Pat Dooley’s Back Nine (April 17th)

The Back Nine comes at you after a week that was crazy for an old man like me. Quarterback Club, Spring Game, Stop Children’s Cancer Gala, golf course, baseball game. I was everywhere.

 

10. But we didn’t leave for the gala until we watched all of the gymnastics. There were some tears and I’m not just talking about the gymnasts and Jenny Rowland. That Trinity Thomas performance will stay with me for the rest of my life and I wish UF could bottle up what lives inside her and inject it into some of the other Gator athletes on campus. I think there is an argument to be made that she is the best athlete to ever compete here and she still came away with no team national title. That is not a reflection of her teammates, because I admire every one of them. Oklahoma was just a smidge better for the second year in a row.

11. Thomas – and she is not alone on that team – has that “IT” factor that we wish everyone had. But that’s the thing. There always seem to be more of them in gymnastics than any other sport. Maybe because it is this incredibly individual sport while still being one of the tightest team sports. Anyway, nobody should be complaining about a second-place finish nationally even if you are questioning some of the judging today.

12. One thing you have to say about college baseball is that you have never seen it all. Jeremy Foley was at the game Sunday and we were talking about the walk-off strikeout we saw Florida beat Georgia with a few years ago. Then came the eighth inning and Florida’s closer getting tossed from the game after closing the inning with a huge strikeout. Florida had already received a warning and, you know, it’s OK to be demonstrative and loud when celebrating with your teammates. But there is too much barking at the opponents in the college game. Still, that ump was hearing it all day from both dugouts (and rightfully so) and it was pretty intense.

13. And then in the bottom of the inning, Jac Caglianone hits his second homer of the day – a grand slam – to make Florida losing its closer a moot point. That’s 21 homers for Jac-toni and it is getting almost comical how far some of them have gone. What I loved was his celebration after the slam when he walked through a line of Gators with his arms to his sides. Was that a reference to Seinfeld or a subtle way to tell the ump, “Oh, I wouldn’t dare celebrate a grand slam?” Weird series, but Florida is now in second place in the SEC and two games behind Vanderbilt with a huge series at South Carolina this week.

14. And then there is softball, which had all kinds of excitement across the street against Georgia and won the series. But the pitching continues to be an issue as the ERA is creeping towards three. Not an issue? Skylar Wallace who had four homers in the first two games and is hitting .465. The ball teams are kind of alike in that the offense is carrying the pitching.

15. I watched a lot of NBA Playoff basketball this weekend, too. Well, mostly just the fourth quarters. Every team I wanted to win did not, so maybe I will just stick to college sports.

16. One under-the-radar thing that happened this week was recruiting changes that will not restrict the number of visits a high school player can take. I always thought five was kind of an arbitrary number. Florida’s Lynda Tealer was the chair of the Division I Council. It makes sense, but also will make the divide between the haves and have-nots even larger.

17. We are inside a month until The Bob. The field is full, the prizes are pretty much collected and the vendors are poised. If we could just solve the ice issue. We will and everyone is invited to come out May 13 to bid on some amazing stuff including 30 helmets sent by college coaches to honor the late Mike Leach.

18. Heard a lot of music this week and wanted to applaud the selections in the football stadium Thursday night. Much better. Here’s a playlist:

* “Honey” by Samia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm5mxfP7OKY

* “The Walk Home” by Young The Giant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8mw0BDagEU

* And after being exposed to dozens of (bad wedding-type) 1970s songs Saturday night, I have to give you an oldie from a much better decade, so, “The Israelites” by Desmond Dekker and The Aces, which is in the discussion for the start of reggae.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxtfdH3-TQ4

About Pat Dooley

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