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Thursday, March 30, 2017

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Mets still have ‘several thousand’ tickets available for Opening Day against Braves

Remember the days when an Opening Day game between the Mets and Braves was all you could ask for? Two of the National League’s most exciting teams — even if one of them is a perennial heart breaker — squaring off to signal the official end of winter and the return of our favorite past time. At Shea Stadium, Opening Day sellouts were the norm. The Mets sold out their first two home openers at Citi Field, but unless something changes that streak may end on Thursday.

According to the NY Post, Mets executive vice president of business operations Dave Howard says ‘several thousand’ tickets remain available for New York’s game against Atlanta on Thursday. He remains optimistic that they can still sell out the 41,800-seat stadium, however.

“I think we have got a chance,” Howard said. “Tickets have been selling well, and since Johan (Santana) was announced as our starting pitcher it has given us a surge of energy. We have a shot at selling out. If not, we’ll be close to it.”

Howard says the Mets will need solid sales Tuesday and Wednesday with about 2,000 to 4,000 walk-ups on Thursday in order to sell out. If they don’t, it would be the first time a Mets home opener failed to sell out since 1997. The cheapest ticket for the game right now is $40, which may have to come down if all the seats are going to be filled. #NewYorkMetsProblems

Photo credit: Brian J. Myers-US PRESSWIRE

Jeremy Lin merchandise already on sale, prices slashed at NYC drug store (Picture)

Jeremy Lin may be out for the rest of the season, but he’s in New York for the long haul. Linsanity remains as strong as ever and there will be many a Lin jersey under the tree of Knicks fans this Christmas. No need to slash merchandise prices simply because New York’s favorite new point guard suffered a somewhat serious knee injury, right? Wrong. Apparently a drug store in New York City doesn’t feel that way, as evidenced by the picture you see above that ESPN’s Michele Steele passed along.

That’s 14 cents for Jeremy Lin bumper stickers and 24 cents for peel-and-stick tattoos. Is this drug store hitting the panic button already? Many people believe the Knicks withheld information about Lin’s knee intentionally until after their playoff tickets were sold, even though the team refuted the claim. Perhaps they did it for the good of all stores that sell Lin merchandise.

Chris Singleton says it was either $10,000 on lottery tickets or blow it in the club

As you all know, last week’s Mega Millions jackpot sent everyone into a frenzy. Professional athletes did their part to contribute a solid chunk to the record-setting pot that climbed to a whopping $656 million. Three winning tickets were sold — none of which went to Chris Singleton, Matt Kemp, Michael Huff, or any other athlete who tweeted about the thousands they dropped on the lotto. Despite that, Singleton still believes the $10,000 he spent on Mega Millions tickets was a solid investment.

“Either that or blow it in the club,” Singleton said Monday according to the Washington Post.

And that’s the type of mindset that leads to the tragic tales of professional athletes blowing through their millions of dollars faster than a kid goes through his $15 allowance in a candy store. Singleton has plenty of money to blow, so saving the $10,000 wasn’t an option. At least if you buy lottery tickets you have some chance of turning it into more money.  Poppin’ bottles in the club isn’t exactly an investment. Seems like sound reasoning to me.

Photo credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Man dies from 110-pound cousin’s choke hold at WrestleMania party

Let this story of a 24-year-old Louisiana man dying from his cousin’s choke hold serve as a reminder that when someone begins turning blue, it’s probably time to release.

Stephen A. Arceneaux III of Destrehan, La. died Sunday night at a WrestleMania28 viewing party after being choked out by his cousin. Police say Arcenaux was wrestling with his 14-year-old cousin on an inflatable mattress when he got caught in a rear naked choke. The juvenile, who is 5’6″ and 110 pounds — half the weight of the 220-pound Arceneaux — held the choke for 30 to 40 seconds because Arceneaux reportedly refused to tap out.

