Random sports thoughts from the weekend:
1) Lefty Again – I was perplexed for a moment when I thought I saw Hootie Johnson, Jim Nantz, and Tiger Woods present the Green Jacket to Bartolo Colon in the Butler Cabin, but then I realized it was just Phil Mickelson. Seriously though, it was amazing to see Mickelson, who two years ago was golf's version of the Chicago Cubs, turn in such a dominating performance yesterday with a leaderboard filled with Tiger, Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Retief Goosen, and Jose Maria Olazabel (one of the most underrated athletes in any sport) right behind him. The two best things about the Masters: (1) only 4 commercial breaks per hour with a limit of 2 commercials during each break and (2) when CBS jumps to "bonus coverage" of another hole, there isn't a shot of a coach taking a timeout to immediately go into another commercial break. As a result, I watched about 12 hours of golf this past weekend and the answer to your question is yes, I have no life.
2) Badgers and the Frozen Four – After watching Wisconsin beat Boston College in the Frozen Four to win the national championship in front of a virtual home crowd in Milwaukee, I believe that it's time for Illinois to make the leap to NCAA Division I hockey. One of these days, I'll write a long-winded and detailed rant on "How Bill Wirtz Fucked Up with Frank the Tank" explaining why I'm not an NHL fan and how the Blackhawks are dead to me, but when I was in college, going to Illini club hockey games was one of one of my favorite things to do on campus. Even though Illinois just had a club-level team, all of the games were packed with fans. Considering how popular the hockey teams are at the other Big Ten schools that have Division I programs, that hockey is typically the only sport other than football and men's basketball that consistently turns a profit for athletic departments, and the Assembly Hall can be turned into a rink for games, this seems to be a no-brainer for Illinois (although it seems that the rest of college hockey is petrified of the Big Ten forming its own hockey conference).
3) WTF, Bulls?! – The Bulls suffocated the Sixers last week in Philadelphia and the Sixers were reeling from losing another game on Friday night, so it would seem that the Bulls were destined to take a 2-game lead over Philly for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot on Saturday night in the rubber match in the comforts of the United Center, right? Well, I'll need to check the box score again to confirm this, but I believe that Allen Iverson made 5,000 straight jumpers along with 4,000 free throws in the third quarter while the Bulls shot 1-out-of-10,000,000. Believe me, if you think those numbers are bad, it looked a lot worse watching it live. So, there's now a tie for the last playoff spot with the Bulls needing to play the super-hot Nets on Tuesday. Just awful.
4) How Long is the Grace Period for the White Sox? – The Sox dropped 2 out of 3 to the Royals, which up until last week, when Kansas City voters passed a tax referendum to renovate Kauffman Stadium, was Candidate #1 of MLB Teams That Need to Move to Las Vegas. Supposedly, we're only one week into a five-year moratorium on complaining about a team after they've won a championship. Is everyone sure it isn't supposed to be a five-week moratorium instead?
5) Cubs – Cards vs. Yankees – Red Sox – Here's what I believe is the primary difference between Cubs – Cardinals rivalry and the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry (besides the "small" factor of actually winning the World Series recently): While the Cards could be equated with the Yankees in terms of success compared to their respective rivals, I've never met a Chicagoan that actually would ever willingly move to St. Louis (I'm not talking about heading to Wash U for college for 4 years – I mean permanent residence). I know I wouldn't. In contrast, the bemoaning of the constant failures of the Red Sox (up until 2004, of course) was an extension of the overall inferiority complex that Bostonians feel toward New York City. So, what's worse? Is it the Chicagoan that looks down upon St. Louis as an inferior city yet the Cubs maddeningly don't have anywhere near the history of success of their rube rivals (in football terms, subsitute "St. Louis" with "Green Bay" here)? Or is it the Bostonian that consistently feels inferior on both fronts? I'll leave you with that thought on your Monday morning.