John Clay: Baseball Cats a big disappointment this year

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistMay 21, 2013 

Random notes:

After Kentucky's 4-1 loss to Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament on Tuesday, the UK baseball season has to be characterized as a huge disappointment.

After starting the year No. 11 in Baseball America's pre-season poll, the Cats are unlikely to get an NCAA Tournament bid after going 11-19 in the SEC and losing in the first round of the conference tournament.

On April 2 when UK recorded a 5-4 win at Louisville, Gary Henderson's club was 22-6. It went 8-19 overall and 3-16 in the SEC the rest of the way.

Henderson, who received a five-year, $2 million contract last July, is 159-124 as UK's head coach. Subtract last season and Henderson is 114-106.

Speaking of baseball, Joey Votto has warmed up. Going into Tuesday night's game in New York against the Mets, Votto was hitting .514 over his last eight games.

He raised his batting average to .353, second to Milwaukee's Jean Segura, who was hitting .355.

Did you see where Preakness TV ratings were up 20 percent over last year? The ratings usually correlate with the popularity of the Kentucky Derby champion, which speaks well of Orb, despite his fourth-place finish.

The last three times more people watched the Preakness than Saturday — Rachel Alexandra's win over Derby winner Mine That Bird in 2009; Barbaro's ill-fated Preakness in 2006 and Smarty Jones' Preakness win in 2004.

Class move No. 1: Immediately after Shug McGaughey talked to the press on the track about his colt's disappointing fourth-place finish in the Preakness, the trainer stopped and signed autographs for fans along the rail.

Class move No. 2: Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant announced Tuesday he was giving $1 million to the state's tornado victims.

The ACC says it is "investigating" the possibility of playing its post-season basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden which means New York, here it comes.

Caesar's in Las Vegas lists Kentucky as a 3-1 favorite to win the national basketball title next year. But then Orb was a 3-5 favorite on Saturday in Baltimore.

Did you hear the report that the real reason the Reds' Aroldis Chapman gave up back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth for Philadelphia's 3-2 win on Sunday was because the closer ate 18 Cuban pastries filled with cream cheese?

In the past year, the basketball coaches of the Los Angeles Lakers (Mike Brown), Los Angeles Clippers (Vinny Del Negro), USC (Kevin O'Neill) and UCLA (Ben Howland) have all been let go.

Plenty of people will be angling for that NBA job in Los Angeles. Not the Lakers, the Clippers.

Do you realize that if Nerlens Noel goes No. 1 in the NBA Draft, John Calipari will have coached four of the last six overall No. 1 picks?

If you don't think former UK quarterback Morgan Newton can make it in the NFL as a tight end — he signed with the Giants last week — you don't remember former UK quarterback Derrick Ramsey, who made it in the NFL as a tight end with the Oakland Raiders.

SI.com named Archie Goodwin as one of the "losers" from the NBA Draft Combine last week in Chicago. It said Goodwin has a hard time making outside shots. We know.

Dwight Howard should spend less time whining and more time practicing free throws.

No way the Pacers beat the Heat, but what if they did? And then what if they beat the West winner for the NBA title? Then Rick Pitino would be the reigning coach of college basketball's champions while his former manager, Frank Vogel, would be coach of the NBA champions.

If you wondered where Rick Pitino was Saturday while his horse Goldencents was running up the track in the Preakness, the Louisville coach was in the Bahamas helping daughter Jacqueline celebrate her 21st birthday.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: Johnclay.bloginky.com.

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