Wow. It's been a while. I've had to take some time readjusting everything and getting a little more used to my job. But I want to (and need to) start blogging again. I can't keep my fans waiting of course. :P
Well, I think we should start with I told you all so. North Carolina wins the national championship. If you will recall my blog weeks ago, I predicted that and broke it down thoroughly, and in the end, I couldn't have been more right. The Tar Heels bashed everyone on their way to titletown to tie Indiana for third place all-time with five championships.
And oh, no! The Heels are going to lose all those great players to the NBA. Probably. Green and Hansbrough have to go, being seniors, and it certainly seems like Lawson and Ellington would be idiots if they don't go. But bad news for everyone else. Big man Ed Davis - you know, the guy who KILLED Michigan State on the boards and inside - back for more, and probably on his way to being a lottery pick next year. More bad news. Roy Williams has five recruits coming in - all five of them are in the ESPN top-40 recruits. Seems like a bit of an unfair advantage. If the rest of the country has anything going for it against Carolina, it's that the Heels will be young next year.
My way-too-early pick for the championship next year has to be Kansas. We have to wait and see if Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins come back, but if they are, I don't see how you can consider anyone else. Certainly the Jayhawks, with a young, talented roster that played to its potential last and should have reached the Elite Eight, should be the favorite in the Big 12. Oklahoma is losing everything - let's be honest, Blake Griffin was EVERYTHING to them - and Texas, A&M, Missouri and Oklahoma State will all be in rebuild mode.
But anyway, it's far too early for any of those kinds of predictions.
Next is opening week of baseball. Nothing really special setting this opening week apart from others. There is the tragic and odd death of Nick Adenhart of the Angels. It's unbelievable to think about. A young guy who just finished his first start, he's just beginning a life full of dreams and potential and it's just over like that. It speaks to just how fragile life is.
One good thing about it is that my favorite team, the Braves, have the best record in the league after week 1. They and the Marlins are 5-1 (although the Braves SHOULD be 6-0, save for a bullpen meltdown), and what do ya know, they're playing a three-game set at Turner Field starting Tuesday. It'll be a good early season showdown for the inside edge on the division race. Of course that division also has the Mets and the Phillies, so it is far from over.
In Texas, the Rangers got all our hopes up, then dashed them expertly as only the Rangers can. As always, the weakness is the pitching staff and the Rangers need to be more consistent with their offense. Scoring 15 runs one day then 2 the next is not a formula for wins. The Rangers also have the bad fortune of being in the same division as a contending Angels team and very good retooled Mariners and A's teams. That division should be a lot closer than it was last year, when the Angels ran away with it.
On the negative side, the Astros are right where we all thought they would be, and maybe worse. How bad did Roy Oswalt look against the Cardinals on Saturday? Albert Pujols lit them up. The Stros find themselves with the largest differential run margin in the league, already at -27. That's very disturbing after just one week. What's even more disturbing is today, a three-game set with the underwhelming Pirates started with a 7-0 shellacking. Houston mustered only four hits against Zach Duke, while the Pirates notched 14 hits. We all know the Stros are prone to slow starts and blazing finishes, but this is enough to give even the stoutest optimist pause. Especially in a division with World Series contenders like the Cubs and Cardinals, the Astros probably have themselves in a rebuilding year, or couple of years.
What else is going on?
UConn breezed through the women's tournament. I've extolled the folly of that system and how boring it made this season. Ho hum.
The NBA and NHL continue to solidify the playoff picture. I think anyone would be insane at this point to not see the collision course that the Cavaliers and Lakers are on to meet each other for the Finals.
NFL draft still a while away.
Locally, St. Joes baseball is continuing to roll. They have a huge double-header match tomorrow against Pope John Paul II, who the Flyers are tied for the district lead with. Head coach Mike Shimek has been dying for a true litmus test on how good his team is, and hopefully this will be it.
Also at St. Joes, the Flyers are about to get two signees to commit to Texas A&M-Kingsville. Pitchers Marina Vazquez and Denver Diefenbach from the softball and baseball teams are set to become Javelinas next fall, and they will have signing ceremonies this week to confirm it. I'm going to be there to report on both of them. It further shows what kind of pipeline A&M-Kingsville has for this area. It seems like all the good talent from the area heads there.
Memorial softball keeps shooting itself in the foot with inconsistent offense. Coach Rome McNary can't seem to get a big win, even at home, and it's killing the Lady Vipers playoff chances. They have three chances left to improve their standings, but they are now 4-7. The best they can do is pull even in district and hope for some help so they can get slotted into that fourth playoff spot. It starts Tuesday with a game at Corpus Christi King.
No one at Memorial qualified for regionals in tennis, but two girls at St. Joes will travel to state later this month. Hailey Oliver and Julie Cooper will head to TAPPS state after finishing second in the District 3-4A Tournament.
Anyway. More to come.
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