It has been a busy few weeks around these parts as the football season has ramped up and we have been flooded with stories and radio obligations. But the News and Views is back and today's feature is former baseball player and inspirational story, Jim Abbott.
I was first aware of Abbott based upon baseball cards, one of my many childhood obsessions and a hobby that I was convinced would put me through college. Abbott was an early baseball card collector's dream as his cards were always slightly overvalued (a la Will Clark at an early age) and thus ripe to be found and traded. But once one found out about Abbott, his accomplishments were truly amazing. Born with only one hand, Abbott nevertheless became a great amateur pitcher and a major league player, once throwing a no-hitter in the big leagues. His amazing ability to pitch and then quickly put his glove into his throwing hand was wonderful to watch and could be done in the blink of an eye. But Abbott's biggest gift to the sporting world was not his on-the-field ability, but his inspirational quality. Even as a young child I remember looking at Abbott and think that if he could do it, I could to (of course if the topic was baseball, I couldnt do it, but you get my point). Jim Abbott reached heights in baseball that I am sure none believed he could ever make and he did it his way.....by reinventing the way to field his position and focusing on what he could accomplish rather than what others said was impossible....a viewpoint that we should all learn something from even to this day.
To the news......
There has been a lot of talk on this blog about basketball recruiting (and there will be more), but the story of the week is the Louisville victory's importance in football recruiting.
As Rob detailed on our show tonight, many football recruits are now looking at UK seriously, rather than just as an afterthought. And none may be bigger in this regard than Winston Guy, who has decommitted from Arkansas, is now considering Kentucky and was in attendance at Saturday's big win. WLEX is reporting that Arkansas has cancelled his visit Saturday in hopes he may come to a "bigger game" (aka, dont come watch us lose to the other team you are considering), while others who have spoken to Guy suggest that the game on Saturday left a HUGE impression on the Lexington Catholic star. Make no mistake about it.....Guy is as good an athlete as Kentucky has produced in a while....getting him would be an amazing get for UK and a great steal from an SEC rival.....Saturday will have ramifications for a long time, but in the short-term, the recruiting may be the biggest benefactor.
An underreported and talked about tidbit in basketball came out this weekend in Jerry Tipton's often-criticized (including here) notebook. He mentioned talking to Lee Todd and asking about rumors that he had to speak with Billy Clyde
about some of his actions since being hired for the men's basketball job. Lee Todd did not deny such a meeting and said that he thinks now Billy Clyde understands the microscope he has been under. Rumors about Billy Clyde since arriving are not new.....likely everyone has heard them and questions as to their veracity have replaced Patterson/Lucas talk as the most likely topic of conversation when I meet UK fans. Ultimately the truth of any of these will never be known and is best left for others anyway....but what is clear is that Billy Clyde is now realizing what others have said for a long time. There is no place like Kentucky and adjusting to life as its head coach does take time. Here is hoping that the adjustment for Billy Clyde continues to be smooth and that he becomes the coach we all hope he can be.
The search for 2009 kids continues with two tidibts about guys named Jon. First, Jon Hood from Madisonville
has been offered a scholarship by Kentucky, as reported by Rivals.com, and will be in attendance at Midnight Madness. Hood is a 6' 5" shooting guard who has dramatically risen up the charts this year, thanks in large part to a summer performance that has put him on a number of teams' maps, including the Blue Devils of Duke. Hood will be at Midnight Madness and will soon be on Kentucky Sports Radio. Also, 2009 point guard prospect, Jon Wall visited UK during the Louisville-UK game on Saturday, showing that even with the commitment of GJ Vilarino, the quest for top recruits in the class will not stop.
For about the 20th time, I was told this weekend to watch out for AJ Stewart.
There is no buzz about a player louder, with one basketball guy telling me, "AJ will be all-SEC by his senior year.....perfect Tubby recruit in terms of attitude, but a guy that will excel in Billy Clyde's system. Will be a great get for the Cats." Exciting stuff.....
Finally, check out the Joker Phillips interview when we put it out this afternoon, it is great. Plus there is some old-school nonsense on the last half-hour of last night's show that brings back memories of the old podcasts.....it is worth your time.
Later in the day, watch for Need To Know Wednesday, Mattox's rants and some news from Gidel.....