Thursday, June 8, 2006
Good trip to SEC tourney
My son Andy enjoyed our second annual trip to the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala., a bit more than me.
That’s because Ole Miss won its opening game Wednesday, May 23, and Alabama didn’t.
However, we both pulled for each other’s favorite team, and the brief trip was loads of fun.
This year we took in only the Alabama versus LSU and the Ole Miss vs. Arkansas games in the opening round before having to return to Holly Springs on Thursday.
I will admit the nightcap, between the Rebels and the Razorbacks, was much more exciting.
Alabama’s bats were ice cold in their 4-3 loss to LSU.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss was red hot from the batter’s box in a 9-4 victory.
The Rebels’ game lasted until 12:10 a.m. We were there until the final out, and then had to find any fast food restaurant that was still open for a midnight snack.
And as you know by now, the Rebels went on to basically coast through the tournament and win their first SEC title since 1977.
One of the things I like most about this Ole Miss team is their head coach. Mike Bianco has to be one of the best, if not the best, in the Southeastern Conference and one of the best in the nation.
He’s definitely a keeper for all of you Ole Miss faithful.
LSU’s Smoke Laval resigned last weekend, and Bianco appears to be the top choice of the Bengal Tigers’ administration. I hope that doesn’t happen. Bianco seems very happy in Oxford, and he’s built a winner.
Our seats for the SEC Tournament were some of the best, on the first base side and five rows up. Unfortunately, no foul balls came very close to us at all this year.
As usual, we did meet some folks from other places, these being from Dothan, Ala.
Pam called during the Ole Miss-Arkansas game to tell us Taylor Hicks had won American Idol.
The guys behind us heard the conversation, and they said their wives would probably be calling them soon, too.
Andy and I figured it would be announced over the public address system at the tournament since Hicks is from Birmingham.
This was the ninth year the tournament has been held at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
And the SEC athletic directors recently decided to extend, for five more years, the conference’s contract to hold the baseball tourney at the Hoover Met. That means it will be in suburban Birmingham through 2011.
One of those venues trying to woo the tournament, I understand, was AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis, Tenn.
That would be nice, from a convenience standpoint. And I love AutoZone Park.
But the trip to Birmingham also gives us a chance to go through “the old stomping ground” and visit with family and friends in Hamilton, Ala., if time allows.
When leaving Birmingham Thursday morning, we stopped at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) campus.
Mike Davis was recently named head basketball coach for the Blazers, after stepping down at Indiana. Mike played high school basketball for Fayette, Ala., while I played for Hamilton, Ala. You could call the two schools rivals; however, the Tigers pretty much dominated us on the court, largely due to Davis, who later starred at the University of Alabama.
Andy and I decided to find the basketball office and see if Coach Davis was available. He wasn’t in, but we found the bookstore on campus and Andy bought a new, favorite cap – a green one with the letters UAB.
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