Suddenly Kentucky followers are diehard baseball fans

The already caustic rivalry between the universities of Louisville and Kentucky will become more vitriolic after this week’s NCAA Super Regional baseball competition. One season ending, another pursuing glory.

Bitter, as in bitter, end for the loser. 

UK is a newcomer to Super Regional competition, having never won a Regional tournament in the program’s 100-year history. The Lexington school is a surprise, having compiled a 43-21 record overall and a 19-11 mark in the Southeastern Conference in Coach Nick Mingione’s first season.

Whether that winds up being the proverbial flash in the pan or long-term success remains to be seen. But suddenly the basketball-centric UK followers consider themselves diehard baseball fans.

UofL, meanwhile, will be participating in its fifth consecutive Super Regional and its seventh during Coach Dan McDonnell’s 11th season. The Cardinals also have won six of the last seven games against the Wildcats over the last four seasons. UofL is 50-10 this season.

Lots of complaints from UK fans after it was announced the Super Regional was a sellout less than 24 hours after UofL won the Regional against Xavier.  Some Kentucky fans arguing that it was unfair for Louisville to sell out the event before they had qualified. Others suggesting that the games should be moved to Louisville Slugger Field.

Sorry, Cat fans, neither argument is valid. UofL earned the right to host the Super Regional during the regular season. A national seed is supposed to mean something. That includes the home field advantage and everything that goes along with playing at Jim Patterson Stadium. 

Given the success of the UofL baseball program over the past decade, long-time observers of the rivalry are not surprised that Kentucky has been investing heavily in baseball. The Wildcats will begin play in a new $49 million 2,500-seat stadium, starting the 2018 season.

Welcome to the world of college baseball, Wildcat fans. We were wondering how long it would take for them to stop pretending they hadn’t noticed UofL’s success in baseball.

Expect some fireworks this week, on and off the field.

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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

2 thoughts on “Suddenly Kentucky followers are diehard baseball fans”

  1. This is a pretty boastful article. I for one am proud of the accomplishments of both schools, and hope that they both are recognized for their athletic programs. I realize that there has been a long drought in the UK camp concerning baseball, but know that they have been trying over the past several years to equal UL in this and other sports, most notably football. With the addition of new coaching and better facilities, they someday may rise to the level at which the Louisville has long excelled.
    Having said these things I believe that I am about a shingle short of a dry roof, because the University of Louisville is really the University of, by and for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and will always be superior to UK in every way. L1C4 isn’t for newcomers, we’ve been at this for quite a while.

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