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Its time to spring into action
Live from Press Row
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Although the recent forecast over the past week felt more like the winds of winter, according to the calendar, we're in the early stages of spring and the sports rites of this beloved season are in full blossom like the soon-to-be flowers in your garden.

For us sports fans, the dawn of spring is a multi-dimensional transition as we change from wearing our team's sweatshirts to their T-shirts. The onset of warmer days also puts an exclamation point on the winter games while ushering the return to our favorite leisure activities from a day at the ballpark, to a casual walk along the putting greens.

This past week began on a high note with your hometown Braves taking care of business with a 4-1 win against the Philles led by newly acquired ace Derek Lowe's eight-inning two-hit gem.

As for my squad, the Mets, and specifically their bullpen, looked sharp in Cincinnati, which springs hope eternal for the Amazins' and their fans after seeing the team's relief pitching lead to their September downfall the past two seasons.

The following day featured a potpourri of baseball with Opening Day festivities taking place throughout the country. Baseball's return to the national scene provided a welcoming sight for sore eyes after a winter full of steroid and human-growth hormone scandals that made the game go from the sports section to front-page headlines.

Later that evening, the North Carolina Tar Heels capped off their impressive season with an 89-72 thumping of Michigan State to cut down the nets as the 2009 NCAA men's national champions.

North Carolina tipped off the season this past winter as the No. 1 team in the land and maintained a top-10 ranking throughout, only to be crowned as kings of the court in spring. This latest Final Four triumph further affirms the school's place as one of the premiere programs college basketball history.

On the ensuing night, Connecticut's women's squad completed a wire-to-wire 39-0 championship run, their third undefeated season in school history, by blowing out Louisville 76-54.

Just like the Tar Heel men, the Lady Huskies were a preseason No. 1 club in the winter and maintained a top billing throughout the year as the nation's best squad at springtime.

This glorious sports week concludes with golf's first major tournament, The Masters, just up the road eastbound at golfing legend Bobby Jones' hallowed Augusta National.

The Masters is hand's down my favorite tournament and is as symbolic with springtime as seeing a robin in the trees or lilies on Easter Sunday. All eyes, including yours truly, will be focused on Tiger Woods to see if he'll be fitted for yet another green jacket on Sunday.

Television ratings should soar through the roof with Woods back on the course with die hard and casual golf fans alike glued to the tube to witness ‘a tradition unlike any other' and the potential of a magical weekend in East Georgia.

It's been a long winter sports fans, but nevertheless, spring into action by making a return outdoors to the ballpark, golf course, tennis courts or whatever warm weather activity that brings a smile to your face.
Spark up the grill for its spring again!