The Olive Garden at Hamilton Place. Here's the recap, but kudos to the folks involved.
Bartolo Colon. Dude is 44. Yes 44. Dude took a perfect game into the eighth Sunday night against the Astros. Yes, the defending champion Astros, who have one of the five best lineups in baseball. How was Bartolo so bad in the A-T-L? And are there two better individual stories in baseball right now than 44-year-old Colon — who made his first pro start in 1994 — and Shohei Ohtani, who was born in 1994?
Las Vegas Golden Knights. Wow, expansion club making the playoffs is a monster step. These Knights are now 3-0 in the postseason and look like a tough out.
Luke List. Another tournament. Another top-five. There was a time we measured List's PGA Tour accomplishments in terms of cuts made and checks cashed. Now, we are looking through the prism of List breaking through into the win column.
Clayton Kershaw. Dude was aces Sunday. Aces. It was his 22nd game with 10-plus Ks and no walks. How is this for a lack of support? Kershaw is 1-2 on the season with a 1,73 ERA.
Bonus pick: While we are here, MLB having every player wear 42 on April 15 each to honor the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut is one of the coolest new traditions in all of sports. Kudos.
Baseball schedule. Chicago in April having bad weather? Say it's not so. There were six games cancelled Sunday, including a Shohei Ohtani start. Some of those were in place like Chicago, K.C. and NYC. And let's not even get into the decision to let the Braves-Cubs play Saturday. And the crazy part of this whole thing is if they ever cut the schedule (and we do not think they will) it likely will be cut off the back end.
NFL quarterback class. Yes, there is been a lot of hubbub about this class of QBs. And there could be as many as five picked in the first half of the first round. But here's a telling review — and it's not good — from NFL offensive whiz Sean Payton who says none of themare as good as Andrew Luck or Carson Wentz.
NBA playoff schedule. Yes, LeBron was getting a bunch of back-slaps for finally playing 82 playoff games. But can someone explain why those dudes need rest when the playoffs are this spaced out. It will take three weeks to play a couple of the first-round series in they go seven games. And if the Warriors win the NBA Finals in Game 7, their playoff run would have started on April 14 and would end June 21.
Cavs in general. Gross. Fans leaving early, players not showing. Cleveland never lead against Indiana. LeBron getting shown up at home at home in the playoffs against a Pacers team that most basketball fans could not name more than three players. Gross. And if you think the NBA and the TV partners have a rooting interest in this one, well, the Cavs made 39 national TV appearances; the Pacers made one national TV appearance. Before Sunday that is.
Karl-Anthony Towns. Dude is an All-Star level player who could make an All-NBA team. And he was completely smashed by Houston's Clint Capela 44 possessions, Big KAT got one more bucket than Chas did Sunday. Yes, one basket in 44 possessions. Man, there are hostages who have had more freedom and success than that. Towns has career averages 21.6 points and 11.7 boards over three seasons while shooting 54.3 percent from the floor, 38.7 percent from 3 and 83.6 percent from the line. That's a stat line over a monster sample size that screams one of the five best big players in the league. In his first playoff game, KAT went 3-of-9 from the floor, bagel-of-2 from deep and 2-of-4 from the line for eight points. (Capella, a four-year vet averaging 10.8 points and like eight boards, went for 24 and 12, making 10 of 15 shots and all four free throws.) And Minnesota only lost by four with Harden's big night?
Beginning of the end
The Patriots have made more news off the field in general and in this offseason in particular than ever before.
It forever was a quiet, business-first, next-man-up, (insert whatever cliche you like about well-run organizations) for a team that for a decade and a half was the odds-on favorite to win its conference.
Starting wth the controversy with Tom Brady's doctor, that led to the Jimmy Garoppolo split, that led to a lot of turmoil that other teams frequently deal with bu the Patriots have forever been immune too.
They dealt Brandin Cooks, the team's most explosive player. They let starting left tackle Nate Solder go in free agency. Same with Danny Amendola.
Yes, we think the trade was a good deal, and the free agency defections were hardly a surprise. This has forever been a team that rolls the dice of letting every player go a year early rather than a year late.
But those moves and the added draft picks are moves of a team looking to rebuild rather than return.
