Archive | April, 2014

Happy Easter!

19 Apr

Best time of year for a sports fan. March Madness bleeds into the opening of the major league baseball season. Then it’s Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington Kentucky for their spring meet, The Masters, the seemingly never-ending NBA and NHL playoffs,  and on Monday the Boston Marathon. You  can read below on my experience at last year’s marathon. Expecting a better day for all this year.

 

The Boston Marathon is truly one of America’s great sporting events. It is beyond description so it is best to just go and experience the weekend. The race is held on the third Monday in April. It is Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts and is a state holiday. For Revolutionary War buffs there is plenty of activity in Lexington and Concord beginning in the wee hours of the morning and concluding with the reenactment of the Shot Heard Round the World at daybreak. Then it’s pancakes for everyone.

 

History nuts and sports fans alike should be thankful for this time of year.

 

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With Easter approaching Colonial Liquor offers the following wine options for those having an Easter ham.

Ham is a very versatile meat that can pair with white and red wines. Ham has delicate flavors and is almost always salty. The best wines to pair with ham are light, very fruity, and, if it’s a red, low in tannins. Some excellent matches for ham are:

Riesling is generally a fruity wine with good acidity that can help cut through some of the richness of the ham. We suggest Heron Hill’s Semi-Dry (New York, $13.99) and Chateau St. Michelle (Washington, $9.99).

Gewurztraminer will stand alone in its’ ability to pair with moderately spicy foods.  Gewurztraminer even crosses the color barrier, matching well with a fairly wide range of smoked and spicy red meats. We offer Heron Hill’s Reserve (New York, $17.99) and Fetzer (California, $9.49).

Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety which originates from the Bordeaux region of France. It is now planted in many of the world’s wine regions producing a crisp, dry, and refreshing white wine. Experts have used the phrase “crisp, elegant, and fresh” as a favorable description of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Sauvignon Blanc, when slightly chilled, pairs well with ham. We have several from New Zealand including Kim Crawford ($16.99) and Monkey Bay ($9.99).

Pinot Noir: When pairing with ham look for the lighter versions with vibrant fruit flavors and a touch of spice. We suggest Elk Cove (Oregon, $29.99), Mark West (California, $11.99), Smoking Loon (California, $8.99) and Turning Leaf (California, $8.99).

My Love Affair With Kentucky Is Back On

4 Apr
I am a ten year old boy when I watch my first NCAA final on TV. It may have been the first televised final, I’m not sure. But it was March 19, 1966 and my father said we were watching because Schenectady’s Pat Riley would be on national TV. Riley had graduated from Linton HS where the six Notar’s would later do the same. The video was black and white and grainy. I remember my father calling NBC? in NYC because the broadcaster mis-pronouncedSchenectady when they announced the 6’3″ junior would be jumping center. This is the same father that tried to limit the time spent on my mother’s weekly long distance phone call to her parents. I became a Kentucky fan that night even though they lost that championship game to a college called Texas Western (now UTEP). 
 
I stayed a Kentucky fan after Riley graduated and left for a B-list NBA career. Someday I’ll do a column on Riley but this piece is about the Wildcats. There was the Joe B. Hall era, always with an emphasis on the “B” though I don’t know why. Joe B, along with Bob Knight and Dean Smith, are the only NCAA champs as both a player and a coach, Joe B being the only one to do it at the same school. I remained a fan through the sleaze years of Eddie Sutton. Probation, TV ban, reduced scholarships, everything but the death penalty. Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith followed, each winning a national championship. Tubby never gets enough credit since his winning team had so many remaining from the Pitino team. It took a decade for Tubby’s lackluster recruiting and slower style of play to end his reign. Billy Gillespie was next, he was a hot property and Kentucky was thrilled to have him. But whether it was the pressure or poor judgment, he fizzled and Kentucky corrected the mistake quickly.
 
I wear my Kentucky leather jacket, titled the “Hail Mary” and purchased 1997. I’ve got my Kentucky Blue Nikes on, and plenty of Kentucky hats from the bourbon boys. But I can’t say I wear the stuff proudly as Kentucky hired John Calipari in 2009 and he remains the coach today. Certain people have a lot of problems with Calipari but I have only one – He cost me my biggest-ever sports betting score when he blew the national championship game against Kansas as the coach of Memphis. And it took him four years to admit it. 
 
So how long am I going to hold this grudge? I don’t care about the one-and-done moniker. Other coaches would kill for Kentucky’s recruiting class. The angelic Coach K at Duke has had Kyrie Irving and Jabari Parker leave after playing a total of 46 games. Where’s the criticism? Tyler Ennis just announced he’s leaving the Orange after his frosh season. So I announce today that I am back as a supporter of the Wildcats and Coach Calipari. Someday I’ll even forgive Cal for the Memphis gaffe. Go Wildcats!
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