“Baby Shark” Immortalized on Washington Nationals World Series Ring

Baby Shark World Series Ring
(Twitter/jjalcantara)

Championship rings are one of the great traditions in sports. Sure, they mostly all look the same in the end, just a massive collection of diamonds around the team name and year, but the Washington Nationals have something on their championship rings that no other team can claim: Baby Shark.

Yep, the 2019 World Series Champions unveiled their ring design earlier this week, and it was mostly standard fare. More than 100 diamonds, some rubies, the players’ numbers, and etched on the inside of the ring…Baby Shark holding up the championship trophy. ‘’

Baby Shark became a fan favorite once Gerardo Parra started using the internet’s favorite song for his walk-up music. It became an unofficial anthem for the Nationals as they marched through the MLB playoffs en route to their World Series win.

The ring also features the team’s slogan of “Go 1-0 Everyday.” But let’s be honest, as the franchise fondly remembers their first World Series, they won’t remember that. They will remember the summer of Baby Shark, and will doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo their way to reliving an incredible run.

Miami Dolphins Converting Stadium Into Drive-In Movie Theater

Dolphin Stadium Drive-In
(3D RENDERING BY AZEEZ BAKARE STUDIOS)

Drive-in movie theaters are a hot commodity these days.

Staples of yesteryear, those parking lots where people gathered in their cars to watch a movie, together, but apart, have largely vanished from the country. By the time I was a kid in the mid-80s, the one drive-in theater that existed in my town was mostly known for hosting a local flea market, and I didn’t actually attend a drive-in movie until a few years ago, on vacation.

Nowadays, with real movie theaters being shuttered to help flatten the curve and limit the spread of the coronavirus, drive-in movies are seeing something of a resurgence. It’s a way for people to get outside (in their cars) and be social (while socially distancing), which is a bit of a rarity itself during the quarantine. The problem is, the facilities don’t exist anymore. Yet.

The Miami Dolphins, one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NFL, boasting both the league’s only undefeated season (17-0!) and its best quarterback of all-time (Marino baby!), are helping change that, at least in the short term. They’re converting their dormant stadium into a drive-in movie theater.

The NFL’s off-season has been suspended, and the regular season is in doubt as sports leagues across the world try to figure out the most responsible ways to resume play without endangering their players and fans. This means Hard Rock Stadium, where the Dolphins play, is currently not being used. Which makes it a perfect place to put on a movie!

“We’ve spent several weeks planning this to be able to provide people with a safe option to go out and enjoy movies, classic Dolphins content, concerts, and celebrate 2020 graduates,” said Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel in a press release. “It’s a fundamental human need to physically experience and celebrate events and experiences together, and we’re trying to provide options for everyone where they can be safely socially distant and socially present at the same time.”

The Miami Herald reported that the Dolphins are using their stadium to show movies in two different ways that are suited to social distancing. The two “Outdoor Theaters” will include an open-air theater and a drive-in theater, via which they’ll present classic movies and “classic Miami Dolphins content,” the majority of which will surely be from the 70s and 80s and also will include some future footage from the 2020s when Tua suits up and we go undefeated again FINS UP!

The stadium will house 230 cars, you can order food and drink, and restrooms will be open. Regardless of who you root for, it sounds like a really cool idea, and probably the most fun Dolfans will have in their football stadium in quite some time. No schedule is available just yet, but you can sign up for alerts at hardrockstadium.com/theater.

Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Helps Dad Learn to Speak Again

Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Helps Dad Learn to Speak Again
(Getty / Steven Ryan / Stringer)

To athletes accustomed to playing in packed stadiums surrounded by the tangible energy of countless fans, this is a strange time. Let’s be honest, this is a strange time for everyone, and we’re doing our best to carve out a new normal. Sportscasters are trying to fill the void of delivering riveting sports commentary by giving play-by-plays of everyday life instead. Even the NFL is planning to emulate the feel of a real, live football game by blasting pre-recorded crowd noise into the empty stadium during televised games. Yeah, it’s not going great.

Football is in a virtual offseason since the coronavirus has made regular offseason training impossible. During this time, some teams are conducting virtual classroom-type instruction to prepare for the next season. Teams have been given permission by the NFL to send their players $1,500 in equipment to create their own home-training spaces. Most of these workouts and classroom sessions are voluntary, so it’s up to the athletes to decide how to spend their virtual offseason time.

