Yankees have their largest AL wild card lead since June

The Yankees have had their ups and downs in 2017, but they seem to be back on the upswing late in the season. After successfully sweeping the Mets in a four-game series. the Yanks find themselves with a 3 1/2 game lead on the first AL wild card spot, the largest such lead that they (or any) team has possessed since mid-June.

Given how tumultuous the AL wild card picture is, with the Angels holding the second wild card while four other teams sit within 1 1/2 games back of them (and the Rays, Orioles, and Blue Jays all continuing to lurk three games behind), a 3 1/2 game lead for the first wild card is comparatively huge. That puts them four games ahead of the Royals, 4 1/2 ahead of the Twins, five up on the Mariners and Rangers, and 6 1/2 ahead of the Rays, O’s, and Jays.

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Those were created three years ago when Bud Selig suggested that Hank Aaron was the true Home Run King. I agreed with him. Kind of. This is a similar situation.

Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds worked out like super hard and were constantly drinking protein shakes, give or take. Unless they were both ‘roided to the gills. Either Adam Shaheen Jerseys
way. And Giancarlo Stanton will have played in one of the highest home run eras of all time, with a suspect baseball that just might be different.

There are other parts to this story, though.

And Stanton probably hasn’t really needed the extra 2 Josh Hamilton Jerseys
or 3 percent of distance that the changed balls might offer. They’re all tremendous in their own right, and if Stanton hits 62, my stars, give him all the credit he deserves. That would be an amazing accomplishment.

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Darvish to the Yankees sounds more enticing than it is.

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There are times you take a walk, and this is not one of them. Also homeboy is carrying a pink baseball bat. Did nobody think this would be a spoiler alert for what was coming?

Marshon Lattimore Jersey A marriage proposal, on the other hand, is something everyone has a stake in — especially when it happens in public. It’s for this reason I have a simple proposal:

The one major issue here is that Darvish goes against the strategy the Yankees have employed of late, both in the offseason and so far during trade deadline season. They’re adding to 2017 without sacrificing much in the future — even the deal with the White Sox that brought them a rental like Todd Frazier also came with a long-term piece like Tommy Kahnle, which made giving up a number of prospects palatable. Darvish is dominant, and easily the top pitcher on the block, but he’s a rental and he won’t come cheap.

Verlander might not be the ace he looked like for much of last season when he just missed winning a Cy Young award, but he could still end up being enough of a difference maker that the Brewers benefit by adding him — especially if they grab onto him more like now-ish rather than waiting for the deadline a little less than two weeks (and multiple Verlander starts) from now.

There’s also the dream that he can more closely resemble the starter he was a year ago with a change of scenery and the switch to a team that isn’t perpetually underperforming and disappointing, but you want me to play armchair sports psychologist about as much as I do, so let’s move on.

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Basketball Hall of Famer John Kundla, first-ever Lakers coach, dead at 101

John Kundla, the first coach in Lakers history, died Sunday at the age of 101.

His son, Tom, confirmed his father’s death, saying the elder Kundla died at an assisted living facility in Northeast Minneapolis.

“On behalf of the entire Lakers organization, I’d like to express our sadness at the passing of John Kundla,” Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “John played an important role in the history of the Lakers organization.

“Not only was he a Hall of Fame coach, he was our first head coach and led the organization to five NBA championships. In addition to his numerous contributions to the Lakers and our legacy, John was a wonderful man and will be remembered fondly. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the Kundla family.”

Kundla, who celebrated his 101st birthday on July 3, led the Minneapolis Lakers to five NBA titles from 1949-1954 and his Lakers team was the first in NBA history to three-peat, winning consecutive championships from 1952-54.

Irving’s request presents a particular challenge to 2K Sports. While the manufacture of physical copies has yet to begin, the company has designed the cover art, completed marketing materials and even finished aspects such as the loading screens. A trade would need to occur very soon for changes to be enacted in time for the release, but there’s no indication a deal is imminent.

It’s rare that a cover star’s place in the league changes dramatically while the game is being promoted or shortly after the player appears on a cover. Video game publishers intentionally select players considered to be stable, reliable and obviously valued by their organizations. They’ll shy away from anyone who’s a risk in their personal life, is a free agent or has been involved in trade rumors. The Irving news came as a surprise to everyone.

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what’s left to accomplish this preseason before your season-opener in Chicago?

They made the ill-fated decision to acquire Tensi in a trade from the Chargers. He looked great in San Diego, but the bigger sample size in Denver produced a 10-21-1 record while rating 59.0 with 45 interceptions and 35 sacks. This also is a reminder that what Tim Tebow did, including a game-winning touchdown in the playoffs, was pretty good.

