Monday, March 31, 2008


THE SUN was shining, the birds were singing, there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather, in fact, for the start of the new baseball season.

Sadly for fans of the New York Yankees, this was Sunday rather than Monday, official “Opening Day” of the final season at Yankee Stadium.

To the major disappointment of those lucky enough to get their hands on tickets, come Monday morning sunshine had given way to gray skies and persistent drizzle.

Even the optimists among the crowd knew the outcome was inevitable. The game against the Toronto Blue Jays, due to start at 1.05pm, was called at around 2.30pm and rearranged for Tuesday, which just happens to be April Fools’ Day.

How appropriate that is … as the idea of playing baseball in March, or even on April 1, is foolhardy to say the least.

One day sun, next day rain. That’s what you get at this time of year if you live in the north east. Which leads me to two questions. Why start the season this early and why start it in New York?

154 Games A Season Were Not Enough

The answer to the first question is simple: money. You have 162 games to squeeze into the regular season. It’s been that way in the American League since 1961, when the schedule was increased from 154. 

Now, of course, you don’t need 162 games to determine whether the Yankees are better than the Red Sox. But you do need 162 games to pay Alex Rodriguez $275 million over the next ten years.

Commercialism has changed virtually every sport and sporting schedule throughout the world.

The English soccer season starts in the heat of mid-August and runs until late May. With international tournaments taking place in the summer, the players usually have only a few weeks off to rest aching limbs before jumping on the merry-go-round again.

Such are the demands of modern-day sports – and it ain’t going to change. The owners would never agree to a reduction in the number of games. Just think of the revenue they would lose from the TV companies and spectators.

Just as soccer is England’s national pursuit, so baseball is America’s favorite pastime. From March right through to October and the World Series, which is often played in freezing cold weather and light rain.

Which brings us to the second question. Why start in New York? Surely, it would be logical for the Yankees to begin on the road, in Tampa, Los Angeles, or anywhere warm for that matter. I notice the Red Sox are playing in Oakland, completing the four-game series they began in Japan. Strangely, though, their next stop is Toronto.

It’s impossible to come up with a schedule to suit everyone but there seems to be little rhyme and reason to some of the early match-ups.

You may argue that a few days won’t make much difference, but it’s amazing how all of a sudden, spring and the daffodils arrive.

In the early days of baseball, the regular season began in late April and ran through to late October. Things constantly change in life … not all of them for the better.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


AS A YANKEES fan I hate to admit it … but Joe Girardi could be in for a tough first season as boss in the Bronx.

Just for once, the New York Yankees go into the 2008 Major League Baseball season as neither favorite to win the World Series nor the American League East.

Money can’t buy you love, sang The Beatles. These days, it seems it can’t buy you a pennant either.

For all the Steinbrenner millions, and an annual payroll of more than $200m, the Yankees have not been able to call themselves the best team in baseball since 2000.

That doesn’t look about to change this season.

While the Yankees are 0 for 7 since 2000, their bitter rivals the Boston Red Sox have gone 2 for 4 in the last four years. Yankee fans still bear the scars of blowing a 3-0 lead in the 2004 AL Championship Series.

The Yankees have had their moments during the past two seasons. Memorably, they swept the Sox 5-0 at Fenway in 2006 and last year, recovered from losing five of the first six meetings to take the season series 10-8.

But after such a dreadful first half of the season, it was a case of too little too late as they finished two games behind the BoSox and failed to win their division for the first time since 1997.

Winning the wild card was some consolation, but the anguish of losing 3-1 to the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the play-offs was compounded by the Sox going on to whitewash the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.

Hank Steinbrenner may believe the Yankees are still baseball’s Goliath. But Boston have landed a few slingshots in recent years and, at the moment, Red Sox Nation rules.

So what are Steinbrenner and the Yankees basing their hopes of a turnaround on this year? Little more than blind faith, it would seem.

Bronx Bombers no stronger than 2007

Are the Yankees stronger than 2007? No. Relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was the only significant arrival in the winter and he’s a direct replacement for Luis Vizcaino.

Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina are another year older; Andy Pettite continues to be plagued by back spasms.

