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Thursday
Jun212018

NBA Mock Draft

Pick Team Player Position  School/Country
1 Phoenix Suns DeAndre Ayton C Arizona
2 Sacramento Kings Jaren Jackson Jr. F/C Michigan State
3 Atlanta Hawks Marvin Bagley III F/C Duke
4 Memphis Grizzlies Luka Doncic G Slovenia
5 Dallas Mavericks Mohamed Bamba F/C Texas
6 Orlando Magic Wendall Carter Jr. F/C Duke
7 Chicago Bulls Michael Porter Jr.  F  Missouri
8 Cleveland Cavalier Trae Young G Oklahoma
9 New York Knicks Kevin Knox F Kentucky
10 Philadelphia 76ers Mikal Bridges F Villanova
11 Charlotte Hornets Lonnie Walker IV G Miami
12 Los Angeles Clippers Collin Sexton G Alabama
13 Los Angeles Clippers Miles Bridges F Michigan State
14 Denver Nuggets Shai Gilgeous-Alexander G Kentucky
15 Washington Wizards Robert Williams F/C Texas A&M
16 Phoenix Suns Aaron Holiday G UCLA
17 Milwaukee Bucks Kevin Heurter G Maryland
18 San Antonio Spurs Zhaire Smith G/F Texas Tech
19 Atlanta Hawks Mitchell Robinson C High School
20 Minnesota Timberwolves Donte DiVencenzo G Villanova
21 Utah Jazz Troy Brown G/F Oregon
22 Chicago Bulls Brandon McCoy C UNLV
23 Indiana Pacers De'Anthony Melton G USC
24 Portland Trail Blazers Chandler Hutchinson F Boise State
25 Los Angeles Lakers Grayson Allen G Duke
26 Philadelphia 76ers Dzanan Musa F Bosnia
27 Boston Celtics Anfernee Simmons G IMG Academy
28 Golden State Warriors Bruce Brown  G Miami
29 Brooklyn Nets Jalen Brunson G Villanova
30 Atlanta Hawks Gary Trent G Duke
Pick Team Player Position  School/Country
1 Phoenix Suns DeAndre Ayton C Arizona
2 Sacramento Kings Jaren Jackson Jr. F/C Michigan State
3 Atlanta Hawks Marvin Bagley III F/C Duke
4 Memphis Grizzlies Luka Doncic G Slovenia
5 Dallas Mavericks Mohamed Bamba F/C Texas
6 Orlando Magic Wendall Carter Jr. F/C Duke
7 Chicago Bulls Michael Porter Jr.  F  Missouri
8 Cleveland Cavalier Trae Young G Oklahoma
9 New York Knicks Kevin Knox F Kentucky
10 Philadelphia 76ers Mikal Bridges F Villanova
11 Charlotte Hornets Lonnie Walker IV G Miami
12 Los Angeles Clippers Collin Sexton G Alabama
13 Los Angeles Clippers Miles Bridges F Michigan State
14 Denver Nuggets Shai Gilgeous-Alexander G Kentucky
15 Washington Wizards Robert Williams F/C Texas A&M
16 Phoenix Suns Aaron Holiday G UCLA
17 Milwaukee Bucks Kevin Heurter G Maryland
18 San Antonio Spurs Zhaire Smith G/F Texas Tech
19 Atlanta Hawks Mitchell Robinson C High School
20 Minnesota Timberwolves Donte DiVencenzo G Villanova
21 Utah Jazz Troy Brown G/F Oregon
22 Chicago Bulls Brandon McCoy C UNLV
23 Indiana Pacers De'Anthony Melton G USC
24 Portland Trail Blazers Chandler Hutchinson F Boise State
25 Los Angeles Lakers Grayson Allen G Duke
26 Philadelphia 76ers Dzanan Musa F Bosnia
27 Boston Celtics Anfernee Simmons G IMG Academy
28 Golden State Warriors Bruce Brown  G Miami
29 Brooklyn Nets Jalen Brunson G Villanova
30 Atlanta Hawks Gary Trent G Duke
Wednesday
Jun132018

Should MLB Suspend Players Who Get Ejected After Being Removed From the Game?

Let's talk about a hypothetical situation. You're a Major League Baseball pitcher, and you're on the hill. The home plate umpire has been, at least in your eyes, squeezing you all game long. Either that, or he's Angel Hernandez and nobody really knows what the hell he's doing. You're battling and struggling, but keeping your team in the game, all the while keeping your mounting anger at the plate ump's perceived slights at bay. Then it happens. The manager comes out to get you. You've reached your pitch limit, or maybe got into a jam, and you hand him the ball. You can say whatever you want now, right? Oh sure, you might get run, but who cares? You're not on the hill again for another five or six days. 

