06/23/2024
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By Sonny Jones

Hi there. How have you been? Long time, no words. It’s been nearly two weeks since the last column if the math is correct.

Been on a Hurricanes-bender … that’s hockey’s Carolina, not college basketball’s Miami. Planted myself in Section 304, Row C, Seat 15 inside Raleigh’s PNC Arena and watched the Metro Division-leading Hurricanes lose 2-1 against the Rangers a week ago, topple playoff-bound Toronto 5-3 on Saturday, drop a shootout against the NHL’s best regular season team, Boston, on Sunday and cap the homestand with an unimpressive 4-0 loss against Tampa Bay.

Be back in less than three weeks with the rest of the Caniacs for the first round of the playoffs. Thought earlier in the season that Carolina had a good chance of winning the Stanley Cup, but now would be extremely surprised if the Hurricanes make a long playoff run. Who knows?

BASEBALL IS BACK!

This is the greatest day of the year, especially since Santa Claus stopped leaving me any gifts under the tree. It’s Major League Baseball’s opening day. Even Detroit, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Colorado fans can rationalize their team making the playoffs. Won’t happen, of course, but hope springs eternal until mid- to late-April for a few clubs.

Here’s the way the standings will look at the end of the season.

AL East: Toronto, Tampa Bay, NY Yankees, Boston, Baltimore

AL Central: Cleveland, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City, Detroit

AL West: Houston, LA Angels, Seattle, Texas, Oakland

NL East: Atlanta, NY Mets, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington

NL Central: Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

NL West: San Diego, LA Dodgers, San Francisco, Arizona, Colorado

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

• 1981 — Sophomore guard Isiah Thomas scores 23 points to lead Indiana to a 63-50 victory over North Carolina to win the NCAA basketball title.

POTATO’S TOP PICKS TO WATCH TODAY

• MLB: San Francisco at NY Yankees or Atlanta at Washington, 1 p.m., MLBN

• TENNIS: Miami Open, 1 p.m., TENNIS

• PGA: Valero Texas Open, 4 p.m., GOLF

• MLB: Philadelphi at Texas or NY Mets at Miami, 5 p.m., MLBN

• MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston, 7 p.m., ESPN

• BASEBALL: Wake Forest at Clemson, 7 p.m., ACCN

• TENNIS: Miami Open, 7 p.m., TENNIS

• NBA: Boston at Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m., TNT

• BASKETBALL: NIT Championship – UAB vs. North Texas, 9:30 p.m., ESPN2

• NBA: New Orleans at Denver, 10 p.m., TNT

• MLB: LA Angels at Oakland or Cleveland at Seattle, 10 p.m., MLBN

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com.

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