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Baseball Hall of Fame: Meet the top seven new candidates on the 2018 ballot


Chances are, Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero will both be elected to the Hall of Fame next January, when the class of 2018 is announced. Hoffman was only five votes shy of the necessary 75 percent this time around, and Guerrero was only 15 votes short.

But what about the newbies? This next group of first-time-eligible players includes a couple of likely inductees, a couple of stars with sneaky-good cases and at least one player who promises to spark lots of discussion.

Jamon Brown Kids Jersey The proposal on the modified strike zone will not win approval. Players will oppose a raised strike zone. Besides, if this went into effect, it probably wouldn’t have much effect over the long haul. Hitters would adjust, and pitchers would adjust to those adjustments. Pitchers would still miss their spots and hitters would still take advantage. Just like always. Nothing to see here.
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Every interview I went to there was some board work or they pull up your film and have you walk through what is this play, what’s your job and what’s the rest of the line’s job, Ramczyk said. They’ll go through protections and things like that.

Ramczyk’s arm length is 33? inches, which is only considered average for left tackles, who must extend to handle opposing pass rushers (although his hand size of 10 7/8 should mitigate some of those concerns). Ramczyk also might not be cleared to participate in any pre-draft drills while he recovers from January hip surgery, which could add to concerns from clubs that he was a one-hit wonder at Wisconsin.

The kids love that stuff.


Here’s an idea: Who needs to see a baseball game live? Just record the game early in the day, and air it at night, with all the dead innings edited out. Play them in the stadium on the video board and triple concession prices. Post-editing can even add cool sound effects and CGI, too. The kids love that stuff.

During my general manager and team president years, I would readily re-sign our older veteran players because we knew them and their ability (and durability) first-hand. But in dealing with free agents or trade prospects from other teams, I always preferred to sign or trade for players coming out of their rookie deals on the theory that they were ascending players in their mid-20s as opposed to older vets who were generally descending talent-wise.
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Not to be age discriminatory, but the fact is that 30-plus-year-old players have a much greater tendency to get hurt and be less productive. Adding off-field concerns into the mix would make such players off limits for me.

When I did go against my age philosophy, it generally was on quarterbacks and kickers, two positions at which seasoned players can excel with a relatively healthy background.
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Jim McMahon, Randall Cunningham and Warren Moon were three 30-plus-year-old quarterbacks we brought to Minnesota in the 1990s. Only McMahon had previous injury issues, but he played well in his one season with us and led the team to the playoffs. Moon and Cunningham also were playoff QBs during their Vikings stints. (Cunningham at 35 was the NFL MVP in our 15-1 season in 1998.) Gary Anderson was among the older kickers we brought to both the Vikings and Titans during the later years of his career.

Don’t be surprised if Eli Manning doesn’t help out young Giants QBs


The Giants selected quarterback Davis Webb in the third round of this month’s NFL Draft, but the rookie may not get a lot of help from teammate Eli Manning.

While Manning may end up helping Webb’s development, Giants coach Ben McAdoo made it clear he’s under no obligation to do so. Speaking Tuesday night while receiving the John V. Mara Sportsman of the Year award, McAdoo said he’s not expecting Manning to help his competition.

“Eli needs to do his job, he needs to focus on getting ready to go out and play at a high level this year and be a good teammate like he always is,” McAdoo said, via the New York Post. “I’m sure the young guy is going to have some questions for him, but it’s not Eli’s job to get anybody ready to play this season and it’s not Eli’s job to go out and develop another quarterback. That’s not his job description. His job is to prepare and perform.”
This talk is a reminder of the relationship between Packers quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Having a future Hall-of-Fame talent would seem like a nice idea, but Rodgers made it clear he didn’t really get a chance to pick Favre’s brain. As Favre said at different times, it wasn’t his job to help Rodgers.

The comparison is also relevant because McAdoo was part of the coaching staff in Green Bay as this was going on. Rodgers was brought in ahead of the 2005 season, and McAdoo was hired in 2006 as a tight ends coach.

McCaffrey can be a dynamic, versatile playmaker in and out of the Panthers’ backfield if they use him right. That makes the follow-up of Samuel a little redundant. Moton is the most solid pick to fill the big offensive tackle need. Hall and Elder are their typical depth guys at those positions. Armah and Butler step into veteran replacements. Despite C-Mac and Samuel, it’s more average than true wow.nike_steelers_204

Ruth still holds the best WAR (wins above replacement) in MLB history


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What I didn’t do while in the Gallery was take a picture of the plaques honoring Jim Bunning or Rabbit Maranville. Didn’t take a picture of Lloyd Little Poison Waner or Kiki Cuyler or George High Pockets Kelly, either. But they were there in the Gallery. Their plaques were the same size as the ones for Teddy Ballgame and Jackie and Stan the Man and The Say Hey Kid and The Mick.

Look, I understand the importance of the purpose pitch in a baseball game. I do. I have very little problem with a pitcher plunking a hitter on his rump or his thigh or even the small of his back.

