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So Sorry About That

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2023 6:44 pm

So Sorry About That

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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June 23, 2023 6:44 pm

On a Friday Drive, Josh reacts to Mitch Kupchak saying that Brandon Miller was always going to be the pick for the Charlotte Hornets, reacts to Wake Forest being eliminated in the College World Series semis by LSU, voice of Charlotte FC, Will Palaszczuk, joins the show to tell why he doesn't think that Charlotte Hornet fans are sold on Brandom Miller, Josh pays the price for jinxing Wake Forest, and ESPN's, Ryan McGee, joins the show to tell why Wake-LSU Game 3 was the greatest game he's ever seen in person.

The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham
The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham
The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham
The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham
The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham

Yes, Josh Graham has opinions. There is nothing that entertains the audience and the masses more than me being bothered. And yes, he's got attitude.

Really, none of the game made sense to me. And that's exactly why you love him. When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together. You're on The Drive with Josh Graham. We've made it mercifully to a Friday Drive.

It's a Rhinestone Cowboy Friday, and you're listening to WSJS NewsTalk Sports for the Triad, where if you're both a fan of the Charlotte Hornets and Wake Forest, I'd like to know your name. I imagine last night was a tough one. But let's hit on these one by one, starting with the Hornets.

Here's all you really need to know, and it's not really much of a take today. Mitch Kupchak was going to pick Brandon Miller all along. He might as well have one of those Kevin Costner sticky notes from draft day that said as much.

Brandon Miller no matter what. And really, he gave away the game on lottery night about a month and a half ago when he said Charlotte was in a position with its talent to be picky. That runs contrary to his philosophy on draft night.

Every other year he's been the general manager. We're not in a place like these top organizations where we could be picky with talent. We've got to pick the best player available. When he said that a month and a half ago, I believe today that he had Brandon Miller in mind. Brandon Miller's a better fit. I don't want to get too caught up in who best player available is because it might be Scoot Henderson. We're going to take Brandon Miller because he is the best fit.

I want to take him. So I'm going to justify that by saying the Charlotte Hornets who haven't been to the playoffs now in seven years, the longest drought in the NBA right now, they now have enough talent that, oh yeah, we can be picky as an organization. Then you get to Mitch Kupchak's presser right after he made the pick. Here he was saying why he was in on Brandon all along. Obviously there were two players that were heavily considered at that position. Brandon was the favorite all along. But to do your due diligence, you bring them in the one time and then you're allowed to bring them in the second time, which everybody knows we did on Monday.

It wasn't the easiest decisions, but Brandon was our favorite all along. We like to think sports and GMs, the decisions that are made, it's more complicated than it is. We do this sometimes. We think, oh, well, clearly they're looking at a ton of things that we're not looking at. They know so much more than the hardcore basketball fan or media member might know.

In this instance, this likely is as simple as it seems on its face. Mitch Kupchak went to the South Carolina game, which just so happened to be Brandon Miller's best game in an Alabama uniform. He probably thought that day, if we don't get Victor Webinama and we get a chance to draft this guy, if we get the number two pick, we're probably going to end up taking this guy. He was sold probably that day and was just looking in workouts for affirmation.

It's the easiest thing to do. We've got LaMelo. It'd be more of a headache to bring in Scoot Henderson and to try and figure it out, even though he might be the better player, even though he might be an MVP candidate one way or one day. Brandon Miller has a higher floor. He's a safer pick. He's a more polished player right now. He's better defensively, which is going to make Steve Clifford happy.

We see the things that they like, but it's the convenience. It's how easy it was when talking about fit that makes you a little bit uneasy about it. And it's pretty clear that Mitch is perfectly happy ignoring all the red flags when it came to Brandon Miller, mediocre against teams that are good, not named South Carolina, the good teams.

Look at his stance when he plays top 50 teams, including how he played in the NCAA tournament. Oh, but his groin wasn't great. Okay. How about when he was out of shape in Chicago? Oh, well, he just got sick at that point too. Okay. We'll just take that excuse as well.

Got it. Oh, how about when he had a mediocre workout with the Hornets the first time around? We heard leading to the second workout where both Woach and Jonathan Gavone were saying he had a better effort in his second workout. Well, he was still trying to come back from that.

Okay. And that's not even mentioning the obvious of being loosely connected to a murder at two in the morning, driving a gun to the scene of the crime, something that ESPN conveniently left off of their broadcast last night after the Hornets made the pick. Oh, you know, why was this guy the biggest story of college basketball? It must have been because he's 6'9 and can shoot, right? Something like that.