The Yanks will start the season with Chien-Ming Wang, followed by Mussina. Okay, so Wang won 19 games last season and is a decent starter. But they hardly pack a one-two punch like the Indians’ Sabathia and Carmona.

Given the poor performances by Phil Hughes during spring training, I wonder whether Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman wish they could turn back the clock and trade for Johan Santana? At least they have Kei Igawa to fall back on. That was $20 million well spent.

Joba Chamberlain begins the season in the bullpen and the Yankees will be keeping their fingers crossed that their starters can at least keep them in the game up to the eighth inning.

Of course, the Yankees still have a powerful batting line up, led by 275 million-dollar man Alex Rodriguez. But there are question marks about some of their “veterans.”

How many games will Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi play before getting injured? Will Hideki Matsui hit like Godzilla or Bridezilla?

The Red Sox have their injury worries too. With Curt Schilling out, they can’t afford to do without Josh Beckett for too many games.

But with emerging players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Clay Buchholz, not to mention the redoubtable double act of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, they are a worthy favorite to win the division – and repeat as World Series champions.

That will leave the Yankees again scrapping for the wild card and it’s not even guaranteed they will finish second in the AL East.

Toronto Blue Jays have better starters

In A.J. Burnett, Roy Halladay, Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan, the Toronto Blue Jays – the Yankees’ opening-day opponents – have better starting pitching. If closer B.J. Ryan is back to full health, they could pose a few problems for the Yankees too.

But while the Yankees’ prospects for 2008 may seem a little gloomy, the long-range forecast looks a lot brighter. They will shed around $80 million from the payroll at the end of the season and will then be able to do some serious rebuilding.

Elsewhere, the AL Central once again looks to rest between the Indians and Detroit Tigers. The Tigers, too, have an awesome batting line-up with the arrival of Miguel Cabrera from the Florida Marlins.

But, like the Yankees, there are major doubts about their starting pitching, despite the addition of Dontrelle Willis. Key relief pitchers Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney both start the season on the DL.

The Angels are again in pole position to win the AL West. But the Seattle Mariners, with a new ace in Erik Bedard, who caused the Yanks so many problems when he pitched for Baltimore last season, could mount a serious challenge.

With most of the top hitters plying their trade in the American League, the National League doesn’t amount to much more than a second division.

That statement won’t go down too well, however, with fans of the New York Mets, still smarting from their collapse down the stretch last season.

Santana and Mets to have last laugh

If Santana performs as advertised, and Pedro Martinez is anywhere near his best, the Mets should run away with the NL East. With John Maine at No. 3 and Oliver Perez at No. 4, they will only require minor contributions from Orlando Hernandez and Mike Pelfrey.

In fact, manager Willie Randolph’s biggest problems will probably be keeping the lid on the ebullient José Reyes and 41-year-old Moisés Alou healthy.

There would be no more popular winner of the NL West than the Los Angeles Dodgers now Joe Torre has taken charge.

How ironic it will be though if ex-Yank Randy Johnson overcomes his back problems and propels the Arizona Diamondbacks to the division title. Even with the power of Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki, the Colorado Rockies will find it hard to repeat last season’s heroics, when they won 14 of their last 15 games.

The NL Central looks sweet for the Chicago Cubs and Lou Piniella, although the Milwaukee Brewers won’t go down without a fight.

Come October, I think we could well see the Red Sox going for their second successive World Series title, only to be outpitched by Santana and the Mets. Perish the thought!

My selections are:

AL East:
Red Sox
AL West:
AL Central:
Wild card:

NL East:
NL West:
NL Central:
Wild card:

AL Champions:
Red Sox
NL Champions:
World Series winners:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


BILL SHANKLY, the late, great manager of Liverpool Football Club, once said: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death; I am very much disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

That quote encapsulates what the Beautiful Game means to many Englishmen, and what it will never mean to most Americans … no matter how much David Beckham bends it.

For starters, it’s Association Football, NOT soccer, or should I say sokkah. It’s played in late autumn, early spring and the depths of winter. And it’s played on grass.

In many countries throughout the world, football is the national sport. In some, notably England, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Argentina and Brazil, it’s a religion.

