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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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08/21/2014 09:59 PM
Mo'ne Davis and Taney Dragons knocked out of LLWS by Chicago's Jackie Robinson West

In the end, only one of the Little League World Series' big stories could survive, and it wouldn't be Mo'ne Davis.

Davis, the 13-year-old girl pitcher who captured the nation's attention, and her Taney Dragons team from Philadelphia were eliminated from the tournament Thursday. Chicago's Jackie Robinson West, which made headlines because it's made up entirely of black players, won the game 6-5 and advances to the U.S. finals.

Davis didn't pitch, having exhausted her pitch limit Wednesday, but she started at first base and hit seventh, going 0-for-1 at the plate. It was the end of an impressive Little League World Series run for Davis. She made the cover of Sports Illustrated after she became  the first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS history.

On Thursday, the team from Chicago was ahead 6-2 after the second inning. Philly rebounded to make things interesting, scoring two in the fourth inning and another in the fifth, to enter the final inning within one run. 

The Jackie Robinson West Little League team advanced to the U.S. finals with a win Thursday. (AP)

Philly couldn't rally again, though, so Davis and the Dragons go home while Jackie Robinson West advances to play the powerful Las Vegas team Saturday. Las Vegas will be the heavy favorite, since it already beat both Jackie Robinson West and the Taney Dragons.

As for Davis, it's unclear what's in her immediate future. She's likely to make the post-LLWS media rounds. Her status as a pop culture star of the moment means plenty of TV shows will be lining up to have her as a guest.

She'll start eighth grade soon too, so her next athletics adventure will be on the basketball court. While she did well as a pitcher and caused some to ponder the prospect of a female MLB player, Davis has said all along her dream is play basketball at the University of Connecticut then in WNBA.

And, of course, Davis will eventually return to some semblance of normal life. One of these days, she might just wake up as Mo'ne Davis, typical teenage girl who had a really memorable summer.

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!

 

08/21/2014 09:44 PM
Roethlisberger struggled in Steelers' tune-up, Eagles' Foles not much better

It's understandable if you're reading this Friday morning, having seen Nick Foles' stat line from Thursday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and want to throw your shoe at me (or your laptop, with me in mind).

It's true: Foles completed 19-of-29 passes for 179 yards, and did so in a half's worth of work. So a nearly-400-yard-game-pace is not impressive? That's what I am saying.

Luckily, I don't need to convince you to look beyond the numbers to tell you how bad his counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, was for the Steelers. His horrid first-half numbers — 10-for-19 passing, 82 yards, and an interception — back that up pretty well.

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If this was the final tune-up for both teams heading into the regular season, there's enough worry about both quarterbacks to wonder if they are at the top of their games right now.

The Steelers crossed midfield on their first drive of the night against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that had looked sub-par in their first two preseason games, but they could go no farther when Roethlisberger missed two easy throws.

The second series, the Steelers looked like they badly wanted to get some chemistry between Roethlisberger and second-year receiver Markus Wheaton, who missed all of last season but could be a big part of the offense. Roethlisberger missed him once (but was bailed out by a ticky-tack penalty call) and then missed two more times on the drive. Another punt.

It was much the same for the rest of the first half as Roethlisberger and his receivers all appeared to be going off different playbooks. It's hard to know who was at blame, but it wasn't all the wideouts; Big Ben struggled for certain on Thursday. His timing and touch were off, often throwing behind his receivers, and he looked annoyed at the whole affair more than anything. Roethlisberger was picked once and almost victimized again mid-second quarter by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. There was very little encouraging to take away from him in the first half.

Roethlisberger finished a still-poor 15-of-24 passing for 157 yards despite playing well almost three quarters and padding his stats with a 5-for-5 drive for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles' second-team defense.

Foles was cold early, misfiring on several throws before LeSean McCoy did what he does — make something out of a nothing short pass — and scored from 22 yards out on a screen.

That made Foles' numbers look better; he was 4-for-10 passing for 45 yards before that. Several of Foles' pass catchers also helped out early in the game, such as a fire-up Brent Celek.

