While quarantine and COVID have not discriminated in making life shitty and unbearable for everyone, it’s been especially tough for those of us who look to sports as our sole enjoyment throughout the mundane reality of everyday life. We’ve been teased with UFC, golf, and European soccer, nothing can get you going like your favorite American team sports. With the MLB kicking off this week and the NBA coming back next week, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and am looking forward to emptying my entire bank account on 6 team, multi-sport parlays. Here’s what to look forward to in the week ahead in the world of sports.
MLB Baseball Begins Abbreviated Regular Season
(Image via Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
The MLB’s regular season will begin on Thursday, July 23rd this week with the defending champion Washington Nationals taking on the AL favorite New York Yankees. This matchup features two of the best pitchers in the game, Gerrit Cole and Max Sherzer, as well as some of the leagues most exciting hitting talents like Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres. For those who complain about baseball being boring and the MLB season dragging on, I think the 60 game slate will actually increase the entertainment value. The defending champs were 27-33 60 games into last season and would’ve missed the playoffs, and two divisions (NL Central and NL West) would’ve featured tiebreakers for the division championship. These stats emphasize that every game this year will be important, and I expect to see several surprises throughout the season. The excitement of an abbreviated season will also be felt when the NBA returns July 30, as nearly every game will have an impact on the playoffs. Even without fans, we can look forward to Astros players getting beaned, ridiculous cardboard cutouts of fans behind the plate, and an exciting sprint to the finish. Look for the AFTR PRTY MLB Power Rankings before Thursday’s opener later this week.
UFC Fight Night 174
The UFC event this weekend looks to provide some exciting brawling and big knockouts. Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker vs. Darren “The Gorilla” Till will be an action packed main event, and with three main event fights between light heavyweights or heavyweights, you can expect a lot of big swings and hard hits. Dana White has pulled off his Fight Island experiment and is continuing to grow the UFC brand throughout the pandemic, so hopefully the exciting action we’ve been treated to in recent weeks is continued. Look forward to Jack Emilius providing you with some PRTY Favors ahead of Saturday’s event.
PGA Tour 3M Open
(Image via Bleacher Report)
John Rahm became the world’s new No. 1 golfer this past weekend with a win at the Memorial, but this past weekend’s event was an exception in terms of excitement as Rahm cruised to a rather easy win. The past few weeks have seen up and coming star Colin Morikawa beat perennial stud Justin Thomas in a three hole playoff, beefy Bryson DeChambeau with a Sunday comeback victory in Detroit two weeks ago, and former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson regain his form with an exciting 1 stroke victory at the Traveler’s in late June. While Tiger will not be hitting the links this weekend, stars like Johnson and Brooks Koepka are in the field, along with young newcomers who have been crushing it lately in Morikawa and Matt Wolff. Here’s hoping we get another exciting weekend of action in Minnesota this week.
While there has been no official word on the exact dates of the announcements, the NBA did announce that the race for all regular season awards is over and will not take into account games played after the season resumes. This has led to a lot of politicking by coaches on behalf of their players, most notably Mike Budenholzer and Frank Vogel for Giannis and LeBron, respectively. I personally hope the NBA awards are leaked this week before the NBA can put together some bullshit ceremony, and that this information fuels the fire of players who feel snubbed from not being included.
As always, look out for some PRTY Favors this week as more sports return to action, and enjoy your favorite distraction from familial responsibilities, talking to your girlfriend/boyfriend, and taking care of your general well being.