March Madness: Opening Day Must Be Close

There are a number of indicators each year that remind me Opening Day is just around the corner.  There’s always more activity around the office, the weather begins to warm up, and the day-to-day excitement of Spring Training dies down slightly. However, to me the most obvious – and enjoyable – sign that Opening Day is fast approaching is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Cinderellas, upsets, brackets, and buzzer beaters are all staples of March and help make this time of year so much fun.  According to Darren Rovell of CNBC, the odds of filling out a perfect bracket is 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1. There are 9.2 quintillion combinations in a March Madness bracket. If all the people on earth filled out 1 bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to fill out every possible bracket.  Out of the 5.9 million brackets filled out last year on ESPN.com, only TWO brackets had the correct Final Four.

Now that Darren and I have squandered any hope and optimism you previously had for your bracket this year, let’s shift our focus to what’s going on in Ft. Myers.

Report From the Fort 

  • According to Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, Aaron Cook is on pace for 17 or 18 innings of work in the spring.  However, Valentine wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Cook breaking camp with the Sox in the bullpen.  Alex Speier of WEEI.com raised some interesting points today on this subject:

“Since 2004, [Cook] has made just one big league relief appearance, and that came last September when the Rockies were trying to give him some work in September, at a time when he hadn’t pitched in a game in roughly two weeks. His contract is structured with incentives for starts made, rather than appearances, suggesting that is the role in which he was primarily considered when he signed.” Read the rest of Alex’s article here.

  • The biggest buzz here at McCoy Stadium is whether or not promising shortstop Jose Iglesias will open with the season with us in Pawtucket or if he’ll break camp with the Red Sox.  When Spring Training first opened up, all the talk surrounding Jose was that he was on track to open 2012 as a big leaguer.  However, now that most people have come back down to earth, it’s once again looking possible that he’ll start with season in the great state of Rhode Island.

“It may be three months or whatever, but I think he does need those at-bats in the minors,” said the one-and-only Peter Gammons on WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show Friday.  “What’s he started, 160 [actually 171] games in the minor leagues? That’s the equivalent of one season. He’s still a ways away in terms of getting the experience and seeing the balls out of pitcher’s hands to recognize breaking balls.”  However, when asked if Iglesias would be the best defensive shortstop in the major leagues if he started with the Sox on Opening Day, Gammons said, “Very close to it.” Read the rest of the article here.

  • I just started talking to some co-workers about Gammons and was clued into this fascinating discovery:

  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported earlier this morning that outfielder Carl Crawford will throw 90 feet with the trainer.  He should then be ready to progress mid-week with monitored swings.  He is also reporting that Valentine said this of Iglesias’ sore right groin:

“[He] is going to do some of the drills but none of the quick-action drills. We’ll be ultra conservative and hopefully get him back on the 15th with no ill effects of his right groin.” Read the rest of Cafardo’s article here.

  • Thanks to my three recent followers: puckmanri, DNet17, and soxfan.  Even if you’re a Yankees’ fan you can follow my blog by typing in your email address into the empty box in the top-right corner of this page and clicking “Subscribe.”
  • Finally, last Thursday I spoke at a career day in Fall River and was thrilled to meet an actual subscriber of the blog!  All this time I thought it was just my mother making up different email addresses, but apparently there actually are real-life people who subscribe.  Furthermore, some of them wear a suit to work each day! That’s the case with Tom Perreira who introduced himself to me at the B.M.C. Durfee High School career day.  Thank you, Tom, for stopping by and saying “hi.”

Enough baseball for a bit.  Get busy on your bracket.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

2 Comments

I was just this a.m. figuring out how close March Madness would take us to Opening Day. M.M. helps pass the time and keep the excitement about a new baseball season down to a dull frenzy!
Suzie Reed

Hey Aaron,

It was great meeting you last Thursday over at Durfee High. I’ve enjoyed your blog ever since I subscribed. It’s a great way to hear about all things PawSox. I also look forward to hearing you on the PawSox radio broadcasts this season. I can’t wait for opening night at McCoy!

Tom

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