Saturday wound up being one of those days in sports where seemingly everything happens all at once.
Some of it you could kind of see coming, like Lionel Messi finally leading Argentina to a major international trophy, as he was named Best Player of the Copa América after Ángel Di Marïa scored the only goal of the final against host Brazil, in the 22nd minute. Messi was the tournament’s top scorer.
It’s Argentina’s first Copa América title since 1993, and first win over its arch rival in the continental tournament’s final since 1937.
Some of it, you could not see coming at all, like the United States men’s basketball team tuning up for the Olympics with a 90-87 loss to Nigeria in Las Vegas.
And, yes, this was the full-on Team USA that Nigeria beat, with a lineup of Miami Heat role players.
At least Team USA will go to Tokyo knowing that they have something to prove?
Gerrit Cole proved something on Saturday night, making his first start in Houston since leaving the Astros to join the Yankees as a free agent, and having gone 2-4 with a 5.24 ERA and 10 homers allowed in his last six starts, a slump that just happened to coincide with him being a focal point of MLB’s sticky stuff controversy.
Cole pitched a three-hit shutout, striking out 12 with two walks, and the Yankees got a 1-0 win thanks to Aaron Judge’s 21st homer of the season, which included a troll of José Altuve.
The Yankees are far from out of the woods after an arduous first half of the season, but they’ve won five of six since hitting rock bottom with a total meltdown in the first game of a doubleheader against the Mets on the Fourth of July. After the All-Star break, eight of New York’s first 10 games are against first-place Boston, whose lead over the Bronx Bombers is now… eight games. Stay tuned.
Also stay tuned for the next several years of Paige Bueckers’ career, as she was named the best women’s college sports athlete of the year at the ESPYs, an award that nobody will remember she won. What made it noteworthy was Bueckers’ speech, which she used to highlight Black women.
Since Bueckers mentioned Maya Moore, here’s ESPN’s video honoring her. It’s fantastic.
Bueckers was the first freshman to win the Naismith Trophy after an outstanding debut season at UConn. But she’s also keenly aware of why she was the most heavily-covered and promoted player in the sport, dwarfing the attention that was given to stars like Aliyah Boston of South Carolina and Louisville’s Dana Evans. It’s a tricky needle to thread, because it’s not like Bueckers wasn’t great for the Huskies, but she managed to do it in a speech on national television.
On no television whatsoever was the day’s very best moment in the sports world, as Dr. Willie Ross, the father of Washington pitcher Joe Ross, saved a woman’s life with the Heimlich maneuver during the Nationals-Giants game, as she was choking on a hot dog. It’s the first save recorded in a major league game by a member of the Ross family since Joe’s older brother Tyson worked the last three innings of the A’s 9-4 win over the Angels on April 11, 2010.
You know how the robot umps botched a call in the Atlantic League and it made for a viral video?
Yeah, bring on the robots. Maybe that’s what Shohei Ohtani’s wave meant. Bye bye.
I don’t get down with UFC at all, partly because mixed martial arts just isn’t my thing, and partly because Dana White runs an operation that has no qualms whatsoever about profiting off Greg Hardy.
That said, there’s a visceral feeling of seeing the news that Hardy not only got knocked the fuck out, but that his opponent completely clowned him.