Good morning.If you’ve ever put the team on your back, you’ll relate to these stats from James Madison softball pitcher Odicci Alexander during her team’s NCAA tourney run:
Threw 1,057 pitches
Won 6 games
Pitched 64.2 of her team’s 73 innings
She carried the unseeded Dukes to the College World Series semifinals.
In today's Sprint:
⛳️ Teenager wins the US Open.
⚾️ Baseball’s next generation is here.
🏀 The Nets cannot be stopped.
Trivia:Cleveland Indians pitcher Ray Caldwell was in an accident mid-game in 1919, needing to be revived. Somehow, he continued pitching right after. What caused the accident?
Struck by pitch
Slipped on the mound
WATER COOLER TALK
🏈 Greg Olsen’s 8-year-old son TJ underwent successful heart transplant surgery. Afterward, TJ shared this moving message from his hospital bed.
🏈 Alabama head coach Nick Saban was extended through 2028 with an average annual contract value north of $10 million. Saban will be 77 when the deal ends and, at that point, may have 77 national titles.
🏀 Philadelphia 76ers President of basketball operations Daryl Morey was fined $75,000 for tampering following his tweet about Steph Curry. Smart investment.
🏀 After leading the New York Knicks to their first postseason appearance in 8 years, Tom Thibodeau won the NBA Coach of the Year.
As easy as it is to dunk on the MLB for its archaic viewership and highlight rules, we’ll give the league credit when it’s due.
Baseball is having fun again. The league is stacked with the most young talent it’s had since Jeter, Chipper, and A-Rod entered the league. Despite a faction of executives and fans who want the sport to stay in its traditional ways, these young stars are breaking the rules.
Some of baseball's unwritten rules and the young guys re-writing them:
No showboating (bat flips and slow home run trots included) - Fernando Tatis Jr. is known for epic celebrations
Don’t swing at 3-0 pitches - Yermin “The Yerminator” Mercedes crushes a 3-0 home run to the chagrin of his manager
Don't run up the score - Ronald Acuna Jr. steals bases and hits bombs no matter the score
The best part? Even pitchers like Dodgers ace Trevor Bauer are siding with these sluggers. Baseball's unwritten rules are meant to be broken.
Fans love it: Baseball's young guns have brought more than just highlights and angry managers. Through the first few months of the season, the MLB saw:
MLB.tv viewership up 18% (2020) and 43% (2019)
Total games watched up 22% (2020) and 35% (2019)
The seven highest viewership days ever on MLB.tv
The bottom line: The MLB has a chance to right the ship. While it may ruffle a few feathers, fans, players, and execs alike can’t deny the new flare has reignited passion for the game and boosted viewership to slow the MLB’s recent decline.
AROUND THE LEAGUES
NBA Playoffs - 2nd Round
#2 Brooklyn Nets125 vs. #3 Milwaukee Bucks 86
The Nets showed no sign of missing James Harden. KD (32 pts, 6 ast) and co. cruised to the most lopsided playoff victory in franchise history (39 pts).
The Bucks’ #1 offense was held to 34 points below their season average. No Buck scored more than 18 points. Not even Giannis.
Nets lead 2-0.
#2 Phoenix Suns122 v. #3 Denver Nuggets 105
Chris Paul (21 pts, 6 reb, 11 ast) orchestrated a perfect offensive game. Four Suns scored 20+ points.
Suns lead 1-0.
NHL PLayoffs - 2nd Round
NY Islanders5 vs. Boston Bruins 4
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy called his opponent “The New York Saints,” blaming the officials after the loss. The Islanders were called for just two penalties all game.
Islanders lead 3-2.
Montreal Canadiens 3 vs. Winnipeg Jets 2 - OT
The Jets’ Logan Stanley scored two goals, which is more goals than he had all year (1). But it wasn’t enough as the Canadiens completed the four-game sweep.
Stat: The two youngest players to win the US Women's Open golf tournament were the exact same age. Inbee Park (2008) and Yuka Saso (2021) were both 19 years, 11 months, and 7 days.
#1 Oklahoma vs. #10 Florida State - 7:30 ET on ESPN
Best of 3 series.
#5 Atlanta Hawks vs. #1 Philadelphia 76ers - 7:30 ET on TNT
ATL leads 1-0
#4 LA Clippers vs. #1 Utah Jazz - 10:00 ET on TNT
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Carolina Hurricanes - 6:30 ET on NBCSN
ML: TB -120
TB leads 3-1
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche - 9:00 ET on NBCSN
ML: COL -145
B. Ray Caldwell was struck by lightning during a game in 1919. He not only completed the game but pitched a no-hitter 17 days later.
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