Athletics rookie trio makes history with first career home runs

Athletics rookies Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto did something unprecedented Saturday.

They each hit their first career home run. Sure, thousands of players have homered in baseball history, and No. 1 is always a special event. But Saturday marked the first time in MLB history three players had hit their first home run in the same game.

Right-fielder Olson got the Athletics going in their 10-2 rout of the White Sox with a two-run homer in the first.

Center-fielder Brugman followed in the second, and Barreto, the A’s No. 1 prospect making his MLB debut, homered in the third for his first major-league hit. The shortstop had just arrived from Triple-A Nashville earlier Saturday.

Game Mens Marcus Thornton Jersey All three home runs came off White Sox starter James Shields.

Meet everyone’s favorite superteam of tomorrow. Believe it or not, Karl-Anthony Towns hasn’t yet qualified for star status by this measure, which shows just how close this team is to superteam territory. RPM still views Andrew Wiggins’ peripherals as questionable enough to slot him outside the NBA’s top 250, but his scoring average — 23.6 points per game last season — suggests he’s on the cusp of stardom.

Teague probably will fall off this list soon. But between Towns and Butler, this team has some MVP candidates on deck. Remember, Butler was the seventh-best player by RPM this past season. If Towns’ defense improves, he’ll make this a no-doubt super duo in no time. But only five SuperPoints keep them from the upper echelons.

Brenton Bersin Game Jersey How they move up: You don’t have to squint hard at all to see a superteam consisting of Towns, Butler and Wiggins, but the third piece is probably further away than most would think. If another team is higher on Wiggins, don’t be surprised if the new Minnesota regime, which did not draft him, puts Wiggins in a trade for a win-now player — for the second time in his career.

Pat McAfee reveals why he despises former Colts GM Ryan Grigson

Authentic Womens Nico Siragusa Jersey It isn’t a well-kept secret that Pat McAfee cannot stand former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson.

And now we know why.

According to the retired Colts punter, Grigson said during the pair’s first meeting after the GM took over that he would not have kept McAfee on the team if it wasn’t for Colts owner Jim Irsay.
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There is a schism if the age requirement to enter the NBA, which is currently 19, should be raised to 20 or dropped down to 18. If the age limit is lowered, many propose sending the rookies straight to the Developmental League for a year or two before being called up, much like how MLB teams send young players to their respective farm systems.

While Calipari is fine with the age limit dropping, he said there must be a constructive way to prepare high schoolers to enter an adult’s world in the NBA, even if it’s in the D-League, which has recently been changed to G-League.

Let’s not look back a generation from now and say well we did this because we want these kids better prepared to play basketball, we did this because we’re trying to eke out this and this and have more control over our ‘assets,’ he said. We think we can do a better job of teaching when you’re talking about a 17-year-old leaving his bed in his home with his mother who is waking him up and walking into a man’s world right now. Or you go to college and get a gap year, maybe you stay two years.

Whatever we do, I’ll be on record, if we’re trying to get kids to go the D-League and it’s a baseball rule and they’re going to get $20 million contracts right out of high school and the NBA thinks they can deal with that, I’m good. I’m fine. If they’re trying to get high school kids to go to the D-League, I will be shouting from mountaintops saying what is this going to do to a generation of kids who say, ‘all right, I’m going to do this,’ you get one or two years to make it and now you’re out without any opportunities. Who’s taking care of those kids now?

NBA playoffs 2017: One Warriors play could decide the NBA Finals

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One of the problems the Warriors faced in the 2016 NBA Finals was an inability to make the Cavaliers pay for switching pick-and-rolls as easily as they did against teams in the regular season. Because he was dealing with some sort of leg injury, Stephen Curry didn’t have the burst he needed to score on Tristan Thompson and LeBron James consistently in isolation. The Warriors didn’t look to attack the smaller defender in the post, either, because Draymond Green struggles to score with his back to the basket. When Green does get the ball in those situations, the Warriors usually use it as a way for him to facilitate rather than create for himself.

