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Thursday, September 20, 2018

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Jung Ho Kang does not blame Chris Coghlan for injury that ends his season

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Jung Ho Kang has put together an impressive first season in Major League Baseball after playing professionally in Korea since 2006. Unfortunately, his season likely over after a collision a second base during Thursday’s game between the Pirates and Cubs.

In the top of the first inning, Anthony Rizzo hit a ground ball to Neil Walker, who tossed the ball to Kang for the first out of a double play. As Chris Coghlan side into second base, his outstretched right leg made contact with Kang’s knee, forcing him to the ground in agony.

The result of the play is a torn left MCL and fractured tibia for Kang, which will require surgery and bring his season to an end.

The topic of discussion following the slide was weather or not it was dirty or not. Kang issued a statement through his agent indicating he did not think there was any ill intent.

Not surprinsingly, there were many who felt quite the opposite of the 28-year-old.

Coghland defended the play, but did send a letter to the Pirates clubhouse after the game.

“I’m completely within the rules,” Coghlan said via MLB.com. “It just stinks because he didn’t have time to jump over me. The collision looks bad because there’s no take.”

In 125 games, Kang hit .287 with 24 doubles, 15 home runs, and 58 RBI.

Marshawn Lynch’s mom issues statement addressing controversy

Marshawn-Lynch-Conan

We have heard from Pete Carroll. We have heard from Darrell Bevell. And now we are hearing a final word from the woman herself — Delisa Lynch.

Lynch, the mother of Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch, posted on Facebook Monday to criticize Bevell for a poor play call to end the Seahawks’ Week 1 game against the Rams. Her passionate post called for Bevell to be fired.

After both Carroll and Bevell responded to the post this week, Delisa issued the following statement on Facebook Thursday:

“I am a fan of football first and foremost, when I watch the game I view it through the eyes of a fan and then a Mother. I’ve been going to my kids games and practices for year, and not only do I love the game but I love analyzing it also. I don’t discuss football when talking with my son, I discuss life and other things. I realize as a mother of a player, my views with be received differently than the average fan, and I acknowledge that Facebook may have not been the best platform to display my views, but I love the Seahawks just like all the other 12’s, so when I see a 4th and 1 ran out of a shotgun formation against a good Rams defensive line, as a FAN it makes me wonder what the coordinators logic was.”

And you thought Mama Lynch was going to back down? Apparently you don’t know the Lynch family very well. In essence, she’s saying treat me like a fan, and Bevell’s still a dummy.

What’s the saying? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Now you know exactly where Marshawn gets his attitude from.

Rafael Palmeiro gets three-day contract from Sugar Land Skeeters to play with son

rafael-palmeiro“I am going to play with my son. Period,” said former All-Star slugger Rafael Palmeiro as he wagged his finger at Sugar Land Skeeters management during an official hearing. Or something like that.

Whatever the case may be, the 50-year-old Palmeiro is coming out of retirement to join the Skeeters, a pro team in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, on a three-day contract.

The rationale for the three-time Gold Glove Award-winning first baseman making his return to the diamond? Palmeiro wants to play out the final three games of the Skeeters season alongside his eldest son Patrick, an infielder for the team.

The Skeeters, who are managed by fellow MLB great Gary Gaetti, announced the signing of the elder Palmeiro in a press release on Thursday.

“We discussed me playing earlier this year and it’s something I’ve looked forward to since then,” said Rafael in the release. “The chance to play with my son is an opportunity the Skeeters have offered me and I’m very excited to make it happen this weekend.”

Palmeiro had a phenomenal 20-year career in the MLB, holding a lifetime batting average of .288 as well as membership in the 500 home run club and the 3,000 hit club (one of only five players ever to be in both). His legacy was tarnished, however, by allegations of performance-enhancing drugs. Palmeiro tested positive for anabolic steroids in August 2005 and was mentioned in the Mitchell Report in 2007, both of which occurred after his notorious Congressional finger wag in March 2005.

