Monthly Archives: July 2017

Rivera held court with Halladay and Scott Kazmir about how to grip the cutter

Rivera held court with Halladay and Scott Kazmir about how to grip the cutter, and Rivera even shared a few tips on how to throw his signature pitch. These days, pitchers keep those secrets heavily-guarded, but Rivera was willing to share some Cheap Jerseys Premier League pointers with his brethren.

The TV cameras caught Rivera giving some tips to Halladay during batting practice ahead of the 2008 All-Star Game in New York. Again, that’s something you almost never see today; one division rival helping out another with his craft.

Here’s what Halladay told Tom Verducci from Sports Illustrated about Rivera’s advice and the impact on his career:

But the biggest thing was his finger placement and how his thumb was under the ball. I was throwing a cutter, but it was inconsistent. Once he told me about the thumb, it became a big pitch for me.

Hee-Seop Choi, a former MLB player with the Cubs, Marlins and Dodgers, and who played for the Kia Tigers from 2007 to 2015, praised Na’s power.

“The impact of Seong-Beom Na’s line drives are different,” Choi said in a Sports Chosun interview. “I was always nervous every time I was Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale fielding first base (when Na came up to bat). The power of his batted Cheap Jerseys Paypal Payment balls spearing into the glove was incredible.”

Brady has accomplished much in his long career, but there’s one thing on his list he hasn’t done.

Tom Brady has five Super Bowl rings, two league MVP awards, and he should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There’s one thing the quarterback hasn’t accomplished in his career, and that’s playing a game in China.

Brady would like to change that.

“My dream is to play a game here in China someday,” Brady said via CBS Boston during an Under Armour promotional tour.

Of the 14 players to make All-NBA this decade who were drafted since 2010, four were chosen among the top five picks and five were selected from 11th to 30th in the first round. There were as nearly many All-NBA players drafted at 15th overall (Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo) as No. 1 overall (John Wall, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving).

Of the 33 players to make All-NBA this decade who were drafted before 2010, only four were second-round picks, and three of those were European-based players drafted in an era before the league had fully embraced selecting players from overseas. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is the only one of that group who was trained in the U.S. There have been two second-rounders drafted this decade to become All-NBA, and both were long-tenured American college players (Green and Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas).

Of those 33 All-NBA players drafted before 2010, 16 were top-five picks and six more were from between 6-10. Whereas the All-NBA players drafted this decade were split evenly between top-10 picks and beyond, only a third of those from the pre-2010 Cheap Jerseys Paypal Payment era were chosen outside the top 10.

The inevitable conclusion: Teams are getting less effective at evaluating and drafting at the top end of the draft. The successful teams have been those exploiting those inefficiencies (Golden State, San Antonio) and uncovering and developing the draft’s true jewels. What has won in the league of late has not been so Cheap Jerseys Online Free Shipping much picking early in the draft, but picking smart.

Charles Clay has not played up to his contract

That’s not what Cam Newton needed to hear from the Panthers last December. He needed to hear someone in authority sit him down for his own good.

That way, the big video premiere of his locker-room Cheap Jerseys Online Free Shipping game of catch might have been a lot sooner. Or, who knows, never debuted at all.

Charles Clay has not played up to his contract, and the Bills’ reported interest in free-agent tight ends signals a desire to improve at the position. But they did not address tight end in the draft.

While Clay figures to enter the season as Buffalo’s No. 1 tight end, the team hopes Nick O’Leary can become an adequate No. 2. Also worth watching is the development of Logan Thomas, who was signed as a converted quarterback. (Taylor, after all, has thrown touchdown passes to Thomas in the past.)

Dennison is expected to bring more zone blocking to an offensive line that’s used to a mix of power and zone. Neither the veterans nor the youngsters should have much trouble adapting.

The biggest question mark with this group is where second-round pick Dion Dawkins fits as a rookie. If the Bills are not comfortable letting him play right tackle immediately, he’ll slide to right guard, opposite Pro Bowler Richie Incognito and in between Eric Wood (center) and Jordan Mills (right tackle).

The trademark case the team lost three years ago was all about whether the name was a slur, and whether the government had the power to cancel the trademark on that basis. The trademark office clearly stated, with references and footnotes, that heck yeah, it was clearly offensive.

