Cubs’ White House visit first championship celebration attended by First Lady

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President Barack Obama, in his last week in office, welcomed the World Champion Chicago Cubs to the White House on Monday. It was the first visit from championship sports team attended by First Lady Michelle Obama in his eight years as president, Obama revealed.

The Cubs’ visit was the last official White House event of Obama’s presidency.

They said this day would never come, Obama opened. Here is something none of my predecessors ever got a chance to say: Welcome to the White House, World Series Champion Chicago Cubs!

If you were Smith or Manuel and you could get a re-do, wouldn’t you sit on the bench for three or four years? How different would their careers and financial futures look? Would Kaepernick’s situation be different had he refused to waive his guarantees and just sat on the bench last season?
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Smith’s desire to start for the Jets and his ability to actually win a starting job in 2013 and ’14 likely cost him somewhere between $12 million and $14 million. Had he been a success, how much more would he have made?

If you are Jimmy Garoppolo, AJ McCarron, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg or any late first- to mid-round draft pick who has some name value, why would you jeopardize your financial future? Look good enough in the preseason or a few snaps in mop-up duty to get some interest, but not good enough to unseat the starter.

In general, the salary disparity comes off as unfair and should make players in the future think about the benefits of playing when things around them are bad.

This might not be a problem in the NFL today, but if the divide in contract valuation between the Glennons and the Manuels of the league continues to exist, it will have an impact in the future.

Manny Ramirez signs with club in Japan to revive playing career

Manny Ramirez will play professional baseball once again in 2017 — in Japan.
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The former MLB star has signed a contract with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus, the club announced Monday, reviving a playing career that’s been dormant since 2014 when Ramirez was a player-coach with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate.

MORE: Ranking the 25 worst Hall of Fame selections ever

The SILP is a four-team independent league that’s not associated with Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s top-tier professional league.

Ramirez, 44, last played in the majors in 2011, when he made 17 plate appearance with the Rays.

The 19-year MLB veteran is on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, though he’s not expected to carry the requisite 75 percent of the vote for election.

Last month, Ramirez’s wife, Juliana, hinted to TMZ that the former slugger had begun training to play again, stoking rumors he might try to stage an against-the-odds MLB comeback. Now we know what she meant.

Now he, too, is sidelined with an injury.

This season has been a struggle even for the healthy guys. Five position players have at least 19 plate appearances and a batting average of .185 or worse: Leonys Martin (.111 before he was designated for assignment Sunday), Danny Valencia (.172), Mike Zunino (.185), Carlos Ruiz (.133) and Mike Freeman (.111).
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Pitchers have struggled, too. James Paxton has a 1.78 ERA, but he’s the only starter under 4.00. Six relievers with at least four innings pitched have an ERA of 5.40 or higher.

Look, it’s early. I get that. One bad inning can torpedo a reliever’s ERA early in the season. We’re not making bold The Mariners are finished! proclamations. Far from it.

Rockies, All-Star 3B Nolan Arenado agree to 2-year, $29.5M deal

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, a Gold Glove defender and strong presence in the middle of Colorado’s young batting order, agreed Friday to a two-year deal worth $29.5 million, The Denver Post reported.

Arenado, 25, avoids arbitration with the contract that takes him through the 2018 season and leaves him only one more year of arbitration.

Nolan earned his contract, and the Rockies treated him right, Arenado’s agent, Joe Wolfe, said.

Arenado batted .285/.331/.520 with 41 homers and 133 RBIs in his fourth major-league season.

The two-time All-Star also earned his fourth Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger award.
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He is considered a cornerstone of a young Rockies everyday lineup under new manager Bud Black.

Carlos Hyde Kids Jersey Good entertainment was all Turner wanted. He left the details up to Wussler and Hanson, who outlined a program that would focus on the behind-the-scenes aspects of a baseball season in a way that, while told through the Braves, would appeal to fans of any team.

How does a player occupy his day? What does he do on a road trip? What happens in a team meeting?

The routines of ballplayers, Hanson said. That was my intention going in.

It didn’t matter that the Braves weren’t a good team. The documentary would be structured so that the season’s on-field results would be secondary, serving mostly as a backdrop, so the content could be entertaining and relatable for years to come.

Chad Kelly has the physical skill, size and toughness required to play in the NFL.

By eliminating what would have been a fascinating drama over when, or if, Kelly would be signed after the draft, Elway also added more than one unique twist. Kelly, as most know, has the bloodlines as Jim Kelly’s nephew. The Hall of Fame Bills quarterback took to Instagram two weeks before the draft to vouch for Chad and his character, and Chad showed his appreciation on Twitter.

