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Sherman calls out NFL in presser with Baldwin
RENTON, Wash. (AP) With the help of a cardboard cutout, the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin took digs at the NFL during a news conference on Tuesday after the league issued a $100,000 fine to teammate Marshawn Lynch for not speaking to the media. Sherman and Baldwin made mention of everything from the league's sponsorship deals with major beer companies to their own personal endorsements that are not affiliated with the NFL, to the talk of player safety with the Seahawks about to play their second game in five days. The point of their performance seemed to be that whatever they said - real or satirical - it would not be a violation of the league's media policy on speaking with reporters. "The other day Marshawn Lynch got fined $100,000. Did you know that, $100,000?" Sherman said. "And it's like they wouldn't have paid him $100,000 if he had talked. If he had spoken, Doug do you think they would have paid him $100,000?" Baldwin responded, "No, they sure wouldn't have." The duo spoke for about 2 1/2 minutes ahead of Thursday's NFC championships game rematch against San Francisco. Baldwin hid behind a cutout of himself, with Sherman standing to the side of the podium and taking the lead as the pair bantered. Sherman took only one question, and after the pair referenced a number of personal sponsors - many of which are not NFL sponsors - walked off without speaking about the matchup with the 49ers. The pair prepped briefly and notified the companies they were going to mention ahead of time. Seattle coach Pete Carroll told San Francisco reporters he had not seen the performance. "It's fun to use your time in the NFL to speak about something you care about, right? Right?" Sherman said in his back-and-forth with Baldwin. "Because then you don't get fined $100,000. You don't get fined at all for this. This is how they want us to talk, right? This is what they want us to do. They want us to advertise, right Doug?" Their targets were wide ranging, including headphones, soup, clothing, sandwiches and juice. The cardboard cutout of Baldwin was actually an advertisement that's also on display at Subway restaurants in the Seattle area. Sherman immediately mentioned his endorsement deal with Beats by Dre. The league has an agreement with Bose. The league has told players they cannot wear unauthorized equipment until 90 minutes after the completion of games. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fined earlier this year for wearing Beats headphones during a postgame news conference. "The league doesn't let me say anything about them. Why is that?" Sherman asked. Baldwin's response: "I don't know. Sounds kind of hypocritical to me." Sherman made note of Campbell's Soup - another personal endorsement - and how it could be helpful with cold and flu season approaching. "Speaking of health, how do you feel about the NFL making you play two games in five days?" Baldwin asked. "I almost didn't realize that because they've been talking about player safety so much," Sherman responded. "It's like two games in five days doesn't seem like you care about player safety. It's a little bit much for me." Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:13:34 +0000
Red Sox introduce new signings Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez
BOSTON (AP) Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez spent the last two seasons as NL West rivals. Now they're teammates in Boston, the result of a $183 million spending spree the Red Sox are hoping will lift them out of the AL East cellar. "It's exciting for me to be with Hanley and David Ortiz," Sandoval said Tuesday at Fenway Park after finishing up a five-year, $95 million contract that adds him to a lineup he called "The Three Amigos." About five hours later, the Red Sox completed their day-night news conference doubleheader by announcing Ramirez's four-year deal, which is worth $88 million. A former Red Sox prospect, Ramirez was traded to the Marlins nine Thanksgivings ago in a deal that brought Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett to Boston. "Why not go back where you belong?" Ramirez said. "It worked out for the both of us: You guys won a couple of world championships. I haven't won any, but that's what I'm here for." Sandoval helped the Giants win three titles, earning the World Series MVP in 2012 and the nickname "Kung Fu Panda" that helped cement him as a fan favorite. He thanked the Giants for bringing him up as a big leaguer and Giants' fans for their support. "I want a new challenge. I need a new challenge," he said at his afternoon news conference. "I know that I had a great career in San Francisco. But I'm going to have a new one here." Sandoval helps fill a hole in the Red Sox lineup for a third baseman and a left-handed bat. Ramirez, who played shortstop and a little third base with the Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, is expected to move to left field. "You're always trying to get a sense of where they might fit in," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We're not even at Thanksgiving yet. The potential for some other additions might exist." Sandoval's deal includes a team option for 2020 and Ramirez's contract has a vesting option for 2019. A 28-year-old Venezuelan listed at 5-foot-11 and 248 pounds, Sandoval was seen as a potential replacement at designated hitter when Ortiz retires. But Sandoval said he plans to manage his weight so he can remain in the field. Both players praised Ortiz, and Ramirez also said Dustin Pedroia helped recruit him to Boston. "He said, `I've got two rings. You don't have any. I want some more,"' Ramirez said. "That kind of thing pumps you up." Sandoval said Ortiz gave him advice when he was in the minor leagues that he has carried with him. Having a chance to play with Ortiz, who was the Series MVP in 2013, was a factor that attracted him to Boston. "To be Papi's teammate - 162 games, all that with him - for me, it's going to be a very