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Friday, May 26, 2017

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Tim Lincecum could be pitching for his place in the rotation

2012 has not been a fun year for Tim Lincecum. Entering Saturday, he’s posted a 3-10 record and his ERA has ballooned to 6.42. Totally uncharacteristic stats from the two-time Cy Young winner. Those are even worse numbers than the ones being put up by the Giants’ perennial barometer for mediocre-at-best pitching, Barry Zito.

Lincecum’s struggles go back to last season, when he put up less-than-stellar numbers. But Giants skipper Bruce Bochy could finally be saying enough’s enough, meaning the one-time Giants ace could be pitching to keep his spot in the starting rotation. Here’s Giants beat reporter Alex Pavlovic:

Bochy was asked if it’s possible the Giants could skip Tim Lincecum’s second start of the second half if his first one goes poorly. For the first time, Bochy didn’t exactly shoot down the suggestion.

“I don’t want to put added pressure on him,” Bochy said. “But you have to do what’s right.” […]

By all indications Thursday, Lincecum needs a decent start on Saturday to keep his spot in the rotation.

Luckily for Big Time Timmy Jim, he’s facing the Astros, who statistically have one of worst lineups this season. And if Lincecum gets rocked again? The Giants could seriously consider demoting him to either the bullpen or Triple A. For a two-time Cy Young winner who’s barely 28! Either way, he’d probably be replaced in the rotation by … Brad Penny. Oof. Talk about adding insult to injury for Timmy.

Superstitious types would suggest Lincecum cut that trademark long dirty mop of hair. But that already blew up in his face this season. Perhaps next he should attempt to grow a mustache, because if nothing else, it would look hilarious on him.

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Bobby Valentine reportedly losing support of Red Sox players

The Bobby Valentine hiring by the Red Sox seemed like a bad idea from the start. Last November, days after it was reported that the Sox were hiring the former ESPN analyst to replace Terry Francona, a report came out saying players were unhappy with the hiring. Valentine took a shot at Terry Francona in February, and by March he already reportedly was in his first big power struggle. This is all before the season began, mind you.

Valentine then called out Kevin Youkilis early in the season and he lost some of the respected vets because of it. And on Thursday night, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston wrote a report detailing some of the supposed dysfunction within the Red Sox organization and the dislike many players have for Valentine.

Edes mentions a bullpen coach that has little communication with Valentine, and he says Adrian Gonzalez and a few others don’t communicate with the manager much.

One player told Edes that Valentine doesn’t have the support of “anyone” in the clubhouse, but another player reportedly has “come around” on the manager.

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Joe Johnson: Nets are best team in New York

The Brooklyn Nets have been in existence for all of a whopping two and a half months, but that’s all it took for them to declare dominance in the state.

“Definitely Nets,” new acquisition Joe Johnson said when asked which basketball team was the best in New York, according to the New York Daily News. “Brooklyn Nets.”

Johnson was set up by the question and was speaking at a pep rally, so his answer was predictable. At least he didn’t get as boastful as the Miami Heat during their “Three Kings” intro party (not one, not two, not three …). And at least Johnson didn’t get as carried away as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who really brought out the comparative crap talking.

“For nearly 40 years the Manhattan Knicks have shown they can’t bring a championship to New York, so it’s going to take the Brooklyn Nets to get the job done,” Markowitz said. “So move over Manhattan — enough air balls. You had your chance.”

That’s about as strong of a burn as the one from the New Jersey governor who went off on the Nets for leaving the state.

The Knicks made a few moves including signing Jason Kidd and acquiring Marcus Camby, so they should be a playoff team again. The Nets are a better team on paper and should finish with a better record, but I’d be surprised if either team advanced past the second round of the playoffs. Still, it will be fun to watch the teams trade zingers over the years, with the New York tabloids providing a play-by-play and hyping up every angle.

Ozzie Guillen’s speech before Marlins’ first game was an F-bomb festival

Season 2 of “The Franchise” on Showtime debuted last Wednesday and I finally got a chance to watch the first episode. The show is following the Miami Marlins this season after covering the San Francisco Giants last year. All things considered, their choice to follow the Marlins was an excellent one; the team just moved into a new park, rebranded, got new colors and uniforms, and signed a bunch of high-priced free agents in the offseason. Oh yeah, and they also signed the game’s most colorful manager — Ozzie Guillen.

I’ve said before that you could stick a camera on Ozzie for every hour of the day and I’d watch that show. We don’t quite have Ozzie 24/7, but this is close enough. And it didn’t take long for Guillen to make his presence felt on the show.

The speech Ozzie delivered to his team before their first game of the season was about as profanity-laced as it gets. The cuss words he used have not been edited out to preserve the authenticity of his speech. Proceed if you don’t mind reading the F-word every sentence. (language NSFW)

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Magic Johnson weighs in on Dream Team debate: We ‘had too many winners’ to lose

Kobe Bryant spoke. And the Dream Team has scoffed in response.

Following the trend already established by his 1992 Olympic teammates, Magic Johnson became the latest Dream Team member (and human being) to decry Kobe’s much-discussed comments that the current Olympic team would beat the legendary 1992 Olympic basketball team.

Magic sent out these tweets on Thursday:

By comparison, if you’re keeping score at home, the 2012 squad has zero hall-of-famers (so far), seven NBA titles (so far) and definitely does not have Michael Jordan.

Whoa. Magic might be selling the 2012 team way short with that one. That’s the kind of tweet the current squad’s players, if they were smart, would take as disrespect and use as “bulletin board material” in preparation for this hypothetical game we all want to see.

Magic joins the likes of other notable Dream Teamers Jordan, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen in deriding Kobe’s remarks. You’d think Kobe talked trash about their mothers, the way they seemed so insulted. That’s perhaps why Larry Bird’s tongue-in-cheek response was so perfect.