We’ll let the New Orleans Times-Picayune take it from here:

But at some point, someone noticed that Arceneaux was turning blue and told the youngster to release the hold. When he did, witnesses realized that Arceneaux had stopped breathing and dialed 911, shortly after 10 p.m.

Arceneaux’s girlfriend tried to revive him with CPR. He was transported to St. Charles Parish Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

You know what the sad thing is? Nobody can make fun of Arceneaux for losing to a 110-pound 14-year-old. Oh yeah, that, and the fact that he died.

via FOXSports.com

Twitter love from fans helped Philip Wheeler choose Raiders in free agency

Linebacker Philip Wheeler agreed to a contract with the Raiders last Friday, a day after visiting them in free agency. He said all the love the fan base showed him on Twitter helped him make his decision.

“It was cool, that kind of helped me and my decision, because it showed me how big of a football city (Oakland) is,” Wheeler told the media Monday, per CSN Bay Area. “I mean, Indianapolis was a pretty good football city, but they didn’t get involved in the media or show us how much they care about the game. I’ve always wanted to play in a football city for a legendary team.”

Wheeler, who has just over 11,000 followers on Twitter, said he added about 2,000 followers since becoming a Raider. Even when he was making his visit to Oakland he was soliciting fan influence. He even tweeted about the love he was feeling last week:

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Kevin Durant calls out Skip Bayless: ‘That guy doesn’t know a thing about basketball’

Kevin Durant called out resident ESPN antagonist Skip Bayless for his lack of basketball knowledge Monday. Responding to the clown’s apparent comments that Russell Westbrook shoots too much for the Thunder (don’t ask me, I don’t pay any attention to anything he says), Durant said “That guy doesn’t know a thing about basketball.”

The criticism of Russell Westbrook has been persistent since the playoffs last year when many media members/wanna-be critics watched the Thunder play for the first time. They were horrified by what they saw — that Westbrook is a playmaking point guard who tries to score rather than distribute — and began hammering him mercilessly. Apparently the complaints have continued for brainless Bayless, who gets paid big money to play the role of the outrageous antagonist for ESPN, even though the Thunder have the best record in the conference and second-best record in the league.

Oklahoma City is 20-4 when Westbrook takes more shots than Durant and they’ve won those games by 12.4 points on average.

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Knicks call report they withheld Jeremy Lin surgery news an extortion attempt

The Knicks responded to a damaging report from the New York Daily News by calling it an extortion attempt from the paper. The Daily News reported Monday that the Knicks withheld information about Jeremy Lin needing surgery on his knee until after the deadline for season ticket holders to purchase playoff tickets for all four rounds.

We wouldn’t put anything past the Knicks, but the report seemed like a stretch. The Knicks don’t have trouble selling out playoff games, so what motivation would they have to get more money up front? Do they really stand to profit that much from one month of interest? I can’t imagine that was their reason.

In reality, Lin, like any competitive player, didn’t want to commit to surgery that would likely end his season without exploring all options first. He saw several doctors, tested the knee well after the Wednesday playoff ticket deadline, and ultimately decided surgery was his best option. I think that’s the reason the announcement was delayed. What team tries bragging about devastating injury news? None of them do.

LBS called the Knicks around 4:00 p.m. ET Monday and they had no response to the report. A few hours later, both Madison Square Garden (MSG) and Cablevision sent statements blasting the Daily News.

Here are their statements, via IamaGM.com:

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Kenny Smith wouldn’t be surprised if Thunder lost in first round of playoffs

Many people are picking the Oklahoma City Thunder to reach the NBA Finals — and possibly win the NBA title — but TNT/CBS analyst Kenny Smith is not sold on them. Smith sees some weaknesses with the Thunder and would not be surprised if they lost early in the postseason. LBS spoke with The Jet who was touring on behalf of Coke Zero to promote their Enjoy More Madness program. Fans can gain unique codes from Coke Zero products – as well as from the Watch & Score Instant Win Game – entering these codes through their My Coke Rewards account at Enjoy More Madness. We talked about how Kentucky would do against an NBA team, about some of the issues facing the Orlando Magic, and how he would handle Andrew Bynum. He had some really good opinions, so you should definitely read the whole thing, especially his thoughts on the Magic partying in New York City.

