The Back Nine: Forget fans, players it’s TV’s world


The Back Nine comes at you a day late (and a dollar short, but that’s a whole different story) after the Rainsville Regional that was both irritating and irresistible.

10. If I was asked this question once I was asked it a thousand times — why wasn’t the Monday Super Regional continuation game played in the morning rather than the afternoon when you knew it was going to rain? Well, because it’s ESPN’s world and we’re all just living in it even if it’s a smaller world than it used to be. Apparently, it’s better for TV to show reruns of old “30 for 30s” during weather delays than it is to look out for the fans or the players. What both teams had to go through was ridiculous, but it’s the way of the world. It’s why southern teams have to play early September games at noon in brutal heat. You’ll sleep a lot better if you remember this — nobody at any network or at the NCAA cares about you, the fans. And they only care about the “student-athletes” when it’s convenient. And yes, I am grumpy after 10 hours of weather delays. And I didn’t even mention the umpires once.

11. Don’t be surprised if it’s Brady Singer on the bump on Sunday night when the Gators start College World Series play instead of first-round pick Alex Faedo. Kevin O’Sullivan was already toying with that idea Monday night after Faedo closed out the win over Wake Forest depending on how Faedo’s arm feels after throwing on one day’s rest, even if it was only two innings. It sets up to be a wide open College World Series with no real Cinderella team. Oregon State is 54-4. LSU and FSU are the hottest teams in the country. And then there is UF’s opening-round opponent TCU, which can really pitch. The Horned Frogs were wandering in the wilderness with one NCAA win in their history before Jim Schlossnagle was hired in 2003. He went 6-9 in the tournament in his first five seasons, but has won 43 NCAA Tournament games since 2009 and is making his fourth straight trip to Omaha. Of course, Sully and the Gators are no slouches themselves.

12. The people who did attend the Monday games at McKethan Stadium should be proud of themselves. UF was ridiculed on Twitter by some national baseball writers because of the small crowd, but for the people who hung in there through the ridiculousness of the event, it was worth it. I think. For a small crowd, it was a pretty loud crowd. Of course, the umpires gave them a lot to yell about. But at the end when the Gators were rushing the field, it was pretty noisy at the Mac.

13. One thing about the Gators, they don’t waste time. Less than 10 minutes after the final out, “2017” had been stenciled onto the right field fence next to the other College World Series appearances. Chip Howard, the executive AD who is leaving UF to be COO of Tailgate Guys, said UF started doing that after the 2015 Super Regional so the players, coaches and staff could get pictures taken around it. They also did it when UF clinched the SEC title this year. Howard, by the way, would have worked his last day Monday had Florida lost the Super Regional. Instead, he’ll travel with the party of 85 to Omaha. Which is really a cool way to send out a great guy and a great Gator.

14. Sure, there are people out there who were and are critical of Kevin Durant’s decision to go to Golden State and LeBron James’ decision to form a super team in Miami and the Big Three forming when it did in Boston. Because, you know, you’re supposed to earn your rings, not join up with other players who can help you earn it. As if Durant didn’t earn this one. All I know is this — the ratings for Game 5 were the highest since 1998. So the NBA needs more super teams instead of less. And while the Warriors are right now the biggest favorites to win another title next year in the history of Vegas, let’s wait and see what some of these other teams do during the offseason. And quit arguing over whether the old Bulls or the new Warriors are the best team ever. Just enjoy.

15. We watch the Masters for the beauty and the British Open for the history and the Ryder Cup for the intensity. We watch the U.S. Open for the train wrecks. And it looks like we are going to see a bunch of them at Erin Hills. The USGA did cut the rough down a little bit Tuesday because of a severe storm (I thought it was just us), but it’s still going to be a brutal test for the players. I need to make a pick, don’t I? Let’s see, who should I pick to extend my streak of never getting a major correct? Let’s go with Jason Day. That should totally jinx him.

16. With the silly season in full gear, can someone make the Auburn-to-the-East story go away? Asking for a friend.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Pete Fiutak, the publisher of College Football News — “After taking over for Bob Stoops, when Lincoln Riley & Tom Herman face off in Dallas, their combined age will be younger than Bill Snyder.” What a news cycle this spring/summer in Norman with national titles and the retirement of Bob Stoops. The funny thing was that Stoops waited until after Oklahoma won the softball title over Florida to make his announcement not to take away from their glory, but not very long. Like 18 hours.

18. When you sit through as many delays as the hacks did at McKethan Stadium, you run out of stories but never out of songs. Try this playlist:

• “Fool’s Errand” by Fleet Foxes.

• “Call It Dreaming” by Iron & Wine.

• “Oh Woman Oh Man” by London Grammar.

• “J-Boy” by Phoenix.

• And for an old one because a good friend asked me to nicely, “Super Bad” by James Brown.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at</i