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Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Donald Sterling Now Says Clippers Not for Sale



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Reuters:

Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling said on Monday the basketball franchise was not for sale and he would fight to keep the team he built, in the latest salvo of his battle with the league.

Sterling was banned for life by the National Basketball Association in April over a leaked recording of racist remarks he made.

Then, on May 30, Sterling sued the NBA and its commissioner, Adam Silver, seeking at least $1 billion in damages, just as the league tentatively approved a deal by his estranged wife, co-owner of the franchise, to sell the club for $2 billion to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Maybe it’s time to give Sterling a second chance? Here he is, for example, proving he’s not racist by lunching with two very attractive African-American women. TMZ:


To be continued. . .

Tags: NBA

Meet the Venomous, Dinner-Plate-Sized Spider Waiting to Greet World Cup Fans in Brazil



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Via the Wall Street Journal, I give you the wandering spider:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brazil: the magical land of samba, soccer, Seleção…and spiders. Big, fat hairy spiders. And snakes. And flesh-eating fish.

Brazil is a wonderful place for the World Cup, the quadrennial soccer tournament that begins there on Thursday, but it could prove problematic for traveling fans who suffer from two of the most common phobias: arachnophobia and ophidiophobia, which is even harder to pronounce when a viper is slithering toward you.

The Brazilian wandering spider is of particular concern. Not only is this beast the size of a dinner plate—it is also the most venomous spider in the world, Guinness says. There is an antidote for wandering spider bites, so deaths are rare. Its venom can, however, cause erections in male victims, which seems an unnecessarily cruel blow to a man’s dignity. Arachnophobes who suffer from medorthophobia are doomed.

The Brazilian wandering spider, of the Phoneutria genus, isn’t afraid of entering human dwellings and has a reputation of being aggressive. It is basically an eight-legged Oakland Raiders fan. There are eight known species of Phoneutria, all of which can be found in Brazil and some of which will be trying to mate throughout the World Cup. During this period, males are more likely to be found in dark corners looking for a partner.

Click here for more creepy-crawlies to avoid while traveling to the Cup.

Tags: Soccer

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Reveille 6/9/14



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Good morning.

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

  • Rob Neyer of Fox Sports, Anna McDonald of ESPN SweetSpot, Miles Wray of the Hardball Times, Jeff Sullivan of USS Mariner, and Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley check in with updates on the Rays, Giants, Marlins, Mariners, and Phillies, respectively. Baer focuses on bench coach Larry Bowa’s recent on-air tirade:

Bowa went on 97.5 The Fanatic recently and used the platform to rip the team. He said that the Phillies weren’t playing “big-league baseball”. More specifically, he criticized Domonic Brown for showing up to the ballpark with a smile on his face despite his struggles at the plate. Bowa criticized Roberto Hernandez for not being able to go more than five innings in a majority of his starts. He suggested that several unnamed Phillies lacked good baseball instincts, and absolved the coaching staff of blame because “you can’t teach instincts”.

Even if Bowa’s criticisms were right — they’re not — what purpose does he serve going on the radio and ripping the team and the players? If it was meant to light a fire under the team, as it is sometimes suggested, it didn’t work, as the Phillies lost 7–0 to the Washington Nationals later that night and 8-4 on Wednesday. Brown has logged two hits, both singles, in seven at-bats since.

The Phillies are not the group of youngsters that they were under Bowa’s leadership in the early 2000′s. They’ve seen a manager yell, throw chairs, and flip over post-game spreads. None of it is going to magically make the team play better. That the team would allow Bowa the freedom to go on the radio and castigate the players shows not only a fundamental misunderstanding of human psychology, but blind loyalty.

But this is who the Phillies are. It’s why they’ve been the slowest team to adopt the use of analytics. It’s why they have kept around the same core that won them a championship six years ago even though they’re all injury-prone and in their mid-30′s. New ideas cannot permeate the Phillies’ culture because they keep the same people around and they all think the same things. Is there any debate that when Amaro’s time is done, the Phillies will just hand the job over to an underling like Scott Proefrock or Marti Wolever?

  • Although he never played collegiate baseball, the Padres used the 837th pick (28th round) of the 2014 MLB amateur draft to select Johnny Manziel. Mike Axisa of CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball implies that the closest that Johnny Football has come in recent years to hurling a fastball was when he threw out the first pitch before a 2013 regular-season game at Petco Park.
  • Mariano Rivera may be gone, but Yankee fans are thrilled to witness the emergence of Dellin Betances as the club’s lights-out reliever. Pinstripe Alley’s Matt Provenzano urges readers to “cherish the performance,” in part because it’s too soon to tell whether Betances will be able to continue dominating batters. 
  • In what may be my favorite read of the year thus far, Jake Peavy relates to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal his inner thoughts from a recent game against the Braves in Fenway Park. For example:

FIFTH INNING

With one out, Simmons ambushed a first-pitch fastball for a single up the middle. Neither Peavy nor Ross saw that approach coming.

