Month: May 2017

Von Miller surprises Broncos staff by attending employee recognition day ceremony

Von Miller is one of the biggest stars the NFL has to offer, but he still took the time to be at the Broncos ceremony that honors the team’s employees on Thursday. It may not seem significant, but according to The Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala, he’s the only player she’s seen do so.
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Miller spoke at the podium of the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse and thanked over 200 employees from Mile High Stadium and the team’s practice facility in Englewood for their work.
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We couldn’t do what we do if it weren’t for you, Miller told the audience of employees. After thanking them collectively, Miller signed raffle items. This all came two hours after the team had practiced.

Fitzpatrick has spent 12 seasons in the league and has yet to play in a postseason game. He was a seventh-round pick of the Rams in the 2005 NFL draft and started three games for Saint Louis as a rookie, going 0-3 in the process. He was traded to Cincinnati after two years, where he backed up Carson Palmer.

A solid, if unspectacular, performance in a dozen starts in Palmer’s absence led him to Buffalo, where his ability to win six games a year led the Bills to gift him a six-year, $60 million contract extension in 2011. He was released fewer than 18 months later.

Stops in Tennessee and Houston followed with moderate success, but it wasn’t until he landed in New York before he finally led a team to a winning record. He pushed the Jets to the precipice of the playoffs, but a three-interception performance in Week 17 kept the franchise from returning to the postseason.

MLB 2017: Handing out grades for every MLB team’s offseason

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Spring training is upon us, which means rosters are nearly set, which means opening day is almost here. Time to think warm thoughts.

But to get to opening day, we had to brave the offseason. And it was an offseason that didn’t feature a lot of star power on the free-agent market, so a lot of teams made a lot of moves to bolster lineups and add depth.

There’s a lot that goes into grading a team’s offseason: their 2017 goals, where they are as a franchise, the market, the fan base, etc. It’s more than just signing a player for numbers and productivity. Grading a team’s offseason is a lot like the sport itself: If you get three hits out of 10 opportunities, that’s pretty good.

Despite losing pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz to injuries during the the second half of last season, New York managed to make the postseason.

While the trio is expected to make a healthy return to a rotation with the highest projected average four-seam fastball velocity, which role will pitcher Zack Wheeler (elbow) fill on the staff after arm problems the past two seasons?

Speaking of recurring injuries, what are the Mets going to do with captain David Wright (neck, back), who has played in just 75 games the past two years? He is working his way back from a cervical discectomy and fusion surgery, but the Mets have no reason to rush him back with Jose Reyes capable of playing third base.
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Yoenis Cespedes is back on a new $110 million contract and will join Curtis Granderson in the outfield, but the final outfield spot is up for grabs this spring among Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares.

Malcolm Butler will earn $3.91 million, bringing his four-year contract value to $5.44 million

This year, for example, Malcolm Butler will earn $3.91 million, bringing his four-year contract value to $5.44 million, which is about what the 34th pick in the draft would earn. In addition, UDFAs are eligible for contract extensions after just two seasons rather than three for a draft pick.

While making a team as an undrafted free agent can be difficult, there are financial reasons to do what La’el Collins did a few years ago and state that if he was not drafted in the top three rounds, he would not sign a contract with that team. It worked, and he landed in the perfect spot in Dallas. He likely will earn more as an undrafted player than if he were drafted in the fourth or fifth round. More talented players who slide for whatever reasons should consider the advantages of remaining undrafted.

For projected salaries of all picks in the 2017 NFL Draft and how much teams will set aside for them, head to OverTheCap.com.

“I didn’t even feel anything, so my first thought was, ‘Oh s—, I hope I didn’t hit anybody.’ I looked around, and not only was nobody hit, they didn’t even know what had happened. So I thought everything was cool.

“Then, my jeans started to feel wet, so I looked back down at my leg. I was wearing a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors, and the toe was completely red, covered in blood. The bullet had gone through the skin and some muscle on my right thigh. It came out without hitting any arteries or bone, but there was a lot of blood.

“I turned back to one of my teammates and said, ‘We need to go to the hospital. I just shot myself.’

“He kind of blew me off like I was messin’ with him. Then he looked down at my leg and his eyes got real wide.nike_cardinals_298

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Do I really want Bartolo Colon and Kyle Schwarber to dance off to decide a game in August?

Anaheim, on the other hand, had plenty of foul space. In addition, one of Lynn’s Angels teammates, Bobby Grich told Sporting News in 2016 about how balls wouldn’t carry much at night there because of the coastal air. Told of this, Lynn agreed.

I had gotten used to Fenway Park as a hitter, so I had to change my philosophy a little bit when I got to Anaheim, he said. It’s like Bobby Grich said, that air is much heavier there, with that marine layer moving in. You had to hit home runs early, ‘cause that marine layer moved in on night games and it was hard to hit ‘em out.

