Bartolo Colon will continue to mesmerize America

Rolen is one of those guys I mentioned in the intro with a sneaky-good case. He only received MVP votes in four years (he finished 20th, 24th, 14th and fourth) and he only hit .220 in his postseason career (though he did hit .421 in the 2006 World Series, helping the Cardinals to a stunning upset of the Tigers). His career .855 OPS ranks 153rd all time, his 316 homers rank 120th and his 1,287 RBIs rank 120th. But … his career WAR (70.0) and JAWS (56.8) are both above the average numbers for third basemen already in the Hall of Fame (67.5 and 55.1). That’s eye-catching. Defensively, Rolen was maybe the best of his generation (he won eight Gold Gloves) at third base. I’m genuinely curious to see how voters approach Rolen next year.
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Bartolo Colon will continue to mesmerize America. While continuing to defy age and traditional athlete stereotypes, Mr. Colon will again produce a surprisingly good season in 2017 (think a 14-11 kind of good). Now with the Braves and ready to give a new fanbase reason to swoon, Colon will keep on keepin’ on and serve as an inspiration to non-athletic-looking people everywhere. If you missed it, check out MLB’s Colon-themed hype trailer.
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Man, there seem to be a lot of Braves references in this list. Well, that’s because …

Jason Heyward will settle the debate on what type hitter he is. Lots of people would argue that we already know, and perhaps we do. But a lot of other people still hold out hope that Heyward’s mythical breakout offensive season is still this close. Either way, 2017 could be the key season.

Great teams are usually led by a great manager who understands the players on his ballclub.

You can Google Mr. Bell, Schuster said in a statement, apparently referring to Bell’s 2014 arrest on marijuana possession and DUI charges.

We have to be equitable in the way we treat our students, she added.

Bell served a two-game suspension from the NFL to start the 2015 season for the infraction and has since completed his probation program.
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He also served a suspension in 2016 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy by missing follow-up drug tests.

Tarantino, a lifelong Steelers fan, originally reached out to Bell on Twitter as a dare. If she could get 500 retweets, Bell would have to attend her prom. Bell responded, 600 & it’s a deal. The tweet has since generated more than 2,000 retweets.

I ended up with the right guy for me. It’s hard to explain when you get that lucky as a young ballplayer, to have such a great manager. To really have someone that believed in you, that believed in you as a player and believed in you as a person, never judged you, and that was the type of person I needed. … I loved playing for (my other managers) too, I’m not trying to separate my other managers to Skip Leyland — but I would have went through a brick wall for that man and still would today.
The moonwalkin’, cigarette-smokin’ Leyland was one of the most vivid personalities in the game, even if his overall success doesn’t show it. He did win a World Series in 1997 with the Florida Marlins, and the team would have stayed competitive if not for the front office’s desire to blow the whole thing up, thanks to poor ticket sales and revenue issues.

But Leyland is just a single testament to managers in baseball needing to be more than just stats-driven robots.
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Great teams are usually led by a great manager who understands the players on his ballclub. If Leyland is a bit out of date, then look no further than the 2016 World Series.

NFL Draft 2017: Scouting report for 49ers DE Solomon Thomas

Solomon Thomas is a freakish talent who very well might become the best defensive lineman selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Thomas at the NFL Combine ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at 6-3, 273 pounds. In just two full seasons at Stanford, the defensive end produced 63 solo tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Here is Thomas’ 2017 NFL Draft scouting report, provided by Optimum Scouting’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide.

It’s crazy to think a player with just two years of college football experience is considered one of the more polished players in an NFL Draft class, but here we are.

Thomas, a redshirt sophomore with just 27 games under his belt, is an attractive chess piece for any defensive line, a dominant presence who can explode off the snap in any alignment.

After Thomas introduced his electric style of play to the Pac-12 as a freshman, he thrived in Year 2 and received All-Pac-12 honors, plus recognition as an AP third-team All-American.

Thomas ended his Stanford career on a high note and dominated one-on-one matchups during a Sun Bowl win over North Carolina, including the game-winning sack.

Thomas’ quickness, accompanied by power and finesse, make him a top-five talent in the draft. He has the traits necessary to become an All-Pro-level player within just a couple seasons in the NFL.

The biggest question mark surrounding the 6-3, 273-pound tweener is exactly that: Which position will he play in the NFL? He shows traits to be effective as a pass rusher from both positions but isn’t a typical run-stuffing defensive tackle. Thomas could (and perhaps should) put on extra weight to gain more force at the point of attack in the run game.

This NFL Draft scouting report is included in Optimum Scouting’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide, which is available for purchase here. The draft guide includes 300-plus scouting reports as well as position-specific analytics for prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.nike_chargers_1079

The pitch counts helped keep Colorado starters from going much beyond five.

Dwight Evans, 1981 strike: Sabermetricians love the candidacy of Dwight Evans, whose advanced stats rank better than a number of Hall of Fame outfielders. To traditionalists, though, Evans might simply look like a very good player who never won anything aside from a slew of Gold Glove Awards. This might have changed in 1981, when he led the American League with 22 home runs in a season that lost six weeks of games in the middle because of a strike.

