Breaking News: Atlanta Braves agree to extend Ronald Acuna Jr's contract to 8 years $100 million

This is obviously a great deal for both sides in baseball's current economic situation. The Atlanta Braves get their superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr for an extra four years of control.  $124 million for basically the next decade is a bargain for the Braves franchise.  Just doing the quick math that's $12.4 million per season for Acuna who is going to put up MVP numbers for the next decade through his prime years.  You can't beat that when superstars like Trout, Machado and Harper are all making over $30 million per season.

It's also a great deal for Acuna as it gives him security and all the money is guaranteed.  Currently he was making $550K per season so a bump of salary to over $12 million is nothing to sneeze at. 

Most importantly it keeps Acuna in Atlanta for the next decade.  The reigning NL Rookie of the Year is a legit 5-tool player who has the makings of a young Griffey Jr and dare I say Trout at 21 years young.

I've been vocal about Braves ownership Liberty Media being cheap this past offseason and I still stick with my opinion but it is good to see them extend their young stars early.  They did it with Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, Andrelton Simmons, and Craig Kimbrel in the past and hopefully they build the team around Acuna now like they were suppose to with Freeman 5 years ago.

Acuna should be batting at the top of the Braves order for at least the next decade and that alone should bring a smile to all Braves fans.  Acuna's contract also gives the Braves plenty of "financial flexibility" to go get another starter (Dallas Keuchel) or relief arm (Craig Kimbrel) without breaking the Liberty Media bank.

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Notre Dame Football: 5 Spring Breakout Candidates for 2019

The Fighting Irish will be looking to get back to the playoffs in 2019, but will have to replace several key players off of last year's 12-1 team. With spring practice half way through I take a look at 5 players who are primed to breakout into their own.

Here are five breakout candidates for Notre Dame football as the Fighting Irish continue to work through spring practice in preparation for the 2019 season.

5. WR Braden Lenzy

The old adage is speed kills and that's exactly what Lenzy could help bring the Fighting Irish WR core this spring.  Lenzy is a rising sophomore who came to Notre Dame to also run track but his focus this spring has been all football.

Lenzy came into Notre Dame last season as a 4-star WR and the No. 10 athlete in the nation.  He did not get any playing time his freshman season as he arrived at Notre Dame weighing 160 lbs soaking wet.  With Miles Boykin, Chase Claypool and Chris Finke all entrenched as starters with experience at wide out last season it looked like it was going to be more of the same going into the playoffs and into 2019 with all of them having a year of eligibility left. 

But then the Cotton Bowl 30-3 massacre vs Clemson happened and it became painfully obvious that Notre Dame was missing elite play making skill players who can stretch the field that teams like Clemson have in abundance.  Shortly after the season Boykin decided to declare for the NFL Draft and thus we have an open WR spot for Lenzy to grab this spring.

Lenzy has the speed to stretch the field and the Matt Balis training table is already paying off as reports are Lenzy has bulked up to 180 lbs without losing any of his fast twitch, explosive playmaking skills.  Early reports out of spring camp indicate Lenzy will be competing with rising junior Michael Young for a starting X WR position opposite Claypool and Finke. 

If Lenzy can grasp the playbook I think he can make a huge jump going into his sophomore season much like Will Fuller did in 2014 and Golden Tate in 2008 who both broke out with huge seasons.  I know his QB Ian Book would love to use a weapon of Lenzy's skills and speed to make things easier on him as would all Fighting Irish fans.

4. TE Cole Kmet

Tight End U hasn't exactly been tight end u these last few seasons with production dipping pretty much every season since Tyler Eifert was a first round pick in 2013.  Kmet is going to get a huge opportunity here to turn the tide and make the TE a feared weapon again for the Fighting Irish.

Alize Mack left for the NFL draft this spring opening up the starting tight end spot.  While Alize was extremely talented he wasn't exactly reliable both on and off the field.  Kmet who stands at 6'6 with great reach is also a star lefty relief pitcher for the baseball team up until two weeks ago when he decided to shut it down and focus solely on football.  Like Lenzy deciding to skip track I think this could be huge for Kmet's development this spring and getting more repetitions with Book is never a bad thing.

