One bank thermometer said 94, the next 91, the one after that 96. They looked like the radar-gun readings Aaron Crow put up for Missouri in working his way to a three-hit shutout Friday afternoon against Mississippi in the NCAA regional opener. Why those bank thermometers vary so much is an issue best left for sharper minds. No matter. They weren't needed to inform the public it was hot any more than radar guns were needed to validate the opinion that the Royals should use the No. 3 overall selection in the upcoming draft on Crow.
Here is where I'll save you the trouble of typing the comment you were going to put underneath this column and do it for you: Enough on the Missouri ace, already, this is Kansas!
After all, it was Kansas, not Missouri, not Texas, not Texas A&M;, not anybody else, that had the best year among Big 12 athletic programs. With apologies to the non-revenue sports, it's football and men's basketball that color people's moods. Look at it this way: Would any other school rather have the year it had instead of winning the Orange Bowl and then a hoops national title?
Back to Friday's heat. It was so hot that two fire hydrants were fighting over a dog. It was top-down weather for convertible owners, except that it was so hot it was on the verge of top-back-up weather. Tough call. Anyway, the back of a head driving a shiny and red convertible on Ninth Street looked familiar, so, while the pollen was pitching tents in my eyes, I negotiated my faded black convertible through traffic to confirm it was indeed Lew Perkins, KU's athletic director.
"Mangino deal done yet?" I hollered, with a thumbs-up sign.
He shook his head and answered back: "Close."
Then Perkins let me know my top was neither up nor down, rather in between. I brought it all the way down, and we went our separate ways.
Too bad Mark Mangino's latest contract revision didn't take place before top-down weather hit. The last thing anybody needs is a resurfacing of that sibling rivalry that those who prefer KU football to basketball sometimes stir up. Everybody's happy basketball coach Bill Self's deal was reworked and that he went to bat for his assistants and for better living quarters for his players. Yet, talk around town percolates about why it has taken so long for Perkins and Mangino to get together to hammer out a new deal. Once news is released that Self's three assistant coaches will receive pay hikes to $350,000 apiece, according to a strong whisper, the drums for Mangino will beat a little more loudly. By the way, anyone of a mind that Joe Dooley, Danny Manning and Kurtis Townsend don't deserve such riches must not realize that Kansas State associate head coach Dalonte Hill will earn $420,000.
Perkins and Mangino need to get the new deal done next week. The Lew Perkins Golf Classic takes place Monday, June 9 at Alvamar, and plenty of foursomes remain open. It's the best day of the year to spend with Perkins, whose moods sometimes swing. He's at his charming, story-telling best at his tourney, which benefits Douglas County Special Olympics, a cause dear to him. He doesn't need any angst over Mangino's contract eating at him when he's kicking, er, hitting his way out of a sand trap.