👋 Good morning! Has your best friend signed up yet?
Today's word count: 1,323 (~5 mins)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Fresh off a momentous win over France, the U.S. women's national team faces yet another daunting task: England, which is brimming with confidence after four straight shutouts.
What they're saying:
In the age of social media, the cameras are always rolling and athletes begin building their "personal brands" as early as middle school.
Or so I thought...
Driving the news: Today is the first day MLB teams can sign international amateurs, which means today is the day the Yankees will sign Jasson Dominguez, a 16-year-old center fielder who might be the best baseball prospect ever.
By the numbers:
What do you think "The Martian" looks like? Scroll to the bottom to find out...
Cori Gauff. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
The Rangers sped up their rebuild by landing the biggest free agent on the market, Artemi Panarin. Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
On the first day of NHL free agency, over $697 million was committed to 118 free agents. For comparison's sake, the first day of NBA free agency saw over $3 billion committed to just 45 free agents.
The big signings/trades:
2019–2020 highest-paid (by average annual value)
Israel Folau after a mediation hearing on Friday. Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images
The firing of one of Australia's biggest sports stars for homophobic statements has the entire country arguing "at home, online and over the airwaves" about freedom of religion and gay rights.
Driving the news: Rugby Australia kicked Israel Folau off the national rugby team and terminated his $2.8 million contract in May after he made a post on Instagram telling gays, atheists and others that "hell awaits you."
Why it matters: The outcome of this case could set a precedent in Australia for how discrimination rules are interpreted.
The big picture: Australia isn't the only country where courts are deciding what constitutes religious discrimination. Just last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
What they're saying:
Hideo Nomo. Photo: Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images
23 years ago today, Dodgers rookie pitcher Hideo Nomo became the first Japanese player in MLB history to be elected to an All-Star team when he was named the NL starter.
The backdrop: Nomo's brilliance that season (he finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting) provided a much-needed jolt to a league that was still reeling from the 1994 labor strike, notes Japan Times' Robert Whiting.
"A player from Japan had emerged to reignite the national pastime in a way that perhaps no native-born American could have, given the bitter emotions that remained over the strike."— Robert Whiting
Fast forward: Since Nomo, a total of 11 Japanese players have made All Star teams. He helped pave the way for future generations, and that will forever be his legacy.
Go deeper: Hideo Nomo blazed a trail while mending fences (Japan Times)
Answer at the bottom.
One of the Top 10 most absurd videos I've ever watched.
World, meet Jasson Dominguez. How'd you do?
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "God bless Bobby Bonilla" Baker
Trivia answer: Roy Oswalt