Kmet, a rising junior, entered Notre Dame as a 4-star prospect and the #3 tight end in the nation.  He came into ND with fellow TE classmate Brock Wright who actually was the higher rated prospect at the time.  In his first two seasons at ND Kmet has only 17 catches for 176 yards and the next time he catches a TD will be the first of his collegiate career. 

Now is the time for Kmet to shine (whom offensive coordinator Chip Long calls one of those DUDES meaning he's a beast) and take that next step up as he is currently running on the first team ahead of Wright and restore the luster of Tight End U to it's rightful place in Notre Dame. 


3. RB Jafar Armstrong

Ok technically Armstrong did start last season in the opener vs Michigan and had a breakout game with two TD but hear me out here.  Armstrong was splitting carries with Tony Jones Jr before Dexter Williams returned from a 4-game suspension to take hold of the majority of the carries.

This season Armstrong, the converted 4-star WR out of high school, is expected to be the bellcow for the Fighting Irish backfield.  Armstrong possesses home run speed and since he played wide out he can also catch the ball out of the backfield.  If you remember Dexter for as good as he was running the ball had some of the worst stone hands thus preventing him from reaching his full potential. 

Armstrong can and should be the starting RB all season.  His game reminds me a lot of CJ Prosise who if you remember also converted from another position after his freshman season and then had a HUGE junior season for the 2015 squad.  I think Armstrong can be that exact back for Notre Dame this season and it all starts this spring. 

Armstrong is going to have every opportunity to start and he needs to take advantage of it by developing his game this spring and I think new RB coach Lance Taylor will help him do just that.

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2. DT Jayson Ademilola

Notre Dame has to replace senior DTs Jerry Tillery and Jonathan Bonner who basically started every game for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.  While rising juniors Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Kurt Hinish are at this time expected to replace Tillery and Bonner in the starting lineup I actually think Jayson Ademilola will have the breakout spring.
The 4-star DT and #12 DT in the nation arrived last season as a true freshman along with his twin brother Justin.  Jayson played in 11 of the 12 games his freshman season providing meaningful reserve minutes while stepping in for the injured Tagovailoa-Amosa who was lost early in the season.  Jayson more than held his own and racked up 4-tackle performances vs Wake Forest and Syracuse.
Ademilola has a better initial snap burst into the line and quicker hands than Bonner and MTA creating separation which hopefully should cause plenty of opportunities for disruption which helps with tackles for loss and turnovers.  Jayson isn't just a space eater to help linebackers and safeties make all the tackles. 

If he can continue to develop and stay healthy it wouldn't shock me to see him start over one of either MTA or Hinish in the season opener vs Louisville.  He's that good.

1. LB Jordan Genmark Heath

Genmark Heath aka the Swedish Black Guy is another guy that needs to have a huge spring to get a jump on the stacked linebacker competition which needs to replace starters Drue Tranquill and Te'von Coney.  

In other words no easy task replacing two guys who combined for over 200 tackles for the LEA-Gion of Doom Defense.

Genmark Heath, a rising junior, is a converted safety prospect who played linebacker for the first time last season.  He actually started for the injured Tranquill in the Northwestern game and more than held his own. He's accounted for 16 tackles each of his freshman and sophomore seasons so he has experience playing.  

Right now he's basically running on the 2nd team behind senior Asmar Bilal at the BUCK linebacker position.  Bilal is the only returning starting linebacker but I think Genmark Heath has the size, length, athleticism, and speed that DC Clark Lea loves to have at the BUCK position.  It wouldn't shock me with a great spring to see Genmark Heath take over the starting position.

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Read more → 2019 MLB Predictions

Although baseball technically kicked off last week in Tokyo (Mariners vs A's) of all fucking places tomorrow is officially Opening Day here in the good old States.  Lets get the season started with some predictions.  

