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FaviconReport: Heat forward LeBron James to opt out of deal, become free agent 24 Jun 2014, 10:04 am

Get ready for the Decision, Part II. LeBron James is opting out of his contract with the Heat, and will become a free agent.

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FaviconUruguay eliminates Italy; Did Suarez bite again? 24 Jun 2014, 9:44 am

Uruguay is moving on. Italy is out of the World Cup after a 1-0 loss. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez apparently bit an opponent again.

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FaviconO's Davis walks off White Sox with pinch-hit HR 23 Jun 2014, 11:56 pm

Chris Davis had been scuffling, and with lefty Chris Sale on the mound, it was a perfect night for the Orioles first baseman to ride the pine. He didn’t get the entire night off, however. Manager Buck Showalter called his number in the bottom of the ninth, and Davis delivered a walk-off three-run homer.

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FaviconReport: Bulls offer Gibson, Snell, picks for Love 23 Jun 2014, 7:04 pm

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09/23/2014 04:10 AM
The Grand Slam: Andrew McCutchen's homer puts Pirates on cusp of playoffs

 

It seemed like 2013 for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night — Francisco Liriano pitching like an ace, Andrew McCutchen hitting a go-ahead homer, the playoffs within reach.

The Pirates edged the Atlanta Braves 1-0, lowering their playoff-clinching magic number to two and putting the playoffs within reach by the end of action Tuesday. The Pirates, who made the postseason last year for the first time since Barry Bonds was around, are tied with the San Francisco Giants for the top wild-card spot in the NL.

It looks, at this point, like it's just a matter of which team will host the one-game playoff, as both teams have a 99% chance of making the postseason after wins Monday. The Pirates are 2 1/2 games back in the NL Central and could technically still catch the Cardinals the division lead, though the wild-card seems more likely.

McCutchen's homer in the sixth inning was all the offense the Pirates would need as they won their second straight 1-0 game. Liriano, who struggled early in the season, won his seventh game, pitching six scoreless innings and striking out seven. The Pirates' mighty bullpen shut it down from there.

ADAM WAINWRIGHT GETS HIS 20TH WIN
The St. Louis Cardinals — and specifically ace Adam Wainwright — didn't let the Pirates gain any ground in the division. Wainwright was at his September best Monday night, pitching seven scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs, allowing three hits and striking out eight.

The Cards won 8-0, giving Wainwright his 20th win of the season, tying him with Clayton Kershaw for the most in baseball.

THE A'S ARE SCORING RUNS AGAIN
The Oakland Athletics picked the right time to start scoring runs again. They beat the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night by the score of 8-4, making it back-to-back games that the A's have scored eight runs. As bad as they'd been since the start of August, this is a pretty big deal.

Beating the Angels doesn't help the A's any in the AL West. The Angels have locked that up already, but the win did allow Oakland to keep a one-game lead over the Kansas City Royals for the top AL wild card (and the right to host the one-game playoff next week).

July acquisition Jeff Samardzija had another strong outing for the A's, pitching seven innings and giving up just one run. The A's scored six runs in the first inning to give him plenty of breathing room.

THE MARINERS GET WALLOPED
The Seattle Mariners are on the outside of the playoff picture at the moment, trying to unseat either the A's or Royals for the final AL wild-card spot. They sure didn't help themselves against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

The Blue Jays walloped the Mariners, running up a 14-4 score and chasing Seattle starter James Paxton after just 2 2/3 innings. The Mariners are two games back in the wild-card standings with six games to play.

For the rest of Monday's results, check out our scoreboard.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

09/22/2014 11:05 PM
Shutdown Corner NFL Power Rankings: Taking stock of the 3-0 teams

We're down to three undefeated teams after just three weeks. And the three undefeateds are far from flawless.

The Bengals are the best of the group. Their offense has been diverse, especially with quarterback Andy Dalton playing well and running back Giovani Bernard emerging as a star. They're an impressive 3-0, yet you're forgiven if you have some reservations about completely buying in. You remember the playoffs the last three years.

Then there are the Cardinals and Eagles.

The Cardinals have a great coaching staff led by Bruce Arians. That's the best way to explain them overcoming their massive defensive personnel losses and winning despite having to go with Drew Stanton at quarterback. Their schemes on both sides are covering up some issues. It's hard to imagine the Cardinals being a Super Bowl contender with Stanton at quarterback (or, let'e be honest, with Carson Palmer at quarterback) but 3-0 is a great start nonetheless.

