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June 18, 2014
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
CardinalSports.com's Howie Lindsey is back from Omaha and ready to give his quick takes on all things Good, Bad and Ugly in Louisville and local sports.
GOOD - The tears flowed - as is understandable - as the Louisville baseball players embraced on the field after they were eliminated by Texas 4-1 at TD Ameritrade Park. After hearing from their coach, the players headed back to the locker room and Dan McDonnell asked all five seniors to join him in the NCAA press conference. McDonnell said he wanted to make sure those five seniors got the credit they deserved for leading the program to back-to-back College World Series appearances. What a good, class move by McDonnell.
UGLY - Losing the first two games in Omaha stinks, and it doesn't make it any easier to stomach when you think back on the missed opportunities and handful or errors and walks marked the two games. It wasn't vintage Louisville baseball, and that is the only thing that is disappointing. Still, as Dan McDonnell likes to say, every team's season has to end, might as well end it in Omaha among the eight best teams in the nation.
GOOD - Despite the quick exit, this season was an amazing success for Louisville Baseball. Making the College World Series again after losing all three weekend starters and seven players to the Major League Baseball Draft is a direct indication of the progress McDonnell and his fellow coaches have made with the program. This could have been a rebuilding year, but that coaching staff and those seniors weren't going to stand for it.
GOOD - Louisville coach Bobby Petrino has been racking up recent commitments during this summer camp period. The Cardinals have picked up three recent commitments, the most recent being Kareem Orr, a defensive back from Chattanooga, Tn. Since National Signing Day in February, the Cardinal coaching staff have landed 15 new recruits - six 2015 recruits, four 2014 recruits and five new transfers.
GOOD - Petrino's recruiting so far reminds a lot of the way he recruited when he was here the first time. In the most glaring example of Petrino's ability to out-smart the folks at rivals.com and many others, Petrino signed a class consisting of Brian Brohm (a four-star recruit) and a full class of two-star and low three-star recruits. That class helped lead Louisville to the Gator Bowl and Orange Bowl and ended up having six different NFL players in it.
UGLY - Fans of eyesore buildings got a win Wednesday when Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced that plans to renovate Rupp Arena are suspended. Gray, expressing clear disappointment in the failure of the project, seemed to lay the mess at the feet of the University of Kentucky administration.
BAD - Lexington's Mayor essentially called out the University, and Lexington's most visible, and media hungry, resident apparently has no comment. That irked some in the Lexington media.
GOOD - It's a GOOD thing Tom Jurich was out of town when all this Rupp Arena stuff collapsed or else there'd be some in the UK media claiming it is all his fault.
BAD - It hasn't been a great week for Calipari. Earlier this week, the shady-character-turned-pastor uncle of Pierre Henderson-Niles claimed he was given money for years by Calipari's coaching staff at Memphis, and now the Rupp Arena project is suspended, meaning it's all metal bleachers and concrete for the next two seasons in Rupp.
GOOD - Back to Louisville, the Cardinals will officially enter the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, and the University is going to celebrate at Fourth Street Live! in downtown Louisville that day with events starting at 5 p.m. for fans. With all 15 ACC mascots plus the commissioner, conference officials, UofL administration and coaches, this should be a must-see for all Louisville fans.
GOOD - I'll be at a press conference tomorrow to see the official founding of the Bobby Petrino Family Foundation. We'll have more details on the not-for-profit group tomorrow afternoon, but we hear it will be very good news for local children and for UofL. It's also another sign that Petrino and his family have planted roots in this community and he intends to stay.
GOOD - If you haven't caught World Cup Fever just yet, I have some advice for you. Even if you like American football, you can enjoy a soccer match, especially when your country is involved. You don't have to pick one or the other. I am a football guy through and through, but I found myself enjoying the intensity of World Cup over the past week. And if you want to further connect with other soccer nuts in town, check out the American Outlaws who will be gathering at Saints Sky Bar in St. Matthews Sunday for the USA vs. Portgual game.