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Sports

WWE Clash at the Castle 2022: Matches and Predictions

Peep these stats – the last time WWE went to the United Kingdom for a major stadium event was SummerSlam ’92 and the last time the company landed in the same region for a PPV was Insurrextion ’03. Now in 2022, the world’s largest wrestling organization (that’s now headed by Stephanie McMahon, Nick Khan, and Paul Levesque!) is doing right by its UK fans by emanating a PPV from there on September 3. Taking place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, WWE’s ready to introduce us to a clash of the ages. Now with all that being said, let’s get into all my WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 predictions.

WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 Predictions
WWE

Liv Morgan (c) vs. Shayna Baszler (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Is Liv Morgan pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes with her whole babyface act? At SummerSlam this year, she sat outside the ring and smiled amidst all the chaos produced by Ronda Rousey’s angry post-match attack. And I feel her – she clearly made the champ tap out, but the ref only managed to catch Ronda being pinned while Liv gave up. Now I’m starting to think that Liv is putting on a farce with her current shtick and is going to pull out all the nefarious stops to defeat anyone that comes for her championship.

It’s kinda crazy that one of Ronda’s best friends is now gunning for Liv’s title after Ronda emerged unsuccessful during her attempt to do the same. Now that Hunter is in control of creative, he’s clearly giving his former NXT standouts a chance to truly mean something on the main roster. Shayna Baszler is a clear example of that new edict. Now Shayna sticks to the same game plan Ronda’s known for – stiff strikes and punishing submissions. Liv is clearly out of her league here and should realistically fall in defeat to Shanya here. But I guarantee that Liv will find some sort of screwy way to get one over on her latest challenger that will be similar to the way she screwed over Ronda. Liv’s leaving with the belt here.

Roman Reigns (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (Undisputed WWE Universal Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Roman Reigns has been running roughshod over anyone and everyone that’s been put in his path. Now that he’s running around the WWE landscape with both main shows’ top titles, he’s the current king of the mountain that’s only going to be defeated via a Herculean task. The man that’s stepping up to try his damndest to fulfill that task is Ayr, Scotland’s very own Drew McIntyre. As one of WWE’s top UK stars, this high-pressure situation is placing Drew in one of the most important title matches of his life within his home country.

Now here’s the current situation – Karrion Kross recently made his shocking return by assaulting Drew, which has led to rumors of Kross possibly being set up against Roman for a title match for one of his belts. And I’m guessing Drew would get a shot at the other belt Roman is putting up for grabs. If that ends up happening, then I’ll be sure to change up this whole match prediction. But in the meanwhile, I’m fully convinced that Drew is coming home to win himself a damn championship! Roman’s going to relinquish his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship to the conquering babyface – BANK ON IT!

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Sports

Is Johnny Moss the Most Fundamental Poker Player Ever?

Every great sports league has a history. For a sport to really be successful, you need a polarizing albeit incredible competitor to spur the evolution of the game. Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell did it for the NBA, the same way Babe Ruth did it for the MLB. No player set the stage for the future of poker like Johnny Moss. Known as the “Grand Old Man of Poker”, Moss is famously remembered for winning the first two World Series of Poker Main-Events and collecting a handful of WSOP bracelets. Here is the incredible story of Johnny Moss. 

Early Life

Johnny Moss was born in 1907, and like all great gamblers of his time, grew up in Texas. Poker and really gambling in general was not as prominent or well established when Moss was growing up, so to grow up in an area that it’s prevalent was rare. 

He was taught at a young age by a group of con-artists how to cheat at poker, but refused to use those tactics. Instead, Moss would work in a saloon as almost a quasi pit-boss, ensuring the games were run fairly. This also gave Moss an invaluable amount of knowledge on how to strategize and be an effective card player. 

By the late 1920’s, Moss had become a rounder. Rounders are professional poker players who travel the country looking for action. As there were no established casino or legal betting operations on that day, professional poker players were required to tour the most active card playing sections of the country. Moss was generally confined to Texas, however, as that’s where the most action in the country was.

Urban Legend Against Nick The Greek
(Photo by Jon Brenneis/Getty Images)

Johnny Moss’ five-month poker game against Nick The Greek in large part has been debunked by poker historians, but is still a fundamental moment in history and poker lore. Nick The Greek was a well-known high-stakes gambler at the time. After taking down some of the biggest names in high-stakes poker, Nick wanted to find, “the biggest game this world could offer”, and there was one man who could make that offer. 

A key figure who hasn’t been mentioned yet is legendary casino owner Benny Binion. Binion was not a card player himself, but dealt in organized crime. He was known for putting together some of the most prominent gambling rings in Texas, but opted to move to Las Vegas as gambling was legal there which made it easier to operate. In 1951, he would purchase the Eldorado Club and Apache Hotel, renaming them the Horseshoe Casino. 

Benny knew there was one man to put in front of Nick if he truly wanted the biggest game in the world, and that was Johnny Moss. As the myth goes, Binion set a game up for Moss and Nick at the Horseshoe casino, sitting them at a table centered in the casino so patrons could watch whenever they pleased. The game was told to go on for five months, with multiple 30+ hour sessions of cards. After losing somewhere between $1 to $2 million, Nick the Greek stood up, looked Johnny dead in the eyes and said “Mr.Moss, I have to let you go.”

