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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s mother thinks he’s great at driving sh-t cars

Dale-Earnhardt-Jr-Facial-Hair-BetJeff Gordon crossed the finish line first on Sunday for his fifth Brickyard 400 win. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished ninth.

Obviously, Earnhardt would have liked to finished higher, but it wasn’t meant to be.

During times like this it’s always good to receive encouragement from mom, who almost always knows the right thing to say.

After the race, Earnhardt had a conversation with his mother and he was kind enough to tweet a portion of it for us to see.

Dale Earnhardt text mom

Nothing like mom calling it like she sees it.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 14 top-10 finishes this season have him tied with Jeff Gordon for most on the Sprint Cup circuit. Earnhardt’s nine top-5 finishes also put him at the top of the list, tied with Brad Keselowski. Dale Jr. is currently second in points with 693 after 20 starts so it’s safe to say he’s having a pretty good year thus far, in good or bad cars, depending on who you believe.

Astros players resent Mark Appel’s promotion to Double-A

Mark AppelHaving a 9.74 ERA in the minor leagues would usually result in a pitcher being released. In Mark Appel’s case, it led to a promotion. And that has members of the Houston Astros peeved.

Appel, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, was promoted from High-A Lancaster where he was struggling, to Double-A Corpus Christi. He was in Houston Sunday throwing a bullpen session at Minute Maid Park in front of Astros pitching coach Brent Strom. His presence at the park and seemingly undeserved promotion rankled some Astros.

“Unbelievable,” an anonymous Astros player told the Houston Chronicle. “I’m not in a good mood.”

Then there were these tweets from Astros reporter Jose de Jesus Ortiz:

An Astros player compared Appel, who is 2-5 with a 9.74 ERA over 12 starts for Lancaster, with Josh Hader, who is 9-1 with a 2.46 ERA for the Jethawks.

“So now you get rewarded for having an 11 ERA? And you have two guys down there (at Class A Lancaster) with 2 ERAs who can’t get called up?” the player said.

Unlike Appel who was highly touted and highly paid, Hader was a 19th-round pick by the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. He has progressed through the minors slowly despite performing well at every level. He spent his first year in rookie ball and low-A, his second in A-ball and now he’s dominating high-A. If he keeps going this way, he’ll probably end up promoted before too long.

If Appel had been performing so poorly, why did the Astros promote him? He put together his best outing of the season on Thursday in which he allowed five hits and struck out 7 over six scoreless. It’s pretty sad that that was his best outing of the season … and it’s just as bad that that’s all Houston felt it needed to see to promote him. The Astros feel a mechanical adjustment Appel made led to the change.

A few other things to consider about Appel’s struggles are that he had an appendectomy in January and may not have been at full health/strength early in the season. He also had tendinitis in his right thumb. Plus, Houston uses a tandem pitching system in the minors. Rather than have it like a big league club with five pitchers each getting a start in different days, they pair starters together and have both pitch the same game. Since they have four tandems per team, starters are going every fourth day. It’s possible that their system has messed with the routine Appel is used to.

However you look at it, Appel’s promotion does seem premature and undeserved, so the uproar is more than understandable.

LeBron James chooses to wear jersey number 23 with Cavaliers

LeBron James Cavs 23

LeBron James indicated over Instagram recently that he was considering switching jersey numbers from six back to 23 after signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

On Sunday, the 4-time league MVP announced on Instagram that he decided to go with No. 23:

“23 it is! It’s only right I go back. 2·3=6 We still family 6. #HomeTeam #StriveForGreatness”

James wore jersey No. 23 during his entire first stint with the Cavs from 2004-2010, but he decided to switch out of respect to Michael Jordan. Remember when he said this?

I’m somewhat surprised LeBron chose to go back to 23. You figure he’d want to have a unique number rather than a ripoff of MJ, but since his whole theme this month has been about a homecoming, it makes sense that he went back to his original number. He also did a big favor to all the fans who didn’t burn his jersey after he left; now they get to break them out again.

Daniel Bryan stopped burglar at his home with rear naked choke

Daniel Bryan Brie Bella

Daniel Bryan is the people’s champion for good reason: he is a badass.

Bryan thwarted a robbery attempt at his home by chasing away two burglars on Thursday and catching one of them.

Bryan and wife Brie Bella were coming home after Brie picked her husband up from the airport. Upon arriving at their home, they saw a door open inside and were concerned. Brie went inside to check on their dog, Josie, while Bryan spotted the men trying to flee out the back door and chased them. He successfully caught up to them and subdued one of the burglars — 22-year-old Cesar Sosa — using a rear naked choke hold.

“Fortunately he wasn’t in very good shape, so it didn’t take much. I put him in a rear naked choke. I didn’t want to hurt him, I just wanted to make sure he was subdued until the police could come,” Bryan said. “It took zero effort to take him down. Zero effort to put him in a rear naked choke.”

Sosa also had a felony warrant for burglary and kidnapping.

Bryan also says a neighbor called the police to report suspicious activity around the time of the robbery attempt.

[Related: MMA champ Jon Jones subdued robber before his fight]

“I got really angry at first,” Bryan said at a press conference. “You’d rather they steal your car than break into your home where it’s an invasion.”

