Crucial Stretch For Baseball Cards

The college baseball season is rapidly nearing a climax. Can’t put off going out to see the University of Louisville baseball team much longer.  U of L is 32-13 overall, the best startcoachmcd in Coach Dan McDonnell’s three seasons, including the 2007 College World Series team.

Nine games remaining, a crucial stretch with the outcome of the Big East Conference race and the Cards’ NCAA Tournament hopes riding on the results.

Sunday’s game against Villanova was rained out, depriving U of L of an opportunity for a three-game sweep (after wins of 10-4 and 9-2).  A win  would have trimmed league-leading South Florida lead to two games with six conference games remaining.

The Cards travel to third-place St. John’s this weekend for three games, and they conclude the regular season against South Florida the following weekend with a three-game series. USF is mentored by former U of L baseball coach Lelo Prado.

If USF sweeps Notre Dame this weekend and Louisville and St. John’s split their three-game series in any way, the Bulls would clinch the top seed in the Big East tournament in Clearwater later this month. If Louisville or St. John’s sweep their series, or if USF fails to sweep Notre Dame, first place is still in play in the final weekend of the season.

First, however, U of L will host Ohio State for two games, one Tuesday at 6 p.m., the second on Wednesday at Noon at Jim Patterson Stadium.  They journey to Western Kentucky on Tuesday, May 12 for a 7 p.m. game.

Cards Clobber Cats in Lex

Yes, Chris Dominguez had a home run, a three-run blast in the top of the eighth inning. Andrew Clark homered in the fifth and singled another runner home in a big six-run seventh inning.

Equally satisfying, the U of L women’s softball team shut out their UK opposition, 2-0.

A good day in the Ville.

Revisit: Cotton Top Adopts U of L

The observer is reminded of this story daily by the frequent visits to this site from someone in Versailles, Ky. I suspect the reader from Versailles may have a similar story, and will see fit to share it someday.

Cotton Top was 12 years old, living in a Versailles orphanage (10 miles from Lexington) when he became a University of Louisville devotee. Like the other kids there he hated the word orphanage, calling it a children’s home. A loving aunt lived in Louisville where a real home beckoned after high school.cotton_top

He took an interest in everything Louisville, even saving his small allowance for subscriptions to Louisville newspapers during football and basketball seasons.  Between Sunday school and church, he would walk to the corner drug store to get the Sunday editions. He kept meticulous scrapbooks, and faithfully tuned in the stoic George Walsh and the zany Ed Kallay when they called games on WHAS and WAVE radio. His love for U of L served as a nice escape from some of the realities surrounding him.

As a Cards’ fan in Wildcat country, Cotton Top was often a target. He would have to put up with the not-so-kind comments from fellow residents while watching U of L games on TV. There was no option but to step outside a few times to ward off the challengers.

The orphanage’s activities director (AD) even got in on the act. While riding home on the orphanage bus from a youth meeting, the AD once loudly and confidently proclaimed that the University of Louisville would never win a national basketball championship. Cotton Top would be sorry later he would lose contact with the activities director before the AD went to his eternal reward. Would loved to have reminded him of that comment.

As an adult, he would obtain a degree from U of L, even though he already had obtained a sheepskin from another state school a decade earlier.  He would marry a UK grad, and happily watch her switch her allegiance to U of L.

He would witness the U of L basketball team winning a national basketball championship in Indianapolis, and then again in Dallas six years later, this time with his 9-year-old son. He would see football become a top 10 football program and win a BCS  Bowl in Miami. He would realize the collective dream of U of L fans, witnessing ground being broken for a new basketball arena and the construction and subsequent expansion of a U of L football stadium.

Cotton Top would  see his Louisville-born son become equally, if not even more, enthusiastic in his support of U of L, as well as two grandsons wearing Cardinal gear in their first photos and two grandchildren-in-law happy in similar dress.

He recognizes that he’s over the top, knows he’s a hopeless fanatic. But he has never given a second thought to seeking a cure for his addiction. No way. Never.

*    *    *

Speaking of U of L fanatics, you will find Sonja Sykes’ early take on this year’s Kentucky Derby here.

Capacity Crowd Expected

Maybe there was a method to the madness of doing away with free admission for the U of L-Kentucky baseball game, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Tickets have rapidly been snatched up by Louisville baseball fans. The only tickets available now are in the berm area where fans can bring their lawn chairs.

In all likelihood, Kentucky fans don’t know tickets are being sold. There will likely be few few if any places left for UK fans at the game. One would hope not anyway.

Not a bad strategy.

Cards-Cats Baseball Tuesday

Still haven’t seen the University of Louisville baseball team play? The Cards are off to a 23-9 start, having just swept a twinbill from Pittburgh 1-0 and 3-2 on Saturday.

Kentucky visits Jim Patterson Field on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game. Word to the wise: Get there early, or find Wildcat fans in what should be your seats.

U of L baseball is the only baseball these days that gets some Louisville fans excited about the sport. Something about the name on the front of the jersey.

Be there.