👋 Good morning! October baseball is here at last, with Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania all hosting games. Set the mood with this epic video.
💵 MJ's billions: Michael Jordan's net worth is now $3 billion, per Forbes. That qualifies him for the Forbes 400, the first time a pro athlete has cracked the list.
🏈 The Taylor Swift bump: Sunday's Jets-Chiefs game put up big numbers, drawing an average of 27 million people thanks largely to a spike in teen girl viewership.
⚽️ Cincy clinches: With 65 points from 31 matches, FC Cincinnati has clinched the MLS Supporters' Shield (best record) for the first time in club history.
MLB AWARDS PICKS
Today is the deadline for Baseball Writers' Association of America members to submit their MLB awards picks. Here's who we'd choose if we had votes, Jeff and I write.
AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani (DH/SP, Angels) … Despite missing the final month with a torn UCL and strained oblique, the two-way star had a better year at the plate and on the mound than in his 2021 MVP campaign.
Stats: .304/.412/.654, 44 HR, 95 RBI, 102 R, 20 SB in 135 games; 10-5, 3.14 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 167 K in 23 starts; 10.1 wins above replacement
Runner-up: It's a toss-up between Rangers teammates Marcus Semien (led all AL position players with 7.4 WAR) and Corey Seager (trailed only Semien in WAR despite missing 43 games).
NL MVP: Ronald Acuña Jr. (RF, Braves) … He led the NL in runs*, hits, steals, OBP, OPS and total bases, while inaugurating both the 30-60 and 40-70 club (home runs and steals). Is that good?
Stats: .337/.416/.596, 41 HR, 106 RBI, 149 R, 73 SB in 159 games; 8.1 WAR
Runner-up: With apologies to Freddie Freeman (59 doubles are seventh-most ever) and Matt Olson (MLB-best 54 HR, 139 RBI and .604 SLG), Mookie Betts led all position players with 8.4 WAR and played at least 70 games at both second base and right field.
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole (RHP, Yankees) … The Yankees were a disappointment, but it certainly wasn't Cole's fault as he led the AL in ERA, shutouts, innings, WHIP and hits per nine. At last, his name should come off the ignominious list of the best pitchers to never win a Cy Young.
Stats: 15-4, 2.63 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 222 K in 33 starts; 7.5 WAR
Runner-up: Twins righty Sonny Gray (2.79 ERA) vaulted past Mariners righty Luis Castillo (3.34) with a sterling 2.00 ERA in September. Castillo stumbled to a 4.96 ERA in the final month.
NL Cy Young: Blake Snell (LHP, Padres) … After a rough start (27 ER in nine starts), he was nearly unhittable (18 ER in final 23 starts). So unhittable, in fact, it didn't matter that he led all pitchers in walks. The 2018 AL Cy Young would be the seventh player to win the award in both leagues.
Stats: 14-9, 2.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 234 K in 32 starts; 6.0 WAR
Runner-up: Giants righty Logan Webb's ERA (3.25) wasn't as good as other contenders like Kodai Senga (2.98) and Justin Steele (3.06), but he led the NL in innings (216), strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.3) and quality starts (24). Gets our vote.
AL Rookie of the Year: Gunnar Henderson (3B/SS, Orioles) … If he'd played all year like he did over his final 100 games (52 extra-base hits, .276 AVG, .856 OPS), we'd be talking about where he'll finish for MVP rather than "just" running away with ROY.
Stats: .255/.325/.489, 28 HR, 82 RBI, 100 R, 10 SB in 150 games; 6.3 WAR
Runner-up: Guardians righty Tanner Bibee (2.98 ERA in 142 IP) was absolute nails, allowing two or fewer earned runs in 19 of his 25 starts.
NL Rookie of the Year: Corbin Carroll (OF, Diamondbacks) … If Acuña had the best power-speed season in MLB history, Carroll had the best such season ever by a rookie, leading the majors in triples and becoming the first rookie — and ninth player — with a 25-50 campaign.
Stats: .285/.362/.506, 25 HR, 76 RBI, 116 R, 54 SB in 155 games; 5.4 WAR
Runner-up: Among NL pitchers, Mets righty Kodai Senga's 2.98 ERA trailed only Snell and his 4.5 WAR trailed only Snell and Webb.
*Scoring machine: An under-reported part of Acuña's historic season is that he scored 149 runs, the third-most by any player since World War II, trailing only Jeff Bagwell (152 in 2000) and Ted Williams (150 in 1949).
