They stay in the closet because they don’t want to get attacked on social media.

He pointed to ESPN giving the Arthur Ashe Courage award to Caitlyn Jenner at the 2015 ESPYs Awards.

ESPN’s rivals at Fox Sports have also been taunting ESPN over the subscribers losses that have reduced its footprint to 88 million homes from a former high of 100 million. Fox Sports radio host Clay Travis wrote ESPN has morphed into a left-wing network he calls MESPN. He pointed to ESPN giving the Arthur Ashe Courage award to Caitlyn Jenner at the 2015 ESPYs Awards.

And that was the jumping off point, the moment ESPN ceased to be about sports and became a mouthpiece of the farthest left reaches of the Democratic party. I’m all for political discussion, but when you ally yourself with one political party and your business ostensibly is to talk about sports, you lose viewers who see what you’re doing. That’s why I call ESPN MSESPN now, the network is desperate to prop up its ratings and has decided that becoming a shill for the left wing in the country is its best option. Sadly, this is just going to lose more viewers.

In an interview with Sporting News, Jason Whitlock, co-host of FS1’s Speak for Yourself, said ESPN is trying to please hyper left-wing social media forces.

Despite the protests against Republican president Donald Trump by high-profile athletes such as LeBron James, Steph Curry and various members of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Schilling estimated that 80 percent to 85 percent of pro athletes are actually conservative politically. They stay in the closet because they don’t want to get attacked on social media.

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I get the idea of wanting to control player costs

The easy answer is locality. Lynch, an Oakland native, is considered a Bay-Area legend of sorts. He’d sell tickets (not that the Raiders have an attendance issue), and he’d make an already-interesting AFC contender that much more interesting.

Yes, the list of available, non-retired, unrestricted free-agent backs includes names that would add flare to Oakland’s roster. But it also includes big numbers, and we’re not talking about career rushing totals. We’re talking about age the reason most on the list remain unsigned.

And while Lynch isn’t young, his year-plus away from grounding and pounding in the NFL and relatively clean injury slate combine to help explain the Raiders’ interest.

Look, I get the idea of wanting to control player costs, I really do. I don’t have a problem with Levine saying all those things to an arbitrator in an attempt to pay Betances just $3 million in 2017 instead of $5 million. That’s how the system is set up. Hey, he won. Good for him.

But to gloat about the win publically? To demean Betances?

Here’s something that has a pretty firm basis in reality: If Randy Levine is still with the Yankees by the time Betances is eligible to become a free agent, there’s pretty much zero chance he stays with the club.

It is a game and a celebration, but there’s a direct line between Jackie Robison and me standing here. There’s a direct line people loving Ernie Banks and the city (of Chicago) being able to come together and work together in one spirit.’

He added, Sometimes it’s not enough just to change laws. You’ve got to change hearts, and sports has a way of changing hearts sometimes in a way that politics or business doesn’t.’

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Chicago’s pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 14

That’s just not right. Statistics should be rational. They should be based in some type of logic. The problem isn’t that pitcher wins/losses are determined by a flawed set of standards; it’s that pitcher wins/losses shouldn’t exist, period.

Again, I get that pitcher wins/losses aren’t disappearing from official baseball records anytime soon (or ever, probably). That’s OK. We don’t have to wait, though. We can be better, right now. All of us.

Being a rational baseball fan, I recognize the inherent fallacy of awarding wins and losses to individual pitchers. I embrace the more intelligent ways to evaluate the contributions of pitchers, and I pledge to raise the level of discourse in my daily baseball conversation, at my job, in my home, at the ballpark and online. I recognize that ingrained habits are hard to break, but I also recognize the value in helping my fellow baseball fans appreciate the game on a deeper level. If I do reference pitcher wins/losses, I will always include a mention of the flawed nature of this archaic statistic. Finally, I pledge to eliminate pitcher wins/losses from my fantasy league’s scoring system. I will be the change I hope to see in others.

It’ll be hard for the Chicago Cubs to improve on a 2016 season in which the team ended a 108-year World Series drought, but Joe Maddon’s club appears to be in good shape for another strong run. Here’s what fans need to know as the Cubs prepare for their title defense in 2017.

