Tag Archives: Louisville Cardinals

My 2013 Sports Wish List

2012 has ended.  I won’t say it has finally ended, because I never want to wish away time.  2012 though was a personally challenging year.  However, those personal challenges afforded me some extra time to enjoy the world of sports on a level I haven’t enjoyed since I was a kid.  While it was nice to have that luxury, I’m just going to leave that in 2012.  I’ll only glance back for reference.

I doubt I’ll have that kind of spare time in 2013, but much of what I do have will be dedicated to the teams, and sports that I love so much.  I don’t think my wish list is unrealistic.  I’m not going to make an unreasonable blanket statement like “I hope all of my favorite teams win championships”.  That’s like saying that with the New Year, you hope all of your dreams will come true.  If we did that, both you and I would be sorely disappointed.  With that said, here’s my wish list for the 2013 sporting year.

First and foremost, to the NHL, get back on the freaking ice!  It is January after all.  We should be three months in to an awesome hockey season.  I should be getting ready to enjoy the Winter Classic today.  2012 saw the games best player – Sidney Crosby – get back on the ice, after a lengthy recovery from concussions.  It also saw a pretty awesome Stanley Cup Playoffs, capped off by a gritty win by the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. 

For 2013, I just want it back.  I’ll take 48 games.  It’s not much, but it is hockey.  I don’t have a favorite team; mine (The Hartford Whalers) was taken away some time ago.  So just get back on the ice, and let me enjoy the greatness of the game.  Living in Cleveland, I know I can watch, yet still not spend a dime on your product.  It’s a win-win.  Get it done, the clock is ticking.

While the NHL may not be playing, College Basketball most certainly is.  It’s crazy that we’re only two months away from March Madness.  For the first time in my viewing lifetime, my Louisville Cardinals got to play the Kentucky Wildcats twice in one season.  Unfortunately, both were losses.  Because of the Final Four matchup, I also got to see the Cards play the Cats twice in the calendar year 2012.  The Cardinals gave me a late Christmas present last week with a victory this time.

My expectations were already high for this team; and the win on Saturday only heightened them.  2013 has a chance to be the year for the Louisville Cardinals basketball team.  It’s time to end the drought guys.  Of all of my favorite teams, the Cardinals are the team I want to win the most; and they’re the most capable.  My wish for U of L is simple, cut down the nets.  I want to see Coach Pitino and the guys on that ladder, that first Monday in April.  I want to be watching the “One Shining Moment” montage with tears of joy in my eyes.  Bring home the NCAA title fellas!

If my 2013 sports wish list peaks in March/April I’ll be more than thankful.  Unfortunately, chances are the rest of the year will be filled with guarded enthusiasm for my Cleveland teams, starting with the Cleveland Indians.

I actually liked the moves the Indians made this winter.  I think you could do worse than Terry Francona at the helm.  Making deals to get Mike Aviles and Trevor Bauer; and signing veterans like Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher made this a better team going into the 2013 season.  Do I think the Indians are now a World Series contender? No.  Do I think they’re a playoff contender? Probably not. 

What I wish for the 2013 Cleveland Indians is a winning season; and to compete into September for the AL Central.  Major League Baseball added the extra Wild Card spot last year; which I didn’t hate nearly as much as I thought I would.  If the Tribe can stay in contention for the division, who knows if the can steal that extra spot. 

I had the privilege to attend the World Series for the first time in 2012.  Unfortunately, it was in Detroit.  When the MLB playoffs started, I didn’t think the San Francisco Giants looked like a legit World Series contender.  So you never know what a team can do.  I won’t extend my hopes for the Indians that high, but maybe they can surprise Cleveland in 2013.

Now, as much as I hate to do it, I have to look ahead to the Cleveland Browns in 2013.  It sort of grosses me out, because the 2012 season just ended.  Again, this is only my wish list though, so I won’t make any bold predictions.

Despite another season of double digit losses, I really believe the 2012 Cleveland Browns made strides.  There are now some pieces in place to build on.  Obviously, the rebuilding process has already started with the firing of Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert.  We’ll see how new owner Jimmy Haslam decides to proceed as far as house cleaning goes.  But for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel like the roster needs to be blown up.

It appears that there are actually players in the Browns locker room who believe they can win.  The organization just has to build on that culture of winning.  I’ve got a couple of wishes for the Cleveland Browns in 2013.  First, bring in the right coach.  I don’t know who that is, but for once, just make the right hire.  I’d prefer an intense, fiery guy this time.  We’ve had enough laid back, monotone coaches in Cleveland.

