Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

NFL Draft: Michael Sam is a ‘Non-Entity,’ ‘Short and Slow’


New York Post:

After the big names are off the board in the NFL Draft, the biggest question may not be when Michael Sam will be picked, it may be whether Michael Sam will be picked at all.

Despite being named the Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC, Sam’s underwhelming physical measurables and his lack of a defined role in defenses could prevent him from being the first openly gay player selected in the draft.

In a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel poll of 21 scouts, 12 said they wouldn’t draft Sam, while three said he should be taken in the fifth round, three said sixth round and three said seventh round. Seven of the scouts said they wouldn’t even sign Sam as an undrafted free agent.

The piece characterized Sam as “a non-entity” in addressing the absence of draft chatter. Sam’s shaky draft status is based on the belief he is too small to play linebacker and too slow to play defensive end, a poor fit in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.

“It’s a tough fit when you’re short and slow and a try-hard overachiever,” one AFC executive said. “That’s the issue.”

Tags: NFL

Reveille 5/5/14


Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:

30) Chicago White Sox — 1.37
- Hawk Harrelson (play by play)
- Steve Stone (analyst, play by play — select)
- Aaron Rowand (analyst — select)
- Mike Huff (analyst — select)
- Tom Paciorek (analyst — select)

Most popular grade: F (46% of voters)

Analysis: No crew received more total F’s or a higher percentage of F’s than the White Sox crew. Essentially, people either despised Hawk (for obvious reasons) or tolerated him for the sheer humor of it all, while there was a soft spot for analyst Steve Stone. . . .

1) San Francisco Giants — 3.46
-Duane Kuiper (play by play)
-Jon Miller (play by play)
-Dave Flemming (play by play)
-Mike Krukow (analyst)

Most popular grade: A (74% of voters)

Analysis: The Giants had more A grades than any other team in the league, and that total surpassed the total amount of votes that seven teams had. Kuiper and Krukow topped our reader rankings, and there wasn’t much negativity at all towards them. The Giants have a real depth chart of great announcers across television and radio. Perhaps a surprise #1 choice, but one that is certainly worthy of the top spot.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB


Why is Sterling’s ‘Racist’ Wife Getting a Pass?


Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly, has her own issues. Via Talking Points Memo:

On Sunday, two days after an audio recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments was released online, his wife, Rochelle Sterling, told ESPN she didn’t condone the statements.

“I’m not a racist,” she said. “Never have been, never will be.”

On Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times reported on court documents that undercut that assertion.

During a 2009 deposition, a tenant in one of the Sterling’s apartment buildings accused Rochelle Sterling of once calling him a “black m—f—” during a discussion.

“I asked her again, I asked her, ‘would you reduce the rent?’” Darrell Rhodes said in the deposition, according to the Times. “And she said, ‘who do you think you are, you black m—f—.’”

Rhodes sued the Sterlings in federal court in 2007, accusing the couple of discriminatory behavior. His case was ultimately part of a $2.765 million settlement reached in 2009 between the Sterlings, the Justice Department, and other Sterling tenants, according to the Times. As part of the deal, the Sterlings did not admit any wrongdoing.

If we apply the same standard to Shelly as Donald, shouldn’t she be banned from the games, too? 

But she’s not. She even has the support of Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers who reportedly told her to attend Game 5 against the Warriors as well as his public support of her after the game:

“It’s a tough one for Shelly [Sterling], really,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said following a 113-103 Game 5 victory over the Golden State Warriorson Tuesday. “She didn’t do anything wrong either. You have compassion for her. I kept hearing about the girlfriend. I kept thinking, ‘Shelly is the wife.’ You know what I mean? I talked to her [Tuesday] and she has been through as much as anyone as well.”

We’ll see how long that lasts, however, as Doc was made aware of Shelly’s past by a reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News:

It’s more complicated than Shelly’s past issues, too. Shelly was seen in public with her husband after the story broke and after she publicly condemned his comments. A TMZ reporter who captured the couple leaving a restaurant asked her if she thought her husband was a racist. She “loudly” answered, “of course not.” 

So over to you, NBA. Time to ban Shelly for life, too. You know, to be fair.





Tags: NBA

Miguel Montero Has the Look of the Day


Via Marc Normandin of SB Nation:

The Diamondbacks catcher had just sent the fans home happy with a tenth-inning, walk-off home run to beat the Rockies, 5-4, thereby improving the club’s record to a slightly less dreary 9-22.

No matter: While in his euphoric state, Montero exclaimed that he and his teammates were about to “shock the world.”

