Around the Block Monday, March 20th 2017

Good morning, it’s Monday, March 20, 2017, and according to some the first day of spring. Over the weekend the music world lost Chuck Berry and pro football fans absorbed sad news about retired San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark. One of the nice guys in pro sports, Clark now faces a very tough road.

In college basketball, the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments really got rolling. The men’s games are more exciting mainly because they are less predictable. Upsets were common, along with close games, horrible officiating, coaching theatrics, and the drama of basketball royalty falling to unheralded teams with little “March Madness” history. (I’m looking at you, Duke.) The women’s game is still too top-heavy, leading to unsightly blowouts, including a game this weekend in which the final score was 119-30. That is not a typo.

Late March also means that baseball season is approaching, and while we’re on the subject of women’s sports, I’m reminded that 83 years ago today the great Babe Didrikson took the mound for an inning against the Philadelphia Athletics in a spring training start against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Didrikson died of cancer at 45 on Sept. 27, 1956, and she was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery. On a memorial near her burial site, there is the old Grantland Rice line about how winning and losing are not what matters but rather how one played the game. She was something to behold.

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