Monthly Archives: May 2017


Yankees, Rockies, Mets lead MLB’s first-month surprises and disappointments

That was one hell of an entertaining first month of the MLB season, wasn’t it?

You can’t really draw any firm conclusions from one month of a six-month regular season, so keep the whole small sample size thing in mind, whether you’re panicking or celebrating, depending on your fan affiliations.

Authentic Youth LaAdrian Waddle Jersey Today, we’re going to take a look at the most surprising teams and the most disappointing teams from the season’s opening month. And, remember, because we’re using surprising and disappointing, that incorporates the concept of expectations into the equation. That’s why you won’t see the Nationals among the surprising teams; they’ve been MLB’s best team, but they were supposed to be in that conversation.

Most of the time, what happens in the arbitration room stays in the arbitration room. It’s hard enough for the players to hear in private why they aren’t good enough to get that higher salary, and most every rational mind in baseball understands there’s no value in airing those thoughts in public.

Authentic Youth De’Anthony Thomas Jersey And then you have Yankees team president Randy Levine.

He has no filter. Oh, how he needs a filter.

See, after the Yankees won their arbitration hearing with super setup man Dellin Betances — he was asking for $5 million and the club was offering $3 million, which is a huge percentage gap — Levine blasted Betances and his agent, Jim Murray, to reporters in a series of mind-boggling quotes.

Randy Levine said that Dellin Betances’ $5 million request might as well have been $50 million. He doesn’t have the stats.

Jets’ latest QB decision is yet another head-scratcher

Every move like the Jets’ signing of Josh McCown has to come with the usual caveat: It’s still early. It gives the Jets lots of wiggle room, and at least a little bit of a benefit of the doubt.
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Because this can’t be all there is. This can’t be their solution at quarterback. If Josh McCown is the answer, then we’re all asking the wrong questions.

Yet an argument is being formed in some quarters that there’s a method to the latest example of the Jets’ madness at quarterback the last three offseasons. To briefly recap that madness: Since Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles took over in 2015, they’ve signed Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, seen Geno Smith lose his job to a teammate’s punch in the jaw, drafted Bryce Petty in the fourth round, drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round, let Smith go, finally give up on Fitzpatrick … and signed McCown.

Elsewhere, they’ve made good moves, and bad moves, and inconsequential moves, and have landed pretty much back where they were when they fired Rex Ryan.
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But practically every move they’ve made at quarterback has been a certifiable head-scratcher.

This one is going to require stitches — even if there isn’t another move, and McCown ends up as their starter on opening day 2017.

NFL Draft 2017: Packers get defensive help with Kevin King

After trading out of the first round Thursday, the Packers had all day Friday to figure out what they were going to do with the 33rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Packers were willing to trade the pick, but instead chose Washington cornerback Kevin King to begin the second round of the draft.

King was the only one of the five players invited to Philadelphia for the draft who came back for the second day after not getting selected in the first round. He didn’t have to wait long Friday, going off the board immediately.

“We think he has more than enough left to be a highly productive running back in this league — even back to his latter couple years when he was playing,” McKenzie told Sporting News NFL writer Alex Marvez and NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt during a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “So we think he’s going to be highly productive and we’re excited to have him and he is extremely excited to be here, playing for the Oakland Raiders.”

Lynch stepped away from football following an injury-plagued 2015 season. He ran for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014 while helping the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl for the second straight year. Lynch had 1,257 yards and 12 scores in 2013 to help lead Seattle to a Super Bowl title.

Lynch had over 1,200 rushing yards in four straight seasons with the Seahawks, who agreed to a trade with the Raiders to send Lynch’s rights to Oakland.

“Once it was word that he may come out of retirement and Oakland was a place to land, I was really excited,” McKenzie told Marvez and Brandt. “So when that team took off, we stayed in pursuit and I was happy that it worked out.”nike_steelers_3600

They’re Hall of Famers, even if seeing their plaques didn’t take my breath away.

And that’s the thing. They’re all Hall of Famers. Every year when the Hall of Fame vote rolls around — this year’s class will be revealed Wednesday — we hear baseball lovers talk about Small Hall and Big Hall philosophies.
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And that’s cool. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

Womens Tyrunn Walker Jersey Truth be told, I love the romantic notion of the Small Hall. Make the exclusive club truly exclusive, where Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson and Roberto Clemente are enshrined but Dizzy Dean and Andre Dawson and Catfish Hunter are on the outside looking in. Sign me up.

It might take one more year to get there, and given what Cleveland is doing that’s OK. It’s OK if Osweiler starts for a year. It’s OK if the Browns dump Osweiler and turn to Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s OK if they take a pass on the offer by fellow draft-pick hoarder New England. There isn’t a sure-thing franchise quarterback available in this year’s draft or free agency anyway.

