Tag: Multiple Sports

MLB Offseason: Corey Hart to Be Back in the Bigs in 2014?

Tuesday afternoon, former Brewers first baseman Corey Hart told SiriusXM’s Jim Bowden that his agent has talked with the Brewers, the world champion Boston Red Sox, the Rays and Rockies about Hart signing with one of the four teams for the upcoming 2014 season.

Hart, who’s returning from a pair of knee surgeries that held him out for the entire 2013 season, says he feels like he’s 100 percent, but he won’t get medical clearance until Dec. 3 when he returns to Los Angeles to visit his doctors.

Hart underwent surgery on his right knee in January 2013 to repair a depression on the joint surface, then suffered the same injury on his left knee during rehab in July.

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that Hart said that he’s lost 20 pounds during his recovery and that he’s open to playing the outfield with whomever signs him.

One of the big factors regarding Hart’s decision to sign will be location.  At least, location for spring training.  Rosiak also mentions that Hart says that although a winning team is nice, he’s a family man first and will do what he feels is best for them.

MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy’s reported that Hart lives with his wife and four kids in Arizona.  The Rockies and Brewers have their spring training facilities in Arizona, while Boston’s and Tampa’s are out in Florida.  

“Winning will be great, but I’m more of a family man than anything,” Hart told MLB Network Radio. “So it won’t necessarily won’t be the best fit for me; it will be the best fit for my family.  We’ll come together and figure out what the best fit is for us, and that’s where we’ll go.”

Hart, who is represented by Jeff Berry of CAA Sports, says in the interview that most of the early inquiries are for him at first base. CAA also sent out a video of Hart doing agility drills to try to gather interest.

Hart batted .270 for Milwaukee in 149 games in 2012, knocking out 30 home runs and knocking in 83 RBI. He’s a career .276/.334/.491 hitter with 154 home runs and 508 RBI since coming up in 2004.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tigers, Cubs, Orioles Trade Talk Involving J.J. Hardy and Rick Porcello

A report surfaced this morning out of Baltimore saying that the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles had discussions on a possible three-way trade with pitcher Rick Porcello and shortstop J.J. Hardy being part of the deal.

Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported:

“I heard last night that the Tigers and Cubs are discussing a potential trade involving pitcher Rick Porcello, who also interests the Orioles. Now here’s the rumored kicker: The Tigers are trying to get the Orioles involved because they want shortstop J.J. Hardy, and they don’t feel as though the Cubs have the necessary components to make it a two-team trade.”

This makes sense from a Cubs standpoint since they lost out on their main target—pitcher Anibal Sanchez—earlier this offseason when he elected to re-sign with the Tigers. The Cubs then went out and signed Edwin Jackson to a four-year deal.

While Jackson is considered a solid pitcher and a workhorse, Porcello is younger at 24-years-old and he has the potential to develop into a top two or three pitcher in a rotation. No one knows what the Cubs would be giving up, but their role in this trade is perplexing.
Kubatko also says he can’t see the Orioles trading Hardy unless they get a great offer:

“I still don’t think the Orioles are willing to part with Hardy unless they’re absolutely overwhelmed by an offer. They love the left side of their infield. They’re not looking to shift Manny Machadoto shortstop in 2013. Also, since the Orioles have discussed Porcello, why would they need the Cubs to get involved? Just deal directly.”

Jon Morosi from Fox Sports also mentioned the Orioles’ interest in December:

All of this suggests that the Tigers and Orioles each have a known need so why are the Cubs involved? It could part of a bigger deal that would include pitcher Matt Garza or outfielder Alfonso Soriano. If Soriano was involved then the Cubs would need to eat the majority of his $13 million salary this season.

From a Tigers perspective, Hardy would be an upgrade over Jhonny Peralta. Hardy, who is signed through the 2014 season, is great defensively and can also provide decent power. His strikeouts are on the high side but the Tigers would be able to live with it since he more than likely will be able to hit above .275.

On another note, the Tigers trading Porcello is a big mistake. He can still mature and find a reliable third pitch, and young starting pitchers capable of delivering 10-14 wins per season are tough to find. That being said, the Tigers are in win-now mode and acquiring Hardy would make them a better team.

Who knows if anything will come of these talks, but January just got a lot more interesting for the Tigers, Cubs and Orioles.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Is a ‘Bad Economy’ a Legitimate Excuse for Fans to Resist Buying Season Tickets?

Sports are a quality-of-life issue.

When budgets are tight, which goes first: season tickets or replacing the stove? Well, that depends—does the stove still work?

