White Castle fades to black :-(

I finally ran out of White Castle today. 😭😭😭

I ate the last of the leftovers from Tuesday in my hotel. I ate White Castle for eight straight days–six in Columbia and two more days of leftovers in Kansas City.

I don’t know if I can eat another restaurant hamburger. As much as I love the Big Mac, it pales to sliders from White Castle, especially their impossible sliders, which are made from a plant-based material.

I’m going to miss the crab cake sliders and fried clams from White Castle. They’re gone after Saturday, since Sunday is Easter and Lent is over. They won’t be back until next February. I didn’t miss the opportunity to devour plenty of both.

I did not eat any other type of fast food in Columbia. After all, I can get Zaxby’s in Kansas City and Lawrence, Chick-Fil-A in Salina, Taco Bell and everything else in Hays, plus McDonald’s and Sonic in dear old Russell.

God I wish White Castle would open in Kansas City. You can spit anywhere in St. Louis and find a White Castle. That blows. I wish Raising Cane’s would leave and White Castle would take their place. I hate to rag on a Baton Rouge tradition, but when employees put their elbow in a vat of lemonade and film it for the Internet, I can’t patronize a place like that.

But here’s what baffles me: why the F**K is Dickey’s Pit Barbecue in Kansas City? Dickey’s should have been forced to shut down forever when a woman in Utah nearly died from drinking tea laced with lye. I’ve never eaten at Dickey’s, but it can’t be good. And I would never consider eating there in Kansas City of all places. 🥵🤮

White Castle would be far more popular in this town than that crap Dickey’s. And it would be a lot easier for me than driving two hours past Kansas City, although Columbia also has the lovely supermarket Schnucks, which I’ve found to be superior to Hy-Vee and Dillon’s.

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Today was laser hair treatment number five. I no longer look like a grizzly bear with my shirt off–not that anyone sees it. But I hated looking in the mirror at all that hair. Hated it. It feels so much better to use a backscratcher and scratch all skin instead of half skin and half hair. Next treatment May 23.

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I wasted much of my day at Buffalo Wild Wings (Shoal Creek, not Zona Rosa) playing trivia. But my last game is coming up and I’ll be out at 2030.

To iHOP or not to iHOP? Tomorrow is Good Friday and I probably shouldn’t indulge on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Then again, the rules about fasting on Good Friday have been flagrantly abused by most Catholics since 1967. Also, I will be in Hays Wednesday for a bunch of medical appointments. I can get iHOP on the way back to Russell.

My life is pretty boring. This blog post shows it.

Bettman’s dream dies hard

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman’s dream of a Tampa Bay-Nashville Stanley Cup Final is dead for another year.

Hallelujah!

The Lightning, who tied an NHL record by winning 62 games during the regular season, were swept in four straight in their opening round series by the Blue Jackets, who had never won a playoff series since entering the NHL in the 2000-01 season.

Prior to sweeping the President’s Cup winners, Columbus may have been best known as the place where 13-year old Brittanie Nicole Cecil was killed in 2002 when a puck off of the stick of the Blue Jackets’ Espen Knutsen hit Cecil in the head, causing what proved to be a fatal subdural hematoma. This incident prompted the NHL to extend netting high above the boards behind each net in an attempt to prevent another incident like this. Fortunately, there hasn’t been another incident like that in the NHL, but way too many people have been seriously injured and almost killed by flying bats and balls at Major League Baseball games.

MLB asked teams to extend netting to the far side of each dugouts, but most clubs, the Royals included, have refused. Fans are warned of the inherent risks of flying bats and balls when they purchase tickets, but they certainly don’t expect to leave the stadium on a stretcher, or heaven forbid, in a body bag when they enter the ballpark.

Back to the Lightning.

If you have read my boring blog, you know how much I hate the NHL having so many southern teams. I don’t think the game belongs in places where it is impossible to create an outdoor rink, with the exception of Los Angeles, where you need ONE (not two) teams in the United States’ second largest city.

The NHL keeps propping up the Coyotes because Gary Bettman LOVES Arizona for some weird reason and doesn’t believe for one second that a team would be better off in Quebec City or another Canadian city. The Hurricanes have struggled at the gate, and who in North Carolina watches the NHL when Duke and North Carolina are in the midst of the basketball season? The Panthers’ attendance is pathetic.

I followed the Nordqiues and Whalers growing up. I can understand Denver having an NHL team. I am angry because the Avalanche used to be the Nordqiues. Seattle should have a team, too, but not Quebec City? And now Houston will be getting a team.

