Sunday, June 12, 2005

Everybody...grab a tittie!!

That's right. It's that time of year again. Today is the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. If there is a worse time to be vacationing in the Big Apple then I'll eat my hat. Can't you just imagine some family from Iowa walking the streets of New York today when all of the sudden they're in the middle of 15,000 drunk Ricans? That's the kind of reality TV that I'd like to watch. Just hidden cameras capturing the bewilderment and utter terror on the faces of Bob, Jeanie and the kids from Sioux City. By the way, the only reason that I even knew the PR Day Parade was today is because I just finished watching the Miguel Cotto fight form last night on HBO. Evidently, Miguel is the Grand Marshall of today's festivities. Are the folks who organized this affair sure that they didn't mean to ask Miguel Cairo to lead the parade? I'm just asking.

Anyway, it's been a minute since I've been able to sit down and bore you all with acerbic wit and inane observations so I figured I'd go over a few of the weekend's more notable events.

First off, let me extend my congratulations ot the University of Florida Baseball team for making it to the College World Series for the first time since 1998. Florida Head Coach Pat McMahon deserves almost all the credit (and probably a new contract) for rebuilding a once proud program that had slipped into pattern of mediocrity under former coach Andy Lopez. Under Lopez, Florida dropped from the top of the SEC and was in real danger of becoming the fourth best baseball program in it's own state (behind Miami, FSU, and UCF). It's not that Lopez is a bad coach, he's quite good and has done a great job of turning around the program at Arizona but he was an awful fit for the University of Florida.

Lopez was the former coach at Pepperdine (where he won a National Title) before coming to Florida in 1998. Yet after leading the Gators to the College World Series in his first year, Lopez was never able to attain such a lofty position again during his tenure at Florida. Lopez's problem is that he recruited (almost exclusively) from the West Coast, relying heavily on California talent. There's no doubt that there is a boatload of talented young baseball prospects in the Golden state, probably more than any other place in the country but Florida is not very far behind in that category. In fact, only Texas and California produce more top high school prospects than Florida. Yet, Lopez just refused to try and develop relationships with high school coaches within the state and often wasn't able to lure enough talent from across the country to Florida. As a result, Florida fell out of the Top 25 and things looked to be getting even worse for the Gators. With that in mind, Jeremy Foley did what any good AD should do and admitted his mistake by firing Andy Lopez. Foley followed that move up by hiring Mississippi State's Head Coach and Jacksonville native Pat McMahon. McMahon immediately went to work recruiting the best players in the state and Florida nearly made the College World Series in each of the last three years. Of course, Florida would fall short each time to the University of Miami as the Gators were forced to travel down to Miami for the Super Regionals. This year, however, Florida was awarded a Super Regional in Gainesville against fellow in-state power FSU. By now you know that Florida took the first two games of the Super Regional and advanced to the College World Series last night. Who knows what will happen when these guys get to Omaha. Either way, it's nice to have Florida Baseball back in it's rightful palce among the state's other programs.

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