Jeff Passan sent out a tweet at 10:14 AM EST on a Tuesday afternoon in March, that stated Mike Trout and the Angels had agreed to a massive 12-year 430-million-dollar contract extension. Trout’s new contract became the biggest in professional sports history. There were a few reports of the Angels and Trout discussing contract extensions, but nothing really seemed to form until today. Let’s breakdown the contract and I’ll try to answer a few questions along the way.
It’s March, which means that the frozen hellscape outside will soon be transitioning into a sunny playland. The birds will sing, flowers will bloom, and I will be sneezing uncontrollably while watching college basketball for 72 hours straight. That’s right baby—it’s time for MARCH MADNESS. So, to celebrate I want to break down three of my favorite plays from this college basketball season and give out a couple of goat awards.
First. For those of you unfamiliar with Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield I’ll allow him to introduce himself.
ANCHORS AWAY ADMIRAL. With that backdoor slam Admiral Schofield and the Vols set sail for a beat down of the top ten Kentucky Wildcats. It should be a surprise to no one that Tennessee Basketball has seen a revival since being graced with the best name in college basketball. For those without the eyeballs or the time to watch the Vols this year, The Admiral—he doesn’t even need a nickname—has been the second leading scorer for the Vols. The 6’6 and 24-pound guard has been an offensive and defensive force—averaging sixteen points, six rebounds, and two steals a game. While the Admiral did not enjoy his normal scoring output in this game—he only scored seven points—he got the highlight of the contest by rocking the rim with that sweet jam.
Times have not always been this good for Admiral, patience has paid off for the senior. Tennessee suffered though two losing seasons his first two years before converting these last two seasons into a genuine SEC challenger to Kentucky and the Cal Pals. I wouldn’t be shocked the Admiral and the rest of the Tennessee Volunteers at the top of the SEC at the end of the week.
Second. JESUS JA. May I present to you the Lord and Savior of Murray State basketball.
With his burst, court vision, and heavens blessed athleticism Ja split the Belmont defense and blessed the rack with a divine dunk in the OVC championship game. That jam wasn’t the only inspiring play Ja had in the championship game—his footwork and handles also come from above. The way Morant moves in the paint to create space for himself or for his teammates to score is otherworldly. With a head fake or a quick spin he’s either laying it in himself or willing into existence a scoring opportunity for a teammate. While the rest of Murray State might not share his top talent—Ja is the only division one player in the top ten of both scoring and assists—let us bask in Ja’s warm glowing warming glow while we still can.
Third. MOTHER OF GOD DID ZION JUST DO THAT!?
Zion Williamson—the thiccest thick boy to ever live and the most exciting prospect since Anthony Davis—just did an Olympic long jump in game to spike the basketball into a black hole. He is the best. Zion Williamson is without a doubt the G.O.A.T. of this college basketball season. Let us not forget that when this season began the common thought was that Steve Nash’s godson R.J. Barrett was considered the better player. Zion Williamson has hulk smashed that notion into oblivion with earth crushing dunk after earth crushing dunk. His superhuman leaping ability—no mortal weighing 285 pounds should be able to leap six feet straight into the air—has enticed everyone from Floyd Mayweather to Barack Obamas to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Nike shoes cannot contain him, the Super Bowl tickets cannot outsell him, and my eyes cannot wait to witness his return to the basketball court to rampage across the NCAA tournament.
We are now a mere 3 weeks from the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and most teams have only about ten games until their regular season draws to a close. With that in mind, let’s look at the state of the playoff chase coming into the home stretch.
If you’ve spent any time on sports Twitter in the last 72 hours, you’ve read the name, “Mike Trout.” Even if you don’t follow baseball, you should know who this man is and why he’s important. He made headlines on Wednesday morning when he signed a contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels. The contract, which would have expired at the end of the 2020 season, will now keep him in LA until 2030, a ten-year extension. The value of the deal? $430 million. Trout is now the most valuable athlete in North American sports.
Preview: After trading their best player in Paul Goldschmidt, the D-Backs are stuck between rebuilding and contending. The organization doesn’t seem to have enough talent to compete and presents an unimpressive farm system. Any team should expect a dip in offensive production after losing a player of Goldschmidt’s caliber. Arizona should be expecting the same. Key returning members of the D-Backs lineup are an outfielder, David Peralta (.293 BA and 30 HRs in 2018) and infielder, Eduardo Escobar (23 HRs and 84 RBIs in 2018). In order for Arizona to have a shot at the playoffs, David Peralta will have to find the same kind of success as he found in 2018. Along with production from Peralta and Escobar, the D-Backs are hoping to get some help from power-hitting infielder, Jake Lamb. After hitting 59 combined home runs between 2016 and 2017, Lamb struggled in a shortened (due to injury) 2018 season. The lineup in Arizona appears mediocre; not good enough to contend for this division. With a strong possibility of a lack of offense in 2019, there will be plenty of rotation on this D-Backs pitching rotation. Zack Greinke is still a reliable starter and will once again be the ‘ace’ in Arizona. Zack Godley and Robbie Ray are coming off a 2018 season in which they both looked shaky but showed some signs of dominance along the way. A new addition to the rotation, replacing Patrick Corbin, is a former first-round pick, Luke Weaver. The Diamondbacks acquired Weaver from the Cardinals in the Goldschmidt trade. Weaver struggled last season but still shows lots of potential to be a quality starter at the top of a rotation. The fifth starter spot is expected to be taken by a 30-year-old rookie, Merrill Kelly. Kelly spent four years pitching in Korea before returning back to his home in Arizona to pitch for the Diamondbacks. Arizona presents an average bullpen. They could possibly close by committee. Key relievers in this bullpen include Archie Bradley, Greg Holland, Yoshihisa Hirano, Andrew Chafin, and T.J. McFarland. The Diamondbacks will be playing for a second wild-card spot, but an Arizona postseason appearance in 2019 is a long shot.