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March Madness

I was extremely bitter on Sunday afternoon. My NCAA bracket was in real good shape after the first three days of the tourney, but then Texas, my pick for the national championship laid an egg against USC, and now I’m done. But by Sunday night, it had waned, largely because freshman sensation Kevin Durant morphed into a guy who could teach baseball players media relations.

Asked how he would evaluate his future over the next couple of weeks, Durant told the media “that’s not an appropriate question.” Geez, and the guy’s not even a millionaire yet. When an 18-year-old kid feels entitled enough to tell a group of veteran professionals what is and what isn’t appropriate, he ought to be sent to the corner.

Anyway, my A’s-Giants tourney played out over the weekend, too, the results coming from common sense, discussions with friends, flipping of coins and, unfortunately, a remarkable lack of reader participation (c’mon folks, I know you’ve got some opinions). Here’s a review of the first weekend’s action and the upcoming Sweet 16.
HITTING LEGEND’S BRACKET
(FIRST ROUND)
(1) Willie Mays d. (16) Jose Canseco
Note: Not even worth a discussion.
(2) Rickey Henderson d. (15) Bill Terry
Note: No contest
(3) Barry Bonds d. (14) Eric Chavez
Note: Even Chavez would admit this is another blowout.
(13) Will Clark d. (4) Jimmie Foxx
Note: Name a defining moment for Jimmie Foxx
(5) Mel Ott d. (12) Al Simmons
Note: Ott finished with more home runs, and edges Simmons
(6) Reggie Jackson d. (11) Jeff Kent
Note: Reggie was better in October, and even less of a jackass than Kent
(7) Willie McCovey d. (10) Jason Giambi
Note: “Stretch” didn’t need any extra juice in this contest.
(8) Miguel Tejada vs. (9) Orlando Cepeda
Note: Tejada’s energy and role in a 20-game win streak proves decisive.
(SECOND ROUND)
(1) Willie Mays d. (8) Miguel Tejada
Note: Say Hey, he’s Willie Mays.
(2) Rickey Henderson d. (7) Willie McCovey
Note: Another blowout
(3) Barry Bonds d. (6) Reggie Jackson
Note: Reggie’s got him on titles, but Barry’s got him on everything else
(13) Will Clark d. (4) Mel Ott
Note: They didn’t call Ott “The Thrill.”

SWEET 16
(1) Willie Mays vs. (13) Will Clark
(2) Rickey Henderson vs,. (3) Barry Bonds

PITCHING LEGENDS BRACKET
(FIRST ROUND)
(1) Catfish Hunder d. (16) “The Count” Montefusco
Note: No explanation needed
(2) Juan Marichal d. (15) Rick Langford
Note: Both had rubber arms; only one is in the Hall of Fame
(3) Lefty Grove d. (14) Kirk Rueter
Note: We love “Woody,” but Grove once went 31-4.
(4) Christy Mathewson d. (13) Rube Waddell
Note: A Christian gentleman always trumps a Rube
(5) Dennis Eckersley d. (12) Robb Nen
Note: A 5-12 blowout
(11) Barry Zito d. (6) Gaylord Perry
Note: They both won a Cy Young, but Zito (we assume) didn’t cheat to do it.
(7) Dave Stewart vs. (10) Mike McCormick
Note: A decisive mismatch
(8) Carl Hubbell vs. (9) Vida Blue
Note: Gotta be honest. Flipped a coin on this one.
(SECOND ROUND)
(1) Catfish Hunter d. (8) Carl Hubbel
Note: Top seeds are gonna be tough to beat
(7) Dave Stewart d. (2) Juan Marichal
Note: Hey, Stewart dominated Roger Clemens, too.
(3) Lefty Grove d. (11) Barry Zito
Note: A dozen sensational seasons beats one sensational season
(5) Dennis Eckersley d. (4) Christy Mathewson
Note: Nobody ever made the final inning look easier, not even Mathewson

SWEET 16 MATCH-UPS
(1) Catfish Hunter vs. (5) Dennis Eckersley
(3) Lefty Grove vs. (7) Dave Stewart

