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Florida's 48 for 2014, No. 44: Batesy should make you feel like wearing 44

Cherish James Bates.


We're doing a preseason countdown a little differently this year, with Florida's 48 for 2014. Yes, the numbering is a nod to 2013, but the entries in the countdown will mostly be reasons to be excited about the 2014 season, or ways to look at it, or ... well, whatever I want. And I'm going to have a lot more fun with it than anyone did with Florida's 2013 season — trust me.

I think James Bates is among the greatest Gators ever.

He was around for the best of Steve Spurrier's years in Gainesville, contributing to the Gators' winning time and again and endearing himself to the Head Ball Coach to the point that he can tell this story — and in near-perfect Spurrierese:

He zinged Florida State better than almost anyone else could:

And he can laugh — hard — at himself:

Bates has gone on to be a successful sportscaster, stool mishaps aside, and he's going to have that career (and his amazing artistic sideline) for about as long as he wants it. And, heck, Mick Hubert's going to be too old to be Mick Hubert someday: I wouldn't complain if Batesy ends up talking about the Gators again.

There's never going to be another Batesy, either. So we should probably cherish ours.