Archives for June 2017
By TERRY LYONS
NEW YORK – Traditionally the summer months do not bring about much activity in the sports business world. The juggernauts of the winter sports calendar, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League end their seasons with the crowing of a new champion at the annual NBA Finals and the awarding of the Stanley Cup, the most coveted trophy in all of sport.
When the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Golden State Warriors accepted their hardware, sports execs closed the books on hockey and men’s basketball for 2016-17 and the respective league drafts turned the page to look towards the fall and 2017-18 when the two leagues begin training camp.
- Length of the games and the event itself
- Horrible shooting, chalked up to “rusty” aging players
BOSTON — Chris Sale didn’t look thrilled as his manager approached the mound to take him out in the seventh inning Monday night.
The left-hander accepted the decision but later said, “Never,” when asked if he wanted to come out of the game. In the end, it all worked out.
“He probably didn’t want to come out of that game,” Boston manager John Farrell said after his Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in the first of four games between the contenders Monday night.
Farrell had his reasons.
Sale was at 108 pitches. With Boston ahead 2-1 and runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, Chris Gimenez came to the plate. Gimenez homered off Sale in the third inning and was 4-for-8 with two homers against the Boston ace.
Heath Hembree came on, induced a double-play grounder, and Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel were perfect in the eighth and ninth to seal the win.
“For some reason, certain hitters see some pitchers better than others,” Farrell said. “It’s a small number of at-bats by Gimenez, but he’s seen (Sale) well, and there’s been some extra-base production in there.
“I felt like that was a spot where he’s coming to the end of the line, 110 pitches into the ninth inning just five days ago, the way Gimenez had swung the bat a couple of at-bats previous. … Heath comes in and makes a key cutter pitch.”
The double play was started by Tzu-Wei Lin, making his debut at third base for the Red Sox. Boston will continue, as Farrell says, “mixing and matching” at the position.
The loss dropped the surprising Twins a half-game behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central. Minnesota (39-35) had its three-game winning streak stopped.
The Red Sox (42-34) remain percentage points behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.
Sale (10-3) worked 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball to go to 9-1 since April 27. He walked two and struck out nine, yielding four hits.
“There’s a couple of things I could have done to extend my outing, but in the end, it worked out,” Sale said. “Heater (Hembree) really picked me up.”
Boston’s Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer and sacrifice fly, taking over the team’s RBI lead with 41, while Dustin Pedroia drove in a run with a single, one of his two hits.
Barnes, who has been struggling, cashed in on some adjustments he made on the side to strike out the side on 11 pitches in the eighth, and Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save.
The Red Sox, who scored two in the first off Jose Berrios (7-2) and added on two in the seventh off Berrios and two relievers, won for the second time in five games. The Twins lost for the second time in their past six.
Berrios gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.
“I was proud of how Jose hung in there,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He kept us in the game and we battled, we got a homer to cut it in half and had an opportunity there to at least tie the game, and we didn’t get it done and they were able to tack on.”
Molitor was not pleased with a strike call against a squaring Jorge Polanco with two on and nobody out in the seventh. Polanco appeared to have pulled his bat back on an inside pitch, only to have first base umpire Jeff Kellogg call a strike. Polanco wound up striking out as Sale’s last batter.
“I thought it was a huge call. I’m not sure what Jeff saw,” Molitor said. “You square around and the pitch is coming at your leg — it’s not that easy to move the bat and get out of the way at the same time. It was an obvious non-attempt from the way I saw it, and it changed the at-bat.”
Moreland homered, his 12th, off Berrios after a double play grounder scored the first run. Moreland then followed Pedroia’s RBI single with his sac fly in the seventh. He has knocked in 15 runs during a 16-game home on-base streak.
Moreland has homered in three straight games for the second time this season.
“He’s become kind of a bedrock in our lineup,” Farrell said.
The homer was only the second off Berrios since May 24, leading to the right-hander’s first June loss after four wins.
Berrios had won seven of his first eight starts and had yielded two runs in each of his four June starts — all wins.
