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Sports Strength

Aaron Boone Returning To The Yankees Is Good News

Two weeks after Boston eliminated them from postseason play, the Yankees have announced a three-year contract extension for manager Aaron Boone, and rightfully so.

Boone overtook the team from Joe Girardi in 2018. During his last season as the manager, Girardi led the Yankees to the American League Championship series; bringing the team to one win away from going to the World Series.

Even though he was held in high acclaim by the organization, players and fans for his success as the Yankees manager, Girardi and his relationship with the team was growing stale after 2017. General manager Brian Cashman hired Boone, in part, because he thought Boone would be able to connect with the clubhouse more effectively than Girardi did.

During his first two seasons, Boone led the Yankees to back-to-back 100+ win seasons for the first time since 2004. He’s won the respect of Aaron Judge, who vouched for Boone to get his job back, along with a Yankees clubhouse that will expect to compete at the highest level for years to come.

With that being said, Boone is far from perfect. In 2021, he made questionable decisions when it came to the Yankees bullpen, like pulling starters too early, and not using his closer in the 9th inning to shut the other team down so that you have a chance to win. These type of decisions certainly costed them a handful of games.

Over the course of 162 games, every manager will make these sort of mistakes, and that’s something you have to live with in baseball. Additionally, the majority of Yankees issues do not consist of Boone’s decisions making, rather a combination Yankees inability to consistently get on-base, starting pitching woes, base-running miscues, and defensive holes in the infield.

A large part of why Boone’s return to the Bronx is good news is because of what the Yankees don’t have to do now, and that’s start from scratch with a roster full of question marks.

In 2017, they could afford to take a gamble on a new manager with the new era of Baby Bombers that was blooming. At the forefront of that roster was a 25 year-old Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge will be 30 years old at the start of next season. If you can lock up a manager that has the respect of your leader, a winning track record, and more knowledge for the squad than anyone else, that’s a win for your baseball team in the off-season.

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Sports Strength

Here’s Why You Should Root for The Houston Astros (Yes, the Astros)

The Houston Astros will forever be a part of Major League Baseball purgatory after cheating during the 2017 season.

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LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 01: The Houston Astros celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in game seven to win the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

The Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven game series that year, but were slated by the baseball world for the means in which they did so.

Here’s what you need to know about this saga – this ugly, ugly, saga.

Last year, MLB investigators revealed that at the beginning of the 2017 season, the Astros used their video replay review room, an electronic system that every team has, to decode signs that opposing catchers would show their pitchers during at-bats.

Using their center-field camera feed, they were able to identify the meaning behind each sign, for example, one finger down by the catcher would indicate that a fastball is coming a batter, or two fingers down means that a slider is.

This information would get relayed to the Astros dugout during an at-bat, and by way of Houston personnel banging on trash cans, Astros batters would know what pitchers were coming so they could capitalize.

Even though sign-stealing has been part of baseball for years, the use of electronic systems to do so isn’t allowed. There was even a rumor that Jose Altuve was wearing a buzzer on his chest during his walk-off home-run against the Yankees in the 2019 ALCS, but that was never confirmed to be 100% true.

Nonetheless, the trash-banging was proven to be true. That’s why the Astros fired manager A.J Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, and why the MLB took away several of Houston’s draft picks, along with fining the team $5 million dollars.

The aftermath response around the league was one accord, fuck the Astros. The Cincinnati Reds wore creative t-shirts that read “Trash-town”, an on-the-nose play on words with the Astros nickname “H-Town” and their goofy trash-banging routine for getting leverage.

Fans got their boos in once allowed back into the stadiums, and their 2017 World Championship will have an asterisk next to it forever.

With this being said, as a die-hard Yankees fan, what I’m about to say will upset many people that I hold dear to my heart.

I want the Houston Astros to win the World Series in 2021.

Now, does the mere sight of Carlos Correa give me nausea? Yes. Could I count off my fingers the number of times that I’ve wished ill upon Jose Altuve? Yes. Have the Astros joined the Boston Red Sox in the exclusive club for teams Yankee fans hate the most? Hell yeah.

But guess what? The Yankees don’t matter right now. They’re watching the ALDS like I am, on the couch. I don’t have a second baseball team, and never will. So the Yankees absence from the postseason will always mean one of two things for me. I either will not watch the games, or I will watch as a baseball fan.

Now, whether it is my short attention span for watching Netflix, or my unwillingness to simply fall asleep at a reasonable time, I’ve found myself consistently tuning into the MLB postseason. By law, this puts me in baseball fan mode with the Yankees eliminated.

What are a few necessities for the neutral, unbiased sports fan in America? Drama and storylines. When you think of the choice words that the likes of a Carlos Correa might have for a salty baseball world that just saw his team win a World Series fair and square – that’s drama.

An outside view of the repercussions of outrage from Dodger fans for the next 5 months of the offseason, with the sentiment, “We scolded them for cheating and then practically let the same group of players beat us 4 years later …” Ouch, one helluva a story.

