From the Sideline — Tough Day in Tuscaloosa
Call it a rough day at the office.
Two games. Two disappointing losses.
My Saturday started with men's basketball at Coleman Coliseum. The walk into the arena was really cool. Beautiful, warm (for February) morning. A lot of people walking around, enjoying the day and gawking over the new home for Alabama Baseball, on its old site.
There was a buzz and excitement caused by the results of the past week. Mitch Gaspard's squad had won on the diamond the night before against Maryland, in the first-ever game in the new Sewell-Thomas Stadium - in front of a sellout crowd. Avery Johnson's Tide had defeated two-straight road opponents - and claimed five consecutive victories - and was coming home to a sellout crowd of its own.
And then things headed south.
No matter how hard Alabama worked, the Tide couldn't find the basket with consistency against a Miss. State team that had every opportunity to beat Bama in their first matchup in Starkville.
Open threes? Can't hit.
Drive to the basket? Missed layups.
Get fouled on the way to the rim? Won't go down.
There were highlights. Shannon Hale's 22 points were good to see. If he can be that assertive offensively the rest of the way, the rest of the way will last awhile for Alabama. Unfortunately, one of his final three-point tries summed up the day: It was in...but it wouldn't stay down. Close - but not close enough.
Following the deflating loss in basketball, I made my way to The New Joe - and another sellout. When I arrived in the press box, to join my radio partner Lee Tracey, the Tide baseball team led 1-0 in the Top of the 4th.
Before I could put on the headphones, the lead was gone.
Before I could take over the play-by-play role on the broadcast, that 1-0 lead had turned into a 6-1 deficit - thanks to three, two-run homers.
I was starting to think it was my fault.
The Tide battled back, just like the basketball team had earlier. Unfortunately, the result was the same.
On the hardwood, there's still time and opportunity left to pull off an improbable NCAA bid. The Tide is capable of beating everybody left on its schedule - including the 'Cats of Kentucky, although those odds are far less likely than against the other remaining match-ups against Auburn, Arkansas, and Georgia.
And obviously, baseball is only beginning.
Neither season is anywhere close to being complete.
But Saturday night wasn't anywhere near as much fun as Saturday morning.