👋 Good morning! Happy Hump Day from our family to yours.
— Kendall Baker (email), Jeff Tracy (email)
⚽️ Audio released: The Premier League has released audio of the “human error” that led officials to incorrectly disallow Liverpool’s goal in a 2-1 loss to Tottenham.
🥍 FSU adding lax: Florida State is adding a women’s lacrosse team, 18 months after its bogus Title IX numbers were exposed.
🏈 Rodgers eyes return: Aaron Rodgers says he’s “well ahead” in his rehab from a torn Achilles and still hopes to return this season if the Jets are in contention.
🏀 Harden update: James Harden is expected to arrive in Colorado for Sixers training camp as soon as today after missing Monday and Tuesday.
THE DROUGHT IS OVER
The Twins beat the Blue Jays in Tuesday’s Wild Card opener, 3-1, ending their 18-game postseason losing streak, the longest in North American sports history, Jeff writes.
Congratulations, Detroit: The longest active playoff losing streak in North America now belongs to the Pistons, who’ve lost 14 straight games dating back to 2008.
The drought: Minnesota had lost 18 straight games (and seven straight series) dating back to 2004. The Yankees were by far their biggest foe, beating them 13 times.
2004 ALDS, Game 2: Yankees 7, Twins 6
2004 ALDS, Game 3: Yankees 8, Twins 4
2004 ALDS, Game 4: Yankees 6, Twins 5
2006 ALDS, Game 1: A’s 3, Twins 2
2006 ALDS, Game 2: A’s 5, Twins 2
2006 ALDS, Game 3: A’s 8, Twins 3
2009 ALDS, Game 1: Yankees 7, Twins 2
2009 ALDS, Game 2: Yankees 4, Twins 3
2009 ALDS, Game 3: Yankees 4, Twins 1
2010 ALDS, Game 1: Yankees 6, Twins 4
2010 ALDS, Game 2: Yankees 5, Twins 2
2010 ALDS, Game 3: Yankees 6, Twins 1
2017 Wild Card Game: Yankees 8, Twins 4
2019 ALDS, Game 1: Yankees 10, Twins 4
2019 ALDS, Game 2: Yankees 8, Twins 2
2019 ALDS, Game 3: Yankees 5, Twins 1
2020 Wild Card, Game 1: Astros 4, Twins 1
2020 Wild Card, Game 2: Astros 3, Twins 1
The other games: The Rangers, Phillies and Diamondbacks won their openers, leaving them one win shy of advancing to the Division Series.
Further reading: Royce Lewis gives Minnesota hope on cathartic, two-homer day
MAPPED: HIGH SCHOOL NIL LAWS
The NIL era has upended college sports, but it has also quietly opened the door for high school athletes to begin cashing in.
The latest: On Monday, Georgia became the 30th state (plus Washington, DC) to allow high school athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness while competing.
This new reality won’t impact the vast majority of high school athletes in the Peach State who are simply playing sports for the fun of it.
But as a football recruiting hotbed*, Georgia has plenty of prospects with national profiles who can now monetize themselves.
Where it stands: Each state has slightly different regulations, but here are the jurisdictions where NIL deals are currently permitted (see map above).
District of Columbia
Meet Julian Lewis… The 15-year-old, USC-bound QB could make seven-figures now that Georgia has opened the NIL floodgates. (Sports Illustrated)
Leaving Texas… Notably absent from the list above is Texas, where strict NIL laws have driven some top athletes out of the state. (Texas Monthly)
Prep Super League… The former president of the USFL is launching a league for elite players that will assist with NIL deals. (AP)
*Georgia currently has three of the top 10 football recruits in the 2024 class, per Rivals. That includes No. 1 recruit Dylan Raiola, a QB who has committed to Georgia.
NBA LEVELS: MEET LEVEL 4
Each week in October, the Yahoo Sports NBA team will be unveiling the 40 best players in the league — one level at a time.
Meet Level 4: These are players who are either a missing piece for a current championship team or players who could be a missing piece for a future championship team. Here’s Jake Fischer and Vincent Goodwill on who best exemplifies that.
Fischer: “With this current landscape, you could easily throw out a guy like Bradley Beal, who’s been considered the missing piece for the Suns after a massive three-team trade. I’m also curious if Pascal Siakam eventually lands in Atlanta after all those flirtations between the Hawks and the Raptors.”
Goodwill: “The guy that stands out for me is Jrue Holiday, now on the Celtics. You’re talking about a guy that defends, that’s high-motor, that’s low-maintenance … Those are the type of players who can come in on any team and fit right in.”
The last word from Vincent… “Some guys who are level four yearn to be level one. And some guys who are level four are level four because they want to be. That’s the role that they’ve chosen for themselves, and it’s worked out for them.”
NFL POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 5
The Bills’ rout of the Dolphins vaulted them to No. 2 in this week’s NFL power rankings, courtesy of Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab, Jeff writes.
Where it stands: The better-than-expected Buccaneers leapt nine spots to the cusp of the top 10, the surprisingly frisky Texans climbed eight spots into the top 20 and the bafflingly punchless Bengals fell 10 spots after putting up just three points for the second time this season.
