Category Archives: sports

Bruised White Sox fan gets his souvenir thanks to another's kind gesture

In times like these we have to stick together. That may or may not be the philosophy of all Chicago White Sox fans with the team rebuilding, but that mindset was on display in the stands during Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

During the course of the action, Twins slugger Miguel Sano smoked a liner over the third-base dugout that had bad intentions. Just listen to the contact and watch the reaction of White Sox pitcher Derek Holland for a little perspective on just how bad those intentions were.

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Fortunately, the cameras quickly showed us that no one was seriously injured by the liner. But that might be in part due to the fan who redirected it with his forearm.

A White Sox fan cringes after being smoked by Miguel Sano's line drive. (MLB.TV)
A White Sox fan cringes after being smoked by Miguel Sano’s line drive. (MLB.tv)

To say the foul ball left a mark would be an understatement. That the baseball ended up several rows above undoubtedly added to his pain. But that pain would only be temporary thanks to the kind fan who tossed it right back.

The same White Sox fan says thank you after another kind fan returns the baseball. (MLB.TV)
The same White Sox fan says thank you after another kind fan returns the baseball. (MLB.tv)

Reunited, yes, but it probably didn’t feel too good until they got some ice on that arm.

Here’s hoping it was just a bruise and nothing more severe. Also, a tip of our cap to the unseen and unselfish fan who contributed to this happy ending. It’s fans like that who enhance the ballpark experience and restore our faith in humanity, if only for a brief time.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Ex-Duke QB Thomas Sirk to play final season at East Carolina

Thomas Sirk has missed two seasons because of Achilles tendon injuries. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Thomas Sirk is headed to the AAC.

After an injury-plagued career at Duke, Sirk, a sixth-year senior quarterback, announced Friday that he will play his final season of college football at East Carolina.

Sirk was granted a sixth season of eligibility back in November, but went public with his decision to leave the school as a graduate transfer in February. Sirk missed the entire 2016 season because of an injury to his Achilles tendon — the third of his career.

Sirk was Duke’s starter in 2015 and threw for 2,625 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading the team with 803 yards and eight scores on the ground. He was primed to return for another year as starter in 2016, but tore his Achilles in February. He then re-aggravated the injury in an effort to return for the start of the season.

In his absence, Daniel Jones emerged as the Blue Devils’ starter, prompting Sirk (who previously missed the 2013 season with another Achilles injury) to look elsewhere.

At East Carolina, he reunites with former Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery, who is now entering his second season as ECU’s head coach. Sirk will likely compete with Gardner Minshew, who usurped the well-traveled Philip Nelson as the ECU’s starter late in the 2016 season. Minshew, who will be a junior in 2017, threw for 1,347 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 58.9 percent of his passes for the Pirates, who finished 3-9.

In addition to East Carolina, Sirk also reportedly visited South Carolina and Southern Miss.

For more East Carolina news, visit PirateIllustrated.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

ECHL player tackles and fights goalie, creates absolute chaos (Video)

Remember Cal Heeter? The minor league journeyman goalie had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2013-14, and is now playing for the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.

Oh, but he’s a feisty one! In a game between the Walleye and the Fort Wayne Komets on Wednesday night, Heeter was frustrating his opponents en route to a 6-1 win. In the second period, Shawn Szydlowski of the Komets crashed his crease a little too fervently, so Heeter responded by slashing him with his goalie lumber.

Szydlowski didn’t take too kindly to this.

So he straight up tackled Heeter into his own net, and began assaulting him.

The Walleye were displeased with these actions, and acted accordingly, as Mike Embach attempted to pull Szydlowski off of his goalie like Szydlowski was an alien face-hugger trying to shove its ovipositor into Cal Heeter.

Eventually the officials stepped in, Szydlowski got off Heeter … and then shoved his head to the ice again for good measure, causing the Komets to go after him again. Finally, a linesman put him in a bear hug and that was the end of that.

The sequence ended up with 20 minutes in penalties being handed out. Heeter got two for slashing. Szydlowski was given a double-minor for roughing and a misconduct for “continuing an altercation.”

