by Mack Williams
7 April 2014
I. A Billion Reasons to Try Again
The bracket that I was certain would make me a billionaire, courtesy of Warren Buffett, is pictured here. Oh well, there’s always next year, which brings me to…
II. Next Year?
When I fill out my 2015 bracket I could do worse than predicting Final Four appearances for the teams in this year’s NCAA Men”s basketball championship game. Tonight’s game features two of the great programs in college sports, UConn and Kentucky, one of which has lately become known as a “one and done” factory, preparing their single-year players for the NBA draft. For that reason many traditionalists may find themselves rooting for Connecticut tonight.
Funny how the core issue hasn’t changed much from my school years, in which I penned an essay championing the right of players to declare early for the draft (which at that time often meant after junior year). The bottom line is that 99.3 percent of collegians are there in order to better their prospects for acquiring good jobs, especially in their chosen field. So when a college basketball player leaves college early, it is because he has a job opportunity in a field he is very much skilled in. Far be it for us to insist that he stay in school as a full-time student, when the job he is going to will pay ten times – or much more, for that matter – what the top graduates will earn. And what if he gets hurt? All of a sudden the NBA isn’t throwing that big cash at him…what then?
As an aside, sports such as tennis and baseball are filled with many athletes that did not complete four years in college, if they went at all in some cases. Little is said about these players, as opposed to basketball players. For whatever it’s worth, these guys playing under John Calipari at Kentucky and other early declaring players are getting what they need or want out of college, just as the future accountant is by staying four years and getting a degree. But, of course, there is one major difference between now and the days of my original essay: the Internet. With the advent of online coursework, an early-leaving player does not have to choose between staying in school and turning pro; now he can choose both.
III. Oh, Baby
Chances are more casual fans outside of the New York area now know the name of Mets’ infielder Daniel Murphy than ever before, because of the controversy as a result of his taking two games off to be with his wife as she had their first child. Short-sighted sports radio hosts criticized his decision, implying his first priority was to his team.
Really? The Mets have begun the season 2-4, and one of the two was on an Ike Davis walk-off grand slam – which shows that that was pretty close to a loss as well. Their closer, Bobby Parnell, is out for the season…bottom line is it shouldn’t have been an issue.
IV. MLB Predictions
Hopefully my division winner picks will be better than the bracket…
NL East – seems like everyone is picking Washington…so I’m going with Atlanta, in part on the strength of a big bounce back year by B.J. Upton.
NL Central – I would like to pick Pittsburgh, who will be a playoff team, but I won’t go out on a limb, and therefore play it safe by choosing St. Louis.
NL West – Dodgers will have their issues but ultimately we will continue to see what a skill set Yasiel Puig has.
AL East – Something tells me to say Boston…but as we are in the Derek Jeter retirement tour year, I’m going storybook ending and picking the Yankees.
AL Central – Detroit (despite losing Prince Fielder)
AL West – still Texas – now with Fielder.
V. Heat Is On
I was just about to say that my dude C-Squared, Heat fan extraordinaire, was about to see the playoff match ups he specifically didn’t want if the Heat held on to the conference first seed – meaning a first round against New York and a second round against Brooklyn, but just as quickly as the Knicks made it into the eighth seed, they have now fallen two games out. For Mike Woodson, the heat is definitely on.
VI. Speaking of Predictions…
The administration predicted 7 million signups under the Affordable Care Act by March 31st, but the Republican naysayers were full of doubt. As it turns out, the administration was correct. Guys in that other party, how about stopping your efforts to repeal it? Better yet, can you tell us – and them, while you’re at it – which of the many more than seven million people who are now insured that you want back off the rolls, and why?
VII. Richard Sherman
This man is articulate and brilliant, as shown again when he defended DeSean Jackson for the “gang-related” charges levied at him. This is why a lot of folks weren’t mad when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl.