Fargo hits the small screen

I can’t exactly say, “I’ve been waiting 18 years…,” because I never thought someone would actually make the movie Fargo into a TV series. But that someone has done, and bless them for it.

I don’t know exactly what to expect with Fargo. Just that it involves Billy Bob Thornton and is based on the Coen brothers movie of the same title. That’s good enough for me, and last night’s series premiere did not disappoint.

And thank you, world, for continuing to make entertaining things for me to watch on TV. Seriously.

Another Masters in the books

Well, it wasn’t exactly a win for the ages, but Bubba Watson’s second green jacket in three years had me dusting off my golf clap for the first time in months.

And once again one of my childhood heroes, Fred Couples, fooled me into thinking he instead might pull off the second green jacket bit (thus becoming the oldest player ever to win a major), but at least his collapse was later than usual this year. Still, god damn that’s fun to root for.

And now, friends… baseball.

Double dip

The University of Connecticut pulls off the college basketball sweep? (For the second time I might add, and it’s the only school ever to do so.) The only thing sweeter than that is having The Masters begin the same week as the conclusion to March Madness.

Check!

Championship Monday

The only annoying thing about it is that you have to wait… all… day.

Or maybe that’s part of the charm, that the game doesn’t even really get rolling until about 9:30 at night. On a school night! And a Monday! After 14 or 15 hours of Monday you deserve this one, and tonight will be something good.

The lowest seeds ever to play for an NCAA championship square off tonight in what I’m hoping is one for the ages. (They usually are, but the last time these UConn Huskies won the game was a real dog.)

There are several side plots to tonight’s game: recent champions, one team with a new-ish coach, one team starting five freshman, cats vs. dogs, but one thing is for sure. You’ve got two great teams who are playing great, capping off the best tournament in recent memory.

That should be enough to get you to tune in.

Still a fan 25 years in

As of last night I have been, officially, for 25 years a fan of this thing we call sports. It was the finals of the 1989 NCAA Basketball Tournament, won by Michigan in the final seconds, that I recall as the first sporting event I actually cared about and watched on TV with great passion. And from that day I was hooked.

I don’t remember much about the first 90% of the game (honestly I think I slept through most of it), but I do remember watching the overtime with my dad, who desperately wanted Seton Hall to win. (He was a Big East man all the way.)

Watching sports on TV and in person was something I did with my dad for almost 20 years, and I’ll continue that tradition some day when my son, too, catches the sporting bug. It really has been one of the great love affairs of my life, and I look forward to the next 25 years and the next and the next.

HIMYM finale

himym

Monday night was a little like saying goodbye to five old friends. Friends I’d never met, of course, but friends nonetheless. We grew up together, through good relationships and bad, jobs, moves, marriage, kids. You know, grownup stuff. I think my favorite aspect of the show How I Met Your Mother was that I was exactly the right age and going through exactly the right experiences to appreciate it. Lucky me.

Monday night was the show’s final episode, and I must say it lived up to expectations. No real shockers, but enough of a plot twist at the end for one to say, hmm, yes, that is a good ending. Well done, show creators, very clever. And rather than divulge one iota here, I simply say watch it. Actually, watch all 208 episodes. In order. You will not be disappointed.

How I Met Your Mother is on the short list of my all-time favorite shows. And unlike a Seinfeld or The Simpsons, which feature static characters, the gang from HIMYM really did develop as characters, and as people in that world. My world of 2005-2014. One hates to dwell too much on a mere TV show, but I think the series truly stands as a work of art, and of great production from start to finish.

So thank you, Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney. And thank you, Netflix, for letting me watch it all over and over again. Season One starts today!

Door closes, window opens

A sad day, today, with the final episode of How I Met Your Mother set to air tonight at 8 p.m. I don’t think I’ve felt so deprived of TV friendship since Seinfeld went off the air. And that was 16 years ago!

God always opens a window, however, and tomorrow (actually it’s already begun) baseball rushes in. Baseball, sweet baseball.

‘Tis the (baseball) season

mattingly

In 1949, SPORT magazine published a poem by Ogden Nash celebrating baseball players from his younger days following the sport.

In that tradition, and as a way to introduce the game to my new son, I’ve used Mr. Nash’s format to present players from my youth to future generations. At long wait, here is “Lineup from My Youth.”

“Lineup from My Youth”

My dear little Franklin,

My bundle of joy.

Let me share a few names

From when I was a boy.

 

A is for Alomar,

Few families were better.

But let’s not forget

The Alous at this letter.

 

B is for Biggio

And Bagwell his buddy.

Together they stuck

Like old silly putty.

 

C is for Canseco,

So powerfully built.

The sight of him made

A.L. pitchers just wilt.

 

D is for Dykstra

With a mouthful of chew.

He played for the Mets

And Philadelphia too.

 

E is for Eckersley,

Who began as a starter.

From the ’pen A.L. hitters

Found few pitchers harder.

 

F is for Frank Thomas,

“The Big Hurt,” they’d cheer.

No right-handed slugger

Would bring out more fear.

 

G is for Griffey,

The Kid had no match.

He could run, he could throw,

He could hit, he could catch.

 

H is for Henderson,

Who sent other teams reeling.

No one could catch him

When Rickey was stealing.

 

I is for Ivan

Rodriguez, or “Pudge.”

He threw out runners

With a personal grudge.

 

J is for Jackson

“Bo knows,” they would say.

Played football and baseball

Both the same way.

 

K is for Kirby,

As in Kirby Puckett.

And kid-friendly poems,

So no Man from Nantucket.

 

L is for Larkin,

Barry’s his name.

Guy never lost

A World Series game.

 

M is for Mattingly,

McGwire, McGriff,

Maddux, and Martinezes

Too many to list.

 

N is for Nomo,

The Japanese star.

They figured him out,

Then they hit the ball far.

 

O is for Olerud,

Blue Jays first baseman.

Two World Series make

Our minds not erase him.

 

P is for Palmeiro,

Quite a lesson he learned.

Did too much juice

As the Feds were concerned.

 

Q is for Quisenberry,

Dan to his friends.

Quipped to Ronald Reagan:

“There you go again.”

 

R is for Ripken

And games never missed.

Few could deny

His place on this list.

 

S is for Sheffield

And Strawberry too.

Both got in trouble

With the boys they call Blue.

 

T is for Tony,

Mr. Gwynn if you’re formal.

To be so consistent

Is far beyond normal.

 

U is for Ugueth

Urbina, of course.

Sticking with U’s

A tough rule to enforce.

 

V is for Viola,

That’s Frank not the fiddle.

His pitches often made

Big hitters look little.

 

W is for Wade,

Not Phillips but Boggs.

As important to the time

As those things we called Pogs.

 

X is for Xavier

Hernandez the pitcher.

Six teams in nine years

Made him quite the switcher.

 

Y is for the man

They call Robin Yount.

He’s got more Brewer records

Than Elias can count.

 

Z is for Ozzie,

The Wizard with leather.

Few men have so brought

St. Louis together.

 

And so my dear Franklin

I give you this roster.

And a love for the game

I hope it will foster.