Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
For all baseball-related intents and purposes, winter is now finally over. Spring training is here, and it’s glorious — this week, in fact, it’s when it’s at its absolute best. This first week of games is when baseball feels fresh, and exciting, and beautiful on its own merits, when it doesn’t matter who’s playing or how badly so long as someone’s playing at all. Essentially, this week is when how we feel about spring training is enough to dwarf the reality of what spring training actually is.
In a week or so, most of us will see spring training more clearly — meaningless games between lineups of non-roster invitees, with highlights delivered by poorly shot beat reporter cell phone videos. Spring training quickly becomes little more than the sum of the games that must be endured to get to Opening Day. Right now, though, it doesn’t feel like that. Right now, the fact that it is here and the fact that it is baseball give us feeling enough.
Green Bay wound up kicking a field goal after that. However, they didn’t manage to kill a whole lot of clock, allowing the Falcons to drive downfield once again. Atlanta put up its third touchdown of the quarter, making it a one-score game, but a couple big plays from the Packers allowed them to get in scoring position and effectively clear the clock.
Authentic Youth Joe Haden Jersey Each year, most of the coaches and General Managers around the NFL will speak to the assembled media at the Scouting Combine.
This year, there¡¯s a new abstainer on the list of the usual suspects.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Saints coach Sean Payton and Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis generally do not participate, but at the moment, no one from Washington is on the schedule provided by the league.
While coach Jay Gruden has taken to the podium in the past, he¡¯s not scheduled to speak this year, and G.M. Scot McCloughan isn¡¯t either. Then again, McCloughan isn¡¯t being allowed to talk to anyone else either, so that probably shouldn¡¯t come as a surprise.
There¡¯s plenty to talk about there, considering the Kirk Cousins decisions being made, but those searching for answers are going to have to work the hallways and corridors of Indianapolis rather than having them provided.
We already mentioned that starting cornerback Darrelle Revis got into some hot water this offseason. With his availability in question corner becomes an even bigger need than it already was. And heading into the offseason it was a huge need.
Revis and fellow starter Buster Skrine struggled mightily in 2016. The Jets could very well look to the 2017 NFL Draft to fix the problems they had in pass coverage. One of the best rated corners coming into the league is Ohio State£ªs Marshon Lattimore.
Andre Roberts Authentic Jersey Lattimore stands 6-0, which gives him plenty of height to match up with any receiver. He is also a willing tackler who can hold up as he is just under 200 pounds. What£ªs most impressive is Lattimore loses nothing in speed or athleticism with his good size.
The only issue with Lattimore is he played just one full season of college ball. After an injury-plagued redshirt freshman season he managed to stay on the field for every game in 2016. The result was him proving to be an amazing player that could help New York right away.
We¡¯re in Canada now. Montreal to be exact. Vanessa is introducing Nick to her special needs students, and I am very moved as they all meet him and give him hugs. They rejoice in seeing their teacher again.
One of my friends texts me that she feels like the producers are exploiting the students for this segment. I didn¡¯t totally feel that way, but I¡¯m willing to be wrong here, because I realize that everything on this show is, to some extent, exploitation. But I thought it was kind of sweet to involve them when they clearly mean so much to Vanessa and she to them.
Raven doesn¡¯t tell Nick she loves him as she walks him to the black SUV waiting to whisk him away to the home of the next woman he is dating.
¡°It¡¯s hard for me to say ¡®I love you,¡¯¡± Raven says, ¡°Because I don¡¯t want to be rejected. I don¡¯t like to show my weakness at all.¡± I¡¯m here for this. Being vulnerable is terrifying enough as it is, so I can only imagine that being vulnerable on national TV is even more so.
Elite Kids Lance Alworth Jersey But Raven is also sneaky brilliant, because she¡¯s playing hard to get: I¡¯m starting to think that maybe she¡¯ll win this show rather than Corinne, because she¡¯s the only one playing her cards a little close to her chest. Everyone knows most men want what they aren¡¯t sure they can get. Withholding is, therefore, a very clever strategy.
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“It’s just so hard for me to say I love you because I don¡¯t want to be rejected and I don¡¯t like to show my weakness at all.¡±
I have never heard that metaphor before but I¡¯m obsessed with it. I¡¯m also wondering whether I¡¯ve historically been the pot or the lid in my relationships. I don¡¯t know which is the better option.
Actually, I think King Cake Baby is a really nice dude and I¡¯d invite him to my wedding. We¡¯ve all been judging a book by its cover.
¡°He was only ever scary to outsiders,¡± said SB Nation¡¯s New Orleans native Elena Bergeron.
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If you don¡¯t know who King Cake Baby is, you will meet him during the NBA All-Star game. He¡¯s a mascot for the New Orleans Pelicans, named after a seasonal cake made during NOLA¡¯s Carnival.
“It is possible that the Super Bowl will be the program chosen by the majority to watch,” a spokesman for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office said.
Hernandez is being held in the Boston jail while awaiting trial on murder charges.
Ready for your fact of the day? Hernandez is the last New England Patriot to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl. That came on a third-quarter scoring reception to go up 17-9 against the New York Giants in 2012. The Giants would go on to score 12 unanswered points and win, 21-17.
