By Josh Cook
Sure it's going to be hotter than, as the old saying goes, a whore in church this weekend. However there will be plenty of local sports no matter if you want to beat the heat, or sit in the sauna that will be the outdoors and lose a few LBs.
It kicks off Friday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium with the NCAA Baseball Regional hosted by the University of Louisville. The Cardinals (48-12) are the No. 7 national seed, and No. 1 seed in the regional, in college baseball's version of the Big Dance. They open up at 6 p.m. against fourth-seeded Saint Louis (33-27).
Second-seeded Vanderbilt (41-17) meets third-seeded Illinois State (31-22) at 2 p.m. in the first game of the double-elimination tournament that is scheduled to go to Monday.
Even though the Cards won't have coach Dan McDonnell for the first three games, he's been suspended as a result of his interaction with an umpire during UofL's game against St. John's in the Big East Tournament. Even without McDonnell the Cards have a very good chance of winning the regional, then hosting a Super Regional next weekend as well. UofL, which has nine players from local high schools, plays a very exciting brand of baseball. The Cards have a collective .317 batting average and score 7.6 runs per game.
Also Friday evening, the Louisville Bats open a four-game homestand against the Pawtucket Red Sox (or "Sawx" depending on your pronunciation preference) at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Louisville Slugger Field. It is Bats Team Photo Giveaway, the first 1,500 fans receive a free team picture. And, as usual, there will also be a post-game fireworks display.
Saturday's game, which starts at 6:05 p.m., will feature $2 Anheuser Busch Craft Beer (which given the heat should taste good no matter what your beer preference) from 5-6:30 p.m. as well as music by Andrea Davidson. The Quick Change Act, which appeared on the TV show 'America's Got Talent,' will also be featured.
Sunday's game, which begins at 6:05 p.m., will again feature the Kid's Inflatable Play Area in the Hall of Fame Pavilion from 5-8 p.m. Children's character Diego will also appear from 6:15-7 p.m. and 7:20-8 p.m. in the Jackson Street Patio Area.
The Bats (24-30) started the season slowly, but rebounded in mid-May. They find themselves 10 1/2 games behind Columbus in the International League West Division, but still have 90 games to play this season.
If you don't care for baseball Friday there's always the ponies. Churchill Downs will also feature a full slate of thoroughbred racing action this weekend. You'll surely find plenty of fillies in the paddock Friday afternoon during the "Dress to Impress" Happy Hours. Each week one lady and one man will win the "most stylish" contest with a lucky lady winning $250 to a local Louisville-area boutique and one gentleman will win a $100 wagering voucher. The winning lady will be invited back Friday night June 25 for the "Dress to Impress"-themed "Downs After Dark" racing. Friday's happy hours feature $2 draft beer and $3 Mojitos from 4-7 p.m. as well as music from Eight Inch Elvis.
Finally close out your weekend at your favorite watering hole to watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics, and Louisville native Rajon Rondo, and the Los Angeles Lakers around 8 p.m. The Lakers won Game 1 102-89 Thursday night in spite of 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds from Rondo. The Little Point Guard Who Could has been the breakout star of these playoffs, leaving University of Kentucky fans asking "Where was that when he was in Lexington?" and UofL fans pondering "What if?"