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The Federal Probe Of College Basketball Corruption Is Not Going Away

11 hours 8 min ago

The shadow that looms over college basketball.

 

 

The college basketball industry, which thrives because it is not paying the players that generate interest and bring customers to games or in front of televisions, is still facing a federal probe into business practices. The University of Maryland received two subpoenas on March 15 and June 29 from a sitting New York grand jury looking for information about possible improper payment or benefits to a former Maryland student-athlete. Maryland is the ninth school that has been ensnarled in the investigation and subpoenaed.  In February Maryland coach Mark Turgeon claimed he had no knowledge of payments going to recruits or players.

The college basketball industry has been under federal investigation for three years. Criminal charges have been filed against four assistant coaches and three officials from the sneaker company Adidas. The Adidas employees will go to trial in October which is also around the time that the college basketball practices begin for the 2018-19 season. The problem seems to be rooted in the NCAA’s student-athlete stance that players on athletic teams are students first and athletes second and should not get paid.  The investigators are examining whether alleged payments to athletes from sneaker companies steering those athletes into a college or university basketball program with financial incentives defrauded various schools. The NCAA somehow has sold the notion that it is fine for them to make billions of dollars off of the backs of unpaid labor as long as they give a scholarship to the performers. The college sports audience has accepted the Faustian pact between the schools and the student-athletes and sees no problem with the arrangement. After all, the audience likes the entertainment. NCAA leaders think one solution is to keep coaches away from agents and sneaker companies in the summer. But the NCAA likes money too much to come up with an answer. The real solution is to pay the players.

 

The post The Federal Probe Of College Basketball Corruption Is Not Going Away appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Big Fifth Inning Sends Marlins Into Break With A Win

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 23:43



Marlins score 8 in the fifth inning, defeat Phillies

MIAMI (AP) — Brian Anderson hit a three-run homer in an eight-run fifth inning, and the Miami Marlins overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-5 Sunday.

Miami totaled eight hits in the fifth against three pitchers. Cameron Maybin homered and singled in the inning, and Justin Bour had two singles, with his second hit driving in the final two runs for an 8-5 lead.

The rally lasted so long Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana headed for the dugout after the second out, apparently thinking the inning was over. Instead Miami scored four more runs.

The Marlins began the day with the worst record in the NL East, but they took the series against the division-leading Phils and have gone 21-18 since June 5.

Cesar Hernandez hit a bases-loaded triple during a five-run fourth for Philadelphia.

Miami’s comeback against Enyel De Los Santos began with Maybin’s solo homer. Following consecutive singles, Anderson also homered. Miguel Rojas hit a two-out, two-run single off Edubray Ramos (3-1) to put the Marlins ahead 6-5. Bour drove in two more runs against Adam Morgan.

It was the most runs scored by the Marlins and allowed by the Phillies in an inning this season.

Anderson had three hits, giving the rookie 109 at the break. He also has 49 RBIs.

The Marlins totaled 15 hits. The last was a pinch-hit single by rookie pitcher Pablo Lopez for his second career hit.

PITCHING LINES

De Los Santos, making his second big league start, was charged with five runs in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander was recalled before the game from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start for Zach Eflin, who went on the disabled list with a finger blister.

Ramos was charged with three runs, and his ERA rose from 1.11 to 1.93.

Miami starter Jose Urena allowed five runs and departed after throwing 42 pitches to get through the fourth, matching his shortest outing this year. He came into the game with the worst run support of any NL starter, but for a change his teammates came to the rescue.

Four Miami relievers combined for five hitless innings. Elieser Hernandez (2-5) threw a scoreless fifth.

REVERSALS

After initially being ruled out, Miami’s J.T. Realmuto reached in the third inning on an infield hit thanks to a replay reversal. Before the next pitch, De Los Santos picked him off.

UP NEXT

Phillies: On Monday, Rhys Hoskins will become the first Phillies player to compete in the Home Run Derby since Ryan Howard in 2009. Philadelphia comes out of the All-Star break Friday at home against San Diego.

Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (3-4, 4.29 ERA) is scheduled to start when Miami returns from the break Friday at Tampa Bay.

___

By Steven Wine of the Associated Press.

The post Big Fifth Inning Sends Marlins Into Break With A Win appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Brantley’s Homer Lifts Indians Over Yankees

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 23:39



Yankees have the second best record at the break

CLEVELAND (AP) — Michael Brantley homered leading off the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians headed into the All-Star break with a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday to split their four-game series.

One of six Cleveland players who will be in Washington for Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Brantley broke a 2-2 tie by belting a pitch from Chad Green (5-2) into the seats in right for his 12th homer. The Indians added two more runs in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Yan Gomes and Green’s wild pitch.

Carlos Carrasco (11-5) earned his first win in relief since July 19, 2014. The right-hander was available after pitching only five innings in Wednesday night’s 19-4 blowout of Cincinnati.

Cody Allen struck out two in the ninth and got his 20th save in 21 opportunities, but Cleveland’s win ended with the Indians worrying about Edwin Encarnacion.

Cleveland’s cleanup hitter homered in the fourth inning, but had to leave in the eighth after being hit on the right hand by a pitch. The Indians did not have immediate word on Encarnacion’s condition.

Neil Walker homered for the Yankees, who enter the break 29 games over .500 and have the majors’ second-best record. However, the Yankees are trailing the scorching Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

Aaron Judge struck out three times against All-Star Trevor Bauer, and Giancarlo Stanton fanned twice for New York.

Bauer held the Yankees in check for seven innings, limiting the Bronx Bombers to two runs and seven hits. The right-hander will not pitch on Tuesday at Nationals Park unless the game goes to extra innings and Houston manager A.J. Hinch runs out of arms.

New York’s Masahiro Tanaka was just as good, allowing two runs and six hits in his second start since coming off the disabled list. He’s unbeaten in his last 11 starts stretching back to April 17.

The Indians are familiar with Tanaka, who pitched seven shutout innings and beat them in Game 3 of last year’s Division Series.

The right-hander’s tantalizing split-finger fastball, which appears to be a fastball before dropping before it reaches the plate — can make the most disciplined hitter look foolish.

“It’s a tough pitch, man, because you don’t really see spin,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “At least with a breaking ball you can see spin. It can make your hair fall out right in the batter’s box.”

Tanaka coasted through three innings before Encarnacion tied it 2-2 in the fourth with home run No. 22, a shot onto the pedestrian plaza in left.

Brantley walked leading off, and after Tanaka struck out Jose Ramirez looking, Encarnacion jumped on his first pitch.

Walker gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead by connecting for his third homer in the fourth, a shot to right that ended an impressive run by Bauer.

According to the Indians, Bauer made seven consecutive “quality” starts with eight or more strikeouts in each while allowing no homers, baseball’s second-longest such streak since 1920. Pedro Martinez had a run of eight straight.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: C Gary Sanchez homered for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and played seven innings in the first game of his rehab stint. Sanchez, who has been out since June 25 with a strained right groin, is expected to be activated for the first game following the break.

Indians: LHP Andrew Miller is pitching at Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. The former All-Star has been out with inflammation in his right knee, but he’s progressed to the point where he can pitch in games. He’s expected to pitch for both the Clippers and Double-A Akron in the next week. Francona was encouraged by Miller’s recent workout on the mound at Progressive Field. “That back leg was back up in the air again,” Francona said. “It was really exciting to watch that.”

