NCAA Basketball Update

 

We have made it to the Final Four! Auburn, Texas Tech, Michigan State and Virginia will play in Minneapolis. Some new teams will play for the championship.

Michigan State is the only team from the Sweet 16 consisting of Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, that was expected to get this far. Aside from the absolute thriller between Duke and UCF (Duke got away with at least two fouls in the last 20 seconds by the way), the second round of the tournament was pretty lame. There weren’t really any upsets, and most games weren’t close. The Tennessee-Iowa and Kentucky-Wofford games were the only other really good ones. Oh well. March is still full of madness, and the elite eight rounds of the tourney were sure exciting.

Bryce Harper

      On February 28th the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Harper to the largest contract not only in baseball history but in North American sports history as well. This was not a surprise to really anyone, but within baseball circles, there is a lot of talk on whether or not Harper is really worth it. Harper won MVP in 2015 but since has only disappointed since.

    Last season hit .249, a batting average well below the league average. He did hit 34 home runs but that is not enough to make up for his atrocious average. His new Phillies teammate Rhys Hoskins hit .246 with 34 home runs and only made $552,000  last season. Hoskins is still on his first major league contract but when he hits the market he would be lucky to command a quarter as much money as Harper.

    The reason Bryce Harper is getting paid so much is not because of who he is as a player, but because of who he could be. Harper has not lived up to his potential whatsoever aside from 2015, and 2017, in which he was injured nearly half the season. Although a six-time all-star, there is a case that Harper truly only deserves two of those bids. The MLB All-Star game is more or less a popularity contest and statistically, in comparison, Harper does not hold a candle to Trout, Arenado, Betts, Judge, or any other of the games “elites”.

    Though only 26 years old, Phillies fans have to be worried if Harper will ever replicate his MVP production. There is no denying that Bryce Harper passes the eye test. He hits home runs that explode off of his bat like few other players. He possesses natural talent like few players to ever play in the MLB, but is potential worth such a large investment?

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Forever Royal

By Austin Schuster

     On Thursday, March 28, the Kansas City Royals opened their 2019 season by taking on the Chicago White Sox at the K. Opening Day is always preceded by a variety of season-opening ceremonies. Every season at the K, one can notice quite a few changes, and this season is no different. The Royals launched their 2019 campaign slogan, “Always Royal”, in early February. Along with the new slogan comes a new mural on the facade of the Royals Hall of Fame building; you will definitely notice it when you’re out at the K this year.

     The Royals also have a wide variety of new food options at the ballpark. They have lowered the prices of concessions drastically, as pretzels and popcorn will now only cost $3 this year, hot dogs $4, and a 16 oz Pepsi $3. In addition, the Royals have announced the creation of “The Keep at the K”. This is a new fan seating section that, according to the Royals website, “is a place for fans that are not only passionate about the Royals but equally passionate about their Kansas City community and possibly their epic tailgating.”

     Aside from the many stadium and marketing changes, the Royals have made quite a few on-field changes. Players such as Billy Hamilton, Jake Diekman, Brad Boxberger, Martin Maldonado, and Lucas Duda. Also, prospects Kyle Zimmer and Frank Schwindel have made the team’s Opening Day roster, and are set to make their big league debuts this year.

     As you can see, the team will look a bit new this year, but one thing is for certain: no matter the changes, we will forever be Always Royal.

Jackson Mayer- Profile

Born in the heart of Mission Hills, Jackson Mayer has been raised in the hipster KCMO culture for as long as he can remember. Mayer is an avid music listener and buys turntable albums frequently from various album shops across downtown Kansas City. Mayer is not interested in modern-day rap; his music interests lie within past generations. Mayer’s favorite band, The Grateful Dead, was formed in 1965, and features members such as Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and many more. Some of Mayer’s other favorite bands are The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Steve Miller Band.

Mayer’s interests do not only lie with music, but also expand to lacrosse. Mayer has been playing lacrosse since he was eight years old. Mayer plays the midfield and attack. He played for the JV team at Rockhurst last year, and, “is expecting a great season ahead of him.” With LAKC lacrosse right around the corner, Mayer is prepped and ready to squash his enemies.

