For sports fans, this is the best time of the year. The weather is warming up, the NBA is gearing up for the playoffs, we’re in the midst of March Madness and major league baseball is upon us. Actually, several games in by the time you read this. Let’s try to hit all of it.
Is it just me or was the excitement surrounding this year’s NCAA basketball championship tournament less than normal? I’m sure there was plenty of excitement over in Manhattan before the Wildcats found out that Dean Wade wasn’t going to play in the tourney. A foot injury kept Wade out of the last three games of the season, which, incidentally, was his last for K-State. The result was a first-round loss to 13th seeded UC Irvine. Not exactly what the Big 12 regular season champs were hoping for.
Over in Lawrence, the expectations weren’t very high for the Jayhawks. Most fans were hoping for a trip to the Sweet 16 in Kansas City where a possible matchup with North Carolina and former coach Roy Williams awaited. The Tar Heels did their part, but Kansas wasn’t able to make it out of the 2nd round. Not too many people were shocked when they lost in the 2nd round to Auburn.
In sports, you can’t blame your lack of success on injuries or circumstances, although that seems to happen quite often. No, you have to have the philosophy of the next man up. Both KU and K-State did that this year. Both teams stepped up when they faced adversity and they became better because of it. I expect both teams will be right in the middle of it again next season!
The NBA playoffs will seem a bit odd this year with LeBron James being absent from them. The Lakers failed to make the playoffs and James will be sitting at home from the outset this year. I really have to wonder what the Lakers are going to do next year. It’s hard to believe, but they were actually worse this year than last year. James is at a point in his career that he needs to have some quality players around him and there just isn’t much in the cupboards out in Los Angeles. It will be an interesting off-season for them. The Golden State Warriors will be battling to remain the champs, but there are a lot of teams capable of dethroning them this year. Should be an exciting playoffs.
Finally, the Royals have opened their season hoping to improve on last year’s 58-104 record. It’s hard to believe that the Royals are just 4 years removed from a World Series Championship. There are a couple of things I don’t quite understand. First, Brad Keller was the Opening Day starter. Last year he was 9-6 with a 3.08 ERA. That’s not really too confusing. After all, he did pitch pretty good last season and it sounds like he pitched well this spring. No problem. However, I am scratching my head at the decision to keep Terence Gore on the major league roster. He has one skill….speed. He can’t hit, he can’t field. I’m not sure using a roster spot for him is the best option, but I guess that’s why Ned Yost is the manager and not me.
Anyways, looking forward to a fun baseball season!
– Rob Mooney, Metro Voice sports writer