Now that everyone is smart, GMs must go bold to succeed

¡°The sheer quantity of brain power that hurled itself voluntarily and quixotically into the search for new baseball knowledge was either exhilarating or depressing, depending on how you felt about baseball. The same intellectual resources might have cured the common cold, or put a man on Pluto.¡±
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Womens DeMarre Carroll Jersey — Michael Lewis, ¡°Moneyball¡±

Lewis¡¯ seminal book was subtitled ¡°The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.¡± It¡¯s remarkable in retrospect: Bill James¡¯ ¡°Baseball Abstract¡± was first published nationally in 1982; ¡°Moneyball¡± came out in 2003. It took 34 years since James introduced readers to sabermetrics and 13 years since Lewis explained the market inefficiencies Billy Beane¡¯s small-market Oakland Athletics tried to exploit for all 30 front offices to fully enter the modern age of baseball.

The expulsion of Dave Stewart from the Diamondbacks (presumably to somewhere in the New Jersey Pine Barrens), with Mike Hazen of the Red Sox taking over as general manager, and the hiring of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to run the baseball operations for the Twins to replace old-school scout Terry Ryan means that every franchise is now doing some heavy numbers-crunching.

“I had a new pitch, and I probably abused it. So I need to go back to what I’ve thrown much longer,” said Strasburg, who was sporting a thick beard at the fan festival.

“One of our scouts, Dick Egan, was always telling me, ‘We have to get Mitch Moreland. He’s a player, a competitor, a gamer, a winner,'” Dombrowski said. “I came here, and the guys told me the same thing.”

Moreland said he had “a couple of options” on the free-agent market but preferred the Red Sox, because he believed they gave him the best chance to win the elusive championship.

“And that was before the Sale news broke, too,” Moreland said, referring to Tuesday’s blockbuster trade for ace lefty Chris Sale. “Seeing that, it just shows you we’re in it. We’re in it and trying to go all out to make that happen. I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Peters was actually beaten downfield by the receiver, Michael Crabtree, on the play

On his interception, Peters was actually beaten downfield by the receiver, Michael Crabtree, on the play. But he indicated after the game he wasn¡¯t worried about that.

¡°I knew that he wouldn¡¯t be able to throw the ball that far,¡¯¡¯ Peters said of Carr. ¡°I knew the ball was going to hang.¡¯¡¯

Jannik Hansen Kids Jersey The Chiefs will play against him with plenty of confidence, as they always seem to do.

Hopkins, who is in his fourth NFL season, has one more year on his rookie contract after Houston exercised its fifth-year option during the offseason. Previously, the Texans had extended each of their first-round picks drafted under the current collective bargaining agreement before or during the fourth year of their deals.
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For Hopkins, one difference this year is the Texans¡¯ offseason addition of quarterback Brock Osweiler. Osweiler, who signed a four-year, $72 million contract in March, has failed to connect with Hopkins.

One area in which Osweiler has struggled this season is throwing downfield, so the Texans offense has found its identity through its run game and short passes to tight ends instead spreading the field through the air.

¡°Our team is No. 1 in our division, so whatever I¡¯m doing, whatever my presence is in the football field, it¡¯s better than having numbers and my team not being No. 1 in our division, if you ask me,¡± Hopkins said. ¡°So right now I¡¯m in a good place. It¡¯s not really a numbers game for me. It¡¯s more my team winning the ultimate goal.¡±

Analysis — Hayward recorded his seventh interception of the season against Tampa Bay, a career high. It equals the most by a Chargers defender since Eric Weddle finished with seven in 2011. The franchise record is 10, set by Antonio Cromartie in 2007. Hayward has a pick in four of the Chargers¡¯ last five games. … The Chargers held the Buccaneers to 81 yards rushing and have held nine of their 12 opponents this season to less than 100 yards on the ground. The Chargers have not allowed a player to rush for 100 yards this season.

Vontaze Burfict facing suspension for helmet-to-helmet hit on Antonio Brown, per report

Vontaze Burfict’s decision to level Antonio Brown with a helmet-to-helmet hit in the closing minutes of Bengals vs. Steelers could have repercussions beyond costing Cincinnati a chance to advance in the NFL playoffs.

Burfict is facing a suspension for the hit, which would be levied at the beginning of the 2016 season. The Bengals linebacker could face a multi-game suspension, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Brown sustained a concussion as a result of the hit, which occurred when he was trying to pull the Steelers within field goal range in the fourth quarter.

