Sports, TV & the Obsessive Guy

The deities sent a message.

I’m talking the triumvirate of Naismithius, Greek God of Hoops, Bronconagurskius, Greek God of Pigskin, and Ilovelucyia, the Greek Goddess of TV.

The message, as passively aggressively as it was presented:

You are watching too much sports on television. It’s time to get out of the house.

How do I know that’s what they are telling me?

Because . . . there’s an annoying glitch in the signal of the four ESPN stations on my telly. It does not exist on any other channel. An annoyance really.

But one that Ms. Roboanswer couldn’t fix with a reset ting-a-ling, or a power down power up.

Nor could Service Guy #1 remedy the situation on Visit #1. So the unresolved issue has been “escalated.” Or, maybe, it’s “elevated.” Whatever, Service Guy #2 on Visit #2 arrives tomorrow morning. Continue reading Sports, TV & the Obsessive Guy

Hump Day Hustle: Ch . . . Ch . . . Ch . . . Changes!

Now, as we bid a sad adieu to long time Cardinal fan favorite QB Luke McCaffery, let’s take a deep dive into his highlights in the red and black:








I mean really, the memories, so many memories, they boggle the mind. What a career here.

It was, allow me to be brutally honest, really difficult to pick and choose.

I’m sure that pigskin guru Keith Wynne will weigh in soon. He’ll have a more astute analysis.

The whole transfer portal thing is wacky enough. And, truly hard for us old school guys to take a liking to.

But this, this is the reality of the current state of affairs in its most severe form.

Mobility reigns.

The kid couldn’t win the job at Nebraska. Transferred to U of L under the delusion he’d immediately become the top dog signal caller. Then, before ever taking to the practice field, realized that wasn’t the case. Nor, obviously it appears, does he have the gumption to try and work for the job.

Luke, got a suggestion for you: Missouri State.

Oh yeah, sayonara. So long, it’s been swell to know ya.

 * * * * *

So, I gots to ask this about Donovan Mitchell.

How come at U of L we never saw this transcendent player he’s become — one of, oh, the ten best in the NBA?

He averaged 7.4 and just under a couple of assists per game as a freshman, on the team that purposely sat out the tourney, per the school prexy. As a soph, he was leading scorer at 15.6, on a 25-9 team that captured U of L’s last NCAA W, a first rounder over Jacksonville State.

But he wasn’t, you know, the Donovan Mitchell who’s taken the NBA by storm, averaging 20.5 ppg and 3.7 apg and 3.7 rpg as a rookie. Increasing those numbers every single season.

Three 45 point playoff performances. Putting him in rare territory.

So, yeah, I wanna know?

Is he simply a late developer? A kid who didn’t discover his mojo until he donned a Jazz jersey?

Or, was he handcuffed as a collegian, by his coach, who advised him he wasn’t ready to play for pay?

Asking for a friend?

 * * * * *

Read a great article today about all the changes in college hoops, and how schools are having to change and add to their staffs.

Analytical experts.

Marketing savants.

Specialized recruiting authorities. For prepsters and portal dwellers.

It’s a whole new game. As if you haven’t noticed.

Which is one of the reasons, I’ve become totally comfortable with Chris Mack’s staff changes.

The idea of Ross McMains is growing on me.

Seems like a bold move.

If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just push him in the portal.

— c d kaplan

U of L Cards have Owned Coach K

The abrupt missive got right to the point.

No words were minced.

It came from the umbrella hoops writer’s association, to which I hope to keep my membership. BABBLE (Basketball America Back Benchers for Literary Excellence).

It was personally signed by organization prexy, Naismith Chamberlain, the only man known to be descended from both the inventor of the game and Wilt the Stilt.

Serious credentials, those. Not to mention, his mentor was Dick “Hoops” Weiss.

Dear Mr. Kaplan:

It comes to our attention that it has been 127 hours since the first reports that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire after the 21-22 season.

You have yet to write an article about the situation. This is a serious breach of organizational protocol.

Should you fail to do so before the end of the next business day, your membership in BABBLE shall be suspended, pending permanent dismissal.

(S) Naismith Chamberlain

Well then, I’d best get to it. Continue reading U of L Cards have Owned Coach K

Last Thoughts before Putting Cardinals’ Year to Bed

Dan McDonnell was shaken:

I’d be lying if I said I was handling it well. It’s hard, it’s really hard. What it does it, it just reminds you how blessed we’ve been.

There he was doing the post mortem on his Cardinal 9’s season weeks before he was expecting to. Not from Omaha, as in Nebraska, site of CWS, but from the Omaha Room in the Louisville baseball complex off the 1st base side of The Jim.

The season began with significant, well deserved promise, started slow, hit its stride, then faltered precipitously after a pause when Pitt came up COVID, and the schools were forced to cancel a weekend series.

A midweek W over vaunted Vandy notwithstanding, the Cards never got it going again. Inconsistent pitching continued. Big knocks in critical situations never materialized. Base running gaffes preyed like a pandemic. Inexplicable errors.

Truth: U of L spit out the bit.

It happens. Continue reading Last Thoughts before Putting Cardinals’ Year to Bed

Fate of Card 9 Caps Year to Forget

I remember the screed, the fuel-fired gist of which, subtle as an Oliver Stone movie, was there was no such thing as 12:00 AM or 12:00 PM.

