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Sunday, March 26, 2017

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Hunter Pence’s broken bat sold for $400, and is named ‘Fryer’ (Update)

Two days after Hunter Pence delivered a key double to help the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS, his legendary broken bat is still a popular topic of conversation.

Pence’s bat splintered during a third-inning double he hit off Joe Kelly to drive in three runs. The slow-motion replay showed that the ball actually hit off Pence’s bat three times, which is what gave it the odd spin to curve away from Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma.

The broken bat will likely be remembered in Giants history similar to the way Curt Schilling’s bloody sock is a prop strongly associated with the Boston Red Sox’s postseason run in 2004. Such a valuable piece of memorabilia must have cost thousands of dollars, right? Wrong.

CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly reports that Hunter Pence’s broken bat sold for a mere $400 on Monday night. In an apparent oversight, the bat ended up at the “From the Clubhouse” game-used merchandise stall behind Section 119 at AT&T Park, Baggarly reports.

Some lucky fan made out with a great souvenir for not too much money relative to the item’s value.

Pence also revealed that the bat that was broken in Game 7 is named “Fryer.”

“I name all my bats,” Pence told reporters on Tuesday. “Whatever word comes to mind, I write it on them.”

RIP, Fryer. Giants fans are certainly hoping his next bat will bring him as much success.

UPDATE: The fan who purchased the bat gave it back to Pence in exchange for an autographed bat. The team also gave him tickets for a luxury suite for Game 1 of the World Series.

The fan purchased the ball Pence hit (for $150) along with the broken bat, so at least he still has one collectible item from the historic event.

LaRon Landry: ‘I’m not going to stop hitting or head hunting’

Reggie Bush was injured at the hands of the New York Jets earlier this year, and LaRon Landry does not feel the slightest bit of remorse about it. Landry and Sione Po’uha combined on the hit that fortunately caused only a minor injury to Bush’s left knee, and Landry said he is confident it will be in the back of the Dolphins running back’s mind and make him gun shy in the future.

“He will remember that hit,” Landry said Wednesday according to Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News. “Every time he sees me, he will remember that hit. Just watch the way he runs on Sunday. I’m not going to overtalk it or make it a story.”

Prior to their first meeting, Rex Ryan mentioned that the Jets need to “throw some hot sauce” on Bush because he had been running so well. After Bush hurt his knee, Calvin Pace made some questionable comments that had some wondering if the Jets were trying to injure him. That led to Bush saying Darrelle Revis’ season-ending knee injury was karma, and now the mystery is whether or not New York will retaliate on Sunday.

If it comes down to a situation where Landry meets Bush in the open field, it doesn’t sound like he intends to show any mercy.

“If I get penalized, I’m not going to stop hitting or head hunting,” Landry said when asked about his aggressive style of play. “I’m not going to stop the way I play.”

Not exactly the type of comments Roger Goodell’s wants to hear from the NFL’s defensive players. It’s one thing to say you won’t change the way you play to accomodate the new rules, but calling yourself a head hunter is never a bright idea. By making these comments, Landry is simply forcing the refs to keep a close eye on him this weekend.

11-year-old Donte Cano gave NFL idea to use pink flags for Dolphins-Jets game

With this weekend marking the final round of games during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NFL has decided to do something it has never done before. Referees will trade their yellow penalty flags for pink ones during the game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. It’s a great new idea, and the fact that it was the brainchild of an 11-year-old boy makes it even better.

Cano sent a hand-written letter (pictured on the right) to Roger Goodell proposing the idea.

“My name is Dante Cano. I am 11 years old and I am from Marlboro, New Jersey,” the boy wrote. “I wanted to know if you could use my idea of pink penalty flags in October for breast cancer awareness. Please write back.”

Goodell loved the idea and has invited Cano and his family to MetLife Stadium to present the pink flags to the officiating crew before the start of the game.

“Dante had a great idea and I am looking forward to meeting with him on Sunday to put it into action,” Goodell said in a statement on Wednesday. “Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the best. I applaud Dante for sending in his recommendation.”

After hearing that the NFL’s effort to raise awareness for breast cancer literally saved a woman’s life, I’m of the opinion that they really can’t do too much with it. It’s great to see an 11-year-old taking that type of initiative.

Giants players rip DeAngelo Hall for not giving Eli Manning credit on game-winner

When Eli Manning connected with Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown that gave the New York Giants and comeback win over the Washington Redskins, DeAngelo Hall was not impressed. Rather than seeing it as another tremendous fourth-quarter comeback from a resilient Giants team, Hall saw it as a gift from his team.

