Thank You Muhammad Ali For Making Us Move

I took my son to his first T-Ball practice last week. Before the practice starts, I see this kid over to the side playing catch with his father. This kid was really good and catching every ball his Dad was throwing to him. Wanting to be challenged more he was yelling at his Dad “make me move”. As I’ve grown older I find myself wanting to be challenged more and am always looking for someone or something to “make me move” There aren’t very many times while we are on this earth that we will be truly “moved”

This past week we lost one of The Greatest men this world has ever known. In his lifetime Muhammad Ali was responsible for not only making those around him “move” but inspired the world to “move”. Over the past week, I have been “moved” hearing the stories and seeing the impact that this Great Man had. Among my favorites is the time Ali helped a random car full of college students whose car had broken down on the side of the road, in 1981 how Ali talked a suicidal man out of jumping to his death, or the time he helped secure the release of 15 US hostages in Iraq.

I was also “moved” this past week to see the impact Muhammad Ali has had on not only his generation but many generations to come. Covering Louisville sports this week It was great to see the Louisville Baseball team wear the name “ALI” on their hats, and seeing that even in his passing he was with them and inspiring them to be great, or reading about a group of Louisville Football players who went to Ali’s childhood home to pay their respects. Even on Friday seeing that the Louisville Basketball team was together paying their respects at the Ali memorial service.

Watching the memorial service Friday afternoon I was not only “moved” but was challenged personally to “move”. The speeches were incredible and very inspiring but the thing that really stood out was how Muhammad Ali even in his post-life was able to bring a city, a state, a country and a nation together. Friday there was no black & white, us & them, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, Cards or Cats. That day we all came together to honor someone who “moved us”.

Thank you, Muhammad Ali, for making this world a better place, thank you in these trying times for showing us all that we can co-exist and thank you for making us “move”.

Ali “moved” me this past week and I will “move” to be a better person. I think that is his final challenge to us all.

“Don’t count the days; make the days count”- Muhammad Ali

A Humpy Day for Cardinal Fans

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To say that Cardinal Basketball fans have been held captive would be an understatement. We’ve waited anxiously for the last 2 months to hear news from the NCAA about a scandal we’ve waded through for the last 6 months. Today Louisville fans waited for another decision, and had plenty of company. Most College Basketball fans where stuck to their social media accounts waiting to hear who would stay and who would go. As most of us where just trying to get through our “Hump Day” it was also filled with many “Humpy” moments as college athletes held our nerves. As college sports fans it’s hard not to get caught up in the drama of young athletes making one of the biggest decisions of their lives. We invest a lot of time and emotion on these guys and don’t want to see them go. And we know that our team is better with them.

Chinanu Onuaku by my account is a very humble young man, and out of all of the Louisville players in that locker room he seemed to dislike the media attention the most. Many times the sounds of a post-game locker room drowned out his soft tone during interviews. I’m not going to blame him for having his moment, but these decision day platforms are frustrating. The NBA needs to find a better way to recruit their talent and aren’t doing these young men any favor. The other professional sports have it figured out give them a call.

After all of the ups and downs and plot twist of a daytime soap opera Chinanu did make it official Wednesday evening on his Instagram account:

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process, me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft,” Onuaku wrote on his Instagram post. “I will take the Terry Rozier route and work my way into the first round. I have talked to Coach Pitino and he is behind me 100 percent.”

I wish him all of the best this world has to offer and hope he can grab a hold of success at the next level. He was a great Cardinal and helped win a lot of basketball games.

There was also another young athlete who made a big decision today. Tadarrius Patterson, a three-star outside linebacker from Birmingham (AL), committed to Louisville Wednesday afternoon. Perhaps not grabbing the attention it deserved this was big news. We pulled this kid straight from the jaws of the mighty SEC. This kid held offers from Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He also held the attention of Alabama and other SEC schools.