With all due disrespect to 1979 flameout Jeff Komlo, Harrington was the more frustrating disappointment, looking like can’t-miss as the No. 3 overall pick in 2002. The so-called efficiency he was supposed to bring from Oregon never came to fruition, as sticking with him over 18 wins in 55 starts was a big reason for the dismal aughts in Detroit. He never looked the part of a franchise QB.
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J.T. Thomas Game Jersey Ryan: Our experience together really helps in that respect. There’s just a level of understanding that comes with playing with someone for so long and having those in-game reps that are so valuable. He understands my body language; I understand his really, really well. I know where he’s going to be. I know what he’s seeing, how he sees things.

So I think if there’s one guy on this team that you can adjust to pretty quickly it’s probably Julio for me. But we’re all excited for him and when he’s able to get back there he’ll be ready to go. He looks good now, too. He’s done a great job for us up until this point.

Finally, what’s left to accomplish this preseason before your season-opener in Chicago?

Ryan: I’ve been proud of the way that we’ve worked. I think that the effort’s there, but our execution has to come along. When we get the opportunity to game plan and be more specific about the opponents and tighten up our call sheet going into a game, I expect our execution to really ramp up. I’m looking for the execution to be better as we move forward.

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Reno Aces selling Trevor Bauer drone bobblehead

Authentic Patrik Berglund Jersey Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer has some moments in his career he would love to forget, but one in particular his former Triple-A team is not letting him live down.

The Reno Aces, who Bauer pitched for as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012, are giving away a bobblehead featuring Bauer’s likeness. That itself isn’t too crazy. What’s crazy is Bauer is featured with a bloody shoe and a hovering drone over his pitching hand.

The bobblehead, of course, is referencing the 2016 postseason when Bauer had an accident with his drone in which he injured his hand and had to receive stitches prior to his start in Game 2 of the ALCS.
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It’s something Bauer probably wants to put behind him, but on Aug. 19, the Aces will not let him.

From a production and editorial standpoint, the biggest challenge is still giving the game its due, Montalto told SN. We have four guys on the desk. Even a large booth usually has three. We have four guys and we want them all to get their opinions in.

Ultimately, what people are tuning into, still, regardless of how you’re giving them the broadcast, is the game. Cubs fans and Giants fans are going to be tuning in to see the Cubs and Giants (the matchup for this year’s SABRcast). We don’t want to do them a disservice by not giving them a proper game broadcast. That’s the delicate balance we have to weigh on.

It is a difficult balance to maintain, especially with fans who dislike baseball broadcasts that have extra bells and whistles. Kenny believes the sabermetrics revolution can only help with the presentation.

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Michael Vick is starting his coaching career as an intern for the Chiefs

Elite Calais Campbell Jersey Michael Vick’s NFL career ended with him on the sidelines. Now, he’s looking to start a new one on those very same sidelines, this time as a coach. Vick, who is working as a coaching intern with the Chiefs now, revealed his goals on Adam Schefter’s podcast last month.

Elite Garrett Richards Jersey Vick told Schefter that his current priority was helping kids, and then casually slipped in if I could coach one day or be an ambassador for somebody that’s a great opportunity too.

I think my heart is really into teaching the game of football, Vick said. I feel like I’ve learned so much from so many great coaches over the years. I don’t want to bottle up a lot of knowledge.

It didn’t have to be this way, but thanks to the team’s hardline stance with Cousins’ contract, their situation under center is completely up in the air. But for the moment, Cousins is still here, so let’s take a look at his supporting cast.

Last year’s leading receivers for Washington were DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Neither is on the team anymore, with both men bolting in free agency. That’s kind of a problem.

In fairness, WR isn’t a total black hole like you might expect. Washington signed Terrelle Pryor, who impressed in his first full season as a receiver with the Cleveland Browns. Pryor only signed a one-year deal, so he’ll have to prove that 2016 wasn’t a fluke. (For what it’s worth, Pryor and Cousins have already developed good chemistry.)

The rest of the pass-catching unit has promise but is largely unproven and injury-prone. Playing next to Pryor will be Jamison Crowder, who had a quiet breakout season with seven touchdowns and figures to play a larger role in the offense. Josh Doctson’s rookie season was mostly wiped out by a lingering Achilles injury, but the 2016 first-round pick stayed healthy through OTAs and still has a lot of upside.

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Attention NFL players: Leave your nipple rings at home

Football is a dangerous sport and it’s difficult for any team to get through training camp without suffering any injuries. The last thing any player needs to do is to come to camp with another way to get hurt.

The weight goal for Poe on Wednesday, when Falcons players reported to camp, was 330 pounds. That’s the weight the team wants him to play at this season, and he’s there.

Poe’s last weigh in was in June, and he was expected to be under 340 pounds. He passed that one with flying colors, too. Overall, Poe has $500,000 in weight incentives built into his contract.

He’s not the only NFL player to have a nice bonus hit the bank account this week. Alex Smith had a generous incentive to show up for training camp this week.

