The GIST’s Quote of the Week
“I knew he was going to do that, to be honest.”
— Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, MLB All-Star, and psychic, on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s absolutely, positively insane record-breaking performance at the MLB Home Run Derby.
It's not goodbye, it's see you later
The GIST: Coco Gauff lost. Ashleigh Barty lost. Milos Raonic lost. SerAndy lost. And we’re not okay, okay?
The deets: Manic Monday was a sad day at The GIST, as we had to say “cheerio” to our favourite Wimbledon underdog, 15-year-old Coco Gauff. After stunning the crowd with a first-round win over her idol Venus Williams, Coco had a great run before falling to Simona Halep in the Round of 16. On the bright side, we predict we’ll have many more opportunities to cheer for this teenage phenom.
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty’s Wimbledon run also ended Monday, when she lost to unseeded Alison Riske, and No. 3 Karolina Pliskova is out after losing a long third set to Karolina Muchova, 13–11 (remember: no tie breakers in the final set at Wimbledon).
To top it all off, Monday also saw the final match of our last remaining Canadian hope, Milos Raonic. He was downed in a five-set grind by Guido Pella, who went on to lose in the quarter-finals.
Will we ever know happiness again?:Yes, because Serena Williams is still in it, and her path to Wimbledon glory looks clear. She plays her semi-final today against world-ranked No. 54 Barbora Strycova. If she makes it to Saturday’s final, it will mark back-to-back years of appearing in the Wimbledon final since giving birth in September 2017. What a superhero.
If she makes it to the final, she’ll face either No. 7 seed Simona Halep or No. 8 Elina Svitolina, both of whom have only ever beaten her once. History, nay her-story, is on Serena’s side.
The big three are still alive, too. Reigning champ Novak Djokovic (pronounced JOKE-OH-VITCH) will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the first of Friday’s two semi-final matches.
In a matchup we usually prefer to see in the finals (but let’s be honest, we’ll take it anytime, anywhere), Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will square up on Friday in the second semi-final. Nothing will ever top the greatest tennis match of all time (their epic 2008 Wimbledon final), but here’s hoping for something close to it to lift our spirits!
A star is born
The GIST: The MLB Home Run Derby took place on Monday night in Cleveland, and even though New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso won it, Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. stole the show.
He hit a ridiculous 91 homers, which is 30 more than the previous record of 61 held by Giancarlo Stanton.
Hold up. The home run what?: The MLB Home Run Derby (or HR Derby) is a competition that takes place on the Monday night before the MLB All-Star Game (we’ll get to that in a bit). Eight sluggers are selected to face off against each other in a bracket-style showdownuntil one reigns supreme.
Got it. Now remind me, who’s Vlad?: Canadian-Dominican Vladimir Guerrero Jr., also known as Vladdy Jr., is the third baseman for the Blue Jays. Born in Montreal, he’s the sonof former Montreal Expos’ Vladimir Guerrero Sr., who won the 2007 Home Run Derby when he was with the LA Angels.
At 20 years old, Vladdy Jr. became the youngest player to ever participate in the Home Run Derby. He also had the fewest career home runs of any participant heading into the event, with an all-time low of eight. But those stats didn’t get him down.
Holy records, Batman!: You might be wondering how Vladdy Jr. hit a record-setting 91 homers. Here’s #thegist:
In the first round, No. 8 seed Vladdy set a record for the most HRs in a round (29!!!) when he crushed No. 1 seed Matt Chapman of the Oakland A’s, who hit only 14.
Cut to the semi-final: Vladdy hit another 29 home runs (!!!), but so did Joc Pederson of the LA Dodgers. In the tiebreaker, both players hit eight homers, which led to a three-swing playoff. Where they tied. Again. But finally, in the third tiebreaker, Vladdy came out on top, hitting two dingers to Pederson’s one. Our arms hurt just typing this.
So, as you can imagine, Vladdy was dead tired when he met up with Alonso, who’s currently third in the league in HRs this season, in the final round. Although Alonso took the Derby title (and the $1 million prize) with a 23–22 win over Guerrero, he certainly didn’t take the glory.
Hey now, you're an all-star
The GIST: If the HR Derby is the opening act, the main show is the MLB All-Star Game, and in this year’s 90th edition, the American League (AL) took it 4–3 against the National League (NL).
