A few years ago I noticed some coworkers talking about their “brackets.” I didn’t think they were that into hardware so I inquired. They told me about the NCAA basketball tournament. I was clueless because I mostly watched football growing up and didn’t go to college at a big “sports” school. My coworkers kindly gave me my own bracket to fill out. I was completely intimidated and just went by the little numbers in front of the team name. I don’t remember how I did that year. There was no money involved anyway; it was just for fun.
Fast forward to the present and I’m anxiously awaiting Selection Sunday! I went on the NCAA’s website to find out more about it and that started me thinking about the tournament. I did a little research (though not on NCAA’s page; I could find little information on the history of the tournament there and got very frustrated) onArticlesbase.com and Collegehoopsnet.com.
The NCAA tournament began in 1939 with 8 teams. They first began seeding the teams in 1979 (I’m thankful that they did. I’d be lost without those numbers!) when the tournament expanded to 40 teams. Today’s 65-team format began in 2001. There has been talk of expanding the tournament to 96 teams.
I don’t know about you, but in March I carry my bracket around with me practically everywhere. Last year, I was at my cousin’s house for Easter dinner. We were all having a nice time getting caught up. When someone turned the TV on and switched it to ESPN, my cousin took out his bracket. Then my other cousin and my cousin’s daughter’s boyfriend and finally myself had brackets in hand! We were all watching the scores to find out how we were doing. I don’t think 96 teams would fit on one piece of paper! Of course, they have online brackets now (I filled one out for the first time last year) but it just won’t be same!
I depend on the seeds, but after the first few rounds I can’t pick based solely on the seeding. I have a very scientific and knowledgeable way of choosing in close situations:
Do I know the team’s name (like Tar Heels or Orangemen)
Is the school in close proximity to somewhere I like to visit (like Boston or Chicago)
Is the school in close proximity to somewhere I have relatives
Of course this didn’t help much in 2008 with the 8 verses 9 round. I picked two 8s and two 9s and I got every game wrong! So my solution in 2009 was to pick all 8’s. This would have gotten me half right the year before, but this year only got me 1 right!
Last year I did quite well with my bracket (see Mad about March), but the year before, I got 3 of the final 4 but neither of the final 2! The point being that you never really know, but it’s fun to try. I can't wait to fill out my 2010 braket!
This year I’m rooting for Syracuse. Go Orangemen!
Someone needs to take my credit card away! I'm quite a few dollars poorer thanks to online shopping. I am the type of person who goes in spurts. I will not get a hair cut for a year and then chop all my hair off. I don't go shopping often, but every now and then I go on a spree.
It all started with Spring Training. I have been dying for baseball to return. Not just because that means winter is over, but because the Red Sox ended last season on such a sour note. It's time to correct that. This app has a clock as well as an alarm and a news feed. It's kind of dumb, but kind of funny!
I bought this app last year and loved it. I was disappointed that the price went up this year, but that didn't stop me from buying it. It's a great app to keep track of games when you can't be near the TV or computer. It has video recaps of the game as well as audio of all the games with your choice of home or away team's broadcasts. I was disappointed to find out that is only updates the Spring Training games on the half inning, but in the regular season it updates every few minutes.
I've been to two Red Sox games in my life. Both were in Boston last year. This year I decided that, in addition to one game in Boston in August, I wanted to check out some other stadia, not that they can hold candle to Fenway Park!
I have actually been to Rogers Center before for a baseball game. It was on a class trip to Toronto in the eighth grade. I remember nothing other than the roof! I don't remember who the Blue Jays were playing, but it wasn't the Sox. I can't wait to go again. I haven't been north of the border since a passport was involved. It will be the first time I've used mine, though hopefully not the last.
I have only heard great things about Camden Yards. One day out of the clear blue my dad comes home from work and says that we should take a vacation to Baltimore. A coworker of his was raving about the aquarium and railroad museum among other things. I immediately got on the Sox schedule to find out when they would be in Baltimore.
I, sadly, live outside of NESN territory. (Trust me, everyday I dream of ways to get myself a job and place to live in Suffolk County.) This year I finally broke down and bought MLB.TV. Today, I watched the game against the Orioles. It was so nice to be able to see it, rather than just hear it. I watched it in lower quality so that my internet could keep up. I had to watch the feed from MASN, but when regular season starts I'll get a choice.
After reading all of this you might say I'm obsessed.
I would say guilty as charged!
Baseball season has begun! Ok, so technically it is only the preseason games that have begun, but we know that the regular season is not far away. Even though the games don't count, it is nice to hear the crack of the bat again!
