Back Nine: Fan experience being considered all over Florida
Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend of music, a rare bucket of balls (hit 'em straight and short) and a lot of family time.
10. The column I wrote that appeared in Sunday's paper generated a lot of emails from Gator fans. Everyone has their own ways of improving the fan experience at UF and trust that I will pass along your suggestions. But I like what they are doing in Jacksonville at EverBank Field where there will be four poolside party cabanas on the first level. They're expensive — $12,500 a game or $250 per person — but is there anything better for a hot September game than the ability to slide into a pool? Or, you could take the approach of the University of Miami, which garnered plenty of attention by taking an ad out in the local paper asking fans to go to fewer games. Seriously, that was the first line of the ad — Go To Fewer Games. Miami is offering up a two-game package for the FSU and North Carolina fans hoping to pack the stadium for those games. So don't worry about FAMU, Arkansas State, Duke, Cincinnati or Pitt. I have a feeling Miami fans had already planned not to go to those games. At any rate, in the words of the legendary color man Pepper Brooks (Dodgeball), “It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em.”
11. So Steve Coburn, the owner of California Chrome, blows off some steam after his horse comes up short in the Triple Crown and gets ripped for it and has to go on a morning fluff show to apologize for it. Boy, we've seen that story before. I happen to like sore losers. They make things more interesting. Coburn complained about horses being rested because they didn't run in the first two races of the Triple Crown. Well, yeah, it was an advantage, but it's not illegal. He'd really hate some of these conference basketball tournaments with double byes. Was Coburn way off in his complaining? Of course. Was it entertaining? Absolutely. We, in the media, are constantly whining about people using cliches and never saying anything and when they do say something we pounce on them like they are crippled gazelles. Drives me crazy.
12. If you had any doubts about whether or not the NFL is The King, all you had to do was read the requirements for a city to bid on a Super Bowl. To put it in a nutshell, the owners have to be treated as if they own the city for six months. Free suites, free golf, police escorts. The perks of being an NFL owner are never more overwhelming than during a Super Bowl. You'd think these cities would just do it the old-fashioned way like Qatar and make the bribes more blatant.
13. I have tried to be interested in the baseball Super Regionals, but with the state schools eliminated it's difficult to sit through a game. And there has been nowhere near the drama that unfolded during the regionals. As good as the pitching is right now you may see a lot of 2-1 games in that huge ball park in Omaha. I'm looking forward to the arrival of the new balls to the game next season. I didn't like baseball when it was softball because of nuclear bats and steroid abuse. But it's gone too far the other way. Hopefully, college baseball can find a happy medium because it's kind of boring right now.
14. Look, one of these days you are going to realize what I'm saying about the Miami Heat is true — they're just teasing us. They lose game one and LeBron James cramps up and we have two full days to analyze his cramps and wonder if the A/C system really broke down and then he carries the Heat to another big win. Heat in 7. It's going to happen. If you are a Spurs fan, don't get too excited by a win. And if there is anyone out there who still doesn't believe TV controls everything, the teams had two days off when there was no travel and a day off when there is travel. OK?
15. It's Open Week and I am fired up because Phil Mickelson seems to have recovered his game and Billy Horschel and Matt Every are playing well and, dang it, it's Open Week. One of my highlights every year is to sit back and enjoy the final round while my wonderful wife serves up incredible food because it's Father's Day. A foot massage may be in order this year. This will be an emotional week because of the Payne Stewart story. I remember when he won in 1999 with that rain shirt with the sleeves pulled off and you kind of knew that somewhere in China there were workers being told to cut the sleeves off all of their rain shirts. And I remember the day I was in the back yard and my wife came out and told me he was gone. Still makes me sad. Expect a few tears this week. They are inevitable.
16. And here comes the World Cup. I get why soccer is the biggest sport in the world. I get why people care so much about it. But I think I'm right on this — we have no shot of winning. And by we I mean the United States. Or Ireland. Think of how cool that final would be. So, to me, it would be like being a fan of Harvard heading into March Madness. You know you're not going to win it all, but there could be some moments worth watching. So I'll watch. Some.
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Tim Reynolds, the excellent Associated Press writer who covers Miami — “Two of the best streaks in sports right now: Heat with 13 straight wins after playoff losses and Heat with a road win in 16 series in a row.” I will not be teased.
18. On Friday night, my oldest daughter, Jennifer, and I went to St. Augustine to see Weezer. It was beyond awesome, even if it did rain on us for the last hour. The Amphitheatre is a great venue and the boys put on quite a show, playing every song you could have wanted. So in honor of Rivers and the fellas, here are your downloads for the week — “Memories” by Weezer, “Pork and Beans” by Weezer and for an oldie “Buddy Holly” by Weezer which was their final song and had us all standing on our heads. Thanks for the show, guys.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.