Hi everybody! It's Gabe again, taking over the newsletter for this lovely Monday morning and kicking off a brand new week. Hope you had a wonderful weekend whether you were enjoying Mother's Day or finding time for yourself.
The first thing my mom pointed out to me when I went home to visit her this past weekend was point out how I've let my hair grow out, and, well, she's certainly correct. I'm not going to put a photo of it here, but just trust that my hair is the longest it has ever been in my life. Out of all of the things that I've been trying to return to a pre-pandemic "normal," the length of my hair has to be the thing I've been the laziest about.
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I know this isn't the case with everyone, as many people have been able to get barbershop and salon appointments for some time, it's just something that hasn't really been an issue for me as of late. Perhaps once it starts getting in the way of my food, I'll consider giving things a trim. If you're dealing with similar hair-based laziness, or are also just generally putting off returning things to pre-pandemic status, hit me up on Twitter to share your story.
We've got a jam-packed newsletter today with plenty of news from over the weekend, so let's get this party started.
📰 What you need to know
1. Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby win, Bob Baffert's Churchill Downs record may be invalidated 🏇
Remember that feel-good story from last weekend where Hall of Fame horse trainer Bob Baffert was able to make history and stand alone as the man with the most Kentucky Derby wins after he was able to get another underdog horse to beat the odds and win the Run for the Roses?
Well it turns out that moment might very well be tainted because of a failed post-race drug test.
That's right, Medina Spirit's win at Churchill Downs is in jeopardy of being invalidated, but officials decided on a more immediate punishment while that's all being figured out. It was announced Sunday that Baffert would be banned from the track indefinitely.
This isn't the first time Baffert's been caught with a doped-up horse.
- It's the fifth horse of his that's failed a drug test over the last year
- Medina Spirit was found with double the allowable dosage of betamethasone, a type of steroid, in its system
- That same drug was found in a Baffert-trained horse named Gamine that raced in the Kentucky Oaks last September
The 68-year-old trainer is handling things about as well as you'd expect him to. He told ESPN, "I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I know everybody is not out to get me, but there's definitely something wrong."
2. Jacob deGrom, Mets' brightest star, is hurt ⚾
What started with a precautionary pull from a scheduled start on Sunday has ballooned into some concern over the health of Mets ace Jacob deGrom. The 32-year-old will reportedly undergo yet another MRI after he left his ball club's game against the Diamondbacks when he appeared to have discomfort throwing warm-up pitches before the sixth inning.
This will be the second MRI he'll undergo in about a week, with the last one coming from "right side tightness" -- this time it's a lower back issue which is, uhh, not too encouraging.
It's hard to overstate just how absolutely impressive deGrom has been this season and how much of a blow an injury to the righty would be to a team whose fanbase's sanity is seemingly always hanging by a single thread. Here's some standout notes from his Sunday performance alone:
- He struck out six batters
- He got to first on a bunt
- He eventually scored after getting on base
- He allowed just one hit
- He didn't walk anyone until the fifth, where he walked three batters for just the second time in his career.
As for what the Mets would be missing with his absence, his season entering Sunday included a 0.51 ERA and a 14.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's also just a couple weeks removed from a 15-strikeout game.
3. Russell Westbrook ties Oscar Robertson's triple-double record 🏀
Russell Westbrook made history on Saturday doing the thing that he's been perhaps best known for in recent years: getting triple-doubles. The Wizards point guard tied Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson with his 181st career triple-double against the Pacers for the most in NBA history.
Robertson has been one of Westbrook's greatest supporters ever since the UCLA product turned into a full-blown triple-double machine a few seasons ago and became the first man to average a triple-double throughout a season since Big O did it. Most recently, he told the New York Times that he even wanted Westbrook to break his record, which he could do as early as Monday.
Robertson: "I hope he gets it. I think he's one of the elite guards in basketball, and I think it's ridiculous that some sportswriters criticize him because he has not won a championship. Players don't win championships by themselves. You've got to have good management. You need to get with the right group of players."
As a lifelong Wizards fan, the trade that sent John Wall to the Rockets in exchange for Westbrook was arguably the hardest pill I've had to swallow during my fandom -- and yes, that includes Gilbert Arenas bringing guns to the locker room. So in the early stages of this team's incredible late-season run, I was still apprehensive about truly embracing this squad.
However, two things became quite clear to me as the days in April went on. The wins were piling up enough to make me think this was more of a trend than an aberration, and seeing Westbrook do what he does best is still cool as hell to watch. Even with the injuries he's suffered, and his occasional less-than-ideal shot selection on the court, Brodie fighting an entire opposing team for a rebound, tossing impeccable dimes to wide-open teammates, and driving to the rim with a ferocity that would make even centers from the 1980s NBA flinch, is enthralling television.
But beyond the stats -- or stat-padding, as some of his detractors have called it -- Westbrook's performances have been helping the team elevate their game as well. Most notably, they're winning! If this is what Washington's future with Westbrook leading things looks like, perhaps the pain of losing the last franchise point guard might go away sooner than expected.
4. Rory McIlroy wins first PGA Tour event in 18 months ⛳
For the first time in one year, six months and six days, Rory McIlroy has won a PGA Tour event. For the third time in his career, he took the win at Quail Hollow, with this one happening at the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship.
It's been a rough road for McIlroy on his way to this particular victory. He didn't look great at the Players Championship in March, nor at the Masters in April. In fact, he didn't make the weekend at either of those events, which is something that had only ever happened once before in his career. As one might expect given the results on Sunday, things looked significantly different for the golfer these past couple of days.
Here's how our golf scribe Kyle Porter described the performance in his recap.
Porter: "When you play golf at McIlroy's level, one found pearl or one unearthed nugget does not mean you are on the right trajectory again. One tweak does not mean you are on the road to recovery. No, one flip of the switch is much more meaningful when you are Rory McIlroy. Whatever he found between Round 1 and Round 2 means he's capable of winning again -- not just playing better -- and it reminds everyone the threat he's always posed has not changed at all, even if the results did for a short period of time."
📝 Odds & Ends
- Canelo Alvarez became the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world after breaking Billy Joe Saunders' face
- Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf came up just short of qualifying for Olympic trials in the 100-meter dash, recording a 10.36-second time.
- The Portland Thorns defeated Gotham FC in a penalty shootout to win the NWSL Challenge Cup
📺 What to watch on Monday
🏀 Hawks vs. Wizards, 7:30 p.m. | WASH +265 | TV: NBATV
⚾ Astros vs. Angels, 8:10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
🏀 Warriors vs. Jazz, 10:00 p.m. | GSW +130 | TV: NBA.TV
Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅
Wii Sports was one of the defining games of my youth not just because of the never-before-seen motion controls and their application towards sports, but also because of the incredible soundtrack that came along with it. Yesterday, comedian and musician Gabriel Gundacker released an album of unofficial Wii Sports themes which capture the essence of the game's soundtrack and applies them to sports/activities that were absolutely not included in the original game. My personal favorite is Wii Snorkeling.