Pitino right person to message Kentucky basketball fans

Rick Pitino may or may not have shown the middle finger to some fans in Lexington following the Louisville vs. Kentucky basketball game. The quality of the cell phone video is bad, making it impossible to verify anything.

The only thing for certain is that many UK fans want to believe it happened. So many of them have been obsessing about it on the radio talk shows the past couple of days. If that’s what they believe, there’s no changing their minds. They believe a lot of incredulous things about their program.

Rick Pitino knows UK fans well.
Rick Pitino knows UK fans well.

A spur of the moment impulse whatever it was, following a bitter defeat to a hated arch rival. Who knows what abuse some UK fan(s) may have directed toward Pitino as he headed for the locker room. There’s obviously still a lot of hate for the former Kentucky coach in Lexington.

Pitino was someone they admired, respected and idolized.  As effective as John Calipari has been at UK, one does not sense the same high levels of adoration or affection. The distinct impression is that he’s more of a hired gun than a beloved figure, with all the winking and nodding when his name is mentioned.

Many UK fans have never forgiven Pitino for leaving to take a job in the NBA. They hate him much more for taking the University of Louisville job. Doesn’t matter that John Calipari took UK’s recruiting to another level, they consider themselves the jilted lovers, the ones he left behind.

They trash him regularly, every chance they get, justified or otherwise, making up stuff if they have to, their collective attitude epitomized by Matt Jones of the Kentucky Sports Radio. Jones was quick to capitalize on the grainy video, tweeting about it within a couple of hours after the game. His followers unashamedly lap it up.

Some UofL fans are also hoping that Pitino actually did make an obscene gesture to the UK fan base. If so, the action would reflect the collective wish of many University of Louisville fans. Not that such a gesture would be a great display of civility or sportsmanship, but if any individual were justified in sending UK fans a message it would be Rick Pitino.

If some Kentucky fans want so badly to believe the worst, they may want to heed the message and follow it to their desired conclusion.

UofL fan John Ramsey joins ESPN 680 lineup

John Ramsey
John Ramsey

John Ramsey, a longtime local radio personality and comedian, has joined the ESPN 680 radio lineup. He’s a staunch University of Louisville fan with the knowledge of the local sports scene to quickly become a force.

He’s going to provide a strong counter-punch to Matt Jones, the biased University of Kentucky fan, blogger and commentator, who delights as much in disparaging UofL athletics as he does in covering UK sports.

One difference is that Ramsey, a Ballard grad, actually played sports, including football and track. And he’s knowledgeable, with a quick wit and a wide assortment of skills

Ramsey strongly favors UofL even though he was once a member of UK’s track team. “What I didn’t like was the whole elitist thing with UK where they didn’t want to play UofL for so many years, like they were so far above us,” he said Monday on his 10 a.m. radio show. “It’s all about relationships with me. I got to know UofL coaches like Denny Crum, Howard Schnellenberger and other coaches over the years, and I’m a UofL fan.”

Among Ramsey’s considerable talents are his skills as an impressionist, often mimicking Howard Schnellenberger, Muhammad Ali and the late Howard Cosell. He had the hosts in stitches  on ESPN’s Early Birds show with a recent Schnelly call-in. Ramsey and Ali are, in fact, close friends. Watch for his exposure to quickly expand at ESPN.

He continues to host WAVE 3 Listens Live daily at noon on TV, and has worked for several local radio stations over the last 15 years.  He also is vice president of marketing and government affairs for the Ali Center and has worked in sports marketing at UofL. He also has performed at the Comedy Caravan.

Here’s a link to his version of the Big Blue Post Game Show.

Insight Cable shortchanging Louisville fans

Insight cable viewers are being subjected to commercials from Matt Jones several times hourly promoting his show about University of Kentucky sports on CN2. “We all know Kentucky is going to win the whole thing,” he says, obviously relishing the opportunity to haze University of Louisville fans while promoting his own agenda.

Insight, which was recently acquired by Time Warner, also uses images of UK fans in a rural setting to promote its own cable service. Never any recognition that UofL exists in its own market. How much trouble would it be for a cable company to do a spot that includes Louisville fans? In the Louisville market?

Seeking some clarity, the observer sent the following to Chip Cosby at Insight Cable:

Chip, I’ve noticed that Insight appears to have many commericals and promotional spots promoting Kentucky basketball but rarely do we see any for the University of Louisville. This seems a little odd to me since there are thousands of Insight customers who are UofL fans. A policy of a company that irritates many of its customers is hard to fathom, especially when there are so many other viewing options.

