Category Archives: Baseball

A Sports Guy’s Nirvana: Whatta Weekend

There are a couple of reasons why I’ve graced this article with a photo of the cover of Charley Pierce’s magnificent collection of essays.

Not the least of which is that they are adroitly perceived and exquisitely rendered.

Writing on any subject matter doesn’t get much better. Check it out.

But also, if like some around here, you have little other life and nourish yourself with athletic contests, meaning you’re a Sports Guy (gender neutral), it was a veritable smorgasbord of a weekend.

With the peripheral benefit for some, that they could watch without their favorite teams competing, thus eliminating the angst factor.

Like Buckeye fans. Like Cardinal fans. Like Lions fans.

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It all started, in these environs anyway, with a Friday night sighting of an octopus on the ice.

Some readers may get the reference, even if they could care less. Continue reading A Sports Guy’s Nirvana: Whatta Weekend

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

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 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

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

Monday Morning PG: AD Search, Card 9 & Those Wacky Playoffs

Obviously not in a rush, the muckety mucks at the University of Louisville finally hired a search firm to help choose a new Athletic Director.

I understand there are other administrative priorities.

Like, ya know, a university president.

But still, it’s been like five months since that Tyra guy decided to take his talents to Florida State, or somewhere which was somewhere else besides his office at U of L.

That the school wants to be thorough makes sense. But still.

Given familiarity, Josh Heird’s name is the most resonant.

He’s intelligent. He’s competent. He obviously wants the job.

But, as I’ve previously opined, the quiet nature of his personality is different from most fellows who fill such positions. Which are filled with men and a few women, who are Intelligent and competent, as well as being able to work the room.

Is hiring a Johnny or Janie Handshake an imperative? Continue reading Monday Morning PG: AD Search, Card 9 & Those Wacky Playoffs

Reid Hurls No-No, Nick says “No No” & the 3-5-5

So by now, anybody within the sound of my voice is aware that former Cardinal ace Reid Detmers hurled a no-hitter for the Angels the other night, in a blowout W against Tampa Bay. 12-0.

Pretty cool.

Yet another exclamation point to the incredible job Dan McDonnell has done turning U of L baseball into a national power.

Lots of interesting sidenotes to the 108 pitch performance. Some of which, I gleaned on my own. Like how it was old old school. Only two Ks along the way. Only one other guy has pitched a no-hitter with so few strikeouts since 1980. Francisco Liriano.

But much of which info I pass along I hereby acknowledge came from my favorite baseball writer Joe Posnanski at his JoeBlogs, to which I subscribe. Like the second half of the above paragraph. Credit and acknowledgement to Joe.

Turns out this was the first nine inning complete game Detmers has ever pitched.

At any level. Pros. (Never tossed more than six.) College. HS. (One perfecto. 7 innings.) As in ever.

How about a huzzah for Joe Maddon for leaving the rookie in. Continue reading Reid Hurls No-No, Nick says “No No” & the 3-5-5

Hump Day Hustle: Nwora, Davis, Vax & Layla

How about my main man?

My most favoritist Louisville Cardinal hoopster . . . ever? Well, almost.

Anyway, add this to Jordan Nwora’s resumé: NBA Champion.

Good for him.

Go Dude!

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Speaking of former U of L Cards who hit the jackpot.

How about Henry Davis?

The #1 pick in the MLB Draft signed on to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a cool $6.5 million.

Brother, can you loan me a dime? Continue reading Hump Day Hustle: Nwora, Davis, Vax & Layla