Good luck with that, King Dubble Bubble.

H/T Craig Calcaterra.

Tags: MLB

Robbie Ray Is Coming to the Bigs


Remember last December’s trade between the Tigers and Nationals that sent Doug Fister to Washington while Detroit netted pitching prospect Robbie Ray, a reliever, and a utility player no longer with the club? Most commentators immediately after the deal was announced seemed to wonder what  Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski had been smoking when shaking hands on this deal.

For instance, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs persuasively asserted that trading Fister (career ERA 3.53; career xFIP: 3.68) per se wasn’t the scandal:

We haven’t seen a player this good get traded for this little in years, and it’s mystifying how Mike Rizzo managed to get Fister for this price. This deal put the Nationals right back in playoff contention, and it did so for such a low cost that I still haven’t found anyone who thinks the Tigers made a good trade. When a deal is universally accepted as a heist, you’ve done something very right.

Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans had a similar view but was a tad less restrained:

With all the talk of the extravagant prices on the pitching market this winter, and the millions of dollars and sparkling prospects it’s going to take for [Blue Jays GM] Alex Anthopoulos to do what he needs to do to fix his rotation, uh . . . how the hell did he not get in on Doug Fister? How did he not beat the offer the Washington Nationals were making for Doug Fister?

####, how did anybody not beat this offer? . . .

It’s just . . . for Fister??? A ####-you-not top starter in the Majors? 12th in WAR among starters this year by both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference?

Now comes word that we will soon get to see Dombrowski’s investment up close, as the 22-year old Ray, who has pitched well in his five starts at Triple-A Toledo, is slated to get called up:

The Tigers have announced that left-handed starter Robbie Ray will be recalled and make his Major League debut against the Astros next Tuesday.

As for Fister, he developed elbow trouble during spring training and isn’t slated to take the mound for the Nats until the day after Ray’s start. Meanwhile, Ray is likely to return to the minors after Anibal Sanchez comes off the disabled list in less than two weeks.

More here.

Tags: MLB


Shaquille O’Neal Apolgizes to the Fan He Mocked Online


So sorry:

Always learning? I wonder what’s next on his curriculum. Maybe, “don’t bite a classmate on the playground?”

Tags: NBA

FSU’s Jameis Winston Caught Shoplifting, Suspended from Baseball Team


Via SB Nation:

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was issued a citation Tuesday for shoplifting crab legs from Publix, according to multiple sources. Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is a red-shirt sophomore for the Seminoles.

“He got an adult civil citation,” a trusted source inside Tallahassee Police told Tomahawk Nation. “If he completes the sanctions it will never show up on his record. They commonly give them to juveniles on first criminal offenses. They are now doing it for minor misdemeanors for adults to lower crime rate.”

Winston tossed the winning touchdown in the National Championship game over Auburn in the closing seconds. On the year, he was 257-384 for 4087 yards and 40 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

Well, that’s one way to reduce the crime rate: make fewer things illegal.

SB Nation later added this update:

1:30 Update: A source inside Florida State’s program says that Winston will be fined $30, required to do community service, and will be suspended from the baseball team.

Updates to follow.

Tags: NCAA

Luke Russert: A Racist Who Beat His Girlfriend Should Buy the Clippers


NBC’s Luke Russert on who he thinks should buy the Clippers:

This is the same Mayweather that went on a racist, public tirade against Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao:

Mayweather said he planned to take about a year off — timed perfectly with a fight against Pacquiao next May — and that he would return to face his rival in a showdown for pound-for-pound supremacy.

The style will be remembered far more than the substance, though.

Mayweather said he would return to “cook that little yellow chump,” Pacquiao.

After “I stomp the midget,” Mayweather said he would “make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.”

Mayweather said he “don’t have the urge to get up” and fight again.

“But when I do got the urge to get up, believe me my UStream and my Twitter fans will be the first to know, and when we do come back, we will kick (Pacquiao’s) (expletive).”

Mayweather repeatedly pronounced Pacquiao’s name as “Poochiao” during the course of the video, which lasted about 10 minutes.

And this is the same Mayweather who went to jail for beating up his girlfriend.

Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a perfect 42-0 in the ring and has dodged significant jail time several times in domestic violence cases in Las Vegas and Michigan.

But his courtroom streak came to an end Wednesday when a Las Vegas judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges.

The case stemmed from a hair-pulling, punching and arm-twisting argument with his ex-girlfriend Josie Harris while two of their children watched in September 2010.

“Punishment is appropriate,” Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa said after a prosecutor complained that Mayweather has been in trouble before and hasn’t faced serious consequences.

