March 28th, 2019
The GIST's Quote of the Week
“The fact that their gender’s different—who gives a sh!t?” - Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians after his team became the first in the NFL to hire two full-time female assistant coaches. Casual reminder that it should be all about being the best person for the job.
Take Me Out to The Ball Game
The GIST: Baseball is back today and we’re as excited as the day we got our braces off. Yes, baseball is that special. Today is the MLB’s official Opening Day with all 30 teams in action, including our Toronto Blue Jays hosting the Detroit Tigers at 3:37 p.m. ET.
Remind me. Who’s the defending champ?: Last year, the Boston Red Sox finished with the best regular season record (108-54) then went on to win the World Series. They’ve won the title four times since 2000 and are the undisputed Team of the Century. Show-offs.
And, who are the big star players?: All eyes will be on Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels), Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies) and Manny Machado (San Diego Padres). These three players all signed mega deals this offseason including Trout’s absurd 12-year, $433M contract extension—the largest contract in North American sports history. Just like splurging on a personal trainer, only time will tell if these players are worth the hefty price tag.
How ‘bout them Jays?: TBH, expectations are not high. Since their electric playoff runs in 2015 and ‘16, they basically have a completely new roster. No more Josh ‘Bringer of Rain’ Donaldson (traded to the Cleveland Indians in August 2018), no more Jose ‘Bat Flip’ Bautista (currently unsigned) and no more Troy ‘Tulo’ Tulowitzki (now playing for the NY Yankees).
Uh oh?: Don’t fret too much. Some fan faves like pitcher Marcus Stroman (who’s starting the game today) and centrefielder Kevin “Superman” Pillar still remain. And, the blue birds have some fresh young talent waiting in the wings (pun intended), like hypebeast third baseman and phenomenal hitter Vladamir Guerrero Jr., a (very) early candidate for Rookie of the Year. Vladdy’s currently recovering from an oblique injury, but we are so ready for his debut.
Anything Else?: We wrote a GIST Guide to Baseball covering this year’s MLB season, because of course we did. Check it out here.
My Super Sweet 16
The GIST: Only 16 teams remain in each of the NCAA’s March Madness tournaments. The men’s bracket hasn’t been as ‘mad’ as we expected, while the women’s tourney has been full of upsets.
One bracket to rule them all: Turns out the men’s tournament has been sopredictable that one perfect bracket still remains after the Round of 32. It’s the first time that has EVER happened in the NCAA’s bracket challenge. We figured it would have to take a rocket scientist to achieve that feat, but turns out it only took a neuropsychologist.
Sixteen is the sweetest number: The men’s Sweet Sixteen starts today. In the previous round, 15 of the 16 favourites won their matchup and the only ‘Cinderella’ story left is No. 12 Oregon. In all four regions, the top three seeds are still in the hunt, which is only the second time that’s happened since 1985.
Who’s going to win?: Despite barely escaping No. 9 UCF by sheer dumb luckliterally inches, No. 1 Duke is still the favourite to win the tournament.
Three is the loneliest number: On the flip side, the women’s tournament has been a wild ride. Three of the four No. 3 seeds (Maryland, Syracuse and Iowa State) fell victim to upsets on Monday.
Who’s going to win?: TBH, we don’t know. But, defending champ No. 1 Notre Dame still looks like an unstoppable force, winning both of their early games by double-digit scores. Here’s what else to watch down the stretch.
Check it out! We interviewed Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot for our first NHL interview ever. So exciting, right? Get to know Chabot off the ice by watching our interview now.
P.S. We’re new to doing interviews and so want to hear your feedback. Reply to this email and let us know how you like it!
Just Call Us Sporty Spice
The GIST: It’s crunch time in both the NHL and the NBA, so we had to squeeze in a quick update.
Let’s start with hockey: The NHL season ends April 6th and playoffs start on April 10th. Of the seven Canadian teams, only the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets have clinched a spot in the postseason, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are basically a lock as well (FYI they had a 5-4 shootout loss last night to the Philadelphia Flyers). On the cusp is the Montreal Canadiens who are in a tight race for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Stay on top of the drama here.
Over in the NBA: The Toronto Raptors are playoff bound and things kick off on April 13th, but the squad is still unsure who they’ll be playing in the first round. If the playoffs started today, the Dinos would be facing the Detroit Pistons, a team who beat them in all three games this season and is coached by ex-Raptors bench boss Dwane Casey. The drama is real. Check out the standings here.
GIST Some Other Sh!t You Should Know
- Meet Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s education secretary. On Tuesday, she proposed eliminating all $17.6M of funding for U.S. Special Olympics programs (which would affect about 272,000 athletes) arguing that the organization doesn’t need federal funding because it successfully raises private contributions. SMDH. This is the third year in a row the Trump administration has tried to cut funding, so it likely won’t pass Congress (phew). In related news, Canada brought home 155 medals (including the most gold of any country) from the Special Olympics World Games this year. Proud.
- Notorious UFC fighter Conor McGregor unexpectedly tweeted that he was retiring on Tuesday. In the same day, news surfaced that he’s being investigated for sexual assault in Ireland, though no charges have been laid. Coincidence? We think probably not. Actually, the hot gossip is that—because of the way the tweet is worded—McGregor might just be sneakily promoting his ‘Proper No. 12’ whiskey and is not actually retiring, especially since he’s pulled a retiring stunt before. Something smells fishy.
- The busy AF women’s tennis schedule finally cracked Canadian Bianca Andreescu. After 35 matches this season, the most of any WTA competitor, her storied run came to an end on Monday when a nagging shoulder injury forced her out of her Round of 16 match against No. 21 Anett Konvtaveit. Canadian teen sensations Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime are still in the mix on the men’s side, and you have to see this devious underhand tennis serve from (now eliminated) No. 26 Nick Kyrgios. Cheeky, cheeky.
- On Monday, dunking sensation Fran Belibi became just the second woman ever to win the dunk contest at the All-American Game, featuring the best men’s and women’s high-school graduates in the U.S. Her final dunk of the comp was this high-flying, one-handed smash while rocking a cape. But some haters still gon’ hate. Previous winners of this dunk comp include Candace Parker, LeBron James and Vince Carter. NBD.
What’s Up This Week
Tonight: If you watch only one hockey game before our next newsletter, let it be the Montreal Canadians vs. Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at 7 p.m. ET. These two teams are battling for the last playoff spot in the East, and this game will have HUGE implications for who makes the cut.
Tonight + Friday: Men’s March Madness returns starting at 7:09 p.m. with No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Florida State but the game to watch should be No. 12 Oregon (the lowest seed left in the tournament and only Cinderella story) looking to upset No. 1 Virginia at 9:57 p.m. ET. The women’s tournament returns one day later with a doozy of a matchup between No. 2 UConn vs. No. 6 UCLA at 7 p.m. ET.
All Week: The Toronto Blue Jays will spend the next seven days playing games at home. They open their season with four games against the Detroit Tigers, followed by three games against the Baltimore Orioles. Check all the times here.