Month: May 2017

‘Jim Leyland: A Life in Baseball’ reminds us of the importance of human element in baseball

As baseball takes steps toward removing the now-infamous human element of the sport, Jim Leyland: A Life in Baseball reaffirms that there might not be anything more important than blood and guts in baseball.

Leyland, one of the most respected managers in baseball of the past 30 years, is featured in the latest edition of MLB Network Presents, and we’re given an incredibly in-depth look at just how important he was to every managing stop he made in The Show.

Authentic Womens Cody Wichmann Jersey With stats and analytics-based thinking running rampant across MLB today, the documentary reminds us of just how important it is to manage people — not just players — over the course of a season.

Meanwhile, those who said the rich, entitled jock really wasn’t sacrificing anything with his kneeling must be aware by now exactly what he sacrificed.
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Until someone proves it wrong, he has sacrificed his NFL career. Teams find Manuel, Foles and Smith to be more reasonable options at what they’ve made clear is the most important position in their sport.

NFL teams are free to prove that wrong. So far, early in free agency, they haven’t.

Zack Greinke continued his renewed form this season by allowing just two runs in seven innings with seven strikeouts. He is now 3-2 this season with a 3.09 ERA.

Arizona (18-13) moved just a half-game behind Colorado (18-12) for the AL West lead with the win. If their pitching can hold up all season, this dangerous offense unit could get a crack at the postseason.

The AL Cy Young winner will be Chris Sale.

Youth Taylor Gabriel Jersey This is the guy who is going to be the Hall debate lightning rod. He was a defensive wizard at shortstop (11 Gold Glove awards), an elite quality that was always compared to Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, who was elected on his first year on the ballot. A lot of people are going to pitch a fit if (OK, when) Vizquel misses the cut in his first year. Problem is, the advanced metrics are not kind to Vizquel. His WAR and JAWS (45.3, 36.0) are way, way below the average WAR and JAWS for Hall of Fame shortstops (66.7, 54.8). As much as any recent eligible player, researching Vizquel’s candidacy will be complicated (and eye-opening, I’m sure). I’m guessing there’s a sizable number of if Ozzie is in, I’m voting for Vizquel folks out there.

The AL Cy Young winner will be Chris Sale. There may end up being more deserving pitchers (amirite, Kate Upton?), but Sale’s ongoing dominance combined with his new address in Boston will sway voters in a perhaps-unfair way.

Zach Britton will pitch in a postseason game: Yes, the Orioles will make the playoffs again. And yes, Zach Britton will actually pitch this time. Buck Showalter wouldn’t make that mistake twice, would he? No, I don’t think so, either.

Youth Bradley McDougald Jersey Although the price was steep (a reported four-year, $35 million contract with $20 million guaranteed), Leary is a nice start to upgrading what was a lousy offensive line in 2016. The ground game should improve with the return of injured running back C.J. Anderson to complement Devontae Booker. Plus, Elway did Joseph a huge favor by connecting him with two sharp offensive minds (and former Broncos employees) in new coordinator Mike McCoy and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.

NFL Draft 2017: Reuben Foster hung up on Saints when 49ers called

Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster had an awkward moment Thursday night. After sliding all the way down to end of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Alabama linebacker had a pair of suitors.

While the Seahawks were on the clock with the 31st pick, Foster received a phone call from the Saints, who told Foster they were going to pick him with the 32nd overall pick. But while his girlfriend, a Louisiana native, was speaking with the Saints, Foster got another call from the 49ers.

The Niners had traded with the Seahawks to move back into the first round to pick the All-American linebacker with the 31st pick. An embarrassed Foster told the story Friday during his introductory press conference at the 49ers facility. As he laughed along with the rest of the room, Foster put his head down in shame when he admitted that he never told the Saints what happened and, instead, just hung up the phone.

The 6-foot, 230-pound Foster led the Crimson Tide last season with 115 tackles, 13 for loss, and had five sacks.

After the Seahawks traded down from 26 to 31 so Atlanta could move up to take UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley Thursday in Philadelphia, the 49ers made a deal with the Seahawks to pick the Alabama linebacker — their second first-round pick of the evening.

The Seahawks, who got an additional third- and seventh-round pick from the Falcons, will pick 34th overall on Friday and have San Francisco’s fourth-round pick (111th overall) on Saturday.

The Saints ended up picking Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk at 32. At least now they know why their phone call with Foster ended so abruptly.
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My final choice came down to Guerrero or Larry Walker.

Blowing out your opponent by 10 in the sixth? Who needs to see further offensive futility for the next three innings? Just end the suffering. Live to play another day. It saves pitchers’ arms for the next game, and everyone gets to go to Applebee’s for half-priced appetizers.

My final choice came down to Guerrero or Larry Walker. Guerrero has the better traditional stats, Walker has the better advanced metrics (he was a better base runner/defender). I went with Guerrero, for a large part because he was, at the time I submitted my ballot, right near the 75 percent line and I hoped my vote pushed him over the edge.
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If Edgar was just a really, really good DH (like Harold Baines, for example), he wouldn’t have made the cut over the other guys on the ballot. But he’s arguably the best DH of all time, so he’s an easy choice.