But there's that. Here was Mitch's defense in terms of being comfortable taking Brandon Miller last night. It was tepid. It was awkward.

Well, everything that we, you know, every answer they got, we got to every question. You know, I would say, you know, he is a freshman, right? So, you know, he's a little bit, you know, I would say younger than, I wouldn't say younger. Nah, I bet he might even go in that direction, actually. I'll just let it go off.

That's probably wise, Mitch. Ah, come on. When we were all 20 years old, we all drove murder weapons in the back of the car to the scene of a crime at two in the morning. Who hasn't?

Who hasn't lived a little bit? He's 20. Well, how old was Scoot? Yeah. He was always going to select Brandon Miller.

Full stop. That's what it was. He liked Brandon Miller. He wanted to draft Brandon Miller.

He'll justify it however way he wants to. On Twitter, at WSJS Radio, if you want in, that's where we're streaming video in addition to YouTube and Twitch. Will Dalton is the executive producer of the show. W.D., random question. Completely random.

Yes. Are you a believer in curses, jinxes? I'm a believer in karma.

Yeah, karma's a cat in case you didn't know, but semi-related to that. Wake Forest lost last night, and the number one team in the country's season is now over. Is that the most painful loss for Wake Forest athletics in a generation? I won't go as far to say forever because that's a long time, but it could be. Is that the most painful loss, we'll call it, in the last 20 years for Wake Forest athletics?

336-777-1600 because you can make the case for that. Man, in order for their season to end, two things had to occur that had not happened all year long for Wake. The Deacs would have to have lost consecutive games.

They did. The Deacs would have to lose on a day that Rhett Louder started. If you would have told me yesterday that Rhett Louder was going to go seven scoreless yesterday, would have liked the Deacs' chances. And both of this happened for a team that's ranked number one in the country. They played well enough to win last night.

That's the thing. Rhett was fantastic on four days rest, and he had never even pitched on five days rest before. Dustin Johnson, shades of Trey Turner about a decade ago. Hit one to the fence that's way too deep out in left. Nearly hit one out in extra innings. And their best chance was that squeeze play in the eighth inning. A play that Tom Walter nitpicked afterwards saying, we could have done it a little bit better. But it's also one of those, you just got to tip your cap to the LSU first baseman, Trey Morgan. Here was Tom Walter after the game. Yeah, it was maybe just a little too hard, but I thought it was a pretty good bunt.

And give credit to Trey Morgan. He was kind of straight vacating on that ball. And the reality of the situation is, you could maybe hold the runner there, because I don't think they'd have been able to get an out on the backside of that, because of the way he crashed. And I don't know that they had anybody covering first base. I think if we make a little better slide there, we're probably safe. I think we just got a little too high with the slide. But again, it was a great defensive play by a great defensive first baseman.

And I think both teams did everything right. This was in Omaha. This was with a national championship berth hanging in the balance. That exceeds being tenth in the country and unbeaten in November, losing in Chapel Hill in football a couple of years ago when you're up 18 in the second half.

I was there. The Tar Heels stormed the field after beating Wake Forest. Still something that's kind of hard to process. This was worse than losing the ACC championship game, because it was overwhelming when Sam Hartman started throwing those picks and Kenny Pickett got away with the fake slide and the whole deal. Basketball, it's worse than the loss to Boston College in Brooklyn a couple of years ago. Boston College? Because we don't even know if that would have been enough for Wake Forest to get into the tournament. This was Omaha. This was a national championship on the line. A national championship berth, I should say. And Wake being the number one team in the country, and they were good enough.

They were good enough, and it just didn't happen. It's the drive with Josh Graham, WSJS. Take my, take my, take my, take my. Listen to Charlotte FC soccer tomorrow as Montreal is in town. To face the boys in blue, the man who will be on the call for those who can't make it in the bank is Will Pelagic.

He joins us now on Twitter at WillyPstyle. Let's start with the Charlotte Hornets since you're in the Queen City and fresh out of a press conference today with, I presume, Brandon Miller, Mitch Kupchak and company. What did you learn from the presser? I don't know if we learned much, Josh. I think a lot of the stuff kind of in the in the offing that people really want to know kind of went unasked and really unsaid from Brandon Miller's perspective. I did find it interesting that Mitch Kupchak said really his first comments about the new ownership, mentioning that it doesn't look like there is going to be an immediate change under Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, and that the Hornets hierarchy will remain intact, said that he's never really gone through anything like this before. He did mention the fact that when he was in Los Angeles, they did have the the death of Jerry Buss and the transitioning to the Gini at all.

