Tom Sorensen

Short takes: On college baseball, the World Cup, best NBA team ever, Cam Newton’s joy

Florida is my new favorite baseball team. To advance to the men’s College World Series, which begins Saturday, the Gators made the play of the season.

It’s the fourth inning, and there are two outs. Nick Horvath is on first and Blake Reese is on third. Auburn lefty Andrew Mitchell is pitching.

Horvath suddenly takes off, and about 20 feet later he falls. But wait. Falls is insufficient. He belly-flops. It’s as if he’s on the backyard diving board after drinking one too many and, oops. Even the neighbors get wet.

Mitchell turns to look at Horvath, and his back is to Reese. Reese already has taken off in a sprint. By the time Mitchell recovers and throws home, Reese is sliding in for the run. He steals home.

Don’t know if the play was created with a stick on a dirt lot or in a laboratory. But, man, does it work. The run is essential. The Gators win in 11. …

If I were a betting man, and wanted to put money on an underdog in a sport I know little about, I’d bet Uruguay to win the World Cup. Anybody can bet the favorites – Brazil, Germany, France. Get on Uruguay before the odds change after everybody else does. …

Terrence Crawford dominated Jeff Horn Sunday in their welterweight title fight. Crawford, of Omaha, is undefeated. Horn, of Brisbane, Australia, was. He won the title last year by beating Manny Pacquiao.

That fight was in Brisbane. You apparently have a better chance as an outsider to win a basketball game at Cameron Indoor Arena than you do to win a fight against a Brisbane fighter in Brisbane. Pacquiao beat Horn with ease, but Horn was awarded the decision. Horn had no chance against Crawford, who is somewhere between very good and brilliant. …

The Golden State Warriors could be the greatest team of all time. But I still go with Magic Johnson’s Showtime Lakers. Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls also could be. But the Bulls, through no fault of their own, never had a rival to push them. So how do you know? The Lakers had the Boston Celtics. That’s the best rivalry in NBA history, and the Lakers are the best team. …

Ran into Wesley Walls, the former Carolina Panthers’ tight end, at Carolina’s minicamp. I’ve always been fascinated by Mississippi, and its blues tradition, and the more I go the state, the more fascinated I become. Walls is a Mississippi native who played football at Ole Miss. After talking to him, I wanted to get in the car and work my way to Hazlehurst. I told Walls I’d never been to Oxford, and he said I should hit Oxford before I hit the blues trail. If you’ve followed the Panthers for a few years, you already know this. Walls could catch a football. …

Terrell Owens says he doesn’t intend to go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his Hall of Fame induction. Some people in and out of football are upset. Why does it matter? He earned the Hall of Fame berth. Does the Hall become lesser if Owens is not there? I have an idea: We concern ourselves with those who show and not those who don’t. …

Cam Newton ran onto the practice field Tuesday and paused to crank up the already loud music. I’m not sure every player gets to do that. I don’t know, for example, if a punter would be allowed to. Get that John Denver off there, or you’re off the team.

Newton talked enormous trash to the defense, and the defense to him. He appeared to practice celebrating individually with his receivers, and no two celebrations were alike. You imagine how much happier we’d be if we enjoyed our jobs as much as Newton enjoys his. …

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

More from this issue of the Tom Talks newsletter:

  Comments