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
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
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
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?
The U of L Nine’s seriously important weekend series against the dudes from the Land o’ Crash Davis had, shall we say, an inauspicious beginning.
After Friday night Cardinal ace Michael Kirian’s first 7 pitches in front of increased attendance at The Jim, Louisville was down, 0-3.
It was only the beginning of troubles.
Meanwhile Duke hurler Jack Savoy, if not exactly Ebby Calvin LaLoosh after Annie Savoy fixed his mechanics, did go seven, surrendering just 4 hits and a lone run.
After a disastrous weekend at Clemson, where the Cards came away clobbered Dabo-style, they had bounced back Tuesday against the Commodores. Yet Louisville’s necessary midweek W over vaunted Vanderbilt had nary a smidgen of carry over effect.
Cards bats were somnambulant. Continue reading Cards Salvage Series, Sweep Two
It is the most nerve racking scenario.
Especially in a ballgame that is as close to a Must Win as a tumbling Top 20 squad has faced.
Coming off a decimating weekend, when they were broomed out of Clemson, U of L dropped in the rankings to the bubble. The NCAA will announce first weekend sites soon, and the Cards, once a “lock” to host, found themselves in a precarious situation.
But here they were, making things right again, up 7-2, with but three Commodores to set down for the biggest W of the campaign.
In the most important inning of the most important battle of the year, Kaleb Corbett, finding his form, handled Vandy fairly well in the 8th, surrendering only pinch hitter Spencer Jones first four bagger of the season.
But Card star Henry Davis got the run back with his own homer in the next half.
Corbett returned in the 9th, hoping to complete the job.
But immediately walked leadoff batter Carter Young. Continue reading Cards Capture Must Win
You don’t need me to underscore that the Monday after the First Saturday in May is always kind of a let down.
So, when it dawned gray and damp, I’m thinking this feels appropriate.
Especially after a glorious Oaks and Derby Day that was much needed, for reasons I don’t need to explain.
After throwing myself into the Derbytime fray for decades, I’ve stepped back in recent times. Actually I’m usually in New Orleans, but my the JazzFest is currently set for October.
If they build it, I will come.
Even though I don’t go to the track, and party like it’s 1999, like I did in 1999, I love the energy, excitement, sense of community spirit those two minutes of racing bring to our burg. Other than, you know, almost getting knocked down walking into the grocery by a woman wearing a hat the size of a beach umbrella.
But here we always are, the Monday after, a little tired, whether we did the track to death, or are worn from over-gardening and carrying too many bags of mulch.
The sunshine is that we are almost, just about, on the cusp of some sense of normalcy. Continue reading The Monday After: Gloom, but the Sun Peeks Through
Of course, I’ll get U of L’s hammer down of the Cats on the diamond, and another other sports item that’s caught my attention (and perhaps yours, though perhaps not), but I feel compelled to start with . . .
. . . Steph Curry.
Like most in my neck of the woods, I much prefer college hoops to that at the proverbial “next level.” But after the first Monday in April, I start paying attention to the play for pay guys. Because, you know, it’s the only game goin’.
And, the playoffs, when every possession makes a difference, can be pretty compelling.
But, bored Saturday night — thunderworks, especially pop ones hold little interest here — I checked out the Warriors/ Celtics. Where Mr. Curry and Jayson Tatum were putting on a mano a mano battle. They were throwing in treys from Newberry Street. Some from Paul Revere’s route to Lexington. Continue reading Hump Day Hustle: Cards crush Cats, Warrior Wonderfulness ++
It doesn’t always start with The Stare.
But when it comes, that glare, with enough blow-torch heat to weld batters hands to the bat, making proper swings impossible, it is a pitching spectacle.
Amplified by those bug-eyed sports spectacles, the signature scowl is trouble for foes, and a delight for Cardinal fans.
On Sunday, when the Cards blasted UVa, 8-2, the Stare was there.
Luke Smith was On! Continue reading Cards nab Series over Cavaliers
Eagerly anticipating my visit to 3d & Central to watch the Louisville nine Friday night — my first public event since Rudy Gobert embraced former Card Donovan Mitchell last March– I knew there was one iconic sound of baseball that wouldn’t be heard.
That sharp crack that comes when a hard ash bat squarely meets horsehide fashioned with 216 stitches.
You know that exhilarating sound if you ever were in the ballyard watching, say, Dave Parker, during those years when he was a perennial MVP contender as the We Are Family Pirates moved inexorably toward their ’79 Series Crown.
Buuut, in college ball, it’s metal “lumber” with a less than satisfying ping. Sigh.
That however didn’t even raise to level of minor buzz kill, given my thrall of actually attending a game on a hot April night. Continue reading Walking Off at the Jim