BOZICH | Monday Muse: U of L baseball fans pace ACC; Brohm recruits Cassity to Purdue
Louisville fans outperformed fans from other ACC baseball programs during the NCAA Regionals. A healthy Mike Cassity joins Jeff Brohm at Purdue. Nick Saban did what?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was several minutes past 11 p.m., and the line was long, thick and winding away from the ticket office at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Want tickets for the NCAA Super Regional that coach Dan McDonnell's University of Louisville baseball program will host against Kentucky or North Carolina State this weekend?
Better not delay.
Cardinal fans didn't. In fact, they haven't. Their love affair and appreciation of the baseball program continues to grow, directly into the leadoff spot for the Monday Muse.
1. LOUISVILLE BASEBALL MANIA
On the field, the U of L baseball team competed with Radford, Oklahoma and Xavier over the weekend, winning its regional to advance to the Super Regional for the fifth straight season.
Off the field, the competition was nearly as intriguing. Louisville fans competed with fans from North Carolina, Florida State, Arkansas, LSU, TCU and other schools that played host to the 16 first-round sites.
How did Louisville fans perform?
You be the judge.
According to the NCAA website, home teams played 20 games Sunday. Louisville's announced crowd of 4,012 for its 8-7 win over Xavier was the sixth largest.
Only LSU (10,639), Arkansas (9,017 twice), Texas Tech (4,732) and TCU (4,133) drew more.
That's correct: Louisville had larger turnouts than Clemson (less than 3,800 twice), North Carolina (less than 3,000 twice) and Florida State (also less than 3,000 twice). Those three Atlantic Coast Conference programs have facilities with larger capacities than Jim Patterson Stadium.
That's baseball fever.
At noon Monday only standing room tickets were available for the Super Regional. U of L baseball spokesman Garrett Wall said he expected ticket sales would be stopped at the same number U of L welcomed for the UK game in April -- 6,210, which includes more than 2,000 fans who will not have chair-back seats. Wall said about 600 seats are reserved for the visiting team.
2. CARDS ALL-STARS
Four former Louisville players are currently competing in the major leagues, led by Reds' all-star Adam Duvall. The number is certain to grow, probably by mid-summer when Zack Burdi joins the White Sox bullpen.
But for all the talk about Burdi and former Louisville ace Kyle Funkhouser (who is having a superb year in the Tigers' farm system), two other former Cardinals have earned all-star recognition -- Drew Harrington and Josh Rogers.
Both were named to the squad in the High Class A Florida State League. Harrington pitches for the Braves. Although he's lost his last three decisions, Harrington has four wins for the Florida Fire Hogs.
Rogers, a product of New Albany High School, will have to miss the FSL game. Why? The Yankees promoted him to Class AA Trenton in the Eastern League, where Rogers has allowed only six hits in 12 1/3 innings. His control has been remarkable. Rogers has nine walks (and 56 strikeouts) in 65 innings this season.
3. MIKE CASSITY REJOINS JEFF BROHM
Not many college football assistant coaches have been knocked down more than Mike Cassity -- and I'm not talking about a winding career path that has taken him to at least 15 programs.
Cassity is a guy who has beaten multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow cells that forced him into off-the-field role at Western Kentucky.
Cassity, a former player and coach at Kentucky as well as the former defensive coordinator at Louisville, is not ready for a year of tailgating.
Mike Cassity is a Boilermaker. Jeff Brohm named Cassity the director of high school football relations at Purdue. The job is self-explanatory.
"If high school coaches need anything from us or they simply want to come and watch practice, I'm their guy," he said.
Cassity has lived in Louisville since Brohm left WKU for Purdue last December. Brohm wanted to bring Cassity to West Lafayette but didn't have an official spot until last week.
"It's a terrific opportunity to work with Jeff at Purdue," Cassity said. "We're about to open a new facility that will be second to none."
Cassity said he has a four-day medical exam with his myeloma specialists in Little Rock, Ark., next week. "My last checkup was clear," he said. "I feel great. I'm very excited and thankful for this opportunity."
