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 July 9, 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 NBA, MLB, tennis and more.
weekly top 10 big sports news headlines and major events: July 9, 2023
We begin with an addendum to our last report, dispatched on July 4. When we posted, the 2023 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, male division, had been scratched due to inclement weather.
Later that same day, though, the competition was back on. And Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, the hot dog-eating world champion, easily defended his title. Nabbing his 16th Mustard Yellow Belt didn’t even require breaking any new records. Chestnut downed 62 hot dogs and buns in this year’s contest. He set a new world record in 2021 by consuming 76 hot dogs and buns.
condiments and future conquests
If we think about this much longer, we’re definitely gonna be sick. So here are just two fun facts to close this out. First, Chestnut has a partnership with Pepsi, and on Independence Day, the team launched “Colachup,” the world’s first-ever Pepsi-flavored condiment. Nope, we are not making this up.
And finally, Chestnut clearly has the heart and drive of an elite athlete. When asked in an interview this week about records he’s still hoping to break, he promptly replied: “I would love to get a king crab record. I would love to eat hot dogs on every continent. I think that’d be really fun. I still need South America.” First Coney Island . . . then Columbia. Heads up, Bogotá. You’re next.
top 10 sports headlines
Here are the headlines you need to know heading into a new week:
1. MLB All-Star Game sans Aaron Judge
The annual MLB All-Star game is set for Tuesday night in Seattle. While there’s always a lot of spectacle and pagentry, there’s actually something at stake here: the game determines home-field advantage during the World Series.
Our Sports Desk points out that there will be a huge void in the roster with Yankees slugger Aaron Judge still on the injured list. Judge hasn’t played since injuring his right toe at Dodger Stadium on June 3rd. In recent weeks, he hasn’t even been able to walk, let alone run. The front office won’t commit to a return date, but reports are that they believe he’ll be able to take to the field at some point during this season. However, Judge himself says that the effects of the injury may be with him for up to three years. UGH.
home run derby rematch: Alonzo v Soto
New York Mets slugger Pete Alonzo enters this week’s home run derby for his fourth straight year, after winning it in 2020 and 2021. Last year, he lost to Juan Soto. Unlike other players who shy away from the home run derby because they don’t want to risk injury, Alonzo seems to love it. Lucky for us! It’s always good fun, even for people who don’t follow Major League Baseball.
2. MLB NL Standings: Atlanta on top
The New York Mets (42-47) headed into the All-Star break on hot streak with 6 straight wins. But they’re mired in fourth place in the NL East, 18.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves. Yikes. The Braves are 9-1 in their last 10 games, and they have a commanding lead in the NL East. The number 2 Marlins are 9.5 games back.
In the NL Central, the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers are locked in a tight race. As of this posting, the Reds are up by 2.
In the NL West the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Giants are in a pretty close battle, with the third-place Giants currently only 3.5 games back.
3. MLB AL Standings: Rays maintain their lead
Our Sports Desk notes that the AL East has actually gotten kind of interesting. The Tampa Bay Rays still hold the best record, but only by 3 games. And the surprising number two is not the Yankees or Blue Jays – its the Baltimore Orioles. Meanwhile, New York, Toronto and Boston are all struggling mightily just to stay relevant.
The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians are in a close race in the AL Central – Minnesota is currently just half a game behind Cleveland.
In the AL West, the Texas v Texas battle rages on, with the Texas Rangers up against the Houston Astros. The Rangers are two ahead as of this posting.
4. Tigers get a no-hitter with multiple pitchers
The Detroit Tigers entered the record books yesterday afternoon with a combined no-hitter in a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the franchise’s first no-hitter with multiple pitchers. Starting pitcher Matt Manning got through 6 2/3 hitless innings. Then he ceded the mound to Jason Foley. After getting the final out in the seventh, Foley delivered a hitless eighth as well. Closer Alex Lange took over for the ninth, and saved the no-hitter. Pretty cool.
CBS Sports notes that this is the ninth no-hitter in Tigers history. The most recent one was thrown by Spencer Turnbull in May 2021. Before that, Justin Verlander had a pair. But they’ve never had a combined no-hitter. Fun fact: In MLB history, there have now been 320 no-hitters.
5. Wembanyama weirdness in the NBA
Victor Wembanyama, the NBA’s top draft pick and buzzed-about phenom, has taken to the court for the first time as part of the San Antonio Spurs. The game this week was the first in the NBA’s Summer Series. And it was a bust.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 19,000, “Wemby” was clearly nervous and had a terrible shooting game (2-for-13, to be exact). He finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds, three assists and five blocks. The haters are already saying that this is proof that he’s not ready for the NBA. To which most people say: it was one game.
That’s not the weird part, though. The weird part is that Wembanyama’s security team didn’t recognize a fan who tapped the player on the shoulder. Seemingly panicked, one of the security guards apparently slapped the fan. Who turned out to be Britney Spears. You can’t make this stuff up. There’s a tape of the encounter currently making the rounds on social media. Hit me baby, one more time memes abound.
6. Lillard trade still under negotiation
The Portland Trail Blazers’ star Damian Lillard shocked the league by asking for a trade last month. And its clear that he will only work with one team: the Miami Heat. While the Trail Blazers are technically in control of the situation, and can trade him to a different team, it’s highly unlikely that will happen.
Which means that Portland and Miami have to come to terms. And of course, the Blazers want to get the most from whichever team he joins. The press reports are that the Trail Blazers are seeking “in the neighborhood” of four first-round picks and “two quality players.”
Watch this space for further updates.
7. Djokovic in Round of 16 at Wimbledon today
All eyes are on London’s All England Club this week as Wimbledon continues. On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic is looking to secure the third leg of a calendar Grand Slam. Today he takes the court against Hubert Hurkacz in the Round of 16, looking for a quarterfinal berth.
American Frances Tiafoe takes on Grigor Dimitrov today, as well.
Hometown favorite Andy Murray had a good run, but was eliminated in a heart-breaking loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas. After the match, Murray was noncommittal about ever playing at Wimbledon again.
8. Swiatek faces Bencic in Round of 16 today
On the women’s side at Wimbledon, the expectation is that Iga Swiatek, the women’s world no.1, will take the title. She’s in action today, facing Swiss player Belinda Bencic in a Round of 16 match.
9. Soccer’s Rapinoe to retire
Megan Rapinoe, 38, this week announced her plan to retire from soccer. After 17 years on Team U.S.A. the charismatic American star athlete and social justice activist plans to play in her fourth Women’s World Cup. She’ll then end her amazing career with a final season in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Rapinoe is going out on top. She is a three-time Olympian and won gold with her team at the 2012 London Games. Known as an unflappable clutch player, the New York Times notes that in a quarterfinal against France at the 2019 World Cup, just days after former President Donald J. Trump criticized her on Twitter, Rapinoe scored two goals and Team USA advanced to the semifinals. They later won the title for the second time in a row.
A trailblazer in a multitude of ways, Rapinoe has made her mark on the sport for all time. We can’t wait to see what she decides to do next. In the meantime, we’ll keep this quote from her close to hand: One thing she learned “very, very early on,” Rapinoe said, is that “if there’s one second on the clock, that’s enough time.”
10. ESPYs will have no host this year
The annual ESPY Awards are this Wednesday night. As a result of the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, for the first time the awards show won’t have a host for the first time in its history.
Some of the winners have already been announced. They include the U.S. women’s soccer team; Chicago White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks; the Buffalo Bills’ training staff; and sports researcher Dr. Richard Lapchick.
Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: July 9, 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 tennis, 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.