UP NEXT

Yankees: Open a three-game series at home with the Mets on Friday.

Indians: Start the season’s second half Friday at Texas.

___

By Tom Withers of the Associated Press.

The post Brantley’s Homer Lifts Indians Over Yankees appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

France Beats Croatia To Win Second World Cup Title

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 22:04



Second half surge seals French victory

MOSCOW (AP) — Kylian Mbappe and France put on a thrilling show in winning the World Cup title. All Russian President Vladimir Putin might remember is the Pussy Riot protest.

The 19-year-old Mbappe became only the second teenager after Pele to score in a World Cup final, helping France beat Croatia 4-2 on Sunday.

Mbappe had just shown his electrifying speed in the 52nd minute when play was held up by four protesters who ran onto the field in the second half. Russian punk band Pussy Riot later took credit for the incident — watched from the VIP seats by Putin, whose government once jailed members of the activist group.

About 12 minutes after play resumed, Mbappe sent a right-footed shot past Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

The only other teen to score in a World Cup final was Pele, who was 17 when Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in 1958.

Mbappe, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the French league, was born months after France first won its only other World Cup title in 1998.

Putin was later on the field during a downpour to award medals to the players. FIFA president Gianni Infantino then handed France captain Hugo Lloris the World Cup trophy.

Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, France’s two other key players, also scored at the Luzhniki Stadium.

But it was Mbappe who put the match out of reach with a furious passage of play in the second half. In the 59th, a run from Mbappe started a play that ended up with Pogba on the edge of the penalty area. With his second attempt, the midfielder curled his shot beyond Subasic.

Mbappe then scored himself, his fourth of the tournament, to make it 4-1.

Griezmann scored from the penalty spot in the 38th minute after a video review. About four minutes after his corner kick was knocked out of play, the referee ruled Ivan Perisic had handled the ball on the way.

France took the lead in the 18th when Croatia’s tallest outfield player, 1.90-meter (6-foot-3) forward Mario Mandzukic, rose to meet Griezmann’s free kick with the top of his head. He inadvertently sent it past his own goalkeeper.

Perisic and Mandzukic both scored for Croatia, first to equalize in the 28th minute and later as a consolation goal in the 69th, embarrassing Lloris with a flicked shot as the France goalkeeper tried to dribble the ball out of his goalmouth.

France coach Didier Deschamps became only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach. Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany are the others.

___

By Graham Dunbar of the Associated Press.

The post France Beats Croatia To Win Second World Cup Title appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

No Doubt As Djokovic Wins 4th Wimbledon Title

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 22:04



First Grand Slam in two years for Djokovic

LONDON (AP) — Novak Djokovic was disconsolate and injured when he left Wimbledon a year ago, quitting during his quarterfinal because of a painful right elbow that would need surgery.

Djokovic was so dispirited by his upset exit at the French Open last month that he vowed, in the heat of the moment, to skip the grass-court circuit.

Good thing he didn’t stick to that. Just look at him now, back at his best and Wimbledon’s champion for the fourth time. Djokovic ended a Grand Slam drought that lasted more than two seasons, grabbing a lead in Sunday’s final right away against a weary Kevin Anderson and holding off a late challenge to win 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

“I had many moments of doubt,” Djokovic said, “and didn’t know really if I could come back to the level to compete.”

Anderson nearly managed to extend the match, five times standing just a point away from forcing a fourth set. Djokovic held steady on each one, then was as superior in the tiebreaker as he was most of the sun-drenched afternoon.

It is Djokovic’s 13th major trophy, the fourth-highest total in the history of men’s tennis, trailing only Roger Federer’s 20, Rafael Nadal’s 17 and Pete Sampras’ 14.

But it’s also Djokovic’s first since he completed a career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open.

During that time, he struggled with the first major injury of his professional career, one that forced him off the tour for the last half of 2017. He eventually had an operation this February, and as his losses accumulated, his ranking fell out of the top 20 for the first time in more than a decade.

At No. 21, Djokovic is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon titlist since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.

Under a pale blue sky interrupted by only the occasional soft white puff of cloud, with the temperature at 86 degrees (30 Celsius), Djokovic started so well, and Anderson shakily.

“The first two sets,” acknowledged Anderson, who played college tennis at the University of Illinois, “Novak beat up on me pretty bad.”

That might have been easy to anticipate. This was, after all, the 22nd Grand Slam final for Djokovic, and the second for Anderson, the runner-up at last year’s U.S. Open and aiming to become the first South African man to win Wimbledon.

Plus, Anderson could be excused for exhaustion. His semifinal was the second-longest Grand Slam match in history, lasting more than 6½ hours until he edged John Isner 26-24 in the fifth set. And that followed another extended fifth set in his 13-11 upset of eight-time champion Federer in the quarterfinals.

“I’m definitely not feeling as fresh now as I was coming into the week,” Anderson said.

It was no wonder that, with all of that time on court, all of that stress on his racket-swinging arm, Anderson was visited by a trainer after Sunday’s opening set to get his right elbow massaged.

Anderson was so out of sorts, his strokes so off-the-mark, that Djokovic gathered eight of the first 10 games even though he only conjured up two winners. No need for more, because Anderson gifted him 15 unforced errors in that span.

It was so lopsided for the first hour-plus that spectators began pulling for Anderson, likely in the hopes of getting more tennis for their tickets, which carried a face value of 210 pounds (about $275).

Just his earning a random point, even via a Djokovic miscue, was reason to roar, it seemed. Surely, Anderson appreciated the support. Didn’t do a thing to alter the ultimate outcome, however.

When Anderson pushed a forehand return into the net to end it, Djokovic exhaled. After they shook hands, Djokovic performed his ritual of bending down to grab a couple of blades of grass and plopping them in his mouth, savoring the triumph.

“The grass tasted really well,” joked Djokovic, who did the same after his Wimbledon titles in 2011, 2014 and 2015. “I had a double portion this year, to treat myself.”

One difference on this day: His 3-year-old son, Stefan, was up in the stands for the trophy presentation . Later, they met in a hallway, and Djokovic knelt down to hug his child.

“It feels amazing,” Djokovic said, “because for the first time in my life, I have someone screaming ‘Daddy! Daddy!'”

This was a third consecutive straight-set men’s singles final at the All England Club, and one indication of why: Anderson made 32 unforced errors, Djokovic 13.

Another key: Djokovic handled the 6-foot-8 Anderson’s big serves much better than previous opponents. Widely considered the top returner in the game, Djokovic broke four times. Consider that Anderson won each of his last 27 service games against Isner.

One more: Djokovic saved all seven break points he faced, including five that would have given Anderson the third set.

As much as Djokovic is known for his body-bending defense and unerring reads on opponents’ serves, he’s also someone who fills his matches with histrionics and exaggerated reactions, whether violently smacking the side of his shoe with his racket — as he did against Nadal in their thrilling five-set semifinal that began Friday and ended Saturday — or tearing off his shirt to celebrate a victory.

This day was no different. Angered by fans making noise during points, he told the chair umpire to tell them to shut up, throwing a colorful word into the demand. He pointed to his ear after winning one point, as if to say: “Who are you cheering for now?!” He blew a kiss toward the stands after another.