For 25-year-old Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott, this time away from the grueling day-to-day as an NFL athlete has allowed him to focus his attention on family. In 2018, Scott’s father Anthony suffered a stroke. Anthony has worked with multiple therapists over the years and regained most of his mobility on the right side of his body, but continues to struggle with his speech. Due to the coronavirus, Anthony’s speech therapist was unable to continue working with him. Fortunately, Anthony had a couple of backups, Boston and his little sister Alana, ready to take over.

Twice a week, Scott works with his father on regaining his ability to speak using both exercises he learned by watching his father’s speech therapy appointments over the years, and strategies he’s developed on his own. Scott told NJ Advance Media, “When he can’t pronounce a word, I get him to sing his ‘ABCs’, which I think is a staple in a lot of our minds. Singing your ‘ABCs,’ that’s something you can remember from your childhood.”

So twice a week, that’s where you’ll find them. Anthony and Boston, sitting at the kitchen table, practicing the ABCs. The same activity that they likely did together more than two decades earlier, this time, with Boston taking the role of teacher. Never before has the line “next time won’t you sing with me” struck such a heartwarming, love-filled chord

Tom Brady Splits Pants on National TV, Delivers Clutch Dad Joke To Save Face

Brady Splits Pants
(Twitter/ESPN)

Something tells me this won’t make it into the Man in the Arena documentary.

Over the weekend, Tom Brady participated in a golf competition with former NFL rival Peyton Manning and pro golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. During Sunday’s The Match: Champions for Charity, in which Brady and Mickelson put up a good fight before ultimately losing to their rivals, Brady had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.

In an incident that could have happened to any of us – and may or may not have happened to yours truly! – he bent down to pick up a ball, and as he did, his pants split open, right on his 6-time Super Bowl-winning derriere. Unlike any time that’s happened to us, Brady’s pants tore open while he was being broadcast on national television. Somewhere, Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez must have been loving it.

It was an embarrassing moment, but Brady has been in pressure-filled situations before. The unflappable second-best QB of all time (Dan Marino FTW!) handled the situation with his typical clutchness and showing that he has a sense of humor just as prominent as his chin dimple.

ESPN shared a photo of the exact moment when his pants ripped, and Brady was quick to respond with a joke and a topical one at that!

Now that he’s on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady may not win a seventh Super Bowl, but with a new documentary hitting ESPN next year and this weekend’s successful defusion of an awkward situation, maybe the somewhat stiff QB can actually make a winning transition to the broadcast booth!

Hopefully with some pants that are a little less tight…

Minor League Baseball Stadiums Are Turning Into Drive-Thru Zoos and Airbnb Rentals

Stadiums are Zoos and Airbnb
(Twitter/florence_yalls Airbnb)

Summer is for baseball, and having one without the other doesn’t feel right. With their season in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB players and owners still don’t seem all that close to starting their season, even without fans in the stadium. But when it comes to getting people to come to the ballpark, no MLB team could ever match the creativity of a minor league club, and that has held true even in the time of coronavirus.

For example, look no further than Kentucky. Sure, there’s no baseball happening in Florence, but the Florence Y’alls stadium is full of visitors. It’s not to see home runs and strikeouts, but to see camels, llamas, and kangaroos, as the minor league club has turned their ballpark into a drive-thru zoo.

“We have a great venue here. We just wanted the community something to get out of the house, something to do for people to look forward to,” Florence Y’alls facility operations manager Joseph Manco told a local TV station.

So yeah, as families are cooped up at home, they can have a socially distant afternoon of seeing animals from the comfort of their cars. Acrobats from the Cincinnati Circus company were also out entertaining fans.

The drive-thru animal farm was a huge hit with fans, and the Frontier League stadium even saw a few VIPs, including Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro Defensive Tackle Geno Atkins, who brought his family to the animal event.

Other ballparks are also getting creative with how they bring in fans. The Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, are renting out their stadium on Airbnb. For a scant $1,500 a night, your group of 10 can stay at your own persona Field of Dreams. Guests have access to the newly-renovated clubhouse, the batting cage, the baseball diamond and a large bedroom during their stay.

