Monthly Archives: October 2017

MLB teams eliminate top prospect from draft boards as criminal history surfaces

Luke Heimlich was one of the top prospects in the upcoming 2017 MLB draft. He was ranked 43rd overall on Baseball America’s top-500 list, which is no small thing. Was is the operative word in both of those sentences, however: Last week, in a story in The Oregonian, it was revealed that the Oregon State Beavers’ ace is a registered sex offender, who plead guilty in 2012 to molesting a 6-year-old family member.

The reason this took so long to get out is because Heimlich apparently failed to register his sex offender status in April, which put the story on The Oregonian’s radar. Heimlich asked not to pitch on Friday, his scheduled day during the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament, as he felt it would be a distraction to his team.

Professional sports teams are known for turning a blind eye toward criminal behavior if they think a player can help them win, and MLB is no exception. The Mets signed Jose Reyes specifically because his domestic violence arrest made him an inexpensive addition. The Mariners pretended they didn’t know anything about Josh Lueke’s sexual violence when they traded for him.

The Wildcats and Aggies’ feat here of course pales in comparison to when Texas topped Boston College, 3-2, in the opening regional of 2009’s tournament. That bonkers outing lasted 25 DAMN INNINGS, and it remains the longest college baseball game in history. It began at 7:02 p.m. ET on a Saturday and ended at 2:05 a.m. Sunday. Seven hours, three minutes, all told.

The longest super regional game ever played was in 2015, when TCU beat Texas A&M in the rubber match of the Fort Worth super in 16 innings, 5-4.

Davidson and A&M didn’t require two calendar days to end the argument, but let’s at least appreciate that these two teams tangoed for over five hours, and they have to do it again on Saturday.

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LSU closer is AMPED to force 1 more elimination game against Oregon State

LSU was completely thrashed by Oregon State earlier in the bracket round of the College World Series to the tune of a 13-1 defeat. The Tigers have played with a fire since then, eliminating Florida State from tournament contention on Wednesday, 7-4, then bouncing back from embarrassment to knock off Oregon State, 3-1, on Friday.

The loss put an end to the Beavers’ 23-game winning streak dating back to April 22.

Flamethrower Alex Lange was masterful on the hill against Oregon State, throwing 7 1/3 innings of work, good for eight strikeouts of 28 batters faced. He threw 115 pitches, 69 of them strikes.

He went over to the woman to ask what was going on, and soon realized he was speaking with a potential jumper. Stephen Nesbitt and Steph Chambers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more:

This does not pass muster. Slaughter clearly steers his way right into Florida shortstop Dalton Guthrie’s shin in an attempt to disrupt his throw to first. He indeed disrupts the throw, but it in any case arrives on time to lock down the double play on Papierski. Slaughter is clearly to the right of the baseline.

And then the marathon was on. The Aggies’ vaunted pitching staff threw as everyone expected, but that Davidson could keep pace so deep into its pen was remarkable. In the end, though, third baseman George Janca shot a single through to right, and Braden Shewmake scored from a bases-loaded third to seal the deal. The Aggies stand one win away from a trip to Omaha for the College World Series proper.

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Minor league team apologizes for mercilessly mocking Tim Tebow all game

Tim Tebow’s baseball career will probably always be overshadowed by his football career, but that comes with the territory of being a Heisman-winning quarterback turned NFL bust turned minor league baseball player.

Over the weekend, Tebow’s Columbia Fireflies team took on a team in Charleston, S.C., and the RiverDogs took the opportunity to mess with Tebow all night. First, they used his infamous crying picture on its jumbotron. To refresh your memory, that photo made the rounds heavily on the internet after Florida’s loss to Alabama in the 2009 SEC Championship Game.

Before the game, Parker would throw a strike for her ceremonial first pitch, but that wasn’t the only cool part of her day she also got to meet more Royals players and coaches.