But when he broke Anderson for the second time in three service games at the outset, Djokovic simply shook a clenched fist while calmly looking at his guest box above the scoreboard. The bright yellow digits on there showed that Djokovic already led 4-1 after all of 18 minutes.

Might as well have declared him the champion, right then and there.

“There is no better place in the world to really be making a comeback,” Djokovic said. “This is a sacred place for the world of tennis.”

___

By Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press.

The post No Doubt As Djokovic Wins 4th Wimbledon Title appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Romine’s Double Turns Into Game-Winner As Yankees Edge Indians

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 06:45



Two errors on double lead to winning run for Yankees

CLEVELAND (AP) — Austin Romine came all the way around to score when Cleveland committed two errors on his routine double in the seventh inning, and the New York Yankees edged the Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Saturday night.

Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer and Greg Bird added a solo shot for the Yankees, who moved 30 games over. 500 and kept pace with the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.

Indians All-Star Jose Ramirez belted his 29th homer, giving the third baseman as many homers as he had all last season — and tying Mickey Mantle’s record for the most by a switch-hitter before the break.

David Robertson (7-3) struck out three, Dellin Bentances worked the eighth and Aroldis Chapman got his 26th save in 27 tries.

After the Indians tied it in the sixth when Ramirez scored from second on an infield single, the Yankees took a 5-4 lead in the seventh off Mike Clevinger (7-5) on a play that brought Little League flashbacks back to everyone in the ballpark.

Romine led off with a shot to the base of the wall in right-center. But as he neared second, Indians right fielder Brandon Guyer bobbled the ball and Romine headed to third. But as he slid into the bag, second baseman Erik Gonzalez’s relay throw from the outfield skipped past Ramirez at third and headed toward Cleveland’s dugout.

Clevinger did his best to corral the wayward throw on the track, but it had too much backspin, hopped out of play and Romine was awarded home.

Ramirez’s hustle allowed the Indians to tie it 4-all in the sixth and chase Sabathia, who was making his 527th career start.

The left-hander was an out away from escaping a second-and-third situation when Guyer hit a chopper to third that Miguel Andjuar fielded on an awkward hop. As Michael Brantley raced home, Yankees first baseman Bird came off the bag to grab his throw. Meanwhile, Ramirez never slowed when he rounded and scored ahead of Bird’s throw with a head-first slide.

Sabathia is tied with Jerry Koosman and Jack Morris for 36th place on the career starts list.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone missed all the action. He was ejected in the sixth inning following another strange play.

Giancarlo Stanton swung and missed at 0-2 pitch that appeared to glance off the slugger’s hand. Boone argued that it should have been a foul ball, and was tossed after an animated argument. By rule, a strike is called even when the ball hits a batter while swinging.

With homer No. 29, Ramirez kept up his torrid pace. Mantle also hit 29 homers before the break in 1956 and 1961, and Lance Berkman matched him in 2002.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: C Gary Sanchez (right groin strain), who has been sidelined since June 25, begins a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. Barring a setback, Boone plans to have him catch New York’s first game after the All-Star break on July 20 against the Mets.

Indians: LHP Andrew Miller pitched live batting practice at Double-A Akron as he moves closer to a return. The elite, late-inning reliever has been sidelined since late May with inflammation in his right knee. Miller will likely pitch in some minor league games during the All-Star break.

ALL-STAR BOUND

Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes has been named to the American League All-Star team as an injury replacement for Tampa Bay’s Wilson Ramos. This is Gomes’ first All-Star trip.

UP NEXT

Indians All-Star RHP Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.23 ERA) takes on RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.68 ERA) in the series finale. Bauer has made seven straight quality starts with at least eight strikeouts and no home runs allowed, one shy of Pedro Martinez’s record set in 2002. Bauer will only pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star game if it goes to extra innings.

___

By Tom Withers of the Associated Press.

The post Romine’s Double Turns Into Game-Winner As Yankees Edge Indians appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Slow Start By All Star Nola As Phillies Lose to Marlins

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 06:40



Two first inning runs enough for Marlins

MIAMI (AP) — Aaron Nola needed three batters to settle down Saturday, and by then it was too late.

The All-Star right-hander gave up two runs in the first inning and the punchless Philadelphia Phillies never recovered, losing to the Miami Marlins 2-0.

The NL East-leading Phillies have scored only 24 runs in their past nine games.

Nola (12-3) needed 31 pitches to get through the first. After he loaded the bases with none out, one run scored on a groundout, and another came home on Martin Prado’s two-out single.

In that one inning, Nola surrendered as many runs as he had given up in his previous three starts combined.

“We got him early,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s what you need to do.”

Nola said his curve wasn’t sharp at the outset.

“They got a couple of hits in the first inning and moved some guys over,” he said. “After that, I felt I settled in.”

Nola allowed only two baserunners after the first, one on a bizarre two-base error by third baseman Maikel Franco. By allowing two runs in six innings, Nola hiked his ERA to 2.30.

“We did pretty good in the first inning, and then he was attacking more,” Prado said. “He’s a guy who along the way just gets better.”

Trevor Richards (3-5) pitched six innings and didn’t allow a run. Three relievers completed the eight-hitter, and Kyle Barraclough pitched around a pair of two-out singles in the ninth for his ninth save and the Marlins’ eighth shutout.

The Phils went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

“I thought we actually struck the ball really well throughout the game — lots of crisp line drives,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

Miami won with four hits.

Attendance was 14,793 on bark at the park day, with fans invited to bring along a dog. The crowd was the largest at Marlins Park since April 14.

SLICK FIELDING

Marlins center fielder Cameron Maybin made a running catch as his glove banged against the wall, robbing Rhys Hoskins of an RBI extra-base hit to end the fifth.

“That was an incredible play,” Richards said. “He saved the game right there. He covered some ground.”

OOPS

Franco had an embarrassing mental lapse in the sixth. He backhanded a two-hopper hit by Starlin Castro in foul territory behind third base, started to throw and held up, apparently thinking he had grabbed a foul ball. Franco then turned and tossed the ball to a fan in the fourth row.

But the ball was fair, and because Franco threw it into the stands, Castro was awarded second base.

“That was a first for me,” Mattingly said.

Nola pitched around the error by retiring the next batter to end the inning.

OVERLOADED

When Nola had a 1-2 count against left-handed hitter Derek Dietrich in the fifth, the Phillies stationed all four infielders on the right side. Dietrich then struck out.

MILESTONE

Nola increased his career strikeout total to 504. He reached the 500 milestone in 480 innings, faster than any previous Phil.

TRAINER’S ROOM

After the game, the Phillies said they’ll place RHP Zach Eflin (7-2, 3.15) on the 10-day disabled list because of a blister on the right middle finger of his pitching hand. He had been scheduled to start Sunday, and said he’ll instead take advantage of the upcoming All-Star break to fully heal.

“I just want to take it back to the way it was at the beginning of the year,” Eflin said. “I’m going to be on 10 or 11 days’ rest. It will be completely gone by the time I get back in the second half.”

Kapler said Eflin should be able to rejoin the rotation right after the break.