Now let’s shift back to 2012: When a Rockies starter was able to go five or more innings under the organization’s constraints (either in a four- or five-man rotation), the team’s record was 24-16. That was an exceptional split for a team that finished 64-98 overall. When a starter failed to go five, regardless of how effective he was, the Rox were 15-42.

Limited Kids Kelvin Beachum Jersey The pitch counts helped keep Colorado starters from going much beyond five. Only Chacin reached seven innings in a start and he did that just once, and on just 74 pitches. Rox pitchers lasted more than five innings just 16 times total in the 97 games.

This year’s Padres will be outliers if they put big inning limits on their starters, but with an average major league start moving closer to 15 outs, the gap will be narrower than it would have been just three or four years ago. And they can be encouraged by what the Rockies did five years ago when they got just enough starting pitching.
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After Milwaukee’s 5-4 win at St. Louis, the Cubs (16-12) hold a game-and-a-half lead on the Brewers in the NL Central with the Reds (14-14) just two games back. The Brewers (15-14) broke a tie with the Reds and Cardinals (13-14) for second place in the division. But the Pirates (12-16) are still just four back in the tight division following Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Reds.

Pablo Sandoval has reported to Red Sox camp, and he’s looking good

Say what you want about Punxsutawney Phil. Baseball fans know February’s true rite of passage doesn’t come until we see Pablo Sandoval’s shadow.

Tradition holds that the larger it is, the more prominent a talking point Sandoval will be throughout spring training. But based on early returns, it looks like Bostonians might need something else to worry about until opening day.

The third baseman’s physique essentially matched the few glimpses of him that had leaked during the offseason and backed comments made by general manager Dave Dombrowski in November. Dombrowski said then that Sandoval had really worked on his whole, total self after spending nearly all of 2016 on the disabled list with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Mets have discussed promoting Tim Tebow within the minors, but will likely wait until midseason. He’s hitting .327 over his last 16 games.
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Tebow made noise in his first game when he hit a home run, but hit a bit of a rough patch after that. However, with more game experience his stats have improved with a handful of multi-hit games. He’s third on the team in total bases (37) and said last week he’s seeing improvement.

I’m more comfortable and seeing the pitches better. The rhythm is better. I feel like I have been getting better, he said, via The State. You’ve got to have the work ethic, whether you are 0-for-4 or 3-for-4. You’ve just got to try and stay level-handed, and that is something I have tried to bring to the team.
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There’s also the obvious sales factor, which is a big reason Tebow initially was brought along.

The Mets organization surely wouldn’t mind if another of their minor-league teams saw a boost in sales, thanks to Tebow.

Jennifer Lopez reveals how she and Alex Rodriguez started dating

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Jennifer Lopez has revealed how she and Alex Rodriguez started dating during a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The singer-actress says she was eating lunch when she spotted the former New York Yankees star on his way out of a Los Angeles restaurant.

For some reason, I just felt like tapping him on the shoulder, she said.

Lopez said they spoke for a little while and a text later, they were having dinner.

I don’t remember what we had for dinner, but we had a nice dinner, she said.

The rest is history as Lopez and Rodriguez have been dating for about three months.

Torre’s attention and instruction certainly proved helpful, even if Murphy felt a tinge of embarrassment when it played out publicly in the documentary.

Not because of what he did or said 鈥?it’s just because it was on TV, Murphy said with a chuckle. It was cool and hard to watch at the same time.
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Sometimes, the audio setup provided accidental, but made-for-TV entertainment.

During a crucial game against the Dodgers, Torre went ballistic over an umpire’s decision to send a runner back to third, rather than allow him to score, after a portion of a wall in foul territory collapsed and sent fans spilling onto the field.

Torre didn’t hold back, unleashing a colorful tirade that almost certainly would get a manager ejected today, but brought no repercussions in 1982.

Diamond, listening in real time on a headset, looked to audio engineer Ken Noland with an expression that said both, Can you believe we’re getting this?! and Good luck editing that.

We really had to bleep that out, Diamond said with a laugh. I remember back in the edit room, in the audio room, that took us a few days to go through that and take all the 鈥?language out.

NFL Draft 2017: John Lynch wheeling and dealing to accelerate 49ers rebuild

All general managers love collecting picks and, in his first NFL Draft on the job with the 49ers, John Lynch is proving adept at the craft.

The first-year general manager was on the more favorable end of the trade that stunned the NFL in the first round, fleecing the Bears for a two third rounders — one this year and one in 2018 — as well as a fourth-rounder to move down just one spot.

