit.

It may not be as cute terminology as once upon a time. But, hey, it’s tried and true.

Too late to stop now.

So, yes, that’s one of those guys, Fab Melo, you see at the top.

Which is my circuitous way of hinting that I’ll be addressing the whole D.J. Wagner tug o’ war saga in a bit.*

*No need to scroll down for some late breaking inside info. That ain’t happenin’. Just going to offer some perspective.

But, first, let’s head down to the courthouse to see what’s going on?

 * * * * *

Which is, imagine this, another lawsuit emanating from Louisville Cardinal athletics.

Will it never end? Continue reading Tuesday Tantrums: On the Court, In the Courthouse

Whither College Sports?

So long ago, far away.

When I was a kid — As the Tap would say, “In ancient times hundreds of years before the dawn of history” — intercollegiate athletics was, well, quaint actually. At least given what’s going on these wacko days.

Pardon my sentimental journey for a sec to the mid 50s in the Way Back Machine.

Here’s how you’d find out about college football teams and players and schedules. Your dad would bring home some little pamphlet he’d gotten off the counter at Bonnycastle Drugs or Spangler’s Shell or the hardware store.

There’d be all the above noted and results and maybe a story or two. Sometime wondrous little factoids in smaller print at the bottom of the page. (When you are an budding adolescent sports addict, the threshold for wondrous is low.)

One I particularly remember had a couple of pages in the back with outlines of all the big stadiums. Not seating charts, just the shape, their footprints. Which I memorized. For years, I could identify a line drawing of Camp Randall.

One game a week on the grainy black and white TV. Lindsey Nelson or Chris Schenkel on the call. Being impatient, I’d hate when the game was late afternoon, and have to wait so long for kickoff. Except of course for the Rose Bowl because there would be the Cotton or Orange earlier on New Year’s Day.

I’d sit mesmerized watching post game score shows. SMU vs. TCU seemed so mysterious, exotic. Where were these schools? Horned Frogs vs. Mustangs.

So long ago, so far away.

So hard to talk about now. Continue reading Whither College Sports?

Thursday Throwdown: Bam, B**** & Kenny Klein

Let’s start with my appreciation for and thanks to Kenny Klein, U of L’s retiring SID.

He is, as has been universally reported, a professional of the highest order. And a mensch.

My personal favorite Kenny Klein moment came near the end of the ’98-’99 hoops season, when U of L was slated to return to the NCAA after a 12-19 clunker the year before.

I had convinced John Yarmuth, my LEO editor, and Blanche Kitchen, my publisher, to actually send me on their dime to the Cards’ opening round games in Orlando. They weren’t sure whether there would be a spot on the U of L flight down.

I was still also prosecuting at the time in Juvenile Court. The County Attorney had an office behind the court room, with a phone, the number of which I didn’t even know. We essentially used it to call out and track down cops and prosecuting witnesses we needed for court.

Still unsure of whether I would make the journey or not that week before the Cards were to meet Creighton in Orlando, I’m advised I have a call.

“Hello?”

“c d, this is Kenny Klein. We’ve got a spot for you on the team plane and a hotel room.” Continue reading Thursday Throwdown: Bam, B**** & Kenny Klein