A defenseless Brown was open in the middle of the field after stretching to attempt to catch a high pass. Burfict arrived late to not only lay a hit on Brown, but he also led with his head.

McCarron is poised to start Saturday’s playoff game against the Steelers as Dalton isn’t quite ready, however. Against the Steelers, McCarron completed 22 of 32 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times, and the Steelers easily won the game, 33-20.
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There is no next time after this game though, so McCarron will have to play smart, mistake-free football and hopefully he will get more from his running game than the 56 combined yards from Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard that he got the first time he played the Steelers.

Game Youth D. J. Swearinger Jersey Fortunately, Hoyer, the player who has looked the best at the position for Houston this season, is healthy again heading into the playoffs. Hoyer ranks 18th in the league in quarterback rating with 91.4 for the season. He and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins combine for a deadly combination. Hopkins has caught 111 passes for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns this year.

Reggie Wayne retires from the NFL, per report

The countdown clock for Reggie Wayne’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is ticking. Wayne intends to announce his retirement, according to Mike Chappell of CBS 4 in Indianapolis. That ends a 14-year NFL career spent entirely with the Indianapolis Colts.

The 36-year-old spent two weeks in training camp with the New England Patriots — a jarring sight for fans of both the Colts and Patriots — but he and the team agreed to leave him off the 53-man roster.

With his retirement, Wayne steps down from his position as the active career leader in both receptions (1,070) and yards (14,345). Fellow Hurricane Andre Johnson inherits the lead in both categories.

It was a great first half for Brady and the Patriots. Brady threw for over 150 yards and a touchdown with no picks and was not sacked in the opening half, and he also ran for 10 yards and a touchdown. Brady’s first touchdown was an 8-yard strike to Rob Gronkowski early in the first quarter.

Elite Mens Lance Alworth Jersey Brady had his rushing touchdown late in the second quarter, while the Chiefs only managed a pair of field goals from Cairo Santos going into the second half. The play above was ruled not a touchdown upon review, despite many thinking Brady was in. On the very next play, Brady carried a QB sneak and scored from one yard out.

Authentic Mens Tennessee Titans Jersey The Patriots kept up the pressure in the third quarter, when Brady hit Gronkowski for his second touchdown pass of the day. Kansas City did finally find the end zone when Smith hit Albert Wilson for a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it a one-score game. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, their defense simply could not reliably stop Brady and the Patriots, and within five minutes they put up six more points with two field goals from Stephen Gostkowski.

New England was able to kill plenty of clock and the Chiefs’ lack of offensive spark prevented them from mounting any kind of comeback late in the fourth. The Chiefs did have a good drive at the end, but they took too long to get to the line of scrimmage and even went back to the huddle multiple times. They found the end zone again but they had killed so much of the clock that the Patriots easily took the win.

The Patriots advance to the AFC Championship, where they will face either the Denver Broncos or the Pittsburgh Steelers, who play each other on Sunday afternoon.

No surprise John Schuerholz, Bud Selig put in Hall of Fame

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As expected, John Schuerholz and Bud Selig are the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the 16-person Today’s Game Era committee, focusing on players and contributors from 1988 on, elected the longtime executive of the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves and the former commissioner and Milwaukee Brewers owner. Managers Lou Piniella and Davey Johnson were shut out along with former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and players Mark McGwire, Will Clark, Albert Belle, Orel Hershiser and Will Clark.

Former commissioner Bud Selig, who implemented interleague play and the wild card, and John Schuerholz, who won 14 straight division titles as GM of the Braves, were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Era committee.

It’s not surprising that no players were elected. In recent years, the various incarnations of the Veterans Committee have been stingy, electing just two post-1950 players since 2000 — Bill Mazeroski in 2001 and Ron Santo in 2012. That trend continued in this election and the five-player group wasn’t especially strong. Remember as well that there are seven Hall of Fame players on the committee; those guys like being part of a small club. Plus, you need 12 votes to get elected, the same 75 percentage as the BBWAA requires. That’s a tough road to climb.

So the Dodgers appear to be intent on getting that number closer to $235 million for 2017, where the tax would be far less penalizing, and then ultimately moving it closer to $200 million in ensuing seasons.

So what kind of wiggle room does that leave them to fashion a better right-handed hitting club for 2017? Plenty, actually, since their current roster commitments for 2017 are around $150 million (not including the pending deal for free agent Rich Hill), with a touch more added once all of their arbitration cases are settled and contracts to players under control are finalized.

