March 21st, 2019

#thegist of it is…

The MLB has the catch of the dayYour March Madness bracket requires your immediate attentionDon’t sleep on this women’s hockey finalBaseball and video games definitely don’t mixThe New England Patriots owner has us shaking our headsCanada is still in the hunt in women’s curlingHer-story is made in the NFLHere’s what up this weekend AND here’s a chance to win free stuff.

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How Do You Catch the Biggest Fish?  

The GIST: You use the biggest bait. Centre fielder Mike Trout has reportedly agreed to a contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels, and it’s the biggest contract in North American sports history.
 
How Big is Big?: Like $430M USD over 12 years big. That’s $100M more and one year less than Bryce Harper’s record-setting contract with the Philadelphia Phillies we told you about last month. That’s almost $100k per day. And that’s more than the value of SEVEN NHL franchises. What the actual F.
 
How Does That Compare to Other Leagues?: MLB players are raking in the dough. The three other biggest contracts in sports (per overall value, not annually) are: NBA’s Russell Westbrook, $207M; NFL’s Matt Ryan, $150M; NHL’s Alex Ovechkin, $124M. Chump change in comparison to the MLB (here’s why).
 
Is Trout Worth it?: Here’s the thing, a lot of experts are saying he’s worth so much more. Trout’s on-field production has actually been better than Bryce Harper and Manny Machado (the guys who just signed the second and third biggest MLB contracts) combined. So, relatively speaking, just like that shirt you bought on boxing day, this guy is a bargain.
 

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Baby Let The Games Begin

The GIST: Are you ready for it? The March Madness round of 64 is set with the men’s tournament kicking tipping off today and the women’s tomorrow.
 
But First: You should know about ESPN’s v serious slip-up. On Selection Monday (when the women’s schedule was set to drop) ESPN somehow managed to one-up themselves and leak the schedule FOUR HOURS before the expected drop time. Ridiculous. The leak effectively killed the suspense of which teams made the tournament and forced the cancellation of watch parties across the U.S. This was way worse than that time your best friend accidentally ruined your surprise birthday party.
 
Shaken, Not Stirred: Even with the surprise ruined, there was still a shake-up in the women’s seedings. For the first time since 2006 (the same year Daniel Powter’s Bad Day and Sean Paul’s Temperature topped the charts), the UConn Huskies aren’t a No. 1 seed. It’s also the first tournament since 2006 that looks completely wide open, so any team could really take this championship. This is going to be fun.
 
Bracket-ing It Down: We already gave you quick hits on who, when, where and why you should watch, and we also went a little a lot deeper to get you prepped for what to expect from the entire tournament. Meaning, there’s no excuse to not fill out your March Madness bracket. Fill out your men’s bracket here by TODAY at 12 p.m. ET. Fill out your women’s bracket here by TOMORROW at 11:45 a.m. ET. And remember, BIG Amazon gift cards, GIST swag and serious bragging rights are on the line.
 
That Other Basketball League: Over in the NBA, Houston Rockets’ James Harden set an absolutely absurd record on Tuesday after scoring 31 points against the Atlanta Hawks, becoming the first player to score 30 or more points against every team in the same season. Legendary.

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Ice on the Prize

The GIST: The Calgary Inferno and Les Canadiennes de Montreal will face off Sunday in the Clarkson Cup final, the biggest prize in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL).
 
Who Are the Stars?: Calgary boasts an impressive roster led by American Brianna Decker (yes, that Brianna Decker) who is fresh off a 2018 Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang. Montreal can counter with CWHL lead scorer Marie-Philip Poulin, a three-time Olympic medallist and one of the greatest Canadian hockey players of all time. HOW-EV-ER Poulin is currently day-to-day with a lower-body injury, so fingers crossed she suits up on Saturday.
 
Who’s Favoured to Win?: The Inferno had the best season record (23-4-0) but anything can happen in a one-game winner-take-all final.
 
Something Else: These players make just $2k - $10k per year, and the best way to support them is to show up.
 
So... How Can You Watch?: You can watch on Sportsnet who is carrying the gameonline and on TV.

GIST Some Other Sh!t You Should Know

- The MLB is waging a war on drugs video games. This week, we learned that the Phillies' Carlos Santana channeled his inner dad and literally took a bat to the TVs in the clubhouse because some teammates were playing Fortnite in the middle of the game last season. Nothing worse than colleagues not pulling their weight, amirite? This season, some MLB managers (including new Toronto Blue Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo) are imposing a limit on video games and banning them during games.
 
- In news that makes our skin crawl, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has turned down a plea deal in the Florida soliciting prostitution case. In order to avoid prosecution, the deal required Kraft to admit he was guilty of receiving sexual services for cash, but it appears he’ll opt to go to trial instead. Quick reminder that Kraft was literally caught on camera. But TBH, there’s a chance Kraft’s legal team will get him offregardless. SMDH.
 
- The women’s world curling championships are going down right now in Denmark but Canada’s rink (that’s curling speak for team) led by skip Chelsea Carey has not been curling their best. After losing both of their games on Tuesday, Canada squeezed out an 8-7 win over China on Wednesday to bring their record to 4-4. They’re currently tied for sixth place and only the top six teams will advance to the next round. Yikes, this is going to come down to the wire.
 
- Keeping things on the ice, the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning clinched the President’s Trophy (awarded to the team that finishes with the most points in the regular season) after beating the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 on Monday. What’s INSANE about this win is that they secured the trophy before any other eastern conference team even clinched a playoff spot. Show-offs.
 
- Speaking of Tampa Bay, last night the Buccaneers became the first NFL team with two female coaches adding Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust to their coaching staff. Now that’s the kind of progress we like to see!

What’s Up This Week

Today: It’s all March Madness, all the time. Remember when we told you that $1B is lost to low productivity because of the Super Bowl? Well, it’s estimated that more than $13B in productivity is lost to March Madness. Seriously. Join in the fun starting at 12:15 p.m. ET as No. 7 Louisville and No. 10 Minnesota kick things off. Reminder to fill out your bracket here

Friday: Sure, the men’s March Madness tournament continues on Friday but we’d recommend turning your attention to the women’s tournament. Top match-ups include No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 16 Robert Morris at 12 p.m. ET (featuring likely future WNBA star Asia Durr) and No. 2 UConn vs. No. 15 Towson at 7 p.m. ET. You can fill out your bracket here. Let’s get it.

Saturday: The Ottawa Senators are on the road in Edmonton for an afternoon matchup (4 p.m. ET) with Connor McDavid and the Oilers.

Sunday: The world figure skating championships in Japan started yesterday and is wrapping up on Sunday with the ice dance free skate (that was Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s event!). Here’s how you can watch.

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Sign me up!