“We didn’t think he’d be just coming right out,” said Peavy. “You would think he would be trying to be almost a leadoff man in that situation and see some pitches, and he caught us being too aggressive. We threw a ball on the outer half that was hittable, thinking we’d get ahead with Strike One and go from there. You get caught.”

Compounding the problem, Simmons surprised Peavy and Ross again by stealing his first base of the season on the next pitch — “it wasn’t something we had prepared for,” Peavy said — and Heyward reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners with one out for B. J. Upton.

“I knew it was a big out there,” Peavy said. “There’s a few spots in every start where you know that this is the game, that if they score here, you’re making it very hard for your team to win this game. The good pitchers recognize those spots and are able to, no matter what has happened leading up to that, check in and go, ‘I’ve got to execute. Dig deep and find a way.’”

Peavy got Upton to line to short. Freeman grounded sharply to first to end the inning, the score still 2–0.

  • Brady Aiken was the first pick in the amateur draft, and it didn’t take long for the Astros and the southpaw from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego to agree on a contract, which included a $6.5 million signing bonus. Baseball America’s Clint Longenecker has his analysis of the first-round selections here.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Gatorade to LeBron: It Isn’t in You



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Via Yahoo Sports NBA blogger Johnny Ludden:

LeBron James couldn’t go stronger for longer last night. Apparently, even the power of Powerade was no match for the sweltering conditions inside San Antonio’s AT&T Center.


More here.

Tags: NBA

Don Zimmer, R.I.P.



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Don Zimmer, the beloved figure who spent 66 years of his life in baseball as a player, coach, manager, and most recently as a senior advisor to the Rays, died yesterday. He was 83.

“Like everyone in Major League Baseball, I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Don Zimmer, one of our game’s most universally beloved figures,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “A memorable contributor to Baseball for more than 60 years, Don was the kind of person you could only find in the National Pastime.

“As a player, Don experienced the joys of the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers and the struggles of the ‘62 Mets. In his managerial and coaching career, this unique baseball man led the Cubs to a division crown and then, at his good friend Joe Torre’s loyal side, helped usher in a new era in the fabled history of the Yankees.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball and the many Clubs that ‘Popeye’ served in a distinguished Baseball life, I extend my deepest condolences to Don’s family, friends and his many admirers throughout our game.”

The Rays will honor Zimmer with a moment of silence at Thursday’s Rays-Marlins game at 4:10 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field and will conduct a special pregame ceremony prior to the Rays-Mariners game on Saturday at 4:10 p.m.

More here and here.

Tags: MLB

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The Long, National Nightmare Is Over: Clippers Sold, Lawsuit Dropped



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USA Today:

Donald Sterling will not fight the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers and will drop a lawsuit he filed Friday against the NBA, Sterling’s attorney, Max Blecher, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports Wednesday.

Sterling, the Clippers’ owner since 1981, had considered fighting the sale of the team by his wife Shelly. But such a challenge might have required Sterling to fight her in court and contest a recent ruling made about his mental health. Shelly Sterling agreed to sell the Clippers last week to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

The rest here.

Tags: NBA

Scratch One Laptop



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Via Craig Calcaterra of NBC’s Hardball Talk:

“Poor Mark Sheldon. He’s a cool guy and a good reporter. Now the Reds’ MLB.com beat writer has to go get a new computer thanks to Pablo Sandoval“:

 

 

As Frank Costanza once uttered, “Million to one shot, doc. Million to one.”

Wait, make that million to two:

 

 

Do I hear million to three?

 

 

More here.

Tags: MLB

The Greatest Pitch (Not Called a Strike) Ever



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Take it away, former Indian Kazuhito Tadano:

Come on, Blue, how was that eephus not a strike?

More here.

Tags: MLB

Dan Marino Is Not Suing the NFL



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Via the Sun Sentinel:

Dan Marino to withdraw concussion lawsuit against NFL

Dan Marino, the legendary Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback, intends to withdraw from a lawsuit against the NFL for concussions.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that the former quarterback joined 14 other players to sue the league.

According to a source, Marino, 52, and his lawyers will be in discussions to withdraw from the lawsuit that was filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

“It was never Marino’s intention to initiate litigation in this case, but to ensure that in the event he had adverse health consequences down the road, he would be covered with health benefits. They are working to correct the error,” a source said to the Sun-Sentinel.

