Friday, March 18, 2005

Diary of a Madness man

Today is Friday, which makes yesterday Thursday, which just so happened to be the second greatest sports day of the year behind baseball’s Opening Day.

The first day of March Madness is an amazing sporting event. Games all day, office pools changing as quick as a game of no limit hold’em.

The following is a diary of my day with bonus coverage of the baseball congressional hearings. Here’s a good time to mention that I have four different brackets, none of which are the same. Good and bad. You’ll see.

Thursday, March 17, 2005
10:28 am – Wake up on couch. Perhaps that second game of no-limit Wednesday night wasn’t the best idea.
10:41 –- Wake up on couch.
11:27 -– Wake up on couch.
12:14 p.m. –- Wake up on couch.
12:19 -- Picture-in-picture technology (PIP) was made for days like this. Madness on the big screen. Silliness (a.k.a. steroid hearings) on the little screen.
12:21 -– Tipoff. Here we go. Back in college, we’d be in front of a television at Lawyer friend Scurvy’s apartment, brackets in hand, classes somewhere else on campus .
12:22 – Eastern Kentucky takes a 2-0 lead over Kentucky.
12:39 – I get the brilliant idea to turn on the television in my other room. It’s the 13-inch TVCR and it gets 12 channels, but one of them is CBS. So, in case I need to send an email for some reason, I can stay updated on the games. MacGyver ain’t got nothing on me!
1:02 -- Alabama trails, 38-28. Damn! Where are my bracket sheets? They’re at work. Not good. A mental mistake like that can be costly during the tournament.
1:05 -- I know I have Pitt in at least two brackets. Will Pitt ever hit a three-pointer today?
1:13 –- Please get Pitt off my screen. They’re destroying me.
1:18 –- Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) is now rambling about nothing on the big screen during the congressional hearings on steroids in baseball . Dear Lord, let’s go back to the Pitt game.
1:27 –- At the Half! Clark Kellogg time. No thanks. Time to take a shower.
2:09 -– Uh oh. Kentucky only up by 5 with four minutes left. Will have to call Lexington lawyer friend Munster should the Wildcats choke. Mockery is a great byproduct of Madness.
2:21 –- Kentucky wins. No phone call for me. Boooooooo!
2:22 –- Oh great. More of the Pitt game. Someone at CBS doesn’t like me.
2:27 –- Mark McGwire just walked into Congress. Pop that sucker on the big screen.
2:31 –- Jose Canseco says steroids are bad. A complete contradiction to his book. Funny.
2:36 –- Since when does Sammy Sosa need an interpreter? Back in 1998, he spoke just fine while chasing the home run record.
2:38 –- Can’t wait until SNL parodies this hearing. Must DVR that one.
2:43 –- Rafael Palmeiro, no stranger to pitching drugs (he’s a Viagra spokesman), points at the committee and vehemently denies ever using steroids. Ladies and gentlemen, we just witnessed history: a man with a mustache has proven himself trustworthy. It was an amazing moment. A watershed moment. My children’s history books will have a chapter solely devoted to this moment.
2:49 –- Schilling is yapping away. What, no cheap shot at A-Rod?
2:49 –-PIP technology rules! Pitt stinks!
3:07 –- ESPNEWS replays McGwire’s "emotional" statement. Emotional my patoot! He’s nervous. Scared. Afraid he’ll just blurt out the truth. He looks like a man who knows he’s lying and he’s not happy about it.
3:10 –- Let’s see what you got, B.C. The time for half-measures and talk is over. Take your 4-seed and beat Penn by at least 7.
3:15 –- Damn! Time to leave for work. I should have called in sick. It’s Madness.
3:32 -- B.C. up 10 as I pull up to work and get out of the car.
3:37 -- At my desk, B.C. up 13. Whew.