Chiefs QB Alex Smith collects a $2 million reporting bonus today for showing up to camp, per @FieldYates. NFL’s biggest report bonus.

That’s a big chunk of change just for showing up for training camp, which is mandatory for all players, anyway.

Congratulations to Poe and Smith for earning a lot of extra money this week for losing weight and showing up for work.

Playing at right tackle, James had a promising rookie year, but a toe injury limited him to just seven games in 2015. He played all 16 games last year, mostly being a league-average player. That’s probably not good enough for Miami to give him the fifth-year option, which would cost around $8.1 million. James’ spot on the right side is entrenched with Laremy Tunsil moving to left tackle next year. patriots_029-180x180

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Spurs power forward makes amazing retirement video to remind us of his legacy

A legendary Spurs power forward has retired. He won’t soon be forgotten.
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Matt Bonner spent 10 seasons with the Spurs (after two with the Raptors), winning two championships. His red hair and goofy demeanor sometimes made him the butt of a joke, but Bonner could play: Red Mamba is 14th all time in 3-point percentage, making 41.4 percent of his bombs despite playing power forward and center for his 792-game NBA career.

Mens Dwayne Allen Jersey With the Women’s March on Washington serving as the headlining event, similar organized protests were held in major cities throughout the country Saturday, Trump’s first full day in office. James, who ripped Trump for dubbing his lewd and inappropriate comments about women locker room talk, showed his support for the activism all over the country the day after Trump’s inauguration.

Earlier Saturday, James took a dig at Trump on Instagram, posting a popular video which highlights the similarities between Trump’s inauguration address and the words of D.C. Comic’s character Bane.

Hayward is now in his seventh (and best) NBA season, all spent with the Jazz. When he did hit restricted free agency in 2014, it was Charlotte鈥攏ot the Celtics鈥攚ho made a max offer that was matched by Utah. And while rumors have persisted that the Celtics would somehow land Hayward, the Jazz have never had serious trade talks about dealing Hayward to Boston or anywhere else.

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Penguins win 2017 Stanley Cup: Three takeaways

This was no easy Stanley Cup championship for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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Weighted down during the grueling two-month tournament by injuries, fatigue and quality opposition, the Penguins staggered at times, but never succumbed. And Sunday night they became the first team in two decades to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, a just reward for a team that now can lay claim to the term dynasty, with three Cups in the Sidney Crosby era.

Kirk Mclean Game Jersey Two hard-luck losses in, Nashville trails largely due to the struggles of its veteran goalie. Rinne failed to finish Wednesday’s Game 2, replaced by backup Juuse Saros in the third period when the Penguins scored three goals 3:18 apart for a 4-1 win. In sum, he’s allowed eight goals on 36 shots so far in the series.

The shoddy play cast some doubt on Rinne’s starting status for Game 3, and Predators coach Peter Laviolette stopped short of putting those questions to rest.

Pekka has been terrific through this entire playoffs, he responded post game when asked about his confidence to go back to Rinne on Saturday. Like I said, I think there’s things we can do better. All three goals in the third period, we could have done something better. We’re leaving them odd man numbered rushes. I believe all of them were odd, three-on-twos and two-on-ones makes it more difficult.

Pressed directly about his goalie’s status, Laviolette repeated himself.

Pekka has been excellent for us all year long, like I said, he said. There’s things that we could have done. All three goals in the third period were odd-man rushes.

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NHL free agency: Kevin Shattenkirk signs four-year deal with Rangers

High-scoring defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is headed to the New York Rangers.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that Shattenkirk has agreed to a four-year deal that will pay him $6.65 million per year.

During his Tuesday appearance on an episode of the Puck Soup podcast, McDavid explained how the uncomfortable encounter unfolded.

I was walking into the security line and I had actually walked past them, McDavid said. And then they say 鈥榟ey Connor can we get a picture?’ and I say 鈥榮ure’ and sure enough they come up to me and start hugging me. Both of them. Both of them were hugging me.
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And sure enough there was someone who had their phone ready to take a picture. They had already turned around and were ready for the picture and took the picture before I had even realized what was going on. The whole thing lasted seven seconds and then I was out of there.

McDavid managed to escape their loving arms unharmed, but the reminder of their passionate hug lives on.

The big, 6-6 centerman is hardly a sexy addition, but he was traded for a first-round pick at last season’s deadline. Hanzal, 30, is affordable at $4.75 million over the next three years and provides additional depth down the middle for the Stars. Can never have too much of that.

Elite Brian Winters Jersey Marleau played 1,493 games with the Sharks, missing only 31 in his career, and was the longest-tenured player for a single team in the NHL. He’s betting big that one of its youngest rosters is ready to win now, and the Leafs are betting he has plenty left in the tank to help them do it.

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