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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Time for Traditions...

Hi, I'm Jim Nantz, and welcome to Heaven...
I've seen some ugly basketball in my day, but last night's NCAA men's National Championship may have set the new bar at a new height...and this is from a guy that works a dozen Freshmen girl's high school games every year.  And OK, sure, maybe it wasn't the greatest ending to a tournament any of us have ever seen, but does that make the UCONN Huskies any less deserving of being called Champs?  Ehhhh, well yes and no.  I've got my take on that for ya, some baseball and golf predictions, and a few other tidbits in this week's post, as we put college hoops in the rear view, and go headlong into a Spring full of traditions.  Traditions.  Something a particular broadcaster knows quite a lot about.  And I'm not talking about what Marv Albert does after hours, either.  No, I'm talking about Jim Nantz. The Sultan of Spring.  And right now, we're right in his wheelhouse...

Read on, my damies.  And enjoy...


As Nantz rounded out last night's broadcast of the NCAA Title game with every dog pun he could think of (the boys on Twitter were letting him have it, let me tell you) I was left to sit and wonder; Had I just seen an unworthy champion take the throne?  IS there even such a thing as an unworthy champion in regards to the NCAA Tournament?  Well as I began to ponder such questions, my stream of thought was cut short, and I came to the answers faster than an ocelot can...well...I'm not sure what ocelot's can do, but I've got 'em on the brain since last week's episode of Archer, so just imagine them doing something fast, and I think you'll get the picture...

NO, I hadn't just seen an unworthy champion take the throne, and NO, the NCAA tournament will never produce a team that can be labeled an "unworthy champion".  Granted, things get wrapped up a little more appropriately when a team that's been at or near the top of the polls the whole year takes it down, but that shouldn't diminish the achievement.  UCONN proved, in winning 3 tournaments this year (Maui, Big East, NCAA), that they're the best team in the Nation when it comes to one-and-done games, and in my mind, that makes them more than worthy of calling themselves National Champs, even if they did finish 9th in the Big East during the regular season.  And I would have felt the same way had Butler won, despite the fact they don't have a similar resume.  Why?  Because the NCAA Tournament is there to determine who the best team has been over the last 4 months, it's there to determine who the best team was during the 3 weeks of the Tournament.  That's just the nature of the beast.  And seeing as you have to play well for 4 months to get there, and then win 6 straight games to take that sucker down, I don't think we'll ever be able to sit here and label an NCAA Champion "unworthy"...

You screwed me AGAIN, you bastards!
Was UCONN's title representative of the 2011 season?  Not hardly, but to label them unworthy, just because they played in possibly the ugliest basketball game we've ever seen, and against a team that many of us deemed unworthy to be there, is not only shortsighted, but disrespectful.  And that's coming from a guy that wishes nothing but the heaviest of NCAA sanctions to come UCONN's way.  I'm sayin', even if in 5 years they pull that banner down because it was deemed UCONN was "cheating", they'll still be worthy champions in my book, if for no other reason than they were the best team in March.  And hey, nobody remembers who was the best during the regular season, they remember who was the best during the tournament.  UCONN was all that and then some.  They may have been 9th in the Big East, and won an incredibly ugly game against a shady looking opponent, but none of that matters.  You win 6 in a row, and you're National Champ.  And no matter how people want to clarify and quantify, that's the truth.  So worthy, unworthy?  They're champs, and that's that.. 

With that, I put a wrap on this year's coverage of the NCAA basketball scene.  And while I may have failed for the 6th straight year to make any delicious bracket $$, and Syracuse may have failed to make it out of the 2nd round, I'd still consider this season a rousing success.  If for no other reason than the fact that I enjoyed every second of it.  I hope you did, too.  Congrats, again, to the UCONN Huskies.  They're deserving champs, and though I may not be a fan, they did the Big East proud.  Even if there coach will probably be forced to retire and their banner will be ripped down due to egregious recruiting violations.  That's just window dressing, kids, and besides, it doesn't seem to be hurting John Calipari...

