What, no March Madness this year?
Or, as Faber College’s one-and-done lottery pick put it: “Four months of college … down the drain.”
And no NBA, NHL or baseball for a while, either, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
So, if you just got back from a weeklong mountain retreat — and feel the urge to ask, “Did anything happen while I was gone?” — please have a seat.
• At TheOnion.com: “Orioles suggest that MLB maybe consider canceling entire season just to be totally safe.”
• @SportsPickle, on James Harden’s defensive prowess: “Watching Rockets game tape to pick up tips on social distancing.”
Sending in the field-goal unit
Nebraska’s short-handed basketball team added two Cornhuskers football players — a quarterback and a tackle — to bolster its roster for the ill-fated Big Ten tournament.
Wouldn’t two guards and a center have been more prudent?
The saddest part about MLB prematurely shutting down spring training?
Our gritty young Mariners, at 6-12, were still mathematically alive to win the Cactus League championship.
Just say neigh
Some 27 people — including the trainer of DQ’d Kentucky Derby champ Maximum Security — were charged in what authorities called an international doping scheme designed to make the steeds go faster.
So THAT’S why horses’ hooves suddenly started smoking as they left the starting gate.
Paper or plastic?
The phobia over spreading germs has reached such epic proportions, we hear, that college boosters have replaced $100 handshakes with gift cards.
Don’t pass the OJ
The minor-league Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs have scrapped plans for their May 26 “OJ Trial Night” — in “honor” of Simpson as well as orange juice — after considerable public backlash.
Which certainly doesn’t bode well for Glove Night, either.
Talking the talk
• Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Now March Madness is canceled. No, let me rephrase that: The NCAA basketball tournaments are canceled. We’re LIVING in March Madness.”
• Gene Warnick of the Spokane Spokesman-Review, via Facebook, on the coronavirus panic: “More worried someone will break into the car for the TP, not the golf clubs.”
Skip the take sign
One of the best ways to avoid catching the coronavirus, health officials say, is to avoid touching your own face.
Lots of luck trying to break a third-base coach of that nasty habit.
In the film room
Patriots QB Tom Brady announced plans to launch a Hollywood production company.
Alas, Allen Funt — and then Bill Belichick — beat him to the trademark rights for “Candid Camera.”
Gronk want a ring
Ex-Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is reportedly “deep in talks” with WWE and could become a pro rassler by the end of the month.
So who needs a submission hold when you can simply spike your opponent?
Some 3,549 gathered at a carnival in Landerneau, France, to break the world record for most people dressed as Smurfs.
Thus eclipsing the mark for all-blue get-ups set by the 2018 Boise State football team.
• Syndicated columnist Norman Chad, on the NFL’s push for a 17th game: “Playoff expansion is as certain as death and antitrust exemptions. In U.S. professional sports history, no league has ever said, ‘Starting next year, we will decrease the number of teams making the playoffs.’ It would be like 7-Eleven reducing the size of a Big Gulp.”
• Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on every table in the Warriors’ media dining room now featuring a big pump bottle of Purell hand sanitizer: “I absent-mindedly squirted some on my hot dog, but what the heck, you can’t be too safe.”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, via Twitter, after 364-pound lineman Mekhi Becton was clocked at 5.10 at the NFL combine: “That is not a 40-yard dash, that is a tsunami.”
• Comedian Argus Hamilton, via Twitter, on why Tom Brady might as well keep playing football at age 42: “He’s 35 years too young to run for president.”
• Mike Hart of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, on the NFL Network devoting more than 60 hours of live coverage to the NFL combine: “As a side note, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared watching the combine as a cure for insomnia.”
“Free” agents, my tuchus.
The first 148 NFL free agents signed a year ago averaged $15.04 million over the life of their contracts, with $7.54 million guaranteed — or $2.227 billion and $1.116 billion total.
Table that thought
This summer’s Olympic table-tennis competition in Tokyo — if it even happens — could match Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian, 57, against Syria’s Hend Zaza, 11.
Just think of it as Pingpong’s equivalent of Brady vs. Mahomes, but with smaller, non-deflatable balls.
Dart’s all, folks
Dutchman Michael van Gerwen hit a perfect nine-darter in the semifinals en route to capturing the Ladbrokes UK Open darts championship.
Stealing a page from spring-training pitchers, van Gerwen credited the offseason work he put in — coming up with a new pitch, a consistent release point and an improved spin rate.
Quote, end quote
• Ex-pitcher Jerry Koosman, 77, to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, on how he chose jersey No. 36 that will be retired by the Mets on June 13: “In 1966, I missed the plane going north from (minor-league) spring training — overslept — and the manager made me run 36 wind sprints every night. That kind of stuck with me when I got to the Mets. I figured I earned it.”
• Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, on Canadiens great Henri Richard being born on a Feb. 29: “The Pocket Rocket passed away the other day at the age of either 84 or 21, depending on how you count birthdays.”
• Comedy writer Tim Hunter, after the NCAA announced it would play its basketball tournaments without fans: “The next thing you know, the NFL draft is going to be held without players.”
• Jim Barach of JokesByJim.blogspot.com, on reports that PGA pro Wyndham Clark was invited to be a contestant on “The Bachelor”: “Who fits the role of a bachelor more than a guy with a lot of money who just plays golf all day?”