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Friday, October 20, 2017

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Dusty Baker will not return as Nationals manager

Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker took the Washington Nationals to the playoffs in his first two seasons with the team, but he is not going to get a chance to do it for a third consecutive year.

The Nationals announced on Friday that they will not be bringing Baker back in 2018.

The Nationals lost 3-2 in the ALDS both this year and last, and Baker had to deal with a sticky situation involving Stephen Strasburg. He has done fairly well dealing with the drama and seemingly had a good relationship with general manager Mike Rizzo, but Rizzo obviously wants to go in another direction.

Baker, 68, may end up retiring. If he did, he would finish his career with a 1863-1636 record.

Washington’s roster is loaded with young talent, so there should be plenty of people interested in the job.

Brandon Browner was reportedly arrested for cocaine in May

Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner was unable to find any NFL teams that were interested in signing him this past offseason, and it probably didn’t help that the veteran cornerback was reportedly arrested for a drug-related offense.

Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Browner was arrested for being under the influence and in possession of cocaine in Los Angeles back in May. The 33-year-old was taken into custody, where he posed for his mugshot without a shirt on. He was reportedly released a few hours later.

If you remember, Browner was also arrested last month for allegedly making criminal threats against a woman.

Browner, an undrafted free agent, was part of the original “Legion of Boom” with the Seattle Seahawks from 2011-2013. After winning a Super Bowl in Seattle, he was part of a championship team with the New England Patriots in 2014 and spent a season with the New Orleans Saints in 2015. Browner re-signed with the Seahawks last offseason but did not make the final roster. He appeared to announce his retirement back in January, but he is still technically a free agent.

It’s safe to say Browner is not going to find work anytime soon.

Luke Walton: Lakers deserved to be booed in season opener

Luke Walton

The Los Angeles Lakers were a major disappointment on Thursday night in their most highly-anticipated season opener in years, and head coach Luke Walton felt the fans reacted accordingly.

During their 108-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers heard some boos. Considering how poorly his team played, Walton was not surprised.

“I wasn’t happy with what we gave our fans tonight,” he said, via Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register. “Obviously, I heard there were some boos going around on. You know, we deserved it at those times.”

The biggest story of the night, obviously, was Lonzo Ball. The rookie was shut down by Clippers guard Patrick Beverley. Ball shot just 1-of-6 from the field and finished with three points, four assists and nine rebounds. Beverley taunted him on the court numerous times and took shots at him after the game, too.

“Overall, it was a decent game for him,” Walton said of Ball.

It sure didn’t feel that way. Lakers fans are expecting huge things from Ball. Magic Johnson comparisons have already been thrown around, though Ball’s father LaVar is responsible for much of the anticipation surrounding his son. Johnson, the new president of basketball operations for the Lakers, said situations like the one on Thursday night are the reason the team drafted Ball.

“This is why you lace ’em up,” Johnson said. “This is why he wanted to get drafted to the Lakers. This is why we picked him, so we could put him in those types of games and those situations.”

Of course, LaVar Ball had to make headlines after the game by blasting Beverley. You have to wonder if that will get old, especially if the Lakers continue to struggle. You also have to wonder if it will result in fans booing louder if Lonzo doesn’t play like the Rookie of the Year many expect him to be. Walton is almost certainly prepared for that in the back of his mind.

Marshawn Lynch took public transit home from Raiders game

Marshawn Lynch referee

Marshawn Lynch was ejected from Thursday night’s game between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, but fans saw plenty of him even after he departed for good in the second quarter.

Amid reports that Lynch was heading to his car to leave the stadium, a photo began making the rounds on Twitter that showed the star running back watching the game from the stands at The Coliseum.

And apparently Lynch didn’t drive his own car to the stadium. We can assume this because Beast Mode was spotted in the same get-up after the game taking public transportation home. For those who are unfamiliar with the area, BART is the Bay Area Rapid Transit.

No wonder Raiders fans love this guy.