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AL EAST: New York Yankees

While the Red Sox  (expect a World Series hangover) are the defending champs after a historic season for the ages the Yankees I feel have the better overall ball club.  Luis Severino going down could be a big blow for the Pinstripes but they still have plenty of arms to fill in including new addition James Paxton.  Yankees easily have the best bullpen in the majors.  Factor in their lineup getting bounce back seasons from Gary Sanchez who was awful last year and the addition of DJ LeMahieu will solidify them.  It should be a close division race between the Yankees and Red Sox all season.  The Rays will hover around .500 all season in the empty Trop.  The Blue Jays got some exciting young players coming up this year including Vlad Guerrero Jr. but they are still years away from contention.  The Orioles almost completely gutted their front office and MLB and minor league system after an embarrassing 47 win season.

AL CENTRAL: Cleveland Indians

The Wahoos should coast in the league's worst division.  The question remains do they have enough firepower to compete with the other division winners come playoff time?  Not so sure but I love any team with a top of the rotation consisting of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger who are all in their prime years.  Perennial MVP candidates Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are battling some injury issues but should be ready to go.  The only other team I could see contending in this division are the Minnesota Twins who signed Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez to relatively bargain deals.  The rest of the division stinks with Detroit, Kansas City and the White Sox all in rebuild mode for this season at least.

AL WEST: Houston Astros

The World Series hangover was real for the Astros last season but I think they bounce back and win the division again this year.  Getting a healthy Altuve and Correa will be the key for the Astros all season.  Alec Bregman is a legit MVP candidate.  When Justin Verlander isn't throwing ropes on Kate Upton he's still a horse on the mound entering his late 30's.  While the Angels have the best player and now the highest player in the game in Mike Trout they still got too many holes to contend for the division but could make a Wild Card run.  I'm expecting the A's to fall back after a great 2018 season in which they played well beyond expectations and went to the playoffs.  The Rangers and Mariners are looking at long seasons.

AL WILDCARDS: Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins

You know whomever finishes 2nd in the AL East will get a Wild Card so I'll roll with the Red Sox here after losing a close race with the Yankees.  In a bit of a surprise I'll go with the Twins who are led by a rookie manager in Rocco Baldelli as my upset pick for the 2nd Wild Card.


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AL MVP: Mike Trout

Yes I know Mookie Betts won it last year but if you look at Trout's numbers you could make an argument that Trout should have won the MVP every year since his rookie season.  I'll go with the safe bet and the most paid player in MLB history in Trout.

AL CY YOUNG: Chris Sale

Sale got his long term contract extension and is fully comfortable in Boston.  He should be a monster once again.


It wouldn't shock me to see Vlad Jr. have a Ronald Acuna-like effect for the Blue Jays this season.


If the Twins can snag the last Wild Card their rookie manager will win the award.


NL EAST: Atlanta Braves

This is gonna be the funniest and most competitive (minus Marlins) division to watch in baseball.  While the defending NL East champs Braves added Josh Donaldson the Phillies went out and got Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, JT Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen.  Sick moves by the Phillies to bolster a lineup that on paper could be the best in baseball.  Problem is the Phillies have the worst defense in baseball and their manager is too fucking analytical for my liking.  The Mets acquired Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz and have a great top of the rotation with Cy Young Winner Jacob deGrom leading the way.  The Nats might have lost Harper to the Phillies (could actually be addition by subtraction for DC) but they are looking to bounce back after a distraction filled season.  Signing Patrick Corbin to team up with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg rivals the Mets top 3 for best rotation in the division.  Honestly you can throw all 4 of these teams in a hat and you can't go wrong with picking any of them to win the division.  I'll go with the Braves because they are getting a full season of Ronald Acuna and Josh Donaldson in the lineup and both are legitimate MVP candidates along with the steady Freddie Freeman.  While the Braves rotation doesn't look as good on paper as the other 3 they got more depth IMO and plenty of young arms to fill needs all season.  Plus the Braves have arguably the best defense in the game.

NL CENTRAL: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals will all be battling to the end to win the most competitive division from top to bottom.  If the Cubs stay healthy I think they win a close race over the Brewers and Cardinals.  I think what separates the Cubs from them is their pitching and defense.  But to be honest anyone of these teams could win the division and the pennant this season.  I'll just throw shit on the wall and say the Cubs get a MVP performance from Kris Bryant to help decide the final outcome in the division.  The Pirates also aren't anything to sneeze at and should be much improved.  The Reds made a ton of off season moves (Puig and Kemp among others) but I don't think they got the pitching to contend this season.  They should be a lot better though and at least fun to watch.