It’s a great landing spot for Dobbs, in an established high-powered, balanced offense where he’s a natural fit for what offensive coordinator Todd Haley wants to do. When the Steelers brought in Roethlisberger in 2004, they provided him with pretty good support in a solid defense and effective running game. But Big Ben has only had this kind of offensive skill around him since 2013— when Le’Veon Bell was drafted and Antonio Brown broke out. The Steelers also gave up just 21 sacks last season, second fewest in the league.
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Game Kids Houston Texans Jersey While Prescott’s potential became kinetic quickly because of his hard work, it also happened because the on-field support from the offensive line to the running game to the pass-catchers, was there at every level. The hard part is easy for Pittsburgh, and Dobbs also comes with similar leadership intangibles that simply can’t be taught. It’s a likely Big Ben, as bruised and battered as he is, misses a few more games in 2017, as he’s missed six over the past two seasons. Landry Jones already has proved his ceiling is as an adequate backup. Dobbs has the potential to go through the Heinz Field roof in a scheme already suited to his skill set.

Migos releases new song ’11 Birds’ which will be Falcons’ new theme music

They didn’t have a first-round pick, and they didn’t really need to have one, instead able to sit back and enjoy the fun of other teams trying to catch up to them.

New England already has done plenty with free agency and trades to stamp its status as a strong favorite to repeat.

There was no justification to take a massive risk on a cornerback who gambles in coverage when Reuben Foster was on the board to help them at their biggest defensive need. It’s made worse when the player is Gareon Conley, who is facing uncertain legal action after news of his alleged sexual assault broke just days before the draft.

It was extremely disappointing, on and off the field, for Oakland to go in this direction.

Falcons fans have a new anthem to blast on game day, courtesy of Migos.

The Atlcubs_1812anta rap group released a song Monday titled “11 Birds” which is a play on a few things. First, 11 represents the number of Julio Jones, who stars in the music video, and 11 is the number of players on a football field.

The trio of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff each do their thing on the track, which was sponsored by Champs Sports. The hook could use some work, but the verses aren’t half-bad considering the purpose of the song.

The “Bad and Boujee” rappers may not have a chart-topping single, but you can probably expect to hear this song played inside the new Falcons stadium in the upcoming season.

Russell Westbrook and the Thunder melt down in crunch time again

Authentic Youth Cole Hamels Jersey One day after Kawhi Leonard and Mike Conley gave the basketball universe its best game of the season, James Harden and Russell Westbrook followed up with a Game 4 for the ages.

The materials don’t sound inexpensive either. The ZO2s are embedded with an Ortholight insole, a full bed of shock-absorbent material, microfiber python texture, and a Delorean finish.

Another reason: Big Baller Brand could be targeting a specific clientele. A $495 sneaker is by no means cheap, and LaVar Ball knows that. In their release, reported by SLAM Magazine, BBB seems to have targeted its own niche market:

BBB is aiming for Lonzo’s signature sneaker to tap into a new market—above the athletic performance kicks from the likes of Nike, Jordan, adidas and Under Armour, but below the high-end designer shoes of Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton.
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Oklahoma City has come down to the same sad dilemma all season: right or wrong, they routinely ask Westbrook to do the impossible. Often, he actually does it, which is why he will likely be revealed as the league’s MVP. The arguments are so close, but when you often see a player do impossible things, it’s hard to say he’s not deserving.
The numbers don’t like when it comes to how much the Thunder really struggle when Russell Westbrook comes out of the game.

In real terms, when Westbrook sat this series, the Thunder were outscored 137-79 in 45.5 minutes of total court time. They lost by 58 points without Westbrook playing. For the entire series, Houston only outscored Oklahoma City by 43 points.

The only thing left for Westbrook in the 2016-2017 season is to see who the MVP trophy belongs to on June 26.

Yup, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is the pitcher Pat Mahomes’ son

If you’re a fan of journeymen Major League Baseball relief pitchers from the mid-1990s and early 2000s, this is your kind of NFL draft.

Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 10th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. Mahomes is a former 37th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2014 and, more significantly, the son of 11-year MLB reliever Pat Mahomes. This is a family that’s proven adept at throwing balls in competitive environments.

Melvin Ingram Game Jersey The elder Mahomes has a glorious Baseball Reference page. He tossed 709 major league innings between 1992 and 2003, pitching for the Twins, Mets, Red Sox, Rangers, Cubs, and Pirates. He had a cup of coffee in the Montreal Expos’ organization in 2004, which is why he’s in an Expos uniform in the headshot topping this article.

I am upset but realize that I am powerless when false accusations are made and people try to convict you in the court of public opinion, Conley said. It’s sad that your name can get dragged through the mud based upon untrue and malicious allegations alone.
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The accuser’s attorney, Patrick Thomas, said the high-profile nature of the case made it more difficult for her.

As you can imagine, any victim, any woman that has to endure a sexual assault, so it’s been a very difficult few weeks at this point, Thomas said via Cleveland.com. It has been even more difficult with the media coverage.

Despite the pending allegations against Conley, the Oakland Raiders selected the cornerback with the 24th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Conley has not been charged with a crime at this time. If Conley is charged and indicted on felony sexual assault charges, he could face three to eight years in prison under Ohio law, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.