Getty Images/Warner Brothers

Here’s an analogy. The Dark Knight makes for such a great film in large part thanks to the aura and demeanor of the Joker. Even as the antagonist, the Joker is the most dynamic character in the movie, standing for evil and not being sorry about it.

Case in point, they cheated, became the villain, and did little to sell themselves as better than what the world made them out to be.

Get this though. After 2017, with the villain status pinned to their chest, the Astros won 100+ games in two of the next three seasons; reaching two American League Championship Series and one Fall Classic, but never winning the World Series itself. Nonetheless, they’ve proved that they can be a great team without cheating.

What would the Dark Knight be without the Joker? Just another movie? Maybe. What I know is that Major League Baseball’s postseason would be far less interesting if the Astros can’t overcome the 2-1 deficit they face in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox.

So go ahead Houston – win the Fall Classic. Upset the established order, and turn everything into chaos.

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Sports Strength

Starting Pitchers Are The Coolest Closers

During their deciding Game Five victory over the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS, the Los Angeles Dodgers put baseball conventional wisdom on shuffle. While the “opener” strategy has become commonplace, the Dodgers deployed their pitching staff with even more funkiness. 

Two relievers (Corey Knebel and Brusdar Graterol) handled the first two innings; a 20-game winner and Cy Young candidate was converted into an overqualified long reliever (Julio Urias pitched the next four); the Dodgers’ putative set-up man and closer were burned in the seventh and eight innings and Max Scherzer, the second-best and first-craziest starting pitcher of this generation, earned his first career save by slamming the door on the Giants in an electric ninth inning. Over the course of their white-knuckled 2-1 triumph over their blood rival, the Dodgers trotted out six different pitchers, none of whom were used in their usual role.

This is not to endorse bullpen games, which are cowardly displays where a parade of interchangeably robotic hard-throwers are used in lieu of a single righteous starting pitcher. Instead, this is to say that watching a starting pitcher come out from the bullpen during the late innings of a tight playoff game is one of the most uniquely exciting things in baseball. This is the baseball version of skipping fifth-period algebra or having breakfast for dinner; the game’s tenor and tone shifts because of this minor, thrilling illicitness. 

More, bringing in an ace as a closer signals that this is no longer a game; it’s A Moment. Think: Clayton Kershaw closing out the Game Seven of the 2018 NLCS on two days rest to push the Dodgers to the World Series, or Randy Johnson taking the mound in the ninth and tenth innings of Game Seven of the 2001 World Series the day after starting Game Six, or Madison Bumgarner single-handedly winning the 2014 World Series for the San Francisco Giants. By bringing a starter out of the ‘pen, managers break the calm veneer that they outwardly present—damn the torpedoes, they say, we have to win this game. On an intellectual meta level, it validates the inherently silly experience of caring about sports, showing that the raw-nerve desperation and urgency of the postseason is felt by fans and players and coaches alike. On a simpler one, it’s just very cool. 

So, to Alex Cora and Dusty Baker and Brian Snitker and Dave Roberts, I have but one humble request: let your starting pitchers close games.

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Sports Strength

Which U.S Professional Sports Team Has the Most Championships?

What’s better than being crowned the best at what you do? I’ll tell you. Doing it again, and again, and again. Some American sports franchises have had to struggle for decades to win a single championship, while others have triumphed multiple times. Of all the teams in American sports history, the New York Yankees have won the most championships, with 27 World Series titles.

Major League Baseball: New York Yankees (27 World Series Titles)
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26 Oct 1996: Closer John Wetteland of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after Game Six of the World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium in New York City, New York. The Yankees won the game, 3-2.

The Yanks have built a culture that expects to compete for the World Series every season. After their first title in 1923, the Yankees had three notable dynasty teams that would help win 26 more championships. From 1936-1939, the Yankees when won four consecutive titles, and from 1949-1954, they won five in a row. Those teams were managed by Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel and were led by legends like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Yogi Berra.

The next dynasty came during the late ’90s, when they won World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. Those teams were managed by Joe Torre, and led by Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, and Bernie Williams.

In 2009, Jeter, C.C Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, and Mark Teixeira helped New York beat the Philadelphia Phillies for their 27th title, a series that I was glued to the television for as a 13-year old Yankees fan.

If you ask me, their most impressive championship came in 1996, when they beat the defending champion Atlanta Braves. Atlanta went up 2-0 in the series but the Yankees battled back and won four straight.

National Hockey League: Montreal Canadiens (25 Stanley Cup Championships
B Bennet / Getty Images
1991: Montreal Candiens head coach Pat Burns looks on from the bench during an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers circa 1991 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Montreal Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup in 1919, and have been around longer than the NHL itself. Much of Montreal’s success points to its dominance in the 1950s, 1960’s and 1970s. They won six Stanley Cups between 1950-160, including four consecutive from 1956-1960. Those teams were coached primarily by Joe Blake and featured players like Jean Bèliveau, Henri Richard, and Claude Provost.

