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Student News Site of Ruben S. Ayala High School

Bulldog Times

Sports of the Week: 1/29-2/5

Kaitlyn Angeles
MLB bores, NFL anticipates, NBA shines, and NHL rests in this week’s edition of Sports of the Week.

As the days count down to the Super Bowl, the start of Spring Training, the NBA All-Star game, and the NHL playoff push, all four major American sports have become prevalent to their fans. This pre-Super Bowl week will be everything worth knowing about sports as of Monday, January 29 to Monday, February 5.

Major League Baseball logo - Wikipedia MLB

While moves are still sparse, big trades and extensions have finally started to develop, about a week before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

Right-handed starter Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in a slightly-lopsided trade, one that’s going to bolster an Orioles rotation that desperately needed some help after their ALDS meltdown against the Texas Rangers. The Orioles sent over LHP DL Hall, INF Joey Ortiz, and a 2024 Competitive Balance Round A pick (Pick #34 overall).

Burnes was awarded the NL Cy Young in 2021 after an ERA title and a 7.5-WAR season, with underlying stats that had me shaking my head as I reviewed them for this blurb. Burnes’ last two seasons haven’t been on the same level as his 2021 campaign, his 2023 season being his worst in the three-year stretch—which was still a very solid season—but the Orioles are still very confident that the addition of Burnes will be a significant improvement to their pitching staff in 2024.

The Orioles are finally leaning into their win-now approach with the acquisition of Burnes, and coming off a 101-win season, there’s no better time for them to start getting aggressive. Armed with the best prospects and young stars in baseball, that are only getting more experienced, the Orioles are only going to keep getting better.

In other news, the Kansas City Royals and SS Bobby Witt Jr. came to an agreement earlier today on an 11-year, $288.7 million extension with three club options that could set the contract value at 14-years, $377.78 million. Witt Jr., in the short time that he’s been in the league, has shown his mettle as not only one of the premiere shortstops in the league, but one of the best all-around players currently playing Major League Baseball. The young infielder was one stolen base shy from a 30-50 season, instead settling for a mere 30 home runs, 49 stolen bases, 5.7 fWAR and a guaranteed $288.7 million in his sophomore year in MLB.

Miscellaneous free agent signings of the week include relief-pitcher Ryan Brasier’s two-year, $9 million deal with the Dodgers, and Alex Wood’s one-year, $8.5 million contract with the Oakland Athletics. That same day, they also acquired Ross Stripling in a trade from the despondent San Francisco Giants. The Toronto Blue Jays signed veteran third-baseman Justin Turner to a one-year deal worth $13 million. James Paxton also inked a new contract, a $9.5 million contract with the Dodgers.

Another week in, and another week where big free agents hold out hope on receiving their holy grail $200 million+ contracts that they most certainly don’t deserve. Left-handed starter and reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell has only been formally offered a contract by the New York Yankees, whose offer was nowhere in the ballpark of Snell’s 9-year, $270 million counter offer. The Yankees are now pursuing other options for starting pitching, as many other teams must be after seeing Snell’s walk rate over the last four seasons (4.5 walks per nine innings since 2021).

While Cody Bellinger, Jordan Montgomery and Matt Chapman also get their hopes up, pitchers and catchers report in about a week. We’ll see what happens up until then. [Avery Rosas]

National Football League - Wikipedia  NFL

With the Super Bowl coming next weekend, the San Francisco 49ers faced off against the Detroit Lions for the NFC championship, and the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC championship. The NFC battle began with a touchdown scored by Detroit, and a continued effort with running plays handing the ball to the running back for back to back touchdowns. At the half, the Lions went up 24-7, making it seemingly impossible for San Francisco to come back. With the 17 point lead, Detroit seemed confident going into the third quarter. The 49ers put up numerous well-executed first downs to complete a touchdown. By the fourth quarter, they came back 24-24 and completed a 33-yard kick attempt to take the lead from the Lions. With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the 49ers completed another touchdown, making it one of the biggest comebacks from this 2023-2024 playoff season. With numerous incomplete open passes for Detroit, they blew their 17 point lead, but finished with another touchdown, making the final score 30-34. The 49ers went on to win the NFC Championship and will compete in the Las Vegas Super Bowl held on February 11, 2024. 

The AFC Championship created lots of buzz since Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are only the fourth pair of black quarterbacks to face off against each other in an AFC Championship game. The game kicked off to the Baltimore Ravens, but the Kansas City Chiefs were the ones who scored the first touchdown early into the first quarter, with a pass from Mahomes to tight end, Travis Kelce. With five minutes left in the first quarter, Jackson completed a more-than-40-yard pass to Zay Flowers for a touchdown, tying the score. The Kansas City Chiefs completed one more touchdown in the second quarter plus the additional point, putting the score at 14-7. 

Throughout the third and fourth quarter, neither team scored, and numerous fouls and penalties, including a controversial taunting penalty by Zay Flowers, led the Baltimore Ravens to a disappointing loss, sending the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl once again. 