That trademark decision and the Supreme Court ruling Cheap Jerseys Paypal Free Shipping pretty much shoot holes through the contention — by the team and by the NFL — that it’s a term of “honor” and “respect.” They can keep saying it, but now two decisions by the federal government aren’t buying it.

And, to be clear, it’s also worth pointing out that canceling the trademark never did, and never could, stop the team from using that name; obviously, it hasn’t.

NBA trade rumors: Timberwolves still looking to trade Ricky Rubio

One hot NBA trade rumor last week had the Timberwolves shipping guard Ricky Rubio off to Chicago for Jimmy Butler.

As it turned out, Minnesota sent Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Cheap Jerseys Online China exchanged first-round draft picks in exchange for the Bulls’ All-Star forward.

But Rubio is still apparently on the market. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports sources say the T-Wolves “remain intent on trading Ricky Rubio as it searches for more shooting.”

For a player coming off career highs in scoring (11.1 points per game) and assists (9.1 apg), Rubio can’t seem to shake the trade rumors. Another recent rumor had him headed to the Knicks, for Derrick Rose. Although Rubio is one of the game’s best passers and a competent defender, he’s struggled with his shot at times.

If you were a team that wanted the upside of a prep position player in the first round, this was a pretty good draft, too. The Angels had to be thrilled to get Jordon Adell at No. 10 (rumors were the Brewers had their eye on him at No. 9), and Angels fans will love this guy, as a person and a player. The Royals got former Little League World Series hero Nick Pratto out of a California high school at No. 14, the Giants snagged Heliot Ramos from Puerto Rico at No. 19, the Rangers picked up outfielder Bubba Thompson at No. 26 and shortstop Chris Seise at No. 29 — seriously, does any team love high-upside prepsters Cheap Jerseys Paypal Free Shipping more than Texas?

Speaking of prep stars, the Pirates (RHP Shane Baz) and Marlins (LHP Trevor Rogers) are pretty pleased with their high-upside choices available when they picked, at 12 and 13, respectively. The Blue Jays had two picks, and they picked a smooth college middle infielder with a good bat at No. 22 (UNC’s Logan Warmouth) and a juco right-hander who hits triple-digits with his fastball at No. 28 (Nate Pearson). That worked out well. The White Sox went the college route, too, grabbing a masher from Missouri State (no, not Ryan Howard) at No. 11, Jake Burger.

There was an immediate change in Halladay’s repertoire when he got back to work after the All-Star break.

You’re so used to playing catch and four-seaming the baseball that your hand wants to go to that natural position. You have to keep reminding yourself, thumb underneath, thumb underneath.

After that meeting I took a baseball and marked it with my finger and thumb placement for the cutter. If the pitch was ever off, I could go back to the baseball and hold it. I still have that ball.

Whatever Rivera told Halladay, it worked. There was an immediate change in Halladay’s repertoire when he got back to work after the All-Star break.

The good: OK, this is where we talk about Aaron Judge for the first time. The big man had an outstanding April, with 10 home runs and a .303 average, but he really started to capture the baseball-watching-nation’s attention in May. In his first 11 games of the month, he hit .341 with a 1.169 OPS and popped four more home runs, including a massive 457-foot blast to center field on Mother’s Day. That was his third of the season of at least 450 feet, and a taste of what was to come — that jaw-dropping 496-foot blast he hit on June 11.

The bad: As you can see, the Jays played better in this stretch (8-5 in their 13 games), but the injuries just kept coming in May. Donaldson was still on the DL, and both Troy Tulowitzki and J.A. Happ joined him before the end of April. In the first couple weeks of May, those three were joined by Russell Martin (placed on DL May 8), Francisco Liriano (on DL May 11) and Steve Pearce (on DL May 15). Hard to Cheap Jerseys Online China find consistency without healthy players.

The ugly: The Rays opened May with back-to-back wins at Miami to pull to .500 and only 3.5 out of first place entering a nine-game home stand against three teams (the Marlins, Blue Jays and Royals) that were all struggling on the season. Perfect chance for Tampa Bay — which was 9-4 at home up to that point — to make up some Cheap Jerseys Pay With Paypal serious ground in the standings, right? Wrong. The Rays went just 3-6, dropping them to a season-worst seven games out of first after games of May 11.

