California Limits Full-Contact School Football Practices: California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced Monday that he has signed a bill limiting full-contact football practices at middle and high schools in response to concerns about concussions. Under the legislation taking effect in 2015, drills involving game-speed tackling are prohibited in the off-seasonandare limited to 90-minute sessions twice a week the rest of the year. The rules apply to public, private and charter schools. Texas has even stricter rules by allowing only one 90-minute full-contact session a week.
Bartolo Colon Has Perfect Game Through 6 Innings: New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon has a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners through six innings Wednesday afternoon. Colon has thrown four strikeouts with 50 strikes on 73 total pitches. The 41-year-old threw a one-hitter in 2000 for the Cleveland Indians against the New York Yankees. The Mets lead 2-0.
Padres' Odrisamer Despaigne Throwing No-Hitter Through 7: In just his fifth Major League start, San Diego Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne is throwing a no-hitter against the New York Mets through seven innings.
Pitcher Freaks Out Because of Bunt in 2-Run Game: Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis has added a new entry to baseball's unwritten rulebook: Don't bunt to reach base with two outs and nobody on when your team is leading by two runs in the fifth inning. Colby Rasmus did that in a 4-1 Toronto Blue Jays victory Saturday. "I don't think that's the way the game should be played," said Lewis, who yelled at Rasmus after the play. "I felt like you have a situation where there is two outs, you're up two runs, you have gotten a hit earlier in the game off me, we are playing the shift, and he laid down a bunt basically simply for average."
SportsFilter's World Cup Confidence Pool Winner: The World Cup Confidence Pool has been won by Tron7 by 24 points over Goddam and 36 over Rcade (sigh). Two factors in the win were putting Spain out of the top 5 and Netherlands at 5, higher than anyone else in the top 10. My son Ecade takes home the coveted Costanza by being best at scoring the fewest points (you have to be encouraging as a parent). Tron7 wins an Adidas Brazuca Glider Soccer Ball.
Germany Wins World Cup: Germany won its fourth World Cup after a tense 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday. Mario Gotze's strike, seven minutes from the end of extra time, ensured Germany ended its 24-year wait for glory at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium. Deadlocked at 0-0 after 90 minutes, it was left to substitute Gotze to provide the game's defining moment with a touch of magic. The Bayern Munich star took Andre Schurrle's pass on his chest before displaying exquisite technique to volley the ball past Sergio Romero.
LeBron James Returning to Cleveland: LeBron James stunned the NBA on Friday when he announced he's returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers and leaving the Miami Heat. James made the announcement on Sports Illustrated's website in a letter. He wrote: "Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. ... In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I'm ready to accept the challenge. I'm coming home. ... My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now."
Liverpool Sells Luiz Suarez to Barcelona: Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez is being transferred from Liverpool to Barcelona for a reported transfer fee around 80 million Euros. The 27-year-old serial biter is serving a four-month suspension from soccer as punishment for chomping Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup. Barring his appeal, Suarez will miss 18 games for Barcelona, including three in the Champions League, one for Copa del Rey and nine in La Liga.
Blackhawks Sign Toews, Kane Through 2023: The Chicago Blackhawks signed Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions Wednesday. Their yearly salary cap hits of $10.5 million apiece are the highest in NHL history.
Argentina Faces The Netherlands for Spot in World Cup Final: Argentina plays its first World Cup semifinal since 1990, facing today a Netherlands team looking to reach its second consecutive final. The countries have met four times in the tournament and four other times. Argentina won only one of the matches, but it was the 1978 World Cup final.
How (Not) to Survive the Running of the Bulls: A coauthor of the book Fiesta: How to Survive the Running of the Bulls was badly gored on Wednesday in the morning bull run at Pamplona's San Fermin festival. Bill Hillmann, 32, tripped and fell when a bull gored him in his right thigh, according to festival website SanFermin.Com, which has photos of the incident. There have been 14 fatalities over the past century at the fiesta, which dates to the 13th century.
Nate Silver Had Brazil at 65% to Win Today: "We have some reasonably good news for Brazil. Even without Neymar and Silva, the team remains the leading contender to win the World Cup in our estimation. You may or may not agree with the math, but the intuition behind it is this: Soccer is a team sport, and Brazil is a very deep team. ... If we run the new numbers through the SPI match predictor, we come up with a 65 percent chance of Brazil prevailing against Germany." -- Nate Silver's pre-match prediction on 538
Brazil Faces Germany for Spot in World Cup Final: In the worst World Cup loss by Brazil in the country's history, the host nation lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-final after goals by Thomas Mueller, Miroslav Klose, Toni Kroos, Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Andre Schuerrle and Andre Schuerrle. Oscar scored for Brazil.
The Netherlands Faces Underdog Costa Rica in World Cup: The Netherlands and Costa Rica meet in the World Cup for the first time Saturday to decide the final spot in the quarterfinals. The Netherlands has won 10 of its last 11 World Cup matches, losing only to Spain in the 2010 finals. Costa Rica, the biggest surprise of the tournament, is the first CONCACAF team to reach a quarterfinal in 12 years.
