The Strikeout From Heaven

March 22, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

Baseball fans couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling preseason. The World Baseball Classic had one last trick up its sleeve before we transition towards Opening Day. An “angelic” finish, if you will. It’s a pro sports day before the NCAA Tournament returns tomorrow. If your bracket is on life support, leave it behind for one more day.

Letter Rip!


The Strikeout From Heaven

Photo: Daniel Shirey / Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani Strikes Out Angels Teammate Mike Trout to Clinch Title for Japan (3-2) in World Baseball Classic

A heavenly ending! Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script for the finish to a wild two weeks in the World Baseball Classic. Team USA and Team Japan squared off in the finals last night in front of a sellout crowd in Miami, and a nail-biter came down to a head-to-head between Angels teammates as the sports world stood still…

The WBC Finals: Trea Turner (USA) and Munetaka Murakami (JAPAN) traded home runs in the third before Japan took a 3-1 in the 8th. Kyle Schwarber brought Team USA back to within one thanks to a solo shot. One inning later, the epic finale we were all waiting for finally came. Down 3-2 in the 9th with a full count and two outs. Mike Trout at the plate. Shohei Ohtani on the mound. And Ohtani delivered a breaking ball punch-out to give Japan their third WBC title and an undefeated run in 2023.

Whether your country won or lost, the game of baseball got a new energy boost in its spring preseason. Congratulations to Japan, the 2023 World Baseball Classic champs! The MLB’s Opening Day is just eight days away.

Watch: Japan Beats USA (3-2) in WBC Final

Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: Ohtani Delivers Japan’s Storybook Ending in WBC Final

ESPN: What An Ending! Takeaways From an Epic World Baseball Classic



The PG Injury

Photo: Allen Berezovsky / Getty Images

Clippers Hold Their Breath After Paul George Suffers Right Knee Injury in Loss to Thunder

The Clippers and Thunder met Tuesday night in a battle for Western Conference playoff positioning, but the Clippers faithful are in distress after their All-Star guard Paul George suffered a hyper-extended right knee going up for a rebound. Basketball fans will remember nine years ago when George suffered a horrific fracture of his right leg with Team USA. He immediately fell to the floor before being helped off. And while he’s still being evaluated, losing George for the season would be a doomsday scenario for the Clippers. Los Angeles lost the game on a miss from Kawhi Leonard in the final seconds (101-100), but they had won five of their last six to reach the 4-seed in the West. The Thunder — 8-2 in their last 10 games — are now the hottest team in the West since the start of March.

Watch: Paul George Suffers Scary Knee Injury

Other NBA Highlights

Spida’s Must-See Slam: Dunk of the year candidate? We think so. The Cavs clipped the Nets on Tuesday in Brooklyn (115-109) behind 31 points from Donovan Mitchell, but Spida delivered a must-see poster on Yuta Watanabe. If you watch one link today, we recommend this one.

Morant Set to ReturnJa Morant was back at practice for the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday after serving an eight-game suspension for flashing a weapon in an Instagram video last month. He’s expected to play tonight against the Rockets. Memphis has won three in a row.

Celtics Lock Down Kings: The Celtics handed the playoff-hungry Kings their second straight loss with a blowout on Tuesday (132-109). Boston got 36 and 27 from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, respectively, to give the Celtics their 50th win. The Kings (43-29) are still chasing their first postseason berth since 2006.



Ovi Makes History

Photo: Scott Taetsch / Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin (40th Goal) Passes Wayne Gretzky for Most 40-Goal Seasons in NHL History

Move over, Wayne Gretzky. As Alex Ovechkin nears the end of his career, NHL records continue to fall. On Tuesday, Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the season for the Capitals in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets. And although a 40-goal season may not be earth-shattering, Ovi’s 13th 40-goal season in his career broke Wayne Gretzky’s record (12) for most 40-goal seasons in NHL history. The 37-year-old scored off a deflection early in the first period last night. Gretzky still holds the NHL’s all-time goals record with 894, but Ovechkin is closing in fast (820).

Watch: Ovechkin Breaks Gretzky’s Record With 13th 40-Goal Season

Other NHL Highlights

Bruins Win 4th StraightThe Bruins’ history chase continued on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over the Senators for their fourth straight. Linus Ullmark made 40 saves and Boston is now within eight wins of the NHL single-season record (62).

Canes Make Comeback: The Hurricanes rallied to beat the Rangers with a three-goal third period on Tuesday (3-2) to halt New York’s win streak at four games. Teuvo Teravainen scored the game-winner with 2:33 left, and Carolina extended its lead in the Metro race.

Wild Win at the HornMatt Boldy scored with 1.3 seconds left in overtime to lift the Wild over the Devils (2-1, OT) and put Minnesota back in a tie with Dallas for the top spot in the Central.



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The first waves of 2023 NFL free agency may be over. Most of the big-money deals may be complete. But that doesn\’t mean more activity isn\’t on the way. Let’s play matchmaker for 10 of the top remaining free agents. (CBS Sports)

 Updated March Madness Odds

Alabama and Houston, the last No. 1 seeds standing, have the best odds to win the national championship heading into the Sweet 16. The remaining field is comprised of two 2-seeds, three 3-seeds, two 4-seeds, and a host of “underdogs” with firepower. (Sports Illustrated)

 The 2023 MLB All-Sleeper Team

In any fantasy baseball draft, there will be situations that call for a swing-for-the-fences pick. A well-selected sleeper who outperforms his preseason projection could potentially be the difference in winning a league championship. (USA Today)