Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring is in the Air, and a Soon-to-be Middle-Aged Man's Fancy Turns to Thoughts of Sport.

It's April. Spring is officially in all its glory, America's most majestic sport, major-league baseball, is in full swing, the spring somnolence that is the overly hyped manufactured drama of the NCAA basketball tournament is behind us, the National Hockey League drops the puck on its 2009 playoffs on Tuesday, and the NBA starts its postseason this weekend. And don't get me started on how beautiful Augusta National looks in hi-def. This is the first time I have had the pleasure of watching the Masters on the big-penis Samsung I bought in August and Augusta's azaleas, against the backdrop of all that green, is hypnotic in its beauty.

Storylines I'll be following for the next few weeks:

The Hornets' playoff run. After dispatching the Dallas Mavericks 102-92 today to go one game up on the Mavs with two to play for the sixth position in the Western Conference, the Hornets look like they'll be playing either Houston or Portland in the quarterfinals when the playoffs start next weekend. I don't really know who's the better matchup. They are about equal as teams, each with a good big man. The Rockets have more experience, Portland has more depth. "Age and experience trump young talent" is one of those adages that float through every sport with very little to back it up; if anything, in most sports the evidence runs counter. But the NBA is the one league where experience seems to matter most, so the Hornets might be better off taking the puppy-young Trail Blazers. Whhoooooo!

Hockey's rivalries continue. One of the most heated rivalries in any sport pours gas on the fire when the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins meet in the NHL's first round. The Bruins, in their best season in thirty-five years, were the best team in the East during the regular season, earning 113 of 164 standings points (the NHL awards two points for a win, one for a game lost in overtime), compared to Montreal's 93. The Canadiens are celebrating their centennial season but finished the regular year a disappointing eighth in the East after being a pre-season favorite to challenge for the Stanley Cup. Games between these two are among the most physical in hockey and I plan on not missing a minute.

More tomorrow ...

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