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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On the other side: Chad Johnson challenges top receivers to face him one-on-one

Ochocinco vs. Ocho Quartro. (Chad Johnson Instagram)

At his peak, Chad Johnson was a tough matchup for defensive backs. He even kept hit lists of sorts some seasons, listing the cornerbacks he’d be facing — or, dominating — on a week-to-week basis. The celebration-loving six-time Pro Bowler had a lot of success against defensive backs.

And now he’s trying his hand at being the chaser.

The 39-year old spent part of Tuesday on the field with Antonio Brown. As cornerback.

???? @ab

A post shared by Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) on Apr 4, 2017 at 3:05pm PDT

There are other posts, on both Johnson’s and Brown’s Instagram accounts, but this is one of the few that doesn’t have a lot of cursing (hey, we’re just looking out for those of you reading at work. Or around children.).

It looks like Johnson fared pretty well against one of the game’s best receivers, though in Brown’s defense, he clearly didn’t have a quarterback the caliber of Ben Roethlisberger throwing him the ball.

And Johnson doesn’t want to stop with Brown: on Twitter, he called out Odell Beckham Jr. and Demaryius Thomas, saying he want to go one-on-one with them next.

We have to hand it Johnson: even five-plus years after he last played in the NFL, he’s finding ways to keep himself in the headlines. Last weekend, he played in an American football game in Mexico.

Where was Michael Jordan on Monday night?

There was a noticeable absence from North Carolina’s celebrations in the desert on Monday after the Tar Heels beat Gonzaga to avenge last year’s title-game loss.

Where was Michael Jordan?

The man behind the crying memes, the “Ceiling is the Roof” line and, of course, Dean Smith’s first national title was nowhere to be found during the Heels’ 71-65 win, after attending last year’s devastating loss to Villanova in Houston.

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UNC coach Roy Williams shared his theory on Monday with USA Today:

“He’s superstitious like I am,’’ Williams told USA TODAY Sports, while adding that he had not had a chance to see if Jordan had left him a congratulatory voicemail. “He came last year, and we lost.”

Jordan had addressed the Heels in their locker room last year in wake of defeat, which was against NBA rules, since he owns the Charlotte Hornets.

In any event, Jordan’s presence has undoubtedly been felt around his alma mater. His now-infamous “Ceiling is the Roof” line took place on campus at halftime of the Heels’ regular-season ending win over rival Duke, as he was announcing that UNC’s football team would be outfitted in Jordan apparel in the 2017 season.

Jordan and the school have both had fun with the reaction to that slip of the tongue, with Jordan Brand even using it as a shout-out to the Heels after winning on Monday.

For what it’s worth, the G.O.A.T. proved prescient: Including that Duke game, UNC finished the season 8-1 en route to its sixth championship — the same number Jordan won during his NBA career.

Michael Jordan did not attend UNC’s title-game win after being there for last year’s loss. (AP)

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Matt Fortuna is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

More NCAA tournament coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Everyone thought the title game refs were bad … even LeBron
Way-too-early Top 25 for the 2017-18 college basketball season
Joel Berry II wins NCAA tourney’s Most Outstanding Player award
UNC couldn’t fill its student section, so ASU students stepped in

Even as 'Hard Knocks' shows signs of fading, NFL and HBO extend it for four more seasons

The HBO show “Hard Knocks” has been extended for four more seasons. (AP)

Last season, “Hard Knocks” wasn’t very good. The season with the Los Angeles Rams fell flat because the Rams were the dullest team that has been on the show and we could predict every story line before the opening credits rolled.

The NFL isn’t giving up though, as Sports Business Daily reported that the HBO show has been extended for four more seasons.

One big problem is that teams don’t want to be on the show. The Rams “volunteered” to be on the show (sure they did), but it seems obvious they were on because the NFL really wants us to believe everyone is excited about football in Los Angeles, even though Los Angeles itself doesn’t seem to care much. We’ll be exposed to the incredibly boring 2016 Rams again on Amazon’s “All or Nothing” series, which was a really compelling show when it featured the highly entertaining Arizona Cardinals last year.

Until the NFL can figure out a way to get a marquee team on (if the league got the New England Patriots to do it, that would fix pretty much every problem the show has), it’s just not going to have that much pop.