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Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers handled the challenge of facing one of the league’s top teams.
Mats Zuccarello scored a third-period goal and Lundqvist made 31 saves in the New York Rangers’ 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Ryan McDonagh scored in the first period for New York, which has won seven of eight overall and five in a row at home.
“I think going into this game we felt like this a good test coming at the right time for us,” said Lundqvist who earned his 401st career win. “You can feel that we’re getting closer here and this is just another opportunity for us to work on our game against a really good team.”
Over his entire 12-year professional career, Andrew McCutchen has played just one game in right field — for Double-A Altoona in 2006. Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
“That was one of the first times that that was something I wanted to go against,” McCutchen said, on the day he attempted to put his tumultuous, trade-rumor-filled offseason behind him. “It wasn’t something I was ready for or I wanted to do. But as I keep saying that, I’m talking about myself. So I just had to not be as selfish and just accept that that’s what I had to do and move over to right.”
In his entire 12-year professional career, McCutchen has played just one game in right field — for Double-A Altoona in 2006. And that, he conceded, also factored in to his initial resistance to moving.
“I’ve always been in center,” he said. “Since I came up, since my first game here, that’s where I’ve always played.”
If Alex Reyes is sidelined by surgery on his elbow, it might be another year before Cardinals fans get to see him on the mound.
It stinks for Reyes and the Cardinals because he was one of their most dynamic players at a time when the team has a gap in high-end talent at the top of its minor league pipeline. The Cardinals are never going to say they’re rebuilding, but this is pretty close to what that looks like around here.
They failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010 last season, and most of the projections haven’t liked what they expect to see from the Cardinals in 2017. Losing the best prospect in the organization isn’t going to make those prognostications any sunnier or make that 17 ?-game gap with the Chicago Cubs from last season get any smaller.
Reyes has had a sore elbow for a few days, and word is the tear in his ulnar collateral ligament is severe enough that doctors will recommend Tommy John replacement surgery. Recovery from that operation figures to keep Reyes out of action until 2018.
The Falcons haven’t used the franchise tag since 2012 with cornerback Brent Grimes, so don’t expect them to use it this year either. The list of unrestricted free agents includes players such as veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney, offensive guard Chris Chester, tight end Jacob Tamme, and fullback Patrick DiMarco, so there’s really no reason to use the tag.
We know, based on the CBA, that a team has only one option when it wants to apply the tag in consecutive years to the same player: 120 percent of the previous year’s tag. That could apply to a number of players in 2017, including Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry.
Cousins played under a $19.95 million tag in 2016, meaning his 2017 tag would be worth $23.94 million. Berry’s tag would be valued at $12.96 million after he played 2016 at $10.8 million. (He has vowed not to play for the Chiefs in 2017 under another tag, presumably via holdout until a long-term extension can be reached.)
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Other than Cousins and Berry, who else are 2017 franchise-tag candidates?
Plenty of NFL teams have a need at QB, but who could be interested in Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky? Here’s Todd McShay’s second attempt at predicting the picks.
Game Kids Menelik Watson Jersey Upgrade at cornerback. Chicago’s other key position of need, as has been the case seemingly since Charles Tillman left town, is at corner. The Bears seem to have given up on 2014 first-rounder Kyle Fuller, with Fangio questioning his heart as Fuller missed the entire 2016 season with a knee injury. Bryce Callahan is a freak athlete and has shown some flashes of useful play, although he’s far from a finished product and struggled with multiple injuries in 2016. Tracy Porter was often unfairly matched up against top wide receivers for most of the year. The Bears have work to do at corner.
Amid all of the understandable focus on Saturday night’s events in Oklahoma City, let’s not overlook what the Warriors achieved in their Friday night victory at Memphis. Led by Draymond Green and a triple-double performance for the ages that couldn’t have illustrated his Defensive Player of the Year worthiness much better, Golden State quietly set an NBA record for the most wins — 237 — in a span of 300 regular-season games. The previous league high was 236, established by the Showtime Lakers (1984-88) and tied a decade later by Michael Jordan’s Bulls.
The 123-92 rout of the Bulls two nights earlier marked the Warriors’ eighth victory by at least 30 points this season, which is the NBA’s highest total for any team since the 1987-88 Celtics rung up eight of their own. The only other team in history to record eight such blowouts before the All-Star break was the 1971-72 Bucks, who were led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson and lost in the Western Conference finals to the 69-win Lakers. (No joke: Milwaukee really was a Western Conference resident in those days).
Is it all happenstance? Probably. But there was enough of a sample size that it seemed worthy of checking with Olynyk to see what goes into deciding which style he will utilize on a nightly basis.
Authentic Alexander Edler Jersey “You know, there isnâ€™t a lot of science behind it,” said Olynyk, who took a good-natured approach to the lighthearted topic. “Itâ€™s kinda however Iâ€™m feeling. I feel like if something is not working, I have to switch it up. So I kinda go back and forth.”