Elite Dale Hunter Jersey As a result, the Cavaliers could comfortably switch Thompson or James onto Curry on the perimeter and live with Kyrie Irving guarding Green. Doing so not only prevented Curry from getting the open looks he thrives on, it also stopped Green from rolling to the basket in the types of four-on-three situations that created countless 3-pointers for the Warriors during the regular season, which helped them neutralize a play many believed was virtually unguardable.

Aside from sitting out Week 1 while learning the offense, Bradford played every game he was slated to start. The Vikings will need him to stay on the field again this season, especially if Bridgewater isn’t ready, because the backup options are Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke. That’s hardly reassuring to fans and coaches in case Bradford gets hurt again.

At age 29, Bradford isn’t going to learn any new tricks. He’s the same checkdown machine he’s always been, not making the team worse but not really putting it on his shoulders, either. To stay comfortable in his element, Bradford needs a good running game and consistent pass protection. Those were problems, to say the least, for the Vikings last season.

Aaron Rodgers has Jordy Nelson and Tom Brady has Bill Belichick.

They expected to have Romos skill as a passer and experience as a game manager to direct that attack, but when that was ruined by still another injury before the team even had played a game, Elliotts role grew in importance. And as the Cowboys worked to survive without Romo, Elliotts consistent production allowed fellow rookie Dak Prescott to grow into the daunting role of rookie quarterback.

Elliotts consecutive games of 140, 138, 134 and 157 yards into mid-October were essential to establishing the Cowboys could win with Prescott at the controls.

A group of NFL personnel executives surveyed by USA Today before Christmas agreed, by a slim margin, with my assessment. Of a dozen who participated in the anonymous survey, five picked Elliott, two more than Tom Brady. But the quote one of them offered aligned exactly with my position:

Hes changed their team,the GM said. Theyve had that offensive line for a couple years now. Hes come in there and dominated games. Hes running over people and smashing people. Hes a dominant force.

He carried the ball 322 times in 15 games, the most of any NFL running back in the 2016 season. Only 139 players in the history of the league have attempted that many runs in a single season.

The biggest argument against Elliott seems rather lame: that he is blessed with an extraordinary offensive line. As though other legitimate candidates are not surrounded by excellence Matt Ryan has Julio Jones, Aaron Rodgers has Jordy Nelson and Tom Brady has Bill Belichick. No one does this alone.sharks_398

LeBron James goes up against one of his haters, ‘regular guy Brad’

LeBron James has been one of the most heavily scrutinized athletes in sports history. He’s too passive. He chokes in clutch situations. Stop complaining so much, LeBron. You’re no Michael Jordan. On and on and on until you get tired of listening to the latest nonsense.

But what would happen if one of LeBron’s many haters actually had to compete against him?

NBA FINALS PREDICTION: Who wins Cavs vs. Warriors III?

Limited Mens Al Woods Jersey The folks at The Kicker played out this scenario by making one of James’ biggest critics, regular guy Brad, prove he can do more than talk trash about the four-time MVP. Played by former Saturday Night Live veteran Bobby Moynihan, Brad goes through a series of athletic tests on Sport of Science, an obvious nod to ESPN’s Sport Science.

Cleveland 112, Boston 99. The Celtics controlled the first half with excellent passing and floor spacing but Kyrie took the game over in the second half, LeBron bounced back from a rough first half and Kevin Love was steady on the boards throughout.

Kyrie puts the finishing touches on Cleveland’s Game 4 win with a nifty layup.

Limited Mens Craig Mager Jersey LeBron James is hitting his stride after a rough first half. Hits a jumper from the top of the key.

Jerebko knocks down a wide-open three in the corner. Those were the kind of looks the Celtics were getting in the first half that have disappeared after halftime. Six-point game.

