66-point explosion could turn out to be NBA's only highlight
NBA star Kevin Durant played some old-school street hoops Monday night in New York City.
August 2nd, 2011
12:34 PM ET

66-point explosion could turn out to be NBA's only highlight

It's not top of mind for casual sports fans - especially since the NFL just settled its lockout without much damage to players, owners, or fans - but the NBA is also in the midst of a labor dispute that's getting ugly.

After a meeting with the players union Monday, NBA Commissioner David Stern said he saw no reason for optimism, and on Tuesday, the league filed two lawsuits against the players, fueling fear that the NBA lockout could result in games or possibly the whole season being lost.

If you want to delve into the issues that divide the players and owners, NBA.com breaks it all down, but there's actually a positive basketball story with really cool highlights trending on Twitter right now featuring the league's leading scorer.

Kevin Durant, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, scored 66 points in an exhibition game in New York's famed Rucker Park Monday night. ESPN has the details of the game and the significance of the storied court in Harlem.

In the trending video, you see what the game is really about and the joy it can bring to fans. Durant, wearing No. 21 in orange, drains 3-pointer after 3-pointer, the thrilled crowd gets on the court to celebrate with him, and you remember for these two minutes that sports is supposed to be fun.

The NBA and its players union still have time to make a deal and have a full season. NBA fans can hope that both sides will look at the video from Monday night and realize the value of their game goes beyond the billions they are struggling to divide among themselves.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • New York • Sports
Was Braves win result of the worst call of the year?
Braves player Julio Lugo scored the game-winning and controversial run in the 19th inning.
July 27th, 2011
12:20 PM ET

Was Braves win result of the worst call of the year?

[Updated at 5:42 p.m. ET] A lot of people who love baseball sing the praises of its timelessness. No clock, game goes until somebody wins. Joe Posnanski wrote a long piece about this in Sports Illustrated just last week. And only in baseball can a game go almost seven hours 19 innings end at almost 2 a.m., and actually be over too soon.

That’s because what was (in the minds of many) pretty clearly a blown call by an umpire gave the Atlanta Braves a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates early Wednesday morning. It was the longest game ever played at Atlanta’s Turner Field. If the ump had gotten the call right, the game could have moved into a 20th inning. See for yourself.

The umpire, Jerry Meals, told a pool reporter after the game that after he saw the replays, it did appear to him that Pirates catcher Mike McKenry tagged the Braves' Julio Lugo on the shin on a play at the plate when Lugo tried to score on a ground ball to third base. But, Meals said, “when I was out there, when it happened, I didn’t see a tag.”

Of course to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, it was obvious all along.

"I saw (McKenry) tag him three feet in front of the plate” he told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “and that's the way it looked when I went back in there and looked at it again he tagged him three feet in front."

Major League Baseball's chief of on-field operations, former big-league manager Joe Torre, said Wednesday afternoon that it appears Meals missed the call.

"Many swipe tags are not applied to the runner with solid contact, but the tag was applied and the game should have remained tied," Torre said in an e-mailed statement. "I have spoken with Jerry, who is a hard-working, respected umpire, and no one feels worse than him."

Torre's statement anticipated people calling for MLB to expand video replay reviews. MLB currently allows replay only for home run calls.

"I have heard many discussions on umpiring and technology over the past two years, including both the pros and the cons of expanding replay. However, most in the game recognize that the human element always will be part of baseball and instant replay can never replace all judgment calls by umpires," Torre said. "Obviously, a play like this is going to spark a lot of conversation, and we will continue to consider all viewpoints in our ongoing discussions regarding officiating in baseball."

The impact of the Braves-Pirates call is magnified because both teams are fighting for division leads or chances for the National League wild-card slot, so every game and every call counts. For those less invested in the outcome of the game, you can check out this top trending hashtag:  #jerrymealssaysitssafe, where people say they’ll do something dangerous  like run with scissors, or put a fork in a light socket, or tell people that nothing bad will happen if the U.S. defaults  all ending with “jerrymealssaysitssafe."

Besides being timeless, the baseball season is also sort of endless. It lasts for 162 games, so the Pirates, Braves, and Jerry Meals will all be back out there tonight for a 7 p.m. game.

SI.com gallery: Worst blown calls

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
Rutgers wins while assistant coach’s son fights for his life
Rutgers battles against Seton Hall in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
March 9th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Rutgers wins while assistant coach’s son fights for his life

On paper, it looks like another NCAA conference tournament game, and not a very important one at that.