During the 1960s, they won the cup in 1965, 1966, 1968, and 1969 as Richard, Serge Savard, Jacques Lemaire, J.C Tremblay, and Yvan Cournoyer highlighted those teams.

Finally, their most recent dynasty began in 1971, as they’d go on to win six Stanley Cups during the ’70s, including four straight. Larry Robinson, Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, and Bob Gainey were key players during that era. 

National Basketball Association: Los Angeles Lakers ( 17 NBA Championships)
Bud Symes/AllSport/ Getty Images
Center for the Los Angeles Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks at the Los Angeles Lakers 1988 Championship Parade

One of the most historic and successful franchises in all of sports are the Los Angles Lakers. George Mikan, who is considered the NBA’s first dominant big man led helped LA win four of the first five NBA titles, marking the first professional basketball dynasty we’ve ever seen. Those teams also featured Jim Pollard and Vern Mikkelsen.

In 1972, NBA logo icon Jerry West, along with Gail Goodrich, Elgin Baylor and Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, led the Lakers to an NBA record 33 -game winning streak and won the championship that same year. In 1979, they drafted Magic Johnson and would soon find its most successful run of form to date. Along with Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy, Magic led the “Showtime” Lakers to five championships during the 1980’s.

During the early 2000’s, head coach Phil Jackson, center Shaquille O’Neal and shooting guard Kobe Bryant started a new era in Lakers dominance when they won three consecutive titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. After O’Neal was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2004, Bryant became the alpha dog and led the Lakers to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

NBA: Boston Celtics (17 NBA Championships)
NBA.com
Larry Bird and Kevin McHale high-five during the 1986 NBA Finals

Presumably inspired by the dominant run of the Lakers, the Boston Celtics reigned supreme during the latter years of the 1950’s and throughout the 1960’s in the NBA. Led by Bill Russell, , John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, K.C Jones and Ed Macauley, the Celtics won eight consecutive NBA championships in 1959 and and 1966. Russell, who served as player-coach from 1966 to 1969, would win five MVP’s and set the record for most rebounds in a game with 49.

In 1978, Boston drafted arguably the most popular Celtic of all-time in Larry Bird. Bird, along with Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson, led Boston to title runs in 1981, 1984 and 1986, while stirring up a heated rivalry with Magic Johnson and “The Showtime Lakers.”

Celtics fans waited over 20 years for their next championships, which came in 2008. Head coach Doc Rivers, and a “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen defeated Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in six games that year.

National Hockey League: Toronto Maple Leafs (13 Stanley Cups)
(Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – MAY 7: Mats Sundin #13, Bryan Berard #34, Dmitri Yushkevich #36 and Lonny Bohonos #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1999 Quarter Finals of the NHL playoff game action at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canad

Like the Celtics-Lakers in the NBA, the Maple Leafs-Canadiens are one of the most historic rivalries in the NHL. Toronto were crowned with their first Stanley Cup in 1918, while their most recent Stanley Cup succession 1967.

In between that time, they had two dominant stretches, one coming in the late 40’s when they won three straight titles, while the other came during the early 60’s, when they won the whole thing in 1962, 1963, and 1964. Mats Sundin is the all-time leading goal-scorer for the franchise.

National Hockey League: Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cups)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings stands next to the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl with Bill Daly, deputy commisioner of the NHL (R) after the Red Wings, after the Red Wings defeated the Stars 4-1 in game six of the Western Conference Finals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 19, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

The Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings are a few of the original six teams that made up the NHL between 1942-1967.

The Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 1936, and won four consecutive titles between the years 1950-1960. Right winger Gordie Howe, who is considered by some as the greatest NHL player of all-time, partnered with star-studded goalie Terry Sawchuk to help Detroit dominate the 50’s.

In 2008, they would face-off against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. That Red Wings team won that series in six games, was anchored by defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, and lead on the attack by Henrik Zutterberg , who was the 2008 Stanley Cup MVP.

Major League Baseball: St. Louis Cardinals (11 Championships)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Trevor Rosenthal #26, catcher Yadier Molina #4 and David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after the Cardinals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 18, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.

When the St. Louis Cardinals won their first championship in 1886, they were actually known as the St. Louis Browns. They became the Cardinals in 1900, and had to wait 26 years until their first World Series Championship triumph in 1926, beating a New York Yankees team led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Right-fielder Billy Southworth, Shortstop Tommy Thevenow, First Baseman Jim Bottomley, and starting pitcher Pete Alexander anchored that team to help defeat the Evil Empire.

The last Cardinals championship came in 2011 when they defeated the Texas Rangers. Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and World Series MVP David Freese played huge roles in that series. 