Since Parker grew up just 15 minutes from the Royals’ stadium, that was undoubtedly cool.

I think it’s like a childhood dream come true to get to meet the players. I don’t think I could’ve ever thought of any of that in my wildest dreams to get to interact with them that much, she said.

The Sooners ace is making a name for herself as one of college softball’s best pitchers this past season, she pitched to a record of 26-5 with a 1.43 ERA.

So it’s no wonder the Royals were impressed Parker can definitely throw.

George Steinbrenner was suspended from running the team because he paid a detective $40,000 to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield. Don Mattingly was hurt, and his career went downhill, even though he was just 29. Deion Sanders was hitting .158 for some reason.

And they lost a game 4-0 without allowing a hit. That was the 1990 Yankees. They never recovered except for all the times they did.

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Oregon State catcher makes amazing diving catch of a bunt to start a double play

The College World Series proper officially kicked off in Omaha on Saturday, and Oregon State drew Cal State Fullerton as their opponent in the opening early session. The Titans got up on the Beavers in the first half of the game, 5-1, with the help of a three-run bomb to left center and a two-run shot up the middle.

In the top of the sixth, Fullerton shortstop Timmy Richards, who hit the early home run, walked, then teammate Hank LoForte stepped up for a bunt to move him over.

So loose that they staged a mock spring football game before first pitch at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade ballpark. Here are the boys going out of the shotgun.

Tigers shortstop Kramer Robertson takes over quarterbacking duties and mimics college quarterbacks’ leg lift to ready the center pre-snap. The leg lift also appears to signal right fielder and big bat Greg Deichmann into motion, as he trots from the backfield out to the weak side receiver spot. The Tigers’ center, Antoine Duplantis, should also be hailed for getting off a clean snap. Well done.

It sounded so simple, but Molina had hit three triples in his previous 4,450 plate appearances. Two of them came at AT&T Park, a triples haven that extends to 420 feet in right center. There was absolutely no way, statistically, for Molina to hit a triple exactly when he needed one.

His fastball is nearly 2? miles slower than it was in 2015, and while velocity isn’t everything, it sure helps a heckuva lot. He’s still missing bats, still throwing strikes, but he isn’t getting the ball on the ground as much as he used to. That’s one part slower fastball, one part the league-wide uppercut fetish. One without the other wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m guessing the combination is treating Arrieta harshly.

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NCAA Baseball Tournament 2017 scores and bracket: Sam Houston State cannot and will not stop

Florida got knocked off on Sunday night by Bethune-Cookman, but the No. 3 overall national seed Gators in the end prevailed over the Wildcats to earn a super regional bid. The Gators will host Wake Forest next weekend in Gainesville for a best of three series and claiming rights to the College World Series in Omaha proper. Well now.

The Fayetteville regional was an under-the-radar dogfight, and in the end Missouri State of all teams came out on top. The Bears required just three pitchers to down the Hogs at home, and three separate batters handled the day’s scoring. These Bears are bad news, and we’re not even sorry.

This is a lesson for the Wendy’s Twitter account. It’s at a disadvantage when someone starts with the diarrhea jokes. Stay away from the diarrhea jokes. Disengage.

After that there was another missed swing from Wendy’s that the A’s ignored, which forced Wendy’s to come back with an olive branch. The A’s agreed to hug it out:
And that’s the story of the Great Apostrophe Brand War of 2017. You are now dumber, but the headline alone was worth it.

When your business is ground beef produced in mass quantities, there are certain words you should avoid using in your Brand Wars. The A’s taught everyone an important lesson, and Wendy’s should be grateful.

Strasburg was unable to avenge his lost opportunity during the meeting between the Dodgers and the Nationals in the 2016 NLDS because of the latest in his plague of injuries. Kershaw, however, will haunt the hearts of every National on that postseason roster.

