John Clay

Long road ends in win for Ginter

Random notes:

■ Matt Ginter is your bulldog story.

Ginter, who grew up in Winchester, returned to the big leagues for the first time in three years last week, pitching five innings of shutout baseball for the Cleveland Indians against the Tampa Bay Rays. It earned the former Clark County star his first big-league victory since 2004.

It's been a long and winding road for the right-hander. A first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox out of Mississippi State in 1999, Ginter has pitched for the White Sox, the New York Mets and Detroit in the bigs before bouncing around the minors in 2006 and 2007.

But the 30-year-old was finally rewarded when Cleveland called him up from AAA Buffalo to replace the injured Fausto Carmona.

■ Louisville made the list of 25 finalists in ESPN's Titletown contest, even though the city hasn't enjoyed an NCAA hoops title since 1986. Lexington, which has hung two NCAA title banners since the 'Ville last did so, did not.

■ Thank goodness Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez will have to pay that $4 million buyout (with Michigan's help) back to West Virginia as stipulated in his contract. About time a coach was held to a contract.

■ The diva that is now Brett Favre isn't really all that different from other entertainers. How many times has The Who embarked on a “farewell” tour, and half of its members are no longer among the living?

■ If the Packers do go with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, and finish, say, 6-10, they will have a whole lot of explaining to do.

■ Of course, Brett might have to explain why he gave an exclusive interview to Packers backer Greta Van Susteren.

■ Rick Pitino and Derek Caracter have broken up and reunited more times than Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

■ According to the Birmingham News, the average price of an SEC football ticket, including the donations required to purchase tickets, has ballooned from $61.07 in 1998 to $110.05 in 2008. No wonder inflation is at its highest level in 17 years.

■ Since returning July 3 from elbow surgery, Lexington's own Austin Kearns has hit .286 with a .405 on-base percentage. The Nationals right-fielder is now hitting .205 for the season. He was at .187 when on the disabled list.

■ Look for Oakland to trade former UK pitcher Joe Blanton before the deadline.

■ Vanderbilt's new football uniforms will include nine different color combinations this season. That's three more than the number of wins Vandy needs to earn its first bowl trip since 1984.

■ E-mailer Steve writes, “I would rather watch Billy Packer do commentary for a basketball game. I would rather eat with Dick Vitale.”

■ Speaking of broadcasters, how in the world is NBC going to fit Dan Patrick into its already overcrowded “Football Night in America” set, much less his ego?

■ I know we are all thankful that Joe “I don't really watch sports” Buck took time to watch the All-Star game as he was broadcasting it.

■ I like Sheryl Crow, but the official scorer should have charged her national anthem rendition with an error.

■ So when the Hall of Fame members were being recognized before Tuesday's game, where in the world was Johnny Bench?

■ There is an Oregon sports blog entitled “Addicted to Quack.”

■ Alabama has had so many off-the-field problems this summer, Internet wisecrackers claim the new cheer at Tide games will be “Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer/Another Bammer in the slammer.”

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