🎉 Happy Friday! The fictional Final Four is set, and the first week in the No Sports Era is officially in the books. Hope you're hanging in there.
Today's word count: 1,857 words (7 minutes).
American sports leagues have become increasingly global over the last couple decades, which is inarguably a boon to business and fans alike, writes Axios' Jeff Tracy.
Why it matters: The global nature of American professional sports represents our shrinking world, increased diversity and the melting pot of cultures that this country was built on — all great things.
Driving the news: The NBA and NBPA have issued a memo telling players that they are barred from traveling outside North America.
The NBA (491 players) has the highest percentage of Americans, but also the greatest global reach, despite being the smallest of the three leagues:
MLB (1,192 players) just barely trails the NBA in terms of American representation:
The NHL (731 players), as you could have guessed, has by far the largest non-American contingent:
The bottom line: Maybe a couple hundred homesick athletes doesn't move the needle for you in the same way that a shortage of ventilators, tests and answers does, but while fans clamor for their favorite leagues to start back up again, it's important to remember what the athletes are going through, too.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Days like these can demand the comfort of a sports bar, but even those are shut down in many cities. We spoke with two sports bar owners on opposite coasts about how they're navigating these uncertain times.
Kendall in San Francisco: I spoke with Neil Holbrook, part-owner of San Francisco Athletic Club, which opened in 2014 and features 28 TVs, a pool table and delicious bar food.
Jeff in New York: I spoke with Patrick Daley, owner of Kettle of Fish — a longstanding institution in the heart of Greenwich Village. Patrick opened the bar in 1998 with his wife, Adrienne, and the Wisconsin couple has fostered an environment of Midwest charm (and plenty of Packers and Badgers regalia).
It's (obviously) not just sports bars that are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the strain it's putting on the economy.
We're simulating the 2020 NCAA men's basketball tournament using ESPN's Joe Lunardi's final projected bracket and a simulation engine.
Top of the bracket...
Bottom of the bracket...
🚨 = lower seed won
Final Four (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta):
The dormant Duke-Maryland basketball rivalry picks back up in Atlanta, where the Blue Devils and Terrapins will meet in the Final Four for the first time since 2001.
Seton Hall is back in the Final Four for the first time since 1989, when the Pirates beat Duke in the Final Four before ultimately losing to Michigan in the championship, 80-79 (OT).
The latest: Italy's coronavirus death toll topped 3,400 yesterday — now the highest in the world. Wuhan, China, where the virus was first discovered, reported no new cases in the last 24 hours.
What they're saying: Max Marchi, an analyst for the Cleveland Indians who works remotely from Italy, on what the past month has been like, per CBS Sports:
"First of all, all these events seem to have stretched and bent time in a strange way. You ask me about a month time frame, and as I think about how my life has evolved recently, I'm not sure if I'm thinking about a week ago or a month ago. Sometimes it feels a year.
"I remember one Saturday night I was with friends at someone's place (we stopped going to public places a while ago) talking about the first cases in the country, then the next week we were together but not shaking hands and sitting a few feet from each other, and then the next week we were having our Saturday night together over Google Hangouts.
"Right now we are allowed to get out only for buying groceries or medicines and we have to carry a signed paper where we declare the reason for being out. Small stores you get in one person at a time, with the line forming outside (and 3-6 feet between people). Only one person per family can go. You're not allowed to cross municipal borders."
Go deeper: Coronavirus dashboard (Axios)
Photo: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
30 years ago today, MLB opened an investigation into Pete Rose for "serious allegations." The very next day, SI broke the news that Rose had ties to baseball betting.
In August of that year, MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti (yup, Paul Giamatti's dad) banned Rose for life.
Where things stand: Rose has had multiple reinstatement attempts denied, but he's not giving up. Just last month, he used the lack of punishment handed down in the Astros' cheating scandal to argue that his ban should be lifted.
The vault: "The Case Against Pete Rose" (SI)
Courtesy: Drone Racing League
Amidst our global lockdown, the Drone Racing League (DRL) has launched a digital, STEM education program called DRL Academy to teach kids physics and engineering in an innovative way and help educators reach students remotely, Jeff writes.
Interview: I spoke with DRL CEO and founder Nicholas Horbaczewski to learn about the academy — and become properly indoctrinated into the world of professional drone racing.
Are you an educator interested in working with the DRL Academy to reach students remotely? Email email@example.com to learn more.
Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images
Todd Gurley, who signed with the Falcons this morning after being released by the cash-strapped Rams yesterday, has scored 7o TD in his NFL career — the second-most ever by a player age 25 or younger.
Answer at the bottom.
Next week on Axios Sports:
What else should we add? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas.
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Wash your hands" Baker
Trivia answer: Emmitt Smith