I keep an eye on what’s going on in spring training, but I don’t have much desire to watch any of the games unless I happen to be in Arizona and I’m in the ballpark with a beer in my hand. I do wish, though, that I could have seen some of the Yankees’ game yesterday. Pitcher Pat Venditte threw a inning and a third for the team in a split squad contest against the the Braves. What makes him stand out in a relatively dull matchup is that he is ambidextrous. He wears a six finger glove so that he can switch hands between batters. He can’t switch arms for one batter, but he’s like a manager’s wet dream when it comes to matching up to righties and lefties – especially in tight games down the stretch when a manager would likely run through the bullpen quickly to get the matchups he wants. He allowed two hits and a walk while recording four outs in the game. He put up decent numbers in Class A ball last year, and is due to start in Class A again next year. That means we aren’t likely to see him in the majors for a long time – if ever – but that doesn’t make him any less interesting or intriguing. Very cool.
What the UConn women are doing right now is absolutely incomprehensible. A team shouldn’t be able to be this much better than everyone else. Last year they never lost on the way to a national championship. This year they are again unbeaten, and it would be a world class upset to see them fail to win the title again. Last night in their Elite Eight contest against No. 3 seed Florida State they won by 40 points. 40 freaking points!!!! It’s one thing to beat a No. 16 by 40, but another thing entirely to beat a good team this late in the tournament by the same margin. They have won every game by at least 11 this year, and most by many more. They have won their four tournament games by an average of 47 points. This is, without a doubt, the craziest dominance we have seen in our lifetimes in any sport – and I don’t care how old you are.
You just can’t count out Roy Williams. He had an absolutely horrendous season with North Carolina, and you would have had every expectation that they would limp into the NIT just as they limped through the rest of the season. Williams would have none of that, though. It hasn’t been pretty or easy, but by beating Rhode Island by one in overtime last night they earned a spot in the final of the tournament against Dayton. They have won their four games by an average of just four points, but they’ve won, and it seems reasonable that they can keep winning for one more game tomorrow night. That would be a remarkable and very unlikely end to a season that was remarkable bad.
This is one of those stories that I shouldn’t laugh at, but I can’t help myself. Denard Span was hitting leadoff for the Twins this afternoon as they faced the Yankees. He fouled a ball off, and it went back into the crowd hard. Not only did it hit a woman in the chest, but that woman happened to be Span’s own mother. The chances of that happening have to be about one in a million. We can laugh about it without guilt because she was fine and returned to her seat for the rest of the game after a brief visit with the paramedics. Poor Denard is never going to hear the end of this one – it will be the chief topic of conversation at every family dinner for the next decade.