I know I'm already looking forward to next season.  Hell, I've already been thinking of negative things to call Scoop Jardine.  SO far all I got is "Poop Jardine", but thankfully I have a whole Summer to mull it over.  However when the season does actually start, make sure you come right back here to Rooch Nation.  I swear, next year, I'm due to pick the right Champion.  And in failing that, I'm sure my analysis will be hilariously informative enough to keep you coming back for more...    

Oh, she's wearing a Red Sox shirt? I hadn't noticed...

2011 MLB Preview

Serving as the window dressing to the month that is Nance (I'll get to the Masters in a minute), we have perhaps the greatest tradition of them all. Baseball.  And while in year's past I've been very detailed and diligent in handing out my MLB pre-season predictions, this year I'm trimming things down.  Don't worry, I'll still have my Red Sox Updates on a weekly basis beginning next week (UPDATE: They're playing like ass right now), it's just that this year, instead of giving lengthy reasoning behind my predictions, I figured I'd just throw them out there for you to make of them what you will.  Oh and speaking of the Red Sox, most of their fans aren't gonna like what they're about to read.  Hey, sorry.  I call 'em like I see 'em.  And no, this isn't a snap judgement formed over the last 4 days.  These have been jotted down for goin' on two weeks now.  But again, sorry in advance.  The last thing I'm tryin' to do is RUIN YOUR SUMMMMMMAH!!!!...  

AL EAST: New York Yankees
AL CENTRAL: Chicago White Sox
AL WEST: Texas Rangers
It he's 'On the Mark"...
AL WILD CARD: Boston Red Sox

AL MVP: Mark Teixeira, NYY
AL CY YOUNG: Felix Hernandez, SEA

ALCS: New York Yankees vs Texas Rangers

NL EAST: Atlanta Braves
NL CENTRAL: Cincinnati Reds
NL WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL WILD CARD: Philadelphia Phillies

NL MVP: Matt Kemp, LAD
NL CY YOUNG: Roy Halladay, PHI

NLCS: Philadelphia Phillies vs Los Angeles Dodgers

2011 World Series: New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phillies

2011 Word Series Champion: New York Yankees in 7


Yeah, like I said, peeps weren't gonna be pumped.  But hey, that's what I see goin' down.  I hear they don't have enough starting pitching, but in the grand scheme of things, I tend to think that's a bit overstated.  I mean, who does have enough starting pitching?  OK, OK, you can say the Red Sox and I can see your point, but I just don't see the Yankees lack of supposed front line starters preventing them from taking this thing down.  They still have a potent offense, and as you can see by my Teixeira for MVP pick, I think this year's version could be one of the most productive yet...

Hey, like I said, I'm not gonna analyze, I just felt my Red Sox brethren out there deserved a bit of an explanation.  They hear about me going to New York City all the time, broadcasting the Yankee games for work, now they read this.  All in all, they probably think I've crossed over.  But no, I haven't.  I just enjoy being right more than I enjoy the Red Sox. Ha!

Hahaha, nah.  I'll be rooting for the Red Sox all year long, and you know it.  And despite my prediction, I hope their in for an historic season.  And historic "good", not  historic "bad" like Brick Layin' Butler.  19%. Wow.  I think Shelvin Mack just missed again, actually...

But no time for that, we've got one more tradition to get to...   
  
That's right, Tiger. Steal his coat! Oh wait...
2011 Masters      

About a month ago, I was asked who I thought would win this year's Masters.  My answers? Matt Kuchar.  Now, its a month later, and time to fill out my fantasy golf roster.  And who, do you ask, did I chose to omit from my 2011 Masters roster?  That's right, friends.  Matt Kuchar.  So go ahead and book it.  Matt Kuchar, 2011 Masters Champion...

