Tom Goldman

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I wait all week to say, it's time for sports.

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SIMON: International women's football - the Women's World Cup now happening in France. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning, Tom.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

There will be the usual excitement for the Belmont Stakes in New York this weekend — the third and final event of horse racing's Triple Crown.

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The famed horse racing track, Santa Anita Park, is up and running after being closed for much of last month following a spike in racehorse deaths. Since the end of December 2018, 23 thoroughbreds have died — mostly due to injuries from racing or training. The fatalities have forced the horse racing industry, and the public, to take a hard look at the sport and some of the issues that have been debated for years: Are the economics of horse racing taking priority over the animals' health and welfare? Should racehorses be medicated and, if so, how much?

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Baseball is back. Thursday is opening day for the major leagues. All 30 teams are in action. And while the cry of "play ball!" sounds throughout the majors, baseball officials hope the game embraces a companion cry of "hurry up!"

Since 2014, the average time of a nine-inning game has hovered at or above three hours, which may be driving away the younger demographic baseball is trying to appeal to.

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And it's time now for sports.

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And now a sober, contemplative look at sports.

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Sunday in Atlanta, Super Bowl LIII matches the New England Patriots against the Los Angeles Rams.

Again.

Well not exactly. Seventeen years ago, it was the St. Louis Rams.

But there are parallels between Super Bowls LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and XXXVI at what is now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, beyond luxury cars.

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Time now for sports.

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Bernice Sandler, the "godmother of Title IX" who died Saturday at the age of 90, is being remembered this week for her lifelong fight to reverse decades of institutional bias in U.S. schools and open new paths for women and girls.

It all started in an elementary school in Brooklyn, N.Y., when Sandler was a determined little girl nicknamed Bunny. She was offended by the way the boys got to do all the classroom activities.

"For example, running a slide projector," says Marty Langelan, who was Sandler's friend and colleague for nearly 50 years.

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Now, time for sports.

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And no matter what else happens in the world, time for sports.

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The Malheur Enterprise was founded in 1909, and, like many other newspapers, was languishing. But in the past few years, its circulation has surged and it has won several national awards. Perhaps surprisingly, the weekly paper's turnaround and increased popularity happened in a part of the state that strongly supports President Trump, who continues to lash out at the media.

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And it's time for sports.

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A Milwaukee relief pitcher takes a baseball bat to the Dodgers. And tonight, can the Bosox topple last year's champions? NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

Flat track is the oldest form of motorcycle racing in the U.S., on dirt tracks, stretching back to the early 1900s. The sport, rooted in the country's heartland, is now showing signs of broader appeal, even in America's crowded sports landscape.

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Finally, time for sports.

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And it's time for sports.

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SIMON: The NFL is back - well, preseason anyway - and has some rule changes. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman gets our head in the game. Tom, thanks very much for being with us.

CTE has been part of the national lexicon in the U.S. since the 2015 movie Concussion dramatized the discovery of this degenerative brain disease among football players.

American tennis player Serena Williams will play in the Wimbledon Ladies singles final for the tenth time on Saturday. She is favored against Germany's Angelique Kerber to win her eighth Wimbledon singles title. And Williams has lost only one set in her six matches so far.

"There's a sense we've seen this movie before," says Sports Illustrated Executive Editor Jon Wertheim.

Croatia has advanced to its first-ever World Cup final in men's soccer. The Croatian National team came from behind and upset favored England 2-to-1 in a semifinal match decided in extra time on Wednesday in Moscow.

Croatia was supposed to be a tired team coming into the match.

Its previous two games went to extra time and then emotionally draining penalty shootouts. But if anything, the grueling lead-up to the clash against England solidified Croatia's mental toughness, which served the Croats well on Wednesday.

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At the World Cup in Russia, it finally happened.

It took a record 37 matches, but Tuesday at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Denmark and France played to a scoreless tie. Or if you want to sound like someone who knows futbol, a nil-nil draw.

It was the tournament's first. According to FIFA, international soccer's governing body, the 36 matches that preceded Tuesday's double goose eggs "smashed" the previous record, when it took 26 matches at a World Cup to finally get to a scoreless tie.

With a few minutes left in game two of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, this past Sunday, something unremarkable happened: Quinn Cook scored.

It was a layup, and it happened when the game already was decided and the bench players, like Warriors reserve guard Cook, were on the court. Unremarkable. Still, there was Cook in a Warriors uniform, playing and scoring in the Finals. Kind of amazing for those who followed his story.

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