There were some bright moments in the second half of Lynn’s career, such as when he hit a grand slam in the 1983 All Star Game, helping the American League break a long losing streak to the National League.

My favorite: What a waste of a click. And now Sporting News is unfollowed. I mean, do you really have to announce it?
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In any case, as a writer, you don’t take comments to heart; you’re glad you incited a reaction. The comments aren’t the issue. The bigger problem is what they represent, and it’s this: There’s a boisterous, vocal minority of MLB traditionalists and purists who don’t seem to want to allow, you know, fun or change in baseball.

Do I really want Bartolo Colon and Kyle Schwarber to dance off to decide a game in August? Of course not. Maybe in June.

I digress. Though there’s still something to be said here. The silly, but pointed, Facebook comments are a microcosm for what’s really happening here: Why do some people hate fun in baseball? Why are some so unwilling to compromise on change?

Game Womens Bill Barber Jersey You know the ones — the guys and gals who hate bat flips, outfielder dance parties and any sort of other personal expression on a baseball diamond that spices up the game.

NFL free agency: Browns make history with Kevin Zeitler’s contract

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The Browns needed offensive line help heading into free agency, and they addressed the position right away. The biggest signing was reported about an hour before free agency began, and it was for guard Kevin Zeitler.

According to ESPN the deal was worth $60 million over five years, including $31.5 million of guaranteed cash. This deal makes him the highest-paid guard in NFL history, which proves the Browns are all in on protecting the quarterback.

Zeitler was a first-round pick of the Bengals in 2012 and the former Wisconsin standout started 71 games over five seasons. He wasn’t the only offensive line move the Browns made Thursday.

I took my first ground ball and I was like, 鈥極h, gosh! I’m way too stiff.’ Bell said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. All season long, (Pirates special instructor Kevin Young) was busting on me: 鈥業 told you to go to yoga. What, you say your hips are tight? I told you to go to yoga.’ So, the first day of (this past) offseason, I started going to yoga.

Bell reported to spring training at 248 pounds last year, but he’s down to a slender 225 pounds right now.

The weight drop should help him swing more feely and move laterally at first base.

You’re sweating bullets in there, Bell said of yoga. It’s (set up) mat to mat, so you have people right next to you. There are no mirrors and they turn the lights off. You’re up balancing, it’s dark and you’re sweating 鈥?someone in front of you moves and you’re trying to stay focused. It’s all internalized. I enjoy it, but it’s definitely a challenge.
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Bell oozes talent both offensively and defensively. After missing out on the postseason last year, Pittsburgh will be hoping he can help get them back in the fold.

Blue Jays ace Aaron Sanchez set to return Sunday vs. Rays

Kids Draymond Green Jersey That’s something White Sox fans have to enjoy hearing. Is team unity and a sense of being potentially part of something special the most important thing? Nah, of course not.

Talent rules. But these guys have the talent, they have the sense of purpose and they have the drive to improve. They know they’re the next wave 鈥?the most important wave 鈥?of what could be the next playoff team on the South Side, and they embrace the pressure.

To be even in the talk about being part of the rebuild is something that’s awesome, Burdi said. Being from Chicago, it’s a huge thing for me to be part of an organization from my hometown. … Something I hold pretty dearly to my heart. Just excited to see where it takes us, and get to grow with these guys.

White Sox fans are pretty excited about that, too. As they should be.

The Blue Jays are set to receive a boost this weekend in the form of ace pitcher Aaron Sanchez.

Wayne Chrebet Authentic Jersey According to MLB.com, Sanchez will return to the rotation Sunday to start against the Rays. The right-hander has been out since he underwent minor surgery April 18 to remove part of the nail on his right middle finger.

Sanchez, 24, has not pitched since April 14 when he allowed five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Orioles. His injury was initially thought to be just a blister.

The Blue Jays have been ravaged by injuries so far this season. In addition to Sanchez, former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ and Troy Tulowitzki are on the disabled list.

Toronto fans obviously would like to see the full team take the diamond, but getting Sanchez (15-2 in 2016) back will be a good start.

Jay Cutler doesn’t care (and that’s a good thing), his TV partner says

To say Jay Cutler didn’t care when he was an NFL quarterback would be unfair, though he certainly never did anything to keep people from having that opinion of him.

But maybe, just maybe, his uncaring attitude will actually be an asset when he steps into the TV booth. At least that’s what his new broadcast partner thinks.

It turned out Watson would be the third QB to go behind Trubisky and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, whom the Chiefs traded up 17 spots to pick at No. 10 overall, a pick formerly owned by the Bills. Watson went 12th overall to the Texans, who moved up from No. 25 overall in a trade with the Browns.

All told, Watson did have a a point. Not only did he throw for over 4,100 yards in each of his last two seasons with the Tigers, he also won two ACC championship games, while Trubisky didn’t even reach the title game in his only year as a starter.

