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MLB’s Unofficial Census Consensus: It pays to be in The Show

MLB’s Unofficial Census Consensus: It pays to be in The Show

SCOTT JACOBS

America’s Past-time is ripe for analysis. It is arguably the most statistically driven sport there is, and the way the game has evolved over the decades and even the century is pretty fascinating.

BestTickets.com just released their Unofficial 2014 MLB Players Census and its chalk full of interesting numbers.

Not surprisingly, there are more pitchers (369) than any other position. There are just 15 designated hitters (Thanks to the American League), a gap of 354. Furthermore, there are 219 relief pitchers in the game today, a staggering rise from the days of yester-year, when pitchers regularly pitched without any kind of pitch-count and often took the hill every 2-3 days, no questions asked.

Today, the work-horse starting pitcher is a relic of a time gone by, and baseball has been fragmented into a series of specialists. Would love to have seen a MLB census from 1924. (more…)

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For a 7th round pick, Michael Sam is in a league of his OWN

SCOTT JACOBS

Michael Sam just wants to play. He doesn’t want to be judged for what he does behind closed doors in his own spare time. He just wants to be treated like everyone else.

Michael Sam is gay. But you already knew that. Sports fan or non-sports fan, he’s been a constant fix in the headline sections ever since he came out – despite the fact that no one asked him too. Michael Sam is also the first publicly gay player to get drafted into the NFL. But this is not news. The media has shoved that fact down your throat ever since last weekend when the St. Louis Rams drafted him with the 249th pick overall, late in the 7th round.

Michael Sam was a very good player at Missouri. Good enough to take home SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Not good enough to turn heads in his pre-draft workouts. The reality is not lost on scouts: he’s undersized, not that fast, and is probably a one tricky pony - pass rushing specialist - assuming he even makes it onto the team.

Yet, you could argue that few draft picks in the history of the National Football League have ever been draped in attention the way Michael Sam has. Never-mind late round draft picks (heard anything else about the other 40 guys taken in his round?) (more…)

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LeBron is a global fascination and a Google’d icon whether you like it or not

LeBron is a global fascination and a Google’d icon whether you like it or not

SCOTT JACOBS 

When it comes to popularity – love him or hate him – LeBron James finds himself at the top. Where the air is crisp.

That he can flourish the way he has, as an unquestioned global icon, without the help of the country’s most popular sports league, is a testament to our never-ending fascination with him. The NFL, mind you, is by far the biggest thing in the U.S., but don’t tell that to fans of individual awesomeness, who apparently are knee deep in LeBron searches.

So when besttickets.com tallied the Google search volume data from the previous year (April 2013-April 2014) on what states searched for what athletes, they found what we pretty much knew all along.

LeBron James is absurdly popular.

From Washington to Arizona, all down the Eastern coast, The King reigns, when it comes to searches. He’s the most searched athlete in 23 of the 50 states. If only one could tally how many times James is bet on in the best sportsbooks, he’d probably be right up there too.

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Richard Sherman’s Greatest Hits

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is getting the attention he has always craved. After knocking down the final pass to clinch the Seahawks NFC title victory, Sherman gave an intense post-game interview that is going viral, in which he called 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree a “sorry receiver” and a “mediocre receiver.” (Crabtree was the intended target, and after the pass, Sherman trash talked Crabtree and flashed a choking sign at 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, for which he was flagged.)

It’s not the first time Sherman has run his mouth and hurled abuse at his adversaries. The perennially “disrespected” cornerback–the Rodney Dangerfield of football–is always on ESPN or in a face-to-face confrontation asserting his superiority.

Here are some of Sherman’s greatest hits:
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Four seasons later, The Transition that saved FSU football

SCOTT JACOBS

I can’t help but harken back to that moment. There I was, on the field, as Florida State players shoved me aside to get to embattled, but long-time defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews. The 68 year old coach had been a fixture on Seminole sidelines for 26 years and there I was, right in the middle of the culmination, as Nole players carried him into the air.

And then there was the legend himself – Bobby Bowden — walking into the tunnel. Alone. All eyes fixated on Andrews, a stadium maybe 3/4 full of relieved fans, cheering his Tallahassee departure into the sunset.

That would be Bowden’s last home game. Ever. Only, no one knew it yet. And it was the only time I would ever be on the field to watch an FSU football game during my tenure at Florida State. (more…)

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New Year’s Six Bowls to place emphasis back on New Year’s (where it belongs)

SCOTT JACOBS

Back in 1937 the NCAA unanimously adopted a report which basically stated that bowl games were basically… pointless. “They serve no sound educational ends, and such promotions merely trade upon intercollegiate football for commercial purposes.”

There were just six bowl games on the New Year’s date slate that year. Six. I can only imagine if those same ‘thought leaders’ – that led the report’s sound opposition to the idea of ‘bowl games’ – were alive today. What would they think? Would they believe that the system has ballooned to 35 with 4 more in the works for next year’s forgotten, gapped out conferences?  With SportsbooksOnline.org perhaps you can bet on how many bowls there will be in say – 5 years?)

