Every. Game. Counts. (A Regular Season Wrap Up and Playoff Preview)

Let’s just put aside the fact that I had an actual rooting interest last night — everything that happened in baseball over the last 24 hours makes my brain scream this song:

As someone who has spent the last two weeks watching the Cardinals wait until the last inning to win or lose what seemed like 95% of their games, one of the most surreal things about last night was that St. Louis was the only team that got their game settled right out of the gate, batting around in the first inning and scoring five runs before recording a single out.  Which left me free to enjoy the one day MLB.tv subscription I paid 3.99 for Tuesday night as a mostly impartial fan (possibly the best 4 bucks I’ve ever spent, even if I couldn’t get the Rays-Yankees because of blackout restrictions, and had to switch to the Phillies-Braves radio feeds for the latter innings because of too much traffic on the video feed (and my crappy bandwidth).  At one point, I had three GTalk conversations going and was on the phone to my parents; 99.5 % of the discussion revolved around baseball (I did manage to discuss Christmas arrangements with my folks.  I’m not totally obsessed.)

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Why yes, it IS time for the French Open!

Maria, you're dating Sasha Vujacic. Don't get so excited about the Rafa pics.

We’ve been very team-sport oriented around here lately (though not without reason), so I thought I’d take a moment to skip across the Atlantic and check in on the French Open, which begins semifinal play on Friday (NBC just informed me that they will have live coverage Friday morning, for those of you who have summer work schedules.)

Despite the fact that no one has been paying attention, some interesting storylines are developing at Roland Garros. Chaos has broken out in the women’s draw, where the top seeds remaining are last year’s champ Francesca Schiavione (the 5 seed), and a rejuvenated Maria Sharapova (the 7 seed). The men’s draw has been by-the-numbers, with the top four seeds winding up in the semifinals.  This does not, however, mean these matchups are lacking in excitement — or pictures.

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Blood, Brackets, and Tears: An NCAA Basketball Wrap-Up

It is December 2010.  You’re looking over your holiday gifts lists when there’s a loud pop behind you.  You turn around to seeyourself, wearing slightly less clothing, hair mussed and eyes bloodshoot.

“I came from the future to warn you,” the apparition says.  “Beware the brackets.  UConn will win and destroy us all.”

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VCU vs Butler

So admit it – your brackets are just as screwed up as mine are. Yeah, I know. Lots of upsets, lots of overtime, lots of surprises. But two of the bigger surprises came from the 8th seeded Butler and the young and admirable  Brad Stevens, and 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth (Virginia where?) with their fearless leader – Shaka Smart.  I was almost positive that the earlier Saturday game of this coming weekend would be Pitt vs. Kansas, especially when I was in 1000th place out of millions with ESPN’s bracket challenge after the first round and a half.  Boy was I ever wrong.  Thankfully, these two gentlemen make it very easy to feel good about rooting for the underdogs, and also make one of these final games very easy on the eyes.  Let’s take a side-by-side look at our favorite hottie NCAA BBall coaches  - one of them is guaranteed to be in the Championship Game, so regardless of Saturday’s results, which one wins Ladies… choice?

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Your March Madness Visual Reference Guide

I would be happy to see more of this from Singler, but YMMV.

I’m jumping my usual post day by about twelve hours just so I can remind you that you can still sign up for the Ladies… Bracket Brawl right up until tipoff Thursday (12:15 EST).  Just click the link and enter the password: ladiesdotdotdot.

In the meantime, here’s a quick visual guide to some of the teams and storylines that will be occupying your TV over the next four days (at least).

Uh, that’s Duke over there.  I miss that period when they flamed out in the early rounds every year. Kyle Singler (#12) is the latest in the Duke mold of Awesome Collegiate Players With No Real Chance At A Pro Career.

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