NBA Finals: Another third-quarter run dooms Cavs as Warriors take 2-0 series lead

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Another playoff game, another win. Golden State remains perfect.
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The Warriors moved to 14-0 in the postseason with a 132-113 win in Game 2 on Sunday night, grabbing a commanding 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. LeBron James played like a man possessed, putting up a triple double (29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds) while Kevin Love provided a scoring punch with 27 points on 12-of-23 shooting.

Unfortunately for the Cavs, it wasn’t enough. Kevin Durant (33 points) and Stephen Curry (32 points) continued their playoff dominance and pushed Golden State ahead in the second half. The Warriors outscored the Cavs 65-49 in the final two periods of play.

San Antonio would need some luck and some serious financial shuffling 鈥?including the retirement of Manu Ginobili 鈥?to make this happen. But a healthy Spurs team anchored by Kawhi Leonard on the wing and a potentially marvelous pick-and-roll combo of Paul and LaMarcus Aldridge would vault the Spurs into a more direct challenge of these Warriors.

Curry and Golden State were able to win a title after his MVP breakthrough, but were heartbroken after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers last year in their attempt to repeat. It was a clear they needed a frontcourt upgrade over Harrison Barnes to ensure not giving up another championship. They went above and beyond with Durant, the worthy straight-up adversary for LeBron James they had been missing.

Durant built on his strong finals play when his Thunder played James’ Heat in defeat, and took it to another level as a fearless scoring machine. Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson already were a handful on both ends of the floor. With Durant healthy and ready for more devastating play, it doesn’t even feel like a surprise that he triggered the first 15-0 playoff run in NBA history.

John Lynch ‘eager’ to earn trust of skeptics

John Lynch knows there is a multitude of people who doubt whether he can succeed as an NFL general manager.

I’m eager to earn their trust, the new 49ers GM told reporters in a Monday conference call. Making our fans proud is something we’re going to be all about.

The 49ers hired Lynch as their new general manager despite Lynch’s lack of NFL front office experience. The Niners announced the hire Sunday night and it was met with plenty of backlash.

Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowler during his 15-year career as an NFL safety. He spent his first 11 seasons with the Buccaneers, helping them win Super Bowl XXXVII following the 2002 season.

During a time when many linebacker corps are shorthanded or worn down, the Steelers’ group doesn’t carry the same long-haul mileage from 2016. As for Timmons, he’s a grinding ironman who hasn’t missed a game since 2009.

Leading with Harrison, everything’s lining up perfectly for the Steelers linebackers again… at the best possible time.

This is exactly how coach Mike Tomlin and second-year defensive coordinator Keith Butler wanted the unit to come together. The emphasis is more on pressure to force takeaways than the actual yardage allowed. It has protected any concerns in cornerback coverage, as they are in position to make more plays in zone coverage.

The Steelers have been rolling defensively during their now eight-game winning streak going into the divisional round at Kansas City. It’s no coincidence that has happened since Harrison was re-elevated to starter status and Dupree (core muscle) returned from IR against Cleveland in Week 11.

Bengals K Randy Bullock will use NFL rule to take money from Giants

Limited Womens Maliek Collins Jersey NFL kicker Randy Bullock had an interesting 2016 season as he bounced around among three teams.

He started the year on the Giants roster while Josh Brown was suspended for the first game. After being let go, he spent some time as a free agent before being signed by the Steelers while starter Chris Boswell was hurt. When Boswell recovered, Bullock was released again and finished the final three games with the Bengals.

That means he earned paychecks from three teams, but wait, it gets better. There’s an NFL rule in place as part of the collective bargaining agreement that allows players with at least four seasons of playing experience to receive termination pay, and the kicker told ESPN he plans on taking advantage of it.

Another 30 minutes passed and the gate agent told us it was the Giants that destroyed the biz class cabin, and we saw service personnel walking countless seat cushions off the plane. Upon entering the business class cabin, the cleaning scent only partially masked the alcohol smell. I had popcorn, chewing tobacco and other food crumbs on my seat.

Kropf wasn’t the only one dealing with the delays allegedly caused by the Giants, who made headlines this past week for receivers jetting to Miami on Sunday night and causing damage to a wall inside their locker room at Lambeau Field.

