Reaction to No. 1 Indiana falling at Minnesota on Tuesday night was what you might expect in the Hoosier State.
Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star had a nice little roundup today from media types in Louisville and Michigan in addition to takes from CBS Sports and NBC Sports. They're worth a read if kneejerk reactions interest you at all. It seems a team falling from a projected No. 1 seed to a No. 2 in the NCAA Tournament is the end of the world.
So what happened through the view of red-colored lenses?
Star writer Terry Hutchens pointed out in his postgame video report that Indiana's big men plain "just didn't show up" at Williams Arena.
Indiana fans saw what Gophers fans (and everybody else for that matter) saw: Cody Zeller was not Cody Zeller. Particularly after Zeller's early-game slam dunk attempt was monster-blocked by Trevor Mbakwe (described as Mbakwe being "possessed" on ESPN) . Of course, the play sent IU fans into a tizzy, because in their minds Mbakwe "fouled Zeller into the third row" and he was given "the Shaq treatment" all game long.
Denard Span did many things during his time in Minnesota. He played all three outfield positions. He collected a lot of total bases. He developed a large following on Twitter and won a Diamond Award for community service.
Apparently one thing he did not do was enjoy fishing on any of these 10,000ish lakes we've got around here. Now that he's with Washington the guess here is you won't find Span on the Potomac River with a rod and reel anytime soon either.
During a workout in Viera, Fla., on Thursday, Span and others Nationals players were soon joined by a bird overhead. In its grasp was lunch - a fish of some sort - that dropped into the field near the players.
As you can see here, Span didn't exactly take the matter calmly. He told the Washington Post he started "screaming and making noises" to discourage the bird from coming back for its snack.
Watch for yourself, but Span said on a scale of 1-10 he's at about "a half" when it comes to his comfort level with nature ("the only thing I'm not scared of is an ant.") He also said he's been fishing maybe twice in his life.
Another pitcher is (officially) off the Major League Baseball market. This one ending a month or so of uncertainty.
Francisco Liriano signed a one-year contract with Pittsburgh on Friday night according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, which reports the deal is for $1 million in 2013 but could bloat to $3.75 million. The team also has a vesting option for 2014.
Hang on .... the pre-holiday clouds are starting to part.
But ... didn't Liriano already have a deal with the Bucs? Well, yes and no.
The former Twins' lefty agreed to terms with the Pirates in late December. However, he then broke his right arm in a bathroom fall according to a newspaper in the Dominican Republic. That forced the Pirates to re-work the contract, and Liriano finally passed his physical on Friday - 48 days after the first agreement.
The latest in a long list of "lasts" for the WCHA comes this weekend when the Gophers make the short trek to St. Cloud for one final regular season series with the Huskies. If you already have tickets - good for you. It should be a heckuva series between the top-ranked Gophers and No. 8 Huskies, who lead the WCHA race by three points.
If you're on the lookout for seats ... well, take it from St. Cloud State Center Ice Club President Bill Prout who told the St. Cloud Times this week, "You pretty much have to tell people this weekend, it's not possible."
About 50 seats in the 5,371-seat arena were left as of Wednesday for Friday night's tilt. You can bet those have been gobbled up, and it's a safe wager the bulk of the 750 standing-room tickets are gone as well.
St. Cloud drew anncounced crowds of more than 6,000 three times in a span of eight days last season, according to the same article. You can bet it will be more of the same this weekened.
The Gophers lead the all-time series 51-27-12 with St. Cloud State since the Huskies joined the WCHA in 1990.
Brian Burke sat down Friday with the Toronto Star to share his feelings after his firing 48 hours earlier. He was as shocked as many hockey observers were.
“I was floored, and I still am stunned. I’ve never been fired before,” he said about Wednesday’s announcement. “How am I doing? I’m doing okay."
Burke isn't playing the sad sack. The article notes he was walking about with no sunglasses or hat and was dressed in a Providence College sweatshirt -- his alma mater.
He also says he isn't going anywhere, except maybe to the New England Patriots playoff game against Houston this weekend. But he's planning to stay in Toronto -- and get to work as a senior adviser.
“I think I can help,” he said. “I’ve been at this for a while. I have my name on the Stanley Cup. I’ll do whatever I can.”
But as interesting as his firing were the days after, as Deadspin notes from reading the interview, and enjoy the Canadian spellings:
This was his second visit to his favourite Starbucks of the morning — he was up at 4:30 a.m. to work out, then out for his first coffee at 5:30 a.m. — and came after a neighbour had pointed out to him that the back window of one of his cars had been smashed in.
“I don’t know if it was a disgruntled fan or not,” he said in his first interview since being dismissed. “But they didn’t steal anything.”
If the double dose of coffee wasn't enough of a treat, Burke took in a matinee showing of "Jack Reacher." Said Burke: "First time in my life I’ve ever been to a midweek matinee. First time I’ve ever gone to a movie alone."
Burke will talk more Saturday, when he plans a news conference.
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