Archive for August, 2018

Ureña Suspended, Foles Hurt In Preseason, 76ers Hire Former WNBA Player

BASEBALL

In a follow up to the report of Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña throwing a fastball and intentionally hitting Ronald Acuña Jr (ending his streak of homering in five straight games), Ureña has been fined an undisclosed amount of money and suspended for six games.

FOOTBALL

In preseason action, the Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles, last year’s Super Bowl MVP, hurt his shoulder in a preseason game agains the New England Patriots. No word yet on how serious the injury is, and whether he’ll be ready for the regular season. Tom Brady’s preseason debut went much better throwing for 172 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the first half.

BASKETBALL

The Philadelphia 76ers hired Lindsey Harding, a former WNBA star who was the #1 pick out of Duke in the 2007 draft, as a full-time scout. She is the second former WNBA player hired as a scout for an NBA team. After working as an assistant for the Toronto Raptors summer league, Harding felt confident pursing a career in the NBA. She said, “I think I wanted to know what was really the difference in women’s basketball compared to men’s, and how the players would respond to me. What I realized was that basketball is basketball. The game is stronger, the game is faster in that way. But I found there was so much, not only that I had learned, but that I could also teach.”

 

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Acuña Gets “Gutless” Hit By Fastball, “I’m Trying Jennifer”

BASEBALL

The Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuña Jr. was attempting his 4th consecutive game leading off with a home run when a bitter Marlins’ pitcher Jose Ureña threw a fastball hitting him in the elbow. Many feel Ureña intentionally tried to hit him so Acuña’s streak would end. After the pitch, the benches cleared and the players and fans were up in arms. As the Braves’ Freddie Freeman said,  “It was gutless, I know that wasn’t the Marlins. That was just Jose Ureña. I don’t understand it. Just because a kid is having fun playing a game and having incredible success makes no sense.”

BASKETBALL

Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCullum complained in an interview a few weeks ago about star players joining superteams (specifically Kevin Durant going to the Golden State Warriors) saying, “I would never do anything of that nature. I think that it’s disgusting. No. It’s disgusting. I’m not built like those guys. I was raised differently … I think some players will take that route. But most guys have too much pride, want to really win on their own.” The video of his interview recently resurfaced and Twitter reacted. Social media really took off when “Jennifer” tweeted to McCullum, “Win a playoff game then talk”. McCullum responded with, “I’m trying Jennifer”. “I’m trying Jennifer” is now trending as a meme, and some fans have made t-shirts hoping this phrase becomes the Blazers team slogan!

 

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“Victory Fridges”, Acuña Jr’s Milestone, Puig/Hundley Ejected, Jeter And Marlins Requiring Spanish

FOOTBALL

Cleveland Browns fans have suffered over the last two years rooting for a team without a win since December 24th, 2016. Bud Light plans to reward fans for their longtime loyalty giving out free beer after the Browns win their first game. They’ve installed “Victory Fridges” in 10 different locations in the Cleveland area. The fridges will automatically unlock as soon as the Browns win.

BASEBALL

Atlanta Braves rookie Ronald Acuña Jr. became the youngest player in history to hit a home run in five straight games.

In other baseball news, the rivalry between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers heated up on Tuesday when the Dodgers Yasiel Puig and Giants catcher Nick Hundley engaged in an outburst causing a bench-clearing brawl. Both players were ejected, and the Giants held on to win 2-1.

Miami Marlins part owner and CEO, Derek Jeter,  is reportedly trying to institute a policy to get players and coaches to learn Spanish. Even Jeter is taking lessons. He explained, “I’ve been to the Dominican and Venezuela. I went to Cuba with Major League Baseball in 2016. So I’ve been to those countries and tried to learn as much as I could about their cultures. Everybody expects the Latin players to make an effort to speak English. Well, especially here in Miami, if you don’t speak Spanish, you don’t fit in. I think it’s important.”

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Harbaugh Confident No Violations, Rodgers Hopes Team Not Soft, Anthony Signs W/Rockets, deGrom’s Prospects

FOOTBALL

After 13 football players at the University of North Carolina were suspended for selling their team-issued Jordan brand shoes on the secondary market, reports surfaced that Michigan athletes (not necessarily football players) may have sold their Jordan brand shoes as well. Football coach Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t suspect any of his players violated the NCAA regulation, and as far as he can tell there won’t be any suspensions this season.

