Weekend Warmup: Jonathan McDonald's picks include the Final Four, Whitecaps, the Canucks, the LPGA and the Blue Jays
The best viewing appointments of the weekend, including the Whitecaps, Canucks and Final Four!
The Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the Shroud of Turin and Stonehenge. They are all among the world’s great mysteries, baffling and confusing us to no end.
Here’s another one that gets me: the guy sitting in an airplane seat watching the movie on the little screen in front of him. He wears no headphones, but laughs hysterically as he appears to appreciate the art in front of him without, one presumes, actually knowing what’s going on.
I see one of these guys on every airplane I’ve ever been on. It’s never women. It’s always guys. Often they wear heavy coats on the airplane, though it’s never cold on the plane. They don’t take off their coat. They never read a book, though they sometimes look at the safety pamphlet. And they stare at the TV, and laugh when something clearly funny has happened.
I’m thinking either you wear headphones or you read a book. Maybe I’m wrong.
Here’s the Weekend Warmup — the five things the sports fan should watch this weekend:
1. MLS, Colorado Rapids at Vancouver Whitecaps
After a 2013 season that seemed so promising until it turned so disastrous, after an offseason mainly spent in several circles of Hell, the Whitecaps — under new head coach Carl Robinson — have been dynamite. There’s a buzz around this team right now, which is the most stunning development of all. But the Whitecaps are playing a more aggressive, exciting brand of soccer. Which doesn’t sound like the hockey team that plays across the street. Saturday, 3:30 p.m., B.C. Place, CTV, TEAM 1410.
2. NCAA basketball, Final Four
Really, it’s lots of fun that these games — and Monday’s national college championship — are being played at AT&T Stadium. Four pretty big programs are taking part. Two of them have won titles in recent years. And Florida has won 30 straight games. One guy to watch for: Wisconsin 7-footer Frank Kaminsky, the rare big man who can make sweet 3-pointers. Saturday: Florida vs. Connecticut, 3 p.m., TSN; Wisconsin vs. Kentucky, 5:30 p.m., TSN.
3. MLB, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Dustin McGowan was drafted out of high school by the Jays 14 years ago. He has appeared in a grand total of 105 games since then. It has been, at times, a hugely frustrating career. But McGowan never gave up, and the Jays never gave up on him. So they offered him the home opener, in front of a sellout crowd Friday at Rogers Centre. It’s a great, great story. Friday, 4 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m., Sportsnet Pacific.
4. LPGA, Kraft Nabisco Championship
The first major of the year, at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif. It’s very nice that some of golf’s most prominent names — Se Ri Pak, Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel, Karrie Webb, Lydia Ko — are at or near the top of the leaderboard. But how about Brooke Henderson? She’s a 16-year-old from the Ottawa Valley who happens to be the Canadian amateur champ. She opened with a 77 Thursday and seemed sure to miss the cut by a longshot. Instead, she rebounded with a 68 — only two or three of the world’s best golfers matched or beat that score — to make the cut comfortably. She may get zero air time on the weekend. But if she has a five-birdie round again, she’ll get air time. Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m., GOLF.
5. NHL, Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks
Worth watching because the Canucks are quite the gong show these days. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Google “Willes Tortorella” to find Ed Willes’s column he wrote today, which maps things out quite nicely. It wasn’t long ago that the Canucks thought losing to the Kings 1-0 in a fight-filled game showed them they could play with the best. They were wrong. Saturday, 7 p.m., Rogers Arena, CBC, TEAM 1040. Also of note: The OHL playoffs are on Sportsnet One Friday at 4:30 p.m., and Canucks fans might be interested to know the playoff game features the Guelph Storm and London Knights. Playing for the Knights: hot Canucks prospect Bo Horvat, who it appears has a solid shot of making the big club next season.
© Copyright (c) The Province