ESPN breaks down his talent:

Adequate height with good length and range. Runs well and covers ground quickly. Lacks strength and power at the point of attack at this stage.
Instincts/Take On Skills
Above average recognition skills finding the ball, plays fast and reads on fly. Will occasionally over run the ball or take and inside angle and lose contain. Feels routes develop well in coverage. Lacks an strong anchor versus the run and can continue to develop strength and improve power-base. More effective slipping blocks then then taking on and shedding.
Reach and grab tackler, not a wrap and drive through type. Would benefit from coming in lower as he tends to grab high for drag downs.
3rd Down Capabilities
Shows raw ability as a pass rusher, quick with hands and has the athleticism to make an inside move or redirect to beat blockers. Flashes of effective speed-to-power. Shows good savvy and range dropping and closing in zone coverages.
Bottom Line
Patterson is an active defender with good range and athleticism. Big upside given his frame and lack of great run support strength at this stage. Has the tools to develop into a three-down linebacker in time.

We lost a great basketball player today but gained a great football player. I couldn’t be happier about the progression of our football program. Coach Petrino and his staff are at the top of their game, and this thing is on a collision course.

As humpy as this day was for many Cardinal fans it still turned out pretty good. We got a verbal commit from a great football player and the Cardinal 9 keeps rolling on. GO CARDS!

Trey Lewis sends Powerful Message through Faith

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I have wrote several articles about Trey Lewis and his time as a Louisville Basketball player. Those stories often revolved around how many baskets he scored or his dedication to his team and to the Louisville program. But those things are nothing compared to his passion and dedication to his religious beliefs. His faith is an inspiration and it is impressive that a guy his age isn’t afraid to share it with whomever will listen.

We sometimes forget that the trophies we win here on earth are not anything compared to the ones we get when our work here is done. Yes, Salvation is the ultimate trophy. The University of Louisville’s FCA gives athletes like Trey Lewis an opportunity to share their testimony in an attempt to help fellow athletes reach that ultimate prize. There have been many athletes who have accepted Christ into their lives and have been baptized thanks to this program. Sports has the power to change lives but the FCA program has the power to change souls.

I want to send out kudos to Trey Lewis for his powerful testimony and to all those involved with the FCA at the University of Louisville. Thanks to Chaplain Chris Morgan for the work he is doing for the student athletes on campus. Also to those athletes who are being spiritual leaders on and off the field of play using their gifts to bring glory to Christ. We have a great group of athletes to cheer for at the University of Louisville and things like this should not go unnoticed. Kudos again guys!

Be sure to give the University of Louisville Chaplain Chris Morgan a follow on twitter @UofLfca to follow the great work he is doing on the campus and with our student athletes. And I’m sure they would also be thankful for our prayers as well.

Cards lost a Battle, but have the weapons to win the war

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On Saturday in Lexington the 49th chapter of the Battle of the Bluegrass was written. For the 34th time it was Kentucky who walked away with the victory. The Wildcats now lead the all-time series 34-15. The Cardinals are now 1-8 against their rivals since John Calipari was hired as their coach and a big reason why is because Kentucky has always done a good job of making sure they win the home games in this rivalry. They did that again on Saturday and to them go the credit.

Our Cardinals lost the battle yesterday and it was a battle, but proved that they do have enough weapons to go to war in the ACC and make a run in March. One and done is always in the discussion when you play Kentucky, but on Saturday it was a done and one who was the best player on the floor. Damion Lee has led the Cardinals all season averaging around 18 points a game and on Saturday he led all scorers in the game with 27 points. In one of the toughest places to go into and perform he outperformed everybody. That last shot didn’t fall but a lot of them are going to this season.

Lee is a great weapon to have going forward but there is also plenty of other ammunition at Coach Pitino’s disposal. The other done and one guy Trey Lewis has also been a big scoring threat this season for the Cardinals. He’s averaged around 15 points a game this season and had 15 on Saturday. The poise and maturity is what stood out the most. At times early in the game on Saturday you could see that deer in the headlights look in every player on the court for the Cardinals except for Lewis. He held things together while everyone else settled in. Having a guy on this team with so much composure is going to be huge down the stretch. Some of those gyms in the ACC are going to be just as loud as or louder than Rupp Arena.

Rebounding is vital especially when you go on the road and in tournament play. Chinanu Onuaku has led the Cardinals in rebounding all season averaging around 8 a game. And he out-rebounded every player on the floor on Saturday with 10 helping the Cardinals out-rebound Kentucky 39-29. Onuaku was clearly a force down low in the game and had his way when he fought for the position. If Onuaku decides that he wants to be elite then he will be. The pedigree is there and the ability and talent are as well. The only thing that can hold Chinanu back is Chinanu. I really believe he will be one of the best big men in the country before this season is over and who doesn’t love that granny shot.

