The Professional Bull Riders Tour came to Tulsa this week

The Professional Bull Riders Tour came to Tulsa this week

Professional bull riding is an insane sport! Mad respect to the cowboys who ride those damn bulls! I caught a Pro Bull Riders tour event this afternoon on CBS while channel surfing and stayed with it to the end. Some good riding in Tulsa this weekend.

And please know that the bulls are not mistreated; this is nothing at all like Bullfighting. The bulls are part of the action and get scored too. Riders don’t want to draw a bull that isn’t top shelf because it would hurt their score. Sort of like “degree of difficulty” for an Olympic diver. Unusual and very interesting sport. My fave bull is “Seven Dust” named because it’s so hard to stay on him for the full eight seconds required to score!

As many of you know, Bulldog is a big sports fan; bull riding is not at the top of my list, but I feel about the sport the way I feel about hockey; the skill level of the athletes is so insanely high–as is the likelihood of mayhem and great bodily injury–that you just have to give them a ton of respect.

The other reason I keep one eye on the sport is that in my early cab driving days I had several fares with riders who were in town for their events. I don’t think we’ve had many of those in Orlando lately, but there were several PBR events in the early aughts at the old Amway Arena. Those were the days!

Anyhow, a tip of the hat to the riders and to the bulls who don’t want to be ridden! And everyone associated with this sport. It’s way down on the list in terms of audience and dollars for the athletes, but it’s one helluva sport!

 

 

Lovin’ the PBR today and waiting for SNB to start, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel

Bulldog writes: This is a very good development for Central Florida TV viewers, especially folks like me who are loyal to Channel 6. Jamie has been doing very solid work as the weekend sports anchor for WKMG for over five years and she’s definitely ready for prime time!

Ping, aka David Pingalore, was good at his craft but his shtick could get so annoying. So this is good news both because I think it’s a good move and because I had gotten really tired of Ping after ten frickin’ years! Details here on the new 30 minute show:

 

WKMG sports director Jamie Seh will headline a year-round sports show at 11:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Source: WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel

USSSA Pride and Chicago Bandits Tangle Thursday Night in Viera

USSSA Pride and Chicago Bandits Tangle Thursday Night in Viera

Some of you know of my love for sports and for softball in particular. Last night two of the best teams in National Pro Fastpitch met at Space Coast Stadium in Viera. The rain-delayed contest ended with the Pride on top, 3-0. Pride slugger Lauren Chamberlain went yard twice on Kaia Parnaby, the Bandit’s rookie hurler in her professional debut. Both shots were no-doubters; Bandits outfielders took a step or two and then watched those bright yellow spheres sail on through the night sky.

These are good times for fans, supporters and players of the game of softball. As many of you may know, softball and baseball will be played in the Olympic Games again in Tokyo in 2020. See my posting on that IOC decision from back on August 6, 2016 if you’d like.

Though it may be true that professional softball is small potatoes compared to big league baseball, the N.P.F. is working hard to keep the sport thriving. The USSSA Pride is the league’s showcase team and if you’re a fan here in the Central Florida area, their home field, Space Coast Stadium, is just down the road. Well, just take exit 195 from I-95 and you’re there!

I’ve been in Florida for a very, very long time and I really don’t like those nasty, sticky, scorching summers we all learn to endure down here. Trips to the beach and the ballpark are my two best strategies to thrive and survive while we wait for the arrival of milder temps and fall sports! It’s working for me!

See you at the ballpark!

 

Ballpark Bulldog Ben

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

The First Time I Jumped Was Three Years Ago Today

The First Time I Jumped Was Three Years Ago Today

If you’ve read much from my blog up to this point, you know I love a wide variety of outdoor activities. Skydiving is one of them.

It was three years ago today when I jumped for the first time. That first one was at Skydive Space Center in Titusville. I had a great time and will most likely be going back to that facility for my next jump. The featured photo you see here was about five minutes or so after we had all four feet on Terra Firma again.

I did two more tandem jumps from a skydiving fac in Lake Wales and have only been inactive in the hobby because of reasons relating to work, work schedules and budgets.

I just have to scratch that skydiving itch again, and soon! Because working on a very limited personal budget is just a part of my reality, it’s going to take some time. But I’m elevating jumping out of airplanes to near the top of my priority list and I’m going to do my dead-level best to jump again before the end of the summer. We’ll see if I can pull it off!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Florida Gators Take First Ever College World Series Title

Florida Gators Take First Ever College World Series Title

The Gators have won plenty of National Championships over the years in many sports. In fact, they’re better at doing that than any other University in the Country. (In the the post World War II Era, mens’ and womens’ sports, that is.)

