NIT semi-finals: Penn State vs. Notre Dame at 9 p.m. on ESPN2

Penn State enjoying sightsThe Collegian
Harangody provides challengeThe Collegian
Lions looking to make Garden magicCDT
DAVID JONESND basketball in comfort zonePatriot-News
Notre Dame (21-14) vs. Penn State (25-11)CDT
After a long and hopefully helpful rest, the Nittany Lions are back on the hardwood tonight at New York’s Madison Square Garden for the NIT semi-finals. They have not been since 2000, losing to tonight’s opponent Notre Dame in same round. The next year, Penn State made a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament.

The Nittany Lions better not be in awe of Madison Square Garden because Notre Dame, a member of the Big East, is quite familiar with it — this year the Fighting Irish played there three times. Penn State did win in hostile Florida and I don’t expect the Garden crowd to favor either team overwhelmingly, so there is hope there.

And they’re off for New YorkCDT
Twelve buses full of Penn State fans left for New York at noon today from the Bryce Jordan Center. I took that trip twice and had fun both times. It s shame we don’t have a railroad in Happy Valley, that would be even better.

Video from PennLive.com:

Penn State basketball coach Ed DeChellis

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Redskins preseason schedule sorta set

Redskins Announce ’09 Preseason Opponents Redskins.com
The Redskins go to Baltimore on Aug. 13 and then host the Steelers between August 20-24, a matchup that we attended in 2004, followed by the Patriots on August 28 and a trip to Jacksonville on Sept. 3 or 4.

I wonder if I’ll be at another Redskins vs. Steelers game.

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Nats are looking at a long week of travel

Nats’ long, strange tripThe Wash. Times
Now this is a tough way to start a season:

With Opening Day so tantalizingly close, the Nationals must first complete their toughest stretch of the exhibition season. From the time they departed for Jupiter, Fla., on Sunday morning through their season opener against the Florida Marlins on Monday, they will have played eight games in nine days in eight cities.

They will have traveled 1,056 miles by bus and 3,240 miles by air and will have gone from Clearwater, Fla., to Miami via Norfolk and the District. And when it’s all over, they get to start a 162-game season.

Ouch and the first three games are not much better with start times of 4:10, 7:10 and 12:10. Hopefully the fact that they are playing the Marlins helps them overcome it all.

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25 years ago, the Colts were taken from Baltimore

On March 29, 1984, Robert Irsay moved the Colts out of Baltimore under the cover of darkness to Indianapolis, an unworthy destination. In observance of the anniversary, the Sun has a number of articles in Baltimore Colts section that basically say “let’s get over it already.” Yes, there is a bit of irony in those statements since the paper’s Web site has a regularly updated section a generation after the fact, but they are probably right. In the end, Baltimore got a new team, one that won a Super Bowl, and stadiums for football and baseball. The new team, the Ravens, came from Cleveland, but the NFL did the right thing and insisted the colors and name be left behind there and put a team back there three years later.

I have said before that while I hope for nothing failure and misery when it comes to the Orioles, I have sympathy for the Colts fans who were on the wrong end of what was likely the worst sports team move ever. Why move out of a football crazy city to an irrelevant midwestern city? The Colts left because of the absolutely belligerent and incompetent Irsay (Sports Illustrated), a drunk who shopped the team for years despite strong fan support. The team only after he died. His son, Jim Irsay, still owns the team and missed an obvious chance to redeem the family legacy when he did not return the colors and logos to the city of Baltimore. Perhaps it was because he was high (Indy Star). The Indy side of the story is here if you care.

On a lighter note the reporting of the move has been, shall we say, imprecise over the years.

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MLB adjusts to Nats having a "professional" GM

Rizzo Brings ‘More Professional’ Approach to NatsThe Post
Mike Rizzo is a lucky man right now — he is widely praised for basic, common sense professionalism.

For one month now, Rizzo has served as acting general manager, replacing Bowden, who resigned on March 1. Separated from Bowden’s flamboyant personality, the Nationals now operate with less carnival color but more corporate predictability. Within the clubhouse, players talk with appreciation about the change. Their general manager no longer walks into their domain, coffee in hand, cracking barbs about a guy’s latest 0 for 5. Rizzo keeps a steadier profile, very much willing to sign players for the clubhouse, but unwilling to sit on its sofas. “More professional,” is how two veterans describe the atmosphere.

I hope the Lerner family reads every one of these articles and kicks themselves for being so stupid keeping Jim Bowden so long.

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How Yuengling became one of the largest American owned brewers

Yuengling poised to become largest American-owned brewerPatriot-News
When Dick Yuengling bought the Yuengling Brewery from his father, it was a small, dying business. He revitalized it and now only Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) is a larger American-owned brewer. Previously owned American breweries, Miller and Busch, have since been purchased by foreign conglomerates.

I do not feel as strongly about Yuengling Lager as some of my friends, but generally speaking, if I have beer in the house or at a tailgate, it is Yuengling. The quality to price ratio is quite good and I find Nittany Lion beef franks taste pretty good when they have “marinated” in it.

Oh and sorry, Matthew, Yuengling does not appear to be heading to Massachusetts anytime soon.

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One year later: Ryan Zimmerman opens Nationals Park

It is hard to believe that a year ago tonight, Ryan Zimmerman hit a walf-off home run to start the 2008 season and inagurate Nationals Park.

Ryan Zimmerman is Mr. Walkoff

Opening Night thoughts

Opening Night photos

For a couple of days, everything seemed to have come together for the Nats.

That proved to be the highlight of the 2008 season for that Nationals, if not the first four seasons.

One week until the season begins, two weeks until the Home Opener. I can’t wait.

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Nats rotation set, Zimmermann #5 starter

Martis, Zimmermann Make Nats’ RotationThe Post
Jordan Zimmermann has made the Nationals rotation in the fifth spot, meaning he will start the season in AAA Syracuse and come up to the big club a few weeks into the season, delaying his free agency, but starting his arbitration clock. That could cost the team more down the line, but Ted Lerner is worth $3,500,000,000 million, so let’s not get too excited about the fact they may owe Zimmermann more sooner.

Shairon Martis also made the rotation. He was acquired for Mike Stanton in 2006. Ah, Mike Stanton, those were the days? He’d get traded every year for prospects.

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SI profile on Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg Is Ready To Bring It Sports Illustrated
Most of you have probably read the profile of Stephen Strasburg already, but in case you have not here it is.

Strasburg, a San Diego State pitcher, is the consensus #1 amateur draft pick right now, a pick held by the Washington Nationals. He throws 100+ MPH pitches. Scouts are drooling over him and they should be.

As a follow up, read this Federal Baseball interview with Lee Jenkins of SI who wrote the profile.

Losing 102 games last year may be the best thing that has ever happened to the Nationals.

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