All it took was a span of 12 minutes to make our nights go from just bad to the end of the world bad.
It all began with the Phillies and their regular season opener against the Atlanta Braves. The Phils led 5-0 after 5 1/3 innings. Aaron Nola was dealing like a top ace he’s destined to be, giving up only three hits and striking out three batters. They started fast.
And then what happened?
Well, Gabe Kapler decided to play his analytics-based matchup ball and took Nola out after only 68 PITCHES, which isn’t a lot, in favor of Hoby Milner. He said the bullpen was one of their strengths the day before. They only needed 11 outs to win the game. They got just six before blowing Nola’s shutout lead.
In another move that hasn’t gotten that much attention, Kapler also took Rhys Hoskins out of left field in the eighth, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. He moved Nick Williams to left, Aaron Altherr to right field, and Odubel Herrera, who didn’t even start and wasn’t all too happy about it, to center field.
It’s just one game out of 162, so let’s hope Kapler learned from his mistakes and moves on, like Doug Pederson did. But I smelled a little bit of Chip Kelly past that coconut oil scent. I hope I’m wrong.
One of the worst Opening Days got even worse 12 minutes later, and it wasn’t because of the Phillies or finding out the Hector Neris-Nick Markakis matchup wasn’t pretty.
Joel Embiid was diagnosed with an orbital fracture and a concussion and will need surgery, causing him to miss around 2-4 weeks, more than the original two games he was at least going to miss. That jeopardizes his availability in the first round of the playoffs, and also jeopardizes the possibility of having home-court advantage.
Help me out Piers Morgan.
Both teams are in Atlanta tonight around 7:30. Sixers are on NBC Sports Philadelphia, while the Phillies are on NBC Sports Philadelphia +. The Sixers also visit Charlotte on Sunday, while the Phils wrap up their opening series Saturday night. Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez are your scheduled starters for the next two games.
Be sure to check out the brand new Crossing Broad Podcast Network to start your weekend and sulk with the rest of us!
Former President and GM Rod Thorn is also inducted, but who cares? Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, and Tina Thompson will also be inducted.
Jerryd Bayless (how long has it been since we heard that name?) isn’t just a basketball player. He’s a lot more than that:
Bayless, who lives full-time in New York in the offseason, is a real estate owner back in his hometown of Phoenix. He’s taking online classes this semester at the University of Arizona, where he’s 27 credits shy of getting his bachelor’s degree in Afro-American history. Bayless also reads the New York Times thoroughly every day before dawn. And he’s a philanthropist.
He and his mother, Denise Bowman, run The Bayless Foundation. It began as something for Team Bayless, his former AAU team, back in 2013. It has since morphed into a foundation that enhances the well-being of children through community programs that target general literacy, financial literacy and computer literacy. The foundation also provides holiday giving to disadvantaged families.
“You have goals,” Bayless said. “It’s kind of cliché to say it, but [my goal] is to make the world better and help people.”
It’ll be a quiet next few days for the Flyers, as they get ready to host Boston Sunday afternoon on NBC. You can read Anthony’s recap of the Avalanche win a few times to kill time waiting.
With Michal Neuvirth out, and we should find out more today, it’s another opportunity for Petr Mrazek to prove himself!
We know a little more about Mike Wallace’s contract. He has a base salary of $915,000, but has $3 million in possible bonuses, totaling up to $4 million.
Despite Michael Bennett’s situation, the Eagles currently have no plans to let him go.
Jalen Mills made a huge improvement in 2017.
Wendell Smallwood discussed the Eagles season, and why Meek Mill’s “Dreams & Nightmares” was so important for the Super Bowl run:
Q: The Meek Mill song really seemed to energize you guys. What was it about the song that gave you guys a boost?
A: The song came on one time, I think in the locker room, and we just started getting hype to it. I think that the story and the lyrics really tell a genuine underdog story and it resonated with the rest of our team. Meek Mill is one of our community leaders and we wanted to show him that we had his back. What’s crazy is Meek Mill is the only person I listen to when I’m warming up for a game.
Villanova’s Jalen Brunson is this year’s AP Player of the Year, the first Wildcat to ever receive the award.
The Wildcats take on Kansas tomorrow night at 8:49 (or later, probably later) in the second semifinal. Let’s hope we’re writing about a national championship appearance Monday morning.