NL WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers

I think this will be the last season the Dodgers hang on to win the NL West for the 7th straight season.  The Dbacks and Giants are years away from contending.  The Padres signed Manny Machado and have a lot of young players ready to emerge but are still too young.  The Rockies could make a run but they don't have enough to catch the Dodgers.

NL WILDCARDS: Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals

It's almost impossible to pick any of the Wild Card winners.  The Phillies, Mets, Brewers, and Rockies are also serious contenders for a spot but I'll roll with the Nats and Cardinals at this point.  When in doubt I go with pitching and defense as the difference and both the Nats and Cards are better top to bottom at least on paper than the other contenders.

NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr.

This will be the first of many MVPs for the young King phenom.  I'm not saying he's Trout but Acuna is just a step below him and should put up monster stats hitting behind Donaldson and Freeman all season.

NL CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer

Mad Max just continues to get better while he punches his first ballot ticket to Cooperstown with his 4th Cy Young Award this season.


While the Nats lost out on Juan Soto getting ROY honors last season because of King Acuna's monster 2nd half this year they can celebrate with Robles winning the award.


Which ever manages finds a way to win the National League pennant is my pick as manager of the year so I'm going with old Snitker and the Braves.

AL CHAMPIONS: Houston Astros

Astros go back to the World Series after a one year layoff thanks to spectacular seasons from Altuve and Bregman. 

NL CHAMPIONS: Atlanta Braves

The Braves ride their young players to their first playoff winning performance in 18 years to get to the World Series.



Complete homer pick here but I'm rolling with my Bravos.  The best overall defense in the game helps a young rotation mature and rides the bats of Acuna, Freeman and Donaldson to a World Series parade for the ATL.

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Notre Dame's Huge Football Recruiting Weekend Starts Today

Starting today Notre Dame football has a huge recruiting weekend with four 2020 prospects visiting and multiple 2020 top recruits making the trek to Notre Dame's campus.  For some it will be their first time visiting while others have visited multiple times.

Let's take a look at the 2020 prospects visiting this weekend...

Chris Tyree RB, #1 APB, Virginia- Arguably the #1 prospect on Notre Dame's recruiting board overall for the 2020 class.  This will be the nation's #1 all-purpose back 2nd visit to Notre Dame after an unofficial visit in December for Junior Day.  New RB coach Lance Taylor will have his first in-person talk with Tyree on campus starting today and will be looking to make headway for the fastest RB prospect on ND's board for at least the last 10 years from what I can recall.  Landing a RB of Tyree's stature is a MUST for Coach Taylor and was the main reason why he was brought in to ND to secure top recruits commitments at the RB position.  Taylor and the Fighting Irish will be in a dog fight for Tyree with top programs like Alabama and Oklahoma and many others also heavily recruiting the Virginia product.  Tyree will also be making an official visit in June.  The fact that Tyree is paying on his own dime to visit ND for a 2nd time this weekend is huge.  I don't expect a verbal commitment but ND could in my opinion hit a home run with Tyree with current players showing him what life is like on campus and getting him a feel for the team and the coaching staff to at least put them in the lead for his services.     

Tirek Murphy RB, New York - 
Another 4-star prospect at the RB position who will be visiting Notre Dame this weekend on an unofficial.  This is Murphy's first visit to ND and he will be bringing his mom which tends to work heavily for Notre Dame's favor when they can get mom on board.  While Tyree is the #1 prospect on ND RB board there is no doubt ND and the coaching staff would take a commitment from Murphy and make room for two RBs in this class.  This will be Murphy's first in-person meeting with Coach Taylor too.  He's not even been a month on the job but the fact that Taylor already has two of the nation's best RBs visiting on their own dime speaks volumes.  Murphy will also be visiting Alabama and Oregon in the future but just reading the tea leaves I think ND is in the driver's seat for his services.


