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Good morning to everyone but especially to...
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. already had the total home run record in a single derby. Now, he has a crown to go with it. The 24-year-old Blue Jays star overcame an absolutely loaded field to win the 2023 Home Run Derby in Seattle.
- Guerrero Jr. first took down Mookie Betts 26-11 and then defeated hometown hero Julio Rodríguez in a 21-20 thriller in the semifinals.
- In the final, Guerrero Jr. overcame a short turnaround to post a final-round record 25 homers, and Randy Arozarena came up just short with 23 of his own.
- Guerrero Jr. is the first Blue Jay to win the Home Run Derby, and he and his father are the first father-son duo to both win the contest.
In a potential nod to how the best performer doesn't always win, Arozarena hit 82 total home runs, which ranks second all-time behind Guerrero Jr.'s 91 from 2019. Neither of those efforts won, though, and Guerrero Jr. won Monday with "only" 72. While Rodríguez's record 41-homer first round and Adley Rutschman's were my personal favorites, Guerrero Jr. powered through in impressive fashion and is a worthy champion.
- Sean Casey is the Yankees' .
- Pascal Siakam is available, and .
- Isaiah Stewart is the first Pistons player to get since 2008.
Not so honorable mentions
- Trail Blazers GM Joe Cronin is to trade Damian Lillard.
- Bob Huggins is .
Northwestern fires Pat Fitzgerald amid hazing scandal, alleged racism within program 🏈
On Friday, Northwestern suspended Pat Fitzgerald for a seemingly light-handed two weeks after a report found evidence of hazing but didn't find evidence that Fitzgerald knew about it.
Four days later,, a stunning end to what seemed to be a perfect fit between former star player and his alma mater.
- One day after an executive report of the hazing investigation was released, -- which included coerced sexual acts -- and implied Fitzgerald knew of the rituals.
- The ensuing hours were a whirlwind that included university president Michael Schill saying he , more ex-players corroborating the hazing practices and a letter supposedly signed by "the ENTIRE Northwestern Football Team" supporting Fitzgerald.
- On Monday, three former players -- including one on record, Ramon Diaz Jr. -- came forward with .
By Monday afternoon, Schill's reassessment was over, and he relieved Fitzgerald, 48. of his duties. Fitzgerald met with the team Monday night. Among the findings from the statement on Schill's decision are:
- Eleven current or former football players acknowledged systemic, ongoing hazing within the program.
- Schill added "This has never been about one former student-athlete and his motives; this is much bigger than that."
- The hazing included "forced participation, nudity and sexualized acts of a degrading nature."
- Schill added later, "The hazing we investigated was widespread and clearly not a secret within the program, providing Coach Fitzgerald with the opportunity to learn what was happening." To me, this is an important point.
Fitzgerald, saying he has obtained legal counsel to "take the necessary steps to protect my rights in accordance with the law."
I expressed most of my thoughts on this situation inbut ultimately said that whatever came next was "absolutely crucial for the integrity of the program." This is what came next. Fitzgerald, a revered figure in the Northwestern community for over three decades -- first as a player, then as its all-time winningest coach and, in turn, as a representative of the university as a whole -- is no longer, all in the blink of an eye.
Our Dennis Dodd.
There are many, many steps to come, but this is, hopefully, the first step toward a safer, brighter future for Northwestern football.
MLB midseason awards: MVP races are blowouts, Cy Young races are close ⚾
Yes, I know MLB teams have played more than half of their 162-game schedule already, but for all intents and purposes, the All-Star Break counts as the de-facto halfway mark for the season, and that means it's time for some . There's no debate about the MVP awards:
- Snyder: "AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani -- If you don't like WAR, just ask yourself if one of the most valuable hitters and one of the most valuable pitchers in the league were the same dude and, if that's the case, if anyone else is even close to as valuable. ... There is no reasonable argument against Ohtani. ... NL MVP: Ronald Acuña Jr. -- Acuña is hitting .331 with 21 home runs while leading the majors in runs scored at 79. He's driven home 55 runs despite hitting leadoff and leads the league with 41 stolen bases. He also leads the league in OPS, OPS+, total bases, times on base and has a huge lead in WAR."
Speaking of Ohtani, he, in no uncertain terms, wants to win. Angels!(where he'll DH but won't pitch due to a ), he said, "It sucks to lose," and added that his desire to win grows every year. Reminder: He's a free agent at the end of the season, and the trade deadline is Aug. 1. No pressure,
As for the other major awards, both Cy Young races still have a big pack of contestants, but only one of Matt's midseason winners. You can see full starting lineups and best bets .
The games may be on hold, but MLB teams have been busy with the draft, and, hey, Giants, who landed...from our R.J. Anderson. That includes the
- 16. Bryce Eldridge, two-way player, Madison HS (VA)
- 52. Walker Martin, SS, Easton HS (CO)
- 69. Joe Whitman, P, Kent State
- Anderson: "Eldridge and Martin both ranked in our pre-draft top 30. Whitman, meanwhile, was a late riser as one of the top collegiate southpaws in a class that didn't feature many of them. ... There's a case to be made, then, that the Giants landed three first-round talents. You can read more about Eldridge and Martin by clicking here."
Finally, we're stillas we roll into the third and final day of the draft!
Victor Wembanyama's Summer League over after bounce-back performance 🏀
The Spurs have seen enough and are now giving No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama an extremely well-deserved break. After a huge second game,.
- Sunday night, Wembanyama posted a against the Trail Blazers. The French phenom went 9-of-14 from the floor (including 2-of-4 from 3) and showed off much of what makes him such a tantalizing talent.
- The performance came two days after in which he shot just 2-of-13 and scored just nine points.
- Wembanyama played with his French team, Metropolitans 92, well into June, was drafted shortly thereafter and then began preparations for Summer League, so he had been playing competitively with basically no breaks since September 2022. He'll now, finally, get legitimate time off.
What we're watching Tuesday 📺
⚾ MLB Draft, details here
⚾ MLB All-Star Game, 8 p.m. on Fox
🏀 Mercury at Aces, 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Network