Pat Dooley’s Back Nine (June 12th)

The Back Nine comes at you after another wild weekend that saw Florida fans show up and Gators deliver in two sports.

 

10. Last week I saw something I don’t think I had seen before in person and that was two Gators getting thrown out at home on the same play. This weekend, I saw something else I had not seen before – the Gator Nation elevating a baseball team that didn’t need much of a push. The crowds for the two NCAA Super Regional games were record-breakers and the crowd on Friday night reminded me of a college football crowd. The energy was unlike anything I had ever experienced for a Florida baseball game. So, fans, give yourself a hand.

11. That said, the performance by the Gators is still the story, especially on the bump. In seven Regional and Super Regional games, Florida gave up only 12 runs. That’s it. That’s how you win regionals. That’s how you end up in Omaha. Before Game 2 against South Carolina, I told my wife and daughter (who went to every game) that if you had told me before the SEC Tournament that I could pick the pitcher to go get Florida to Omaha, it would have been Hurston Waldrep. And, boy, did he get them there.

12. And I really felt good for Kevin O’Sullivan. I know that not going to Omaha since 2018 was eating at him and he knew he had the team to get there. But baseball is a fickle sport. You have to stay healthy and get some breaks and have your best players play their best. It’s not supposed to be easy and it doesn’t get any easier with the first game against Virginia, which won its last two against Duke by a combined score of 26-6. Hey, it keeps Florida athletics going for a while which means I have stuff to talk about.

13. This tells you how out of it I was on Friday with a Salty Dog rain delay and a game that ran late (for me). I didn’t realize until Sunday morning that Florida won the national title in men’s track. Congrats to Mike Holloway, who just keeps getting it done. I wonder if there is a way to take all of the trophies in men’s and women’s track and display them somewhere you can see them. The women got one too for finishing second.

14. I keep hearing this – that Florida is going to be better in football than most people think. You mean, better than the over/under of 5.5? Let’s hope so, but I keep hearing from people who might know they are going to be OK in 2023. Or maybe they don’t know. Or maybe I just think they know. Hey, it’s talking season.

15. It appears that Todd Golden is killing it between the transfer portal and recruiting after a huge week of acquiring talent. I always want to wait and see how guys mesh once conference play begins to know whether a Florida team is going to be good in this new world. And don’t forget that all of the other big programs in this league are loading up, too. But the excitement is there for Gator basketball.

16. Man, the talking heads on ESPN are going to have to break down NFL mini-camps if Denver wins tonight. I will say I have enjoyed watching the Nuggets play and give credit to the Heat for getting this far. Why does every NBA team have a Kentucky player who plays at a level we never saw when he was in college. Asking for a friend.

17. Are we all ready to calm down and let there just be a major this weekend? I mean, it’s just the U.S. Open. And since I nailed the last two majors with my picks, you probably can’t wait to see who I think will win in Los Angeles. I’m taking Viktor Hovland. But know that gambling is illegal at Bushwood.

18. I’m sure someone out there had a better weekend, but I liked mine. It included this playlist:

* “Uprising” by Muse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8KQmps-Sog

* “Crash” by The Primitives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y7NGqfZteg

* And for a really old one, “Heart Full of Soul” by The Yardbirds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb5kv4yiGjY

About Pat Dooley

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