If Cleveland can wait just one more year, however, then there’s a draft class that potentially includes USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. That’s a tough sell for a fan-base coming off a 1-15 season and trotting out their 27th different starter since 1999, but that might just be part of the master plan. It should at least be considered.

The Cubs had a couple of chances to win the game earlier in the game. The Cubs loaded the bases in the 12th with just one out. The Phillies brought right fielder Ty Kelly as a fifth infielder and the strategy worked as Willson Contreras hit into a 6-9-3 double play to end the inning.

Royals to wear Yordano Ventura patch this season

I’m over it. I mean there was nothing malicious about that slide. He slid three inches past the bag, and we got a double play. But I’m over the rule.

The rule was meant for guys doing dirty slides, sliding late, taking guys out. There was nothing wrong with that slide, whatsoever. We got a double play for it, cost us a run. … I’m over it. This game was meant to be played a certain way. There’s nothing wrong with that slide that Happ did. I told him in the dugout, ‘Next time you do the exact same thing.’

That’s baseball, man. We’re out there playing with a bunch of pansies right now. I’m over this damn slide rule. We’re replaying if it was too far and all this other B.S. We’re all men out there. We’re grown men. These guys have turned double plays their whole lives. They know how to get — get the hell out of the way. There was nothing malicious about it, and we got two outs for some reason.
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When you’re sliding on dirt, and you have momentum, you just keep going. You keep going, Maddon said. The rule does not belong in the game. … I could not disagree more with the spirit of this rule. … They (the umpires) know that the game was not intended to be manipulated in a sense where you lose based on a fabrication.
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Yordano Ventura will be a constant presence with the Kansas City Royals.

The team announced it will wear an honorary patch for Ventura on their uniforms this season with the words ACE 30.

Ventura wasn’t wearing his seat belt and was driving through fog at the time of the crash.

A key starter on the pitching staff that led the Royals to the 2015 World Series championship, Ventura played all four of his MLB seasons with the Royals.

Blue Jays highlight machine Kevin Pillar takes flight again

Blue Jays center Kevin Pillar routinely makes filthy defensive plays with reckless abandon.

He added another one to his collection Monday night.

Pillar made an insane, full-extension diving grab to rob Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez of an extra base hit.

Ted was always optimistic and enthusiastic. It wasn’t like we finished two games back in 80 and 81 where we thought, Hey we have a shot this year,’ Murphy said. 鈥?We were lucky all the way around, and then to have cameras around documenting it, it was a lot of fun.

The praise wasn’t limited to the WTBS inner circle. After Hanson spent more than a year busting Diamond’s chops about winning an Emmy, his pseudo-demand was realized when television’s top prize did indeed come calling.

It’s a Long Way to October won Emmys not only for Diamond and Hanson, but also for Ortiz-Guzman, Noland and director Mark Johnson.

GlennDiamondEmmy-GD-FTR-032417.jpgGlenn Diamond accepts his Emmy for It’s a Long Way to October in 1984. (Photo courtesy of Glenn Diamond)

In one sense, the Emmy 鈥?and, later, a Cable ACE award 鈥?represented a job well done. In another sense, there was more work to do.

Limited Kids Andre Williams Jersey The success of It’s a Long Way to October led Turner to commission two more Braves-centric behind-the-scenes specials: A Tale of Two Seasons (1984) and Baseball Behind the Seams (1985).

Limited Kids Rob Ninkovich Jersey Two Seasons focused on the last month of the 1983 season as the Braves sought back-to-back division titles, while Behind the Seams was a more intimate affair that centered around four players in different career stages during the 1984 season. Barber returned for Two Seasons, while actor Kirk Douglas, at Torre’s invitation, narrated Behind the Seams.

Kizer threw for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season

Bob Feller Game Jersey During an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Romo was asked whether golf can fill the competitive void as he replaces Phil Simms on CBS’s No. 1 announce team.

Justin Williams Game Jersey It’s different, Romo said. Competition in itself I enjoy and, for me, just improving and looking at something to get better at. That’s the same thing in broadcasting. I understand I’m coming in without any experience in that world. It’s exciting, it’s a little nerve-wracking, it’s all these things in one. That’s why you love to do things. You’re coming into the unknown and something I have to get better at, and I like a challenge.

We won’t rest until we solidify that position,” Brown said. It’s not solidified right now, so we know we need the guys here to work their tails off and Hue is going to develop them as much as possible and push them to be their best and we also know that until we get it solidified, we’re going to continue looking for players all over the league and in college.

Kizer threw for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season. Though he has a strong arm, he often threw off-balance which led to a poor 58.7 completion percentage.

The Browns are expected to open the season with Kessler as their starting quarterback, but all four competing for the starting job could see the field based on Cleveland’s recent quarterback history.

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie: Marshawn Lynch ‘has more than enough left’

Despite sitting out last season, Marshawn Lynch is expected to pick his game up where he left it.

