April showers a mixed blessing

Rain. I like rain. Rain makes me want to escape to a coffee shop with a soothing ambience and even better steaming mug of happiness. Rain is wonderful for the fields and especially for those parched areas of the state that have been battling fires.

When it rains in the spring, however, it wreaks havoc with my sports reporter’s schedule. I may enjoy the temporary and unexpected freeing of a day or two, only to have to squeeze in four more doubleheaders over the course of an already full week later on. It’s definitely a double-edged sword.

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Baseball is back. As I write, I’m watching the Cubs play the Cardinals on opening night. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for the Cubs ever since I visited Wrigley a few summers ago, and when Ben Zobrist left the world champion Royals to win a crown with the Cubs the very next season, I couldn’t help but join the fan bandwagon. I’m particularly intrigued by tonight’s matchup because Cardinal centerfielder Dexter Fowler is facing his old team.

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Monday was the Kansas City Royals’ Opening Day. I’m thrilled Danny Duffy got the starting nod on the mound. Ever since Duffy signed a five-year contract extension—he appears to truly want to stay in Kansas City—my respect for the Royals’ lefty has grown. And, the man wears a bear suit. Need I say more?

I was surprised to hear that Raul Mondesi won the job at second base over Cheslor Cuthbert, Christian Colon and Whit Merrifield. Mondesi batted .333 in spring training with 18 hits in 54 at-bats, including three doubles and three home runs. I’m excited to see what he will do this season.

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NCAA men’s basketball will have crowned a new tournament champion by the time this goes to press. March Madness is my favorite time of year in the basketball world. There are so many storylines, so many great games, and the potential for thrilling buzzer beaters (Florida vs.Wisconsin, North Carolina vs. Ken­tucky). What more could a person ask? Each year, my family and I fill out brackets. I regret to report that none of the teams I chose are still “dancing.”

This year, South Carolina and Gonzaga enjoyed their respective programs’ first appearances in the Final Four. Oregon had not made it that far since 1939. North Carolina, on the other hand? Twenty appearances.

South Carolina made a great run. Personally, I would’ve been intrigued with a South Carolina vs. Oregon matchup in the finals, as both programs are led by former Kansas State coaches.

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Speaking of Kansas State, a few weeks ago, I went to my first K-State baseball game. I’ve been to a handful of football games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and hope to one day watch a basketball game in Bramlage. But, on this day, I got to check baseball off my list of K-State sports to experience. The weather was perfect. Temps pushed 90, and the south wind was nicely blocked by the press box. It made me wonder how different it would be to play on turf. One benefit would be fewer stains to clean.

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It is officially prom season. Saturday marks the 11th anniversary of my senior prom. I’m not that old, so how can that be? I’ve seen plenty of prom pictures on my Facebook feed the last few weeks, so I took a trip down memory lane and pulled out my old photos. How young and happy we looked.

Things were a lot simpler in those days. There were no elaborate “promposals.” A simple, “Will you go to prom with me?” was sufficient. I remember being very concerned I would trip on our way around the gym during the promenade. Heels and my feet still don’t play well together.

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This column snuck up on me like an April Fool’s joke. So if you’re still reading this list of ramblings, congratulations. Reward yourself with a cup of coffee in my honor.

Janae Rempel is sports editor for the Free Press.