Major League Baseball: Boston Red Sox (9 World Series Championships
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
The Boston Red Sox celebrate after winning game four of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 3-0 to win their first World Series in 86 years

From 1903-1918, the Boston Red Sox were a dominant baseball franchise. They won five World Series championships during those years. Those squads were led by The Great Bambino, aka Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, and Cy Young. Their most notable championship run happened during 2004; which is the year they broke their 86-year drought without a World Series. That year, they came back and won from a 3-0 series deficit against arch-rival New York Yankees in the American League Championship series, becoming the first baseball team in the history of the game to do so. Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, and Pedro Martinez came up huge for Boston during that title run.

They’d go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that year, but beating my beloved Yankees in seven game is what made that postseason run extra special for the Red Sox.

Yuck, next.

Major League Baseball: Oakland Athletics ( 9 World Series Championships)
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Pitcher Dave Stewart #34 of the Oakland Athletics delivers a pitch during a game against the New York Yankees in the 1990 season at Oakland Alameda County Stadium in Oakland, California.

Between the years 1903 and 1954, the Oakland Athletics franchise were residing in the city of brotherly love, and were formally known as the Philadelphia Athletics. They won their first World Series in 1910, and would go on to win titles in two out of the next three seasons during the early 1910’s. The organization has seen an influx of some of the greatest players that the game has ever seen, including Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Mark McGwire, and Tony La Rusa.

The franchises most recent championship came in 1989, when Oakland swept the San Francisco Giants. Henderson, the all-time leader in walks, runs, stolen bases and leadoff home-runs in baseball, was featured on that 1989 championship team, and might be the greatest A’ of all-time.

Starting pitcher Dave Stewart won World Series MVP in 1989 after pitching a complete game shoutout in game 1. In 2005, en-route to winning 103 games, Oakland went on the 5th longest streak in MLB history while winning 20 games in a row.

Major League Baseball: San Francisco Giants (8 World Series Championships)
(Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) raises the 2014 championship banner in left field after mounting a horse on his way to deliver the banner to center centerfield before their home opener against the Colorado Rockies

The Giants were based in New York from 1903-1957, and won their first of five World Series championships as the New York Giants in 1905. Right-hander Christy Mathewson pitched three games during the World Series against the Philadelphia Athletics that year, and did not allow one single run in 27 innings of action. 11 years later, they set the MLB record for most consecutive wins with 26. The Giants most recent World Series championship was a seven-game thriller against the Kansas City Royals in 2014, marking their third title during a 5-year stretch. Starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner was electric and won MVP of the series, joining the company of baseball’s elite after clutch performances in Games 1, 5, and 7 on short rest. Bumgarner has a career 0.25 ERA in World Series games, good for the greatest mark in the history of baseball.

Major League Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers (7 World Series Championships) 
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers holds the Commissioners Trophy after the teams 3-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game Six to win the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 27, 2020 in Arlington, Texas

The Dodgers played in Brooklyn under seven different nicknames before they became the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. Their first title was won in 1955 in seven games over the New York Yankees, as the team was carried by Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Johnny Podres, and Carl Furilo. Additionally, 2nd baseman Jackie Robinson is notorious for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, becoming the first African-American to play in the big leagues in 1947. Additionally, without the the emergence of veteran Negro-league superstars Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson during that time, the young Jackie Robinson might’ve never had his shine.

LA’s latest World Series championship came in 2020, in a series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. All-Star center-fielder Mookie Betts was named MVP of the series. 

National Basketball Association: Chicago Bulls (6 NBA Championships)
Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates after game six of the NBA Final against the Utah Jazz at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 90-86..

The Chicago Bulls dominated during the 1990’s as their success rested on the laurels of arguably the greatest to ever do it in Michael Jordan. Jordan had Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and B.J Armstrong, to help win the Bulls their first championship in 1991, but they didn’t stop there.

The Bulls won again in 1992, and 1993. After Jordan took a hiatus from basketball during 1993 and 1994, Chicago three-peated again in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman, and Ron Harper were key additions that supported the star-studded duo of Jordan and Pippen during the late 90’s.

I’d say their most impressive finals performance was the 1997 series against Utah. The Jazz, led by John Stockton and Karl Malone, came back from a 2-0 series deficit to force a game 5. That game is remembered as the famous “flu game”; the game in which Jordan was visibly sick and had to be helped off the court by teammates going into timeouts. Nevertheless, Jordan dropped 38 points in a Chicago victory as the Bulls would go on to win the Finals in six games. 

National Basketball Association: Golden State Warriors (6 NBA Championships)
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and MVP Andre Iguodala celebrate after their team defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 to win the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Warriors played in Philadelphia from 1951-1962, and won their first championship as the Philadelphia Warriors in 1956. Neil Johnston and Paul Arizin led those teams and are a few of the greatest players in franchise history. During the early 90’s, “Run TMC” a play-on with 80’s Hip-Hop group “Run DMC” was the nickname for the trio of Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond. Although they never won a championship together, they’re one of the most iconic trios in NBA history, and one of my favorite NBA teams ever.