Hopefully, his family affair over the weekend helps creates a better final memory for Palmeiro on the baseball field.

H/T theScore

Official who was suspicious of Jim McNally told some lies of his own

Mark-Baltz

Former NFL head linesman Mark Baltz took aim at New England Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally in a recent interview, accusing McNally of “suspicious behavior” and revealing that he reported him to the league for it several years ago.

But was Baltz being completely truthful while ripping McNally?

Baltz, who was an NFL official from 1989-2013, claims McNally is the only equipment manager he ever remembers asking to get his hands on game balls 10 to 15 minutes before game time as opposed to two minutes, which is when they are supposed to be taken out of the officials locker room. Baltz said he worked “10 to 15 games” in Foxboro and McNally asked him for the balls early the “first few times” but eventually stopped because he realized Baltz was not going to hand them over.

As Michael Hurley of CBS Boston notes, a search on Pro Football Reference revealed that Baltz actually worked six games in Foxboro during his officiating career from 1999 on. Tom Brady was the starting quarterback for the Patriots in four of those games. In addition, a February report from ESPN states that McNally became the officials locker room attendant in 2008. If that’s true, Baltz worked just three games in New England in which Brady was the starting QB and McNally was the officials locker room attendant.

Hurley’s research also revealed that Baltz most often worked with NFL official Bill Leavy, who was the referee last year in Week 7 when the game balls used by the Patriots were allegedly inflated to 16 psi. If you remember, Brady claims he never thought about the actual air pressure inside a ball until they were grossly over inflated that game.

That could be a coincidence, but it could also be that Baltz and Leavy suspected McNally and the Patriots were up to something and were determined to not allow them to get away with it. If that’s the case, it also means the NFL ignored their suspicions and allowed them to deal with the concerns on their own.

(more…)

Tyreke Evans: Pelicans ‘right there’ with defending champion Warriors

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One of my all-time favorite quotes from Breaking Bad came from the great Mike Ehrmantraut, who famously told Walter White, “Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.”

Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans should probably heed Mike’s words, albeit with a bit more of an applicable interpretation: “Just because you hired the offensive guru of the Golden State Warriors, don’t make you the Golden State Warriors.”

In an interview with Adi Joseph of the Sporting News on Thursday, Evans stated his belief that the Pelicans, who tabbed Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry to be their head coach this offseason, can realistically contend for a championship in 2015-16.

I don’t see why we can’t do it,” the former Rookie of the Year said. “We have a great team. I don’t see our team any different from the Warriors. I think we’re right there, even though this is going to be our first year with Coach Gentry. If we push each other and work hard, we can make that next step. It’s not going to be easy, but I think we have that chance.”

Evans went on to advocate for the team being at their best when they push the pace and run an up-tempo style of play. “We’re a young team. We need to get up and down,” he said. “The last game of the season, when we played the Spurs, we played an up tempo game. We came out of the gate getting stops and going for baskets. That’s been our best style. Playing like that is going to be good for us. We have a lot of guys with athleticism.”

Well, the Pelicans have more than their fair share of work to do in order to live up to Evans’ lofty appraisal of the team for next season. While the Warriors ranked second in offensive rating last year at 109.7, New Orleans clocked in at ninth with 105.4. The Gentry factor could help close that gap, but more concerning were the discrepancies on the defensive end (Golden State was first by a wide margin in defensive rating at 98.2, while the Pelicans ranked a lowly 22nd with 104.7) and that pace Evans was talking about (the defending champs again a runaway first at 100.69 with New Orleans in a different area code entirely at 93.70, fourth-slowest in the league).

Ousting former head coach Monty Williams in favor of Gentry was a huge step in the right direction. Williams was often criticized for his plodding offensive schemes and his defensive gameplans that placed a heavy emphasis on sending bigs up high to contain pick-and-roll ballhandlers (and giving up tons of points in the paint as a process). Meanwhile, Gentry is famed for his high-octane offenses and has been known to run more balanced defensive sets.