Now comes the news that Rob Gronkowski is seriously contemplating retirement and will not be at the teams voluntary workouts.
Again for every other organization, this is nothing more than a blip on the "This and That" part of the show.
But these are the Patriots, and words like 'grudge' and 'rift' are being used in association of the relationship between Gronk and Belichick.
And for a team that has forever embraced the Patriots Way, and had full participation in all workouts from healthy players, this is especially troubling for a couple of reasons.
One it appears the divide between Brady and his doctors and peeps and Belichick is real. Two, with Brady staring at a year or two left, Gronk is clearly the most physically gifted player on this roster. And it's not really close. Yes, Brady's record is a mind-blowing 196-55 as a starter. But he is not the same dude — and this offense is nowhere near as good — without Gronk on the field.
In today's NFL, demanding double teams is the ultimate value of a player. In today's NFL, where schemes are so sophisticated and teams for the most part concede field goals and the ultimate outcome is decided by success defending and converting in the red zone, a player of Gronk's skill set is rarely replaced.
Is this the beginning of the end for the Patriots? Maybe.
If Gronk walks, it assuredly is.
This and that
— Why can't sports teams see how much the little things mean? Take a look at this Twitter post from the NHL account. Friends, that's cool. Kudos Brett Connolly, you have a fan in the 5-at-10. That's right for the rest of the playoffs, we will have a Connelly update. Get ready. In case you're curious, Connolly and the Capitals are down 2-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Washington will try to get back in the series tomorrow night.
— Patrick Reed has worn his green jacket to the Chick-Fil-A, a Knicks game, a Rockets game and an Astros game. And that's only what we know about. (Because let's be really clear, you have to believe there has been at least one time that Reeds were alone and that's all anyone had on, right?)
— Can anyone tell me why I still give modern-day country music a chance? Dear Lord, what was that at the ACM Awards last night? And can we just simply say that the non-singing dude in Florida-Georgia Line (do you think he is more the Florida or the Georgia?) is everything wrong with today's country music. Some little band of merry men in designer suits named Old Dominion won the vocal group of the year award — an award that should be renamed after Alabama for Pete's Sake — without a cowboy hat in sight. How is that possible? Know what today's country genre is? It's to music what NASCAR is to sports fans. And after being a fan of each for a large part of 20s and 30s, well, we're done with each.
— Funniest moment of the ACM awards: Some PTA group called Little Big Town or Big Little Talent or something to that effect, sang "Rocket Man" as a tribute to Elton John. (Side question: Why in the name of George Jones are the ACM's offering a tribute to Elton bleepin' John, who is not only not country, he's not from this country.) Anyhoo. From the Twitter handle rightly named "Saving Country Music" came this social media zinger: "Maybe if they want "Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un to cough up his nukes, they should pipe this Little Big Town performance into Pyongyang and watch that fat bastard hit his knees. Yikes. #ACM awards"
— You know the rules around these parts. Weeds writes on college hoops, we read, we post, we say thanks.
— Mr. James Harrison retired from the NFL. That dude could be 102 years old and we want zero. It will always be Mr. Harrison around these parts.
Weekend winners? Weekend losers? Do you have a thought or nomination?
We have a couple of other offerings, too.
We'll start with Bartolo Colon. Hall of Famer? He has 240 career wins and 2,471 career strikeouts. His 4.03 ERA is bloated. (Sorry.) But, is that enough? And why in the world is no one wondering about PEDs in terms of Mr. Colon. Beyond being 44, he has pitched 3,817.2 career innings professionally (MLB, minor leagues and foreign leagues).
James Harrison, Hall of Famer? Discuss.
Hey, April 16, good ol' cuddly Bill Belichick turns 66 today.
Did you know that on this day un 1929, the New York Yankees were the first team to learn numbers on their uniforms. (Rushmore of all-time recognizable uniform numbers has to be the Yankees' 3, the Bulls' 23, Gretzky's 99 and who would get that last spot?)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 71. Let's go there.
Rushmore of first-name only athletes. And when we typed this, we realized we could break this down a lot of ways. We are going to allow a college (Herschel) and a pro division. And remember, this is first name only, not nicknames so Babe and Magic are DQed.