Win some, lose some

A March Madness postscript: I told you so. The rest of my bracket has been in shambles for weeks, but I told you Louisville would win.

Big woo, going with the No. 1 national seed and all, but hey.

More importantly, WHAT A FREAKIN' GAME. Even with its star, Russ Smith, inexplicably mentally AWOL, the Cardinals withstood a teeth-rattling first-half punch from heretofore unknown Spike Albrecht (averaging 1.8 points per game, scored 17 in the first 20 minutes) to impose their will both inside, in a physical game in the paint, and outside, with Hot Hand Luke Hancock, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, knocking down huge 3 after huge 3.

Rick Pitino won his second national title with a second school (the first coach ever to do such a thing) on the same night he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, then ducked some apparently unexpected firework sound effects before sharing a center court hug with Kevin Ware. Ware, whose grisly leg break will be a searingly memorable moment in this tournament, was on the bench in a Cardinals jersey to cheer on his teammates.

So congrats to the Cards, and bring on One Shining Moment within a reasonable time frame, please. It is school night.

Now, before we resume our baseball-related portion of the blog, WHAT THE HELL was up with that called third "strike" tonight to end the Rays game against Texas? Tampa manager Joe Madden tweeted, "That can't happen in a major league game," and I can't agree more.

So, that whole David Price/Rays game didn't go so well (Price gave up eight runs in a 13-0 loss to the Indians, shut out in two previous games against Tampa Bay), but I did find a shirt in a local target that still says "Devil Rays" on it. 

I also got to see some good friends and some beautiful scenery, and a day at the ballpark (even one as odd and off-kilter as the inside of Tropicana Field) is always a good day - especially when accompanied by my husband, who may be an even bigger baseball geek than me.

I did get to see a bit of history, as well. Cleveland starter Justin Masterson became the third player in baseball history to defeat both reigning Cy Young winners in the same season, having beaten R.A. Dickey (now pitching for the Blue Jays after winning the Cy Young last year with the Mets) in Toronto's opener. 

The Rays can get back on track tonight against the Rangers (baseball town!) at 8:05, but of course, most of the sports world's attention will be fixed on the year's last hurrah for college basketball, two halves and lots of unnecessary talking before "One Shining Moment." If Louisville wins, my bracket will have gotten one tiny thing right.

Another word about basketball: I was saddened to hear of the death of Marty Blake, longtime NBA director of scouting. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Mr. Blake, usually at the Portsmouth Invitational basketball tournament, and the man loved hoops with a knowledgeable, contagious passion. His son, Ryan Blake, worked alongside his father and eventually took over his title, and has to be the most approachable, affable executive in cowboy boots you'll ever be fortunate enough to need to quote. Thoughts and prayers with the Blake family.

And now, some random pictures from Tropicana Field and points south.

Some off-(or on)the-wall mascot appendage decor at Tropicana Field

Some off-(or on)the-wall mascot appendage decor at Tropicana Field

The Trop

The Trop

This thing assaulted me on the way in. Popped me on the back of the head. A security guard found it amusing, as did I.

This thing assaulted me on the way in. Popped me on the back of the head. A security guard found it amusing, as did I.

I made a new friend. (click on friend to find out who/what).

I made a new friend. (click on friend to find out who/what).

Stopping by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on the way home. 

Stopping by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on the way home. 

A peck o' pelicans

A peck o' pelicans

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