Manchester United v Manchester City, Liverpool v Everton, Celtic v Rangers, Barcelona v Real Madrid, Lazio v Roma, Boca Juniors v River Plate, Palmeiras v Corinthians. Some fans would rather miss a birth, death or marriage than their local derby.

That will never be the case in the United States of America. Not unless they ban baseball, American Football, basketball and ice hockey.

Those are the sports that attract the best athletes; the sports that take kids off the streets and turn them into superstars.

Major League Soccer hardly gets a look in with the media. Unless, of course, the story involves David Beckham.

Beckham’s announcement in January 2007 that he would be leaving Real Madrid to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy briefly put sokkah on the front pages.

But can Beckham succeed where Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and the 1994 FIFA World Cup (staged in the United States, in case you forgot) failed; namely making sokkah a mainstream sport?

Crowds rise by 9% at MLS matches

According to his profile on 60 Minutes last Sunday (March 23), Beckham’s arrival in LA has already led to an increase of 9% in attendances at MLS games, which are watched by an average crowd of 17,000. More than 300,000 Beckham shirts have already been sold in the U.S.

All this after the “one-man brand” played only five games for the Galaxy last season due to a persistent ankle injury.

With Beckham back in Fabio Capello’s England squad, the omens are better for the new MLS season, which kicks off on Saturday (March 29).

Beckham has never been and never will be Pele. He doesn’t glide past players like the great Brazilian. His game is more about precise passing and set plays. There is no better striker of a dead ball; hence the film title “Bend it Like Beckham.”

Some see the U.S. as a retirement home at the end of Beckham’s career. The Londoner, 33 on May 2, scoffs at such a notion. He describes his arrival in the States as a “challenge” and believes it will “take five, ten years to grow the game.”

Personally, I’ve always admired David Beckham. He shoots from the hip. And like Pele, he’s a great ambassador and ideal role model for kids. 

His marriage to Victoria Adams, a.k.a Posh Spice, turned him from serious footballer to celebrity. Yet in spite of the media circus that now surrounds him, for the most part he has managed to maintain his credibility.

I wish him well with his venture. Sokkah will always have a following among the Hispanics and expats. But the day it becomes the No. 1 sport in the USA is the day I win American Idol, the brainchild of Beckham’s manager, Simon Fuller … and I’m tone deaf.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I NEVER thought the day would come … but it has. It’s like switching from the Yankees to the Mets, the Giants to the Jets.

It’s like waking up next to a different woman in the morning, replacing Grape-Nut Flakes with Cheerios, drinking tea instead of coffee.

Spending half an hour listening to sports-talk radio while I shave, shower and dress for work has become a daily ritual.

For the last three years, those precious 30 minutes or so have been devoted to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio.

But now I’ve changed frequency. The dial has been moved from 1050 kilohertz to 660, home of WFAN – The Fan, and Boomer and Carton.

I’ve always enjoyed the on-air chemistry between Mike Greenberg, the sports journalist, and Mike Golic, the former football pro.

Like Lennon and McCartney, Rodgers and Hammerstein (only in a much lesser way!), the two feed off each other.

Greenberg isn’t afraid to persist with a pertinent line of questioning. There was a notable moment a few weeks ago when he risked the wrath of Bob Knight, former Texas Tech basketball coach and new ESPN analyst, by returning to a subject Knight clearly did not want to talk about.

But on the occasion when he takes himself a little too seriously, Golic is ready to pounce, bringing his co-host down a peg or two.

So why have Mike & Mike become a turn-off?

There are several reasons.

  • Adverts. These days, there’s too little sports talk and too many ads.

  • Days off. As their popularity has grown, so has the demand for their services, meaning there are too many days when they don’t appear together.

  • Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot. This must be the worst sports book I’ve ever read, although somehow Greenberg’s ramblings on becoming a dad made it to No. 14 on the New York Times Bestseller list. 

  • March Madness. Every time I turn on the program, they’re talking about college basketball.

I know the NCAA Tournament is hugely popular but for some of us out here, it’s not the be-all and end-all.

And was it really that funny when Greeny ended up milking a cow when he lost the bracket bet to Golic last year?

