October 17, 2017

NBA players, Sean “Diddy” Combs and others stand behind NFL players; Brooklyn Nets Players look forward to new season; Time for safety nets at MLB stadiums

WHAT'S POPPIN'

Donald Trump Uses NFL to Boost his Ratings

Donald Trump injected himself into the NFL players’ protest against rogue police officers killing innocent Black men. Trump said at a campaign rally in Alabama that owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem and that fans should consider walking out in protest “when somebody disrespects our flag.” Trump’s comments touched off a firestorm.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t hesitate to give Trump serious pushback, stating:

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players.”

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association tweeted: “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.”

A good number of NFL players took exception to Trump attempting to deny their US Constitutional right to free speech, and being called “sons of bitches”. NBA players and others are standing up, even Sean “Diddy” Combs commented.

Donald Trump Disinvites Golden State Warriors

Speaking of Donald Trump, he rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House because Stephen Curry was hesitating and ultimately decided he did not want to go. “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!,” Trump tweeted. Based on the current climate, the UNC Men’s Basketball team decided its players won’t be visiting the White House either.

Carmelo Anthony Has Left the Building

It took a minute, but a deal that worked for all the parties involved finally got done. Carmelo Anthony is no longer a player for the New York Knicks; he is now signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Anthony joins Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and company.

QUICK HITS

Aaron Hernandez’s attorney says the late football player had extreme CTE and his suing the NFL and the New England Patriots on behalf of his daughter
Floyd Mayweather told TMZ Sports that he has yet to cash his checks from the Pacquiao and McGregor fights.
Carmelo Anthony set up a relief fund for Puerto Rico and he pledged 50 thousand dollars.
• The New York Yankees clinched a wild card playoff spot.

OTHER TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE

Is it time for Major League Baseball to install safety nets at its stadiums

Will fans ever forgive Kevin Durant for his fake Twitter account?

Brooklyn Nets Media Day 2017

With Carmelo Anthony gone, the face of the Knicks is now Kristaps Porzingas

OFF TOPIC

Co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z’s business partner, Damon “Dame” Dash, is currently selling his coveted sneaker collection on eBay. Hosted on Shoezeum’s eBay shop, the collection is packed with some of the most coveted items from what many would consider to be the golden years of sneaker culture.

Ode to the NY Mets

October 11, 2016

Closer Jeurys Familia blows game in the ninth inning

New York Mets reached a one-game National League wildcard playoff against the San Francisco Giants.

All the Mets had to do was win one game to go one to the multiple game playoffs, the NL Division Series. Instead, the Mets lost to the Giants 3-0, at Citi Field.

So, no chance for a World Series appearance in 2016.

How did it happen?

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, aka Thor, pitched seven shutout innings.

Syndergaard was so good, he pitched two hits and striking out a postseason career-high 10 batters.

And, what did closer Jeurys Familia do with a 0-0 tie game?

Familia gave up a three-run home run in the top of the ninth to San Francisco Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie, and that was all she wrote.

Well, there’s always next year.

We salute the Met’s 2016 season and look forward 2017.

Can the Cubs go all the way to the World Series?

In the AL, both Texas and Boston are on the verge of being swept.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Nationals have jumped out to early leads in the NL playoffs.

With the Cubs being the heavy favorite, will this finally be their year?

 

VIDEO: Jason Schott gives his predictions for the 2nd half of the Major League Baseball season for the Mets and Yankees

Do you agree with Jason Schott's report?

WATCH VIDEO: Commissioner Goodell and Cameron Maybin in 411 Dog House

The young guns of The What's The 411Sports team are discussing who's in the dog house this week. Bianca Peart put NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the 411 Doghouse for suspending Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for only two games for a domestic violence charge.

Greg Alcala put Cameron Maybin of the San Diego Padres in the dog house for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy.

The New Face of New York Baseball

Now that New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has retired, who will be the face of New York baseball? Will it be Matt Harvey, Masahiro Tanaka, Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius, or minor league baseball player, Aaron Judge?

