👋 Good morning. Let's sports.
Today's word count: 2,147 words (8 minutes).
👋 Good morning. Let's sports.
Today's word count: 2,147 words (8 minutes).
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Empowered by social media, college athletes are speaking out on social issues and driving the national conversation in ways their predecessors could only dream about, Axios' Jeff Tracy writes.
Driving the news: It's not only superstars whose messages have been amplified. Just last week, a little-known Georgia Tech basketball player started a movement to make Election Day a universal off day for all 460,000 NCAA student athletes, and it's gaining momentum.
More examples: Whether online or in person, college athletes are making their voices heard, and demanding change at their own institutions.
The backdrop: Colleges have long been a hub for social change, thanks to the thousands of young men and women experiencing independence for the first time and seeing the world through a new lens.
The big picture: Fast forward 50 years, and though the landscape appears painfully similar, the role of the college athlete has drastically changed.
The last word:
"The power dynamics have shifted, the status quo has been unbalanced, and it's been tipped into the favor of student-athletes. ... If you have the ability to do what's right, you have the responsibility to do what's right. I just can't be silent anymore."— UNC linebacker Jake Lawler, who also wrote a powerful essay
As rates of coronavirus infections ease in onetime hotspots like New York and Chicago, parts of the country that previously avoided surges are now seeing record-high numbers.
By the numbers: 14 states just had their highest-ever seven-day average of coronavirus cases, per WashPost:
What to watch: Keep an eye on Florida (Saturday's 1,426 positive tests were the most since early April). NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the number of new cases would be a factor in restarting the season at Walt Disney World.
Looking ahead: Lots of big college football states on that list. According to the NCAA's proposed preseason plan, teams must practice four weeks before kicking off, meaning early-season games could be impacted if a program's camp is interrupted or delayed.
"In all likelihood we'll have some problems in preseason camps [and] interrupted seasons are fairly likely. The idea of flexible scheduling is needed. With the number of universities we have, on Sunday you might find out your opponent isn't going to play this week. Got to pick up another game."— Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, via SI
Go deeper: Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, Week 12 (Axios)
The 2020 MLB draft begins tonight (7pm ET, MLB Network/ESPN) and has been shortened from the usual 40 rounds down to just five as a cost-cutting move amid the pandemic, Jeff writes.
Why it matters: The mood around baseball has only worsened in recent weeks as the players and owners continue their contentious negotiations, so the league will be hoping the selection of its future stars can provide a momentary reprieve.
The state of play: The MLB draft is unique in that even diehard fans don't really know about top players, due to college baseball's lack of popularity and the reality that even a Zion Williamson-esque prospect won't make the majors for a few years.
ESPN unveiled its updated player rankings for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 recruiting classes.
Looking even further ahead ... The No. 1 prospect in the 2023 class is D.J. Wagner (Camden, New Jersey), son of ex-Memphis star Dajaun Wagner. Coming in at No. 24 in the class? LeBron James' son, Bronny (Chatsworth, California).
And now for the top recruits from the 2021 and 2022 girls' classes.
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 email@example.com.
My sincerest apologies to everyone waiting for the Cubs only to see that two-thirds of their famous double play trio are missing. And yes, I know Chance was primarily a first baseman, but he began his career at catcher and wasn't going to unseat Cap Anson anyway.
On the mound: SP Fergie Jenkins* (54.2)
ICYMI ... 30. Rays, 29. Royals, 28. Diamondbacks, 27. Blue Jays, 26. Angels, 25. Padres, 24. Rockies, 23. Brewers; 22. Nationals, 21. Mets, 20. Orioles, 19. Twins, 18. Astros, 17. Marlins, 16. White Sox, 15. Athletics, 14. Phillies, 13. Braves, 12. Pirates, 11. Mariners, 10. Rangers, 9. Cardinals, 8. Dodgers, 7. Indians
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.
Italy poses for a group photo before the 1934 World Cup final. Photo: Staff/AFP via Getty Images
86 years ago today, Italy beat Czechoslovakia 2-1 in extra time to win the second-ever World Cup in front of their home fans in Rome.
The backdrop: Benito Mussolini had ruled Italy under an authoritarian, fascist regime since 1922, and he believed hosting the World Cup would help him politically.
Tournament recap: Mussolini used his propaganda machine to control the narrative of the event, instructing broadcasters to comment on each stadium being filled to capacity, regardless of actual attendance.
Go deeper: When the World Cup rolled into fascist Italy in 1934 (These Football Times)
Roderick Sewell competing in the 2019 Ironman World Championships. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
🥇 A para-swimmer is using the gap year to dominate cycling (Matthew Futterman, NYT)
"Roderick Sewell knows about making adjustments. Born without tibias, Sewell's life changed when he got his first pair of prosthetic legs at 8 years old. ... Now he's hoping to become one of the few two-sport athletes in the Tokyo Games."
💬 The nerve center of the American news cycle (Sara Fischer and Bryan Walsh, Axios)
"Twitter sets the news cycle's pulse because so many journalists are addicted to it. Its power is in agenda-setting. But that's all happening instantaneously and out in the open, not behind the closed doors of an editors' meeting."
🏈 The six most underrated position groups in the NFL (Danny Kelly, The Ringer)
"It's an easy bet that the Colts' offensive line, the Saints' and Patriots' secondaries, and Buccaneers' and Cowboys' pass-catching corps will be among the NFL's best position groups in 2020. But a handful of less-heralded units have the untapped potential to rise up the ranks this season."
Source: RKB F1 Racing (YouTube)
Sidecar racing is not for the faint of heart, despite what Natalie Portman's Sam so rudely said in 2004's breakout film "Garden State."
🎥 Go deeper: Watch the 2019 British Sidecar Championship to understand why the co-pilot is sometimes called an acrobat or monkey.
Answer at the bottom.
Tom M. (Detroit) writes:
"I've been a baseball fan all my life, and the pinnacle of my love for the game was the Detroit Tigers' magical 1984 season. That 35-5 start, Jack Morris' n0-hitter, and the inevitability — ultimately fulfilled — that the Tigers would win the World Series was unbelievable.
"Then, life happened. I threw my arm out, and realized my dreams of making the big leagues were over. I watched jobs leave the auto industry, people flee Detroit, and our beloved Tigers go from champions to laughingstock in a few short years.
"All this suffering made the greatest sporting event in my lifetime all the sweeter.
"In 2006, after luring Pudge Rodriguez to Detroit and making some good trades (Jeremy Bonderman) and excellent draft picks (Justin Verlander), the Tigers made the playoffs, where they dispatched the mighty Yankees to set up a meeting with the A's in the ALCS.
"The clinching moment that sent the Tigers to the World Series was Magglio Ordóñez's three-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4. This is easily the greatest live sports moment I have ever seen."
"The second it left his bat, you knew it was gone. I immediately hugged my buddies Matt and Greg, guys I have been watching baseball with for 20+ years. But it didn't stop there.
"I hugged the row behind me and the row in front of me. As we walked down the ramps to leave, it continued — complete strangers hugging, high-fiving, backslapping, screaming and crying tears of joy.
"We eventually stumbled to a bar across the street to order celebratory drinks. Moments later, we looked to our left and there was Kid Rock, standing on a makeshift stage, singing Bob Seger's 'Night Moves,' as people continued to hug, high-five and sing along.
"22 years of frustration for a struggling but still proud city — all released in a single night, thanks to a single swing of a baseball bat. It was a quintessential Detroit moment that I will never forget. Man, I miss sports."
✍️ 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.
Kendall "See you on Fight Island" Baker
Trivia answer: David Price (Rays)