There are more hilarious stunts planned for this year. Greeny will dye his hair if he loses while Golic will take part in a competitive eating contest. I can hardly wait.

I want a little balance to my sports diet

With the baseball season almost upon us, I want to hear about spring training. I want to know how Tiger’s doing at Doral. At the very least, I want a little balance to my sports diet.

WFAN could be accused of copying a winning formula following the infamous departure of “shock jock” Don Imus last year.

They paired former Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Boomer Esiason with the sometimes-controversial broadcaster Craig Carton.

Not only do the pair spend a lot more time talking about issues relevant to the New York teams but there’s much more variety to their show.

They may have some way to go to match the humor of the two Mikes but their relationship appears to be blossoming.

Apparently, more men between the age of 25 and 54 are tuning in to Boomer and Carton than were to Imus so they must be doing something right.

True, WFAN doesn’t have the same national network obligations and interruptions as ESPN.

But Mike & Mike are going to have to pump up the volume if they are to win back my allegiance.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


KYLE FARNSWORTH is the man New York Yankees fans love to hate. Signed to replace Tom Gordon as Mariano Rivera’s set-up man in 2006, Farnsworth has since been the subject of many a Bronx cheer.

Now it’s crunch time for the much-maligned relief pitcher as he enters the final season of a three-year, $17 million deal. Can he get the fans on his side or will he be moving on again next winter?

On paper, Farnsworth has all the attributes needed to pitch the eighth inning. Standing 6ft 4in tall and weighing in at around 235 pounds, the 31-year-old from Wichita, Kansas, looks every inch an athlete. And with a 100 mph fastball, the opposition batters should be quaking in their boots.

That’s what the Yankees were hoping for when they signed him as a free agent following a spell with the Atlanta Braves, where he had an earned run average of 1.98 in 26 appearances.

His ERA rose to 4.36 in 2006, when he gave up eight home runs. Last season was even worse, nine home runs increasing his average to 4.80.

Those statistics have no doubt contributed to the Yankees’ decision to keep the mercurial Joba Chamberlain in the Bullpen and delay his switch to starter. The simple truth is that you never quite know what you’re going to get from Farnsworth.

His inability to get ahead of the hitter early in the count all too often leads to him throwing a “meatball” right over the plate. And even with his velocity, the batter can catch up with it when he knows exactly what’s coming.

The signs in spring training have been slightly more encouraging. Farnsworth has allowed just two runs in seven innings for an ERA of 2.57. Perhaps new manager Joe Girardi, who caught for Farnsworth when they played together for the Chicago Cubs from 2000 to 2002, can get more out of him than Joe Torre managed to do.
Yanks' relief pitching looks thin
Yankees fans will certainly hope so. Even with the arrival of LaTroy Hawkins from Colorado, the relief pitching looks thin.

Farnsworth had an infamous fall-out with Jorge Posada during a game of July last year. Posada signalled for a slider. Farnsworth threw a fastball, landing a painful blow on the catcher’s wrist. That incident did little to improve his popularity with the fans.

“If you get booed, if you have a bad outing, it’s not fun,” he admits. “But it’s not the end of the world. I could be driving a garbage truck, waking up at 4am every day. I love playing the game and nobody can take that away from me.

“I have no regrets about coming here. I love it. Anyone who gets a big contract has to expect that people will have big expectations. I expect that out of myself. The numbers haven’t been the way I think they should be, but I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I have given my all every single day.”

Farnsworth’s body language hasn’t helped the situation. Shoulders slumped as he leaves the mound, it looks as though he’s ready to give the finger to dissenters among the crowd.

Well aware of his public persona, Farnsworth has even hired a marketing consultant to help him improve his image.

Ultimately, though, the only way he will win over the fans is by producing the goods in key situations towards the end of a game.

The next seven months will determine whether Farnsworth has what it takes to turn adversity into triumph – and help the Yankees achieve their first World Series win for eight years.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


FOR baseball players, spring training is about getting in shape and gaining a suntan. After an off-season dominated by the Mitchell Report, Roger Clemens and Human Growth Hormone, hopefully the only juice currently on offer down in Florida is Tropicana. The grapefruit variety, naturally.