I root for the Red Sox (and whoever is playing the Yankees) but this year I'll be keeping my eye on Justin Duschucherer, Jason Nix, Jeff Bailey, and Aaron Bates. Are they on my fantasy team? No. (I tried fantasy baseball last year and failed miserably and I'm not sure I'll bother again this year.) I keep my eye on these players because I want to see them do well. My concern for their careers is not out of the goodness of my heart, however. I have a vested interest in each of these guys. Justin Duchscherer and Jason Nix
I collect baseball cards. Through the luck of the draw, I've ended up with four different Justin Duchscherer cards with doubles of one and triples of another. I have also ended up with two different Jason Nix rookie cards and his card for this year. I'm rooting for these guys to become the next Cy Young and Bobby Doerr, respectively. Who doesn't dream about one of your ordinary cards becoming really valuable! Jeff Bailey
Red Sox fans know Bailey has moved on to Arizona Diamondbacks where he will be playing in the majors. I'm rooting for the guy not just because he worked so many years in the Sox minor league system, but also because I saw him in the minors where he got two home runs in one game against the Rochester Red Wings. (Random fact: Rochester is the oldest minor league team.) I'd love for Bailey to become the next Hank Aaron so that I could say I saw him hit a home run in person. That would be a great story to tell the grandkids! Aaron Bates
At a July 7, 2009 game in Boston, Bates had been pulled up from the minors. Bates went hitless that day, but he did get a walk. Ever since then I have been dreaming of the day when he sets some record for career walks and I can say I saw him get his first big-league walk! I also saw Bates play first base in a minor league game where I sat in the second row right by the bag. He was probably ten feet away! (Bonus random fact: the longest recorded game was 33 innings long played by the Rochester Red Wings verses the Pawtucket Red Sox.)
Maybe I'll go sign up for a fantasy baseball team after all. I love this game!
Obviously, March Madness is the first thing I think about this time of year. I always fill out a bracket. Last year, I picked North Carolina Tar Heels to win it all (as I had the year before) and they did! I don’t have high hope this year; what are the odds of a picking the winner again? I had to laugh when ESPN had coverage of President Obama filling out his bracket. When he made his selection of UNC to win it all (I had already filled out my bracket), he turned to the camera and said, “Now Tar Heels, I picked you last year and you let me down. Don’t let me down again.” If I had been followed around by cameras when I filled out my bracket, that’s exactly what I would have said!
Now that the winter holidays and the Olympics are over, some of my favorite television shows are coming back. 30 for 30 is a great series of documentaries on ESPN about different sports. Calling them “sports documentaries” doesn’t do them justice. I was near tears watching “The Band that Wouldn’t Die” which is about a group of dedicated fans as they dealt with the Colts moving out of Baltimore. I’m looking forward to new installments starting with “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks” on March 14.
There will also be new episodes of Chuck(March 1) and Ugly Betty (March 10)!
Spring Training is officially underway and the first preseason game is March 3 with the Red Sox going up against Northeastern University and Boston College. The preseason games themselves aren’t terribly exciting since the results don’t count. But it is nice to hear about pitching rotations, starting lineups, and box scores again after a long winter without baseball!
March 21 is the Vernal Equinox which means the first day of spring. I don’t get too excited about this because where I live there will still be snow on the ground until the beginning of April. I have to laugh because every year in the middle of February I get my March issue of Martha Stewart Living in the mail. The March issue is the “Gardening Issue” but I won’t be doing any gardening for a least another two months!
The month of March seems heavily populated with birthdays. My father turns 59! There are also birthdays for my boss Kevin and my friend Mark and his son. My friends JOE_COOK and iChazzer even have the same birthday!
One of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss (born Theodore Seuss Geisel in Springfield, MA) would be 106 on March 2.
All in all, March is going to be a good month! Plus, after March we get to April and we all know what that means: Go Red Sox!!!
I think it absolutely sucks that we get to watch him in Spring Training knowing that we’re going to lose him soon. (It kind of reminds me of watching the Eddie House thank you video at the Celtics vs. Knicks game last night.) Why do I get so attached? I’m just a girl I guess. I know that sports is a business: a form of entertainment. But after a while it feels like the players are your family/friends, despite the fact that you don’t even know them. I know you shouldn't use mushy words like "feel" or "friend" in reference to sports, but I do anyway.
I saw Mike Lowell play third base at my first game at Fenway Park last year. A ball came screaming down the third base line and I expected to see it continue into the outfield, but it stopped when it got to him because he had snagged it. I still can’t believe he got it! It was a great play to watch even from my far away seats in Grandstand 6!
I had a special place in my heart for Lowell after watching his great performance in the 2007 World Series. (I had also been rooting for him in 2003 with the Marlins.) He always seemed to have a great at bat if he got a ball first. When he came to the plate, I called him “Scary Lowell” because he looked like he could kick your butt if he wanted to, but he’s the nicest guy. (His autobiography is a great read and made me like the guy even more.) That’s why losing him is so hard.
It's one thing to lose a jerk like Manny Ramirez who quit on the team. Or a traitor like Johnny Damon. But a class-act and a wonderful hitter like Mike Lowell should be someone a team hangs onto for dear life.
So, Happy Birthday, Mike Lowell. You will be missed.