3:38 -- Where the hell are my bracket sheets? Bingo. Top drawer. Damn. 3 Pitts, 1 Pacific. 3 Alabamas, 1 UW-Milwaukee. But alas, the Pacific and the UW-Milwaukee are on the same bracket.
4:02 -- At work now. Bumming. TV to my left, with no audio. TV to my right, with no video. But it appears B.C. is smacking Penn, 48-28, at the half.
4:11 -- Nick Williams. Cincinnati. Stud. Making that second-round knockout of Kentucky looking nice. At least in 2 of my 4 brackets.
4:26 -- McGwire doesn't discuss androstenedione. Ah, the squirming continues.
4:28 -- I keep looking in the background for Ozzie Canseco. Sure, it's not the same as Pentangeli's brother showing up in Godfather II, but it's as close as I'll ever see in my lifetime.
4:40 -- McGwire squirming. The Big Irishman getting treated like this on St. Pattie's Day is the best thing I've seen since a New York City cop took a picture of three drunk college kids posing on the hood of his car during the St. Pattie's Day Parade in 1998.
4:46 -- "Is steroids cheating?" a committee member asked. "That's not for me to determine," McGwire responded. The committee member asked McGwire what his message would be to people as a spokesman for baseball. "That steroids are bad," he responded. The committee member then asked, and I'm paraphrasing here because of laughter issues, "How do you know?" No answer. McGwire makes Pete Rose look like angelic.
4:47 -- Note to self: Find out who that committee member was, then move to his district and vote for him twice each year.
4:52 -- Gotta love the ticker on the bottom of ESPN2. I can watch McGwire twitch and still keep track of games. B.C up 14 with 5:11 left. This is looking nice.
5:09 -- B.C. up by 19 with 35 seconds left. I think it's safe to assume the Eagles will cover the 6.5-point spread and I'll be a little richer this evening.
5:16 -- Amid the squirming of McGwire and the revelry of B.C., it appears UTEP and UTAH are tied at 54 with less than a minute left. BRACKET CHECK ALERT! BRACKET CHECK ALERT!
5:17 -- "The story is Utah, Frank."
5:23 -- u-TAH! u-TAH! u-TAH!
. . .
6:06 -- Work is crazy. Just looked to my left for the first time in a half-hour. It's freaking Ernie Anastos. Guess I missed the end of a game or two. This job is really starting to get in the way.
6:59 -- Dammit! Start the night session.
7:24 -- Never really watched Wake Forest play this season. Chris Paul is fast.
7:38 -- Watching McGwire opening statement again online right now. Hi-larious.
8:01 -- Still haven't come to grips with getting rivered twice last night in hold'em tournaments. Must seeking counseling from the mighty Eddie Mac.
8:08 -- Bug Selig talking I can't believe these hearings are still going on. Wonder how much this will cost taxpayers when Congress files its overtime slips.
8:25 -- Work is really starting to interfere with things. I need a Wake score. Let's check.
8:25.38 -- Dear Lord, Wake trailing 26-25 to No. 15 Chattanooga early in the second half. Maybe I'm glad I missed most of the first half. Must have been ugly.
8:32 -- Editor friend LaRonda e-mails me. Seems Arizona, my super sleeper, is struggling. Damn those Wildcats. I guess after 12 years, I'll never learn. I vowed never to pick Arizona again after losing to Santa Clara as a 2-seed back in 1993. And I never did, until this year. Karma? Krapola!
8:50 -- Breathing easier now as Wake begins to pull away. Nothing worse than losing a Final Four team on the first day, except for losing a Final Four team on the first day on ALL FOUR of your brackets.