“Ultimately he did because he made the play to beat us, but I don’t feel like he made that play,” Hall told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. “I feel we gave him that play. We just had one guy set his feet and one guy not do this. I could have thrown that ball and he would have scored. It wasn’t something where he was a rocket scientist and he figured something out. We just played that as bad as possible.”

You don’t have to look at the play all that closely to know that it was terrible coverage, so in a way you can see what Hall is referring to. That being said, the Giants and Manning still had to call the right play based on the defense they saw and then execute it. That’s why some New York players feel that Hall’s comments were disrespectful.

“DeAngelo Hall is not that smart,” Justin tuck said according to Ralph Vacchiano of the NY Daily News.

USA TODAY’s Mike Garafolo said Victor Cruz called Hall’s comments “a little disrespectful” and Manning even stepped out of character a bit and fired back at the Redskins corner.

“I didn’t think it took a rocket scientist to figure it out either,” Manning said. “That was the coverage they messed up. As an offense, you have to take advantage of that.”

The “we beat ourselves” excuse is one of the lamest in sports, and one that the Giants have heard before on numerous occasions. Hall is also known for having a big mouth, so it doesn’t surprise me that he tried to take credit away from his division rivals. All that matters is the Giants got one in the win column and Washington took a loss. Whether Hall feels they earned it or not really isn’t relevant.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Kevin Durant: Derrick Rose will come back from surgery even better

No one really knows what to expect from Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose when he eventually returns after rehabbing his surgically repaired ACL. Rose could be out until February or beyond, meaning the Bulls will have to start the season the same way they ended their last one — without their best player.

When he does eventually return, you have to wonder if Rose will be the same dominant force he was pre-injury. Kevin Durant doesn’t envision it being a problem.

“I know he’s going to get back stronger and better,” Durant said Tuesday night according to The Oklahoman. “I’ve been praying for him, of course. And I’ve been watching the (workout) videos online, so I’m sure he’s going to have a really, really nice comeback here for the Bulls and be at full strength.

“I think he’ll be better. With all that weight training he’s doing, strengthening his body and his core, he’s doing everything he needs to do.”

Rose is only 24 years old and is the future of the Bulls, so the team would gain nothing from rushing him back. We know the injury has been incredibly hard on Rose, as was evident when he compared it to being close to dying over the summer. If anyone can come back stronger than ever from such an injury, Rose would be the guy to do it. Here’s hoping Durant’s prediction is right for the sake of the NBA.

Aaron Rodgers: College professor gave me an ‘F’, laughed at thought of NFL career

Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers fans can thank one of Aaron Rodgers’ college professors at Cal for helping to provide them with arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. The job of a college professor is to educate and prepare their students for the future, not try to discourage them from fulfilling their lifelong goals. On his weekly radio appearance with ESPN Milwaukee on Tuesday (via SportsRapport.com), Rodgers told a story about a professor who did just that.

Rodgers, who reminded people that he was second-team all-academic while at UC Berkeley, said the professor ripped him apart for not citing a source properly. She gave him an “F” and a lecture about how athletes always expect everything to be handed to them.

“To get to the best part of the story, she’s looking at me, condescending, talking down to me,” Rodgers explained. “And she says, ‘What do you want to do with yourself?’

“I said, ‘I want to play in the NFL.’

“She laughed. She laughed at me. It was a condescending laugh and she said, ‘You’ll never make it. You’ll get hurt. You’ll need your education, and you’re not gonna make it through school here.’

“I said, ‘OK. I don’t agree with any of that.'”

Sounds like somebody took a guess and guessed wrong. Most people didn’t expect Rodgers to be as good as he is, but he was drafted in the first round for a reason. The teacher was likely trying to curb his expectations to make them more realistic like my college advisor who told me there are too many people who write about sports in the world, but Rodgers clearly used it to his advantage. Packers nation owes that woman a “thank you.” As Rodgers showed us in this postgame interview, he still enjoys silencing the doubters.

H/T The Big Lead
Photo credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Emeka Okafor was too tall to ride a roller coaster at Six Flags (Pictures)

And now, we bring you the sad story of a very tall man. Emeka Okafor and his Washington Wizards teammates recently took a trip to Six Flags. I’m guessing many of you can relate to the feeling of being told you can’t ride a roller coaster because you are too short. Whether it was at age 6, 7, 10 or maybe last year, most of us have been there at some point. Being too tall to ride is a bit more rare, but Okafor knows how that feels.