So it was a little bit different. But I think he looks at this as something where he wants to see through the continued progression of the Hornet franchise. But I think the real thing right now, Josh, is that there's sort of a discomfort around the off the court issues that Brandon Miller, as I guess I don't want to say surrounded himself around, but but that has created. And I think that part of it is, I think, going to be a lingering issue until he steps on the floor. And I think a lot of people kind of wonder and myself included, you know, what that means for his time with the Hornets.

I do feel like it's one of those things that it is going to have to take some time and it's going to be a lot of him, you know, doing the right things on and off the floor, being that charitable guy that that basically he purports to be. I overheard a conversation with his dad talking to some of the media where he says, you know, this is something that, you know, is not part of his DNA, not something that I taught him and things of that nature. So I'm I'm not saying that I'm not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the serious allegations that were made and the things that he's connected to, I think for a lot of Hornet fans, that that's a bridge that is still pretty hard to cross for a lot of people. Did anybody ask him about that today? Steve Reid of the Associated Press asked him about it was something it was it was some way basically asked about, OK, you know, what do you think about all that's kind of being said about you and how do you go about proving yourself off the floor? And he handled it well. I mean, he comes out and that's the one thing I feel like people were kind of waiting to see, is that the only thing we really knew about Brandon is that any direct questions he said, basically no comment, and that there was the report that behind the scenes, he basically did nothing more than just give a paper that was signed by signed by his lawyer, basically, and his agent.

So I know that that Mitch said last night on multiple occasions that he and Buzz Peterson went down to Alabama and really talked to anybody they can find, whether it was people on the legal system, people who with Alabama and even family members, too. I just think that we never really got any concrete reasons as to why they are, quote unquote, comfortable on and off the floor. And basically asking an organization to be trusted when you've seen the on floor product be what it is. That's a hard thing for Hornet fans to accept, and I don't think that Hornet fans should be chastised for feeling a bit skeptical. No, because the next step is, and this is the thing I've been hearing about for months, folks in that building believe it's a foregone conclusion that Miles Bridges is coming back.

So when that headline does inevitably drop that he will be on the team, what you're describing coupled with that will net what in terms of reaction? I think there's a similar resignation to that that there was to Brandon Miller being in the building. I mean, I was in the building last night, Josh, and I said this on our air as well. It was just weird. It was ominous. Like, it didn't feel like, hey, we're selecting the number two pick and there's all this excitement. And I think enough people connected with the organization were excited about it, et cetera, and so on. But like, even in the media, like we're all looking around being like, this doesn't feel like the kind of coronation that this should be.

Yeah, you didn't get Victor, but in a normal year, you would think getting the number two overall pick, there'd be this excitement. Well, there's just a lot of parts of the conversation that surround Brandon Miller that really just aren't comfortable talking about it. And that's what you asked Mitch Kupchak about last night. And he said, in our building?

And whoa, there were boos? Like, I'm unaware of that. That's news to me. Do you think Mitch was truly unaware of the blowback or that the pick was going to be unpopular? I think it's semantical, honestly. I mean, I'm not going to try to sit here and say what he's thinking. But the reason I asked the question that I did was there are a lot of people who feel like they need to be sold on this pick properly. And I don't feel like that's happened yet.

And I still don't think it has. And I think I was trying to give him the opportunity to make that happen. And maybe I could have phrased the question a little bit more softly. No, it was a great question.

No, no, don't count. You framed it perfectly. You got the response. But at the same time, like I wanted to give him the opportunity to be like, hey, there are a lot of people who are not sold on this.

Sell me on it. He declined. And that's his prerogative. And I'm not going to sit here and take him to task for it. But at the same time, it's it's a scenario where I feel like there are a lot of people who are unsatisfied. And get this from me, Josh, because this is the part of it that I want to make sure that I hit and hammer home. And we're just talking about the two players skill sets.

I'm maybe not as bothered as I am today. If it's just such a simple thing with the two skill sets of the players, Scoot Henderson's got a major question about his shooting ability. Brandon Miller's got a major question on the floor about his ability to score all three levels and his overall strength. Which do you think has a better opportunity of fixing itself so that each player can be at their optimal level? There are a lot of people who think that Miller's problems are easier to fix when it comes to the on the floor stuff.

