2017 MLB All-Star Game voting: Astros hold down three spots in latest AL update

Three weeks from the 2017 All-Star Game, three Houston Astros are in position to start the game July 11 at Marlins Park, according to updated fan voting announced Tuesday by MLB.

The Diamondbacks felt like nothing more than a punchline over the past few seasons. Yet, they currently hold a firm lead on a Wild Card spot. What’s changed in Arizona? They’ve had one of the most productive offenses in baseball up to this point. The Diamondbacks have scored the fifth-most runs in the league (342), and they’re in the top 10 by BA, HR, RBI, R, and SB. That sounds like a team capable Cheap Jarome Iginla Jerseys of scoring a lot of runs.

The usual suspects are contributing to these results. Paul Goldschmidt is on pace to have one of the best seasons of his career. Similarly, Jake Lamb has built on a productive 2016, and it appears that he’s taken another step forward. Brandon Drury, David Peralta, and Chris Owings are all performing at or above league-average production. These pieces together have given Arizona a potent offense.

Perhaps even more surprising has been the success of Arizona’s starting rotation. Zack Greinke has rebounded from a disappointing 2016, and he’s looking more like the pitcher the Diamondbacks thought they were acquiring. However, Greinke isn’t the only story here. Three of the other four starters in the Diamondbacks rotation are giving the team above league-average production.

Robbie Ray has been the most impressive of this group. Over 13 starts, Ray has gone 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA. He’s striking out a career-high 11.7 batters per nine, and he’s surrendered zero earned runs in four of his last five starts.

Benjamin says he needs to do more than just go back to his playing weight from last season.

“I’m a new kid. I’m all red-faced sweating and thinking, ‘I’m never going to do this again,’” said Fauria, who joined the Lions as an unsigned college free agent from UCLA. “It wasn’t until two veterans and the coup de grace — (wide receiver) Calvin Johnson — came up to me and said, ‘Big Joe, keep dancing, man. It’s great.’

“So I’m like, ‘Ok, I’m going to undermine my head coach. Great.’”

Fauria said Schwartz “warmed up” to his shtick later that season after a three-touchdown game against Cleveland.

“Around practice, I would score a touchdown once in a while and do a little preview of what I was going to do that weekend,” Fauria said. “I was pushing some buttons, but Jim Schwartz finally jumped on the bandwagon. He said, ‘Joe, keep it up. It’s ok with me now.’”

Fauria admits Schwartz’s replacement Jim Caldwell wasn’t a fan either after he “twerked” to celebrate his first touchdown in an injury-plagued 2014 campaign.

Benjamin had a fantastic rookie year in 2014, making 73 catches for 1,008 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. But he suffered a torn ACL in 2015 and was inconsistent in 2016.

Benjamin says he needs to do more than just go back to his playing weight from last season.

“I need to be in the best shape of my life. That’s what we’re getting to,” Benjamin said. “I have to get back to being dominant.”

Despite Benjamin’s inconsistent play and weight Cheap Jerseys Mall concerns, the Panthers picked up his fifth-year option on his rookie contract, keeping him in Carolina through the 2018 season.

“I’m excited. I’ve been grinding, going hard,” Benjamin said. “I’m happy that the team picked up the fifth-year (option). That shows they believe in me. There Cheap Jerseys Pay With Paypal is a lot still in store for me.”

Aaron Hernandez timeline: From murders and trials to prison suicide

On June 26, 2013, the nation awoke to the sight of a star player on one of the NFL’s model franchises being escorted out of his house by police, a T-shirt pulled over his cuffed wrists. New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged later that day with the murder of Odin Lloyd, whose body had been found six days earlier near Hernandez’s home.

Since that day, before he was found dead in his prison cell on April 19, 2017, Hernandez was charged with two previous murders and implicated in the shootings of three other people in two separate incidents dating back to his college days.

Clady, who has missed 37 games in the last four years, simply is never healthy. He had a chance to jumpstart his career with the Jets last season but played poorly and once again finished the season on IR.

Teams are desperate for left tackles, and he may follow the Jake Long career path, playing for $1.5 million or so per year and hoping to put together one last quality season.

The NFL realized it wasn’t fair for a team to be able to win on a first-possession field goal, so it implemented the touchdown twist for overtime. Offense and defense should decide such games, not heads or tails. For example, Tom Brady and the rallying Patriots had the momentum and got the coin toss in Super Bowl LI, giving the Falcons zero chance to regroup.

Each team should be guaranteed one OT Cheap Jerseys Baseball shot on offense vs. a gassed defense. It would add more end-of-fourth-quarter-like excitement. It also would add some strategy regarding whether to possess or kick Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping the ball first. It’s the happy medium between sudden death and a true fifth quarter.