Rutgers, the 13th-ranked team in the Big East, beat 12th-ranked  Seton Hall in a first-round game in the conference tournament Tuesday in New York.

But with more than a hundred games still to be played during March Madness, it’s quite possible that no win will be more inspiring that the Scarlet Knights' 76-70 overtime victory.

FULL POST

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Filed under: College basketball • New Jersey • Sports
Cleveland Browns give Eric Mangini the axe
January 3rd, 2011
10:41 AM ET

Cleveland Browns give Eric Mangini the axe

The Cleveland Browns announced today that they’ve fired coach Eric Mangini.

Browns president Mike Holmgren thanked Mangini for his contributions and wished him the best of luck in the future in a statement released by the team. Mangini wished the Browns well in the same statement.

In what ended up being Mangini’s final game yesterday the Browns were blown out by the Steelers 41-9. They finished 5-11 in each of their two seasons under Mangini.

Before coaching the Browns, Mangini, 39, coached the Jets for three seasons, compiling a 23-25 record, with one playoff appearance in 2006.

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Filed under: Pro football • Sports
Monday Night Football legend 'Dandy Don' Meredith dies
December 6th, 2010
12:09 PM ET

Monday Night Football legend 'Dandy Don' Meredith dies

Don Meredith, an all-pro quarterback who made his greatest impact on the game after he finished playing, died Sunday at a Santa Fe, New Mexico, hospital, according to a spokesman. Meredith, above at center, was 72.

The spokesman was unable to confirm the cause of death.

Meredith, nicknamed "Dandy Don," was part of the original Monday Night Football broadcast team when the program debuted on ABC in 1970.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Football • Sports
McHale wonders if LeBron and Miami Heat are tough enough
December 2nd, 2010
10:04 AM ET

McHale wonders if LeBron and Miami Heat are tough enough

NBA hall-of-famer Kevin McHale played 13 years for the Boston Celtics and made the all-star team six times. He played on three championship teams and is currently an analyst on NBA TV. He spoke to CNN about LeBron James’ return to Cleveland tonight. Below is an edited transcript of that interview. The game can be seen on TNT at 8pm ET.

CNN: What’s the most hostile crowd you ever played in front of?

McHale: Probably the Philadelphia crowds in the 1980’s when we were playing for the conference championships. It was entertaining they would curse you out in ways that you never heard before. There was so much venom but the combinations of the cursing were really interesting. It never bothered me, I never felt in danger. It made me ready to play. FULL POST

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Filed under: Basketball • LeBron James • Sports
November 22nd, 2010
12:31 PM ET

Minnesota Vikings fire coach Brad Childress

The Vikings have given coach Brad Childress the axe.

The Minnesota Vikings have fired their head coach Brad Childress. A statement released by the team says he will be replaced by assistant Leslie Frazier.

It’s been a controversial and disappointing season for the Vikings who went to the NFC championship game last season. Childress had public disagreements with quarterback Brett Favre, and got in trouble with owner Ziggy Wilf when he didn’t tell him about his plans to release big-name wide receiver Randy Moss.

The last straw came yesterday when the Vikings were humiliated at home 31-3 by Favre’s old team and arch-rival Green Bay Packers. That dropped the Vikings record to 3-7 and virtually eliminated any chance of them making the playoffs this year.

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Filed under: Sports
November 18th, 2010
02:43 PM ET

Hernandez sets record with AL Cy Young award

Feliz Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award with just 13 wins on the season.

Winning isn’t everything when it comes to the American League Cy Young Award.

Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners won the award given to the league’s best pitcher Thursday despite winning only 13 games,  the least ever for a starting pitcher. Hernandez led the league in earned-run average and innings pitched. He was second in strikeouts.

Voters didn’t hold the fact that he pitched for the last-place Mariners against him.  He won 21 of the 28 first-place votes.

David Price, who won 19 games for the Tampa Bay Rays, finished second, and CC Sabathia, who won 21 for the New York Yankees, finished third.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports • Washington state
November 16th, 2010
02:20 PM ET

Halladay tops historic season with Cy Young award

Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies has been awarded the National League Cy Young award, given to the league's best pitcher.

Besides leading the league in victories, Halladay also pitched a perfect game during the regular season and a no-hitter in the playoffs against the Reds.  With that outing he became only the second pitcher in history to pitch a post-season no-hitter.

Halladay"s also the fifth pitcher in history to win a Cy Young award in both leagues - he won for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays in 2003.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
November 11th, 2010
12:04 PM ET

Final word in Cam Newton case seems as elusive as he is

None of the allegations against Auburn star quarterback Cam Newton have been proved, and he continues to play.