World Series of Poker

By the late 1960’s, there was a well-established group of high-stakes rounders perusing the poker scene and dominating anyone who dared challenge them. Benny Binion had a knack for creating press and knew that a high-stakes game between the best poker players in the world would do wonders for the gambling scene. 

In 1970, Binion invited seven of the best card players in the world to compete in the first WSOP. The competitors in the first main-event were Johnny Moss, “Amarillo Slim” Preston, Sailor Roberts, Doyle Brunson, Puggy Pearson, Crandell Addington, and Carl Canon. 

Today’s WSOP is played in a freeze-out format. This means that the game is played until one person has all the chips. The first winner of the main-event in 1970, however, was voted on by the rest of the competitors. A highly contested rumor is that all the players voted for themselves in the first round of voting. They voted again for who they thought was the second best card player, and Moss emerged as the victor.

In 1971, the group would meet again, but changed to the freeze-out format we know today. Moss would defend his title, beating Puggy Pearson. Moss is one of four players to ever win the main-event in back-to-back years. His third main-event title in 1974 ties him all-time with Stu Ungar for the most main-event wins ever. 

Johnny Moss would go on to win nine total bracelets at the World Series of Poker, and finish in the money on 25 total occasions. He carried himself with a level of integrity that helped shape the game of poker into a fair competition that rewards the best players, not the best cheaters. Moss was truly a visionary in the poker scene and will always be a fundamental part of its history.

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The 32 Most Valuable Sports Teams In The World

Despite the pandemic, the average value of the top 50 most valuable sports teams on the planet increased by 9.9% from 2020 to 2021, to a whopping $3.4 billion. Today, we’re taking a look at the top half of that list. Due to some ties in value, there are actually 31 teams on the list.

1. Dallas Cowboys, $7.64 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owner: Jerry Jones

Within the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys have been the most valuable team since the late 2000s. When you take into consideration every sports team around, Real Madrid were the most valuable until 2016 when the Cowboys took over and they’ve been the most valuable team in the world ever since.

2. New York Yankees, $7.01 billion
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  • Sports league: MLB
  • Owners: Steinbrenner family

You don’t have to know the first thing about baseball to know the New York Yankees and recognize their world-famous logo that is often seen on fitted caps and snapbacks. Their branding alone makes it no surprise that they’re the only MLB team worth over $4 billion, at a whopping $5.25 billion. All this, despite the fact that the team’s last championship was nearly 15 years ago.

3. New York Knicks, $6.12 billion
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  • Sports league: NBA
  • Owner: Madison Square Garden Sports

The New York Knicks have been the most valuable team in the NBA for the best part of a decade. Through all of their struggles as a team, they remain beloved amongst New Yorkers. They took the spot as the most valuable NBA team from the Lakers when they signed an incredibly lucrative cable deal.

4. Golden State Warriors, $6.03 billion
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  • Sports league: NBA
  • Owners: Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber

From 2016 to 2020, the Golden State Warriors had a growth of 147% in value, one of the highest among the top 50 most valuable sports teams in the world. This is largely due to their championship success in that period and it made them the second most valuable team in the NBA, above even the great brand that is the L.A. Lakers.

Speaking of which…

5. Los Angeles Lakers, $5.91 billion (tied)
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  • Sports league: NBA
  • Owners: Jerry Buss Family Trusts and Phillip Anschutz

Not only is the purple and gold of the L.A. Lakers one of the best sports brands ever, but in 2012, the team signed a $4 billion, 20-year deal with Time Warner. This means that regardless of the trouble that they currently find themselves in, they won’t be losing any value or even growing at a much slower rate anytime soon.

5. Los Angeles Rams, $5.91 billion (tied)
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owner: Stanley Kroenke

From 2020 to 2021, the Los Angeles Rams had a whopping 20% increase in their value, which was 6% more than the NFL’s average in that same time period. When you consider that they’ve since won the Super Bowl, it’s safe to assume that that value might shoot up again in the next year.

7. New England Patriots, $5.88 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owner: Robert Kraft

The New England Patriots are the second most valuable team in the National Football League and this is still largely because of the Brady-Belichick era, but the franchise history of winning 6 Super Bowls and having arguably the best coach in league history also has a lot to do with it.

8. New York Giants, $5.73 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owners: John Mara and Steven Tisch

Although they haven’t had a great run in recent times, the New York Giants’ history and the simple fact that they’re a New York team puts them high up on this list here and 3rd on the list of the most valuable teams in their league.

9. Real Madrid CF, $5.1 billion (tied)
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  • Sports league: La Liga
  • Owners: Club members

Right behind Barcelona is their arch-rivals, Real Madrid, coming in with a valuation of $4.75 billion, just $10 million less than Barca. For those that don’t follow soccer and don’t understand the scope of it, it’s truly hard to fathom how big this Spanish team is. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, this team topped the list of the most valuable sports teams.