Authentic Kids Josh Smith Jersey Presented with this season’s splits, Olynyk laughed and admitted the numbers were hard to ignore. But pressed on whether the headband look could be hindering him at all, he presented a solid counterargument.
“I donâ€™t think so because all throughout college I never wore a man bun once,” Olynyk said. “If you look at the college numbers, I would say [the hair] wasnâ€™t in the way.”
Shanahan will inherit a 49ers team with a questionable quarterback position featuring Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder. But he also inherits Carlos Hyde, a strong running back who could be one of the best in the league if he stays healthy. The 49ers have a high draft pick and a whole lot of cap space to help things as well, so finding somebody to actually throw the ball to Torrey Smith is a real possibility.
And that’s the hope — that Shanahan will make the 49ers a better team. Chip Kelly’s offense was predictable and ineffective. Tomsula’s was laughably one-note. Jim Harbaugh’s was overcomplicated and started to trip over itself in his final two seasons.
He’ll have his work cut out for him. And he’ll need to make sure he doesn’t make the same mistakes he made in the Super Bowl, calling plays that seemed more panicked and reactionary.
But the 49ers are still heading into an offseason with what looks like the right man in charge. And if Shanahan learned a valuable lesson in the Super Bowl, it’s better he learned it there than in a big game as head coach of the 49ers.
Over in the AFC, the teams hoping to prevent New England from heading back to the Super Bowl include the Pittsburgh Steelers (+1300), Denver Broncos (+1600), Oakland Raiders (+1900), and Kansas City Chiefs (+1900).
For bettors looking for a value pick on the board, the Raiders might fit the bill at this price. Before Derek Carr went down with his season-ending injury, Oakland was in contention for the top seed in the AFC with a 12-3 SU and 10-5 ATS record.
Limited Chris Mullin Jersey To Cousins, the piece in question is a cheap shot, yet another in a long procession of takedowns about his work ethic, his weight, his judgment, his attitude. And in the ensuing days, after the Bee’s executive editor defends Furillo by suggesting that he “held his ground” against Cousins because the veteran journalist had experience being shot at by rioters in Los Angeles, Cousins will be blown away by the connotations. Who am I in these metaphors, exactly?
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But back in the moment, when asked what the explosion he just helped defuse says about Cousins, Temple sighs. “I’ve only been here for two months, so I really don’t know that much,” he says. “But I’m trying to figure it out. He’s a very emotional guy. That’s one thing I’ve realized.”
If Temple is struggling to figure out Cousins, he’s hardly alone in the pursuit. There’s a tantalizing question about the Kings’ franchise star, and its answer might well determine his future: Is Cousins’ madness at the heart of the Kings’ dysfunction — or is the dysfunction of the Kings driving Cousins mad? To answer it requires a return to 2014. It was then, sources say, that so much went wrong.
The No. 5 overall pick in the 2001 draft after the Chargers finished 1-15 in the previous season, Tomlinson helped change the culture around the Chargers. San Diego made the playoffs five of the nine seasons Tomlinson was the teamâ€™s lead running back, including winning five AFC West titles.
Tomlinsonâ€™s nine seasons (2001-09) in San Diego included eight consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaigns and five Pro Bowls.
â€œAs an offensive lineman — and you could probably include tight ends and fullbacks in that equation — you were really inspired to get your block and stay on your block because you knew that his ability to break off a long run and finish off a game at momentâ€™s notice was right there in the power that LaDainian Tomlinson held in his feet.â€
By the account of this player, who’s still close to several people on the team, along with the account of virtually every other source who spoke about him, Cousins has improved in this regard this season, even pricing in the high-profile incidents. “I’m not saying [Cousins] is perfect,” says a teammate who requested anonymity. “But none of that stuff you heard about with George happens this year.”
And then there exists one more possibility — that none of us knows the real DeMarcus Cousins at all. And if there’s evidence for that notion, it resides in the testimonials from those in the Kings’ locker room and front office about the constant but quiet nature of Cousins’ charity. One Kings exec notes that the PR department has tried on more than one occasion to get Cousins to be more vocal about his good deeds in the community. Case in point: In fall 2015, Cousins tried to keep quiet the news that he covered the funeral expenses for a slain local high schooler — but word of the donation was leaked by a city councilman who felt Cousins should be recognized.
“That act was not done in any braggadocious way and wasn’t done with any press release,” says Derrell Roberts, who runs Roberts Family Development Center, where he says Cousins is “quietly” supportive. “You can tell the difference between the person whose PR person sends you a press note or suggests how you might want to orchestrate the event. That’s not DeMarcus.”
â€œThe situation at the University of Memphis had run its course. I was done with it,â€ Black said. â€œBreaking up with my hometown and my hometown team was the hardest thing Iâ€™ve ever had to do.â€
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During a news conference at his home in April 2013, Black announced that he would be transferring to another university for his final year of eligibility and graduate school. He wanted a â€œunique situation to gain a new perspective.â€ He also called it â€œa brief intermissionâ€ from his beloved hometown of Memphis where his â€œheart and soul will always be.â€
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He immediately got interest from such college powers as Kansas and Duke. His momâ€™s phone actually began going crazy with text messages and calls as her son announced the news.