🎉 Happy Friday!
Today's word count: 1,643 ( ~ 6 mins).
Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
Four months ago, Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi was sleeping outside because he couldn't afford a hotel room. Last night, he returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown in an NFL preseason game.
The backdrop: In 2016, Sheehy-Guiseppi was a junior college All-American kick returner for Phoenix College. But after failing to land a Division I offer that offseason, he went two years without playing organized football.
The breakthrough: All looked lost until a friend he had met in a flag football league told Sheehy-Guiseppi about an NFL workout in Miami.
One problem: He was stuck in Miami with no money and a week until the tryout. So he improvised, sleeping either outside or at a 24-hour fitness center and eating food at strangers' cookouts.
The bottom line: If this isn't a future Disney movie, I don't know what is. Just an incredible story of perseverance, and a moment last night that genuinely made everyone who witnessed it happier — even if only for a moment. Damon!!!
Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi (left) and Liverpool's Mo Salah (right) in action last Sunday. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images
The Premier League season kicks off today, and for the second straight year, it's Manchester City and Liverpool's league to lose.
Driving the news:
P.S. … NBC Sports compared each Premier League club to an NFL franchise, so this should help you pick a team if you need one.
Mike Trout, who turned 28 on Wednesday, is having perhaps his best season yet, which is saying a lot considering they've all been spectacular.
P.S. … Are you a data nerd? We partnered with Sports Reference on this story, and they have their own stats-centric newsletter. Check it out.
A cryotherapy session. Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Cryotherapy is a form of treatment used to expedite the recovery process — kind of like ice baths on steroids. It's become popular among athletes in recent years, but a report out of Oakland this week could scare some away.
Driving the news: Raiders superstar Antonio Brown is currently sidelined after suffering "extreme frostbite" in a cryotherapy session gone wrong.
How it works: You strip down (but cover extremities) and stand in an extremely cold liquid nitrogen chamber for up to three minutes. This "tricks" your body into thinking it's freezing to death, which triggers natural healing mechanisms and causes, among other things, increased circulation and decreased inflammation.
The big picture: This has happened before. Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin suffered the same fate in 2011 when he entered the chamber with sweaty socks. He said it sidelined him for months, meaning Brown's Raiders debut may have to wait.
"Every day I had to wake up and get my blisters popped by a therapist. It got really, really bad. ... Antonio Brown [is] amazing at what he does, but at the end of the day, the injuries I sustained from that, it took months of recovery to get back."— Justin Gatlin, per TMZ
⚾️ MLB: Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette only needed 48 big league at-bats to become the first player in MLB history to hit a double in nine straight games. … Overall, he's batting .404 with four HR and has recorded a hit in every game he's played in. Is that good?
🏀 Pan American Games: The Argentina women's national basketball team had to forfeit a game at the Pan American Games because it showed up wearing the wrong color jerseys. Shortly thereafter, the team manager and director of basketball development submitted their resignations.
⚽️ MLS: For the second straight season, Atlanta United leads Major League Soccer in average attendance ... by a lot. The top five: Atlanta United (53,269), Seattle Sounders (39,663), FC Cincinnati (27,691), Portland Timbers (25,218), Toronto FC (24,911).
Wayne Gretzky during one of the most emotional press conferences in sports history. Photo: Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images
31 years ago today, the Edmonton Oilers traded 27-year-old Wayne Gretzky — the best hockey player on the planet and still in the prime of his career — to the L.A. Kings for a package of young players, draft picks and $15 million in cash.
The reaction: The blockbuster trade came on the heels of the Oilers' fourth championship in five years and caused such an uproar in Edmonton and across Canada that politicians tried to block it from happening.
"The Oilers without Gretzky is like apple pie without ice cream, like winter without snow, like Wheel of Fortune without Vanna White."— New Democratic Party House Leader Nelson Riis, per NHL.com
Watch: Gretzky's tearful goodbye to Edmonton (YouTube)
Answer at the bottom.
The 2019 Drum Corps International World Championships are currently underway at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Go deeper: Check out FloMarching on Instagram. They're at Lucas Oil covering the event and the drumline videos are wild. Totally opened my eyes to a world I didn't even know existed.
🏒 Joe Murphy, Red Wings' No. 1 Pick, Is Homeless Again — And Refusing Help (Detroit Free Press)
"Murphy is a fascinating case study at the crux of several issues — traumatic brain injuries, mental health issues and the ripple effect of concussion lawsuits on professional sports. How do you help somebody who doesn't want help? ... And what will happen to his life if he comes into a sudden influx of cash from a settlement?"
"It's a test of skill and endurance so stringent that no major league batter has passed it since World War II. The stories of two minor leaguers who have since hit baseball's magic number — one in the Jim Crow South, one in an independent hardball outpost — are monuments to the resolve it takes to succeed in the game."
"There is a real case to be made that Slater is as good at his job — playing special teams — as anyone in football. ... But just as important, he might be the best marriage of selflessness and specialization of this NFL era."
The "Field of Dreams" movie set in Dyersville, Iowa, will host the Yankees and White Sox for a regular season game next August, MLB announced yesterday.
One question: When are we getting Dodgers vs. Giants at "The Sandlot"? Make it happen, Manfred.
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Tennis sneakers" Baker
Trivia answer: Cubs 1B Mark Grace
Editor's note: The photo in story no. 4 was changed due to concerns over insensitive portrayals.