- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009


North Carolina and Michigan State advance to final — In a bizarre twist, the only team to defeat both teams during the regular season was Maryland - the same team that had fans calling for Gary Williams‘ head after a loss to Morgan State and blowouts at Clemson and Duke. This isn’t to suggest Maryland is the third-best team in the country, rather that with one of his least-talented teams, Williams showed he’s a better coach than anyone Maryland would replace him with.

Capitals clinch Southeast Division — For the second straight year, the Caps won perhaps the least interesting division in major sports. Not that winning a division isn’t a major accomplishment, but does anyone think Southeast Division champion merchandise is going to fly off the shelves? For all the negatives of being stuck in a relatively dull division, at least the Caps have an easier road to the playoffs than if they were in the Atlantic with traditional rivals Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.


1. Austin Kearns lasts less than two months as the starting right fielder — Kearns supplanted presumed starter Elijah Dukes thanks to a strong spring, but the veteran either will play well enough to boost his trade value or poorly enough to land on the bench.

2. Mike Rizzo is named permanent GM — It shouldn’t be hard for Rizzo to outperform Jim Bowden, assuming he doesn’t try to acquire another outfielder and make it six guys for three spots.

3. Collin Balester starts a game by the end of May — He is slated to start Opening Day for Class AAA Syracuse, but it wouldn’t be a shock if Daniel Cabrera, Shairon Martis or Jordan Zimmermann struggle early on.

4. The offense will be much improved — It still might be the worst in the NL East, but subtracting the likes of Paul Lo Duca, Aaron Boone and Wily Mo Pena only can help.

5. This season can’t be worse than last year — Unless they finish 52-110, Bowden gets his job back and Dukes sends some more text messages, the 2009 season will be better than 2008.


“You come into a ballpark like this, and you see great things. You wish that Chicago‘d build a new stadium for the Cubs.” - Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano on new Yankee Stadium

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