Cody Simon LB, New Jersey - You may recognize the last name as his brother Shayne is a freshman linebacker currently at Notre Dame.  ND has signed 8 linebackers in the last two classes so getting Cody's services isn't a must get for the Fighting Irish staff.  But make no mistake ND would love to add another 4-star linebacker like Simon and will probably be in a battle with Penn State for his commitment.  Don't bank on just because his brother plays at ND that Cody is a sure fire commitment for the Irish.  ND has a lot of work to do for Cody and this weekend's unofficial visit should hopefully get them another visit in the future.  The Ademilola twins also played with Cody in high school so he's got a lot of familiarity with some of the players.  Defensive coordinator Clark Lea is also a big fan of Cody and why wouldn't he be after looking at these highlights...


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Zak Zinter OL, Massachusetts - This will be big Zak's 2nd visit to Notre Dame after visiting for the Ball State game in the fall.  Looks to be more of a guard prospect than tackle even though he has a tackle body.  ND should be in a battle with in-state Boston College for Zinter's services.  Numbers are low on takes in this class at the offensive line so don't be surprised if Zinter decides to jump aboard with a commitment this weekend.  Zinter is a top 200 prospect overall in the nation and would be a tremendous get for the Fighting Irish and line coach Jeff Quinn.

The 2021 class visits this weekend include two Georgia WR prospects in Jaquez Smith and Deion Colzie.  Both have offers from Notre Dame.  This will be Smith's 1st visit to ND and Colzie's 2nd visit.  Smith is an Atlanta prospect that has offers from the likes of Georgia, LSU, and Michigan.  Colzie is an Athens prospect but only has one offer and it's not from UGA, it's Tennessee.  The more Georgia peach products on the roster the better in my opinion for Notre Dame.

In-state Avon, IN offensive tackle Blake Fisher is ND #1 recruit on the offensive line for the 2021 class and will be on another unofficial visit to ND this weekend after visiting multiple times.  Fisher has offers from all the big-time programs across the nation even though he's only a sophomore.  He will be a tough pull because schools like Alabama and Ohio State are going after Fisher.  Fisher could be a 5-star prospect when all is said and done and definitely has a 5-star offer list.

Another offensive linemen visiting this weekend is Landon Tengwall.  The 6'6 300 lb prospect already has offers from all the big schools (Alabama, UGA, Michigan, etc.) like Fisher.  Tengwall is out of Maryland and goes to Good Counsel HS which has produced another Notre Dame offensive lineman in Sam Mustipher.  He also played with incoming freshman Cam Hart at Good Counsel.  I like Notre Dame's chances here.

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Sophie Turner Chugs Red Wine at a New York Rangers Game on the Jumbotron


You have my fully torqued attention Sophie Turner! The Game of Thrones actress showed her inner Sansa Stark by chugging a full glass of wine on cue while on the jumbotron. The crowd at the New York Rangers hockey game went crazy and deservedly so. Turner showed her fiance Joe Jonas that yes she is in fact marriage material.

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Miami QB transfer Tate Martell granted "hardship" waiver from NCAA, immediately eligible

The NCAA continues to work in mysterious ways today granting Ohio State QB transfer Tate Martell immediately eligibility for his new team, the Miami Hurricanes, for a "hardship" waiver. What exactly is the Martell hardship no one really knows except the NCAA. Martell was afraid to compete with incoming transfer Justin Fields who too got the hardship waiver to transfer from UGA. At this point the only "hardships" I see for silver spoon fed Martell are either a bruised labia and/or a bruised ego. I'll go both at this point.

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This of course is great news for the Miami Hurricanes football program and their fans.  As you may know new head coach Manny Diaz has his work cut out for him.   With redshirt sophomore QB N'Kosi Perry back as the only returning  Miami QB with any game experience his results were average at best.  Martell should be able to compete if not win the starting spot this spring or summer.  Martell is a former 4-star recruit out of the famed Bishop Gorman HS program in Las Vegas where he never lost a game.  Martell sat behind JT Barrett and Dwayne Haskins his first two seasons at Ohio State but did enjoy some success in mop up duty.

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Ichiro still has a rocket arm at 45 years old

O.G. Ichiro can still throw piss rockets. Playing in the Tokyo Dome in Japan for the Mariners today Ichiro absolutely unleashed one from right field to third base. The runner obviously thought better and stayed at 2nd instead of challenging the great Ichiro. Ichiro despite only hitting .080 in spring training will get the starting right field position when they face the A's in Tokyo on Wednesday.  Hopefully we will get to see him hit and leg one out and get the full fledged Ichiro flashbacks.