Left fielder Eddie Rosario made three nifty catches to help keep the Twins in the game.
NOTES: Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a bruised left knee sustained when he was hit by a pitch Sunday. … Twins 1B Joe Mauer got the night off as a starter, coming on late — manager Paul Molitor resting him with the Red Sox throwing three straight lefties. … LHP Hector Santiago comes off the disabled list to start for the Twins against Boston LHP Drew Pomeranz on Tuesday. RHP Dillon Gee, who has yet to appear in a game with the Twins, was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. … Red Sox INF Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket and will start Tuesday, as will a rehabbing Pablo Sandoval, the pair alternating third base and DH roles game by game. … Boston LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, on the disabled list with a right knee problem, went through fielding drills pregame as he closes in on a Thursday rehab start. … Red Sox LHP Henry Owens, once a top prospect, was demoted from Triple-A to Double-A
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox have had multiple opportunities to move up in the standings over the last two weeks but seem to be stuck in neutral. The Red Sox will try to pull out of a brief slide and turn the momentum back in a positive direction when they host the surging Minnesota Twins in the opener of a four-game series on Monday.
Boston dropped six of its last 10 games, including two of three to the Los Angeles Angels to begin the seven-game homestand, and remains in a virtual first-place tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East. The Red Sox managed a total of five runs in losses on Saturday and Sunday, going a combined 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position while leaving 11 men on base. The Twins went through their own funk recently that put their position atop the AL Central in jeopardy but pulled out of it with wins in five of six, including a three-game sweep at Cleveland over the weekend in which they outscored the rival Indians 13-2 to retake first place. Minnesota will try to keep the stellar pitching performances coming behind Jose Berrios on Monday while Boston counters with ace Chris Sale.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Jose Berrios (7-1, 2.67 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Chris Sale (9-3, 2.85)
Berrios is establishing himself as one of the best young starters in the AL and is enjoying a streak of four straight wins. The 23-year-old went eight innings in each of his last two starts while allowing a total of four runs and striking out 14 with two walks. Berrios is making his first career start against the Red Sox and is 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA in four road starts.
Sale leads the majors with 146 strikeouts and punched out 10 over 8 1/3 innings in a win at Kansas City on Tuesday. The Florida native has issued just 19 walks in 107 1/3 innings but surrendered a pair of home runs against the Royals to snap a stretch of three straight outings without a long ball. Sale struck out 10 in six innings and got plenty of support in a win at Minnesota on May 7 that ended up a 17-6 final in favor of Boston.
1. Red Sox LHP David Price has a cracked fingernail on his pitching hand but is expected to make his next start.
2. Minnesota 1B Joe Mauer is 7-for-14 over the last four games.
3. Boston RF Mookie Betts is 3-for-24 over his last six contests.
NEW YORK – (Staff report from Official News Release) – Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon and Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric have been unanimously selected to the 2016-17 NBA All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced today. Both players received all 100 First Team votes from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
Joining Brogdon and Saric on the First Team are 76ers center Joel Embiid (171 points, 82 First Team votes), Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (154 points, 63 First Team votes) and New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez (128 points, 44 First Team votes).
Brogdon, Saric and Embiid are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The winner will be announced tonight during the inaugural NBA Awards, which will be televised live by TNT at 9 p.m. ET.
This season marks the first time since the annual honor was first presented 54 years ago that the NBA All-Rookie First Team includes four international players: Saric (Croatia), Embiid (Cameroon), Hield (Bahamas) and Hernangomez (Spain). The previous record was three international players on the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
The NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (123 points, 34 First Team votes), Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown (106 points, 24 First Team votes), Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss (91 points, 20 First Team votes), Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (83 points, 11 First Team votes) and Dallas Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell (63 points, 7 First Team votes).
The voting panel was asked to select five players for the First Team and five players for the Second Team at any position. Two points were awarded for First Team votes and one point for Second Team votes.
