Welcome to the Tuesday edition of The Cooler, where it pleases me to bring you some good news. Let’s get to it:
*Since I brought you the gloom-and-doom “here’s Target Field three weeks from Opening Day” photo 12 days ago, showing a snow-filled, almost desolate looking ballpark, it is only responsible in the name of BOTH SIDES journalism to report that the weather — as happens in March — is looking considerably better now.
On a personal note, I went for a run outside Monday for the first time since probably mid-January — or whenever we entered the vicious cycle of snow-bitter cold and repeated it about 17 times until all of us wanted to leave everything behind and start a new life somewhere warm. When I walked from the train station to the office today, it was already in the UPPER THIRTIES, and the sun felt like a friend I hadn’t seen for 25 years.
My relentless checking of the 10-day forecast for any shred of good news has also revealed this: on Thursday, March 28, the current projected high temperature in Minneapolis is 59 degrees with sun. That happens to be the day MLB in its infinite wisdom scheduled the Twins to open the season at Target Field against Cleveland.
Maybe, just maybe, this will work out?
A lot can change between now and then, of course — even though I tend to cling to long-term projections I like and disregard ones I don’t like — but for now feel free to express some optimism.
Did we make it? I think maybe we did, but I don’t want to jinx it.
*Vegas has the No. 10 seed Gophers as 5.5 point underdogs against seventh-seeded Louisville in the NCAA opener Thursday — a bigger underdog than any other No. 10 seed.
Florida is just a 2-point underdog as a No. 10 against Nevada; Seton Hall is a 2.5-point underdog against Wofford; and Iowa is a 3.5-point underdog against Cincinnati.
FiveThirtyEight’s model, by the way, gives the Gophers a 32 percent chance of beating Louisville and a 6 percent chance of reaching the Sweet 16.
*Mike Trout’s reported 12-year, $430 million contract will pay him just under $36 million a year. It also gets us even closer to the $1 billion contract that might hit around 2069 if current trends continue.
Then again, there’s a part of me that thinks Trout’s contract might be the biggest one, at least in total value, that a U.S. athlete ever signs. Trout is in the perfect place at the perfect time as a generational talent. If TV revenues flatten out and eventually recede, while advanced metrics continue to warn against such long-term deals, this could be as big as a contract ever gets. The longest NBA deals are usually about half as long, so reaching that sort of total money is hard to imagine.
*Signing Dan Bailey to a low-risk one-year deal seems like a reasonable move for the Vikings. If he has a good season, maybe the Vikings will find long-term kicking stability for the first time in a while.