Elway, as observers noted immediately after the pick Saturday, was a draft mate of Kelly in the famous 1983 first round, which was loaded with legendary quarterbacks. They led their teams to nine Super Bowls combined, and tangled endlessly throughout the 1980s and ‘90s for AFC supremacy, along with Dan Marino.

Authentic Kids Nelson Agholor Jersey Chad Kelly has the physical skill, size and toughness required to play in the NFL. But his sketchy judgment has been well-documented — including a bar incident earlier in his college career that was the basis of his combine invitation being rescinded.
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Brantley, the Florida defensive tackle with the second-highest grade at his position according to NFL.com, was the first pick of the sixth round Saturday by the Browns, 185th overall. How long he stays with Cleveland is very up in the air, though, as general manager Sashi Brown quickly told reporters that they might release him, depending on what the team finds as they continue to investigate him.

Brantley was expected to be taken by the end of Day 2, in the first three rounds, before his arrest in Gainesville, Fla., earlier this month on battery charges. He is accused of striking a woman outside a bar, knocking her unconscious and knocking a tooth loose.

J.J. Watt asks Antonio Brown to haze brother T.J. ‘a little extra’

Clady, who has missed 37 games in the last four years, simply is never healthy. He had a chance to jumpstart his career with the Jets last season but played poorly and once again finished the season on IR.

Teams are desperate for left tackles, and he may follow the Jake Long career path, playing for $1.5 million or so per year and hoping to put together one last quality season.

T.J. Watt may have been the Steelers’ top pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, but that likely won’t keep him from the usual rounds of rookie hazing. And if older brother J.J. Watt has any say, he may receive a few more.

The elder Watt, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said he asked Steelers superstar receiver Antonio Brown to “look over my brother and be sure to haze him a little extra for me.” Typical older brother move.

MORE: Three reasons Pittsburgh drafting James Conner is perfect

J.J. Watt, of course, can call in the favor since he and Brown were one-time college teammates at Central Michigan in 2007.

Couple that with the fact J.J. Watt is already excited to meet with T.J. in the Steelers-Texans Christmas Day matchup, and we have the beginnings of the next great sibling rivalry in the NFL.

Hey, at least Kizer, Webb and Beatherd got to enjoy half the feeling of Watson, Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes. Peterman, everyone’s favorite convenient Cousins comparison, is still sitting on the board.

For the QB-needy teams of the near future still needing one, Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs is the better option at this point.

Arizona’s 26-year-old freshman QB is a former No. 3 overall pick in the MLB draft

Arizona will have a 26-year-old freshman quarterback on its roster this season — one who was a top pick in the MLB draft all of eight years ago.
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Donavan Tate was the No. 3 overall pick in the baseball draft 2009 by the San Diego Padres. The Cartersville, Ga., product came off the board two picks behind pitching wunderkind Stephen Strasburg to the Nationals. Tate didn’t just never make the majors; he never made it to Double-A ball, posting a career .652 OPS in the minor leagues and fizzling out. He served a 50-game drug suspension in 2011 and played his last minor league game in 2016. By that time, his career was long-stalled.
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Tate was a prodigious athlete coming out of high school, and he’s now trying his hand at something different. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez announced Wednesday that the Wildcats would add Tate at quarterback. He’ll enter school as one of the oldest players in college football and will have a full slate of NCAA eligibility. He just can’t play baseball, because he’s already turned professional on the diamond.

An interesting angle to this for Arizona: Because of Tate’s agreement with the Padres eight years ago, it apparently won’t cost Rodriguez a scholarship to put him on the team.

I’m told new Arizona QB Dovavan Tate will be a walk-on. Padres, who picked him No. 3 overall in 09 MLB draft, will pay his college costs.

Tate’s draft year included a ton of busts at the top, with every top-five pick except Strasburg failing to make much of a mark. 2009 was the Mike Trout year, when the Angels picked the world’s best baseball player 25th overall.

You can already submit a 2017 MLB All-Star Game ballot

Are you sitting at home, wondering the proper way to show your appreciation for Ryan Zimmerman? Buddy, are you in luck. The 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game ballot is out, and you can vote up to five times every 24 hours (with a daily maximum of 35 ballots).

While it’s early, you can still vote for the players who probably should be at the next dozen All-Star Games, like Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor, and Mike Trout. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 29, which means you’ll have a chance to submit a total of 2,100 ballots between now and then. Just remember that if you’re going to the ballpark and hoping to spend your day punching out paper ballots and sprinkling chads all over the place, MLB has retired paper ballots. It’s online only now.

But if you can resist the temptation to vote for them, my advice is to vote for the players who have made All-Star teams in the past. The older generations put Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in every danged game, just like it should be. Don’t get sucked into the vacuum of April stats.
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Authentic Mens Andy Levitre Jersey On the other hand, you should probably vote for Aaron Judge, too, because he’s one of our tallest and tastiest hunks of baseball nougat. So stick the to the classics until you get to the pituitary wonderboys, then do what your heart desires.

