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Voice of the 'Fan

A sports junkie's Easter

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Today's Marlins-Mets game was an old school special. Pitching ruled the day, and the game was over in just over two hours.

Mets ace Johan Santana fanned 13, but was undone by an error by left fielder Daniel Murphy. Florida scored both of their runs in the 2nd inning, and despite the Mets scratching out a run in the 9th, Marlin starter Josh Johnson finished the game himself, giving the bullpen a day off. He earned it, having shut out the powerful New York offense for eight before cracking in the 9th.

Johnson served notice, again, that Florida should be in the conversation for the NL East title. After the first week, it's the Marlins & Braves, tied for 1st at 5-1, and the Mets & Phillies are doing the chasing. Will it stay like this all year? Of course. Even though Washington hasn't won a game yet, they will eventually upset everyone else's applecart. They always do.

Going into the Masters, certain sports writers, including "Around the Horn" panelists Woody Paige & Jay Mariotti, were all but anointing Tiger Woods with another green jacket. Fellow panelist Tim Cowlishaw, though, sounded the warning that someone else might actually win. And he was right.

Woods never led at all, and was seven shots down going into today's final round. When I turned on the tournament, Woods had cut the deficit to just 2. Uh-oh. Angel Cabrera of Argentina, who had shared the lead going in, was another stroke or two back. The feel-good story of this tournament, though, wasn't Woods, but rather 48-years-young Kenny Perry, who would be the oldest man to win his first jacket.

It just wasn't meant to be. Woods & Phil Mickelson made their runs, but it was too little too late. Bogeys on 17 & 18 finished Tiger, who ended up 4 back at 8 under par. Cabrera rallied past the former champions and forced a 3-way playoff with Perry and Chad Campbell. Campbell was eliminated on the first playoff hole, and that left Perry & Cabrera. Next thing you know, Perry was in the rough after a wayward 2nd shot on the 10th hole. I missed the finish, having to step away for a moment, but then I saw Cabrera being escorted through a cheering throng. Perry must've bogied or Cabrera scored with a birdie, but it was Cabrera earning the jacket and his 2nd major title.

You would think by now that just because Tiger Woods is in the field in a major tournament, the media assumes, it'll be just another notch in his belt. Uh, no. Angel Cabrera & Kenny Perry reminded us that the golf world doesn't revolve completely around Woods and/or Mickelson. There are the young guns like Anthony Kim who've emerged in the last year. Tiger may still be at the head of the pack, but that pack is gradually catching up.
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