UP NEXT

Phils RHP Enyel De Los Santos (1-0, 4.26) will be recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start Sunday in place of Eflin against RHP Jose Urena (2-9, 4.13).

___

By Steven Wine of the Associated Press.

The post Slow Start By All Star Nola As Phillies Lose to Marlins appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Rays Bang Out 20-Hits En Route To 19-6 Win Over Twins

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 03:28



Rays Tie Franchise High 19 Runs


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Thus far in 2018 the Tampa Bay Rays have relied on steady pitching with the offense helping out sporadically. Saturday in Minneapolis, the offense took center stage pounding out 20-hits in defeating the Twins 19-6.

Jaime Schultz (1-0, 4.76 ERA) picked up his first major league win and Tampa Bay improves to 49-46 on the season. The Rays entered the seventh inning trailing 6-4 and are now just 3-34 when trailing after six innings.

Schultz was not the pitcher of record when he entered the game. That distinction belonged to Adam Kolarek who had given up four runs in the bottom of the sixth as Minnesota turned a 4-2 deficit to a 6-4 lead.

Schultz worked 2.2-innings of scoreless relief without allowing a hit walking three and striking out three. Based on his effort, the official scorer opted to award Schultz, not Kolarek the victory.

Chris Archer, making his second start since his return from the disabled list, worked 4.1-innings allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out seven and walking one.

Zach Duke (3-3, 3.38 ERA) took the loss for the Twins who fall to 43-50 on the season.

The Offense Roars:

The Rays tied a franchise high 19 runs.  It’s the third time in franchise history Tampa Bay has scored 19 runs in a game and first time since becoming the Rays in 2008.

The Rays had a season high 20-hits. It was the ninth time in franchise history they have scored 20 or more hits in a game.  The franchise record is 24 in Tampa Bay’s 19-13 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on June 24, 2004.

The Rays set a franchise record with 10 different players driving in a run. The previous franchise mark was nine against the New York Yankees on May 2, 2014.

The Rays scored five runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth  inning. It’s the first time in franchise history they have scored five runs in three consecutive frames.

C.J. Cron hit his 19th homer of the season off Matt Belisle in the eighth inning. Carlos Gomez and Jake Bauers homered in the ninth inning against catcher Willians Astudillo.

The Rays had seven players with multi-hit games. Matt Duffy, Mallex Smith, and Adeiny Hechavarria each had three hits.

Jake Bauers set a career high with four runs driven in and four runs scored. He became just the fourth Rays player to have such a game in franchise history. He joins Wil Myers (4/19/14), Ben Zobrist (6/9/12), and Carlos Pena (9/5/07).

Injury Ruins All-Star Game For Buffalo:

Wilson Ramos left the game with a strained hamstring and will not be able to participate in the All-Star Game. He will attend the game and partake in the festivities but will require a stint on the disabled list.

#Rays Ramos, on having to withdraw from All-Star Game due to hamstring injury: "It's disappointing. It's very frustrating to not participate in the All-Star Game, but it's better to miss one game than two months. I have to be smart and do my rehab well and come back strong.''

— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 14, 2018

 

 

The post Rays Bang Out 20-Hits En Route To 19-6 Win Over Twins appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Scant Evidence That Football’s Popularity Is Declining

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 03:22

More football is coming.

 

 

The football industry allegedly is facing diminishing interest from Americans because of a number of reasons. A President constantly carping about players kneeling during the national anthem presentation which combined with people’s disgust with players kneeling during the national anthem is leading to people turning away from the National Football League. There is also the concussion issue which is a bigger concern to the football industry than the anthem protests. Players starting on the local youth level through the NFL may be facing major health risks from brain injuries because of blows to the head. Making helmets safer is the hoped for solution but football remains a collision sport and there probably are not too many ways to make the game safer unless blocking and tackling are outlawed.

Despite the anthem critics, despite evidence that football could be dangerous to a players’ health, despite declining TV ratings, although most sports are facing the same problem of less viewers in front of the sets, Football is growing and there will be more college games this year, a new pro league in 2019 and Vince McMahon may spend up to a half billion dollars getting his league, the XFL, up and going in 2020. The Alliance of American Football has eight teams ready to take the field next February and it could be that many of players that will be on AAF rosters are on NFL rosters right now. The NFL has 32 teams and about 90 players in camp or about 2,700 players. One third of those players will not make NFL rosters. The AAF will scout around 900 players who will be available. A few will head to Canada but those available players could stock the AAF and XFL. The NFL, AAF and XFL will also have more players to scout as there are more 778 college football programs. Football interest is not waning.

Despite all of its problems, the NFL is still the sports gold standard in America.

The post Scant Evidence That Football’s Popularity Is Declining appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Rays Unable To Dig Out Of Early Hole, Fall To Twins

Sat, 07/14/2018 - 15:56



 Furious Comeback Falls Short


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The Tampa Bay Rays were unable to rebound from an early 7-run deficit falling to the  Minnesota Twins 11-8.

Nathan Eovaldi (3-4, 4.59 ERA) took the loss for Tampa Bay allowing eight earned runs in just 2.2-innings of work. The Twins tattooed him for nine hits while striking out once and drawing a pair of walks.  With the loss the Rays drop to 38-36 on the season.

Trevor Hildenberger (2-2, 2.80 ERA) earns the win for Minnesota who improve to 43-49 with the victory.

Former Ray Jake Odorizzi got the start for Minnesota but was unable to make it through five innings despite being given a 8-1 cushion to work with. He allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits while striking out three and walking one in 4.1-innings of work.

Rays Comeback:

Tampa Bay mounted a comeback after trailing 8-1 after the third inning. They picked up a run in the fourth inning on a Joey Wendle single scoring Jake Bauers from second. Bauers originally thought he had homered but had the call reversed on replay.

There was no doubt about Bauers next homer, a three run shot in the fifth, that cut the Twins lead to 8-5. C.J. Cron added an RBI double in the inning to bring the Rays to within a run at 8-6.

Matt Duffy delivered an RBI single in the sixth inning that drew the Rays to within a run at 8-7, but the Twins would answer with a pair of runs in the sixth and a run in the seventh to push the lead back out to four at 11-7.

Joey Wendle capped the Rays scoring hitting his fourth homer in the ninth.

Up Next For Rays: AP Photo; Chris O’Meara

Tampa Bay and Minnesota resume their four game series on Saturday afternoon at 2:10. Chris Archer (3-4, 4.41 ERA) makes his second start for the Rays since coming off the disabled list. Jose Berrios (9-7, 3.41 ERA) takes the mound for the Twins.

The post Rays Unable To Dig Out Of Early Hole, Fall To Twins appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Charlotte Observer’s Push For A Football Stadium

Sat, 07/14/2018 - 03:03

The Jerry Richardson Statue is staying.

 

National Football League training camps will open soon and usually newspapers are filled with anticipation stories about the local NFL franchise. The Charlotte Observer has the usual puff pieces about the excitement of the opening of training camp and a new season along with some additional coverage. What should the new Charlotte NFL stadium look like? Hold on, when did Charlotte city officials agree to build a new stadium? The Charlotte NFL team has a new owner David Tepper who paid more than $2.2 billion to acquire the franchise and Tepper has spoken to Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles in what can be best described as a welcoming phone call. Tepper has not discussed his stadium or training camps needs with anyone.  That has not stopped the newspaper from what essentially is fact finding mission for the Panthers owner and floating a trial balloon in the stadium game.