Still, it remains to be seen if the Pelicans have the bodies to compete. They don’t quite have the long, versatile athletes that the Warriors have who can switch all screens and rotate seamlessly to seal off the rim or close out on open shooters (except of course Anthony Davis, the basketball boogeyman who craves the warm blood of the living). New Orleans doesn’t have the shooting to justify such a comparison either. The career outliers of Luke Babbitt (51.3 percent) and Quincy Pondexter (43.3 percent) from deep last season scream regression. Furthermore, the only other above-average three-point shooters on the Pelicans roster (Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Jrue Holiday) combined to miss 84 games last season. Evans was particularly offensive from long-range at 30.4 percent and there’s talk that Holiday could still be extremely limited headed into 2015-16.

Make no mistake, New Orleans should easily contend for a playoff spot in the West next season. They have another year of Anthony Davis developing his ridiculous talents and a head coach in Gentry that finally knows how to utilize those talents and blend them with Evans’ drive-and-kick skills and the rest of the roster’s strengths into a cohesive offensive identity. But after a first round sweep at the hands of the Warriors last April, let’s chill out on the championship contention talk and the Dubs parallels for now, Tyreke.

H/T SLAM Magazine

*Stats courtesy of NBA.com*

Ezekiel Elliott takes pass at Taylor Swift on Twitter

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It looks like Social Media Smoothness 101 with Professor Cardale Jones is beginning to find some enrollees on the Ohio State campus.

After a magical summer that the Buckeyes quarterback spent enchantingly knocking on the Twitter door of MMA megastar Ronda Rousey, now teammate Ezekiel Elliott is following in his footsteps with pop sensation Taylor Swift.

On Thursday, Elliott sent the following tweets to Swift, asking the seven-time Grammy winner to dinner after her show in Columbus, Ohio.

The Archie Griffin Award-winning running back even tried to enlist the help of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in his efforts to secure a date with Swift.

However, as Jones learned after ultimately failing to secure a rendezvous with Rousey, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Elliott as he was swiftly (heh, heh) CB’d by his own mascot, Brutus Buckeye.

Swift has yet to respond to any of the inquiries but nevertheless, it’s a valiant effort by the 20-year-old Elliott. While he might not have a banner to present to her, maybe his 2014-2015 championship ring will do the trick.

Ezekiel Elliott: making big runs both on and off the gridiron.

H/T ESPN

Former NFL official Mark Baltz was always suspicious of Jim McNally

Jim McNally

At least one former NFL official was not surprised at all when he found out that New England Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally was at the center of the Deflategate scandal.

In an interview with WTHR’s Bob Kravitz, Former NFL head linesman Mark Baltz said he specifically remembers McNally always asking to be given the game balls to bring out onto the field before the allowable time.

“He always asked for the footballs way, way before he was supposed to get them,” Baltz said last week. “If he could get them 10 or 15 minutes before he was supposed to get them, instead of the usual two minutes before the game – and there were some crews that let him do that – he would do it. I wouldn’t let him take them early, and I think he eventually figured that out because he stopped asking after a while. I probably did 10 to 15 games up there (in Foxboro, Mass.) and those first few times, he’d always ask. I always thought it was very suspicious. He certainly acted in a suspicious manner.”

Baltz, who was an NFL official from 1989-2013, said he reported McNally to the NFL league office several years ago because he “did things that 31 other locker room attendants don’t do.” Some of those things, according to Baltz, included playing catch with Tom Brady before games and standing next to Bill Belichick on the sideline like an assistant coach.

“Most locker room guys, they sit there and if you need something, they got it for you,” Baltz explained. “When you left the locker room, you’d lock the door and they’d stay right there. The other 31 teams, that’s what they would do. That was his job. But McNally, he was running all around like a chicken with his head cut off. Asking for the balls early.”

Baltz added that he believes McNally did his homework on which officiating crews would allow him access to the game balls early. While he noted he has no proof, he didn’t hold back about his suspicions.

