Paul Sullivan: Rob Manfred will never live down his 'piece of metal' gaffe about the World Series trophy
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Grapefruit and Cactus League games began Saturday across Florida and Arizona, the first official steps for major league teams fighting for the coveted “piece of metal” that goes to the World Series champion.The piece of metal, also known as the Commissioner’s Trophy, has been awarded to baseball’s best team since 1967, when Bob Gibson and the Cardinals beat the Red Sox in a seven-game series. Until recently, few knew the World Series trophy even had a name.But that all changed when Commissioner Rob Manfred called it “just a piece of metal” while discussing why he was reluct...
Ira Winderman: Heat have had front-row view of college-to-pros coaching circus
MIAMI — Perhaps it is fitting that John Beilein never made it to AmericanAirlines Arena for Saturday night’s game, or that he won’t be coaching against the Miami Heat on Monday night when the teams meet again in Cleveland.Because when it comes to college coaches finding the errors of their ways — or in one case, avoiding such a misstep — there is plenty of Heat history that is part of the process.With all due respect for what Brad Stevens has accomplished in his move from Butler to the Boston Celtics or Billy Donovan from Florida to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the college-to-pros coaching path ...
Giants give Billy Hamilton a chance to thrive, show he's more than a runner
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — First basemen are known to have some of the most interesting conversations on the baseball field, but their creativity seems to disappear when Billy Hamilton stands alongside them.Hamilton said they all give him the same line.“When are you going? Which pitch are you going to go on. I’m like, I don’t know yet,” Hamilton said. “But it’s something like that. It’s like, I know you’re going so it’s like, just hurry up and get going so I can get back a little bit.”The outfielder best known for his tenure with the Cincinnati Reds is in Giants camp as a minor league free agent tryi...
The Mercury News
'Tragic loss': Community reels after Customs officer kills wife, 16- and 12-year-old sons, then himself
ORLANDO, Fla. — In a church gym in Longwood, 20 young men circled around their basketball coach to kick off the first practice of the season.But the huddle was notably short two players.The players of the Lightning Youth Basketball team listened as coach Don Martin’s voice took on a solemn tone.“One of our assistant coaches and two of our kids are dead, as of yesterday,” Martin told the boys. “It’s sad news. It hit everybody hard, but like Lightning, we’re going to carry forward, (and) we’re going to represent.”The team took a moment of silence for Ezequiel “Zeke” Almodovar, 16, and Gabriel “G...
Will NFL players accept 17-game season, expanded playoffs?
The NFL’s proposed changes, including a 17-game regular season and expanded playoff system, could be voted on by NFL player representatives on Tuesday. But if the player reps listen to the 49ers’ Richard Sherman, they’ll just say no to the league’s new CBA offer.Sherman is among the 11 players on the NFL Players Association’s executive council who have rejected the changes in the owners’ offer in a 6-5 vote, with the addition of a 17th game being one of the major sticking points. However, that council’s vote serves only as a recommendation to the players and their reps.There was hope the playe...
The Mercury News
Mike Bianchi: Ryan Newman's toughness reinforces why we should all watch more NASCAR
In the wake of Ryan Newman’s thrilling, chilling, car-flying, death-defying wreck on the final lap of the Daytona 500, this column is a rallying cry for all of my fellow sports fans.Watch more NASCAR.Turn on the TV Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and watch the race out in Vegas. And the week after that, watch ’em run SoCal. And the week after that, they’ll be in Phoenix.Watch them. Applaud them. Admire them.These awesome, audacious athletes deserve your attention and your eyeballs.And, yes, I said “athletes.” I hope seeing Newman walk out of the hospital with his pair of adorable young daughters in tow ju...
Another buyout: Pistons say farewell to Markieff Morris
DETROIT — The Pistons’ remodel is turning into a full-fledged makeover.In a two-week span, they’ve unloaded two of their biggest contracts and made a commitment toward rebuilding. Add another name to the list.The Pistons reached a buyout agreement with forward Markieff Morris on Friday and have requested waivers. If he clears waivers, he could be headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.In 44 games this season, Morris posted 11 points and 3.9 rebounds, shot 40% on 3-pointers and was one of the Pistons’ most consistent big men off the bench.Morris...
The Detroit News
Draft high or trade lower? The 49ers have decisions to make before the NFL draft.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The 49ers key decision-makers are less than a week from their annual trip to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis and find themselves in a drastically different position than 12 months ago.Last February, head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were coming off a 4-12 season after losing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo early in the year to an ACL tear. They went to Indy with the draft’s No. 2 overall pick, with a strong likelihood they would land a prominent defensive prospect while the Arizona Cardinals were poised to take quarterback Kyler Murray with the ...
The Sacramento Bee
Pat Leonard: NFL owners' silent exit from CBA vote dares players to ratify or speak up
NEW YORK — The NFL’s 32 owners paraded silently out of the Conrad New York Downtown on Thursday with an unspoken message for the league’s players:Your move.The owners voted in a two-hour meeting to approve the principal elements of a new collective bargaining agreement. And that could be the encouraging first step toward an imminent agreement with the NFL Players’ Association, which is scheduled to host a membership-wide conference call on Friday.But it’s also possible this was only the first move in a protracted game of chess that is just beginning.If this process feels like it’s going too sm...
New York Daily News
Charles McDonald: Expanding the NFL playoffs to 14 teams would dilute a system that isn't broken
NEW YORK — On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL owners proposed to expand the playoffs to seven teams in each conference as a part of a new collective bargaining agreement. It isn’t official yet, but the change would result in only one team receiving a first-round bye.What a heinously awful idea.The truth of the matter is that there are barely enough quality teams to fill out the current 12-team bracket that exists. Outside of rare exceptions like this past season and the Giants’ second Super Bowl win against the Patriots in 2012, the sixth-seeded teams rarely win playoff g...
New York Daily News