Gary Bettman sucks. He sucks. I hate that man so much. What does this man have against Canada? If he really had his way, the only Canadian teams would be the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. He wanted to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta before they moved to Winnipeg, but the NHL owners finally overwhelmed him. His hatred of Canada is the reason why the Coyotes will not return the original Jets’ records to Winnipeg and the current franchise.

Also, I’ve never liked Tampa sports teams, so that’s another good reason why the Lightning are gone from the playoffs. The Buccaneers are a division rival of the Saints. The Rays are a low-rent organization which would be the laughingstock of MLB if not for the other MLB team in Florida. I don’t like the Orlando Magic, the de facto NBA team of Tampa, either.

I don’t know what the NFL sees in Tampa to keep awarding it Super Bowls. I have heard mostly bad things about that city. If there is one place in Florida to host, just keep it in Miami. I am no fan of Miami, but it is preferable to Tampa for sure.

To me, Tampa is a coastal city like Miami, but reminds me more of Tallahassee and Jacksonville–redneck.

Speaking of rednecks, I saw one in a Taco Bell in North Kansas City yesterday. The guy had pigtails in the back of his hair, a huge gut hanging over his jorts, a tattoo of a white supremacist symbol on his left, plus tattoos on his neck.

I guess some people don’t give a crap about how they look in public. I hope never to encounter that guy or his ilk again, but I’m sure I will.

It’s April 15, so something dramatic has to happen

Good thing I did NOT leave for Kansas City after yesterday’s game, nor today. I have been locked behind the door of my room at the TownePlace Suites in south Columbia since getting back from the ballpark yesterday.

LSU lost 11-5, and Mizzou won its first baseball series ever against the Bayou Bengals. It was bound to happen. Paul Mainieri was in such a hurry to get out of the Show-Me State that the team left for the airport in their uniforms. Hopefully the team was able to fly out of Columbia; they had to fly into Jefferson City last Thursday due to runway construction at Columbia. It could have been much worse; they could have been flying commercial, which would have forced them to fly into St. Louis and bus 110 miles west on Interstate 70.

Mainieri’s club needs to get it together. The Bayou Bengals play Louisiana-Lafayette in New Orleans tomorrow night, then return to Baton Rouge to face Florida in a three-game series starting Thursday. The SEC race is halfway over, and the next 15 conference games will certainly determined whether or not there will be June baseball at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

Fortunately for me, I have enough leftover White Castle from the entire trip (I got more sliders than I paid for Thursday), although I need to grab another bottle of pop from my car. I am leaving tomorrow at high noon (or earlier) for the City of Fountains, where the local Major League Baseball outfit will not be. The Royals left last night on a road trip following their three-game sweep of the Indians.

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April 15 is the day income taxes are due in the United States, but there have been many more famous (or infamous) incidents to occur on the date.

The Titanic sunk in the week hours of April 15, 1912. The Boston Marathon bombing was on April 15, 2013. And now the massive fire at Notre Dame de Paris (the proper term for Notre Dame Cathedral).

Then there was the disaster at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, on April 15, 1989. It was the nadir of English football during a decade which saw many horrible incidents involving the sport which resulted in a five-year ban for England from all European competition and the near-banishment of England from the 1990 World Cup.

Ninety-six supporters of Liverpool, one of the iconic football clubs not only in England, but in all the world, perished when they were crushed against a fence at Hillsborough Stadium, the home of Sheffield Wednesday. The site had been chosen as a neutral venue for an FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Hillsborough should never have been chosen as a neutral site due to flagrant safety violations which were overlooked by the Football Association.

Liverpool is attempting to exorcise those demons on the 30th anniversary of the disaster by winning its first Premier League championship. (Liverpool won numerous First Division championships before the formation of the Premier League in 1992, but has never been to the top in the new era.) Jurgen Klopp’s men are in good shape, leading reigning champion Manchester City by two points with four matches to go.

England qualified for the 1990 World Cup, but it had to play all of its group matches on the island of Sardinia. When the Three Lions ventured onto the mainland for the knockout stage, extra safety precautions had to be undertaken. Nobody in the United States shed a tear when England did not qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

The good of April 15 includes Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut on this date in 1947 (and the subsequent retirement of his number 42 across all of MLB on April 15, 1997), the founding of General Electric in 1892, the introduction of insulin for diabetics in 1923, the opening of the first McDonald’s in 1955, and the third and final full day of my Baton Rouge trip last year.
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Am I mentally ill? I don’t like Tiger Woods. I don’t watch Game of Thrones. I don’t watch the Olympics. I don’t like Michael Phelps. I don’t like Serena Williams. I’d rather watch English football over American soccer. I’d rather a Canadian team win the Stanley Cup.