“No matter who you are, you have consequences to your actions when they escalate to this level of violence,” she said.

I look forward to Luke’s explanation. 

Tags: NBA

Donald Sterling and His Enablers at the NAACP


One thing that stands out in the Donald Sterling story is his relationship with the NAACP. How did somebody so allegedly racist earn three NAACP awards? Well, two — a President’s award in 2008 and a Lifetime Achievement award in 2009. The NAACP, in light of recent events, has rescinded his second Lifetime Achievement award. But, still. Until this audio recording surfaced, the NAACP was honoring Sterling for two lifetimes’ worth of achievements. 

The NAACP was well aware of the controversy surrounding Sterling in 2009, but brushed it off. The Los Angeles Times, however, noticed the contradiction. From May 2009:

Something’s out of whack. . . .

Clippers owner Donald Sterling, accused of racism and embracing a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” in a lawsuit filed in February by Elgin Baylor, will be given a lifetime achievement award next week by the NAACP. . . .

Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles branch of the civil rights organization, says of the much-maligned Sterling, “He has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.,” revealing that the owner donates anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a game to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game. . . .

Noting that the NAACP had made plans to honor Sterling before Baylor filed suit, Jenkins says, “We can’t speak to the allegations, but what we do know is that for the most part [Sterling] has been very, very kind to the minority youth community.” . . .

Baylor didn’t mention that. . . .

And a few weeks later, ESPN The Magazine wrote a big piece on Sterling and his legal problems and was on hand at the NAACP award ceremony. ESPN’s reporting raises the obvious question, “what the hell was the NAACP thinking?” Here’s the opener:

For more than two years, Sterling has been staring down federal civil rights charges related to his real estate holdings and rental practices. According to the Justice Department, Sterling, his wife and three of his companies have engaged in discrimination, principally by refusing to rent to African-Americans. In February, Elgin Baylor, the Clippers GM from 1986 to 2008, filed an age and racial discrimination suit against his old boss alleging, among other things, that Sterling repeatedly expressed a desire to field a team of “poor black boys from the South … playing for a white coach.” Sterling’s attorneys have denied the accusations. And even as these controversies swirl around him, Sterling is here tonight to receive a lifetime achievement award from the local chapter of the NAACP.

The man of the hour ushers two black guests over to talk to the reporter.

“Donald Sterling is a prince among men,” says Leon Isaac Kennedy, who starred in the Penitentiary series of movies in the ’70s and ’80s. “I’ve been his friend for 25 years.” At dinner, the emcee updates the crowd on the Lakers, who are losing to Houston in a crucial playoff game. With Sterling in attendance, guests aren’t sure whether to boo or cheer. But when the Clippers owner rises to speak, he is gracious. “I really have a special feeling for this organization,” he says. He’s a major donor, contributing $10,000 to $15,000 this year alone, according to chapter president Leon Jenkins.

Sterling doesn’t stay to hear all the speakers — his entourage is at the hotel bar watching the game — but while speaking, he holds his two-handled trophy cup aloft. And he smiles that smile, the almost smirk you see in photo after photo of the man associates call The Donald. It’s smooth and self-satisfied and says not just that the guy behind it makes his own rules but that he’s won yet another round. Tell him he can’t move his team, and he’ll move it anyway. Complain that he’s a cheapskate, and he’ll spend just enough to maintain the profit margin he wants. Sue him for sexual harassment or housing discrimination, and he’ll buy your silence with a hefty cash settlement. Call him a racist, and he’ll show you an eminent civil rights organization lauding his accomplishments.

Fast forward to 2014, and the NAACP, based on everything that’s in the public record, decided to honor him again? I hope they, at the very least, insisted he stay for the entire award ceremony this time. 

But it’s not just the NAACP that held their tongue on Sterling. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in a much cited piece for Time, is “outraged” that people didn’t speak out sooner:

Make no mistake: Donald Sterling is the villain of this story. But he’s just a handmaiden to the bigger evil. In our quest for social justice, we shouldn’t lose sight that racism is the true enemy. He’s just another jerk with more money than brains.

So, if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. 

Abdul-Jabbar is not the only one outraged. The perpetually outraged Al Sharpton had this to say:

According to the Reverend Al Sharpton, if the NBA does not come forward with a decision, he will begin calling on advertisers to withdraw starting tomorrow. On Meet the Press today Rev. Sharpton shared:

“Well, I think that clearly the National Basketball Association must suspend him,” said Reverend Sharpton. “Or must say that, ‘We’re going to remove any kind of imprimatur we have on this team if he’s the owner.’ You cannot have someone own an NBA team in this country and have these kind of attitudes.”