During a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie discussed the running back’s return and expressed his confidence in Lynch’s ability to put up big numbers after coming out of retirement.

The Ohio State cornerback was not arrested and has yet not been charged with a crime in the active police investigation. He passed a polygraph conducted by at least one anonymous NFL team, according to NFL Network. That team was not the Raiders, but clearly word got around Conley seems to be being honest about the incident.

He strongly denied any wrongdoing when the accusations became public earlier this week.

What the Raiders are getting in Conley on the field is a 6-foot, 195-pound cornerback with tremendous athleticism. Conley started every game for the Buckeyes over the last two seasons and was an all-Big Ten selection each year.

Conley’s strength is as a press corner with excellent speed and ball skills. Conley spoke with nearly every team since news of the rape allegation broke on Tuesday to clear his name.

Alabama players had a slow start in the first round coming off the board, but by the time Friday night ended, nine former Crimson Tide players had NFL homes. Funny enough, the Redskins and Ravens each reeled in two of the six total Tide defenders.

Just like Jonathan Allen was the perfect 3-4 end for Washington, so went Ryan Anderson at outside linebacker. Baltimore backed up its Marlon Humphrey pass coverage pick with Tim Williams for the pass rush. It pays to have a scheme that meshes well with Nick Saban’s factory.kings_1663774

We’ll see Durant and Curry back in action Thursday

Mark Sanchez Authentic Jersey It’s not hard to see LeBron’s performance against the Raptors through two games as an attempt to refute Pop’s claim. (Popovich and LeBron are a sort of mutual admiration society, and there is a feeling LeBron will return to Team USA basketball solely to play under Pop in the 2020 Olympics.) LeBron followed up a big Game 1 with a dominant 39 points on 10-of-14 shooting with six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks in another blowout in Game 2 Wednesday.

Elite Womens J.T. Brown Jersey But here’s the thing: Kawhi is really in this conversation. After LeBron wrapped up, Kawhi went out in a must-win and dropped 34 points on 13-of-16 shooting (like, WHAT?) with eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and a block. And he shut down Harden (3 for 17 from the floor) in the process.

We’ll see Durant and Curry back in action Thursday, which will remind us that this isn’t just a two-person battle for individual supremacy. But lord did it feel that way for five hours on Wednesday. LeBron vs. Kawhi III is a Finals series we need almost as much as we need Cavaliers vs. Warriors III.

How bad was it? Toronto only hit the 30-point mark before halftime on a buzzer-beating prayer from Delon Wright. The Raptors had just 46 points (and 32-point deficit) after three quarters. In fact, had Milwaukee not scored the entire fourth quarter, Toronto still would have lost by a point!

This was Toronto’s second game in three this series in which they failed to score 85 points. Milwaukee has a decent, long defense, but the Raptors have now shot under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from long range twice in this series. Toronto was No. 6 overall in offense this season, and No. 2 in the East. This should not be happening.

As I wrote earlier this week, if Toronto fails like this, Kyle Lowry might not be back. Dwane Casey might not be back. Team president Masai Ujiri might completely remake the team. You can’t go out like this and expect another chance. The Raptors are getting embarrassed out there.

NBC broadcaster calls P.K. Subban a clown’ for dancing during warmups

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P.K. Subban is an electrifying player, and thus becomes a lightning rod for fans and media members who think hockey should be played the right way.

Sometimes this results in cringe-worthy moments of analysis. On Friday, Subban came under fire before Game 2 as NBCSN panelists Keith Jones and Mike Milbury were discussing his great Game 1 performance.

Michael Jordan Game Jersey 1. The Rockets were up five at this point, 108-103, and for some reason rather than running the clock out, James Harden drove to the basket on a fast break and tried to make a pass that was broken up by Russell Westbrook and resulted in a turnover. The ball got to Steven Adams, who was immediately fouled by Nene 94 feet from the basket.

2. Adams made his first free throw but missed his second, got his own rebound, and fired it out to Westbrook, who knocked down a huge three-pointer. So now we have a four-point possession and the score is 108-107, Rockets. With me?

3. The Rockets got the ball back with 18.4 seconds left and the Thunder were unable to commit a foul quick enough, which resulted in Nene not only making a layup on the other end, but being fouled on it. Now we’re at 111-107, Rockets with 11 seconds left. What.

4. Westbrook missed his next shot on the other end but Alex Abrines tipped it in. The score was now 111-109 with six seconds to go and it was time for Houston to inbounds the ball so it could run the clock out or get fouled. What did it do? Eric Gordon lobbed in a horrible inbounds pass that Westbrook got his hands on but couldn’t grab. Another near turnover. Not to mention the horrible push off by Harden here that was not called.

5. The game ended on two Gordon free throws after this, allowing the Rockets to win, 113-109.

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