"The Stack" is back after a mini-Easter vacation and our big baseball preview on Thursday and we have plenty to talk about today. Masters, baseball, Tebow, you name it, we're talking about it. So let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, April 9:
1. Bubba Watson wins the Masters
In a thrilling Sunday finish, Bubba Watson beat Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole to win the Masters and his first green jacket. It's Watson's first career major. Watson's second shot from the pine straw on the second hole was absolutely amazing. He got it in great position and after Oosthuizen failed to make his par putt, Watson had it easy. The conclusion came after a very exciting day that included Oosthuizen recording a double eagle two on the par five second. It was the first double eagle in Masters history on that hole. Phil Mickelson was in prime position entering the day to win his fourth green jacket, but a triple bogey six on the par three fourth did him in. He had a couple of chances to make a run at it, but missed a couple of eagle putts on the back nine that ultimately he could not overcome. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy weren't even a factor, each shooting five over (+5). McIlroy was doing really good through the first two rounds, but fell apart over the weekend. So much for my favorite.
This was the best Masters Sunday in recent memory and one reason why Masters Sunday is one of the best sport days of the year. With so many players in contention on Sunday, it was riveting television. And it came down to a playoff, sudden death. How awesome is that? Perhaps it's just because it's the first major of the year, but the Masters is special and different than the other three golf majors. It's exciting and played at such a beautiful course. Too bad it's so expensive, though it is on my bucket list to golf there once before I die. All in all, this was a great tournament and congrats to Bubba Watson for winning the 76th Masters.
2. NHL regular season ends, playoffs to begin Thursday
The NHL regular season concluded on Saturday and the playoff matchups and schedules have been set. The Vancouver Canucks won the President's Trophy having the most regular season points with 111. "The Stack's" official playoff NHL preview blog will come out Wednesday, but a few initial thoughts on the first round matchups:
- Best series in the east: easily Flyers-Penguins. Two bitter interstate rivals that hate each other and have shown it against each other this year. Each team has a ton of talent. Sidney Crosby is back for this reason and my initial inkling is to take the Penguins over the Flyers though I have a couple of days to think about it. This is going to be one whale of a series.
- Best series in the west: Red Wings-Predators. No division was better than the Central Division and this matchup proves it. Both teams had over one hundred points. The Predators were two points better (104 for them, 102 for Detroit) and have the home ice. The Red Wings are always battle tested come playoff time and they will be ready. Nashville though looks awfully tough and ready to knock the big kids out of the playoffs. Another great series. If you're just a fan of the NHL and the NHL playoffs, you hope this series goes seven games.
- Chicago and New York have the best matchups in the first round in my opinion yet their opponents (Phoenix and Ottawa respectively) won three of the four games during the regular season. The Blackhawks and Rangers are far more talented than Phoenix and Ottawa, but talent alone doesn't win series in the NHL playoffs. They'll have to be focused, but it would be shocking if either of these two teams don't make it to the second round.
The NHL playoffs begin Wednesday with sixteen teams all trying to win
the Stanley Cup. It's going to be a fun couple of months.
3. Tebow gives Easter sermon in front of 15,000...other NFL thoughts
Tim Tebow was the center of attention at an Easter service in Georgetown, Texas, yesterday where he gave a sermon of front of fifteen thousand people, half the expected crowd that was supposed to show up according to the church. Tebow's main theme in his speech: the importance to him about his faith and how more athletes should become roles models. It's great that Tebow can go on his platform especially on such an important day for Christians and give such a powerful message. Plenty of people want to hear Tebow's message as evidenced by the throngs of people that came to the church's Easter service. Sure the Tebow haters will still hate, but this is how Tim Tebow is and on Easter Sunday he wanted to share his message and his faith with fellow Christians. No issue with that whatsover.
In other NFL news, Warren Sapp of
the NFL Network has filed for bankruptcy and now comes word that he may
be "let go" by the NFL Network when his contract ends in August. This
stems from his tweet about former New Orleans Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey
being the "whistleblower" on the Saints bounty program. Shockey is
irate about it and rightfully so. Though Sapp simply tweeted it, social
media is very dangerous. Once you put something out there, you can't
take it back. And Sapp may soon realize the price of that tweet if he
is not brought back to be an analyst with the NFL Network. It's
amazinig how athletes can blow all of the money they make in their
career in such a short period of time. It's a shame that they don't
realize the importance of saving for after their careers are done and
getting a financial advisor or having their agents take more control
over their finances. Maybe athletes just don't listen to their agents
or others. With all of the athletes in the news filing bankruptcy, you
would think they would learn.
4. Should Bobby Petrino be out in Arkansas?
Given the scenario that has unfolded at the University of Arkansas with Bobby Petrino and his motorcycle accident with a female employee more than twice his age, Arkansas was right to place Petrino on paid administrative leave while they review the facts of the case. Petrino lied about nobody being with him in the accident and had someone at the university lie for him. That shouldn't happen. Nor should he be in a relationship with someone who just joined the football program who is half his age. Especially when he is already married. What kind of role mode is he? What kind of role is he setting for his team? It's not a good one. Can Petrino be trusted? Obviously not. But we've seen this kind of behavior before. Remember he was the one who walked out on the Atlanta Falcons in the middle of the season. It was a tumultioius season for the Falcons. Michael Vick had just gone to jail and they were bad that year. But for a grown man to walk out on his team is just awful. And now this situation is going on at Arkansas? Somewhere the Falcons players who were on that team and owner Arthur Blank are shaking their heads because they've seen behavior like this before.
should Petrino be out at Arkansas? Probably. Had he just been in a
relationship with a woman while he was married, Arkansas may have looked
past that and allowed him to continue to coach. But given that he lied
and made a university employee lie for him as well, he's got to go.
Finally maybe people will realize what type f person Petrino really is.
This situation will continue to unfold and I'm sure we'll have more to
talk about later.
5. Stan Van Gundy-Dwight Howard thoughts
Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy says Dwight Howard wants him fired. He's made things very awkward in the locker room. And it has become a distraction for the team. Prior to Saturday's win at Philadelphia, the Magic had lost five in a row. Magic GM Otis Smith says Van Gundy will last the rest of the season. Van Gundy wants to return next season but do the Magic want him to return? Howard has already said that he'll return to the Magic next season. Would Van Gundy returning bring about a lot of tension to the team? Maybe. Perhaps a fresh start is what the Magic need. Van Gundy is a good coach, but if the trust factor can't be there between him, Howard and the front office, maybe it would be best for all parties involved to part ways. For the record, Van Gundy and Howard have said they've put the the incident behind them and are focused on getting the Magic's season back on the right track and winning in the postseason. That's a good thing, because the Magic are struggling right now. If they have success in the playoffs, then maybe Van Gundy can return next season and the Magic will be just fine. If not, don't be surprised if the Magic have a new coach next year.
Coming up Tuesday: Reaction to Monday's biggest stories and storylines
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.