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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Astros already trolling Yankees ahead of ALCS?

Minute Maid Park Houston

Fresh from emerging victorious in a winner-take-all game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Houston Astros may already be getting a head start on the warfare against their next playoff opponent.

Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle shared that the Astros’ radio broadcast used “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra as its bump music right as the team was closing out the Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS.

While it might just be an innocuous way of celebrating the fact that the Astros are advancing to face New York, the song has taken on a life of its own, having been used in multiple Yankees-related troll jobs these last two postseasons.

The ALCS series, which starts on Saturday, pits the 107-win Astros, who have home-field advantage, against the 103-win Yankees, who have been off since sweeping the Minnesota Twins on Monday. The two teams were clearly the best two in the AL this season, and the anticipation is already sky high.

Kawhi Leonard slated to play preseason game in Canada, his first since leaving

Kawhi Leonard’s return to Canada will take place even earlier than expected.

LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said on Thursday that the star forward is scheduled to play in the team’s game in Vancouver next week, their final one of the preseason. The game will mark Leonard’s first back in Canada since leading the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title and subsequently leaving.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP made his preseason debut with the Clippers on Thursday, recording seven points and six assists in 11 minutes as the team fell to the Denver Nuggets by the final of 111-91.

While Vancouver is far away from Toronto, Leonard should still get a fairly warm reception from the Canadian fans when he makes his grand return, though it may not be a complete hero’s welcome.

Alex Bregman shares great Brian McCann toughness story amid his retirement

Brian McCann

Brian McCann is calling it a career after 15 MLB seasons, and one of his ex-teammates is using the occasion to share a superb story about his toughness.

McCann, whose Atlanta Braves were eliminated Wednesday with a 13-1 loss in Game 5 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, announced afterwards that he would be retiring. In reaction to the news, Houston Astros star Alex Bregman revealed that McCann played through a torn knee that later required surgery as he helped the Astros win the World Series in 2017.

The 35-year-old McCann wraps up his career with seven All-Star appearances, six Silver Slugger Awards, an All-Star Game MVP, and, of course, that World Series ring with Houston. A legitimate MVP candidate at his peak, McCann had an argument for best all-around catcher in baseball at one point.

McCann also developed a great reputation as a memer, and now he can rest well knowing he has the accolades and the respect of his peers to boot.

Report: Derrick Coleman among fullbacks working out for 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are in need of a fullback after the injury to Kyle Juszczyk, and they could be filling that void with a familiar name.

Field Yates of ESPN reported on Wednesday that the Niners are working out former Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman with Juszczyk expected to miss the next four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. Yates also mentions that the team is working out George Aston, Michael Burton, Tommy Bohanon, Aaron Ripkowski, Tre Madden, and Ricky Ortiz as well.

Coleman, the NFL’s first legally deaf player, is a particularly interesting add. He rose to prominence with the Seahawks and won the Super Bowl with them in the 2013 season. Coleman has since been with the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals, making 16 appearances for the latter last year.

While Coleman has encountered some legal trouble since his rise, he may be best remembered for an excellent Duracell ad about perseverence in 2014, and it would be great to see him play an important role for an NFL offense again.

Manny Machado wants Padres to consider hiring his former Orioles manager

Manny Machado

The San Diego Padres are looking for a new manager and franchise player Manny Machado would like one of his old associates to receive consideration.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Tuesday that Machado has made it known that he would like the Padres to at least take a look at Buck Showalter, his former manager with the Baltimore Orioles.

The 63-year-old Showalter managed the Orioles from 2010 to 2018, coinciding with Machado’s first seven career seasons. Over that span, Showalter led Baltimore to three playoff appearances and one AL East division title but had a losing record with the team overall (669-684).

San Diego has another well-known former manager in mind as well, but considering that Machado signed a ten-year, $300 million contract with the team earlier this year, he probably has a lot of pull in whom the team ultimately hires.

Tobias Harris had perfect reaction to teammate Ben Simmons’ first made three

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons sent the Internet into a frenzy on Tuesday night by hitting the first three-pointer of his NBA career, and fellow Philadelphia 76er Tobias Harris was just as giddy as everyone else.

Simmons, who was notorious for his complete and utter lack of a three-point shot through two professional seasons, teed one up from distance in Philly’s preseason game against the Guangzhou Loong Lions and hit nothing but net.

Afterwards, Harris had the perfect reaction to Simmons’ improbable make.

“He’s one of the best shooters in the history of basketball,” said Harris of his teammate, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice. “100 percent from three, so I don’t want to hear nothin.”

If you want to get technical, Simmons had actually attempted 18 prior threes in his career and missed all of them (though those were exclusively heaves and various other end-of-clock desperation tries). The former No. 1 overall pick does now hold a perfect 100 percent mark from deep for 2019-20 though, so Harris has a good point there.

Simmons indicated that he would be ready to take threes this season if open, and Tuesday definitely saw him deliver on that promise.

Pat Shurmur says Saquon Barkley could be back for Thursday’s game against Patriots

Saquon Barkley Giants

Just over two weeks removed from a high ankle sprain that was expected to sideline him for an extended period, Saquon Barkley could be ready to roll.

Speaking with reporters Monday, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said that the injured star is “closer than he was last week.” When pressed on if Barkley could play on Thursday against the New England Patriots, Shurmur said, “There’s a possibility,” per Ralph Vacchiano of SportsNet New York.

The 22-year-old running back was injured in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and original estimates had him possibly missing four to eight weeks of action. Videos of him running and cutting not long after the injury suggested that Barkley would be able to shatter that projection though.

Barkley himself admitted that he was offended by the lengthy timetable, and now it sounds like he is right on the cusp of making his return.

Darko Milicic plays first basketball game in seven years, looks absolutely massive

If you thought that you had seen the last of Darko Milicic on a professional basketball court, you thought wrong.

The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft reemerged this week for his first basketball game in seven years, suiting up for his hometown team in Novi Sad, Serbia. European journalist Marco Pagliariccio shared an image of Milicic on the court looking absolutely enormous.

Here are more images of Milicic’s return to the hardwood, which apparently ended prematurely due to a shoulder injury.

The now 34-year-old Milicic, who was listed at seven-foot and 250 pounds during his playing career, was infamously selected by the Detroit Pistons in 2003 ahead of the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. While he was on Detroit’s 2004 championship team, Milicic bounced around six teams in nine years before his NBA career flamed out in 2012.

The last that we heard of Milicic, he was dabbling in another pro sport. That did not go too well for him though, and now he has found his way back to the friendly confines of basketball.