Major League Baseball is entering a new era. Former MLB Commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig has exited the stage and entering the spotlight is Rob Manfred. Today, the newly minted MLB Commissioner Manfred wrote a letter to Major League Baseball fans.

Here is Major League Baseball Commissioner Manfred in his own words:

Dear Fans:

On the night of August 14, 2014, I left a Baltimore hotel after being elected Commissioner of Baseball. As I began to reply to the overwhelming number of congratulatory messages coming in, it hit me that I'd just been entrusted to protect the integrity of our National Pastime and to set a course that allows this great game to continue to flourish -- now and in the years to come. Needless to say, I was deeply honored by the trust the owners placed in me.

Today is my first day as Commissioner, and I am incredibly excited to get to work. I am grateful to Commissioner Selig for his expertise and friendship. His leadership set a direction that led to historic success.

The mission before us is clear: To honor the game's history while welcoming new people to our great sport -- people who will one day pass their love of baseball down through the generations. That is what our parents and grandparents did for us, and it is what we are doing for our own children. Baseball is a game firmly rooted in childhood experiences, and its vitality and growth rely heavily on giving young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to play and watch baseball.

This notion that baseball is the game of children is central to my core goals as Commissioner. Maybe that is because my own Little League experience in upstate Rome, New York was such an important part of my childhood. I will never forget my intense dedication to that club and to my teammates -- each of whom I can still name to this day -- and being part of a perfect game.

My top priority is to bring more people into our game -- at all levels and from all communities. Specifically, I plan to make the game more accessible to those in underserved areas, especially in the urban areas where fields and infrastructure are harder to find. Giving more kids the opportunity to play will inspire a new generation to fall in love with baseball just as we did when we were kids. Expanding Little League, RBI and other youth baseball programs will also help sustain a steady and wide talent pool from which our clubs can draw great players and create lifelong fans.

As Commissioner, I will draw closer connections between youth baseball and MLB. I want to inspire children's interest in baseball and help parents and coaches foster that passion. In the coming years, MLB will work with college, high school, amateur and youth baseball programs to help grow our game and to ensure that the best players and talent have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I call it "One Baseball" -- a partnership between all professional and amateur groups involved in our game.
Our children can look at MLB today and find a wave of new stars worthy of emulating both on and off the field. Players like Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout and aces Madison Bumgarner,Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw have powerful stories to tell -- and MLB will tell them across every platform. We will continue to internationalize our game and to celebrate the fact that we have the most diverse rosters in the world. Our mission is to build upon this recent success by creating opportunities for the next wave of baseball talent. We also must continue to nurture inclusive environments for all the contributors to our game and our loyal fans.

Another priority for me is to continue to modernize the game without interfering with its history and traditions. Last season's expanded instant replay improved the game's quality and addressed concerns shared by fans and players. We made a dramatic change without altering the game's fundamentals. I look forward to tapping into the power of technology to consider additional advancements that will continue to heighten the excitement of the game, improve the pace of play and attract more young people to the game.
The Major League Clubs have bestowed an extraordinary opportunity upon me. My pledge is to work every single day to honor their faith in me and your love of this game.
Sincerely,

Robert D. Manfred, Jr.
Commissioner of Baseball

MLB pitchers and catchers start reporting to Spring 2015 training on February 19, woo-hoo!!!

WATCH VIDEO: What's The 411Sports Team Talk About Derek Jeter Day

Michael Jordan, Dave Winfield, Mariano Rivera, and others were on hand at Yankee Stadium to celebrate Derek Jeter's career as a New York Yankee.

The celebration was Derek Jeter Day on the road to Derek Jeter's retirement.

"Can't Stop, Won't Stop," seems enough of an appropriate title for this post due to the constant action the New York Mets are displaying, led by GM Sandy Alderson. The phrase "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" is more than a phrase used for motivation, it is also a novel, the title of an album by a group called The Maine and has served as the title for two songs from recording artists Usher and the Young Gunz. Now let's dive into what's significant and what is current at the moment. The Mets have agreed to a 2-year $20-million contract with free agent starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Toyota promotes the moving forward campaign and that's exactly what the Mets are executing. Met fans may miss Matt Harvey on the field in 2014; it is a tough steak to chew and digest. However, the signing of Colon has the potential to aid and provide the gravy we will need to digest that loss. Here's why: Colon, 40 years old (40 is the new 20 by the way, get over it) is coming off a year where he finished sixth in the AL CY Young voting. He also manufactured an All-Star appearance, an 18-6 record and a 2.65 ERA. Sounds good enough to me.