With his basketball career nearly done, Villanova will help Kris Jenkins out.
Jenkins returns to the Final Four this weekend as a TBS analyst, his basketball life in tatters. He left Villanova in 2017 but went undrafted. He played three summer league games with the Wizards in July but they didn’t keep him. He failed a physical with a team in Turkey in October. He lasted just six games with Sioux Falls of the NBA G-League and was waived in December, but latched on with the Yakima SunKings of the North American Basketball League in January for 15 games, six of them starts. He was scoring 9.7 points, hitting 35.9 percent of his 3-point shots, and averaging 26.7 minutes.
Then, on Wednesday, the SunKings suspended him indefinitely. Not only was he suspended, the team issued a scathing release from the coach, published in the Yakima Herald, that claimed Jenkins, who has struggled with his weight all his life, “was simply not willing to put in the time and the effort.”
“That didn’t happen. That’s not true,” Jenkins said … smiling? “It was disappointing to see they would try to bash me like that given what I’m about to experience here. What they wrote was 100 percent false.”
SunKings coach Paul Woolpert told Philly.com later Thursday that the SunKings had released Jenkins. Woolpert said he had given Jenkins permission to join the TBS crew Monday and return Tuesday, but when Jenkins didn’t show up Wednesday they suspended him, then released him Thursday.
“The end of his employment was entirely of his doing,” said Woolpert. “Kris left of his own accord, and he left for good. He cleared out his hotel room.”
In other sports news, what a night for Blackhawks emergency goalie Scott Foster. After Collin Dela got hurt in his NHL debut, a 36-year-old accountant was needed for the final handful of minutes in a 6-2 win over Winnipeg. He played at Western Michigan in the early 2000s.
“Well the initial shock happened when I had to dress, and then I think you just kind of black out after that.”
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 30, 2018
"A few hours ago you're working your day job, and then you're living your dream." ❤️ pic.twitter.com/j2mP5sPkig
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) March 30, 2018
What a night.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 30, 2018
Ian Happ took no time to kick off Opening Day:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 29, 2018
Some guy said he would jump into Lake Michigan if Ian Happ hit a homer. Well…
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) March 29, 2018
In his first appearance in six games, Kevin Durant was ejected after picking up two technical fouls late in the second quarter.
Le’Veon Bell isn’t happy:
it’s so hard to be a hero in a city that paints youu out to be the villain.. pic.twitter.com/TBFAHTQJcm
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 29, 2018
Darius Bazley won’t go to Syracuse as expected. Instead, the McDonald’s All-American will go right to the G-League:
“I’m aware that this might start a trend and that’s one of the reasons why I am doing this,” Bazley told Yahoo Sports. “I’m outspoken and I like to speak on things. This is me speaking through my actions, speaking through my character. This is going to happen down the road and become more common. But someone has to start the fire — and I believe I’m going to do that, and it’s very important to me.
“Part of me thinking this decision through, I looked at the guys coming out of the G League. I made sure that I knew what I was getting myself into. There have been a lot of successful guys who have been brought up in the G League, and I’m confident that I will be one of them.
“Whenever I’m at basketball camps, I never hear any discussion about going from high school to the G League. But I believe now, there will be discussion about it. Not only are you getting paid to play the sport you love, but you’re getting the development that you need and want. You don’t have to worry about going to class, and don’t get me wrong, education is important and I’m going to still take classes at my own pace. But I’ll be around NBA games, focus on my body and focus on my development 24/7, without having to worry about anything else. This is strictly basketball. That’s what I want.”
After a few weeks of the Yankees being likable for some, the Yankees are 100% hateable again:
Giancarlo Stanton HOMERS in his first at-bat of the season! pic.twitter.com/d2uaBtMcby
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 29, 2018
Giancarlo Stanton CRUSHES his 2nd home run of the game. pic.twitter.com/U1hL60CtHd
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 29, 2018
So damn close to a goalie fight:
What a freaking tribute to Doc:
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 29, 2018
— MLB (@MLB) March 29, 2018
In the news, the man accused of stabbing councilman David Oh was acquitted.
Pope Francis says hell doesn’t exist. This changes life entirely.
More “Roseanne” is coming.