👋 Good morning from Washington, D.C., where I'm in town for our Axios retreat.
Today's word count: 1,544 words (~6 mins)
England and New Zealand will go head-to-head in the Cricket World Cup Final on Sunday, with both countries looking to win their first ever world title.
The basics: Cricket is played with two teams of 11 players that take turns batting and playing the field. Like baseball, the objective is to score more runs than the opposing team.
The batting team sends out two batsmen who always work in pairs. Their job is to score runs and defend their wickets, and they continue hitting until they get out.
The fielding team puts all 11 players on the field, one of whom is designated as the bowler (aka, pitcher). The five main ways to get a batsman out:
Game format: After six bowled balls (aka, an "over"), the field of play flips (the pitch is symmetrical so you can play in either direction) and the bowler changes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
And here's an awesome episode of Netflix's "Patriot Act" that examines how cricket has evolved from a sport of British colonizers into a tool of diplomacy.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Photo: Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
With the NFL and its players union in the midst of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, owners continue to push for an 18-game regular season.
Why it matters: The NFLPA estimates that an additional two games could add as much as $2.5 billion in annual revenue, which would, in turn, add ~$15 million to the salary cap.
Yes, but: The players are pushing back mainly due to injury concerns.
The bottom line: This debate isn't going anywhere so get used to it.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook at the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Just when you thought it was safe to avoid Twitter, the Rockets and Thunder agreed to a blockbuster deal that will send Russell Westbrook to Houston in exchange for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025.
Why it matters: This move pairs two former teammates and MVPs (Westbrook and James Harden), adding further intrigue to an already loaded Western Conference. At the same time, it's a curious trade that presents more questions than answers.
P.S. … This is brain-melting. Of the 24 players in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, just eight (in italics) are still with the same team.
The estate of late oilman Aubrey McClendon is seeking to sell its 22% stake in the Thunder, per Bloomberg, Axios' Dan Primack writes.
Why it matters: This comes just as the Thunder traded away their most valuable asset (Westbrook). Can't imagine that move went over too well at Inner Circle Sports, the New York investment bank that's managing the sale.
The bottom line: "It’s difficult to pinpoint a value for McClendon's stake, which comes with voting rights but few other perks, according to [sources]," writes Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick.
Go deeper: Sign up for Dan's Pro Rata newsletter, which covers the deals and dealmakers in venture capital, private equity and M&A.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Photo: G Fiume/Getty Image
🏈 NFL: The Washington Redskins organization has reportedly experienced a "mass exodus" of employees since January. "Almost 40 people have left, behind the scenes," said 106.7 The Fan's Chris Russell, citing multiple sources. "Nobody wants to work there. It's a terrible culture."
⚽️ Soccer: The analytics movement has yet to transform soccer like it has most other major sports, with the possible exception of hockey. But as one Deadspin writer who attended a recent "soccer analytics bootcamp" found out, some believe a revolution is coming. "Moneyball for soccer," if you will.
🎾 Wimbledon: Here are the key questions entering tomorrow's Wimbledon women's final between Serena Williams and Simona Halep.
🏀 College hoops: After four years as an All-American lacrosse star at Loyola, Pat Spencer will play basketball at Northwestern this winter, returning to a sport that he hasn't played competitively since starring on the hardwood for his high school. Should be a fun story to follow.
⚾️ Good read: "It's been a series of firsts for Tommy Edman since he made his MLB debut for the St. Louis Cardinals on June 8: first at-bat, first hit, and first home run. His cousin has reveled in every moment." (The Ringer)
Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images
40 years ago today, the Chicago White Sox hosted Disco Demolition night — a promotion encouraging fans to blow up their disco records on the field. What could possibly go wrong?
Details: The White Sox offered 98 cent admission to a doubleheader for anyone who brought a disco record to blow up during the intermission between the two games.
Between the lines: Critics say the controversial promotion was a not-so-subtle attack on minority groups, who had been some of the early adopters of disco.
Milwaukee's Christian Yelich (31) and Mike Moustakas (25) combined for 56 homers before the All-Star Break — the most by two teammate since 2013.
Answer at the bottom.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman fulfilled a dream by taking part in the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, this week.
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Cricket enthusiast (as of yesterday)" Baker
Trivia answer: Baltimore's Chris Davis (37) and Adam Jones (19)