Batters are searching for the sweet spot, pitchers seeking to establish a groove and rhythm. Results are irrelevant; it’s more about personal performance. And that’s why Brian Cashman, general manager of the New York Yankees, might just be feeling slightly uncomfortable at the moment.

It was Cashman who reportedly persuaded Hank Steinbrenner and the other Yankees “suits” to go with potential rather than a proven ace in Johan Santana. Only time will tell whether the Yanks were right not to succumb to the demands of the Minnesota Twins … and then see Santana sign a six-year deal, worth a reported $137.5 million, with their cross-town rivals The Mets.

During the winter meetings, the Twins seemed to be asking a lot more in return from the Yankees than they eventually got from the Mets. Understandably, Cashman, and new manager Joe Girardi, were reluctant to give up Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, maybe even Ian Kennedy, and a couple of prospects.

So the decision was made to stick with the current rotation and give the youngsters – Hughes, Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain – a chance to shine. Shine, the sun has, during the last six weeks in Florida. Worryingly for Yankees fans, however, Hughes has not. The 21-year-old gave up seven runs in just four innings, including three home runs, in his latest start on Wednesday, pushing his earned run average up to 7.71.


The punishment wasn’t even handed out by the Red Sox or Blue Jays’ hitters. The perpetrators were none other than the Pittsburgh Pirates, who finished rock bottom of the National League Central Division last season with a record of 68-94, the second worst in baseball. It was the second game running that Hughes had been roughed up and while he claimed afterwards that the problem is “a fixable thing”, there is definite cause for concern about his mechanics.

The likeable Hughes, who has his own blog (, has long been regarded as the Yankees’ top pitching prospect. Pressed into service earlier than planned last season due to injuries, he was throwing a no-hitter through six innings against the Texas Rangers in May when he pulled a hamstring. When he eventually returned after a three-month lay-off, he didn’t seem to have quite the same velocity or sharpness.

Time, of course, is on Hughes’ side. The Yankees, however, need to see potential turned into victories in the coming season, which opens against Toronto at Yankee Stadium on March 31. Mike Mussina, who will be 40 later this year and had an ERA of 5.15 last season, is in the twilight of his career. Some say that dusk has already fallen. Andy Pettite, 36 in June, had an ERA of 4.05 last season but it remains to seen whether the distractions of steroids and Congress have had an effect on him.

If the Yankees are to regain the American League East pennant from the World Series-winning Red Sox, much will depend on Chien-Ming Wang, Kennedy and Hughes, not to mention Chamberlain and evergreen closer Mariano Rivera, another man who must defy Old Father Time. Cashman admits there will be “growing pains.”

The problem is that for a team with a $200 million payroll – and 26 World Series championships to their name – anything short of first prize is regarded as failure. It’s now eight years since the Bronx Bombers last won the World Series. October is all about starting pitching, as the Yankees learned to their cost against C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona of the Cleveland Indians last year. Based on those play-offs, Wang is not going to be the No 1 every team needs. That places a big burden on Hughes’ young shoulders. In the next seven months, we’ll find out if he’s up to it – or whether the Yankees live to regret passing on Santana.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


WHO is your choice for the title of world’s greatest sportsman? Muhammad Ali, Pele, Sir Donald Bradman, Jess Owens, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan?

Pretty soon, we could be adding the name of Eldrick “Tiger” Woods to that list. Tiger still has a little way to go to surpass Nicklaus’s record of 18 Major championships – he has won 13 so far. But on current form, he could be ready to dethrone the “Golden Bear” in two or three years’ time.

Of course, in many people’s minds, Woods is already the greatest golfer of all time. In terms of statistics, records and other achievements, there’s no one to touch him. His dramatic, final-hole victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando took his current winning streak to six and put him joint third in the list of all-time winners on the PGA TOUR. He now has only Nicklaus (73) and Sam Snead (82) to pass. All this and he’s still only 32 years of age!