The Observer sent a reporter to Minneapolis to check out the recently opened Vikings stadium and compared that facility with the Charlotte stadium which opened 22 years ago. In stadium years, the Charlotte facility is reaching old age despite a $178 million facelift that began five years ago.  The newspaper then took up the question of whether there should be more renovations at the Charlotte stadium or if Tepper and the city should just go ahead and build a new facility that would revenue wise be in line much newer stadiums. The newer stadiums have more non-game activities because customers are not just entertained by sports action. They want great amenities such as restaurants, maybe a swimming pool or a Ferris Wheel. Or a place to tailgate or a virtual reality experience. It seems that owners long ago gave up the notion that people attend games to watch games. The Charlotte Observer is in all in getting the proper Panthers stadium because Charlotte needs to keep up with the Jerry Joneses.

 

 

The Carolina Panthers lease with the cuity ends in 2019.

The post Charlotte Observer’s Push For A Football Stadium appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Animals and Yoga Among Ways To Stay Active This Weekend

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 16:00



Florida State League active this weekend

Tampa Bay Tarpons vs Dunedin Blue Jays

Join in this coffee enthusiast running club every Thursday evening and get your fix of coffee and endorphins.

Saturday July 14 @ 6:30 PM // George Steinbrenner Field // www.unation.com/event/921995724?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Extreme MudWars

Explore Tampa in an unconventional way, trail running! There are several options for courses, and a killer after party planned!

Saturday July 14 @ 9 AM // Lake Vista Park // www.unation.com/event/560995958?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Puppies and Yoga

Take downward dog seriously with real (adoptable) puppies! Benefiting the SPCA.

Saturday July 14 // Paws n’ Rec // www.unation.com/event/682654739?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Baby Goat Yoga

It’s the latest trend, and all over Instagram – this is the place for “yoga”.

Sunday July 15 @ 10:45 AM // In the Loop Brewing // www.unation.com/event/539084854?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Circuits and Champagne

Work up a sweat poolside at the Epicurean, and enjoy a cold glass of bubbly afterwards

Sunday July 1 @ 10 AM // Epicurean Hotel //  www.unation.com/event/35007324?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Bradenton Marauders vs Lakeland Flying Tigers

Come watch the Marauders take on the Tigers in Bradenton! Perfect family event!

Thursday July 12 @ 6:30 PM // Lecom Park // www.unation.com/event/974177107?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Cars, Coffee, and Karting

Cars, go karts, and coffee – what more could you want!

Saturday July 14 @ 8 AM // Tampa Bay Grand Prix // unation.com/event/339240846

The post Animals and Yoga Among Ways To Stay Active This Weekend appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Yankees Score Twice In 8th Off Kluber to Beat Indians

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 08:21

Indians leave starter in too long

CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians manager Terry Francona trusted Corey Kluber to keep the Yankees from scoring.

At this point, he has no better option.

Kluber gave up a go-ahead double to Aaron Hicks with one out in the eighth inning as New York scored late against Cleveland’s ace and downed the Indians 7-4 on Thursday night in the Yankees’ first visit to Progressive Field since last year’s AL playoffs.

After fouling a pitch off his foot, Hicks drove a 3-2 delivery from Kluber (12-5) to deep center field, scoring Didi Gregorius easily from first base when the ball one-hopped the wall.

Although Kluber was at 100 pitches through seven innings, Francona elected to stick with him in the eighth rather than turn things over to his shaky bullpen, which has the league’s highest ERA and is missing Andrew Miller.

“I thought he was fine,” Francona said of Kluber. “And he was at what, 100? And I thought he was throwing the ball well. I thought he was in command of what he was doing.”

The Yankees added another run in the inning on Greg Bird’s sacrifice fly off Oliver Perez.

Brett Gardner homered twice and Gregorius also connected for the Yankees, who overcame a 2-0 deficit and won the Division Series by beating Kluber in Game 5 last October.

New York is 30 games over .500 for the first time this season, and for the first time before the All-Star break since 1998, when it won the World Series.

Yankees All-Star ace Luis Severino only pitched five innings, but manager Aaron Boone got four hitless innings from Adam Warren, David Robertson (6-3), Dellin Betances and closer Aroldis Chapman, who got three outs for his 25th save — in his first appearance since Saturday because of a sore left knee.

“Every win’s a good win,” Boone said. “That was a good win up against a great pitcher. Up and down the lineup we had big at-bats in big spots. On a night when Sevy didn’t have his best, the rest of the guys were able to come through in a big way.”

Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion homered off Severino, who was denied his major league-leading 15th win.

The marquee matchup between Kluber and Severino — two of baseball’s top pitchers — had everyone excited.

“This is one of those games where if I wasn’t a manager, I’d come watch the game,” Francona quipped beforehand.

But neither Kluber nor Severino brought their ‘A’ game. The All-Stars each gave up two homers, both were hit harder than expected and they were forced to pitch out of trouble throughout their stints.

Severino allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings and recorded just one strikeout, his fewest since 2016.

“We did a great job against Severino. He’s got exceptional stuff,” Francona said. “We scored. We made him throw pitches. We got him out after five, but their bullpen is also exceptional. They brought in four guys that are pretty good and they kind of did a number on us.”

Kluber, who lost the decisive Game 5 to the Yankees last October while battling a stiff lower back, was at 100 pitches to start the eighth, but Francona stuck with him anyway. The right-hander walked Gregorius on four pitches to start the inning and then gave up the double to Hicks, who was just 3 for 25 in his career against the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

“I was looking for a heater,” Hicks said. “I was looking for something middle-in I could drive. I got a lot of changeups. I was swinging and missing at it a lot. The pitch before that I got a heater that I just missed. I think that’s what got me a changeup in that situation. I just wanted to stay on the ball.”

WHAT A RELIEF

Since June 1, New York’s relievers have a 1.64 ERA — the lowest in the majors and a full run better than second-place Houston (2.70).

RAM TOUGH

Ramirez connected for his fourth homer in three games to tie it 4-all in the fifth. The 25-year-old has 28 homers, breaking Albert Belle’s club record for the most before the All-Star break. Ramirez is also tied with Boston’s J.D. Martinez for the major league lead.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: C Gary Sanchez (strained right groin) could begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday. Sanchez, who has been out since June 25, has been doing hitting, catching and agility drills.

Indians: Miller will pitch batting practice to hitters Saturday at Double-A Akron, the next step in his comeback from knee inflammation that has sidelined the elite reliever since May 26. Miller said he expects to pitch in a “handful of minor league games” before he’s activated.

UP NEXT

A pair of rookies square off as Cleveland’s Shane Bieber (4-1) gets his first career start against the Yankees — or any AL East team — on Friday versus New York’s Domingo German (2-4), who had a season-high 10 strikeouts on June 14 against Tampa Bay.

___

By Tom Withers of the Associated Press.

The post Yankees Score Twice In 8th Off Kluber to Beat Indians appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Snell Can’t Find Command, Rays Win Streak Ends At Five

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 08:06
Snell Struggles In Shortest Outing Of Year



The Tampa Bay Rays five game winning streak was snapped losing to the Minnesota Twins 5-1.

