Mighty Aaron Judge powering Yankees TV ratings on YES Network

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Aaron Judge and the Yankees are not only getting great production on the field — the Baby Bombers are producing off it, driving strong TV ratings and digital numbers for YES Network.

Plenty of buzz surrounds the 6-7, 280 pound Judge, his tape-measure home runs and the rest of the Yankees’ young, talented team. They have been a boon for YES, which was off the air on Comcast last season due to a nasty carriage dispute.
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Now the Yankees are once again the big story in New York, while the crosstown Mets struggle with injuries. Nobody’s happier than Jon Litner, president of YES (which is majority owned by 21st Century Fox).

This legitimacy would extend to Hall of Fame voting, too. As we’ve seen with Edgar Martinez’s Cooperstown candidacy, some voters remain unconvinced that his numbers warrant induction because he didn’t play a ton of defense after his early seasons.

Carlos Martinez set to lead wave of young Cardinals starters

Carlos Martinez is getting paid by the Cardinals. With that money comes the responsibility of heading up a rotation that could turn much younger in the near future.

St. Louis announced Thursday that it had signed Martinez to a five-year contract that also includes options for 2022 and 2023. The pact, valued at a reported $51 million, buys out the right-hander’s arbitration years and up to four years of free-agent eligibility.

The skid: Haven’t won the World Series, ever (franchise started in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s)

Need to know: Houston’s lone trip to the biggest of baseball dances didn’t last long; the Astros were swept by the White Sox in 2005. An aggressive offseason of acquiring talent — to go with young stars such as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer — means the club will be a serious contender to snap the skid at some point in the next few seasons.

NFL Draft picks 2017: Scouting report for Redskins DE Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen is one of the top defensive line prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft, if not the best. The Alabama defensive end should have no problem fitting any defensive scheme in the NFL.

Allen at the NFL Combine ran a 5.0 40-yard dash at 6-3, 286 pounds. In four seasons at Alabama, he produced 78 solo tackles, 44.5 tackles for loss and 28 sacks. Here is Allen’s 2017 NFL Draft scouting report, provided by Optimum Scouting’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide.

A three-year starter and three-time first team All-SEC pick, Allen is the most NFL-ready defensive linemen in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Allen ended his Alabama career as a two-time All-American, including a unanimous selection after his senior season to go along with other hardware. The Nagursky, Bednarik and Hendricks awards winner is a true team leader, and he’s athletic enough to play anywhere on the defensive line in any scheme.

Allen might be best suited as a 3-4 five technique given his ability to crash rushing lanes and get to quarterbacks on third downs. Elite hand strength and usage is Allen’s bread and butter, which allows him to effectively set the edge and keep blockers off his body.

While he lacks ideal height and length for an edge defender, Allen can be successful as an end in a 4-3 scheme, too. His above-average agility and footwork provide insane leverage, which allows him to take on double teams and free up pass-rushers and run-stoppers alike.

Allen lacks the speed necessary to track down ball carriers turning the corner, but he does have an impressive motor for a 290-pounder.

With Allen’s ability to stack and shed blockers, combined with the awareness to finish plays in the pocket, his length should not be an issue.

Allen, a very coachable player who is fundamentally sound and smart, might be on his way to a Pro Bowl-level career in the NFL.nike_chargers_1177

Greg Holland to sign with Rockies after season on sidelines

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After nearly a year and a half on the sidelines, Greg Holland will head to Colorado in an attempt to recapture the form that made him one of baseball’s top relievers a few seasons ago.
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The right-hander as agreed to a one-year deal with the Rockies, according to multiple reports. Yahoo Sports says Holland will make at least $7 million with incentives that could double that total if he ends up serving as Colorado’s closer.

Before that game 鈥?I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted, Ankiel said.

I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yips, the monster, the disease 鈥?it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.

Ankiel said he also drank during his second start that season, a loss to the Astros, but realized after that alcohol could not be a solution to his nerves.

It all followed a disastrous 2000 postseason for Ankiel and served as the beginning of the end of his pitching career. He last threw a big league pitch in 2004.

Ankiel then took a couple of seasons off to recover from various injuries and to reinvent himself as a position player. He worked his way back up to the major leagues from rookie ball as an outfielder and had his best season as a hitter in 2008, batting .264/.337/.506 with 25 home runs and 71 RBIs.

He retired before the start of the 2014 season.

Tony Gwynn Jr. to work on Padres broadcasts this season

Tony Gwynn Jr., the son of late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, has agreed to join the Padres broadcast team this season, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

David Savard Womens Jersey Gwynn Jr. is expected to appear on 30 Padres telecasts on Fox Sports San Diego, in addition to 30 radio broadcasts on FM 949, according to the report.

A formal announcement may come this week.

Gwynn Jr., who played two of his eight MLB seasons in San Diego, worked last season on the Dodger Talk postgame radio show in L.A.
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Per the Union-Tribune, Gwynn Jr. inherited a distinct voice and an outgoing personality from this father, who also had a post-playing career in broadcasting.