It is believed to be the first professional baseball stadium available to rent on Airbnb, and it’s actually fairly reasonable for a pretty incredible behind-the-scenes experience.

Whether it’s a drive-thru Zoo or a booze-filled bachelor party at an empty ballpark, there are a few different ways you can get yourself to a baseball stadium this summer.

NBA’s Russell Westbrook Delivers Meals to ICU and COVID-19 Units

Russell Westbrook Delivers Meals
(Instagram/russwest44)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most impactful ways people have been giving back are donations directly to the frontline healthcare workers. From donations of masks or PPE from businesses to just buying a coffee or lunch for someone in scrubs, thousands of people have been trying to support these essential workers in any way they can.

Celebrities too are often following suit. Sure, there are the splashy gifts, made in partnership with a corporation or foundation, that have a high dollar amount with them (don’t get me wrong, these are incredibly generous and impactful) and come with an accompanying press release. But then you also see the smaller stories, where people feel called to give directly to people in their hometowns with a hyper-local gift. We saw that with Tyler Perry buying groceries for seniors in his hometown of Atlanta, and providing pizza for the workers. We saw it when MLB star Mookie Betts did the same thing for people in Nashville. But few have stood out quite like stars from the NBA, whether it’s been with financial help for arena workers, gifts to hospitals, or straight to healthcare workers, which is what Russell Westbrook recently did.

The NBA star, who has been one of the best scorers in the league, has also been known for his off-the-court generosity. Earlier this week, he delivered meals to the ICU and COVID-19 unit at his hometown hospital, MLK Community Hospital. The Houston Rockets guard, clad in a mask, thanked the workers in a post on IG.

The NBA is currently in discussions to finish out their season at Disneyworld, with all teams playing at the Wide World of Sports complex.

Goalie Cat Is the Sports Hero We Need in Our Lives

Goalie Cat Saves
(Twitter/chrismd10)

Quarantine has been hard for sports fans stuck inside with nothing to watch. (Come on The OCHO!) OK, even if you’re not a sports fan, quarantine sucks, I get it. But the sports world lost the most action-filled quarter of the year, with little relief in sight. NASCAR is back and the UFC is holding fights in empty arenas (and maybe on fight island soon enough), but there’s still nothing concrete for the major pro sports.

It’s possible the MLB players and owners can reach some sort of agreement on a shortened season (not looking great right now), the NBA is exploring finishing the season at DisneyWorld (because why not?), and the NFL is still pretending like everything will be fine, minus the virtual fans. So sports fans need a hero for these times.

Enter Goalie Cat.

Youtuber Chris Dixon put the video online of his cat, who may be the most gifted soccer goalkeeper of all time.

The video shows Dixon repeatedly getting shut out by the most skilled cat I’ve seen in the sport. Each save more difficult than the last, but goalie cat does not falter, he does not fall short. In these sports-starved times, the world has rallied around goalie cat, as the video quickly amassed more than 10 million views.

There has been no official word on if goalie cat will be allowed an Air Bud-esque exemption to play professional soccer, but should it happen, I’m not even sure it would be the craziest thing to happen in 2020.

New Tennis Guidelines Amid COVID: “Don’t Touch Balls, Kick Them”

"Dont Touch Balls, Kick Them"
(YouTube/Simon Levin)

Folks, in these trying times, we gotta be able to laugh at ourselves. More importantly, we gotta be able to laugh at others, specifically public officials when they crack unwitting testicle jokes into a microphone.

Case in point: Laura Curran. With tennis courts reopening throughout Long Island, New York, it was on this Nassau County Executive to deliver a quick rundown of precautionary measures tennis players should take, given they can’t play across rooftops.

Among the guidelines: “You can kick their balls, but you can’t touch them.”

Watch the hilarious gaffe and subsequent blushing right here:

You know a slip up is funny when you can see smile beaming through other people’s face masks.

Brady Getting Jordan Treatment With 10-Part ESPN Doc “Man in the Arena”

Brady Man In the Arena
(ESPN)

If you’re a sports fan, odds are you watched ESPN’s The Last Dance. The 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty was fast-tracked to debut during the pandemic when people have been starved for sports content, and it paid off. The five-week event did huge numbers for ESPN and sparked countless conversations about Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Steve Kerr, even Scott Burrell. It was a huge success.

