Tom Mayenknecht: Miami’s Messi continues to be talk of MLS

Opinion: The Seattle Mariners cooled off with two losses going into the weekend but have been the hottest team in baseball the past month.

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Bulls of the week

With 10 goals in seven matches and now a Leagues Cup title under his belt, Lionel Messi continues to make Inter-Miami CF the talk of MLS.

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The Seattle Mariners cooled off with two losses going into the weekend but have been the hottest team in baseball the past month — largely because centre-field superstar Julio Rodriguez has been a one-man wrecking crew for the well-managed M’s.

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Seattle is battling the defending World Series-champion Houston Astros for both the American League West title and failing that, a wild-card berth.

Give credit to the NHL for getting aggressive on global marketing with plans for a World Cup of Hockey in 2025 and the Winter Olympics in 2026 (and beyond). It’s the right play for hockey and a win for puck fans around the world.

The key, of course, is making the Olympic commitment a long-term one and giving the sport the boost it will get from best-on-best competition every two years.

Meanwhile, basketball is hot this week — in particular, Canada Basketball.

The hoops’ federation is basking in the glow of what is arguably the best national team it has assembled. Canada’s 95-65 win over France Friday in the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines only fuelled the fire.

Nothing short of a podium berth will be considered acceptable with automatic qualification into the Paris 2024 Olympics up for grabs these next two weeks.

Bears of the week

At 61-66 and losers of nine of their last 10, the New York Yankees are having an historically bad regular season.

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Yet they aren’t the biggest losers in the business of baseball this week.

That honour goes to the Los Angeles Angels.

First the Angels guess wrong by deciding to go for it and make a push for the post-season at the MLB trade deadline last month. That deadline marked the beginning of a protracted slump that has seen the Angels fall 10 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot in the AL.

They’re done like dinner, simply put.

Now, the big question is how much of an impact will Shohei Ohtani’s right elbow injury suffered Wednesday — a torn ulnar collateral ligament — have on the upcoming free-agency sweepstakes for the greatest two-way star in the game since Babe Ruth?

After buzz this summer took Ohtani’s contract value projections to as high as US$700 million, what will the market be for the Japanese phenom in light of the uncertainty around his long-term pitching capacity?

And given the circumstances, what will Ohtani and his camp be looking for — a bridge, two-year deal at around US$100 million to re-establish his full value for fall 2025 or a longer-term commitment, say US$400 million over eight years, with multiple early opt-out provisions?

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With Ohtani not pitching again this season and Mike Trout back on the injured list, the only thing for sure is that the Angels are in a bear market and look bad on-and-off the field going into the last month of the regular season.

They’ll look even worse when they don’t get any return on Ohtani’s departure this off-season.

Marketing communications executive and sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht — a co-founder of what was TEAM 1040/TSN 1040 in Vancouver — provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sport business stories that matter most to fans. Follow Mayenknecht at:

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