KANSAS CITY - Bobby Knight was in no mood to talk about basketball on Wednesday.
The Texas Tech coach spent nearly his entire 11-minute press conference at Big 12 media day analyzing the Major League Baseball playoffs.
“So at the end of the 8th inning (of Cleveland’s 7-3 win over Boston on
Tuesday), I was with two guys watching it and I said, 'I wonder if (Rafael)
Betancourt will pitch the 9th inning?' which he did,” Knight said. “Which to me was a great decision because he had just gone through three guys like a hot knife through butter.”
Knight, who is good friends with St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, said now that the Cardinals are out he is rooting for his second-best friend, Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge.
As for LaRussa, Knight crushed the hopes of some Kansas City Royals fans when a reporter asked if the manager’s future could involve Missouri’s other team.
“I think that what LaRussa does will really depend on what he thinks will be the best situation for him to have a team that can defend,” Knight said.
“Which might leave the Royals out.”
The often-testy coach was in a light-hearted mood throughout the morning in Kansas City. That is, until a reporter asked if the Indians can beat the Rockies.
“If I knew whether the Indians could beat the Rockies or not George Bush would be asking me how the hell do you get out of Iraq right now,” Knight said to laughs from the 50-plus reporters in the room.
Knight, who is a native of Orrville, Ohio and played basketball at Ohio State, was asked his opinion on the Indians’ nickname and mascot, Chief Wahoo.
“I think there’s a real long history of Indian culture in the state of Ohio and half-a-dozen different tribes from the lake down to the Ohio River,” Knight said. “And I think that that’s something that - I can’t speak for anybody other then myself - but I think I would be kind of proud of that.”
And, as if on cue, Knight’s notorious intolerance with the media came out when asked the lone question about basketball. The coach cut off a reporter when he asked if junior college transfer center Ricardo De Bem can have an immediate impact.
“We’ve practiced four times, and I think that’s impossible to tell after four practices,” Knight said. Adding later, “We didn’t sign him to be a cheerleader.”
But then it was all back to baseball.
“We’ll enjoy anything that you want to discuss relative to baseball during the coming months,” Knight said. “Just give me a call.”