Cam Newton is the biggest deal in college football right now for both good reasons and bad.

The good is that he's the star quarterback of the undefeated, No. 2-ranked Auburn Tigers. If they win the rest of their games, they'll likely play for the national championship.

He's the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to college football's best player.

And he's expected to be a top NFL draft pick and make millions when he leaves college after either this season or next.

The bad comes not from the millions he might make but from the thousands he might have been paid already.

FULL POST

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Filed under: College football • Sports
November 4th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

Hall-of-Fame manager Sparky Anderson dies

Sparky Anderson who managed three teams to World Series championships died today at the age of 76.

A family spokesman said Anderson died from complications from dementia at a hospice in Thousand Oaks, California.

Anderson managed the famed “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds teams to World Championships in 1975 and ’76 and the Detroit Tigers to a title in 1984.

He was the first manager to win World Series in both leagues and has the 8th most wins in major league history. He was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
November 1st, 2010
01:05 PM ET

Kid's Texas Rangers costume makes him internet sensation

The Texas Rangers face elimination tonight in the World Series but they, or at least one of their fans, has already clinched one title, “Best Halloween costume that makes him look like the manager”.

It may not roll off the tongue like MVP, World Series Champion, or Manager of the Year but seven year-old Liam Roybal of Keller, Texas and his parents managed to make a costume that really does make him look exactly like a mini version of Rangers manager Ron Washington. Being Ron Washington wasn’t what Roybal planned to be when he started planning his Halloween, but it certainly has worked out for him. The two got together for a picture before last night’s game.

CNN affiliate KTXK spoke to Roybal about his thoughts on the team's performance so far.

"Not good,” he said.

When asked why he thought the Rangers were struggling, and why the Giants were winning, Roybal had a simple, but on point answer: "They hit more homeruns."

Now the full-size Ron Washington and his team, down three games to one, hope to throw more of a scare into the San Francisco Giants starting with tonight’s game 5 in Texas.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
October 22nd, 2010
07:17 AM ET

Phillies keep World Series hopes alive

Roy Halladay pitched through a groin injury to lead the Phillies to victory Thursday night.

The Philadelphia Phillies staved off elimination in the National League Championship series with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.

The defending National League champions now trail the best-of-seven series 3-2, with games 6 and 7 scheduled for Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday.

The Phillies were helped by a Giants error in the third inning that led to two runs and were inspired by their pitching ace Roy Halladay, who pitched six strong innings despite injuring his groin in the second. Read SI.com columnist Joe Posnanski on Halladay's gutty performance.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
October 21st, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Giants push Phillies to the brink in NLCS

The Giants celebrate after Aubrey Huff scored to beat the Phillies.

The San Francisco Giants are on the verge of pulling off a major upset in the National League Championship Series.

They lead the defending league champion Philadelphia Phillies 3 games to 1 after last night’s ninth-inning victory.

If they win tonight, or any of the last three games they go to the World Series for the first time since 2002. Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning off the Phillies Roy Oswalt scored Aubrey Huff to give the Giants a 6-5 victory last night.

Baseball followers are questioning why Phillies manager Charlie Manuel decided to use Oswalt, a starting pitcher, in a relief role. The series resumes tonight in San Francisco with a battle of ace pitchers, Roy Halladay for the Phillies and Tim Lincecum for the Giants.

If the Phillies win, the series moves back to Philadelphia, for game 6 on Saturday and a potential game 7 on Sunday. The winner of this series will play the Texas Rangers or New York Yankees in the World Series, starting next Wednesday.

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Filed under: Sports
October 20th, 2010
08:26 PM ET

Yankees avoid elimination in AL Championship Series

The defending World Series champion New York Yankees live to fight another day.

Facing elimination in their American League Championship Series today, they beat the Texas Rangers 7-2 at Yankee Stadium and now trail in the best-of-seven series three games to two.

The Yankees got home runs from Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, and their ace CC Sabathia picked up the victory despite allowing 11 hits over six innings.

The series returns to Texas for game 6 on Friday night and game 7, if necessary, on Saturday night. Both games will be televised on TBS.

The Rangers need one more win to get to the first World Series in the team's 38-year history in Texas, and history is on their side.

Only 10 teams have lost a best-of-seven series after winning three of the first four games.

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Filed under: Baseball • New York • Sports • Texas
October 20th, 2010
10:55 AM ET

Defending champion Yankees on the brink of elimination

Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett reacts after giving up a three-run homer to Bengie Molina.