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2019 CFB Playoff Odds Probability favor the usual suspects

Betonline released their top college football playoff odds probability for next season and it's hard to argue the first two in Clemson and Alabama.  

Clemson and Dabo have been to the playoffs 4 years in a row and have a 5-2 playoff record with two Natty's under their belt.  Bama and Saban have been to the playoffs 5 years in a row  with a 6-3 playoff record and also two Natty's.  If my math is correct that means Clemson has made the playoffs 80% of the time and Alabama has made it 100%.  I would safely assume to bet good money on both of these juggernaut programs to make the playoffs again.  With both being at 67.8% odds right now you might as well load up a mortgage or kid's college fund on it or at the very least some hooker money on it.

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UGA at 44.9% is too high.  Even with Jake Fromm back they still have Kirby Smart as their coach and he's good for at least 2-3 losses per season.  Yes UGA has played Bama close recently but they still lost those games.  The Dawgs have made the playoffs once going 1-1.  I'd say their odds are better at 20%.

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Oklahoma at 39.1% looks right.  Sooners have made the playoffs 3 of the 5 years but have yet to win a playoff game even with two Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray leading the way.  Their defense still sucks but they got one of the best young coaches in the game in Lincoln Riley who has made the playoffs both seasons in Norman.  Throw in transfer Jalen Hurts who has never missed the playoffs and by going by the numbers alone Oklahoma looks like the best bet here with their odds.

Ohio State is interesting at 36.6% because they have a new head coach and a new QB in Justin Fields.  You really don't know what you are going to get out of either at this point.  What we do know is Ohio State has made the playoffs twice.  My math says that's 40% and looking at their schedule I don't see any sure fire L's on it.

Michigan on the list at 23.8% has to be a joke.  Michigan has never made the playoffs.  They lost all of their best defenders and as we saw in their Big Ten finale last season vs rival Ohio State they still gave up 62 points with those guys.  The Buckeyes simply own Michigan and Jim Harbaugh.  I don't see that changing this year.

Notre Dame at 23.8% is about right.  They have made the playoffs once and played for a Natty 6 years ago.  The talent and depth returning for the Fighting Irish is impressive but they will need to beat two teams (UGA and Michigan) on this list on the road in order to make the playoffs.  They also don't have a conference championship to win so if they lose one game they are most likely out of the playoff race.  QB Ian Book is back but Brian Kelly's track record with returning starters isn't the greatest at Notre Dame.

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Texas is the hot team right now at 21.1%.  After the Longhorns dismantled UGA in the Sugar Bowl and beat Oklahoma during the regular season the steers are definitely pointing up.  The problem with Texas is they have to beat Oklahoma twice to make the playoffs.  Good luck with that Longhorns.




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Bryce Harper out indefinitely after being hit by pitch to ankle

Well I'm not so sure we will be seeing Bryce Harper in the Phillies lineup on Opening Day. If you heard that crack of the ball to Harper's right ankle bone from here that is NOT a good sign. Especially when the pitch is coming at you at 96 mph with little to no protection of the ankle bone. Hopefully for the Phillies cause and their new $330 million toy it's just a deep bruise/contusion and not an actual cracked bone. Although Harper is young at 26 he also has a history of injury issues which has caused him to miss more than 200 games in his 6-year career. With less than 2 weeks till Opening Day it's probably wise to wrap Harper up in bubble wrap and skip the rest of Spring Training.  Needless to say the Phillies took out Harper today after he could barely walk on it.

UPDATE: Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler says Harper has a right foot contusion and will get an X-ray.  In other words no shit Sherlock.

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Tiger Woods puts two in the drink at TPC Sawgrass 17

It's only Friday morning but Tiger Woods is already two deep with the bartender at TPC Sawgrass. The famous island hole aka #17 saw Tiger go twice in the water to card an unsightly quadruple bogey 7 on the par 3. While it's still just the 2nd round and Tiger is technically in the hunt after finishing -3 today he's 8 shots back of the leader with two rounds left. Not good.

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