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)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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