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Adam Jones: US was motivated by Puerto Rico’s celebration plans

The United States beat Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic to clinch their first ever title in the event. After the game, Adam Jones, who was stellar as a team leader, said on MLB Network that the team was motivated about some celebratory plans for Puerto…Read More

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Adam Jones: US was motivated by Puerto Rico’s celebration plans

Adam Jones WBC

The United States beat Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic to clinch their first ever title in the event.

After the game, Adam Jones, who was stellar as a team leader, said on MLB Network that the team was motivated about some celebratory plans for Puerto Rico they heard about before the game.

“Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made — we didn’t make ‘em — and a flight. That didn’t sit well with us. And a parade — it didn’t sit well with us,” Jones said.

“So we did what we had to do. Stroman went out there and gave us his all. The players — they battled. The offense swung the bats, and we brought it home for the United States!”

Whether the information they got was accurate or not didn’t really matter. All that mattered is that it served to motivate the team and have them at their best.

ESPN’s Marly Rivera even says the flight and parade was happening win or lose, so it doesn’t sound as if Puerto Rico was getting ahead of itself.

Hey, whether slights are real or perceived is insignificant if it ends up leading to motivation in the end.

Earl Watson focused on Suns, not UCLA job

Earl Watson

Earl Watson says he is focused on improving the Phoenix Suns amid rumors connecting him to the UCLA basketball job.

UCLA is currently led by Steve Alford, who is in his fourth — and by far most successful — season as head coach of the Bruins. Rumors have tied Alford to the Indiana head coaching vacancy considering how much of an icon he is in the state and his history as a Hoosiers player.

If Alford leaves for Indiana, many think Watson, a former Bruins player, could be a candidate for the Bruins job. Watson was asked about the UCLA job on Tuesday and told the Arizona Republic he is focused on the Suns.

“I’m more focused on creating value for our (organization), to give management and ownership many options to build a championship contender here,” Watson said via Doug Haller. “What I mean by that is, building the value of the young players so that their value and their game and their confidence give them the option to be financially secure in this league when they become free agents; giving our ownership the option to build around them or give ownership and management the option to make moves because their value is so high to put us in contention quicker. That’s all I can do is build value. The winning will happen. There’s a lot of questions with our program, but one thing I do realize is these players are playing amazing for their age. I love them, they’re like my little brothers. My main focus is here.”

Watson, 37, played four seasons at UCLA and was a first-team all-conference point guard. He went on to enjoy a 13-year NBA career. He got into coaching in 2014, starting off in the D-League and then moving up to become an assistant with the Suns in 2015. He became the team’s interim head coach last year and then was made the official head coach.

Jim Ross’ wife Jan dies from injuries due to Vespa crash

Jim Ross

Jan Ross, the wife of legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross, died on Wednesday night after suffering injuries related to a Vespa crash.

Ross announced the heartbreaking news on his Twitter account.

Ross had been providing updates on Jan’s condition ever since learning of her crash on Monday night.

Jan was riding her Vespa home from the gym without a helmet and was hit from behind by a car driven by a 17-year-old. She suffered multiple skull fractures and went into emergency surgery. Ross said they needed “a miracle” for her to survive.

Jan was in critical condition earlier on Wednesday, but Jim shared the sad news later in the evening. TMZ says she was 55 years old.

Report: Larry Brown to meet with LIU Brooklyn about coaching job

Larry Brown

Could Larry Brown be returning to coaching sidelines near you? One report suggests it’s possible.

According to Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Rothstein, LIU Brooklyn has reached out to Larry Brown about their coaching vacancy. The two sides could meet in the near future.

LIU Brooklyn plays in the Northeast Conference and recently fired previous head coach Jack Perri. Perri led the program for five seasons and went 20-12 this season.

Brown recently revived the SMU basketball program before stepping down last year amid scandal.

Brown is 76 years old but reportedly still is interested in coaching. He had successful stints at UCLA and Kansas prior to heading to the NBA, where he eventually led the Detroit Pistons to a championship, among many other accomplishments.

Brown was born in Brooklyn and went to high school in Long Island.

Torrey Smith: Kaepernick’s skillset ‘vastly exceeds’ other QBs who were available

Torrey Smith

Colin Kaepernick may still be in search of a new team, but he has the support of at least one of his former teammates.

Earlier this month, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers to become a free agent. Since then, Josh McCown has signed with the Jets, Brian Hoyer joined the 49ers, Mike Glennon agreed to terms with the Bears, and the Raiders signed E.J. Manuel.

That leaves Kaepernick, who completed 59 percent of his passes last season with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, without work. Some will argue Kaepernick is better than the above names, including Torrey Smith, who took to Twitter on Wednesday to back his former quarterback.

From a purely football standpoint, Kaepernick should be on an NFL roster. However, his inconsistent play over the past couple of years and kneeling during the national anthem last season are hanging over his head. Even the Browns, who are in need of a quarterback, are reportedly not interested.

There’s still a chance Kaepernick is on a roster when the upcoming season starts. Although, right now, that’s far from a certainty.

Paul Millsap to opt out of contract, become free agent

Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap could make a guaranteed $21 million next season, but he has his eyes on a much bigger prize.

Millsap is expected to opt out of his contract with the Atlanta Hawks to become a free agent, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Millsap, a forward, would be seeking a long-term deal that would guarantee him much more total and annual money. Schefter says Millsap loves Atlanta and would like to stay with the team but he will test free agency.

The Hawks were considering trading Millsap prior to the deadline because of the expectation that he would void his contract after the season, but they decided to hold onto him. Maybe it was with the hope they could convince him to re-sign with the team.

Millsap, 32, is averaging 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season. He has been putting up similar strong numbers since 2010 when he was with Utah.

Tony Jefferson used ‘Madden’ to help choose Ravens

The Ravens have themselves and new safety and it appears a popular video game played a part in the team landing one of its newest players.

After spending the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Cardinals, Tony Jefferson recently signed a four-year deal with Baltimore worth over $30 million. He was reportedly being pursued by the Jets and Browns as well. However, among the factors that led Jefferson to choose the Ravens were the uniforms, which he says looked good on him.

“I am a guy of swagger, so I gotta check the swag at all points before I make a decision,” Jefferson told NFL.com. “I put myself in different uniforms on Madden to see what will look better. Ravens did look good, though.”

Look good, play good. Right?

The Ravens were in need of help in the secondary after releasing Kendrick Lewis. They now boast a quality pairing at safety with Jefferson and Eric Weddle, who started all 16 games last season and was named to the Pro Bowl.

Having cool uniforms comes in handy sometimes, and don’t underestimate how much stock players put into Madden.

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