The Eagles are just a strange 3-0 team. They're literally unlike any 3-0 team we've ever seen. They're the first in NFL history to go 3-0 after being down by at least 10 points in each of their first three games. They're 3-0, they also have a good coach, but do you really trust a team that allowed the Redskins and Jaguars to take double-digit leads on their home turf?

All three of the 3-0 teams are in the top 10, of course, but none have cracked the top two yet. Onto the post-Week 3 power rankings:

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3, LW: 29)
Unbelievable.

31. Oakland Raiders (0-3, LW: 32)
There's something to be said for moral victories. They played well. Not a win, but I bet they feel a lot better than after the Week 2 nightmare against Houston.

Blake Bortles (USA Today Sports Images)30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3, LW: 31)
Just makes no sense why they didn't go with Blake Bortles right away. Those two-and-a-half games didn't make a huge difference for Bortles. They did for the Jaguars' 2013 season, however.

29. New York Giants (1-2, LW: 30)
Eli Manning didn't throw any interceptions. The defense forced three interceptions. Voila.

28. Washington Redskins (1-2, last week: 27)
Maybe I underestimated Kirk Cousins.

27. St. Louis Rams (1-2, LW: 24)
Had they held on to that big lead, 2-1 doesn't look so bad. But 1-2 after that collapse sure isn't fun.

26. Minnesota Vikings (1-2, LW: 23)
That performance at New Orleans actually wasn't too bad, considering all the circumstances. Still, a rookie quarterback with Matt Asiata heading up the running game won't inspire anyone.

25. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2, LW: 28)
The reason Knile Davis was under-drafted was a lengthy injury history, not a lack of talent. He's good enough to be a top 10 NFL running back with the right opportunity. Hopefully he can stay healthy enough to keep proving that.

24. Cleveland Browns (1-2, LW: 25)
How many times have the Browns lost a game at home like they lost to Baltimore on Sunday? It seems like three or four times a year. Heartbreaking.

23. Tennessee Titans (1-2, LW: 22)
The win over Dallas seems like so long ago, I'm pretty sure Eddie George and Derrick Mason played in it.

22. Houston Texans (2-1, LW: 21)
Yeah, that's why I was a little reluctant to buy in at 2-0.

21. Miami Dolphins (1-2, LW: 16)
Joe Philbin thought bubble: "I need a scapegoat or I'm getting fired ... what about blaming Ryan Tannehill for my mess and leaking that we're considering benching him?"

20. Dallas Cowboys (2-1, LW: 26)
One good half doesn't mean Tony Romo is all the way back, fully healthy. But at halftime on Sunday, there had to be a lot of concern about him in Dallas.

19. New York Jets (1-2, LW: 14)
#Geno'd

18. Buffalo Bills (2-1, LW: 18)
Honest story: A Bills fan ripped these power rankings, then sent me his own that had the Bills as the fifth best team in the NFL. Brilliant.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1, LW: 19)
There's some things you can't predict before a draft, like a Le'Veon Bell losing 20 pounds before his second season and re-inventing himself as one of the best backs in the NFL.

16. Baltimore Ravens (2-1, LW: 17)
Judging a decision by results vs. process: It wasn't the right call to kick a 21-yard field goal trailing by four points with five minutes left. It worked out very well in the end despite it all. Huzzah.

15. Atlanta Falcons (2-1, LW: 20)
So are they going to just be the Saints, incredible and unbeatable at home and just meh on the road?

14. San Francisco 49ers (1-2, LW: 7)
If they can't beat the Eagles at home on Sunday, it might get really ugly.

13. Chicago Bears (2-1, LW: 12)
Their best player on Monday night was the opposing quarterback.

Reggie Bush (USA Today Sports Images)12. Detroit Lions (2-1, LW: 15)
If that defensive performance is what we can expect to see the rest of the season, the Lions will be nearly unbeatable. Also, they could lose by four touchdowns in their next game and nobody would be surprised.

11. San Diego Chargers (2-1, LW: 13)
There's some concern about who is healthy enough to run the ball, but this is a really well coached, solid team.

10. Green Bay Packers (1-2, LW: 8)
I have to assume the offense will come alive, but this team doesn't look anything like a Super Bowl contender so far.

9. New Orleans Saints (1-2, LW: 10)
They took forever to put away a Vikings team without Adrian Peterson and a rookie quarterback who was pressed into action, at the Superdome. Is it possible they're just not that good? Still giving them the Drew Brees-Sean Payton benefit of the doubt but it's starting to run thin.

8. Carolina Panthers (2-1, LW: 6)
They'll have some games like that, when the offensive line just is not good enough to give the team a chance.