Maybe that's something that gives people who didn't like this pick a bit more pause, but you can't have that part in a vacuum away from the rest of the conversation. Let's get to the soccer. Will Pelagic's with us here.

You got Charlotte FC tomorrow facing Montreal. But I actually want to look at the national piece, national team piece of this U.S. soccer. Couple of headlines in the last week. Greg Berlehalter, he's getting another run in it for 2026 as the men's national team manager. And then the women's national team 23 player roster was announced a few days ago for the World Cup that, hey, don't look now.

New Zealand and Australia is next month. Did you have any issue with either front? There's a lot of turnover. There were a couple of selections on there. I think it was Hatch was one that was looked at as maybe people who thought that she deserved being on there. I think Rapinoe being there at her age is something that's rather curious to know that she wanted to give it another go to and be on that team. But I don't have any real issue with the way that they put the roster out there.

I think it's going to be a pretty tough contest between them and England when it inevitably does happen. And I think that's the one kind of juicy matchup you look at and say those two. They've linked heads a couple of times over the course the last couple of months to admit to, I guess, mixed results from the United States perspective. On the inside, the Berhalter appointment is somewhat controversial because there were a lot of people who found themselves dissatisfied with the way that everyone kind of handled that uncomfortable situation. You talk about an uncomfortable situation with the Hornets. It was no less comfortable dealing with Berhalter, who had an alleged domestic involvement that took place many years ago. Despite the fact that it was many years ago, I still think it's something that you look at with a a very highly raised eyebrow. And you talk about the fact that the Claudio and Gino Reyna scenario that's going on without behind the scenes there makes it also very uncomfortable, because Gio Reyna is somebody who I think is a very important player for the future of United States soccer. And, you know, you can talk all you want about taking a ball again away from England. I think there's a scenario that develops where they're going to have to sit down and have a conversation and it's going to be awkward.

It's going to be something where, you know, you don't want necessarily jeopardize the kid for what the parent is doing. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of very interesting questions that need to be asked about the leadership of U.S. soccer going forward. I don't know if this is the best move forward with, you know, the World Cup coming into your country here in a couple of years. I don't know if he'll be necessarily in charge of the Gold Cup coming up here this weekend. I don't think he is.

So from that aspect, I'm wondering just exactly how this is all going to work with Burr Holter and what the squad's going to look like. Last thing, W.D., with it being summer blockbuster season, has never seen either Jaws or E.T. out of those two.

Which should he watch? Ooh, E.T. I think E.T. is the one that, although I was scared of E.T. as a kid. Sarah Bradford, my wife, has never seen it, but she said she was scared of how E.T.

looked, so never watched it. I was scared as a kid of the movie and then I went on the E.T. ride at Disneyland as a child. And there's the action photo that you get, you know, when you're going through the ride or whatever. There is a photo somewhere in my parents' basement right now or probably packed up because they're moving right now. But there's a photo in their possession of a shrieking, screaming me in my mother's arms with that alien.

And for that reason and that reason only, I say you should see E.T. because you should be traumatized just as much, W.D., as I was as a kid. Willie P., I'm just glad you didn't traumatize Mitch Kupchak or anybody else with your questioning, your line of questioning. Thanks for spending the time.

Keep doing what you do, man. This Wake Forest baseball team is so good, I'm not worried at all about jinxes. I'm not worried about curses or whatever you might believe happens. When I say something is going to happen with almost absolute certainty, this Wake Forest team is immune to all that. They're going to play for a national championship in Omaha. Why are you rolling your eyes?

Do you think I'm going too far? I would just like to apologize to Wake fans right now. I know you're you are making Wake fans really nervous right now. I said Wake wouldn't lose a game the first weekend in the regional. They didn't. I said Wake would go 2-0 against Bama. They did, and they hung 20 on the tie, which means it could be coming. Wake Forest fans, they are freaking out today.

Oh, I've seen all the freaking out. I already see Graham, you've cursed us, you jinxed us, all of this. It is Rhett Louder day. It's a day Wake Forest likely wins. They have not lost back to back games the entire season. They're going to close the year with back to back losses. Fat chances there. Whoops. Clearly I did this, so there's nothing left to say, but sorry about that. Sorry, Deke fans.

If you're watching on YouTube, Twitch or Twitter, there's a special treat. W.D., how would you describe what it is I'm wearing right now? You look like you just came off of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey trailer truck. Trying to figure out where did you get that? Well, it's iconic at this point. Two years ago, B-Dot, it's expanditorial basketball. Sarah Bradford and I were in downtown Winston-Salem on Halloween, and I didn't have an outfit on.