After a 2-hour rain delay Blake Snell took the mound and couldn’t find the strike zone. In his shortest outing of the season he allowed three earned runs on five hits. He walked three, struck out two, and uncorked two wild pitches. He threw 73 pitches with 48 for strikes.

It was his shortest outing since lasting just an inning on September 26, 2017 in New York against the Yankees.

Snell (12-5, 2.27 ERA) takes the loss for Tampa Bay who see their record drop to 48-45 on the year.

Kyle Gibson (4-6, 3.42 ERA) picks up the win for the Twins who improve to 42-49 on the season.  Fernando Rodney retired the last two batters to pick up his 21st save.

Gibson was sharp working eight innings allowing just one run on five hits while striking out nine and walking one. It was his longest outing since September 13, 2016.

After failing to score with the bases loaded and one out in the first, the Twins grabbed the lead in the second on a double play ball off the bat of Bobby Wilson.  They added a pair of runs on RBI doubles by Robbie Grossman and Jorge Polanco in the third.

Eddie Rosario gave Minnesota room to breath hitting his 19th homer, a 2-run shot in the seventh, to push their lead to 5-0.

Hu’s Impressive In Return:

Prior to the game the Rays officially announced that Willy Adames was sent to Triple-A and Chih-Wei Hu was recalled to take Adames spot on the roster. Hu entered in relief of Snell and allowed a pair of runs in five innings of work.

Rays Struggle In Clutch:

The Rays finished the night 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.  They had their best chance to do damage loading the bases with 1-out off Ryan Pressly in the ninth. Fernando Rodney entered the game with the tying run at the plate.

Joey Wendle lined back to the mound, Rodney knocked it down to retired the runner at the plate for the second out. Matt Duffy, pinch hitting for Adeiny Hechavarria, struckout to end the game.

Rallies seemed to find Ji-Man Choi and this wasn’t a good thing as he went 0-for-4 in clutch situations. With runners at 2nd and 3rd in the first he struck out. He stranded Jake Bauers at second lining softly to second in the fourth. Wilson Ramos was tethered to second after Choi flew out to right in the seventh. Finally, he struck out with 2-on and nobody out in the ninth.

Up Next For Rays:
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins play the second of their four game series Friday night at 8:10 est. Nathan Eovaldi (3-3, 3.35 ERA) takes the mound for Tampa Bay. Former Ray Jake Odorizzi (4-6, 4.28 ERA) takes the ball for the Twins.

 

The post Snell Can’t Find Command, Rays Win Streak Ends At Five appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Never Too Early To Plan Ahead For A Future World Cup

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 03:23

The race for 2030 is on!

 

As the 2018 FIFA World Cup winds down, Tunisia sent out a reminder recently that it is never too early to plan ahead and try to get FIFA to choose you for a World Cup more than a decade away. Tunisia may team up with Morocco, which seems to always fall short as a World Cup bidder, and Algeria to land the 2030 World Cup. There are others who are in the 2030 contest as well and it seems the potential bidders are following the winners of the 2026 playbook in combining countries to entice FIFA voters. United 2026 was a combination of the United States, Canada and Mexico offering stadiums, tax breaks and other goodies that won FIFA’s attention and delegates’ votes. The Tunisian Football Federation is open to putting together a bid with the other two North African countries although nothing has been proposed as of yet. Morocco which lost out to the United 2026 bid will try again for the 2030 event. Morocco has lost in five attempts to get FIFA’s crown jewel event, the 1994, the 1998, the 2006, the 2010 and the 2026 World Cup tournament.

A trio of South American countries, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, has a list of 12 cities ready to go and host World Cup matches in 2030. England, which received the endorsement of disgraced former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, would like to host the event. This could be a United Kingdom affair with England teaming up with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Meanwhile, United 2026 has not announced which American, Canadian and Mexican cities will host matches as of yet. Some cities, Chicago, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Vancouver dropped out of contention because of various factors based on money. It seems FIFA’s only requirement is the group can get piles of cash from a bidder in exchange for the event.

 

The next available event is 12 years away.

The post Never Too Early To Plan Ahead For A Future World Cup appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Bird’s Slam Carries Yankees Past Orioles

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 06:31

Gray tosses a gem in 9-0 Yankees win

BALTIMORE (AP) — Greg Bird hit his first career grand slam to back a dominating pitching performance by Sonny Gray, and the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-0 Wednesday night for a split of the four-game series.

Rookie Tyler Wade and Austin Romine also homered for the Yankees, and Giancarlo Stanton had four hits.

Facing Dylan Bundy (6-9) in the third inning, Bird launched a drive off the right-field foul pole to put New York up 5-0. It was the second night in a row he homered and had four RBIs.

Gray (6-7) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out eight over six innings. The right-hander had lost three straight starts, the last two in which he gave up a collective 11 runs over 4 1/3 innings.

Facing the last-place Orioles couldn’t have come at a better time for Gray. He’s 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA against Baltimore and 3-7 with a 6.32 ERA against everyone else.

The victory enabled New York to improve to 5-5 against the Orioles this season. In this series, Baltimore won 5-4 and 6-5, and the Yankees’ wins were by a total of 17 runs.

In the pivotal third inning, Stanton singled in a run before Bird ended a nine-pitch at-bat by pulling a curveball down the line.

Wade went deep in the sixth, and Romine connected in the seventh. Wade’s long ball, his first in the big leagues, came on his 100th at-bat.

New York has 154 home runs this season, a major league record before the All-Star break. The Yankees have played 91 games; the 1999 Seattle Mariners hit 151 in 87 games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: Manager Aaron Boone said LHP Aroldis Chapman (left knee) is “good to go.” Chapman has not pitched since leaving in the ninth inning Saturday at Toronto. … C Gary Sanchez, on the disabled list since June 25 with a right groin strain, ran and did catching work Wednesday. “I would say he’s getting closer,” Boone said.

Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a neck strain. He’s not expected to miss more than one start. … RHP Chris Tillman (back) is slated to conclude his rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Norfolk, although manager Buck Showalter floated the idea of starting him in place of Cashner vs. Texas on Sunday.

MOVING PIECES

Manny Machado insists he’s a shortstop. But if he gets traded by the Orioles to the Yankees before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline — one of the many rumors out there — New York could ask him to play 3B next to Didi Gregorius. So where does that leave Yankees 3B Miguel Andujar? “Those are things I have no control over,” Andujar said through an interpreter. “I don’t pay attention to that stuff.” Neither does Boone, who said, “When you’re in a pennant chase, there’s going to be stories that are real, fake, everything.”

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (14-2, 2.12 ERA) seeks to add to his major league-leading win total Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series in Cleveland.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (4-6, 4.11) starts against Philadelphia on Thursday night at Camden Yards in the makeup game of a May 15 rainout.

___

By David Ginsburg of the Associated Press.

The post Bird’s Slam Carries Yankees Past Orioles appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Croatia In World Cup Final For First Time After Beating England

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 06:28



Croatia wins 2-1 on extra time goal

MOSCOW (AP) — Croatia’s legs seemed heavy, burdened by the accumulated toll of consecutive penalty-kicks wins needed to get this far. England had gone ahead with a free kick just five minutes in, dominated play and appeared headed to its first World Cup final since 1966.