49ers: 4-0 (–)
Bills: 3-1 (up 2)
Eagles: 4-0 (down 1)
Chiefs: 3-1 (down 1)
Cowboys: 3-1 (up 1)
Dolphins: 3-1 (down 1)
Lions: 3-1 (–)
Ravens: 3-1 (up 1)
Seahawks: 3-1 (up 1)
Browns: 2-2 (down 2)
Buccaneers: 3-1 (up 9)
Jaguars: 2-2 (up 9)
Commanders: 2-2 (up 3)
Chargers: 2-2 (up 4)
Packers: 2-2 (down 3)
Saints: 2-2 (down 3)
Rams: 2-2 (up 6)
Colts: 2-2 (up 1)
Texans: 2-2 (up 8)
Titans: 2-2 (up 5)
Bengals: 1-3 (down 10)
Steelers: 2-2 (down 8)
Falcons: 2-2 (down 8)
Vikings: 1-3 (–)
Patriots: 1-3 (down 8)
Jets: 1-3 (down 4)
Cardinals: 1-3 (up 1)
Giants: 1-3 (down 2)
Raiders: 1-3 (–)
Panthers: 0-4 (–)
Broncos: 1-3 (–)
Bears: 0-4 (–)
Coming up: Sunday night should be electric with the Cowboys (No. 1 defense) visiting the 49ers (14 straight regular-season wins).
RACING UP THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
For most, the Empire State Building is a tourist attraction. For others, it’s a racecourse, Jeff writes.
What’s happening: Tonight at 8pm ET, roughly 400 “tower racers” will ascend NYC’s seventh-tallest building in the 45th annual Empire State Building Run-Up.
Route: The race starts in the lobby before entering the stairwell, where runners climb 86 flights and finish with one lap around the observation deck.
Distance: It’s 1,576 steps up, which equals an ascent of 1,050 feet.
Time: Elite runners complete the course in about 12 minutes (the men’s record is 9:33; the women’s is 11:23), while more casual racers take almost three times as long. The elevator, for what it’s worth, gets you there in under a minute.
One of many: The ESB Run-Up was the first tower race in the U.S. when it debuted in 1978*, but tower racing’s origins date back to 1905 when an even more iconic structure — the Eiffel Tower — hosted the first known tower race. Now, there are more than 200 such races each year across the globe.
See for yourself: Watch from the point-of-view of a 2021 finisher.
*Fun fact: The inaugural edition in 1978 was won by Gary Muhrcke, who had also won the inaugural NYC Marathon in 1970.
OCT. 4, 1906: BEST RECORD EVER
117 years ago today, the Cubs shut out the Pirates to end the season with a 116-36 record (.763) that remains the best in modern MLB history, Jeff writes.
They closed the season on a mind-boggling 55-8 run that included winning streaks of 11, 12 and 14 games.
Their best player was Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, whose 1.04 ERA that season remains the second-best in modern MLB history.
Best records: Here are the top 10 records by winning percentage in a full season since 1901 (when the AL was formed):
1906 Cubs*: 116-36 (.763)
1902 Pirates: 103-36 (.741)
1909 Pirates: 110-42 (.724)
1954 Indians: 111-43 (.721)
2001 Mariners: 116-46 (.716)
1927 Yankees: 110-44 (.714)
1907 Cubs: 107-45 (.704)
1931 Athletics: 107-45 (.704)
1998 Yankees: 114-48 (.704)
1939 Yankees: 106-45 (.702)
🏈 1873: The CFL’s Toronto Argonauts were formed, making them the oldest North American professional sports team still using their original name.
⚾️ 2022: Aaron Judge belted his 62nd home run of the year, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record for the most in a single season.
*No ring for the Cubbies: Regular-season success didn’t translate to a championship in 1906, as the Cubs lost the World Series to their crosstown rival White Sox in the biggest playoff upset ever (.763 winning percentage vs. .616 winning percentage).
WATCHLIST: SURVIVE OR ADVANCE
Four more Wild Card games today as the Rays, Blue Jays, Brewers and Marlins try to even things up and force a decisive Game 3.
Rangers at Rays (3:08pm ET, ABC): Nathan Eovaldi (3.63 ERA) vs. Zach Eflin (3.50)
Blue Jays at Twins (4:38pm, ESPN): José Berríos (3.65) vs. Sonny Gray (2.79)
Diamondbacks at Brewers (7:08pm, ESPN2): Zac Gallen (3.47) vs. Freddy Peralta (3.86)
Marlins at Phillies (8:08pm, ESPN): Braxton Garrett (3.66) vs. Aaron Nola (4.46)
More to watch:
*MLS snapshot: The East is nearly set, with seven of nine spots clinched, but the West is wild, with St. Louis the only team to have clinched so far.
Patrick Mahomes needed just 84 games to reach 200 TD passes, breaking the previous record of 89 games.
Answer at the bottom.
THE YEAR’S BEST SPORTSWRITING
“The Year’s Best Sports Writing 2023” hit shelves this week. The annual anthology, curated this year by media reporter Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, showcases a wide range of stories and perspectives.
Featured story: Today’s selection is a deeply researched look at one of Texas’ most iconic cultural institutions — the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
Richard’s take: “A masterful examination of how the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were formed — and their place in popular culture through the decades.”
Trivia answer: Dan Marino
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