I guess I am not normal. Sorry.

Forget Jesus; Tiger is God this Palm Sunday

The Masters teed off at 0630 (0730 EDT) this morning in order to beat anticipated heavy rain in Augusta. I was not watching.

Why bother? Tiger Woods is going to win and every talking head and writer is going to pee their pants and drool all over themselves about Tiger being the greatest golfer who ever walked the earth.

Francesco Molinari would win his second major in less than a calendar year if he holds on. But if you want to read about it, I suggest finding an English-language version of an Italian newspaper, because all the coverage from American journalists will be about Eldrick Woods and his greatness.

Tiger is one reason why I do all I can to avoid watching SportsCenter these days. Tiger is part of a privileged class that can do no wrong. The class also includes Tom Brady, LeBron, Serena Williams, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Warriors, Alabama football and Duke, North Carolina and Virginia basketball. ESPN doesn’t give a crap about the NHL, so nobody is listed here, although NBC is strongly biased against the Canadian teams (especially the Canadiens–you can figure out why) and in favor of the Rangers, Flyers, Capitals, Kings, Ducks, Golden Knights, Lightning and Panthers, even though the last team in that list sucks most of the time.

Tiger is a great golfer. I won’t deny it. However, I get nauseous whenever he is referred to as the “Greatest of All Time”. No. Not for me. The problem is people today have ridiculously short memory spans. I bet many people under 40 would have no idea who Jack Nicklaus is, even if they watch golf regularly. On the other hand, someone who couldn’t tell the difference between a golf ball and a tennis ball knows about Tiger Woods because he’s been forced down America’s throats for over 20 years.

I don’t begrudge anyone who is a member of Augusta National. Good for them. Congratulations on your success. However, I have no earthly desire to join a country club of any kind. Not my thing.

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LSU and Missouri wrap up their baseball series at 1200. The home team won yesterday 4-1, its first win over LSU in Columbia in eight tries, and just its second in 17 games all-time. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

I recall LSU won seven consecutive series vs. Arkansas when the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992 until the Hogs finally broke through in 1999. Arkansas swept twice within four years (2001 in Fayetteville, 2004 in Baton Rouge).

However, my stay in Columbia is not over. I’m not departing until Tuesday. I have work that has to get done tonight and tomorrow, and the rest must be wrapped up by 1200 Tuesday so I can make the two-hour drive west to Kansas City. It also means more White Castle. I had waffle sliders for breakfast. Great as ########################################################################

Max Scherzer’s number 31 was officially retired before yesterday’s game. Of course, the honoree was with the Nationals in Washington, so his parents accepted the honor.

The Royals must have been stuck on stupid when they did not draft him #1 overall in 2006. Instead, they took Luke Hochevar, who was drafted #1 overall by the Dodgers in 2005, but did not sign, so he spent time in an independent league before re-entering the draft in 2006.

The 2006 draft was the last act of Allard Baird as Royals general manager. He was fired the previous week and Dayton Moore was hired as his replacement, but Baird was allowed to conduct the draft. Had Moore been in charge, it may have been very different.

Scherzer would not have been with the Royals right now, because he would have been too expensive to control. However, he would have come to Kansas City quickly and allowed the Royals not to spend a lot of money on Gil Meche, and maybe Zack Greinke would have stayed. Who knows. But Hochevar definitely was a big-time miss when Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw were available.

Speaking of the Royals, maybe they need to play Cleveland more. They have beaten the Indians 8-1 and 3-0 so far and can sweep the series today. Prior to that, Kansas City lost 10 straight, getting swept in three by the Tigers and four by the Mariners.

As I drove to Columbia Thursday, I got a glimpse of the upper deck at Kauffman Stadium during the game. I estimated there were maybe 80 fans in the entire upper deck. Attendance has slacked off since the 2015 World Series championship.

The Brewers were swept in Anaheim by the Angels, but can sweep the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine today. That’s baseball.

Purple Tigers vs. Black Tigers round one

LSU and Missouri will do battle on the diamond on a windy evening in Columbia. The ball might jump out of the park, just like it has in Lawrence, where Oklahoma State hit EIGHT home runs vs. Kansas through six innings.

