It's official, spring is here! Onto the bag...
Opening Night vs Opening Day: Baseball has allowed the season to open on a Sunday night since 1994; last night was no exception, with the WS champion Yankees going to Boston. This move was originally made to accommodate their contract with ESPN. Prior to '94, baseball had always started in Cincinnati (where professional baseball was born) in the sunshine of a Monday afternoon. Regardless of ratings, attendance, or other factors, this is the wrong way to start the baseball season. 28 fan bases could give a rats ass about the game cause there team isn't in it, and (because of history which, I'm constantly reminded, is such an integral part of the game) Cincinnati should always be the first team to take the field every year. This isn't football; baseball is much more of a provincial game (fans in other cities don't like other teams) with a history that is as much a part of the game as whats being played on the field. I know that this is an argument made in vain, money and the such will always take precedence over common sense, but I will keep hammering on this every opening day because I'm sisyphean like that.
ESPN Coverage: When I saw that the opening night game would be "the best rivalry is sports" (*wretch*), I immediately began rolling my eyes in anticipation of the event. None-the-less, I couldn't escape the terrifying grip of the ESPN production team in Bahhhhhsten. Besides the fact that these teams will play 17 more times this year, or that Fenway has been around since 1912, "The Worldwide Leader" proceeded to treat the even like there has never been anything like this before. It was almost as if they had just discovered Fenway was still around. They even mentioned the stupid Manny going into the monster during a game story 5 times (by my count). He's not even a Red Sox anymore, and that happened years ago! ESPN even did a piece on how the Green Monster changes the game, and talked ad nauseum about how hitters would need to change their swings, as if they'd never seen the place before. There are at least 81 games played in that stadium every year, and the Yankees visit at least 9 times every season. EVERYONE KNOWS HOW TO HANDLE THE "MONSTER." The announcers even mentioned somebody keeping score, as if it's some antiquated custom that other fans of other teams aren't knowledgeable enough to understand, and noted that only in Boston and New York would you find fans who would do such a thing. My dear sweet Lord.
(Holy Shit! When did this stadium get here! How could they possibly handle the "Monster?")
Calm down ESPN; in the words of Earl Weaver, "This ain't a football game, we do this every day." You'll have plenty of more opportunities to shove RedSox and Yankee cock down our throats over the coming year. For the good of us all, can someone start a national network to compete with these fucks? (FSN, and its half-assed attempt, doesn't count)
The game itself: Since I root for a team not named the RedSox or the Yankees, I was only marginally interested in this game. After C.C. Sabathia (who's on my fantasy team) left, I turned it off and watched some Top Gear re-runs. I think Boston won, or something.... 161 to go boys, congratulations, you win a cookie.
White Sox Predictions: While I'm on the topic of baseball, I figured I'd jot down my predictions for the season. I fully expect a roller coaster ride this year. The deficiencies with the offense were only partially mended over the off season. GM Kenny Williams properly diagnosed the problem: too many solo home runs, and not enough sustainable offense. However, he missed the mark on how to go about fixing the problem, settling for the Mark Teahen's and Andrew Jones' of the world. The pitching staff, with additions to both the rotation and the bullpen, should be formidable. Overall, I expect the team to win about 85 games; thankfully in the AL Central, that may be enough to get into the playoffs.
(That's good intensity, Peavy. Now, save some for the season. From: the Trib)
Final 4: Sparty failed to win me $500. Oh well. I'm still excited for Butler to be in the final (If they win, I get $40. If they lose I get $20. Either way... MONEY!); the very nature of a Horizon League team making the national title game is fun in of itself. Imagine if they won: that lame late-night Sports Illustrated commercial offering you a championship retrospective magazine (individually numbered!) along with a season highlight DVD and a basketball....for the Butler Bulldogs; their 15-year old coach heading the Disney World Parade; their own intro shot for SportsCenter. Interesting things can still happen in the world of sports, and you don't have to play for one of the big boys to play for a championship. This is good for the sport, and good for the fan. Go Butler!
(The Bulldogs will need a healthy Matt Howard (concussion) if they have any hope of beating the Blue Devils. From: ESPN)
Donovan McNabb Trade: Really, the Redskins? Wouldn't have guessed that.... Jimmy Clausen just lost a lot of money. I was almost positive that Redskins Owner Dan Snyder had fallen for the "Notre Dame pedigree, with NFL instruction" crap. While I don't think that this makes them the front runner for the NFC title like many are talking about today, this certainly does help out the Redskins. I have to ask, why would the Eagles trade him in division? Now you've got pissed off Donovan F. McNabb playing you twice a year until he retires. Seems like a weird move to me. Anywho, hope the Eagles fans enjoy Kevin Kolb, cause there's no turning back now.
Hawks Clinch Division Title: Briefly, I touched upon the struggling Blackhawks last week. They had just finished losing 7 of 10, and had begun showing signs of weakness. Since Monday, they won all 4 games they played and wrapped up the division crown. Well, so much for struggling, I guess. I hope this is the level of energy and excellence that I can expect come playoff time, cause anything less than a berth in the Western Conference Finals would be a massive disappointment. It was the Hawks first Division Title since winning the old Norris division in '93. Keep it up boys, the spirits of Eddie the Eagle, J.R., and Chelly are looking down upon you right now (Wait, they're still alive? I always figured they died after leaving Chicago.)
(Gotta keep it up, boys! From: The Trib)