Umpires have a pretty tough job. Some verbal abuse from players and coaches, and a lot of it from fans, is part and parcel of the deal, but MLB benefits when everybody gets along for the most part. These umps range in ability and performance from outstanding to appalling, and everything in between. I'd also bet Pete Rose a substantial sum of money that at least a few of them have a serious gambling problem -- for what other explanation can there be for their consistent mind-bogglingly poor performances? They also tend to have fairly short memories, so by the time a pitcher who berated a particular umpire gets around to that same umpire calling balls and strikes again, he'll have been hollered at by so many other players that it's a non-issue.

But does that make it right? 

Just in the past few days, Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner were tossed out of games they were departing anyway. Sale is purported to have called the plate umpire...uh...one who does un-biblical acts with his maternal parent, while Bumgarner... let's just say I have a tough time writing about him without bringing my personal feelings into it so you can read about his ejection here. And in a few days, both ace pitchers will take the hill for their respective teams again.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun132018

World Cup Predictions 

The USA is not in the World Cup that begins the day after we find out the USA will host the World Cup in 2026. It has been hard to get revved up for the next month of soccer without the USA, Italy, Netherlands and Ghana competing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be a fun watch. I looked through the groups and break down who I think will get out of each group and who will win the cup.

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, & Uruguay

I have Uruguay winning the group behind the easiest footballer to hate, Luis Suarez, but they have plenty of talent in Edison Cavani, Diego Godin, Maximiliano Pereira and more. They are a solid team but nothing special as you will see in the knockout rounds. Russia actually has a good shot to win the group behind big Russian names that aren’t well known to casual soccer fans. Alexandr Golovin is a special young talent at CSKA Moscow, while the Miranchuk twins from Lokomotiv will really open eyes at this year’s tournament.  Egypt will finish third behind star Mohamed Salah, while Saudi Arabia will struggle to secure a point.

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, & Iran

This one is very top heavy, but I have Portugal tabbed to win the group. Behind Christiano Ronaldo, you have the likes of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Alves, Pepe, and more. They simply have more talent and are a better team than runner ups Spain, who I don’t see having the scoring to make it deep into the tournament, but good enough to get out of the group and possibly one more match but not go on a run. I see Morocco finishing third with Iran struggling to get a point, much like the other team from the Middle East.

Group C: France, Australia, Peru, & Denmark

France might have as much talent as any team in the tournament, and should cruise through the group. There is so much talent in fact, Karim Benzama, Anthony Martial, Adrien Rabiot, and Aymeric Laporte will all be watching the tournament from home. The second team from the group may very well be determined on Friday when Peru and Denmark face off. I see Denmark knocking off Peru behind the star Christian Eriksen and a plethora of forwards they have on the squad. That leaves Australia last in the group, but I know I will tune in to see Tim Cahill in likely his last World Cup.

Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, & Nigeria

There is not a traditional “Group of Death” this year, but this may be as close as it gets. Argentina features arguably the best player in the world. Iceland is coming off a fantastic showing in the Euros two years ago that made them the darlings of the soccer world. There might not be a better midfield duo in the tournament than Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic for Croatia, and Nigeria features vets Victor Moses and Mikel John Obi. In the end I see Argentina finishing first while Croatia is a very strong second.

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, & Serbia

Brazil has been a quiet team heading into the World Cup for the first time ever, but I still see them coasting through a solid group. Serbia has the veteran leadership to escape as the number two team, just ahead of Costa Rica followed closely by Switzerland.

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, & South Korea

This is another really interesting group that will have Americans unsure of how to root. Do you pull for rival Mexico to represent the CONCACAF or do you root for them to face an early exit. Germany is easily the best team in the group and will run away with it, while I do see Mexico just holding off Sweden with South Korea coming in last.

Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, & England

If France is the most talented team in the tournament, Belgium is 1B. They may actually be able to roll out Youri Tielemans and Adnan Januzaj as subs, which is a nice luxury for head man Roberto Martinez. England has a special group of players that may make them a threat in Qatar in four years, but they definitely have enough to finish second in this group. I see Tunisia having a good showing and actually finishing third in the group, ahead of Panama.

Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, & Japan

This might end up being the least interesting group of all, but there is some sneaky talent here. Robert Lewandowski is still an elite goal scorer and will carry the club to a win in the group. Senegal is solid but will finish last in the group. The Colombia vs. Japan game on Tuesday will be more important than some expect. With a new coach at the helm, veteran stars Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda, and Shinji Okazaki are seeing more time on the pitch for Japan. That said, I think Colombia has just enough to finish second in the group over Japan.

