A CBSSports.com report on the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks pursuing Kevin Love ahead of the NBA trade deadline got quite the reaction from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Tuesday night: No, no, no.
"If you read about it, you know it's not true. I don't know if we got the Beach Boys booked, "Cuban said before Dallas lost to Miami 117-106, according to the Dallas Morning News in a post headlined "Mark Cuban squashes crazy Kevin Love speculation." The Beach Boys reference is to Kevin's uncle Mike, a founding member of the band.
Calling it laughable, ESPNDallas.com also pointed out all the obstacles:
"The first is that there is “no way” the Minnesota Timberwolves are dealing Love before Thursday’s trade deadline, as a source told CBSSports.com, which makes the splashy headline about the Mavs and Los Angeles Lakers attempting to put together packages for Love pretty much pointless.
Another problem: Even if the Timberwolves were considering trading Love, what the heck could the Mavs offer to keep Minnesota GM Flip Saunders from hanging up and/or cracking up? The Mavs can’t offer future first-round picks, the most valuable currency in today’s trade market, because they owe Oklahoma City a top-20 protected first-rounder."
Ken Berger's report cites that "it is widely known around the league" that Love and his agent "are determined to get him to a major market." But even before Berger says that, he writes "the Timberwolves have given no indication they's consider moving the All-Star forward."
And four paragraphs later, Berger again throws cold water on his own report, citing "a person familiar" with Flip Saunders' strategy that there is "no way" the Wolves will trade ahead of the deadline.
A.J. Pierzynski began his stint with the Red Sox on Saturday in Fort Myers by looking back at his time in town with the Twins' rookie league team there 20 YEARS AGO. Then, ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes got him reflecting on his time in A ball playing and hanging out with David Ortiz, who will be his teammate again.
After recounting a game-winning homer by Ortiz, Pierzynski threw a little salt in Twins fans wounds again:
"Coming to Boston was the best thing that ever happened to him," Pierzynski said of Ortiz. "He was never given the freedom in Minnesota to become what he has become. Not because of anything, just because of the way it was over there; they ran a little bit of a different ship."
Speaking of Ortiz, he had an explosive Tuesday morning in Fort Myers, in the batting cage and in quotes with the Boston Herald about his quest for a contract extension that resonated over the Internet, at least what could be printed about his critics:
"(Expletive) them. I'm tired of hearing them talk (expletive) about me when I talk about my contract. Hey, every time I talk about my contract, I earn it, (expletive). So don't be giving me that (expletive).”
Wednesday, Ortiz will speak again, in his "State of Papi" news conference. Just so you don't think he's snarling, he also told the Herald "he's living the dream," which on Tuesday included this massive autograph session. One fan asked Ortiz to sign his Champagne bottle.
The baseball coach at Shanley High School in Fargo, whose team won the North Dakota state baseball title last season, said he has been fired as the result of a text message that he sent to his team.
According to the Fargo Forum newspaper, coach Joel Swanson said that a parent has complained and school officials "told me the text message was considered threatening in tone and wording."
Swanson started the Shanley baseball program in 1999 and has been its only coach. The situation has some parallels to that of the former baseball coach at Mounds View High School, Jon Nuss, who lost his job after leading his team to the Minnesota Class 3A title in June and winning a Coach of the Year honor.
Swanson provided Forum reporter Tom Mix with a copy of a letter that he had sent to Shanley administrators, which he said included the text message. Here's what he told the players:
“We are two months into open gyms and obviously all of you are satisfied with last year’s title. We are the team that will have a target on our backs. We are the team that everyone throws their ace against. We are the team everyone wants to beat this year. I am sick of stupid excuses to not come to open gym. … If you want to be an athlete commit to it. One hour a week is not too much to ask if you want to be an athlete.
“If you make an excuse not to come then you are telling me what kind of athlete you are. I cannot require you to come but I thought I would have a group excited to try and defend a title. Not to make excuses and not care. Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. … I will not send out another message like this, but some of you may be in for a rude awakening when the season comes and you are not in the lineup due to a younger player that puts in the time.”
When reporter Mix contacted Shanley's activities director, the firing was confirmed but he was told that it was a personnel matter and details could not be discussed.
Last year, the Minnesota Legislature approved a law that bars schools from firing a coach solely because of complaints by parents. No such law exists in North Dakota.
You can read the full story here.
Former Augsburg College linebacker Scott Cooper added his voice to the debate of gays in sports on Thursday by sharing with Outsports his tale of acceptance on the field and off with the Auggies football team in Minneapolis.
"Being at Augsburg College was a completely different experience. Not only was I out totally by then, but I was myself. I loved football, and just needed to be on a team. I missed the competition, the camps and the camaraderie. Yes, I was gay and out, but I didn’t want to lead with that fact. I just wanted to be a college athlete, while also being accepted off the field for who I really was. My teammates could not have been any more supportive of me than they were and still are. I don’t feel I was being a hero by being out and being honest about it with them; these guys are the true heroes."
Among the highlights he recounted were standing with his partner on Senior Day in November and being asked by his position coach, Mike Matson, to speak in chapel on National Coming Out Day in October.
Cooper, who graduated in December with a communications degree, wraps up by telling why he wanted to share his story and the power of sport in what has been a controversy elsewhere:
"There are three reasons I wanted my experience to be told. First, I wanted to give confidence and encouragement to anyone who is unsure about themselves; and in this case, especially other gay athletes. Secondly, more stories about gay athletes should be told; because the more we hear about gay athletes, the less of a big deal it is. One day, I hope it is a complete non-issue. Until then, we have to stay vocal.
And last, but in no way least, I want people to know that there are teams out there where this is a non-issue. My Auggies deserve so much credit for breaking every stereotype that male athletes tend to have regarding gays. They accepted adversity, embraced their brother, and stood together. After all, isn’t that what sports are supposed to teach us?"
Outsports also had a video interview with Cooper:
The third paragraph of Jere Longman's story in the New York Times explains why he went to Warroad before the start of the Olympics:
"Warroad, population 1,781, a civic snow globe six miles from the Canadian border, has as many indoor rinks (two) as red lights. The town has sent seven hockey players to the Olympics since 1956 — four of them from the same family, the Christians — and each one has returned with a medal. The hope is for a pair of golds at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia."
Longman tells the story of Gigi Marvin, whose family has lived in Warroad for decades, and T.J. Oshie, who moved there from Washington in high school and now plays for the St. Louis Blues.
If you were to drive through Warroad, Longman describes what you would see: "Olympic posters of Oshie and Marvin decorate the windows of downtown businesses from the T-Shirt Barrel to the Main Street Bar and Grill. Locals can take photographs with cardboard likenesses of the players. Their first names are included among the 46 signs along Highway 11 that salute each man and woman on the United States hockey teams headed to Sochi."
But the story includes other characters who go a long way to explaining what makes Warroad unique:
*The Astrup family, whose four children have hockey-themed signs on their bedroom doors. One is Olympic Players Entrance, another is the Penalty Box.
*Grant Slukynsky, who was named the top 10-year-old hockey player in Minnesota last year and whose backyard rink has a knock-off Zamboni fashioned from a golf cart.
*Mike Marvin, Gigi's father, who explains that age and gender boundaries disappear at the city's rinks. "It allows the average player to be good and the good ones to be great," he tells Longman.
As much as you think you know about Warroad hockey, the guess here is that you'll learn a few things. You can read the entire story here,
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