Sunday, March 12, 2017


It won't be long now when the games will be contested in earnest. In the meantime, March Madness will be in full swing. Sunday night, the brackets will be announced starting at 5:30 pm followed by ESPN's in-depth analysis at 7:00 pm. This will be when they will tell us how 'they knew it all along."  Joe Lunardi will explain why the selection committee made mistakes by not picking it the way he said. Who cares; the games will be just as good.
The Picasner analysis will follow this week but that is all tongue-in-cheek, including my pick for the winner which will, of course, be foot-in-mouth.  And Annie-O will out pick me.

Spring Training report
We're seeing more regulars now and fewer minor leaguer's fighting for jobs. The Yankees used only three pitchers today in their win over the Tigers. By the way, you gotta love that Detroit logo, the old English "D."
Masahiro Tanaka started for NY and he was terrific. Four perfect innings including six straight strikeouts to start the game. Interestingly, in an interview after he finished, Tanaka wasn't pleased with his performance. He said his pitches weren't sharp and he had trouble with his command. A couple of his curve balls were okay but overall he felt he didn't pitch very well. Meanwhile, over on the Detroit bench a few of the players were saying, "Wait, what? That wasn't good? What's going on? Did you hit him? Hit him? I couldn't see him. What's he talking about?"

Advantage: Large school or small school?
One of the insights announcers try to impart to viewers during basketball games is the importance of bench strength. Does a team have a 7-man rotation, or 8-man or do they utilize just one sub off the bench? This is where these analysts say that large schools have an advantage: they are able to recruit a greater number of talented players. I have a counter point to this theory. Yes, fatigue can be a factor playing only 6 men, but you are still only allowed 5 players on the floor at once. It's different if you're talking about a football team. It's much easier to recruit 5 or 6 prime  players than the 22 to 25 that may be needed for football. I don't think the "Big School Advantage" is as much of a factor as the analysts and bracketologists think it is. (By the way, who decided that 'bracketology' is a real word?)

Well, oh yeah? 
Friday night, with an 11-point lead and possession of the ball and .9 seconds left in the game, Arizona  coach Sean Miller signaled for a timeout, infuriating UCLA coach Steve Alford. Apparently this was retaliation for Alford calling a timeout a week earlier against this same Arizona team. That time, there was 12 seconds left and only a 5 point lead. Alford says he was trying to set his defense but coach Miller would have none of it. I  can see Alford's point as 12 seconds can be a lifetime in basketball, so it would appear that coach Miller is just a l-i-t-t-l-e bit sensitive in spite of all his protestations. Oh well, what's a little sarcasm among friends.

The sounds of silence 
During last Sunday's game at MSG, between the Knicks and the Warriors, the following message was displayed on the large teleprompter over the court.
"The first half of today’s game will be presented without music, video or in-game entertainment so you can experience the game in its purest form. Enjoy the sounds of the game."
Now this is an interesting concept. Fans had no distractions and focused completely on the game, hearing the squeak of the sneakers, the bouncing of the ball and the referee's whistles. Wow. Remember your high school basketball games? The only distraction was the cheerleaders and they performed only during a stoppage of play. The Garden only did it for the first half but this is a great idea. Now if we could only get the announcers and color guys to shut up.  

I have a question.  
Supposedly, the USA World Baseball Classic team is making a big push to have a better than decent showing in this year's tournament. Important because the USA team has never made it into the championship round in a sport which originated in this country. Well, they lost to a loaded Dominican Republic team last night, 7-5My questions are: Why was Paul Goldshmidt batting 6th? why was Giancarlo Stanton batting 7th? Where was Ben Zobrist? Bryce Harper? They were facing what may be the toughest team in the tournament and the USA's best players weren't either in the game or in the best position to help the team. Maybe this is a reason the USA hasn't done well in the past. 

Whose side are you on? 
Rob  Manfred, in a statement released by MLB about a particular Sunday night ESPN game, said, “MLB’s greatest responsibility is to ensure that today’s youth become active participants in our game as players and fans." Sure, that explains why World Series games end at midnight or later and Sunday night games don't start until 8:00 PM.  Rob, you'd sound a lot smarter if you just stopped talking.

I'll get around to it
Last week was the celebration of  National Procrastination Week    I should get to it later this week. Maybe.

"I think the safety precautions at the Daytona 500 are getting a little ridiculous. This year there were speed bumps."  -- Brad Dickson
"Thinking  the Duke-Notre Dame game might have tied an NCAA record as far as a basketball game where most viewers wanted to see both teams lose."  -- Janice Hough
"When King Salman of Saudi Arabia took a recent trip to Indonesia, he brought along 506 tons of baggage. In other words, almost as much as Colin Kaepernick."  -- Dwight Perry
"Star forward Dirk Nowitzki has shown steadfast loyalty to the team and city for 19 seasons. “When you pay somebody $200 million, they tend to be loyal."  -- Owner Mark Cuban
" At Mardis Gras the newly traded-to-New Orleans DeMarcus Cousins was photographed with underwear on his head. This is about that time when a GM goes, “What did I get myself into?”"  -- Brad Dickson
"Supermodel Kate Upton said Tigers' ace and fiancĂ©, Justin Verlander, forgoes sex the nights before and after he plays. So when he’s pitching games, he’s not pitching woo?"  -- RJ Curry

"A recent study says adults who eat home-cooked food and don’t watch TV during meals are less likely to be obese. Which is good news for all three of those people."  -- Jim Barach
"Talking about Kentucky basketball recruits history of one-and-done. We celebrated one of the rarest things in sports this week: Kentucky University Senior Day."  -- Bob Ryan 
"The Cleveland Browns have made Charley Hughlett the NFL’s highest paid long-snapper. Well, gee, as many times as Cleveland punted last year, I’d say he earned it."  -- Bill Littlejohn
"At the Big Ten tournament BTN sponsored a baby race. Each Big Ten school sent an infant to the baby race except for Ohio State, which was represented by coach Urban Meyer."  -- Brad Dickson
"While making bracket picks can we have a side bet on how many technical fouls Grayson Allen will get in?"  -- Janice Hough
"Blue Jays backup catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has the longest surname in team history at 14 letters. Now that’s a high-character player."  -- RJ Currie
"The Kansas City Royals spring training stadium is selling a hot dog wrapped in a burger patty 
wrapped in bacon. It’d be healthier to throw this away and eat a baseball."  -- Brad Dickson



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