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Good morning, frents!
Congratulations to every Sox fan out there for capturing the top spot on the MLB drinking rankings that dominated baseball Twitter on Thursday afternoon. Fans of the Pale Hose say they drink an average of 4.2 pale ales during Sox games and spend an average of $46 on alcohol.
Those numbers put them atop the leaderboard compiled by ... checks notes ... NJOnlineGambling.com, one of the most respected names in the polling game.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are tied with Diamondbacks fans for 13th overall with an average of 3.5 drinks per game and an average spend of $45.
A few observations here:
- If you're an online outlet and you want a megaton of attention, fanbase rankings are definitely the way to go. No less than five different people sent this study directly to me and I lost track of the outlets tweeting or writing about it. Hoping to capitalize on this, I plan to release a Midway Minute-branded ranking of the sexiest NHL fanbases next week. The Dead Wings jokes will write themselves.
- The methodology and definitions in this "study" are questionable, at best. In a different time and place, NJOnlineGambling's play for eyeballs would've met the bottom of the garbage can near the fax machine. But this is 2021 and, well, discerning eyes left the online journalism business long ago. Shooting fish in a barrel with material that confirms preconceived world views and divides large factions of people is much easier — and infinitely more profitable!
- It's actually not surprising to see the Sox rank ahead of the Cubs here. Between the pregame tailgates and the excellent selection at the Craft Kave, there are plenty of reasons for Sox fans to open their wallets and their gullets. But let's just get one thing straight: If you run a poll and the Atlanta Braves are somehow listed ahead of the team that plays in the world's largest outdoor beer garden — or their thirsty friends from the north — it's probably time to rerun the numbers.
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Lightning 3, Hawks 2 (OT)
Giants 3, Sox 1
Cubs 7, Dodgers 0
SIU vs. Loyola (11, ESPN+)*
Lightning at Hawks (7, NBCSCH)
Indians at Cubs (2, Marquee)
Mariners vs. Sox (2, MLB.TV)
*Missouri Valley Tournament
Illinois at Ohio State (3, ESPN)
Cubs at Brewers (2, no TV)
Sox at Indians (2, no TV)
Nebraska at N’Western (12:30, BTN)
Lightning at Hawks (1:30, NBCSCH)
D’Backs at Cubs (2, no TV)
Rockies vs. Sox (2, MLB.TV)
NBA All-Star Game (5:30, TNT)
Hawks shocked by OT buzzer beater
I'm not sure I've ever seen this before and I may never see it again. Alex Killorn's tip-in of Victor Hedman's shot came at literally the last possible fraction of time and gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 win over the Hawks at the United Center of Thursday night.
It was a bummer of an ending for the Hawks, who controlled play for the first two periods and held a 2-0 lead heading into the third. But they gave up a shorthanded goal while starting the period on a power play and a Steven Stamkos goal tied the game just three minutes in.
The Hawks get a point and a quick chance to get even tonight (and again on Sunday in this rare three-game series).
Cubs 7, Dodgers 0
A five-run third with homers from Austin Romine and Michael Hermosillo (his second in as many days) gave the Cubs the win in this night game. Trevor Williams pitched two scoreless innings in his Cubs debut, giving up four hits but striking Mookie Betts out twice.
GIants 3, Sox 1
Lance Lynn struck out three and walked one over two scoreless innings, but the Sox offense didn't make much noise. The Sox are still winless in spring training which, let's face it, means as much as a win in NJOnlineGambling.com drinking rankings.
- Jeff Agrest is right. Mark Giangreco doesn't deserve to go out like this. Sun-Times
- This Kevin Fishbain piece on what it was like to be Jay Cutler's backup was one of the most illuminating sports pieces I've read in awhile. The Athletic
- Ernest Wilkins on the Sox being a brand to watch in 2021. (Sign up for his great newsletter while you're there.) Office Hours
- The Cubs and Sox have reportedly asked the city for 30 percent capacity to start the season. Cubs Insider
- Illinois, DePaul and Notre Dame all landed teams in this top 50 college squads of all time. SB Nation