By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
Here are the rules: I can say whatever I want, but I can only say it in one sentence – even if I torture the rules of grammar to do so:
*Ryan O’Reilly often came off as something of a tortured soul during the year I saw him do interviews after games with the Sabres, so I’m happy if the Blues’ playoff run has changed his perspective.
*I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was when I saw high school baseball teams putting on dramatic infield shifts (three fielders on the same side) during playoff games on Saturday.
*Matt Vinc of the Bandits may not win the Most Valuable Player award for the entire NLL this season (Dane Dobbie of Calgary looks like the favorite), but I can make a good argument that the most important and game-changing player on the best team in the regular season deserves that honor.
*I just can’t bring myself to follow closely most of the massive coverage of the Bills’ organized team activities months before the games begin – perhaps because there’s so little news involved.
*So what’s Golden State’s record when Kevin Durant doesn’t play now?
*Speaking as a Bisons’ employee, and as a baseball fan, it would be nice to see the Herd end a playoff drought of its own someday soon (it’s been since 2005).
*The Sabres had to re-sign Jeff Skinner – where were they going to find a worthy offensive replacement? – but it’s easy to wonder if they’ll someday regret that $72-million/eight-year deal for a forward who has averaged 25.5 goals per season.
*The next order of business for the Bandits is the summer expansion draft, and the main task is to figure out a way to protect their young corps of players – translated, would/could Buffalo move Shawn Evans to Rochester to do that?
*Every so often I wonder what college and pro basketball would be like without the three-point shot again, no matter how much fun it is to see Stephan Curry launch one from way, way back.
*Considering that we’ve had three all-time greats in Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic competing against each other for a long time, this might be the best era in men’s tennis since the 1970s.
*It seems like a good time to look back at the Bills’ offseason and say this: The team’s current front office and coaching staff gives me a relatively high degree of confidence that it knows what it is doing.
*While admiring what Tiger Woods has done to get himself healthy to play golf at the highest level, I still find it a bit difficult to actually root for him in tournaments.
*The big local college sports story of 2019-20 is already set: Can UB’s Big Three (football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball) reload after huge personnel losses, or merely rebuild?
*The high school sports year is about over, which means there’s a summer of relief coming from a personal pet peeve in that particular arena: Coaches who run up the scores against overmatched opponents in an attempt to get their players some records.
*My general rule for the broadcast media: If someone starts shouting, I stop listening.
*The reaction I’ve heard to the NLL’s choice of naming a blogger from Barstool Sports (a website that describes its content as “sports/smut”) as a finalist for the Tom Borrelli Award (media personality of the year) has ranged from complete puzzlement to out-and-out fury.
*There’s something seriously wrong with baseball’s free agent system when Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel have to wait until early June’s amateur draft before signing with teams.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)