The Louisville bench had scored over 350 points going into the game on Saturday and outscored UK’s bench 19-18. Donovan Mitchell was excellent and was the spark plug that ignited a comeback from 16 down. He was making big-time plays on both the offensive and defensive side of the floor. He is a superior athlete and proved he is ready to give quality minutes in big games moving forward. I was also really impressed with Jaylen Johnson. He keeps getting better. He ran the floor well and has that big man passing ability that coach Pitino loves. And you just can’t say enough about the development of Matz Stockman and Anas Mahmoud. These guys will be two of the premier big men in the ACC next year if they continue down that improvement path. And they will provide quality depth this season moving forward.

There are other guys on the roster that didn’t really bring it on Saturday but who will play a vital role in the coming weeks. The Louisville guys Quentin Snider and Ray Spalding weren’t effective against Kentucky but they both have the ability to have major impacts on a game. Snider’s ability to run the offense and Spalding’s length and athleticism are big time attributes. Deng Adel is just getting back off injury and will be a force on that wing soon enough. Mango will be back in around 6 to 8 weeks hungrier than ever to make another NCAA run.

I’m still very confident in how this season will turn out and I think this early loss in December will give this team a wakeup call. Where Calipari relies more on talent, Pitino has utilized development and his coaching ability to make Louisville successful. He will figure out how to best use the pieces on this team and the team will figure out how to use what they have to their advantage. We have got the nucleus for another Championship run and now the guys just have to keep fighting to find a way to make it all work together. I’m very disappointed in that loss yesterday and I did take it very hard, but the college basketball season is not a sprint it’s a marathon. We got a long way to go until March.

King Kyle Kuric Needs Our Support

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Hearing the news yesterday about one of my favorite Cardinals was shocking and my heart goes out to him, his wife and his family. Kyle Kuric is a “Louisville Man” and gave it his very best every time he put on the uniform. He was a big reason for an impromptu Final Four in 2012 and had one moment that will cement him forever in the Cardinal history books.

Freedom Hall was the home of the Louisville Cardinals for 54 years. If the walls could talk they would tell stories about the six national title games and regional titles that where held there. They would also have some great stories about the 683 victories that our Cardinals had while calling the place home. In those 683 victories there are some very memorable moments but the one that happened on March 6th 2010 might just be one of the best of them all.

#1 Syracuse would be the final opponent to visit the hallowed Hall. The moment for a big game like this couldn’t have been more fitting. The stage was set and it was time for the show to begin. The Syracuse stars lived up to their ranking in the first half dominating the Cardinals inside the paint 26 to 12. At one point in the first half Cuse would stretch the lead to 8 but a shot by Edgar Sosa would cut the lead to 5 to end the half at 35-30.

With things looking much the same early in the second half with the score 42-39 the Cardinals found their inside game and an unlikely hero would emerge from the bench. Then reserve Kyle Kuric would put his stamp on the Louisville program with a second half performance that will live forever in Cardinal lore. Kuric was described as a one man wrecking crew by all publications as he made 9 of 11 shots from the field with four of those being 3 pointers.

The Cardinals would take the lead in the second half and never look back. With 4 minutes left king Kyle would put a bow on his performance with a dunk that would put the Cardinals up 10. The final score would be 78-68 beating #1 Syracuse and adding one last highlight to their 54 year old home.

This game had all the pageantry for a final home game in one of the most storied venues in all of college sports. “It’s an unbelievable moment,” Kuric said. “It’s what every kid dreams of.” Rick Pitino would say of the moment “this building will close, but what our legends have done for our university will never pass and close.”

When you hear that a guy who brought you so much excitement is ill it makes you wish you could do something to give back to him. Besides your thoughts and prayers there is something else Cardinal Nation can do. You can send Kyle Kuric a message of support to the below address.

