It’s April and we still feel like we’ll have to deal with one or two more snows, so with that happy thought in mind, let’s dive into some sporty notes.
-Bryan Reynolds’ officiating battle with the Pirates is the kind of situation that continues to drive fans away from the sport. It’s a battle over $650,000, and while these cases sometimes result in compromises, they just as often don’t, regardless of the teams and players involved. The real news for Pirates fans is that it’s obvious the team has no long-term plans for Reynolds, and the short-term plan is to trade him, possibly well ahead of the date. limit. If, like me, you think this team is still years away from contention, trading Reynolds is the right move, disappointing as it may be.
-Terrell Edmunds still hasn’t signed with a team as of this writing, which should tell you everything you need to know about how the rest of the NFL views him. Edmunds proved extremely durable, appearing in 64 of a possible 65 regular season games in his career; a particularly impressive stat considering that he usually plays in the box near the line of scrimmage and is expected to be physical. This kind of robustness has intrinsic value. Beyond that, however, it’s clear teams believe Edmunds’ actual impact on the pitch is minimal.
-Given this reality about Edmunds, if the Steelers are serious about trying to win with defense this year, and it certainly seems their intention, they should try to sign Tyrann Mathieu to a one-year contract. His market hasn’t developed partly because he’s turning 30 in May and he seems to want to wait for the perfect situation. We know Mike Tomlin called out Mathieu, and we know he was a first-team All-Pro three times. It would definitely be a more inspiring choice than bringing Edmunds back, which is why you know the latter is more likely to happen.
-By the time you read this, Duke will either be signed up to play for the national championship on Monday night, or North Carolina will have done most of the sporting world a huge favor and ended Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement tour at two title wins. I’m not here to discuss Krzyzewski’s results — those speak for themselves, and loudly — but the media’s portrayal of him as some sort of holy figure in the seedy world of college basketball is a few too much. Krzyzewski used to be praised by purists for not running a “one-and-done” program, until it became clear he would be left in the dust if he didn’t tune in not over time, which of course he did. College coaches, whether “good” or “bad,” are united by a common thread; they all want to win. Krzyzewski is no different and never has been.
-Speaking of college basketball, the NCAA Women’s Tournament was great, the best I’ve ever seen. There were huge upheavals early in the tournament, and the Connecticut v North Carolina State tilt in the Elite Eight was a double-overtime thriller that compares favorably to any game the men’s tournament has held. offered so far. The sport is finally seeing some much-needed parity, not so much that there are plenty of new teams near the top – the Geno Auriemma Huskies are once again playing for the national title, after all – but in the fact that it isn’t. is more of a foregone conclusion that the top two or three teams will ride a wave of blowouts all the way to the Final Four. If these trends continue, it will be a huge boon for the sport, and those who continue to ignore the tournament will miss many exciting games at their peril.
-We don’t know the severity at the time of this writing, but Jason Zucker, injured in his first game after a long injury absence, is both incredibly cruel to him and potentially damaging to the Penguins. Zucker hasn’t really clicked during his time with the team, but his teammates love him and he’s playing a tough game for a guy with a 30-goal pedigree in his past. Rickard Rakell has been rock solid since the Penguins acquired him, and if Zucker avoids a serious injury, the Penguins will suddenly look like a team with serious offensive depth.
– Bold Pirates prediction: Oneil Cruz wins National League Rookie of the Year.