Good morning, Gator Nation:
Let’s see, there’s 7 days remaining before SEC Football Media Days (July 21-23) in Hoover, Ala.; 9 days before Friday Night Lights (July 23) in the Swamp; 10 days before Gridiron Kings (July 24) at Disney’s Wide World of Sports; 16 days before the Gators Charity Challenge (July 30) in the Swamp; 19 days before Florida’s first fall practice (Aug. 1); and 52 days before the season opener against Miami of Ohio (Sept. 4) at noon.
1. GEORGE MICHAEL STEINBRENNER (July 4, 1930-July 13, 2010): Say what you want about “The Boss,” the mercurial owner of the New York Yankees who died Tuesday morning from a heart attack in Tampa at the age of 80. But always remember this: He knew you could never quit, he cared for people from all walks of life, and late in his life, he remembered those he had hurt and made amends. He got it. Thanks, Mr. Steinbrenner, for all the good you’ve done, especially for the University of Florida (as a Bull Gator) and for folks in and around Gainesville and Ocala. Rest in peace.
2. ANOTHER NICE TOUCH: Steinbrenner’s death, of course, Tuesday morning had MLB scrambling, and based on its pre-game show and honor for Steinbrenner, MLB hit a home run. And what a nice touch to honor late Yankees P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard, who passed Sunday at 99, by using his introduction of Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter when he came up to the plate in the first inning.
3. THANK GOODNESS HE DIDN’T HAVE TO RUN THEM OUT: David Ortiz won Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby with 32 home runs Monday night and thank goodness he wasn’t asked to run them all out. The way Ortiz makes his way s-l-o-w-l-y a-r-o-u-n-d the diamond, they’d be playing the All-Star Game on Wednesday.
4. SOME EXPLAINING TO DO: The Knoxville, Tenn., Police Department released its findings into last week’s early-morning bar brawl involving several Tennessee football players that left an off-duty police hospitalized with a severe head injury, a patron with serious head injuries and first-year Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley expelling one player (sophomore safety Darren Myles Jr.) from the program and suspending two others (sophomores Greg King and Marlon Walls) indefinitely. According to the police report, senior defensive tackle Chase Nelson is accused of starting a fight with the patron, Gary Russell, but according to a UT athletic official an internal review indicated Nelson wasn’t present the night of the brawl. Verrrry Interesting.
5. THAT’S WHY HE’S MR. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Gator Country pal Tony Barnhart had a very good blog Tuesday on what colleges need to do about athletes behaving badly. (Read it here: http://blogs.ajc.com/barnhart-college-football/2010/07/13/so-what-do-we-do-about-athletes-behaving-badly/). Tony has a nice clothesline for departed coach Lane Kiffin: “(if you are a UT fan,) Derek Dooley is now our head coach which means that an adult is back in charge.”
6. OLD SCHOOL, GOOD SCHOOL: Yes, yes I know that Dooley is the son of former Georgia coach/AD Vince Dooley and I know how some Florida fans feel about anything Tennessee and anything Dooley, who took a lot of enjoyment running it up on the Gators on occasion (for which Steve Spurrier had some serious payback years later). I’m an old-school kind of guy – you recruit ‘em, you tell Mommy and Daddy you’re going to watch ‘em and discipline ‘em and make them men, well, you do that. Urban Meyer is a tough-love guy – old school, out of the Bo Schembechler-Woody Hayes-Earle Bruce mold. Coaches never should be able to say, “Hey, I can’t watch all of them” when one of their multi-talented athletes with the questionable background brings embarrassment to them and their program. Derek Dooley didn’t recruit ‘em, Lane Kiffin did, but credit Dooley for doing what Kiffin still would be trying to figure out to do. Here’s two other Old-Schoolers, one talking about the other:
7. WHAT THE NATIONAL LEAGUE’S 3-1 ALL-STAR VICTORY MEANS: That games 3-4-5 of the World Series will be played in Tropicana Field. (Sorry, Mr. Steinbrenner)
8. WHO’S COMING TO HOOVER? Defending champion Alabama, Mississippi State, Florida and Kentucky have drawn first-day duty at the SEC Football Media Days July 21. Joining Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, quarterback Greg McElroy and linebacker Dont’a Hightower; MSU coach Dan Mullen will be accompanied by defensive back Charles Mitchell, quarterback Chris Relf and offensive lineman Quentin Saulsberry; new Kentucky coach Joker Phillips will bring along all-around player Randall Cobb, tailback Derrick Locke and defensive end DeQuin Evans; and Florida coach Urban Meyer is being joined by safety Ahmad Black, center Mike Pouncey and defensive end Justin Trattou. For the rest of the schedule, read here: http://www.secsports.com/news/sec-media-days-the-players.aspx
9. QUITE THE WINDFALL: When George Steinbrenner and a few of his friends ponied up $8.7 million back on Jan. 3, 1973 to buy the New York Yankees, the 42-year-old Steinbrenner’s initial personal investment was $168,000. At the time of his death, the Yankees’ franchise was worth $1.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine, trailing only Manchester United ($1.8 billion) and the Dallas Cowboys ($1.65 billion).
10. FAVORITE NEW COMMERCIAL: This guy has a lot of “The Boss” in him, don’t you think?