Yankees’ Aaron Judge mashes hardest hit home run of Statcast era

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The home run came off of Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who entered tonight allowing just four home runs on the season. Judge’s Yankee teammates Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro each connected on bombs as well, running up Tillman’s season total to seven home runs on the year.

Clemens wanted $25,000 to sign with the Mets. They offered $10,000. They probably should have given him the extra $15,000. They had another chance to get Clemens; they had three first-round picks in the 1983 draft (fourth overall, 20th and 27th), but they chose Eddie Williams with the fourth overall pick and then the Red Sox took Clemens with the 19th overall pick. So close, but so very far away.
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Only two players the Mariners picked in their first-ever draft made big impacts in the major leagues. Dave Henderson, who was the club’s first pick (No. 26 in the opening round) had a solid 14-year career for six clubs, primarily the Mariners and A’s. Phillips was the other guy, compiling a career WAR of 50.8 over his 18 seasons in the bigs. Problem was, he didn’t sign with Seattle, and was drafted in the first round of the 1978 draft by the Expos. We should point out that Henderson and Phillips eventually made an impact together; both were starters for the 1989 A’s, a club that won the World Series.

In 2005, his fourth season in the big leagues, Lee finished fourth in the AL Cy Young voting. Getting to that point was quite the trip. See, in 1997 Lee was drafted out of high school in Arkansas by the Marlins, but he didn’t sign. Then in 1998, he was drafted by the Orioles in the 20th round out of a Mississippi community college, but didn’t sign.

The Falcons’ historic Super Bowl 51 choke, in five acts

How did the Atlanta Falcons conjure up the greatest choke job in North American sports history?

Let’s allow the most esteemed of sportswriters, Ernest Hemingway, to handle that one.

“Gradually, then suddenly.”

They owned a 16-point lead in Super Bowl 51 after the New England Patriots, following a drive that advanced all the way to a first-and-goal at the Atlanta 7, were forced to settle for a field goal with 9:44 remaining in regulation. At that point, the Patriots were going to need a near miracle to find a way to win their fifth championship.

Alex Smith, 32, doesn’t present any real age concerns. Coach Andy Reid and Kansas City seem comfortable staying with Smith’s steady floor and limited ceiling. But Smith has been around a while with limited playoff success. Although the situation is not as dire as some make it out to be, this is a good time for the Chiefs to add another potential starting QB with Smith having only two more seasons left on his contract.

There’s a lot of Donovan McNabb in Watson, and that should pique Reid a little more as John Dorsey and the rest of Kansas City’s personnel team takes a longer look.

Can new coach Kyle Shanahan and new general manager John Lynch convince Jeffery to come out West with an uncertain QB situation? That’s the trick, but there’s no doubt Shanahan, after working with Julio Jones and the Falcons, knows it’s critical to have an attention-demanding target to set up complementary, versatile receivers in his diverse passing offense.

Sitting on a gold mine under the cap, the 49ers easily have the means to give Jeffery the money he wants. Combining that move with, say, a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo would be a great coup.texans_028

Blount is overrated as a straight-up power runner to get consistent chunks of yards

Womens Scottie Pippen Jersey This is an interesting team to have a huge amount of projected cap space. With the development of Marcus Mariota, the growth of their offensive line and the rebirth of running back DeMarco Murray, the Titans look like a team ready to turn the corner.

They are in a position where the timing might be perfect to use free agency to fill voids around a young, cheap nucleus. The Titans have never been big spenders and have more or less gone into a spending shell since being burned by their decision to extend running back Chris Johnson years ago. But if there is a time for them to attack premier free agents, it should be now.

Womens Harrison Butker Jersey Falcons strongside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. has been a pass-rushing beast in his breakout second season. But because New England will be prepared to neutralize him by pounding away with the run, and due to how quick Tom Brady gets rids of the ball, more of the burden of slowing down the Patriots will fall on Jones.

Blount is overrated as a straight-up power runner to get consistent chunks of yards — he had to gain only one yard for 12 of his 19 scores this season. His strength comes more when he explodes past a would-be tackler for a lengthy rumble. That’s where Jones must clean up and not be too aggressive in flying upfield. If he can’t bring down Blount, he at least needs to buy time for his teammates to rally.

When Blount isn’t in, Jones will need to switch gears into sound coverage against Lewis. It’s all about who can be faster and quicker, and Jones needs to do his best to stay with Lewis laterally in a difficult change of pace from Blount. Either Blount or Lewis having a big game spells doom for Atlanta.

Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz is betting big, big money on the Falcons

Youth Mark Clayton Jersey 2 Chainz isn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth is.

Elite Kids Alvin Kamara Jersey Witten is entering the final year of his contract with a $12.2 million cap charge. Expect Dallas to find some salary cap savings by negotiating a two- or three-year contract extension for a bit more than Antonio Gates’ recent $5.5 million-per-year contract.

