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In today's edition: A rarely used baseball tactic, the fight for equal pay rages on, photos 'round the world and much, much more. See you at the bottom.
As MLB teams lean further into analytics, they become less bound by precedent and more willing to experiment with new strategies.
What's new: With conventional wisdom thrown out the window, there's no telling where teams go from here. One tactic that could see widespread adoption? The totally legal, yet rarely used, mid-at-bat pitching change.
The backdrop: Former Kentucky baseball coach John Cohen began using mid-at-bat pitching changes in the early 2000s. The strategy has since spread across D-I and is used roughly once every five games, per The Ringer.
"There was always criticism of doing it. The funny thing is, the criticism never had any form of logic behind it. It was always, 'That's not baseball.' Well, what the hell does that mean?"— John Cohen tells The Ringer
How it works: Mid-at-bat pitching changes put the hitter at such a serious disadvantage that it's honestly a bit surprising that we don't see more of them.
Megan Rapinoe (center) and other members of the World Cup-winning U.S. team at a New York ticker tape parade. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
The U.S. Soccer Federation released a letter Monday claiming that it's paid the World Cup champion women's team more than the men's national team in recent years — citing figures disputed by the USWNT, Axios' Rebecca Falconer reports.
By the numbers: The letter states that women’s players were paid $34.1 million in salaries and bonuses by the federation from 2010 to 2018, while the men were paid $26.4 million over the same period.
Yes, but: Comparing compensation between the two national teams is tricky because the pay structure is based on different collective bargaining agreements, per AP.
What they're saying: USWNT spokeswoman Molly Levinson said in a statement provided to Axios that the numbers the USSF used are "utterly false," adding...
"This is a sad attempt by the USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support the USWNT has received from everyone from fans to sponsors to the United States Congress."
"The USSF has repeatedly admitted that it does not pay the women equally and that it does not believe the women even deserve to be paid equally. This is why they use words like 'fair and equitable,' not equal in describing pay."
The big picture: Democratic presidential candidate and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio pledged this month to use executive action to guarantee equal pay for national sports teams if Congress failed to act.
The Steelers' first-ever game at Heinz Field on Oct. 7, 2001. Photo: Jason Cohn/Getty Images
Heinz is "highly unlikely" to renew its naming rights deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers once their current contract ends in 2021, Sports Business Journal reports (subscription).
Why it matters: The Steelers' current stadium has been called Heinz Field since it opened in 2001, which means one of Pittsburgh's core landmarks could soon go by a different name for the first time in 20 years.
By the numbers: Kraft Heinz signed a 20-year, $57 million naming rights deal in 2001 (the 57 number being a reference to the "Heinz 57" slogan). That means they pay roughly $2.85 million per year — well below market value.
The bottom line: Amidst skyrocketing naming rights fees, Kraft Heinz has reportedly decided to throw in the terrible towel.
Sens. Jerry Moran (left) and Richard Blumenthal. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
An 18-month Senate investigation has found that the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics "knowingly concealed" the sexual abuse of gymnasts by a team doctor, NYT reports.
Driving the news: As a result of the investigation, a bipartisan bill known as the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019 will be introduced today by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
If passed, the bill would...
The big picture: Blumenthal called the bill a "moment of reckoning" and believes it demonstrates Congress' willingness to create a "seismic cultural shift" in the protection of athletes from abuse, per NYT.
WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Athletes of all different ages and backgrounds competed in the Ironman Canada in Whistler, British Columbia, an outdoor paradise just north of Vancouver.
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY — 21-year-old Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen overcame the elements to win a chaotic German Grand Prix on Sunday. Credit to his crew for setting a new record for fastest F1 pit stop ever (1.88 seconds).
LIMA, PERU — The 2019 Pan American Games began on Friday, and the U.S. has already seized control of the medal count with 18 gold and 45 total, as of this morning.
Billy Hunter (left) and David Stern. Photo: Brian Bahr/Getty Images
14 years ago today, the NBA officially barred players from entering the league straight out of high school.
Go deeper: "Boys Among Men" (book by Jonathan Abrams)
Since Sean McVay took over in 2017, the Los Angeles Rams have gone 24-8 — tied with two other teams for the best record in the NFL.
Answer at the bottom.
The 11th annual World Thumb Wrestling Championship was held this past weekend at a pub in eastern England.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "This is the best" Baker
Trivia answer: New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints