๐Ÿคฏ It's Monday already?

๐ŸŒง๏ธ Today's weather: April showers. A 50% chance of rain and a high of 67ยฐ.

๐ŸŽต Sounds like: "The Cheap Seats" by Alabama.

Today's newsletter is 847 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: โšพ Play ball! Clippers back in action

The Columbus Clippers are a Triple-A minor league affiliate, one step below the Cleveland Guardians. Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Be it a future All-Star, a squirrel chase, or cast members of "The Office," you're bound to see something entertaining during a trip to Huntington Park this season.

Driving the news (outta the park): The Clippers' 2023 home opener is tomorrow.

  • That's right: The first home game is Tuesday Dime-A-Dog Night. Oh, the hedonism.

State of play: Single-game tickets start at $8, with mini and season-long packages available.

What's back: Third-year manager Andy Tracy and a slate of traditional game promos, including Dollar Wednesdays and Thirsty Thursdays.

  • "The Office" regular Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer) returns for a fan meet-and-greet on May 19. She'll be followed by an appearance from Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson) on July 28.
  • Also back is the pitch clock to keep games moving, an idea that got called up to the big leagues this year.

Other dates we're eyeing: The Negro Leagues Summer Series on May 28, featuring specialty Columbus Blue Birds jerseys honoring the Negro National League team founded here in 1933.

  • ๐Ÿถ Puppypalooza games on May 3 and Sept. 21.
  • ๐ŸŽ† Fireworks nights on May 27, June 10, July 15, July 29, Aug. 5 and Sept. 9.

What's new: Robot umpires!

  • Starting later this month, weekday games will feature an electronic strike zone and a human behind the plate announcing the computer's calls.
  • On weekends, umps will call balls and strikes as normal, and teams can challenge disputed pitch results.

One player to watch: Keep an eye on Bo Naylor, a Canadian catcher whose brother Josh is already the Guardians' everyday first baseman.

  • If all goes well, the younger Naylor will get a little more seasoning in the Arena District before catching the bus up Route 71 this summer.
  • If things go really well, you'll brag in 20 years about having seen Bo as a skinny prospect.
Catcher Bo Naylor prepares to receive a throw.
Clippers catcher Bo Naylor played for Team Canada in the recent World Baseball Classic. Photo: Chris Coduto/Getty Images

2. ๐ŸŒก๏ธ An unusually warm, dry winter

Winter 2022-23 precipitation anomalies
Data: NOAA. Map: Axios Visuals

Columbus got 7.8 inches of precipitation this winter โ€” about 0.7 inches less than normal.

  • Our first-ever February without measurable snowfall is mostly to blame, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association shows.

Why it matters: A warmer-than-average winter like the one we just experienced can exacerbate drought and wreak havoc on crops and gardens.

The big picture: Nationally, a band of heavier-than-usual winter precipitation stretched from California to Minnesota, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Erin Davis report.

  • Much of California and the Midwest โ€” including Northwest Ohio โ€” had some of the wettest winter weather on record.
  • Meanwhile, the opposite was true in the Pacific Northwest and in parts of Texas and Florida, which were significantly drier than average.

Of note: Meteorological winter is defined as December-February.

3. Nutshells: Nut goes around comes around

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

๐Ÿ’Š Ohio is suing two pharmacy benefit managers, accusing them of using a Switzerland-based company to "illegally drive up drug prices" and push costs onto patients. (Axios)

๐Ÿซ The Ohio Department of Public Safety released a list of the 22 school systems that have armed employees since the state loosened training requirements last year. None are in Franklin County. (Ohio Capital Journal)

๐Ÿช Dirty Dough, a chain specializing in stuffed cookies, has opened its first Ohio location near Hilliard. (614 Magazine)

โšฝ The Crew set a franchise record this weekend for most goals scored in back-to-back matches, after beating Real Salt Lake 4-0 on Saturday and Atlanta United 6-1 the previous weekend. (Dispatch)

Is a new job in your future?

๐Ÿ’ผ Check out whoโ€™s hiring around the city.

  1. Financial Controller - Healthcare System at Warbird Consulting Partners.
  2. Product Owner at Janus Henderson Investors.
  3. Director, Treasury Advisory at Chatham Financial.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

4. ๐Ÿ‘‘ Who will be crowned the burger king?

Illustration: Aรฏda Amer/Axios

It's all come down to this, folks. After three rounds of voting, you've whittled down a list of 16 delicious Central Ohio burgers to just two.

What's happening: Our final burger bracket showdown features two Columbus classics.

  • Thurman Cafe, a historic German Village haunt with burgers as big as your head, has been flipping oversized patties since 1942. It's been hard to grab a table ever since "Man vs. Food" took notice in 2008.
  • Cap City Fine Diner, meanwhile, has dished out classy comfort food since 1995, including a juicy All-American cheeseburger. It's famed local restaurateur Cameron Mitchell's second-oldest concept, now with three locations.

The latest: Both restaurants beat their Fry-nal Four competition by a 2-to-1 margin.

๐Ÿ˜… Our take: โ€ฆ do we have to pick?

๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ What's next: Before watching tonight's March Madness Championship game, vote in our championship round!

  • Be quick! Voting closes at 5pm tomorrow.
Bracket: Axios Visuals

5. ๐Ÿ—ณ Help choose my license plate

Ohio Beef. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

๐Ÿ‘‹ Tyler here. I'm not sure what possessed me to start doing this, but I can't stop now.

Driving the news: In recent years, I've let my Twitter followers decide my next personalized license plate every year.

True, the latter sticks out like a sore thumb in most area parking lots.

  • One exception was parking at the state fair last summer and being surrounded by fellow Beef plates. I felt right at home!

State of play: If you have a Twitter account, vote in the 2023 poll through Wednesday. This year's options include:

  • "Ohio Bullfrog," supporting the state wetlands;
  • "Ohio History," featuring a large mastodon;
  • "Lincoln Highway," celebrating the "first coast-to-coast road";
  • "Trees4Ohio," promoting the International Society of Arboriculture's Ohio chapter.

๐Ÿค” Choose wisely!

Our picks:

๐Ÿคจ Tyler is reading about a ridiculous James Bond-themed private tour in Europe charging travelers $18,500. No thanks.

๐ŸŽต Alissa is listening to Fall Out Boy's new album, "So Much (For) Stardust."

This newsletter was edited by Shane Savitsky and copy edited by Patricia Guadalupe and Keely Bastow.