That would be a win-win for both sides, as the Cowboys would get between $4 million and $5 million in cap space and allow Witten to finish his career in Dallas.

A TMZ camera crew recently caught up with the the Atlanta-based emcee ahead of the NFC champion Falcons’ meeting with the Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl. They asked the former member of Ludacris’ Disturbing the Peace crew who he thought would win, and not did he only he ride with the home team, but he provided a final score prediction.

He definitely can get it done. For sure, 2 Chainz said when asked if Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and company could get it done against New England signal-caller Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

2 Chainz said he sees the matchup being a high-scoring affair with the Dirty Birds emerging victorious in a close one, and, of course, he flashed some cash to let it be known he’s not just involved in the Falcons’ push for their first title in franchise history but committed to the cause.

The Giants used the tag on Pierre-Paul back in 2015, when the two sides were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract. Then JPP’s career took a strange turn when a fireworks accident caused him to lose two fingers and miss most of the season.

The Giants signed Olivier Vernon in free agency last year to a $17 million per year contract, and there is no reason for Pierre-Paul to expect less. That makes the tag likely.

Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper help Nationals cruise past Padres

After winning his second Cy Young award last year, Max Scherzer showcased more of his Cy Young form Friday in a 5-1 win over the Padres.

Scherzer struck out 13 batters while allowing just one run over 8 2/3 innings. The reigning National League Cy Young winner improved to 5-3 with a 2.77 ERA this season.

53 all.

Elite Kids Philip Rivers Jersey The Nationals are nearly a complete team. Led by a powerful lineup that is a threat to score runs in bunches, they also possess one of the best rotations in MLB. The bullpen has been an issue, but newly appointed closer Koda Glover notched a save Friday. He looks destined to run away with the job.

During the first month of the season, Travis pulled the bulk of his batted balls into left field at a 40 percent rate while driving balls to the opposite field only 21.7 percent of the time. In May, Travis flipped the script and went to the opposite field 40.7 percent of the time while pulling the ball only 29.6 percent of the time.

The clearest indicator of Travis’ move in the batter’s box is the pitches he’s swung at. Travis’ primary point of contact in the zone shifted from the inner part of the strike zone to the heart of the plate.

He just turned 28 before the season began and it wouldn’t be entirely shocking for him to have a great season, especially if his plate discipline continues. Gonzalez may not sustain a .300/.400/.600 performance over the course of a 162-game season because that’s a pretty tall order, but .275/.320/.500 and 20-25 home runs is certainly not out of the question.

Kevin Minter Mens Jersey Either way, Gonzalez is just one of many reasons why the Astros are the team both to watch and to beat this summer.

Darnold is more a baseball pitcher

Darnold is more a baseball pitcher. We can also see Darnold has a lean to the left that Rosen does not. We want to keep our spine pretty straight during the whole process.

They could both load their back legs a little more, meaning they could start pushing off their back legs with a little more force and knee bend. When it comes to follow-through, Rosen’s back leg is always coming forward. Darnold’s leg is going left before it straightens out. This is all in the hips. Darnold’s hips are locking and they can’t rotate, so the leg kicks out behind. Rosen’s hips are fluid.

Just because I’m more critical of Darnold’s doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s a good quarterback. I think he’s special and worthy of all the praise he’s getting. Darnold doesn’t have horrible mechanics. He’s certainly not Patrick Mahomes when he was at Texas Tech. It’s just that Rosen’s are that nice.

This is another accurate throw off a hitch step. I believe the hitch is part of the whole dropback, rather than him hitching to go to another read. He hitches to throw either what I’m assuming is an off-screen deep route or, if the safety stays over top, to the deep crossing route. He chooses the latter. Great throw.

Rosen has a curl/flat concept to the field side (the side with more grass between the ball and the sideline) and a sort of shallow cross/drive concept on the short side. Pre-snap, he sees the defense is playing one safety deep, and he knows curl/flat beats one-high-safety defenses, so he looks there right away.

He wants to throw to his receiver, but No. 10 gets in the throwing window, so he moves his eyes toward the other linebacker, No. 44. UCLA has a dig route over that linebacker and shallow cross by the running back underneath him. No. 44 shoots up on the running back, allowing Rosen to hit the dig for a first down.

Brandon Jacobs doubles down on Jim Harbaugh: ‘Michigan will fire him when I am done’

San Antonio Spurs Mens Jersey Brandon Jacobs refuses to let go of his vendetta against Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs doubled down on his criticism of the former 49ers coach on Saturday, saying he would expose Harbaugh. Whatever that means.

Harbaugh, who himself is notorious for retaliating against people who talk about him, went Biblical on his former running back on Saturday.
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We can only wonder if Harbaugh will follow his own advice after offering the olive branch to Jacobs — and getting spurned.

