Happy Wednesday newsletter readers. It’s Shanna McCarriston, back to give you all the sports news of the day.
I hope you’re all getting excited for MLB‘s postseason and some hockey action as well. We aren’t talking about hockey in today’s newsletter, I just had to throw that in now that we have NHL games again, even if it is just the preseason. I’m even more amped than normal for this upcoming NHL season because of the Seattle Kraken. I can’t wait to see how they fare and what traditions their fans create.
Now onto today’s email.
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Today we will discuss a topic that has become a huge story during the recent NBA media days, some big questions as MLB’s regular season wraps up and more.
Why waste any more time? Let’s get started.
📰 What you need to know
1. The biggest questions remaining in MLB’s final week of regular season ⚾
Major League Baseball is in its final week of the regular season and all the questions we have about how things will shape up will be answered by Sunday. Last year we didn’t get a full season, so even though COVID-19 was still very much a conversation this season, we got to see all 162 games and an All-Star Game.
Some teams already know their fate this year, but others have big question marks over their heads. Here are the five biggest questions still to be answered in the final week of the regular season:
- Who wins the NL East, NL West?: These are the two last remaining divisions yet to crown a champion. The East is between the Phillies and the Braves, while the West is between the Dodgers and Giants
- Can the Yankees hold on?: The Yankees’ season has been a rollercoaster, but they are coming off two three-game series sweeps and have won seven straight games. It is still not yet known which teams will play in the AL Wild Card Game
- Will anyone hit 50 home runs?: The three with the chance to hit 50 homers this season are Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (46), Royals catcher Salvador Perez (46) and Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani (45)
For full commentary on each question, click here.
2. Champions League recap: Sheriff FC stun Real Madrid ⚽
Let’s talk some soccer, shall we?
One of the major stories out of Tuesday’s Champions League action was Lionel Messi scoring his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain, while also getting the team’s first win in the group stage. PSG was out-shot by Manchester City 18-6, so they did not win the battle of possession, but at the end of the day the final score was 2-0 and that’s the only stat that really matters.
However, the biggest result yesterday was Sheriff FC pulling off a massive upset over Real Madrid, defeating them 2-1. You know what they say, any given
Sunday Tuesday. This was such a shocking result that our soccer expert James Benge asked the following in the first sentence in his recap of yesterday’s action:
- Benge: “Was it the greatest upset in the recent history of the Champions League?”
Here are the full results from Tuesday’s matches:
- Ajax 2, Besiktas 0
- Shakhtar Donetsk 0, Inter Milan 0
- Atlético Madrid 2, AC Milan 1
- Club Brugge 2, RB Leipzig 1
- Liverpool 5, Porto 1
- PSG 2, Manchester City 0
- Borussia Dortmund 1, Sporting CP 0
- Sheriff Tiraspol 2, Real Madrid 1
And here are the latest odds for Wednesday’s matches:
- Atalanta (-1.5) vs. Young Boys
- Zenit (-0.5). vs. Malmo
- Wolfsburg vs. Sevilla (-0.5)
- Bayern Munich (-2.5) vs. Dynamo Kiev
- Red Bill Salzburg (-0.5) vs. Lille
- Juventus vs. Chelsea (-0.5)
- Benfica vs. Barcelona (-0.5)
- Manchester United (-1.5) vs. Villarreal
For picks from the soccer experts at CBS Sports, click here.
3. NFL Power Rankings: Bucs fall from top spot 🏈
Bringing you all the NFL Power Rankings weekly is slowly becoming my favorite part of the newsletter. Getting to talk football while judging teams?! What’s better than that?
This week the Bengals moved up the most, jumping eight spots after defeating the Steelers. We have our usual pattern here, with the Steelers being the team who moved down the most, dropping eight spots. I don’t want to say I told you so about the Steelers, but… I told you so.
The Buccaneers dropped out of the top spot after their loss to the Rams. I thought the Bucs would keep it closer than they did, but Los Angeles showed just how dangerous they can be in this league and took down the defending champs.
Here is a look at the top five teams this week, and whether they moved up, down or stayed in the same spot:
- No. 1: Rams, moved up two spots
- No. 2: Cardinals, moved up two spots
- No. 3: Packers, moved up four spots
- No. 4: Buccaneers, moved down three spots
- No. 5: Bills, moved up one spot
Check out the entire power rankings list as well as commentary on each team by clicking here.
Just like I will happily admit when I am right about a team, I can admit when I was a little too critical. The Packers did not have me convinced, but I should’ve known not to question the former MVP Aaron Rodgers, who seems to always find a way to win — even when it seems he shouldn’t have enough time to.
4. COVID-19 vaccination becomes major storyline among NBA players at media days 🏀
Whether or not players will get vaccinated and what the protocols will be for those who choose not to has been a debate across all sports since the COVID-19 vaccinate was made available to the public. Many athletes are opting to get the vaccine, saying they want to protect themselves and trust the science. Others have taken strong stands against getting vaccinated.
This week has been host to multiple NBA media days, and vaccine talk has been a hot topic. Many big name players in the league have shared their opinions on the matter, while others have gone the “no comment” route.
- LeBron James: “I can speak about myself, I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their families. I know that I was very skeptical about it all, but after doing my research, I felt like it was best suited for not only me, but my friends. That’s why I decided to do it.”
- Bradley Beal: “I don’t think you can pressure anybody into doing things, or putting things in their body. I would ask the question to those who are getting vaccinated, ‘why are you still getting COVID? … You can still get COVID and still pass it along if vaccinated.”
- Kyrie Irving: “I would like to keep all that private. Please just respect my privacy. Like, at all the questions kind of leading into what’s happening, you know, just, please, everything will be released at a new date, once we get this cleared up. But as of right now, just please respect my privacy regarding anything on home games, what’s happening, vaccination. Please.”
- Andrew Wiggins: “I’m confident in my beliefs and what I think is right and what I think is wrong. I’m gonna keep doing what I believe … What’s right for one person isn’t right for another. It’s none of your business is what it comes down to. I don’t ask you guys what you believe is right or wrong.”
- Steph Curry on Wiggins’ comments: “My opinion is, obviously I got [vaccinated] and am ready to be available and following the mandates and what not. But that’s kind of where it is, and in the next coming weeks and how it all plays out is gonna be entirely up to [Wiggins]. We obviously hope he’s available and with us, and kind of go from there.”
Many players have noted they will not push their teammates or try to convince them to get vaccinated. James even noted that it is not his job to do so.
Currently, the NBA is not requiring players to get vaccinated, but the protocols will likely be different and explained as the season gets closer.
📝 Odds & Ends
📺 What to watch tonight
⚾ Red Sox vs. Orioles, 7:05 p.m. | BAL +215 | TV: MLB.TV
⚾ Yankees vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. | TOR +105 | TV: ESPN
⚾ Padres vs. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet
If you’ve read my newsletters before you know I’m from Boston, which means I was born disliking New York sports teams, especially the Yankees. While I may not want to see the pinstripes have any postseason success, I can admit this story about the team is pretty great.
The Yankees adopted a pet named “Bronxie the turtle,” which is fabulous in itself, but it turns out the animal is also the team’s good luck charm. Since the addition of Bronxie, New York has gone 7-0, sweeping two three-game series (including Boston) before winning last night in Tortonto. All I’m saying is, Red Sox, if you’re reading this, it’s time to adopt a fish or a frog or something.