Doug Padilla: It remains uncertain if the Chicago White Sox will make a deal at the winter meetings, but even if they don’t, the front office of Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams will be mighty busy. Sale is the big trade prize, but other White Sox stars such as Jose Abreu and Jose Quintana could get plenty of attention as well. The White Sox know how to work the winter meetings, proving to be one of the biggest buyers two years ago. Now it looks like their turn to sell big.
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Marvin Lewis reaches out to Hue Jackson to offer support

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he offered some encouragement to Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson after Cleveland dropped its 12th game of the season.

Jackson, the Bengals former offensive coordinator, was emotional after Cleveland lost to the New York Giants 27-13.

As he spoke at the podium after the Browns endured their 12th loss in 12 games, coach Hue Jackson turned emotional before composing himself and said going winless is “the hardest thing ever.”
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“Being 0-12 is probably … the hardest thing ever,” Jackson said Sunday.

Jackson and Lewis are very close and have maintained regular contact in the form of texts or phone calls since Jackson left Cincinnati to take the Browns job, except during weeks they play each other. Lewis made sure to give Jackson a call after hearing about the press conference.

“I was told about it and just reached out and encouraged him,” Lewis said.

The two likely won’t be talking much next week when the Bengals travel to Cleveland to face the Browns for the second time. Cincinnati’s last win this season came against the Browns in October.

And then came the hateful Twitter messages from people telling him to “do your time and quit being a criminal,” Allen recalled.

Allen tried not to panic but admits he was devastated. The whole ordeal felt like a “gut kick,” he said. His stomach was uneasy. He didn’t know what to say. Eventually, he prayed for guidance.

Hollis Thompson Authentic Jersey “That’s what makes it so difficult — to question my character,” Allen, 34, told ESPN.

The man who pleaded guilty to federal fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges is Will D. Allen, the 2001 first-round pick of the New York Giants who also played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. The non-criminal Allen was drafted in the fourth round in 2004 by the Tampa Bay Bucs and also played for the Dallas Cowboys and — most recently — the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2013 to ’15.

Adrian Peterson’s agent involved in ‘heated exchange’ with Vikings executive, per report

The drama between the Minnesota Vikings and running back Adrian Peterson shows no signs of letting up. In the latest report, Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, got into a “heated verbal altercation” with a front office executive about the veteran back and his status with the team, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Dogra reportedly got into Mike Pouncey Authentic Womens Jersey a fiery argument at the NFL Combine with Rob Brzezinski, Minnesota’s vice president of football operation, and “made it clear that Peterson would never play there again.” According to the report, it was a very public altercation and had to be broken up by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik.

The report comes less than a week after Vikings general manager Rick Spielman praised Peterson and stated the team wanted him to return. However, just two days later, the All-Pro running back said that he’s “still uneasy” about returning to the Vikings because he felt a lack of support from the organization during his 2014 suspension.

Peterson was indicted for child abuse and later pleaded no contest to charges of reckless injury to his 4-year-old son. He played one game before being suspended for the rest of the season. Peterson still hasn’t been reinstated, and is currently not eligible to do so until April 15. He, along with the NFLPA, are engaged in a battle with the NFL over the discipline taken.

It’s a murky situation, especially given that Peterson’s NFL future was in doubt around the time of his suspension and he has a rather burdensome contract. Peterson still has three years on his deal and a total of $48 million coming his way if he plays out the full term.

Hopkins, 22, had a torn ligament in the wrist and needed a pin and rod to be inserted to Nat Moore Authentic Womens Jersey repair the damage. The Texans wide receiver said that the procedure was minor and he should be able to resume normal activities soon. Hopkins finished 2014 with 76 receptions for 1.210 yards and six touchdowns, although he managed just five yards in Week 17 while dealing with his wrist injury.

Even without Draymond Green, Warriors still look like themselves

With Draymond Green out with a left ankle contusion, the Golden State Warriors still managed to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 115-102 on Saturday night. Even when lacking an All-Star, this superteam can roll. Such is the luxury of this much talent, but victories also require role players to step up in different situations.

Not a even a week ago, it KeiVarae Russell Authentic Womens Jersey seemed as if young Kevon Looney was fading from the rotation. Suddenly, with Green out, the 20-year-old big man was thrust into the starting lineup. After revealing as much in pregame, Warriors coach Steve Kerr prompted a minor shock when he confirmed that Looney would indeed start off guarding the incredible Karl-Anthony Towns. “Yes,” Kerr said flatly of the assignment. “What else would you like to know?”

