👋 Good morning! Let's sports.
Today's word count: 2,146 (8 minutes).
The 2019 British Masters. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
As sports and leagues around the world desperately try to figure a way back to competition, golf seems primed to set the standard for which all other sports will strive.
Driving the news: Golf Digest reported yesterday that the European Tour plans to resume play in late-July with the British Masters, followed by three more legs throughout the U.K. in a "bubble" tour that uses on-site hotels at each of the four venues.
The state of play: Though leagues like South Korea's KBO, Germany's Bundesliga, and even NASCAR here in the States have already begun competing again, golf seems uniquely suited to avoid any coronavirus-related setbacks.
Yes, but: That doesn't mean it's smooth sailing from here on out.
The bottom line: It's all a balancing act right now. Fans want to watch sports, athletes want to play, owners want to stem the financial bleeding and no one wants to start things up only to see a few positive tests shut it all back down. But somewhere in the middle, there's a solution, and golf might hold the key.
P.S. ... In related news, Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning are facing off against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady this Sunday in The Match: Champions for Charity (3pm ET on TBS and TNT). Who ya got?
Collecting sports cards, a hobby and business that has spent the past few decades in a tailspin, has recovered much of its old glory in recent years. Still, even as revenues have skyrocketed back to the heights of its golden age, the big question remains — can it last?
The backdrop: What began in the early 20th century as a way to boost sales of tobacco and bubblegum matured over the years into a business of its own, dominated by Topps, which introduced the first full set in 1952.
The big picture: In the past five years, thanks to smarter licensing agreements between leagues and companies that help put a cap on production, the industry has begun booming once again. In fact, on Wednesday a Mike Trout rookie card sold at auction for a modern-record-tying $900,000.
Between the lines: Even if millennials have enough money now to make this a viable business again, what about their kids? Video games and technology have a pretty tight grip on kids' free time these days, and nostalgia can only go so many generations deep.
The bottom line: If this is the last stand for a wonderful hobby whose time has come, then so be it. We'll always have the memories of ripping open packs of cards, crossing our fingers for a rare find and thumbing through Beckett hoping we just hit it rich.
Go deeper: Baseball card collecting world rocked by scandal (Axios)
India's former captain, MS Dhoni, celebrates an out in the 2014 T20 Final vs. Sri Lanka. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Know what we haven't discussed in a while? Cricket. For as relatively low on the totem pole as it is among American fans, it's second only to soccer on the world stage and has been equally affected by the pandemic as any other sport.
1. No more spitballs: The fielding team, led by its bowlers, likes to keep the ball as clean as possible throughout a match, as a cleaner ball will swing (curve) more en route to the batsmen, making it harder to hit.
2. Empty stadiums: Whenever cricket does return, it will do so in empty stadiums, which the Pakistani team has been unintentionally training for for nearly a decade.
3. The captain of captains: India's former captain and wicketkeeper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (pictured above), might have already played his last game.
Go deeper: Cricket, explained (Axios)
On Sunday night at 8pm ET, the Golf Channel will premiere its new documentary, "Tiger Slam," chronicling Tiger Woods' remarkable achievement from the start of the century, when he held all four major titles simultaneously.
Quick review: I got a chance to watch already, and for as epic as "The Last Dance" was, this was a refreshing change of pace.
By the numbers: The Tiger Slam consisted of his winning the 2000 U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship, followed by the 2001 Masters. He's the only golfer in history to hold all four titles simultaneously.
P.S. ... If you're still looking for more to watch when this ends, flip over to ESPN at 9pm for part one of "Lance," the 30 for 30 about Lance Armstrong's rise, fall and many lies along the way.
We're ranking the all-time rosters for all 30 MLB teams. Note: Rosters based only on time spent with this specific team. Thoughts? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They were originally higher on my list, but Oscar the Grouch is a family friend and when they destroyed his home I took it personally.
On the mound: SP Roy Oswalt (46.2)
ICYMI ... 30. Tampa Bay Rays; 29. Kansas City Royals; 28. Arizona Diamondbacks; 27. Toronto Blue Jays; 26. Los Angeles Angels; 25. San Diego Padres; 24. Colorado Rockies; 23. Milwaukee Brewers; 22. Washington Nationals; 21. New York Mets; 20. Baltimore Orioles; 19. Minnesota Twins
Huge thanks to Tom Stone, whose book "Now Taking the Field: Baseball's All-Time Dream Teams for All 30 Franchises," provided the inspiration for these rosters.
ST. ALBANS, England — Oliver Fisher, an English professional golfer on the European Tour, plays a round at his newly-reopened local course.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Aries Merritt, who won gold in London in 2012 and holds the current world record in the 110 meter hurdles, trains in isolation as he awaits the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
MADRID, Spain — Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez checks in on his players as they train on socially-distant stationary bikes.
Photo: Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images
26 years ago today, the Toronto Raptors unveiled their logo to the world, signaling the first tangible milestone for the NBA's 28th franchise.
Why it matters: I mean, just look at that logo. It's been updated since, but the original dribbling dinosaur has always been a fan favorite, whether or not you're from The Six.
The backdrop: Toronto actually had a team for one season, in 1946-47, when the Toronto Huskies were in the short-lived Basketball Association of America (BAA).
Naming the team: Originally, management wanted to hearken back to those NBA roots and name the new team the Huskies, but they soon realized any logo would bear too close a resemblance to the then-four-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves.
Go deeper: An oral history of the Raptors first logo (Slam)
The 2016 International Skating Open in China, part of a larger world of trick skating that I definitely did not know existed, looks wild.
Wisconsin is the only school with three running backs in the top-25 all time for rushing yards (No. 1 Ron Dayne, No. 6 Jonathan Taylor, No. 19 Montee Ball), but two other schools have two players each in the top-25.
Answer at the bottom.
Robert F. writes:
"When I was 11 years old, I was playing Little League baseball in Indiana. My Dad couldn't make it to many of my games — I don't think back then, in 1960, parents were that interested in youth sports anyway. They left us alone.
"I remember one game he showed up and was watching from down the third base line. When I came up to bat he yelled, 'Hit a home run!' loud enough that everybody heard him. Well, I did.
"30 years later, he was in bed at home dying from cancer. I went to see him. We talked. He said, 'You know, I wished I'd gone to more of your ball games.' A week or two later he was gone.
"I had three boys who played baseball through high school and into college. I went to a lot of their games."
✍️ Submit your story: Do you have a fondest sports memory? Or an example of sports having a positive impact on your life? If you'd like to share, simply reply to this email. We'll be telling your stories until they run out.
Hope you enjoyed my debut,
Jeff "Kendall's padawan" Tracy
Trivia answer: Texas (No. 4 Ricky Williams, No. 11 Cedric Benson) and Oregon (No. 8 Royce Freeman, No. 21 LaMichael James)