Though the ingredients were in place for a unique and entertaining baseball production, the magnitude of the project immediately put Hanson’s mind on numbers — specifically, dollars. He wondered whether cost would become a hindrance.

One of the first things I said is, What is my budget?’ And Ted says, Well, whatever it takes,’ Hanson said. So we never felt that we had to cut corners.

As baseball routines go, spring training is about as routine as routines get: basic drills, tedious bus travel, honing the fundamentals.

But while spring workouts offer limited appeal as far as action, the time the documentary crew spent in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 1982 provided a low-stakes setting to capture some of the more intimate routines to which fans aren’t normally privy: Bob Gibson holding court in the bullpen. Torre consoling a frustrated Murphy. And, perhaps the most intimate of baseball routines, Torre informing Braves player Ed Miller that he’s been traded to the Tigers.

For the most part, players didn’t mind the extra scrutiny, despite the potential vulnerability the cameras and mics presented.

Eagles schedule 2017: Philadelphia’s midseason stretch key to unseating Cowboys

Things won’t be quite as easy out of the gate for Carson Wentz in his second NFL season.

The Eagles quarterback shot out of a cannon to lead Philadelphia to wins over the hapless Browns and Bears last season. The rookie was impressive in a 34-3 win over the Steelers in Week 3 before falling back to Earth as the Eagles finished 7-9. Two of the Eagles’ first two games last season were at home, but they’ve got two straight road games to begin the 2017 season and face two NFC East opponents within the first three weeks. The Eagles did not get a division opponent until Week 5 last season.

If the Eagles are going to unseat the Cowboys atop the NFC East, a five-week midseason stretch will be key. The Eagles have three straight home games from weeks 7 to 9 before heading to Dallas following their bye.
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Here is the complete 2017 schedule for the Eagles. All times are Eastern.

Brantley was immediately downgraded by virtually every draft speculation, with at least one team taking him off their board completely, according to Sporting News’s Alex Marvez. By the time the Browns took him, he was the highest-rated player available, by far.

On the final draft board posted Thursday by Eric Galko, Brantley was the 45th-rated player overall, a mid-second-rounder. NFL.com had him 24th-highest.

He also was one of the last players with a serious criminal issue and major character questions to be selected, many of them involving violence against women.

Yu Darvish Limited Jersey Another player with a first-round grade but a very recent criminal allegation right before the draft, cornerback Gareon Conley, was taken 24th overall by the Raiders. Conley is being investigated for rape over an incident in Cleveland last week.

Seahawks DT Jarran Reed reportedly under investigation in domestic assault case

Police are looking into a claim by a woman who said a Seahawks player assaulted her at a home in Bellevue, Wash., on April 27.

Bellevue police responded to a complaint from a woman who accused second-year defensive tackle Jarran Reed of assaulting her, according to Seattle television station KING.

KING reporter Alex Rozier said sources confirmed a domestic violence case is open, though no charges have been filed.

Bovada says the Patriots’ O/U is the highest win total for any NFL team in the past decade. That number seems fair, though, given New England’s 14-2 record last year and its seeming success in upgrading the roster in the offseason.

Several other NFL teams have a double-digit over/under win total in Bovada’s list of props: The Steelers and Seahawks are at 10.5, while the Raiders and Packers are at 10.

The Cowboys’ O/U, interestingly, is 9.5 wins. Dallas finished 13-3 last season in winning the NFC East. The second-place Giants check in at 9 after an 11-win season in 2016.

On the bottom end, the lowest O/U totals belong to the Browns (4.5), 49ers (4.5), Jets (5), Bears (5.5) and Rams (5.5). Value bettors will be studying those O/U numbers closely.

Las Vegas’ early over/under win total for the Patriots is a full win lower, at 11.5, but that number was bumped up after big public action on Pats at the South Point sports book, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. cubs_2210

John Wall buried Dennis Schroder on the court, then on Instagram

The Washington Wizards eliminated the Atlanta Hawks from playoff contention on Friday, and John Wall made sure to let his feelings toward opposing point guard Dennis Schroder be known. He aired his opinion when he posted a picture on Instagram, flooring Schroder with a between-the-legs pull-back (push-off) move in Game 2.

Maybe you had the same experience as I did watching this.

I think I saw the loose puck the same time Caps defenseman John Carlson (#74) did. I have no rooting interest in this series. But I was screaming. Shaking my TV set like Jake Glyllenhaal in the Nightcrawler mirror scene.

This is seconds after Fleury makes the initial stop. Evgeni Malkin boxed out Nicklas Backstrom, which is good. Unfortunately for him, the puck lands on Marcus Johansson’s stick instead. Whoops. All he has to do is just flick it into the net!

Nope. He doesn’t get all of it, Fleury stops it, and the scramble continues.