I was coming from something, I don't know what, and right outside like the Silver Moon or Siler Moon, whatever it's called, they're in downtown Winston-Salem, that little shack-type bar. It's been around for a while. Somebody said, hey, man, you need an outfit. I said, I don't have one.

Sorry, dude. And he goes, well, would you like one? And he hands me a clown suit. So I put it on and the photo that I've posted as the meme that a lot of people use came from that night at around one o'clock, one thirty in the morning wearing a clown suit. So that's where I got this. It's coming off at the end of this segment, though.

Yeah. We're not going to shame you the whole show. Well, it's not your choice.

My body, my choice. Let's recap the week in the most efficient way possible by keeping it simple. Five words or less. It's simple, man.

That's all Josh gets to tell you where your favorite teams are at. It's as marvelous and as simple as that. Let's keep it simple. OK, let's get a dance break in here on this Friday. It's a little bit after four thirty in the afternoon and we're dancing.

Look at these photographs we've been waiting. Come on. Paul. Questions. A lot of great sound we had this week. A lot of great sound. OK, where are we starting?

Five words or less. Wyndham Clark winning the U.S. Open. Not much drama in L.A.

It wasn't really much of a buzz either. When you watch majors like I'm sure Pinehurst is going to be next year, you just see these large, sprawling landscapes with people all over the place. Didn't really see that in L.A. And Wyndham Clark. Good for him winning. We're going to claim him because his name's Wyndham and we got the Wyndham championship down here and he won his first major or won his first tournament in Charlotte about a month ago at the Wells Fargo. Good for him. Winning major championships in golf is hard and people always remember who wins them.

Wyndham Clark's going to go down in history that way. Bradley Beal getting traded to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul. A weird fit for Phoenix. This isn't really being talked about enough, but you're going to pay your third best player 50 million dollars. And what exactly is going to happen with DeAndre Ayton? That's a team. They still have a few more chess pieces to move before we figure out what exactly they are. But when you start discussing who the best team after Denver is in the West, you got Phoenix right there.

You got the Lakers right there, given the way that they finish and probably Golden State right after that in that mix. But the defense is a concern. How everybody's going to fit together is a concern. And I'll patiently wait until after July one to see what moves they make to try and make things a little bit more seamless of a transition. Rod Brind'Amour missing the Hall of Fame yet again. It's a miss for hockey. He misses the Hall of Fame, but Sarah Sivian wrote this well for Bleacher Report saying that you can't tell the story of hockey without talking about Rod Brind'Amour because the Hurricanes won a Stanley Cup and went to another. And they've been one of the best teams over the last five years. And none of that happens if not for Rod Brind'Amour. Every single instance, Rod Brind'Amour is hockey in the state of North Carolina.

And then when you just start diving into the numbers about how great he is as a defensive forward and the face offs and the selkie trophy win and being the captain on the Stanley Cup team, it is a huge mess that he's not in the hall yet. Chris Paul being traded to the Golden State Warriors for Jordan Poole. I don't see it for Chris.

I don't see it now. Chris Paul loves his elbow jumpers, and it'll be a lot easier to get to that elbow jumper when defenses are so worried about Clay and Steph. But the age of this team, the size of this team or lack thereof. Man, this is not a title contending team, but still going to be a fun team to watch nonetheless.

And we'll see if Chris Paul can have one or two more runs left in them. And lastly, I didn't want to have to revisit this again, but Wake Forest being eliminated in the College World Series semis by LSU. Why don't you just ask me about Brandon Miller too? Last night was, gosh.

Oh yeah, Brandon Miller drafted by the Hornets. I'll recap, I'll recap both of them at the same time. It was a brutal night. Brutal.

I don't know which one was worse. I was so upset, and I'm not even a fan of any of those teams. Like, I followed the Hornets, I covered the Hornets, I followed Wake, I covered Wake.

I don't want to call myself a fan, but I found myself just beside myself. Like, I read some of the text messages I sent back to people who were responding to me last night. Whoa, I was, I was mean. I was kind of a jerk. When am I ever mean?

I'm not really a mean guy. I, I was, I was hot. It was, I was not happy. You were kind of hot. Both those things going on. Anywho, let's not bring those feelings back. It's Friday, people were in the club, let's get one more dance break in here.

You know, with concerts. This is not simple! I can't go to Taco Bell. I'm on an all-carb diet. Oh my God, Karen, you are so stupid.