The other issue is tougher to figure out. There have been 11 seasons of “Hard Knocks.” They’ve settled on the same types of players to feature. Those angles were great early on in the series, and now they’re practically a drinking game (“Finish your beer when they show the family that has had to move from city to city as the veteran player battles for a job!”). If you watched “Hard Knocks” and “All or Nothing” last year, there’s zero doubt “All or Nothing” was better. “All or Nothing” was different and new, following a team around during the regular season. We’ve had more than a decade of “Hard Knocks.” We can guess what this season’s show will be like before we even know which team will be on.

Make no mistake, “Hard Knocks” was an excellent, groundbreaking show in many ways, for many years, and it deserved every award it got. It’s just really hard to keep the show fresh, especially when it’s obvious no NFL team wants to be on it.

Maybe the show will rebound over the next four years. Having a more interesting team on will help. It’s hard to see the NFL forcing one of the top teams to do it, but whichever team is told it has to be on will be more watchable than the Rams.

There will officially be four more seasons of the show. Plenty of challenges are ahead.

More NFL news from Yahoo

 

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Phil Knight and Nike have 'an interest' in Lonzo Ball but $1 billion is 'a little steep'

Phil Knight
No. 18: Phil Knight
Net worth: $25.5 billion
Source: Nike
(CNBC)

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball is not the only one that doesn’t take issue with his father’s slightly (and sometimes blatantly) outrageous comments. Over the weekend, Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, told USA Today that LaVar hasn’t deterred him from having an interest in the eldest Ball son. 

More than that, Knight has no problem with LaVar’s request for $1 billion up front. But, he said LaVar probably won’t be seeing that money from Nike.

“If he can get it he can get it,” Knight told USA Today. “($1 billion) is a little steep. He’s an awfully great player. Yeah, we have an interest.”

UCLA was eliminated from the Sweet 16, falling to Kentucky 86-74, on March 24.

 

The last time the Ducks were in the Final Four, Oregon was a very different and very white state

(Photo from Twitter account of @marchmadness)
(Photo from Twitter account of @marchmadness)

Oregon was vastly different the last time the Ducks – then the Oregon Webfoots – were in the Final Four. When Oregon was in the semifinals, there were no black people on the team. The lack of African Americans on the 1939 team was partly the result of Oregon’s founding as a white utopia.

To this day, Oregon is one of the whitest states in America and only 2 percent of the population is African American. Yahoo sat down with Portland State University black studies professor Turiya Autry ahead of the Ducks game against North Carolina to find out what the public might not know about Oregon’s history that affected the make up of an all-white team.

“When they were a Final Four team 70 some years ago, it was a very different Oregon as far as segregation and what that looked like,” Autry said. “How long have black people even occupied Oregon in numbers, you know? And then there is the history of Oregon as a declared white state. Oregon has a very interesting story of race. The whole country does, but Oregon has a unique tale.”

  • In the summer of 1844, the state’s legislative committee passed an order that said any black person that was in the state of Oregon could be subjected to a beating every six months if they didn’t leave the state within two years.
  • When Oregon entered in the Union in 1859, it was the only state with a constitution that forbade black people from living in it.

“When they said no slavery here, it wasn’t because they didn’t want slavery. It was because they didn’t want blacks here, period,” Autry said.

  • Although Mabel Byrd was the first black student to attend UO in 1914, integrated education became the law of the land after Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (Kan.) in 1954. According to Autry, when U of O first began accepting black students, the rule was that freshmen had to live on campus. “There were segregation rules as far as black students not being able to be in dorms with white students,” Autry said. “And apparently it was four students to a room. The first year that there were black students, there were three women that were admitted and they made an exception to the rule of not living on campus. Because since there was only three of them they wouldn’t let another student join them.”
  • It wasn’t until 1957 that Oregon lawmakers passed the Fair Housing Act that barred practices that discriminated against African Americans being able to buy or rent property. Two years later, Oregon ratified the 15th Amendment, which said that the government couldn’t stop a citizen from voting based on his or her race.

As Autry pointed out, this wasn’t a lifetime ago. It is relatively recent history.

“This is my parents’ history, basically,” Autry said. “That’s the era when they were starting to go to college was right in that time frame because we’re talking mid-late ’60s.”

On Saturday, a majority black team will face UNC – something that wouldn’t have happened even a few decades ago, especially in Oregon. So when Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell and others take the court, they will be the first black players to represent the Ducks at this large of a stage.