Stefan Charles Elite Jersey This is only Sheffield’s third time on the ballot. I believe his support will grow, especially if the ballot hopefully starts clearing up with large Hall classes. But now, it’s just hard for anyone to put him in the top 10.

It’s not the rotation stars. Noah Syndergaard has a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts with zero walks! in four starts. Jacob deGrom has a 2.55 ERA and is averaging 11.7 strikeouts per nine. Heck, even Matt Harvey has been solid in his return from what was essentially a lost season, with a 2.84 ERA in his four rotation turns.

The bullpen was pushed hard with closer Jeruys Familia serving a suspension to start the season, but the core of that group Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles and Fernando Salas has been solid. Not dominant, but decent. No, the relievers aren’t the big problem, either.

Future fans irked by Russell Wilson’s Happy Mother’s Day wish to Ciara

A happy Mother’s Day wish from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to his wife Ciara did not go over well with fans of rapper Future, the father of Ciara’s first child.
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In an Instagram post, Wilson wrote, Nothing better than spending time with you. You are an amazing mom & I’m so grateful I get to spend the rest of my life with you & raising our kids. I love you! #HappyMothersDay Weekend my love. @Ciara.
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Police said Steen was wearing his seatbelt, but WFTX television reported he was in critical condition at Lee Memorial Hospital.

The crash occurred about eight miles northeast of JetBlue Park, the Red Sox’ spring training home and base of operations for their farm system.

Steen, 20, was Boston’s ninth-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft out of Oak Ridge High School in Tennessee. The right-hander pitched last year for short-season Lowell, making 14 starts for the Spinners.

Garver is one of only two pitchers in MLB history to win at least 20 games for a team that lost 100 or more games in the same season. He even batted .305 in 108 at-bats that season, hitting a home run and a triple. Garver finished second in American League MVP voting to Yogi Berra.

Garver started the 1951 All-Star Game in Detroit and, after the season, Browns owner Bill Veeck rewarded him with a new contract that made him the highest-paid player on the team. His annual salary was $25,000.

Lewis’ accuser, according to the report, told police the incident started after she arrived to find lights on in his apartment, prompting an argument about the light being left on and who pays the bills. The argument allegedly escalated when Lewis threw two pillows and a blanket, which hit her in the face.

Detroit Free Press honors late Mike Ilitch with touching front page

Detroit and the rest of the sports world are mourning the death of Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who passed away Friday at the age of 87.

The Detroit Free Press offered a fitting send-off to the beloved team owner.

Funeral services for Ilitch will be private, but a public memorial service is being planned. In lieu of flowers, the Ilitch family prefers donations be made to Ilitch Charities, The Detroit Tigers Foundation or The Detroit Red Wings Foundation.

It probably helped that the team’s initial introduction to the crew coincided with a record-setting 13-game winning streak, Diamond said. Had the team started the season 0-13, the reception probably would’ve been different.

I think it set a tone for relationships, Diamond said of the streak. When teams win, the attitude is different.
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Garber offered a more matter-of-fact reason.
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The guys were with us so much of the time, he said. And it’s just like, OK, well this is the way things are gonna be. We’re gonna have them around.’

More than anything, though, the team’s cooperation was a credit to Diamond’s personality and professionalism, Torre and players said.

Glenn did his job perfectly because he never got in anybody’s way, Torre said. He was never demanding in any way and yet let you know what he needed.

Whatever razzing, nicknames or hijinks came his way, Diamond took it as a good sign.

It’s when they stop giving you s鈥?that you start to worry, he said. And they gave us s鈥?every day.

NFL Draft 2017: O.J. Howard’s small-town roots paved way for big-time chance in Tampa Bay

He could have attended the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia to revel in the moment when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers elected him with the No. 19 pick on Thursday. He would have been comfortable with that.

Howard, however, was more comfortable in the comforts of home, with family and friends. Howard shared that draft-day moment at his home near Prattville, Ala.

And if that wasn’t enough, they’re missing a fourth-round pick but have an extra sixth-rounder because of their trade for tight end Dwayne Allen. They’re missing a fifth-round pick because they gave that up as compensation to the Bills for signing restricted free agent running back Mike Gillislie. That signing now allows them to take their own free-agent back LeGarrette Blount 鈥?or leave him.

It’s not unfair. It only seems that way.

Elite Mens Tavon Young Jersey Yet there’s one more name the Patriots have to leverage the rest with of the league, one whose presence couldn’t be avoided throughout free-agency and draft season: quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo. The first round of 2017 came and went without any team biting on him in a trade.

Elite Mens Emmanuel Lamur Jersey But after the whirlwind of Day 1, the Browns and Bills both have two first-round picks in 2018. If at least one first-rounder is still the price for Garoppollo, they both can pay it, though the Pats have reportedly already rebuffed an inquiry from the Browns.