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Kershaw forced 2016’s best hitter

Mr. Met has every right to be furious about the monster he is and the world he was born into, and yet he’s there every day, doing his best and trying to be happy. He’s asked to dress like a player, and never gets to play the game. The team has never found a hat that fits him correctly, undoubtedly leading to nasty sunburn and he’s always smiling.

It has become baseball canon that Mr. and Mrs. Met are in a loving, committed, open relationship. In 2014 this became known when Royals’ mascot, Sluggerrr, revealed that he was one of Mrs. Met’s sexual conquests.

So for Tim Tebow to hit .216 against professional baseball players, years after playing any type of organized baseball, is really impressive to me.

ON THE OTHER HAND, he’s going to turn 30 in August, and he’s hitting .216 against 20-year-olds. He has a .302 on-base percentage and .327 slugging percentage. That wouldn’t be that big of a problem if he were a 19-year-old shortstop, but he’s not. He’s a clompy 29-year-old left fielder.

He might make the majors, and he might do it for that sweet, sweet shirsey money, but he is almost certainly not good enough to make the major leagues because of his baseball skill alone.

Which brings us to our new feature: Tebow Watch Watch, in which we look at different proclamations of Tebow having turned a corner and verify the claims.

Visions of a determined pitching-god warrior trotting in from the bullpen in Game 5 on short rest after throwing twice in the series is the campfire story Nats fans will regale to their children. As Kershaw worked to change his postseason narrative, at least for stubborn media members, the Nationals reaffirmed theirs. Kershaw forced 2016’s best hitter, Daniel Murphy, to popup and coaxed a Wilmer Difo strikeout to seal the series.

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The Yankees and Red Sox face off in a battle for 1st place

The Yankees and Red Sox begin a three-game series Tuesday, their first meeting since April when the Red Sox were hovering around .500 and the Yankees sat just out of first place in the AL East. Things have changed for both clubs in the intervening weeks and months, with New York now on top of the East with a two-game lead over Boston, who, for whatever it matters in early June, has the AL wild card lead.

Tuesday’s game will feature Masahiro Tanaka vs. Drew Pomeranz. Tanaka’s season started out rough with seven runs allowed in 2-2/3 innings, and has only gotten marginally better since. For the year, the guy who’s supposed to be the Yanks’ ace posted an 8.42 ERA in May while allowing 11 homers and a 1065 OPS. Meanwhile, Pomeranz took some time to shake off a spring training injury and had issues pitching deep into games to begin May, but has 19 strikeouts against one walk and just three earned runs allowed over his last two games, so maybe he’s coming around.

The more times I read it, though, I’m pretty sure Schmidt’s point is that a player who doesn’t speak English as a first language is immediately eliminated from clubhouse-leader contention. Which is absurd. Ken Rosenthal shot down the idea in one tweet:

And for the record, Herrera speaks English — enough to tell a teammate that he should run hard down the line or stop clipping his toenails in the clubhouse without cleaning them up. You know, leader stuff.

Schmidt has had better opinions — honestly admitting that steroids would have tempted him back in the day, for example — but this was a stinker. Spanish-speaking baseball players can be clubhouse leaders, and that shouldn’t be especially controversial.

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This hard-working kid had the best reaction when his family surprised him with Cubs tickets

9-year-old Kolt Kyler works on his family’s farm, does well at school, and plays baseball. It’s a robust schedule, but he never complains and his dad says at the beginning of the video that a full day of farm work was a test. He asks his son if he can help with one more job, and that it will take all day. Kolt accepts immediately, assuming it’s more farm work but willing to help however possible.

Despite all of Bellinger’s accomplishments this season, there’s one thing he’s less keen on, and that’s the existence of comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Apparently the 21-year-old has no idea who Seinfeld is. Bellinger, who was drafted in the fourth round out of high school in the 2013 MLB Draft, recently made the revelation on Scott Van Pelt’s SportsCenter on Friday night.

