Equally as entertaining as Barcelona striker Lionel Messi's wondrous week (four Champions League goals; another against Real Madrid) were the encomiums. Arsenal's Arsene Wenger dubbed Messi (right) "a PlayStation player"; a GolTV announcer burbled, "He lives in the magnetic spectrum of genius."
Early iPad adapters had access to a wild four days of Masters.org. Baseball fans, meanwhile, got an Opening Day entry point: At Bat ($14.99), iPad's first serious sports offering, streams live games through an MLB.TV account and provides free play-by-play audio.
CY YOUNG WINNERS
The Giants' Tim Lincecum (the NL 2008 and '09 honoree) started 2--0, with a 1.29 ERA and 17 whiffs (and one walk) in 14 innings. New Phillie Roy Halladay (the '03 AL Cy) was also 2--0, with an 0.56 ERA; on Sunday in Houston, Doc threw 111 pitches—83 for strikes.
CBS ON FIRE
Ratings for the NCAA men's finale were up 31% from 2009's and were the highest since '05. That was a mere hors d'oeuvre for the Masters: Lefty (right), Tiger & Co. earned a 12.0 Sunday overnight, up 36.4% from last April and the biggest final round in nine years.
In just two months Toronto—which lost its best player, Chris Bosh, to a facial fracture—has fallen from seven games over .500 to four under and on Sunday ceded the eighth playoff spot to the Bulls in a lifeless 16-point loss. "It ain't going our way, man," lamented guard Sonny Weems. "It's crazy."
It's getting monotonous: ESPN dropped everything to present Tiger's first shot. On Sunday, ESPNews showed the outing of Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg (left) for Harrisburg—but only when Strasburg was pitching! What's next? Sidney Crosby on the Power Play?
SAD SACK WIENERS
The kielbasa as endangered species: On Opening Day one of the Brewers' sausage mascots was hit by a motorcycle on the way to Miller Park. On Saturday another pulled up with a sore hammy. (What other kind of injury would you expect a sausage to suffer?)
BILLY PAYNE'S IRE
Augusta disgusta: In a week when it seemed fashionable to pick on Tiger Woods (see Saturday Night Live), or at least root against him, the Masters chairman still crossed the line with his finger-wagging scolding at Wednesday's presser. Payneful!
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
WHICH TEAM WILL WIN THE STANLEY CUP?
Washington Capitals 31%
Chicago Blackhawks 27%
San Jose Sharks 18%
Pittsburgh Penguins 14%
New Jersey Devils 3%
If captain Alex Ovechkin (at right in left photo) ends up hoisting the Cup, it will be Washington's first in its 35-season history.... Detroit, the NHL's hottest late-season club, received 2%.... The Coyotes, who boast the NHL's fourth-best record, received less than 1%.... A Cup for the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane (above right, 88) would snap the NHL's longest active title drought: 49 years.
Based on a survey of 272 NHL players
MATT WEST/BPI/ICON SMI (MESSI)
GENE J. PUSKAR/AP (STRASBURG)
JOHN BIEVER (MASCOT)
FRED VUICH (MICKELSON)
LOU CAPOZZOLA (CAPITALS)
MARK HUMPHREY/AP (BLACKHAWKS)