9. San Francisco 49ers, $5.1 billion (tied)
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owners: Denise DeBartolo York and John York

The 49ers didn’t see as much growth from 2020 to 2021 as many of the other teams in the league did and they have a low operating income, but the San Francisco football team remains one of the most valuable teams in the NFL, and sports in general.

11. Boston Red Sox, $5.07 billion
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  • Sports league: MLB
  • Owners: Fenway Sports Group

Since their establishment in 1901, the Red Sox have won 9 World Series, tied for the third-most in MLB history. Interestingly, they’re owned by the same owners as the aforementioned Liverpool F.C., Fenway Sports Group, whose client base includes LeBron James and Johnny Manziel amongst its clients.

12. FC Barcelona, $5 billion (tied)
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  • Sports league: La Liga
  • Owners: Club members

Not only is Barcelona the fourth most valuable sports team in the world, the most valuable soccer team in the world and one of the few non-American teams on the list, but in terms of revenue, they are the world’s richest club, with an annual turnover of nearly $800 million.

13. Chicago Bears, $5 billion (tied)
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owners: McCaskey family

A cool and unbelievable stat about the Chicago Bears when it comes to their value is that just over 100 years ago in 1920, they were purchased by George Halas for $100. No, that’s not a typo. That’s the equivalent of around $1,418, which is around a 249,000,000% increase in value.

14. Los Angeles Dodgers, $4.89 billion
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  • Sports league: MLB
  • Owners: Guggenheim Baseball Management

The Los Angeles Dodgers are owned by Guggenheim Baseball Management who even if you haven’t heard of by name, you likely know the people associated with the brand. Of course, this team was originally the Brooklyn Dodgers and they moved to L.A. in the late 1950s. New York and L.A. are good homes for any teams, as the valuation shows.

15. New York Jets, $4.8 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owners: Johnson family

New York is a massive media market so in spite of the lack of success that the Jets have seen in recent years, they remain in a top spot with a value of just over $4.8 billion. 

16. Washington Commanders, $4.78 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owner: Daniel Snyder

The Washington Commanders don’t have a great reputation as of late but their recent acquisition of Carson Wentz could do something to change that. Their rebuild period could be coming to the end but despite it, from 2016 to 2020, their value increased by 23%.

17. Philadelphia Eagles, $4.7 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owner: Jeffrey Lurie

This might be a somewhat surprising entry in the list for people but for the Philadelphia Eagles, their passionate fanbase and their recent Super Bowl win has done a lot for their $3.4 billion valuation. 

18. Denver Broncos, $4.65 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owner: Pat Bowlen Trust

The Broncos are looking to be sold this year and there’s still no word on who the new owner could potentially be, but they’ll be paying close to $4 billion for the Denver team. On this list, they’re tied for 25th place with a couple of other teams in different leagues and sports entirely.

19. Houston Texans, $4.63 billion
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  • Sports league: NFL
  • Owner: Janice McNair

Considering the Houston Texans are one of just four NFL teams to have never made it to the Super Bowl, they’re doing a great job here with their valuation of $3.3 billion. They were founded in 1999 and were owned then by Bob McNair who tragically passed away in 2018.

20. Manchester United F.C., $4.6 billion
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  • Sports league: Premier League
  • Owners: Glazer family

Manchester United sat atop the list of the most valuable sports teams in 2010, 2011, and 2012, before they were knocked off the spot by Real Madrid. Even then, it took until 2019 for them to get knocked out of the top 5. Following the Munich air disaster in 1958, Matt Busby is credited with rebuilding the team and setting the foundation for what they have become in the subsequent decades.

21. Liverpool F.C., $4.45 billion
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  • Sports league: Premier League
  • Owners: Fenway Sports Group

Liverpool F.C. are very much a global brand and the team is notorious for having a lot of supporters all around the world. This is a large part of the reason that the team has a valuation of over $4 billion.

22. Chicago Cubs, $4.43 billion
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  • Sports league: MLB
  • Owners: Ricketts family

The Cubbies were established in 1876 and have been an MLB team since 1994 and through their ups and downs, they remain a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the big bucks. In fact, in 2012 when the Cubs had a 61-101, they were the most profitable team in the league.

23. Seattle Seahawks, $4.39 billion
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  • Sports League: NFL
  • Owner: Paul G. Allen Trust

The Seahawks saw a peak in popularity and success in the early 2010’s, going to two Super Bowl’s and winning one. They were headlined by the “Legion of Boom”, the nickname given to their stifling defensive tenacity. Lumen Field where the Seahawks play is known as one of the loudest stadiums in professional sports.

24. FC Bayern Munich, $4.275 billion
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  • Sports league: Bundesliga
  • Owners: Club members

If you’re an American sports fan, then grasping the way that soccer leagues work can be confusing. Luckily, you can read up about it here. Essentially, the Bundesliga is the premier soccer league in Germany and Bayern Munich is not only the most valuable soccer team there but the most valuable sports team in the country as well.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers, $4.26 billion
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Sports League: NFL
  • Owner: Daniel Rooney Trust, Arthur Rooney II

The Pittsburg Steelers are tied with the Patriots for the winningest NFL franchise, with six total Super Bowls. The Rooney family has been the sole owners of the franchise since Art Rooney founded the team in 1933. It cost Rooney only $2,500 to purchase the franchise fee to create the team.

