by Bill Freitas
Spring Break is over, St. Patrick's Day is but a green puke-stain-blurred memory and the tickets have been officially punched in for the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Time to pop some ibuprofen, make the appropriate apologies ("I grabbed your what?") and hurry up with your brackets before reality barrels in and fucks them all up before Friday morning.
For the first time since 2007, my heart agreed with my head when I picked the Florida Gators to win this year. I have them beating Wisconsin for all the donuts. To show just how much we all think we know about the complexities of picking one team to win while 63 teams lose (or with the play-in games, something like ... what, 90?), another "expert" picked Florida to beat Wichita State. Decent pick ... by a mouse on ESPN. I'm not kidding. Just close your eyes and point.
Our Tampa Bay Lightning have been able to find the win column consistently, and have now won four straight after beating Toronto Wednesday evening. Steven Stamkos, after returning from a broken friggen leg, scored a hat trick, naturally, in front of his hometown. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "natural" hat trick, it's like a regular hat trick with fewer calories — which is a good thing since it's the seventh in his career and Stammer doesn't need a fat ass this close to the post season. More and more it seems that the trade for Ryan Callahan was a brilliant one, as the captain from the Rangers has proven to be a beast on defense and a natural leader, which is like a regular leader with fewer ... what? ... oh, I already made that crappy joke. My bad. Before you know it, Bolt Nation will be saying, "Marty St. WHO-ee?" Totally made that up. You can use it at your next meeting. If it doesn't get you into your hot coworker's pants, just give it up and aim lower.
After tackle Donald Penn, the latest notable casualty of the Buccaneer free-agency hiring and firing, found himself a job in Oakland; he predictably wasted no time shooting his fat mouth off on XM radio.
"I'm a grown man. They could have treated me like a grown man," said the crybaby. (Irony!) Apparently, releasing somebody after getting paid $7 million to block like a mac and cheese-stuffed matador is quite childish. While landing a good deal in the city where careers go to die, Penn vows to play with a chip on his shoulder. No doubt a sour cream and onion chip with plenty of spinach dip. Zing!
Honorable Afterthoughts: Former Bucs GM Mark Dominik will be joining ESPN as a front-office insider (seriously, when is getting fired from the NFL not a resume enhancer? I got fired from a construction job once and never touched a shovel again. True story); after losing a legal battle with MLB over a suspension, unimaginable douchebag A-Rod has reportedly stiffed his lawyers millions in legal fees — once the public has taken the side of a bunch of attorneys, you have officially accrued enough credit hours to graduate with honors from Asshole University, Home of the Fighting Shaved Gerbils; and finally, a swarm of bees interrupted a spring game between the Yankees and Red Sox for seven minutes Tuesday, just like it said in the book of Revelations ("and the swarm rained down upon the two towers of evil and stungeth the ignorant followers, then God looked over all that he had made, and He saw that it was very good").