Tidbits - May 4 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



WRITING ON THE WALL?

  I like Gamecock baseball coach Chad Holbrook, but he may be coaching his final season at Carolina.
  When the Gamecock needed to whin a series against league leading Kentucky, and lost on Friday 19-1 at home, I saw that as a nail in the coffin.
  That was the most embarrassing defeat in Founders Park history. How can a team that needs be fired up lose 19-1?
  When the Gamecocks beat the Wildcats on Saturday, I, and every Gamecock  fan, got my hopes up. Maybe, we could win a series against the league leader and that would get this team going.
  Sunday, the game was tied 4-4 going into the eighth inning, and like they have done so often this year, they choked it  away and lost by five.
  I heard someone say on the radio Monday, you can judge the worth of a coach by how his team plays in the last two innings. Holbrook’s worth this year has been pretty low.
  Late inning decisions in pitching or hitting have been mostly failures.
  The season may have ended early in the year when Holbrook had his pitcher pitch to Clemson’s Seth Beer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Gamecocks up 3-2.
  I’m sorry, but you don’t let the national player of the year beat you in the ninth, especially if you’re ahead.
  But, Holbrook pitched to Beer, and the outstanding player hit a home run to tie the game. The Tigers went on to win in extra innings and take the series 2-1. Had the Gamecocks won that series, I believe we would be looking at a different team, a consistent winner.
  What hurt Holbrook in the Clemson series is Clemson Coach Monte Lee is also a former Carolina assistant under Ray Tanner.
  In his first year, Lee lead Clemson to the ACC tournament championship. Like Carolina, they lost to Oklahoma State in the regionals.
  In his second season, Lee has seen his Tigers ranked as high as third in the country.
  When the Tigers won a remarkable come from behind game, Lee said, “We eat pressure for lunch.”
  The Gamecocks do that too, then throw it up.
  For the first time in their SEC history, the Gamecocks have lost five series in a row. They haven’t been swept in any of them, but they have lost every close game, usually by blowing a late lead.
  Pitching was supposed to be this team’s strong point, but the bullpen has been pretty awful in the clutch.
  Hitting has also failed. It seemed every time Kentucky had  a runner in scoring position, they’d find a way to get them in.
  Many a time the Gamecocks have stranded runners. Often, a hitter will get a double to lead off the inning, and he’ll stay on second as three straight batters can’t move him over or score him.
  This team began the season ranked fifth in the country. Baseball writers and coaches who vote in polls must think the Gamecocks have talent.
  Now, they may not even make the SEC tournament. There have  been SEC teams to make the NCAA tournament, without making the conference tournament but that is rare.
  So, what is Ray Tanner to do?
  First, he needs to wait.
  Remember, a week before the Gamecock men’s basketball team began its remarkable run to the Final Four, many fans were calling for Frank Martin to get fired.
  That same coach ended being named National Coach of the Year. What if Tanner had fired Martin after Carolina lost in the opening round of the SEC tournament?
  Like the basketball team, the baseball team could get hot down the stretch.
  Remember, Okie State eliminated Clemson and Carolina each in two games last year, because of two great pitchers. The Gamecocks have two great pitchers.
  Of course, the Cowboys got eliminated in the World Series because they couldn’t use those two pitchers every game.
  Gamecock fans forget that not every Ray Tanner team was great, and, perhaps the greatest one he ever had got eliminated in the Super Regionals by one of those Louisiana teams that is not LSU.
  I’d to see the team come alive and make Chad Holbrook look good.
  They can’t have any more 19-1 losses, though.

GLAMOURIZE???

  I was shocked last week when I heard the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” had been criticized for glamourizing teen suicide.
  Whoever wrote this has obviously never watched the series.
  It is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.
  The girl who commits suicide made 13 tapes in advance, explaining why she did such a sad act.
  The main character, Clay, listens to the tapes through the 13 episode series.
  I don’t like to binge watch, so it’s going to be a few weeks before I fishing watching, but I can tell you it does not glamourize suicide.
  Hopefully, young people will learn how actions such a bullying can lead to someone’s death.

JUNIOR-SENIOR

  I enjoyed seeing all the prom pictures on Facebook and Instagram on Saturday.
  Saluda and King were among the area schools holding proms.
  Every prom goer looked great.
  I didn’t see pictures of any of those wild Kohl’s tuxes being worn by any of the local young gentlemen, but I did see one shot of about eight boys raising their paints legs and revealing their wild socks.
  My cousin Sarah Parris in Spartanburg wore a beautiful two-piece, blue and white dress to her Dorman prom. After a picture of her in the dress, doing one of those poses girls do, she then raised her skirt to reveal she was wearing matching Converse All-Stars!
  After most of the pictures of current and former prom goers were published, my sister Dibbie reminded old-timers on Facebook  we used to call the prom the Junior-Senior.
  What that title meant is the junior class treated the seniors to the prom, paying for decorations, refreshments, band, etc.
  It’s been so long, I can’t remember how we raised the money, but I’m sure it involved selling Krispie Kremes.
  My junior year, we went all over the county collecting wild roses. We used them to cover an arch the Ag Class made. (The arch was used for the Miss Tiger pageant the next, so it was recycled - a word that had not even been invented back then.)
  We spray painted Coke bottles white to serve as candle holders. Crepe paper streamers hid the bleachers in the Cracker Box. It was an elegant event, and we had a ball putting it on.
  Of course, we enjoyed getting treated by the Class of 1970 the next year.
  What memories!!!

END OF AN ERA

  I joined Donna Rankin and Jackie and Tom Insalaco for our last cheeseburger at Dopey’s in Newberry last Wednesday.
  The legendary eatery, located across the road for Newberry College, is closing for good this week.
  The  tiny restaurant is currently owned by Saluda native Rose Blackmon Edwards and her husband. They are retiring after many years of running the restaurant that is only open for the college’s fall and spring semesters.
  I’ve only been to Dopey’s a few times, and the cheeseburgers are great, but to Newberry College students and Newberry residents through the generations, this place has been a major part of their lives.
  It reminds me of the closing of  all the legendary Saluda restaurants that meant such much to me growing up. Can’t you still taste a Frank Hite hamburger steak, an open face roast beef sandwich smothered in brown gravy from Winn’s, and a cheeseburger from Ann’s Dairy Bar, just to name a few?
  All good things AND food must come to an end, but not the memories!