26. Manchester City, $4.25 billion
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  • Sports league: Premier League
  • Owner: City Football Group

From 2016-2020, Manchester City saw a 108% growth in value, the 6th highest amongst the top 50 highest valued sports teams in the world. City became one of the top six in the 2010s and has since become a powerhouse not just in the Premier League or even soccer, but on the planet.

27. Green Bay Packers, $4.19 billion
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
  • Sports League: NFL
  • Owner: Shareholders

The Packers are one of the original NFL teams and have one of the strangest ownership structures in professional sports. Fans can buy shares of the Packers when made available every couple of years. Owning a share gives you voting rights and an invitation to their annual corporate meeting.

28. Las Vegas Raiders, $4.08 billion
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
  • Sports League: NFL
  • Owner: Mark Davis

Although the Raiders jumped ship from Oakland to Las Vegas, they still have one of the most active fandoms in all of sports. The Davis family has owned the Raiders since purchasing it in 1966 for $180,000. They have been playing in Las Vegas since 2020.

29. San Francisco Giants, $3.7 billion
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
  • Sports League: MLB
  • Owner: Charles Johnson

The 5th highest valued baseball team and 27th overall valued team is the San Francisco Giants. Owner Charles Johnson took over in 1993 and has seen immense success. He has won three world series while owning the franchise.

30. Chicago Bulls, $3.53 billion
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  • Sports league: NBA
  • Owner: Jerry Reinsdorf

A large part of the Chicago Bulls’ success over the years has of course been due to their championships in the mid-1990s and Michael Jordan specifically. When the team was bought in 1985, it was for $16.2 million. By the late 90s after their championship run, they were worth $307 million.

31. Boston Celtics, $3.44 billion
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  • Sports league: NBA
  • Owners: Wycliffe Grousbeck, Irving Grousbeck, Robert Epstein and Stephen Pagliuca

You might be surprised at this valuation and the fact that Boston have the fifth most valuable team in the NBA, but the Celtics have a long history and have consistent success to this day. They were one of the first teams to sign a jersey patch deal.

32. Chelsea F.C., $3.1 billion
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  • Sports league: Premier League
  • Owner: Roman Abramovich

Tied for 25th place with the Boston Celtics and the Denver Broncos are Chelsea F.C., with a valuation of $3.2 billion. They’re the 7th most valuable soccer team in the world and through current controversy with their ownership, they remain the fourth most valuable team in the Premier League.

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2022 Premier League Predictions

The 2022 Premier League season kicks off Friday and that means we’re in for a busy nine months ahead.

20 teams will compete for the title, including reigning champions Manchester City.

Liverpool narrowly missed out on the PL crown a season ago, but both clubs have made significant splashes in the transfer market.

[ MORE: Best World Cup Matches ]

Erling Haaland joins the Citizens from Borussia Dortmund, while Darwin Nuñez completes Liverpool’s attack after Sadio Mane left for Bayern Munich.

Chelsea has been extremely busy as well under new owner Todd Boehly, bringing in Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella, among others.

Newly-promoted clubs Bournemouth, Fulham and Nottingham Forest look to make a dent as they come up from the Championship.

Forest make their Premier League return for the first time since 1999 and now feature former Man United star Jesse Lingard.

ONE37pm drops five predictions ahead of the 2022 Premier League season, including which club will take home the title.

A New Champion?
Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images

Man City and Liverpool are the two clear title favorites heading into the season.

That said, Pep Guardiola’s side has had a fair share of turnover, especially with the losses of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.

Meanwhile, Liverpool has retooled with Nuñez and Fabio Carvalho despite losing Mane.

The Reds should have less of an adjustment period and that could allow them to make their move.

Forest Survives Its First Season Back
Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson headline a massive transfer window for Forest.

This is a club that has seemingly addressed a lot of needs this summer and they could have a leg up over some struggling Premier League sides.

Forest return to the top flight for the first time in over two decades and Steve Cooper is in a solid position to keep the club up.

Broja Will Succeed at Chelsea
Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea have been longing for a success at the No. 9 since Didier Drogba left the club.

Broja enters the fold after spending last season on loan at Southampton.

He’ll have plenty of talent surrounding him up front, including Sterling, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount.

The Albania international should break 15 goals this season if he can find his form early on.

Broja is a brilliant talent and possesses all the necessary skills to succeed up front under Thomas Tuchel.

Newcastle Will Challenge For Europa League
Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Newcastle was one of the best teams over the second half of last season.

The Magpies completely transformed under Eddie Howe and now they’re in a better position to compete.

With a revamped back line that now feature Sven Botman and Kieran Trippier, Newcastle should be able to compete with a lot of top sides.

Who Wins the Golden Boot?
Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Gabriel Jesus has a lot of value at +900 to win the Golden Boot.

He brings a much needed role to the Gunners after spending years at Man City.