Round of 16:

Spain over Uruguay
Portugal over Russia
France over Croatia
Argentina over Denmark
Brazil over Mexico
Germany over Serbia
Belgium over Colombia
England over Poland

The best match here will be France and Croatia, as Croatia has the team to push France to the brink, but France just has too much talent. If it is Spain against Russia rather than Portugal, I could see the hosts advancing to the quarters.

Quarter Finals

France over Spain
Portugal over Argentina
Belgium over Brazil
Germany over England

This would make for an incredible Quarter Finals to watch. France has incredible talent knocking off an undermanned Spain club. The two best players in the world face off yet again in Portugal and Argentina. Belgium’s talent is just too much for the always dangerous Brazil club. German and England face off in a rivalry that is always fantastic.

Semi Finals

Belgium over France
Germany over Portugal

The two most talented teams face off with Belgium coming out on top, while the best team overall in Germany knocks off arguably the best player in the world.

Third Place Game

France over Portugal

This is typically the least interesting match in the tournament, and there is a real chance Ronaldo doesn’t even play in it, but France will get the chance to show their depth and take third.

Final

Belgium over Germany

In a final that will have people worldwide really confused by the far too similar flags, it is talent that wins out over team play. I see Belgium lifting the cup in a final that could be epic.

Saturday
Jun092018

The DoD Warrior Games

When we started this site years ago, without expectations of where it would take us, I never could have dreamed of the opportunities it would present for us. Since we started I have covered events put on by the NFL stocked full of Hall of Famers, covered every level of baseball from elite High School to the MLB and in over a dozen ballparks. I have been in the press box and locker rooms of the NHL and will be on the pitch of multiple USL teams along with covering pro rugby, rodeo, and lacrosse coming in the near future. This is not meant as a pat on the back, but instead to create perspective as to what I am about to share. Saturday I had the privilege of covering the most awe inspiring sporting event I have ever experienced, the DoD Warrior Games.

From 2010 to 2014 the Warrior Games were exclusively in Colorado Springs as it was put on by the US Olympic Committee in partnership with the DoD (Department of Defense). In 2015, the DoD took over the games and began moving it to new locations each year, always hosted by a branch of the military. The Marines hosted in 2015 in Quantico, followed by a trip to West Point hosted by the Army in 2016 and the Navy welcomed the Warrior Games to Chicago in 2017. In 2018 the games returned to their roots and took place at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

There were athletes representing eight “teams” at the 2018 games, with those being the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, SOCOM (Special Operations Command), United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence System, and the Canadian Armed Forces. They competed in 11 Paralympic style events over nine days with gold, silver, and bronze medals handed out for each event. The events featured wounded, ill, and injured service members who enrolled with their service’s wounded warrior programs and then qualifying for the games. The featured events are archery, cycling, time trial cycling, field, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting, sitting volleyball (a great watch, look it up), swimming, track, and wheelchair basketball.

On the grounds they held exhibits to show able bodies and non-abled alike what it is like to participate in adaptive sports and that people of all physical conditions can compete and play together.

I was at the Bronze Medal Game between the Navy and Marines and Gold Medal game between the Army and host Air Force. The Navy beat the Marines rather handily to take home bronze, while the Army took home the gold over Air Force.

In the end, the results didn’t matter (although you couldn’t tell based on the incredible competitiveness on display on the court) but it was the conversations had with these athletes and support that could be seen that was truly incredible. There were dozens of emotional support and service dogs in the building that assist many of the athletes with PTSD and other mental health struggles. Also in attendance were combat canines who are suffering from PTSD themselves.

This is Tisha Knickerbocker’s dog and a couple of Tisha, a Marine. She was a small scrappy point guard who was quick all over the court and not afraid to mix it up and get physical when needed. In the event’s program it lists her injuries as PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, and Loss of motion in left ankle. In the event you were wondering, there is plenty of chairs that collide, people flip over (as you can see as it is Tisha’s chair flipped over below) and the collisions are loud. You get a whole new appreciation for these people as athletes when sitting just feet away from the basket and seeing the effort put in.

 

Cassidy Busch was hit by the force of an explosion that blew out her entire lower back, but she found normalcy again in sport where she not only competed in wheelchair basketball, but also cycling, field, and swimming.

Alan Thomas’ injuries weren’t disclosed, but he is missing his right leg below the knee. That didn’t stop him from competing in basketball along with powerlifting, sitting volleyball, and track.

 

Kristen Morris represented the Air Force in wheelchair basketball on Saturday, but also participated in cycling, field, sitting volleyball, swimming, and track. Her injuries? Left and right hip reconstruction and a total right hip replacement.