Success in college doesn’t always translate to the NFL, but Watson successfully ran a pro-style offense. Turnovers were an issue for Watson at times, but he threw 41 touchdowns to 17 interceptions last season. That is a ratio most NFL teams could live with.

Ever since the championship game, Trubisky has seen his stock rise and is now considered a serious threat to be picked No. 1 overall by the Browns.

From a production standpoint, Watson is absolutely correct in his claim. However, every year prospects rise exponentially during the draft process, and Trubisky was one of the fastest risers this year.

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NFL odds 2017: Patriots’ over/under win total huge; Cowboys undervalued?

Game Mens Phil Simms Jersey We have another set of NFL over/under win totals to ponder months before Week 1 of the 2017 season. Online sportsbook Bovada.lv has released its NFL O/U season totals. The main takeaway: The bar is set very high for the Super Bowl 51 champion Patriots.

Bovada pegs the Pats’ O/U line at 12.5, meaning New England would have to win 13 games in the 2017 NFL season for the OVER to cash. To entice the betting public to take the OVER, Bovada has put 1:1 odds on the Pats winning at least 13 games. The UNDER is a 13:10 favorite, meaning bettors think the Patriots will win 12 or fewer would need to wager $13 to make a $10 profit.

Several other NFL teams have a double-digit over/under win total in Bovada’s list of props: The Steelers and Seahawks are at 10.5, while the Raiders and Packers are at 10.

The Cowboys’ O/U, interestingly, is 9.5 wins. Dallas finished 13-3 last season in winning the NFC East. The second-place Giants check in at 9 after an 11-win season in 2016.
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On the bottom end, the lowest O/U totals belong to the Browns (4.5), 49ers (4.5), Jets (5), Bears (5.5) and Rams (5.5). Value bettors will be studying those O/U numbers closely.

Las Vegas’ early over/under win total for the Patriots is a full win lower, at 11.5, but that number was bumped up after big public action on Pats at the South Point sports book, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Thunder didn’t have a single lineup without Westbrook

The Thunder were plus-3.3 points per 100 possessions with Westbrook on the floor during the regular season, and minus-8.9 without him. That’s not good, but it doesn’t explain their outrageous degree of terribleness without him against Houston.

The Thunder didn’t have a single lineup without Westbrook — not even one that played a minute or two — that finished in the net positive against the Rockets.

You can play around with various Thunder-Westbrook numbers on the NBA’s official website. None of them will do anything to hurt your argument for Westbrook as MVP.

A reporter asked Adams about the team’s inability to succeed without its star on the court, and Westbrook became furious. He said the reporter was trying to split up the Thunder. But the numbers make it clear that the reporter had a point.

Utah bounced back from a home loss in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers to win the series with a 104-91 victory in Game 7 in Los Angeles. The Jazz battled through injuries in the first round to come out on top, and may be dealing with another one on Tuesday with Derrick Favors listed as questionable with back soreness.

Utah is 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in its last five games on the road despite being an underdog in all five of those games.
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Limited Kids Reggie Ragland Jersey Tuesday night’s total is set at 206.5 points at online betting sites. The UNDER is 13-5 in Golden State’s last 18 games at home.

Golden State had the best offense in the NBA this season averaging 115.9 points per game and will face the best defense in the NBA in a Utah team that allowed only 96.8 points per game during the regular season. Something will have to give in this series, and according to the betting odds, it figures to be Utah’s defense.

LeBron James said Isaiah Thomas’ sister was ‘looking down on him’ during incredible 53-point performance

LeBron James watched on TV as Isaiah Thomas gave his all in the Boston Celtics’ Game 2 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Thomas went for 53 points on the day his sister — who passed away in an automobile accident weeks ago — would have turned 23 years old.
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James talked to a group of reporters Wednesday morning about Thomas’ Herculean performance, which included 29 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and heaped praise on the Celtics’ guard who played the best game of his career under difficult circumstances.

It really wasn’t that intricate, Jones told ESPN. I don’t know what happened. All I said was, ‘You better not jump,’ and that got me the first tech. And then the second one, Norman walked up on me and said, ‘Don’t you do that s—!’
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And I said, ‘What are you doing to do?’ Like, ‘What you goin’ to do?’ And that’s two. So those are the exact words I said: ‘What are you going to do?’ No curse words.

A technical foul comes with a mandatory $3,000 fine. Jones signed with the Cavaliers on the final day of the regular season, and his contract was worth a tick north of $9,000, which is 1/82 of the veteran’s minimum salary.

James and Jones have crossed this path before.

In Game 3 of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the veteran guard was suspended for hitting ex-Raptors big man Bismack Biyombo in the groin. A suspension does not come with a fine, but costs a player a game check. Jones made just $8,800 last season after signing with Cleveland on the final day of the regular season. He was fined $80.17, according to ESPN, equal to 1/110th of his salary.