👋 Good morning! Let's sports.
Today's word count: 1,315 words (5 mins)
There has been plenty of talk about who isn't at Team USA training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup, but the attention has finally shifted to the players who are.
Depth chart (according to me):
What's next: Head coach Gregg Popovich has until Aug. 17 to finalize his 12-man roster ahead of the World Cup, which begins in China on Aug. 31.
Go deeper: USA Basketball's 16-year curse (Axios)
Marcus Mariota has been the exception to the rule this decade. Photo: Kelly Kline/Getty Images for The Heisman
Here are the top five Heisman favorites, per Westgate (unsurprisingly all QBs):
And here's why you shouldn't bet on them to win it:
Photo: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images
Professional sports teams rebuild themselves all the time, but the Ottawa Senators are taking things a step further heading into next season, writes Axios' Michael Sykes.
What's happening: The Senators are absorbing bad deals in exchange for draft picks — and they're doing it to such a degree that one writer believes the team is "violating the spirit of the CBA."
By the numbers: The Senators have a projected cap number of $65.8 million, which is just above next season's lower limit of $60.2 million. But if you look closer, they're paying far less than that, per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski.
P.S. ... In other NHL news, billionaire Alex Meruelo has officially taken over as majority owner of the Arizona Coyotes, becoming the first Hispanic owner in league history.
Disney CEO Bob Iger finally announced details for the long-awaited Disney streaming bundle that executives have been teasing for months, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Photo: Rob Tringali/Sportschrome via Getty Images
12 years ago today, Barry Bonds blasted home run No. 756 to move past Hank Aaron for first place on the all-time list.
The backdrop: Former commissioner Bud Selig spent 16 days "hopscotching around the country" to see Bonds break the record — an experience he called miserable in his new book given Barry's connection to steroids.
"The summer of 2007 was unpleasant for me, and when I look back, that's putting it mildly. … Everyone who knew me knew I was unhappy. They could see it on my face, in my lack of enthusiasm."
"[When] he tied Henry's record … I didn't go to the clubhouse to congratulate him afterward. I just couldn't bring myself to look him in the eyes and act happy about what he'd done."
"When Barry hit No. 756 at AT&T Park three days later … I was in New York at a baseball meeting, watching the game on TV. I had planned to fly back to San Francisco the next day, but finally Barry did something I liked. He saved me one trip. It was the least he could do."— Excerpt from Bud Selig's "For the Good of the Game," via SI
Joe Montana and Kurt Warner are two of the three players who hold the NFL record for touchdowns thrown in a single postseason (11).
Answer at the bottom.
A few readers have asked me what "The Ocho" means. So first, to answer that: It's inspired by a fictional channel from the 2004 movie "DodgeBall."
"At the time I was writing 'DodgeBall,' ESPN2 had recently started and they were calling it 'The Deuce' and I found that particularly funny. … Where would ESPN broadcast something as ridiculous as dodgeball? It couldn't be on ESPN 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 … it had to be ESPN 8. And then it had to be 'The Ocho.'"— Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber tells ESPN
15 years later, I'm doing my best to keep "The Ocho" alive and so is ESPN, which recently began turning ESPN2 into ESPN8: The Ocho for one day each year.
What to watch (all times ET):
🏈 Five Ways To Improve Your Fantasy League In 2019 (The Ringer)
"Tens of millions of Americans play fantasy football each year, dedicating hours upon hours to building the best team. And yet few of us put much thought into seriously altering the settings of our leagues."
⚾️ Tony Gwynn's Legacy Is Stronger Than Ever (FiveThirtyEight)
"Many words have been spilled lamenting changes to baseball since Gwynn collected hit No. 3,000, particularly when it comes to the loss of similar contact-hitting virtuosos. But Gwynn's larger legacy is as strong as ever."
🏀 Why Kids Want To Be James Harden (WSJ)
"The stepback 3-pointer is the next big thing in youth basketball. The players love it. And their coaches hate it."
Welcome to the Baseball Bloopers Hall of Fame, DJ Stewart.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Yeli or Belli?" Baker
Trivia answer: Joe Flacco