If the Red Sox were mad at Machado for a perceived dirty slide, then by all means, they should retaliate in the way baseball players have retaliated for more than a century. It’s the way the game has always been played. Is it ideal? Maybe not. But is a bruise on the butt a major problem? No, it’s not.

Delanie Walker Jersey But stop throwing baseballs at the batters’ heads, dammit. Stop it.

That the game has one of the hottest and most expensive tickets of the season speaks to how beloved The Captain is as the best modern Yankee. But where he does Jeter rank among the single-digit legends in team history?

Ruth still holds the best WAR (wins above replacement) in MLB history. There’s no battle here vs. any other Yankee, even though, you know, he also played for the Red Sox.

Today, and any day, consider The Iron Horse the classiest Yankee to ever grace the face of the earth not named Jeter. Gehrig literally cleaned up behind Ruth, and he was New York through and through.

NFL trade rumors: Pats trade first-, third-round pick for Saints’ Brandin Cooks


The Patriots made yet another curious offseason move on Friday, reportedly trading their first- and third-round picks for Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

According to ESPN, New England offered their No. 32 and No. 103 picks for Cooks and New Orleans’ fourth-round pick (No. 118) of the 2017 NFL Draft.
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It was originally reported that the Saints wanted a mid first-round pick for Cooks — himself a first-rounder in the 2014 NFL Draft — and that the Patriots’ offer of their No. 32 draft choice wasn’t enough to seal a trade between the teams. It seems New England circumvented that problem by adding their third-rounder to the deal.

A weight bonus isn’t unheard of. The Patriots gave hefty defensive lineman Vince Wilfork $60,000 during each of the five weigh-in sessions he had for the Patriots back in 2014, according to the Boston Globe. Teams want their players in prime condition, so bonuses are a nice incentive for them to stay in shape.

Joe Maddon Authentic Jersey The Packers reportedly had an opposite strategy for Lacy in which they would fine him for not being the correct weight. Both strategies are similar, but maybe earning more money is a better motivator for Lacy than losing it.

We’re going to get him in great shape. We’re going to show him at his very best, Carroll said Tuesday on a Seattle radio show. There’s a weight in there that’s a really good spot for him that he’s working toward and we’ll do a nice job with that.

Carroll also made some comparisons between Lacy and Marshawn Lynch in the sense they can both finish runs. The Seahawks coach clearly is happy with his big back but will work on him losing just a little bit of weight in the several months leading up to the regular season.

White Sox prospect lights up radar gun with 110-mph heater


Elite Justin Braun Jersey This should get White Sox fans excited about spring training even if Chris Sale is long gone.

One of the prospects Chicago acquired in the offseason blockbuster, Michael Kopech, scorched a 110-mph pitch during a workout Tuesday.

In the weeks before, Murphy sent a DVD of It’s a Long Way to October to everyone who planned to attend. That was a primer for a screening over lunch at the Omni, with live commentary from Murphy, Niekro, Garber, third baseman Bob Horner, catcher Bruce Benedict and broadcaster Van Wieren.

It’s fun to look at. Not only what happened, but the clothes, the hair, the ’80s, Murphy said. I think an argument could be made that it documents part of the cultural history of the Braves and Atlanta and Ted Turner and TBS in a really unique way.

For fans, it allows the memories from the season to be more about the journey than the destination.

We finished just kind of blah, Murphy said. 鈥?To see some of the lighter side of things, to see some of the ups and downs, helped people forget about (the playoff sweep) and say, Hey, that was a pretty exciting year.’

For players, the program helps preserve details and memories slowly seeping into the past.

The older you get, the more you’re removed 鈥?the more you appreciate it, Murphy said of the 1982 season. I’m thankful they did it.

Elite Connor McDavid Jersey The consensus among players is that the season’s drama only enhanced the intent of the documentary: to show fans the normally unseen aspects of baseball life.

Collins could not get a team to take a chance in the entire 2015 draft


Authentic Harrison Barnes Jersey There’s always the chance Romo trades in his CBS blazer for an NFL uniform. But if Romo turns out to be the TV slam-dunk CBS thinks he will be, all the negatives will go away in a hurry.

CBS Sports boss Sean McManus predicted Romo will quickly become a must-listen. He brings a fresh and insightful perspective to our viewers having just stepped off the field, McManus said.
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The sports media industry for years has been obsessed with Peyton Manning and whether the retired Super Bowl champion will enter broadcasting.

Maybe Romo, not Manning, will be the next best thing on NFL TV.

Collins could not get a team to take a chance in the entire 2015 draft, after word got out just before the draft that police wanted to question him in the slaying of a woman he once dated. He was never named as a suspect, and as it turned out, he was not involved at all.

This all happened less than two years after then-Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had been jailed and charged with murder, a period in which teams second-guessed themselves for overlooking red flags on him and other troubled players in past drafts.

Despite his name being cleared, Collins was toxic 鈥?until the draft was over. The Cowboys beat out several teams to sign him, and he started at guard as a rookie. He’s expected to start at right tackle this season, his third.