Michael Sam saga might keep other gay NFL hopefuls from coming out, former exec says

The NFL still hasn’t fielded an openly gay player during a regular-season game.

And according to a former team executive, that day may not be coming anytime soon based upon what happened with Michael Sam.

The fourth Jet on this list, Mangold’s free agent status is the most surprising on the list. He missed eight games last year but had made three straight Pro Bowls before that.

Yet it’s not too late for Seattle to deal Cheap Houston Rockets Jerseys him and get a high draft pick or two next year, or perhaps a veteran player and a 2018 pick.

If a Sherman trade does not happen this year, it surely will occur in 2018, when he’ll be in the last year of his $14 million-per-year deal and the Seahawks could save $8.8 million in cap room.

Both Sherman and Carroll are talking a good game about how the trade rumors will not impact Sherman’s concentration or level of play. That’s an illusion, not reality.

The best thing for both the Seahawks and Sherman is to exit this shaky situation and make the best deal possible sooner rather than later.

So, the NFL itself was finally so embarrassed by how it policed its players’ celebrations, it got out of its own way and gave the pull-back order.

Commissioner Roger Goodell made it official early Tuesday afternoon that the 2016 end-zone siege was over. The sudden over-emphasis on penalizing players for how they expressed their on-field joy will not continue in 2017, as numerous celebrations for touchdowns and other big plays will no longer be flagged or fined for being “excessive.”

Roger Goodell says players will prove Marvin Lewis wrong on relaxed celebration rule

NFL players will be given a little more latitude when it comes to celebrations this season. But not everyone is happy about it.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said allowing players the freedom for more elaborate touchdown celebrations will detract from the team aspect of the game and set a bad example for a younger generation.

“I’m not for that at all,” Lewis told reporters Tuesday, via ESPN.com. “We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been, you want to teach people how to play Cheap Game Jerseys the game the correct way and go about it the correct way, and that’s not a very good example for young people.

Carolina selected McCaffrey with the No. 8 overall pick at last month’s NFL Draft. Rather than viewing the Stanford product as a threat, Stewart sees another versatile weapon for quarterback Cam Newton that brings “added value to the backfield.” In fact, the 30-year-old veteran is eager for McCaffrey to arrive at minicamp in June.

“When he gets here, you’ll see,” Stewart said. “It’s pretty exciting. … He’s very quick. Overall, he’s just a very good football player. He has all the attributes you want.

“We’re trying to go to the Super Bowl. I’m pretty sure he’s going to help us do that.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera revealed that while Cheap College Basketball Jerseys Stewart and McCaffrey offer different playing styles, the duo will likely be featured in the backfield together in some scenarios.

Spontaneous sprinklers interrupt Reds-Indians spring training game

With his focus on repeating his mechanics, the potential future ace of the Chicago White Sox unfurled his lanky but powerful 6-foot-6 frame over and over last Wednesday night in his start for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. In his 103 pitches against Pawtucket, right-hander Lucas Giolito showed two things — why the ChiSox are so excited about his potential (eight strikeouts) and why he’s still working on his craft in the minors (two no-doubt homers).

Even MLB grounds crews need spring training to find their groove.

Saturday’s spring training game in Arizona between the Reds and Indians was interrupted in the eighth inning when the sprinklers at Goodyear Ballpark spontaneously went off.

The game was briefly delayed as the players on the field were sprayed before the sprinklers could be turned off.

I don’t believe that’s the first time the early sprinkler has had its debut, Reds manager Bryan Price told MLB.com. It’s at least the second or third time since I’ve been coming Cheap European Soccer Jerseys out here where it’s popped off in the middle of the ballgame.

Indians manager Terry Francona joked that the sprinklers woke him up before his team closed out an 8-2 victory as Bradley Zimmer went 2 for 3, including a three-run homer, and drove in five runs.

NFL free agency: Cowboys lose cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne

The Cowboys lost a pair of cornerbacks in less than half an hour Thursday afternoon as NFL free agency continues.

Brandon Carr signed a four-year deal with Baltimore, the organization announced. According to ESPN, Carr essentially received a one-year deal that could expand to a four-year, $24 million contract if all the options are exercised.

“This is a good football player,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “We got better today.”

Meanwhile, Morris Claiborne has reached an agreement with the Jets, ESPN reported. Contract terms haven’t been revealed for his deal.

Carr, 30, has played in all 16 games each season during his nine-year career. Most recently, he spent five years with the Cowboys, where he recorded 61 tackles, nine passes rushed and one interception.

Claiborne, 27, was drafted sixth overall by the Cowboys in 2012. He recorded 151 total tackles in Dallas along with four interceptions.