Mayer is very active in the Rockhurst community. He is a member of the Album Club, Chess club, and the Patriotism Club. You can tell by now that Mayer is very interested in music, and feels at home at the Album Club meetings. Mayer is extremely proud of his country and shows it by being an active member of the Patriotism Club. When he isn’t playing lacrosse, Mayer might be found playing chess after school. While he is new to the game, Mayer is a fast learner and is quickly becoming an amazing chess player.

Jackson is an amazing person to talk to, so if you have the opportunity, stop by, and talk to him; he will talk to you about anything.

JacksonMayer

Gronk Retires

Gronk.jpg     Rob Gronkowski declared his retirement from the NFL on Sunday, March 24th. Gronkowski spent nine seasons with the New England Patriots as their starting tight end.

     On Sunday, Gronkowski released this statement on Instagram, “It all started at20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today,” Gronkowski wrote. “I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have met, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been a part of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been given and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been a part of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now it’s time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be a part of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and HUGE cheers to the uncertain of what’s next.”
     As a Patriot, Gronkowski played in 115 regular season games, with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns. He also played in 16 playoff games, with 81 receptions for 1,163 yards and 12 touchdowns. Gronk was also a five-time Pro Bowler, and competed in three Super Bowls, winning all three. We will greatly, or maybe not so greatly, miss playing against Gronkowski at Arrowhead Stadium, and we hope that he has a great retirement.

Mueller Report Completed

A recent report from Robert Mueller, special counsel investigator leading the case on Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice, exonerated the president of his supposed ties to Russia. The Russia investigation, which has been going on since the 2016 Presidential Election, has been a dark cloud on Trump’s presidency. According to the report, Mueller stated that the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” The report also concluded that the investigation did not have a definitive answer to whether or not Trump obstructed justice during his presidency.

However, Trump isn’t quite out of the woods yet. Despite this conclusive report from Mueller, it isn’t all the evidence from the investigation. The four page report is only a summary of the evidence compiled. Congressional Democrats are requesting permission to all of Mueller’s findings and are planning on pushing more investigations, some of which might put a shadow over Trump’s chances in the 2020 Presidential Election.

       Moreover, Mueller’s report that Trump did not collude with Russia reflects badly on many journalism institutions, such as the New York Times and CNN. “I think Democrats and the liberal media owe the president and they owe the American people an apology,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on NBC News’s Today. The media, of course, defended their position, stating that they simply reported what they perceived to be the facts on an unprecedented situation. However, the report may be a death sentence for many media outlets who avidly pushed the collusion scenario.

        Nevertheless, while the report may not exonerate Trump completely of the many accusations of obstructions of justice, it allows Trump and his administration some breathing room from an investigation that has been going on since the beginning of his presidency.


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NBA Playoff Picture

March Madness is upon us.  Once college basketball season officially ends, basketball fans turn their attention to the NBA playoffs.

This NBA season has been an exhilarating journey. Full of rising teams, unexpected finishes, buzzer beaters, slam dunks, and historic performances. As the season starts to wrap up, teams are starting to make those final playoff pushes. With under two weeks left of games to play, the championship favorites are starting to become more clear.

    In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors rest at the top. However, they aren’t alone in the ultra competitive Western Conference. The Denver Nuggets are neck and neck with the Warriors in terms of standings, and the Houston Rockets, led by MVP favorite James Harden, are on fire right now. The Oklahoma City Thunder have started to stumble however, a team led by Russell Westbrook and Paul George will be a problem come playoff time. Also look out for the Portland Trailblazers, who have been hot as of late thanks to incredible play from Damian Lillard. The final 8 teams for the Western Conference are pretty much set, but with a couple weeks left to play, the rankings could still move around.