Chicago’s pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 14, and those players’ first workout is on Feb. 15. Position players arrive on Feb. 17, and the first full workout is on Feb. 18.

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the surprisingly nimble Fauria became an internet sensation with the Lions in 2013 and 2014

“I’m trying my best,” said Fauria, 27. “Last year didn’t go as planned. I didn’t get any tryouts, but I have my head on straight now. I’m in good shape. I’m ready to go. I just want one more chance.”

Fans of end-zone celebrations should hope he gets one — especially with the NFL now liberalizing its post-score rules.

As a 6-7 red-zone target, the surprisingly nimble Fauria became an internet sensation with the Lions in 2013 and 2014. Antics included twerking and an homage to *NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” music video after Fauria’s eight career touchdowns.

The latter dance was in response to late-night show host Jimmy Fallon Liverpool Cheap Jerseys saying he would pay the fine for any athlete who copied the moves displayed during a skit with former *NSYNC member Justin Timberlake. When the NFL didn’t fine Fauria, Fallon instead made a $10,000 donation to the Michigan’s Make-A-Wish chapter.

Fauria said then-Lions coach Jim Schwartz initially frowned upon his end-zone celebrations and even made him an example in front of the team about what not to do when scoring. Fauria, though, said Miami Dolphins Cheap Jerseys his teammates didn’t want him to stop and even began offering suggestions for future celebrations.

First, teams that play OT games on Sundays would no longer Manchester United Cheap Jerseys face competitive disadvantages if forced to play four days later. Since 2012, the 10 clubs that fall under that category posted a collective 2-8 record. The short turnaround was especially damaging for defenses. Only one of those squads held their Thursday night opponent to less than 20 points.

Athletics ace Sonny Gray activated from DL, will make season debut Tuesday

The Athletics activated ace Sonny Gray from the 10-day disabled list Monday. He will make his season debut Tuesday against the Twins in Minnesota.

Gray, 27, began the season on the DL with a lat strain. He was impressive in two rehab starts, tossing 11 scoreless innings with a 13/0 K/BB ratio between High-A Stockton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Outfielder Ryan LaMarre optioned to Triple-A Nashville in a corresponding move.

Owning an MLB team is on Rodriguez’s bucket list, but after meeting with members of Romney’s group Wednesday in Los Angeles, he felt the timing isn’t right to join the effort, even though Miami is his hometown, sources told Fox Sports.

Rodriguez, who runs a private holding corporation, just signed a multi-year deal as a full-time baseball analyst with Fox and serves as an advisor to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, among other endeavors.

Also, purchasing a franchise requires approval of 75 percent of the league’s owners, which may have been challenging for Rodriguez given his checkered history in baseball. As Fox Sports notes, A-Rod battled with MLB and the players’ union over his 162-game suspension in 2014 for violating the league’s drug policy.

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NFL free agency: Nick Foles returns to Eagles as backup

After a mostly forgettable tour of Missouri’s NFL landscape, Nick Foles is returning to Philadelphia.

The Eagles announced Monday they have signed the quarterback to a two-year deal, bringing him back just over two years after they traded him away to acquire Sam Bradford.

Foles left Philadelphia as the starter but will return as the backup to Carson Wentz. Then again, it was an impressive showing in relief of then-starter Michael Vick in 2013 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 13 games (10 starts) that put Foles on the map in the first place.

It caused quite the altercation with members of both camps, yelling obscenities at the other.

J.E. might’ve dropped an an album titled Hard back in 2003, but their mothers didn’t raise any fools. Fairley, a six-year NFL veteran, is 6-4, tips the scales at nearly 300 pounds and is super aggressive. He makes his living rushing folks, and when he’s ticked, it can take multiple able-bodied, fully-grown American football players to move him anywhere. Four dudes who make their money harmonizing weren’t about to press the issue physically. The group’s set was ultimately cut short.

The whole ordeal was utterly ridiculous. Fairly could’ve just fell back, let those brothers do their job and enjoyed the show. Like one of the group members shouted during the incident, It ain’t about you.

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Pete Rose on ballot for prestigious Phillies honor

Pete Rose, who finally joined the Reds Hall of Fame in 2016, is now up for a similar honor with the Phillies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that baseball’s all-time hits leader is one of 10 candidates to be honored this year on the Phillies Wall of Fame.

