🐫 Happy Hump Day! Let's sports.
Today's word count: 1,595 words (6 minutes)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The Houston Astros used a camera to help steal signs during their 2017 championship season, pitcher Mike Fiers and three other unnamed former Astros told The Athletic (subscription).
How it worked: "A feed from a camera in center field, fixed on the opposing catcher's signs, was hooked up to a television monitor that was placed … in the tunnel that runs between the dugout and the clubhouse."
Why it matters: While it's not illegal to steal signs, there are rules against using technology for an advantage — something the Astros clearly violated if these claims are true.
What they're saying:
"Regarding the story posted by The Athletic earlier today, the Houston Astros organization has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball. It would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time."— Astros official statement
The big picture: This is obviously a terrible look for Houston. Unless MLB's investigation proves otherwise, one of the few modern sports dynasties was either (1) the best team in baseball and they cheated, or (2) the best team in baseball because they cheated.
The bigger picture: Between this, the juiced baseballs, past sign-stealing scandals (remember when the Red Sox used an Apple Watch?) and claims of teams colluding to suppress player salaries, MLB's brand feels very… opaque.
The bottom line: Spygate has come to MLB, and the Houston Astros are officially the New England Patriots of baseball.
P.S. … Did the Astros not think this would eventually get out when players left the team…? Did they just not even care? So confused.
Amid the latest "Fire Dolan!" chants at MSG, I was curious just how terrible the Knicks have been this century. The answer: The most terrible (as in, they've won fewer games than any other team).
P.S. ... Speaking of NYC dysfunction, former Turner president David Levy is stepping down as CEO of the Nets less than two months into his tenure, reportedly because he didn't share owner Joe Tsai's vision for the organization.
Fresh off its victory in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, LSU finds itself atop this week's College Football Playoff rankings, while No. 4 Georgia edged No. 5 Alabama to break into the top four.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — 25-point underdog Evansville shocked No. 1 Kentucky, 67-64, marking the first time in the John Calipari era that the Wildcats have lost at Rupp Arena to a non-Power 5 team.
LONDON — Two days after beating Roger Federer, 26-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem knocked off Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals in an epic match.
DENVER — Trae Young scored a season-high 42 points (13-21 FG, 8-13 3PT), while adding 11 assists and four boards in the Hawks' 125-121 win over the Nuggets.
Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
In Al Pacino's legendary "Any Given Sunday" speech, he talks about how football, like life, is a game of inches.
"On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch! Because we know, when we add up all those inches, that's gonna make the f*ckin' difference between winning and losing! Between livin' and dyin'!"
Newsflash: The "game of inches" has always been defined by a far less precise measurement: the yard. And up until 2016, the NFL's counting system listed anything between zero yards and two yards as fourth-and-1.
The bottom line: As tracking data goes mainstream, learning more about the different types of fourth downs will arm teams with more information — and could forever change how coaches call plays.
Colin Kaepernick, who hasn't seen NFL action since Jan. 1, 2017 (1,046 days ago), will work out for teams in Atlanta on Saturday, though it's unclear how many will show up. "I've been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can't wait," the QB tweeted.
The Panthers trailed the Bruins 4-0 entering the third period last night before scoring four unanswered goals and ultimately winning in a shootout to finish off the largest comeback in franchise history. Watch the shootout.
Following yet another injury, the Warriors have just nine healthy players, and only one (Draymond Green) was on the team last year. The other eight: D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks, Eric Paschall, Ky Bowman, Jordan Poole, Marquese Chriss, Glenn Robinson III. It's a reset, not a rebuild.
55 years ago today, St. Louis Hawks superstar — and future Hall of Famer — Bob Pettit became the first NBA player to score 20,000 career points.
By the numbers: During his 11-year career, Pettit won Rookie of the Year and two MVPs, never missed an All-Star Game and led the Hawks to the 1958 NBA title, all while compiling an ungodly amount of points and rebounds.
The bottom line: Pettit is often a forgotten name among the greats, perhaps because he was so well-rounded and hard to define. This makes him one of the few Hall of Famers — in any sport — that most fans would agree is vastly underrated.
Go deeper: Bob Pettit: A will to win (YouTube)
Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Occasionally, we feature stories submitted by members of our "Overtime" community (refer 3 friends below to join!). Today's comes from Jake Kyte of Austin, Texas.
Growing up, dads are mysteriously good at everything. So, as a son, there's something special about beating your dad at, well, anything.
Fast forward to 2017: We're playing one of the world's highest disc golf courses, atop Aspen Mountain. On the 11th hole, the tee overlooks the distant basket, 435 feet away and 150 feet below on a cliff — hence the local name: "Kiss It Goodbye."
Rocco Baldelli (Twins) and Mike Shildt (Cardinals) were named the AL and NL Managers of the Year, respectively, last night.
Answer at the bottom.
📺 Inside the episode: SI's Alex Prewitt went behind the scenes of the classic Simpsons episode, "Lisa on Ice," which aired 25 years ago today.
⚾️ This is wild: Seven years ago, a JV baseball coach in New Jersey named John Suk told his player to slide, which resulted in an injury. Then he got sued.
🚨 Buzzer beater alert: UMass with the full-court heave!!!
Kendall "This song makes me FEEL THINGS" Baker
Trivia answer: Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa