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The Sports Report: It’s Opening Day!

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
Justin Turner
(Norm Hall / Getty Images)

Howdy everyone, my name is Houston Mitchell, proprietor of this here newsletter. Let’s get right to the news.

Opening Day

Here we are, another opening day for the Dodgers and the Angels. Opening day is magical. The smell of the grass, the spotless stadium, the feeling that anything can happen and this could be the year your team wins the World Series (except for you Orioles and Marlins fans).

The Dodgers will hoist another NL title pennant. In a few days, the Angels will hoist, well, maybe a copy of Mike Trout’s new contract?

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And then on day two, we can go back to complaining about the high price of parking, those long lines at the concession stands, why Dave Roberts made that move, or how Brad Ausmus will never be half the manager Mike Scioscia was.

But for one day, everything seems perfect. Including our coverage. So check out the following:

Russell Martin‘s career arc becomes a circle with return to the Dodgers.

Lighter and healthier, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen brimming with confidence.

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Dodgers newsletter: Why the Dodgers will win the NL West.

Angels’ blueprint to reach the postseason for first time since 2014.

Angels acquire reliever Sam Freeman, outfielder Brian Goodwin.

Sports podcast: A look at Dodgers, Angels and rest of MLB as season gets underway.

Kings

Today is a big day if you are a Kings fan, and even if you aren’t, it’s something worth noting. When Dustin Brown plays for the Kings tonight, he will have played in more games with the Kings than any other player in team history.

Brown will surpass Dave Taylor’s mark of 1,111 games that’s stood since Taylor retired in 1994, a symbolic changing of the guard that Taylor is proud to see.

“I think it’s about time,” Taylor said. “I retired 25 years ago.”

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And Taylor was the GM who chose Brown in the draft. Nice symmetry.

“Certainly, we thought a lot of him,” Taylor said. “Even when we drafted him, we talked about him being the future captain of the L.A. Kings, just the way he carried himself, the way he competed, how professional he was, how he trained.”

“I think the older I get, you realize there’s a lot more that goes into it than my hard work, preparation,” Brown said. “It’s so many factors — the fact that I’ve been able to stay here through some rough times. How many players can say that they have an opportunity to finish their career with one organization?

“It doesn’t happen very often. It’s probably a two-way street of me committing to being here and the Kings also standing behind me in some tough situations.”

The Kings will honor Brown at home on Monday, in a ceremony with Taylor. A special poster will be given to fans in attendance.

March Madness

Ben Bolch, on the sadness Florida State will wrestle with as they play in the Sweet 16:

“His empty locker will be filled before game time, a black-and-gold jersey hung inside with “0” across the chest and “Cofer” across the back shoulder.

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“His teammates will take the court wearing warmup shirts featuring a tribute patch.

“His surname will be scrawled on the shoe of teammate Terance Mann.

“Phil Cofer won’t play for Florida State in its NCAA tournament regional semifinal against Gonzaga on Thursday at Honda Center, but his presence will resonate with the same fervor as the Seminoles’ war chant.

“Our brother is hurting right now,” guard PJ Savoy said Wednesday as he sat across from Cofer’s empty locker, “so we’ve got to play for him.”

“The Seminoles will play for the father and the son, the best of friends who never got to say goodbye. Cofer lost his father, Michael, unexpectedly last week after the 58-year-old succumbed to a lengthy battle with a merciless disease, leaving a hole in his heart and on his team’s bench for its biggest game of the season.

“Phil Cofer was the leading scorer last season on a team that reached the final game in this same West Regional, and even though his production had dipped in recent months amid a series of injuries, the fifth-year senior’s presence always galvanized his teammates as a symbol of the Seminoles’ growth.

“The heartbreak started with a phone call. Cofer was in the locker room celebrating the Seminoles’ first-round victory over Vermont last week when his mom called to inform him of the news about his father.

“Michael Cofer had lost his longtime battle with amyloidosis, a rare disease in which the body cannot properly absorb proteins, disrupting function of the kidneys and other organs. The disorder had left Cofer, a former Pro Bowl linebacker with the Detroit Lions, bed-ridden and unable to work.”

Read more here.

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A look at the Sweet 16 schedule for the men’s tournament:

Today’s Sweet 16 TV schedule

All Times Pacific

West Regional

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Florida State, 4 p.m., CBS

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m., CBS

South Regional

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Purdue, 4:30 p.m., TBS

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 12 Oregon, 7 p.m., TBS

Friday’s Sweet 16 TV schedule

All Times Pacific

East Regional

No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 3 LSU, 4 p.m., CBS

No. 1 Duke vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech, 6:30 p.m., CBS

Midwest Regional

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Auburn, 4:30 p.m., TBS

No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Houston, 7 p.m., TBS

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Odds and Ends

UCLA’s Kris Wilkes announces he’s headed to the NBA…. Santa Anita might abolish the use of whips by jockeys…. Nepali golfer Pratima Sherpa one step away from fulfilling dream…. Clippers’ run to the playoffs has exceeded expectations, and they can live with that…. Golfers Brittany Lincicome and Sarah Jane Smith don’t take a pregnant pause for Kia Classic…. Rams feel Malcolm Brown is best fit to use in tandem with Todd Gurley…. Michael Avenatti is not backing off accusations that Nike paid associates of prep players…. Lakers lose to Utah Jazz, 115-100.

Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)

Clippers at Milwaukee, 5 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570

Arizona at Dodgers, 1 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, AM 570

Angels at Oakland, 1 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Kings at Vancouver, 7 p.m., FSW

Born on this date

1944: NBA player Rick Barry

1961: Former Lakers player/coach Byron Scott

1966: NFL player/coach Jason Garrett

1969: Soccer player Earnie Stewart

1972: NHL player Keith Tkachuk

1972: Former Clippers player/broadcaster Michael Smith

Died on this date

1953: Multi-sport star Jim Thorpe, 64, heart attack

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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