While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. At least I got the champion right in my bracket. Villanova may be the most balanced college basketball national champion in years. Jay Wright’s team has terrific shooters but plays great without the ball. That’s the key to an outstanding team. Just think, he could have most of his team back and could land five-star point guard and one-time Arizona pledge Jahvon Quinerly. Did you know Wright hasn’t lost consecutive games in five years? … Interesting story in The Wall Street Journal, which followed eight teams in the NCAA Tournament and reported that they traveled an average of more than 42 days this season. That amounts to a ton of missed class time, not that college basketball has become a business. No, not at all.
2. I love being a fan. I hate being a fan. This spoiled sportswriter of more than four decades got to see life up close and personal when my wife Vicki and I took in the first three games of the Atlanta Braves’ season. Loved the interaction with fans. But hated the long lines at the concession stands. How do you fans do it? I have new-found respect. I stood in one line to order two cheeseburgers and another long line to pick up the food, which took only about 45 minutes. That wasn’t as bad as Game 3 when, once I reached the front of the line, I was told there would be a 20-minute wait for a pepperoni pizza slice and a 15-minute delay before I got my hot dog. I just don’t understand why Trump is not focusing his attention on these hugely important issues. And don’t even get me started on the chaotic scene at the Uber pickup stands outside the beautiful SunTrust Park. It also was freezing at the end of the extra-inning game on Friday. Luckily, I love baseball. And the Braves have a much better hitting team than I expected. Ozzie Albies is going to be a star.
3. So the NFL is tinkering with eliminating kickoffs as another safety measure. Can’t say that I am enamored with that idea. First comes that, then comes the abolition of the punt, and before you know it, we’re playing flag football. Yes, it’s tremendously dangerous, but less so than boxing and auto racing. Also, be careful about wading into the targeting phase of the game because that’s a slippery slope. Please, no ejections.
4. Sunday was a crusher for former Longhorns golfer Beau Hossler, who played brilliantly in the Houston Open and was poised to win his first PGA Tour event and punch a ticket to the Masters. The 23-year-old’s 25-foot putt on 18 burned the right edge of the cup, only to have Ian Poulter sink his and force a playoff when Hossler blew up with two shots in different bunkers and another in the water. “He’s going to win lots of tournaments,” said Texas coach John Fields, who drove to Houston for the final round. “I knew his game was in the 90 percentile. He’s not playing fantastic golf yet, but he’s right close, really close to playing some top golf.”
5. I’ll go ahead and predict that Philadelphia rookie Gabe Kapler will be — or should be — the first major-league manager fired this season or next. He pulled ace Aaron Nola, who was cruising, after 68 pitches in a Thursday loss and he called for lefty reliever Hoby Milner even though he wasn’t even warming up in the bullpen. Someone get Kapler a copy of Baseball for Dummies quickly.
6. Women’s basketball scored a big hit with two overtime games in the semifinals and a last-second shot by Arike Ogunbowale to give Notre Dame the championship over a feisty Mississippi State team coached by Vic Schaefer, who is terrific. But I was not impressed with the officiating, to say the least, especially the non-foul call on the Irish in the final half-minute that seemed obvious. And to think Notre Dame lost four players to knee injuries during the season.
7. We’re not even a week into the baseball season and we’ve already seen a serious breach of the sport’s unwritten rules. Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios was on his way to a one-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday with the lone hit a third-inning double by catcher Chance Sisco. So with his team down by seven in the ninth inning, Sisco assessed the situation, saw the Twins were playing the shift against him and decided to drop a bunt down the third base line for a base hit. The Twins were furious at Sisco for daring to try to get on base any way he could, but if the outcome was already decided, why was Minnesota still using the shift? Come on, baseball. Chill.
8. Could be a long year for my fantasy baseball team, especially since Royals catcher Salvador Perez tore up his knee while moonlighting as a bellhop. I’m hurting for contact hitters and base-stealers. My best pick besides Max Scherzer? Not sure I had one, but I’m hoping it’s Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi. The pick that got away? I really wanted Arizona third baseman Jake Lamb, who was taken by colleague Kevin Lyttle just before me. My worst? A tie between eight picks, and I have three Rangers hitters. Is Rougned Odor going to get a hit this year?
9. No time for a movie. But loved John Legend’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Wasn’t expecting Alice Cooper. Gave it nine ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Tiger Woods will not win this year’s Masters.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from April 5, 2017 — that Jordan Spieth wouldn’t finish in the top five of the 2017 Masters. Spieth finished tied for 11th.