The job I held for the past nine years -- baseball writer at The Newark Star-Ledger -- led me to a position as chairman of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The latter job comes with a two-year term, which has now expired. And according to tradition, for that reason I will tonight be the subject of a "roast" by other members of the chapter.
This is good, because while the roast will be at a Manhattan bar, where college basketball will certainly be on the TVs, it will distract me from watching most of the Georgetown-Syracuse game.
Why is this good? Because I hate watching the Georgetown-Syracuse game.
I can't stand Syracuse. I don't like their colors, their players, their gym...anything about them. But the thing I hate most about them is that Georgetown always seems to lose to them -- and sometimes without explanation. I mean, last year the Hoyas were obviously the better team and needed to sweat out an OT win at home and got creamed up there.
These head-to-head frustrations take much of the giddy joy out of the now-annual day on which Syracuse is robbed of an NCAA tournament bid, or watching the YouTube replay of the Cleveland State buzzer-beater over and over again. (Hey, I have no job -- I have to do something all day.)
But today, I have anxiety, because the game is at Georgetown, the Hoyas are supposed to win it, and I know it can't possibly be that easy.
Syracuse comes in hot. Georgetown comes in bruised and battered by its early conference schedule. The kid, Jonny Flynn, is playing out of his mind. I know they'll hit a bunch of threes.
So I surf a little. Hoya Prospectus breaks it down statistically, citing a Pomeroy projection of an easy Hoya win but also citing reasons for doubt, including the Syracuse zone. The Hoyas struggled early on Saturday with the Providence zone but were able to maintain patience and composure and eventually beat it. But Syracuse is more athletic and likely to hit more shots early than Providence did, so if the zone is working in the first half, the Orange could get out to a big early lead.
Orange Basketball runs the matchups and makes me think Jessie Sapp's defense on Rautins is going to be a key to the game. Cuse Country offers some hope in the fact that Syracuse struggled on the boards at Rutgers last weekend, and maybe the Hoyas' improved rebounding against Providence is a sign that that problem is at least on the road to recovery.
But that doesn't matter. It's the Syracuse game. Which means it's going to be stressful. I really hope the Hoyas can pull it off, but truth be told I'll just be happy when it's over and we can all focus on Saturday's game at (gulp) Duke...