In a tiny town in the middle of Tuscany lies one of the most colorful characters in the world: Dario Cecchini, the “Mad Butcher of Panzano.” We visited Dario in his legendary butcher shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini, while touring the Chianti wine region, and being in his presence for just a few minutes was one of the most remarkable experiences of our trip. Dario’s family has been in the butchery business for eight generations, and now, he’s the most famous butcher on the planet. The 59-year-old first burst onto the foodie scene in 2001 when he held a funeral for “bistecca fiorentina” (a style of T-Bone steak famous in Florence) during the Mad Cow disease crisis, the plaque for which still hangs outside his shop:
Since then, the larger-than-life Dario has become a superstar, nicknamed the “Michelangelo of Meat,” and cooks for famous people around the world. We were lucky to catch him in his shop, although rumor has it he may have cut a trip to Los Angeles short so he could grill for the Obama family, who was also touring Tuscany when we were. Entering his shop is a visceral experience. The first thing that hits you is the smell: wonderful, aromatic, meat. The second thing that hits you is the small wine glass thrust into your hand, filled with local Chianti. From there, you’re ushered to a table overflowing with cold cuts, bread, olive oil, and quite possibly the most delicious spread I’ve ever tasted, which makes sense because it turned out be lardo. The party spills into the street, the Italians shouting over AC/DC (the only music Dario will play) while tourists look around and wonder what the heck they walked into. Our group ate a lunch across the street that was catered by the shop, and after eating more than my fair share of pasta all week, my body sang for the freshest thing it had seen in days: vegetables dipped in olive oil, which was mixed with Dario’s “Profumo del Chianti,” an herb salt. You better believe we brought some home with us.
So, should you find yourself anywhere near Florence, Italy, take a tour or drive yourself out to Panzano to meet Dario and try that lardo. And bring some me some more herb salt, please.
Now, on with the show.
1. The Super Regional vs. Louisville is sold out
If you were hoping to cheer the Bat Cats on in their first Super Regional ever, well, prepare to pay a lot on the secondary markets. All three games between Kentucky and Louisville are sold out, and considering the Cards are the host and had a day head start on selling tickets, I have a feeling that crowd will be mostly red. If you were lucky enough to secure a spot in Jim Patterson Stadium, do us all a favor and BE LOUD.
For the rest of us, the games will begin at high noon Friday (ESPN2), Saturday (ESPN), and Sunday (TBA).
2. If you haven’t yet, listen to the KSR Baseball Podcast
Hearing former UK Baseball coach Keith Madison reflect on the program’s historic accomplishment is so good, so good, so good. If you haven’t already subscribed to the KSR podcast feed, here’s how you can.
3. UK Basketball’s complete non-conference schedule was released
- October 13: Big Blue Madness
- October 20: Blue/White Game
- November 10: vs. Utah Valley
- November 12: vs. Vermont
- November 14: vs. Kansas, Champions Classic, Chicago
- November 17: vs. ETSU
- November 20: vs. Troy
- November 22: vs. Fort Wayne
- November 26: vs. UIC
- December 2: vs. Harvard
- December 9: vs. Monmouth, Citi Double Cash Classic, New York
- December 16: vs. Virginia Tech
- December 23: vs. UCLA, CBS Sports Classic, New Orleans
- December 29: vs. Louisville
- January 27: at West Virginia
The SEC schedule will feature nine home games and nine away games, which were announced last week without dates. Kentucky will play Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Missouri twice (home and away); play Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Mississippi State at home; and play on the road at Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and South Carolina.
4. Players continue to arrive on campus
UK’s summer session begins today, which means the basketball and football teams are back on campus. Here’s Shai Alexander and Jemarl Baker moving in to their new home:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) June 6, 2017
And PJ Washington hanging with some fans at the airport:
— M. Keith Warren (@keithwarren) June 6, 2017
PJ Washington will be a fan favorite. Mark it down.
5. Dominique Hawkins is working out for the Sacramento Kings today
A day after the Kings hosted De’Aaron Fox, they will see Dominique Hawkins, who will work out alongside Donovan Mitchell (Louisville), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), Cameron Oliver (Nevada), Erik McCree (Louisiana Tech), and Jabari Bird (Cal). The Kings have the 5th, 10th, and 34th picks in the draft.
Yesterday, Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe worked out for the Detroit Pistons (12th pick), while Malik Monk visited the Phoenix Suns (4th, 32nd, and 54th picks). De’Aaron Fox will work out for Phoenix later this week, but apparently his workout in Sacramento went so well that the Kings are considering trading their 5th and 10th picks to Philadelphia in order to ensure they get Fox at #3. Oh boy.
6. Alvonte Bell was dismissed from the team
The defensive line suffered a big blow yesterday with the news that senior defensive end Alvonte Bell has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. That one hurts because Bell was a projected started at a spot that sorely needs depth. For more on what Bell’s dismissal means going forward, check out Freddie’s recap of the Governor’s Cup luncheon.
7. Mark Stoops had some interesting comments about Matt Elam
“He and I (Matt Elam) had a sit-down in mid-April about some things he needs to do. And, you know, it’s up to Matt. Matt is a good worker and does good things and everything that’s expected of him when he’s with us. There are sacrifices you have to make when you’re away from college and you’re away from your coaches. That’ll be up to Matt.”
This will be Elam’s senior season, meaning he’s running out of time to make the impression he needs to in order to get an opportunity on the next level.
8. Stoops picked up a kicker named Chance Poore
Get ready for a whole lotta puns because Stoops just landed Chance Poore, the top-ranked kicker in the state of South Carolina. Apparently his chances of landing 40-yarders won’t be poor because he’s been hitting them since age 13. Please let that be the only pun about him I ever write.
Anyways, Chance is the 10th member of UK’s 2018 class. Welcome.
9. Scooter Gennett made history last night
Gennett. The best a man can hit. pic.twitter.com/ekgeeyqMe1
– Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 7, 2017
The Cincinnati Reds second baseman hit four home runs, tying the MLB record, and finished with 10 RBIs, tying a franchise record, in the Reds’ 13-1 rout of the Cardinals last night. He’s only the 17th player to hit four home runs in one game in major league history, quite the feat for a player who was claimed off waivers in late March and only had three home runs this season going into last night.
10. Happy birthday, Fake Barney!
June is a big birthday month at KSR, and today, we celebrate our favorite fake purple dinosaur, Fake Barney. My OTT podcast compadre and his Baby Bop are expecting their first baby in September, and if not for stupid Luke Maye, he would be having a record year. Enjoy the day, Barnes.
Radio in an hour…