Colon was tested for PED's, suffering a suspension on August 22, 2012 for 50 games by the MLB police, who in the last decade has prioritized disinfecting MLB. Colon's resurgence with the New York Yankees, as Mr. Clean has only added to his stint with the Oakland Athletics, re-establishing his pitching prowess and his future with the Mets. This move further displays Alderson's understanding of the fan base and its desire to win now. He's fully taking on the challenge to resurrect the Mets franchise back to shades of 2006. Hopefully the addition of Colon relieves the Mets of finding a starter to replace Harvey while also fusing him with what's left of the starting rotation of Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese. The 5th spot in the rotation will now feature a competition between the likes of Jenrry Mejia, Carlos Torres and possibly farm-hand Rafael Montero. Colon's presence alone will have a positive impact on the next generation of arms that the Mets have at its disposal in a nurturing effect, with his pitching style in pounding the strike zone, which can influence many. Like Harvey's ascent to the majors, Colon's presence will provide enough time to thoroughly promote top pitching prospect Noah Syndergarrd to the big stage, a process which appeals to Alderson, as he very much dislikes rushing young talent.

All in all, the Mets are not done and they should not be satisfied with this recent player confirmation. The shortstop position must be addressed due to SS Ruben Tejada's inability to advance the ball past the infield. For positive momentum, as well as, finding a suitor to unload either 1B Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, preferably Davis, who has already uninspired and frustrated the fan base due to his struggles so early into his career. With OF's Chris Young, Curtis Granderson and now Colon in the mix, it sparks excitement to see who else we will welcome to the city that never sleeps. At this time, I guess the Mets are wide awake.

The pain of what used to be has not left us. By us I mean New York natives. By pain I mean what could've been of the 2006 assembled New York Mets. I loved that team. As someone who bleeds orange and blue, you are aware of the success of the neighboring baseball club in the New York Yankees who reside only a borough away. We share the state with their fan-base, we can't escape their cockiness, confidence or spoiled golden spoon of a fan mentality. We are fully aware of the 27 world championships and 40 American League Pennants. We have been educated about their dominance and rich history, literally and literally.

That's why 2006 was supposed to be our year as Mets fans to reclaim the city and the hearts of all New Yorkers, because when the Yankees win, its expected and envisioned but when the Mets win, the entire state rises. That's what the Mets were capable of. That offseason featured a class of players who help the Mets ascend to the top of the National League East and eventually, one win away from a trip to the World Series. That class includes, Xavier Nady, Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, Billy Wagner, Julio Franco, and Kris Benson.

These off-season acquisitions were additions to a team that already featured a young and talented core of Jose Reyes and David Wright, the best left-side of the infield in the majors at that time. An All-Star center-fielder in Carlos Beltran was already in place. The Mets had an ace in Pedro Martinez, a Hall-Of-Famer in Tom Glavine and other complimentary starting pitchers in Steve Trachsel, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez and Oliver Perez. This team finished their regular season with a 97-65 record, winning the NL Eastern Division. It was safe to say that current GM at that time in Omar Minaya was definitely earning his salary. For the season and memories he provided due to his responsibilities as a GM for the New York Mets, he should have a statue.
In that post-season, the Mets easily eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers, sweeping the series, three games to none. In the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets fell one game shy of a World Series berth by one pitch that froze Beltran at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. The Mets haven't recovered since then. It's been six years since the Mets have qualified for the post-season and like the team, the fans have suffered enough.