With a full-time role on his plate at the Emirates Stadium, he’ll surely be the focal point of Arsenal’s attack.

Jesus had eight goals and eight assists last season despite only appearing in 28 matches for City.

Expect his production to soar under Mikel Arteta.

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Sports

Inside Oneil Cruz’s Quest to Become “the Best in the World”

Nearly every night, Oneil Cruz creates new wonders. He hits homers out of the stadium and deposits them in the Allegheny River and throws the ball harder than any other infielder in the history of baseball and runs faster than 99 percent of active MLBers. His very existence as a 6’7 shortstop defies logic. While Cruz has struggled with the same things that every rookie does, he’s such an arresting, immediate talent that it’s hard to stay rational about his potential. At this point, his game defies the traditional and aesthetic vocabulary of the sport. So how would he describe himself?

“The best in the world,” Cruz says in an email.

Beyond his counting stats, Cruz’s true potential crackles under the surface. Although he’s only hitting .222, he’s already produced the two highest exit velocities of any Pirate since the start of the Statcast era in 2014. Most impressive, he’s thrived against elite pitchers, taking Corbin Burnes and Sandy Alcantara deep within the last two weeks. 

More than his generational toolsy-ness or internet-breaking highlights, it’s his easy confidence that makes Oneil Cruz so easy to believe in. No, he’s probably not the best in the world quite yet, but he’s already productive, even as he concedes that he needs to focus on maintaining his focus. Through his first 36 games, he’s hit eight homers, driven in 27 runs and accumulated 1.2 wins above replacement; over a full season, Cruz would be on pace to sock 38 home runs, which would shatter the record for home runs by a rookie shortstop. 

If Cruz’s offense is flashy and inconsistent, his defense has been regularly awesome, parlaying  his athleticism into Gold Glove-caliber play at shortstop. Huger and faster than any player in MLB history, Cruz hoovers up any ball hit in his general direction; his range factor will be by far the best in the league, once he plays enough games to qualify.

Whereas most of his teammates toil in relative obscurity, Cruz’s exploits are breathlessly documented on social media. For years, baseball hasn’t been able to produce recognizable stars who could puncture the larger zeitgeist; Cruz could be the antidote. Within the small world of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball, Cruz has already become the team’s closest thing to a rock star

“[Adjusting to fame] is not easy but also not too difficult,” says Cruz. “When you have a lot of fans you can’t go outside and eat something because there are fans waiting for me everywhere. But I love my fans, it’s just about respecting my space”

At times, it feels like everybody is awed by Cruz except for Cruz. When asked about himself, he’s fairly taciturn. 

Which players do you look up to?

“Tony Fernandez”

What do you think when people say you’re too tall to play shortstop?

“I think it is very funny, it makes me smile.”

What do you want to accomplish this year?

“My goals.”

But doesn’t it ever become too much? Do you ever feel the crushing weight of expectations? The hopes of a Pittsburgh fan base desperate for a winner? The pressure of immense promise?

“What is that?” Oneil Cruz says, “I don’t know what pressure means yet— I’m Latin, Latins never have pressure.”

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ESPN 8 ‘The Ocho’ Returning To ESPN

There are certain voices that charm and captivate through the lens of sports. Hearing Mike Breen belt out a “BANG!” after a deep Steph Curry three-point shot or Al Michaels speedily counting down the yardage as someone’s on a breakaway touchdown. Deep in the annals of sports commentary, Cotton McKnight and Pepper Brooks, the fictional commentators from the sports comedy classic Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, stand in a league of their own. Dodgeball was so iconic to the sports world that ESPN annually changes its ESPN2 broadcast to the fictional ESPN8 in honor of the alternative sports that don’t get the love it deserves year round. Here are the events that you won’t want to miss on August 5th. (All times are Eastern) 

Why ESPN 8?
(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

ESPN2 will officially become ESPN8 ‘The Ocho’ for 24 hours on August 5th, starting at midnight. The channel will broadcast alternative sporting events such as dodgeball, cornhole, ax throwing, and a multitude of other competitions. 

In the movie Dodgeball, a group of average joes competes in a dodgeball tournament to save their gym. The tournament is broadcasted on ESPN 8 ‘The Ocho’, poking fun at the fact that ESPN keeps expanding its network to cover any and every sport. 

The 24-hour ESPN8 bonanza will kick off with the 2022 Corgi Races at Emerald Downs at midnight. The last event scheduled for broadcast will be Death Diving: Austin, a belly flop competition. Here are other notable events that will be broadcasted throughout the day on ESPN 8.

USA Pickleball National Championships: 1:30 A.M.
(Photo by Nils Nilsen/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

There have been a number of sports to rise in prominence just in the last few years. Sports like F1 and racing in general have gained popularity all while more people are beginning to turn to golf and tennis for entertainment. However, none of these sports hold a light to pickleball, which is the fastest growing sport in the United States. To catch a rerun of the 2021 Pickleball National Championships make sure to tune into ESPN 8 at 1:30 A.M. If you want to check out the event but aren’t sure how pickleball works, here is how to make sense of the rising sport. 