7. Indianapolis Colts (1-2, LW: 11)
Sunday was a reminder: They have the easiest schedule in the NFL. And that counted starting with Denver and Philly. Lot more laughers to come.

6. Arizona Cardinals (3-0, LW: 9)
To be honest, I don't think they should be this high. But look at the teams behind them and tell me who you trust more right now.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0, LW: 5)
Nick Foles leads the NFL in passing yards, but yet, am I the only one that doesn't feel like he's playing that great?

4. New England Patriots (2-1, LW: 3)
Tom Brady's 5.5 yards per attempt is 42nd among all 49 players who have thrown one pass this season. Among regular starting quarterbacks, only Derek Carr and Ryan Tannehill average less. It's a big problem.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0, LW: 4)
Love the Andy Dalton TD catch. That's when you know things are going well.

2. Denver Broncos (2-1, LW: 1)
Even in a loss, the Broncos now know they can compete with anyone. I'm not sure they really believed they could compete with Seattle before Sunday.

1. Seattle Seahawks (2-1, LW: 2)
It's amazing how they'll go stretches where you'd swear they have 13 or 14 defensive players on the field.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

 

 

 

 

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09/23/2014 07:45 AM
Designs for the new Golden State Warriors arena make it look like a giant toilet
The Golden State Warriors' new San Francisco arena will probably not look like a toilet when finished (via SocketSite).

A professional sports team can go in several directions when designing a new stadium. Many go for function over form, opting for a fairly standard layout with a few cautiously eccentric design choices to add a modicum of character. Others turn the stadium into something out of a child's imagination, packing in goofy details with no regard for a cohesive overall concept. A select few will even do something impressive, balancing the modern with the classic to end up with a structure that pleases fans and architecture critics alike.

It is still too early to critique the new San Francisco arena for the Golden State Warriors estimated to open in 2018. What we do know, though, is that the latest designs make the building look like a giant toilet.

An alternate view of the arena (via SocketSite).

 

The latest mockups, hosted on SocketSite, are low on detail and do not involve any ground views, which is obviously how most people will experience the arena. It's likely that the final product will involve a greater contrast between the terrace area and the roof (and not make it off-white in color), thereby changing the fact that the bird's-eye view looks exactly like a closed toilet seat resting on top of the toilet itself. Why, it's even likely that the actual structure will be different enough that the very obvious "Toilet Bowl" nickname will not persist past this initial design release. Unless, of course, the Warriors turn into a draft lottery mainstay by the grand opening, in which case the nickname can work without any relation to the arena's design.

Perhaps the new lavatory look is Warriors' ownership's way of telling San Franciscans that they're not too happy about the way this arena project went down. In 2012, the Warriors unveiled plans to build and move to a new arena along the city's waterfront by 2017. That plan was altered after complaints about the arena blocking views and increases in the estimated price compelled citizens to pursue a ballot measure that would restrict any waterfront construction projects. Under considerable pressure to find a workable solution, the Warriors abandoned their plans for the waterfront project and eventually settled on building the arena in San Francisco Mission Bay neighborhood, not far from the Giants' gorgeous AT&T Park but in a considerably less attractive spot. Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber will get their desired move from Oakland to San Francisco, but they didn't get exactly what they wanted.

The building is designed by the architecture firm Snøhetta, which also worked on the earlier waterfront project and the ongoing expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. As of this writing, the firm has not explained why they released these designs without realizing that they look exactly like a toilet dropped into a world-renowned city. Maybe they fell in.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

09/23/2014 12:42 AM
Puck Daddy’s NHL 2014-15 Emoji Preview: Dallas Stars

(The 2014-15 NHL season is nearly upon us, and attempting to handicap the winners and losers can sometimes leave us speechless. So we decided to break down all 30 teams with the next best thing to words: Emojis!)

Last Season In Emojis

Yahoo

Last Season, In Summary

People weren’t sure what to expect from the Dallas Stars last season, and they ended up surprising many.

The organization’s future in Dallas was no longer in doubt. New ownership did some house keeping, which meant saying good-bye to Joe Nieuwendyk and Glen Gulutzan, and hello to Jim Nill (GM) and Lindy Ruff (head coach).

The team also welcomed in gifted scorer (and common sense lacker), Tyler Seguin, in the hopes the change of scenery would re-focus the youngster, and it worked. Seguin paired with captain Jamie Benn became one the NHL's top dynamic duos; they led the Stars in scoring with 84-points and 79-points, respectively.