These were just some of the incredible athletes I had the honor of meeting on this day. Many others competed, which represents only a fraction of those currently rehabbing. Do yourself a favor, if you are near a city that will be hosting the Warrior Games, go. If you are unable to experience this first hand, donate to one of the many charities that help our service men and women injured in the line of duty, or simply shake the hand of a vet to thank them for their service. Sports has a unique ability to bring people of all backgrounds and beliefs together. It was an incredible experience to see those who gave so much to allow us that freedom use sports to regain normalcy in their ever-changed lives.

Sunday
Jun032018

Shaun's MLB Mock Draft

First Round Team Pick
1 Tigers Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
2 Giants Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
3 Phillies Nick Madrigal, MIF, Oregon State
4 White Sox Matt Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (AZ)
5 Reds Alec Bohm, 1B, Wichita State
6 Mets Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
7 Padres Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (FL)
8 Braves Jonathan India, 3B, Florida
9 A's Cole Winn, RHP, Orange HS (CA)
10 Pirates Nolan Gorman, 3B, Sandra Day O'Connor HS (AZ)
11 Orioles Jared Kelenic, Waukesha West HS (WI)
12 Blue Jays Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State
13 Marlins Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama
14 Mariners Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida
15 Rangers Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto HS (TN)
16 Rays Ryan Rolison, LHP, Ole Miss
17 Angels Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida
18 Royals Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (GA)
19 Cardinals Connor Scott, OF, Plant HS (FL)
20 Twins Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson
21 Brewers Seth Beer, 1B/OF, Clemson
22 Rockies Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (TX)
23 Yankees Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (CA)
24 Cubs Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (GA)
25 D-backs Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc Catholic HS (CAN)
26 Red Sox Tristan Casas, 1B, American Heritage HS (FL)
27 Nationals Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS (FL)
28 Astros Jake McCarthy, OF, Virginia
29 Indians Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (GA)
30 Dodgers Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State
Supplemental First Round    
31 Rays Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma
32 Rays Anthony Siegler, C, Cartersville HS (GA)
33 Royals Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford
34 Royals Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
35 Indians Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist
Competitive Balance A    
36 Pirates J.T. Ginn, RHP, Brandon HS (MS)
37 Orioles Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Magnolia HS (TX)
38 Padres Parker Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
39 D-backs Nick Schnell, OF, Roncalli HS (IN)
40 Royals Jordyn Adams, OF, Green Hope HS (NC)
41 Indians Kris Bubic, LHP, Stanford
42 Rockies Kyler Murray, OF, Oklahoma
43 Cardinals Jordan Groshans, SS/3B, Magnolia HS (TX)
Second Round    
44 Tigers Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep (FL)
45 Giants Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas
46 White Sox Lenny Torres Jr., Beacon HS (NY)
47 Reds Sean Hjelle, RHP, Kentucky
48 Mets Alek Thomas, OF, Mt. Carmel HS (IL)
49 Braves Jeremiah Jackson, SS, St. Lukes (AL)
50 A's Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, Wichita State
51 Pirates Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State
52 Blue Jays Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (GA)
53 Marlins Mike Siani, OF, William Pen Charter (PA)
54 Mariners Daniel Lynch, LHP, Virginia
55 Rangers Aaron Hernandez, RHP, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
56 Rays Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Fivay HS (NC)
57 Angels Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Mississippi State
58 Royals Matt McClain, MIF, Beckam HS (CA)
59 Twins Kyle Isbel, OF, UNLV
60 Brewers Jonathan Ornelas, SS, Kellis HS (AZ)
61 Yankees Griffin Conine, OF, Duke
62 Cubs Grant Little, SS, Texas Tech
63 D-backs Colton Eastman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
64 Red Sox Owen White, RHP, Jesse C. Carson HS (NC)
65 Nationals Durbin Feltman, RHP, TCU
66 Astros Trey Riley, RHP, Logan (IL) JC
67 Indians Griffin Roberts, RHP, Wake Forest
68 Dodgers Joe Gray Jr., OF, Hattiesburg HS (MS)
Competitive Balance B    
69 Marlins Nick Decker, OF, Seneca HS (NJ)
70 A's Tyler Frank, MIF, Florida Atlantic
71 Rays Zach Watson, OF, LSU
72 Reds Cole Sands, RHP, Florida State
73 Brewers Ryder Green, OF, Karns HS (TN)
74 Padres Tim Cate, LHP, Uconn
Supplemental Second Round    
75 Cardinals Terrin Vavra, SS, Minnesota
76 Rockies Cal Raleigh, C, Florida State
77 Cubs Osiris Johnson, SS, Encinal HS (GA)
78 Cubs Zack Hess, RHP, LSU