Brogdon led rookies in assists (4.2 apg) and steals (1.12 spg) and ranked second in three-point field goal percentage (40.4) and free throw percentage (86.5). He was also third in field goal percentage (45.7) and fourth in scoring (10.2 ppg). A second-round pick (36th overall) in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm, Brogdon became the first Bucks rookie ever to record a regular-season triple-double when he posted 15 points and career highs of 12 assists and 11 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 31, 2016.
Represented by Saric and Embiid, the 76ers are the first team with multiple players on the NBA All-Rookie First Team since 2008. Saric was the second-leading scorer (12.8 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg) among rookies, raising his averages to 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds over the last 30 of his 81 games. Embiid averaged rookie bests of 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.45 blocks in 31 games.
Hield paced rookies in three-pointers made (148), ranked third in scoring (10.6 ppg) and finished fourth in three-point field goal percentage (39.1). In 25 games with Sacramento after being acquired in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 20, Hield averaged 15.1 points and 4.1 rebounds and shot 48.0 percent from the field and 42.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Hernangomez topped first-year players in field goal percentage (52.9) and double-doubles (11) to go with 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds (second among rookies). After Embiid won the first three Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month awards of the season and Saric was honored with the next two, Hernangomez earned the accolade in April behind averages of 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Below are the voting totals for the 2016-17 NBA All-Rookie Teams:
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (first-place votes in parentheses): Rodney McGruder, Miami, 61 (7); Caris LeVert, Brooklyn, 36 (2); Domantas Sabonis, Oklahoma City, 19 (4); Tyler Ulis, Phoenix, 10 (1); Patrick McCaw, Golden State, 8; Skal Labissiere, Sacramento, 7 (1); Kris Dunn, Minnesota, 5; Juancho Hernangomez, Denver, 5; Taurean Prince, Atlanta, 5; Isaiah Whitehead, Brooklyn, 5; Alex Abrines, Oklahoma City, 4; Davis Bertans, San Antonio, 3; Dejounte Murray, San Antonio, 3; Thon Maker, Milwaukee, 3; Andrew Harrison, Memphis, 2; Fred VanVleet, Toronto, 1; Dragan Bender, Phoenix, 1; DeAndre’ Bembry, Atlanta, 1; Jakob Poeltl, Toronto, 1; Malcolm Delaney, Atlanta, 1.
NEW YORK – (Staff report from Official News Release) – Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard – the three finalists for the 2016-17 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award – lead the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced .
Green (198 points, 99 First Team votes), Gobert (196 points, 97 First Team votes) and Leonard (192 points, 93 First Team votes) were overwhelming choices for the First Team, as selected by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.
The three players are vying for the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, with the winner announced tonight during the inaugural NBA Awards live on TNT (9 p.m. ET). Leonard earned the honor in each of the last two seasons, while Green finished second both times.
The 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive First Team also features guards Chris Paul of the LA Clippers (140 points, 61 First Team votes) and Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets (110 points, 38 First Team votes). Paul was named to the First Team for the sixth consecutive season and the seventh time overall. Beverley, a 2013-14 NBA All-Defensive Second Team choice, was selected to the First Team for the first time.
The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of guards Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies (80 points, 17 First Team votes) and Danny Green of the Spurs (68 points, 21 First Team votes), center Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans (58 points) and forwards Andre Roberson of the Oklahoma City Thunder (53 points, 3 First Team votes) and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (35 points, 7 First Team votes).
Players were awarded two points for each First Team vote and one point for each Second Team vote. Voters were asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly. Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.
Green, who led the NBA in steals (2.03 spg) and became the first player in Warriors history to record at least 150 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season, made the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the third season in a row. Leonard was also selected to the First Team for the third straight year, while Gobert earned his first nod after leading the NBA in blocks (2.64 bpg). Behind their respective Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year finalists, San Antonio (first), Golden State (second) and Utah (third) posted the NBA’s three best defensive ratings during the regular season.
