OK, I'll admit it I listen to country music once in a while, there are some good country songs. Not every country song is about a guy's pickup truck breaking down, his girl leaving him or his dog dying.
So with apologies to Willie Nelson, we're making a little change to the title of one his songs for this post. Willie's original song title is "You Were Always on My Mind". Let's change the verb for the theme of this post.
Judging by the response to the GPP's FIU football posts, that seems to be the sport that is on most FIU fans minds. With that in mind, Spring Scrimmage No. 2 is tommorrow (Saturday) at 10:30 a.m. We'll see if the FIU defense can get going earlier than last week, if the running backs can keep up their production and if Paul McCall continues his solid effort toward winning the starting QB job.
But Willie's song for this post is in tribute to what happened Wednesday night at University Park Stadium with the opposing coach, because apparently TT is still on JM's mind or in his head as the psychology folks like to say. From JM's comment of "Turtle, Who?" in the preseason media day and again on Wednesday night.
Let's get the baseball facts out of the way first: um has a heck of a baseball team and they should challenge in Omaha this June.
The other fact is FIU is not on that level yet offensively, defensively or with its pitching. There are several people on this blog that think the Golden Panthers baseball program TT took over was not in as bad a shape as the football program MC inherited. News flash folks: FIU has little to zero pitching and when a good opposing pitcher takes the mound the FIU bats struggle. Add to it that FIU is handicapped by having only 8 to 9 scholarships available per year until 2010, because of past APR no-nos and you have a baseball team that needs to be built, not re-built.
Back to the point of this post. It makes no difference to me whether any of the series between the two schools in the three major sports continue beyond this season. As many have pointed out and I agree with: the two schools are on different levels right now. (BTW, the hoops series ends after next season's game in Coral Gables).
What caught my attention on Wednesday was the lack of class displayed by the visiting team and their coach.
As MaXx pointed out in one of his comments and was heard loud and clear from the press box (which also means most of the stadium heard it): what kind of classy team gathers before a game and screams "(word that rhymes with "puck") Turtle Thomas, let's kill these guys!" The opposing players were still in middle school when TT was an assistant under JM so they wouldn't know anything about the history between the two coaches.
Which is another thing, only the two coaches really know what happened between them in 1999 when JM let TT go. I get a kick out of all these on-line experts from the peanut gallery with their Oliver Stone/JFK conspiracy theories of what happened between the two coaches. You all know the types: "Yeah, I'm real close to the program and I know the real truth....yada, yada, yada, yada".
The other moment that stood out Wednesday was the meeting at home plate to exchange lineup cards. TT extended his hand. JM looked at the hand, thought about it and then as one of our regular posters, FIUJM, wrote in the comments section of the MH Game Story, JM got "alligator arms" when he shook TT's hand.
Neither coach wanted to talk about the past on Wednesday and that's fine. That's their business and their prerogative. After Wednesday night's game, I asked JM about continuing to schedule FIU and that TT wanted to play his team four times a season starting next season. JM frowned and changed his tone of voice when responding to both questions. You can read his comments in the game story link above.
The teams meet for the final time on April 23 in Coral Gables. Don't see FIU winning that game, unless it gets a Cy Young pitching performance and Cy Young has been dead for a while now. However, it would be interesting to see how the Golden Panthers react (classy?) if they do finish the 35-year-old crosstown series with a win.
FIU0406: Have faith man, the Golden Panthers can still go 19-6 and you can win the "Win a GPP Blog II". As it's looking right now, as Princess Leia would say in the first Star Wars movie: "FIU0406, you're the blog's readers only hope".
FIUVoice: Or shall we say the Voice of Reason here. You are correct in pointing out that the two previous FIU coaches never played the type of schedule TT has this season. Were the games TT scheduled a bit too ambitious for the type of team he inherited? Probably so, but you're not going to get better playing Eckerd Drugs and Florida Southern Church.
24/7-11: Considering FIU has not sniffed the Sun Belt tournament in recent years and has resided at the bottom of the conference standings, being in third place right now is good considering the overall season.