19 May 2006

Good News Friday: School's out edition

With the usual arrests, teams advancing or being knocked out of the playoffs, the continuing Duke saga, hazing, playoff suspensions, Indy racing restrictions, and yachting deaths (oh, yes, we look everywhere), this might be a week in which the good news has surpassed the bad.

In baseball, the Washington Nationals finally have an owner in Theodore Lerner, shopping-mall magnate and all-around rich guy. There's something not right about the league owning a team, and in a market like the DC/Alexandria/Baltimore area, there isn't a need for that to happen, regardless of the sport.

Michelle Wie is taking a step in the right direction, winning a local qualifier to advance to the next step in her attempt to qualify for the PGA US Open. It's not that Wie (or Sorenstam) shouldn't have taken earlier exemptions in previous tourneys (heck, the LPGA is giving Wie exemptions too, since she's technically not part of the LPGA). That's not what this commentary is getting at. If someone offered any of us to play in any pro tourney, would you really turn that down? The point moreover is that Wie understands that it is important to qualify, not just compete, in a men's tournament especially to gain access to a major. Will she do it? Maybe, though I doubt it. This is her first successful attempt in eight tries. The fact is qualifying in these men's tournaments is really really REALLY hard, man or woman. What I didn't know, and may be news to you readers as well, is that Wie is now the second woman to make the cut in a men's qualifier, after LPGA star Se Ri Pak made a cut in 2003. Will more women try to qualify on the PGA circuit if Wie ends up making the field. Probably. Is that really so bad? Not really. And lastly, is it fair that Wie or any LPGA golfer can play in both? That's a debate not for GNF. The point is Wie is taking the proper steps to achieve her goals, not asking for short-cuts, and has taken a first step by winning (or qualifying) on the course. And remember, guys, she's still only 16.

That last one was pretty long...for a golf commentary. So here's a short sweet one. The Gwinnett Gladiators are in the Kelly Cup Finals.

Three years removed from their abysmal 43-119 season, the Detroit Tigers lead the AL Central, scratch that, all of Major League in wins. Huh??? Yankees fans have to in some way love this type of situation as this can never help the cause for a salary control mechanism in baseball. I'm not sure if this is necessarily good news, but it is...well...puzzling.

Gamblers, rejoice! The Preakness is this weekend. 1-1 odds (yes, even-money odds) are on Barbaro because of some strange trend that no undefeated horse coming in has ever lost in the Preakness. That and the fact that Barbaro is considered a massively good horse. So start working your exactas and trifectas because a straight bet is almost pointless...unless you see an upset? An unlikely scenario unless you like the chances that the track will be wide open as the number of horses racing will be really small. Six? Maybe eight?

Finally, to college sports. While the men's baseball team has rattled off 13 straight wins, the women's softball team prepares to host the NCAA regional here in Athens this weekend. Play starts at 7:30 tonight against the Eagles from Statesboron. This is Georgia Southern's first NCAA softball appearance. I believe the regionals are double elimination play with the regional finals being Sunday. $8 - general admission. The men's team continue their series against Kentucky at Foley Field tonight, which is also their Seniors night, where they'll honor their seven seniors before the game. The third of the series is a day game on Saturday.

And lastly, stories which all colleges at this time of year are very interested in: who graduated? And this is especially important not only for the questions of who is leaving and which positions need filled, but that pesky APR. Not that UGA has had any problems regarding the Academic Progress Rate, but schools like Georgia Southern, Temple, and New Mexico State definitely will. UGA looks like they should be okay, since they came out pretty strong last year (though I wish anyone really trying to dicher that report good luck). And congratulations to all the graduates!

Have a great weekend, everyone.


At 11:59 AM, Blogger Dante said...

It's early in the season. There's stil plenty of time for a Tigers collapse. Shouldn't a Mets fan know all about late season collapses?

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

Just as much as the Braves know about choking. ;-)

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Dante said...

Indeed but the statement would've been funnier if it were directed at a Braves fan.


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