Van Pelt does have a point here though. It’s hard to believe that some people have never heard of Seinfeld or his incredibly popular show that was on for almost nine years in the late 1980s and 90s, but given that Bellinger was born in 1995, you can’t really blame him. If my parents didn’t love the show and always had on the re-runs while I was growing up, there’s a chance I wouldn’t be as familiar with Seinfeld, too.

Gennett found himself at a police station as a young child because he was giving his mother problems with wearing his seat belt. She took her son in to scare him into wearing it, and left with a surprising twist.

In an attempt to avoid trouble with the law, the mischievous young Gennett gave officers a fake first name. I told the cops Scooter Gennett because that was my favorite Muppet Babies character. I kind of just used it as an alias, I thought I would get in trouble if I told them my real name.
I … I need to sit down for a bit.

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Braves’ masked superhero stumbles and still defeats another fan in mid-game race

During Atlanta Braves games, there’s a mid-game entertainment break called Beat the Freeze, where one (un)lucky fan races against a superhero named The Freeze. A fan gets a 200-foot head start, and is then followed by The Freeze, who will certainly embarrass said fan. On Friday, we witnessed one fan who thought he had the race in the bag, until he celebrated prematurely and faceplanted when he saw The Freeze pull ahead of him.

Don’t worry, McCain answered for all of that: See, what happened is just that his questions went over your head, and also he was tired because of watching the Diamondbacks play while he was on the East Coast.

Given McCain’s affinity for the D-Backs, it’s a little weird he didn’t inquire further about the infamous pee tape that the Russians are reported to be blackmailing President Donald Trump with. After all, peeing happening where peeing isn’t supposed to happen is something the D-Backs have concerned themselves with in the past.

Don’t worry, though, given how these questions went, we can be sure McCain will soon ask what the Dodgers know about Hillary Clinton’s emails and whether she did or did not pee in the Diamondbacks’ pool, too. There are rules about that sort of thing, you know.

If you’re looking for the teams that can match the Yankees in terms of sheer quantity of starting-caliber shortstops, there’s one in each league, and neither one was obvious before I ran the search.

Oh, he’s been fine, don’t get me wrong. But he hasn’t been the stellar sneaky-freaky-might-actually-get-some-stray-HOF-votes Zobrist that we’ve become used to over the last decade. This might be what he looks like at 36. The average dips because the bat isn’t as quick, and the OBP and slugging dip along with it.

Unless it’s just that stupid, rascally BABIP again, and let me check … eh, not really. I’d blame age and the fascism of biology. He’s up this high not because I think he’s going to be a drag, but because he might not be the most underrated player in baseball for the 10th consecutive year. He might be rated just fine.

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Mike Schmidt says Spanish-speaking ballplayers can’t be clubhouse leaders

In a stunning development, somebody asked a retired baseball player for his opinions on the modern sport, and he responded with regrettable, out-of-touch quotes.

Remain calm. I’ll explain.

Mike Schmidt, the greatest third baseman in baseball history, was asked if the Phillies should rebuild around outfielder Odubel Herrera. His answer was … uh, oh boy:

My honest answer to that would be no because of a couple of things, Schmidt, who played for 18 years in Philadelphia, told SportsRadio 94WIP on Tuesday. First of all, it’s a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can’t be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game. Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, ‘Man, you gotta run that ball out.’

[He] just can’t be because of the language barrier that kind of a player.

Things have changed since then. After Friday’s win over the Yankees, the Blue Jays find themselves right back in the thick of the division race. They are still in last place in the American League East, mind, but they are only one game under .500 and just 5 1/2 games out of first place. After finishing April with an 8-17 record and eight games out of first place, they’ve been the best team in the division with a 19-11 record since the start of May.

With the resurgence of the Blue Jays, the American League East is now arguably the most competitive division in the league and possibly the hardest to decipher. If the Blue Jays win on Saturday, every team in the division will have at least an even record. There also isn’t a team that looks as if it’s going away.

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