Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditWednesday, December 2, 2020

Stories by Gordon Dixon:

Odell Beckham plays against Titans wearing Richard Mille luxury watch

Odell Beckham Jr Browns

Odell Beckham, Jr. made his regular season debut with his new team in style.

When Beckham took the field for the Cleveland Browns’ season opener against the Tennessee Titans, he did so wearing a luxury watch by Swiss manufacturer Richard Mille.

Leave it to Beckham to make a statement in the NFL’s opening weekend. There aren’t many who would have the audacity to pull this off but this is Odell Beckham Jr. we’re talking about. What do you even do for an encore after this? Let’s hope no one tries to snatch it off like Aqib Talib did to Michael Crabtree’s gold chain.

Look: Red Sox have so many pitchers in their overcrowded bullpen

Red Sox bullpen

The Boston Red Sox used the expanded roster in September to add more than a little depth to their bullpen for a playoff push.

The Red Sox entered Wednesday 5.5 games back of the second wild card spot in the American League with 24 games remaining in their regular season. In order to help them close the gap on the teams ahead of them, Boston called up four pitchers, giving them a whopping 21 pitchers on the roster.

The result was a crowded group hanging out in the pen during the game:

Here’s who the Red Sox had in the bullpen for their game on Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins.

The list of 17 pitchers in bullpen included: Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Andrew Cashner, Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Kelley, Travis Lakins, Mike Shawaryn, Josh Smith, Hector Velazquez, Marcus Walden, Ryan Weber, Brandon Workman, Darwinzon Hernandez, Brian Johnson, Bobby Poyner and Josh Taylor.

It may be unorthodox, but manager Alex Cora is planning on going with a “winter ball” tactic down the stretch.

If it works and the Red Sox make it to the postseason, few fans will be complaining about the outcome. What some may complain about is having to watch four-to-five hours games to get there. At least they won’t have to worry about the same thing next year when September roster expansions are limited to 28 players.

Shaq had ‘code’ to get Lakers to stop passing to Kobe Bryant

Shaq TNT

Former NBA player Raja Bell revealed a juicy nugget about Shaquille O’Neal and an in-game “code” he had with his Los Angeles Lakers teammates.

O’Neal and Bryant have gone back-and-forth over the years trading barbs. However, a story relayed by O’Neal’s former teammate tells just how much frustration O’Neal had towards Bryant at times when they were teammates due to Kobe’s ball-hogging ways.

During the CBS Sports’ “Kanell and Bell” podcast, Bell shared that O’Neal had a “secret code” he would use to get teammates to stop passing the ball to Bryant.

Bell learned of Shaq’s code because O’Neal also used it in Phoenix to stop Gordan Giricek from ruining the Suns’ offensive flow in the 2007-08 season.

“Shaq told me a story. We had a kid named Gordan Giricek on our Suns team, he had gotten there, and Gordon would go in the game, and Gordon was about his buckets. So Gordon would get in, and no matter what we were doing, no matter what the flow or the chemistry was, Gordon would be just, you know, shooting the ball. Gordon was my guy, I played with him in Utah.

“But Shaq started saying ‘hey guys, this is the symbol.’ (twitches thumbs downward) When I give you this, Gordon doesn’t get the ball anymore.’ And I’m like ‘dude what is the background on that, where’d you come up with that?’ And he was like ‘when Kobe was young, he would be going in and just trying to get ’em, so the rest of us had a universal kind of code that if we looked at each other and went (gives signal) then that meant Kobe didn’t get the ball anymore.'”

You know someone’s not working in the framework of a team’s offense when players develop a secret code to stop passing them the ball.

Bryant said last month that he had “no beef” with O’Neal after Bryant’s criticism of O’Neal’s work ethic went viral. It will be interesting to see if Bryant has any response to this revelation by Bell or whether he will shrug it off.

George Springer carted off after hitting head against wall

George Springer down

George Springer was carted off of the field during Tuesday’s game after a scary collision with the outfield wall at Miller Park.

During the bottom of the fifth inning of his Houston Astros’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Springer made a leaping catch to rob Ryan Braun of extra bases. After securing the ball, Springer crashed into the wall and remained down on the warning track in obvious pain afterward.

Springer was eventually helped to his feet and was taken from the field on a cart back to the Astros’ clubhouse. He was replaced in center field by Kyle Tucker. It would not be surprising if Springer ends up placed in MLB’s concussion protocol.

Springer came into Tuesday’s game hitting .296/.388/.573 with 30 home runs and 78 RBI in 104 games. He was named to the American League All-Star team earlier this season, his third straight selection.

Dirk Nowitzki sends hilarious tweet about Ezekiel Elliott airport frenzy

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki had a great reaction to the media presence at the airport when he returned from an overseas trip.

With the NFL season set to begin on Thursday, the big talking point around Dallas has been the holdout of Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki experienced firsthand just how much attention Elliott’s contract situation has become.

When Nowitzki returned from China, there were numerous cameras present at DFW Airport hoping to get a glimpse of Elliott, who has been training in Mexico. Nowitzki used the situation to make a joke about his celebrity in Dallas.

Elliott, who recently returned to Dallas from Cabo San Lucas, along with his agent, got a kick out of Nowitzki’s social media post.

Elliott has reportedly been keeping in shape while away from the Cowboys and is hoping for a contract that makes him one of the top-paid running backs in the NFL. Hopefully for Cowboys fans, Elliott is in uniform when the team opens the season on Sunday against the division rival New York Giants.

Watch: Rick Porcello smashes dugout televisions in anger

Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello took out his frustration on two television screens in the Boston Red Sox’s dugout during Wednesday’s game.

In the top half of the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays, Porcello allowed a leadoff double and RBI single that staked the Rays to a 1-0 lead. After arriving back in the dugout, Porcello headed into the clubhouse and smashed two television screens on the way.

Porcello’s evening didn’t get much better from there. He gave up two home runs in the second inning and another one in the sixth. He surrendered nine hits and six runs over 5.2 innings, raising his season ERA to 5.74.

Gerrit Cole becomes second fastest ever to reach 200 strikeouts in a season

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole reached a momentous milestone during Monday’s game between the Houston Astros and Oakland A’s.

Cole entered the game leading Major League Baseball with 194 strikeouts through his first 21 starts of the season. During the fourth inning, Cole got Matt Olson to strike out swinging for strikeout No. 200, making him the second fastest to accomplish the feat in a season.

The only pitcher to do it quicker was Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in 2001. Johnson finished with a career-high 372 strikeouts that season.

Since joining the Astros last season, Cole has taken his game to another level. In 2018, he posted an ERA of 2.88 with 276 strikeouts in 200.1 innings.

Cole isn’t the only pitcher who has experienced success since joining the Astros. Justin Verlander credited the use of technology with improving his slider two years ago in his first season in Houston. Perhaps Cole is putting it to good use as well.

Max Muncy apologized for spiking Rhys Hoskins

Max Muncy

Max Muncy has done his part to make it clear he did not intentionally spike Rhys Hoskins during a play at first base.

During Thursday’s game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, Muncy stepped on the heel of Hoskins as he crossed first base. While some called it a dirty play, Muncy said after the game that he immediately apologized for the step. Replays also show Muncy turning around and gesturing as if to apologize immediately after spiking the Phillies first baseman.

While this may have rubbed some Phillies players the wrong way, the Dodgers had their turn to be upset later in the game. After Hector Neris recorded the save, Dodgers players took exception to the Phillies closer staring into their dugout.