Sharpton said this of Sterling: “You must remember, he settled multi-million dollar discrimination lawsuits in the past, so he has a background. So what we said in National Action Network is the NBA ought to move right away. Let’s not play games. They say they’re going to investigate.”

Sharpton is, of course, a giant hypocrite. He and Sterling were both receiving awards at the 2014 NAACP gala. If Sharpton was so angered by Sterling’s past legal troubles, he certainly never mentioned it nor did he boycott the NAACP over Sterling’s second honor.

Reverend Sharpton says we can’t “have someone own an NBA team in this country and have these kind of attitudes,” yet there’s no outrage that the NAACP honored a man –three times –with these kind of attitudes. 

The good news is the media is starting to cover this strange relationship between the NAACP and Sterling, and I don’t think the racial-grievance industry is going to like what gets reported. 




Tags: NBA

NBA Bans Donald Sterling for Life, Fine of $2.5 Million


Shaquille O’Neal Mocks a Fan on Instagram


Shaquille O’Neal called Donald Sterling’s private comments “repugnant.” What word would Shaq use describe the mocking of the defenseless in public? I’d use, “ass,” but am open to other, stronger suggestions that can make it past the censors.

Via the New York Post:

Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is under fire for mocking a disabled fan’s selfie.

The retired athlete posted a picture on Instagram of his own contorted face next to Jahmel Binion’s selfie.

FOX 2 reports the post, captioned “Smile today,” earned more than 14,000 likes, with former University of Michigan athlete Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka Flame joining in on the teasing.

The post has been deleted. But for Binion, the damage has been done.

And here’s the picture:

I wonder what the Venn diagram looks like of the 14,000 people who “liked” the above photo and agreed with Shaq on Sterling’s comments? 

Tags: NBA

Hey, NYers: It’s Robbie Cano, Don’cha Know?


Here’s the Mariners second baseman appearing in a hilarious Tonight Show skit filmed yesterday in Bryant Park:

Heck, it’s right up there with last year’s awesome Matt Harvey performance.

More here.

Tags: MLB

And This Is Why You Don’t Bring Flares to a Soccer Game


Ooof. It seems that the propellant in the cop’s pepper spray is flammable, leading to the result below when coming into contact with the hooligan’s lighted flare:

Deadspin has the video and notes that the photo was the result of lucky-timing as the actual fireball was quite brief and went out as soon as the officer stopped spraying.

Tags: Misc.

Reveille 4/28/14


Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:

Carp also managed to face seven batters without allowing a single hit. That makes sense. You have to actually throw pitches where bats can get to them in order to give up hits:


No strikeouts — and just 14 strikes in 38 attempts — with five walks allowed. Amazingly, Carp only gave up one run during all of this, on a bases-loaded walk that brought in Brett Gardner from third. It’s no wonder he couldn’t throw strikes when you consider he was relying on a knuckleball almost half of the time.

  • Bill Chuck of Gammons Daily highlights the Nationals’ left-on-base woes in their extra-inning loss to the Padres last Thursday, and then points out that, so far this year, eight of nine teams that stranded at least 15 runners on base in a game emerged victorious.
  • Unlike the Obamacare rollout, expanded replay has not been a catastrophe, but there have been a few bugs, particularly in the way the “transfer rule” was getting interpreted. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports broke the news that MLB has set things straight:

A catch, forceout or tag will be considered legal if a fielder has control of the ball in his glove, but drops the ball after opening his glove to transfer the ball to his throwing hard, sources said. No longer will the fielder be required to successfully get the ball into his throwing hand.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Does Sterling Have to Give Back His Other Two NAACP Awards?


The NAACP just announced that it is rescinding Don Sterling’s 2014 “Lifetime Achievement” award.

However, Sterling won a NAACP Lifetime Achievement award in 2009 and a NAACP President’s Award in 2008. From his bio on the website of the Clippers:

He has received many honors, including the 2009 NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2008 BBA Humanitarian of the Year Award, the 2008 NAACP President’s Award, the 2006 Say Yes to Children Network ChildrenÂ’s Hero Award, the 1999 MDA Dennis Day Memorial Award, the 1998 Los Angeles Yeshiva Golden Menorah Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation 1998 Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Vista Del Mar Orphanage 1997 Man of the Year and the Gold Medal Humanitarian of the Year by the Special Olympics.


