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THE MASTERS, NBA & NHL PLAYOFFS, MLB, & MORE

A FULL WEEK OF SPORTS

  • April 9, 2019
  • Tips
  • By: Ben Hitch

It’s only compared to a phenomenon like the 4th of July on a Thursday and Christmas on a Wednesday with an extra hit of 50¢ wings and twofers at all day happy hour, all in one week. As the second week of April continues, we will have seen Virginia and Baylor be crowned NCAA Basketball Champs, the first few games of both the NHL and NBA Playoffs, NCAA Frozen Four, a few MLB games mixed in to keep it interesting and all coming to an end with the Masters. How do you pick the Toronto Raptors over the Winnipeg Jets or Lebron’s offseason battling Tiger down the back 9 at Augusta or even Bryce Harper elbow to elbow with Harden in the paint?

Truthfully, you don’t but you can and will need to be prepping for some serious sports enthused viewing hours. It’s a time of year where that heart-throbbing, buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the man sprawl to elevating a mere 4 inches off the ground or standing upright at Magnolia through final rounds is the extent of your exercise. And through the blood, sweat, and tears there will be a best friend, whether it be the random guy sitting next to you poised with an arsenal of high fives, the four-legged tail wagger, your buddy from college that still comes by every other day or just the clicker sitting in a puddle of Modelo condensation.

Seven days in a week and way more games than could be consumed. And with all the pressure falling on the holder of the remote, let us help.

Monday – It was college night, and as any NCAA March Madness should end, the Championship went down to the final seconds and ultimately overtime. The first bit was boring and went to half at a three-point difference, which in the end is great because it should and did lead to a bucket to bucket second half. With seconds left, Virginia hit the clutch three and Tech ran down the court with some questionable choices and eventually led to a Cavalier OT victory. But, it was amazing, as college sports generally are. Minus a game here and there, every championship is close and exciting with all the emotion of an early twenty-something pushed beyond the brink of reality and left on the court. A big congrats to you, Virginia. And at the same time, we and 63 other teams will see you in a year.

Tuesday – Really, this was your chance to take a breather from the chaos of the all sporting this week. You had three MLB games to choose from, none of any real importance since it’s so early in the season and most players are still trying to remember if they throw with their left or right hand. And gone are the days of Stone Cold Austin shotgunning beers in the ring after a bout with Triple H, but WWE Smackdown still lays tension to the ropes with Becky Lynch and the continued lifespan of The Big Show. So, ideally, you got your rest because tomorrow is when we really get into it.

Wednesday – It’s hump day, it’s the first day of the Masters with the Par 3 Tourney, the first day of NHL Playoffs and the final day of the NBA Regular Season. The Par 3 Challenge is a great way to ease into arguably greatest weekend of golf. If there is a chance to have it on in the background, it’s excellent peripheral viewing. There are more hole in ones than a scorecard can handle, a 5yr old caddy forgetting to pull the pin, and a little more freedom for spectators as the pros are out to have a little fun and get loose before Thursday’s tee-time.

Away from the fairway, the Penguins begin the journey for the Cup, and almost sure thing run in with the reigning champ Capitals. But before Crosby is streaking past the blue line, they’ll have to beat out the NY Islanders and their return to the playoffs after a 12yr hiatus. And if you prefer the hardcourt over the rink, Wednesday brings us the final games of the NBA regular season, which is a real hoot with starters sitting on the bench.

Thursday – The morning run through of emails, a cup of coffee and the first drivers of the 2019 Masters – if not for work, it would be a pretty great start to the day. With a few quick high powered swings from the box, the Masters is underway, and we’re a mere 54 holes away from Sunday’s guaranteed battle of veterans or watching a streaking rookie make the turn. It’s not to say that today’s score will paint the picture for the weekend, but it will give a pretty good idea of who will be swinging for the Green Jacket at the end of the 4th round.

If you prefer to wait for weekend golf, that’s ohhhhhhh tay, you’ve got a long lasting rivalry of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs the Boston Bruins to get you through the night. Or even take in a few periods of some collegiate competition and the first round of the NCAA Frozen Four as the U of Denver Pioneers attempt to triple deke past the tourney rookie UMASS-Amherst Minutemen. Really, Thursday is a day of swinging sticks with the only difference being the hosers get to wear shorts.

