Tar Heels saved my bacon

Fat Guy Corner



I can proudly say I redeemed myself over the Final Four weekend! The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs made me look good by advancing to the national championship game. The fact that I picked the North Carolina team to win 71-66 in the title game also feels good. The actual final score was 71-65 North Carolina! I’ll take the 3-0 weekend of winners and some self confidence in my handicapping abilities once again.

I was rattled, I’ll admit, by my 0-4 Final Four predictions. The game itself was one ugly basketball game to watch. The two teams shot horribly from the floor, the Zags a brutal 33 percent and Heels a brutal 35 percent. How about North Carolina at a stellar 4-27 from three-ball land? Wow, how horrible is that? The free throw percentage was laughable with Gonzaga at 65 percent and Carolina worse at 57 percent! The amount of free throws was at 52 attempts with each team getting 26.

How does that happen? I’ll tell you it was a horribly officiated basketball game and the officials made this game unwatchable! These are supposed to be the best of the best the NCAA has to offer for a title game? Let me tell you, they were the worst of the worst. It was to the point I was embarrassed for them! The best players are sitting on the bench with foul trouble and ticky-tack fouls to boot! I guess when you watch enough sports you never know what you’re going to get. I thought last year’s Villanova and North Carolina game was one of the best title games ever! This year I vote it one of the worst ever! Oh, well, it’s time for baseball season, the NFL Draft, the Masters, the NHL Playoffs and the NBA Playoffs from here.

Delay of game for Tigers

The Detroit Tigers left Lakeland, Florida and headed north for the 2017 baseball season. The road opener was cancelled on Monday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. They tried to play again on Tuesday afternoon after I filed this column.

The Tigers have their ace, Justin Verlander, on the hill trying to get the Tigers’ baseball team off to a great start here in 2017. The home opener will take place on Friday in Detroit against the Boston Red Sox with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. The forecast is possible snow/rain and a balmy high of 46 degrees.

Yes, the Fat Guy will be in attendance bright and early, as I have been for the past 25 years. Let’s be honest; opening day in Detroit is a national holiday! The excitement and frenzy of a new baseball season always brings the joy to Tigers’ baseball fans everywhere.

What can we expect from this 2017 Detroit Tiger ball club? The outfield looks like a weak link to me. How will Justin Upton play? Justin, the guy who the first half of season stunk like a dead skunk on the side of the road, or second-half Justin, who was good? The next question is, will J.D. Martinez be the guy who is injured all the time? The Tigers cannot afford that at all.

As for Tyler Collins, how many more chances does he get to fail? I think we have to accept the fact that Miguel Cabrera’s power numbers are in serious decline. Can Victor Martinez stay healthy is always a major question to be answered.

The infield is steady and should be in fine shape. The starting pitching of Matthew Boyd, Fulmer, Verlander, Norris and Zimmerman is respectable, as there are a lot worse rotations on other teams. I don’t see Fulmer or Verlander repeating seasons from 2016, to be honest. I look for Norris to have a good season. The bullpen closer, K-Rod, is not a comforting feeling for me, as I see numerous blown saves coming down the pipeline this summer. How will Annibal Sanchez fare as a bullpen guy is yet to be determined and Bruce Rondon is still wild and I have zero faith when he enters the game.

That Brad Ausmus is back as manager is a total head scratcher, too! He has stunk as the man guiding this ship and brings nothing to the table. The handling of the pitching staff and bullpen stinks. He is an ex-player who wants to be buddies and not an authority clubhouse guy like he needs to be. The one good thing is Alex Avila is back. He should produce two clutch hits and numerous strike outs! Yikes, is he awful! I am so glad daddy brought him back; NOT!!

I see this Tigers’ team competing for a wild-card spot at best. I think an 85-77 record is the best they can do and could easily be 77-85. My prediction is 81-81 and taking the month of October off! I hope I am wrong. Go Tigers! Let’s roar in 2017.

Green jacket up for grabs

The Masters is this weekend, which is my favorite major by far to watch. Here is the Fat Guy’s choice to win at Augusta in 2017: the one and only Hideki Matsuyama. And, my long shot is Jimmy Walker. thefatguy@mihomepaper.com

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