Below are the voting results for the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Teams:
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Avery Bradley, Boston, 46 (12); Klay Thompson, Golden State, 45 (16); John Wall, Washington, 38 (14); DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers, 35 (1); Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 35; Hassan Whiteside, Miami, 25 (1); Marcus Smart, Boston, 21 (5); Jimmy Butler, Chicago, 18; LeBron James, Cleveland, 12 (1); Robert Covington, Philadelphia, 11 (2); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 10 (5); Paul George, Indiana, 7; Kevin Durant, Golden State, 6; Dwight Howard, Atlanta, 6 (1); Mike Conley, Memphis, 5 (1); Jae Crowder, Boston, 5; Jrue Holiday, New Orleans, 5; Wesley Matthews, Dallas, 4 (2); Stephen Curry, Golden State, 3; Andre Iguodala, Golden State, 3 (1); Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte, 3; Ricky Rubio, Minnesota, 3; P.J. Tucker, Toronto, 3; Trevor Ariza, Houston, 2; Nicolas Batum, Charlotte, 2; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 2; Eric Gordon, Houston, 2 (1); Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, 2 (1); Steven Adams, Oklahoma City, 1; LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Al-Farouq Aminu, Portland, 1; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit, 1; George Hill, Utah, 1; Serge Ibaka, Toronto, 1; Damian Lillard, Portland, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, LA Clippers, 1; Austin Rivers, LA Clippers, 1; Isaiah Thomas, Boston, 1; Cody Zeller, Charlotte, 1.
NEW YORK – (Staff Report from Official News release) – ReKTGlobal, a fast-growing business authority in esports and competitive gaming, announced an expansion of its business with the official launch of three new ventures; ReKTVenues, ReKTLive and ReKTMedia.
These new ventures are designed to help bridge the gap between the multi-billion-dollar business of traditional sports and the burgeoning new biz of esports and competitive gaming. The new extensions will meet the growing demand of existing businesses in professional sports and entertainment, from teams and venues to brands and media companies, looking to expand and attract millennials and gamers. They will help companies interested in creating authentic media content for esports fans, and festival and convention producers who want to bring unique esports experiences to their events.
ReKTGlobal was launched in September, 2016 and less than a year later, its new additions of ReKTVenues, ReKTLive and ReKTMedia will strive to bring esports to its full potential and build on the company’s existing brands including esports careers platform ReKTJobs, consultancy ReKTAgency and collegiate esports connector ReKTUniversity.
“My vision is that every city will have an esports venue and every professional sports team will have an esports strategy,” said founder Amish Shah.
“ReKTGlobal has the solutions to help them navigate through the ecosystem,” continued Shah, an early investor in the esports space with Gameco, the “First Video Game Slot Machine,” professional esports Team EnVyUs and Drone Racing League before finding the sweet spot of esports infrastructure building with ReKTGlobal.
“We view ReKTGlobal as a Rising Tide to Lift all Ships; an infrastructure business in support of the esports and broader gaming marketplaces,” said co-founder and CEO David Bialek. “ReKTGlobal will make it easy for anyone to enjoy, participate or work in esports anytime and anywhere.”
The parent company’s new corporate website, www.rektglobal.com, provides a hub for esports solutions from corporate consultation and creative services, to community-based events, content and programs for professional sports and mixed purpose venues, as well as job placement and university scholarship matching.
The ReKTGlobal executive team includes founder, Shah, also a founding partner of venture capital firm SierraMaya360, who was joined in 2017 by co-founders Bialek, a 25-year sports marketing veteran and Sports Business Journal 40 Under 40 recipient; Christopher J. Steele and Christopher Golden of Sterling Select, a venture development and investment platform affiliated with Sterling Equities; and Counsel Charles Baker, a top sports, media and entertainment attorney.
“We at Sterling Select, considered partnering with Amish in his investment in Team EnVyUs in early 2016 but ultimately decided it was too nascent and unchartered at the time,” said managing partner Christopher J. Steele. “However, when Amish came to me and shared his vision for ReKTGlobal and esports infrastructure, I determined that it was a better fit for the Select platform. Given the estimates of the growth of the industry, Select’s sees ReKTGlobal as being in the right space, at the right time with the right team, which we are excited to be an integral part of as co-founders.”