And to think, that’s when bowl games only took the top team from each conference. College football was a regional sport back then. Going bowling sent your team to a warm locale where your team and your fans could get away for some fun and football. (more…)

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Best Halftime Tweets of Duke-Texas A&M Bloodbath — Duke Leading 38-17

6 possessions, 5 touchdowns and 1 field goal (on an onside kick). Duke is beating Texas A&M 38-17 at halftime.

Here are some highlights on Twitter at halftime:


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Mark Shapiro, Jon Daniels get pranked: Arrested prank artist Ken Tarr records himself discussing trade deals with MLB GMs

A media prankster was arrested this week for recording himself messing around with professional and college sports coaches and officials. Ken Tarr pretended to offer job offers to football coaches and discuss trade deals with MLB general managers. Among his victims were Cleveland Indians GM Mark Shapiro, Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazer, and Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp. The video and audio of him conducting those conversations has been uploaded to Youtube.

Yahoo News says that he pranked at least a dozen coaches, but his Youtube page doesn’t include all of the reported videos (Yahoo News). Here are some of the videos it does include:

“Ned Colletti” Talking to Rangers GM Jon Daniels

Tarr is from California, and he pretends to be Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti in his baseball videos. Here he is talking with Rangers GM Jon Daniels. First they discuss the David Freese trade, which included Freese and Fernando Salas (relief pitcher) being sent to the Angels in exchange for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk (minor league outfielder) going to the Cardinals. From this, we learn that Daniels thinks Bourjos was a big gain for the Cards.

Also, Daniels discussed the Prince Fielder trade in which his team acquired Fielder, and said that the Rangers didn’t have the room to make such big moves the rest of the offseason. The whole thing goes on for 16 minutes.

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One Disturbing Thing About the Jameis Winston Rape Allegations

No one in the media knows for sure whether the sex between Jameis Winston and the girl who made allegations of rape was or wasn’t consensual. The prosecutor thinks that the evidence isn’t sufficient to charge him, and it would be an injustice if he was charged based on evidence that fails to meet the standards of probable cause.

So we should be happy with the decision if we think that it was right based on the evidence and the law, not if we think that it helps Florida State win a national championship.

Unfortunately, some of the feelings surrounding the case of the Florida State quarterback follow the tradition of minimizing the charges against athletes in the interests of defending the football program. Yahoo Sports writer Pat Forde notes that there were Florida State frat boys outside the Leon County Courthouse with J-A-M-E-I-S written on their chests doing the tomahawk chop after the announcement was made that no charges would be filed. Clearly some of the fans are more interested in whether their star quarterback can play in the championship game than whether justice was served.

It would be helpful not to focus on the specific claims about the Florida State quarterback and look at the broader picture.
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Not the only Michigan-Ohio State brawl, 2011 also featured a fight

The Michigan-Ohio State game turned violent when a fight escalated after Michigan kicked off to Ohio State. Punches were thrown, and three players were ejected, two from OSU and one from Michigan, included starting offensive lineman Marcus Hall, who spiked his helmet and flipped off the fans as he left the field. (An article on Ohio State’s website called Hall a “Changed Man.”)

This isn’t the first time an Ohio State-Michigan game has featured a physical altercation. In 2011, there was also a brief period of pushing and shoving after a kickoff, but it didn’t reach the level of this year’s fight with punches being thrown:

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College football needs a bowl system makeover — in the worst way

SCOTT JACOBS

We’re sitting here, just a couple weeks from Thanksgiving, with the college football season in full swing, and we’re talking about… schedules.

We’re talking about freaking schedules.

We’re debating whether Ohio State or Baylor should be #3. Because the college football world is such, that should Alabama and Florida State run the table, they will meet in Pasadena on January 6th for all the marbles. The juice has been zapped from this strange season, where the new controversy in sports betting seems to be who should be next in line, should one of the heavyweights falter.

We can barely enjoy how good these teams are, because we’re too busy dissecting how pretty they look. Who’s win was better: Baylor’s beat-down of Texas, or Ohio State’s slaughtering of Illinois? College football big boy ball has become such a beauty pageant that we’re already 4 steps into the next storyline, before a game has even concluded. (more…)

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Hey look! Another QB in Minnesota’s log-jam of mediocre signal callers

SCOTT JACOBS

What’s the old saying? If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any?

Well, what happens if you have three? Well, you’d be the Minnesota Vikings.

Who, at least aren’t the Giants. Or Steelers. Or Bucs. Or – heaven forbid — the Jaguars.

Why? Because they at least have a win.

And a growing glut of mediocrity at the QB position. (more…)

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Reverend Stephen A. Smith Strikes Back!

Stephen A. picks up a pen blackberry again and is back to work writing. MITCHELL BLATT Stephen A. Smith knows what it’s like to be a poor black man in a country and basketball association run by rich white people! David Stern is white. Dirk Nowitzki is white. NBA VP Stu Jackson is black. There […]

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