Finally, a new era of bay-area dominance was brewed in 2015 when the 67-win Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala defeated LeBron James and the Cavaliers to win the organization’s 4th NBA championship. That same year, they put up the 2nd best winning streak of all-time when they won 28 straight games.

The emerging backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson quickly became known as “The Splash Bros”. With the addition of Kevin Durant two seasons later, Golden State would go on to win two more championships, back-to-back in 2017 and

National Hockey League: Chicago Blackhawks (6 NHL Championships)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after teammate Patrick Kane #88 scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Blackhawks have only won the Stanley Cup six times, but they’ve been dominant over the past 10 years with three Stanley Cups over that time-frame. Their first championship came in 1934 when they beat the Detroit Red Wings, clinching the series during a double-overtime victory in game 4. Their latest championship came in 2015 when they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. Stan Mikita is probably known as Mr. Blackhawk, and is arguably the greatest Chicago Blackhawks player of all-time. Patrick Kane might be 2nd on the list of all-time greatest Blackhawks, and had that classic game-winning OT goal against the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup in 2010, which broke my heart as a semi-Flyer fan that only shows up for the playoffs.

National Hockey League: Boston Bruins (6 Stanley Cup Wins)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Rich Peverley #49 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his third period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 23, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup all the way back in 1929 when they swept the New York Rangers in a best-of-three series. Wingers Harry Oliver and Dit Clapper, along with centers Bill Carson and Dutch Gainor scored goals for the Bruins in that series, while 25 -year old goalie Tiny Thompson allowed zero goals in 120 minutes of play. They won their most recent championship when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games during 2011. Brad Marchand , Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder were monsters on the attack in that series and really carried the team. As for other notable Bruins, Defenseman Bobby Orr is not only a great Bruin, but is considered one of the greatest hockey players in NHL history. Fellow Defenseman Eddie Shore, along with centers Patrice Bergeron and Phil Esposito are other great players in Boston’s history on the ice.

National Football League: New England Patriots (6 Super Bowls)
(Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady embraces Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft (R) after winning 03 Super Bowl XXXVI 03 February, 2002 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Over the last two decades, the New England Patriots have been incredibly dominant and vastly hated by opposing fans. At the start of 2002 though, The Patriots had zero Super Bowl Championships and were underdogs, even with Bill Belichick and a young Tom Brady . That year though, the Patriots shocked the world and defeated the heavily favored St. Louis Rams, aka, “The Greatest Show of Turf” in Super Bowl XXXVI. Their victory against Kurt Warner and Co. would spark the greatest dynasty run that the NFL has ever seen. They managed a combined record of 28-4 during the seasons they won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004, while going 17 straight seasons with ten wins or more from 2003, to 2019. Even though they lost the 2007 Super Bowl to the New York Giants, they steamrolled the league in route to a 16-0 record. Their latest Super Bowl triumph came in 2018 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but their most impressive Super Bowl win has to be that 25-point comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in 2016.

National Football League: Pittsburgh Steelers (6 Super Bowls) 
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 01: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Mike Tomlin and Dan Rooney look on after defeating the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 27-23

As the 7th oldest franchise in the NFL, The Pittsburgh Steelers are known as one of the most historic teams in not just football, but in professional sports. Steelers fans had to wait 42 years until the team won their first Super Bowl in 1975.

After that however, they were able to win four Super Bowls in the next six seasons while putting together arguably the best football team that has ever been assembled. The team was coached by Chuck Noll, and featured numerous halls of famers including quarterback Terry Bradshaw, cornerback Mel Blount, linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert and defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene.

Their most recent Super Bowl victory came at the expense of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, and was capped off by a game-winning touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes . 

National Basketball Association: San Antonio Spurs (5 NBA Championships)
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Manu Ginobili #20, Tony Parker #9, Patty Mills #8 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate on the bench in the closing minutes of Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals

After the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan in 1997, they became the epitome of winning, class and consistency in the NBA throughout the 2000’s. They won the 1999 NBA Finals under Head coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich, and with a team led by Duncan, David Robinson, and Avery Johnson.

Their true domination started during the early 2000’s though, when they won the NBA Finals in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Those teams were led by Pop, Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli. After a seven-year title drought, San Antonio got another chance to add to their trophy case, and did so in defeating the Miami Heat and their “Big 3” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, while avenging their gut-wrenching loss to Miami in 2013.

National Football League: San Francisco 49ers (5 Super Bowl Championships)
(Photo by Rich Pilling/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana in celebration against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 24 at the Louisiana Superdome.

The San Francisco 49ers have featured some of the most legendary players to play for their franchise. Cornerback Ronnie Lot, quarterbacks Steve Young and Joe Montana, and wide receivers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens are some of the greatest niners of all-time. The pinnacle of their success as a franchise started in the 1981 when they won their first Super Bowl, while their latest Super Bowl win came in 1994. Head coach George Seifert won 98 games and led the franchise to two SuperBowls between 1989 and 1996, while Bill Walsh won 92 games and three Super Bowls between 1979 and 1988. For me, their most memorable championship was Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Montana threw a game-winning back touchdown pass to receiver John Taylor in that game, and is one of the greatest plays in NFL history.

