Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Madness in March

March Madness. Two of my favorite words. Starting Thursday, there will be 48 games in four days - all of them televised by the CBS Sports networks. I've downloaded the March Madness On Demand app on both my iPad and laptop so I can sit in front of the TV and watch all of the games on three devices at the same time.

Every year, this week is the most exciting time for me as a sports fan. There will be last-second shots, crazy upsets, and plenty of drama. Only 16 teams (Out of 68) will still be standing on Sunday. I rarely do well in the bracket contests because I try to pick the one team that will shock the hoops world and become this year's Cinderella. Invariably, I miss on choosing the correct one.

This college basketball season has been filled with upsets and parity has reigned supreme. For that reason, this Tournament should prove to be wacky and unpredictable. My Final Four selections are Louisville, New Mexico (there's that upset hope), Miami, and Florida. I have Louisville beating Miami for the title. There really are about 12-15 teams that have a realistic chance to win including my Syracuse Orange, who I have losing to Indiana. Other teams I won't be surprised to see win include Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgetown, Kansas, and Gonzaga.

After this wild weekend, we start all over again next weekend with the Sweet 16. Can't wait!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Great Rivera's Last Hurrah

The one-of-a-kind Mariano Rivera will announce his retirement after this 2013 season in a press conference slated for tomorrow. As a lifelong Yankees fan, this will be a sad time because it is truly the end of one of the all-time greatest careers in Yankees history.

The 43-year-old Rivera is a baseball marvel, getting hitters out for 17 years with one pitch – albeit a very nasty one. It was Rivera who was the difference-maker in all of the Yankees’ five World Series titles during the past 16 seasons. He will go down in history as one of the Top 5 all-time greatest Yankees (Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle). No one else dominated his position more than Mo did. He’s the all-time saves leader in MLB history and has one of the lowest ERA’s for a pitcher with at least 1000 innings pitched.

I could go on for awhile about my feelings for the classy Rivera, but I though a few comments pulled from ESPN’s message board says it all:

“I'm a die hard red sox fan, but I have always had the utmost respect for Mo. I'm extremely glad that the man gets to retire on top. I would have hated to see a stellar player who is also a great human being retire after an injury.  
I sincerely hope his 2013 season is injury free. There are very few players, Yankees and Red Sox alike that have earned my lifetime respect. Mariano is one of them.  
He defines what it means to be a player. He is the role model we want for our kids.  
I cant think of a better player to represent baseball in my generation. I salute you sir.””

“As a Red Sox fan, the greatest satisfaction I got was when the Sox actually got to Rivera. Not because I "hated" him, or the Yankees, but because he was just that great. Class and dignity come to mind first and foremost when I think of Mo, as well as Jeter. My favorite moment of the Sox winning the 2004 World Series was '05 Opening Day when Mo received that ovation from the Fenway crowd, and he smiled that engaging smile, and waved his hat to the crowd. I hate that I admire a Yankee so much, but there is no other way to feel. Go get 'em Rivera, except when you play the Sox. Baseball will be lessened when you are gone.”

Here is a wonderful story about Rivera being the last player to ever don the 42 jersey, retired by MLB in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Robinson’s widowRachel is especially proud of Rivera: