‘I’m not trying to be a celebrity’: A night with Marlins Man at the All-Star Game

Laurence Leavy is sitting in the exclusive Diamond Club of Marlins Park, eating a huge piece of rainbow cake. He loves this cake. This is the best cake in the world, he tells me, as he scrapes all the frosting off the side. He puts the huge spoonful of sugar and butter in his mouth, then separates the different colored layers from each other. He starts making his way through them, but not in ROY G. BIV order.

Specifically, attempts to widen the league’s fanbases in Asia, England, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic between 2018 and 2021.

Chicago has been clicking on offense with an average of six runs per game over that 13-game streak while allowing three runs or fewer in 11 of its last 12 games.

Elite Kids Jarret Stoll Jersey Trade acquisition Quintana has been sharp in his first two starts with his new team, picking up two wins with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP while striking out 19 in 13 innings pitched.

Quinten Rollins Kids Jersey Milwaukee got completely crushed by the Washington Nationals on Thursday night, allowing eight home runs in a 15-2 blowout loss. The loss brought an end to a dismal road trip for the Brewers, who went just 2-8 away from home.

The Brewers are hoping to turn things back around and retake control of first place in the NL Central with a strong performance at home this weekend. Milwaukee is 28-24 at home on the season and 9-2 in its last 11 games at home.

Friday night’s total is set at nine runs at online sports betting sites. The OVER is 8-0 in the last eight games between these two division rivals.

The worst-ever starting quarterback for every NFL team

It was darkest for the Packers, right before the magic they have enjoyed with Don Majkowski, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Everything with Wright was wrong, as they went 7-25 in his five seasons from 1984-’88. He completed only 53.8 percent of his passes despite averaging 6.1 yards per attempt.

Because the Texans have been around just 15 years and got seven pretty good ones from Matt Schaub, Carr is the worst of the limited options. He endured the most brutal stint for a No. 1 overall pick going to an expansion team and never could recover from being rattled for a record 76 sacks as a rookie. He had a high of only 16 touchdown passes despite getting Andre Johnson in Year 2. They went 22-53 with Carr from 2002-’06. At least the Texans were able to somehow win a division title in one year of Brock Osweiler.

They have bungled a lot of franchise QB decisions over the years, but none was worse than Smith, an all-out bust as the No. 3 overall pick in the 1999 draft. His impressive play didn’t translate well from Oregon, as he quickly became a lame Duck in only winning 3 of his 17 career starts. He had just five touchdown passes to his name and took sacks on 11 percent of his dropbacks. It’s capped by an atrocious 46.6 completion percentage.

Matt Ryan: “Every year you go through training camp, you have days where it’s really good and days where it’s not so good. But the thing that fires me up is that good or bad, guys come back to work the next day ready to go. There’s a lot of focus, there’s a lot of energy. We’ve got a lot of young guys out there flying around. Our defense specifically is really young, really talented and they look really fast. But like every year we have a long way to go before the season rolls around.”

Even coming off an MVP season, what were the areas you worked to improve this offseason?dolphins_088

Derek Jeter’s Marlins bid favored after Jeb Bush drops out, report says

Former Yankees captain Derek Jeter is the clear favorite to purchase the Marlins, according to an unidentified member of the group including Jeb Bush that this week dropped out of the process, the Miami Herald reported.
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Youth Chad Kelly Jersey The Jeb Bush-Wayne Rothbaum group quietly bowed out, the Herald reported, citing multiple unidentified industry sources, leaving Jeter’s group and Miami businessman Jorge Mas as the remaining bidders.

The numbers beyond W’s and L’s — Sale is 6-3 against AL East foes this season, other Red Sox starters are 15-9 — are striking, as The Globe’s Alex Speier points out:

Among those who have made at least four starts this year against AL East teams, Sale has the lowest ERA (2.06), the lowest opponents’ batting average (.172), OBP (.221), and slugging percentage (.279), the highest strikeout rate (41.2 percent of all hitters), and the best WHIP (0.79). He’s doing all of this while averaging the most innings per start (7 1/3) of any pitcher against AL East foes.

In short, given not only his performance this season but also his dominance in recent seasons, this is why the Red Sox acquired him in December.

Now, Speier writes, he has an opportunity to demonstrate just how capable he might be of carrying the weight of a pennant race on his shoulders.

Pipe dream? Not necessarily: Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi reported the Astros and Tigers have been in talks that revolve around Verlander. Dallas Keuchel voiced disappointment with Houston’s lack of movement at the trade deadline; that could force the Astros to consider taking on money (and lots of it, in Verlander’s case) for the stretch run.

The two players most likely to move are both on the Mets: Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera. Bruce is in the midst of one of the best offensive seasons of his career and can become a free agent following the season. He does have a partial no-trade clause that could throw a wrench into things.