So why is Smith worried about the Thunder?

“The West is wide open. If Oklahoma City won it or lost in the first round, I might not be surprised,” Smith told LBS. “I just think their youth … they’re talented but they’re still inexperienced in certain areas. Because of their inexperience, it wouldn’t surprise me if they lost to a lower seed.”

When reminded that the Thunder made it to the Western Conference Finals last season, Smith said he still has some concerns.

“I was a little surprised the way they handled the adversity last year with the whole Russell Westbrook stuff. If they can get over that, then they’re the team to beat in the West,” Smith believes, “but the way they handled that wasn’t beneficial. That’s going to show its head again. There is going to be a game where he takes a lot of shots and people say ‘he shot too much,’ and I don’t think they handled that well.”

Whoever comes out of the Western Conference will likely face the Heat, Smith thinks.

“I still like Miami. Even though Chicago is probably the best team collectively, I think the individual talents of Miami are still too great, and they still play as a team.”

We talked about whether Kentucky could beat an NBA team the way so many informed people, including his colleague Charles Barkley, believe. He tried to put that talk to rest.

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Tim Tebow could be used on special teams with the Jets

When Rex Ryan said that the Jets planned to use Tim Tebow for around 20 snaps a game, many of us were thinking of the wildcat formation and the spread offense. That will likely be the case most of the time, but what if some of those snaps weren’t even on offense? According to Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column, the Jets are not opposed to using Tebow on special teams.

It is possible that the Jets could use Tebow as the personal protector on the punt team, which would leave open the opportunity that New York could snap it to him and fake a punt. We all know Tebow is an effective runner, but he also has the power needed to block or make a tackle. He could conceivably add another element to the Jets’ punt team, as opponents could never be sure of how Tebow is going to be utilized.

Of course, a couple of unsuccessful fake punts or a Tebow injury as a result of throwing a block could change the Jets’ plans. The point is Ryan and company want Tebow to touch the ball and have a chance to make plays. If those opportunities come on offense and he has success, they’ll continue to roll with it. If it means Tebow throws a few blocks and improves New York’s special teams, he’ll be willing to do that. One thing you can’t deny about Tebow is that he simply wants to win. Perhaps the Jets will surprise everyone and come up with creative ways to let their new backup help them do just that.

Amani Toomer doesn’t think Mark Sanchez will start the entire season

With the 2012 NFL season a full five months away, people are already speculating about how the quarterback situation in New York will shake out. Now that the Jets have added Tim Tebow to the mix, you have to wonder if Mark Sanchez will be on the shortest leash of his career when the season begins. If Sanchez struggles, the Jets have a backup waiting who has won games at the NFL level. It doesn’t hurt that Tebow is a marketing machine. With that in mind, it is fair to wonder if Sanchez will make it through the entire season as New York’s starter. Amani Toomer doesn’t see it happening.

“I don’t see Sanchez being the starter for the entire season,” Toomer told reporters Monday according to the NY Daily News. “(Sanchez) is not a great quarterback. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that.”

For someone who has led his team to two AFC Championships in his three seasons as a starter, Sanchez takes a lot of heat. That being said, Toomer is right. Sanchez is not a great quarterback and I don’t think any of the Jets coaches would argue that he is. Not to mention, Tebow isn’t only going to be utilized as a backup. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano plan to give him the ball up to 20 times a game`.

What happens if those 20 snaps are highly successful? The Jets plan to use both quarterbacks, but if the offense is clicking with Tebow on the field it’s only a matter of time before Sanchez is watching from the sidelines. If you believe Urban Meyer, you shouldn’t be surprised if Tebow takes the starting job from Sanchez at some point.

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