Baseball. Basketball. Football. The backbone of American culture. Well, if not the backbone, at least three of its ribs, right? Another rib, if not as popular on social media, is the American highway system. It’s a place I find myself these two weeks as we cruise around the south on another Spencer Southern Road Trip. The road gives a man a lot of time to think and here are some of the random thoughts and ideas that tripped through my mind this week.


The Trade

I’ve been sitting around for weeks ready to pounce on this trade, then the powers that be go and make the Anthony Davis trade while I’m on the road. Smarter folks than me will tell you who won the trade but I can tell you that the New Orleans Pelicans future is officially bright.

The Pelicans picked up a trio of young Lakers in the deal. Brandon Ingram, a former second overall pick, is the best of the crop after a season that saw the forward average 18 points and five rebounds. Ingram is joined by Josh Hart, a shooting guard who wants to know where he can get some beignets and Lonzo Ball, an improving guard who actually plays defense. Those two guards will join veteran Jrue Holiday in a back court that looks suddenly solid.

Yet the part of the deal that has the Big Easy salivating isn’t the guys coming here but the picks that will build the future. New Orleans will bring in Zion Williamson with the first overall pick and then turn around and pick fourth. The internet is buzzing about the Pelicans trading this pick for a proven veteran but with the youth movement in effect in New Orleans it wouldn’t be shocking that David Griffin brings in another college star. This mock draft has the Pels bringing in Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, which is a truly tantalizing prospect and, in my best talk show host voice, “and that’s not all!”

So, adios, Davis. Joy has finally returned to Mudville!

Heading to Birmingham

We shot up I-59 to Birmingham, Alabama for the first night of our road trip and I felt like an addict who was crashing after coming off a week-long binge of the NCAA regionals and Super Regionals.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I love me some college baseball. The regionals and College World Series are easily the wildest of the big three sports as you never know what’s going to happen. The favorite rarely wins it all and this year will be no different as the #1 UCLA Bruins were already sent packing.

“Getting hot at the right time” is one of the most tedious and overused sport clichés in all of its obviousness. Of course a team needs to be hot! Outside of solid play and hot bats what a team really needs is that overlooked crucial element — magic.

Last year’s championship, won by Oregon State, was determined by an Arkansas infielder missing a routine pop out down the first base line. That would have ended the series but he whiffed and the Beavers roared back to win the title. Magic.

Arkansas is back this year looking to redeem themselves, but I think the magic this year lives in Starkville, Mississippi with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. No program deserves a title but Mississippi State has been circling the promise land for decades. In their first game of the College World Series versus the Auburn Tigers, the Bulldogs entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 4-1. With two outs, Auburn’s third baseman got a case of the yips and that was all the Dogs needed and came all the way back to win it 5-4. Magic.

Trippin’ in Knoxville

Or maybe the Michigan Wolverines will win it all. What the hell do I know? I’m a man of flesh and blood just like you. We all make mistakes. Much like all of my friends who questioned why in the hell would we intentionally go to Knoxville, Tennessee. I expected a ghost town but was met with a vibrant downtown that can go toe-to-toe with far hipper locales.

The only problem I see with the town is Scooter Zombies.

The hordes were zipping around everywhere with their scooter-sharing, “I can just leave this thing wherever the heck I want” ways.

I swear I saw someone scooter right into a bar, pick up a beer and take off into the night but I probably just made that up. Anyway, Knoxville was a blast and I can’t wait to get back to bars like Barley in Old City and Black Horse Pub right off of Market Square. I’ll need to bone up on my Tennessee Volunteer knowledge as everyone we met mentioned the orange.

Trippin in Kentucky

We hit our old Northern Kentucky home with gusto. We celebrated birthdays and hung with our families. It was awesome as always and enlightening as there are just some things that don’t convey that well over text or the phone.

What am I talking about? Archery, of course.

Did you know how popular this sport is in high schools? It’s massive and I know this because my sister Laurie has created an archery program at her middle school, Walton Verona, and is in the process of creating a club for fifth graders and will eventually (possibly) helm the high school team. (Fun-Fact According to My Sister: The now National Archery in the Schools Program began as the Kentucky Archery in the Schools Program. Kentucky says you’re welcome, America.) To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. Why? For one, it’s my sister of course. Two, she’s no Robin Hood with a bow and arrow but has literally created something out of nothing for kids. Three, the school’s mascot is the Bearcat so I immediately coined the team name Bowcats for their use but, I must admit, haven’t seen any gear with my awesome team name but whatever. Anyway, all hail the Bowcats!


See ya next week with another installment from the road. Asheville and Chattanooga, you have been warned!


And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.


Beer Pairing: Blackhorse Brewery’s Black IPA

Playlist Recommendation: Timbuk 3 – “Future’s So Bright”


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