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Good morning. Despite widespread social media rumors, nobody on the Gonzaga men’s basketball team tested positive for Covid-19. Remember, it’s April Fool’s Day. Let’s get to it.
- Nathan Baugh
In today's Sprint:
⚾  Opening Day
⚖️  Heated arguments
⛳  Tiger investigation
Trivia: Only one no-hitter has been thrown on MLB Opening Day. Which of these legendary pitchers completed the feat?
  1. Bob Feller
  2. Randy Johnson
  3. Pedro Martinez
  4. Nolan Ryan

BASEBALL
Batter Up
The 2021 Major League Baseball season kicks off this afternoon. For the first time since 1964, every team plays its opening game on the same day.
What's different this year?
Quite a bit:
  • The 162 game schedule returns. That’s more games than the NFL (16), English Premier League (38), and NBA (72) regular seasons combined
  • Most stadiums are set at 20% capacity, while the Texas Rangers are allowing full capacity just for Opening Day
  • Superstars, such as Nolan Arenado and Trevor Bauer, changed teams
Welcome back to these All-Stars who opted out of the 2020 season:
  • Buster Posey
  • Marcus Stroman
  • Ryan Zimmerman
Zoom out: It’s a big year for baseball. After attendance has fallen in six of the last seven seasons (not counting 2020), the MLB is testing rules in the minors promoting more hits and quicker games while also betting outdoor stadiums make it easier for teams to bring back fans.
After spending a year in an apartment, a hotdog and a sunny afternoon at the ballpark sound quite nice.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS
Suits
Not since the famous GameStop saga of January 2021 has anything united both sides of the political spectrum. That is, until the NCAA argued for amateur athletics in front of the Supreme Court.
Quick background: NCAA v. Alston is the first antitrust case against the NCAA to make its way to the Supreme Court since the 1984 Board of Regents case. Then, the Court ruled, “In order to preserve the character and quality of the product, athletes must not be paid, must be required to attend class, and the like.”
Times are changing
Fast forward to 2021 and the Supreme Court is striking a different tone. Two Justices, one from each side of the political aisle, scorched the NCAA.
  • “It does seem schools are conspiring with competitors to pay no salaries to the workers who are making the schools billions of dollars on the theory consumers want the schools to pay their workers nothing. That seems entirely circular and even somewhat disturbing.” - Justice Kavanaugh
  • “The way you talk about amateurism, it sounds awfully high-minded. But schools that are naturally competitors have all gotten together in an organization to fix athletic salaries at extremely low levels.” - Justice Kagan
Looking ahead: The final decision is expected this summer. If the Court rules in favor of the athletes, expect a wave of follow up NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) and revenue-sharing cases to come quickly after.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NBA
(30-17) Milwaukee Bucks 112 vs. (30-18) LA Lakers 97
  • Andre Drummond made his Lakers debut but left early with a toe injury. Meanwhile, Giannis (25 pts, 10 reb) got whatever he wanted against the depleted Lakers.
(25-21) Dallas Mavericks 113 vs. (23-25) Boston Celtics 108
  • Luka Doncic (36 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast) made sure the Celtics couldn’t complete the comeback.
FIFA World Cup Qualifying
England 2 vs. Poland 1
  • A late go-ahead goal by Harry Maguire kept England atop Group I.
North Macedonia 2 vs. Germany 1
  • Germany, winners of four World Cups and the #13 team in the world, wasted loads of chances and ended up allowing an 85’ winner. Suddenly, the Germans have no room for error to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
NHL
(22-8-4) Colorado Avalanche 9 vs. (16-14-5) Phoenix Coyotes 3
  • The Avalanche scored five goals in the first period and honored those who passed in the Boulder shooting last week with ‘Boulder Strong’ jerseys.

THURSDAY WATCHLIST
MLB
Toronto Blue Jays (0-0) vs. NY Yankees (0-0) - 1:05 pm ET on ESPN
LA Dodgers (0-0) vs. Colorado Rockies (0-0) - 4:10 pm ET on ESPN
NY Mets (0-0) vs. Washington Nationals (0-0) - 7:09 pm ET on ESPN
Houston Astros (0-0) vs. Oakland A’s (0-0) - 10:07 pm ET on ESPN
NBA
Charlotte Hornets (24-22) vs. Brooklyn Nets (33-15) - 7:30 pm ET on TNT
Denver Nuggets (29-18) vs. LA Clippers (32-17) - 10:00 pm ET on TNT
NHL
Carolina Hurricanes (23-8-3) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (17-15-5) - 8:00 pm ET on NBCS

WATER COOLER TALK
⛳  The LA County sheriff’s office investigation into the Tiger Woods crash has concluded. The detectives determined what caused the accident but won’t reveal the details due to privacy concerns.
🏈  Seahawks WR and fantasy football stud Tyler Lockett signed a 4 year, $69 million extension to keep catching long balls from Russell Wilson.
⚾  Someone broke into the Chattanooga Lookouts’, a Minor League Baseball team, stadium and stole the mascot suit. A devastating loss for the Lookouts who start their season on May 4th.
⚾  Francisco Lindor agreed to a 10 year, $341 million deal with the Mets, the third largest contract in MLB history.
🥊  Endeavor, already the majority owner of the UFC, bought the rest of the brand. And Elon Musk is set to join the company’s board.
🏀  UConn freshman Paige “Buckets” Bueckers became the first freshman to win the AP Women’s Player of the Year. Next up: the Final Four.

TRIVIA ANSWER
A. A 21-year-old Bob Feller threw a no-hitter on Opening Day of the 1940 season. The Indians legend dominated the Chicago White Sox for a 1-0 win.
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