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SportsBriefs - links to 15 stories about our local teams


Let's start with NCAA Basketball. AP on Google has a fine summary of all that's gone on in the last week, and what's coming up with the Final Four, including "who would have thunk it" competitor Butler. Another good look at NCAA b-ball playoffs here. And a good wrapup from USA Today, too.

On the Tampa Bay Lightning front, this USA Today headline says it all: Sabres clinch first playoff berth in 3 years with rout of Lightning. And SportsClubStats.com now lists the Lightning's playoff chances as 0.2%, which might as well be zero. Oh, well.

Spring training baseball: We saw too many headlines in the last week like Blue Jays Hammer Pirates 11-2 and Garza goes 7 innings as Rays top Pirates 8-2, which may depress Pirates fans but should bring a little joy to Rays people. At least yesterday's split squad game against the Phillies in Clearwater was rained out, so no loss there. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a good general summary of Pirates Spring training and their summer prospects here. And if you want to catch a Pirates Spring training game, today -- Monday -- is your last chance, at 1:05 p.m. against the Houston Astros, if it doesn't get rained out, as it probably will.

To look at what Sarasota's Spring Training team has been up to, let's turn to the Baltimore Sun's fine baseball writer, Peter Schmuck, whose Saturday (Mar. 27) column was headlined, Orioles' spring paradox: equal parts hope, fear.

And now, the answer to a burning question you have probably never asked: do teams that do their Spring Training in Florida do better than those that work out in Arizona? This article says, Moving spring training to Florida could benefit Cubs; Thirty of the last 34 World Series winners trained in Florida, including 16 of 19 in the last two decades.

Finally, a local baseball team! Yes, it's the Bradenton Marauders. Follow them on Facebook, along with (at this writing) 1,364 others. Check their 2010 schedule here. Opening day is April 8 at 7 p.m. against the Ft. Myers Miracle. Dollar Buds and Pepsi drinks! Fireworks after the game! A good time is sure to be had by all!

For a lot of us, minor league baseball is where it's at. Low ticket prices, lots of fun promo stuff that often has a kids and family flavor, you're closer to the players, and they aren't as arrogant a major-leaguers can be... this is what baseball is all about for some of us, and nothing beats having our own home team. At last. Yay!

Not just a Lacrosse team, but an entire Lacrosse Platform: It's already starting to happen at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. The concept features "entry level programs for youth, introductory programs for ice hockey players, summer academy development programs, slow motion video player analysis, training sessions for players, coaches, & referees, and competitive leagues under an Association for youth, middle school, high school, and adult players in locations around the U.S."

The football season is still a good ways off, but CBSSports.com has this article up, titled Bucs needs: Top receiver, new defensive starters wanted in draft



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