Draft picks: Temple LB Haason Reddick, Washington S Budda Baker, Grambling WR Chad Williams, Pittsburgh G Dorian Johnson, Vanderbilt T Will Holden, North Carolina RB T.J. Logan, Auburn S Rudy Ford

GM Steve Keim didn’t panic or throw off his draft plan to force a potential future franchise QB, scoring two exceptionally versatile playmakers in Reddick and Baker to boost the defensive front seven. Johnson and Holden are good line values, and Logan will serve nicely as the new change-of-pace speed back. The no QB along with no CB creates the slide to just above average.

Cowboys won’t honor Tony Romo yet because he hasn’t retired, Jerry Jones says


Go ahead and count Jerry Jones among those who don’t believe Tony Romo is finished playing football.

Asked at a golf outing Wednesday about the Cowboys’ plans to recognize Romo’s career, as they did last month with DeMarcus Ware, the owner had a succinct response.

“(J.J.) is hoping he can play fullback once or twice when we play them this year so he can try to run over his brother,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said in an interview posted on the team’s website.

J.J. Watt has made a decent living as a defensive end, but he has actually lined up at fullback before, scoring three touchdowns during his career. So while it’s unlikely the Texans will humor Watt’s request, there is still a slight chance we get to see the brothers go against each other.

Watt has already heckled T.J. Watt since the younger brother was drafted, not only by telling him he was ready for their Christmas Day game, but also by getting former Central Michigan teammate Antonio Brown to haze him “a little extra.”

In the end, T.J. Watt may be happy to take out some pent-up aggression on J.J. — if the Texans are willing to humor him.

It’s a bummer for Butler to not get paid like the premium unrestricted free agent he will be in 2018, but the bright side is he can add to his market value opposite Gilmore in 2017. The Patriots benefit from one more year of cheap, stellar play and table their true re-sign decision, and Butler won’t let his contract concerns affect this play in pursuit of the big money.

Butler and Gilmore is better than Butler and Ryan, and a whole lot better than Gilmore and, say, Eric Rowe. The Patriots now easily have the best corner duo in the NFL, even if it might be for just one year. Having “rented” Revis a few years ago, they are OK with that.


Thomas later released his first statement through the Celtics’ PR team


It was Avery Bradley, among others, who went over to console Thomas at the time. Bradley then delivered a heartfelt postgame message after the Celtics rallied to win Game 3 in Chicago.

Isaiah played a clip from [Kevin Garnett] before the game, and it kind of got us going a little bit,Bradley told ESPN on the sideline. KG said some inspirational words for us, and it reminded us — Celtics, we’re always supposed to be the hardest playing team every single night.

And we’re supposed to use Isaiah’s family — use that as inspiration and come out and play hard for him and his family. And that’s what we did tonight.

Thomas later released his first statement through the Celtics’ PR team, thanking everyone from fans to teammates and the organization for their support in this trying time of his life.

Boston originally picked up Cleveland’s 2016 first-rounder in a three-team trade (including Brooklyn) that freed up cap room for the Cavaliers to sign LeBron James. The Cavs shipped Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to the Nets and sent Tyler Zeller and that first-rounder to the Celtics.
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Cleveland then sent that pick to Phoenix, which selected a promising young forward Skal Labissiere in last year’s NBA draft at 27th overall.

Now, that trade has the potential to bite Cleveland in the cheeks. The reason: LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s outspoken father, wants a sneaker company to license his Big Baller Brand. He wants a partnership that includes Lonzo, as well his other two sons Liangelo and LaMelo, who have each committed to UCLA.

Elite Womens Jaye Howard Jersey We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,LaVar said, according to ESPN. We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.

The Colorado Avalanche’s season was sad, but their offseason tweets are sadder


The 2016-17 season was one to forget for the Colorado Avalanche. They bowed out of the season with 22 wins and just 48 points on the year, and entertained the idea of trading their biggest stars to kick off a partial rebuild.
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While the Avalanche are done playing hockey for the season, their Twitter account is still going strong as it tries — bless its heart — to make the best of a bad situation.

As such, here are the saddest tweets from the Avalanche account that showcase just how horrible their season was.

The team asked Glennon to attend their draft party on the club level at Solider Field, according to the Chicago Tribune. Glennon, of course, showed up. But he had no idea that the team was going to trade up to draft his successor in Trubisky. The Tribune’s Rich Campbell said, Glennon felt as though he had been cheated on, according to people in the know.
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Glennon also wasn’t the only one left in the dark on the deal. Apparently head coach John Fox didn’t know as well. We don’t know what the hell they were doing, an unnamed team executive told CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora. It’s all anyone is talking about. It’s really bad between (Bears GM Ryan) Pace and Fox. Fox is fuming about being left in the dark on the trade (for Trubisky). I don’t know anyone who likes their draft.

Pace told reporters on Thursday night via ESPN that the team was still moving forward with Glennon as their starting quarterback. That makes sense, considering the $18.5 million guaranteed they gave him this offseason.