Good morning! Let's sports.
Today's word count: 1,451 (<6 mins).
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into the world of baseball card collecting — one that involves an industry-leading appraisal firm, a well-known memorabilia dealer, and an auction house, WashPost reports.
Details: This scandal began after two online collectors tracked hundreds of cards as they were (1) graded by an appraisal firm, (2) obtained by a "card doctor," (3) altered and resubmitted for a higher grade, and then (4) sold through an auction house.
The backdrop: Modern baseball card collecting erupted in the 1990s when appraisal firms began grading cards' conditions on a 1 to 10 scale.
The big picture: Forbes will tell you that, if a decade ago you had put your money in trading cards instead of the stock market, your payoff would be more than twice as big.
The bottom line: Card collecting is a hobby — and a billion-dollar industry — built entirely on trust, and this scandal threatens to erode that on the eve of the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.
"This is a crisis. There's just too much upside to being unethical in this industry. ... This is bad. This is really bad."— Darren Rovell of the Action Network tells Axios
Zeke in a photo so beautiful it looks like a painting. Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images
In what is becoming a yearly occurrence, elite running backs — this time the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott and the Chargers' Melvin Gordon — believe they are underpaid and are threatening preseason holdouts if they don't get new deals.
What's happening: As rushing becomes less and less important to winning in the NFL, teams are steadily paying less for RBs, with owners preferring to invest in low-priced specialists instead of one three-down bell cow.
The bottom line: "In a sport dedicated to making sure that players have no leverage, the running back may have the least by a wide margin," writes The Ringer's Kevin Clark.
Lowry holding the Claret Jug. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Irishman Shane Lowry finished six shots clear of Tommy Fleetwood to win the Open Championship at Northern Ireland's Royal Portrush, the first major victory of the 32-year-old self-taught golfer's career.
Why it matters: "The 148th Open Championship was foreshadowed with ample focus on what divides the people of this island — politics, religion — so it was only appropriate that a man who embodies many of the traits that unite them should emerge [victorious]," writes Golfweek's Eamon Lynch.
P.S. ... Brooks Koepka, who finished tied for fourth at six-under, has been sounding off on his peers' slow pace of play all season. Yesterday, he snapped and called out playing partner J.B. Holmes by name:
"When it's your turn to hit, your glove is not on ... That's where the problem lies. He doesn't do anything until it's his turn. That's the frustrating part. But he's not the only one that does it out here."— Brooks Koepka
Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera and Brandy Halladay (l to r). Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
A crowd of 55,000 — the second-largest in the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony — and 53 previous inductees were on hand to see the Class of 2019 enter Cooperstown's hallowed halls.
What they said: Brandy Halladay spoke for just seven minutes about her late husband, Roy. It was the shortest speech of the day but maybe the most impactful...
"I think that Roy would want everyone to know that people are not perfect. That we are all imperfect and flawed in one way or another. But with hard work, humility and dedication, imperfect people can still have perfect moments."
Corey Maggette shoots over Joe Johnson. Photo: Jamie Squire/BIG3/Getty Images
When it launched in 2017, the BIG3 seemed like a cute sideshow offering former pros the chance to play in glorified pick-up games.
How it works: BIG3 basketball is three-on-three hoops played on a half court. Like pickup, if the defense gets a rebound, they must take the ball back behind the three-point line.
Standings: Following Power's win over the previously undefeated Triplets on Saturday, there's a three-way tie atop the league:
O.J. Simpson. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty Images
25 years ago today, O.J. Simpson pleaded "absolutely, 100% not guilty" to the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
With his victory over Keith Thurman on Saturday, 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao became the fifth-oldest male boxer to win a world title.
Answer at the bottom.
It's happened again — another daredevil mountain biker has jumped over the Tour de France peloton and produced a breathtaking video of it.
Check out: Tour de France standings.
The latest season of "All or Nothing," which takes you inside the Carolina Panthers' 2018–19 campaign, is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Iso Joe's still got it" Baker
Trivia answer: Bernard Hopkins