Between the blooming azaleas and Jim Nantz’s mellifluous “Hello friends,” few sporting events signal spring quite like The Masters. With Tiger Woods back in the number one spot, this year’s tournament is shaping up to be an exciting one. Coverage begins Thursday, April 11 at 3pm on ESPN (but die-hards can watch live streaming video starting at 10:45am at masters.com). April also means The Return of Mad Men. It’s been 10 excruciating months since we left off with the gang at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, but season six of Mad Men is finally here on April 7. And thankfully, it’s a two-hour premiere. We’ll have the bar cart ready.
We’re pouring over spring training stats at Baseball Prospectus, sure, but we’re mostly getting pumped for opening day with a book that’s 100 years old. Sixty years before Jim Bouton’s Ball Four (1970 the ultimate baseball tell-all, Christy Mathewson’s “Pitching in a Pinch” offered the clubhouse straight dope from a hall-of-famer who happened to be a crackerjack writer. Mathewson’s accomplishments are mind-boggling: The New York Giants pitcher won at least twenty-two games for twelve straight seasons and he pitched three complete-game shutouts in the 1905 World Series. The throwback language alone makes this book a gem (see chapter titles such as “The Most Dangerous Batters I Have Met” and “Jinxes and What They Mean to a Ball-Player.” Pair it with a piece that can actually help you in 2013: We’ve been anticipating John Romaniello’s book, “Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha” ever since we interviewed him about the best foods for a guy’s skin. The best part about Romaniello and his co-author, Adam Bornstein, is that they have a serious sense of humor about the whole notion of being your most ripped, most hormonally balanced self. Fittingly, the foreward is by that alpha paragon with a knack for comedy: Arnold Shwarzenegger.
Willie Nelson turns 80 this month, and the living legend clearly shows no signs of slowing down: His new album, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, featuring American standards from Irving Berlin and Carl Perkins and new tunes penned by the Red Headed Stranger himself, drops April 16. Listen to the title track here.
The days are getting warmer and it’s only a matter of weeks before you’ll be in your board shorts—or your above-the-knee trunks, which, honestly, we tend to favor—so the excuses not to get out and go for a run are dwindling. To help you get (and stay) motivated, check out RunKeeper. It uses GPS to track your runs and has training plans for runners of all levels. The flurry of figures that it churns out after every session is enough to satisfy any stats geek, and seeing your improvement over time will keep you pushing yourself. Really starting from zero? Download Couch-to-5K, which is designed to help non-runners get in shape gradually.