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Posted at 01:38 AM ET, 07/10/2014

George Springer’s wall-crashing grab just his latest great play

George Springer, left, and Robbie Grossman congratulate each other in the outfield after . (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)

George Springer is a rookie right fielder for the Astros who has very quickly become a fan favorite in Houston. That’s because the two things he does well go a long way toward pleasing the masses: He hits home runs a very long distance, and he runs a long way to catch balls. (He also has a long way to go in terms not constantly striking out, but let’s accentuate the positives here.)

In Wednesday’s contest against the Rangers, Springer showed again why he is already one of the game’s most exciting defensive outfielders. Filling in for a fourth consecutive game in center field, Springer had to sprint straight toward the wall when Rangers designated hitter Alex Rios launched a ball deep. Springer, the ball and the wall converged at about the same time. Fortunately for Springer, he made the catch just a split-second before smashing into the padding of the outfield wall. Also fortunately for Springer, he is apparently impervious to such collisions.

Here is video of the play:

And that’s just the latest great grab by Springer. Here are some other plays he has made with his glove in the past month alone:

Oh, and I did mention that he hits some humongous home runs. So here’s one of those. Hey, the Astros are still a pretty terrible team, so it’s nice to show them some love once in a while, isn’t it?

By Des Bieler  |  01:38 AM ET, 07/10/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:34 AM ET, 07/10/2014

NCAA President Mark Emmert gets grilled by Senators

NCAA President Mark Emmert took some heat on Capitol Hill today. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

NCAA President Mark Emmert testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, and he found himself fending off some tough questions. Along the way, Emmert advocated giving student-athletes “scholarships for life,” meaning that even if they get injured or become professionals, they should have the opportunity to complete their educations.

Emmert was forced to answer for the practice of only granting scholarships in one-year increments, which creates the possibility of injured or under-performing athletes having their paths to a degree taken away midway through their college careers. From a report by the Raleigh News & Observer:

Emmert disputed the opinion repeatedly stated by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, that the current system for operating and overseeing college sports acts more like a cartel that protects the money-making opportunities of the NCAA and member schools at the expense of the athletes who perform in exchange for an athletic scholarship.

McCaskill also had questions about a report released that day by her office, which, according to cbssports.com, found that “approximately 20 percent of the largest public institutions and 15 percent of the largest private schools ‘allow their athletic departments to oversee cases involving student athletes.’ ” From the cbssports.com story:

McCaskill said she was “shocked” by the survey and referenced Florida State’s investigation into the allegations that star quarterback Jameis Winston raped a student. No charges were filed against Winston. In April, the US Department of Education opened an investigation of Florida State into whether its handling of the Winston rape allegations violated Title IX law.

McCaskill wasn’t done blistering Emmert. From USA Today:

In response to Emmert having noted earlier in the hearing that he has a limited role in NCAA rules-making that is ultimately done largely by college presidents, McCaskill said: “I can’t tell whether you are in charge or whether you a minion” to the schools and college presidents.

It was a tough day for Emmert (and many would say deservedly so), but the fact that he was there to suffer it at all may answer that last question from McCaskill. Emmert is the  highly paid face of the NCAA at least in part so that coaches and athletic directors of high-powered programs don’t have come up with answers for all the tough questions.

By Des Bieler  |  12:34 AM ET, 07/10/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Mark Emmert, NCAA

Posted at 11:22 PM ET, 07/09/2014

LeBron James meets with Pat Riley, but won’t say if he’s reached a decision

LeBron James still has not decided where he will be taking his talents. Or maybe he has — but just isn’t telling us yet. (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)

The NBA’s most coveted free agent, LeBron James, met with Heat president Pat Riley, and the team’s general manager, Andy Elisburg, in Las Vegas today. However, according to an ESPN report, James has not decided if he will return to Miami, where has gone to the past four NBA finals, winning two, or if he will leave for another team.

NBA analyst Chris Sheridan reported today on his blog that “The Decision has been made. LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a league source tells SheridanHoops.com.” Sheridan added:

James met with Miami Heat president Pat Riley today in Las Vegas to deliver the news. A contingent of other Heat officials were informed they were not welcome at the meeting, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Cavaliers made moves today that appeared to pave the way for a possible return to the team by James. Cleveland traded away three players (Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev and Tyler Zeller) and a protected 2016 first-round pick in deal involving the Nets and Celtics. In return, the Cavs received a second-round pick from the Celtics and the rights to three players (Edin Bavcic, Christian Drejer and Ilkan Karaman). More significantly, the trade frees up enough room under the salary cap for Cleveland to offer James a maximum contract.

