Results tagged ‘ NCAA Tournament ’

Tucson Tales, Day 1

I actually arrived in Tucson on Wednesday night and had a great dinner at McMahon’s with my friend Sarah, probably the most upbeat person I know. I had the salmon, she had the swordfish–both outstanding meals. Actually, I’ve never had a bad meal in all my year’s of going to McMahon’s, so if you are in Tucson, stop by and tell them Scott Merkin sent you. It probably won’t do you any good, but I always wanted to have that kind of pull.

On Thursday night, I dinned at Risky Business, one of my favorite sports bars in Tucson. I was the rebel at the restaurant on this night, as every one of the 25 or so televisions was on the Arizona game. The hostess was nice enough to put one of the TVs on Michigan-Purdue.

Great win for the Wolverines! They should be in the NCAA Tournament, but if they end the season with a win at Minnesota, assuming a loss at Wisconsin, they have to qualify.

During my 6 1/2 years in Tucson (split one Spring Training between covering the Cubs and White Sox while working for another organization), I always enjoyed the city. Still do, but I have to admit I’ve grown accustomed to the Glendale area.

But that’s not why you called. Here are a few brief observations from the victory over Colorado, which probably got overlooked in the bulk of the coverage:

–Gordon Beckham walked in his first at-bat in the 7th and showed a little attitude with a bat flip after the walk. Attitude, as in confidence, not in a bad way. He then proceeded to swipe second base, one of three White Sox stolen bases on the day. I know it’s one game, but this kid has the feel of a ballplayer.

–Speaking of ballplayers, keep an eye on Brandon Allen. The 23-year-old had 29 home runs and 17 stolen bases combined last year and had one hit, one run scored and a stolen base on Thursday. He moves very well for his 6-foot-2, 235-pound size. Ozzie Guillen also has taken notice of Allen.

“I love the way he swings the bat,” sad Guillen of Allen. “He’s a name I’ve talked about with (general manager) Kenny (Williams).”

–Jack Egbert, D.J. Carrasco and Lance Broadway all hurled two scoreless innings apiece, while Jhonny Nunez closed out the victory with the look of a closer.

–Corky Miller had three hits and also had the longest distance for a 2009 Spring Traning bat toss, with it landing in the stands behind the White Sox dugout. Nobody was hurt, thankfully, and Miller traded another bat for the one the fan caught.

More updates to come later, after the game against Arizona is complete. Hope I remember how to get Tucson Electrc Park.

By the way, I just noticed the time of this blog entry as 11:11:11. Weird, right? Maybe I should view 11 as my lucky number for the rest of Spring Training.


Things I learned … Recently

–Apparently, I need to go see Slumdog Millionaire.

–I still think Mickey Rourke should have won Best Actor for The Wrestler. Then again, that was the only movie I saw out of the nominations.

–Michigan won’t be going to the NCAA Tournament unless the Wolverines win their next three games or win the Big 10 Tournament. What happened to Manny Harris, is what I want to know?

–Taking a nap from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. is not conducive for falling asleep later that night. I tried this trick out on Saturday. It won’t happen again.

–There are FAR too many pseudo-reality shows on VH-1. Keep Rock of Love and dump the rest.

–I’m looking forward to Cactus League games actually beginning. Trips to Tucson on Las Vegas on the horizon in the next week.

More later. It’s 85 in Glendale today, by the way.


Away from the field

Just wanted to begin this entry by expressing my appreciation for the people who have been reading my new blog during the first week of Spring Training, and for those who have even been adding me as a Facebook friend. Feel free to keep doing both.

–I also want to wish a Happy Birthday to my niece, Dana, and my nephew, Brett, who turn 2 on Sunday. Hopefully, the snow and cold will let up tomorrow for a good time to be had by all during the party.

–Still no riding of the mechanical bull for me, although Leslie, my friend and former co-worker on the White Sox beat, made a suggestion if I do. Have one person in attendance ready to dial 911 and have another ready to video tape the event. The challenge has now been set down for me.

–Any predictions on how the NCAA Tournament picture is going to shake out for the Big 10? All I know is Michigan needs to win at Iowa tomorrow and pick up two more victories after that, which should secure a bid and help to erase those nightmares from the disastrous 2008 football season. Eight Big 10 teams literally could make a case for the tournament, not to mention Northwestern.

–Have not yet been to Texas Roadhouse, although I received two more rave reviews on this place. I did hit it up a restaurant called Top Shelf in Peoria, which serves Mexican food, and it was fairly solid and very affordable.

–Remember, just four days until Cactus League action begins for the White Sox. Stay tuned.


Welcome to the show!

Friday the 13th marks my first move into the world of blogging, which in some way, seems somewhat fitting. So, welcome to my new White Sox blog, Being Ozzie Guillen, which could see a name change as the season progresses. After all, anyone who has covered or spoken to him knows that Guillen stands out as one of a kind in a truly good way.

For those who don’t me, I’m Scott Merkin, beginning my seventh season covering the White Sox for I worked for the Tribune Company prior to this job, live in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987. Any White Sox fans who have read my previous Mailbags can expect a few mentions of Michigan sports along the way in the blog.

My goal is to bring you a little more inside information than the abundance already provided through the entirety of coverage at Most items will pertain to the team. Some will deal with little bits of information I’ve observed outside of baseball along the way. Here are a few to get started.

1) Following a short hiatus, White Sox Mailbags are returning and at a perfect time with White Sox pitchers and catchers reporting Sunday. They will now be called the White Sox Inbox, but send your questions in as before and I’ll get to as many as possible.

2) I sat next to a lovely and intelligent girl named Alexandria from Rockford on my Thursday flight from Chicago to Phoenix. She is a big White Sox supporter and picks Guillen’s crew to win the American League Central in 2009. She also swears by a restaurant called Texas Roadhouse. Anyone else know about this place?

3) Extremely tough loss for Northwestern last night, but that setback might help Michigan get into the NCAA Tourney–if the Wolverines ever win again. There looks to be five teams as locks for the Big 10 and another four competing for one additional Tourney spot.

So, here’s just an early sample of the blog. Check back frequently, as I’ll try to update when I take a little driving tour of the Glendale area following maintenance coming to my Arizona condo to make a few crucial repairs.