👋 Happy Friday! Axios on HBO is back for episode 7 on Sunday (here's a clip). Let's sports.
Word count: 1,513 words (5 minutes)
As the decade comes to a close, let's remember all the champions — and all the MVPs — of the last 10 years in the four major U.S. sports.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The majority of Deadspin's staff — nearly 20 writers and editors — resigned this week after the site's interim editor-in-chief, Barry Petchesky, was fired for refusing to "stick to sports."
How we got here: Deadspin was founded as a sports blog in 2005 and was originally part of Gawker Media, which was sued out of existence thanks to a lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan (and funded by Peter Thiel).
Why it matters: In the last month alone, two prominent American sports publications have been gutted and look destined to become shells of their former selves.
The big picture: Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley describes this growing class of "zombie" publications, which extends far beyond sports media:
"Trustworthy brand-name publications are being hollowed out and refilled with unpaid 'community' contributors or low-paid, less experienced professionals who don't have the stature to challenge editorial imperatives or productivity quotas."
What they're saying:
My take: As someone whose job is to highlight the best sports content on the internet, this stinks. Deadspin has played a vital role in the media landscape for years and has published some of the best freelance writing anywhere online.
Update: Bernie is Team Deadspin.
Kendrick Nunn, who went undrafted in 2018 and spent last season with the Warriors' G League team (Santa Cruz Warriors) before signing with the Heat this summer, is off to a historic start.
📉 Down goes App State: Georgia Southern upset No. 20 Appalachian State for the second straight season last night, 24-21, snapping the Mountaineers' 13-game winning streak.
🐻 Baylor survives: The No. 12-ranked Baylor Bears squeaked past the West Virginia Mountaineers, 17-14, to remain undefeated.
Saturday's slate (all times ET):
The 2019 Formula One World Championship travels to Austin, Texas this weekend for the United States Grand Prix, the third-to-last race of the season.
P.S. ... Earlier this week, F1 unveiled its car of the future.
Two years ago today, the Astros beat the Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 7 to win the franchise's first World Series — a feat they came just short of repeating on Wednesday.
The backdrop: The victory came just two months after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston. During their championship run, the Astros became a beacon of hope.
The 49ers beat the Cardinals last night, 28-25, to improve to 8-0 — the second-best start in the Super Bowl era by a team that won fewer than five games the previous season.
Answer at the bottom.
Cigar enthusiasts from all over the world recently descended upon Split, Croatia for the 10th edition of the Cigar Smoking World Championship.
⚾️ Considering Bryce Harper's place in the "Ewing Theory" pantheon (Katie Baker, The Ringer)
"Harper is not only a new example of the decades-old Ewing Theory — [which suggests] teams can actually benefit from losing their top player — but perhaps even more of a manifestation of the idea than Patrick Ewing himself."
🏅 The Marathon star who wins with his arms (Rachel Bachman, WSJ)
"Meet wheelchair athlete Daniel Romanchuk, the defending champion in Sunday's New York City Marathon. He has a wingspan wider than Michael Phelps', a powerful work ethic and good timing: His surge coincides with an increase in attention and prize money for Paralympic athletes."
⚽️ For Palestinians in and out of refugee camps, Al Wihdat is more than a soccer team (Omar Almasri, Deadspin)
"Internationally, Al Wihdat is as obscure as any pro side could be. For the people that care about the team, though — a fan community that reaches from refugee camps across some of the most disputed borders in the world — it's not just a side to support."
Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 34 KO) is moving up two weight classes (175 pounds) to challenge Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 28 KO) this weekend, as he looks to secure a world title in a fourth weight division.
Go deeper: Storylines to watch (CBS Sports)
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Currently on repeat" Baker
Trivia answer: 2013 Chiefs (led by QB Alex Smith)