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This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly report on the big sports news headlines and major events, plus a preview of what’s up next. For June 11, 2023, here are the weekly top 10 sports news headlines to know – the big stories and major events in sports news this week in the NFL, NBA, MLB and more.

weekly top 10 big sports news headlines and major events: June 11, 2023

1. LIV and PGA agree to a merger

In the most shocking sports news of the week, the rival golf leagues LIV and PGA announced a merger. The PGA and its Commissioner Jay Monahan had been vehemently opposed to the start-up Saudi-owned LIV, accusing the kingdom of attempting to “sports wash” its extensive human rights violations. The head-spinning turnaround left many shouting hypocrisy and threatening anti-trust actions.

Monahan reportedly told PGA Tour employees during a meeting Thursday that the organization “couldn’t financially afford to keep spending tens of millions of dollars in its legal fight against Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.” The report in the Wall Street Journal says that Monahan “told employees that the tour had already spent $50 million in legal fees and had dipped into its reserves for $100 million to help pay increased purses in elevated events and other bonuses to players.” Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund reportedly has $620 billion in assets.

PGA Tour players, many of whom reported being entirely unaware of the agreement, were livid. Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm reportedly turned down multimillion dollar deals to join the startup league. Tiger Woods reportedly declined an offer close to $1 billion.

Bryson DeChambeau, who along with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson bolted to the LIV for deals said to be worth more than $100 million, said in an interview “I do feel bad for the PGA Tour players.” I’m sure that makes everyone feel a lot better, dude.

2. NBA Finals Status: Denver Nuggets 3, Miami Heat 1

Jokic on the brink of a national title

Last week, the Denver Nuggets easily beat the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, led by their star Nikola Jokic  – arguably the best player in the league right now. But the Heat rallied and took Game 2 in the Nuggets’ home stadium, leading to shouts of “now we have a series!”

Well . . . maybe. As of this posting, the Nuggets are up 3-1, having won Games 3 and 4 in Miami. Now the series moves back to the Mile-High City, and the Nuggets are just one win away from their first national championship.

LeBron at Le Mans

Honorary race starter LeBron James waved the French flag to start the 100th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe yesterday in Le Mans, France. The LA Lakers star dramatically rendered the command Pilotes, demarrez vos moteurs to start the race. Our Sports Desk feels that he was hamming it up a bit more than necessary. But hey – he’s the King. And you know how the French love a good monarch.

McGregor sends mascot to the ER

In other important water-cooler news, the UFC mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor sent the Miami Heat mascot “Burnie” to the hospital during Game 4 last night. McGregor was promoting his line of cooling pain relief spray during what was meant to be a light-hearted halftime show. But things apparently got out of hand, with McGregor delivering a pummeling that sent the man behind the Burnie costume to a nearby emergency room. Happily, he’s been released and seems to be OK. Whew!

3. NHL Finals Status: Vegas Golden Knights 3, Florida Panthers 1

The Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights are competing in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup finals. Interestingly, the home team won the first three games in the best-of-seven series. But last night, Vegas changed that narrative with a win in Florida. They’re closing in on a win with a 3-1 lead as of this posting.

4. Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso on the IL

New York Yankees are without Judge

The New York Yankees have placed their star outfielder Aaron Judge on the injured list with a toe issue he suffered after crashing into a wall at Dodger Stadium in LA while making an astounding catch last Saturday. Its unclear how the injury will affect the rest of Judge’s season.

The Yanks’ lefty Nestor Cortes is also on the injured list with a shoulder issue.

New York Mets put Alonso on the IL

Across town, the Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso is out with a bone bruise and a sprain on his left wrist. He’ll miss 3-4 weeks. The first baseman, who is leading MLB in home runs, was placed on the injured list on Friday after being hit with a pitch thrown by Charlie Morton. The New York Times reports that Alonso is among a small group of players known for making little effort to get out of the way when a pitch is headed toward them. Why? Because a player hit by a pitch immediately goes on base, which is great for their stats and potentially for their team’s chances for a win. But many are questioning whether the price is too high, especially for a star like Alonso.

