Last year, I saw no college basketball games, but came within one game of winning this NCAA March Madness basketball pool of my friend Mary's that I participate in, not for money, but for the "glory". I picked Illinois to win it all, but they came up just short. One gets more points as the rounds progress.
This year, having seen half of one game, I participated again. After the first round, I was actually in the lead, picking 23 of 32 games, but faltered badly in the second round, selecting only 5 of 16. Ohio State, the team I picked to lose the final game, was eliminated in this round.
After this past weekend, which eliminated Duke and Connecticut, two of my other Final Four picks, I find myself 21 points off the lead. The good news for me is that everyone in front of me has topped out; all of their teams have been eliminated. So the winner will either be current leader Ray, if both UCLA and Florida lose on Saturday, five-year-old Michael if Florida sweeps, or me. I can win if UCLA wins on Saturday and Monday, regardless of how Florida fares against George Mason. Now, if Florida wins and UCLA loses on Saturday, I'll finish dead last.
Go, UCLA! And, what the heck, at least on Saturday: Go, George Mason! (ASP, are you rooting for your new hometown team?) Who the heck was George Mason, anyway? He's the fellow pictured above. *** Major League Baseball also starts this weekend. I was one of those people who actually watched some of the World Baseball Classic. I figured the Dominicans or Venezuelans would win. (Japan beat Cuba, 10-6.) Something not quite right about the format, though. Korea beats Japan twice, yet they both end up in a semifinal game, where Korea loses. Not quite right.
I love baseball. With a minute to go and 20 points down, a basketball game is over, a football game is over. In baseball, a team can be 20 runs down in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, and two strikes on the batter, and theoretically, at least, could still win the game. Unlikely to be sure, but still possible. Baseball is about hope. George Carlin knows that. *** I was watching JEOPARDY! a week or two ago, and a woman won with $600. When the announcer announced her as returning champion, he obviously stifled a giggle when he noted her score. She came in third place that night, which means she got $1000. So, she fared better monetarily on night two than night one. Of course, the win allowed her to play on the second night.
And speaking of JEOPARDY!, I got an e-mail that read: LOOKING FOR CONTESTANTS AND WE'D LOVE TO HAVE LIBRARIANS AND LIBRARY LOVERS TRY OUT --- PLEASE GO TO: WWW.JEOPARDYTRYOUTS.COM. Since someone asked: no, I cannot go on again. People who were on the original show with Art Fleming can go on the current show, with Alex Trebek. In fact, there was a woman who won $60 and a set of encyclopedias 35 years ago, but won $20,000 this go-round.