Welcome to the last week of the quickest month of the year!
Somehow we have almost hit the end of two months in the 2019 calendar year. Time never stops and it remains undefeated. March brings some sports relief in the form of March Madness before April hits and we get to one of the best sports months of the year.
Leading up to April and the joy it brings, we have a myriad of topics that I feel compelled to talk about.
Running from February 26 to March 4, the combine beckons as the NFL drum continues to beat on. The beauty in the combine for Browns fans continues to match the feeling of draft season: we don’t have to care all too much.
The quarterback wars are over, the need to solve a Top 5 pick is over. Instead, the Browns will select at No. 17 and have the opportunity to be picky with their needs. They need to address a defense that has some holes, but they can also choose to select a weapon to keep improving an offense around Baker Mayfield.
The Browns will have their eye on the likes of many. Ed Oliver from Houston, Jachai Polite from Florida, Byron Murphy from Washington, Christian Wilkins from Clemson, D.K. Metcalf from Mississippi, and so on. Although, the combine isn’t quite about the big names most of us know. Instead, it is about the names you’ve never heard of. Solidifying or ruining their candidacy to go higher in the draft.
Last year Browns fans had to pay special attention to quarterback interviews and throwing sessions. There won’t be that kind of intrigue, but much like last year when the Browns knew Baker Mayfield was their guy at the end of the combine, they will know who their guy is after this session. Expect to hear that in interviews come late April.
I have always had an admiration for Bryce Harper. The long flowing hair, the gorgeous swing, the bravado, all of it. As a baseball player, he’s not for everyone, but he was always for me. I’ve had great admiration for the way he plays the game for so long.
Although I knew the Indians would never be in the race for his services, I have always been intrigued from afar with his eventual free-agent market. He could be the $400 million man. Then we hit the off-season.
The MLB has a fractured free agency period. The NFL and the NBA have a way of building its hype. Making it something special to their calendar season, and the fan bases love it. And I mean love it. But Major League Baseball has found a way to make free agency miserable. Fringe fans lose interest in it. It’s a problem.
Rumors are swirling that Harper finally gets a deal done with the Phillies this week. Almost a week into Spring Training. It’s borderline unfathomable. Imagine LeBron joining a new team in the middle of the preseason, months after the free agency period opens. It fails to capitalize on the interest fans have when the period for free agency begins. MLB has to fix this issue.
The sport wants to ignore these issues but the way it is losing fans year to year is going to force their hand. They have to get more fan engagement and they have to make their stars more marketable. The anticipation for the 2018 free agency period was talked about years in advance. Then it watched two of the game’s best stars sign without the collective sports world caring all too much. I hope for baseball’s sake they find a fix.
The Oscars came and went last night, and I’ll save you the complaints I have built up. But what was noteworthy was a Marvel movie finally bringing home some important awards. Black Panther was up for seven total Oscars, and even for Best Picture. It felt like quite the accomplishment and a great representation of the decade that has been for Marvel films.
Black Panther came away with three awards including Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design. Avengers: Infinity War was up for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, but it lost to First Man. Nonetheless, it appears the genre has immersed itself into the regular rotation of awards, and it is long overdue.
Starting in March we will get an action-packed year of superhero movies. The list includes Captain Marvel, Shazam, Avengers: Endgame, Dark Phoenix, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Joker, and Star Wars: Episode IX. Seemingly every month will be littered with a movie in the genre.
Get your popcorn ready, we’re about to be regular visitors to the local theater.