Last week Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers called his team’s practice “piss poor“. He clarified the comments this week saying he wasn’t trying to send a message and stating, “I hope we’re not that soft.”

BASKETBALL

Carmelo Anthony officially signed with the Houston Rockets. The big question is whether he’ll be a starter or come off the bench. According to Coach Mike D’Antoni, “We talked about everything. How we would handle this or do that. All he wants to do is win. He wants to come in here & contribute, even said he wanted to be the glue guy. We got to figure out what’s the best way to play him & get the max out of him.”

BASEBALL

Jacob deGrom helped the Mets beat the Yankees on Monday night, walking off the field to cheers from an enthusiastic New York crowd. With the win, deGrom has 7 wins and a .500 season (although he’s recorded a 1.81 ERA), so many are speculating whether his poor team performance will prevent him from winning the NL Cy Young award. Even though he’s considered one of the best pitchers in the game, according to the stats, “no starting pitcher has won the Cy Young with fewer than 13 wins.”

 

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Koepka Wins PGA Championship, Tiger Back, Helmet Penalties, Maryland Coach On Leave

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Brooks Koepka won his second major victory with a two-shot lead over Tiger Woods to grab the PGA Championship. Koepka also won the 2018 US Open. This was the best finish for Woods since 2009, and the fans went crazy yelling “Let’s Go Tiger” everywhere he walked. After the tournament, Tiger told a reporter, “These fans were so positive all week. I can’t thank them enough for what they were saying out there and what it meant to me as a player.”

FOOTBALL

NFL officials issued 25 dropping the helmet penalties so far in the NFL Preseason. The new rule describes “a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent”. According to reports, there were 275 overall penalties during this first week,

Maryland football head coach DJ Durkin has been placed on administrative leave while investigators try and uncover the reasons for the death of one his football players in June. Nineteen-year-old Jordan McNair suffered a fatal heatstroke after collapsing on the field during conditioning drills. Durkin and at least two of his staff members have been accused of “indifference” towards the players. According to an ESPN report, the Maryland football program is an “environment based on fear and humiliation.” The incident is creating a platform for a wider discussion about whether or not there is a problem with the culture of college football.

 

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Mayfield And Barkley Put On Show In NFL Preseason, Luck Jubilant, Wake Forest BBall Coach Charged In Tourist Death

FOOTBALL

The NFL preseason games began Thursday night, and all eyes were on the rookies and the players coming back from injury. Number one pick in the draft Baker Mayfield provided one of the highlights of the night in his debut in Cleveland. In a  20-10 win over the New York Giants, Mayfield threw for 212 yards and 2 touchdowns, while the Browns newly acquired yet seasoned QB Tyrod Taylor completed 5 of 5 passes for 99 yards and a TD. Both QB’s are giving Browns fans some much needed hope for the future (the franchise lost every game last season and only won one game in 2016).  The Giants running back and #1 pick in the draft, Saquon Barkley, immediately impressed the crowd with his 39 yard run on his first carry in the NFL.

All eyes were on veteran quarterback Andrew Luck who missed the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder injury. Luck only played in two series during the game, but was jubilant after getting hit and realizing he could pop right back up. He even showed his excitement on the sideline and said he was “Just trying to control my emotions and then I just sort of said ‘screw it.  Whatever I want to think and whatever I want to feel, I’m going to feel it and let that happen. It was a little bit of pressure was off, in a sense, and I really had fun.”

BASKETBALL

Jamill Jones, Wake Forest’s assistant men’s basketball coach, is facing charges of third degree assault in the death of a 35-year old tourist from Boca Raton. According to the police report, Jones punched the tourist (in New York City for a friend’s wedding) after he knocked on his car window thinking it was his Uber ride. The tourist fell to the ground resulting in fatal fractures to his skull. The investigation of the incident is ongoing.

 

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NCAA New Rules, Kawhi Leonard Farewell Letter

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The NCAA announced new rules in college basksetball including allowing agents for “elite” athletes and permitting undrafted college age players to return to play for their schools.  The rule changes came out of a commission on College Basketball chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which looked into clearing up some controversial and problematic issues in college basketball. Many are unhappy with the changes and don’t believe they benefit the majority of athletes.

