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

 

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