Yahoo Sports AM: 50 days out

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🚨 Headlines

🥎 Sooners take Game 1: Oklahoma beat Texas, 8-3, in the first game of the Women's College World Series best-of-three finals to move within a game of an unprecedented four-peat.

🏈 Early Heisman odds: Georgia QB Carson Beck is the current favorite (+750 at BetMGM), followed by Texas QB Quinn Ewers (+800), Oregon QB Dillon Gabriel (+900) and Alabama QB Jalen Milroe (+1000).

🏀 Historic performance: A'ja Wilson had 36 points, 12 rebounds and six steals in the Aces' 95-81 win over the Wings — a stat line never before seen in the WNBA. The two-time MVP currently ranks second in scoring (26.5), first in rebounds (12.5) and second in blocks (2.8).

🏒 NHL in ASL: All Stanley Cup Final games will have an alternative ESPN+ broadcast for deaf viewers that will offer play-by-play and color commentary in American Sign Language.

🏐 Second act: Ex-NBA player Chase Budinger has qualified for the Paris Olympics in beach volleyball. The former McDonald's All-American retired from basketball in 2018 to return to the sport that was his first love.

🇫🇷 Paris 2024: A river runs through it

Swimmers diving into the Seine last summer. (Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Swimmers diving into the Seine last summer. (Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

The Paris Olympics begin in 50 days, but questions persist about whether the heavily-polluted River Seine will be ready for its close-up, Jeff writes.

Where things stand: The Seine will host the Opening Ceremony, with each nation's delegation being ferried down the river. It will also host the marathon swim and triathlon — a bold endeavor considering Parisians haven't been able to swim in the polluted waters since 1923.

  • Swimming test events were canceled last summer due to water quality concerns, and similar levels of contamination were reported in April by a French environmental group, which said that "pollution of fecal origin" was higher than permitted.

  • But officials are optimistic that the Seine will be ready now that the river's massive cleanup project is underway. "We are on time," Paris regional prefect Marc Guillaume told AP. "The beginning of the Games will coincide with water quality allowing competition."

Solving a century-old problem: The city spent $1.5 billion to update its antiquated sewage system. The key facility: a massive underground basin designed to collect excess, bacteria-laden rainwater that would otherwise flow into the Seine. The basin, located nearly 100 feet beneath Paris' Austerlitz train station, can hold 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water.

The new wastewater storage basin was inaugurated last month. (Antonin Utz/AFP via Getty Images)
The new wastewater storage basin was inaugurated last month. (Antonin Utz/AFP via Getty Images)

Testing the waters: Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is so confident in the project that she's promised to swim in the river ahead of the Olympics at an event she's dubbed "the big dive," possibly alongside French president Emmanuel Macron and IOC president Thomas Bach.

  • Not everyone shares Hidalgo's confidence. British marathon swimmers will be vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid, and they'll be "on antibiotics after the race, regardless of what the water samples show," one swimmer told The Independent.

  • The water will be tested each morning during the Olympics. If pollution levels are too high, events may be delayed. And if such levels persist, one possible outcome includes canceling the swimming portion of the triathlon, thus turning it into a duathlon.

In related news… "Under Paris," a new movie about a giant killer shark that emerges in the Seine and begins preying on Olympic swimmers, is now streaming on Netflix.

📸 Matchup of the night: Skenes vs. Ohtani

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Paul Skenes vs. Shohei Ohtani is the kind of matchup that can sell an entire game, and it more than lived up to its billing on Wednesday, writes Yahoo Sports' Jack Baer.

Round 1: The rookie sensation got the best of the two-time MVP in the top of the first inning, blowing him away with three straight triple-digit heaters.

  • First pitch: 101.3 mph swinging strike

  • Second pitch: 100.1 mph swinging strike

  • Third pitch: 100.8 mph swinging strike

Round 2: Skenes got another swinging strike with a 99.6 mph first-pitch fastball, then ran the count full. He went back to the fastball for the payoff pitch… but Ohtani was ready for it this time, sending it 415 feet into dead center. The 100.1 mph fastball was the fastest pitch he's homered off in his career.

Round 3: Ohtani pulled a 98.1 mph fastball for a one-out single in the fifth inning, and Skenes exited three batters later. His final line: 5 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K and the win in a 10-6 victory for the Pirates.

Postgame thoughts:

  • Skenes: "Yeah, I like to call that 'big on big.' Obviously, [I] beat him a couple times earlier. And I think that was the right pitch to throw there. He's just a pretty darn good player. So stuff like that's gonna happen. "And frankly, that's why we play the game, is for matchups like that."

  • Ohtani (through his new interpreter): "The stuff itself was really good. As you saw in my first at-bat, I couldn't really put together good swings. … Rather than the velo, it's really the angle and the release [that make Skenes hard to hit] … I made the adjustment in the second at-bat."