Help! It's like I have ESPN or something. We've been waiting.

Questions? That back clip has some versatility. It's such a good period.

I haven't forgotten about the Diet Peach Snapple either. We'll have to hook them up with some when we see them next. You're on the drive with Josh Graham, WSJS. Oh, play me some mountain music Like Grandma and Grandpa used to play Then I'll float on down the river To Cajun Lightaway Ryan McGee joins us from Omaha. Just about two hours ago, the bus pulled in at the couch and the Wake baseball team got back to a huge crowd in Winston-Salem to welcome the team back after a historic baseball game last night.

I want to tell you, of course, that you should get a book that we helped inspire that's been out the last couple of months, Welcome to the Circus of Baseball a story about the perfect summer at the perfect ballpark at the perfect time by Ryan McGee. He has another book that he wrote with his dad who's an East Carolina graduate and his brother who's a Wake Forest graduate that seems relevant right now to bring up. How's your brother Sam doing today, Ryan?

Not great. He toyed with the idea of coming to Omaha with me. I tell this story all the time. My brother tried to walk onto the baseball team at Wake. He always says that he heard three pitches from Mike Buddy and decided, you know what, I think I want to play intramural softball because Mike Buddy was that good. Mike Buddy is now the athletic director at Army. He's been the chair of the selection committee of the NCAA baseball tournament. I saw Buddy, whose strikeout record had just been broken during the game, and I saw him in the tunnel after the game last night. He goes, did your brother Sam come to the game?

And I said, no. He goes, well, call him and tell him this is all his fault. And he walked off. But the good news for my brother is that I can get him some really cheap Wake Forest stuff because, as you know, when teams are eliminated here in Omaha, the merchandise is cut by like 70%. But I tell this to the team you're talking about, Wake Forest is actually at my hotel, and when I left the hotel this morning to go to the championship coach's press conference, the Wake Forest baseball team, they were still in the lobby. And we're actually hugging it out with the players from LSU because, as we learned last night, there's a lot of connections between these players because they played in the American Legion together, they played on USA baseball teams together, and it was really cool because as heartbreaking as that was for Wake Forest last night, I mean, even during the press conference today, Kevin O'Sullivan, the coach from Florida, who was in the grandstands last night, and Jay Johnson, the coach from LSU, they both went on and on and on about how great Wake Forest was. So it's not, I understand, total consolation. It won't make you feel 100% better. But, man, what an incredible, incredible year the Deacs had.

It might be raw. It might be prism of the moment to have the reaction that this is the greatest college baseball game ever. It reminds me when I was at a Duke Carolina game before they met in the Final Four, and it was Zion, the one time he actually was healthy and going up against Carolina, and it was a great game in Charlotte in the ACC tournament. And I was thinking in my head, this is the greatest game I've ever seen, but I didn't tweet it having the self-awareness that I'm a younger person and might not have as much perspective to say something like that. And then Ed Harden right next to me tweeted out, this is the greatest game I've ever seen.

I'm like, okay, well, it's probably that. You've seen a lot of great games, and you actually, in a story for today, dug into how historic what we saw last night in Omaha was between the Deacs and Tigers. How far would you be willing to go to risk overstatement before risking overstatement in speaking about how incredible this game was?

Well, man, I'll give you my personal perspective. I've been coming to the College World Series since 2001. Not every year, but most years. And a lot of those years I was here for all the games. A lot of those years I was here for half the games. It's the best game I've seen in person, and that includes South Carolina winning the College World Series and closing Rosenblatt on a walk-off. That includes some incredible game ones and twos and threes. It's absolutely the best game that's ever been played in this ballpark, which is now 12 years old.

But it's going to be really, really hard for anyone to convince me that it's not top ten, certainly. It's probably the best game that wasn't a championship series game. I mean, this game wasn't better than the Warren Morris game when LSU beat Miami in the national championship. But that was a championship game. And so, but just pure, you take the pitching performances, the way the game ended, the expectation level going in, and the fact that it was a semifinal game between the only two teams this year to have been ranked number one in the Division I baseball rankings, yeah, I mean, it's easily in the top ten.

And I think with some hindsight and some more research, you could probably rank it top five. But me personally, it's the best, best world game I ever saw. And that includes world baseball classics. That includes major league playoffs. That includes so many college baseball games, so many minor league games. It's the best baseball game I ever saw.