4. NICK SABAN DID WHAT?
If you asked me to pick the professional sports team, Nick Saban cheered for, I'd likely take the New England Patriots because of his relationship with Bill Belichick.
Not football, you say? Pick a hockey team?
How about the Penguins? Saban grew up in West Virginia.
That's one reason a picture of Saban wearing a Nashville Predators jersey Saturday night looked so … bizarre.
Maybe Saban loves catfish and country music.
5. LANE KIFFIN SAID WHAT?
Speaking of Saban, did you read the news about his favorite former offensive coordinator?
I'm not sure Kiffin knows how to attack a Cover Two, but he does understand self promotion. After somehow convincing rapper Kanye West to ship him a pair of West's Yeezy sneakers made by adidas, Kiffin tried to take his game up a notch.
He sent a message to West's wife, Kim Kardashian, inviting the couple to attend a Florida Atlantic football game.
FAU visits WKU in Bowling Green Oct. 28. How about it Yeezy?
6. TOMMY TUBERVILLE SAID WHAT?
Tommy Tuberville said he was sorry -- and it should not have taken him this long.
Fired by Cincinnati after four mediocre seasons, Tuberville has had time to reflect on what went wrong during his career at Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati.
Especially Texas Tech, where Tuberville won 20 of 37 games from 2010-2012. The folks in Lubbock were not thrilled when Tuberville gave up a job in the Big 12 for a job at Cincinnati after the 2012 season.
They were less thrilled when Tuberville said that Lubbock "looked like Iraq."
Note to coaches: It's never a good look to compare one of your previous homes to a Mideast nation often at conflict with the U.S. I'd also recommend avoiding mentions of Hitler or pictures of bloodied heads of American presidents.
7. HOT SEAT ANYBODY?
It's less than 90 days until the start of the 2017 college football season but before anybody loses a game they were supposed to win, Bill Bender of The Sporting News has prepared his list of Five Coaches on the Hot Seat.
Kevin Wilson has graduated from Indiana to the offensive coordinator position at Ohio State. Mark Stoops has stepped away to a world of renewed love an optimism.
Who does that leave?
1. Brian Kelly of Notre Dame.
2. Butch Jones of Tennessee
3. Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss
4. Jim Mora, UCLA
5. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Anybody interested in any of those positions is advised not to compare South Bend to Siberia or Knoxville to Mayberry.
And after Kelly led Notre Dame to a 4-8 record last season, everybody is playing for second place.
8. PAGING BRANDON PHILLIPS
For more than 40 years the Cincinnati Reds have been trying to do the impossible: Build a baseball club as talented as the Big Red Machine, the group that dominated the National League during the Seventies
Pete Rose. Joe Morgan. Tony Perez. Dave Concepcion. Johnny Bench. George Foster, Cesar Geronimo. Ken Griffey. Sparky Anderson.
I didn't grow up a Reds' fans, but I know the guys who deserved to have their numbers respected.
Brandon Phillips was not one of those guys. Phillips had a nice 11-season run with the Reds that ended when he moved to the Braves after 2016.
Phillips was no Morgan or Perez or Rose or Concepcion. The Reds did nothing special in the post-season during the Phillips Era.
He wore Number 4 with distinction but Phillips didn't do so many great things that the Reds needed to put 4 on a shelf for more than a few weeks.
Phillips disagreed. He said he felt slighted that the Reds issued 4 to Scooter Gennett.
Sorry, Brandon. You’re not 5 (Bench), 8 (Morgan), 13 (Concepcion) or 14 (Rose).
9. FORGOTTEN BELMONT STAKES
The Belmont Stakes will be run Saturday over a mile-and-a-half in Elmont, N. Y.
Always Dreaming, the Kentucky Derby winner, will not complete.
Cloud Computing, the Preakness winner, will not compete.
But Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun says the race still has some intrigue. I'm not so sure.
Or you can enjoy this look at the Belmont by the numbers.
10. POLL RESULTS
Which home team faced more pressure to win its NCAA Baseball Regional?
Louisville 83.4 percent
Kentucky 16.6 percent
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