How epic is Giancarlo Stanton when it comes to tape-measure home runs?

Indians third baseman Erik Gonzalez came into Friday night’s game against the Twins hitting an even .400 in June. That average took a blow after Gonzalez went 0 for 4, striking out three times and stranding six runners, in the Tribe’s 5-0 loss.

How epic is Giancarlo Stanton when it comes to tape-measure home runs? Here, the Marlins slugger hits a 458-foot home run to dead center off the Cubs’ John Lackey — and it was only his third-longest home run this year.

Rockies (47-29) at Dodgers (49-26), 10:10 p.m. ET — The Dodgers have the second-best record in baseball behind the Astros, but they just can’t shake the Rockies or the Diamondbacks in the NL West. The Dodgers would seem to have the advantage on the mound Saturday night, with three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 2.61 ERA) going against right-hander Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.08). But Chatwood has been Kershaw-like in June, with a 1.73 ERA in his four starts.

There’s still a lot of baseball to play this season, but it’s getting difficult to brush off Arizona’s start as a fluke. Not only that, but the team has a major factor working in its favor. If you don’t think Arizona is going to make the postseason, which NL team are you predicting to overtake them? Outside of the NL West, there are only two other teams in the National League with a winning record. The Diamondbacks are 15 games over .500. It’s likely the rotation is going to slow down at some point, although several Cheap Atlanta Braves Jerseys advanced pitching metrics are optimistic about the results so far, but it’s hard to pinpoint a team that could take advantage of a run of poor play by Arizona.

We’ll stay in the same division for our second team. Like Arizona, Colorado has benefited from a productive offense. The Rockies have scored the fourth-most runs in Cheap Football Jerseys From China baseball, and they rank in the top five by R and RBI. Somewhat surprisingly, they have only hit the 14th-most homers in the league (82).

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame: How Roy Halladay perfected his cutter, thanks to Mariano Rivera

Roy Halladay made a huge impact during his tenure with the Blue Jays, which is why he’ll be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. Though his path to Cooperstown is up for debate, one reason why Halladay is even in the Cooperstown conversation is because of a chat with a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Halladay took his career to a whole new echelon while in Toronto thanks to one man: Mariano Rivera.

The year was 2008: Halladay already had two Cy Young Awards under his belt and was making his sixth appearance at the MLB All-Star Game as one of the most dominant starters in baseball. You would’ve thought there wasn’t much more a Cy Young winner could learn.

Ferris Buellering is something I, just right now, made up*, but I’m already convinced it’s the best game in America. It’s part scavenger hunt, part roleplaying, part hide and seek, and it’s a game that any NFL team — not just the Chicago Bears — can play.

Only a couple of hundred fans, at most, remained at this point, but a chant started. Softly, at first, then gaining steam. “We want Tebow! We want Tebow! We want Tebow!”

The inning started and the first five Mets batters — most of them wearing numbers closer to 100 than 0 — reached base safely. Every time a Mets player other than Tebow walked out to the on-deck circle, bat in hand, the crowd booed. Nine batters into the inning, the Mets had scored five runs to cut the Marlins’ lead to just two, and the crowd was almost in a frenzy.

It was almost too perfect, right? The Mets could send Tebow to Cheap Atlanta Braves Jerseys the plate with two on and two out, trailing by two runs, and he could tie the game with a double or end it with a home run. The fans were chanting “Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!” with a ferocity rarely Cheap Elite Nike NFL Jerseys seen in the ninth inning of a spring training game.

Turf Show Times: It will take a ‘massive effort’ to fix Greg Robinson

When the Detroit Lions made the swift move of trading a sixth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams for offensive tackle Greg Robinson, everyone was taken aback. While many Lions fans were thrilled with Bob Quinn’s aggressiveness for addressing their troubled left tackle situation after Taylor Decker’s injury, others were very concerned about how poorly the former second-overall pick played with the Rams.

To help gauge how Lions fans should be reacting to the news, I contacted “3k” over at Rams blog Turf Show Times to give us the lowdown on Robinson and what went wrong over the past three seasons.

The talent was impressive enough that when Arizona coach Sean Miller coached a USA Basketball team to the FIBA U-19 World Championship in 2015, four of the top six scorers were members of that class preparing for their senior year of high school.

