👋 Good morning. Let's sports.
Today's word count: 2,011 words (8 minutes).
👋 Good morning. Let's sports.
Today's word count: 2,011 words (8 minutes).
Mariners OF Mitch Haniger hits a two-run HR during a preseason friendly game against the Yomiuri Giants in Tokyo last March. Photo: Masterpress/Getty Images
The Yomiuri Giants, Japan's most famous baseball team, called off a preseason game hours ago after two players tested positive for COVID-19, per multiple reports.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Bettmann/Contributor
1968 has been on a lot of people's minds lately — another year of protests, violence and upheaval that tore America apart, Axios' managing editor David Nather writes.
The big picture: The demonstrations in the streets have a parallel in the mass demonstrations of 1968, as do the racism and police brutality.
What's different this time:
📸 The sports angle ... To add more context to David's piece, 1968 was also the year that African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in protest while standing on the winner's podium at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
As the four major American pro sports leagues navigate both the pandemic and nationwide protests, it felt prudent to learn more about the four commissioners in charge, Axios' Jeff Tracy writes. Fun fact: They're all from New York.
Path to commissioner: As a New York lawyer, Silver became fascinated by media rights and reached out to then-commissioner David Stern — who'd previously worked at the same law firm as his father — for guidance. Soon thereafter, in 1992, he became Stern's assistant; his first of six roles with the NBA.
"I've learned over my time at the NBA from some of the greatest coaches ... some of the best basketball minds, and been reminded that this is a team game ... I've developed a true appreciation of the team concept and one that, sort of as the new commissioner-slash-CEO of this organization, I'm really hoping to put into practice."— Adam Silver in 2014
Tenure as commissioner: Endorsed by outgoing commissioner Stern, Silver was unanimously elected by the Board of Governors in February 2014. Just three months later, Silver forcefully navigated the ugly Donald Sterling scandal, banning Sterling for life just four days after the famously leaked audio surfaced.
Path to commissioner: Manfred focused on labor and employment law at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Boston, where he became a partner in 1992. He officially joined MLB in 1998 as the EVP of Economics and League Affairs, but had already spent a decade working with them through his firm, including as outside counsel to the owners in the midst of the 1994-95 strike.
Tenure as commissioner: He became COO in 2013, but when Bud Selig's contract ended after the 2014 season, Manfred was voted unanimously by the owners to succeed him. In 2016, he helmed the league's current CBA (expires in 2021), and his biggest moment thus far was last winter's sign-stealing scandal. Additionally, Manfred has made speeding up the game his primary goal, enacting various measures such as pitch clocks. Average game time last year? A record 3:05:35.
"Bowie Kuhn declared free agency would destroy the game; Peter Ueberroth urged owners to collude to keep down salaries; Bud Selig, while claiming to be concerned about steroid use, traveled the country as Barry Bonds cheated his way to breaking Hank Aaron's home run record. And now comes Manfred, clearly believing that if he says something's true, then it's true."— WashPost's John Feinstein on the heels of the Astros' scandal
SALINAS, Calif. — Olympic softball pitcher Monica Abbott — who holds the NCAA career records for most victories, shutouts and strikeouts — practices in her backyard during a recent training session.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Paralympian and retired U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell lifts weights in her home. Hi, puppy.
ROCKVILLE, Md. — Olympic Women's Hockey gold medalist, Haley Skarupa, has temporarily traded her ice skates for inline skates.
We're ranking the all-time rosters for all 30 MLB teams. Note: Rosters based only on time spent with this specific team. Thoughts? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How could a team with so little history and success nearly crack the top 10? Look at the names in this batting order, that's how. Also, I'm having trouble coming up with something more beautiful than Griffey and Canó's swings in the same lineup.