exciting time," said Sandoval, who had dinner with Ramirez on Monday night. Ramirez agreed, saying Ortiz was "like a big brother to me." Sandoval is a career .294 hitter who had 16 homers and 73 RBIs in the regular season this year and then hit .366 in the postseason while helping the Giants win their third World Series in five years. "He really embodies a lot of what we care about," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "He's been a big winner. He's been a performer when it counts the most. He's respected as a teammate, loves to play. We think he fits what we're all about here. We're excited to have him." A 30-year-old infielder who has never played the outfield in 1,634 professional games, Ramirez batted .300 with 13 homers and 71 RBIs for Los Angeles this year. Cherington, who watched Ramirez learn to play shortstop in the minors, said he is confident Ramirez can take on a new position. For now, the Red Sox are overloaded with outfielders and short on pitchers, having acquired Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes at the July trade deadline while shipping off four-fifths of the rotation. "We've got a ways to go in the offseason," Farrell said. To clear the roster spots, the Red Sox designated first baseman-catcher Ryan Lavarnway and infielder Juan Francisco for assignment. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:34:00 +0000
Rose exits early as Bulls fall to Lawson, Nuggets
DENVER (AP) Ty Lawson scored 20 points, including a key jumper in the waning seconds, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Chicago Bulls 114-109 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win. Arron Afflalo added 19 points and Danilo Gallinari had 15 for the Nuggets, who defeated the Bulls for the eighth straight time in Denver. Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was limited to 10 minutes in his second game back from a left hamstring strain. Rose, who scored 18 points in his return Monday night against Utah after a four-game absence, felt tightness in the hamstring during the first quarter and didn't play the rest of the way. Jimmy Butler had 32 points for Chicago. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 04:48:00 +0000
Curry's 40 points power Warriors past Heat 114-97
MIAMI (AP) Stephen Curry scored 40 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Miami Heat 114-97 on Tuesday night for their sixth consecutive victory. Golden State scored 14 straight points to open a 107-95 lead with 2:50 to go. Curry and Thompson capped the run with consecutive 3-pointers. Thompson had 24 points for the Warriors, who shot 57 percent. Curry was 12 for 19 from the field, including an 8-for-11 performance from 3-point range. Chris Bosh scored 26 points for Miami, and Luol Deng had 16. James Ennis' dunk with 9:11 left was the Heat's last field goal. Miami led by 16 in the first half, but Golden State closed the second quarter with a 23-8 surge. Draymond Green made two free throws with 9.8 seconds left to cut the Heat's lead to 62-61 at the break. Golden State carried the momentum over to the second half. Curry hit three 3-pointers in the third period, and his two free throws with 58.2 seconds remaining put Golden State ahead, 89-82. The Heat got off to a nice start, opening a 31-22 lead on Mario Chalmers' corner 3-pointer with 1:51 left in the first quarter. --- TIP-INS Warriors: G Leandro Barbosa played four minutes and scored two points after spraining his right knee in the Warriors' win over Orlando on Sunday. ... Early in the first period, Andrew Bogut grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled the length of the court and made a behind-the-back pass from the baseline to Green, who scored on a layup. ... F David Lee (strained left hamstring) missed his 12th straight game. Heat: F-C Chris Andersen's injury woes continue. Andersen sat out Tuesday's game after injuring his left ankle early in Miami's win over Charlotte on Sunday. Earlier in the season, Andersen missed four games because of bruised ribs. ... G Dwyane Wade (left hamstring) missed his seventh straight game. ... Norris Cole returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous two games because of a dislocated left middle finger. UP NEXT Warriors: Visit Orlando on Wednesday. Heat: Visit New York on Sunday. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:36:00 +0000
No. 3 Arizona beats Kansas State 72-68 in Maui
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) Kaleb Tarczewski scored 18 points, Gabe York added 15 and No. 3 Arizona hung on to win its first close game of the season, beating Kansas State 72-68 Tuesday in the Maui Invitational semifinals. Arizona (5-0) had rolled through its first four games despite some slow starts and shot 53 percent against Kansas State, yet couldn't shake the scrappy Wildcats. Trailing by nine in the second half, Kansas State (3-2) whittled the lead down to a single possession in the final minute. Arizona went up 69-64 after three free throws by Stanley Johnson and York, but Marcus Foster cut the lead to two on a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finally helped Arizona secure a spot in Wednesday night's championship game by hitting two free throws with 4 seconds left. Johnson finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Foster scored 23 points and went 6 for 9 from 3-point range for Kansas State. Arizona has been plagued by slow starts this season, and the Maui opener against Missouri was no different. The Wildcats, as they did in previous games, pulled away in the second half for a 19-point win - but they probably couldn't afford another uninspired start against Kansas State. In their tournament opener, the Wildcats jumped on Purdue early, creating easy scoring opportunities through turnovers while building a 15-point lead. Kansas State let up down the stretch to let the Boilermakers back in it, but pulled out a physical victory. A fast start was no problem for either team in the semifinals. Playing quickly in both directions, Arizona and Kansas State traded athletic plays - Johnson's tomahawk dunk down the lane was a highlight - and baskets in an entertaining opening 10 minutes. Neither team was able to get much separation, and the half ended with Stephen Hurt jamming in a putback at the buzzer to pull Kansas State to 31-30. The second half continued the same way until T.J. McConnell and York hit consecutive 3-pointers to put Arizona up 52-43 midway through. Kansas State clawed its way back, pulling to 66-64 on a 3-pointer by Foster with 2:30 left. K-State kept fighting back each time, but couldn't complete the comeback as Arizona hit six of eight free throws in the final 22 seconds. --- TIP-INS Kansas State: Foster is a combined 16 for 28 the past two games after going 1 for 13 in a loss to Long Beach State. Arizona: Johnson was called for two fouls 90 seconds into the second half and had to sit down with four. He returned 6 minutes later for a short stint and came back with 7:15 left. UP NEXT Kansas State faces the loser between Pittsburgh and No. 15 San Diego State in Wednesday's third-place game. Arizona will play the Pitt-SDSU winner in Wednesday night's title game. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:15:00 +0000
Red Sox spend on Sandoval, Ramirez to shake cellar
BOSTON (AP) The Red Sox are hoping to spend their way out of the AL East cellar with two big free agent signings. The first team in major league history to go from worst to first and back again has agreed to terms third baseman Pablo Sandoval, his agent confirmed Monday night. According to a baseball official with knowledge of the deal, Boston also agreed to a deal with Hanley Ramirez, who came up to the major leagues with the Red Sox. The official confirmed both agreements on the condition of anonymity because the players hadn't passed physicals. The Ramirez deal was expected to be finalized Tuesday. The moves give the Red Sox a potent batting order that includes two of the last three World Series MVPs, Sandoval and David Ortiz. But they still have to replace the four starting pitchers they traded last summer. Sandoval, 28, is a career .294 hitter who had 16 homers and 73 RBIs in the regular season this year and then hit .366 in the postseason while helping the Giants win their third World Series in five years. With his everyman body type and colorful nickname - Kung Fu Panda - the switch hitter was a fan favorite in the Bay Area. "He has been with us through some of the greatest moments in San Francisco Giants history - including all three World Series championships," the Giants said in a statement. "We will never forget his World Series MVP performance in 2012 and his numerous contributions to the 2014 championship. His connection with Giants fans - young and old - is truly special, and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston." Ramirez came up in the Red Sox system and was still a prospect when he was traded to the Florida Marlins in the deal that brought Josh Beckett and future World Series MVP Mike Lowell to Boston. The 30-year-old shortstop batted .300 with 13 homers and 71 RBIs for Los Angeles this year. Boston already seems set at shortstop with 22-year-old Xander Bogaerts, and with Sandoval at third they are expected to move Ramirez to left field. He has never played outfield in the majors. The moves give the Red Sox a surplus of outfielders, with Ramirez potentially joining Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr. Allen Craig, Mookie Betts and Daniel Nava. They are expected to shop some of the extras for pitching, which they have been lacking since dealing Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubrount near the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers. Boston will not forfeit the No. 7 overall pick in June's amateur draft but will give up the second and third selections. --- AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley and AP Sports Writer Eric Nunez contributed to this report. Tue, 25 Nov 2014 01:00:00 +0000
Browns QB Manziel involved in hotel scuffle
CLEVELAND (AP) A Browns fan who says he wanted to give Johnny Manziel "a hug" was struck by the rookie quarterback's entourage at a downtown hotel and was left with a swollen eye and lip, police said. Police were called to The Metropolitan at The 9, where Manziel has a luxury apartment, after a fight broke out at 2:25 a.m. Saturday. According to a police report, Chris Gonos told police he was assaulted by "Johnny Football and his entourage." The 33-year-old fan said he and his girlfriend approached Manziel while waiting for an elevator and he told the popular first-round draft pick: "I'm the biggest Browns fan ever. I love you. I want to give you a hug." Gonos said he took one step toward Manziel and was punched by a man listed on the report as Dana Kirk. Gonos contends he was struck several times in the face and "pushed and attacked" by a group of unidentified men who were with Manziel. Kirk said Gonos tried to assault Manziel, and he defended the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. Gonos sustained a swollen lip and right eye, the report said. No arrests were made. The report also said the hotel manager said cameras located near the elevators may have captured video of the dispute. Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement the team is gathering more information to understand what happened. "Nonetheless, the time of the incident is concerning to us. We continually stress to all of our players the importance of sound decision making in an effort to avoid putting themselves in these types of situations," Farmer said. "We have addressed this appropriately with the player and will have no further comment at this time." Browns coach Mike Pettine said he has spoken with Manziel about the incident and that QB did not break any team rules. Pettine would not divulge any details of his meeting with Manziel. "It was a conversation between a coach and a player," said Pettine, who added he had not seen video of the altercation. Manziel, who has been on the field for only a handful of plays this season, traveled with the Browns for their Sunday game in Atlanta. His late hours and social life became an issue during the offseason when he was photographed at various nightclubs. Manziel has spent his first season in the NFL backing up starter Brian Hoyer, who has pushed the Browns (7-4) into playoff contention. Hoyer threw three interceptions on Sunday but rallied Cleveland to a last-second, 26-24 win over the Falcons. Pettine said the Browns coaching staff did not consider switching to Manziel during the game. --- Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Tue, 25 Nov 2014 01:00:00 +0000
LeBron on Cavaliers' issues: "I stink"
CLEVELAND (AP) The Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling, and then some. LeBron James believes he's a major reason for their early failures. "We got a four-game losing streak, so I stink," he said. "I'm not doing my job." With the Cavs at 5-7, playing uninspired and not close to living up to enormous expectations, James offered the blunt critique of his own game Monday at the team's shootaround as they prepared to host the Orlando Magic. After a day spent with family and watching football, James, who called the Cavs "fragile" following Saturday night's loss to the Toronto Raptors, said he has to do a better job leading the way. He's staying positive, cognizant that if he isn't upbeat his teammates will follow his example. "Me being the leader of the team, if I start hanging my head low then it's going to start going to everyone else," he said. "They look up to me. They look to me to make a difference and I've got to stay positive even through the rough times. As I've said before, this is not the darkest point that we'll see this year. I've seen dark and this is very light to me." Cleveland, picked by many to win the NBA title in James' homecoming season, went 0-4 last week with losses to Denver, San Antonio, Washington and Toronto. James wasn't himself, averaging just 18 points per game, committing a turnover in the closing seconds of the loss to the Spurs and inexplicably not hustling back on defense in the loss to the Wizards. He's made uncharacteristically foolish passes and shown frustration with his body language. James has tried to send messages to his teammates during interview sessions. After the loss to Toronto, he cautioned that the Cavs' problems would probably grow worse before they got better, a forecast that chilled some Cleveland fans already dealing with the onset of an early winter. On Monday, James said the Cavs' tough times could linger. "This is not the biggest adversity point that we'll hit," he said. "Do I think we're going to get to the finals? I don't know. I don't know what the future holds, but from my perspective it's not as bad as it may seem." James' reference point for "dark" times is different from any of his teammates. He often sites the 2011 NBA Finals, when he and the Miami Heat squandered a 2-1 lead and lost in six games to the Dallas Mavericks, as the low point of his career. The collapse haunts James. "It's still here with me," he said. "I think about it every day. Every day at some point something that happened in that series pops in my head." When he was in Miami, James had All-Star Dwyane Wade, a former NBA champion, to help him lead. He doesn't have that luxury in Cleveland. While Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are elite players, neither have been through the grind of a championship season. He's going it alone, and to this point the load has been heavy for James. "It's a different feeling," he said. "But something I was ready for. I knew it would be the biggest challenge of my career thus far, and I accept the challenge. When we lose I take full responsibility and when we win the team wins, that's what it's all about." Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:50:00 +0000
Longtime NHL coach, executive Pat Quinn dies at 71
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Pat Quinn, a former defenseman and longtime NHL coach and executive who brought a gruff and passionate presence to hockey across the decades, has died at 71. He died Sunday night in Vancouver after a long illness, the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants said Monday. Quinn was co-owner of the team. Quinn played parts of nine seasons in the NHL and went on to coach the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Quinn guided Canada to the championship at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the country's first gold medal in men's hockey in 50 years. He was behind the bench when Canada won the World Cup of Hockey in 2004. "Pat Quinn was a giant of the hockey world, on the ice and off," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Twitter. Quinn coached Vancouver to the 1994 Stanley Cup final, the Canadian world junior team to gold in 2009 and helped the Maple Leafs reach the Eastern Conference finals two times. "Whether he was playing for a team, coaching a team or building one, Pat Quinn was thoughtful, passionate and committed to success," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Pat's contributions to hockey, at every level, reflected the skills he possessed and the great respect with which he treated the sport." Broadcaster and executive John Davidson described Quinn as "a guy that loves the game so much that when he walks in, you know hockey's in the room." Quinn led the Philadelphia Flyers to a 35-game unbeaten streak in the 1979-80 season that almost certainly will never be broken since ties have been taken out of the game. In 15 full seasons as an NHL coach, Quinn's teams missed the playoffs only three times. That success came over the span of decades, as a coach and executive. "He's not unlike a Scotty Bowman in that they're really bright guys," said former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee, who worked under him in Vancouver and made his son Graham's middle name Quinn in tribute. "They were really intelligent and they could see the trends, they could see the fads, the things that were going to come and go and the things that would stay. Very perceptive and he adjusted and advanced." Quinn was admired by those close to him for having a heart to match his 6-foot-3, 200-plus-pound frame. "He's a real guy's guy. He's a man's man," Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said. "He's just a straight shooter and called it like it is." Quinn was born in Hamilton, Ontario, on Jan. 29, 1943. He bounced around the minors before making his NHL debut with the Leafs in 1968. In the 1969 playoffs, his blindside hit on Bobby Orr knocked out the legendary defenseman. Quinn also played for the Canucks and Atlanta Flames before retiring in 1977 with an ankle injury. Almost immediately, he went into coaching and was an assistant on Fred Shero's staff in Philadelphia. During the 1978-79 season, he replaced Bob McCammon as the Flyers' coach. "Pat brought a complete change to the game that we had made so successful under Shero," said Bobby Clarke, a Hall of Fame player for the Flyers, later their GM and now the team's senior vice president. "You trusted what he was trying to implement with our team." Quinn became the coach of the Los Angeles Kings after his dismissal in Philadelphia. He left Los Angeles to take the job of president and GM in Vancouver. He returned to coaching during the 1990-91 season and won his second coach of the year title with the Canucks the next season when they went 42-26-12. Perhaps his most memorable accomplishment came when the Canucks, seeded seventh in the Western Conference, beat Calgary, Dallas and Toronto to reach the Stanley Cup final in the 1993-94 season. The Canucks made it to Game 7 before losing to the New York Rangers. Quinn went back to the front office in Vancouver, where he remained until he was fired by new ownership in 1997. Quinn returned to coaching in 1998 when he was hired by the Maple Leafs. Toronto went to the Eastern Conference final in his first season in 1998-99 and again in 2002. During the 2002 East final, Quinn missed two games with heart problems. "He allowed himself to get overweight, he smoked the cigars and loved to socialize," Clarke said. The Leafs made the playoffs in Quinn's first five seasons, which included a stint as president and GM. He "had a presence in the dressing room that demanded respect and had a way of talking and getting the guys ready for each game that really got the best out of the teams that he coached," longtime Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. Quinn was fired after the Leafs missed the playoffs in the first season after the 2004-05 lockout and the first one in the NHL played under a salary cap. After three years away, he coached the Edmonton Oilers for one season in 2009-10. Quinn most recently spent time as chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame. "He was obviously very, very competitive when he coached and when he played and when he managed," said Davidson, president of the Columbus Blue Jackets and chairman of the Hall of Fame's selection committee. "But he's a guy that obviously wants to be around the game." McPhee spoke of the impact Quinn left on people. "Pat was one of the most phenomenal human beings I've ever known," he said. "A lot of us feel really, really lucky that we got to work for him." Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:59:00 +0000
Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz on Hall of Fame ballot
NEW YORK (AP) Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are among 17 newcomers on baseball's 2015 Hall of Fame ballot. Craig Biggio, who fell two votes short of the 75 percent needed in the 2014 balloting, tops 17 holdovers on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot announced Monday. That group includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines. Johnson went 303-166 and won five Cy Young Awards. The Big Unit struck out 4,875 batters, second only to Nolan Ryan's 5,714. Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner, was 219-100 and struck out 3,154. He led the major leagues in ERA five times. Smoltz is vying to join former Atlanta teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted this year along with Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Smoltz had a 213-155 record and 154 saves, the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves. He was 15-4 in the postseason. Carlos Delgado, Nomar Garciaparra, Gary Sheffield and players' association head Tony Clark also are among the first-time eligibles. Don Mattingly will appear on the ballot for the 15th and final time after receiving 8 percent last year. The Hall's board voted in July to cut a player's eligibility from 15 years to 10 but grandfathered players in the 11-15 group, which also includes Alan Trammell (14th year) and Lee Smith (13th). Players who have admitted steroids use or been tainted with accusations of use have fallen short. McGwire, entering his next-to-last year of eligibility, received 11 percent last year, down from a peak of 25.6 in 2008. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, dropped from 38 percent to 35 percent in his second ballot appearance. Bonds, a seven-time MVP and baseball's career home run leader, fell from 36 percent to 35. Sosa, who hit 609 homers, dropped from 13 percent to 7 and is close to falling below the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot. Voters are the approximately 600 writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years at any point. Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 27. Results will be announced Jan. 6. Players elected, along with choices announced Dec. 8 by the golden era committee (1947-72), will be inducted July 26 at Cooperstown. Tue, 25 Nov 2014 02:19:00 +0000
Taylor apologizes, won't appeal NBA suspension
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) An apologetic Jeffery Taylor said he will not appeal the NBA's 24-game suspension following his guilty plea on domestic violence charges. The Hornets forward addressed the media on Monday and said he takes "full responsibility" for his actions and deemed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's punishment "appropriate." Taylor apologized to the Hornets organization, his teammates and the woman whom he assaulted at the hotel in East Lansing, Michigan in September. Taylor said he has met with general manager Rich Cho and addressed his teammates, but has not yet spoken to owner Michael Jordan. The 25-year-old Taylor said he's "genuinely sorry for everything that happened." The NBA Players Association last week called the suspension "excessive" and said it would support an appeal by Taylor. Taylor chose not to appeal the suspension, which will cost him nearly $200,000 of his $915,000 salary this season. "My actions were wrong and I don't care to appeal a decision that was based off my actions being wrong," Taylor said. "So I respect the league's decision on the suspension and I will take all of the necessary steps to make sure nothing like that ever happens again." Taylor apologized repeatedly to the victim, but would not say if they are still romantically involved. "There's not a day that doesn't go by that I don't regret what happened and wish I could go back and change everything and make one better decision," Taylor said. Silver sent a stern message on the league's lack of tolerance for domestic violence last Wednesday when he suspended Taylor without pay for 24 games after Taylor pleaded guilty Oct. 29 to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property. Taylor is eligible to return to action Dec. 17 against Phoenix. "While the suspension is significantly longer than prior suspensions for incidents of domestic violence by NBA players, it is appropriate in light of Mr. Taylor's conduct, the need to deter similar conduct going forward, and the evolving social consensus - with which we fully concur - that professional sports leagues like the NBA must respond to such incidents in a more rigorous way," Silver said in a release last week. The NBA conducted an investigation into Taylor's arrest following an altercation with a woman with whom he was having a romantic relationship. Taylor and the woman were drinking heavily at a hotel room and a loud argument ensued, prompting guests to call security, the league's statement outlined. The argument escalated and Taylor shoved the woman in a violent manner into the hallway where she fell to the ground and struck her head on an opposite door. The statement also said Taylor slapped her arm and punched a hole in the wall near his hotel room. The woman had marks on her upper arm and a bump on her head but declined medical treatment, the report said. Silver ordered Taylor to enter an outpatient alcohol treatment program and perform alcohol sensor tests daily for 60 days. After that, he is subject to random testing by the probation department. He must also perform 80 hours of community service. Taylor said he didn't want to discuss the incidents of that morning or what was released in the commissioner's report. He said he has already begun counseling and that alcohol is "something I need to remove from my life." Domestic violence has been at the forefront of the national sports scene this year, ever since Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punched his then-fiance in a hotel elevator. Taylor refused to blame the media focus on domestic violence as a reason for the severe punishment. "I think it is appropriate and I respect the commissioner's decision," Taylor said. A former second-round pick out of Vanderbilt, Taylor spent the last two seasons vying for playing time with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist before tearing his Achilles last year. He has averaged 6.6 points and 2.0 rebounds for his career. As for how the suspension - and the negative publicity that comes with it - will affect his career, Taylor said that is not his primary concern. "The basketball part will work itself out," Taylor said. "I'm more concerned with the person involved and making sure that she was OK and making sure my family was OK and working out the legal process. Basketball, at the end of the day, was not the most important part." Mon, 24 Nov 2014 21:31:00 +0000
Pacquiao crushes Algieri; eyes Mayweather
MACAU -- Manny Pacquiao couldn't resist having a little fun after getting the signature win he desperately needed for the fight boxing fans desperately want to see. No reason not to enjoy himself after sending Chris Algieri to the canvas six times Sunday night in a performance that will once again heat up talk of a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. "He's going to fight me? Yes! Yes!," Pacquiao said, jumping up and down in the ring Sunday after tearing apart a reluctant Algieri on his way to a lopsided decision win. "I am ready to fight him next year." Pacquiao was playing off a new commercial where he celebrates after thinking Mayweather has agreed to the match. But he might have boosted his stock enough to entice Mayweather into the ring finally. "I really want that fight," Pacquiao said. "The fans deserve that fight." Pacquiao got the big knockdowns he was looking for, battering Algieri around the ring at will Sunday in a lopsided welterweight title fight. Pacquiao chased Algieri from the opening bell, knocking him down repeatedly and dominating. About the only thing Pacquiao didn't get was his first knockout in five years, settling instead for a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision against an opponent who seemed unwilling to engage. By the time it was over, Algieri had gone down six times. And Pacquiao had dispelled notions he might be on the decline. "It's not just his hand speed," Algieri said. "He's a great fighter. He does everything well. Manny has perfected his style of boxing." Pacquiao prayed in his corner while waiting for the decision. But it was Algieri who never had a prayer. Pacquiao knocked Algieri down once in the second round, two more times in the sixth and twice more in the ninth. After a final knockdown in the 10th round, he seemed to back off in a fight that had long been decided. Two ringside judges scored the bout 119-103 while the third had it 120-102. The Associated Press had Pacquiao winning 120-102. Pacquiao went into the fight saying he needed a power win to entice Mayweather to fight him. He vowed to put on a performance like some of his earlier fights and did, never letting Algieri get close. Some of the sold out crowd of 13,202 at the Venetian Macau may have wondered whether Algieri deserved this fight, as he spent more time trying to stay away from Pacquiao than trading punches. But while Algieri could run, he couldn't hide. Pacquiao caught him repeatedly with power punches and dropped him as he tried to back away. "The master boxer was given a master class by professor Pacquiao tonight," trainer Freddie Roach said. "I was disappointed in Algieri's performance tonight. All he did was run." Pacquiao's second fight in China was held at midday to accommodate the pay-per-view sales in the U.S., but the time of day didn't matter much to the Filipino fans who cheered on their 35-year-old national hero. Pacquiao knocked Algieri down in the corner in the second round, though Algieri claimed it was a slip. He easily fought his way through Algieri's tentative defense, landing punches on the inside and piling up points. Algieri came into the fight with a reputation for his jab, but he refused to commit to it early and simply pawed at Pacquiao with his left hand. Still, Algieri's corner somehow thought he was carrying out the game plan just the way they had drawn it up. "You're doing beautiful man," trainer Tim Lane told his fighter after the third round. "Everything stays the same. Keep it up." By the end of the fourth round, Pacquiao had already thrown more than 100 more punches than Algieri. And Algieri rarely stopped to set his feet to punch, and kept trying to run away from the champion's punching power. Unfortunately for Algieri, things then went from bad to worse. Pacquiao caught him with a big left hand that sent Algieri sprawling on the canvas in the sixth round, almost turning a reverse somersault before finally landing in the corner. Pacquiao was right back on him, and Algieri went down again late in the round as he tried desperately to survive. Still, Algieri's corner urged him to continue to do what he was doing, long after he needed a knockout to win. "This is the way we want to be," Lane told him. "This is what you wanted" Algieri was an unlikely opponent despite being unbeaten in 20 fights after ending a kick boxing career to concentrate on boxing. He got the bout after being knocked down twice in the first round in his June fight with Ruslan Provodnikov and coming back to win a 12-round decision, and was supremely confident in the weeks before the fight that he would beat Pacquiao, too. Oddsmakers made him a 7-1 underdog against the Filipino great, who came into determined to show he still had his punching power. The bout was for a piece of the welterweight title held by Pacquiao, though it was fought at a catch weight of 144 pounds instead of 147. Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:19:11 +0000
NFL will hear Adrian Peterson's appeal Dec. 2
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Adrian Peterson's hearing for the appeal of his suspension will be held on Dec. 2. And it will not be in front of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL announced Friday that longtime hearing officer Harold Henderson will preside over the proceedings involving the Minnesota Vikings star running back. Goodell has the authority to decide whether to hear the appeal himself or appoint someone else. Peterson has not played since the opening week of the season while dealing with child abuse allegations in Texas. He was placed on paid leave while the legal process played out, and he pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault for injuring his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. Goodell suspended Peterson earlier this week for the rest of the season and told Peterson that he will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15 for his violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. Peterson is appealing the punishment, which the NFL Players Association called "unprecedented, arbitrary, and unlawful." The union had been seeking a neutral arbitrator to oversee the appeal, saying the league "is making up the process and punishment as it goes." Henderson worked for the league as chairman of its powerful Management Council's executive committee for 16 years. He also was a league vice president of labor relations. He led the league's negotiation team, which settled several lawsuits by NFL players and ultimately entered into a new collective bargaining agreement which included expanded free agency and a salary cap. That agreement has been extended several times, most recently through 2021. He regularly deals with NFL team owners, team executives, players, players' union, player agents and attorneys on a variety of matters. Henderson's long history of working for the league did little to assuage the union's concerns about the process. "The NFL should stop attempting to position a former NFL executive as neutral and independent," the union said. "It is disappointing the league office made a decision to ignore the players' request for fairness." The NFL argued that Goodell's right to preside over appeals or choose an official has been part of the collective bargaining agreement since 1993. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said criticism of Henderson is unwarranted given his current position as president of the NFL Player Care Foundation, which is funded jointly by the union and the league; and his experience in hearing 87 appeals, including one from receiver Brandon Marshall that ended with his three-game suspension for a domestic violence incident being reduced to one game. Goodell's punishment of Peterson comes under the new player conduct policy he unveiled in August. That came in the wake of criticism he received for his initial light treatment of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was caught on camera punching his then-fiancee in the face in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice was later suspended indefinitely, cut by the Ravens, and recently had his appeal heard by an arbitrator. The new, tougher guidelines call for a six-game suspension for the first assault, battery or domestic violence offense. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL --- AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner, in New York, contributed to this report. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:18:00 +0000
Ibanez, Cash, Wakamatsu finalists to manage Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Raul Ibanez, Kevin Cash and Don Wakamatsu are the finalists to replace Joe Maddon as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. Dave Martinez, the Rays' bench coach for the past seven seasons, was among seven candidates dropped Friday. Also cut were Barry Larkin, Doug Glanville, Manny Acta, Craig Counsell, Charlie Montoyo and Ron Wotus. Tampa Bay said interviews with the finalists will be scheduled for the week of Dec. 1. Maddon left the Rays after nine seasons to manage the Chicago Cubs. "The decision on Dave Martinez was especially difficult," Rays President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman said in a statement. "He's played a key role in our organization's evolution, and he's done all he can to put himself in position to be a manager. In the end, we determined that our clubhouse would best benefit from a new voice that will add to our already strong and cohesive culture." Ibanez, 42, has spent 19 seasons in the major leagues with Seattle, Kansas City, Philadelphia, the Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels and has 305 homers and 2,034 hits. He helped the Royals win this year's AL pennant. The 36-year-old Cash played for Tampa Northside in the 1989 Little League World Series and was a big league catcher for eight seasons with Toronto, Tampa Bay, Boston, the New York Yankees and Houston from 2002-10. He was a major league advance scout for Toronto in 2012 and Cleveland's bullpen coach in 2013-14. Wakamatsu, 51, was the first Asian-American manager in major league history and led Seattle to a 127-147 record in 2009-10. He played in the minor leagues from 1985-96, reaching the major leagues for 18 games with the Chicago White Sox in 1991. Wakamatsu has been bench coach of Texas (2003-06), Oakland (2008), Toronto (2011-12) and Kansas City (2014), and was the Rangers' third-base coach in 2007. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:09:00 +0000
LA Kings' Voynov charged with domestic violence
LOS ANGELES (AP) Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was charged with felony domestic violence on Thursday by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Voynov faces one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury. In a statement providing the first public details of the incident, the district attorney's office said Voynov "caused his wife to suffer injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck" during an argument at their home, several hours after the Kings won an afternoon game. The 24-year-old Russian Olympian has been suspended since his arrest early Oct. 20 at a hospital in Torrance, California. He had taken his wife to the hospital for treatment of injuries from their home in nearby Redondo Beach. Craig Renetzky, Voynov's attorney, has repeatedly said his client didn't hit his wife. Renetzky also said Voynov shouldn't have been arrested, blaming a misunderstanding between police and Voynov's wife, who speaks even less English than her husband. "Mr. Voynov is extremely disappointed that the district attorney's office elected to file charges," Renetzky said in a statement. "Mr. Voynov maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name in court. We remain confident." Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the NHL before he even posted bail on the morning of his arrest. The Kings have wholeheartedly supported the league's disciplinary actions, and they affirmed that position in a statement issued by the team after Voynov was charged. "We are aware of the actions taken today in California, which we will review and evaluate before making any decisions," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "Until further notice, the current terms of Mr. Voynov's suspension remain in place." The NHL's position means the Kings will not receive salary cap relief in the absence of Voynov, who is still being paid his $3 million salary during his suspension. With Voynov still counting against the cap, Los Angeles was forced to play with five defensemen earlier this month while unable to recall anyone from the minors to fill in for an injured player. "As an organization we will continue to closely monitor the developments of the legal proceedings and work in partnership with the NHL to determine the proper course of action in the future," the Kings said in their statement. Voynov isn't allowed to practice or play for the team, but he has been skating at the Kings' training complex after their practices, sometimes under the supervision of an assistant coach. Voynov will be arraigned Dec. 1 in Torrance. The charge carries a maximum penalty of nine years in prison, and Voynov also could face deportation. Voynov is a two-time Stanley Cup champion who also played for Russia at the Sochi Olympics. He will miss his 14th straight game Thursday night when the Kings host Carolina. Through her own attorney, Voynov's wife previously said she didn't want charges filed against the defenseman, but California authorities aren't required to consider such wishes when deciding to file charges. Voynov and his wife got married during the summer. They are still living together and raising her child from a prior relationship. Voynov earned a spot in the Kings' lineup as a rookie during their run to their first Stanley Cup title in 2011-12. He scored a career-best 34 points last season, and he has two assists in six games this year. The Kings signed Voynov to a six-year, $25 million contract extension in June 2013. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:54:00 +0000