Keeping your granddad’s seats at The Meadowlands isn’t as important as paying the rent. Starting your own tradition with friends or children doesn’t carry the same imperative as little Joey’s school books.

Nevertheless, season tickets are far more valuable than a new DVD, blouse or video game. Yes, even Madden. In a possessions-obsessed world, it’s time to refocus on giving ourselves real-life experiences rather than merely things.

When was the last time that a new electronic toy let you say, “Yeah, man, I was there!”? The last time that a pair of shoes helped you bond with a relative from a different generation? That “Quest for the Planet Zycor” or “Gunman 14” truly inspired you?

Sports serve a multitude of purposes in our society: catharsis, escapism, motivation. As we head into the Olympics, let’s not forget that sports represent the evolutionary step of cheering our team on to victory as opposed to killing the tribe across the river.

That lesson alone is worth season tickets.

There’s a magical force field around a stadium that refuses to let the real world invade. I defy you to carry daily stress past the ticket-takers—who, by the way, are always smiling. Of course they’re smiling; they work at Tropicana Field.

Forget Disneyland; Dodgers Stadium is the happiest place on earth!

For a couple of hours, all we need to think about is cheering on our Kings/Thunder/Giants. No bills, bosses, laundry or responsibilities. The biggest decision: whether or not to put onions on that dog.

Come on, you know it sounds like heaven.

Remember how it feels getting dressed for a date? Getting the look just right? The tingle of anticipation? Playing out different scenarios in your head as to how the evening will go?

Going to a professional game is just like that.

Making sure your brand new RGIII sweatshirt is ready; worrying just a little bit about Osi Umenyiora. Wondering whether Cliff Lee will finally get a win or if anybody will get a puck past Jonathan Quick.

And then there’s the awe. Maybe we can’t pack up and head to the Grand Canyon, but sheer athletic brilliance can also take your breath away. Heck, Marshawn Lynch’s playoff run activated Richter scales across Seattle.

The hands-down best Super Bowl tweet came from filmmaker Albert Brooks:

“You never watch pro football and think, ‘I could do better than that.’”  

Sports are a showcase for the possibilities of the human body and the human spirit. We can’t do what the athletes do, but we can bear witness to and celebrate the excellence. Much as we may hate to admit it, Al Davis had that right.

And we can celebrate together. Look at the “Jumbotron” during any seventh-inning stretch and you’ll see America displayed at its best as the cameras roam the stands. Men and women; all ages and ethnicities.

“Take Me Out To The Ballgame”* was written as a woman’s plea to be taken to see baseball instead of a show. Females at the ballpark were frowned upon back in 1908. Kind of gives it a whole new meaning, huh? 

Going to “the game” is a privilege and a joy.

If you need any more justification for keeping (or getting) your season tickets, take another look at the Los Angeles Kings’ trip to the Stanley Cup championship. 

What else is there to say? Sadly, some people don’t understand the joyous holiday of attending a sporting event.

Alas, I can’t help them.

It’s like a joke: if I have to explain why it’s funny—it’s lost on you. Give your tickets immediately to someone who “gets it.” Sports outings are too precious to be wasted on the ungrateful.

“Take me out to the ball game.


Take me out with the crowd.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack

I don’t care if I never get back.”



*Lyrics by Jack Norworth, Music by Albert Von Tilzer


For more sports and football thoughts:

When Booing is Wrong

When Booing is Right

Peyton Manning as Football Experiment

Junior Seau Changes Us Forever

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Does ESPN Have an East Coast Bias?

On a relatively slow news day in the sports world on Monday, one would expect that an upcoming three-game series matching two of the most storied franchises in baseball would be the top story on ESPN’s featured Sportscenter at 6pm EST. 

The fact the two teams are one and two in their division, and the two biggest markets on the West Coast might have some cache, but not to the execs at ESPN. 

The San Francisco Giants and the visiting first-place Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t even make the tease in the opening storylines, let alone the lead story.  

Four days after LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their first NBA title, Sportscenter led with the victory celebration and parade that took place today in Miami. 

OK, fine, it’s King James and the new “dream team”, certainly the Giants and Dodgers would be up next. 

Story number two? 32-year-old Venus Williams, who has been battling an auto-immune deficiency is defeated at Wimbledon in the first round.

Fine, it’s kind of breaking news, it may be the end of the road for Williams, I get it.  Giants-Dodgers next, right?  Oh, back to LeBron for excerpts of the in-depth conversation that I’ve already seen. 

Keep in mind, if the New York Yankees were getting ready to play the Boston Red Sox, even if they weren’t battling for first place, it would’ve been teased three different ways prior to Sportscenter even beginning. 