While Kerr would prefer not to play undermanned, he also relishes the opportunity to use guys who rarely play. “I’m actually really excited for tonight’s game,” he said before facing the Wolves. “I think it’s a great challenge for us.”

Remember our encylopedia-length Weekend Dimes back in the day? On Fridays, whenever the schedule allows, we like to try to recapture the spirit of the WD thing with a mini Son of Weekend Dime … because you know what nostalgic saps we are here at Stein Line Live.

Omri Casspi: You undoubtedly want to know if Sacramento is going to trade DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay between now and the Feb. 23 deadline. The answer remains: Too soon to say. The closest thing to a trade lock in the California capital is the exit of the popular Casspi, whose representatives have been blessed by the Kings to search out potential deals now that the versatile swingman — coming off the best year of his career — has been exiled from the rotation by new coach Dave Joerger.

Brandon Knight: Suns general manager Ryan McDonough recently went on the Kenneth Acker Authentic Womens Jersey Burns & Gambo radio show in Phoenix and proclaimed (A) that he isn’t actively trying to trade Knight and (B) that he’d prefer to take at least two months to evaluate his team before seriously considering trades. None of that, however, has stopped interested rivals from believing that the struggling Knight — who started two games this week with TJ Warren out but mostly comes off the bench for the Suns — will be made available.

Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. was the Phillies’ assistant general manager in 2007

A year later, they played starring roles in a World Series championship.

“I think it was very important for us to go through that,” Victorino said by phone. “It was a wake-up call. We went on that miraculous run to win the division, and we ran into a team that was Rodney Hudson Authentic Jersey that much better and that much hotter. It was definitely a stepping-stone for the next year.”

Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. was the Phillies’ assistant general manager in 2007 and recalls the coaching staff preparing the players for their first postseason by trying to duplicate the atmosphere of the regular season, especially late September, when they were pushing to win the division title. Farrell and his coaches attempted to do the same with the youngest Red Sox players before the Division Series opened in Cleveland.

That never happened with Branca. Even as his career fizzled after 1951, he handled his moment in history with good sport. He and Thomson became friends, and in retirement often appeared together at card shows or on talk shows. He became a successful financial executive after his baseball career and he ran the Baseball Assistance Team organization for 17 years, helping those who faced financial difficulties in their post-baseball lives. One of his daughters married Bobby Valentine.

One of the greatest guys to ever throw a pitch or sing a song is longer with us. Ralph Branca Passed this morning.

My colleague Jayson Stark wrote on Monday that this blueprint could even spill over into Ronnie Lott Authentic Jersey the regular season:

Frankly, when we’ve surveyed veteran relievers about this trend, many have expressed great skepticism that anyone could make it through a season healthy while assuming a workload remotely similar to Miller’s postseason role.

But they should know that, in their very own front offices, the folks who are gazing into baseball’s future aren’t so sure of that. Not anymore.

rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have blossomed into Rookie of the Year favorites

For one thing, rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have blossomed into Rookie of the Year favorites, and maybe even MVP candidates, while sparking Dallas (9-1) to the NFL’s best record.

Washington (6-3-1) has lost Jay Bruce Authentic Womens Jersey just once in its past eight games. Washington was 0-2 after the loss to Dallas and Cousins was catching heat after one of the final two drives ended with him missing a fourth-down throw to Pierre Garcon.

Now he’s the quarterback, playing under a $19.53 million franchise tag, they can’t let get away in the offseason.

“It’s a long season,” Cousins told USA TODAY Sports, recalling the mind-set of 0-2. “You’ve got to stay the course and keep playing.”

It was the familiar chant from the stands, screamed repeatedly over Joe Morgan Authentic Womens Jersey the years.

We want Dallas!

“I noticed that,” Washington’s big-money cornerback said on Tuesday.

He laughed when sharing his initial thought.

“Okay, go out there and take ‘em on,” Norman wanted to tell the fans.

Surely, a legion of burgundy-and-gold enthusiasts would relish the opportunity. Some would probably dress in battle fatigues like John Riggins and Co. did for the trip to Big D for one classic chapter during the 1980s. But Norman realizes it’s up to him and his teammates to represent on this particular mission, which plays out on the grand stage that is football on Thanksgiving.

Still, there’s nothing like a reminder about the temperature of one of the NFL’s most storied rivalries – with intensity that ebbs and flows depending on the won-loss relevance at any given time.