Did the burglar recognize Bryan?

“I don’t think he’s a wrestling fan, no.

“We consider ourselves, given the circumstances, very fortunate people.”

Photo: Twitter/Daniel Bryan

Charles Barkley not friends with Tiger Woods anymore

Charles BarkleyOne of the odder friendships of the sporting world has ended, sadly.

Charles Barkley says he and Tiger Woods are no longer friends despite being fairly close during Woods’ run as a top golfer.

Barkley was co-hosting with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly on Friday and was asked by a caller if he’s still friends with Tiger.

“We’re not friends anymore,” Barkley answered.

Missanelli, who says he does not like Tiger, believes the golfer removes himself from society. Barkley then gave some insight about Tiger’s personality.

“Well I think that when you’re as great as he has been, and this probably is a negative at some point, like he was so consumed with being the greatest golfer ever, he wasn’t a very sociable guy. Even when was a friend of mine, he wasn’t a very sociable guy. He just had a one-track mind. He just wanted to break Jack Nicklaus’ record.”

[Previously - Charles Barkley: I wish I could put some of my blackness in Tiger Woods]

Barkley then explained what he thinks Tiger needs to consider.

“Golf is just a game. Your life don’t suck. … But I think when you put yourself in that situation where your whole life revolves around how you’re doing on a golf course, you’re gonna develop a negative attitude to a certain degree, instead of saying, ‘I’ve actually got it pretty good.’ It’s like people who say I never won a championship. I understand that. I accept that. But it ain’t like I’m sitting around saying, ‘Oh my God, my life sucks. This is so miserable.”

The friendship between Barkley and Tiger may have ended in 2009, around the time of Tiger’s sex scandal. In 2011, Chuck told Mike Lupica that he hadn’t spoken with Tiger in two years.

“You think you’re friends with a guy. You talk to him once a week for 15 years. You’re like, this dude is my friend, we do things, we have fun together,” Barkley said at the time. “I haven’t talked to him in two years and I’m wondering what the hell is going on.”

Barkley also dismissed the notion that he and Michael Jordan corrupted Tiger, saying that they had no idea Woods was cheating on his wife.

It may be old news that the two are no longer friends, but these comments sure were interesting. Now, whenever a Tiger fan laments his struggles since the sex scandal, you need to say that he’s not only missing all the women, but his good pals Chuck and MJ.

Transcription via Golf Channel

Browns reportedly ‘alarmed’ by Johnny Manziel’s behavior, alleged cocaine picture

Johnny Manziel rolling bill bathroom money

The Cleveland Browns have been “alarmed” by some of Johnny Manziel’s behavior and the rookie is losing ground in the starting quarterback race, according to a report.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Northeast Ohio Media Group says the Browns feel deceived by Manziel, who told them he would leave behind his frat-boy ways from college if the team drafted him. Instead, he’s been out partying frequently since being drafted, spending weekends in Las Vegas, LA, Houston and other cities.

Cabot says the photo of Manziel with a rolled-up bill in a Las Vegas bathroom — a photo that implies potential cocaine use — is just one thing that has the team concerned. But that’s not the only reason the Browns are supposedly worried.

Here’s what Cabot writes:

Manziel regressed in practice after the first week of organized team activities, and some in the organization attributed it to too much jet-setting and not enough dedication to the playbook.

Team officials had bought into Manziel’s pre-draft promises to tone down the partying and leave his frat-boy lifestyle back in College Station, Texas, and they’ve been stunned by his non-stop antics, sources said.

Manziel has stood up to some of the criticism about him traveling/partying by saying he could study his playbook while also enjoying himself. Some with the Browns apparently feel otherwise.

[Related - Mike Pettine: I told Johnny Manziel to have fun in Las Vegas]

Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine has plans to announce a starting quarterback by Week 3 of the preseason. Brian Hoyer will end up being the starter in all likelihood; Pettine has said Hoyer is the team’s starter for now.

Though the Browns have concerns about Manziel’s behavior, the rookie supposedly has been working hard. He’s been working out and practicing with his private quarterback coach George Whitfield, according to Cabot’s report. There is also the belief that he will be more focused and plugged-in now that camp has started.

I find the timing of this report extremely interesting. The Browns went from supporting Manziel and defending his behavior to now saying Hoyer is the starter. Is it possible they also let this story out because they’re trying to scare Manziel straight? It’s not a stretch for me to believe that could be the case.

Lil Wayne becoming sports manager and Cristiano Ronaldo will be his first client

Lil Wayne Jimmy KimmelLil Wayne is following in the footsteps of Jay-Z and starting his own sports management company. According to TMZ, the first client Weezy is adding to his roster is a big one. Some of you know him as Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo and Lil Wayne are apparently friends, and Wayne has wanted to get into the sports management business for a while. His company will be affiliated with PolarisSports, which is a division of the well-known CAA agency. Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes is a part of CAA.

TMZ reports that Lil Wayne’s new company will handle Ronaldo’s marketing and endorsement deals in the United States. We have all seen how successful Jay-Z’s Roc Nation sports has been and the type of big-name clients the music juggernaut has been able to attract. Having Ronaldo as his first client could lead to the same type of success for Lil Wayne.