    Moving onto the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks sit at the top of the rankings, with a winning percentage which they’ve maintained all season. With impressive team play, an offensive boost, and one of the top 5 players in the league leading their team in Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are the real deal come playoff time, and likely the favorite to go to the Finals. But the road to the finals won’t be an easy one for the East either. The Toronto Raptors have also been on a tear this season, after acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol. They sit at the 2nd seed, and could even possibly move to 1st seed by the end of the season. The Philadelphia 76ers will also be a very dynamic and difficult team to beat. Holding one of the best starting 5’s in basketball, including Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris, there aren’t many weak points in the team. Other teams to look out for are the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers, who sit in the mid tier rankings in the East, but have a lot of potential to upset.

    It’s almost playoff time, and it’s a time for NBA fans to get excited. If you think you’ve seen it all this season, just wait for what’s in store this postseason. It will be a show you won’t want to miss.

KC Bids for the World Cup

Kansas City’s FIFA World Cup Bid Executive Committee is beginning the final phase of bidding to be a host city for the 2026 World Cup. Kansas City would be one of the 10 host cities in the United States and, according to a release from Sporting KC, is one of 17 cities still being considered.

“The Kansas City metropolitan area has built over $400 million in soccer facilities over the past decade. But even more importantly, we have really been the thought leaders in innovative ways to grow the game of soccer,” said David Ficklin, the Executive Director of the KC 2026 World Cup Bid. With these upgrades to soccer facilities, Kansas City is more than ready to host the World Cup.

Kansas City estimates that being a host city could generate up to $620 million (according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group). This means it would benefit all of KC and, regardless of if you are a soccer fan or not, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people.

Black History Spotlight

W.E.B Du Bois wrote extensively and was the best-known spokesperson for
African-American rights during the first half of the 20th century. He co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) in 1909.

The NAACP has done a lot for the black community, for example in 1946, the NAACP won the Morgan v Virginia case where the Supreme Court banned states from having segregated facilities on buses and trains that cross state borders. In 1950, the head of the NAACP’s legal department, Thurgood Marshall, won his case in the Supreme Court for state universities to provide equal facilities for all students.

In 1954, the NAACP won its landmark legal case – Brown v the Board of Education. This case was lead by Special Counsel Thurgood Marshall. The organization had spent years fighting segregation in schools which existed in thirteen southern states. The Supreme Court declared that schools could be “separate and equal”. The NAACP found it easy to prove that children at white-only schools in the south had nearly $38 spent on each one of them per year. For children at black-only schools, the figure was just over $13. The Supreme Court deemed that this was not “equal” and declared schools that were segregated were unconstitutional.

W.E.B Du Bois also wrote five novels about the reconstruction of the Southern States. He also was the first African American student to attend Harvard.

NFL Refs: Dropping the Ball

     The NFL is becoming notorious for the numerous amounts of no-calls and “tic-tac” fouls being called or not called during the course of games. A great example of this was during the 2018-19 NFC championship which saw the New Orleans Saints face up against the Los Angeles Rams.

     With a minute and forty-five seconds left in the fourth quarter, Saint’s wide receiver Tommylee Lewis was running up the sideline, awaiting a potentially game-winning touchdown pass. As the pass was in the air, Ram’s corner Nickell Robey-Coleman slammed into Lewis, sending him careening through the air as the ball bounced incomplete, forcing the Saints to kick a field goal. Everyone around the nation knew that pass interference should’ve been called, except the four referees who were officiating the game.

     Outrage ensued when no flag was called. From ESPN to twitter, everyone was in disbelief that there was no penalty assessed to the Ram’s corner. ESPN analysts and fans alike agree that this is one of the most controversial non-calls in the history of football.

     In past years, referees in the National Football League have also been greatly criticized for flags being thrown for no reason. The penalty roughing the passer is assessed when a quarterback is unreasonably hit or thrown down after a pass attempt or run. Referees seem to be throwing the flags around like they are hot potatoes when it comes to roughing the passer.

      The NFL is contemplating rule changes and regulations to help prevent these bad calls or no calls. With new regulations in place, games could be more satisfying to watch, with less game winning or losing calls. This would help the audience of these games make less excuses or blame the refs for their team losing games. Overall, the NFL would benefit in every way if they choose to create new regulations for referees.