Baseball's fight with fatigue: Last year, less than 9% of position players appeared in 150 or more games. That is the lowest such percentage in major-league history, according to Stats LLC. Run scoring in September last year was 7% lower than it was during March and April, twice as steep a decline as the historical norm. So, as full squads report to spring training in Florida and Arizona this week, teams arenít worried so much about hitters being ready for Opening Day. Theyíre worried about keeping them fresh for the stretch run, and theyíre exploring myriad new ways to boost their endurance.
Bears Receiver Brandon Marshall Traded to Jets: Following the swap to send running back LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia to Buffalo in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso, another NFC offensive star is switching jerseys: Chicago is trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets for not-yet-specified players or picks. Trades can't become finalized until free agency begins Tuesday.
Is Charlie Brown the Worst Manager Ever?: The Hardball Times takes a look at the manager who won two games in 47 years.
Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter: After Curt Schilling announced that his daughter had been accepted to play softball in college, both he and his daughter were subjected to vicious sexual remarks by Twitter trolls. Schilling did some online sleuthing and found as many as he could. "She didn't do anything, she never said anything, yet she's now receiving personal messages with guys saying things to her, well let's just say I can't repeat and I'm getting beyond angry thinking about it," he writes.
High School Players: Root for Our Opponent: The Gainesville Tornados, a high school basketball team in Texas, sometimes play with zero fans in attendance because they're a juvenile correction facility. Two players for Vanguard Prep in Waco did something unusual and asked some of their fans to root for the other team. The idea took off and the Gainesville players took the court to the shock of seeing their own fan section, signs and cheerleading squad.
College Player Scores 30 Points in Final 4.5 Minutes: The good news: Florida State freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 30 points in the final 4:38 against Miami Wednesday night. The bad news: Florida State still lost 81-77. Rathan-Mayers racked up the points with six three-pointers, two layups and eight free throws. He says, "The arena was quiet. It was like I was in there by myself. It was a feeling I've never, ever felt before. There was nothing else happening around me."
Igor Larionov reflects on playing for Red Army, and what is wrong with North American hockey: "If you look at the coaches in Juniors and minor league hockey, many of them were not skill players. Itís a lot of former enforcers and grinders who take these coaching jobs. Naturally, they tell their players to be just like them. Their players are 17, 18 years old ó younger than I was when I joined the Red Army team. Say what you want about the Whiplash mentality (or the Soviet mentality), but if coaches are going to push kids at that age, why are they pushing them to play a simple game? Why arenít coaches pushing them to create a masterpiece? We lose a lot of Pavel Datsyuks to the closed-minded nature of the AHL and NHL."
Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles: The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders say they'll share a new $1.7 billion stadium in Los Angeles if they don't get a stadium deal in their current cities. The teams issued this statement: "We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises." Another move-to-LA bid is being explored by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who has a joint venture to build a stadium in Inglewood.
Revealed: the ghost game bet on around the world ... that never actually took place.:
All this would have been reflected in the odds offered before and during the game by bookmakers such as bet365 and SBOBET, odds that should have been increasingly in Shakhterís favour. Except most people backing them were doomed to lose from the outset, because FC Slutsk 2 Shakhter Soligorsk 1 was always going to be the final score of a match Inside Sport can reveal never took place.
Last Man (or Woman): A game for those not interested in NFL. Or at least the Superbowl result.
Belgian Soccer Fans Lose Their Heads: Fans of the Belgian soccer team Standard Liege greeted the return of their former captain Steven Defour on the opposing team with an enormous banner that depicted his decapitated head. Belgian foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders called it "stupid, nasty and irresponsible."
McCutchen: Baseball No Longer a Sport Where Poor Kids Get Discovered: Andrew McCutchen offers an interesting take on the Little League champs from Chicago who took in players from outside their district. "Baseball used to be the sport where all you needed was a stick and a ball. It used to be a way out for poor kids. Now itís a sport that increasingly freezes out kids whose parents donít have the income to finance the travel baseball circuit," he writes. "If youíre a poor kid with raw ability, itís not enough. You need to be blessed with many mentors to step in and help you."
NFL Pick 'Em Contest, Final Scoreboard: The results have been tabulated and NerfballPro completes a wire-to-wire victory, winning by one point over Hincandenza and two over NoMich. Picking the 52 points scored in the game exactly earned a one-point bonus for the champ. Tommytrump takes home the coveted Costanza for last place, sunk by a conference championship round in which everything that could go wrong did.
Kane, Bogosian dealt to Sabres for Myers, Stafford and prospects: Two players once considered cornerstones of the Winnipeg Jets future success are gone. The Jets traded forward Evander Kane and defenceman Zach Bogosian to the Buffalo Sabres in a massive NHL deal. The Jets received immediate help in return, acquiring blueliner Tyler Myers and forward Drew Stafford The Jets also got prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and one of the Sabres' later first-round picks in this summer's NHL entry draft. The Jets will also surrender to Buffalo the rights to goalie Jason Kasdorf.
Semi-regular update: Julio Franco is still playing baseball.:
Julio Franco was teammates with Hall-of-Famer Phil Niekro (born in 1939) and current all-star Carlos Gomez (born in 1985).