PLAYER OF THE DAY

Blake Griffin (NBA) is a star power forward for the Detroit Pistons, who are playing the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Although Griffin was an All-Star this year and led Detroit to its second-best season in a decade, he isn’t playing in this series due to injury. Naturally, his team is getting destroyed without him. Although he hasn’t been present on the court, he has been a vocal leader from the bench. On Wednesday, he received a technical foul for yelling at the refs, and no, he’s still not playing. It’s the second time he’s gotten “T-ed up” from the bench trying to rally his teammates. He is now tied for the lead with most technical fouls in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. His fiery attitude is…not working. The Pistons have lost by a combined 56 points in two games without Griffin, who clearly has plenty of reasons to keep yelling. Hey Blake, be humble and sit down for Game 3. 


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Gronk leaves his mark on Super Bowl trophy
Gronk being Gronk…
(NFL) Rob Gronkowski, superstar tight end and notable party animal, retired this offseason, but that doesn’t mean “Gronk” is done having fun with the New England Patriots. On Wednesday, he joined nearly two dozen former teammates at Fenway Park and got to throw out an opening pitch before the Boston Red Sox home opener on April 9th. Super Bowl MVP, Julian Edelman, tossed a warm-up pitch to Gronk, and the former tight end jokingly held up the Lombardi Trophy like a baseball bat. NFL alumni everywhere were cringing. Gronk squared up to “bunt” the ball and left a sizable dent in the Patriots’ sixth championship trophy, as revealed on the team’s Twitter account on Wednesday. The team said it may fix it in the future, but for now, they’re “going to keep the dent and tell the story.” Nobody can make vandalism cool quite like Gronk.

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The Browns in Primetime!
The Browns…in Primetime???
(NFL) The NFL released its full regular-season schedule on Wednesday, and the biggest takeaway wasn’t who the Patriots will face in their Super Bowl defense(although some do say they have another ‘easy’ season ahead). It was the Cleveland Browns, who are featured in FOUR primetime games this year after seeing just 11 in the past 10 years combined.

These are the same Browns that saw heartbreak in the 1980s and disappeared in the 1990s; the same Browns that lost 31 of 32 games in 2016 and 2017; the same Browns that has started 30 quarterbacks in the past 20 years. Basically, the Browns have sucked forever.

Now, people are actually pretty hyped about that same Browns team, after drafting rising stars Baker Mayfield (QB) and Nick Chubb (RB) in 2018 and trading for mega-talented receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason. Things are looking up in Cleveland, said no one ever before, and you can watch in primetime.

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Historically Routine
How does that work?
(MLB) Anyone who’s ever watched a baseball game has surely seen a batter pop out to first base (it’s a fly ball that goes very high while not traveling very far laterally). It’s simple; it’s routine; and it’s hard to avoid. Somehow, Reds first baseman Joey Votto had managed to avoid sending one of those to first base for the first 13 years of his career, although he catches them often. That streak ended Wednesday, when Votto popped out to first base for the first time in 6,829 career plate appearances. It was only his eighth infield pop-up dating back to his NL MVP season in 2010, and nearly every pop-up of his career had gone to the left side of the diamond (this is more common for left-handed batters). Votto has had a long career of eliminating one of the most mundane plays in baseball, and a historic streak like this shows his greatness in both patience and consistency.

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ON THIS DAY

In 1946, Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson (MLB) made his debut with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers farm team. One year later, he broke MLB’s color barrier on his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch Rickey, the Dodgers’ president and co-owner, had signed Robinson in October 1945, and the two planned for Robinson to play for the Montreal Royals so that he could prepare for the challenges that would await him in the big leagues. Robinson made his debut before 52,000 fans in Jersey City in 1946.

His first appearance was a groundout, but his next at-bat ended with a three-run homer. He finished with four hits and two stolen bases in a historic 14-1 win.

Jackie Robinson played in 151 games during his first big league season in 1947 and stole more bases than anyone else in the National League that year. He was awarded the first-ever Rookie of the Year title, and in 1949, Robinson was named the National League’s MVP. The next year he became the Dodgers’ highest paid player. In 1955, Robinson helped the Dodgers win the World Series before retiring in October of 1956. Robinson now has his own day, Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th – the day he debuted for the Dodgers. 


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