Almost as soon as the first episode aired, people began speculating about what athlete or team would be the subject of the next big sports documentary. Well, now we know.

Field Yates, an NFL reporter, and ESPN personality shared a tweet announcing that Tom Brady was getting the Jordan treatment with a ten-episode documentary of his own, “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady,” to debut in 2021.

Now, if all goes well, there will be no pandemic and no quarantine in 2021, which means the audience will be far less captive. And while Brady is a big star, he’s never been as big as Jordan. For starters, he plays a sport in which he is forced to cover his face with a helmet and is only on the field for half the plays, and no matter how big a Patriots fan you are, there’s no denying he lacks Jordan’s charisma. He simply doesn’t have the same cultural footprint Jordan does, both as an athlete and as a pop culture icon.

Jordan changed the NBA forever; Brady is just a cog in the NFL machine. Jordan changed the footwear industry, and the endorsement game, forever too; Brady wears Uggs sometimes?

I’m not trying to shade the greatest quarterback of all time (besides Dan Marino), I’m just spitting facts. We all already know Brady’s story. He was drafted late, he looks doughy in his combine pics, he has a chin dimple and a weird-ass workout regimen and diet, and he’s won 6 Super Bowls. The dude can play football. But can his story sustain interest the way Jordan’s has?

Jordan was compelling partially because there was so much we didn’t know about him; I’m not sure there’s all that much to Brady beyond what we’ve already seen. I guess we’ll find out, especially if he has the guts to let ESPN show us some warts. That was one of the best things about The Last Dance. Sure, it was made with Michael’s blessing, but he wasn’t afraid to look bad. Will Brady be hands-off enough to do that? Sometime in 2021, we’re gonna find out.

I’ll watch it, but I think I’d rather see a documentary on Bill Belichick.

Still Styling and Profiling: 71-Yr-Old Ric Flair Returns to the WWE

Ric Flair Returns to WWE
(Twitter/RicFlairNatrBoy)

The Nature Boy Ric Flair is coming back to the WWE. That’s the headline after Flair himself broke the news on Twitter that the 16-time world champion and wrestling icon had signed a new contract with the WWE.

Flair tweeted a picture of his new contract along with a simple celebratory “Limousine Riding, Jet Flying, Styling And Profiling…Then, Now, Forever With @WWE” and, obviously, his customary “WOOOO!”

This ensures Flair will be a part of WWE storylines for the foreseeable future, although it’s a step too fanciful to expect to see the 71-year-old Flair in the ring in a wrestling capacity. Flair’s last actual match took place almost a decade ago.

Still, it’s a sign the WWE is leaning into the nostalgia that most wrestling fans seem to crave, the nostalgia that kept most wrestlers in the game much longer than they probably should’ve (looking at you, Undertaker). Flair is one of the most iconic and beloved wrestlers of all-time.

When it comes to ring action, the Flair legacy continues to live on through Ric’s daughter Charlotte, one of the WWE’s top female wrestlers (she’s a 10-time world champ), and the Nature Boy has been involved in some of her storylines. It’s also fun to see him acting like a proud dad on social media.

And to celebrate the news, relive some of Flair’s best outbursts.

FedEx Driver Helps Boy Exchange Skateboards With His Hero, Tony Hawk

Boy Exchanges Skateboards with Hawk
(TikTok/tonyhawk/fresh2deaf)

Well, it turns out that TikTok does have something positive to offer this world. Personally, I was under the impression that its sole purpose was so youths could film themselves doing synchronized dances (like The Electric Slide or whatever) in 15-second intervals. But apparently, there is some pretty heartwarming content out there. So here’s a nice, new TikTok heartwarmer to warm your lil’ ol’ heart.