National Football League: Dallas Cowboys (5 Super Bowl Championships)
Photo credit should read ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman signals touchdown 31 Jan during the fourth quarter Super Bowl XXVII. Aikman and the Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills to win the game 52-17.

Famously known around the NFL as “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl in 1972 against the Miami Dolphins. Bob Lily’s sack on Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese is one of the greatest plays in Cowboys history and helped clinch Dallas’ first ever Super Bowl championship. Their latest Super Bowl win came at the expense of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996, and capped off Dallas winning three Super Bowls in four seasons during the 90’s. Quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman anchored all of the Cowboys Super Bowl triumphs. Other notable Cowboys include Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Jason Witten, and of-course their famous president, general manager, and owner since 1989, Jerry Jones. Wade Phillips, Bill Parcels, and Jimmy Johnson are a few notable coaches in Dallas Cowboys history as well.

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NFT Sports

NFTs Are NOT Dead, According to Jack Settleman

I Promise… NFT’s Are Not Dead

I’m not sure people understand how early on we are in this NFT movement. 

The total Top Shot market cap is at 605 million dollars. 

At one point, it was over a billion dollars, so naturally, people are showing concern.

Did I mention that we are early?

Clearly, the public perception is that NFT’s are dead. But I am here to tell you they are not. We are seeing a pullback. We are seeing similar reactions to the dot.com era, where 99 percent of websites failed. But the one percent that survived (Amazon, Google) became monsters. 

Quick reminder, we are early. 

What is important is that NFT’s, celebrity cash grabs are gone… which we’ve been saying. But the tech of NFT’s is going to be the thing of the next decade. As of now, all people know are the youtube clips they are watching. But we are still so early, people don’t understand what this wave can be.

The general idea from Top Shot fans is that it re-engaged them with the NBA. Who captures your attention? That is what matters. The MLB does a terrible job with it. The UFC is making a Dapper Labs product… and is asking you to pay for the viewing experience and give them your time. With the NFL, they own Sunday and Monday… but even our generation watches RedZone. Once again, the tech and utility of NFT’s are an attention and engagement capture. 

Over the next decade, the competition will be over people’s time and attention. 

To finalize things, we are super early in this. It could be five years before we see the fruits of NFT technology.

Categories
Sports Strength

Kansas City Royals’ Minor Leaguer Daniel Tillo Is All About Trading Cards

Daniel Tillo, a minor league starting pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization, was drafted in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Earlier this month, he purchased the most valuable and sought after baseball card of himself on eBay, a 2017 Bowman Chrome Superfractor, which is serial numbered 1/1. Superfractors are regarded as the most sought after Bowman Chrome card in the sports card world. Once Tillo purchased it, he tweeted out that he had just bought the card of himself.

Tillo had seen his Superfractor listed on eBay for about a month and was going back and forth with the seller trying to obtain the card. “I ended up getting the card for around $325,” said Tillo. Almost immediately, he received reactions about the tweet of him buying this unique card of himself. These reactions included many sports card enthusiasts throughout the world, including Gary Vaynerchuk, Kansas City Royals fans and other sports card collectors and buyers.

One Royals fan, Terry Gardner, even offered Tillo another similar card of the pitcher, serial numbered 1/1, the Bowman Black base version. “When I saw his tweet, I thought it was cool that he had bought his own card and liked collecting. I got to thinking about it and remembered that I had one of his cards,” said Gardner. Eventually, Tillo and Gardner were able to connect through Twitter. “I just tweeted to Daniel I had one of his cards and wanted him to have it. He offered to buy it, but I did not want money for it. He has since put a signed baseball in the mail for me and my son,” said Gardner. Tillo also suggested in a tweet that he may be able to obtain game tickets for Gardner and his son should he receives a call up to the majors in 2020. Gardner got back into sports cards starting in 2011 and has been collecting Royals ever since.

Tillo has always been interested in sports cards dating back to his childhood: “I have been collecting since I was ten years old, my older brother first got me into sports cards,” says Tillo. The process of having your own baseball card being created is an exciting experience for an athlete. “Once I realized I was going to be a high draft pick, I realized I was going to get a card of myself,” said Tillo.

Sportscard collectors or buyers collect a wide variety of players and products, and the same applies to Tillo. “I collect all sports, especially football, Prizm football is my favorite product and Optic is growing on me,” said Tillo. One of Tillo’s favorite football players is Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield. “The way he goes about himself just fires me up,” said Tillo.

Similar to a lot of sports card collectors or buyers, Tillo is collecting as a hobby but also wants to start buying players cards that can increase in value. “I enjoy buying and collecting as a hobby, but now also investing in players that I think will jump in value. Keston Hiura is a guy I like a lot to go up a lot in value for the 2020 season,” said Tillo.