Friday Lot of reasons to love Friday. First, it’s Friday—facking fantastic. Second, the Masters continue through the second 18, and we really start to get a glimpse of who will be extending their Augusta National stay. Thirdish, the 430 million dollar man will be slugging against the Cubs, which is great when a vast majority of the crowd has been saving up for months just to buy a stadium taxed bratwurst and beer. But for the rest of us hovering around a cool million, a bowl of microwave popcorn spilled over the coffee table as the Vegas Golden Knights duke it out with the San Jose Sharks will have to suffice. The Knights are back to ignite their near first season Cup glory, asking Fleury to outlast the beards of Thorton and Burns before Lord Stanley shines down on The Strip.

Saturday – This is the first day of the week you can really dive head first into the mecca of April sports broadcasting. Blame it on a hangover, a 15% chance of light rain or because you stayed out past your 10pm bedtime, it doesn’t really matter what you’re reasoning is—the picture box is beckoning your attention. As you pull yourself from the quilted burrito, the Masters will be well underway with the first groups of the day nearing the turn. Come lunchtime, Tiger will ideally be positioning himself for a final pairing on Sunday just as the second games of the NHL Playoffs are dumping it deep and changing on the fly.

The Washington Capitals, fresh off an enticing fast food trip to the White House, take to center ice with the 9yr absent Carolina Hurricanes as they set their sights on the repeat. With Monday’s NCAA Basketball Championship well in the past, the hightops are replaced with blades as the Zamboni manicured sheet is the battleground for the final 60min of the Frozen Four. It’s last time a lot of the kids will have a cage on their helmet before they hit the big or beer leagues. The schedule has yet to be outlined, but April 13, marks the first day of the NBA Playoffs. You know how it works, the Warriors might have to battle through the West while the East has some real potential for a mixup in dominance as new and long returning teams lace em up for some game pending boards.

Sunday – This one is easy. It’s Sunday, you’re supposed to be relaxing in preparation for the quickly approaching work week and digesting the double bacon biscuit and gravy with a side of hash, washed down by four bloodies. Everybody is doing sports things today, the NHL is on to Game 3 and potentially forecasting series winners. The NBA continues with Game 1 energy and stepback 3s, celebrity courtside appearances and indefinite fan expulsion. There is surely an MLB game or 5, mixed in with the MLS kicking it around. But, none of this really matters.

There will be a game 3 or 6 on the ice or under the rim, and there will be another 150 plus MLB games, but today we walk the final 18 of the 2019 Masters. All eyes will be on Tiger, and most will probably be fingers-crossed hopeful to see him in the final pairing. Tiger or not, Masters’ Sunday is one of the most coveted afternoons in the sports realm, all from a group of professionals walking around on the grass and hitting a ball maybe 70 or so times. It is simultaneously the most boring and exciting sport, and all we can do is hope for a stroke to stroke battle as the frontrunners hit the back 9.

 

From the couch, stadium seats or along the Oregon ryegrass, this week is one where the stars align but just once a year. Sports on sports on sports, but it’s so better than a game here or there. The roar on the 18th green has been sitting idle, the playoff beards are maturing, and from channel to channel, there is some variation of a competitive sport to boost your man cave privileges and keep Mr. McSteamy away from the rabbit ears. Keep your caloric intake relatively controlled as there’s nothing worse showing up to work following a tv induced beer and food coma. And even if you have no interest in sports, the best advice would be to at least watch SportsCenter Sunday night or Monday morning. Because undoubtedly one of these games/matches/squabbles will be the topic of conversation until next week when everyone is trying to remember what happened at Gary’s “I’m 38 and it’s a Sunday” party.

Go, team… GO!!

EDITOR'S TIPS

FINALS PREDICTIONS: Milwaukee Bucks over the Houston Rockets in 6; Warriors open new arena without a new banner. Minnesota Duluth over UMASS, Lightning over the Flames in 5 for the Cup, and Rickie edging out the Sunday Red on Redbud

The first Stanley Cup was awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club, over twenty years before professional hockey teams were allowed to compete for Lord Stanley

There are at least 72 holes to the Green Jacket, 246 NHL periods, 328 NBA quarters, 1,458 MLB innings and 64 NFL quarters before we even start talking about the Playoffs

Don’t fret if you missed this week’s sports – the NHL and NBA Playoffs will continue till June and Wimbledon, The Derby, and the Women’s FIFA World Cup are quickly approaching

You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” –Wayne Gretzky -Michael Scott

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