The defending World Series champion New York Yankees could be out of the playoffs by the time much of the country sits down to dinner Wednesday night.

They trail their best of seven series with the Texas Rangers 3-1, with game five scheduled for a little after 4 p.m. ET Wednesday on TBS.

The Rangers won game four Tuesday night 10-3. Josh Hamilton, the Rangers’ star outfielder, hit two home runs, but the turning point came in the sixth inning. With the Yankees up 3-2, the Rangers' Bengie Molina hit a go-ahead, three-run homer to give his team a lead it never relinquished.

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci is harshly critical of the Yankees decision-making leading up to Molina’s home run.

The Yankees will send their best pitcher, CC Sabathia, to the mound Wednesday against the Rangers' CJ Wilson. If the Rangers win, they go to the World Series for the first time in franchise history, which dates to 1972.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
September 22nd, 2010
11:09 AM ET

Larger than life Steinbrenner, gets plaque of similar stature

In the 37 years George Steinbrenner owned the New York Yankees he did just about everything in a big way. Spent big money on big stars, made big headlines, got himself in big trouble, and made big money for the team.

So it’s no surprise that when the Yankees unveiled their monument to Steinbrenner, who died in July, at Yankee Stadium on Monday the monument was - well - big, really big.

Look at the picture, that’s Steinbrenner’s monument in the middle of course - the smaller monument he towers over, is that of Joe DiMaggio, a Yankee icon and baseball hall-of-famer.

In fact, Steinbrenner’s plaque is by far the biggest in Yankee Stadium’s hallowed Monument Park. Bigger than Mickey Mantle's, Lou Gehrig’s, Yogi Berra’s, even Babe Ruth’s.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
September 13th, 2010
06:34 PM ET

Reporter says she accepts Jets owner's apology

[Updated, 6:34 p.m.] The owner of the New York Jets has apologized to a TV Azteca reporter following allegations that Jets personnel harassed her at practice this weekend, and she has accepted, the reporter told CNN's Rick Sanchez on Monday.

The NFL says it is investigating media reports that Jets players behaved inappropriately - including allegedly hooting and hollering at her in their locker room - when Ines Sainz visited the team Saturday to interview Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez for the Mexican TV network.

Sainz said Monday that Jets owner Woody Johnson called her to apologize. ESPNNewYork.com reported earlier Monday that Johnson said he offered an "open apology" to her.

"I accept the apologies, and I said thanks to him for the concern and all the rest of the team, because he promised that he is going to make everybody on his team respect … women," Sainz said on CNN's "Rick's List." "And I think the important point is that women deserve respect in any profession, so I think it's going to happen."

Sainz said that although she told Johnson not to worry, she did feel a little uncomfortable because of players' behavior in the locker room, and that she thinks the behavior was unacceptable.

"I think that it’s not good that this kind of thing happened, and it mustn't happen anymore. I'm agreeing with the idea that it's good that everybody knows that a woman or a man deserve the same treatment in the locker room," Sainz said.

FULL POST

August 31st, 2010
03:02 PM ET

Leading sports columnist suspended for bogus tweet

Mike Wise, one of the Washington Post’s leading sports columnists, has been suspended for a month for posting bogus NFL news on his twitter feed, Wise announced on his radio show this morning.

Yesterday in what Wise said was an effort to “showcase the absurdity of bad journalism” he falsely tweeted that Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for the first five games of the upcoming NFL season.

This would have been a major headline since the NFL has only said Roethlisberger would be suspended anywhere from four to six games for his behavior at a Georgia night club.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Sports
August 27th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Nationals star Strasburg could miss 2011 season

Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals pitching phenom whose debut in June electrified the country, has a torn ligament in his elbow and will likely require Tommy John surgery, the team announced this morning.

The surgery "probably" means he will miss all of this season and possibly the entire 2011 season.

Tommy John surgery is named for former major league pitcher Tommy John who first underwent the procedure in 1974. It involves replacing a ligament in the elbow with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. Pitchers can return to top-form after the surgery. John won over 100 games after his operation, and Chris Carpenter recovered from the surgery to be the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals staff. He won 17 games last season, and he’s won 14 already this year.

Strasburg was baseball’s number one draft pick in 2009 and signed a record $15 million dollar contract. The hopes of the franchise which perennially finishes at or near the bottom of the standings ride in great part on his right arm. In his debut on June 9 in front of a sold-out stadium he beat the Pittsburgh Pirates and recorded 14 strikeouts.

The Washington Post has full coverage on today’s news and its impact on a region that was looking to Strasburg as its baseball savior.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
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