In defense of Mr. Met flipping off a fan

On Wednesday night, Mr. Met was caught on video at the lowest point in his mascot life. The anguish of a 7-1 loss paired with fans yelling at him caused the normally jovial baseball-headed man to flip people off in the stands.

This is unfair. Mr. Met didn’t fail the Mets, the world failed Mr. Met. He is the tragic figure of the mascot world, a desperate Willy Loman looking for purpose. For too long he’s been ignored, downtrodden, and mocked. Society pushed him to his breaking point, then twisted the knife by filming the one moment in his mascot life he wants to forget.

To understand why Mr. Met lost his cool is a lesson in Mr. Met himself and his story deserves to be told.

About those bats, though. LSU’s first five hitters in the lineup are batting over .300 on the season. Skipper Paul Mainieri has fiddled with the order in Omaha, sending a surprisingly struggling Kramer Robertson to bat leadoff a few times, but they’re still manufacturing runs. Catcher Michael Papierski has come alive in the CWS, most recently knocking out two home runs from both sides of the plate in the elimination game win over Oregon State Saturday. He’s a terror, and he’s difficult to pitch around.

My friends and I used to play a game: If you could be sponsored by any company, what would it be? I always chose Polar Seltzer. Free bottles of something you love just because you let them put your face on marketing materials? Sign me up. That’s the dream.

And Noah Syndergaard is living it. He hacked the system. He used his fame to get the free stuff he likes. And that stuff isn’t, like, BMWs. It’s Cholula. It costs, what, three bucks at most?

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there are no longer four-minute breaks in between picks

This news got me thinking about baseball nicknames. There have been some historically great ones, from Yogi, to Babe, to Mr. October, to Say Hey Kid, to Panda, to Joey Bats, to Big Papi, to A-Rod.

But I think we need more. And I think we should streamline the process: What if every players’ nickname was just his name, but with the first letters of his first and last name switched around?

Here’s what the backs of jerseys would look like, because this is an exercise that is clearly too complicated for someone who isn’t a sportswriter to do for themselves. I have included parentheses after each nickname to tell you how funny it is or isn’t, because that is also something you definitely can’t figure out for yourself.

Texas went up on the Indians, 7-1, after their first two innings at bat, and led by seven runs, 9-2, after their fourth time up. That would be all the Rangers would score in the game, though, as all they could do was sit and watch Cleveland catch up and then overtake them to win the game, 15-9, courtesy of 13 unanswered runs.

If you’re unfamiliar with how all of this works, don’t worry. We got you covered. Just like the more famous NCAA basketball tournament, the top 64 teams in the nation make this competition.

For one, there are no longer four-minute breaks in between picks, a process that causes it to take forever for you to find out who your team is selecting whether you’re going third or 30th.

Yeah, he says. I was not expecting that question, though. A hot dog is its own category. It’s like a gyro.

Yes! I say, too loudly, and the PR guy looks up from his phone. I’m excited, thrilled to discover that Syndergaard is on the right side of history. You wouldn’t go to a barbecue and be like, ‘Hey can I have that sandwich?’ as you pointed at a hot dog.

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All signs point to NHL skipping 2018 Olympics

There is little interest among NHL executives to send players to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the issue was not even on the Board of Governors’ agenda when they met Saturday in Los Angeles, where the league’s All-Star festivities are being held.

The issue of the Olympics got about 10 seconds of discussion, Bettman said.

It wasn’t clear what motivated Day to storm out of the penalty box. He was assessed a 10-minute match penalty for abusing an official.

At that point, officials decided to end the game.

In a statement, Mark Krug, the NJCAA’s assistant executive director, said the organization is aware of the incident and will take all necessary steps to gather as much information from tournament officials and local authorities regarding violations to the association’s sportsmanship code. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the NJCAA.

Bottineau won its 10th consecutive national title.

The NJCAA hockey championship will cease to exist next year due to a lack of teams.

Well that was borderline treasonous, and a disgrace to our nation and its proud and storied history. My father didn’t kick the Nazis’… and the puck drops!

Another archetype for sports movies is the zany announcer. Halifax Highlanders announcer Rod McCaudry ranks up there with the best of them.

And in the same vein, Kunin said he sees Granato as a logical fit for the job, one that will involve more teaching and guidance than in a conventional Olympic year.

I don’t think there’s anyone that deserves it more than him, Kunin said. He’s a competitor and he’s a worker and he expects results with his group and with himself. I see no difference going into picking this team of Olympic guys, and you can expect guys that are going to want to win, and are going to win. That’s going to be his mindset.

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MLB players can wear nicknames on their jerseys for one weekend. Here are some ideas

No, I’m not just saying that because it has Wild in the title and I am inclined, by the nature of my last name, to like songs with Wild in the title. I am saying this because it’s true: There are few songs that aren’t Bankhead by T.I. that get me as amped up as a Stevie Nicks banger. Wild Heart has the perfect slow build, followed by a driving crescendo that makes you want to step up to the plate and hit dingers.

OK, fine, you got me: This diversion is just an excuse to embed this video of Stevie Nicks singing Wild Heart backstage in the 1970s while she gets her makeup done:

The reason I’m writing about nicknames is because MLB recently announced that for the weekend of Aug. 25, the league will relax the restrictions on uniforms. Players will be able to wear jerseys with their names on the back as well as fluorescent-colored shoes. They’ll also be able to put a patch on their jerseys bearing the name of a person or organization who’s been instrumental to their development (that’s Baseball Speak). Proceeds from the nickname jerseys that fans buy will go to the Youth Development Foundation, which is something we can all agree is good. Who doesn’t want to develop the youth, foundationally speaking?

The Norwood Club is not a restaurant, and it is also not a bar. There is a bar, and there is a restaurant. But the brownstone in Greenwich Village is a private club; if you’re going to dine there, you have to belong.

I do not belong. I’m here because I’ve been invited to a brunch celebrating the partnership between Noah Syndergaard, the Mets’ star pitcher currently nursing a shoulder injury, and Cholula, the hot sauce that is, as far as I can tell, in fine health.

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Registered sex offender Luke Heimlich requests removal from Oregon State rotation for NCAA tournament super regional

No. 1 overall seed Oregon State’s best starting pitcher has asked not to throw in the team’s super regional opener on Friday night, saying that he does not want to be a distraction for his teammates as they play Vanderbilt for a spot in the College World Series proper in Omaha.

Earlier this week, The Oregonian discovered that Luke Heimlich is a registered sex offender in the states of Oregon and Washington, after he was convicted of molesting a six-year-old family member when he was 15. The incident occurred in his hometown of Puyallup, Wash. According to an Oregon State spokesperson, the university doesn’t necessarily know immediately whether a student is a registered sex offender.

Wells’ throw into second is then mishandled upon arrival, as it gets by Matt Henderson into the infield. Third baseman Dylan Busby comes over in support, and his throw is misplayed at the plate by catcher Cal Raleigh.

So: a throwing error on Wells, a fielding error on Henderson, and a fielding error on Raleigh all on the same play. The result of all of this madness was plating the tying run, and the score currently sits at 5-4 LSU in the top of the ninth, after the Tigers managed to cross another run shortly after this weirdness. This game has been absolutely wild.

Everyone in the majors was a pitcher, shortstop, outfielder, or catcher when they were in high school. Give or take. If you’re playing first base in high school, that means you’re probably not as good of an athlete as the kids playing center, short, and catcher. And right. And probably second and third base. If you’re playing with five different teenagers who are better athletes than you, that probably means you’ll need to be the best hitter on the planet if you want to star in the majors.

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The cub would be confused.

The day kicked off with a rowdy affair in Louisville, which saw the opening innings notch three throwing errors between the teams and an ever-elusive Kentucky bat interference that plated the Cardinals’ first run in the bottom of the first. From there, a pitchers’ duel broke out until Louisville’s Drew Ellis cracked a three-run shot over the left field wall in the fifth to put Kentucky away for good.

Ellis admired his blast for just a little too long for some as he made his way to first base, and Kentucky catcher Kole Cottam had words for him as he rounded down to home plate. A short shouting match then ensued not surprising, given the intense rivalry between the in-state nemeses but in the end nothing came of it.

The Wildcats managed a short two-out rally in the top of the ninth, but Louisville closer Lincoln Henzman was just too much for Kentucky in the end. Game, Cardinals, 5-2.

This would be a long, long, long fight. The cub would be confused. The penguin would be waddling around like a trapped flightless bird because it’s a trapped flightless bird. Ultimately the bear cub would get hungry and eat the penguin.

Now we’re in a quandary. We have three fighters left. It’s here we need to go with experience. Which has the ability to change the game in the middle of the contest? The minuteman. Years of repping the Patriots has taught it how to bend the rules, so for no conceivable reason it gets a bye — which leaves us with …

I could survive off pizzas and Cholula for a while, he continues. I’m on a deserted island. I’m not worried about my weight. I’m not worried about my figure.

I suggest he could throw coconuts to stay in shape. He says, yes, that would work and so would climbing trees.

Speaking of islands, we happen to be on one called New York City, and Syndergaard tells me there’s this restaurant in Tribeca where he orders steak with lobster on top.

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Another Yankees’ loss has the Red Sox in 1st

The Yankees have had a real weird June. They’ve outscored opponents by 47 runs, which, even with well over a week left to go in the month, is the largest such monthly split of the season for them. All that has gained them, though, is an 8-10 record that includes six consecutive losses, four of them coming at the hands of their bullpen. The latest of those came on Tuesday, with Tyler Clippard taking the L for an Angels late-game barrage.

This isn’t necessarily poor luck, either: The Yankees have three blowouts in June that account for 34 of the 47 runs they’ve outscored opponents by. Not everything is clicking at the same time, but when it does, the Yankees look unbeatable.

Per our replay protocol either the head coach may come out onto the field and request the crew to get together or the umpire crew may get together on their own if they feel a review is warranted. In either situation, it is the sole authority of the crew chief to decide if any play is to go to review.

Nothing happened on this play that triggered a review.

Had this play gone to review AND was ruled fair by replay, the replay officials would have placed the runners on the bases they think they would [sic] of received had the ball been ruled fair.

Nothing happened on this play that triggered a review. Well, nothing except the ball hitting the yellow stripe on the left field foul line in a very ambiguous spot. Per that last paragraph, Oregon State would have been awarded a run maybe two owing to the fact that this hit probably would have yielded a double for Kwan.

But it didn’t, because no one thought to review a clearly unclear strike on the outfield wall in an elimination College World Series game.

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Michigan had a 2017 draft pick in damn near every professional league

Michigan folks can be, uhh, a bit full of themselves sometimes. But credit where it is due, because when you do something this cool it’s certainly worth bragging about.

Michigan swept the big four professional sports with players selected in each 2017 draft, but it bested even that achievement by adding two other sports.

UM has a men’s soccer team as well as a lacrosse team, and had players drafted in both the MLL and MLS drafts. In total, 26 Michigan athletes have been selected in drafts this spring. The only major professional sports drafts the Wolverines got shut out are the WNBA and the NWSL drafts.

But Michigan truly stands above here with a wide array of exceptional athletes across a ton of sports. Maybe the Leaders and Best thing isn’t so corny after all? (It definitely still is.)

All true. It turns out that Tebow really is good for the box office, so there is certainly logic to Tebow being moved up to the Florida State League. It turns out that Tebow is mildly popular in that particular state, which means he’ll make money for the St. Lucie Mets, who are owned by … the New York Mets.

Naturally, you’d look toward Paul Goldschmidt and production as a big reason why the Diamondbacks are currently where they are right now (and you’d be right to do so), but they’re also getting solid production from the trio of Jake Lamb, Chris Owings, and David Peralta. Plus, it helps that Zack Greinke has been pitching well. Robbie Ray has been keeping up with Greinke, the duo of Zack Godley and Taijuan Walker has nicely rounded out the rotation, and Archie Bradley has shined in the bullpen.

Arizona may not be at the top of the NL West, but there’s still a chance that a certain fan in Washington D.C. and the rest of the fan base in the desert will have good reason to pay attention to them for an extended period of time this summer.

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College World Series 2017 scores and bracket: Oregon State and LSU advance to the winners bracket

The first day of the College World Series has come to a close, and both games delivered on their high expectations, the LSU-Florida State tilt in the evening session, in particular, was a raucous, rowdy affair with players flying all over the place, and these teams need to play more often.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have gone 11-8 in June despite being outscored by two runs on the month, and that’s also in large part due to the performance of their bullpen. While the offense has been scoring just over four runs per game, the bullpen led by Craig Kimbrel in what could end up being his top season to date has made sure every lead, regardless of size, ends up counting for Boston.

You can’t draw too much from the performance of either team: Boston’s pen as a whole is unlikely to remain as dominant as it’s been, with nearly every major contributor posting eye-popping numbers and zero after zero. However, their rotation is probably only going to get better as David Price shakes off the rust and Rick Porcello figures out what he’s doing wrong, and a solution at third base should be the focus to round out the lineup before the trade deadline.

The Yankees are in a position to add help both in the rotation and the bullpen, and even just the former would go a long way: If they had more starters they could rely on, they wouldn’t need to lean on the bullpen as heavily as they have. As is, the Yanks have one starter averaging at least six innings per start, and that’s 23-year-old Luis Severino, whose career high in innings in the majors changes with each frame he completes.

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LSU suddenly forgets how to play baseball during the College World Series

LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson is having a tough time in Omaha. The .413 hitter didn’t post a single hit in the Tigers’ opening night slugfest with Florida State, and even his mom was in attendance to cheer him on. That’s gotta sting.

Against Oregon State, LSU was already smarting after starter Eric Walker essentially pulled himself at the top of the third after elbow soreness protruded on what had otherwise been a fine start for the righty. That brought in Caleb Gilbert, who up until the top of the fifth was throwing absolute gas and shutting down a potent Beavers lineup. And then the fifth.

Pac-12 Player of the Year Nick Madrigal laced a hard grounder to the second-third base gap, and that’s the exact territory that Robertson’s responsible for covering. Let’s see how that fielding attempt went.

This game has already featured some defensive fireworks by Oregon State, but Fullerton is most certainly not here to be outdone. Just ask the Titans’ centerfielder, Scott Hurst.

KJ Harrison slammed this ball into left center, an area of the park that plays very, very big. Coupled with the fact that the wind blows in from that very direction, this fly had a considerable amount of mustard behind it to make it to the wall. So it’s remarkable that Hurst, at full sprint, leaps from the middle of the warning track, slams into the wall while catching the ball, then returns to Earth to tell the story.

Oregon State won, 6-5, to send Fullerton to the losers bracket.

Without knowing his exact stats at Middletown High, I would guess that this is the very first time in his life that he hasn’t been able to disembowel baseballs at will. He was probably the best hitter on every little league team, the best hitter in high school, the best hitter on his college team, the best hitter in the minors as he climbed up, Class-A to Double-A to Triple-A, raking at every stop. And he was one of the best hitters in the majors right away, too.

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