I'd just like to start this post off by saying that I am currently outside, on my back porch, and comfortable. I hope this warm weather lasts...


Yeah buddy, it's March and my madness is beginning to creep in. The conference tournaments are underway, with a dozen or so tickets officially punched for the field of 65. The NCAA Tournament is arguably the most entertaining event in all of sports, and I find that now that I live in what is undoubtedly a basketball town, I'm even more excited than I used to get about college hoops. The regular season has already been one for the books and the tournament is sure to bring us even more excitement over the next few weeks.

While the games themselves are enough to get any sports fan twisted into a school-girl like twitter, the fact that I will soon be filling out my bracket is even more exciting and anxiety-inducing. Over the last couple of years, I've been involved in bracket pools where I would fill out anywhere from 1 to 3 different sheets, hoping to improve my odds and take home the cash. This year however, I have decided to take a cue from ESPN's Mike Greenberg (perhaps my favorite of the network's many personalities) and fill out one and only one bracket. He has made the point that by filling out multiple brackets, you thereby strip yourself of any self-fulfillment in getting your picks right. If you picked that ever-present 12-5 seed upset on one out of three brackets, there is no achievement in your clairvoyance, only a shameless and minimal pride in knowing that you know how to play the odds. By only filling out one bracket, you put your ass on the line and can enjoy all of the glory you have in your superiority over competitors in picking the winners. I might enter a few pools, but the bracket I fill out will be the only one that competes in each. I encourage anyone with a decent set to do the same.

In my mind, the tournament is going to be a particularly tough one to predict. Even among the elite 4-6 teams, I don't think anyone can make a comfortable guarantee which of them will end up in the championship game, or the Final Four for that matter. In recent years, I think that a certain few teams had a lock on at least making it to the Final Four, but this year all bets are off. The powers that have been in the mix of the top 5 rankings all year, which include Memphis, Duke, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas and UCLA, are all incredible teams that will be tough to beat, but other squads are making a push now and getting hot at the right moment as they enter their respective conference tournaments. Not being a homer or anything, but Louisville looks like the most dangerous team in the country right now. When they're shooting well and everything's clicking, I'm not sure if I could pick against them. I have similar feelings about other teams, such as Stanford and Indiana, although both haven't been quite as consistent as the Cards. The top four seeds will have nothing guaranteed and depending on the way the regions shake out, the whole damn ball of wax could be a crap shoot.

As soon as my bracket is ready, I'll post a scan or facsimile, putting my picks out there for anyone to question (at first) or wonder at (later).


This time of year isn't just amazing because of warming trends and the NCAA's, but because baseball has begun spring training as well. I still think that baseball is a representation of absolute purity in athletics. While the athletes themselves might be filled with any number of substances that would make a horse's heart reach critical mass, the game itself is in my opinion the most graceful and elegant sport in the world. It still blows my mind that while football's popularity has risen alongside the presence of HGH and steroids, their athletes are not subjected to near the scrutiny that baseball players are. It goes toward proving what I previously said about its purity and sophistication . The game is still the national pastime, and its integrity has been tarnished the likes of which haven't been seen since the Black Sox Scandal in 1919. I think that's why NFL players get a free pass from the public on the steroids issue and baseball players (those honored and legendary boys of summer) are mired in disrespect and doubt. Football players are still, in the end, knuckleheads who kick the shit out of each other in a supremely entertaining fashion, who cares if they need to cheat to bulk up, right? Baseball players and the game itself are more civilized, cerebral and pristine, seemingly above those sort of tactics. It's a double standard I still don't get. Cheaters exist in every form of competition, but baseball should not be the whipping boy for corruption in the sporting ranks. Right cycling?

Also, using a round bat to hit a round ball that is coming at you at 90 miles an hour is still the single hardest task in all of sports. Not to mention when that same ball moves 3 feet horizontally or vertically at around 80 miles an hour the very next pitch. Oh yeah, my team, the Detroit Tigers, are stacked like no other from 1 to 9 in their line-up, with big arms on the pitching staff and one of baseball's great minds in the dugout controlling it all.

I am so flipping stoked for this season. I've got all summer to talk about the diamond though, so I'll end here with a video about the man who inspired the name of this-a-here blog, Mr. Jackson. I've been meaning to get this up on the site so please enjoy if you please at all.

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