Around the Bases

Tariq Engineer

The NBA playoffs are underway, but the first round lacks its usual buzz for two reasons. One, most of the match-ups are lopsided. Two, these are now seven game series instead of five game series. In the past, a first round match-up that went four or five games signified a hard fought, close contest. Today it means a short series. Hard to grab the public’s imagination with that combination. Look for the second round series to be much more exciting, especially with the potential Lakers-Spurs and Pistons-Nets match-ups. Barry Bonds is off to the best start of his career. He is hitting .514 with nine homers after the first 13 games of the season. Yes, it is only 13 games into the season, but he is currently first in the NL in batting average, home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage. He is second in the NL in RBIs and fourth in runs. All this with the stigma of steroids hanging over his head, and the fact that it will be Bonds’ first full season without his dad as his coach. Steroids or not, Bonds is remarkable, and possibly the best player ever at his position.

On the flip side, the other reigning league MVP has gotten off to one of the worst starts of his career. Alex Rodriguez has struggled significantly since moving to the Yankees, epitomized by his 1-for-17 performance at Fenway. However, Rodriguez is far to good a player for this trend to continue. Look for him to start hitting, and start hitting soon. The Yankees should be more worried about Mike Mussina, who has struggled in all four of his starts this year.

14-year-old Freddy Adu scored his first MLS goal last weekend. However, he still isn’t starting for his team. With MLS hyping Adu as the league savior, and attempting to cash in on the publicity he is generating, Adu needs to start for D.C. United. The kid looks very comfortable out on the field of play, not unlike another young phenome by the name of Lebron James. Lebron definitely did not start his career on the bench for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and was recently named NBA Rookie of the year. Yes, Adu is only 14, but if he is supposed to the savior of the league, let him save the league. He can’t do that sitting on the bench.