Monday, April 3, 2017

Sports this 'n' that

"When you think you've got all the answers, I change the questions!"---Roddy Piper.

Everyone assumed that the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team would march through the NCAA tournament and win another title. Some of those same people must've thought a mammoth April Fool's joke was being played when they woke up Saturday morning and saw headlines reporting that the Lady Huskies had, indeed, been defeated in the women's Final Four by Mississippi State. The Lady Bulldogs, however, were in turn denied the title by SEC rival South Carolina on Sunday night.

After 111 straight wins, UConn's women knew the end of the streak was near. Now, they can start a new one in November when the 2017-18 season starts.
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If you were a betting man, chances are you took a bath if you went with the Yankees and the Giants Sunday, as both teams lost on the road. Yankee ace Mashiro Tanaka didn't get out of the 3rd inning, tying the shortest opening day start in franchise history. Mel Stottlemyre (1973) and Ron Guidry (1993) also went just 2 2/3 innings on opening day. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, the Arizona Diamondbacks spoiled Mark Melancon's San Francisco debut by rallying in the 9th inning to beat the Giants, 6-5. Giants starter Madison Bumgarner did most of the offensive damage, too, with two home runs, giving him 16 for his career.

After the game, ESPN's Karl Ravech, on Baseball Tonight, renewed the pitch to commissioner Rob Manfred to have Bumgarner take part in the Home Run Derby in July. I saw the highlights of both of "Mad Bum"'s shots, and the second was a legitimate "bomb", as they call it.

Maybe they should just have a smaller Derby for the pitchers, with Bumgarner, Jake Arietta (Cubs), Noah Syndergaard (Mets), and even Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) in the field. That would be even more entertaining than watching the main Derby.
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Troy High's lacrosse team has never won a league title, and insofar as I know, they've never had a winning season. However, they got off to a good start Thursday, winning, 12-11, in double overtime over Scotia in the home opener.

The downside, though, is that because lacrosse isn't a priority sport in the spring, the school doesn't print game programs like they do for football & basketball, and they don't promote the lacrosse team as heavily as they do the baseball & softball teams. To that end, the Albany Times-Union made the mistaken assumption that the Troy-Scotia game was to take place on Friday. Troy's next lacrosse game will be tomorrow vs. Colonie.

Meanwhile, the softball team opens on the road at Lansingburgh this afternoon, then turning right around for the home opener tomorrow, also against Colonie, while the baseball team, which apparently had their home opener vs. Bethlehem washed out on Saturday, will entertain Colonie on Wednesday.
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Wrestlemania, WWE's spring super-show, has always been about getting mainstream attention. From having Muhammad Ali, Billy Martin, and Liberace among the guests at the first event in 1985 to this year's show, with a mini-concert by Pitbull stretching the card to 5 hours in length, it's always been about getting on Entertainment Tonight or SportsCenter. And last night was full of moments:

*--After beating Total Divas castmates Mike & Maryse Mizanin, John Cena popped the question to his girlfriend of five years, Nikki Bella.

*--New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski hopped the rail to help real-life pal Mojo Rawley win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. That, I'm sure, has been played to death on ESPN & NFL Network already.

*--24 hours after losing the Ring of Honor tag titles, the Hardys returned to WWE, added to Raw's tag team title ladder match, and unseated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, the culmination of their "Expedition of Gold" that began in TNA/Impact Wrestling. Up to match time, the Hardys had denied signing with WWE for the first time since 2010 (Matt) & 2009 (Jeff). Could've fooled us. Not.

*--The Undertaker (Mark Calloway) formally retired after losing to Roman Reigns by leaving his hat, gloves, & jacket in center ring.

*--In addition to the tag title match, there were other title changes:

*--Naomi regained Smackdown's women's title in a 6-pack challenge, ending Alexa Bliss' 2nd run.

*--Brock Lesnar, as everyone expected, defeated Bill Goldberg to win the Universal title. Manager Paul Heyman has already indicated that Lesnar will be a little more visible as champion this time around.

*--Kevin Owens became a 3-time US champion, defeating Chris Jericho.

*--Randy Orton won his 13th world title, unseating Bray Wyatt in a battle of 3rd generation wrestlers.

*--Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon paid a steep price for interfering in the Triple H-Seth Rollins match, as she was knocked through a table. Expect a 3-hour temper tantrum tonight.


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