Baseball just started. Here’s an All-Star Game ballot anyway. Fill it out a few dozen times. You’ve done this before, and you will do it again.

This is from our high school scouting report on Fournette.

During a recent track meet, the St. Augustine star posted a 100m time of 10.68, absolutely elite for a running back of his size, which gives him the speed to break long runs to the outside — he’s not just a downhill, between-the-tackles runner.

As a result, arm tackle attempts are not nearly enough at the high school level to bring down Fournette, in part because he does a good job in traffic of getting low and behind his pads to present the smallest possible tackling surface, a key trait to possess for a tall running back. Whether low or high, it’s extremely difficult to bring him down, a big part of the reason why he scored a touchdown roughly once every six touches as a junior.
As destructive as his power is, his agility’s pretty good, too. He had a poor NFL Scouting Combine in some ways, but he also further demonstrated he’s a huge dude who can move, which is a definite good thing.

This would be the unfortunate intersection of a quarterback-hungry league and a weak crop of passers. Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Mahomes have emerged as the most desirable of the bunch, but none looks like a bonafide building block for a struggling franchise. The scarcity of their position may push them into the first round, but teams could exercise patience when it comes to flawed prospects.

The bigger revelation from McShay’s rumor may be that another quarterback has usurped Kizer’s place in the pecking order. The Notre Dame product was once thought to be neck and neck with Trubisky and Watson as the draft’s top passer. Now, he may struggle to crack the top five.
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2017 NFL mock draft: Houston Texans bring in Adoree’ Jackson

The Houston Texans have been back into a corner following Tony Romo’s decision to go into broadcasting. That leaves Houston with Tom Savage at quarterback, practically forcing the franchise to take a quarterback in the first round. In doing so, it has a ripple effect on the draft for the Texans.

On Monday, the Bills announced they would not match the front-loaded deal the Patriots offered their backup tailback. As a result, Buffalo will receive New England’s fifth round pick — No. 163 overall — as compensation.

Jason Garrison Game Jersey Gillislee was one of the league’s most effective tailbacks in 2016, gaining 5.7 yards per carry as LeSean McCoy’s backup. Despite making only one start last fall, he still managed to score nine touchdowns — second on the team only to McCoy. While he doesn’t offer the same kind of power running Blount does — he only weighs 208 pounds, compared to Blount’s 245 — he’d give the team another shifty tailback with far fewer miles on his tires than his predecessor.

Though the Bills’ back doesn’t offer much in the passing game, the Patriots have the personnel to make a platoon work. Lewis, White, and Burkhead are all accomplished receivers out of the backfield, and their presence would allow Gillislee to focus on running first and foremost.

When a lot of guys come to college, they want to play right away. And I get it because it’s exciting, and you want to prove that you have that level of talent. But it’s one of those things where you just need to sit back, step outside of yourself, and learn.
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He redshirted his first year, but there was a huge hurdle he had to clear before he could step foot on the field. At 235 pounds, Morgan wasn’t big enough to play left tackle, so he had to gain a lot of weight.

Panthers pick *Corn* Elder’s greatest college moment was vs. the *Cornhuskers*

Nebraska was down by 23 points to Miami with 11 minutes left in 2015.

That’s when the Huskers took the ball on three series and drove 242 yards to score three touchdowns and casually tie the game at 33-33. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Kids Heath Miller Jersey found receivers Stanley Morgan Jr. and Jordan Westerkamp for a game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion in the last minute – and then the Huskers lost anyway.

Armstrong threw an interception on Nebraska’s first series in overtime. The man who intercepted his pass is named Cornelius “Corn” Elder. He plays defensive back for Miami. Years later, he was picked by the Carolina Panthers.

I reiterate: his name is Corn. Kiper thinks Los Angeles should draft Mike Williams in the first round, which would give Phillip Rivers a huge target to throw to. Keenan Allen is a great receiver, but he’s missed a lot of games in his career due to injuries. Dion Dawkins was a solid left tackle in college, but he’ll likely move to guard. He’s a solid pass protector and should help keep Philip Rivers upright. Jaleel Johnson could help Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram rush the passer.

Christian McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in this draft, and Kiper thinks he’ll end up in Carolina. This wouldn’t be a bad selection because he has the athleticism to take handoffs and run routes as a receiver. However, he isn’t an every-down back. Jordan Willis can rush the passer with speed. Taylor Moton played left tackle at Western Michigan, and Adam Bisnowaty played right tackle Kids Dwight Clark Jersey at Pittsburgh. Both are decent linemen.