Sparky Sun Devil walks in the Plaza bar inside the Four Points Sheraton in Tucson, shaking his head as he approaches a table where Wilbur Wildcat is sitting.
"After that bizarre ending, all you can do is add it to the legend and lore of the rivalry," he says as he sits.
"You know what," Wilbur says, "the Pac-10 can really come up with some doozy decisions, like this four-hour rule that ended the game. But baseball has never been an important sport with the league, never will be. So this is what you get."
"Before I forget," Sparky says, "I just want to say that was really nice of Andy and his coaches to hug Dustin Pedroia after the game. That’s what it’s all about. Respect for a great warrior. And Pedroia’s a great warrior."
"Baseball has always been a more civilized rivalry because of the coaches involved, the players recruited, and the stature of each program. To use a football example, it’s more like Ohio State-Michigan."
"Speaking of football, with all the publicity Stoops is getting, I almost expected to see his mug plastered on billboards from Marana to the campus when I drove down."
"Oh, you’re so funny," Wilbur says sarcastically. "But what can I say, the guy has done everything right generating enthusiasm."
"Give me one example."
"The guy is so detailed that for the spring game he scaled back the play calling so the offense and defense could have success, the fans could leave with an impression of improvement, and the players would go to the offseason feeling they’ve progressed. Positive vibes everywhere."
"There aren’t a lot of positive waves around us these days," Sparky says. "Our people are disgusted and fuming and ready to run nearly everybody out. The department’s tired of hearing about the debt and budget cuts."
"Whatever happened to the dispute with the Cardinals over signage?" Wilbur asks. "Wasn’t it supposed to be settled by now? I read where Gene Smith and Michael Bidwill got together."
"You heard about that madefor-media event down here?" Sparky says. "I got a big chuckle out of that. Understand, when Dr. Crow visited the Cardinals complex last fall to see what he could do about settling it, the Cardinals asked him if he was aware of Smith’s comments about the organization. He wasn’t. So the Cardinals pulled the clips and showed him."
"Six months later we get the hugs and kisses public apology from Gene," says Sparky. "Shoot, man, we still hate the Cardinals. And when we have to pay them, we’ll hate ‘em even more."
"The Cardinals have been nothing but good to us," Wilbur says with a sheepish grin.
"OK, Mr. Funnyman, I want to see you laughing when we take your softball coach. We’re calling Mike Candrea home. All we need to do is remind him of his ASU degree because money won’t be an object. We’re paying Linda Wells nearly $10,000 more than Mike now."
"Well, Sparky, time to hit the road. Getting ready for the run to Omaha."
The mascots shake hands.
"Oh yea, Sparky, one other thing," says Wilbur. "I noticed your football schedules don’t list kickoff times for most of your games. You can tell your fans Stoops starts beating up on the Devils at 1 p.m. If there’s a change, we’ll let you know."