2022 Noblesville Bed Races: 3:00 A.M.

You’ve seen Nascar racers drive in stock cars, F1 racers drive in open-wheel cars, and Tour de France racers drive their bikes down the countryside, but you’ve never really seen racing until you’ve seen Noblesville Bed Races. Every year in Noblesville, Indiana, the town puts on a charity event where teams race the streets in their beds. The event is meant to raise money to help create a youth fund to send kids to summer camp and other extracurricular activities they may need financial support with. 

Red Bull Paper Wings: 7:00 A.M.

Yes, Red Bull may have started as an energy drink company, but they are much more than that. The brand is known for putting on epic stunts such as breaking the sky diving world record by jumping from the edge of space with just a parachute. The Red Bull Paper Wings competition will pit the best paper airplane constructors and pilots against each other for a chance at glory. The competitors will thrust their paper airplanes into the sky in a multitude of competitions, culminating in who’s paper plane can fly the longest. 

OmegaBall Invitational: 5:00 P.M.

It’s not uncommon for people to attempt to evolve the games we love and hold so dear to our hearts. Basketball has increased in popularity for its 3v3 competition. The Savannah Bananas have made baseball more fun with looser playstyle in the Coastal Plain League. Now footy is changing the game with OmegaBall. OmegaBall is a fast-paced rendition of soccer with three teams playing at once, each consisting of five players. Teams can score on any of the other two goals, and there is no off-side or stoppage of play. OmegaBall makes for great non-stop action and can be a great introduction to what athletes are capable of doing with a soccer ball.  

USA Dodgeball All-Star Showcase: 6:00 P.M.

There would be no ESPN 8 if it weren’t for the movie Dodgeball, so it’s only fitting that the USA Dodgeball All-Star showcase fits in its prime-time slot. What began as an honest comedy about the world of sports and how it increasingly is turning towards alternative events has become reality. The best Dodgeball players in the country will take the stage on national TV to showcase their ball throwing and catching prowess. It will be hard to top the epic 2004 Dodgeball championship sudden death between Peter LaFleur and White Goodman, but these dodgeballers should put on quite the show. 

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The Five Biggest Takeaways From Opening Week of NFL Training Camps

Football fans celebrate this time of year as NFL training camps are in full swing after its opening week. With all 32 teams taking their last step in preparing for the upcoming 2022 campaign, this stage of the NFL’s calendar year garners a ton of attention, and so far, we’re reminded of why.

The Los Angeles Rams are rallying their troops for a repeat as Super Bowl champion. The Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders are “all in” following their massive offseasons. Tom Brady pulled a Michael Jordan once he realized retirement wasn’t for him. And lastly, some teams want to prove they can win after spending an insane amount of money, despite their critics (and fans) saying otherwise.

With the first week of NFL training camps concluded, here are our five biggest takeaways.

All Eyez On Tua and Tyreek

It’s honestly not egregious to say the quarterback and wide receiver duo of Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill is already one of the most watched and scrutinized across the league. But with every play between them comes greater chemistry, as witnessed by their huge touchdown that sparked reactions from social media up last weekend.

Deebo and DK got what they (rightfully) deserved

Even with many teams, fans, and media downplaying the contributions of skill players, the money still proves otherwise. Within five days, both NFC West star receivers signed new extensions with their teams that rewarded them with bonuses of $33.2 million (Samuel) and $30 million (Metcalf).

A slew of unproven players are already showing out!

As training camp rolls out, we begin hearing reports about which players are “standing out.” In some instances, it can be someone like Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and in others, Chicago Bears wideout Velus Jones Jr.

Either way, this is when starting roles are earned, and roster spots are secured, so you have to expect these kinds of developments along the way.

Your daily reminder that injuries are terrible

While injuries are a grudgingly accepted part of football, it’s still unfortunate, especially during training camp. Alongside having a player on the sideline and undoing months of their hard work, it’s generally a setback to their teams– specifically those who heavily rely on them.

Look out for “insiders!”

With all due respect to the aspiring insiders who may or may not be legitimate at what they do, we have to warn NFL fans to watch out for you all. It’s extremely easy for most “insiders” to report these days, given how simple it is to make a connection between players and teams, and more times than not, their report is a Hail Mary at gaining clout online.

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Everything We Know About the XFL 2023 Season

Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Because it’s football—Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is cooking football. Having purchased the XFL from Vince McMahon for $15 million in August 2020, Johnson plans to re-relaunch the league in 2023. Under Johnson’s stewardship, this is the third iteration of the XFL, which played its inaugural season in 2001 and later briefly rebooted in 2020. Although the season won’t kick-off until February and no players have been signed, the league is already coming into focus—last week, Johnson announced that the Arlington Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, St. Louis Battlehawks, Seattle Dragons and DC Defenders will all return from the 2020 season, while teams in San Antonio, Orlando and Las Vegas will replace those in New York, Los Angeles and Tampa. Here is everything we know so far about The Rock’s attempt to make the league the people’s champ ahead of the XFL 2023 season.

What is the XFL?

