Welcome to the Weekend Read. This week we take a very brief look at each MLB team as the 2019 season begins, run through our favorite stories of the week and offer a glimpse of the 2019 Iditarod.
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• Exclusive: Le'Veon Bell opens up about his Steelers breakup, sitting out 2018 and betting on himself. (By Jenny Vrentas)
• Even with a contract approaching a half-billion dollars, Mike Trout still didn't sign for his true value. (By Tom Verducci)
• March Madness's most memorable moments are the life-changing shots that feel like they came out of nowhere, then endure forever. (By Greg Bishop)
• Alex Bregman loves the celebrity life, but baseball's newest $100 million man wants to be the guy who gets baseball back into the spotlight. (By Ben Reiter)
• Need last-minute bracket advice? Here are four bold strategies to come out on top in your bracket pool. (By Eric Single)
• NFL Mock Draft 7.0: Kyler Murray stays on top, the Giants pass on a QB (twice) and the Patriots roll the dice with Pick 32. (By Conor Orr)
Six Words on How Every MLB Team's 2019 Will Go
The 2019 MLB season is upon us, as those who crawled out of bed in the early morning hours to watch the Mariners and A’s battle in Japan already know. For everyone else, the 162-game chase begins next week. But what should we expect from this upcoming year in baseball, and what’s in the forecast for your favorite team? That’s a complicated answer, but in an effort to be efficient, here’s a season preview for all 30 clubs using six words apiece. — By Jon Tayler
Atlanta Braves: Young and talented but feel incomplete
Arizona Diamondbacks: Arizona’s newest desert is this lineup
Baltimore Orioles: Well, they can’t be worse … right?
Boston Red Sox: They’ll regress, but by how much?
Chicago Cubs: Is their championship window already closing?
Chicago White Sox: No Harper or Machado—now what?
Cincinnati Reds: Finally trying after years of failing
Cleveland Indians: Got cheaper instead of getting better
Colorado Rockies: Arenado stays, but is he enough?
Detroit Tigers: The road back remains long, tough
Houston Astros: World Series favorite? I say yes
Kansas City Royals: They’re a long way from relevance
Los Angeles Angels: With Trout secured, they must improve
Los Angeles Dodgers: A weird offseason, but still dangerous
Miami Marlins: Wait ‘til next year … or 2021
Milwaukee Brewers: The NL Central’s strongest, deepest team
Minnesota Twins: Power aplenty, but that pitching ... yeesh
New York Mets: They’re better; so is the division
New York Yankees: Still a juggernaut, Machado or not
Oakland Athletics: It all rests on the bullpen
Philadelphia Phillies: Stakes bigger than Harper’s new deal
Pittsburgh Pirates: The team equivalent of beige wallpaper
San Diego Padres: With Machado aboard, the future is bright
San Francisco Giants: A fading roster’s final, doomed hurrah
Seattle Mariners: Another year for the postseason drought
St. Louis Cardinals: Expect resurgence with Goldschmidt in place
Tampa Bay Rays: Can baseball’s mad scientists surprise again?
Texas Rangers: There’ll be slugfests aplenty in Texas
Toronto Blue Jays: It’s all about Vlad, hopefully soon
Washington Nationals: Can Juan Soto claim Harper’s mantle?
Vault Photo of the Week: Smile If You Want $426.5 Million
Say hello to baseball's newest zillionaire. Bryce Harper held that distinction for about 20 minutes before Mike Trout and the Angels closed in on the largest contract in baseball history: a 12-year pact that will be worth more than $430 million, according to ESPN. Trout's pictured above in 2012 posing for his first of many SI cover stories.
Does this picture scream Best Player in Baseball Worth Nearly a Half-Billion Dollars? No. It screams plain and boring—just the way Trout likes it.
Photo taken by SI's Robert Beck.
Taking on the 2019 Iditarod
The 47th Iditarod sled dog race finished up earlier this month. It's a grueling, thousand-mile trek across Alaska that took this year's winner more than nine-and-a-half days to complete. Twelve of the 59 mushers who began the event did not finish it. SI tasked photographer Erick W. Rasco with documenting the other-worldly journey.
Enjoy a sample of his snapshots below and check out the full gallery here.
Editor's note: What kind of stories and content would you like to see in the Weekend Read? Let's chat at SIWeekendRead@gmail.com.