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Sunday, August 2, 2015

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Edinson Volquez blasts Josh Donaldson over reactions to inside pitches

volquez-donaldson

Tempers flared and plenty of words were exchanged during Sunday’s game between the Royals and Blue Jays. Edinson Volquez and Josh Donaldson were squarely in the middle of it.

In the first inning, Volquez hit Donaldson with a pitch, which did not sit well with the Jays third baseman and he let Volquez know about it on the way to first base. In the third inning, a pitch from Volquez sailed up and in towards the head area of Donaldson, causing him to duck out of the way. The two again had words for each other. In the seventh inning, Ryan Madson threw a pitch that once again caused Donaldson to back out of the way.

Needless to say, Donaldson wasn’t pleased with Kansas City’s insistence on pitching inside. Madson hit Tulowitzki in the seventh, prior to backing Donaldson off the plate. John Gibbons was ejected for trying to defend his players. However, after the game, Volquez thought Donaldson was overreacting.

“He’s a little baby,” Volquez said via The Kansas City Star. “He was crying like a baby.”

“He got mad at everybody like he’s Barry Bonds,” Volquez continued. “He’s not Barry Bonds. He’s got three years in the league. We’ve been around longer than he has.”

After Donaldson was hit in the first inning, home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Apparently, Madson felt Donaldson misinterpreted what that meant.

“For him to get upset, I don’t think he fully understands the game, or he just let his emotions get the best of him,” Madson said. “He thought that a warning means you can’t throw inside.”

Donaldson may have been demonstrative with his reactions to what Royals pitchers were doing, but it’s unlikely many players would’ve responded differently in the same situation. We’ve seen what can happen when baseballs end up around the head area and, intentional or not, batters generally don’t take too kindly to it, especially after multiple times. That said, the Royals defended their strategy of pitching inside so don’t expect Sunday’s events to change what they do anytime soon.

Rex Ryan takes subtle jabs at Jets management and their ‘agendas’

Rex-Ryan-Bills

There was once a time when it seemed like Rex Ryan could be the head coach of the New York Jets until he retired, but things quickly took a turn for the worse. According to Ryan, that may have had something to do with questionable motives from the front office.

In an interview with the New York Post on Friday after his first training camp practice with the Buffalo Bills, Ryan took some subtle shots at Jets owner Woody Johnson and former general manager John Idzik.

“I had great experiences with the Jets, but … there are no personal agendas here,” he said. “From the organization, from top to bottom, hey, we might not be perfect but I know one thing: We’re all in, we’re all moving in the same direction and we’re going to get there. We don’t necessarily know 100 percent where we’re going, but we’re going to get there together. We want to win and we want to win right now.”

Ryan has maintained that he always understood why he was fired after a 4-12 season and missing the playoffs four straight years. However, he made it pretty clear that he didn’t get along with his bosses.

“I recognize when you get new pieces in place [Idzik], the first year is going to be a little bumpy,” Ryan said. “But the next year [last season] I expected a little more commitment and it just didn’t happen. That was the frustrating part. Was every single person going in the same direction? I’m not sure.”

At least one Jets player has accused Ryan of not running a tight ship in New York, but Rex basically told that guy where to stick it. In reality, the Jets struggled because of questionable draft picks and an inability to succeed on offense. Time will tell if Ryan can avoid those same issues in Buffalo.

Mark Sanchez says it ‘crazy’ to call Chip Kelly racist

Mark Sanchez Eagles

Chip Kelly was accused of being racist by LeSean McCoy earlier this offseason, and the topic came up again over the weekend after the Philadelphia Eagles traded Brandon Boykin to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Shortly after being dealt, Boykin said Kelly is “uncomfortable” being around “grown men in our culture.” He later insisted he wasn’t calling Kelly racist, but the remarks still led to Eagles players — including Mark Sanchez — being asked if Kelly displays any prejudicial tendencies.

Mark Sanchez finds the notion completely ridiculous.

“That’s nuts,” Sanchez said Sunday, per Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post. “(During stretching today) guys were like, ‘Sanchez, ain’t you Mexican? And (Sam) Bradford, aren’t you Native-American?’ And Kiko (Alonso) is Columbian. We’ve got black guys, white guys, Polynesian guys.

