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Sep 15, 2020 - Sports

The MLB players who could join Albert Pujols in the 600 home run club

Data: MLB; Table: Axios Visuals

Albert Pujols tied Willie Mays at No. 5 on the all-time HR list over the weekend, belting a moonshot for No. 660 at Coors Field.

The state of play: Pujols, 40, is one of just nine players in the exclusive 600-HR club. Which active players have a shot at joining him?

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Sep 15, 2020 - Sports

Steve Cohen agrees to buy Mets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Steve Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire from Long Island, has reached an agreement to buy the Mets.

Details: Cohen will own 95% of the team, with the Wilpon and Katz families retaining the other 5%. The sale values the Mets at $2.42 billion, per Sportico, making it the most ever paid for an MLB franchise, topping the $2.15 billion paid for the Dodgers and surrounding real estate in 2012.

Sep 11, 2020 - Sports

Coach John Calipari's strange streak

John Calipari and Anthony Davis at the 2012 ESPY Awards. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

John Calipari has coached a veritable who's who of current NBA talent in his 11 years at Kentucky, producing 29 first-round picks — but not a single NBA champion.

Yes, but: This could be the year his streak ends, as five of the seven remaining teams have at least one of Calipari's ex-Wildcats on their roster.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Sep 10, 2020 - Sports

Special report: The NFL is back and weirder than ever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Chiefs beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2. One day later, the U.S. declared COVID-19 a public health emergency.

The big picture: A lot has happened in the 223 days since then, highlighted by Tom Brady's arrival in Tampa Bay via free agency and Joe Burrow's arrival in Cincinnati via the NFL's first-ever virtual draft. Teams aced the training camp protocols, but without any preseason games, expect to see some rust when they finally take the field for game day.

Sep 9, 2020 - Sports

Baseball's shrinking minor leagues

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Minor League Baseball (MiLB), whose season was already canceled due to the pandemic, is staring down a historic contraction once its agreement with Major League Baseball (MLB) expires on Sept. 30.

Why it matters: Roughly 42 of the 160 affiliated minor league clubs are set to lose affiliate status by the end of the month, drastically changing the future of not only the affected clubs, but the minor leagues as a whole.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Sep 9, 2020 - Sports

College football becomes a political proxy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

College football has become a key political issue as the 2020 election approaches, and the impending NFL season will only ratchet up the intensity around empty stadiums and player protests.

Why it matters: Football is America's most popular sport. And considering 43 of the top 50 most-watched TV broadcasts last year were football games, it's arguably our most popular form of entertainment, period.

Sep 8, 2020 - Sports

Colin Kaepernick added to Madden NFL 21

Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

EA Sports announced Tuesday that it added Colin Kaepernick to Madden NFL 21, marking his first appearance in the popular football video game series since 2016.

Why it matters: Kaepernick has not been signed to an NFL team since 2016, when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism. EA Sports said it wanted "to see him back in our game," calling him "a starting-caliber quarterback."

Sep 5, 2020 - Sports

Browns and Bengals can host up to 6,000 fans for two home games each

Cleveland Browns players work out without fans during training camp at FirstEnergy Stadium in August. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Saturday that the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals can host up to 6,000 fans at two home games each scheduled for September and October.

Why it matters: DeWine's approval comes after three NFL teams agreed to host spectators. The Cowboys, Chiefs and Dolphins also promised to have fans in the stands during their first games of the regular season.

Go deeper: NFL says its coronavirus positive test rate is under 1%

Aug 29, 2020 - Sports

Only 3 NFL teams will have fans in the stands for their home openers

A view of Dolphins stadium on Aug. 29. Photo: Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Cowboys, Chiefs and Dolphins are the only NFL teams that have promised to have fans in the stands during their first game of the regular season, the Boston Globe reports.

Why it matters: Over 75% of the league has ruled out admitting fans at home openers over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, though a normal game-day experience for teams that do allow fans will be elusive.

Aug 28, 2020 - Sports

NBA playoffs to resume after agreement on social justice initiatives

Photo: Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The NBA and its players' union agreed on Friday to resume the league's playoffs on Saturday after players refused to take the floor for a number of games this week in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

Why it matters: As part of the agreement, the league agreed to work with the players to work toward three initiatives focused around social justice, civic engagement and voting rights.