* Went to the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers show last night. What a concert. Petty was so gracious and so complimentary of the Intrust Bank Arena crowd. In all honesty, I have nothing against country music. I’m not a big follower, but I think it has its place. I just don’t want its place to be so pervasive in Wichita’s music scene. I’m a fan of diversity and especially of rock and roll. More rock and roll shows, please.
* The highlights of the Petty show for me were: “You Wreck Me” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” my two favorite Petty songs; Mike Campbell’s guitar work, especially on “It’s Good to Be King”; the keyboard work of Benmont Tench, who just happens to have one of the best names in the history of names; the lighting of the stage, which was fantastic; Petty’s vocals, which were spot on all night long; Scott Thurston’s work as guitar player, harmonica player and back-up singer. Thurston stood behind keyboards all night but, as far as I could tell, never played them; Regina Spektor as the warm-up act. She was really good; my wife, Debbie, dancing in her own special way during many of Petty’s songs; the silly people who lit up joints during the show, surely knowing they were going to get caught; Petty’s facial hair, which does him well.
* The Washington Nationals, already the biggest surprise team in baseball, are calling up 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper this weekend. Harper is the most intriguing talent to come to the majors since Stephen Strasburg came to the Nationals in 2010. Suddenly, Washington is one of the most must-see teams in the bigs. I’m just glad the St. Louis Cardinals don’t play them until September.
* As I write this, it’s less than an hour before ESPN’s coverage of the second and third rounds of the NFL draft. I’m excited because the St. Louis Rams have three picks in the second round and the first pick of the third round. I eat this draft stuff up. I can’t wait. My hands are trembling.
* Great news for Carl Hall and Wichita State that Hall has been granted another year of hardship eligibility by the NCAA to return for his senior season of basketball. Losing Hall would have been a real blow, given the level of inexperience on the Shockers’ front line for next season. Hall is a big key. You don’t get these statements of the obvious anywhere else.
* Here’s where I give some “American Idol” thoughts. If you don’t want my “AI” thoughts, then you can skip ahead to the next bullet point. But I’m a singing contest guy and I don’t apologize for that. I think this is one of the best groups of singers there has been on this show ever. I predict big things for Elise Testone, even though she was eliminated last night; Joshua Ledet; Jessica Sanchez and Skylar Laine. I also think Phillip Phillips has a chance, although I’m not as high on him as many are. I think recently-eliminated Colton Dixon might be a bigger star than Rivers. What about my wife’s favorite, Hollie Cavanagh. I’m not sure. I love her voice but she has to learn to perform. She’s 50-50 for me.
* Welcome back, those of you who wanted nothing of my “American Idol” thoughts. I am looking forward to the NBA Playoffs, which start Saturday. I think there are some potentially fascinating match-ups, the best of which might by the LA Clippers vs. the Memphis Grizzlies in the West. I’m all over that one. I also like the Denver-LA Lakers series and while I expect Oklahoma City to beat Dallas, the Mavericks won’t be an easy out as they try and defend their NBA championship.
* In the East, the most intriguing series is New York against Miami, a 7-seed against a 2-seed. The Knicks have had an amazing season, both good and bad. But they’ve been going good under Mike Woodson, who since taking over as coach as led New York to a 17-6 record. I think New York can push Miami deep into this series.
* The Charlotte Bobcats finished the season 7-59. It’s the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Michael Jordan isn’t exactly working out as an owner, is he?
* I’m just glancing at the sports section and I see that Heath Myers, a person I do not know, had a hole-in-one on the No. 9 hole at Cedar Pines in Andover. The thing that makes this interesting is that the hole is 290 yards in distance. Now that’s a hole-in-one.
* Loving the new season at “Mad Men.” The revelation has been the work of Jessica Pare as Don Draper’s young wife. I wondered how that relationship would be portrayed and so far it’s been great. Pare, who plays the role of Megan Draper, is her husband’s match in every way. Pare deserves an Emmy nomination. I like writing things like that because it makes me feel important, as if I know anything at all about who deserves an Emmy nomination. But in this case, I really think she does.
* If minor-league professional teams like the Wichita Wild of the Indoor Football League want to attract an audience, they have to win in this market. No ifs, ands or buts. And a 2-5 record isn’t going to get it done.
* Pretty happy with the St. Louis Cardinals so far. It’s going to be nice to get Lance Berkman back in the lineup in a week and for center fielder John Jay to return. But you can’t argue with 12-7, even though those two walk-off losses to the Chicago Cubs last week made my head hurt.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend.