MY APOLOGIES TO BOB RYAN OF THE BOSTON GLOBE

Dear Bob,

I am officially the Village Idiot. In last week’s article in the Casual Observer, I called out sports columnist Bob Ryan, who is often featured on ESPN’s Sports Reporters and Around the Horn for his incredible comment that Northern Iowa was one of eleven teams in the region that could take down the mighty Jayhawks of Lawrence Kansas.

Bob, I was wrong, you were right, I am eating crow, or my hat, or whatever you want to put on my menu. Just pass the salt and pepper.

Kansas was out-hustled, out shot, and outplayed and looked quite “ordinary” in losing to the Purple Panthers from Northern Iowa.

Upsets galore dominated the first weekend of play in the NCAA men’s tourney. Georgetown goes down, Pittsburgh, New Mexico, and even Villanova all bowed out early.

Most of our brackets are in total free-fall this year, including mine, so what do you do when your brackets go down? You root for all the underdogs so everyone else gets jobbed in their office pools too!

Right now I would say that Syracuse and Kentucky look the most impressive to me after week #1. But that is the beauty of this tourney, it is more than a week long. Some teams will continue to play well next weekend, some won’t and some will start to play a whole lot better. When you get down to sixteen, anything can happen. Heck it already has.

TIGER TRAP

Tiger came out of his den on Sunday and “allowed” two different interviews. One with Tom Rinaldi of ESPN and one with the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman. Both of the interviews where held at Woods’ exclusive Islesworth county club and both were a whopping 5 minutes in length. While it appeared any question was open game, Woods often times said things such as “that is a personal matter” or “that is between Elin and me” aka … there is no freaking way I am going to answer that for you.

Tiger was very guarded as would be expected. The amount of coverage and the amount of sports talking heads hanging on his every word will increase exponentially in the upcoming days and weeks leading up to the Masters. What I am curious to see is how strict the Masters committee will be with the press at Augusta. They run a VERY tight ship, and I am guessing that having four green jackets in your closet likely gets you a little bit of preferential treatment from the committee. The press will be on egg-shells, as it is the toughest ticket in sports, and likely also the toughest place to get press credentials. All it takes is one improperly worded question and you might be shown the gate … It will be interesting to see if any of the sportswriters are willing to take that chance.

I think he will be ultra focused in his return to golf and it would not surprise me in the least if he wins his fifth Masters title this year. After all since winning in 2005 he has a sixth, two seconds and a third place finish … the guy knows this golf course.

PACK OF TWINKIES

The Twins got some good news and some bad news this weekend. First off, their stud closer Joe Nathan is out for the entire year and will be undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair his arm after feeling a “twinge” and taking himself out of a spring training game just a week or so ago. This is a major loss for Minnesota as Nathan has been very consistent and one of the best in the American League over the last few season.

They did lock up all everything catcher Joe Mauer for the next eight years for a whopping twenty three million a year. If you can do quick math that is a 184 million dollar deal. He is really a franchise player and I am sure even to a guy like Mauer it would be hard to spend that much money. Heck just think of what you could do with 184 million dollars …

I for one am sure that would be enough to take Bob Ryan out for a nice dinner and apologize …

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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