That there was only 12:00 Noon or 12:00 midnight.

The former of which came midday when the sun was high in the sky; the latter in the dark of night, when the date flips and Cinderella’s carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

Except for this Memorial Day. The Louisville Cardinals’ baseball season expired at High Noon, when their name was not among those designated for a regional in the NCAA tournament.

It was a sad but justified end to this seriously disappointing campaign for the U of L 9.

It was a most appropriate finish to this academic year for the three major men’s sports programs. Continue reading Fate of Card 9 Caps Year to Forget

Cards Win Tourney Opener, Work Left to Do

At the point when I had to turn off the telly and head off to meet some pals for a long scheduled lunch, it seemed like that necessity might save me considerable anxiety.

Surprise starter Kaleb Corbett gave up two to Clemson in the top of the 1st. Caden Grice who knocked four homers in the Purple and Orange’s recent weekend sweep of U of L, had yet another long ball.

“Here we go again” was my immediate fear.

U of L got ’em back in the bottom. A Henry Davis fielder’s choice moved Card runners to 2d and 3d. A Lucas Brown sac fly brought one home; an Alex Binelas two-bagger the other.

Then the Tigers got three more in their half of the 2d.

So, it wasn’t all that frustrating to turn off the radio in the Captain’s Quarters parking lot with Louisville down 2-5. Continue reading Cards Win Tourney Opener, Work Left to Do

Destined for Another Season of Discontent?

Thank heavens for Elle’s 5th birthday parade.

Elle is my granddaughter Claire’s bestie.

Elle is a bright but not Cardinal red Teddy Bear.

The proceedings were set for mid Saturday afternoon. My presence was commanded. A joyous order, to be sure.

Except that it coincided with Louisville Cardinals’ regular season closer against the ‘Canes.

Then again, this time around, it came as a blessing. An escape from the escape that is my fealty to Louisville sports.

So, instead of yelling at my TV screen, instead of screaming over Sean Moth’s call on the way to the Saint Matthews Parade Grounds, I was hanging with Claire. Reading a book of hers that resonated for her and me.

And Elle, of course. And Claire’s giggly pals, Gracie and the inquisitive Mattie. Who, as she and her sister ran up, pointed at me, and asked, “Are you the grandfather?”

Then she asked about the scars on my leg. Curiosity is going to take that charming lass a long way.

Oh, the beauty of hangin’ with adolescents to cure the ills of the world. Continue reading Destined for Another Season of Discontent?

My Heart Aches; The Sky is Cryin’

I am very sad.

My beloved University of Louisville Cardinal basketball stands precariously on the brink, at the edge of a cliff, staring into the abyss.

Despite all the travails of recent years, most, to be frank, self inflicted, I have never until this very morning awakened with the belief that the program would be shut down for a year. Or more.

Outside the Jefferson County line, U of L hoops has been a pariah for some time now. In the aftermath of the latest imbroglio, the nation’s hoops scribes have commenced piling on.

It is not a good thing.

I need to vent.

I need to stay in touch with the joy my almost seven decades of fandom has wrought. Continue reading My Heart Aches; The Sky is Cryin’

Tuesday Twaddle: Mack’s Back, Card Nine needs Realign

New Zealand.

The Epicenter of Basketball Offense Innovation.

Who knew?

Well, let’s hope it’s Jeff Van Gundy. Whose passing comment in a Saturday pandemic Zoom call with such as the deposed Brothers Miller, Sean & Archie, Brad Brownell, and others including Chris Mack, led to U of L’s latest hoops staff hire.

One Ross McMains.

Who has coached in the G League, Down Under, Down Under and over a bit in New Zealand, the Land of COVID Containment, the NBA, but never at the college level.

McMains has yet to take a required NCAA test regarding the compliance rules.

Will the Cards need to wear All Black all the time now? (Rugby joke, look it up.)

According to Mack, who met virtually with the media for the longest time ever on Monday, it was a mention by Van Gundy, that led U of L’s mentor down the rabbit hole to this hire. Continue reading Tuesday Twaddle: Mack’s Back, Card Nine needs Realign

Hump Day Hustle: Shaq>Cards Saga, Fathers/ Sons, Portal Chortle +

There’s been a persistent mythos for decades among some Louisville Cardinal hoops fans like myself, who obsess about such matters.

Which is that, had Shaquille O’Neal not matriculated to LSU, he would have been a Cardinal. Some are even, to this day, of the opinion that he was definitely going to wear the Red & Black, but Dale Brown came with the Benjamins to lure him to Baton Rouge.

The latter of which delusions disregards the reality that Brown might have been only mediocre as a basketball coach, he would have been the star salesman among the Tin Men. Or anywhere. He could sell buggy whips in the late 20th C.. Even to folks not named Mistress Dominatata.

This lore has had more of a half life than my favorite of such. Magic Johnson wanting to play for the Cards, down bit at the half to St. Louis, when he was on a recruiting trip. Love the story. Great story. Never happened. Continue reading Hump Day Hustle: Shaq>Cards Saga, Fathers/ Sons, Portal Chortle +