Way back in 2001, the XFL was conceived as a football-WWE hybrid because football, evidently, wasn’t considered sufficiently violent or dramatic. While the football was recognizably football, the league eschewed the buttoned-up self-seriousness of the NFL in favor of something pulpier and more sexed up. Ultimately, the league only lasted a single season, failing to register as a legitimate league amongst fans and media because of the low-quality play and distracting side-show elements. “It has to be at least a decade since I first mused out loud,” said broadcaster Bob Costas, “‘’Why doesn’t somebody combine mediocre high school football with a tawdry strip club?’ Finally, somebody takes my idea and runs with it.”  

In 2020, the XFL returned, albeit without all the theatrics. It was a serious football league run by serious football people—Oliver Luck was the commissioner and past and future NFLers PJ Walker, Cardale Jones and Landry Jones quarterbacked teams. While the new league was beginning to find purchase in its local markets, the pandemic abruptly ended the season and then the league at large.

Wait, why is The Rock involved? 

Because he’s The Rock! A former University of Miami football player who cut his teeth in the WWE on his way to stardom, Johnson is the perfect shepherd for the XFL as it enters its third edition. Like McMahon, Johnson is a natural showman who will bring attention to the startup league. But, unlike McMahon, Johnson is—and this is very important—not a disgusting sex criminal. With the winsome Johnson at the helm instead of McMahon, the XFL 2023 season can signal its progress away from its scuzzy past.

When does the season start?

The XFL season is scheduled to begin on February 18, 2023, which is the first Saturday after the Super Bowl. Stretching from late-winter through the spring, the XFL is the latest attempt to football-ize a relatively fallow portion of the sports calendar—besides March Madness, there’s no tentpole sporting event between the Super Bowl in February and the start of the NBA/NHL playoffs in mid-April. As such, the new new XFL is simply the latest league to try to capitalize on the seemingly bottomless appetite for football. Still, it’s hardly the first league to try to do so—from the USFL in the 1980s to the AAF in 2018, there’s no shortage of moony-eyed strivers who have burned millions of dollars on springtime football. Even now, the XFL won’t have a monopoly on second-tier pro football—a re-warmed USFL just finished its first season with backing from Fox Sports and Peacock.

Who are the XFL’s big names?

Team rosters haven’t yet been announced, but the league has already attracted some notable coaches. Namely, Wade Phillips (former Dallas Cowboys head coach and a legendary defensive coordinator) and Bob Stoops (former University of Oklahoma head coach) will make their return to the sidelines with the Houston Roughnecks and Dallas Renegades respectively. To wit, former NFL greats Hines Ward and Rod Woodson will be first-time coaches, giving the XFL another jolt of star power.  

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These Are the 5 Best ‘Big3’ Teams Heading Into The Postseason

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Teams like the 1992 USA Olympic Dream Team helped take the sport global.. In recent years, we’ve seen the format of how the game of basketball is showcased evolve. The Olympics now offer a 3v3 basketball event played on a half-court setting. A key reason we saw this form of basketball become so prominent is because of the Ice Cube founded ‘Big3’ league, which takes retired NBA players and has them compete in 3 on 3 games. With only one week remaining in its regular season, here are the five best teams this year in the BIG3.

5.) Team Power: 4-3
Roster – Captain: Cuttino Mobley, Co-Captain: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Co-Captain: Royce White, Glen Rice, TJ Cline. Head Coach: Nancy Lieberman
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Team Power hasn’t been able to match the success of their early days in the BIG3. They won the second ever league title in 2018, but haven’t made it back to the Finals since. They’re headlined by 11-year NBA veteran Cuttino Mobley. Mobley averaged 16 points and 4 rebounds across his career. If Team Power wants to make it into the postseason, they will have to win their last regular season game against The Aliens. 

4.) Team Aliens: 5-2
Roster – Captain: Dusan Bulut, Co-Captain: Karlis Lasmanis, Co-Captain: Tomislav Ivosev, Deshawn Stephens, Adam Drexler, Head Coach: Rick Mahorn
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images for BIG3)

Surprisingly enough, Team Aliens doesn’t have a single former NBA player. Instead, the top-ranked individual 3v3 athlete in the world, named by the International Basketball Federation, is none other than Aliens captain Dusan Bulut. Bulut, along with other members of Team Alien, took home three gold medals in 3v3 competition for Serbia. They are currently one game back from moving up to first in the standings. 

3.) Team Killer 3’s: 5-2
Roster – Captain: Franklin Session, Co-Captain: Donte Green, Co-Captain: Josh Powell, K.J. McDaniels, Dominique Johnson, Head Coach: Charles Oakley
(Photo by Ethan Mito/Getty Images for BIG3)

The names headlining Team Killer 3’s may not jump out at you, but former Los Angeles Laker Josh Powell comes with championship experience. The NBA veteran was with the Lakers when they won back-to-back NBA championships in 09’ and 10’. Coaching the Killer 3’s is fiery NBA legend Charles Oakley. Oakley played nearly 20 seasons in the NBA and was alongside some of the greatest basketball players of all time. He played next to Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Vince Carter. 