Foles found his way on a 6-for-6 drive that easily was his best series of the night — he found a rhythm, threw crisply and operated with confident. Foles threw for 55 yards on the drive and was aided by a few penalties, and he carried some of that rhythm into his next drive with a nice gain to Zach Ertz, but Foles made a bad decision and throw on a pick by Troy Polamalu.

Overall, it capped the majority of work he'll get from what has been a very so-so preseason. It's unlikely he'll match last season's incredible 27-2 TD-INT ratio — he had that many picks against the Chicago Bears in the second preseason game — and left many wondering how much Chip Kelly's scheme and the Eagles' great yards-after-catch players were the real reason for his success.

Both quarterbacks are entering fascinating seasons.

Roethlisberger is a free-agent-to-be after the 2015 season, and he has addressed his contract situation with a mixture of indifference and humor recently. He has mostly said and done the right things when asked about it, knowing there's a good chance the Steelers will let him walk after next season. GM Kevin Colbert said he's confident Big Ben will retire a Steeler. But what happens if he struggles this season? Does that delay an extension by a season, with the Steelers suddenly wanting him to sign more of a prove-it type contract? Ben might not be too thrilled about that prospect.

Foles, meanwhile, already is feeling the first mild signs of pressure from backup Mark Sanchez, who has thrown the ball very confidently for the most part, save for a few mistakes and despite them coming mostly against lesser defenders. But that doesn't mean there isn't a chance Kelly could make a switch if Foles takes a big step back. It's not likely, but you don't get the feeling that Kelly has locked himself into Foles for the long term at all.

The preseason can be misleading. Eli Manning, for instance, was horrid in the 2011 exhibition season before going on to win a Super Bowl six months later. But what we've seen in August so far from Foles and Roethlisberger hasn't been all that encouraging.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

 

 

 

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08/21/2014 06:31 PM
Adam Silver needs to keep answering questions about how the NBA approaches Team USA

It’s an intelligent, age-old trick. Any time the whiff of criticism or even worry is in the air, you can attempt to devalue its presence by making a hyper-reach and devoid the issue of any context. NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a very smart man, and he recently did as much in discussing the issue of NBA player “sacrifice” in relation to the camp, exhibition, and FIBA World Cup commitments this summer.

With Derrick Rose having been shelved due to body fatigue and Paul George already out for what should be the 2014-15 season after badly breaking his leg in a televised scrimmage, Silver addressed reporters on Thursday about growing fears and criticism that points toward what some have criticized as a needless tournament.

Via Marc Stein at ESPN, here are Silver’s thoughts:

"It is a big risk without enormous financial reward," Silver said when asked about a sentiment shared by outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban during a "Commitment to Service" news conference to discuss a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense at Madison Square Garden.

"But I am sitting next to our highest ranking military official," Silver said of General Martin Dempsey." I'm almost embarrassed to be talking about the risk that our players face compared to what our men and women in uniform face."

Come on, guy. Mr. Adam Silver-guy. This is akin to Phoenix Suns management bringing up how comparatively little firefighters make in their negotiations with frustrated restricted free agent, because they’re the real heroes, y’know?

Perhaps this is just an instance of Silver feeling ashamed in the moment , catching himself mid-answer and pointing out that, yes, it is silly to call Derrick Rose’s turn playing basketball under five-star settings “a sacrifice” with a decorated military official sitting a few feet away. If that’s the case, though, and you know these questions are coming? Don’t share the stage with a decorated military official, and don’t call your back and forth with reporters a “Commitment to Service’ news conference.” There’s a way out of such embarrassment.

Silver went on to remind that Team USA’s band of brothers were a volunteer army … OK, he didn’t state it like that, I’m paraphrasing, but it is true that Rose, George and others want to be on this team, and they want to make this particular sacrifice because it’s still fun to play with great players and compete at a high level in August and September while ably representing your country. Silver also rightfully pointed out that American-born NBA players aren’t the only ones also competing in this tourney, as Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies fans were fearfully reminded of when Pau and Marc Gasol got into a skirmish in a “friendly” match between Spain and Ukraine on Thursday.