Marino and his lawyers are attempting to discover how Marino’s name was joined to the lawsuit. Marino has said in the past he had two reported concussions during his 17-year career.

The rest here.

Tags: NFL

Falklands War 2.0 at the World Cup?



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Brazil is worried about English and Argentinean soccer fans in the same city at the same time:

Police have raised fears over the fact both England and Argentina will play games in the same city just days apart.

An 11,000-strong contingent of Argentinian fans will travel to see their side play Iran on June 21 in Belo Horizonte, where the Argentina squad will be based during the opening weeks of the tournament.

Three days later, more than 7,500 England fans are expected in the southeastern city for their final group game against Costa Rica.

Around 650 violent ‘ultras’ will cross Argentina’s border with Brazil for the tournament, with the notorious Barra Brava group thought to have made alliances with equally brutal Brazilian hooligans.

The Barras Bravas – linked to Argentinian club San Lorenzo – have already threatened England fans with violence in revenge for losing the Falklands War in 1982.

One Brazilian group, Mafia Azul, are suspected to have rented a ranch on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte in order to accommodate dozens of Barras Bravas.

The Mafia Azul are linked to Belo Horizonte side and current league leaders Cruzeiro, who were earlier this year banned from stadiums in Brazil after violent confrontations with rival fans which left several people dead.

The rest here.

Tags: Misc.

Jeteration Gone Wild



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Writing at his blog over the weekend, NBC Sports columnist Joe Posnanski, founder way back in 2008 of the playful phrase “Jeterate” (“to praise someone for something of which he or she is entirely unworthy of praise“), continued to take aim at those who have long mistaken Derek Jeter for King David:

There has been some high quality Jeteration lately — Rick Reilly recently wrote a letter to Derek Jeter’s unborn children that had some doozies like, “He was the best player in baseball for 10 years straight,” and called him “A kind of prince in baseball cleats” and remarked, “If there was a better man in sports, I never met him.” I didn’t think that was going to be topped.

But in a simple box, I think this little scouting report roars past any story written so far. If you were doing something resembling an actual scouting report for Derek Jeter in 2014, it might look something like this:

Instead the three bits on the scouting report are:

1. Consummate pro and leader.
2. Plays the game the right way.
3. Example to players of all ages.

After dreaming up a humorous mound visit where the “scouting report” is dissected with great care, Poz continues his dissection:

Of course, this wasn’t actually a scouting report for the players … it was a scouting report for those viewers who apparently were unaware that many consider Derek Jeter to be the consummate pro and leader who plays the game the right way and is an example to players of all ages. Those viewers who did not know that would be … I have no idea.

Part of me thinks this was a joke pulled off by some very clever graphics people. And if that’s the case . . . I’m raising a glass to you because nobody could have told the end story better. Derek Jeter has been a very good baseball player. He might have been the best player in baseball around 1998 or 1999 . . . after that he certainly wasn’t the best — not in the age of Bonds and Pujols and A-Rod and Utley — but he was good. I have him as one of the four or five best shortstops of the last 100 years, which is a pretty great thing to be. He hit well and fielded . . . he hit well. He managed to stay controversy free in the age of controversy. He was never caught or suspected of using steroids in the age of steroids. He played shortstop and served as captain for the dominant team of the era. It’s a career worth celebrating.

And the rest . . . well, the rest is Jeteration. I can only hope the next scouting report looks like this:

The rest here.

Tags: MLB

Bees Attack Dodger Stadium



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Really:

 

Tags: MLB

Reveille 6/2/14



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Good morning.

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

It’s not as though Brewers fans (and one would presume they are driving the votes) are rewarding Braun for a stellar comeback chock full of dingers this season — he’s got seven home runs and 23 RBIs, which rank 27th and 41st, respectively, in the NL.​

Encarnacion’s tear has been even more fun than the numbers suggest, due to the style with which he’s been hitting. So far this month, he has five multi-homer games — he hit two in a game on back-to-back nights, too — and he’s just been destroying the pitches he’s been getting ahold of. According to ESPN’s home run tracker, Encarnacion leads the league with 10 “No Doubt” home runs, which are classified as homers that clear the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and land at least 50 feet beyond the fence. The average true distance of his 18 homers (416 ft.) outpaces the league average by a solid 20 ft. Fifteen of his 18 long balls were hit far enough to leave the yard in all 30 major league parks. In other words, Edwin Encarnacion is hitting not just a huge number of home runs, but true no-doubters, the kind that make you gasp.