Then the second half started and it was as if a different Croatian team had replaced the lethargic one.

Ivan Perisic tied the score in the 68th minute , Mario Mandzukic got the go-ahead goal in the 109th and Croatia shocked England with a 2-1 victory Wednesday that advanced a nation of just over 4 million to a World Cup final against France.

“Mentally strong team,” midfielder Ivan Rakitic said. “It’s just unbelievable to get back in the game in this way.”

When the final whistle blew and they knew they were going to their first World Cup final, the Croatians ran to their jumping and cheering fans in their iconic red-and-white checkered jerseys. Croatia joined an exclusive club of 13 nations that advanced to a World Cup final, doing it in a tournament where powers Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain made early exits.

“They’ve had an incredible route to the final. They’ve shown remarkable character,” said England coach Gareth Southgate, who for now will be remembered more for a fashionable waistcoat than ending a half-century of hurt.

France, which won its only title at home in 1998, will have an extra day of rest after beating Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday.

Croatia, coming off 360 intense minutes at soccer’s highest level, faces its biggest sporting moment since becoming an independent nation in 1991.

“We started slowly, but we’ve shown our character, just as we did in the previous two knockout rounds when we were one-goal down,” Perisic said.

Fans back home in Zagreb took to the streets to celebrate, lighting flares and waving flagsin a sea of exuberance.

“We are a nation of people who never give in, who are proud and who have character,” said coach Zlatko Dalic, who wore a checkered jersey to his post-match news conference. “There’s no weakness in a team that is in the final.”

England was not among the top 10 nations in ticket sales before the tournament, but the team’s progress caused gallivanting supporters to flock to Moscow.

The front of the stands behind one goal was filled with more than two dozen white banners with a red Cross of St. George, pledging support from many of the island’s clubs, from Bradford to Wolverhampton. Back home, a crowd of 30,000 was in London’s Hyde Park for a large-screen viewing, the British Beer and Pub Association predicted supporters would buy 10 million extra pints at pubs during the match, and No.1 Court at Wimbledon was less than one-third full for the men’s quarterfinal between John Isner and Milos Raonic.

Promise seemed about to be fulfilled when Kieran Trippier curled in a free kick in the fifth minute for his first international goal, above leaping Dejan Lovren and Mandzukic and past the desperate dive of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. Choruses of “God Save the Queen” began in England’s end.

“We had a couple chances after that to get the second, give ourselves a bit more breathing room,” England captain Harry Kane said.

Football will not be coming home to England, and there will be no title to match the 1966 triumph at Wembley Stadium. Kane & Co. will deal with the same disappointment that felled Shearer and Platt, Gazza and Wazza, Beckham and Gerrard. And Southgate, whose penalty-kick failure led to England’s previous semifinal loss in a major tournament, in the 1996 European Championship semifinals.

“Impossible to say anything to them that is going to make them feel better at this point,” Southgate said after England’s fourth straight loss in a major tournament semifinal.

Croatia tied the score after Rakitic switched the ball from left flank to right, where Vrsaljko crossed. Kyle Walker attempted a diving header to clear. Perisic jumped and from behind raised his left boot over Walker’s head to poke the ball past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from about 8 yards for his fourth World Cup goal, including two in this tournament.

Mandzukic scored after Walker stuck out a leg to block Josip Pivaric’s cross. The ball popped up, and Perisic outjumped Trippier to head the ball toward goal. Mandzukic alertly reacted to the unexpected ball in the penalty area, splitting defenders Stones and Harry Maguire, who both had taken four short steps up. The ball bounced twice, Mandzukic ran onto it and one-timed a low, left-footed shot to Pickford’s left.

“Three times 120 minutes and fresher legs today than the English team,” Lovren marveled.

Mandzukic ran to a corner and was mobbed by teammates, who jumped on him and trapped photographers under them in the crush.

Not long after, Dalic was thinking about the short recovery time before the final.

“It’s our fault. Why didn’t we score earlier?” he said. “Why didn’t we finish the job in regulation time?”

Rakitic wasn’t worried.

“We still have lots of energy in the tank,” he said.

CARD COUNTING

No players are suspended for the final.

BOOS

Croatia defender Domagoj Vida was jeered by fans whenever he touched the ball. He received a warning from FIFA for shouting “glory to Ukraine” in a video posted after Croatia beat Russia in the quarterfinals.

___

By Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.

The post Croatia In World Cup Final For First Time After Beating England appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Has David Beckham Finally Hit Paydirt For His Miami Soccer Team?

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 03:21

A new proposal.

 

 

Four years ago David Beckham got the go ahead from Major League Soccer to put together a team somewhere in the Miami area. Nearly four and a half years later, there is still no team on the field because Beckham and various partners have no field for various reasons. Apparently Beckham and his group have found the perfect place for a soccer stadium. The Melreese Country Club which is owned by the city of Miami. The Beckham proposal is like many others, am athletic facility will anchor a complex that comes complete with shops, a hotel, office space and a public park.  That’s the easy part, the devil is in the details such as how much will this project cost and what incentives will the city of Miami give to Beckham’s group to build the complex. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration might have to look over plans as the stadium might be too close to the Miami International Airport property.

If the Miami City Council does approve the Beckham plan, that is not the end of the discussion. Miami residents will get a chance to say yes or no in a November referendum. There is opposition to the proposal as people want the land to be used as a public golf course. Beckham added new business partners in December 2017. The new partners didn’t care much for an Overton location and the city owned golf course property became the apple of the Beckham group’s eye. It has been a struggle for David Beckham and his partners to land a stadium with a planned seaport stadium blocked by various interests. Beckham was steered to land near the Miami Marlins Major League Baseball park but securing the land needed for the project is became a problem and Beckham abandoned the plan and opted for Overton. Beckham may want Miami more than Miami wants David Beckham.

 

Will Beckham get his long sort stadium?

The post Has David Beckham Finally Hit Paydirt For His Miami Soccer Team? appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

Rays’ Bullpen Helps Finish Off Tigers On Getaway Day

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 23:56



The Rays exit a mini-homestand with a sweep of Detroit

For the eighteenth time this season, Rays manager Kevin Cash called for the “opener.” The term first surfaced on May 19, and the opener has become a fixture of Tampa Bay Rays baseball. This time it was Hunter Wood in the role, his first ever taste of a Major League first inning. Wood demonstrated one of the finer points of the Rays’ opener strategy: He has the kind of stuff that relief pitchers late in games tend to demonstrate. Lots of velocity, lots of movement, good variance between his heat and his breaking stuff. The first two batters of the game for Detroit struck out, and once again the Rays got out of the first inning scoreless.

Kevin Kiermaier got the scoring started. The center fielder homered to lead off the bottom of the third and put the Rays up 1-0. Since his tenth inning triple Monday night, Kiermaier has looked more like himself at the plate, recovering from a slump since he had been reinstated from the disabled list. He knocked in a run in the third inning Tuesday, and he did so again in the loudest fashion on Wednesday afternoon. Kiermaier would go on to add a pair of singles, including an infield hit he legged out in the seventh.

