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Table of Contents:
What I Watched Last Week
What I Am Watching This Week
Deep Dive: Premier League ‘Big 6’ Financial Analysis
What I am Reading
What I Watched This Week
Hitter of the Week: Marcus Semien
It seems almost laughable that Marcus Semien had trouble finding suitors in free agency. There was so little demand for his services that he settled for a one-year contract. Now? Get ready to back up the Brinks truck. Semien has accumulated a 137 wRC+ and ranks third in the majors in fWAR. Semien has thoroughly outperformed all his expected stats by pulling the ball at a career-high rate of 47.5% this year.
Pitcher of the Week: Corbin Burnes
It has been a bountiful campaign for the 26-year old pitcher. Burnes gets the nod as PotW after pitching eight no-hit innings. The presumptive NL Cy Young ceases to amaze. Burnes’ reliance on the cutter (thrown 51.6% of the time) underscores his utter dominance.
Comparing Burnes to his peers is a fruitless endeavor:
Rather, it is better to compare Burnes’ '21 season to some of the most outstanding performances within the past decade. Field Independent Pitching (FIP) is defined as “similar to ERA, but focuses solely on the events a pitcher has the most control over -- strikeouts, unintentional walks, hit-by-pitches and home runs. It entirely removes results on balls hit into the field of play.”1 Thus, the leaderboard for the lowest FIP since 1920:
1. Pedro Martinez - 1999 - 1.39
2. Corbin Burnes - 2021 - 1.58
3. Dwight Gooden - 1984 - 1.69
Manchester United 4
Newcastle United 1
Cristiano Ronaldo made his anticipated return to Old Trafford and bagged a brace. The first was an easy tap-in off a parried shot; however, the second was a superb finish between the keeper’s legs. Bruno Fernandes scored a critical goal from outside the box. Lastly, Paul Pogba has started the season in tremendous form, amassing seven assists in only four matches.
The Italian Grand Prix did not lack entertainment. Daniel Ricciardo benefited from a bit of fortune to finish atop the podium. That fortune? Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were involved in a horrific crash, which ended both of their days early. As stated on the broadcast, Verstappen’s car contacted the “rollover hoop of Lewis’ car.”2 Stills of the crash illustrate how the halo atop Lewis’ car prevented a life-threatening injury:
Daniil Medvedev def. Novak Djokovic (6-4, 6-4, 6-4)
Medvedev prevents history. Djokovic was on pace to match both Nadal and Federer’s total slam haul of 21. Medvedev started well — winning three of the first four games. After holding on to secure the first set, many still presumed Djokovic — a slow starter — would make the necessary adjustments to prevail. During the match, it became increasingly clear that Medvedev was an unstoppable force, putting forth an effort unable to be contained by the greatest tennis player to walk the earth.
The NFL could not have dreamt a better start to the 2021/2022 season. Dak Prescott made his return from the ankle injury that derailed his previous campaign. He looked fantastic, completing 42 of 58 passes for 403 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Moreover, the Cowboys looked poised to win the game until Tom Brady marched down to kick a game-winning field goal. Despite the loss, the Cowboys will take solace in Dak’s performance.
Eagles fans will be excited with the performance of Jalen Hurts. The Falcons lacked conviction offensively, and their playcalling appeared too timid. Get Kyle Pitts more involved.
Football Team 16
The complexion of this matchup shifted once Ryan Fitzpatrick was sidelined with a hip injury. Justin Herbert came alive in the second half and led his team to a win.
Raise your hand if you bet the Steelers +240 ML? America largely ignored the Steelers leading into the week, which makes sense as the Bills were 8-0 against the spread in their last 8 games and won five straight at home. Yet, the highly-vaunted Steelers’ defense prevented the Bills’ offense from getting into a rhythm.
The enigmatic Dan Campbell made his coaching debut in the wildest game from the 1:00 PM slate. His era started rocky as the 49ers held a 41-17 lead with only 10 minutes left in regulation. Through a flurry of scoring and an onside kick recovery, the Lions cut the deficit to 8, thereby securing the backdoor cover of +8.5.
If anyone doubted the impact of home-field, watch the Cleveland punter wilt under the pressure of Arrowhead screams. The error proved decisive as the Chiefs scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing possession.
Deep Dive: Premier League Financial Analysis
I am piggy-backing on the Swiss Ramble’s work on Liverpool’s lack of transfer signings. I highly encourage checking out the entire thread: hyperlinked here. I wanted to highlight the ‘Big 6’ club financial performance over the past 10 years ('10/'11 to '19/'20).
Above, find the Big 6’s P&L during the past decade. What jumps out to me is Manchester United. Their business is flourishing with extremely high revenues, meanwhile maintaining a low wages-to-turnover ratio. Their EBITDA figure of €1.447bn stands out as Man United’s success on the pitch pales compared to its peers. Additionally, one can understand why United fans have bemoaned the Glazer family tenure as their interest expenses are vastly higher than the others. For reference, upon taking over United, the Glazers saddled the club with massive amounts of debt.
Transitioning over to their Cash Flows, I wanted to key on Manchester City.
Indeed, the Emirati government bolsters their books. Man City has spent over €1.48bn on Player Purchases despite recording (€596m) in Operating Losses. The club has remained solvent thanks to the hefty €837m injection from Owner Financing: it pays to have Sheikh Mansour as principal owner.
Those are all the takeaways I wanted to note, but I suggest going through the original thread and see Swiss Ramble’s rationale for Liverpool’s frugality.
What I’m Watching This Week
Rays vs Blue Jays at 7:07 PM on MLB Network
Ravens vs Raiders at 8:15 PM on ESPN
Padres vs Giants at 9:45 PM on MLB.TV
BSC Young Boys vs Manchester United at 12:45 PM on Paramount +
Barcelona vs PSG at 3:00 PM on Paramount +
Chelsea vs Zenit at 3:00 PM on Paramount +
Rays vs Blue Jays at 7:07 PM on MLB.TV
Padres vs Giants at 9:45 PM on MLB.TV
Inter Milan vs Real Madrid at 3:00 PM on Paramount +
Liverpool vs Milan at 3:00 PM on Paramount +
Atletico Madrid vs FC Porto at 3:00 PM on Paramount +
Leicester City vs Napoli at 3:00 PM on Paramount +
Giants vs Football Team at 8:20 PM on NFL Network
Newcastle United vs Leeds United at 3:00 PM on NBC Sports
Aston Villa vs Liverpool at 12:30 PM on Peacock
Alabama vs Florida at 3:30 PM on CBS
Auburn vs Penn State at 7:30 PM on ABC
West Ham vs Man United at 9:00 AM on Peacock
Tottenham vs Chelsea at 11:30 AM on NBC Sports
49ers vs Eagles at 1:00 PM on NFL Sunday Ticket
Bills vs Dolphins at 1:00 PM on NFL Sunday Ticket
Saints vs Panthers at 1:00 PM on NFL Sunday Ticket
Patriots vs Jets at 1:00 PM on NFL Sunday Ticket
Juventus vs AC Milan at 2:45 PM on Paramount +
Cowboys vs Chargers at 4:25 PM on NFL Sunday Ticket
Titans vs Seahawks at 4:25 PM on NFL Sunday Ticket
Chiefs vs Ravens at 8:20 PM on NBC
*All times are EST*
What I’m Reading
*** Must Read
** Very Good
Italian GP Coverage on ESPN