5-at-10: U.S. escapes in World Cup, Braves’ big day, latest ESPN controversy

United States' Sophia Smith, left, is replaced by Megan Rapinoe during the second half of the FIFA Women's World Cup Group E soccer match between Portugal and the United States at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

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Near miss

So the U.S. women's soccer team loves being in the headlines.

They seek them out in truth, on a variety of social issues and for what has been arguably the most dominant American team sport program on a global stage.

Well, earlier this morning, the U.S. women almost made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in terms of their primary purpose.

The USWNT listlessly tied Portugal and truly got lucky as the game's best scoring chance game in the 91st minute but a shot from a Portugal player bounced off the post.

A loss — the U.S. was inches away — would have sent the No. 1-seed Americans home before the Round of 16.

I do not know enough about soccer to even pretend to suggest I know what needs to be fixed or adjusted on the pitch.

I do know enough about athletics however to say without hesitation that if you are worried about everything else but your sport, your sport will suffer.

And let's cue Forrest Gump with "That's all I have to say about that."

Braves big moment

No, this is not about Shohei Ohtani at Truist, although having Shohei and Ronald Acuña Jr. on the same field at the same time is pretty spectacular.

This is about the trade deadline, and while the frugal Braves likely will only add ancillary pieces, they certainly have to be aware of the moving and shaking that is going on out west.

The Angels, who beat the Braves on Monday, have become aggressive buyers. So have the Rangers, and each is chasing a playoff spot in a very competitive AL West.

Granted the only real concern for the Braves with either of those would come in the World Series, but another familiar foe out on the Left Coast is also piling up assets.

The Dodgers have already added Kiké Hernandez and Amed Rosario as well as pitchers Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly.

And while the Braves — who have become very home run dependent — have the best record in baseball, is this team as it's currently constructed in position to win it all?

Because if the answer to that is not a resounding yes, then AA needs to make a move or three before today's deadline expires.

Pat on the backtrack

So much has been made of Pat McAfee's addition to ESPN.

And much has been paid for McAfee's addition to the four-letter monster.

Well, let's see if they are going to let Pat be Pat.

McAfee is a superstar in sports media who has enjoyed a meteoric rise by being off-the-cuff and off-the-top-rope with an unapologetic style.

That will attract a lot of fans, even more attention and quite a few detractors when you say, text or post something controversial.

McAfee did that recently, referencing former US Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, who is serving a life sentence for countless atrocities of sexual assault.

When discussing Michigan State's awful neon football uniforms, McAfee tweeted "I think Nassar was in on the design team actually."

Nassar also worked at Michigan State before his crimes were uncovered.

McAfee has since addressed the post, and referenced that he was talking (trash) to a friend. OK. And it's clear Nassar has reached close to a Hitler place in the "never funny" realm.

Still, it will be interesting to see if ESPN reprimands McAfee, because this style is what they paid handsomely to bring to their platforms.


This and that

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the latest — and likely largest — UT football recruit.

— Here's more from Bloomberg on the attempts to find a deep-pocketed partner to help carry the load at ESPN.

— Man, we got a lot of ESPN stuff today, but word came Monday that Mark Jackson joined the list of ESPN on-air folks who have been laid off. Here's the list, and for me two of the most surprising names on that list are Todd McShay and Jason Fitz. I like the work of each of those guys.

— Here's an online spot to track all the MLB deals done on today's trading deadline.

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday.

True or false, you watched the USWNT this morning in the wee hours.

True or false, Alex Anthopoulos will make a big trade today.

True or false, the Braves will win it all without making a deal.

True or false, ESPN will reprimand Pat McAfee. True or false, ESPN should reprimand Pat McAfee.

As for today, welcome to August folks.

Man, MTV turns 42 today. I know you young folks may not be aware of this, but at one point in time, MTV was truly the trend-setter. Hard to think that MTV's start is closer to Pearl Harbor being bombed than today.

If MTV had a Rushmore outside its main office, who would be on it.