Pitino vs. Calipari: Shots Fired! Take Cover!

Posted: October 6, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Bloggin' Interns: John Hammon

Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate!

Duck and cover, buzzers…basketball season is in the air here in the bluegrass. Whether it be the falling leaves, the firing of offensive coordinators, or Kentucky entering the portion of the SEC slate where a string of 49-7 beatings is inevitable, this is the time of year when hearts and minds in Kentucky turn to basketball. While other basketball “meccas” like Tobacco Road, and Lawrence, Kansas are still thinking about football, it seems the state of Kentucky sets itself apart by heating things up a little earlier every year. A new tradition on the  calendar this year seems to be Rick Pitino and John Calipari reminding everyone that they don’t really care for one another either. If you’re behind on the news, here are a few links to catch you up and then a few thoughts…

The original geographically-challenged barb thrown by John Calipari. (Maybe I’m crazy, but it sure seems like Cal is trying to hold back the grin.)
A link to the quote from Pitino, describing his strategy of (ahem) ignoring Calipari.
Rick Bozich fires away at Calipari this morning, saying Calipari has a bad case of “Pitino-Envy.”
And we’ve hit the national news, as Jeff Goodman of CBS has weighed in…
I for one want to say kudos to both Calipari and Pitino. Most coaches see their fans as a “nature of the beast” type obligation at best, and a hindrance at worst. When asked for a comment from a fan boy turned reporter, they would give a pre-packaged response. Something like “it’s a great rivalry and they look forward to it, but the next game on the schedule is the focus, blah blah blah, good to see you, I’ve got to get going.” Not here. Like generals leading their armies out onto the field of battle, Cal and Rick don’t mind getting into the trenches with us and like Rob said Tuesday on the Afternoon Buzz (Weekdays from 5-6pm… I am a company man.) it’s a Player Hater’s Ball here in Kentucky, and the two heads of state are leading the charge.
I say raise a glass to both of these crazy guys, to their candidness, and to their desire to smash each other’s face into a jelly. I definitely think Cal is watching what Rick is doing. Taking that job with the Dominican team is a dead giveaway. He absolutely has a massive ego, and looks for any chance he can get to feed it. I also think his shot at Louisville did exactly what he hoped it would do. It got the cameras on him, and stirred up both fan bases.
I really enjoyed Rick’s counter punch as well. Saying that he’s simply ignoring Cal. Ignoring him in all his jealous, malicious, ignorance. Rick has a way of delivering that wry condescension that says “Slow your roll… I’m still the one with the ring.” I’m sure Cal would claim that he’s ignoring Rick as well. He’d probably claim that his quote was just an oversight. The cards just slipped his mind. Yeah, right.
Sure, that’s all this is. Just two guys ignoring each other. And instead of getting hot under the collar about it, we as the fans need to sit back, get our popcorn ready, and be thankful for the best rivalry in sports.
I’m interested to hear the response from you guys on this. What are your thoughts on the shots our coaches are taking at each other? Who got the better of this exchange?

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