“Esports is one of the fast-growing parts of our industry,” said Baker. “I am excited to be part of a group that knows how to develop esports correctly and for the long-term benefit of the players and fans.”
Sterling Equities in in ownership of the New York Mets baseball club.
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
BOSTON — Who could blame right-hander Doug Fister if he was pitching with a bit of a chip on his shoulder Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park? Fister was facing the Los Angeles Angels, the team that released him on Thursday after three minor league outings, for the Boston Red Sox, the team that claimed him off waivers on Friday.
But the Angels (40-39) got the final say, taking the game 4-2, and the series.
Fister went six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts. He took the loss, falling to 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
“Quality outing,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “He’s a bang-bang play away from a scoreless outing. I thought he held his stuff really well through the entire time that he was on the mound. Good life to his fastball, good sink. Threw a number of good cutters. I thought he pitched in to both lefties and righties effectively. That was a very good start on the part of Doug today.”
He was bested by Angels rookie right-hander Parker Bridwell, who went 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with no walks, four strikeouts and a hit batter. Bridwell earned the win, improving to 2-0.
“It was much needed and Parker just keeps coming in and keeps us in games in some pretty tough places,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “It’s great to watch.”
Bridwell needed just 75 pitches, 52 for strikes.
“That was partly on their part, too, swinging early,” Bridwell said. “Once I figured out what they were doing, I had to be more precise with fastball location. I was happy with the way first three or four went. I wasn’t throwing very many stress pitches. It was them swinging early and me being able to keep the ball down.”
Fister pitched a lightning-fast and efficient, 1-2-3 first inning, needing just 10 pitches, including a three-pitch strikeout of leadoff batter Cameron Maybin. But in the second inning he gave up three runs — Juan Graterol’s two-run single was the big hit — as the Angels sent six batters to the plate.
“That was the small hiccup and, unfortunately, I got to do a better job than that,” Fister said. “I got to execute some pitches and make sure that guys don’t do what they did. So that’s on me.”
Boston (41-34) cut the deficit as Mitch Moreland led off the bottom of the inning with his 11th home run of the season. Jackie Bradley Jr. got Boston to within a run when he led off the fifth with his 10th homer of the season.
The Angels added a run in the ninth off Boston closer Craig Kimbrel, pitching for the first time since June 18. Ben Revere led off with a single, scoring on Kaleb Cowart’s one-out single to right. Cowart, who was called up before the game to make his season debut, went 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored.
“He had a great game,” Scioscia said. “Kaleb had about 30 minutes of sleep and came out and took his groundballs.”
Yusmeiro Petit earned his first save, going two scoreless innings.
NOTES: Red Sox LHP David Price developed a cracked fingernail on the middle finger of his throwing hand during Saturday’s loss to the Angels. Manager John Farrell expects Price to make his next scheduled start. … Angels LHP Tyler Skaggs suffered a setback Saturday as he tries to make his way back from a strained oblique. He was schedule to pitch in his first rehab game on Saturday, but was scratched because of general soreness in his oblique and abdominal area. He was able to throw on Saturday and is expected to join the team at Dodger Stadium on Monday, going through a full evaluation. … Boston LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, on the disabled list since June 2 with a right knee subluxation, is expected to make his first rehab start Thursday with Double-A Portland, throwing about 75-80 pitches. Angels INF Yunel Escobar was out of the lineup again on Sunday after injuring his thumb on a diving play in Friday’s game. Scioscia said he is improving. … Red Sox LHP Brian Johnson, on the DL since June 15 with left shoulder impingement, threw his first bullpen session on Sunday. Farrell said Johnson would continue to progress with bullpen sessions before there is a plan to get him into games. … 1B/DH Albert Pujols is expected to play one of the two games at Dodger Stadium starting Monday. The most likely scenario would be for him to play Monday, with the Dodgers starting LHP Rich Hill. … RHP Bud Norris, on the DL with right knee inflammation, has begun aggressive long toss, manager Mike Scioscia said. The Angels are hoping he can pitch from a mound this week.
He was in awe while discussing the milestone.
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts