👋 Good morning! 21-and-over today. We'll be checking IDs at the door, so please have yours out.
Today's word count: 1,506 (5 minutes)
I've come across an abundance of beer-related sports stories recently, so I've decided to share some with you now. Happy Hump Day.
1. 🏈 College football's savior
A decade ago, West Virginia was dealing with a binge-drinking problem at football games. Though alcohol wasn't sold in the stadium, its re-entry policy allowed fans to leave at halftime, lubricate themselves and return for the second half.
2. ⚽️ Dollar Beer Night magic
In 2017, Phoenix Rising of the USL Championship (one tier below MLS) launched Dollar Beer Night as a way to get fans out to midweek matches. It has turned into something much more.
3. ⚾️ MiLB's craft beer boom
The craft beer industry has exploded over the last decade and now makes up 13.2% of the beer market by volume. A perfect match for these local operations? Minor league baseball teams.
"Quick: name the best third baseman in baseball. For four years that quick answer would be Nolan Arenado of Colorado. That no longer is the default choice, not with one of the deepest classes of third basemen the game has seen," writes SI's Tom Verducci.
By the numbers: The slugging percentage at the position has never been higher than it is this year (.463), and three of the top nine OPS hitters in baseball are third basemen (Bregman, Devers, Rendon).
P.S. ... Fun fact before you go: Matt Chapman was Arenado's backup in high school.
Thanks to rule changes and teams prioritizing speed and skill, the "enforcer" role has all but gone extinct in the modern NHL.
Go deeper: How important is toughness in the modern NHL? (The Athletic)
DUBLIN, IRELAND — Over 800,000 viewers watched Tipperary clinch the All-Ireland Hurling Championship against Kilkenny this past weekend. Do yourself a favor and watch these highlights. Such a cool sport.
WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA — LaMelo Ball, a likely first-round pick in the 2020 NBA draft, has opted to spend the year playing pro ball in Australia rather than go to college. Yesterday, he trained with his team, the Illawarra Hawks, for the first time.
SHANGHAI, CHINA — In July, Kyle Giersdorf made headlines when he won $3 million in a Fortnite tournament. That number will be dwarfed this week at The International, a tournament featuring the game "Dota 2." Prize pool: $33 million.
EA Sports stopped making "NCAA Football" in 2013, but you can still play the game with updated rosters thanks to an unlikely group of caretakers.
From The Ringer's Michael Weinreb:
"In recent years, the NFL and other groups have promoted flag and touch football as safer ways to teach young players about the game, and to keep them from abandoning the sport. But as they do, parents, coaches and players are learning that every sport has risks."
⚾️ We Built The Most Average Team In Baseball (FiveThirtyEight)
"The single most average player in all of baseball … is Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, who is on pace for 0.85 WAR, or just 0.00097 wins above average given his position and share of L.A.'s plate appearances."
"Which players defined the journey for teams from the 2009-10 season to the present? Here is where the All-Decade teams currently stand, with the understanding that we have one more season to go before they are etched in stone."
Photo: Stanley Weston Archive/Getty Images
88 years ago today, Babe Ruth became the first member of baseball's 600 home run club after he knocked one out of the park against the St. Louis Browns.
The big picture: Ruth stood alone in the club for another 38 years before Willie Mays entered as the National League's inaugural member.
The 600 club:
Watch: Documentary: The American Hercules (Vimeo)
In the history of the NBA, nine players have won at least seven championships — and eight of them played exclusively for the Celtics.
Answer at the bottom.
Seven-time Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series champion Gary Hunt, 35, currently sits atop the 2019 standings and recently became the first man in World Series history to be awarded all tens from the judges (watch the dive). Let's talk to him...
How does one get into cliff diving?
"Lots of divers perform in diving shows and circuses and then make the transition to high diving. There's also the path of an Olympic three-meter or 10-meter diver who transitions to cliff diving."
"Personally, I was a swimmer growing up before switching to diving and competing for Great Britain. Eventually, the 10-meter board wasn't as exciting as it used to be and I began looking for more thrills and that led me to cliff diving."
What do you love most about it?
"Cliff diving is the one sport where you can really see man versus their fears; man versus gravity. It's people who have learned to control their bodies and are willing to challenge themselves up to the most dangerous point, which we've found to be 27 meters (~90 feet)."
How/where do you train?
"During each stop, we have one training day followed by two competition days. So people learning a new dive just have that one day to learn it."
"In the offseason, we're starting to see more 27-meter training facilities pop up, but we often have to train on 10-meter platforms, so we have to cut up our dives into several parts and train each part of the dive."
How many pro cliff divers are there?
"We have about 40 competitive divers at the highest level and after that you have another 40 aspiring cliff divers. The sport is definitely growing."
Is this your full-time job?
"I'm one of the few who do this full time — there's maybe three or four of us. Most divers spend the offseason working in diving shows or circuses or maybe as a diving coach."
Where's your favorite stop on tour? I'll share a photo with my readers.
"In terms of scenery, my favorite place is in Yucatán, Mexico, where we're diving into a cenote, which is basically a hole in the ground. You've got trees and vines everywhere while you're on the platform. It's incredible."
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "This is grrrreat" Baker
Trivia answer: Robert Horry