KC sports news on Chiefs, Royals, Current, KU, March Madness

Its bracket season as March Madness begins for NCAA men’s and women’s teams from coast to coast.

Its bracket season as March Madness begins for NCAA men’s and women’s teams from coast to coast.

Get ready for one of the more eventful sports weeks in recently memory — across the country, to be sure, but also right here in Kansas City.

The MLB lockout has ended, NFL free agency is beginning and there’s this little thing called March Madness at hand.

So, so much good stuff for sports fans to sink their teeth into. Here’s a preview of what to expect.

Nothing says get ready for baseball like a smiling Salvy Perez. The KC Royals and their superstar catcher kick off spring training this week in Surprise, Ariz. AP file photo

Old news: locked-out ballplayers

Opening day has been pushed back a bit, but MLB’s owners and players finally reached agreement on a new collective-bargaining agreement, ending a lockout that lasted just long enough to irk baseball fans everywhere.

But that’s in the past now as teams like the Royals report for spring training. The Royals are in Surprise, Arizona for their first official workouts.

They have some positive developments on which to build, including a 74-88 record last season and promising young players across the diamond, rotation and bullpen. None will be more closely observed than infielder Bobby Witt Jr., who could make his debut with the big-league club this spring.

Best news: We’re less than a month away from opening day. Long live baseball!

Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., shown in a KC Star file photo, and the rest of the team are in Arizona preparing for a 2022 MLB season that finally has a start date. Charlie Riedel AP

Opening bell for NFL market

Free agency hasn’t even begun and already the AFC West is buzzing with big additions. The Broncos landed star quarterback Russell Wilson and the Chargers are acquiring standout edge rusher Khalil Mack. Both moves were made via trades.

The Chiefs have yet to be players this offseason, but that figures to change this week. Free agency in the NFL officially opens Wednesday and teams can begin negotiating with pending free agents Monday. Kansas City no doubt has its eye on a few (as well as in-house guys the team hopes to retain/re-sign with new deals).

Keep a scorecard handy, because a roller-coaster of news is on tap. Chiefs GM Brett Veach, coach Andy Reid and legion fans of the red and gold are eager to deal.

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Chiefs coach Andy Reid (and of course general manager Brett Veach) have a busy week ahead as they seek to fortify their roster ahead of the 2022 season. AP file photo

Challenge Cup for KC Current

The Kansas City Current have been hustling in their first full offseason.

Since the end of last season, the local soccer team’s drive to thrive in the National Women’s Soccer League saw the addition of established commodities Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams and arrival of promising newcomers through the NWSL Draft.

With two preseason games in the books (and a third that was supposed to take place in Lincoln, Nebraska, canceled last Friday), fans get their first look at the club’s dramatically reconstituted lineup on Friday, when the Current open the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup in Kentucky against Racing Louisville.

The Kansas City Current begin the NWSL Challenge Cup this week in Kentucky against Racing Louisville. KC Current photo

Let the Madness begin …

Selection Sunday is today, March 13, and then it’s wall-to-wall basketball.

We’ll know Kansas’ first-round destination today. That will interest Jayhawks fans. But one doesn’t need rooting interest in the NCAA Tournament to enjoy this spectacle.

The men’s tourney’s First Four games will be played Tuesday and Wednesday, setting the field of 64 for a pulsating slate of first- and second-round games to begin Thursday and continue through next weekend.

Looking ahead a bit, the championship games are April 3 (women) and April 4 (men). This year, the women’s Final Four is in Minneapolis and the men’s Final Four is in New Orleans.

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