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#013 10.21.19
G’morning, sunshine! Thanks so much for starting your week off with us. Today’s newsletter is 1,455 words and won’t take longer than six minutes to read.  
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  quote of the day  

 “I played the entire season pregnant last year! All-Star and led the league (top 3-5) in minutes per game…didn’t tell a soul.” 
— Dallas Wings guard and WNBA superstar Skylar Diggins-Smith responding to critics on Twitter after revealing her struggle with postpartum depression and lack of mental and physical health support. We’re with you, Skylar. 
Source: Joshua Huston / Getty Images

  baseball   

I can show you the world

Source: CNN International
The GIST: The stage is finally set for the World Series, with the Washington Nationals taking on the Houston Astros. Hey batter, batter.
 
Reminder me how we got here: You got it. The underdog Washington Nationals (who, fun fact, are the former Montreal Expos) swept (aka won four-straight games) the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series (LCS) while the Houston Astros won four games to two over the New York Yankees in the American LCS.
 
Now tell me about this series: The Houston Astros are definitely the favorites in this one. They had the best regular-season record in the entire MLB, which gives them home-field advantage (meaning Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 are in Houston), and they also won the 2017 World Series, so they have experience on their side too. 
  • But don’t count the Nationals out. Just like the last few items on your to-do list, the Nats don’t seem to go away. After a brutal start, the Nats had an amazing end to their regular season and just made the playoffs as a Wild Card team. And although they’ve never even played in the World Series before, they seem to be peaking at the right time. 
When does the action start?: Game 1 is tomorrow at 8:08 p.m. ET and Game 2 is Wednesday at 8:07 p.m. ET…and don’t ask us why the games start one minute apart. 

  basketball   

They’re playing basketball

The GIST: The 2019–20 NBA season starts tomorrow and we haven’t been this excited since, well...since the NHL season started earlier this month. October, you’re too good to us. 
 
Tell me how it’s organized: Gladly! There are 30 teams that are split into two conferences — the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference — which are further divided into three divisions: the Atlantic, Central and Southeast in the East, and the Northwest, Pacific and Southwest in the West. 
  • After an 82-game regular season, the top eight teams in each conference make it to the playoffs. 
Got it. And who won last year?: For the first time in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors took home the Larry O’Brien Trophy after beating the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. 
  • However, after just one season with the Raptors, Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard left the cold Toronto to go home to play with the LA Clippers alongside superstar Paul George, so it’s unlikely the Raps will repeat.
So then, who do you think will win?: That, our friend, is the million-dollar question. Our best bet is that the championship will go to a Western Conference team — the West is seriously stacked. 

  soccer   

Footie footie footie footie rockin’ everywhere

The GIST: The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs are well underway and have been anything but boring.
 
NWSL: Because there are only nine teams in the league, the NWSL playoffs begin at the semifinals. High stakes, we know. Yesterday, the North Carolina Courage absolutely pummelled Reign FC 4–1 while the Chicago Red Stars squeaked out a 1–0 win over the Portland Thorns FC.
  • The Courage and Red Stars finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the regular season, so it’s no surprise to see these two powerhouses in the final. And, although the Courage have the slight edge of being the home team, in the three times these teams played each other this season, the Red Stars came out on top twice, with the other game ending in a draw.
What’s next: Catch the final on Sunday, October 27th at 4:30 p.m. ET. Last year’s final saw the largest crowd for a championship match in U.S. women’s pro soccer history herstory, at 21,144 fans. We dare you to beat it.

MLS: Meanwhile, the boys hit the pitch on Saturday, and, TBH, there were no big surprises. Check out the results and what’s next in the playoffs here.
  • Although there were no major upsets, two games came down to the wire: the Philadelphia Union came back from being down by two to beat the New York Red Bulls 4–3 in extra time, while the Seattle Sounders beat FC Dallas also 4–3, thanks to Jordan Morris finishing off his hat trick in overtime. So clutch.
What’s next: The second-round Conference Semifinals take place on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Be sure to send out the calendar invites. 

  football   

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

The GIST: If you can believe it, we’re almost halfway through the NFL season, and Week 7 was wild.
 
Biggest nail-biter: Although the LA Chargers and Tennessee Titans both have losing records, they were v. exciting yesterday. Their game literally came down to the final 15 seconds when Chargers running back (RB) Melvin Gordon thought he scored the game-winning touchdown. But in a plot twist that Game of Thrones producers would envy, the referees ruled that he fumbled the ball right before the goal line. The Titans took it 23–20. 
 
Breakout player: Is there anything Green Bay Packers quarterback (QB) Aaron Rodgers can’t do? In a 42–24 win over the Oakland Raiders, Rodgers finished with six touchdowns (TDs) and a perfect passer rating (aka a perfect game) for the first time in his career. Go off!
 
Rarest highlight: How often does an onside kick turn into a 45-yard TD? Almost never. But the Buffalo Bills somehow made it happen in a 31–21 win over the (still winless) Miami Dolphins. Ouch.

  college football   

I heard you were a wild one

The GIST: Week 8 of college football was chock-full of dizzying twists, turns and…a dance contest.
 
Biggest stunner: Going into Saturday, the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers had all but booked their ticket to the postseason: they have the country’s best RB in Jonathan Taylor and a dominant team on offense and defense. But the unranked Illinois Illini (yes, that’s actually their name) spoiled their party with a 24–23 upset win over the Big Ten powerhouse.
  • As a result of the loss, the Badgers have slid all the way down to No. 13 and way out of a possible playoff spot (only the top four teams make it into the postseason). Lesson of the day: never underestimate an underdog.  
Craziest highlight: This insane interception by Air Force turned into a 92-yard TD in a 56–26 blowout win over Hawaii. We’re picking our jaws up off the floor too. 
 
Scariest moment: Unfortunately No. 1 Alabama’s QB and Heisman candidate, Tua Tagovailoa (pronounced TOO-AH TAG-OH-VY-LO-A) left the game against Tennessee before halftime, with a high right-ankle sprain (the same injury he suffered last season on his left ankle) that will sideline him for at least a few weeks. Still, ’Bama made it happen and won 35–15.  
 
Most fun on the field: Here’s something you don’t see every day: after the third quarter of Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern’s game, the song “Mo Bamba” came on, and the teams randomly broke out into a dance-off.  But the party came to a screeching halt when the referees gave every single player on both rosters a penalty, resulting in three players getting ejected. WTF, let the men dance

  what's up this week  

Tonight: The New England Patriots are really, really good this season — surprise, surprise. They’re looking to keep their undefeated streak alive (FYI the San Francisco 49ers also remain undefeated) on the road against the NY Jets, who have won just one game. Monday Night Football kicks off at 8:15 p.m. ET. 
 
Tuesday: What it do, baby! The NBA season gets started with a fire doubleheader. The reigning champs, the Toronto Raptors, are at home against the new-look New Orleans Pelicans (though they’ll be without their human highlight reel, rookie Zion Williamson, due to a mild knee injury) at 8 p.m. ET. 
  • Then, it’s the Battle of LA: LeBron and the Lakers take on former Raptor Kawhi and the Clippers at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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