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Posted at 08:57 AM ET, 07/11/2014

Today in LeBron James: He’s reportedly back in Miami, with Dan Gilbert letter still nagging at him

(Associated Press)

Thursday came and went, and police gathered in front of LeBron James’s house in Akron, Ohio, and then they left, and then James flew back to Miami with Dwyane Wade and please make it stop.

Anyway, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has the details on “The No-Decision”:

Hours after the Cleveland Cavaliers believed they were on the cusp of a commitment out of LeBron James, the superstar free agent jetted 30,000 feet over America with Dwyane Wade on his way back to Miami.

The sticking point? The comic-sans masterpiece penned by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert four years ago after James jilted Cleveland for Miami. So says ESPN’s Chris Broussard:

One reason, if not the major reason, that LeBron James has taken so long to decide whether to play in Miami or Cleveland next season is the infamous letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert penned about James after the superstar left Cleveland in 2010, sources said.

But Gilbert wrote that letter, using a font usually reserved for a child’s birthday-party invitation. And here we are, waiting.

On Friday, it might be Miami’s turn to get its hopes up.

By  |  08:57 AM ET, 07/11/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:02 AM ET, 07/11/2014

How the polar vortex might mess up MLB All-Star activities

Yasiel Puig (Chris Carlson/AP)

The polar vortex is on its way back again, say forecasters, meaning it’s going to be unseasonably cool in much of the continental United States next week. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang writes:

Bearing a haunting resemblance to January’s brutally cold weather pattern, a deep pool of cool air from the Gulf of Alaska will plunge into the Great Lakes early next week and then ooze towards the East Coast.

The brunt of the cold spell is forecast to affect Minneapolis, Minnesota, the home of this year’s MLB All-Star week of activities. Not only will spectators likely need to don fleeces and jackets in the stands during the event, during which temperatures could dip down into the lower fifties, but they also might be in for a disappointment when it comes to the hit parade known as the Home Run Derby. Data analyses show that the colder the temperature the less far a baseball will travel.

(Alan M. Nathan/Baseball Prospectus)

The above data crunched and plotted by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Professor Emeritus of Physics Alan Nathan in Baseball Prospectus of actual home runs shows that a baseball will travel roughly 10 feet less far on a 50-degree day than on a 90-degree day. In an average year, the high in July is 84 degrees.

On the less chilly side, the high projected in Minneapolis on Monday is around 70 degrees, which will make a big difference in the ball’s flight time compared to if it dips to 50. In that case, the ball will travel just three or four feet less far than if it was 84 degrees, according to Nathan’s study. With that in mind, if a player slugs a ball 401 feet right down the center, just three feet short of the back wall at Target Field, you might want to wildly applaud anyway.

By Marissa Payne  |  08:02 AM ET, 07/11/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:12 AM ET, 07/11/2014

Warrior sports apparel company offers lessons in anti-social media

If Warrior was trying to sell more lacrosse cleats, it didn’t do a very good job. (Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

On Thursday night at 9 p.m., ESPN broadcast a pair of showdowns between the United States and Canada. One, in softball, was on the network’s flagship channel. The other, in lacrosse, was on ESPN2. And to the person handling the Twitter account for Warrior, a sports apparel company that specializes in lacrosse gear, that was an outrage.

First, @Warrior tweeted, “Does anyone else find it laughable that Softball is on ESPN1 & #WorldLax is on ESPN2? #TitleIXProblems.”

Then, after presumably taking some flak for that jab, @Warrior tweeted, “To clarify one of our tweets: There are 375 Women’s Lacrosse teams in the NCAA compared to 296 Men’s Teams. #Inequality #TitleIXProblems.”

The two tweets were subsequently deleted, but not before many people saw them, and were appalled.