Pitching to his idol: Skenes was once a two-way star at Air Force before transferring to LSU to focus on pitching. During that time, he idolized Ohtani: "I grew up watching him," he told "That was what I was trying to be… He was an inspiration."

🌎 The world in photos

(Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Paris — 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva of Russia upset No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, to become the youngest female Grand Slam semifinalist since Martina Hingis at the 1997 U.S. Open.

(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Chicago — On Tuesday, the White Sox blew a 5-1 lead in a loss to the crosstown rival Cubs. On Wednesday, they did the exact same thing, falling on a walk-off homer to lose their 13th straight game (franchise record) and fall to 15-47 (worst in MLB). Not great, Bob!

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Dublin, Ohio — Peyton Manning played alongside actor Chris Pratt, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day at the Memorial Tournament Pro-Am on Wednesday. Here's what was in his bag.

(Darrian Traynor/ICC via Getty Images)
(Darrian Traynor/ICC via Getty Images)

Georgetown, Guyana — Uganda was all smiles after beating Papua New Guinea by three wickets to earn their first-ever T20 Cricket World Cup victory.

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

With more than two months in the books, we've gained laughably little clarity regarding how each league's playoff picture might shake out, writes Yahoo Sports' Jordan Shusterman.

Where it stands: 25 teams sit either in a postseason spot or within five games of one, and that doesn't include the perennial powerhouse Astros, who are slowly crawling back into the mix after a dreadful first month.

Team-by-team analysis:How are we feeling about each team now compared to how we felt on Opening Day? Better, worse or about the same?

📆 June 6, 1946: The NBA is born

St. Louis vs. New York in an early BAA game at Madison Square Garden. (Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)
St. Louis vs. New York in an early BAA game at Madison Square Garden. (Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)

78 years ago today, the Basketball Association of America — which three years later merged with the NBL to become the NBA — was formed, Jeff writes.

13 founding members: Boston Celtics, Chicago Stags, Cleveland Rebels, Detroit Falcons, New York Knicks, Philadelphia Warriors, Pittsburgh Ironmen, Providence Steamrollers, St. Louis Bombers, Toronto Huskies, Washington Capitols.

More on this day:

  • 🏀 2001: Allen Iverson crossed up Tyronn Lue, nailed the shot, then stepped over him during Game 1 of the NBA Finals in one of the most iconic moments in NBA history.

  • 🏀 2018: LeBron James topped 30 points in the playoffs for the 110th time of his career, passing Michael Jordan's mark for the most such games* in NBA history.

*The top 10: James (122), Jordan (109), Kobe Bryant (88), Kevin Durant (77), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (75), Jerry West (74), Elgin Baylor (60), Stephen Curry (58), Shaquille O'Neal (55), Karl Malone (54).

📺 Watchlist: Game 1 in Boston

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

The NBA Finalsbegin tonight in Boston (8:30pm ET, ABC), where the Celtics are seeking their record 18th championship and the Mavericks are seeking their second.

Fun fact: This will be just the fourth NBA Finals* to feature two opponents (Luka Dončić and Jayson Tatum) who are both averaging 25/5/5 entering the series.

More to watch:

  • 🎾 French Open semifinals: No. 1 Iga Świątek vs. No. 3 Coco Gauff (9am, Tennis); No. 12 Jasmine Paolini vs. Mirra Andreeva (11am, Tennis/NBC/Peacock)

  • 🥎 WCWS: Oklahoma (up 1-0) vs. Texas (8pm, ESPN)

  • ⛳️ PGA: Memorial Tournament (7:40am, ESPN+; 2pm, Golf)

  • ⚾️ MLB: Braves at Nationals (6:45pm, MLB.TV Free Game)

  • 🏀 WNBA: Sky at Mystics (7pm, Prime)

  • 👟 NCAA Track & Field: Women's Championships, Day 1 (8:30pm, ESPN2)

*The other three: Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler (1992); LeBron James and Steph Curry (2016); James, Curry and Kevin Durant (2018).

🏀 NBA trivia

Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce after beating the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce after beating the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Celtics and Lakers are tied with 17 championships each. Which franchise ranks third with seven titles?

Hint: Western Conference.

Answer at the bottom.

🏀 Big dad energy

Tim Hardaway Sr. and Tim Hardaway Jr. chat prior to a game. (Brian Choi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tim Hardaway Sr. and Tim Hardaway Jr. chat prior to a game. (Brian Choi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Mavericks have five players named after their fathers, which has to be an NBA Finals record.

  • Tim Hardaway Jr.

  • P.J. Washington Jr.

  • Derrick Jones Jr.

  • Dereck Lively II

  • Greg Brown III

Looking ahead: Obviously, this means the Mavericks will win the title in five games, with Game 5 falling the day after Father's Day. I see the script, Adam Silver!

Trivia answer: Warriors

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