  • Judging by the look on David Ortiz’s face after being hit with a David Price pitch, it may be safe to say that the Rays and the Red Sox still don’t like each other very much. Albert Chen of Sports Illustrated’s The Strike Zone has the details. 
  • The Royals have another new hitting coach — that would be four times in less than 20 months — but Chen’s colleague, Jay Jaffe, doubts that it will make a discernible difference. 
  • Jake Mintz of the Hardball Times loves watching pitchers throw the eephus, but only in small doses, lest its magical appeal dissipate.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Best ESPN Segment Ever? The ‘10-Cent Beer Night’ Riot in Cleveland



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Back in 1974, the Cleveland Indians thought a “10-cent beer night’ would be a good idea. It wasn’t. Stick around until the end of this six minute ESPN story for the riot that saw Cleveland’s opponent for the night, the Texas Rangers, leaving their dugouts, bats in hand, to take on the unruly fans who had stormed the field. 

 

Tags: MLB

Obama Claims He Suffered Concussions Playing Football



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Video via NBC News, “Obama ‘Sure’ He Suffered Concussions Playing Football.” 

As @Iowahawkblog writes, “President suffered a concussion so severe that he remembers playing football.”

Maybe he got the concussion while playing football against T-Bone, who I hear was one helluva middle linebacker in his day?

 

Tags: NFL

Obama Hosts White House Concussion Summit



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Details here.

Exit question that we all know the answer to: Will the press finally ask for details about Hillary’s concussion?

Tags: NFL

Who Should Host the 2022 Winter Olympics?



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As of today, there are four cities left in the bidding process: Oslo (Norway), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Lviv (Ukraine), and Beijing/ Zhangjiakou (China).

USA Today sums it up:

Lviv’s candidacy has been in limbo amid the political crisis in Ukraine. It’s unclear whether Sunday’s election of billionaire Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new president will allow the bid to go forward or not.

Oslo, which hosted the 1952 Winter Games, has faced large-scale public opposition to the bid and has yet to secure government financial backing. One of the two parties in the coalition government came out against the bid earlier this month.

IOC President Thomas Bach visited Norway last week and sought to shore up support for the Olympics, but no final decision from the government is expected until the autumn.

Almaty and Beijing are the only two bids that have avoided turmoil. Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, is seeking to become the first city to stage both summer and winter games. Almaty, bidding for a second time, is the commercial capital of the oil-rich former Soviet republic in central Asia.

Deadspin has more on what looks to be a dying bid in Oslo:

The Oslo, Norway, bid is falling apart. It was supported by a razor-thin margin in a September referendum, but public opposition has only grown since then. And on Sunday, the junior member of the government coalition voted against funding any Olympics. For them to go on, it would require an unprecedented alliance between the ruling Conservatives and the opposition Labour party.

Ukraine’s bid, for obvious reasons, is probably a non-starter, too.

This leaves Bejing/Zhangjiakou, China or Almaty, Kazakhstan. Is anyone excited about either of those cities? Does either country deserve an Olympics? 

A few weeks ago, I suggested that cities that win bids for the Olympics should get the games for two cycles. This would help cities justify the enormous costs associated with the Games and thus expand the number of cities that bid.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are in PyeongChang, South Korea. And they’re the best choice for 2022, too. 

 

Tags: Olympics

Reveille Rainout



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Good morning.

A busier-than-expected schedule abroad is resulting in this week’s Reveille’s being washed away. Reveille will appear next on Monday, June 2.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this Saturday piece from Yahoo Big League Stew’s Mark Townsend on Miguel Cabrera’s attempt to have a chuckle at Adrian Beltre’s expense. As many players know, a rub of the Rangers’ third-baseman’s head may be dangerous for their health.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Mark Cuban Update: He’s Not Happy with the Racial-Grievance Industry



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Cuban is using his Twitter feed to go after those he thinks took his earlier comments on race out of context. Some excerpts:

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And it was only lunchtime. 

Tags: NBA

President Obama in Cooperstown, Talking Tourism



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The president couldn’t send Joe Biden to do this? It’s basically the same as Paul Hogan saying “throw another shrimp on the barbie.”

AP:

President Barack Obama is pitching the United States as destination spot for tourists, saying foreign visitors contribute to the economy and help create jobs.

Obama says, quote, “When it comes to tourism, we have a great product to sell.”

The president was speaking at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, a popular tourist site in upstate New York.

Obama is the first sitting president to visit the baseball institution and said its 75 years reflect America’s history.

What’s more, he says, America’s national and natural treasures beckon foreign visitors.

He says, quote: “Nothing says ‘Made in America’ better than the Empire State Building or the Hoover Dam.”

The rest here.

Tags: MLB

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