As everyone awakened on Mother’s Day in New Orleans some locals had the unexpected “mother” of a day as the recurring nightmare of the Sewage and Water Board pumps being no match for the rain played out once again leaving many a New Orleanian with flooded cars and damaged property. Some days are just a hump. Some awful days are unexpected and some you see coming a mile away but they’re all mothers.
Just like sports. So let’s take a walk along the grumpy side of stories that I’ve been following.
Once again we are looking at another NCAA regional without any New Orleans ball club joining the party.
Tulane (29-22) is officially in “win the AAC tournament” or bust mode as the wheels have completely fallen off of the back half of this season. The Green Wave faithful are grumpy and rightfully so as the team is in a tailspin, having gone 4-11 in their last 15 games. Pitching and coaching seem to be shakier than ever with fans calling for a new coach as Coach Jewitt will now (possibly) miss the NCAA regionals for the third year straight. He has never led Tulane to the NCAA regionals.
The stats get ugly and reality much grumpier when you look at the club’s play over the last three seasons. While they will thankfully have a winning season this year (their first under Jewitt) the team still has a lack of major series wins, which has haunted the club (and their RPI). There were series’ wins over Houston and Wright State last year and I guess West Virginia in 2017 was OK but, more often than not, it’s been series after series slipping away into the Uptown night.
Sure there are the mid-week victories over LSU that locals love to make jokes about but what is really funny is that LSU always goes to the NCAA regionals. LSU always fields competitive squads in the loaded SEC and Baton Rouge would flip its collective lid if the Tigers had a three-year stretch like the one Tulane is enduring.
But, you know me, let’s keep hope alive, I guess. A mother of a season (or a few of them) can all be washed away with a great tournament run that ends in a championship and automatic bid to the NCAA regionals. It has happened to worse teams.
Tulane hosts South Alabama on Tuesday and UConn this weekend to end their regular season.
UNO wake up call (too late)
At least Tulane will have a shot to win a tourney title, unlike the cold reality that UNO is facing. The fat lady hasn’t sung on the Privateers’ season but she’s warming up on old Pontchartrain Beach.
UNO (28-24), which is playing inspired ball and enjoying a six-game win streak, needs to sweep the final series versus Stephen F. Austin and hope that Nicholls State falls apart against a not-great-at-all Abilene Christian team. Nicholls State (27-25) controls their own destiny, as sportswriters love to write, and just needs a series win to advance to the post-season. A lot will have to go UNO’s way but the Privateers snagged the last year’s eighth seed on the last day of the season so don’t count out Coach Blake Dean’s troops just yet.
However, if they miss, there will be a lot of frustration on the lakefront as the team may have turned it on just a little too late.
UNO plays at LSU on Tuesday and then travels to Stephen F. Austin (22-30) this weekend for the all-important final series of the regular season.
Bummer of a Triple Crown
Speaking of turning it on a little too late, in retrospect, it seems the horse racing year would have been so much better if Country House had caught Maximum Security in the final strides and won the Kentucky Derby outright. We would have the new people’s champion and no talk of stewards’ decisions. Hell, people would even talk about that “scrappy long shot that almost won it.”
Instead we have another sport that is still talking about rules and replays. The last thing any fan wants. Unfortunately, it gets even worse as neither Country House or Maximum Security will run in the Preakness Stakes. It’s the first time since 1996 that the Kentucky Derby winner will not run in the Preakness. That year’s Kentucky Derby winner was Grindstone, who would later sire Birdstone, the horse that beat Smarty Jones in the last lengths of the Belmont Stakes to ruin his Triple Crown bid but that mother is for another day.
Anyway, Country House has been pulled from training for a minor illness and the owners of Maximum Security have already stated that he won’t run. It all adds up to bad juju for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes as horse racing fans will probably have to wait until summer for a rematch, if they get one at all.
Football way down the road
It hit me as I was talking to my buddy Neal at the Rendezvous Bar during the Magazine Street Champagne Stroll: Football is just way too far away for my liking. Now understand, I’m not a junkie but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it.
With the NFL draft in the rearview (which I didn’t watch because life is way too short for that boring mess) and college baseball starting to wind down it’s just me and nothingness dancing the dance electric for the summer.
But wait Mark, what about major league baseball? You can keep it. To me, it’s right down there with golf, watching paint dry and listening to adults talk about dragons in terms of excitement. Save me, September!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Broad Street Cider “Diamond Jubilee”
Playlist Recommendation: Dua Lipa – “Blow Your Mind”
Around the Way
A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there who keep fighting the good fight and are the best sports of all. On a personal note, Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Margie and my sister, Laurie and sister-in-law Sharon. I’ll always be the biggest fan of these ladies.