Argentina Faces Belgium in World Cup Quarterfinal: Argentina and Belgium meet Saturday in the day's early World Cup quarterfinal. The teams have met twice in the tournament before, Belgium winning in the group stage in 1982 and Argentina in the semifinals four years later. All eyes are on Argentina great Lionel Messi, who has four goals and one assist out of his country's seven total goals at this World Cup.
Brazil Knocks Out Colombia, But Loses Neymar: In a match full of hard fouls and poor officiating, Brazil defeated Colombia 2-1 with goals from Thiago Silva and David Luiz. Colombia's James Rodriguez scored on a penalty to cut the lead in half. Brazilian star Neymar took a knee to the back in the 88th minute on a hard foul by Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga and suffered a broken vertebra, ending his tournament.
Germany Closes Down France in World Cup: Germany scored on a Mats Hummels header in the 12th minute and that was all it needed in a 1-0 victory over France in the World Cup quarterfinals. The win makes Germany the first country to reach the semifinals in four straight World Cups. France had a late chance as Karim Benzema launched a final-minute strike in the box, but German keeper Manuel Neuer got a hand on it. An ESPNFC writer was disappointed by the French effort, calling the game "one of the more turgid affairs of this consistently excellent tournament."
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Results, Blame-the-World-Cup Edition: The results finally have been compiled for our annual NHL Playoff Pick 'Em. Cixelsyd is the runaway champion with 18 points and Rumple takes home the coveted Costanza.
Michael Bradley Covered Most Ground in World Cup: Michael Bradley covered 54.7 kilometers during the four U.S. games, the highest total of any player in the World Cup. Headlines such as What Happened to Michael Bradley? suggest the 26-year-old underperformed, but nobody outworked him. "His positioning has been flawless and his work ethic is quite literally unmatched," wrote Beck Barnes before Monday's match.
How Good Are the Americans, Really?: An interesting analysis of where the U.S. men's national team stands in the soccer hierarchy after its exit from the World Cup, written by Mark Satterfield of the Christian Science Monitor. "Team USA has not stagnated. The bus is still moving forward," he observes. "But the issues that made the first 105 minutes of the Belgium game -- and much of America's World Cup, frankly -- an exercise in intestinal fortitude are the same issues that have defined the USA ever since it reemerged on the world stage in 1990."
U.S. Falls to Belgium Despite Epic Tim Howard Performance: In one of the biggest games in the history of the U.S. men's soccer team, the United States lost to Belgium 2-1 in a round of 16 elimination game in the World Cup. The game went to an extra 30 minutes after it was 0-0 at the 90 minute mark. Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku scored goals for Belgium, and 19-year-old American substitute Julian Green -- the youngest player ever to take the field for the U.S. at a World Cup -- scored to cut the lead in half with 12 minutes to spare. American goalkeeper Tim Howard had the most saves in a game in recorded World Cup history.
Costa Rica Faces Greece in Unlikeliest World Cup Knockout: Costa Rica, the surprise of the World Cup tournament thus far, faces Greece Sunday in a knockout game in the World Cup round of 16. The Ticos were not expected to survive a group that included Uruguay, Italy and England, but they won it. Greece beat Ivory Coast in its final game for a surprise escape from its group. This is the first time the countries have ever played each other, and only the second time Costa Rica has reached this stage. They're bidding to be the first CONCACAF team to reach the quarterfinals since the U.S. in 2002. Greece has only one two of its nine World Cup matches and was scoreless in all seven losses.
Mexico Faces The Netherlands in Round of 16: After making the World Cup only through the divine intervention of San Zusi, Mexico has been on an impressive run so far. But now they face The Netherlands, the 2010 runner-up who absolutely demolished 2010 champ Spain in the opening game and helped them exit early. Mexico has lost three times and drawn once in its last matches against the Dutch and exited the World Cup at this stage every time since 1994. Arjen Robben and Robbie Van Persie are within 1 and 2 goals, respectively, of Johnny Rep's all-time national goal record in the finals.
Colombia Faces Suarez-Less Uruguay in World Cup Knockout: Uruguay may have bitten off more than it can chew in a World Cup round of 16 match against fellow South American side Colombia, playing without star striker Luis Suarez after his suspension for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the final group game. This is only the second time Colombia has reached the round of 16 and the first time it enters as a group champion. Uruguay has won 6 of the last 8 against Colombia, but lost the last two cup matches it played without Suarez.
Brazil Faces Chile in World Cup's First Knockout Game: South American rivals Brazil and Chile meet Saturday in the World Cup round of 16. Brazil hasn't lost to Chile since a cup qualifier in 2000, winning 10 out of their last 12 meetings, and has beaten Chile three times in knockout games. Chile has only reached the final four of the tournament once, in 1962, where they lost to Brazil 4-2 and it went on to hoist the trophy. Neymar, Thiago Silva and two other Brazilians enter this match on yellow cards.