Fans can send cards/letter for Kyle Kuric to this address:
Kyle Kuric
c/o Dr. Kuric
4001 Kresge Way, Suite 238
Louisville KY 40207

I know Kyle is getting the best medical help and I know that his courage and drive will get him through this challenging time. Be sure to send him your support letter. He will have his brain surgery on Thursday so keep those prayers going up as well.

The Cardinal Nine’s Time To Shine

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I remember when coach McDonnell first got things rolling with the Louisville Baseball program, and remember the first time the Cardinals made it to the College World Series. Then Louisville baseball fans were just happy to be a part of the June Classic. Now here we are on the cusp of making the trip back to the College World Series for a third consecutive year and this time I think most of us including the team expect to contend for College Baseball’s ultimate crown.

Third year and winners of three conference regular season crowns our Cardinals did what most pundits said couldn’t be done and just made a mockery of the powerful ACC. The only team still alive to have appeared in the last two College World Series events our guys just reloaded this season and got the job done. They went through fourteen weeks of playing in every type of climate, they battled slumps, injuries but were able to maintain that level of consistency and now find themselves knocking on the door of a legendary run that could end with three consecutive College World Series appearances and hopefully a Championship.

This Louisville baseball team is here because of grit, intensity and determination passed down to them by a great coaching staff. They have made this incredible run with clutch hitting from guys like Nick Solak, speed from guys like Corey Ray, and the power arms of guys like Kyle Funkhouser, Brendan McKay and Zack Burdi. It will take these things and getting the bats hot at the right time for this Louisville team to make history over the next couple of weeks.

For the seniors four years of hard work hang in the balance and for the younger guys the building of something very special will continue. For all of these guys this is the time to prove to themselves that they are ready physically, mentally, and emotionally to challenge the big boys of college baseball and prove yet again how Louisville belongs with that group. Coach McDonnell and his staff have these guys well prepared and this whole program has put in the work, now it’s time play. Bring it home guys! GO CARDS!

Rivalry Overreaction

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After the basketball game between the Cards and the Cats last weekend I came down with a terrible stomach virus. It has taken me a few days to be able to read all of the articles and really reflect back on that game and get a feel for how folks felt about the outcome. Maybe it’s because this was the first season where the rivalry game in both football and basketball happened only a few weeks apart, maybe it’s because of the recent disparity of both sports, but the back and forth between the fans has been as heated as ever. And I have also noticed how some think the basketball game should be stopped all together.

Look we all overreact sometimes and it is tough losing the last 7 out of 8 to the other side especially when you may work in an office full of their fans. I wrote an article last year before the Cardinals and the Cats played each other in the Sweet 16, and explained why I even felt like it wouldn’t bother me if this rivalry ended. But my feelings had more to do with the vitriolic nature and the hate filled back and forth more than the string of recent losses. It really did put a damper on this game for me. But that was an overreaction and me getting too caught up in what a small minority of folks were doing. I since have regained my passion for both the football and basketball Battles of the Bluegrass and hope it last forever.

The majority of the current overreaction appears to be because of the latest string of losses in the basketball game and due to their coach holding a 7-1 advantage recently in the series. So based on that I decided that I would take a closer look at what most consider the other top rivalries in college basketball to see what those overall records looked like.

These are in no particular order, but are thought of as the other top rivalries in college hoops.

-(UNC 133 DUKE 105)

*There has been several times when UNC won 16 straight in this series. And Roy Williams has lost 8 out of the last 11 to Krzyzewski.

-(Georgetown 41 Syracuse 49)

*There have been as many as 6 losses in a row by teams in this series.

-(Cincinnati 49 Xavier 32)

*Cincy has won as many as 8 in a row in this series.

-(Kansas 187 Kansas St 92)

*Kansas has won as many as 32 straight in this series.

-(Duke 113 Maryland 63)

*Duke has won as many as 15 straight in this series.

-(Indiana 88 Purdue 113)

*Indiana has won as many as 13 straight in this series.

-(Michigan 97 Michigan State 77)

*Michigan State has won as many as 8 straight in this series.

-(VCU 41 Richmond 26)

*Richmond has won 2 out of the last 13 in this series.

-(Florida 43 Florida State 22)

*Florida has won 5 straight in this series.

In the Battle of the Bluegrass rivalry the series stands at 32-15 with Kentucky leading and winning the last 7 out of 8. No team has ever won more than 5 in a row in this series.

