An insane MLB Trade deadline; Votto en fuego; Blue Jays coming home; and Durant sets record

The Saturday afternoon edition of "Eight things to know before 8 PM" is here

Yet another crazy 24 hours in the sports world, as we witnessed over a dozen MLB trades as the clock struck 4 PM EST yesterday afternoon; two American swimmers continuing their excellence on the water; a star Team USA men’s basketball player making history; and a team returning home for the first time in two years.

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1) 2021 MLB Trade Deadline recap

What a whirlwind several hours leading to the 4 PM EST MLB trade deadline yesterday! I was expecting just a small handful of meaningless deals (like last year, when any trades were almost non-existent); instead, we had over a dozen impactful MLB trades taking place.

Here’s the huge list of players in new places:

White Sox acquiring closer Craig Kimbrel from the Cubs

Mets trading for shortstop Javier Baez from the Cubs

Giants taking third baseman Kris Bryant from the Cubs

Padres attaining outfielder Jake Marisnick from the Cubs

Braves landing power-hitting outfielder Jorge Soler from the Royals

Athletics getting two Nationals in catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Josh Harrison

Cardinals gaining Nationals' pitcher Jon Lester

Cardinals receiving pitcher J.A. Happ from the Twins in a swap of decent pitchers (Cards trade relief pitcher John Gant)

Phillies obtaining pitchers Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy from the Rangers

Yankees grabbing Angels' pitcher Andew Heaney

Blue Jays pulling young Twins ace Jose Berrios for two minor league players

Blue Jays snagging relief pitcher Joakim Soria from the Diamondbacks


The notable takeaways is that both the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals had their own fire sales, as both National League teams traded 8+ of their starters:

On the other side, playoff-bound teams are loading up their rosters for the second half of the season; you saw the Chicago White Sox add lights-out closer Craig Kimbrel from their cross-town rival; the first place in the NL West in the San Francisco Giants adding third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant; the NL East first place New York Mets adding shortstop Javier Baez to their dynamic duo middle infield with Francisco Lindor; the Atlanta Braves, despite losing their MVP pitcher in Mike Soroka and MVP batter/outfielder in Ronald Acuna for the season, restocking their outfield with the likes of Jorge Soler (Royals), Eddie Rosario (Indians) and Adam Duvall (Marlins); the Oakland Athletics bolstering their infield by taking away utility man Josh Harrison and catcher Yan Gomes from the now-AAA Washington Nationals; and the Toronto Blue Jays adding the best available non-Max Scherzer starting pitcher in Jose Berrios. Solid All-Stars and near all-stars moving to new cities this first weekend in August.

2) Joey Votto has homered in each of his last seven games!

For longtime baseball fans, you all have heard of longtime Cincinnati Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto. The 37-year old has been with the team since 2007, and has been a solid 0.300 hitter for his 14-year career so far. But yesterday Votto did something he has not done to this point - hit a home run in seven consecutive games! This dude is en fuego, as Votto has 9 home runs in that stretch, raising his HR total to 21 this season.

Can he do it again against former Baltimore Orioles pitcher (now Mets pitcher) Rich Hill in this 7 PM EST game on this Saturday night? We will have to see.

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3) Blue Jays finally return home to Toronto - for the 1st time since 2019!

What a fantastic moment for the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday. I mentioned about a couple of weeks ago here on my Snippets that the only Canadian MLB team was returning back to their original stadium on July 30th, and that was the case yesterday, with almost 50,000 fans (who could finally cheer on their team in-person) all in attendance.

Of course the Blue Jays won (6-4) against the Kansas City Royals, but the moment the Jays players and managers stepped onto the field must have felt euphoric for them as well as their fans.

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5) Durant makes history as Team USA routs Czech Republic in last group stage game

Team USA was actually trailing in this game against Tomas Satoransky (Chicago Bulls) and Czech Republic, as the European team opened to a 25-18 first quarter lead. But then Kevin Durant carried the team from that point-onward, finishing with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists on a dazzling display of his jump shots from around the court.

But it was his moment midway through the second quarter when Durant set Team USA Olympics history, as his pull-up three gave him 339 points in his Olympic career, eclipsing Carmelo Anthony’s 336 points.

The rest of the team helped Team USA pull away in the third and fourth quarters, as what was a 47-43 Team USA lead quickly ballooned to a 105-74 margin, thanks to Jayson Tatum’s game-high 27 points, of which 17 came in garbage time as the Americans pulled away in the fourth quarter. Both he (10-16 from the field) and Durant (8-11) were efficient and consistent in their jump shots all night (Japan time).

Up next for Team USA is a Tuesday quarterfinals matchup against either Danillo Gallinari and Italy; or the loser of the Sunday last group stage game between the Gasol brothers and Spain or Luka Doncic and Slovenia.

6) Katie Ledecky + Caeleb Dressel dominate the water

Both American swimmers in Bethesda, Maryland’s own Katie Ledecky and Florida’s Caeleb Dressel continue to excel at their sport, with Ledecky earning two gold medals in the 800-meter freestyle (that is going from one length of the pool and back 8x!) and in the 1500-meter freestyle (15x!), and two silver medals in the 400-meter freestyle and 4 x 200-meter relay. Dressel one-upped Ledecky has he has three Tokyo gold medals of his own, as he won the 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly, as well as got some help from his teammates in the 4 x 100-meter relay.

Fantastic performances by both U.S. swimmers over this past week.

7) Saturday’s Olympics Medal Count Update

Here’s where we stand after Saturday evening’s action; remember, we are just getting started with the track-and-field events, now that the swimming events are over.

8) On This Day: Some guy named Tom Brady made his NFL debut in the Hall of Fame Game (2000)

I think you have heard of the guy. This Brady dude played for the New England Patriots and had some success with the team, if I recall correctly. Not sure about how he is doing now, since he last played for the Massachusetts-based franchise in 2019…

We are done with another edition of my Snippets on this July Saturday afternoon. Enjoy the Olympic events taking place this evening. So, until next time, signing off.