It was obvious even then freshmen would dominate the 2017 draft. All four — Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Harry Giles and Terrance Ferguson — became first-rounders Thursday night.

They weren’t chosen because they were freshmen. They were chosen because they are talented.

Some fans, analysts and even college coaches have insisted for years that players who remain in college for two, three or four years risk being “picked apart” by NBA scouts. This is repeated even though such players as Buddy Hield, Frank Kaminsky, Doug McDermott and Willie Cauley-Stein all were top-10 picks in recent seasons after spending three or four years in school.

There is no perfect answer to this question for any particular Cheap Elite Jerseys player. Some remain in school and develop into first-rounders as they progress, like Denzel Valentine at Michigan State. Some enter the draft and disappear from the American basketball radar, such as Grant Jerrett, who has played 51 NBA Cheap NFL Jerseys USA minutes since leaving Arizona after his freshman year in 2012-13.

Could the Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley be MLB’s next dominant bullpen arm?

In 2014, Andrew Miller emerged as one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball. In 2017, Archie Bradley has become an elite bullpen arm for the Diamondbacks.

In his first full season in the major leagues, Gallo has hit 19 home runs in 69 games and 232 at bats, going into Monday’s series in Cleveland. The average exit velocity on Gallo’s batted balls is 94.1 mph, tied with Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun for seventh in baseball, per Statcast.

“When he hits a ball, he hits it,” Lucroy said. “It goes a long way.”

Judge, of course, leads baseball in exit velocity, and is someone Lucroy compared Gallo to because of their large frames and prodigious power.

“Judge is a guy, for me, he’s got the power, he’s got the average, he’s got on base. He’s got everything. That’s impressive,” Lucroy said. “And I know Joey’s still working through that, getting there. He’s improved so much from last year when I saw him to this year, and I expect him to get better.”

If he stays relatively healthy — Gallo missed Saturday and Sunday’s games, and wasn’t available to be quoted for this story, with what manager Jeff Bannister called tightness in his hamstrings — he has a chance to hit 40-45 home runs at this pace. Not bad for someone so young.

“He’s probably going to hit for 60 homers one year,” Rangers Outfielder Nomar Mazara told Sporting News. “He’s got that kind of power.”

What he does not yet have is the plate discipline and the contact rate needed Cheap NFL Jerseys USA to be considered a complete offensive player. That, Lucroy and Mazara believe, will come in time. But for now, Gallo’s .194 batting average, .289 on base percentage and 38.4 percent strikeout rate leave a lot to be desired.

As a whole, major leaguer players are hitting for a lower Cheap Eagles Jerseys average, striking out more and hitting more home runs.

Congratulations to these 5 QBs, who have the best receiving corps of their careers in 2017

The Titans signed wide receiver Eric Decker on Sunday, officially giving Marcus Mariota the most talented group of receivers he’s worked with in his career so far. Mariota’s not the only NFL quarterback to be so lucky this season, either.

Decker was cut by the Jets, a team that may not be tanking but sure isn’t setting itself up to succeed this season. Less than a week later, he signed with Tennessee. He joins rookies Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, as well as Rishard Matthews and tight ends Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith.

The signing made perfect sense for the Titans. Bringing in Decker means they have a reliable veteran presence in the receiving corps who can contribute right away and help the rookies develop. It’s great news for Mariota, who may be able to take his game to the next level with these offensive upgrades.

Which other teams have given their quarterbacks the best group of receivers they’ve had to work with so far in their careers?

We can’t fully know because, unlike the Cardinals, we’re not inside the Astros’ database, but from the outside it looks as though Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and his aides just created a mashup of Earl Weaver and Billy Beane:

Go heavy on pitching and power. Houston (50-25) was fourth in Best Site For Cheap Jerseys the majors in ERA and first in home runs and slugging percentage through June 23.

Draft college hitters. Six are on the current 40-man roster, led by Cheap NFL Jerseys Paypal 2015 first-rounder Alex Bregman. And Bregman was a gift, because he was the compensation for Houston not signing high school pitcher Brady Aiken with the first pick in 2014.

Constantly tweak the roster, hunt for bargains. The Astros used an average of 47.4 players from 2012 to 2016; the number has steadily decreased as the team has improved. Four Cheap Dolphins Jerseys current players came off the waiver wire. Two were minor league free agents.