The Madness Is About To Begin

posted by Steve Bortstein -

In the immortal words of "The Joker", played by Heath Ledger.... "And here we go...."

The field of 64 teams is set for the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, with the final play-in games held last night in Dayton, Ohio. Syracuse upended Arizona State 60-56. The Orange will advance to the dance where they’ll face TCU in the Midwest Region, while Texas Southern knocked off North Carolina Central 64-46. The Tigers move on to the tournament where they’ll face overall Number 1 seeded Virginia.    

Topping my piqued interest in today's first round matchups (purely for financial reasons) will be Ohio State facing South Dakota State (+8) and Oklahoma (+2) facing Rhode Island. 

Of course, there is also that pesky matter of the brackets. I've seen the ones submitted by several of our listeners, thank you for those. Make sure you continue to send them along (before noon ET today of course) and we'll compare notes and scratched off marks in a couple days.

That's the one and only bracket I do every year for this tournament.

Note that I take part in very few actual "bracket challenges" or contests for the tournament. I don't feel the overwhelming compulsion to get into shouting contests with other individuals who have watched less college basketball than I do -- and for the most part -- simply for the purpose of calling out their ability to randomly count down from 64 to 1. 

I'll gladly let you take the satisfaction of winning your respective contest. Congrats, in advance. 

Please do not attempt to justify these actions

The name Danry Vasquez won’t mean much to a lot of you. And for more than a few reasons, it shouldn’t. Vasquez is another example of the worst type of human imaginable. 

If your life isn’t going the way you planned it and you decide to take that aggression out on someone you supposedly care about, it’s not just baseball that doesn’t have time for you, I’d argue that no one should.

What follows is a video released by TMZ.com of an incident that took place between Vasquez and his girlfriend. 

The video shows the player hitting his girlfriend multiple times after a practice with the Corpus Christi Hooks, a Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, in August 2016. Vasquez was arrested on domestic violence charges at the time and released by the Astros, but the video of the beating was unseen by the public until this week.

According to a report on Deadspin, the domestic violence case against Vasquez had been dismissed, and that Vasquez complied with conditions set by his plea deal. 

His current team, the Lancaster Barnstormers, said in a statement that they released Vasquez “upon being made aware of the nature of the incident.”

Warning: The video of the event is disturbing.

And let's just get this out of the way right now.

I don't care how much "aggression" you need to release while in the heat of the moment. I don't care what kind of relationship you may think you have and I simply do not care at all for the idea that some people have expressed in conversation that her behavior -- prior to this incident -- somehow justified his actions.

Nothing justifies this. Nothing.

Tiger back on the prowl

The Arnold Palmer Invitational, at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida is underway.

By the time you read this, Tiger Woods (along with more than 100 other professionals by the way) will be on the course in the first round in what many people consider the strongest prep tournament for the upcoming Masters.

I don't expect Woods to win this event, but that doesn't mean I won't be cheering for him. I'll admit freely I'll be riveted to the television if he's in contention for the win this weekend.

But a solid performance against a moderate field in the Valspar doesn't always translate into another top effort just a couple days later against much better competition in this tournament.

We'll see what happens, but if nothing else comes from this event, at least the sport of golf has again found some renewed strength in numbers.

Whether you choose to acknowledge that Woods is largely responsible for that sudden uptick.... well, that's completely up to you.

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