Some of the best rivalries in college basketball have pretty big margins separating the two teams and as you can see above many times has been dominated by one team or the other. Has that hurt these bitter rivalries? Should we not consider UNC and Duke a rivalry anymore because Roy has lost 8 of the last 11 to Mike?

Once a Rivalry is started fans who have developed feelings of pride, solidarity, loyalty to a certain side aren’t ever going to change no matter how many times the other guys beat them. That’s what makes the rivalry great. We as human-beings need rivalry and it makes sports a lot more interesting. Sure Calipari and his Cats are putting it on us lately, but they have been pretty good overall don’t ya think. And our Cardinals haven’t done so bad either.

All of you folks freaking out over this recent loss to UK need to take a step back away from the ledge. Look at the big picture. Our little rivalry here in the state of Kentucky is just as competitive as any of the others in the country. It was here before any of us and it will be here after we are all gone. No matter how many games John Calipari wins with his super recruits.

Twas the Week of the Dream Game

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Twas the week of the dream game,
And all through the state,
UofL vs UK was the topic of great debate.

Two of the top teams in the country,
Will battle for the bluegrass state,
And the fans of the Red and Blue;
Just can’t wait.
For whoever loses this game,
Will have more than enough crow;
To fill their plate.

I’m sure we’ll hear all week,
That the Cats can’t lose;
And they’ll go on..,
About those stupid platoons.

Every year we hear it,
Or since Calipari moved up the street;
This will be the UK team nobody can beat.
40 and 0 they’ll yell and scream,
But it will only turn out;
To be another pipe dream.

They recruit great players and athletes,
Sure they have some;
But they won’t know what hit them,
When they come to the Yum.

Ole Calipari will be yelling,
With all his might;
As the guys in blue,
Start to lose the fight.
With 23 thousand screaming down below:
It’s the Cards defense,
That will deal the final blow.

Get em Chris and Terry;
Coach P will scream with delight,
As he knows that this will be his team’s night.

Cards fans will throw,
Their L’s high in the sky;
As that victory horn sounds:
And it will be a rough New Year,
For those Big Blue clowns.

With the dream game victory,
Celebrated and passed,
That Bowl game will be here fast.
Another slap in the face,
For our rival in state;
As we’ve already ended their football slate.

Eat it up my friends,
And fellow Cards fans I say;
As victory will be ours:
On this glorious day.
That Big Red shadow will loom,
Over that blue spot up the road;
And the only Bowl game they’ll see:
Is in their commodes.

With this battle of the bluegrass,
Well out of sight;
We must continue to fight the good fight.
This Cardinal team has big things ahead,
And thoughts of another title;
Will be dancing in our heads.

I wish all my fellow Cards fans,
Great Holiday cheer;
And I hope all of your dreams,
Come true next year.
I’ll see you all in Charlotte,
As I write this with delight:
L1C4 and Go Cards Fight… Fight.

The Card Pile A New Era Of Louisville Baseball

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Another college basketball season is right around the corner and we are only a few months away from the start of our first ACC football season. Usually these sports and the buzz surrounding them this time of year would be dominating the local sports scene. But not anymore.

C-A-R-D-S After Winning Super Regional

After nearly a century of playing at the intercollegiate level, Louisville baseball has finally arrived and June has become a time to celebrate The Cardinal Nine.

Since its inception in 1909, the Louisville baseball program had been an 96-year see-saw session in which the Cardinals would contend for a few conference titles and fifth-place finishes with equal frequency. That all changed when Dan McDonnell took over as coach in 2007 and built Louisville into a consistent winner that now must be considered among the nation’s top powers.

Tom Jurich Super Regional Champions Post-Game

In the 89 years before McDonnell, Louisville had been to the NCAA Tournament only once and had never won a game in the NCAA. In the seven seasons since, Dan has led the Cardinals to the College World series three times, captured five regional titles, and hosted a super regional for the second time this past weekend. It has been the most successful seven year stretch ever averaging nearly 40 wins per season.

Dan McDonnell Full Press Conference Super Regional Champs Post-Game

And if you build it they will come. – Saturday’s crowd of 6,007 surpassed the previous school record attendance total of 5,351 set just one night earlier in the game one win over the Owls. Prior to the weekend, Louisville’s attendance record was 4,733 set on April 2, 2013 against Kentucky at Jim Patterson.