The flight was scheduled to depart Newark for London at 8:30 a.m., but didnt take off until 11:47 a.m., 3 hours and 17 minutes late.

Limited Womens Enrique Hernandez Jersey The Giants and United denied an incident with the team caused a delay in the flight.

Its not true. Its false, a Giants spokesman told the New York Post when asked if the team trashed the plane.

Added a United spokeswoman: There was a mechanical issue with the plane scheduled to operate Flight 934 from Newark to London which resulted in an aircraft swap so the flight was delayed while our team in Newark worked to find an alternative aircraft that could operate the flight.

Rams TE Lance Kendricks falls 1 yard shy of $250,000 bonus

Rams tight endLance Kendricks finished the seasonranked 21st among tight ends with 499 receiving yards, but he’ll be kicking himself for the oneyard that got away.

As a part of his four-year, $18.5 million deal signed in 2015, Kendricks has $250,000 bonus should he reach 500 receiving yards this season, according to ESPN.

Talk about heartbreak, but that sums up the Rams’ season. AfterJared Goff took over under center in Week 11,Kendricks had no more than 51 yards in a game. He needed just 13 yards to get the bonus in Week 17 against the Cardinals but hauled in 2 of 3 targets for 12 yards. Yes, that’s 499 receiving yards for the season.

Kendricks wasn’t the only player to miss out on a bonus. DolphinsDECameron Wake missed out on an $875,000 bonus after notgetting a sack against the Patriots, and Colts kickerAdam Vinatieri missed out on $500,000 for failing to hit 90 percent of his field goal attempts.
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Instead of another generation of backs who hit the hole hard and fast in the aggressive, downhill fashion of greats such as Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Adrian Peterson and Pittsburgh legend Jerome Bettis, Bell hopes to spawn a legion of little Le’Veons whose patience, particularly at the line of scrimmage, and vision allow them to freeze, survey their blockers and pick out a hole, oftentimes cutting back to the other side of the formation.

Limited Mens Mike Glennon Jersey It’s a hopeful legacy, but Bell is being far too humble. A revolutionary’s tactics must be replicable. Bell is much more an anomaly than a trail blazer. The 6-1, 225-pound Steelers star is a unique talent, the likes of which we might not soon witness again once he’s done playing.
For most players, it’s an addition to their game. He (Bell) does it every play. LaDainian Tomlinson, Fred Taylor, Edgerrin James, those guys were patient as well, but Bell stops, gathers himself to a standsill and then explodes through the hole.

I’m appalled that the college he’s going to would even have him on their team

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office cited Heimlich on April 3 for failing to report to authorities as required within 10 days of his most recent birthday, which came Feb. 3. Prosecutors dismissed the citation May 17, but that process put Heimlich’s past in the public record and The Oregonian discovered the citation the following day.

After posting solid numbers in his first two seasons with the Beavers, Heimlich has been a breakout star in 2017. He has an 11-1 record and 0.76 ERA in 16 starts for a team that has gone 52-4 this year and is slated to get the ball Saturday against Vanderbilt.
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He is on the cusp of potential national stardom should Oregon State make it to Omaha and a potentially lucrative professional career, but the victim’s mother told The Oregonian she can’t believe Heimlich is getting the opportunity.

I’m appalled that the college he’s going to would even have him on their team, she said.
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Everybody says, 鈥?.. Mazzone had success because he had those three guys.’ No, no, no, no, Mazzone said, referring to Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux. There was a whole lot more to it than those three guys. And we had the third guy after we’d been to the World Series twice.

After the 2005 season, Mazzone joined the Orioles, with childhood friend Sam Perlozzo serving as manager.

Mazzone knew the first week of spring training that he’d made a mistake. Team brass wouldn’t let Mazzone hold Camp Leo. The Orioles’ system had few prospects. He never got a meeting, in his two years with the organization, with mercurial team owner Peter Angelos.