The exciting rematch between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, to be held at the Las Vegas Raiders stadium on February 11, caused a lot of excitement, as running back Christian McCaffery will go to the Super Bowl for the first time since joining the 49ers. After San Francisco’s devastating loss against the Chiefs in SuperBowl LIV, they hope to redeem themselves and hand their new rising quarterback, Brock Purdy, an NFL Championship. If the Kansas City Chiefs take the game, this will give star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, his third championship ring. [Ayushka Chethan]

NBA Logo and the Legend of Jerry WestNBA

In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics maintain their lead with a 37-12 record, followed closely by the Milwaukee Bucks at 32-16. The New York Knicks are enjoying a surge, currently standing at 32-17, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are hot on their heels with a 30-16 record. The Philadelphia 76ers round out the top five in the East with a 30-17 record.

On the Western Conference front, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Minnesota Timberwolves share the top spot with identical records of 34-15. The Los Angeles Clippers follow closely behind at 32-15, just one game back. The battle for playoff positions intensifies as the season progresses.

As the NBA All-Star Game approaches, the league is buzzing with excitement over the selection of reserves. Three first-time All-Stars—Jalen Brunson of the Knicks, Tyrese Maxey of the 76ers, and Paolo Banchero of the Magic—join the star-studded event. The Eastern Conference starting-five feature familiar names like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Tyrese Haliburton and Damian Lillard. On the Western Conference side, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard headline the reserves, joined by rising talents Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Edwards. The Western starters will include LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The All-Star Game, scheduled for Feb. 18 in Indianapolis, promises to be a talent-filled game.

On Wednesday night’s shocking game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, the Lakers came out on top, winning 114-105. The Lakers were missing top players, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but managed to pull off the win against the ever-dominant Celtics. 

In the thrilling matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers, Nikola Jokic showcased his brilliance with an impressive triple-double, contributing 27 points, 22 rebounds, and 12 assists. Despite Jokic’s stellar performance, the Trail Blazers fought hard, with Scoot Henderson’s remarkable 30-point game. Ultimately, the Nuggets took the game 120-108.

Across the league, players were having many stand-out games. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had an outstanding performance with 31 points, nine assists, five steals, and three blocks in the 126-106 win for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Charlotte Hornets. Newfound All-Star, Tyrese Maxey, scored a career-high 51 points for the 76ers against the Utah Jazz. [Abby Le]

National Hockey League - Wikipedia  NHL

After the eight games that were played this week, the standings in both conferences did not shift. In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins remain in first place with 71 points, though they did not play at all this week. In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks are still in the lead, similar to the Bruins with 71 points. However, with very little games played this week, All-Star Weekend was sure to make up for it. 

This past weekend, February 1-3, All-Star Weekend was hosted for the National Hockey League (NHL). All-Star Weekend is a tournament featuring the leagues’ star players, competing to win $1,000,000. It is held over a series of three days, each featuring a different event. The events being All-Star Thursday, All-Star Skills, and finally, the most anticipated event, the All-Star Games. 

On All-Star Thursday, three different events were held, the player’s draft, the NHL Alumni Keith Magnuson Man of the Year Award, and the 3 on 3 women’s professional league game. At the draft, players were chosen to be on Team Matthews, Team McDavid, Team MacKinnon, and Team Hudges. All four of these teams consist of 12 members, a captain, assistant captain, celebrity captain, and some of the best players in all of the league. Justin Bieber was the celebrity captain of Team Matthews, which was a highlight of the weekend. The Stanley Cup Champions of 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were awarded the NHL Alumni Keith Magnuson Man of the Year Award. In the women’s 3 on 3 match, Team Kings came out victorious with a final score of 5-3 against Team Kloss. 

In the All-Star Skills competition, each player participated in four of the six events hosted. The events being Fastest Skater, Hardest Shot, Stick Handling, One Timers, Passing Challenge, and Accuracy Shooting. After these events, the eight players with the most points move on to the One-on-One Shootout. From there, the top six players move on to the Obstacle Course. The winner of this gets the $1,000,000 and a trophy. After all these events, Connor McDavid won it all with 25 points by the end of the day. 

In the All-Star Game, the four teams went head-to-head against each other. In the first semifinal game, Team MacKinnon went up against Team McDavid who they lost to with a score of 4-3. In the second semifinal game, Team Matthews went against Team Hudges who they won 6-5. This being said, Team McDavid and Team Matthews competed against each other in the final. However, Team Matthews got the victory with a final score of 7-4. Captain Auston Matthews won the MVP award, due to his excellent performance and leading his team to victory. [Aniya Grant]




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Kaitlyn Angeles
Kaitlyn Angeles, Staff Member
Kaitlyn Angeles (9) is a reporter for The Bulldog Times, and this is her 1st year on staff. Kaitlyn is aiming to be closer with her peers and improve her social and writing skills. She would be happy to work with others and see what improvements she can make for future assignments. In addition to being a reporter, she is looking forward to joining the PUSO Club and Asian Club. In her free time, she just likes to hang out with friends, draw, play video games, listen to music, play with her dog, and space out. She really isn’t an outgoing person, but she is willing to work hard on whatever she can.
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