Now with McDonnell at the helm, the Cardinals seem to have everything they want — except for a national championship that is. The Cardinals are the only team from last season’s College World Series field returning to this year’s event and they have got themselves in position for that national tile and should they win, well, then, there would be no more argument about whether Louisville is a consistent national power.

Louisville baseball will play Vanderbilt in the first round of the College World Series on Saturday, June 14 at 8:00pm ET on ESPN2. #L1C4 . Go Cards!

Summer Events For Cardinal Fans

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Most of the Louisville athletic programs are winding down for the summer and we have 98 days remaining until the start of football season in August. This will be one of the most exciting off seasons in the programs history as we will be anticipating the Cardinals first year in the ACC.

Other than looking forward to July 1st when Louisville officially becomes a member of the ACC there is plenty of events this summer to keep you going until kickoff in Papa John’s Cardinal stadium this fall.

There will be vacations, grilling, swimming, and a few cold beverages, but here are some other events to keep Cardinal fans entertained.

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Photobucket-June-July: 13th Annual Cardinal Caravan (No Official Date yet)

This is always one of the best events of the summer for Cardinal Fans. Most folks don’t get the opportunity to get up close and personal with Louisville athletes and coaches. This event gives everyone that chance. The Caravan usually makes 4 regional stops across the state and almost always has an incredible stop at Captains Quarters in Louisville. Keep an eye out for more info about the Cardinal Caravan and plan on spending a summer afternoon with your favorite player.
Info will be here when officially announced.

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Photobucket-June 14th-25th: College World Series

Every year 8 teams come together from all over the United States to Omaha, Neb., TD Ameritrade Park for the College World Series. Our Cardinals baseball team were in this event in 2007 and last year. This years team has really hit their stride and are playing their best ball of the season. I’m hoping they end up being one of the 8 teams left standing, but if not this is still a great event to watch.
The official site for the CWS.

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Photobucket-June 26th: NBA Draft

Last year we got to see two of the most beloved Cards of all-time realize their dreams of playing in the NBA when Gorgui Dieng was selected as the 21st pick in the first round and Peyton Siva was selected 56th in the second round. This year we will all be watching to see what NBA fan base will be lucky enough to get Russ Smith on their team. It will be a special moment when we hear his name called.
2014 NBA Draft WIKI

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Photobucket-June 28th: Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts

The NASCAR race at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta Kentucky has become one of the biggest events of the summer for local racing fans. Last year Louisville had a National Championship sponsored car and held events at a hospitality tent throughout racing activities. I don’t know if we will have a sponsored car this year but there will be another hospitality tent. If you’ve never been to a race I highly suggest you try it once.
Get your tickets here and enjoy a day at the races with other Cardinal fans.

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Photobucket-Now-August 31st: The Louisville Bats

Louisville is home to one of the best triple A minor league franchises in the country. They are right in the mix again and chasing another pennant. There has also been a lot of Cincinnati Reds coming down to rehab this season. These games are great for family outings and are a great way to spend a summer evening. Be sure to head out this summer to Louisville Slugger Field and catch a game.
July 10th is a Louisville Alumni night.

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Photobucket-July 23rd-28th: AAU Division I National Championships & Super Showcase Events

The City of Louisville along with the Kentucky Exposition Center are hosting one of the biggest AAU events of the summer. Some of the most sought after prospects in the country will be heading to Louisville in July. The AAU Division I 10th & 11th Grade National Championships, the AAU 10th Grade Super Showcase – Gold Division, the AAU 11th Grade Super Showcase –Gold Division and the AAU 12th Grade National Championships will be awesome.
Here’s the official AAU page.

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Photobucket-August 4th-10th: PGA Championship at Valhalla

The 96th edition of the PGA Championship returns to Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville for the first time in 14 years. Be there in person when the world’s best players compete for the coveted Wanamaker Trophy. This could also be the first major where Tiger Woods makes his return. This will be a special week in Louisville. The PGA Championship is the most lucrative major of the golf season with a purse of $10 million dollars.
The official site for this event.