I committed a serious error today. One which cost me $77.

I accidentally locked my car keys in my trunk at the QuikTrip. I got out of my car to retrieve something from my trunk, and I accidentally hit the lock button. When I closed the trunk, I realized I had just gone stupid.

It took an hour for everything to get cleared up and for me to be on my way.

It’s not the first time I’ve had automotive adventure on an LSU baseball road trip.

Two years ago, I drove from St. Louis to Lexington on a flat tire. Fortunately for me it was a rental vehicle, so Avis replaced it in Kentucky and I drove that one back to Kansas City.

Last year, the first rental car from Hertz in Hays did not have a working air conditioner. Had to return it and wait for a replacement to come in, which didn’t come until two hours later.

Missouri’s baseball stadium is just west of the football stadium. The Tigers’ indoor practice facility sits behind right field, and the outdoor practice fields are behind left field. Mizzou’ s bullpen is behind the left field fence, but the visitors’ pen is in foul territory down the right field line.

The infield is artificial, but there is grass everywhere else. Kind of surprising since artificial turf has made serious advancements over the past two decades. Missouri’s football stadium has artificial turf, one of five in the SEC (the others are Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt).

That’s all for now. Game about to begin.

Back to CoMo

I couldn’t help but feel guilty and nostalgic driving to Columbia today.

Of course, it’s Columbia, Missouri. If it were Columbia, South Carolina, I would have had to have left on Tuesday to make it there in time.

LSU plays Missouri this weekend, the third time the Bayou Bengals have visited Columbia since Mizzou joined the SEC in the 2012-13 school year. LSU is 6-0 in Columbia, with the series in 2013 and 2016. Last year, Mizzou defeated LSU in the second game of the series in Baton Rouge, its first win ever over the Purple and Gold Tigers.

The Bayou Bengals lost to Southern Tuesday, just the third time the Jaguars have defeated their cross-town rivals in baseball. Southern won in 2001 and 2005 at the old Alex Box Stadium, but this was the first time the Jaguars defeated LSU at their home park, Lee-Hines Field, in north Baton Rouge.

My dad wanted to go on this trip so bad, but he has been battling a terrible infection. He wasn’t sure he would be able to make the nearly six hour drive from Russell without something happening.

My gut was churning from Russell to Lawrence with guilt. I wish he were with me. I called home when I stopped in Liberty to get my car washed. He told me it would be okay, although he wishes he wasn’t having these episodes.

The nostalgia part comes from last year’s trip to Baton Rouge, which happened to be the same weekend as this year’s trip.

Last year, it was more about seeing everyone I had not seen in ages–Brenda, Dorinda, Dan and Lisette Borne, Bryan Lazare, Kent Lowe and others–than it was about LSU’s performance vs. Tennessee. Of course, it was a much happier return to Russell after the Bayou Bengals swept the Volunteers, with Daniel Cabrera’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Sunday game being the final play of the series.

This will be pretty much a repeat of 2013 and ’16. I’ll have fun watching baseball, but most of my down time will be spent working in my room for stuff which needs to be done for Monday. It has to be done.

One of the best things about Columbia: WHITE CASTLE!

Columbia is one of only two SEC cities with White Castle. The other is Lexington, not surprising since White Castle’s corporate headquarters are an hour north in Cincinnati. I got hooked on White Castle when I stopped near Louisville on the way out of Lexington.

Of course I had to stop there on my way in this evening. Great decision.

White Castle has introduced a crab cake slider for Lent. YUMMMMM! It also has clams, and those are good, too. I think I’ll have to go back for more tomorrow. I order A LOT of sliders tonight. That means I’ll have plenty of leftovers Saturday and maybe Sunday. Sliders for breakfast? Not the first time.

The Masters is this weekend. Tiger is playing, so tickets at Augusta National are running much higher than they did for Super Bowl LIII, which was played in Atlanta, 145 miles west of Augusta on Interstate 20. Five thousand would have bought you six to eight tickets to see the Patriots beat the Rams in February. Five thousand might not get you into the gate at Augusta National this weekend.


Not that I want to visit Augusta National. If I had a choice of any golf course in the world to visit, it would be St. Andrews, where the game was born. To me, The Open Championship is more prestigious than The Masters, the same way Wimbledon is more prestigious than the others in tennis.

That’s the beauty of St. Andrews. ANYONE who pays the greens fees can play. Same with Carnoustie, another Open Championship course in Scotland. Augusta National? You’d better have a friend in a VERY high place, or you’re out of luck.



