So where are we at this time of the sports year, when every event seems larger that life, The Masters, the Kentucky Derby, The Final Four, Opening day for baseball season, The NBA Playoffs, The NFL draft and perhaps most important of all, SPRING FOOTBALL.
Of all of our teams, the ones which charm us most are the Tiger and Rebel football teams. Maybe that’s because they have yet to play anyone, and in April, more than any other time of the year, hope springs eternal. Coming off of impressive bowl victories and highly rated recruiting classes both teams seem poised to achieve the pinnacle of success. But they still will have to play the games in the fall.
Last night under the lights in Tiger Stadium, 20,000 rabid fans gathered to watch LSU’s spring game, a suped-up scrimmage with restrictions on hitting in an effort to avoid unnecessary injuries. The defense held sway as is the case in most of these events. And of course, that’s what every one wanted to see, for it was the defense that was a big disappointment last year. As was QB. However last night all 3 QB’s played well, even beleaguered red shirt sophomore Jarrett Lee. Running backs Scott & Murphy also played well. So Tiger fan’s can put this moment under their pillows to dream on until early August.
In Oxford, Jevon Sneed led the first team offense to a victory over the reds. Snead directed six consecutive touchdown drives and threw for 254 yards as the Blue team defeated the Red 55-28 in the "Grove Bowl". Snead finished 11-of-15 with touchdown strikes of 12, 20 and 70 yards to Shay Hodge, Dexter McClusker and Markeith Summers, respectively. Rebel hopes for an SEC championship are riding high. Of course this was against the second team defense, but who cares, it looked like football.
Our Hornets, that’s another story. On the diamond, although not achieving the exalted ranking of LSU, Ole Miss appears to have rearranged their pitching staff to the point that they have an effective rotation and are ready to make another run for the SEC championship in Hoover, Alabama, A regional in Oxford, and the elusive College World Series. LSU on the other hand has kept on track as their #1 ranking will attest. That actually means nothing except that the LSU baseball is very good. They beat Tennessee squad by an 18-4 score Friday night but lost yesterday because they could not overcome errors and unearned runs. They play again today to keep LSU’s run of successive conference series victories alive.
The Hornets, now that’s another story A team that was one game away from playing for the conference finals last year. But now they are a shell of last year’s team. Injuries have hurt. But the departure of Jeremy Pargo for Russia was a devastating blow that can only be appreciated now that there is no backup for Chris Paul. The bench is woeful. It seems that Chris Paul and David West will not be able to carry this team past the first round of the playoffs. First game tonight.
The Red Sox may be coming around. The early schedule was stacked up against them with an opening series against AL Champion Tampa Bay, then a trip to the west coast where the Sox seldom do well, and they didn’t. But the last game against Oaklnd they got a quality start and complete game victory by rubber armed knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield. The bats have come alive in the past 3 games and today Jon Lester won a 2-1 decision. The Bull pen has been stellar, and Kevin Youkalis has warmed to the cleanup spot as though he were born for it.
So our teams are doing well, some better than others. But right now there is a lot to cheer about.