Baseball defense still lives.

Earlier in the afternoon, Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State met for a battle that ended 6-5 in the Beavers’ favor, thanks in large part to Oregon State’s defense pulling through on a pair of spectacular defensive plays that prevented certain Titans base-running shenanigans. Baseball defense still lives.

Anyway, the evening tilt between No. 4 overall national seed LSU and Florida State promised the most compelling action of the CWS’ opening weekend, as the Tigers and Seminoles matched well at the plate and their pitching staffs are deep enough to throw themselves into panzer strikes for innings on end. This thing could have been a marathon.

In the top of the first, FSU’s Dylan Busby got things started with a two-run slam into left center where Fullerton’s Timmy Richards had previously bashed a three-run homer of his own in the afternoon game. That stretch of the outfield wall runs notoriously deep, especially so since the wind traditionally blows in from direct center at TD Ameritrade. No bother, though, when you’ve got bats as big as FSU’s. That could have demoralized the Tigers into submission.

Maddon’s main concern Wednesday was that his young players would internalize exactly what they heard come out of Montero’s mouth the night before, when the catcher publicly criticized starter Jake Arrieta for his slow delivery leading to Washington’s seven stolen bases. The decision to cut Montero Wednesday afternoon wasn’t aimed at preventing friction between the catcher teammates like Arrieta or Anthony Rizzo; it was meant to send a clear message to the young core of Cubs who witnessed the fallout.

The Cubs in their current state have plenty of key Stage 2 players, from Willson Contreras to Albert Almora and Javier Baez to Addison Russell. Rookies Ian Happ, Jeimer Candelario, Mike Zagunis and Montero’s replacement, Victor Caratini, will be there soon.

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Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell looks healthy playing hoops

Le’Veon Bell appears to be recovering well from offseason surgery.

The Steelers running back hasn’t been participating in workouts since being franchise tagged in February, but retweeted a video (with some NSFW language) Sunday night in which he was recorded playing a pick-up game of basketball.

After playing through a groin injury for weeks and then aggravating it during the AFC Championship Game in January, Bell underwent a procedure on his core muscle in March. The NFL launched an investigation into why Pittsburgh omitted Bell’s injury from report, which remains open.

Bell, who is set to earn $12.7 million if he doesn’t reach a long-term contract agreement with the Steelers by July 15, has rushed for 4,045 yards and 26 touchdowns since being drafted in 2013 despite missing 14 games because of injuries and suspensions.

Each NBA team is allotted a pair of two-way contracts that allow players to move between the NBA and D-League without counting against a team’s 15-man roster.

“The quality of play has improved significantly in the D-League,” Cuban said. “The delta from there to the NBA is shrinking every day. Particularly for guard play. With the new two-way contracts Cheap Jerseys Made In China it will improve even more and we could see more players that have an impact in the NBA.”

Remember Jones, the man who put on a show at this year’s Slam Dunk Contest? He took a winding path to the NBA, declaring for the draft after a freshman season in which he was ruled immediately ineligible when his test scores were canceled by the ACT in March of 2016. He went undrafted but made his NBA debut on Nov. 19. However, he Cheap Jerseys Make Your Own didn’t play in consecutive games for Phoenix until mid-February, after playing 19 games for the Northern Arizona Suns in the D-League.

NBA playoffs 2017: Kyrie Irving picks self, Cavaliers back up in moment of adversity

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving fell hard to the floor late in the third quarter of Game 4 in the Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics on Tuesday.

Irving stepped on Terry Rozier’s foot, then landed awkwardly after a layup with 1:47 remaining in the period. That induced the usual quick-trigger panic from Quicken Loans Arena. With trainers surrounding him, Irving could have gone to the sideline and had that left foot checked out. Instead, he simply got up and walked to the other end of the court. That induced the usual quick-trigger applause.

“I’ve twisted my ankle so many times,” Irving said. “You have two choices. You can either dwell on the sorrows of twisting your ankle or you can capture the moment.”

“LeBron needs to quit embracing his victimhood because he’s not a victim and it’s a terrible message for black people,” said Whitlock.

Whitlock says the real impact of racism is felt among the poor.

“When they graffiti your name in Compton or one of these poor communities in Los Angeles, it’s a death threat and there is some family safety concerns. But when your family is in Cleveland and you live in a $20 million estate — unless O.J. got paroled this week, there ain’t a whole lot going down in Brentwood.”

Whitlock finished his thoughts by saying the hardest thing to be in America is poor.

“This message that we are constantly pumping out to young black people that we’re Cheap Jerseys Kids NFL just victims and oh my God the worst thing in the world is to be black in America, is just not true. The Cheap Jerseys Make Your Own worst thing to be in America and anywhere on the planet is poor. Go do the numbers, go do the stats. If you’re poor, regardless of color, you’re catching hell in America and on this planet,” said Whitlock.