Note: This post also appeared on Fox Sports’s Medal Detector blog

Bryce Harper garden gnome looks nothing like Bryce Harper (Picture)

The Hagerstown Suns, a Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are honoring former franchise star Bryce Harper with a garden gnome giveaway next month, but if I’m Harper, I’d have mixed feelings about the giveaway.

The image above shows the gnome the team is planning to give away to the first 1,000 fans in attendance for their August 4 game. As you can see, the gnome looks a lot more like Rich Garces than anything else.

I mean seriously, look at that thing. If I asked you to guess which baseball player it resembled I bet you wouldn’t name Bryce Harper even if I gave you 50 guesses.

What did they think? “Hey, let’s just make a generic gnome, slap some eye black and the number 34 on it, and we can call it a Bryce Harper gnome.” This was even more embarrassing than the Tom Brady doll that looked nothing like Tom Brady.

If you want to know what a garden gnome giveaway is supposed to look like, take a look at this bearded Brian Wilson one. That’s how it’s supposed to be done. But hey, at least we applaud the Suns for their effort.

Photo via Hagerstown Suns
H/T D.C. Sports Bog

Powerade trolls Celtics fans with billboard in Boston congratulating LeBron James

LeBron James single-handedly eliminated the Celtics in the conference finals. His team snatched away formerly beloved Celtics player Ray Allen in free agency. Is there any other way LeBron can torture Celtics fans this year? How about Powerade plopping down a billboard in the Boston area congratulating its star endorser on his first NBA title?

The billboard, which greets traffic traveling on I-93, reads, “Congrats LeBron. A championship has a nice ring to it,” inscribed next to an image of the Finals MVP smiling. Even worse: it sits only a few miles away from TD Garden.

Boston just became a Gatorade-only city.

Photo via Facebook

Joe Paterno merchandise reportedly still in demand in State College

Despite the minefield of ugly findings made public Thursday after the Freeh investigation into the Penn State scandal, Joe Paterno merchandise continues to sit prominently in many State College, Pa., shops. And, if sales meant anything, they’d suggest that Paterno is still a popular and beloved figure in the Penn State community.

Here’s The Daily Collegian:

[T]oday in downtown State College, “JoePa” shirts hung on sale racks lining the sidewalks, cardboard cutouts stood in storefront windows and photographs of the former head coach running onto the field lined the walls of shops.

Despite controversy, many stores continue selling their stock of Joe Paterno merchandise. […] Although a decrease in demand for Paterno merchandise could happen, some feel that there will still be a market for it in the future.

“We are going to continue selling Paterno merchandise as long as there is a demand for it and we continue seeing a demand for it,” one store manager said.

“Paterno is the legend here, a lot of people admire him and he was a very good coach and a great person,” one store owner added. “As long as [the artist] will make the pillows, we will sell them.”

Since the Freeh Report’s release, much debate has arisen on whether the university should remove the Paterno statue outside of Beaver Stadium. But how can Penn State expect the removal of the statue going over smoothly in the community if people are still buying frivolous T-shirts and pillows of the man?

H/T Sports by Brooks Live

Hope Solo speaks openly on sex and debauchery in the Olympic Village

Some stories have managed to get out to the public realm, but, largely, the legendary amount of hooking up that takes place in the Olympic Village each Olympiad has been one of the better-kept secrets of the Games.

However, a tremendous, new ESPN The Magazine story is doing its part to blow the lid wide off on the frat house-like atmosphere of the swanky digs Olympians call home for two-plus weeks. In tremendous and shocking detail, too, thanks to several candid former and current Olympians.

One of the athletes who spoke openly about their wild experiences at the Olympic Village is massively popular U.S. women’s soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo, who won gold four years ago in Beijing and has already had made her share of headlines this week.

“There’s a lot of sex going on,” Solo said. So much, in fact, that U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte estimates that “70 percent to 75 percent of Olympians” engage in what Bill Clinton would call “sexual relations.”

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D.J. Williams allegedly gave non-human urine samples to NFL drug testers

Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams, who is facing a six-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, is being accused of attempting to manipulate three NFL drug tests last year by providing the collectors with non-human urine.

Williams has filed court documents because he is challenging his six-game suspension, and the documents only make him look worse.

According to The Denver Post, Williams provided a urine sample last August before the season began. Half the sample was tested for performance-enhancing substances while the other half was tested as part of the “substances of abuse” program. The performance-enhancing drug testers flagged the sample because:

“The specimen does not contain any endogenous steroids. The profile is not consistent with a normal, healthy male urine specimen.”

Since the substance of abuse test doesn’t check for endogenous steroids, which are present in human urine, his alleged “non-human urine” passed the test.

Williams provided a second urine test in September and toxicologists concluded that the sample did not contain human urine either.

Then in November, Williams dropped a bottle while giving his urine sample, according to a specimen collector. He then kicked the dropped bottle into the locker room because collectors aren’t allowed to go in there. He offered some ridiculous excuse for the dropped bottle and claimed he didn’t intentionally kick it into the locker room.

A federal judge isn’t buying Williams’ excuses and said last month that “subsequent incidents demonstrated [Williams’] ‘common scheme or plan’ to manipulate tests.”

I’d say so. Dude gets popped for failing a drug test, then submits another bogus urine sample, and then he’s caught dropping a bottle that likely contained his fake urine in a third test? What a moron.

Honestly, how dumb can you be? And what does this say about the NFL’s drug testing policy if Williams is challenging just a six-game suspension for trying to manipulate three drug tests?

Maybe if Williams just read Tony Mandarich’s guide to passing a urine test he wouldn’t have had this problem.

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