Lynch was fortunate that the Raiders pulled out a 31-30 win. Had Oakland lost, there would have been a lot of people wondering if he would have been the difference in the game if he didn’t sprint onto the field and make contact with an official.

LaVar Ball fires back at Patrick Beverley: ‘He didn’t do nothing’

Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley made life very difficult for Lonzo Ball in the rookie’s first NBA game Thursday night, but Lonzo’s father is not going to let that deter him from continuing to talk endless amounts of trash.

With Beverley covering him most of the night, Lonzo Ball was just 1-of-6 from the field and finished with three points, four assists and nine rebounds. Beverley got in Ball’s face all night and threw some shots at him after the Clippers’ 108-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, but LaVar Ball was not impressed.

“Yeah, you shut the m—–f—– down,” the elder Ball told ESPN. “And your check still ain’t going to go no higher than what it is. Yeah, you shut him down. OK … Who is Patrick Beverley? He played all last year and nobody said nothing about him. Now we are looking at your first game. Why? Because Lonzo’s name is attached to it.

“So you got to be [all hard]. Let’s see what you do the next five games, if you are going to be pumped up towards everybody like that and go back to your 0-for-5 shooting and your two or three rebounds. Nobody is going to care about you. But you put my son’s name in it and you put my name in it, now you got some action and you got some people talking.”

To his credit, Lonzo praised Beverley after the game, saying the veteran “knows his job” and “does it very well.” Those comments came after Beverley blatantly taunted him on one or two plays.

But, as has always been the case, LaVar Ball refused to give credit where credit was due.

“Beverley is going to test [people],” he said. “He didn’t do nothing. But it is a better story. Lonzo don’t even care about Beverley. You never care about Lonzo versus Westbrook, Lonzo versus Harden, Lonzo versus Beverley. Who cares? It is a team game.”

Lonzo knows he is going to have a target on his back all year, and his father has a lot to do with that. He’s going to bring out the best in opposing defenders most nights, which won’t make life easy for him as a rookie in the NBA.

Report: Red Sox to name Alex Cora manager after ALCS

The Boston Red Sox have reportedly worked quickly to decide on a new manager, and it is believed that they are simply waiting for the ALCS to end to officially announce the move.

A source told Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston that there is “not a doubt” the Red Sox are planning to offer their managerial job to Alex Cora. With the Houston Astros and New York Yankees currently battling it out in an exciting ALCS, the belief is that Boston will announce the hiring after the series ends, which will be no later than Saturday. Cora currently works as a bench coach for Houston.

On Thursday, a Puerto Rican news outlet had a similar report to Drellich’s, but the tweet ended up being deleted.

Cora has no previous managerial experience, but there are numerous teams who are reportedly interested in him in that capacity this offseason. The 41-year-old is said to have gotten a strong recommendation from Astros manager A.J. Hinch.

Draymond Green unlikely to play Friday, but knee MRI came back clean

Draymond Green

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was forced to sit late in his team’s loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night because of a knee injury, but it does not sound like he is in danger of missing any significant time.

The Warriors announced on Thursday that Green underwent an MRI on his knee that came back negative. However, he is listed as doubtful for Friday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Green strained his knee late in the third quarter on Tuesday while driving to the basket, and he was seen wincing in pain after the play. He sat out the entire fourth quarter, and the Warriors ended up losing 122-121. They could have used the reigning Defensive Player of the Year down the stretch, but there was no need to push it this early in the season.

Green assured reporters that he was fine after the game.

Leon Hall to reportedly be released by 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers signed Leon Hall to a contract last week, but they apparently were not impressed with what they saw from the veteran cornerback.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the 49ers have decided to release Hall.

Hall, a former first-round pick out of Michigan, was considered one of the better corners in the league several years ago when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. He spent nine seasons with the Bengals before signing with the New York Giants last year, and he had remained a free agent until the Niners signed him on Oct. 10.

With how quickly San Francisco released Hall, it would not be a surprise if he doesn’t find work for the remainder of the season and beyond.

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