By Jeff Munn
Back in 2012, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was asked before a game how his bench players dealt with not being in the lineup every day.
“Most of them deal with it okay”, Hurdle told the assembled media, “and some of them get a case of boo-boo lip”.
“You know when a four year old gets their toy taken away from them for misbehaving, and they stick their lower lip out like it has a boo-boo? That’s boo-boo lip”.
If you’re still confused about what boo-boo lip looks like, head to Tucson. About half a million people down there have had a case of it since Arizona’s NCAA Basketball Tournament loss to Xavier.
It’s understandable, sort of. Arizona men’s basketball is once again at a point where the town stops whenever the Basket Cats play. This year, it reached levels not seen since Lute Olson’s first Final Four team.
Still, left untreated, boo-boo lip can lead to other afflictions.
Let’s get right to the point – all you nice people in Tucson were the ones telling us nice people in the Valley to get off the streets the weekend of the Final Four. You were coming to Glendale to win a national championship, and more importantly to you, shove it down ASU’s throats.
You were the ones setting the bar that high. But now, it’s Sun Devil Nation’s fault you didn’t clear it.
Cat fans have rushed to social media to remind Sun Devil fans to show some class. Okay, but we all know it would take Indiana Jones to figure out where the class in this rivalry is buried.
Go back and read what you were saying about ASU basketball after your 73-60 win over the Devils on March 4 in a Tempe arena that had way more red and blue in it than maroon and gold.
Translation – you had should have expected what came from Tempe Thursday night and Friday.
The other after effect of boo-boo lip is anger and bitterness. And guess where THAT gets directed?
In the days since the game, national and local sports media have relayed news that some around the country think Head Coach Sean Miller should lose his job over his inability to reach the Final Four, and no matter how often Tucson fans and media deny it, they’re the ones lighting that blaze.
The Tucson newspaper ran a story listing all those “Dump Miller” tweets in Saturday’s editions. Gee, if they were happy with Miller, don’t you think the newspaper would have scrubbed that story idea?
This is nothing new in Tucson. Cat fans came THAT close to running off Lute Olson in 1992. He was on the verge of accepting an offer to go to Kentucky based on the fact he was up to here with the complaints he hadn’t given Basket Cat fans the national championship they felt they were entitled to.
History is repeating itself in 2017.
There’s lot of places Sean Miller can go where consistent appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and three trips to the Elite Eight would allow him to do more personal endorsements than just riding a light rail train to tell students why they should get a credit card.
We get it – he’s not Lute Olson.
Lute got to the Final Four in his fifth season, but does anyone remember how long it took him to win the title? Fourteen tries. Mixed in with it were six losses in the first round of the tournament, and we don’t need to remind you how embarrassing a few of those were (who are we kidding? Of course we’ll remind you – Steve Nash and Santa Clara in 1993 and Herb Sendek’s Miami of Ohio in 1995).
In fact, Olson had an 0-3 record in the NCAA’s at Arizona going into the season he finally got the Cats to the Final Four.
And, we repeat, your consistent cases of boo-boo lip nearly drove him away.
Miller isn’t in Tucson because he wants to be on the West Coast, like Lute did. Keep telling Sean Miller how personally injured you are by his ineptitude, and before long, that assistant’s job on his brother’s staff at Indiana will start to look pretty good.
Do you realize how many D-1 men’s basketball programs would like to be you? Put down your calculator – the answer is just about everybody.
You shot your mouth off about how Glendale would be painted red and blue, you lost in the Sweet 16, and your rival is pointing and laughing. Like ASU has never had that big a fall before. You had your 24 hours to grieve. Now, just put on your big boy gym shorts and deal with it.
And get off Sean Miller’s back. While you still can.