Tiger ended the day 2-under par, four shots back of co-leaders Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Koepka has won the last two U.S. Opens and last year’s PGA, and if he wins the green jacket, he will enter the exosphere of major championship domination, occupied by only Tiger and the Golden Bear. Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 later this year, is 5-under. The oldest champion at The Masters was none other than Jack Nicklaus, who won it at 46 in 1986.

It’s getting late. I didn’t get enough sleep last night (or the night before), and the effects of all that time on the road is taking its toll. Have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow.

Orange and blue makes me blue

I am not dead. However, I went into yet another Howard Hughes phase during the last three weeks. Inexcusable.

March Madness is over. I was ready for it to be over before the first game was played. It was a miserable time in the Sunflower State, with Kansas State losing its first game to 13-seed UC Irvine and Kansas getting dump trucked by Auburn in the second round.

I couldn’t complain about LSU. I had a bad feeling my alma mater would have lost to Lipscomb had it held on to beat Maryland. Then the Bayou Bengals almost blew the game with the Terrapins but survived.

I confess I watched zero seconds of the Sweet 16 game with Michigan State. Had a bad feeling. The final score–Spartans 80, Bayou Bengals 63–validated that feeling. Now LSU is losing Naz Reid, Skylar Mays and Tremont Waters to the NBA. Will Wade may somehow keep his job, but I fear next season might be a long one in Baton Rouge.

I was angry Auburn made the Final Four, because one of their jackass fans who lives in Baton Rouge, Tex Morris, called Sean Payton a “crybaby” on social media following the NFC Championship Game, then told me he’d block me when I disagreed. I was angry Virginia made it, because it is the definition of an elitist school. After all, Thomas Jefferson founded the place.

Since last Saturday’s Auburn-Virginia game couldn’t end in a double forfeit, I was glad the Cavaliers won. The lesser of two evils in that case. Right now, Auburn is at the top of my hate list in the SEC. I never thought a school would eclipse Alabama and Ole Miss as to how much I hate them, but Auburn has, thanks to Mr. Morris’ asinine comments about Mr. Payton. What, Tex, was Sean supposed to be happy and let it go? The Saints got screwed out of a Super Bowl berth. Yeah, let it go. Easy for you to say.

Auburn was not my favorite stop on the SEC circuit. It ranked barely above Oxford and about on the same level as Tuscaloosa and Gainesville. No thanks. Auburn and Kansas State are a lot alike–agriculturally-dominated universities in small towns 50 miles from the state capital with horrendous traffic on football game days and a inferiority complex. The only difference is Auburn is a football school with occasional success in basketball and K-State is a basketball school with occasional success in football, the beatification of St. William of Snyder notwithstanding.

Candace Rachel, the outstanding editor of the Plainville Times, texted me during Monday’s game saying the announcers were biased towards Virginia. I agreed.

College basketball announcers love the ACC. Greg Gumbel and everyone who was on the CBS selection show March 17 drooled over the ACC getting three #1 seeds. I’m sure many were crying when North Carolina lost to Auburn in the Sweet 16 and Duke lost to Michigan State after the Spartans ousted LSU.

I did not watch much of the game. And no way in hell I would watch One Shining Moment. It was nice at the beginning, but it’s played out now. And don’t get me started on Jennifer Hudson’s version following the 2010 tournament (the one where Duke barely beat Butler in the final). If I had watched it live, I might have melted down. It sucked. BIG TIME.

CBS had the right idea in 1983 when they used Christopher Cross’ All Right for the highlight package following North Carolina State’s stunner over Houston. I don’t care what happens between now and the end of time, but Jim Valvano’s Wolfpack taking down Phi Slamma Jamma in Albuquerque will never, never, NEVER be surpassed. Too bad it was too late for me to watch.

The first final I watched from beginning to end was Louisville over Duke in 1986. That year, LSU made the Final Four as an 11-seed before losing to the Cardinals in Dallas. The Blue Devils eliminated Kansas in the other semi. The last final I watched from start to finish was Kansas’ win over Memphis in 2008, although I did see Josh Hart’s game-winner for Villanova over UNC in 2016 after missing most of the first 30 minutes.

College basketball is done, at least as far as games go, for seven months. I’m not counting down the days.


LSU’s eastern rerun

I was in Buffalo Wild Wings when the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket was announced on CBS. However, I have not filled out a bracket for a contest, nor will I do so.