THE GIANTS ARE DOWN BAD
The Giants' season went from horrible to something worse on Monday night with an ugly 24-3 loss to the Seahawks, writes Yahoo Sports' Frank Schwab.
Daniel Jones was sacked 11 times and threw a horrible pick-six as he fell to 0-7 on "Monday Night Football."
Where it stands: A year after making the playoffs, the G-Men are a train wreck. They're the only team to play three primetime games, and they lost all three while being outscored 94-15. With the Dolphins and Bills up next, they could be headed for a 1-5 start.
Stat of the day: There are two NFL teams who have yet to run an offensive play with a lead this season: the Giants and the Jets.
Hey, at least the Yankees and Mets had great seasons. Time for October baseball to cheer up New York sports fans! Oh wait.
50 STRAIGHT DAYS OF FOOTBALL
Today is the last day without at least one college football or NFL game until Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving.
That's right, folks: Starting tomorrow, we will have 50 straight days of football. So rest up tonight — you're gonna need it. And start planning your October and November schedule accordingly.
IN PHOTOS: NBA MEDIA DAYS
The 2023-24 NBA season unofficially began Monday as the majority of NBA teams reported to training camp to participate in their annual media days.
Miami — Jimmy Butler (aka. Ball Out Boy) went full "emo" for his official headshot.
Milwaukee — Two of the six players to average over 30 points per game last season — now on the same Bucks team.
Catch up quick: Offseason refresher
DAILY RANKING: NFL MVP CANDIDATES
Josh Allen has replaced Tua Tagovailoa as the NFL MVP favorite following the Bills' 48-20 win over the Dolphins.
Current odds at BetMGM:
Patrick Mahomes (+500)
Jalen Hurts (+800)
Lamar Jackson (+1200)
Justin Herbert (+1600)
Brock Purdy (+1800)
Christian McCaffrey (+1800)
Trevor Lawrence (+2000)
Dak Prescott (+2500)
My take: Based on performance alone, I'd have McCaffrey way higher than eighth. But when you consider that QBs have won 15 of the last 16 MVPs, it makes sense.
OCT. 3, 1951: THE SHOT HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD
72 years ago today, New York Giants slugger Bobby Thomson hit "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" — a three-run walk-off homer to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers and send the Giants to the World Series, where they'd face a third New York Team*: the Yankees, Jeff writes.
Famous call: After Thomson's blast sailed over the Polo Grounds fence, Giants announcer Russ Hodges provided an iconic call: "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"
⚾️ 1974: Two-time MVP Frank Robinson was named player-manager of the Indians, making him the first Black manager in MLB history.
🏈 1995: O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
*New York, New York, New York: The Yankees (98-56), Giants (98-59) and Dodgers (97-60) were the three best teams in baseball in 1951. The Yankees won the World Series in six games, their third of five straight championships.
WATCHLIST: PLAYOFF BASEBALL
The MLB postseason begins tonight as all four best-of-three Wild Card series get underway, Jeff writes.
Rangers at Rays (3:08pm ET, ABC): Tampa has played in 32 playoff games since Texas' last appearance in 2016. (Get in price, per StubHub: $37)
Diamondbacks at Brewers (7:08pm, ESPN2): Arizona rookie Brandon Pfaadt (5.72 ERA) takes on 2021 Cy Young Corbin Burnes* in a massive pitching mismatch. (Get in price: $17)
Marlins at Phillies (8:08pm, ESPN): Miami has made two non-pandemic postseasons and won the World Series both times (1997, 2003). Can they make it 3-for-3? (Get in price: $194)
More to watch:
*Good luck, hitters: Burnes led the NL with a 1.07 WHIP and was one of just two qualified pitchers in baseball to hold opponents to a .200 batting average or lower.
Nine of the 12 MLB playoff teams have won at least one World Series.
Question: Can you name the three that have never won?
Answer at the bottom.
GREAT READ: "ALONE AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD"
"The Year's Best Sports Writing 2023" hits shelves today. The annual anthology, curated this year by media reporter Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, showcases a wide range of stories and perspectives.
Featured story: This week, I'll be sharing my favorite stories from the book. Today's selection is the story of Susie Goodall's attempt to sail around the globe, nonstop, alone, and without technology. It's long, so set aside some time. You won't regret it.
Title: "Alone at the Edge of the World"
Author: Cassidy Randall
Publication: The Atavist Magazine
Richard's take: "Cassidy's harrowing tale is written with such force and detail that you feel lashed by the ocean, rain, and wind on the Southern Ocean alongside Goodall. Just incredible work."
Trivia answer: Brewers, Rangers, Rays