Troy Tulowitzki’s contract, health put Blue Jays in difficult position

Youth Derrick Johnson Jersey Last week marked two years since the Blue Jays traded for Troy Tulowitzki. It was one of the most unexpected deadline deals in recent memory, one which took place in the early hours of July 28, 2015, and caught nearly all of baseball off guard.

Elite Kids Von Miller Jersey The acquisition was one of the driving factors behind the Jays’ second-half turnaround in 2015 and their eventual American League East title.

Two years later, Tulowitzki is the sole holdover from the club’s whirlwind 2015 trade deadline. And after 238 games in a Jays uniform, the honeymoon phase has gradually worn off for Tulo in Toronto. Now, he’s on the disabled list with an ankle injury that may spell an end to his 2017 season.

As magical as it was for the Blue Jays to acquire a player of Tulowitzki’s caliber, they now have to deal with the repercussions of having a shortstop entering his age-33 season who’s under contract for three more seasons. The Blue Jays owe Tulowitzki $58 million on the remainder of his contract, which includes a $4 million buyout for the 2021 season.

The players didn’t take a generic smile-and-wave approach famous people so often use as their default. They actively sought out eye contact. They actively made connections, however brief and fleeting.

That made me think back to one other thing Smoltz told me in that interview.

I tell people all the time, if you get a chance to go, you’ve got to go once, he said. You’ve just got to see it. This small town, in the middle of nowhere, where thousands of people pack into a one or two-stoplight city, you can imagine it’s pretty unique.

He’s absolutely right.

Kirk Cousins says all the right things even after Washington tried to throw him under the bus

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First, Washington failed to get a long-term deal done with Kirk Cousins by the franchise deadline. Then the team topped that off by publicly throwing its quarterback under the bus. But on Tuesday, Cousins said all the right things during a radio appearance on 106.7 the Fan.

Act up and get a first class trip to jail, Bryant wrote in another post, urging everyone to behave well at the public park where he’ll hold the event.

On my life I didn’t ask for no media attention…I just wanted to have fun with my people, Bryant added. (Dez: I am sorry about writing this post. That you are putting on a big summer party in your hometown that’s open to everyone is genuinely great.)

The Lufkin News touched base with a local government official, who sounds pumped.

Mike Akridge, director of Lufkin Parks and Recreation, said several representatives for Bryant called him late Wednesday afternoon to determine the best place to hold the event. With its spacious parking, Kit McConnico was the best choice for what will probably be a big crowd, Akridge said.
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With only one day’s notice to prepare the park, city officials are going to do what we can to make it look as good as possible, Akridge said.

I think it’s a great thing, Akridge said. He’s coming back to his hometown, and he’s going to give back, let people see him and get to meet him, and bring some food for people — it should be fun for everybody.

Brown is under contract for two more seasons

Bell wants to be paid as a No. 1 running back and a No. 2 receiver, which isn’t likely to happen. Last year, Bell had 1,268 yards on the ground, and he was still Pittsburgh’s second-leading receiver with 616 yards. But his production doesn’t matter. Teams don’t value feature backs at $15 million per year. Still, Bell deserved a long-term deal from Pittsburgh, and now there’s no chance of that until 2018.

Holding out won’t change the fact that Bell’s options are limited. He can either sign the tag and play this season, or he can sit out and lose a paycheck for every week of the regular season he misses. The time has passed for the Steelers to offer him a long-term deal, so that $12 million is the best Bell is going to do this year.

Brown is under contract for two more seasons, and the team doesn’t have a sense of urgency about getting an extension done. General manager Rick Smith went so far as to say the team has no contract dispute with Brown. But considering that Brown skipped OTAs and mandatory minicamp and is now staying home from training camp, it’s pretty obvious this is a holdout.

The three-year rule is especially pertinent under the current CBA. With rookies locked into four-year contracts, teams have the 2017 season to decide whether their 2014 draft picks are worth keeping around. They also need to make a decision on their first-round picks, who are eligible for a fifth-year option in 2018 but could also see a massive extension if they’re good enough.

The 2013 draft was largely a dud, but thankfully there were a lot more interesting players in the 2014 draft. Just a quick scan of the first round reveals star players who walked in and immediately made their teams better. There are also a handful of infamous busts, some of whom involve the same team (look away, Cleveland Browns fans!). Nevertheless, this was a vast improvement on 2013 and could end up being one of the best drafts of the modern era when all is said and done.
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Will Fuller broke his collarbone, and he’ll miss 2-3 months

Texans wide receiver Will Fuller will be out indefinitely after breaking his collarbone in practice on Monday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He is expected to miss anywhere from two to three months, putting his return in October or even November.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien confirmed that Fuller is set to return this season:

One of the best feelings when watching a game has to be just sharing that experience with other people. You can watch it with friends, family, or strangers at a bar. But when something special happens, you’re all part of it. And you can do this with just a TV.

Elite Mens Doug Martin Jersey But some events are more unique just because you were at the arena or stadium. The game itself doesn’t have to be a championship game or anything. In fact, a random regular or preseason game that you remember vividly could be as important to you than any title. It’s all on how you experienced and remember it.