Those other teams and players won’t feature coaches wearing polo shirts on national TV with a shoe company’s logo stretched out to the same length of the Team USA logo, prominently featured and inescapable. Those other teams aren’t providing the league’s highest-rated television partner (we love you, NBA TV, but your matinee Spain/Ukraine games don’t count) with content during the dregs of the summer. And those other teams, formidable though they may be, aren’t the ones promoting the NBA’s brand of ball overseas this summer.

As it was in 1992 with the Dream Team, a move credited with enhancing both the sport and league’s popularity across the globe. That was the first thing Adam Silver brought up, as he should, when Mark Cuban criticized the NBA’s agreement with the International Olympic Committee, and FIBA:

"The [International Olympic Committee] is playing the NBA. The IOC is an organization that has been rife with corruption, to the point where a member was accused of trying to fix an Olympic event in Salt Lake. The IOC [pulls in] billions of dollars. They make a killing and make Tony Soprano look like a saint.

"The pros in multiple sports are smart enough to not play when they are eligible free agents. But teams take on huge financial risk so that the IOC committee members can line their pockets.

"The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money. The players and owners should get together and create our own World Cup of Basketball."

Cuban vacillates between talking up the good health and well being of NBA players and more typical revenue concerns of his – the NBA doesn’t get the same exposure (and actual cash) that the international bodies, that shoe company, ESPN and Duke University will take in, and Mark wants the league to set up its own tournament that sees the league taking in the actual profits. Oh, and, the whole thing about allowing teams to pull its players from any tourney for reasons that would go beyond the “reasonable medical concern”-tag that is already in place.

That’s not going to happen any time soon, not with that shoe company, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Jerry Colangelo, and the IOC still lording over their sweetheart deal. Silver has mentioned twice this summer that the role of international play will be brought up in this November’s NBA Board of Governors meeting, but the tone and eventual impact of those discussions remains to be seen.

Silver also relayed Larry Bird’s early-in-the-proceedings quote about Paul George’s injury on Wednesday evening, reminding us that these sorts of injuries can happen any time – whether it’s at an NBA practice facility with full staff managing the goings-on, a Team USA scrimmage, or Nick Young firing up 30-footers in some summertime tourney. Bird and Silver are right, and Silver was correct to point out that if players were going to practice and/or participate in any tournament at any point during the summer, the best choice would certainly be to do so in full view of the Team USA coaching and medical staff.

We’ve been lucky, outside of George’s injury, that NBA seasons haven’t been plagued with players still smarting from a late summer stint on a national team. Manu Ginobili sprained his right (jumping) ankle during the 2002 World Championships and it stayed with him for the duration of his entire (championship) rookie year, but he wasn’t even a technical member of the San Antonio Spurs at the time. Playing international ball just about every summer for a decade gave Toni Kukoc a nasty case of plantar fasciitis in the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons, but that was a different era.

There were a spate of player injuries to former Athens Olympics NBA athletes during the 2004-05 season that some writers attributed to their time spent in Greece, but the connection to those injuries and the Games was tangential at best. The most severe of which, Richard Jefferson’s season-ending wrist injury, occurred when he was undercut by Chauncey Billups near the basket.

These things build up, though.

Most can agree that the NBA’s regular season is too long, but few (not including myself, I kind of like watching LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki go at it twice a year) actually want the season shortened. It would be nicer if the NBA debuted its season earlier in October so as to allow for more time between games and a proper All-Star break, but the league seems pretty steadfast in not attempting to go up against the baseball playoffs. Good for TV rewards, to be sure, but maybe not as much for the league’s players – who are getting faster and stronger while being asked to do more and more.

What LeBron is doing right now (four straight years in the Finals, a harried exhibition schedule, international play tossed in the 2012 offseason) is just about unprecedented, and though no medical licenses hang on our walls, and a faulty air conditioner was to blame, one couldn’t get away from thoughts about James’ workload as he sat on the sidelines with cramps in what at that time was the most important game of his NBA career.

