Greetings fellow sports fans, it's Chris Bengel bringing you the latest news in the world of sports on this Monday morning. I hope everybody had a fantastic Fourth of July with their families and ate way more food than you should have.
It's rare that I have this platform on this specific day, so I'm going to take advantage of it. I'm here to say that hot dogs are an underappreciated cookout food. A lot of the love goes to burgers and for good reason. There's very few things that are as delicious as a cheeseburger on the grill. However, it seems to me that hot dogs are usually an afterthought when there are food items like cheeseburgers, ribs and other barbecued items on the table. There's nothing like a grilled hot dog with some yellow mustard on a solid roll.
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But enough about my hot dog manifesto. Let's dive into the sports news from the weekend.
📰 What you need to know
1. Shohei Ohtani makes All-Star Game history ⚾
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've seen that Los Angeles Angels slugger/pitcher Shohei Ohtani is absolutely dominating Major League Baseball. Entering Monday, Ohtani is:
- Leading the majors with 31 home runs while hitting .278 and knocking in 67 runs
- Has a 3-1 record to go along with a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts on the mound
On Sunday, the MLB announced the rosters for the upcoming All-Star Game, and Ohtani made history. It is the first time ever that a player has been named an All-Star representative as both a position player and pitcher.
Ohtani has been an absolute revelation and like nothing that we've ever seen before. It seems as thought every time you look up, Ohtani is doing something extraordinary. This past weekend against the Baltimore Orioles, Ohtani slugged three home runs, including two in Friday's 8-7 comeback victory.
And let's not forget that Ohtani is still only in his third professional MLB season. If this type of tear continues, it's hard to imagine that anyone but Ohtani will be winning the American League MVP Award following the 2021 season-- and maybe beyond.
2. Gerrit Cole booed as struggles continue during Subway Series 👎
It hasn't exactly been the greatest season for the New York Yankees. They are currently 42-41 and in fourth place in the AL East. On top of that, star pitcher Gerrit Cole has struggled recently and had an extremely forgettable outing on Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets.
Cole surrendered four runs on six hits in just 3.1 innings against the Mets and was booed as he left the mound at Yankee Stadium.
It's hard to blame Yankees fans for being frustrated with Cole based on his last two outings:
- Cole gave up six runs (five earned) in five innings against the Boston Red Sox on June 27
- In his last two starts, he's surrendered a grand total of nine runs and has looked fairly dreadful
- In Sunday's start, Cole tossed just 48 of his 80 pitches for strikes and that's not, uh, very good to say the least
- And let's not forget that New York is currently paying Cole $324 million over nine seasons to be the top dog in its rotation
The Yankees did manage to take the second game of the doubleheader against the Mets, thanks a Gio Urshela three-run home run. Still, the Yankees ended up losing two out of the three games in the Subway Series to the Mets.
The Yankees should be extremely concerned with how much Cole has been struggling just days after foreign substances were outlawed by Major League Baseball.
3. Joey Chestnut sets new record at Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 🥇
One of the most anticipated Fourth of July traditions is the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. As usual, Joey Chestnut absolutely dominated the field as he devoured a record-breaking 76 hot dogs and buns to win the annual competition.
- Chestnut broke the previous record of 75 hot dogs and buns, which he had set himself in 2020
- The contest wasn't close, as Chestnut was 25 hot dogs and buns ahead of the second place competitor Geoffrey Esper
- Nick Wehry came in third with 44 hot dogs and buns
The insanity of what Chestnut is annually able to accomplish is hard to fathom sometimes.
Chestnut is in a class all by himself, so it wasn't a surprise that William Hill Sportsbook had him as a -2400 favorite to win the competition. Chestnut has won every Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest except once since defeating Takeru Kobayashi in 2007, which speaks to his sheer dominance.
Chestnut is basically the Tom Brady of the competitive eating world and we find out why every Fourth of July.
4. Winners and losers from the NBA Conference Finals 🏀
The Milwaukee Bucks clinched their spot in the NBA Finals with a 118-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. Despite being without Giannis Antetokounmpo for half of the series, the Bucks were able to come away victorious in two of the final three games.
That Game 6 win sets up an NBA Finals matchup of Bucks vs. Suns.
There were so many stellar storylines in both of the conference finals. Chris Paul playing well was easily the most impressive one after he missed the first two games of the Western Conference Finals due to being in COVID-19 protocols. The veteran point guard struggled offensively once he returned to the court, but excelled in Game 6 when his team needed him the most.
But don't just take my work for it. Our NBA scribe Colin Ward-Henninger broke down some of the biggest winners and losers from the conference finals.
- Winner - Chris Paul: "Probably the biggest story of the postseason, Paul will make the first NBA Finals appearance of his 16-year, Hall of Fame career after a masterful clinching game against the Los Angeles Clippers in which he scored 31 of his 41 points in the second half. Paul's legacy isn't in doubt given his career numbers and accomplishments, but a championship would at least bump him up a couple of rungs on the all-time hierarchies."
- Loser - Superstar Health: "The point has been belabored to death, but it bears repeating. Kawhi Leonard missed the entire conference finals. Chris Paul, Trae Young and Giannis Antetokounmpo all missed multiple games. Devin Booker played with a broken nose for the majority of the series. It's not a good year to be an NBA superstar. Fortunately, we still got a couple of entertaining conference finals series, but let's hope that Giannis can get healthy and that everyone else stays in top physical form for the Finals."
📝 Odds & Ends
- Defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau, the No. 1 recruit in the 2021 class, announced on Sunday that he has committed to Ohio State. Tuimoloau becomes the latest highly-touted defensive lineman to land in Columbus as he joins the likes of Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, and Chase Young, who have recently been first-round picks
- San Diego Padres prospect CJ Abrams suffered a fractured left tibia and sprained left MCL following an infield collision at Double-A San Antonio last Wednesday. On Sunday, the Padres announced that the 20-year old infielder prospect will miss the remainder of the 2021 season and the recovery time will be an estimated three months
- Mets ace Jacob deGrom won't pitch in the All-Star Game
📺 What to watch tonight
⚾ Dodgers vs. Marlins, 7:40 p.m. I LAD -160 I TV: MLB.TV
🏒 Lightning vs. Canadiens, 8 p.m. I MON +140 I TV: NBC
⚾ Red Sox vs. Angels, 9:38 p.m. I LAA -105 / BOS -105 I TV: ESPN
🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet
NBA broadcaster Marv Albert called his final game on Saturday when the Bucks defeated the Hawks to advance to the NBA Finals. Albert is one of the most prominent voices in the history of sports broadcasters and was beloved by so many fans around the world. Following his final call on Saturday, Albert's broadcasting partner, Reggie Miller, praised him and pointed out that fans that stuck around to give Albert a standing ovation.