It's 2014, and this offseason for the Mets, sings a different tune from those of recent years. Here's why: Current GM Sandy Alderson was brought in to be the successor of Minaya, following the 2010 MLB season. Since his entry into the New York Mets front office, Alderson has revamped and vastly improved the Mets farm system, acquiring Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants for Beltran and cash, Noah Syndergaard & Travis D'Arnaud from the Toronto Blue Jays for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. As far as drafting, Alderson has selected Matt Harvey in his initial first draft of 2010 and in years 2011, 12 and 13 has drafted Brandon Nimmo, Michael Fulmer, Gavin Cecchini, Kevin Plawecki and Dominic Smith, respectively. Acquiring these top prospects through deals and the drafts has been acknowledged by ESPN analyst and Prospect Expert, Keith Law who rates the Mets farm system 6th overall in the MLB. That's high praise. That means Alderson has been doing something right. It means Alderson's prospects aren't just showing up to play, they're making their presence felt in the Mets organization knocking on the doors of the big leagues to join the show.

That impact is Harvey taking the baseball world by storm in the 2013 MLB season displaying his dominance as the Mets ace, going 12-10, striking out 261 batters, all while posting a 2.39 era, which earned him his first All-Star selection. Its Wheeler, who was ranked 6th overall in MLB.com's top 100 prospects list and 4th in the Right-hander Pitchers list, being brought up to the major leagues during the 2013 MLB season exhibiting a pitching repertoire along with the results of a 7-5 record and 3.42 ERA, striking out 84 in a short stint, which has solidified his spot in the starting rotation for immediate future. It's Syndergaard, who was selected to represent the Mets in the 2013 All-Stars Futures Game at Citi Field, possessing a 95 mph four seam fastball, and 80 mph curveball also throwing a two seam fastball and a circle change-up. Its D'arnaud who in 2013 was ranked 6th in MLB's Top 100 prospects list only to have his ranking slip to 23 due to injury, take the helm as the Mets catcher now due to his bat, defensive capabilities and game-managing potential.

The Mets have prospects who are ready to contribute now to conclude the Mets dry spell in postseason play along with a 2013-14 offseason class in which the Mets made headlines for the first time in a long time. Former All-Star, Chris Young was signed to a one-year $7.25 million dollar contract on November 22, 2013 to help shore up the Mets outfield. On December 6, 2013, Curtis Granderson was lured away from the Yankees and the OF market agreeing to a four-year $60 million dollar contract signed December 6, 2013 with the Mets to bring power to a Mets lineup that has lacked that aspect of their offense. With Harvey expected to miss the duration of the 2014 MLB regular season, Bartolo Colon, fresh off an 18-6 season for the Oakland Athletics, posting a 2.65 ERA, has signed on to join the Mets cause as insurance in the starting rotation, confirmed December 11, 2013. With All-Star third basemen David Wright already in the fold along with solid rotation starters Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, starters who have yet to reach their full potential, the culmination of prospects, starters, and all-stars suggest the Mets should contend for a playoff spot this upcoming season. Nothing is easy when it comes to the Mets, which is exactly why making the playoffs isn't a sure definite.

Questions that have yet to be answered throughout this spring still linger. Who will command first base? Alderson has offered Ike Davis and his services to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles, all teams who have pressing first basemen needs due to his struggles at the plate while Lucas Duda faces a similar predicament despite both having moments this spring as they make their cases to man the right-side of the infield. Who will solidify themselves as the everyday shortstop? I have absolutely no faith in Ruben Tejada who posted .202 Avg through 57 games last season, which is why Wilmer Flores has been given ample time to prove himself defensively between 2nd and 3rd base as his bat is too pure to keep him from the lineup. Can the Mets hit enough to support their solid pitching staff? It's no secret that the Mets rotation will continue to improve but wins aren't being registered by pitchers due to the poor offensive production. Maybe the additions of Young and Granderson can alleviate the pressure on the pitching staff to toss zeroes every outing.

Can the Mets stay healthy? One of the reasons why the Mets have failed to qualify for postseason play is due to the fact that they cannot stay on the field. If the Mets can answer half of all of these questions, the Mets will rock Citi Field like Shea Stadium did in 06. I'm praying on it, and I believe. I believe in the Mets. When they win, life is just better. Maybe in the not too distant future, we can experience another 06 in this new decade.

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