Detroit took their first lead of the three game series in the top of the fourth, with James McCann crushing a two run shot to left field to make the score 2-1 Detroit. It was a rare mistake from Matt Andriese, who started his appearance with five strikeouts across his first two innings of work. Andriese wound up with six punchouts on the afternoon, a 49 pitch performance that was only marred by the homer.

In the seventh, it was C.J. Cron who got the Rays back in front. Cron pulled an emphatic homer to left field, scoring Kiermaier and Matt Duffy to get Tampa Bay up 4-2 after the stretch. It was Cron’s second extra base hit of the afternoon, the first coming on a frozen rope double to the left field fence.

“Youth brings some energy, there’s no doubt. But the effort level, and the buy in. We’re getting a lot of buy-in from guys right now.” Manager Kevin Cash has not just had to sell baseball on the changing roles that the Rays employ in 2018, he’s had to sell that to his players. Ballplayers get used to playing in specific roles for the bulk of their careers, and Cash’s insistence on stirring that pot has required an impressive showing of effort from the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was another getaway day special on Wednesday afternoon, another chance for St. Petersburg’s parks and recreation department to bring some of the Suncoast’s youngest baseball fans to the Rays. What in many other cities would be called a Businessman’s Special takes on the atmosphere of a public pool on a weekday afternoon with all the youth in the building.

The game felt like getaway day, too. Umpires called borderline pitches strikes, moving he game along as though in a hurry. The day game after a night game dynamic led to a number of players, such as Wilson Ramos, having the day off. The pitchers did not dawdle on the mound for very long. Much of the game had a feel as though the players were in a hurry to get back into the clubhouse where they could watch the World Cup semifinal.

Each team issued just one walk, which is critical in speeding up a baseball game. Wasted pitches eat time. The Rays and Tigers, instead, kept things moving. The game was over in 2:40, making things easy as both teams are headed out of town.

Ramos, Cash honored before game

Before first pitch, the Rays had some business to take care of. With Wednesday marking their final home game before the All Star break, the Rays took the time to formally recognize their All Star contingent. Wilson Ramos was presented with a jersey during a small ceremony, while manager Kevin Cash was also acknowledged as a coach of the American League team.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Tampa Bay also honored Blake Snell’s stellar first half with a “Quality Report” between the first and second innings, giving the Tropicana Field crowd an opportunity to honor their latest top starter.

From here, the Rays head to Minnesota for their final games before the All Star break. Blake Snell gets his final start of the first half on Thursday night, going up against Kyle Gibson at Target Field.

At 48 wins, the Rays already have more wins before the All Star break than they had last year. As this is their final home game before the All Star festivities, that gives them a 26-17 record at home for the first half. This was a team that was 4-13 in mid-April, written off as not just a failure but a disaster, and they’ve been turning heads ever since.

The post Rays’ Bullpen Helps Finish Off Tigers On Getaway Day appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.

Categories: Florida Sports News

LIVE AUDIO & VIDEO COVERAGE – World Cup Semi Final England Vs. Croatia

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 16:38

MOSCOW (AP) — It’s time for Gareth Southgate to come up with a big speech of his own.

After England gave up a tying goal to Brazil in first-half stoppage time in the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, Southgate felt coach Sven-Goran Eriksson lacked inspirational oratory in the locker room at halftime.

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Now the 47-year-old former England international is leading the team, which plays Croatia on Wednesday in England’s first World Cup semifinal in 28 years. The match is riveting the Land of Hope and Glory, which won its only title at home in 1966.

“Probably 18 months ago I talked to them about if you have success with England, it will be so much bigger than anything you can imagine, and I think that is probably starting to register with them now,” Southgate said after Saturday’s 2-0 quarterfinal victory over Sweden.

Southgate, who didn’t play against Brazil, took a swipe at Eriksson after the 2-1 loss, comparing the cool-speaking Swede to a Tory opposition leader widely regarded as dull.

“We needed Churchill, but we got Iain Duncan-Smith,” an unnamed defender, later identified as Southgate, was quoted as saying in a 2004 book by Joe Lovejoy.

No word whether Southgate will offer his “blood, toil, tears and sweat.” With the coach keeping his strategies close to his now-famous vest, a young roster led by Harry Kane hopes to succeed where Gary Lineker, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney failed.

England is ranked 12th in the world and Croatia 20th. The winner advances to Sunday’s final against France or Belgium, which also will be at Luzkniki Stadium.

Croatia lost its only previous semifinal match to host France in 1998. It beat Denmark in the round of 16 and host Russia in the quarterfinals this year, becoming only the second team with consecutive shootout wins in the same World Cup since Argentina defeated Yugoslavia and Italy in 1990.

“It won’t be easy for us,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said through a translator. “We will focus in the next few days to recover as much as possible. We will look for the best solutions ahead the match, considering we have a few players with minor issues after the match against Russia. It won’t be easy, but to get into the semifinals it’s a new motive for us.”

WAY BACK WHEN

In England’s last semifinal match, Andreas Brehme’s 60th-minute shot deflected off an onrushing Paul Parker at the penalty arc and looped over goalkeeper Peter Shilton to put West Germany ahead.

England tied the score when Parker’s cross bounced off Juergen Kohler and fell to Lineker, who beat goalkeeper Bodo Illgner to the far post. In the shootout, Stuart Pearce was stopped by Illgner on England’s fourth attempt, Olaf Thon converted for a 4-3 lead and Chris Waddle shot over the crossbar.

CHECKERED PAST

Croatia went ahead in the 1998 semifinals only 26 seconds into the second half when Aljosa Asanovic split the defense with a pass, and Davor Suker scored his fifth goal of the tournament. Lilian Thuram tied the score a minute later after stealing the ball from Zvonimir Boban near the Croat penalty area and exchanging passes with Youri Djorkaeff. Thuram scored the go-ahead goal with a curling shot in the 70th minute.

COLORS

Croatia will wear its alternate navy-and-black jerseys and black shorts for the fifth straight match, and England will wear white shirts and white shorts. The Croats have not worn their white-and-red checkerboard shirts since their opener against Nigeria. England wore all red against Tunisia, Colombia and Sweden, and white shirts with blue shorts against Panama and Belgium. The English also wore white in the 1966 and 1990 semifinals.

HEAD TO HEAD

Croatians played for Yugoslavia before splitting off in 1990. England has four wins, two losses and one draw in the matchup, including a 4-2 victory in the group stage of the 2004 European Championship. The teams have not met since qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, when England won 4-1 in Zagreb and 5-1 at Wembley Stadium.

England goalkeeper Paul Robinson kicked at and missed a backpass from Gary Neville, allowing an own-goal in a 2-0 loss in a European qualifier in 2006. Goalkeeper Scott Carson fumbled Niki Kranjcar’s shot into the net for the opening goal as Croatia won 3-2 at Wembley the following year, causing England to miss Euro 2008. England coach Steve McClaren held a large red-and-blue umbrella on the sidelines and was mocked as the “Wally with the brolly,” and he was fired the next day.

WITH THE WHISTLE

Cuneyt Cakir of Turkey will referee his second straight World Cup semifinal match, after Argentina’s penalty-kick win over the Netherlands four years ago. Cakir worked Iran’s 1-0 win over Morocco and Argentina’s 2-1 win over Nigeria in the group stage this year, and he refereed Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Juventus in the 2015 Champions League final.

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