Towards the end of the season, Rich Peverley suffered a cardiac event during a game against Columbus leading to the game being rescheduled at a later date. Dallas rallied around their fallen commrade as they made a mad dash for the playoffs.

The Stars had been in a massive play-off drought; missing the post-season for five straight years before nabbing the second wild card spot with a 40-31-11 record.

As the No. 8 seed, Dallas drew the Anaheim Ducks in the first round. The scrappy Stars hung with the Ducks by coming back from an 0-2 deficit to tie the series. However, Anaheim would take the series after a Game 6 collapse by Dallas.

Last Season’s Definitive Highlight

It's not a highlight that Rich Peverley nearly died while on the bench. It's a testament to the Stars ability to regroup and play at an even higher level after witnessing what they did. This was a rallying point for the organization.

Off-Season Transactions

Let’s get the biggest transaction out of the way first. The Stars acquired Ludvig Karlsson from Ottawa for Alex Chiasson, prospects, and a second round pick in 2015; oh, and they got Jason Spezza as part of the deal, too. Spezza was very unhappy in Ottawa and he waived his no-trade clause to go to Dallas.

Antoine Roussel with his team-high 206 PIMs earned a four-year, $8-million contract extension. The Stars also re-upped Vern Fiddler for two years at $1.25-million per.

Dallas picked up complimentary pieces for their roster via free agency. To add additional depth at forward, Patrick Eaves inked a one year deal after spending time in Detroit and Nashville last season. Anders Lindback was also given a one-year contract to be the primary backup for Kari Lehtonen. Ales Hemskey took a slight paycut to join the Stars for the next three-years ($12-million total).

Julius Honka was selected by the Stars 14th overall at the 2014 draft. Not only does he have a great name, he's an offensive-defenseman posting 56-points in the WHL. Honka is not expected to crack the big club this year; however, he did sign a three-year entry level contract worth $4.275-million in July.

Aaron Rome fell victim to compliance buyout of the final two years of his contract. In two years with the team, he played in 52 games, had six points, and 29 PIMs.

Nill parted ways with many free agents. Some of the notables include: Tim Thomas (2-4-1, 2.97 GAA), Dustin Jeffrey (2 G, 1A) and Ray Whitney (9 G, 23 A).

Yahoo

Tyler Seguin led the team in scoring with 84-points (37 goals, 47 assists). Not far behind was his winger Jamie Benn with 79-points (34 goals, 45 assists). Turning heads was 6'4", 205-pound rookie Valeri Nichushkin. He added 34-points in his NHL debut.

With the move made to get Spezza in the offseason, Dallas turned up their dangerous offense up to 11. It is very difficult to win in without a physical and offensively gifted second-line center. Spezza is that guy. Along with his $7-million dollar cap-hit, Spezza adds a 54-percent face-off win percentage. Flanking Spezza will be Ales Hemskey and Erik Cole. Hemskey is familiar with Spezza after being dealt to Ottawa from Edmonton, where he scored 17 points in 20 games. The Stars will look to Hemskey to make up for the loss of Alex Chiasson's point production.

In addition to his 11 major penalties, Roussel contributed 14 goals and 15 assists in 81 games. He's joined on a line with Dallas's other truculent forward, Ryan Garbutt. Garbutt earned himself 108 PIMs and was the seventh highest point scorer on the team with 32. Cody Eakin remains an unsigned RFA. Should he continue to be unavailable, free agent Patrick Eaves could take his place.

Rounding out the forwards are Shawn Horcoff, Vern Fiddler, and Colton Sceviour. Rich Peverley is still recovering from surgery to repair his irregular heart rhythm. He has been cleared to workout, but cannot take to the ice yet.

Yahoo

The defensive group comes back relatively intact.

Alex Goligoski was the third leading scorer, and highest scoring defenseman, for Dallas with 42-points. He finally returned to being the player he was when he was first dealt to Dallas in 2010-11. Goligoski led the team with 24:18 TOI, nearly three-minutes more than his partner (second in TOI), Trevor Daley.

Jamie Benn's brother, Jordie, hit a career high 20-points last season and was third on the team in blocked shots (122). Benn's defensive partner Brenden Dillon led the team with 168 hits. Only problem at the moment is Dillon's lack of a RFA contract.

The aging corpse of Sergei Gonchar is in the final season of his contract with the Stars, carrying a $5-million cap-hit. Kevin Connauton and Patrik Nemeth will battle to earn that final spot on defense.

