Before we get started with another rasher of foolishness, some Coming Attractions.
Later this week — like in a day or two — yours truly’s anxiously anticipated, nationally heralded predictioneering about the upcoming college football campaign shall be revealed.
Seedy K’s Peerless Preseason Pigskin Prognostications are but hours away. So too, hopefully, arrival of my brickbat resistant armor from that Bezos fella. Then, because that’s really nothing more than an appetite whetter, next week come my ever prescient Week 0 game predictions.
Wyoming vs. Illinois. Vanderbilt vs. Hawai’i. Nebraska vs. Northwestern, from that hotbed of American football, Dublin, Ireland. And more, perhaps.
And don’t tell me you won’t be watching. I know better, ready to pounce, should I in the unlikely event prove incorrect.
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Speaking of football across the pond, do you want to hear about yesterday’s West London Derby at Stamford Bridge between my faves, Tottenham Hotspur, and their hated arch-rival Chelsea?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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→
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.
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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.
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?
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Which is, imagine this, another lawsuit emanating from Louisville Cardinal athletics.
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.
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.