The NFL kicks off Thursday, the NBA and NHL are both deep into their playoffs and Major League Baseball swings into a stretch run of its truncated regular season. All four major professional American sports will be in play this week (something that only ever happens in late October in normal years) and two of the major college football conferences (ACC and Big-12) will begin their seasons. Add to that the U.S. Open in tennis, plus the U.S. Open in golf teeing off next week – and there’s probably never been more sports options to consume in a short span like the one we’re about to witness.
It’s a welcome state of affairs for local sports fans who haven’t been entertained by the D-backs’ season and need something to fill the void. Let’s take a look at five takeaways from the previous week in sports to explain why.
The Arizona Cardinals have been busy writing some big checks this summer. Weeks after making Budda Baker the highest paid safety in the NFL, the Cards backed up the Brinks truck for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins reportedly negotiated his own contract extension worth $94 million over five years. The deal keeps Hopkins under contract in Arizona through the 2024 season and has $42 million guaranteed – making him the highest paid non-quarterback in football history.
Big Takeaway: The Cardinals are putting their money where their mouth is. With the Hopkins addition on offense and the revamped look on defense, there hasn’t been this much hype for the Cardinals since the 2015 season when they went to the NFC Championship game.
The D-backs’ young right-handed hurler set a major league record for consecutive starts to begin a career allowing three or fewer earned runs. That 23-game streak came to an end Monday in San Francisco. Gallen allowed four runs over five innings of work in the latest D-Backs loss. For some reason, he fell apart in the 6th inning and could not recover, snapping the impressive stretch of pitching this team has sorely needed.
Big Takeaway: Even in his worst start of his career, Gallen had only allowed one hit through the first five innings and showed everyone why he’s easily the D-Backs’ best starting pitcher. He should be considered must-see TV for any Arizona fan.
Josh Rosen famously declared there were “nine mistakes made ahead of me” after the Cardinals drafted him 10th overall in 2018. He went on to have such a miserable rookie season that the team drafted Kyler Murray to replace him and then traded him away to Miami for a draft pick. After a season and a training camp with the Dolphins, they had seen enough of Rosen and cut him from the roster. He’s now signed on in Tampa Bay as a practice squad guy.
Big Takeaway: It’s now clear to see what the biggest mistake of the 2018 draft was. Very few people saw it on draft night.
It’s an exciting time for friends and family of several prominent Arizona athletes who’ve moved on to play at big time college football schools. Spencer Rattler shined at Phoenix’s Pinnacle High School and is now the starter at Oklahoma. Brock Purdy from Gilbert’s Perry High School enters his 2nd season as starting quarterback at Iowa State. His Cyclones teammate, Joey Ramos from Phoenix’s Deer Valley High School, is now the starting right tackle as a redshirt sophomore. Notre Dame Prep’s Jake Smith produced 2,349 all-purpose yards for Texas in his freshman season and figures to become a star for the Longhorns in his sophomore campaign.
Big Takeaway: There’s a lot of good young football players from Arizona to root for, as our local Pac-12 teams sit on the sidelines this season.
As mentioned above, the Pac-12 won’t be playing college football games anytime soon. This despite the news last week they had reached an agreement with manufacturing company Quidel to provide efficient daily testing for Covid-19. Commissioner Larry Scott called it a “game changer,” however also admitted that state and local health officials in California and Oregon have not been convinced that it’s safe for student-athletes to play sports.
Big Takeaway: It’s not so much a hurdle the Pac-12 needs to clear, but more like a brick wall they need to knock over in order to bring sports back for the conference.