Beltre will wind up in the Hall of Fame, but he’s not done as an All-Star-caliber player yet. Don’t think anyone expected Odor to hit 33 homers last year, but that’s what happened. He turns 23 in February. Andrus might be a bit overpaid, but he still provides reliable defense and hit .302 with Cheap Blackhawks Jerseys eight homers, 69 RBIs and an .800 OPS last year (all were career highs). At first base? Even if they don’t wind up with any of the sluggers still available via free agency or trade, Rua won’t be the only guy getting ABs at the position. Joey Gallo figures into the position a bit, as does Jurickson Profar. cubs_1188

Burress later in the piece details the incident that eventually landed him behind bars

“We believe Joe has put this behind him and that he can turn into the player and community member that creates a plus for Cincinnati,” Brown wrote. “We are going to do everything in our power to make this happen.”

Brown probably means this, but he has shown he is absent of power in such a circumstance.

By the time the Vikings took the plunge, there was serious concern that the brilliant Marshall receiver draped with red flags was going to go completely undrafted. His slide has merely become part of NFL lore, and so has his career-long vengeance against the Cowboys, who he thought betrayed him by passing on him at eighth overall.

The slide by which all recent slides are measured, mainly because the Cal product was a quarterback, he was considered on par with the first overall pick (Alex Smith, by the 49ers), and because he was subject to the classic green-room waits. But everyone knew he’d landed in the perfect place, as Brett Favre’s heir apparent.

Burress later in the piece details the incident that eventually landed him behind bars; when he accidentally shot himself in the thigh at a New York City night club in 2008.

Here’s that passage in full:

“I had owned a gun since my rookie year, and I almost always had it on me. But that night, I left my house in New Jersey without my gun and met one of my teammates at an Applebee’s Cheap Golden State Warriors Jerseys to get something to eat. After we ate, we were going to go pick up another teammate before going into the city.


Will Jabrill Peppers boom or bust in NFL? That depends on who you ask

Jabrill Peppers is either the best football player in the 2017 NFL Draft or an overrated bust-in-waiting.

That depends on who you ask after reports Peppers tested positive for a dilute sample at the NFL Combine. Peppers’ agency offered a response to the test, and now we have two sides to the story. The same could be said for Peppers’ NFL Draft prospects.

Given Prescott’s shorter offseason and late rise as a No. 1, opponents weren’t sure what to expect from him. Now he has a full season of tendencies, strengths and weakness for defensive coordinators to examine.

Because it’s so tough to stop the run first against the Cowboys, Prescott will still get plenty favorable looks. But there will be lot more information on how to contain him early and late in games.

The North Charleston, S.C., officer who shot Walter Scott while he was running away whose state trial had ended last December in a mistrial pleaded guilty last week to federal civil rights charges.

And the Department of Justice chose last week not to pursue federal charges against the officers in Baton Rouge, La., who last July shot and killed Alton Sterling while holding him down on Cheap Baseball Jerseys China the ground. This is significant because several pro athletes took to social media to protest this shooting, and were told by many to “stick to sports.”

One of the first, and most prominent, to speak up was Colin Kaepernick.

Nearly a year later, still no justice for Sterling’s death. And for the man who used his football platform to bring attention to it … still no football job.

McKenzie told Raiders media the franchise did “miles and miles” of research in vetting Conley.

“When I first did the backflip catches, people were thinking, ‘Is he a football player or can he just do backflip catches?’” Cohen said. “People have to go research me. Then they could see that I really can play football.”

Cohen proved that once again last year, his third straight with 1,400plus rushing yards. Cohen finished as the MEAC’s alltime career rushing leader with 5,619 yards along, scoring a schoolrecord 59 touchdowns.

Cohen further helped his draft stock at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and is now projected as a potential secondday pick. Not only did his 40yard dash time of 4.42 seconds rank second among all running backs, Cohen led his position group with a blazing 1.47second split in the first 10 yards.

Asked whether any new postdraft information surfaced that the Raiders didn’t already know about, McKenzie said, “Absolutely not.”

McKenzie told Raiders media the franchise did “miles and miles” of research in vetting Conley. That carries weight. So does the fact that during his fiveplus seasons at the helm, McKenzie has made offfield character an important part of the decisionmaking process when acquiring a player. No player on the active roster has gotten arrested since 2014, per USA Today.

Houston has the best defense, and Jacksonville’s D is rising with its young talent. But the AFC South will be decided by offense.

Houston with Savage would remain well behind Jacksonville with Cheap NFL Jerseys China Blake Bortles at the most important position, unfathomable after the Brock Osweiler disaster. It might be different had Savage outperformed Osweiler during the two starts in which he spelled him last season. Or if Savage had some of the veteran journeyman accomplishments of Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Hoyer in his favor.