“It’s good to see people being successful,” Autry said. “I know it takes a lot of hard work and effort to achieve that [Final Four appearance]. And I just hope that people can get maybe as excited and invested in other forms of support for black brilliance.”

Friday's Game of the Night: Washington at Utah, wobbly legs forever

John Wall in the road reds. (Getty Images)

The 2016-17 NBA regular season, thankfully, is nearing an end. Though the tops and bottoms of the standings have all been straightened out since January or so, little has been made certain yet beyond the Golden State Warriors’ move to ensure home-court advantage through the Finals. Even with just a short run left, there is still plenty to figure out as the NBA takes to April.

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Since we all need the reminders as to who is set to start the playoffs where, who needs a bump during awards season or with a statistical accomplishment, and who is doing their best work in losing in order to grab improved lottery ball odds, Ball Don’t Lie is set to look at what should be your game of that particular day between now and the end of the term on April 12.

Wizardjazz, in 2002. (Getty Images)

Friday’s Game of the Night: Washington at Utah, 9 p.m. ET

If it were Charles Barkley’s 76ers against Karl Malone and John Stockton’s Utah Jazz in 1990, retroactively, you’d hate yourself for not watching. To help ease that, here’s a shot of the two from 1987:

The modern iterations of the Wizards and Jazz (the incomparable Sixers lost their nerve years before the Process even started) take shape tonight in the form of the East’s and West’s great also-rans. The Wizards are riding a mid-to-late season streak as one of the NBA’s better, if not one of the best, teams. The Jazz, meanwhile, have stayed consistently impressive throughout, without having steamed all the cinches that the team hoped to have sussed out by now after a year of mostly-healthy play from the team’s rotation.

The Wizards aren’t winding up a hellacious road trip, they’re in one, one of the rare occurrences of a good-to-great team (Washington was at least considered to be a home-court contender, if not division champion, when the schedule makers got to work last summer) spending its final regular season days jetting across North America.

Between March 25 and the end of the season on April 12, the Wizards will have played road games in Cleveland, Los Angeles (twice), Salt Lake City, the Bay Area, New York City, Detroit, and Miami. Tough home contests against Charlotte (the Tuesday after Sunday night’s contest in Oakland) and against Miami (following the trip to New York) are stuck in there just to mess with a team that will move from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City to Oakland to Washington to New York City in a course of nine days (six games).

All before a Washington-to-Detroit-to-Miami jaunt that will take over its final few days to end 2016-17.

Good thing Washington is ensconced in the third seed, a game up on the Toronto Raptors and 1 1/2 games behind the badly-struggling Cavaliers for the No. 2 spot in the East.

The Jazz are similarly situated, No. 4 in the West and a game up on the Clippers with seven to play. The team had a day off on Thursday following Wednesday’s 30-point win in Sacramento, and the Jazz will have Saturday off before traveling to San Antonio for Sunday’s ABC game. The schedule, even in the West, will be far easier for Quin Snyder’s still-emerging crew.

Paul George pauses, refreshes. (Getty Images)

Also worth watching

Remember to read our daily NBA Playoff Picture recap, as lovingly penned today by Eric Freeman.

The Raptors and Pacers will not only be fighting for their playoff livelihood on Friday, but the Raptors (following Indiana’s stern showing against them in the 2016 postseason) are probably hoping to reduce the chances for a first-round playoff matchup. The pair, currently seeded No. 4 and No. 8 respectively, could end up with a No. 2 vs. No. 7 or even No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup depending on how the season, and this game, shakes out.

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The Nuggets (1 1/2 games out) and Hornets (three games) haven’t completely been eliminated from the playoff picture just yet, but the teams probably truly do wish they weren’t playing each other on Friday … Boston should make easy work of the tanking (or otherwise) Orlando Magic … The Cavaliers have the best and worst opponent in line, at the same time, in the defending champions’ hopes of extinguishing its recent streak of flameouts … You’ve already been warned about what should be a rather lame meeting between DeMarcus Cousins and his old Kings teammates (such as they are) … If this were the fin de siècle, we’d still tell you to tune away from the Heat/Knicks game so as not to upset your already-annoyed college girlfriend. Modern rules still apply … The Pistons’ 2016-17 season, at 2 1/2 games out of the playoffs and all the way down to the fringes in a post about games to watch on a particular night, could peter out against the Bucks on Friday.