Woods has many remarkable traits; his professionalism, dedication and determination to win are certainly among them. Not only does he has have to battle 150 or so opponents over four days each week but he also has to compete against the elements. Tee times can be a significant factor in golf yet it seems Woods can defy anything and everything the Good Lord chooses to throw at him. With the able assistance of his trusty caddy Steve Williams, Woods approaches a round of golf the way a skipper of a racing yacht charts a course round the Cape of Good Hope. Nothing is left to chance.

You can make a case that no one is really challenging him at the moment. Whereas Nicklaus always had Tom Watson to contend with, Woods is simply streets ahead of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh at the moment. They seem to be happy enough to settle for second best and feed off the scraps when, for once, Woods is less than stellar in one of the four Majors.


With the Masters approaching, some believe it’s just a question of how many majors Woods will win this year. Bookmakers are quoting odds of 12-1 against Tiger completing a single-season Grand Slam of Golf. Impossible? Maybe for Superman, perhaps not for Woods. He may not come from Krypton but he’s been on another planet from the rest ever since he first picked up a golf club at the age of two.

From child prodigy through adulthood, Woods has handled the pressure, the plaudits, the media’s constant probing with aplomb. Take the recent incident when Kelly Tilghman suggested on the Golf Channel that if Woods’ rivals really wanted to stop him, they should “lynch him in a back alley.” While civil rights leaders wanted Woods to publicly condemn Tilghman, he saw it for exactly what it was – an unfortunate slip of the tongue. Both on and off the course, Woods continues to impress as both a sportsman and a human being. No doubt he’s going to be the best dad in the world too! Serious about his profession he most certainly is, yet like most of the greats, he manages to retain a sense of humor.

There can be no argument that Woods is the greatest sportsman currently competing. Roger Federer holds a similar grip on tennis but, unlike Woods, he has yet to win all four of his sport’s major titles. Clay remains his Achilles’ heel. Golf may not require supreme athleticism. Colin Montgomerie, aka “Mrs Doubtfire,” has managed to win the European Order of Merit eight times, despite being a few pounds over his best fighting weight. Weighing in at around 185 pounds, and standing 6ft 1in tall, Woods’ pecs, power and precision are as close to perfect as you can get. So are most of his shots.

His hot streak will inevitably come to an end some time shortly. But as the saying goes: form is temporary, class is permanent. By the time he’s finished, Woods might well be top of the class for all sports.

Monday, March 17, 2008


IF there’s one thing that makes me mad about March then it’s March Madness.

Okay, so I better come clean. I wasn’t born in the USA and I didn’t go to college here so I don’t have an alma mater. But while I’ve embraced the NFL, MLB, NBA and even the NHL since my arrival in the States three years ago, I find the NCAA and its annual food fight way overrated. I can understand why some basketball fans prefer the raw, swashbuckling style college hoops sometimes produces. And let’s face it, who wants to sit through four quarters of an NBA game unless it involves either LeBron James or Kobe Bryant? I’m also told that the NCAA tournament appeals to sports bettors, who spend hours agonizing over which team to put in what bracket. No doubt these are the same people who keep me waiting in line at the gas station on a Sunday morning while they deliberate on their choice of scratch card. It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts.

Mike & Mike Show On ESPN Radio

Then there’s the media coverage. If you tuned into Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio on Monday morning, you could be forgiven for thinking that basketball was the only sport that took place at the weekend. Didn’t someone called Tiger Woods drain an outrageous 24-foot putt on the final hole to win his sixth successive golf tournament? According to most of the East Coast media outlets, this event was of secondary importance to the NCAA unveiling its field of 65 for the Big Dance. Dick Vitale, champion of college basketball and a man suffering from a bad bout of verbal diarrhea, may think “it’s awesome baby” but I don’t agree. Even allowing for the fact that it falls in between Super Bowl and the start of the new baseball season, the coverage is a classic case of overkill. Of course, college basketball is big business these days. Companies spent more than $2.73 billion on network TV advertising during the tournament games between 2000 and 2006. Perhaps that’s the reason why devotes almost its entire front page to coverage of the tournament. Well, sorry, I won’t be getting my white suit out of mothballs and going dancing this year. You may have March Madness fever but I’ve got better things to do on a Saturday night.