Warrior’s insensitivity toward the longstanding plight of female athletes hardly went unnoticed. (Not to mention the apparent cluelessness, as the Sporting News pointed out, about the fact that there may be a gender disparity in college lacrosse scholarships, but there is an infinitely greater one in college football scholarships). Many found it especially galling in light of the widespread perception, fair or not, that lacrosse is a sport largely populated by the smug and out-of-touch.

This is not the first time that the company has run into controversy over its social media tactics. In 2012, Major League Lacrosse star Jovan Miller, among others, strongly objected to a Warrior advertising campaign that used the hastag #NinjaPlease, which alludes to a phrase involving a racial epithet. In a story on the matter by NBC Charlotte, Miller, who is African American, had this to say:

“Honestly, it was offensive. I didn’t feel like there was necessarily malice behind it, but I felt like they knew they could get away with it. Warrior is a company that prides itself on being ‘edgy’ but this is too far.”

Apparently, someone at Warrior got the message that it had once again gone too far. After deleting the controversial tweets Thursday, the company posted this one:

Oh, that’s clever! Because, you see, “Cross the Line” is the catchphrase for Warrior’s latest ad campaign.

One gets the feeling that this tweet, which sounds at least as arrogant as apologetic, won’t quite make up for the earlier pair.

By Des Bieler  |  07:12 AM ET, 07/11/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:11 AM ET, 07/11/2014

Did the Mets find an answer to Yankees Fan GIF? Well, no, but nice try!

Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman gets dap from his teammates here; at another point in Thursday’s game, he was getting something else from the Citi Field stands. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)

Google “Yankees Fan GIF” (or something like that) and you’ll immediately come across one of the most famous sports GIFs around. It’s from a 2010 playoff game against the Rangers, following a Robinson Cano home run (the Yankees went on to lose the game, 10-3), and it’s worth several amused viewings.

(H/T SB Nation)

Thursday night, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman caught a foul ball at Citi Field, which set the stage for a Mets fan to do this:

Well done! The emotion, the gesticulating — it’s all there. However, it must be said that, as things so often go with the two New York baseball teams, Mets Fan GIF can’t quite measure up to Yankees Fan GIF. The latter was such a classic in its genre, it spawned fan fiction, as well as an animated version:

(H/T Reddit)

So, sorry, Mets Fan GIF, you’re good, but that’s too high a bar to clear. Although I do like you better than 2012′s Yankees Fan GIF: The Sequel, which is like almost all sequels in its failure to match the original:

(H/T )

And here is video of the moment that led to Mets Fan GIF:

By Des Bieler  |  01:11 AM ET, 07/11/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:05 PM ET, 07/10/2014

Rockies’ Morneau and A’s Donaldson round out home run derby field

Oakland’s Josh Donaldson will be part of the home run derby next week in Minneapolis. . (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

The five-man teams for the home run derby that will precede the MLB all-star game are now complete, and fans in the host city of Minneapolis will get to cheer for an old favorite. The National League squad added Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau, who played for the Twins from 2003 until he was traded away in 2013. The American League team added Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was already a member of this year’s AL all-stars.

You might recall that Morneau won the 2008 home run derby as a member of the Twins. Or you might not, as the big story of that event was Josh Hamilton’s Ruthian display in the first round. This will actually be the third time Morneau competes in the competition, and it represents a bit of a consolation prize after he lost a late lead to the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo in voting for the NL’s final all-star spot.

Donaldson leads all MLB third baseman with 20 home runs. In fact, he hit No. 20 in a day game Thursday, shortly before the announcement of his selection. Here is what he told the San Jose Mercury-News:

“It’s going to be pretty cool. I like to hit homers in batting practice, so I look at it as another round of BP with a lot more people watching.”

The complete teams for the home run derby look like this:

American League

Captain — Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics

Josh Donaldson, Athtetics

Brian Dozier, Twins

Adam Jones, Orioles

National League

Captain — Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Todd Frazier, Reds

Justin Morneau, Rockies

Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

By Des Bieler  |  10:05 PM ET, 07/10/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)


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