Tuesday, March 13, 2007

March: Best Month. Period

If someone came and asked you what your favorite month of the year is, what would be your response? December, July, or maybe May? If someone were to conduct a poll of 1,000 people, the majority may be one of those months. If that someone were to ask me not only what my favorite month is, but why, I would say March, and give the following reasons:

No other sporting event can top the NCAA Tournament
I love football, I love the Super Bowl, and I love watching baseball and basketball playoffs. However, the entire month of March revolves around the "Big Dance". The first week and a half are spent trying to make the last surge to get in, while the last three weeks are spent playing to be a champion. Unlike the Super Bowl, which may be the second greatest sporting event in my opinion, March Madness goes on everyday for two to three weeks, while only hype surrounding the Super Bowl spans that same time. Plus, it is the biggest fan fair available in sports, with millions of pools created to see who can pick the tournament winners the closest. Bracket-mania is a hellishly-fun 4 days leading up to the Big Dance, and just the NCAA Tournament alone makes the statement March is the year's best month.

Baseball Season Starts Up
Although the actual regular season doesn't begin until April, March is the best month to get baseball, aside from October. Spring training carries all the hype of 1) last year's World Series winner, and how they will fare 2) big name signings/trades 3) and steroids (only kidding about the latter). Not only is the weather as perfect as it can possibly be in March, it's a good reason to travel to the Sunshine State other than the beaches. Think of it like one of those appetizers you could be satisfied with as your entree.

The Peak of All Other Sports
Football gets prepped for the draft with the combines, free agency, and trades. NBA basketball fires up heading into the last stretch of the season, with bubble teams fighting for the few games needed to get into the playoffs, hockey also revving up for the playoffs, NASCAR season shifts into second and third gears, while tennis and golf begin their craze for the year. March represents the summit of all sports, and there is no better month than the beginning of spring, best weather next to September's (which happens to be the second best month, but we will wait until then).

St. Patrick's Day
You let me know of another occasion where rivers are dyed green, and we will argue.

My Birthday
Just because March birthdays are the best, along with September's.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Top Three Stories that Bothered Me

This past week has been wild in the world of sports. If you haven't been paying attention, I can't help you, but I can let you in on three stories that occurred the past few days that left an itch I can't scratch.

Juan Pablo Montoya Takes First Busch Series Victory in Mexico City

... but not without some criticism from his own teammate, Scott Pruett, whom Montoya collided with in the final laps of the Telcel-Motorola 200 in Mexico City. Pruett publicly expressed his disgust with his teammate's actions, calling his driving "lowdown, nasty, [and] dirty."

I have never raced in a circuit-format with high-powered cars, and I definitely do not understand the entire aspect of the sport, but from years of watching with my granddad as a kid, and having family who is into the sport, racing is not a cry-baby event. Pruett whined about being spun by his own teammate on national TV, and in my opinion, he was more at fault that Montoya. Pruett went high into the turn, and Montoya shot low. Pruett came down sharp on the curve, while Montoya already established his position deep in the turn, therefore swiping the nose of Montoya's car, and spinning backwards, while Montoya bounced back outside and off the track to avoid further contact. After watching the final 20 laps, as Montoya bounced from mid-way through the field to the top 5, I was certain he would take the victory. With 8 to go, Montoya was on a war path to take first from teammate Pruett. He had the fastest car on the track, and he knew how to handle it on the road course. Montoya was driving to win, Pruett was driving to win, and unfortunately for Pruett, he ended up being spun.

I don't know Pruett as a racer, because I don't watch too much NASCAR, but I am sure this will blow over in due time. They are both professionals and should handle this in that accordance.

But it gets worse ...

Artest Arrested on Charges of Domestic Violence; Excused from Sacramento

Boy, were my hopes in vain when the Kings acquired him last January. Initially, he served really well as the defensive muscle, improving the Kings defense noticeably and boosting them into the playoffs as an eight seed. This year, however, hasn't gone as well. The Kings are 5 games under .500, and Ron Artest has already been accused of animal mistreatment in early February, now he takes it out on a woman. After watching the news ticket on ESPN News last night, I was in total disgust. The Kings have become the outlaw team of the NBA. They are working on the title of the Cincinnati Bengals of basketball. Head coach Erick Musselman (I guess that's the right spelling for this Erick, could care less) has already been cited twice this season for driving while intoxicated, and now Artest has been arrested, posted 50 stacks for bail, and excused from any further participation with the Sacramento Kings basketball organization until further notice. Geoff Petrie, Kings GM, made the announcement of Artest's unofficial suspension (Kings publicist says its not a suspension, he is still being paid) after hearing the news of the hopeful hero of Sacramento. The entire organization is now in total disarray, and I feel that not only is their season over, they need a total reconstruction of the organization.

Henderson Suspended after Intentional Foul on Hansbrough

I have all the respect in the world for Coach K and all the incredible things he
has done at Duke. But, as far as me liking the Duke organization (Maryland fan), it doesn't quite go as well. After I saw North Carolina's star big-man Tyler Hansbrough take a shot from Duke's Gerald Henderson, I found a bit more hate for Duke. You can say all you want that basketball is a contact sport, and collisions resulting in injuries occur, but that was not a collision. Henderson came down with an elbow on Hansbrough with intentions of making contact. He may have not wanted to break his nose, but that's what all accused gunmen say, "I didn't want to kill him." I played basketball long enough to know there is contact, and I personally had my way with elbows coming down on heads, but never have I been in the situation as Henderson was to come down that hard with his elbow, and to hit another player in the face is a whole other aspect. I think his suspension served him right, this is not a UFC match, its a basketball game. I respect Hansbrough for not holding any harsh feelings towards Henderson for the blow he took, and neither will I view Henderson any differently, but I am certain Henderson had every intention of striking Hansbrough on that play.

At the time of publishing this blog, I just watched the video of Kobe Bryant again flailing his arm after a shot, and again hitting an opposing player. This time he was called for the foul, and maybe this time he will learn his lesson. Basketball is a game of control, and Bryant doesn't appear to have much of it.