User fresh2deaf (but we’ll call him Mikail because that’s his name) is a FedEx delivery driver who was on his normal route when a kid named Cooper started running after him and flagging him down. The kid hands him a skateboard and asks him to mail it to pro-skater, and friend to The Dad, Tony Hawk.
Here’s the story:

@fresh2deaf

@tonyhawk #fedex #fedexlife #fedexdriver

♬ original sound – fresh2deaf

The kid doesn’t yet know how the mail works (you need a box and, like, money) as well as the fact that his skateboard has no wheels. It’s the thought, especially at such a young age, that counts. And good on this driver for getting the word out. Because apparently it worked! Tony Hawk responded:

@tonyhawk

♬ original sound – tonyhawk

How cool is that? Tony Hawk is just hanging out doing Tony Hawk stuff at what looks to be his private skate park and decides to give this kid the board he’s actually using. So it looks like Cooper is getting his trash of a skateboard replaced with an actual board with wheels. Mikail posted an update:

@fresh2deaf

#fedex #fedexdriver #fedexlife @tonyhawk Part 2!

♬ original sound – fresh2deaf

Ahhhhh goodness does exist. Thank you to these 2 grown-ups for making this kid and his brother happy during a terrible time. And to prove that he is a man true to his word, here is Tony Hawk following up with his promise:

@tonyhawk

@fresh2deaf

♬ Cyco Vision – Suicidal Tendencies

Alright TikTok you win this round. Consider my heart full.

Wrestler and Real-Life Hero Shad Gaspard Drowns After Saving Son

RIP Shad Gaspard
(Instagram/therock)

The wrestlers of the WWE are often mocked for their over-the-top theatrics and play-acting in the service of a “sport” detractors like to claim is fake. And to a certain extent, that’s true. Their athleticism and charisma can’t be faked, but the roles of heroes and villain – or babyfaces and heels – are preordained.

But every once in a while, a wrestler plays the part in real life too. Like Shad Gaspard, the former WWE star and devoted family man who recently drowned while attempting to save his son from drowning.

The first day beaches re-opened in Los Angeles, Gaspard went swimming with his 10-year-old son at Venice Beach. Soon, the pair were caught in a rip current, in the middle of what officials refer to as an “impact zone.”

“The best way I can describe it,” said Kenichi Haskett, Section Chief of the LA County Fire Department – Lifeguard Division told ESPN, “is like being inside a front-loading washing machine. The waves keep crashing on you, pushing you down. … I’ve been through that, those kind of rescues. You think you might die.”

That’s where Gaspard and his son were when a lifeguard attempted to reach them. But before he could decide who to rescue, Gaspard told the lifeguard to save his son first.

The description in the article is enough to give you goosebumps.

“Take my son,” said the father, a former professional wrestler named Shad Gaspard, to the lifeguard.

Save my son.

Three minutes had not passed before the boy was safe onshore. He was physically unharmed but deeply distraught. “Dad told me to push off to the guy,” he told Steve Smith, a firefighter-paramedic from Rescue 63 in Venice. The boy kept repeating “Dad told me to push off to the guy.”

Gaspard’s son listened to his dad and survived. But Shad, just 39 and forging a broader career in Hollywood, did not. And now the wrestling world is mourning a true hero, a family man who put his son first and made the ultimate sacrifice.

WWE’s biggest stars are sending condolences to his family.

Gaspard was just starting to make an impact in Hollywood.

It’s clear the former wrestler was beloved by many for his kindness and devotion to his family, and that he had a bright future ahead of him.

MLB Star Surprises Shoppers With Groceries and Workers With Pizza

Mookie Betts Buys Groceries
(Getty/Ralph Freso/Stringer)

You don’t have to try hard to get bummed out by the news. You do have to try harder to find uplifting and inspiring stories, which is why it’s important to amplify the good news. Like Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, who showed up at a Nashville Kroger to surprise shoppers by buying their groceries.

Actions speak louder than words, so Betts decided to say “Thank You” to the essential workers at the store by buying pizza for the entire staff. Betts, one of the top stars in MLB (he won the AL MVP in 2018), went to high school in Nashville and has always been supportive of his hometown. He’s also currently building a home nearby.

Betts, the former Red Sox standout, has been an MVP off the field, quietly supporting those in need in a myriad of ways. He’s previously been recognized for a number of different outreach programs, some formal, and some informal like this.

There are plenty of athletes doing great things, and giving back in different ways. But in terms of immediate impact on the people who could use it most, it’s hard to top directly buying groceries and treating the workers to pizza.

A true MVP move, to take care of the essential workers in your hometown community.