Elite Womens Ted Ginn Jr Jersey LeBron James has now won 21 straight first round playoff games. The man rarely loses and he definitely does not lose in the first round.

The King is now 12-0 in his career in first-round series and won each of his last 21 first-round games, dating back to his four straight trips to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat. All-time, James is 48-7 in the opening round of the postseason and has swept his opponent seven of his 12 trips to the playoffs.
For a Pacers team that was as strange as they were all season, they played the Cavaliers fairly well in the series. In fact, after four straight Cavalier wins, the deficit of the entire series was still only 16 points. The problem was, they were playing against LeBron James.
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But, the defending world champs took care of business and now it could be a week before they have to play again. They’ll face the winner of Raptors-Bucks which will at least have two more games. Good day all around for the Cavaliers.

Phil Jackson is reportedly interested in a Jae Crowder-Carmelo Anthony trade

Phil Jackson made it clear he will turn every stone in an effort to trade Carmelo Anthony this summer. The Boston Celtics could become a potential suitor.

Jackson has long been interested in Jae Crowder, since the years he played for the Dallas Mavericks, and was upset he didn’t acquire him when he was available in the Tyson Chandler trade. Crowder would be a major player of interest, according to The New York Post’s Marc Berman, for Jackson in a deal involving Anthony.
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In short: the Celtics were a team again, all contributing and working off each other, not just isolated instances of individuals playing well. It’s a bit cliched, but Boston itself is a cliche, led by a head coach from a state where most basketball cliches come from. Thomas is their star, and everybody else in Boston falls in line by playing consistent, smart basketball. Brad Stevens has convinced them it will work, and it certainly has.

Without Rajon Rondo’s injury, you have to wonder if the Celtics would have recovered as convincingly as they did. Their last two wins, though by a combined 20 points, were closer than the score might indicate, and Rondo was enormous for Chicago when Boston dropped the first two matchups of this series. Again, those moments are still cause for concern — you can’t lose twice at home to a team that was as dysfunctional as the Bulls for most the year and shrug it off. They can’t prove anything in this series, and winning Game 6 won’t erase the way this series began. That can only come later on.

But given the choice of recovering, or slouching into yet another first round exit, the option was clear. Boston did that by turning back into the team we came to see all regular season. Regardless of what the future holds, it was a welcomed return.
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Oilers vs. Ducks 2017 live stream: Game time, TV schedule, and how to watch NHL playoffs online

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Elite Andrus Peat Jersey If the end of the Ducks and Oilers first game was any indication, this series is about to get chippy.

Edmonton bested Anaheim in Game 1 by a score of 5-3, and at times the Oilers speed seemed too much for the Ducks to handle. Still, the home crowd invigorated the Ducks to make a spirited comeback and a bad bounce ended their hopes prematurely.

With two games in Edmonton looming, the Ducks will need to equalize the series on home ice while they have the chance.

At this point the argument against Shattenkirk seems to become the he doesn’t feel like a defensive defenceman, even though those pesky numbers keep saying that he’s really good at not getting scored on. And you know what, he doesn’t feel that way. Jake Gardiner doesn’t feel like a good defenceman to a lot of fans, but the team does a hell of a lot better with him on the ice than with him off it. We know Shattenkirk makes his teams better too.

In order to argue against the numbers, people move to two other objections: he played in a low-event system in St. Louis, and he played primarily second-pair minutes behind Alex Pietrangelo.

There’s a lot to counter those points. For one, these objections are overstated: quality of competition tends to even out over time, to a large extent. Shattenkirk could hardly have done better in the minutes he was given; you can’t really ask him to finish extra-super-duper first in FA60 instead of merely first. He was also playing with noted competent-but-unspectacular partner Carl Gunnarsson, so it’s not like he was being carried.

2017 NFL mock draft: Miami Dolphins grab Desmond King

Between 2009 and 2015 the Miami Dolphins had between six and eight wins every season. In 2016 they finally started to push through by going 10-6. With key players like quarterback Ryan Tannehill, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, safety Reshad Jones, and others all locked up for multiple years, it’s time for Miami to really make a push.

To do that, they really need to hit on a two or three picks in the 2017 NFL draft to push them over the top to contend with the New England Patriots in the AFC East. Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider is up in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft to find a player who can help Miami take a step.

On paper, adding Lynch would be a major boost for an offense already ripe with talent. With Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Jared Cook, and a great offensive line, all the Raiders are missing is a game-changing running back.

Unfortunately, NFL teams don’t operate like Madden franchises. A player’s potential fit with a team has a lot more to do with scheme than it does with narratives.

In this case, it’s safe to wonder if the Raiders are even looking for a bruiser who can grind out yards between the tackles. Last year, under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, Oakland generally operated out of shotgun, even implementing spread concepts. Though Musgrave is no longer with the team, the Raiders’ offseason additions of Cook and deep threat Cordarrelle Patterson suggest the team’s offense could keep some of the concepts Musgrave introduced over the past two years.

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