But expect some debate over Rose’s nomination. announced his nomination with the headline, Pete Rose eligible for Phillies Wall of Fame: Does he deserve honor?

Fans can vote for Rose’s Phillies Wall nomination on the team’s website . A selection committee will take the top five in votes and select one for enshrinement on the wall in August. The display is in Ashburn Alley behind the outfield wall in Citizens Bank Park.

Other candidates include Steve Bedrosian, Larry Christenson, Jim Fregosi, Gene Garber, Placido Polanco, Ron Reed, Scott Rolen, Manny Trillo, and Rick Wise.

Romero had been suspended April 7 for violating team rules but was reinstated last week. He pitched in relief Friday and Sunday against Connecticut in what turned out to be his final appearances for the 20th-ranked Cougars (31-17).

We wish Seth and his family the best of luck as he embarks on the next phase of his life and baseball career, Houston coach Todd Whitting said in a release. We are fully focused on our remaining schedule and the current members of our program.

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Pitcher who gave up home run to Tim Tebow throws perfect game in minors

Safe to say, Domenic Mazza has shaken off the home run he gave up to Tim Tebow.

Mazza, a Giants minor leaguer, threw a nine-inning perfect game Tuesday for Augusta (Ga.) against Lexington (Ky.) in the Single-A South Atlantic League. Mazza struck out nine batters; as impressively, he needed just 85 pitches (60 strikes); that’s a huge reason he was allowed to go all the way and toss the first nine-inning perfecto in league history.

My agent actually kept things pretty quiet, Zeitler said Thursday night while preparing to take an early-morning flight to Cleveland. I know on Day 1 a couple of teams came in and started talking. As it went on, it came down to New Orleans and Cleveland.

It sounded like Cleveland just offered the best deal. My agent suggested I go with it.

Further, Zeitler said, he hasn’t had the chance to talk with too many people in Cleveland as to what the team’s vision is for him, its plans to improve after a 1-15 season, or whether Browns coach Hue Jackson is using the same offensive concepts used when he was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator. About everything Zeitler knows about the Browns stems from having played against them as an AFC North rival for the past five seasons while with Cincinnati.

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NFL proposes rules changes for 2017 season

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino on Thursday announced proposed rules changes for the 2017 season (via ProFootballTalk). The most surprising new rule would be that all penalties, including ones that were unreviewable in the past, could be challenged.

MLB Network host cards: Pretty self-explanatory. Now in a partnership with MLB Network, Topps has produced cards of various MLB Network personalities, analysts and hosts, include former players Harold Reynolds and John Smoltz, current studio hosts Greg Amsinger and Lauren Shehadi, and more.

Topps is expanding its First Pitch lineup, which features action shots of celebrity first pitches at ballgames. The celebrities featured include WIlliam Shatner, Joan Jett and Lou Ferrigno. (Sorry, 50 Cent.)

Topps has also reintroduced the Material Relic cards, which include pieces from specific player uniforms. A card is previewed below.

This year’s No. 1 card is Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who was selected by the fans in just the second year of the Vote for No. 1 Card contest. Last year, Angels outfielder Mike Trout took home the No. 1 card honors.

In a business that’s as straight forward as baseball cards, Topps has done an excellent job of producing fresh looks to keep fans, collectors and others interested in the hobby.

Below are previews from Series 1 of the 2017 catalog.

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Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang admits to DUI, vows to ‘earn respect’

Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang accepted responsibility for his third DUI charge during a court hearing in Seoul on Wednesday and vowed to change his ways.

I deeply regret what I have done, Kang said, via Yonhap News. If I can get one last chance, I will become an exemplary player to earn respect from everyone.

Harbaugh’s not interested in that stuff, though. He says if a team wants a good football player, then go sign Kaepernick.

I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player, Harbaugh told PFT’s Mike Florio. He’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback, win championships.

Kaepernick’s options to be a starter somewhere are pretty limited now. Most teams already have found someone through free agency or plan to take a quarterback in the draft. And other teams just don’t want to deal with the attention Kaepernick would bring as a backup.

The former 49ers QB is still young (29) and showed some promise last season despite not having much talent surrounding him. He finished with 18 total touchdowns and four interceptions in 12 games played.

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