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March Madness is back
Bet on it
Good morning, all. I hope your week is going well!
Yes, television ratings for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament “Selection Show” were down on Sunday night, but March Madness has returned. Bet on it. And many are.
You remember March Madness, don’t you? The tournament was put on ice last season, as COVID-19 erupted across the country and world. But the madness is back this year, with restrictions, as the entire tournament will be played in Indianapolis, beginning this week.
With the tournament, of course, comes the proverbial office pools, except for many there is still no office to go to. But people plan on placing a wager or two or three, especially in states where betting is now legal. In some cases they will place that bet from an app on their smartphone. Oh, 21st Century technology.
According to one story, online betting is surging faster than the Brooklyn Nets. A survey conducted by Morning Consult shows that 47 million Americans will bet on the tournament, beginning Thursday. That translates into big bucks.
So fill out your brackets - some 30.6 million are expected to do so - or make an up-or-down wager or do both. March Madness has returned, in all its betting splendor.
Rizzotti out at GW
Jennifer Rizzotti was dismissed as coach of the George Washington women’s basketball team on Monday. To me, the most amazing part of the story was can it be five years since she was hired by GW? Where does the time go?
The UConn icon, who helped put collegiate and professional women’s basketball on the map - do not forget she had a part in the fledging American Basketball League - had a successful 17-year run as coach of the women’s team at the University of Hartford, before leaving for D.C. in April 2016.
With a 72-74 record, it did not quite work out for Jen in the win column, but my guess is the players in that program left better people and players because of her coaching acumen.
My hunch is Rizzotti will remain in the game long term as a coach or even a broadcaster and succeed. She has plenty more to give to the game.
Meet the newest Red Sox owner, LeBron James
Basketball great LeBron James grew up a New York Yankees fan, even though he hails from Akron, OH. Well now he can call himself an owner of the Boston Red Sox. James has purchased shares of Fenway Sports Group, parent company of the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club and other sporting endeavors. It won’t be long before we see James in the Red Sox dugout, before a ballgame.
We are live, from the studio
Restrictions continue in major league baseball’s broadcast booths, as the virus enters year two. This from Hall of Fame pitcher and Red Sox telecaster Dennis Eckersley in a conversation with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy about broadcasting road games from the studio:
“I have mixed feelings about it. Thinking selfishly, not having to go on the road is not such a bad thing. But you don’t want to lose being at the ballpark altogether. You don’t. I have a feeling we may not go on the road again. It saves a lot of money and everybody’s doing it. Can the viewers tell the difference?”
Eckersley, 66, is doing much better after contracting COVID earlier this year.
MLBPA and priest hit a grand slam
I love this story. Father John Ubel, a priest at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Minnesota, decided to part with his extensive baseball card collection, including Hank Aaron’s 1954 rookie card, to raise scholarship money for underprivileged children to attend Catholic schools. He fetched $50,000 for the cards.
But it gets better. When the Major League Baseball Players Association got wind of the Rev. Ubel’s good deed they sent him a supply of baseball cards to continue his scholarship-raising efforts.
Now that’s as good a way to end today’s newsletter as any. Enjoy your day and thank you for being a subscriber.