“Come on, that’s crazy. It’s not even worth talking about. Stop asking the players about it. It’s getting old.”

Kelly would have an incredibly difficult time doing his job if he was racist, as the NFL is made up of nearly 70 percent black players.

Kelly made some comments in 2008 that explain exactly why he traded McCoy, and it has nothing to do with skin color. He is obviously a hard-nosed coach who has a difficult time getting along with some players, but he’s hardly the first NFL coach with those characteristics.

As we mentioned before, the only thing Kelly is guilty of is trusting his system above all else. He doesn’t seem to care how many Pro Bowls a guy has made. If Kelly doesn’t think you fit his system, you’re not going to be around very long.

Brandon Boykin: Chip Kelly ‘uncomfortable around grown men in our culture’

Chip-Kelly

The Philadelphia Eagles traded Brandon Boykin to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, and the veteran cornerback reacted to being dealt in a similar fashion to LeSean McCoy.

While Boykin didn’t come right out and accuse Kelly of being racist, he did tell Derrick Gunn of Comcast SportsNet that Kelly is “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture.” Boykin elaborated in a text message.

“He can’t relate and that makes him uncomfortable,” Boykin wrote. “He likes total control of everything, and he don’t like to be uncomfortable. Players excel when you let them naturally be who they are, and in my experience that hasn’t been important to him, but you guys have heard this before me.”

Boykin later insisted that he was not implying that Kelly is racist.

“I’m not saying he’s a racist at all,” he said, per Judy Battista of NFL.com. “When you are a player, you want to be able to relate to your coach outside of football. There were times, he just wouldn’t talk to people. You would walk down the hallway, he wouldn’t say anything to you.”

It seems fairly obvious that Boykin saying reporters have “heard this before me” was in reference to McCoy saying Kelly is on a mission to get rid of all the good black players on the Eagles roster. In McCoy’s case, we only need to look at these comments from Kelly in 2008 to understand why the running back was shipped out of town.

Boykin, a former fourth-round pick, led the Eagles with six interceptions in 2013, but he picked off just one pass last season. He had fallen to third on the depth chart behind Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams.

Lolo Jones thinks she could last at least a minute against Ronda Rousey

Lolo-Jones-Olympics

Lolo Jones is thinking about trying her hand at mixed martial arts. And if she does, the Olympic hurdler is confident she could last longer in the Octagon against Ronda Rousey than some of Rousey’s recent opponents.

On Saturday night, Rousey needed just 34 seconds to knock out Bethe Correia at UFC 190. That was Rousey’s longest fight in her last three, as she submitted Cat Zingano in 14 seconds back in February and Alexis Davis in 16 seconds prior to that.

Jones, who was apparently watching the fight, feels she could have given the fans more of a show.

What’s she going to do, jump over Rousey? Jones may be fast, but speed isn’t going to do her much good in the Octagon against one of the fiercest fighters in the world.

Jones should stick to her Olympic workout routine and the insane diet that goes along with it. She’s much safer that way.

Dana White: Ronda Rousey will fight Cyborg as soon as Cyborg gets to 135

Ronda Rousey Cyborg Santos

After Ronda Rousey needed just 34 seconds to knock out Bethe Correia in Brazil on Saturday night, many are wondering if there is any female fighter in the world who can stop the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. The next in line to try could be Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

UFC president Dana White said after UFC 190 that he would put together a Rousey-Cyborg fight the day Cyborg commits to getting down to 135 pounds.

Cyborg currently fights at 145 pounds in the Invicta Fighting Championships because the UFC doesn’t have a 145-pound division for women. She wrote on her Facebook page Sunday morning that her next fight will be at 140.

“My next fight is 140lbs, then I hope we get a chance to give fans the WMMA fight the most violent fight in the history of MMA!” Cyborg wrote.

Rousey, who fights at 135, said she is ready to fight Cyborg whenever the Brazilian fighter ditches the steroids.

“I’m prepared to deal with anything. That’s why I’m the champ,” Rousey said Saturday, via Damon Martin of FOXSports.com. “I fight in the UFC 135-pound division. She can fight at 145 pumped full of steroids and she can make weight just like everybody else without them.”