ESPN would’ve designated the first five minutes of the broadcast to the matchup, going live to someone in the stadium, and then flashing back to some hack rundown about the history of the “greatest rivalry in sports.”  

Does ESPN really believe that the Yankees and Red Sox are worthy of so much attention, but the Giants and Dodgers can’t even get a mention in their top stories. Do the execs at ESPN think the Yankees and Red Sox are a national story, but two teams that used to battle each other in New York, and then moved to the West coast where they’ve continued the heated rivalry, isn’t?

Of course, it isn’t the first time this has happened. It will happen many more times, and then it will be football season, and it will be even worse.  

I understand that I’m not breaking news with this story, just venting about a persistent problem that nobody seems to care about.  I know the suits at ESPN have heard the whining for years and it clearly has changed very little.

One solution was to move the later Sportscenter to Los Angeles, essentially throwing a bone to us mopey West Coasters, but when you still lead off with LeBron, it’s not doing much for me. 

Essentially, I’m part of the problem. As much as I whine about it, I still tune into Sportscenter every day along with the many other programming ESPN offers. Why doesn’t ESPN listen to my complaints? Because they don’t have to, and yet I keep tuning in. 

So unless you have some great solution as to how to fix the problem, which I’m guessing you don’t, thanks for letting a fellow West Coaster rant about something that will probably never change.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Brian Banks: Diamondbacks Make Touching Job Offer to Wrongfully Convicted Felon

In the sporting world, we often exaggerate ultimately meaningless moments with lofty words like “redemption.”

The Boston Celtics win back-to-back games at home to tie the Eastern Conference Finals? That’s not redemption. Albert Pujols smashes a home run to break out of a slump? That’s not redemption. Tiger Woods wins the 2012 Memorial Championship after months of struggling? That’s not redemption.

No, true redemption, true salvation from almost unimaginable hardships, can only be found in stories like that of Brian Banks, the former California prep football star who lost 10 years of his life after being wrongfully convicted of rape.

In 2002, Banks was accused and convicted of raping a classmate. In 2012, the now-26-year-old Banks has been exonerated, according to USA Today.

In between, he served five years in prison. He spent five more with a court-ordered tracking device around his ankle. He had to register as a sex offender, live through the humiliation of being denied job after job, and stay with family members because he couldn’t afford his own place.

Now, Banks, with his chin up and his mind clear, is receiving offers from NFL teams who are interested in the same talent that had University of Southern California coaches drooling back in 2002.

According to Rick Reilly on ESPN.com, the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs have all contacted Banks about working out for them. But they’re not the only ones who’ve reached out.

As odd is it may seem, the Arizona Diamondbacks have contacted Banks as well, inquiring about possibly hiring him in a front office situation.

Banks’ specific position with the organization (should he accept it) is unclear, and Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall wants to see the young man pursue his football dreams first. But if there’s not a place for Banks on an NFL roster, Hall and the Diamondbacks would be more than willing to welcome Banks to their family.

Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com has the quotes from Hall.

“I just thought, ‘This guy needs a fresh start,’” Hall said.

“I saw a very bright, articulate, handsome kid. Great smile. You see a lot of maturity. You see a kid who has been through adversity and can handle it. He’s lost 10 years of his life, and it’s time for some good things to happen to him.”

“Someone like that … he deserves a break,” Hall said. “He got one, and he deserves a career.

“He has to chase his (NFL) dream first. If he comes back to me and says, ‘That didn’t work out, are you still willing to have me come out?’ Absolutely, we are.”

This is a truly remarkable development, and I’d like to applaud Hall and the Diamondbacks for their compassionate decision.

There will be some skeptics out there, but I think the Diamondbacks extended this offer from the bottom of their hearts, rather than in some ill-conceived attempt at gaining positive PR.

It was a caring, benevolent move, and it shows that although the 24-hour news cycle often highlights the negative aspects of sports, there are some truly classy people in the far-reaching athletic family.

Banks’ story of redemption—true redemption—and the Diamondbacks’ subsequent job offer are the kinds of things that transcend sports.

If you’ve got a moment today, hit up Banks and Hall on Twitter and let them know that you appreciate them. Not for their athletic or executive achievements, but for being genuinely great people in a world that often seems devoid of good.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Brewers’ Ryan Braun Is Proving Doubters Wrong

After a tumultuous offseason, Ryan Braun is shutting up his critics so far in 2012.

In early October, Braun tested positive for a banned substance. He appealed the findings and was eventually exonerated due to a chain of custody issue. Because of this, the majority of fans believe that Braun got off on a technicality and have labeled him a cheater.

