THT Links: Final Four Edition

The Final Four is over, with Flordia’s win salvaging my bracket and winning me a couple beers. I know this is a baseball site, but I just couldn’t help but share a Bill Simmons-style rant on the game. Why didn’t Ohio State get Greg Oden the ball more? Isn’t he their best player? And a dominant post presence? Why didn’t they try to work the ball through him on every possession, let the defense collapse on him, open up the shooters and foul out Flordia’s big men earlier? Am I missing something here? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here! I don’t even like Ohio State and it was bugging the hell out of me.

Seriously though. I didn’t chart the game, but I was watching for this closely after I pointed this out in the first half, and I’m pretty sure that for the entire second half, on every single possession Oden received the ball in the post, Ohio State scored. It’s just inconceivable to me that someone could be paid millions of dollars to coach a basketball team, recruit arguably the most dominant post presence in college hoops this season and then design an offense around dribbling around the perimeter and then jacking up a three. But that’s just me.

Anyway, this other thing happened yesterday too. So on with it:

38 Pitches – Curt Schilling breaks down his Opening Day performance on his blog. It’s a rare treat to get this kind of insight into a pitcher.

Blown SavesBrad Lidge blows another save. Normally, I’d write this off to overreaction, but THT cohort Matthew Carruth has done research showing that since his stellar season in 2004, Lidge’s percentage of swinging strikes has dropped, while his called balls have risen. Clearly, something performance-wise has changed.

Rollie the Hippie – Josh Wilker sure knows how to turn a phrase over at Cardboard Gods. Rollie Fingers, peace and love.

Long Shots – Marc Hulet over at Baseball Analysts pens an awesome column on the long shots—aka non-roster invitees—who made it onto a major league roster this season. There are probably more than you think.

Fish Fans – Henry Gomez of Fish or Cut Bait breaks down detailed consumer and demographic data to analyze the potential impact of a new stadium on the Flordia Marlins’ fanbase. This is basically the most detailed look at fan demographics I’ve ever seen on the blogosphere, so check it out even if you’re not a Marlins fan. Hat tip to Fish Stripes.

Meet the Fifth Starters – Mike Pindelski of Beyond the Boxscore profiles a number of the fifth starters going into the season. Sadly, this did not make me feel better about Joe Kennedy, as I had hoped it would.

Overreaction – It wouldn’t be Opening Day without your classic media overreaction. Is there any surprise whatsoever that this is from the Philadelphia Inquirer?

Loaiza Hits DLEsteban Loaiza‘s MRI showed damage in his bicep, and A’s general manager Billy Beane expects him to miss at least two starts. Chad Gaudin will take his place in the rotation in the meantime, though the A’s could call up Brad Halsey from Triple-A.

Yankees Still Top Payroll – This Sports Illustrated piece was worth it just for this Alex Rodriguez quote, “I love being the highest-paid player in the game. It’s pretty cool,” Rodriguez said when he arrived at spring training, explaining the money allows him to do more charitable work … You get crushed, but you know what? It’s pretty cool. I enjoy it.” Okay, so there was something paraphrased about charity in there too. New York media eat your heart out.

Today at THT

Here’s to You, Bill Kirwin – Steve asks the THT family to raise a tankard (of your finest dark beer, if at all possible) in honor of one of the greatest contributors to baseball scholarship, even if you’ve never heard of him.

The Best Left-handed Pitchers of 2007 – Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir is joined by pitchers in the major leagues, minor leagues, and even the NCAA level in this summary of the game’s best young southpaws.

Baseball Injury Report – Rick’s weekly take on who’s hurting where.

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MLB’s Diversity Fellowship Is a Step in the Right Direction
It is not a perfect program, but it certainly counts as progress.

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