You know what it reminded me of? And maybe because LSU was involved in it, it reminded me of the 9-6 football game a decade-plus ago, where in the moment you thought, wow, this is incredible. But then when you see how many guys go to the pros from those teams, like if Rhett Louder and Paul Skeans end up being aces on major league staffs, I think you remember this game a little bit differently, don't you?

Yeah. And Dylan Cruz is going to play in the big leagues. I mean, he's going to probably go number one in the draft. Paul Skeans is going to go number two in the draft.

Louder is definitely going to go early. I mean, it's just, yeah, I think we're going to appreciate this game even more five, ten years from now. And that's saying a lot because, you know, I'm sitting in that press box last night with Tom Chatel of the Omaha World Herald, who's covered, I mean, dozens of college world series. And I'm sitting there with all these NCAA officials who have worked all these college world series, you know, even the guy that runs the press conference who's been here for 35 years.

And they're all saying it's the best game they saw. So it's prisoner of the moment, but it's also a fact. I mean, just even the stats, and I wrote it in my story, you know, only four times since aluminum bats were introduced, which I think was in 1973, have there been 0-0 games in the college world series that went into extra innings. Four times ever. The last time before last night was 1985. And then you throw in the fact that those two pitchers, you know, you get one pitcher in skeins who broke Ben McDonald's career strikeouts record, which had stood since 1989. And I mentioned Mike Buddy. You know, he broke Mike Buddy's record for strikeouts.

It was set in 1992. Ten years before. Four days rest, Ryan. They never even pitched on five days rest before and they did that. And again, the respect that was shown. I mean, you know, the guy who hits the home run that ends the game, the first thing he does is he goes and finds the pitcher who threw the pitch because they literally grew up together, like sleepovers, movies, popcorn, Little League, known each other their whole lives. And so it's just it's why the college world series is one of my favorite events. It's not my favorite event to cover.

And that was the best game I ever saw. Yeah. I hope I said this before. I wish the ACC would, you know, would have treated Greensboro with the basketball tournament the way that college baseball views Omaha, because that's what I thought of when the mayor of Greensboro told me that they offered the name of the arena to the ACC as a concession to keep them in town where it could have been called the ACC Coliseum.

Like nobody else has that. And it just seems like the fact that it's so central, like the way Omaha supports this event, that that's what makes the event special in a sense, right? It's not the championship. It's the town, too. Yeah, I remember when they were leaving Rosenblatt Stadium and going to the new ballpark, I still call it, even though it's 12 years old and Mike Martin at Florida State, you know, Mike Martin is a North Carolina guy. Mike Martin said to me, he goes, you know, we don't say the road to Rosenblatt Stadium, we say the road to Omaha.

And since 1950, almost 75 years, this thing has been in this town. And you know this about me, my favorite sporting events are the ones that are so closely tied to the identity of the city that you can't imagine the city without the event or the event without the city. The Indy 500, you know, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the Masters in Augusta, the Kentucky Derby, you know, the Daytona 500, and the Cosmo Series. You cannot imagine, you know, the women's Cosmo Series Oklahoma City, the Little League World Series, the women's sport. You cannot imagine those places without those events and vice versa.

And so, yeah, there's something to be said for owning it, you know, making that event your own. And as a result, generations of kids in Omaha who have grown up LSU fans because they've been going to games here, local kids from Nebraska. And now, I guarantee you, because I still see people wearing Creighton shirts and wearing Pepperdine shirts and wearing shirts of schools that came to the World Series once and almost won it or did win it, I guarantee you for years to come there are going to be kids walking around with Wake Forest shirts on. And also, Wake Forest is going to be back.

I have no doubt about that. Ryan McGee, I got three housekeeping notes on the way out. Thank you for joining us from Omaha, by the way. Number one, how bummed are you that you're not going to be emceeing and attending the NSMA this weekend in Winston?

Always bummed to miss it, but as I tell Dave Gorn, as long as they keep having it on the weekend of the Men's College World Series Championship, I'm not going to be there. Makes sense. How about this? We like throwing movies at you, Ryan, that W.D. has not seen and you can give your advice of which of these two to watch.

Summer blockbuster season, like tonight I'm going to go to an outdoor movie and watch Jaws. And then I looked at W.D. and he looked at me with a blank stare, kind of like a shark's eyes. He has no idea what that means. He's never seen Jaws. He's never seen E.T.

Which of the two should he watch out of the two? Jaws is actually less dated than E.T., but both are amazing. And as I've said to you guys before, when you watch those movies, you have to keep them. Like when you watch the original Star Wars in 77, you have to remember when it was made. You know, 2001 A Space Odyssey. You have to put it within the context of when it was made.

