Sports Smorgasbord

on April 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | | with No Comments

Remember that first time you gorged yourself on candy? There was no one there to say no or make you feel guilty. Just you and all the candy you could eat. It was heaven! Heaven that is, until that very moment when you painstakingly understood, what “too much” really meant. I just had such a weekend but instead of candy, I gorged myself on sports. What a grand weekend it was but now, I don’t feel so good. From basketball to soccer, from baseball to everything else including wrestling, it was a packed weekend. So let’s take a look at what transpired and get you all up to date.

Basketball

The Toronto Raptors continue their best regular season ever by winning their 51st game 99-95 against a desperate, but depleted Memphis team. The following night they rested Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and lost a close game to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs increased their home record this season to a spotless 39-0.


I was also able to catch a bit of the Golden State Warriors game on Friday. They had their home unbeaten streak of 54 games end against the Boston Celtics as the Warriors lost for only the 8th time all season. If they go 4-1 in their remaining games, they will set the best regular season record currently held by Michael Jordan’s 1995/96 Chicago Bulls.

Mixed in with the NBA were the semi-finals of the NCAA Final Four tournament. As I publicly recorded last week, I picked Oklahoma to win it. That prediction of course blew up in my face as they lost 95-51 to Villanova which by the way was the biggest margin ever in a semi-final. Ouch. So now my prediction will be that North Carolina (who beat Syracuse 83-66) will be crowned National Champions. This basically means, if you are going to bet, you should probably pick Villanova.

Soccer

Even a simple regular season game isn’t simple when the two teams are Barcelona and Real Madrid. El Clasico is always entertaining and this one was no different as Real came out on top and finally stopped Barcelona’s incredible streak of 39 consecutive games without a loss. Of course it was Cristiano Ronaldo who scored the 2-1 game winner in the 85th minute. Barcelona are still likely to win La Liga, but Madrid’s confidence should be at a high for the Champions League.

Closer to home, Toronto FC were back at it this Saturday after an off week. The story wasn’t their 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids but more so the poor officiating that continues to plague MLS each year. TFC’s Benoit Cheyrou was issued a second yellow card within two minutes on a harmless aerial tackle and the Reds were short a man from the 12th minute on. Through four rounds of the season, there has been almost one suspension every second game. That is ridiculously high and should be addressed.

Finally, this weekend’s winner of the ‘Thankfully it never came to that’ category, we go to the Under 17 Euros. It is too difficult to explain in full but the Greece versus Iceland match could have been interesting. A possible scenario arose where for either of them to advance, the game would have to end in a tie (other than 0-0). They then would go to penalty shots to see who advances. However, if any of these teams won in regulation, they would both be out. In other words, if a team was winning 1-0, it was in their best interest to score in their own net to force a tie and penalty shots. Thankfully it never came to that as undefeated France unexpectedly lost 2-1 to Austria making Iceland versus Greece a then meaningless game.

Baseball

It started with the Toronto Blue Jays 3rd annual trip to Montreal to play their final spring training games. The atmosphere is electric as they play to over 50,000 fans in each of those two games, but also bittersweet as you remember the Expos and wish they were back in the league.

Move forward to the first Blue Jays baseball game of the 2016 season, and it figures that the city of Toronto gets blanketed in snow. Reminds me of that first game back in 1977! Thankfully though this one was in Tampa and the Jays get the 5-3 win behind a strong start from Marcus Stroman and Troy Tulowitzki getting Toronto’s first home run of the season. It was a little tense in the ninth as they gave up 2 runs to make it close, but Roberto Osuna did manage to shut it down getting his first save of the year.

Everything Else Including Wrestling

As you can tell that was a pretty full weekend, but throw in a(nother) win for Mercedes and Nico Rosberg at the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain, a wrestling event in Midland, Ontario, a Patrick Kane hat-trick, watching my sons play 3 hockey games and 5 hours (well, 7 if you count the preshow) of Wrestlemania 32 and let’s just say I found out what ‘too much’ sports really means. Quick nod to Shane McMahon who jumped from a 20 foot cage onto an announce table for the high spot at this year’s Wrestlemania which wasn’t fantastic, but a lot better than people are saying.

You know, I think I might just take the next day or two off and just rest from the sheer magnitude of this weekend. I find that one’s overall health should take … sorry, what did you say? You are telling me that on Monday not only is there WWE’s Raw but the NCAA Final Four Championship game as well?!?!

Sigh. Having two more pieces of candy can’t make it hurt that much more… can it?

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