Usually the first Monday in April is a day to be loathed by wives across the country. It marks the end of the college basketball season and the beginning of the major league baseball season. The NHL and NBA are in their final week of their regular seasons. The gold world is a buzz with the first major of the year on the following weekend. Even the NFL’s off-season is heating up with the draft just three weeks away. But, this year’s holy day of the sports calendar maybe the greatest in recent memory.
The day began with the news that Donovan McNabb, the 11-year veteran quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles had been traded to the Washington Redskins for a 2nd Round pick in this year’s draft and a 3rd or 4th round pick in the 2011 draft contingent upon the Redskins’ finish this season. My initial reaction upon hearing this on Easter night was disbelief; not that the Eagles would trade McNabb (I thought that was inevitable), but that they traded him within the division. While there is precedent for such a move, it is generally accepted that you don’t give a Hall of Fame caliber player the chance to beat you twice a year. Personally, as a Cowboys fan, I couldn’t have been happier about this trade. It effectively took the Eagles out of competition for the NFC East crown, but didn’t improve the Redskins enough to contend, either.
At noon, local time, the baseball season began en masse. The day’s play was highlighted by spectacular performances by Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Palacido Polanco, Nelson Cruz, and Albert Pujols, whose first game prowess left him on a pace to hit .800 with 324 home runs, 486 RBI, and 648 runs scored. Also, a congratulatory high-five to the Braves’ Jason Heyward, who hit a home run in his first major league at-bat. Finally, we may go the whole season and not see a better web gem than the one Mark Buehrle pulled off during the White Sox shut-out of the Indians.
Today also marked the first time Tiger Woods spoke in a press conference setting since last November, after his practice round at Augusta National. The crowds that followed him around the course were cordial, supportive even, and that crowd continued to swell as Tiger made his way through his round.
The day was capped off with one of the great college basketball national championship games off all-time. The David and Goliath match-up of Butler and Duke was everything that a fan could hope for. It came down to two last second shots by Butler’s Gordon Hayward. If he could have made either the 12 foot, fade-a-way jumper or the half-court miracle, then David would have slain Goliath again, but this time it was not meant to be. Butler produced one of the grittiest, gutsiest, and most valiant efforts the tournament has seen, but Duke was, end the end, just a better team. Hats off to the Blue Devils and the Bulldogs for a fitting end to one of the greatest sports days of the year!