On the mound: SP Félix Hernández (50.1)
ICYMI ... 30. Rays, 29. Royals, 28. Diamondbacks, 27. Blue Jays, 26. Angels, 25. Padres, 24. Rockies, 23. Brewers; 22. Nationals, 21. Mets, 20. Orioles, 19. Twins, 18. Astros, 17. Marlins, 16. White Sox, 15. Athletics, 14. Phillies, 13. Braves, 12. Pirates
Huge thanks to Tom Stone, whose book "Now Taking the Field: Baseball's All-Time Dream Teams for All 30 Franchises," provided the inspiration for these rosters.
31 years ago today, Vin Scully broadcast 23 innings across two cities in the same day, meaning twice as many fans as usual were treated to the dulcet tones of the greatest sportscaster to ever live.
The itinerary: Scully, who spent 67 seasons calling Dodgers games (1950-2016), began the day in St. Louis to call NBC's "Game of the Week" between the Cardinals and Cubs.
The big picture: Scully retired in 2016 at the age of 88, and I can't imagine how there will ever be another like him.
The bottom line: Last week, Scully won an L.A. Times reader vote as the most iconic sports figure in the city's history, beating out Magic Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Kobe Bryant and more.
🎥 Watch: Vin Scully's greatest calls (YouTube)
🏀 Wes Unseld was a giant by any measure (Thomas Boswell, WashPost)
"Wes Unseld [who died Tuesday at 74] was so valuable to his teams in so many ways that he confounds analysis. But consider this: Over the final eight seasons of his career ... Unseld had more offensive rebounds than he had missed shots. That's mind-bending."
🥎 The spectacular rise and sudden fall of print media ... on the softball field (John Walters, SI)
"For so many in the media space, the ball fields at Central Park were where writers and editors ... fought across decades for softball supremacy. This is the story of how the Press League — and with it, a huge chunk of the press itself — withered and died."
🏈 How each top college football team becomes a national title contender (Bill Connelly, ESPN)
"This time last year, we were wondering if Justin Fields was ready to dominate at Ohio State or if Joe Burrow's late-2018 surge at LSU meant something significant. He was, and it did. This year the questions shift, but the teams most well-positioned for a title run are about the same."
"The Ocho" well is drying up, so we need your help.
Portrait of the Akron Professionals, the first NFL champions, 1920. Photo: Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images
Only two of the NFL's eight founding franchises (meaning they were active during the 1920 season) are still in existence.
Answer at the bottom.
Vin Scully in 2016. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Eliot B. (North Hollywood) writes:
"I was born in Brooklyn 72 years ago and was likely a Dodgers fan long before I entered the world. My father made sure of that by taking me to so many games at Ebbets Field.
"Fast forward to the late '90s. I'm living in L.A. and still loving my Dodgers. My friend had developed a baseball 'streaming service' and signed a deal with the Dodgers to stream 20 games.
"He called me and another friend and asked us to work with him — if you want to call what we were doing 'work.' Turns out, one of the many perks of the job was that we did the streaming from the Dodger press box.
"There was a restaurant behind the press box for Dodger execs and guests, but it was also open to anyone working in the press box, so I got to enjoy the excellent buffet before each game.
"One day, I headed for the restaurant but decided to use the restroom first. There I was, standing at one of the urinals, when who walks in? My hero, Vin Scully.
"I'm speechless! He walks to the stall next to me, smiles and says hello, says how nice a day it is for a baseball game, then leaves. I could barely move and spent the next few minutes trying to pick my jaw up off the floor.
"I finally leave, grab some food from the buffet and head down to where we were 'working.' My friend tells me I'm late, so I tell him what happened. To which he replies, 'Then, no problem!'"
✍️ Submit your story: Do you have a fondest sports memory? Or an example of sports having a positive impact on your life? If you'd like to share, simply reply to this email. We'll be telling your stories until they run out.
Kendall "You guessed the Packers, didn't you" Baker
Trivia answer: Chicago Bears (founded as Decatur Staleys) and Arizona Cardinals (founded as Chicago Cardinals)