Ahh, the Masters.  Nantz's voice blending beautifully with that ever present theme song.  It's much like I've imagine an elevator to Heaven being like.  Seriously.  Close your eyes and just listen.  That's exactly what it's like.  Just replace "Welcome to Augusta National" with "Welcome to Life Everlasting" and tell me you don't think you're about to ascend to a cloud world of eternal happiness.  That's right, you can't!...

But the Masters and it's tradition are more than just Jim Nantz and a catchy tune.  The Masters is the premier event in golf, and furthermore, one of the premier events in all of sports. (Hence why it's so awesome to be Jim Nantz this time of year.  Fly from the Final Four to the Masters.  Yeah, not bad work if you can get it.)  The reason being, the best players in the World tell us it's the most important tournament on the calendar, and they all prepare relentlessly to try to take that sucker down.  The Green Jacket.  In a World full of tweets and pokes, that still means something.  Enough, at least, to bring the best out of the best, and annually create one of the most exciting events of the year...

Get ready for some Tiger Tongue, baby...
This year, Tiger and Phil again take center stage.  And justifiably so.  They have won 6 of the last 10 of these suckers and are the two most popular players in the game.  And while there's nothing I'd like to see more than Phil choke another Master's away down the stretch, allowing for Tiger's first ever come from behind Major win, it's just not a scenario I picture happening.  Not because the events I just described are really specific, but because I just don't think Tiger's game is all there, yet.  Granted if it were to decide to show up, Augusta National would be as likely a place as any for him to find it, but it's also a course that demands precise putting, something I just don't think he can provide right now...

Much like with the Sox and Yanks, I don't like Phil, but I think he's gotta be the favorite heading in.  He's obviously won it before and is very familiar with the course, and the fact that he's coming off a win last week in Houston shows his game is where it needs to be for him to make a run at another Green Jacket.  Again, I hope he chokes it away and Tiger fist pumps it in his still chubby stomach before deep tongue kissing his wife a la Evil Shooter McGavin, but sadly I just don't think it's in the cards...

Either way, I look forward to giving this thing a good watchin' over the weekend, and I suggest you do the same.  If for no other reason, than to let to music assist you in taking your afternoon nap...

Hello...
...oh and just for the record.  The elevator to Hell would be you and Sean McDonough, and you'd riding down in complete silence.  He'd be creepily staring at you the whole time, and you would be left wondering if he was undressing you with his eyes.  FYI: He was...


Wrapping up things up, just two quick hits...

You can call me "BJ"
I know I'm late to this party, but I just wanna make sure you all know I'm down with supermodel, Kate Upton.  No relation to BJ, I'm sure, but that doesn't mean she hasn't been called that one or twice. OH!  Nah, she's just the hottest thing to hit the streets since Marissa Miller, and like Marissa Miller, I'm giving her some props by allowing you to gaze at her in her bikini clad glory.  And besides, bikini's are kind of a tradition, too, right?  Ya know, because Summer is on the way?  Ahhh whatever, she's hot.  Reason enough right there...



...oh, and if you really wanna see her in action, here she is doing "The Dougie", courtesy of BarStool Sports.  Yeah, she can do MY Dougie any day of the week...

Hey, isn't that Maroney's number?!?

Finally, we've got Danny Woodhead making a run at being Madden '11 cover boy.  This year, EA decided to let the fans vote, and low and behold, Danny has found his way into the Elite 8.  Personally, I think Peyton Hillis would be the most hilarious selection, as his resulting injury would just be so appropriate for the city of Cleveland.  But Madden jinx be damned, I think it would be pretty cool if Woodhead took it down, too.  Imagine that.  From being cut one year, to being on the Madden cover just 2 years later.  It's like Michael Jordan getting cut from his JV team in high school....expect it's a scrappy little white dude...

You can vote here, if you want to help his cause...


OK, friends, that's it for this week.  Hope you've all enjoyed my tour of the traditions, and I hope you're all as excited as I am for the exciting Spring and Summer that are yet to come.  It's gonna be great, trust me...well, it'll at least be warmer...

Catch you on the flipman...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>     

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