But if things continue to trend in this direction, the Bears may have no choice but to part ways with both Fox and Pace and move forward with a new duo, like the Browns did a year ago with Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown. There were too many holes on the Bears’ roster to fill this offseason, and Pace didn’t give Fox the talent he needs to dramatically improve right away.

Chicago took some risks in this draft class. There’s talent there, but aside from Eddie Jackson if he’s healthy, none of the players the Bears drafted are surefire contributors this season. The free agents they added aren’t likely to be game-changers, either.

The Browns were stuck in a pattern of ineptitude for years that kept the team from being competitive. It looks like they may finally be poised to start digging their way out of it. If they really are, some other team will have to take their place as the butt of everyone’s jokes. Right now, it’s looking like the Bears.

NFL Draft 2017: Patriots are biggest draft winners before even making a pick

The Patriots were the biggest winners of the first round of the NFL Draft, and they didn’t even have a pick.

That’s the kind of offseason they’ve had. Last month, they were offered up as the offseason Super Bowl champ. Not that teams can really claim that title in the first round of the draft, but nobody knocked the crown off the Patriots’ head Thursday night.
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The reason, of course, is because their first-round pick, essentially, was Brandin Cooks, the wide receiver they got from the Saints for the price of the 32nd overall choice, the final one on Day 1.

Even with the talent still on the board as Day 2 begins Friday — the likes of Dalvin Cook, Cam Robinson, Chidobie Awuzie and a wave of red-flag guys (including, of course, Cook) — the chances are pretty good that the Patriots came away with a better player in Cooks.
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For what it’s worth, the Saints took tackle Ryan Ramczyk, the kind of player Bill Belichick would take, except he’d manage to get him in a later round and make him feel grateful for it.

Meanwhile, the Patriots do not have a second-round pick. They traded it to the Panthers for defensive end Kony Ealy, another relative theft and another example of what their offseason has been like. They do have an extra third-round pick because of that same trade. And they don’t have the compensatory third-round pick they got from the Browns in last year’s Jamie Collins trade because they sent it to the Saints as part of the Cooks package.

If MLB wants more fans, baseball must shed the ‘boring’ label

It’s time that MLB admit the hard truth: Baseball is boring.

Calm down. I know it’s not actually boring — we die-hard fans wouldn’t love it if it was — but that’s how casual and non-fans often see the sport: a mostly action-less slog that’s not worth their time. And because perception is reality, this is the real issue that must be addressed when pondering ways to attract new fans.

Boring has little to do with pace of play. It’s about what fans are seeing vs. what they want to see. Sports fans in 2017 like a spectacle — and baseball lacks sufficient spectacle. But to shed the boring label, baseball needs to embrace spectacle.
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and others think that speeding up intentional walks, or limiting mound visits, or other pace-of-play tweaks will help do away with this boring perception, but it really won’t. Nor will players’ association head Tony Clark’s assertion that MLB can keep people interested by educating them more about the nuances of the game. All of these miss the point.
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This ballot is intentionally blank, Chass writes as he concludes his explanatory column.

Romo — who should be out to prove something — is that guy. He would give Houston arguably the third-best quarterback in the AFC behind New England’s Tom Brady and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, unless you want to make a convincing argument for Kansas City’s Alex Smith or Oakland’s Derek Carr. Those two quarterbacks are in the same division, however.

SN source: Caleb Brantley’s NFL Draft stock hurt after recent arrest

A rough month already for University of Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley could be getting worse.

At least one NFL franchise has removed Brantley from its draft board because of character concerns, a source told Sporting News.

“If I hadn’t won, I would be so angry at our folks and thinking about what we’d have to do (to win a title). So, our competitors, I understand how they brought pressure on the league office to be very strong and (lobbied) not to compromise on an issue that was nonsense and foolishness.”

Kraft said he was proud of his team for going 3-1 at the beginning of the 2016 season with Brady sidelined. Last year’s campaign ended up being the ultimate revenge for the Patriots against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell when they pushed through to win Super Bowl 51.

Kraft also lauded Brady not just as a player, but as a person, saying he was “a special human being.”

“He’s nicer than anyone,” Kraft said. “He’s genuine. He knows how to connect (with people.)”

“It was mostly athletes,” Ogden said. “Several guys in that room told me how they went broke — but that they didn’t talk about it (to anyone else). Then I spoke to an NFLPA meeting in New Orleans. It was the same thing. … They go into turtle mode, they tuck their heads in and they stay silent.”

The sharpening of his message, and of his speaking style, led Ogden to make that his career. His academy’s first conference was last October in Atlanta, with five corporate sponsors and 35 attendees. That has grown to an expected 125 attendees and 25 sponsors for this week’s gathering in Kansas City.
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