Authentic Mens Frank Zombo Jersey Paul Pierce’s buzzer-beater that wasn’t for the Wizards in 2015 was so freakin’ cool … until it was called off. This was the same series that Pierce didn’t call bank, he called game. I’ll never forget hearing my mom scream for like two straight minutes and the entirety of the Verizon Center shook. I wish I could forget having to explain to her that the shot didn’t count though.

Fuller was hoping to rebound from what he felt was a tough rookie season. It’s like I just put myself in a shell and just put my head down and [was] just working as hard as I could and just trying to prove myself, he told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop on Monday. I feel like this year I’m just trying to have more fun with it, and I can tell already that it’s a lot more fun for me.

Why Sidney Crosby, caught in ‘UFC move,’ shoved P.K. Subban’s head into ice

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Sidney Crosby wasn’t exactly on his best behavior during the Penguins’ Game 5 blowout win Thursday, so he had some explaining to do afterward.

You’re playing in the finals, the biggest stage in your career, and you’re not happy obviously, Rinne said. But I never take it personally. It’s not about me. It’s all about us. I try not to take it personally. The reasoning behind it, I always believe that it’s to wake up the team. Of course sometimes if I’m not getting the job done, it’s better to put the other guy in.

After getting pulled in his last two road starts, Rinne admitted to having doubts after getting yanked from Thursday’s Game 5.

Of course you have those thoughts, ‘Why right now? Why pucks are getting deflected in off our guys?’ or something like that, Rinne said. You try to work so hard that the luck is also on your side. When bounces are not going your way, sometimes you… have second thoughts in your head. But that’s life.

Even though he has not played well on the road in the Final, Rinne could still wind up as the Conn Smythe winner if the Predators can find a way to win the Cup. But they have to win Sunday first, and then find some way to solve the Penguins on their home ice.

Obviously they played a really strong game last game and beat us pretty bad, but right now there’s no favorites, Rinne said. We get to play at home. We get to prepare for this. It’s just a one-game [situation]. Our mentality is going to be just taking care of this one game, and after that we have all the chances.
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Panthers hire Bob Boughner as new coach

The Florida Panthers have high expectations for their young roster, and they’re turning to a relatively youthful coach to lead the group.

The team named Bob Boughner as its new coach Monday. It will be the first NHL head coaching job for the 46-year-old, who most recently has been an assistant with the Sharks.

After an exhaustive search, we are pleased to welcome Bob as the new head coach of the Panthers, general manager Dale Tallon said in a release. He sees the game in a modern way and is eager to work with our young players. During the interview process, Bob blew us away with his preparation, his passion, knowledge and dedication to the game. We believe that he is the right leader to get our team back to competing towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Niskanen was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking.

Crosby, who has a history of head and neck injuries, has 11 points in seven playoff games as the Penguins hold a 2-0 lead in the second-round series.
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Washington chose to dress seven defenseman due to an injury to Karl Alzner, who was playing in his first game since April 15.
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Niskanen’s absence meant Alzner and the Caps’ remaining blueliners needed to make up for those lost minutes in Game 3.

Of greater influence on the series would be the fallout from a potentially serious injury to Crosby, who was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy earlier Monday. The 29-year-old superstar lost dozens of games in his otherwise remarkable career due to post-concussion syndrome in 2011 and two fractured vertebrae in his neck in 2012.

Crosby’s latest concussion scare cost him the first six games of this past season. It was at least the third concussion diagnosis of his career.

NFL Week 1 schedule and TV coverage

The NFL preseason is over, and now the meaningful games finally are set to start. The NFL season kicks off Sept. 7 with a marquee AFC matchup, while the rest of the weekend features a few interesting divisional battles.

The Chiefs and Patriots start the season Thursday night on NBC. Tom Brady faces Alex Smith for the first time after the Patriots downed the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in the divisional playoffs two seasons ago.

Thursday’s matchup looks like the best game of the weekend, though there are plenty of other great Sunday matchups. Seahawks vs. Packers looks to be the highlight of the Sunday afternoon games, while NBC’s Sunday night game pits the Giants against the Cowboys.

On Monday night, newly-signed Saints running back Adrian Peterson returns to Minneapolis to take on his former team. Then a matchup between the Chargers and Broncos will set the tone in the AFC West.

It’s hard to imagine the NBA under those rules.

Five teams used the core designation this offseason, meaning their other restricted free agents (beside the “core player”) will be unrestricted. The result: The much-anticipated offseason in which there should be a lot of talented free agents available.

Delle Donne — described by The Times as “the first WNBA star at her high level of play and prime age to switch teams” — just won’t be among them.

Hawkins entered the NFL in 2011 with the Bengals and played three seasons in Cincinnati, then three in Cleveland before signing with the Patriots in May. He finishes his NFL career with 209 catches for 2,419 yards and nine touchdowns.t_rangers_007-115x115