That’s a lot of winning for a team that doesn’t play a game for more than four months, and did not pick a single player Thursday. And, of course, just won the Super Bowl less than three months ago.

Seahawks’ Justin Britt gets stolen car back after Twitter appeal

Pegula: You know, we’re close on the Sabres to having a final answer. These are just things when you own two teams that, they occur. If we own three teams, it gets even more complex.

I know you conducted a review but what specifically was lacking from the general manager position in terms of Doug? What specific factors led you and Kim to this decision?

Pegula: You know, I don’t want to discuss publicly why we made the decision, the factors. Like I said, Doug’s a good guy, he’s a smart man. But we made the decision. The reasons remain private to us and Doug.

You said in January when Rex Ryan was fired that Doug Whaley was going to head up your search committee for a new head coach. You’ve taken issue with the word ‘dysfunction’ to describe the organization. What message do you think it sends when you put a GM in charge of hiring a head coach then fire that GM three months later?

Pegula: Doug wasn’t the only person involved in hiring the new head coach. It was Kim and I and a lot of input from other places. I mean, that’s a legitimate question but, no, things change.

You have a lot of money out there. You’re paying people to not work for you anymore. At what point should people believe that you’re actually getting things right? That reeks of mistakes when you have that much money out of the organization for past people.

Pegula: Well this isn’t justification but there’s not — it’s very common in pro sports to have “dead money” in coaching and management.

Never underestimate the reach of Seattle’s 12th Man.
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That’s how good the Spurs’ forward is.

Through five games against the Grizzlies, Leonard is averaging 31.6 points on a remarkable .576 percent clip from the field and 54.2 percent shooting from downtown. He’s also made 47 of his 48 free throw attempts (98 percent). Memphis head coach David Fizdale thinks Leonard’s a robot who doesn’t breathe and bleeds antifreeze and publicly took suggestions on ways to defend him.

That’s how good the Spurs’ forward is.

Darron Lee Youth Jersey Leonard’s led the Spurs to a 3-2 series lead over Memphis with a chance to close out in Game 6 in Memphis. But from his comments, nothing would matter more to him than advancing past this round and dancing with the Houston Rockets.
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Murray, the former #2 overall pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, has had a disappointing start to his career, to say the least. He has missed time with varying shoulder, knee, foot, and hand injuries. He has been productive when he has been healthy; unfortunately, he cannot stay healthy. This season, with a wealth of young and hungry defensemen eager to make their mark on the team, Murray was relegated to 3rd pairing minutes, spending most of the year with rookie Nutivaara before a broken hand ended his season prematurely.

With so many young and promising defensemen in the pipeline, would GM Jarmo Kek?l?inen consider moving Murray? Murray has shown promise when healthy, playing all 82 games in the 2015-16 season including first pairing minutes when Seth Jones arrived in January before Zach Werenski relegated him to the third pairing this year. Murray could perhaps benefit from a change of scenery, and packaging Murray together with a prospect or a pick could bring some needed goal scoring help back in return.

As noted, this is all speculation at this point. Gavrikov will have to make a decision this summer to come to North America or not, and every other decision will snowball from there. In the meantime, Jackets fans will speculate over the future of the blue line.

No basketball on Saturday.

The Celtics went up big on the Bulls in their Game 6 on Friday … and finished the job in completely undramatic fashion. As it turns out, the Bulls are exactly who we thought they were. They were fun to watch for exactly two games this year.

These results mean that Clippers-Jazz Game 7 will be joined by Game 1 of FUNERAL SERIES on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Get ready for salt. We’re going to be covered in it.

The first is ESPN NBA writer Royce Young’s incredibly moving essay about the decision he and his wife Keri made to bring their terminal baby to term so that her organs could be donated. It’s such a powerful piece, and the bravery of the Youngs knows no bounds. You can find out how to become an organ donor at OrganDonor.gov.

The second item: the massive layoffs at ESPN, particularly among the NBA staff. On Friday, we learned that Marc Stein, Henry Abbott, Chad Ford, and David Thorpe have been laid off by ESPN. The combination of talent, work ethic, and good-heartedness these people all have is unparalleled. It’s a sad week in NBA media. And frankly, it’s a little hard to understand.

No basketball on Saturday. Hug your loved one, visit a friend, play catch with your tortoise. We’ll be back on Monday to overreact to Wiz-C’s Game 1 and Jazz-Clips Game 7.
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Allen was Shaka Smart’s first signature recruit at Texas and was supposed to take the program to the next level. Instead, the Longhorns stumbled to an 11-22 largely because they had no true point guard. Allen might not have made a big impact on college basketball, but his tools are undeniable as a long-term prospect.
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OKC desperately needs a scorer on the wing who can take pressure off Russell Westbrook. Ojeleye could be that guy. He broke out in his debut season at SMU this year after transferring from Duke, where he blossomed into a versatile three-level scorer.