LEADERSHIP LEGENDS
(FIRST ROUND)
(1) Connie Mack d. (16) Charlie Fox
Note: A typical 1-16 blowout
(2) John McGraw d. (15) Lew Wolff
Note: This would’ve been an intersting meeting of the minds
(3) Billy Beane d. (14) Dusty Baker
Note: Not as one-sided as you might expect
(13) Dick Williams d. (4) Leo Durocher
Note: Williams wins because he won two titles while working for Finley
(5) Tony La Russa d. (12) Roger Craig
Note: See 1989 World Series
(6) Bill Rigney d. (11) Walter A. Haas
Note: Rigney was as influential as any Bay Area baseball figure ever
(7) Charlie O. Finley d. (10) Peter Magowan
Note: Magowan’s treatment of Bonds makes the difference
(9) Sandy Alderson vs. (8) Brian Sabean
Note: Alderson’s stamp remains on the A’s organization
(SECOND ROUND)
(1) Connie Mack d. (9) Sandy Alderson
Note: It’s tough to overcome a half-century of experience
(2) John McGraw d. (7) Charlie O. Finley
Note: This would’ve been an interesting meeting of the fists
(3) Billy Beane d. (6) Bill Rigney
Note: Our brain won out over our heart
(13) Dick Williams d. (4) Tony La Russa
Note: I love Tony, but Dick Williams did more with worse ownership

SWEET 16 MATCH-UPS
(1) Connie Mack vs. (13) Dick Williams
(2) John McGraw vs. (3) Billy Beane

MISCELLANEOUS
(FIRST ROUND)
(1) AT&T Park d. (16) Cisco Field
Note: Check back when Cisco Field actually exists
(2) 4 World Series Trophies d. (15) 3 All-Star Games
Note: It’s about winning, people
(3) Willie Mays’ Series Catch d. (14) Jose Canseco’s Series Slam
Note: Canseco will never beat Mays at anything, save for bloopers
(13) Russ Hodges d. Bill King
Note: This was a coin-flip, and the result pains us
(5) Kruk and Kuip d. (12) Ray Fosse
Note: Who’d you rather hear tell a baseball story?
(11) J.T. Snow’s 6 Gold Gloves d. (6) Eric Chavez’s 6 Gold Gloves
Note: Another coin-flip
(10) Mt. Davis d. (7) Candlestick Wind
Note: The Candlestick Wind wasn’t a daily occurrence
(8) A’s Elephant d. (9) Lou Seal
Note: The A’s elephant dates back to Philadelphia
(SECOND ROUND)
(1) AT&T Park d. (8) A’s Elephant
Note: A bigger thrashing than Louisville-Stanford
(2) 4 World Series Trophies vs. (10) Mt. Davis
Note: The trophies are an appealing part of the A’s experience
(3) Willie Mays’ Series Catch d. (11) J.T. Snow’s 6 gold gloves
Note: But make no mistake, Snow’s glove work was just as nice to look at
(13) Kruk and Kuip d. (4) Russ Hodges
Note: Cinderella is alive and well

SWEET 16 MATCH-UPS
(1) AT&T Park vs. (13) Kruk and Kuip
(2) 4 World Series Trophies vs. (3) Willie Mays’ Catch

rhurd

  • http://www.timelinemp.com Danny

    I’ve seen some upsets in my lifetime, but Bill King out in the first round? That hurts.
    I also noticed that the past has the Giants with the most offense and no pitching, whilst the A’s have all the pitching and leadership. Interesting…
    And the Giants fans wonder why it’s been so long since they’ve hoisted the World Champion trophy.
    One fun thing to do with Fosse if you’re into fun things. Tally the amount of times that he says ‘Especially’ in a broadcast. You could turn it into a drinking game, but I don’t condone drinking games.
    I still like him better than Krup and Kuip, he had a good career.

  • http://mikenaretta.wordpress.com Mikey

    My Sweet Sixteen Picks

    Hitting:
    (1) Mays d. (13) Clark
    note: how did 3 #13 seeds make the sweet sixteen?

    (2) Rickey d. (3) Bonds
    note: using your own logic, Rickey didn’t have to cheat to put up his numbers (and his numbers are more unbreakable).

    Pitching:
    (5) Eck d. (1) Catfish
    note: Eck won an MVP…as a closer.

    (3) Lefty d. (7) Dave Stewart
    note: no real reason. Pretty much a coin toss.

    Leaders:
    (1) Connie Mack d. (13) Dick Williams
    note: it’s Connie Mack. Come on.

    (3) Billy Beane d. (2) John McGraw
    note: Billy helped changed the way management approaches the game.

    Misc:
    (1) AT&T Park d. (13) Kruk and Kuip
    note: Splash down.

    (3) Mays Catch d. (2) 4 W.S. trophies
    note: All you need to do is say, “the catch.” Everyone instantly knows exactly what catch you are talking about.

    See you in the Elite Eight (isn’t that copywritten? Am I breaking the law?).

  • http://www.cctextra.com/blogs/baseball rick hurd

    How did three No. 13 seeds make the Sweet 16? It’s a deep field. And everyone should know what “Mays’ catch” means, but you’d be surprised.

    My picks for the Sweet 16 will start Thursday. Maybe there will be three No. 13′s in the Final Four.