Cyborg was popped for using steroids before a fight in 2011. White has made some huge guarantees about a potential Rousey-Cyborg fight, but Cyborg has to shed some pounds first.

For now, it appears that Rousey could be heading toward a third fight with Miesha Tate for her next title defense.

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds (Video)

Ronda Rousey Bethe Correia

Ronda Rousey proved once again that she is the best female fighter in the world (and probably better than many male professional fighters).

Rousey improved to 12-0 by destroying Bethe Correia in 34 seconds at UFC 190 in Brazil Saturday night.

Rousey beat Correia with a flurry of punches, giving her a knockout rather than her signature armbar submission.

“I guess she can’t really say anything about my hands now,” Rousey said sarcastically after the fight.

Rousey has now won three straight fights in 34 seconds or less. Nine of her 12 wins have come in under a minute, while Miesha Tate (in their second fight) is still the only fighter to take Rousey beyond the first round. 

Rousey also continues to showcase her growing versatility. After winning her first eight fights by armbar, Rousey has won three of her past four fights by knockout.

Following her win, fhe UFC bantamweight champion gave a shoutout to late wrestler Roddy Piper, thanking him for allowing her to use the “Rowdy” nickname. She had dedicated the fight to him. She also mentioned her father, whose suicide became a storyline leading up to the fight after Correia cited it in trash-talking comments, saying she hoped he and Piper enjoyed watching it together.

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

Bobby Wagner

First Russell Wilson, now Bobby Wagner.

The Seattle Seahawks have reached agreement on a four-year contract extension with their valuable middle linebacker, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports. The deal is said to be for $43 million, with $22 million guaranteed.

Wagner and the Seahawks had been discussing a contract extension since June. The team wanted to get a deal done with its star quarterback first before locking up the defensive standout.

Though Wagner has missed seven games the past two seasons, he has been one of the best defensive players in the league when healthy. Seattle’s defense took off when he returned last season, and he helped lead the team to its second straight Super Bowl.

Now that Wilson and Wagner have been paid, there is less money remaining for guys like Kam Chancellor, who is holding out.

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected from games

bryce-harper-ejection

Bryce Harper is one of the best players in baseball. He’s probably the front runner for National League MVP. However, he hurts his team when he gets ejected, and Nationals manager Matt Williams wants that to come to an end.

In the 11th inning of a tie game on Friday, Harper was called out on a third strike on the outside corner of the plate. The pitch looked like a strike on TV, and home plate umpire Jerry Meals obviously felt it was. Harper, on the other hand, did not agree. He immediately got in Meals’ face and began jawing with the veteran umpire. The young outfielder was subsequently ejected, much to the delight of Mets fans at Citi Field.

After the game, Williams stressed the importance of Harper staying in ballgames.

“He needs to stay in the baseball game,” Williams repeated three times, according to MASN Sports.

“I want him to stay in every game,” Williams said. “We’ve talked about it. We’ll talk about it again.”

Harper’s ejection was his third of the season (remember this blowup from May?). While his passion and fire are part of who he is, there comes a time where it could be a detriment to the team.

On Friday, Harper’s ejection left Washington with just one bench player for the remainder of the game. The result was Williams having to shift players around defensively, and Dan Uggla ended up playing first base for the first time in his career. In a tie game against a team that’s right behind you in the standings, that’s obviously not ideal.

There’s little to question when it comes to Harper’s ability. If Williams and the rest of the Nationals can get through to him about keeping his emotions under control, Harper will be to use that ability to help the team win more games.

Ronda Rousey dedicates Bethe Correia fight to Roddy Piper

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey is fighting for her namesake on Saturday night.

Rousey dedicated her bout with Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to wrestling legend Roddy Piper, who died in his sleep Friday.

“Thank you for the name…. And so much more…. Will do it justice and do you proud tomorrow…. This one’s for you Roddy….,” Rousey wrote on Instagram.

Rousey’s nickname is “Rowdy,” which she got from Piper. She is a huge wrestling fan and asked him for permission to use the name. He granted it to her, and she has worn it better than anyone could have asked for.

Rousey looks to remain undefeated and retain her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

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