Thursday, April 05, 2012

04/05 (Opening Day-ish) Quickie

Is it baseball's Opening Day yet? (What does it say that I have to ask for clarification?)

*The top storyline is whether Albert Pujols can get the Angels to the playoffs.
*My most must-see player of the season is 49-year-old Jamie Moyer.
*There is no chance that the sport can match last season's "Game 162" finale.
*That said, the new playoff format will keep things interesting all the way.
*If you read one thing: Schoenfield's "100 Reasons to be Excited"

*Saints/Gregg Williams: The "Go lay that mother-f---er out!" audio -- listen here -- is the most damning evidence that could be produced. I stand by my initial take: Gregg Williams is finished in the NFL. "Indefinitely" isn't "back next year" -- the league will make him a radioactive hire.

*Masters: Tiger is the main event. Rory is must-see, but Tiger is who everyone will be tracking between now and Sunday. (The best Masters read I found was this one by's inimitable Wright Thompson.)

*Should Augusta National admit women? Yes. As a private club, it's their prerogative not to, but I perennially find it interesting that the sports-media world creates the cognitive dissonance to know the exclusion is wrong yet still slather over the club. Let's not give the club too much power; if everyone stopped covering it -- and if the PGA stopped supporting it (which will never happen) -- they would admit as many women as someone tells them to.

*Heat tip Thunder: I think 99% of NBA fans -- sorry, Bulls fans -- would be thrilled with a Heat-Thunder Finals. That game had a playoff intensity -- only weeks away. (Want a great read on LeBron? Kevin Van Valkenburg -- a writer I really like -- makes his ESPN Mag debut with a good piece on LeBron's place in the NBA world.)

*Must-see video clip from last night: Blake Griffin posterizes Pau Gasol...twice.

*MLB Opening-ish Night: The Marlins park is really nice. The team may take a few more weeks (months?) to get it together. Impressive to see the Cards start so fast in the post-Pujols Era.

*MLB Opening-ish Day: Aces all over the place, including Verlander, Halladay and Kershaw. But my must-see today is Stephen Strasburg when the Nats open the season at Wrigley against the Cubs at 2:20 ET.

*NBA Draft: Jared Sullinger is in, as expected. His NBA potential, however, is much more murky. Like Harrison Barnes, he's a Top 10 pick, but not close to the Top 5 (Top 3?) pick he would have been a year ago. He is not the next Kevin Love. If he's lucky, he's the next DeJuan Blair. But I actually think Blair was the better college rebounder. The comp I always come back to is Danny Fortson, who had a nice little NBA career, but was hardly a star.

*Calipari says he's staying in college: I believe him -- he is at the pinnacle of the sport, with a system that ensures he is a championship contender every year. Why leave that? Want to see Calipari think twice about staying in college? Eliminate the one-and-done rule, which is Cal's arbitrage.

Enjoy Opening Day -- or whatever it is.

-- D.S.

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