My second wish for the Browns is to have another good draft.  Tom Heckert may be out, but overall he did a decent job of raising the level of talent on this roster.  Things can turn around quickly in the NFL.  The Indianapolis Colts were a prime example this season.  A solid draft which fills in the gaps could elevate this team significantly.

The two previous Browns wishes are essential for my overall wish for the team.  Make the playoffs in 2013-14.  I’m not predicting that, I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that it happens.  Who knows how much roster turnover there will be.  Who knows what coach is going to be leading the way.  All I know is that there was enough progress in 2012, to expect the organization to take the Cleveland Browns to the next level in 2013. 

I’m sure I could go on for pages and pages of things I’d like to see happen overall in the world of sports in 2013.  But If I can have any wishes granted, I’ll take the things I’ve listed above.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask.  Here’s looking forward to a great 2013.  Happy New Year!

The Bluegrass Will Run Red on Saturday!

For all of the sports viewing I do over the course of a year, in all honesty, my year revolves around one day.  In 2012, that day just happens to be this coming Saturday, December 29.  That’s the day my University of Louisville Cardinals will do battle with the University of Kentucky Wildcats on the hardwood.

For the uninitiated, all you need to know is that Battle for the Bluegrass is the nastiest rivalry in College Basketball; if not in any sport.  In a day and age where most rivalries now consist of some sarcastic jabbing back and forth between fan bases; and a lot of post game hugs amongst the players, UofL/UK is a bona fide bloodbath.  This rivalry ends relationships, and divides families..permanently.

This isn’t just a basketball rivalry.  This is a rivalry rooted in the belief by many Kentucky fans that not only are Louisville basketball fans inferior; but that the city, the university, and anything associated with the word Louisville is inferior.  If you want to experience a little taste, just search the hash tag #Louisvillehateweek on twitter.  You’ll quickly gain an understanding.

There’s no arguing that historically, Kentucky has dominated the series.  Although the fact that they refused to play Louisville from 1959-1983 certainly helped.  I’m quite certain that the Cardinals would’ve snagged their fair share of wins during that time; particularly during the first decade of Denny Crum’s era.  Be that as it may, the Cards and Cats are getting ready to exchange hay-makers this Saturday at in Louisville.

This season, the Wildcats find themselves in the rare position of being the underdog.  In no way do I think that will make this any easier.  In fact, it may add an extra bit of nastiness to the Cats.  John Calipari’s group of youngsters hasn’t displayed the kind of instant dominance that his previous teams have, so I wouldn’t be shocked if they come in a bit edgy.

This game is what College Basketball is all about.  Both teams are rich in tradition and success.  Both teams are talented.  Both teams are going to push the pace.  Both teams are going to try and tear each other’s throats out.  What could be better than that?

Kentucky is once again comprised of a group of highly rated frosh, hanging out, waiting for the NBA Draft.  Nerlens Noel hasn’t been Anthony Davis, but he has been solid.  Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress have displayed some electricity.  However, the Cats will need to answer a few questions to win on Saturday.  Will their sketchy guard play handle the constant pressure the Cardinals bring?  Will they get enough open looks to punish Louisville from the arc?  And, will they run out of gas due to their woefully thin bench?

Louisville is a talented mix of youth and experience.  In an era which identifies player “development” as recruiting NBA ready players, and getting them drafted; Coach Pitino has done an excellent job actually cultivating players.  Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng are the poster children for true player development; and both will be key as usual for the Cards.

If you watch for no other reason, it should be to check out “Russdiculous” and Gorgui.  Neither kid was heavily recruited; and Rick has molded them both from raw basketball materials, into elite college ballers.  No player in the country makes you go from pulling your hair out, to making your jaw drop faster than Russ Smith.  Gorgui learns and applies something new every single time he steps on the floor.  These two kids are a joy to watch.

Despite the fact that U of L is highly ranked, and widely considered a Final Four contender, they’ll need to answer some questions of their own this weekend.  Will being the favorite be too big for them?  Will the other guys provide Russ and Peyton Siva enough offensive support?  And will Gorgui be healthy enough to offset the size advantage UK has in the paint with Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein?

All of those questions are completely basketball related.  I have other questions.  Who will throw the first inadvertent/intentional, message sending elbow?  And what’s the over/under on technical/flagrant fouls?

I’d be lying if I said this isn’t the most important game of the season for myself and 99% of U of L fans out there.  UK fans would be lying if they said that a loss to the Cards doesn’t ruin their year; or at very least, significantly deflate their over inflated egos.

The Bluegrass State is going to turn into a sea of red on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.  If you have a pulse, and consider yourself even a marginal sports fan, do yourself a favor.  Get in front of a TV at 4p Saturday afternoon, flip the channel to CBS, and take in this rivalry.  I can assure you, the Cards and Cats will not disappoint.