It’s a delicate, tricky situation. There is no direct line between international play and NBA athletes eventually breaking down; but that’s just as of the summer of 2014. International exposure is good and the NBA is far from at saturation point in that realm, but it’s not needed nearly as much as it was in 1992. Stars like Kevin Durant have the option to pull themselves out citing fatigue, but a move like that brings needless criticism – one national writer (whom I won’t link to, because it was a clickbait piece) that was hired by both the Associated Press and ESPN to be their lead NBA reporter at previous stops, bashed the 2014 MVP for in the writer’s estimation choosing endorsement possibilities over national pride.

We don’t want basketball to stop. On Wednesday night I had to watch a rain-delayed baseball game and actually interact with my children, for heaven’s sake. This unholy but wonderful mix of emerging young talent, returning stars, and a player in Derrick Rose looking to start it all over again has been wonderful to behold, even with all those shoe company logos everywhere. Just one guy has been injured, and though the setback will turn an entire franchise (and fanbase) on its ear, that’s just still one guy in 22 years of the NBA encouraging its players to represent their country.

The process by which we build these teams, though, needs a revisit. And Adam Silver can’t insult smart questions by hiding behind the cloak of those whose sacrifices were much greater as he ponders change.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

08/21/2014 04:52 PM
Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Tampa Bay Lightning Edition
Lighnting

(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!)

Written by WB Philp and Alexis Boucher of Lightning Shout

Most Disappointing Team: 2011-2012 Tampa Bay Lightning

Nothing creates disappointment like high expectations.

In 2011-12 the Lightning fell victim to their own success in 2010-11. The Bolts took a huge step back in 2011-12 after finishing the regular season with 103 points and taking the Boston Bruins to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals in the previous season.

A porous defense and terrible goaltending saw Tampa Bay scratch out only 84 points in 2011-12. The 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson played like a superstar in net during the 2010-11 playoffs, earning a 2.51 GAA and a .924 SV%. In 2011-12, after signing a new one year contract, Roloson stumbled to a 3.66 GAA and a .866 SV%, the worst of his career. He won just 13 of 40 games while losing the starting job to journeyman netminder Mathieu Garon. Big minute defensemen Eric Brewer, Victor Hedman and Brett Clark limped to a combined rating of minus-40.

With that, the Lightning finished last in the league in goals against and missed the playoffs.

Most Disappointing Lightning: Alexander Svitov

 

After the Thrashers selected Ilya Kovalchuk and the the Senators took Jason Spezza, the Lightning used the third overall pick in the 2001 draft to select the mammoth Russian bender, Alexander Svitov.

Not Mikko Koivu. Not Ales Hemsky. Not Mike Komisarek, but frickin' Svitov.

The 6-3, 226-lbs. center failed to do much of anything in the NHL. He played only four seasons in the league, including just one full season with the Bolts. His rookie campaign with the Lightning came in 2002-03, when he played 63 games, accumulating just eight points (four goals and four assists).

The following year, Svitov skated in only 11 games for the Lightning before being dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets, with whom he played 29 games in 2002-03.

Most Disappointing Moment in Lightning History: Modin's disallowed goal in Game 5 versus the Devils in 2003

Hey Ref! Bend over and use your good eye!

After making the playoffs for the first time since 1996 the Lightning were eliminated from the 2003 playoffs in brutal fashion. The Bolts lost a grueling 111 minute, triple overtime game to the New Jersey Devils in which the referees sought fit to call even one penalty on the Devils.

Worse than that, forward Fredrick Modin had a goal disallowed in regulation when the “referees” ruled that he kicked the puck in. Reviews of the play clearly showed that a Devils player had kicked Modin’s skate.

Most Disappointing Lightning Transaction: Trading Dan Boyle To San Jose

February 25, 2008: New Lightning ownership group OK Hockey signs defenseman Dan Boyle to a six year, $40 million contract extension. (Remember OK Hockey, you're going to read more about them later.)

Boyle's 2007-08 season was shortened due to a freak skate accident in the locker room, but he returned and recorded 25 points in 37 games. A long time favorite, Lightning fans are thrilled that a key part of their blue line corps has been secured for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately that happiness only lasted until July 4, 2008.

