Justice for Jean!
I hate Michigan. Not the state, which I’m told has at least a few decent people. No, I’m talking about the university basketball team, with their pretentious-ass blue and maize uniforms (come on, who uses a color named after corn?), which has done nothing less than suck all the joy and goodness out of the college sports world over the past three years. First, because they lacked the cajones and/or talent to otherwise succeed, they paid off the refs in order to beat TU in the First Four in 2016, subsequently robbing our school of the chance to rub our inevitable deep tourney run in Joe “indefensible by every known standard” Lunardi’s face. Then last year, they knocked out OSU in the first round of the tourney with a flukish and historic three-point shooting performance, which I will pretend to care about as a good adopted son of Oklahoma. And now, finding themselves unjustly in the Final Four when by rights they should have been knocked out by Houston, they had the AUDACITY, the TEMERITY, the UNMITIGATED GALL to knock out Loyola-Chicago. One of the all-time great tournament Cinderella stories, the 11th-seeded Ramblers represented perhaps the last truly bipartisan entity in the country. Really, is there a person anywhere who wasn’t rooting for this team? They carried themselves with the swagger of a marquee program, hit clutch shots like they had a coaching staff of Jordan, Ortiz and Vinatieri, and boasted America’s favorite nun/grandmother in Sister Jean. If they had won it all, it would have been among the most magical moments in sports history. Think the sun stopping in the sky, dogs and cats getting along, Donald Trump and Joe Biden agreeing that their penises are equally massive. But no, the Michigan Hugh Jackmans just couldn’t abide by that, could they? By the time you guys read this, the championship will have been decided, and hopefully, Villanova will have been the one to cut down the nets. If I see Moritz Wagner derpily singing along to “One Shining Moment,” I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to cope.
With homework, projects and the job search all piling on at once, this is the first year since middle school that I won’t be participating in a fantasy baseball league. I’m not crying, you’re crying! Nonetheless, I won’t let my loyal readers down, who I know rely on my flawless advice to dominate their leagues. Without further ado: don’t overpay for Aaron Judge, who’s more likely to hit 35 homers than 50. Bryce Harper, on the other hand? He’s in for another MVP campaign, proceed full-speed ahead. Odubel Herrera is a toolsy top-of-the-order hitter on a talented team who has already vacillated between over and underrated about 50 times in his three-year career. You can get this potential top-20 outfielder at an absurdly cheap price. As is the case every year, don’t overpay for top closers. There is too much annual turnover, and talented and reliable names like Wade Davis and Cody Allen will be available late. Don’t fall for the new uniform and the big name — everything about Jake Arrieta screams decline. I feel like I predict a Yasmani Grandal breakout every season, and maybe this is the year, I’m finally right. If you’re looking for an educated opinion on Shohei Ohtani, I can tell you this much: he won’t be as good as Babe Ruth. Aside from that, who knows? Don’t ignore Nelson Cruz just because he’s 37 and will clog up your utility spot. The man has averaged 155 games and 42 homers over his past four seasons and has shown no signs of slowing down. Sean Manaea might be put on a pitch restriction once we get into the dog days, but he’s definitely got the stuff to break out. Javy Baez is a superstar in name only. Excellent defense doesn’t mean squat in fantasy, and that .273/.315/.453 line in a hitter’s park leaves a lot to be desired.