Yahoo

Kari Lehtonen remains the workhorse goaltender for the Stars. Going into his 10th NHL season, the 30-year-old netminder played in 65 games posting a 33-20-10 record with a .919 save-percentage, 2.41 goals-against, and a career-high five shutouts.

Food for thought. Lehtonen has played in two playoff series in his entire career. The first was in 2006-07 with Atlanta and the second came last season. He started all six games and gave up 19 goals with one shut-out. His team gave him the run support scoring 18 goals. Perhaps playing in so many regular season games factored in to his post-season play?

Backing up Lehtonen this year is Anders Lindback. The 6'6" netminder spent last season backing up Ben Bishop in Tampa Bay. Bishop was unavailable due to injury for the playoff series against Montreal; Lindback took to the net in his place going 0-3-0 with a 3.91 GAA.

Probable Text Conversation Within Organization

Yahoo

Special Teams

Both penalty kill and power play were not strong points for the Stars last season.

The penalty kill was No. 21 in the NHL at 81.4 percent. Ryan Garbutt and Brendan Dillon each had two of the team’s eight short-handed goals.

The power play was 23rd in the league. Tyler Seguin led the power play with 25-points (11 goals, 14 assists). The Stars were No. 1 in total time spent on the power play and No. 4 in total power play shots.

GM and Coach

Jim Nill has revamped the Stars organization. He took on risks, like the behaviorally-challenged Tyler Seguin, and wasn't afraid to pull the trigger for Jason Spezza. In what looked like a long road to rebuilding, Nill shortened the trip. Lindy Ruff is entering his second season at the helm. He has instilled confidence into his players and received a max return from them.

And Now, A Blooper

D'OH!

The Potential Best Thing About This Team

Offense, offense, offense. Dallas had a slew of 30-plus point producers which is great except that the top two scorers, Benn and Seguin, carried most of the production. With the additions like Spezza and Hemskey, and the emergency of young players like Val Nichushkin, the pressure lifted somewhat from the two at the top.

The Potential Worst Thing About This Team

Defense, defense, defense. At best, the defensive corps for Dallas is average. Via War on Ice, they have the highest Corsi-Against and the third highest Corsi-Against/60 at 33. For a goalie like Lehtonen, who plays 60+ games when healthy, that's a lot of shots to face.

Single Emoji Prediction

Yahoo

The improvements by Dallas made the Central Division just as competitive as the Pacific Division. They are not to be underestimated. As long as everyone contributes and Lehtonen stays healthy, they'll be a part of the playoff mix.

 

 

 

 

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Enjoy a Motor Race Properly
(SportNewsConnection.com)

It is undeniable that we all get excited to attend any sports event. But it is also true that a proper knowledge of the game makes it even more interesting. Motor races are not any exception. You can get the most of it only when you know what is happening. So check out for some proper strategies.

Read more ...
 

 

 

 

... and more

 

 

 

 

 

09/23/2014 08:24 AM
Former USC player sues school and Lane Kiffin

Brian Baucham, a former USC CB, is suing the school and former coach Lane Kiffin as he claims he was forced to play in a game while already ill.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in a Los Angeles circuit court. Baucham played for USC from 2008-2012. He was academically ineligible in 2011 as a redshirt junior and played four games in 2012 with six tackles. The fourth game of the season was against Cal, the game that Baucham references in the lawsuit. He didn't play again the rest of the season.

From the AP:

Baucham claims he suffered ''cardiopulmonary damage'' and ''brain injury with neurocognitive deficits'' after he played against California at the Coliseum on Sept. 22, 2012. Baucham's lawsuit claims he was ill and dehydrated before the game, but was ''forced'' to play by Kiffin.

''USC and head coach Kiffin were clearly negligent and acted with conscious disregard for Brian's welfare and safety by forcing him to play ... despite his verified medical history and seriously ill condition,'' said Bruce M. Brusavich, Baucham's attorney.

Kiffin, now Alabama's offensive coordinator, was removed from his duties as USC's head coach after a loss to Arizona State in 2013.

USC responded to the lawsuit, which doesn't name damages, Monday night. Baucham also says USC tried to revoke his scholarship.

''It wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment on this lawsuit, and due to privacy laws we cannot comment on the specifics of this case,'' USC athletic director Pat Haden said. ''I will say that I am confident that we provide excellent medical treatment to our student athletes and that their health is always our primary concern ahead of any athletic competition."

USC and a former strength department employee were sued by former RB Stafon Johnson in 2011. Johnson was hurt in a weight room accident when his throat was crushed while bench pressing in 2009. The lawsuit was settled in 2012.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

 

 

 

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