2.) Team Trilogy: 5-2
Roster – Captain: James White, Co-Captain: Earl Clark, Co-Captain: Amir Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe, David Hawkins, Head Coach: Stephen Jackson
(Photo by Ethan Mito/Getty Images for BIG3)

No team has seen as much success in the BIG3 as Team Trilogy has. They have taken home two of the four BIG3 league titles, including last season’s. Team Trilogy is littered with NBA veterans, as every player on the roster has touched an NBA floor at least once. Co-Captain Amir Johnson boasts the best NBA resume, with 14 seasons played and career averages of 7 points and 6 rebounds. They are in a great position to win their third franchise title and bring a new meaning to their team name ‘Trilogy’. 

1.) Team 3 Headed Monsters: 6-1
Roster – Captain: Rashard Lewis, Co-Captain: Jonathon Simmons, Co-Captain: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Quincy Miller, Kevin Murphy, Jamario Moon, Head Coach: Reggie Theus
(Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There is no roster in the BIG3 that could rival that of Team 3-Headed Monsters, which is led by legendary forward and one-time NBA champion Rashard Lewis and team co-captain Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Abdul-Rauf met heavy criticism in his career when he refused to stand during the national anthem. After being fined, he agreed to stand during the pledge, but would have his head down and eyes closed. There are few who have the courage to stand for what they believe in, and it was even rarer to see in the 90’s. After falling short in the championship last season, the 3-Headed Monsters are hungry to win their first Big3 title. 

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MLB Trade Deadline Preview

The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics and about 16 other MLB teams have a problem: they have good players. To varying degrees, these good players help win baseball games, whether they’re god-tier MVP-types like Juan Soto or more quotidien useful guys like Tyler Mahle. This is MLB’s ouroborous of trickle-up economics at play—the bad teams trade their stars to the good teams in exchange for prospects, who one day could become good enough to be traded to a good team in exchange for prospects who one day could become good enough to be traded to a good team who…—you get the point. With just over 24 hours before the MLB trade deadline on August 2nd, here’s everything you need to know. 

What’s Juan Soto’s deal?

For reasons that are both incomprehensible and grimmly common, the Washington Nationals are prepared to trade Juan Soto. At just 23 years old, Soto is already on pace to become one of the greatest hitters in MLB history; his 159 OPS+ ranks 19th all-time, just above inner-circle Hall of Famers like Hank Aaron and Joe DiMaggio. He’s constitutionally incapable of striking out and pitchers have essentially stopped throwing him strikes, lest he smack their puny offering into orbit; just 45 percent of pitches against Soto are in the zone, the ninth-lowest figure in MLB. Even as Soto trudges through a relative down year, he’s fourth in xwOBA and ninth in expected isolated power. 

It’s unprecedented that a player this good and this young could be traded. As such, the market of interested teams is shallower than you’d probably expect, given that most good teams don’t have the requisite top prospects to swing a deal and that most teams with loaded farm systems are actively trying to lose games. At this juncture, the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres are the only three teams who seem interested in Soto, capable of trading for him and then willing to reward him with a deserved $500 million extension. 

So will Soto actually get traded?

Probably! The Nats have no incentive to keep him as they complete their transition from a Serious Baseball Team to a glitzy, chintzy holding company. The Padres are the slight favorite at this juncture—their GM AJ Preller is here to trade top prospects and chew bubblegum and he’s somehow run out of gum before he’s run out of top prospects. Already, the Padres have added All-Star closer Josh Hader from the Brewers. While the Padres might not be able to match the quality of the Cardinals’ blue-chippers or the major-league readiness of the Dodgers’, their sweaty desperation to make the playoffs could spur them to empty the clip for Soto in ways that more cautious organizations wouldn’t. 

Who is the next most important guy?

Beyond Soto, Oakland pitcher Frankie Montas is the most in-demand option. Montas, a classical power pitcher who pairs heavy fastballs and sinkers with a plummeting splitter and slider, is allegedly being pursued by just about every contending team, namely the New York Yankees. With the Reds setting the starting pitching market by swapping Luis Castillo for the Seattle Mariners’ top two prospects, Montas should fetch a similar return. 

Who are the buyers?

All the good teams—the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, Mets, Cardinals, Padres and Mariners are the seven teams who are most aggressively looking to upgrade over the next few days. At the top of the standings, the Dodgers will get better because they’re the Dodgers and that’s what they do, while the Yankees and Astros will both hunt for reinforcements as they dogfight for the top spot in the AL. Meanwhile, the Mets could turn that trio of contenders into a foursome by adding a masher such as Red Sox outfielder JD Martinez or Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. 

Although the Padres are a Wild Card team, they’ve been the league’s most proactive franchise for years. Already, they’ve swung a deal with the Brewers for All-Star closer Josh Hader. 

Who are the sellers?

More or less everybody else. In particular, the Cubs and Reds should be extra shameless as they strip their rosters of any and all productive players. If guys like Ian Happ, Wilson Contreras and David Robertson are still Cubbies by Wednesday, it’ll be a minor upset. Outside of the league’s dregs, blah teams like the Red Sox, Giants and Brewers could look to goose their profit margins by sloughing off some high-priced veterans.