I admit I made an erroneous post about LSU being placed in the East region.

I said this would be the first time LSU would play in the East region since 1988, when the Bayou Bengals lost 66-63 to Georgetown in Hartford when the Hoyas’ Charles Smith banked in a 35-footer at the buzzer. That Georgetown team featured a freshman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire in 1988) who would make his mark on basketball over the next two decades. His name: Dikembe Mutombo.

I did not realize the Bayou Bengals were in the East region in 2015, their last tournament appearance. That year, LSU lost a close game to North Carolina State in Pittsburgh. The Wolfpack followed that by ousting top seed Villanova, which bounced back just fine, as evidenced by the Wildcats’ national championships in 2016 and ’18.

The “pod” system, where first and second round sites are not tied to a specific region, sometimes makes it very easy to forget which region a team is assigned to. However, I should have done my homework. Not that it’s going to cost me anything, but I have to do better.

That I didn’t know LSU was in the East region four years ago shows my interest in March Madness has waned. A lot. I seriously doubt I’ll be watching at 1140 Thursday when the Bayou Bengals face Yale.

I listened to the end of the LSU-NC State game in 2015 driving around Overland Park. I watched the LSU-Georgetown game of 1988 in my old house in Arabi with Jason Malasovich, who was over to visit.

The Hoyas’ win over LSU was their last of 1987-88. Georgetown was no match for Temple in the second round. The Owls, the top seed in the East in 1988, lost in the East regional final to Duke, a disappointing end, but certainly better than the previous season, when John Chaney’s team entered the second round of the NCAAs 32-3, only to be easily defeated by the #10 seed in the Midwest, LSU.

Duke lost to Kansas in the Final Four at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. Two nights later, the Jayhawks avenged three losses to Oklahoma, which ousted Arizona in the other semifinal, by defeating the Sooners 83-79 for their first national championship since 1952.

Two very interesting notes came from the LSU-Georgetown game of 1988 in 1989.

While Mutombo and Smith could not carry Georgetown alone in 1987-88, they got a huge assist the next season with the arrival of Alonzo Mourning from Virginia. The Hoyas won their first nine games of 1988-89 to rise to No. 5 in the AP poll, but lost their first game of 1989 to Seton Hall in the Meadowlands.

As it turned out, that was no sin. The Pirates would be one of the two teams left standing at the very end, losing in overtime to Michigan in one of the best championship games since the NCAA men’s tournament began in 1939.

Following the loss to Seton Hall, the Hoyas won their next six and were ranked No. 2 in the AP poll of January 24, 1989.

On January 26, top-ranked Illinois lost at Minnesota. That meant Georgetown would rise to the top of the polls if it won its January 28 game.

The opponent that Saturday was none other than LSU, which was enjoying a much better than expected season, thanks to the prowess of freshman sensation Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf) and the fiery leadership of fifth-year senior Ricky Blanton, who played on LSU’s 1986 Final Four team.

Georgetown came to Louisiana as the return game after the Bayou Bengals played the Hoyas in Washington (actually Landover, Maryland, where the Bullets played at the time), but instead of playing in Baton Rouge, the game was moved to New Orleans and the cavernous Louisiana Superdome.

LSU coach Dale Brown and the entire athletic department attempted to set a new attendance record for a college basketball game, and sure enough, over 68.000 packed the “world’s largest room” on Poydras Street, more than attended the Saints’ season finale one month prior.

Nobody gave LSU a chance, but lo and behold, the Bayou Bengals kept it close. Blanton, who was on the floor in Baton Rouge when Anthony Wilson hit a shot at the buzzer vs. Memphis in the secound round of the 1986 NCAA tournament, played the hero this time, laying it in after Dennis Tracey’s airballed 3-point attempt was tipped to him by Wayne Sims.

LSU, which lost 127-100 to Illinois in Baton Rouge three days before Christmas, won 82-80. The Bayou Bengals stumbled at the end, however, losing three of their last four, including the NCAA tournament game vs. UTEP I discussed in an earlier post.

Georgetown sustained road losses to Pitt and Syracuse after the game in New Orleans, but recovered to win the Big East tournament and earn the top seed in the East region. The Hoyas were sent back to Hartford, this time to face another team whose mascot is the Tigers.

Princeton proceeded to win the heart of every basketball fan who did not root for Georgetown. Coincidentally, that game was 30 years ago tonight.