9:02 -- C'mon Winthrop. Smack those Zagoffs back down to reality. You're tied at 56 with 7:22 left. Have some heart, Winthrop. We'll pulling for you in New York, North Cacalaka and Compton. I'm tired of those mid-major morons. Gonzagian popularity is 38 times worse than when the Jamaican bobsled team rose to cult status. At least they had cool accents. All Gonzaga has is a whiny coach who won't accept his mid-majordom.
9:18 -- Let's go Texas. Let's go Nevada. I'm too confused now. I've got Texas in two brackets, and Nevada in the other two. But seeing how the Nevada bracket is the same as my UW-Milwaukee bracket, then it's Nevada, Nevada, Nevada.
9:31 -- Winthrop = garbage.
9:55 -- Reaching that point of saturation now. No major upsets or buzzer-beaters. Hmm, this 11-10 Illinois lead over FDU seems like fun.
10:07 -- Wait just a second here. FDU is trailing 17-14 with 10:44 left. I don't usually root for anything involving New Jersey, with Bon Jovi being the obvious exception, but since Bostonian broadcaster friend Andy always admired the FDU-LIU rivalry from afar, maybe I could root for the upset.
10:08 -- 19-14, Illinois. So much for the upset.
10:12 -- 20-19, FDU. Two big dunks for the "Big Ital" Andrea Crosariol. (TURN ON CHRIS BERMAN VOICE) From? (TURN OFF CHRIS BERMAN VOICE; TURN ON TOM JACKSON VOICE) Long Island Lutheran! (TURN OFF TOM JACKSON VOICE.)
10:21 -- 30-20, Illinois. The dream is dead. Time to go do some work before I get fired.
10:30 -- Halftime. 32-31, Illinois. Get the shock sticks, rub 'em together, CLEAR! We're breathing again. Tamien Trent knocks down a three for FDU at the buzzer. (TURN ON CHRIS BERMAN VOICE) From? (TURN OFF CHRIS BERMAN VOICE; TURN ON TOM JACKSON VOICE) Center Moriches! (TURN OFF TOM JACKSON VOICE.)
10:33 -- An Illinois loss would destroy all but one of my brackets. It's likely Illinois will win, what with no 1-seeds ever losing in the first round. But I can't deny myself a chance at witnessing history. This would be just as amazing as watching the Red Sox rally from 0-3 down to beat the Yankees in the ALCS. Maybe even more so.
10:56 -- Back from the bathroom. FDU down, 39-31. What the f-bomb? All I did was No. 1, and it wasn't even one of those Ogre trips from Revenge of the Nerds. This isn't good. So much for history.
11:05 -- 46-33, Illinois. Next game!
11:12 -- Not for anything, but can LSU at least show up? Geez. UAB is wiping their patoots with LSU right now. Somewhere, Shaq is pissed.
11:36 -- OK, this West Virginia three-point shooting is getting annoying. BRACKET CHECK! BRACKET CHECK! Damn, got Creighton in two pools, West Virginia in the other two. Why do I do this to myself every f-bombing year?
11:37 -- Why?
11:37 -- Oh, yes, I know why. I'm an idiot!
11:41 -- It's official. Mighty FDU is again just a school in Dirty Jersey. Illinois wins, 65-54.
11:47 -- Creighton is crap. Tied at 61. Watch them blow this and screw my local bracket and my web bracket but keep me living large in the Lexington lawyer friend Munster pool.
11:49 -- Unbelievable! Creighton screwed it up. This is why mid-majors don't belong in the NCAA Tournament. The point guard falls, the shooting guards gives up a good look from deep, drives into traffic with three seconds left on the shot clock and passes it off to a doubly covered teammate at the three-point line. Airrrrrrrrrrr-ball! Airrrrrrrrrrr-ball! And a West Virginia fast-break layup for 63-61 lead with 2.4 seconds left. This won't end well for Creighton.
11:53 -- It doesn’t end well for Creighton.
11:58 -- Texas Tech handles UCLA. Three minutes left in the UAB drubbing of LSU.
12:13 -- UAB finishes off LSU. An embarrassment. Time to go home and break down my brackets. Oh wait, I need a few drinks first. Guess I'll go meet Joey Colskore and The Kinger for some Gorney Justice at the bar. Holla. What a day. I barely had time to mock people waring green.