In the past, Tillo has had an excellent eye for spotting future stardom as he played against Mets superstar Pete Alonso who won N.L. Rookie of the Year in 2019 and hit 53 home runs. “I had mentioned at the start of last year that Pete Alonso could be special, he was crushing the baseball when I had played against him in college,” said Tillo.

Bowman

Many sports card collectors or buyers are always wanting to expand on what they are buying, and the same applies to Tillo. “I started expanding more into buying more baseball and basketball cards. Once I signed my contract is when I started buying more cards again, ripping more packs and getting hobby boxes,” said Tillo. Since Tillo invested in sports cards, are there more professional athletes doing the same thing? “I haven’t seen too many other professional baseball players buying sports cards that I know of, I know Phil Hughes does a lot and many of my teammates want to show me their old cards,” said Tillo. There is still a big unknown if other athletes like Tillo are buying sports cards, let alone cards of themselves. Will other professional athletes start buying sports cards more or possibly invest in a high-end sports card of themselves similar to Tillo? Only time will tell.

Categories
Sports Strength

The 25 Best Players In Baseball Right Now, Ranked

Welcome to ONE37pm’s weekly MLB player rankings. These are the top 25 best performing players in MLB as of this minute. It’s not the best players in the league, or who we think has the best end of season numbers (sorry, Mike Trout).. it’s who is en fuego right now. This ranking takes into account everything from Sep. 6 until today.

This list is curated by members of our team: Drew Balis, Chris Choyce, Bobby Glennon, Carter Snyder and Dave Zhang. We’ll be updating this list every week, so keep it bookmarked and definitely let us know what you think of the rankings on our Twitter @137pm.

01. Gerrit Cole – HOU, SP (was #3 last week)

What else can we say about Gerrit Cole? Double digit K’s in his last eight starts, a 19-5 record for the year, and a big payday to come. The AL Cy Young vote between him and Verlander will be fascinating.

02. Yordan Alvarez – HOU, 1B (#25)

Learn his name now so you’re prepared for October. J.J. Watt already knows it. Alvarez’ 25 home runs and elite .421 on-base percentage holds up both to the naked eye and when you dive deeper into the analytics. 

03. Alex Bregman – HOU, 3B (unranked)

Bregman is putting up an MVP contending season—currently hitting .296 with 110 RBI and 40 HR for the Astros.

04. Tommy Edman – STL, 2B (#24)

Edman’s productivity has spiked in September, and while the power may fade (four homers in the last two weeks), his contact skills are legit… and so is his speed. His 29.4 ft/second sprint speed actually ranks him in the top 4% of the league, making his pristine SB success rate sustainable (14-for-15 so far).

05. Jacob DeGrom – NYM, SP (unranked)

DeGrom will end the season in Cy Young contention, again. He wasn’t quite as elite as last year, but man has he been good. Zero ER over his last three starts with 24 Ks and a FIP under 1.50. The Mets may continue to crush your hopes and dreams, but at least Jacob is here to shake your hand and wish you well for next year.

06. Yu Darvish – CHC, SP (#1)

07. Zack Greinke – HOU, SP (unranked)

After just barely missing a no-hitter on Wednesday, one of our favorite players finally makes his season debut on the list. But it sounds like we’ll have to wait until Game 3 of the ALDS to see an eephus like this again.

08. Eloy Jiminez (unranked)

One of the top prospects heading into the year, Jiminez has been up-and-down this season but is scorching the ball over the past two weeks (hitting .412 with five home runs).

09. Ozzie Albies – ATL, 2B (#15)

10. Trey Mancini – BAL, OF (unranked)

His 224 wRC+ is top-five over the past three weeks, and he’s been an RBI machine, which is kinda tough considering the AAAA lineup the Orioles trout out there every day. Mancini is a legit sleeper for next year if he can keep his power gains from this year (his season long 23.1% HR/FB is easily repeatable and improvable!). With a better lineup around him and his 35-40 HR power, maybe he’ll be the next 40 HR 120/120 R/RBI guy??

11. Jack Flaherty – STL, SP (#21)

12. Zack Wheeler – NYM, SP (#12)

13. Mitch Moreland – BOS, 1B (unranked)

14. Garrett Hampson – COL, SS (unranked)

If you follow the Rockies at all, you know they hate their rookies. But Hampson is finally getting to play every day and he’s showing that upside. Over the past month he’s put up a 155 wRC+ with 5 HRs and 9 SBs.

Will he have a job next year? No idea! But welcome to the list, Mr. Hampson! Enjoy your couple days in the sun.

15. Eduardo Rodriguez – BOS, SP (#13)

16. Corey Seager – LAD, SS (unranked)

Seager has five home runs over his past 15 games. Fully healthy for the first time since 2017, he’ll be a key part of the Dodgers lineup as they enter October. 