Last night they finally did it baseball, the last of the big three team sports for the boys from G-ville. The final score was 6-1 last night but it was a very close contest until the bottom of the eighth.

I was able to catch the whole series; it was well worth watching. The Sunshine State’s favorite swamp creatures bested LSU, taking the first two of a three game series. LSU had six CWS titles going into 2017, but a seventh was just not happening as the Gators were playing very, very good baseball in the tourney and were not to be denied that first-ever title.

The Gators softball program had two CWS of Softball titles going into this year’s campaign and came ever-so-close to gleaning a third before being thwarted two weeks ago by the Oklahoma squad. The Gators boys just made that disappointment much easier to bear.

I’m thinking that the bayous are full of cajuns, tigers and even some Louisiana gators –small g — who feel like they’ve had something stolen from them. I’m not jumping into THAT one today, but I can tell you one thing that the Gators had stolen from them in the last 24 hours… That would be the fine foto which adorns this posting you’re reading. Yeah, it’s a really good pic. No, it’s not one of mine. But I like it. Thank you, University of Florida Sports Information Department.

To read a brief write-up about the series and especially last night’s decisive game two, just follow this link.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Knights Knocked Out of AAC Softball Championship Tourney by Lowly East Carolina

Knights Knocked Out of AAC Softball Championship Tourney by Lowly East Carolina

Last Thursday the softball squad from East Carolina eliminated our UCF Knights on day one of the conference championship tourney. I love and support the Knights but that was a huge disappointment for me. UCF was the no. 3 seed; E.C. was in the AAC cellar before the tournament. Perhaps being the host team helped the Pirates kick it up a notch or two.

The Knights finished with a 29-23 record for the 2017 campaign; it was not a bad season considering how young the squad is and that one has to consider it to have been a rebuilding year.

Yes, die-hard fans like me can look forward to the next few years now that the team has more maturity. There certainly is no lack of talent. And coach Rene Luers-Gillispie and her staff are very good at what they do. But the quick exits from the American Athletic Conference the last two years have dampened this dog’s enthusiasm just a bit.

Damn, what a whiner I am! #ChargeOn, Knights fans!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

UCF Softballers Bash UConn in Home Finale

UCF Softballers Bash UConn in Home Finale

What you’re seeing in the featured photo is a softball about a millisecond before Knights catcher Cassady Brewer crushes it into the stands in right-center field. I caught that first inning shot, it was the first of the two round-trippers she smacked on Sunday afternoon.

The second was a walk off grand slam, which triggered an immediate 9-0 run rule victory for the Knights in the sixth. UConn bested them on Friday night with two grand slams of their own; UCF’s intrepid softball squad took game two on Saturday and yesterday’s convincing win gave them that badly-needed 2-1 series edge.

I did not catch Cassady’s coup de grâce on film. I had put my camera away by then. I just wanted the luxury of watching the game without being in my usual “don’t miss this next shot” mode, and so I stashed my pride and joy in the car. That’ll teach me! Of course, merely seeing it with my eyes is still one of the best moments of the 2017 season! (If you’d like to read my posting about an earlier round-tripper from Brewer, one that bested Baylor, catch the one dated March 20 of this year.)

This was the last home game for the Knights. Sad to see the season wrapping up. There are four more regular season games, a single tilt with BCC in Daytona on Wednesday. And then a three game series in Tulsa with the Golden Hurricane. And when the AAC Tournament kicks off, Tulsa may well be the team to beat; but you can bet that the Knights will show up in Greenville ready to play.

UCF had/is having a decent season — their record after Sunday stands at 25-21, falling far short of last year’s campaign. The 2016 squad made it to the regional play-offs last May where they beat FAU twice but were eliminated by the Gators. I traveled up to G’ville for that tourney and enjoyed it immensely in spite of the Knights not advancing.

As this season winds down, let me contrast the current season with last year’s to shed a bit more light on recent UCF softball history. The 2016 incarnation of the Knights was really good, finishing 38-22 and delighting UCF fans all over Central Florida. The only down side: the team graduated eight seniors including ace pitcher Shelby Turnier, catcher and power hitter Samantha McCloskey and slugger Jamie Ujvary. Shelby — as you may know if you follow the sport — had a stellar first season at the pro level with the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch.

It was apparent to most fans that the Knights would have a hard time topping last year’s season and so their 25-21 record at this point with four regular season games left is not a bad 2017 campaign. As far as how UCF’s softballers may fare in the future, there are no fewer than nine freshmen on the squad, including a gaggle of pitchers who show a lot of promise, so I’m looking for great things from UCF moving forward. And in the meantime, the results of Sunday’s outing will send the squad into their last series and the AAC tourney ready to show their stuff.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile