The Buffalo Bills continue to have less than ideal luck

May 17, 2016 – 12:16 am by Hickey

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The newest ESPN 30 for 30 venture, “Believeland,” would easily have you convinced that Cleveland is the most star-crossed metropolis in these United States. But on the other end of Lake Erie, Buffalo could not wait but two days to show it’s still very much in the running for that ignominious distinction.

On Monday it was reported that not one but both of the Bills last two first-round picks — both out of Clemson, which up until this year carried the reputation of more or less being the Bills of college football — are going to be out for awhile due to injuries.

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Can the Cubs continue to be the Warriors of baseball?

May 11, 2016 – 12:31 am by Hickey

cubs_si_cover_may_2016_baez

Watching the Cubs these days brings to mind the single greatest reaction in the history of sports broadcasting.

At the 1973 Belmont Stakes, CBS announcer Chic Anderson exclaimed “He is moving like a TREMENDOUS machine!” as Secretariat leaves the rest of the field eating his dust — or more accurately so far behind that his dust is already settled by the time they would have an opportunity to eat it.

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The Nats are unimpressed with Bryce Harper’s 6 walks

May 9, 2016 – 4:20 am by Hickey

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Bryce Harper became a witness to history Sunday afternoon, four pitches at a time. The Nationals slugger tied a big-league record held by Jeff Bagwell, Andre Thornton and Jimmie Foxx when he was walked six times by the Cubs in Sunday’s game. Only three of those free passes were intentional, but it was clear in the other three plate appearances that the Cubs weren’t going into the strike zone if he worked a count up to 3 balls.

So was it good strategy, or chicken shit? As always, the answer is in the eye of the beholder.

No one can dispute it worked, as the Cubs escaped the potential pitfalls of pitching to Harper for a 4-3, 13-inning record to continue the best start in baseball since the 1984 Tigers.

Nationals starter Tanner Roark, who outpitched the otherworldly Jake Arrieta only to wind up with a no-decision, seemed least amused by the strategy employed by Joe Maddon.

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Nyquist breezes past competition to win Kentucky Derby

May 8, 2016 – 3:30 am by Zach Rastall
Garry Jones/Associated Press

Garry Jones/Associated Press

As it turns out, the worries that Nyquist might have trouble running at 1 1/4 miles were totally off base.

The three-year-old colt proved to be the class of the field of 20 Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs, sprinting home to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Exaggerator and Gun Runner.

With the win, Nyquist improved to a perfect eight for eight in his racing career, becoming just the eighth unbeaten horse to emerge victorious at the Kentucky Derby. He did so with a dazzling time of 2:01.31, the quickest winning time by a Derby winner since Funny Cide did so in 2:01.19 back in 2003. Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Buck and John Smoltz have some bad takes, don’t understand math

May 7, 2016 – 7:47 pm by McD
    Joe Buck John Smoltz

Joe Buck and John Smoltz are in the booth today announcing Game 3 of the Cubs-Nationals series. And while the (usually competent) broadcast team didn’t have to work too hard to make the game seem dramatic and important, the pair had a quick aside in the middle of the game about sacrifice bunts happening three times (to that point) in the game that, well, didn’t make them sound too smart.

Things went a little off the rails with both Buck and Smoltz incoherently opining on sabermetrics and how teams that are “really into the numbers have yet to win a championship.” In 2016. In Major League Baseball.

I really thought Joe Buck improved dramatically as a baseball announcer once he stopped being teamed with Tim McCarver and his “takes” on baseball, but this was just an outrageously stupid discussion of how data (or “numbers”) have changed the game of baseball. In their defense, it’s not like they’re the only current Americans who are filled with fear at the sight of math.

Nor is it the first time Smoltz has said something dumb about math in baseball.

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NY Islanders win first playoff series since 1993

April 24, 2016 – 11:52 pm by Hickey

Isles

Captain John Tavares’ game-winning goal in double-overtime of Game 6 propelled the New York Islanders to a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers Sunday night that clinched their first playoff series victory since beating the Penguins in the 1993 Patrick Division(!) Finals.

The end of ridiculously long droughts allows for one of our favorite parlor games at Rumors and Rants (or, for our Canadian audience, favourite parlour games at Rumours and Rants). Here is look at some of the things that were relevant the last time the Islanders were.

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Former Chicago Bears teammates reunite to discuss mental health

April 21, 2016 – 8:35 pm by Will DeWitt

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Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long met with former teammate Brandon Marshall to discuss mental health in an event called “Real Chats – Off The Gridiron” hosted by Marshall’s foundation Project375. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness and disorders.

From his Facebook, Marshall released a nearly 10-minute video of the conversation shared between Long and Marshall in which Long discussed his history with mental illness, his treatment and how he’s matured over the course of his time in the NFL.

It was the first time Long publically revealed his story that dates back to when he was diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school. Long said that he felt different than the rest of his class and that it was “the scarlet letter I had to wear.”

Long admitted that he turned down 60 Division-1 football scholarships. He decided to play baseball instead in hopes of differentiating himself from his father Howie and older brother Joel who were football players.

He went on to discuss how Chris took Long to go get help. The night before, while sitting in a spare room at his brother’s place in St. Louis, Long admitted he was sweating and bawling in what he calls “the worst night of my life… because I had to go face whatever it was I had been fighting.”

He went on to say, “It was so overwhelming the fact that somebody loved me so much that they were willing to walk me into the fire.”

The two former teammates discussed Long’s treatment, but before the conversation concluded Marshall told Long that he was proud of the maturation he has seen out of him and that he’s his friend.

Kobe Bryant steals spotlight on historic sports day

April 14, 2016 – 3:42 am by Zach Rastall
Christina House/Los Angeles Times

Christina House/Los Angeles Times

April 13, 2016: A night that deserves to live on forever in NBA lore.

Kobe Bryant played the final game of his Hall of Fame career, the Golden State Warriors surpassed the 1995-’96 Chicago Bulls with their 73rd win, Steph Curry became the first player in NBA history to make 400 3-pointers in a single season and Duje Dukan made his highly-anticipated debut for the Sacramento Kings.

There was plenty going on in the world of sports on Wednesday. The second week of the MLB season is in full swing and the NHL postseason got underway, which included a thrilling 1-0 overtime victory for the St. Louis Blues against the Chicago Blackhawks (called by the incomparable Doc Emrick).

But make no mistake: The night belonged to the NBA.

In Oakland, the Curry and the Warriors continued their pursuit of 73 wins against the Memphis Grizzlies. They had little issue with the Grizzlies, cruising to a textbook 125-104 victory to reach 73-9.

And as if that astonishing team accomplishment wasn’t enough, Curry made a little individual history of his own.

Curry finished the night with 46 points on 15-of-24 shooting, including going 10 of 19 from 3-point range. More importantly, that meant he finished the season with a jaw-dropping 402 3-pointers made. To put that into perspective, the previous record, set last season by Curry, was 286. At this point, we’ve all become at least a little numb to his awe-inspiring greatness, but that stat should completely boggle your mind. Curry broke last year’s record back in late February, giving him another month and a half to thoroughly shatter his previous mark. No other player in NBA history had reached 300 3-pointers in a single season. Curry surpassed 400.