On top of this, you use a spokesperson in Matt Jones for your spots whose hate for the University of Louisville goes beyond acceptability. Small wonder he no longer writes for CBS Sports he is so vindictive. He is obviously taking advantage of a lack of foresight at Insight management to promote UK sports and his web site.

Cosby’s response:

I’ll do my best to explain the situation to you. Of course, at CN|2 we have three shows: Kentucky Sports Television (KSTV), CN|2 Sports (the show I host), and Pure Politics.

KSTV, hosted by Matt Jones, is a 30-minute show that covers Kentucky sports from a fan’s perspective. Any promos and commercials you may see for KSTV are promoting Matt’s show, which focuses heavily on UK basketball.

My show, CN|2 Sports, is a 30-minute show that covers all the sports teams in our area, from UofL, UK, Western, Bellarmine, high schools, etc.. If you notice in the promos for CN|2 Sports, all the schools are represented. I think the thing you have to realize is that while Matt and I work for the same company, our shows are entirely different.

Matt does not appear in any of the promos for CN|2 Sports, and he is rarely a part of the show. Our mission at CN|2 Sports is to provide an unbiased look at ALL the teams in our area, kind of like a 30-minute ‘SportsCenter’ for Kentuckiana. I think we felt it would be better to do things this way than to have another ‘fan’ show…

While I realize that UofL fans aren’t enamored with some of the content of Matt’s show, two things to remember: 1) His show is targeted for UK fans, and there is certainly an audience for that; and 2) my show is targeted for ‘sports’ fans, and keep in mind that we focus a lot of our time to UofL since KSTV is a UK show. I’m leaving this afternoon to go to New York to cover the Cards in the Big East.

My response:

My basic complaint is that I see UK in commercials for Insight as if we’re all Kentucky fans here. Far from it. Louisville is never included in the commercials. Several times a day I see Matt Jones promoting his show, but no one promoting a U of L show. I know because I grimace every time he comes on. I don’t see any mention of a U of L show as UK has in the Louisville market. Certainly there’s enough talent here to make a similar show possible.

Cosby’s response:

I agree.. And that’s one of the things we will explore as we continue to expand with the Time Warner takeover. We will definitely be adding more programming in the coming months. You just have to plan things properly. Matt’s formula for his show has been a huge success with UK fans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can take the same formula and have it work with UofL fans. There is a huge market for UofL fans, agreed. We just have to find the best presentation, and again that’s something we’ll be exploring in the coming months.

We appreciate Chip’s straight forward answers and his recognition that there are issues. Hopefully Time Warner will provide him with the resources to better serve the local community. What they’re doing now with the over-emphasis on UK in a Louisville market doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint.

Reasons for Louisville to defeat Kentucky

Ten Thirteen reasons the observer wants the University of Louisville basketball team to beat Kentucky this New Year’s Eve.

  • The UK basketball team is the symbol of pride for many Kentuckians, blind to all the suspicion that perennially clouds the program and the record number of NCAA probations.
  • John Calipari strongly reminds one of the kid at school, a thief, the one couldn’t control his sticky fingers, always under suspicion, one step away from being apprehended.
  • The transient nature of the UK roster, consisting largely of players looking for quick tickets out of the college game.
  • The incompetency of some local media program directors, giving a homegrown UK ambulance chaser like Matt Jones radio and TV shows to promote hate against and lies about the home town team.
  • UK fans think success in basketball overcomes all the stereotypes about Kentuckians. The blue blinders only serve to confirm them.
  • The number of UK fans in Louisville, roughly 35% of the metro population, according to the most recent Courier-Journal study.
  • Local residents who say they like both teams but cheer for UK when it plays Louisville.
  • Country bumpkins who have never been to Louisville but get off on trashing the city.
  • Louisville fans are often lumped in with Kentuckians by outsiders. We’re from Louisville, folks, not from Kentucky.
  • UK’s marketing department actually thinks Card Game visitors will click on their ads on this site.
  • For the vitriol hurled Rick Pitino’s way by UK fans despite all he did to rescue the program from near obscurity during the Nineties.
  • UK blue is the worst shade of blue in the color wheel, distinguishing the wearers as color blind or devoid of taste.
  • We don’t like those people.