While John Wooden is Memorialized, the “JW”-clad Baseball Bruins rise above TCU 10-3 to Success-fully reach the top of the Pyramid, alongside the REAL “USC” (South Carolina, not South Central) — UCLA now has to only “BeatSC” in a Best-of-3 Series to bring the second NCAA Title to Westwood since the Wizard went behind the curtain

First, the UCLA Softball Team.  Then the Lakers (with Jordan Farmar and John Wooden’s good friend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).  And now the UCLA Baseball Team?  Is it possible that Coach Wooden is calling the shots from the Great Beyond?  If so, he apparently doesn’t like Soccer.

At the exact same time that Wooden was being Celebrated with a Public Memorial Service and the Bruins were playing “Leap Frogs” in Omaha,  the USA was knocked out of the World Cup by Ghana, 2-1.  The last two minutes were exciting, as the U.S. had several opportunities to tie it up.  But the Americans couldn’t get the equalizer.   So  they instead got eliminated, by the same little African Country who also knocked them out in the LAST World Cup, 4 years ago.  Apparently, Wooden didn’t feel obligated to help the Bruin-infused U.S. Team beat Ghana.  But the one good part of this un-patriotic result:  The Media will stop talking about how Soccer Fever is sweeping the Nation.  “Sleeping” the Nation will be a better way to put it, at least for another 4 years.  Unless of course, you are one of those people who boo the “Star Spangled Banner” and fly Old Glory upside down under a different flag — As far as I’m concerned, that “other” flag on top might as well have a swastika on it.  And that attitude doesn’t exactly win me over to the Sport.  Neither does NOT KEEPING SCORE in Youth Leagues.  Red Sanders would cringe.

Of course, John Wooden NEVER talked about winning and losing, just about giving your best effort.  So he probably approved of the overly-sensitive femininity of the “everyone-gets-a-trophy” Soccer co-ops.  Then again, it’s easy to “not care” about winning WHEN YOU NEVER LOSE. 

The CONFIDENCE that the Spirit of John Wooden has instilled in the UCLA Baseball Bruins really showed on Saturday, as the Bruins bounced back from their first post-season loss to spank TCU 10-3.  The Bruins scored 5 runs in the 1st inning and never looked back, as Starting Pitcher Trevor Bauer mowed down Frog after Frog.  A few TCU solo Homers kept them from getting humiliated, as UCLA avenged their loss to the Horned Frogs the day before.

The Bruins now face the University of South Carolina, also commonly known as “USC.”  Bruin fans who have bought “Beat SC” stuff in the past can now dust it off and bring it to Omaha.  The Gamecocks beat Clemson to make it to the Championship Round, and, like the Bruins, have never before won an NCAA Title in Baseball, so it won’t be about experience.  Rather, it will be about SPIRIT, along with talent, of course.  And assuming that the talent of the two teams is in the same ballpark, the Bruins will have the advantage:  With the Power of JW watching over them, the Bruins have the market cornered in Spirit.

Speaking of Spirit, my TOP FIFTY, of the UCLA Cheerleaer Photo Hall of Fame  is basically complete and ready for viewing.  They aren’t in any ORDER within the fifty — YET —  but I did find my favorite 50 shots of all time (that I can post), out of tens of thousands of photographs, spanning the last 6 years, and they are all together on one page.  Just click on the link by the top of this page that says “Cheer HoF.”

While choosing those 50, I found around 250 more that deserved Hall of Fame nominations.  In the next few days, I am going to organize them into “honorable mention” Pages with 50 pics each, and add them to the Hall.  Here is one photo that didn’t have to wait for Page Two…