As you can see from the photos above that Deadspin shared with us, Okafor was all set to ride Superman: Ride of Steel when an employee stepped in and asked to check his height. The 6-foot-10 center was well within the red area of the measuring stick, meaning it would not be safe for him to ride.

Being nearly 7-feet tall may have contributed to Okafor becoming a multimillionaire, but it has its downfalls at theme parks. If this photo is any indication, LaMichael James would likely tell him he’s not missing much.

Kris Jenkins: Cam Newton is a pr**k, and that’s a good thing

Former Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins has a very strong opinion of Cam Newton. Jenkins believes Newton is a “pr**ck,” but he means it in the best way possible.

During the Week 7 edition of CBS Local Sports’ “Cover 3” segment, where experts discuss three different topics for two minutes each, Jenkins was asked to discuss whether or not Newton should be benched.

“I like his press conferences,” Jenkins said. “He’s a pr**k. You know what, let’s be clear with it — Cam is a pr**k. But that’s what you want on a football team. How many old school gladiators do we talk about? (People say) the game is getting artistic and it’s not as tough as it used to be. Everybody’s not concerned with (being a) blowhard with the media.”

When the topic of Newton calling a female reporter “sweetheart” came up, Jenkins was quick to say that he doesn’t feel like it was that big of a deal.

“The dude feel’s like he’s charming,” Jenkins said. “He is attractive for a guy. Do ya’ll want him to go out there and act ugly because he’s not winning right now? He can’t. He can’t do that. He can’t (return) the Heisman Trophy. He can’t give that stuff back.”

Calling a female reporter “sweetheart” is disrespectful no matter how you look at it, so I’m not sure what him winning the Heisman or being attractive has to do with it. Not to mention, the sweater he was wearing was an absolutely joke.

It’s better than pulling the race card like this Hall of Famer did, but Jenkins seems to have missed the point here. It would be one thing if Cam gave one-word answers in his press conferences or was simply furious about losing, but the whole end of the world thing has to stop. Leaders should at least be able to pretend they are calm and collected, not put on a show at the podium and sulk in the locker room after games.

Joe Gibbs defends speaking to Cowboys, says it was about religion

Legendary former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs spoke to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday before their win over the Carolina Panthers, and as you can expect it did not sit well with some of the fans in the nation’s capital. The Cowboys are arguably the Redskins’ biggest rival, so many fans were baffled that Gibbs would agree to give them a pep talk. Gibbs insists that’s not what it was about.

In an appearance on ESPN 890’s “Inside the Locker Room” earlier this week, Gibbs said the so-called “pep talk” was simply about religion.

“It was a chapel service, and Jonathan Evans and Tony Evans – Tony wrote one of the chapters in my book – and he was on about playing life the way God wants you to play life,” Gibbs explained. “I was there, it was a chapel service, and the guys invited me to the chapel and I gave my testimony.

(more…)

Did Lane Kiffin have a player switch jersey numbers during game to trick opponent?

Lane Kiffin has a job to do at USC, and that’s to win football games. If that means doing something aimed at deceiving your opponent that is technically within the confines of the NCAA rules, Kiffin is open to it. For example, let’s look at his decision to have backup quarterback Cody Kessler change jerseys from No. 6 to No. 35 in the first half against Colorado.

According to the L.A. Times, Kessler played on special teams in the first half wearing jersey No. 35, which is typically worn by punter Kyle Negrete. Kessler nearly ran the ball in for a two-point conversion on one play but a holding penalty brought it back. When asked if Kessler was wearing the number of a punter to try to fool Colorado, Kiffin said very little.

“We change jerseys all the time with our guys,” he said on Tuesday. “We’ll change some more this week. Everything’s within college rules.”

That may not be exactly true. NCAA rules say that multiple players can wear the same jersey number as long as they are not on the field at the same time. However, within a section of the NCAA rulebook called “The Football Code” it clearly states that “changing numbers during the game to deceive the opponent” is illegal and should result in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Obviously it is extremely difficult to prove whether or not a coach intended to deceive an opponent. It’s a mere judgment call from the officials, so you can understand why they might be hesitant to call it. Had Kessler not attempted a two-point conversion, it might be easier to believe that Kiffin was not trying to fool Colorado. We all know a mobile backup quarterback wearing a punter’s number and attempting to run the ball is no coincidence.

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