Tags: NBA

Donald Sterling Set to Receive NAACP Award


I wonder if the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP is having second thoughts on honoring Clippers’ owner Don Sterling with a “Lifetime Achievement” award? And what is Sterling’s photograph policy?

Tags: NBA

Northwestern Football Players Voting Today on Unionization


But nobody will know how they voted. AP:

Northwestern football players cast secret ballots Friday in an on-campus hall adjacent to their home stadium on whether to form the nation’s first union for college athletes.

Just don’t expect results any time soon.

After the vote, the ballot boxes will be sealed for weeks or months — perhaps even years — as an appeal by the Evanston-based university runs its course.

The full National Labor Relations Board agreed Thursday to hear the school’s appeal of a regional director’s March ruling that the players are employees and as such can unionize, triggering a rule that the ballots be impounded.

Last month’s decision by the Chicago-area head of the NLRB, Peter Ohr, sent shockwaves through the world of college sports, prompting sharp criticism from Northwestern and college athletic departments nationwide.

The major outstanding issue, to me, is if the scholarship money would be taxed. As that’s an unknown, I’m not sure how valid this vote will be either way. 

Tags: NCAA

Meet a Red Sox Fan Who’s Not Boston Strong


The embarrassingly overt display of pine tar dominated the Fenway Park postgame chatter on Wednesday evening, but there was another incident of note that took place during the Yankees–Red Sox game:



Via Mike Oz of Big League Stew:

We can debate very many things in baseball — whether Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, if WAR is a worthwhile stat, whether pine tar should be against the rules for pitchers — but here is one thing that we all should agree on: If a player at a baseball game tosses a ball to a kid, no adult should take it.

Never. Ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever.

Obviously the adult fan above at Thursday’s Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game at Fenway Park didn’t get that memo. Because when Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox tossed a ball to a young kid in the third inning, the “grown up” swooped in and snatched it. Booooooo!

This dude clearly wasn’t in a Boston Strong state of mind.

More here.

Tags: MLB

Piñeda Tar


Michael Piñeda knew that he would be watched closely during last night’s start in Boston, considering that he had been questioned for allegedly using pine tar in his last outing against the Red Sox.

Nonetheless, after a rough first inning in which he allowed two runs, the pitcher walked out to the mound to pitch the second with a large smear of pine tar on the side of his neck.

Sox Skipper John Farrell seemed almost apologetic for having to say something to the home-plate umpire:

“You could see it. I could see it from the dugout. It was confirmed by a number of camera angles in the ballpark. And given the last time we faced him, I felt like it was a necessity to say something,” Farrell said after the Red Sox’s 5-1 win at Fenway Park. “I fully respect on a cold night you’re trying to get a little bit of a grip, but when it’s that obvious, something has got to be said.”

For violating Rule 8.02(a), Piñeda was ejected from the game and faces a ten-game suspension.

Meanwhile, David Schoenfield of ESPN SweetSpot raises questions about this type of cheating:

The trouble, of course, is even if all the players generally accept substances like pine tar and sunscreen as part of the unwritten rules of baseball: How should you legislate their usage? Right now, those are foreign substances and, by rule, are illegal. The Red Sox were certainly within their right to request a check on Pineda.

Are there levels of cheating? Steroids are evil bad stuff but pine tar is OK? But what about Whitey Ford’s mud or Don Sutton’s sandpaper? What if some pitchers can throw a better slider by applying a little extra pine tar on the right spot on the ball?

It’s certainly a slippery slope and as baseball wrestles with some of the issues involving instant replay or the new transfer rule, it has another can of worms (or cans of spray-on sunscreen) to deal with. If you’re all about enforcing the rules — whether it’s catching steroids users or defining a catch — do you start enforcing the use of foreign substances by pitchers?

More here and here.

Tags: MLB

Wrigley Field Turns 100 Today


A joke that’s heard in Chicago goes like this: “What do the Cubs and Marlins have in common? Neither has won a World Series in their new ballpark.”

Marlins Park opened two years ago, while the first professional baseball game in Wrigley Field (née Weeghman Park) was played on this date in 1914.

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune offers up an interesting read on the North Side landmark, pointing out that the cathedral nearly hosted its first night game 46 years before the lights were finally turned on:

People think of Wrigley Field as a link to our past, and most view longtime owner Philip K. Wrigley as a traditionalist because of his resistance to installing lights.

But that’s not completely accurate. Wrigley was ready to begin playing night baseball in 1942, only to donate the lights, towers and cable to the government for the World War II effort the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941.

The Cubs host the Diamondbacks at 1:20 p.m. CDT.

Tags: MLB


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