Despite just signing him to a lengthy extension, ownership began putting pressure on Boyle to waive his no-trade clause. If he didn't, he would be placed on waivers and be claimed by Atlanta.

Faced with the prospect of becoming a Thrasher, Boyle waived his NTC and became a member of the San Jose Sharks. The Lightning ended up with Matt Carle, a prospect and two draft picks.They lost a stalwart member of their defense and their power play QB. Fans immediately grew to distrust the new execs and a dark time in Tampa hockey dawned.

It was bad. Like the end of "The Empire Strikes Back" bad.

Most Disappointing Lightning Coach/Executive: OK Hockey and the three stooges - Koules, Barrie and Lawton

Despite a carousel of weird and wacky characters throughout a large part of Lightning history, the group headed up by Oren Koules and Len Barrie takes the cake. Less than a year after purchasing the Lightning in 2008 the league had to intervene to decide who would take over the reins of the club.The turbulence in the front office transitioned to the ice and the Lightning plunged to the basement of the league. Barry Melrose was brought in as head coach and lasted just 16 games.

The most memorable part of his tenure was him stating he didn't think Steven Stamkos was ready for the NHL. Brian Lawton was brought in as GM after that and one of the only memorable moments of his tenure was that it inspired this sign:

After his trade, Dan Boyle implied the execs were liars. After his dismissal, John Tortorella referred to them as cowboys. They only good things about OK Hockey were the high draft picks the Bolts garnered during their era and when they sold the team.

Most Disappointing Lightning Fashion Choice: Tampa Bay Lightning Third Jersey 1996-1999

Just kidding. It's this monstrosity.

Surely a Puck Daddy All-Time Jerseys Foul finalist!

   

Other disappointments (in order of appearance): New York Rangers • Calgary Flames • St. Louis Blues • New York Islanders • Dallas Stars • Boston Bruins • Colorado Avalanche • Washington Capitals • Ottawa Senators • Arizona Coyotes  Minnesota Wild • Edmonton Oilers • San Jose Sharks • Winnipeg Jets • New Jersey Devils • Los Angeles Kings  Florida Panthers  Carolina Hurricanes • Buffalo Sabres • Montreal Canadiens

 

 

 

 

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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.

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08/21/2014 09:59 PM
Mo'ne Davis and Taney Dragons knocked out of LLWS by Chicago's Jackie Robinson West

In the end, only one of the Little League World Series' big stories could survive, and it wouldn't be Mo'ne Davis.

Davis, the 13-year-old girl pitcher who captured the nation's attention, and her Taney Dragons team from Philadelphia were eliminated from the tournament Thursday. Chicago's Jackie Robinson West, which made headlines because it's made up entirely of black players, won the game 6-5 and advances to the U.S. finals.

Davis didn't pitch, having exhausted her pitch limit Wednesday, but she started at first base and hit seventh, going 0-for-1 at the plate. It was the end of an impressive Little League World Series run for Davis. She made the cover of Sports Illustrated after she became  the first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS history.

On Thursday, the team from Chicago was ahead 6-2 after the second inning. Philly rebounded to make things interesting, scoring two in the fourth inning and another in the fifth, to enter the final inning within one run. 

The Jackie Robinson West Little League team advanced to the U.S. finals with a win Thursday. (AP)

Philly couldn't rally again, though, so Davis and the Dragons go home while Jackie Robinson West advances to play the powerful Las Vegas team Saturday. Las Vegas will be the heavy favorite, since it already beat both Jackie Robinson West and the Taney Dragons.

As for Davis, it's unclear what's in her immediate future. She's likely to make the post-LLWS media rounds. Her status as a pop culture star of the moment means plenty of TV shows will be lining up to have her as a guest.

She'll start eighth grade soon too, so her next athletics adventure will be on the basketball court. While she did well as a pitcher and caused some to ponder the prospect of a female MLB player, Davis has said all along her dream is play basketball at the University of Connecticut then in WNBA.

And, of course, Davis will eventually return to some semblance of normal life. One of these days, she might just wake up as Mo'ne Davis, typical teenage girl who had a really memorable summer.

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!

 

 

 

 

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