Monday, April 06, 2009

From the Weekend That Was

Michigan State, North Carolina to put Ford Field to good use tonight. After the 2008 Fall of neglect from the Lions’ 0-8 home effort, Ford Field will see actual competition for the second time in three days when tonight’s national championship game takes place. Michigan State earned a spot in the game with a win over Connecticut and Jim Calhoun’s innovative, disciplined offense, which mostly consisted of A.J. Price driving recklessly at the basket in hopes that a foul might be called. Price finished with a stellar 5 of 20 from the floor (And I was lamenting the end of Allen Iverson shooting performances. Thank you, A.J.).

North Carolina dismantled a Villanova team that pulled an A.J. Price and shot 5 of 27 from behind the three-point line, while Carolina went 11 of 22. The Wildcats attempted to make things interesting early in the second half, but North Carolina just had way too much on offense. And thanks to Scottie Reynolds for his Iverson-like shooting as he threw up a 6 of 18 from the floor.

Tonight’s game should be one of the better games of the Tournament. Both teams are well coached, have excellent athleticism and rely on more than one person to do their scoring. In the interest of looking smarter than everyone who didn’t pick North Carolina to win it all, my loyalties will lie with the Tar Heels. Well, that and although I really like Tom Izzo, the thought of a 275-pound Magic Johnson being interviewed on the floor after Michigan State wins, stealing the moment from the players and coaches who deserve it, makes me want to vomit.

Over/under on how many times CBS shows Magic in the crowd: 14. I’ll take the over.

Ole Miss baseball team inhales Kentucky to earn first SEC series sweep. Outscoring the Wildcats 22-6 over the weekend, the Rebels finally broke through in a third game of a series. I haven’t made it to a weekend series game, but from everything I’ve read, starting pitching and timely hitting are this team’s strongest attributes. Since Scott Biddle (has he dropped the Scottie and is going for a more professional name? I say boo to that if so) has joined the weekend rotation, the Rebels have given up just 18 runs in six SEC games. If they can get any offense with that kind of pitching, they’ll be in every game. And although Kentucky may apparently suck, this is what you do to bad teams.

Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen’s anger is our entertainment. After being ejected and forced to listen on the radio to his team’s collapse in Sunday’s game against Auburn, who won 2 of 3 in Starkville, Cohen unleashed a cluster bomb of rage against his team, most notably his bullpen.

“It's a good thing we have the best radio guy in the country because at the very least, you get to listen to something of quality associated with Mississippi State baseball on the radio - because there's nothing of quality happening on the field there for a while."

But he wasn’t finished. What about that bullpen?

“It's personnel that just walks people. And there's not much we can do about that. In the future, we will have pitchers who have a background of throwing strikes. These guys do not, and it's that simple."

FAN-tastic. Here’s to hoping Cohen continues to get opportunities to top these quotes.

For the next 210-ish days, baseball will be played. The Braves’ 4-1 win over the Phillies last night kicked off the 2009 version of Major League Baseball, which will end sometime in early November. So seriously, from now until November, baseball will be on a television near you. That’s seven months from now.

Now, I like baseball. It’s an excellent filler from the end of college basketball to the start of college football. But a seven-month season is just stupid. There’s no reason to drag something out that long. People lose interest and a fan emotionally investing himself for 162 games (plus playoff games) isn’t going to happen, especially when football gets cranked up (both NFL and college).

End the World Series in early October, which means the regular season is done in early September, and people might stick around while football hasn’t reached its high gear. But rest assured, whatever the most logical move to improve baseball is, those in charge will do the exact opposite.

Plaxico Burress continues to meet police officers. The recently released wide receiver told a deputy sheriff during a March 18th traffic stop, “F--- you. You can’t open my f------ door.” Well then. Apparently, Plaxico does not enjoy the company of law enforcement officers. I was wrong.

Burress was pulled over for speeding (according to the police report, he was driving like “he was going to kill somebody”) on I-95 near Fort Lauderdale. His cooperation, or perhaps lack thereof, was described as “violent and aggressive” and earned him a $150 ticket, his fifth in Florida in the past month.

This should do wonders for his future employment in the NFL…err, National Football League (my apologies Mark Schlareth) and for his gun charge that still stands in New York (you know, when he shot himself, maybe you heard about it).

Carlos Zambrano wants Cubs fans to hate him. Why else would he suggest that Chicago should build a new stadium for the Cubs? I’m not a Cubs fan or emotionally attached to Wrigley Field like many Cubs fans, who, since their team cannot win a World Series, have nothing to hold onto but Wrigley, but even I know you don’t speak ill of or want to see the end of Wrigley Field. As the great Ricky Bobby once said, “That’s just dumb.”

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen tries to get fans excited about the Kyle Orton era. Bowlen sent a letter to all season ticket holders that explained that the Broncos had no choice but to trade Jay Cutler and his 17-20 career record. I guess he failed to mention they did have a choice in trading for Kyle Orton.

But allegedly, the Bears gave the Broncos the best offer, which included two first-round draft picks and a third-round pick, so Denver almost had to take Orton and the picks. I hope for Denver’s sake that those picks turn into a player who can throw the ball forward with a high degree of accuracy because currently, the Broncos have Orton, Darrell Hackney and Chris Simms listed as their quarterbacks. Good times.

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