Kawhi Leonard officially wrapped up his time in San Antonio with a farewell letter to the players, the organization and coach Popovich. Leonard played for 7 seasons with the Spurs recording two All-Star designations and in 2014 a Finals MVP. After suffering a quad injury this past season, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors in July. Leonard showed no hard feelings in his goodbye letter stating, “Through all the ups and downs — I’m glad there were many more ups! — I’ll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together. While I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my career, I’ll always remember the city and the people of San Antonio!”

 

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Colon Makes History, Rodgers Calls Practice “Piss Poor”, NFL’s Male Cheerleaders

BASEBALL

With his 246th career win, the Texas Rangers Bartolo Colon (nicknamed Big Sexy) became the winningest Latin American pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.

FOOTBALL

Veteran Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed his disappointment in his new crop of young receivers calling the practice “piss poor”. Rodgers said, “It was one of the worst cards sessions we had. I don’t know how you can make it any simpler. You literally have what the play would be in our terminology on the card, and the effort level was very low. Especially with what I’m accustomed to. I’ve been running that period for a number of years.” Rodgers also hinted at his frustration with the team releasing his favorite target Jordy Nelson.

The Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints will make history this NFL season when their cheerleaders take the field. For the first time in the NFL, both teams have male cheerleaders on their squad. Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies made the LA Rams team in March and inspired Jesse Hernandez to try out for the New Orleans Saints. Back in March Jinnies tweeted,  “Still can’t believe I’m one of the first males in history to be a pro NFL cheerleader!”

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LeBron’s “Shut Up And Dribble”, 13 NC Players Suspended, Elliott’s Dad Supports Meyer

BASKETBALL

LeBron James has been busy this off-season. First, he opened the “I Promise” school in Akron, Ohio, then he announced the debut August 28th of “The Shop” where he’ll have conversations with people in barbershops around the country. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also the Executive Producer of  “Shut Up and Dribble”, a 3-part documentary series on Showtime. According to reports, “The series traces the modern history of the league and its players, starting with the 1976 merger of the freewheeling American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association, exploring how the top players have expanded their reach off the court in fields such as business and fashion while becoming icons in the process.”

FOOTBALL

Thirteen North Carolina Tar Heel football players (including quarterback Chazz Surratt) will miss at least one game this season for selling school-issued limited edition Nike Jordan shoes. Selling school-issued shoes is an NCAA violation and according to the coach, the players knew the rules. The NCAA agreed to stagger the suspensions since so many players were involved, and some shared the same position.

Over 100 people turned out to show support for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer was suspended with pay for allegedly knowing about a domestic violence incident with one of his assistant coaches but failing to report what he knew. Former Ohio State running back (and current Dallas Cowboy star player) Ezekiel Elliott’s father fired up the crowd in support of Meyer claiming Meyer taught his son values. In a twisted irony, Ezekiel was suspended for 6 games by the Leauge last season for alleged domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend. Elliott never admitted wrongdoing.

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Owens CFL Tryout, Hurts On Transfer Narrative, Bryce Love Skips Media Day For Class, Red Sox Sweep Yankees

FOOTBALL

Just a day after his Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Terrell Owens tried out for the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. According to Owens, “It’s key when you’re trying out to put your best foot forward, and I’m very pleased with what they saw and what I did out there. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame and come back and play, why not me? I know I can do it; it’s just a matter of someone giving me the opportunity.” Owens is 44 years old.

In college football news, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts recently expressed his disappointment on hearing comments about his quarterback situation.  Hurts commented on the “narrative” floating around that he’ll transfer if he’s not given the starting QB role. According to Hurts he never said anything about transferring.  “Nobody came up to me this whole spring…nobody asked me what my future held.” Coach Nick Saban is notorious for keeping a tight lid on how the team interacts with the media, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to Hurts speaking out.

In a ridiculous story coming out of the Pac-12 media day, reporter Dennis Dodd lambasted Stanford running back (and Heisman candidate) Bryce Love for skipping media day to attend class.  Love apologized for skipping the media fest by saying, “I really wanted to be there to represent the university. But I decided I just wasn’t able to make it happen this year. Based on other commitments, trying to graduate in December required me to take more classes over the summer.” These players are still considered “Student-Athletes”, so it’s unfortunate a reporter would reprimand a player for keeping up with his academic commitments.

BASEBALL

Red Sox sweep their 4 game series with the Yankees. Yankees trail the Red Sox by 9 1/2 games in the AL East. The Oakland A’s are also on a streak winning their 6th straight game.

 

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