How does it work?: Just like the other three major sports leagues, the MLB features a midseason showcase of its best players, with the AL playing the NL (the two divisions that make up the MLB). Each team plays with a 32-man roster made up of 20 position players and 12 pitchers, and all 30 teams are represented. Read more about the selection process here.
The American League has now won seven straight All-Star games. That doesn’t mean anything in the standings, but it does earn the winning team $800K (or $25K per player).
The biggest winner of the night, though, was Shane Bieber (no relation to Justin), the unlikely MVP. Bieber, who plays for the host team Cleveland Indians (yes, unfortunately, this is still a team name), was only added to the All-Star roster on Friday as an injury replacement. After pitching a perfect fifth inning, he won a new truck and a lot of bragging rights.
Only one Blue Jay was selected as an All-Star this year: pitcher Marcus Stroman. Unfortunately, Stroman couldn’t play due to a pectoral injury (ouch!), but thanks to Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Soroka of Edmonton, we had some Canadian representation.
Show me the money
The GIST: The LPGA has announced that the purse for the upcoming British Open will increase by 40% from last year, up to $4.5 million USD, with $675K for the winner. Nothing in this world that they like more than checks.
The deets: The LPGA has good timing. The wild success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which ended on Sunday, once again brought to light the pay disparity in men’s and women’s sports. The Women’s British Open’s purse increase is a positive contribution to the ongoing conversation. Martin Slumbers, the CEO of the R&A (golf’s governing body), called it “an important first step” in pay equity, and we hope many more steps shortly follow.
Lucky number 7: The Canadian men’s rugby sevens booked their ticket to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with an easy 40–5 win over Jamaica. This is a BFD, as this team started their season with a player boycott due to unfair training expectations and unequal pay compared to Canada’s rugby 15s squad. Still, they overcame Rugby Canada’s organization issues to clinch their first Olympic berth.
I want to ride my bicycle: July is basically Christmas for cycling fans. In Italy right now, is the Giro Rosa, also known as the Giro d’Italia (translation: Tour of Italy), the biggest women’s cycling race of the season. The tour runs for 10 days, with the final leg on Sunday. There are no Canadians in this one, but watch as last year’s champ Annemiek van Vleutenof the Netherlands tries to defend her title.
At the Tour de France, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe wears the yellow jersey (the current race leader always dons yellow) after stage five. Rookie Canadian Mike Woods is sitting at a pleasantly surprising 11th place.
It’s like I have ESPN or something: The ESPY Awards, short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards (think the Oscars but for sports), were last night, and despite a pretty awkward opening monologue from Tracy Morgan, it was a good show. Here are a few of our favourite moments from the ceremony:
On behalf of the Stanley Cup Champions St. Louis Blues, Ryan O’Reilly accepted the award for Best Comeback. But before he started his acceptance speech, he made sure to remove his fake front tooth, so as not to “spit on any celebs in the front row.” Uh, thanks?
One of our very favourites, Brooke Henderson, won Best Female Golfer. YASSS!
The final award of the night, the Best Team award, went to the US national women’s soccer team…obviously.
What's Up This Week
All weekend: Just four more days of Wimbledon action. It’s ladies’ singles semi-finals today, gentlemen’s semi-finals tomorrow, ladies’ final on Saturday, and gentlemen’s final on Sunday. And then just six more weeks ’til we get to start the madness all over again with the US Open.
Friday: The Blue Jays are back from their All-Star break and are taking on the best team in the AL, the New York Yankees. All eyes will be on Vladdy Jr. following his incredible performance at the Home Run Derby. The kid has a lot to live up to now that we know what he’s capable of.
Saturday: It’s an afternoon game in Ottawa, with the Redblacks hosting the Montreal Alouettes at 4 p.m. ET. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the TD Place stands and watch from home, where it’s TSN’s live mic game of the week.
The LPGA is coming to Canada! The CP Women’s Open is taking place from August 19th to 25th at the beautiful Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ontario. Yes, this means you’ll have the chance to watch the pro golfer with the most wins in Canada’s history, Brooke Henderson, in action. Brooke won the CP Women’s Open last year and will be swinging (literally) to defend her title. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
P.S. The CP Women’s Open is one of The GIST’s partners.
Girl power: If there's anything we've learned from sports, it's that success tastes sweeter when it's hard-earned. But that doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone — after all, there’s no “I” in team. The GIST and Female CoFounder are proud to support fellow female entrepreneurs. Female CoFounder is a community that encourages women to build startups by connecting them to potential cofounders. Join their community here.