Pete Carrill’s Tigers used their anachronistic offense, centered around back-door cuts and sets which bled the shot clock (then 45 seconds, 15 seconds longer than today) nearly dry and frustrated teams which wanted to play a more up-tempo offense.

Georgetown was one of those teams that got frustrated.

The Hoyas needed Mourning to block a last-second shot to escape with a 50-49 victory. Georgetown’s luck ran out in the regional final when it lost to Duke, who in turn was routed by Seton Hall in the Final Four at Seattle.

While Princeton lost, the NCAA tournament won. Big time. Watch the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about this game and you’ll see how.

This game was not televised on CBS, but rather on ESPN, which had a much lower percentage of households in 1989 than it does today. And it was good fortune Princeton-Georgetown was on ESPN, because many first round games were only televised locally in the markets of the participating teams.

For instance, the LSU-Georgetown game in 1988 was only on in Louisiana and the Capital Beltway, although it may have been picked up by markets in Mississippi, Alabama and east Texas. Two years prior, LSU and Purdue played a thrilling double overtime game in the opening round, but if you weren’t in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Indianapolis, South Bend or another town in Louisiana or Indiana, you were out of luck.

When the NCAA negotiated its next TV contract for the men’s basketball tournament, CBS ponied up the cash and made sure every game would be on The Tiffany Network, an arrangement which lasted 20 years (1991-2010).

Today, CBS shares the tournament with three cable networks, and every game is shown start to finish. Plus with streaming, any basketball junkie should know the final score of every NCAA tournament game right away.

St. Patrick’s Day 2019 is over for the Eastern third of the United States. And it is for me, at least on this blog.

Luxury riders

I’m back. Time for that story.

St. Patrick’s Day 1989 was on a Friday. Everyone at Arabi Park Middle School was looking forward to the final bell that day, since it would mean the beginning of one week off, the unofficial spring break, even though it wasn’t called that.

That night would be another of Arabi Park’s dances for the 7th and 8th grade students. Want to talk about awkward? Your intrepid blogger was the poster child for awkwardness. I didn’t have the guts to ask any girl to dance, and I often started crying by the end of the first hour.

Many girls were turned off by that, but I don’t blame them. They were 12 or 13, what were they supposed to do? Fortunately, Rosemarie Renz (now Huguet), who is my longest-standing friend on earth (37 1/2 years), was always nice enough to dance with me once or twice, and eventually, Stacie Dauterive (Seube), the young lady whom I had a crush on at Arabi Park, also danced with me near the end of the night.

Stacie was beautiful then and is now. But she has a wonderful heart. That’s why I really had a crush on her. Her sister, Andree (Addison), has that heart of gold, too.

I can’t say enough great things about Rosemarie. I hurt sometimes that we lost touch after 7th grade when I went to Brother Martin. Part of me wishes I would have stayed at Arabi Park fo the eighth grade and gone to Archbishop Hannah, the Catholic high school in St. Bernard Parish (county) with her.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1989, the APM student council sponsored a raffle. The winner would win a ride to the dance in a limo and would be able to bring five other people with him or her.

Let’s just say I spent as much money on trying to win the raffle as I would buying music credits during a long day at Buffalo Wild Wings. And $20 in 1989 was a lot more than $20 in 2019.

My classmates noticed I was going after the limo ride hard. During an afternoon class, I kidded with Toni LaRocca and Allison Richardson about inviting them to ride if I had won.

My heart weighs very heavy thinking about that right now. Allison Richardson (White) passed away in 2008 from cancer. Toni was extremely close to Allison, as was Stacie and several other girls in my classes at APM, and they are still devastated over a decade later.

If I could press the rewind button, I would certainly have invited Allison and Toni to ride. Rosemarie too.

That last sentence tells you I won the raffle. Shawn O’Neil informed me in the gym during a mini-carnival going on after classes ended.

Shawn never went to dances at Arabi Park. I tried to entice him to come with a spot in the limo, but he wisely said no.

I knew I couldn’t invite Stacie. She was going with Glen Weaver, her boyfriend throughout APM. She met her husband, Jeff, at Andrew Jackson High.

Jason Malasovich was going to ride, of course. It was an all-male crew: Jason, Jared Couture, Brandon Miller, Jack Bastoe, Joe Monaghan, and myself. Jared, Brandon and Jack were in classes with Jason and I, and Joe lived near Jason in another part of Arabi.

We met at Jack’s house since it was the farthest from the school, not too far from the bowling alley in Chalmette. The ride was fun. The dance was a repeat of the past, save for two things.