Many thought that the hatred from the fans during road games would distract Braun and his level of play would decrease. Critics of Braun also pointed out that, with Prince Fielder’s departure, teams would pitch around Braun more often, and he wouldn’t see as many good pitches as he did with Fielder behind him.

Braun claims that he tunes out opposing fans and doesn’t let it affect his play. He must be telling the truth.

For the season, Braun is hitting .357 with one home run and four runs batted in. In four games on the road, Braun is hitting .375 with three RBI. This includes three games at Wrigley Field, where Cubs fans loudly booed him every time he stepped to the plate. If Braun doesn’t let the wild fans in Chicago faze him, I don’t see what will.

Aramis Ramirez is no Prince Fielder, and Ramirez will be the first to admit that. Since Ramirez is no Fielder, many people thought Braun would struggle without someone like Prince behind him. Although Ramirez is struggling mightily, batting .111, Braun has still been able to deliver. It doesn’t seem to matter who’s hitting behind Braun, because he is just that talented. When Ramirez starts hitting like he has his whole career, the Brewers will be extremely dangerous.

Say what you want about Ryan Braun. He may very well be a cheater who got off on a technicality. Or, he could be telling the truth. Personally, I’d rather believe that Braun is clean and has done things in the most professional manner. It’s better for baseball if people believe in him.

We may never know the absolute truth, but what we do know is that not many things affect Braun, as he’s proving. Braun is a once-in-a-lifetime player, and he will contend for the NL MVP once again.

If Braun continues to perform in MVP style in 2012, there will still be critics, but not as many.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Top 10 Sports Franchise Purchases of All Time

What do 40 Gulf Stream jets, a lifetime supply of Donald Trump’s hair products and the Los Angeles Dodgers have in common?

They all cost $2 billion.  

On Tuesday, a group called Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC ponied up just over two billion greenbacks to lay claim to the Dodger franchise after a nasty divorce between the previous owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, forced the team onto the market. 

The $2.15 billion purchase, led by Laker legend Magic Johnson and über film producer Peter Gruber, not only set the record for the most expensive acquisition of a sports franchise, it obliterated it. 

Previously, the record amount paid for a sports team was the 2005 procurement of Manchester United for $1.47 billion. Add a half billion dollars more to that figure, and you come up with what a top-three market baseball team goes for these days. 

For a perspective on the astronomical nature of the Dodgers deal, let’s take a look at the top 10 most expensive sports franchise purchases of all-time. 

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7 Teams in Need of a New Venue

With the economy in the shape it is, fans are being more select with their money. Season tickets aren’t being purchased at as high a rate as before.

Many venues simply aren’t good enough to draw fans into spending hard earned cash. While more nice sites than poor are provided by the majority of American pro franchises, that still doesn’t guarantee successful ticket sales.

Whether it’s history or an inability to generate revenue, these 10 franchises are in need of a new place to play.

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A’s vs. Mariners in Japan: 7 Best MLB, NBA, NFL Games Played Outside US & Canada

The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners play two games at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on Wednesday to open the 2012 Major League Baseball season.

The trip to Tokyo comes nine years after the 2003 trip between Oakland and Seattle was cancelled due to complications involving the conflict in Iraq.

Since then, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now “Rays”) faced off in Japan in 2004, and Oakland “hosted” the Boston Red Sox on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in ’08.

But those weren’t the first time that the MLB has played games outside of the U.S. and Canada.

And it’s not the only sport to do so.

This is a look back at the best regular-season games played in other countries by the major sports leagues.

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Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds: Glorified Cheaters





I’m talking about the MLB network, specifically, the countdown they’ve been airing about the 40 greatest individual seasons since 1940.

Four of those seasons belonged to Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. Bonds was ranked #1 for his 2004 season.

Well, MLB network, I’m not sure how to tell you this but, um, uh, er, well, those guys cheated.

Steroids? Human Growth Hormone? Performance enhancing drugs? Any of that sound familiar MLB network?

Apparently not.

There was no mention in the countdown that Clemens’, Sosa’s, McGwire’s and Bonds’ seasons may have been tainted.

No hint that any of their accomplishments were anything less than legitimate.

I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out why MLB network would include those players in a countdown like this. Maybe they were taking an “innocent until proven guilty” attitude.

But I think these guys have pretty much been proven guilty.

At the very least, McGwire should have been excluded, he has admitted using performance enhancing drugs.

By treating Clemens’, Sosa’s, McGwire’s and Bonds’ accomplishments as legitimate, MLB network is being disrespectful to the players who played by the rules.

Even worse, it sends the wrong message to kids.

It says to children, “If you cheat, we’ll not only look the other way, we’ll glorify your illegitimate achievements.”





Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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