In addition, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that if the Cavaliers get James, they will pursue a trade for Minnesota star Kevin Love. Wojnarowski added:

The Timberwolves will demand Andrew Wiggins, the Cavs’ No. 1 overall pick from last month’s NBA draft, be a part of any proposed deal, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Other dominoes waiting to fall are Chris Bosh, Chandler Parsons and Trevor Ariza. Bosh would like to re-join James in Miami, but if that doesn’t happen, he will accept Houston’s reported offer of four years for $96 million. Houston needs to have some clarity on that situation very soon, because Parsons, its own restricted free agent, will reportedly sign an offer sheet on Thursday from the Mavericks. The deal would be worth over $45 million for three years, and once Parsons signs it, the Rockets will have three days to possibly match it. However, matching means not having the salary space to actually go through with their offer to Bosh, so Houston seems to be in a bit of a bind.

Ariza, a free agent whom the Wizards would like to bring back, could be a target of the Cavaliers if they miss out on James, according to Wojnarowski.

One can only imagine that Cavs fans are on an emotional roller-coaster ride right now. That could turn into a literal event if James does choose Cleveland, according to this tweet from Cedar Point amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio:

By Des Bieler  |  11:22 PM ET, 07/09/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:24 PM ET, 07/09/2014

Donald Sterling tells wife in court, ‘Get away from me, you pig!’

Shelly Sterling arrives to Los Angeles Superior Court for the non-jury trial over whether she has the authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers over the objections of her husband, Donald Sterling, on July 8, 2014. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Donald Sterling took the stand again today, as part of the trial which will determine if he can overturn his wife’s position that he is mentally unfit to block the Clippers’ $2 billion sale. And as with his first day of testimony Tuesday, he had more than his share of fiery moments.

Sterling’s wife, Shelly, took the stand after Donald, and when she was done, she went over to talk to him. That is when this happened:

It says everything about the kind of trial this has been so far that some reporters thought, and tweeted, that they heard “bitch” instead of “pig,” and the judge felt compelled to more or less rule that Sterling had called his wife the latter. Shelly Sterling had been testifying that she hired doctors to examine her husband because she was concerned about his mental state.

Wednesday’s session began with testimony from of the doctors, Meril Platzer, who found that Sterling was mentally incapacitated. In his testimony Tuesday, Sterling had accused the physician of being a drunkard. And right away, Sterling’s attorney, Gary Ruttenberg, began treating Platzer in a way that could only have pleased his combative client.

Eventually, Sterling made his way to the stand, and he had both kind and disparaging words for Shelly.

But Sterling’s most troubling comments, from the NBA’s perspective at least, were about the league itself.

So, to recap, first Sterling’s attorney said that the doctor who examined the Clippers’ owner had been seduced by “the dark side.” Then Sterling said his wife knew none of the details of, and had no standing in, the Sterling Family Trust of which she took control. Then Shelly Sterling testified that she and Donald were “sort of” separated and that she thought he might have had a stroke. Then he called her a pig.

Needless to say, the would-be purchaser (for $2 billion) of the Clippers, Steve Ballmer is watching the proceedings with great interest. As is his lawyer, who had this to say:

By Des Bieler  |  09:24 PM ET, 07/09/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:41 PM ET, 07/09/2014

New York Daily News reports Melo staying — unless he changes his mind

The New York Daily News is reporting that Carmelo Anthony will stay with the Knicks for a max contract. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

How’s this for a hedge? The New York Daily News is reporting that Carmelo Anthony will stay in New York for a maximum contract worth $129 million over five years —  with one massive caveat:

“Barring a last-second change of heart, the free agent forward will announce his intention to remain in New York on Thursday. ‘He believes in Phil (Jackson),’ a source said.”

If Anthony were to leave, the maximum contract available would be a four-year, $97 million deal, which the Lakers were reportedly willing to offer. The Chicago Bulls were also pursuing a sign-and-trade for the 30-year-old forward.

By  |  04:41 PM ET, 07/09/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Carmelo Anthony, NBA


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