5. MLB AL Standings

In the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays are still on fire, 5.5 games ahead of the number 2 Baltimore Orioles.

In Gotham, all eyes were trained on the rivalry series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Boston took the Friday night game, and last night the Yanks rallied to a 3-1 win. The third game in the series is this afternoon. The Yanks are currently third in their division, barely above .500 and 8.5 games back.

The Twins are on top in the AL Central, 2.5 ahead of the Guardians. The Texan Rangers continue to lead in the AL West, now 5 games ahead of the second-place Houston Astros.

6. MLB NL Standings

The New York Mets have been in a trough for the past couple of weeks, losing 7 in a row (their worst run since 2019). Finally, last night they broke their losing streak with a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. They still have a lot of work to do: the team is currently under .500 for the season, and in fourth place in the NL East, 9.5 behind their nemesis, the Atlanta Braves.

The Pirates and the Brewers are tied for first in the NL Central. In the West, the Diamondbacks are 2.5 ahead of the LA Dodgers.

7. Swiatek wins her third French Open; Djokovic and Rudd meet in the finals

Novak Djokovic will meet Casper Rudd today in the men’s finals of the 2023 French Open. Djokovic’s much-anticipated semifinal match against #1 seed Carlos Alcaraz fizzled out when Alcaraz struggled with leg cramps in the second set. The Serb is now one win away from his 23rd Grand Slam victory.

In the women’s final, #1 seed Iga Swiatek won a tight match with unseeded Karolina Muchova, emerging with her third singles championship at Roland Garros in four years.

8. Oklahoma shines in the Women’s College World Series

The Oklahoma Sooners won their third straight title in the 2023 Women’s College World Series, ending their season with a 53-game winning streak.

The top seeded team entered this year’s tournament with 48 consecutive wins (the longest in Division I softball history) and a 56-1 record in the regular season. The Sooners have made 16 trips to the Women’s College World Series, winning the title in 2000, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2021 and 2022.

Did someone say dynasty? The Sooners have 5 or 6 starters returning next year, so they’re already the odds-on favorites to win it all again in 2024.

9. Arcangelo wins the Belmont Stakes

Yesterday was the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third race in the iconic Triple Crown. This year, there was no possibility of a Triple Crown win, and mood was somber, given the large number of horse fatalities this racing season.

However, there was one happy surprise. The 3-year old thoroughbred Arcangelo won, making Jena Antonucci the first female trainer in history to take the title at Belmont.

10. Man City takes it all, and Messi is coming to Miami

It was a huge week in professional futbol, with the Champions League finals in Turkey and a surprise announcement from a superstar.

Manchester City wins Champions League

Manchester City won its first Champions League title with a 1-0 victory over Inter Milan. Man City becomes only the second team (along with Manchester United) to win a “treble”: victories in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season. Head coach Pep Guardiola scored his first win in the Champions League, sealing the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach’s status as the best in the world.

There were several heartwarming stories, including this one, reported by CBS Sports. “Erling Haaland’s first season at Manchester City couldn’t have gone any better after he secured the treble, helping the team win the Champions League in Turkey. His father, Alfie Haaland, played for City when it was going back and forth from the second division.” At 22, Haaland seems to have a brilliant career ahead of him.

Messi makes a surprise move to Miami

In a huge lift for American pro soccer, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has signed a deal to join the Miami franchise of Major League Soccer. CNBC reports that ticket sales for Inter Miami FC increased 28 times in the three days following Messi’s announcement. After parting ways with Paris Saint-Germain, Messi reportedly had a billion-dollar offer to join the Saudi-owned Al-Hilal. There was also speculation that he would return to Barcelona, the team he joined as a teenager and reluctantly left in 2021.

Messi led Argentina to victory at last year’s World Cup.

It’s a heady moment for a team that sits in last place in the MLS’ Eastern Conference, and is searching for a new head coach after recently firing Phil Neville. The first match is in LA on September 3rd. Get your tickets now.

Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: June 11, 2023

That’s our take on the big sports news headlines and major events, and a preview of the week ahead, including what to know about basketball, baseball and more to join the talk with the avid fans in your life this week. Have a great week, dear reader. See you next Sunday.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.