First, my mother was a chaperone, and Joe danced with her.

Second, I danced with Stacie’s mother, Kathy, who was then a teacher at Carolyn Park Elementary School, about five blocks from my house. She said I should dance with my mother, but I declined.

Confession: if I ever got married, I would be quaking in my boots over dancing with my mother. She is quite aloof and afraid of physical contact. I can name at least 50 people I have hugged more than her in my lifetime. Let’s see: Peggy, Caitlyn, Brenda, Dorinda, Liz, Lisa, Dawn…I’ll stop there for now.

The Dauterive family resided on Badger Drive, only 200 feet from St. Robert Belarmine Catholic Church, whose school I attended from kindergarten through fifth grade. After Katrina, Stacie and Jeff moved in with their sons to 905 Badger Drive, while her parents, Rene and Kathy, moved to Baton Rouge.

Rene owned a very successful plumbing company in St. Bernard Parish while I lived there, and he took care of our house at 224 Jaguar Drive. I’ve joked with Stacie and Andree that I want to bring Rene to Russell so he can fix the American Legion post’s plumbing problems for my parents, as well as those at 1224 North Brooks. Fortunately, there is a fine plumber in Russell, Donnie Boxberger, so we’re covered.

Two schools of thought on my fellow limo riders 30 years later. First, the guys were the right choice, because it avoided any awkwardness I would have had with girls. The other is I should have invited at least Rosemarie, because she and I had been friends for so long and she was always so nice. But Jason and I had been friends before APM as well, so he was a great choice.

I attended one more APM dance in late April. My mother did not allow me to go to the one in May, and rightly so, because I failed to turn in an assignment on time. I was very fortunate I was not forced to go to summer school. I could have been failed for not turning it in on time, but I was allowed to turn it in the following Monday for a D. On June 2, 1989, I was jeered out of Arabi Park twice, first at school, then by a passing school bus as I walked back to 224 Jaguar.

I don’t blame any kids who were unhappy that I was going to Brother Martin. I rubbed it in their faces for the last 3 1/2 months of the 1988-89 school year. I thought I was on another plane because I was going to a school in the New Orleans Catholic League and they weren’t. I was not welcome back on campus during 1989-90.

Sadly, Arabi Park closed in the late 1990s when St. Bernard Parish’s school system consolidated some schools. The shell of the old school stood until Katrina wiped it away.

I lost touch with so many until discovering them on Facebook in 2014, 25 years after I left for the school at 4401 Elysian Fields in New Orleans. I saw Jason last August when he was in town with his lovely family. I hope I will see more Epton (before it’s too late in Foots lingo).

After the dance ended, I got home in time to watch the second half of LSU’s NCAA tournament game vs. UTEP. The Bayou Bengals enjoyed a fine season with All-America freshman Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), but the Miners had future NBA standouts Tim Hardaway and Antonio Davis, plus the coaching acumen of the legendary Don Haskins, the same Don Haskins who led an all-black Miner team to victory over Adolph Rupp’s all-white Kentucky team in the 1966 championship game.

Many in Louisiana were salivating at the possibility of LSU playing Indiana and the hated Bobby Knight in the second round, but UTEP won 85-74.

If you’re wondering why LSU was playing so close to midnight Central time, here’s the dish.

Prior to 1991, CBS did not televise every tournament game prior to the Elite Eight. In the first and second rounds, CBS would select the games it wanted to show nationally, then the NCAA would put the other games up for bids. The NCAA produced the games and provided the announcers, and games were either televised by ESPN or a local network. In the Sweet 16, CBS selected two games a night, and the other two that night would be on locally in the areas of the participating teams.

In 1991, CBS took over all games, and contests before the Elite Eight were regionally broadcast. It stayed that way through 2010.

In 2011, CBS split the broadcast rights with TBS, TNT and TruTV, meaning every game would be televised nationally.

I’ve got a sinking feeling LSU will be one-and-done 30 years later, thanks to all the scandal surrounding coach Will Wade, who is suspended and may be fired. The field will be revealed at 1700. Not that I’m going to fill out a bracket.

Enjoy what’s left of your St. Patrick’s Day and weekend.

May the luck of the Irish be with you

Top of the afternoon on St. Patrick’s Day 2019. Yes I am wearing green…want proof? See below.

I have a very good story to tell about a St. Patrick’s Day from many, many, many years ago. Coming in the next post! Stay tuned…