But yeah, you know what? My daughter has a poster where you scratch off these circles and it's like 100 movies everyone has to watch. Oh, it's on W.D. 's wall. It was my Christmas gift to him. I have it on his wall right now.

It's like this ain't hard, man. And while TCM is still in business, you know, you can watch it. But yeah, start with Jaws. Jaws is still scary as hell. And that movie is, I think that movie came out in 1976. 75. Pretty close.

75. I was close. On the way out, I'll give you either the option to share another story from the book we helped inspired, which, again, is the Welcome to the Circus, a baseball story of the perfect summer at the perfect ballpark at the perfect time. Or you wrote a book about college baseball in Omaha as well. You could share one of your favorite stories from Omaha that we haven't heard. Yeah, well, you know, I'll do that because I every year if I come every year, Clint Yates is here writing for Franscape and all.

He always get in the car, drive it to our old Rosenblatt Stadium was I give him my for the umpteenth time Rosenblatt Stadium tour. But my favorite was I remember that we had the year I wrote the book was 2008, which is when Fresno State came out of nowhere, beat George in the finals, won the true Cinderella story. They were imaginative. Oral Roberts had won it this week. That's that's what Fresno State was that year. And we had a streaker that took off across the outfield. And he was I've never seen anyone get hit like that.

The one in the NFL game. And it was one of the grounds crew guys, Rosenblatt Stadium. Wipe this guy out. And he was arrested and they threw him in a paddy wagon and big drama and a drag him off. And about four hours later, I was in this place called Starkey's, which is this really, really dicey bar right across the street from old Rosenblatt Stadium right in the middle of a neighborhood.

And I walk in there and everyone in the place is singing and carrying this guy around and keep buying him drinks. And it was the streaker. And he was so beloved that when he went to court, some high priced lawyer like Warren Buffett's lawyer represented a guy for free and got him off. Yeah. So it was that guy.

He was a huge LSU fan. But yeah, it's in that book. It's in the book about my New York Times worst seller, The Road to Omaha, that I wrote in 2009. I enjoyed that book.

Really did. See, your books are great to read at the beach. That's what I like. I like reading your book. I think it was fun me being able to lean on that book about Wake Forest because I had written about the 1955 team and and the weather was awful. And of course, they won the championship over Colgate. But when they got here, it was like the temperature never got like the high 40s in June. And so those guys, a handful of the guys who were still alive back then told me the stories about them having to go find and buy clothes.

And at one point they thought they were going to burn their bats for warmth. And then and then, of course, as everyone knows now, they got in trouble because they played on a Sunday. And the North Carolina Baptist Convention did not care for that.

McGee, on the way out, this might be something you pass along to Clinton Yates, because I'm sure it matters to you and him. Bojangles is apparently might might be trying to shift its approach a bit. Their CEO wants out of the chicken business. And apparently there are some there are some locations that aren't in North Carolina that have been experimenting with a streamlined menu with all without all day breakfast. They would stop at 2 p.m. and without boned in chicken.

But these locations do have three milkshake flavors, chocolate, vanilla and Bo Berry milkshakes. How do you feel upon hearing this news? I think it's the dumbest damn thing I've ever heard of. I think that that's I think that's dumber than USC and UCLA being in the big 10. I think it's dumber than NASCAR when they left Darlington. I think that this is the dumbest damn thing I've ever heard of in my life. So whatever.

That's fine. Not selling chicken at Bojangles is literally the. It's like when I hop tried to sell hamburgers. OK, what are we doing? You know, remember?

Remember Clear Pepsi? Yeah. What are you doing?

Just just do what you do. You know who loves Bojangles? Lebron James.

Like love. But I want someone to call LeBron. Literally Lebron James, when he would come in his earliest years in the league, he'd come to the old Charlotte Coliseum and would give guys money for their chicken because they would put chicken in the lockers when the teams would leave. And I want someone to call LeBron and tell him that Bojangles is screwing with the chicken and take it off the menu. Let's see how that goes. Yeah.

The boned in chicken. You got to you got to stick with that. Ryan McGee, just Google or go on Twitter and search Bojangles. You'll know exactly. It'll come up right when I'm talking about here. McGee, get on it. We need to fight the good fight. Thanks for the time, though. I appreciate it, man.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-23 22:24:49 / 2023-06-23 22:43:45 / 19

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