17. Marcus Semien – OAK, SS (#2)

18. Kyle Schwarber – CHC, OF (unranked)

The slugger has hit more HR in a single season than any Cubs’ lefty since Billy Williams. Schwarber has been a bright spot for the Cubs this year, with a .337 OBP and 37 HR.

19. Eugenio Suarez – CIN, 3B (#11)

20. Rick Porcello – BOS, SP (unranked)

Porcello hasn’t had the finest season overall, but a 2.25 ERA and 20 strikeouts in his last 17 innings has been an impressive way to close things out as he enters free agency this winter. 

21. Yoan Moncada – CWS, 3B (#20)

22. Christian Vazquez – BOS, C (unranked)

After a rough 2018 Christian Vazquez has arrived in a big way this season. The Red Sox haven’t done much over the past two weeks, but don’t blame their star catcher who’s hitting .343 with four home runs and two (!) stolen bases.

23. Justin Verlander – HOU, SP (#4)

24. Nelson Cruz – MIN, OF (unranked)

Nellie is back! After a List hiatus for injury, he’s back and leading the Twinies into the post-season. 39 years-old, with 40 bombs and over 100 RBIs. Good job man! Sporting a 184 wRC+ over the last three weeks, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. We’re excited to see what he and Twins bring into the post season. 

25. Cavan Biggio – TOR, 2B (#6)

Cooled Off

Austin Meadows (#5), (#6), Matt Olson (#8), Kris Bryant (#9), Chris Paddack (#10), Ketel Marte (#11), Marcus Strohman (#14), Rougned Odor (#16), Adam Wainwright (#17), Chad Green (#18), Gleyber Torres (#19), Yasmani Grandal (#22), James Paxton (#23)

Categories
Culture News

5 Babe Ruth Memorabilia Items With Eye-Popping Price Tags

The Sultan of Swat. The King of Crash. The Colossus of Clout. The Great Bambino.

If that just gave you intense flashbacks to watching The Sandlot in your elementary school classroom, join the club. Eighty-four years after he retired from the game, Babe Ruth’s legacy is immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame, countless films and books, Baby Ruth candy bars and a number of prized collectibles that he left behind. 

A Babe Ruth jersey recently sold for $5.64 million, smashing the previous $4.4 million record (also held by The Babe) for the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold. His home run ball, all-star jersey and more are among the most valuable baseball keepsakes. And unsurprisingly so. Babe Ruth’s storied rise to international fame and lasting impact on America’s pastime is the stuff of legends. 

For those dreaming of owning a piece of Babe’s personal collection, get your wallets ready because these items are not for the amateur collector. All with prices in the millions, here are the five most expensive Babe Ruth collectibles ever sold. 

1. New York Yankees Jersey From 1928-1930
Hunt Auctions

Sold: $5.64 million

This record-setting Babe Ruth heirloom joined a small collection of items sold at Yankee Stadium by Hunt Auctions. The auction gathered pieces from third-party collectors as well as Babe Ruth’s surviving family members. The legend’s granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, said, “Babe’s collection has remained largely unknown to the general public and we felt it was time to bring these amazing pieces of his life to light.”

2. New York Yankees Jersey From 1920
SCP Auctions

Sold: $4.4 million

Before the 1928-1930 jersey (above), this circa 1920 Babe jersey held the record for the most expensive sports memorabilia ever sold. The item sold in 2012 to Lelands.com, a sports memorabilia auction house, and a spokesperson said they would sell the jersey privately. It is the earliest existing jersey known to be worn by The Babe, and it had previously lived at The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore.

3. Contract That Moved Him to the Yankees
Lelands

Sold: $2.3 million

After six seasons with the Red Sox and three World Series wins, Babe Ruth found a new home with the Yankees in a historic purchase. For only $125,000 (or around $1.66 million today adjusted for inflation), the Yankees bought the player who would accrue enough revenue to move the team to the new Yankee Stadium, “the house that Ruth built.” An original copy of the contract, previously owned by Charlie Sheen, sold in 2017 for twice the amount that the other original copy did in 2005. 

4. World Series Ring
Lelands

Sold: $2.1 million

The Yankees dominated the 1927 World Series by sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games, and Babe Ruth contributed two crucial home runs in the series-clinching game. His ring—inscribed with “G H Ruth” (for George Herman Ruth)—also belonged to Sheen. It sold for more than four times the price of any other sports ring auctioned previously. Sheen owned both the ring and the contract for approximately 20 years and said he “felt it was time for a new owner.”

5. Bat From First Home Run at Yankee Stadium
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sold: $1.3 million 

Babe Ruth hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium against none other than the Red Sox—a team plagued by the supposed “Curse of the Bambino” for 86 years. Ruth is quoted as saying, “I’d give a year of my life if I can hit a home run in the first game in this new park.” On April 18, 1923, he got his wish on the stadium’s opening day. A Chicago sports memorabilia company, Mastronet, Inc., purchased the bat in 2004—the same year Boston’s decades-long drought is said to have ended. 

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