Should both sides show up, the Russell Westbrook vs. San Antonio should be fun enough, as should a Memphis/Dallas game that will feature an over/under in the 170s while still giving us expertly-coached, terrible defensive basketball … Houston and Golden State will, hopefully, provide us with two classics between the clubs to end the season, as there is a sound chance neither team will meet in the postseason this year. The Warriors, we remind, could be upset.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Why doesn’t ESPN’s ‘Around The Horn’ cover much hockey? (Podcast)

Along with writing columns for the Washington Post and teaching journalism at the University of Maryland, Kevin Blackistone is one of the panelists on ESPN’s “Around The Horn.” And like many chat shows on ESPN, hockey isn’t usually a front-burner issue.

So we asked him, on the latest edition of Puck Soup: Where’s the hockey on “Around The Horn?”

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We both laugh. “We cover every fight that happens in hockey. Like, I’m not on the show today, but I will guarantee you that that the [Micheal Haley] punch and Sidney Crosby losing a couple teeth, I’m going to bet you those make it,” he said.

When it comes to the NHL on ESPN, a few things break through: Star players doing star player things, fights, violence and rivalries, which do matter to casual fans. When the Penguins and Capitals play, it will resonate on ESPN.

“That’s still my favorite ‘HBO 24/7,’” said Blackistone. “That’s what, as a fan, made me fall absolutely in love with Bruce Boudreau. When he’s talking to the players and he’s like ‘let’s go take two points off those pricks.’ That was great.”

“You need the rivalries,” he continued. “Major League Baseball will serve us Red Sox vs. Yankees until we’re blue in the face, and I think hockey should do the same thing, too.”

When it comes to “Around The Horn” and other shows, part of the problem with hockey talk is that not everyone can talk hockey.

“On our show, and other shows, I think people follow hockey, but there aren’t a lot of people who followed it as a beat,” he said, adding that this doesn’t necessarily mean the topic can’t be debated. “I think we hit on hockey when it’s a topical issue that has transcended the sport. We’re much less likely to do it with hockey when it’s something that’s really inside hockey. So fights, suspensions get attention. But when the playoffs get cranked up, when somebody has a milestone, [we cover it].”

Finally, what about the idea that the NHL will break through if there was more goal-scoring?

“There is that attraction, but I don’t know if the scoring thing is that big a deal. Like, we’ll talk about a 1-0 baseball game.”

The full interview with Blackistone begins at the 32-minute mark here:

(WARNING: STRONG ADULT LANGUAGE AND HUMOR. LISTENER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.)

[LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE AS WELL!]

PUCK SOUP is the hockey podcast on the Nerdist network from Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski and Dave Lozo of Vice Sports, Uproxx and The Comeback. This is a hockey podcast, in the sense that the talk about hockey, both on the ice and about fan culture. That’s the “puck.” This is also a podcast about movies, TV, fast food, life lessons and general idiocy. That’s the “soup.”

Get it on iTunes here!

On Episode 44, Kevin Blackistone of ESPN’s “Around The Horn” and the Washington Post joins us to talk about the early days of the Dallas Stars, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals’ place in D.C. sports, race and hockey and why ESPN doesn’t talk NHL on its shouting shows. Meanwhile, Dave is recovering from Vegas, Greg has all of Edmonton mad at him, and the boys talk about the U.S. women’s hockey team getting paid, the playoff teams we’re rooting for, why you should never cross Gary Bettman, HBO “Real Sex” and porn roulette, the top seven celebrities to have attended WRESTLEMANIA that Lozo had no idea actually did, the latest in our March Mute-This bracket and reader mail. Sponsored by SEAT GEEK and ZIP RECRUITER.
Here’s the rundown:
OPEN – Lozo’s Vegas adventures
13:45 – All of Edmonton hates Wysh
21:00 – Who were rooting for in the playoffs.
32:00 – Kevin Blackistone!
1:05:00 – Our March Mute-This bracket update
1:09:30 – Our look back at HBO “Real Sex”
1:15:00 – On the triumph of the U.S. women’s team over USA Hockey
1:25:30 –  Why you do NOT mess with Gary Bettman.
1:31:00 – WRESTLEMANIA! And the top seven celebrities to ever appear at the event.
1:46:00 – The Puck Soup mailbag!