“All I know is, when he got them (the footballs), he would run,” Baltz said. “He would take off. Whether he was going somewhere and letting air out, I’m definitely suspicious, but I don’t know for sure.”

McNally and fellow Patriots equipment manager John Jastremski were reinstated by the NFL earlier this week. Most people believe McNally was guilty of something, especially when you take the nickname he had for himself into consideration. My guess is the Patriots will have him back in some sort of new capacity.

Jason Pierre-Paul hand pictures show damage caused by fireworks

Jason Pierre-Paul

Jason Pierre-Paul was recently spotted out in public with only some small bandages on his hand, and after seeing the photos you will understand why the New York Giants feel he is not yet ready to return to the gridiron.

A series of photos that were obtained by the New York Daily News show the missing digit on Pierre-Paul’s right hand in addition to small bandages on his thumb and middle finger. You can see one of the pictures below:

More than a month ago, a separate set of photos showed Pierre-Paul’s right hand heavily bandaged. The 26-year-old defensive end also recently shared a workout video on social media that briefly showed his hand, but this is the closest look we have gotten to date.

A recent report indicated that Pierre-Paul lost a portion of his thumb in his fireworks accident in addition to his right index finger. That would explain why his thumb is bandaged, though the bandage on his middle finger may be a sign that the damage is worse than he is making it seem.

On Thursday, Pierre-Paul cracked a joke on Twitter that shows he is anxious to get back on the field. However, he has yet to sign his franchise tender with the New York Giants and there have been indications that the team questions whether JPP will be able to play at all in 2016.

Report: Kobe Bryant cleared medically for all basketball activities

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Kobe Bryant is reportedly ready to return to his usual practice routine ahead of schedule.

When Kobe was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff back in January, the hope was that he would need nine months to recover and be ready by the time Los Angeles Lakers training camp rolled around on Sept. 29. According to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, the 37-year-old was recently cleared for all basketball activities by his doctors — roughly one month ahead of schedule.

There has been plenty of speculation as to whether the 2015-2016 NBA season will be Kobe’s last. A lot will depend upon how the Lakers perform and if his body can hold up. While it is certainly a good sign that Bryant has been declared fully healthy ahead of schedule, we can’t forget that he has suffered three consecutive season-ending injuries and played in just 35 games last season and six the year before.

Kobe openly admits that he may only play one more year. He recently said that he needs to make that decision after the season is over, which Bryant is hoping happens a lot later this time around. It would be silly to expect him to play 40 minutes per game and average around 30 points like he did seven-plus years ago, but a healthy Kobe can never be discounted altogether.

Bryant has at least one goal remaining beyond the upcoming season, but he would be wise to take things one day at a time. The Lakers won just 21 games last season, which was the franchise’s worst finish in almost 50 years. A fully healthy Bryant would go a long way toward helping raise that number.

Report: Amari Cooper punched Pacman Jones in the throat

Pacman Jones Amari Cooper

Adam “Pacman” Jones was fined $35,000 by the NFL this week for slamming Oakland Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper’s head into his own helmet last Sunday. As it turns out, Jones may have been retaliating after an earlier cheap shot from Cooper.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Jones slammed Cooper’s head after the whistle because he was angry over Cooper punching him in the throat just before that. A source told PFT that Jones was pursuing the ball and Cooper threw a fist into his throat to prevent him from getting to it.

You can see a video of what was supposedly Pacman retaliating here.

While the alleged throat punch doesn’t justify Pacman’s actions, it would help explain a lot. For starters, Cooper basically defended Jones after the play and said having his head banged into his own helmet is just one of the risks of playing a physical game. Pacman also said earlier this week that he is an emotional person and can’t guarantee he wouldn’t do it again.

Although Jones has a history of getting into trouble and even went after one of his own teammates last season, there’s a chance the NFL took Cooper’s alleged punch into consideration when making a disciplinary ruling.

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