Alex Cora: Yankees ‘Hard To Stop’ Once They Start Gaining Momentum

Much like the Red Sox, the Yankees didn’t get off to the hottest start to their 2019 season.
But if there’s one thing Boston skipper Alex Cora knows about New York’s current squad, it’s that they should never be underestimated.
“They’ve done great finishing games,” he told reporters ahead of Friday’s match in the Bronx. “And the last two weeks, they’re getting into that role where they’re behind and they hit one out of the ballpark and it’s hard to stop.”
To hear more from Cora on what he expects from the Yankees in the rain-shortened series, check out the “Red Sox First Pitch” video above, presented by Men’s Wearhouse.

Norling: IFW – Playoff Races are Coming to a close

Playoff races are coming to a close all over indoor football – and as usual, Ashle Norling has the wrapup on everything you need to know for this weekend.
IFW – Playoff Races are Coming to a close
Games (Home Team in Bold)
Champions Indoor Football:
Salina Liberty 57, Sioux City Bandits 54
Omaha Beef 71, Oklahoma Flying Aces 51
Duke City Gladiators 123, North Texas Savages 6

Three games, well two real ones, took place this past week in Champions Indoor Football as teams hunt for a playoff spot. If the CIF had decent streaming or archival services I would definitely say to watch the Salina/Sioux City game, but they don’t. With a first quarter that saw a combined 36 points the next two combined only saw the teams manage a total of 40. The final frame saw Salina complete the comeback win at home to push them into 2nd in the North. If the season ended today Sioux City would miss the playoffs for the first time in CIF history and their first time overall since 2010, the last season they played in the IFL.

Omaha was, minus for one quarter, a car wreck for Oklahoma. Outside of the Flying Aces scoring 24 points in the 2nd Quarter they were outscored 54-27. The end result is the only thing that mattered as the Omaha win sealed Oklahoma’s fate on missing the playoffs. Amarillo and Duke City have officially made the playoffs in the Southern Division and will just battle to decide who plays at home. Speaking of Duke City they took a giant dukey on their replacement opponent the North Texas Savages. In the end the game doesn’t matter as they were officially given a forfeit win over the now defunct Texas Revs and only played to make sure they had a home game for their fans.

Indoor Football League:
Iowa Barnstormers 65, Bismarck Bucks 35
Quad City Steamwheelers 43, Nebraska Danger 37
Arizona Rattlers 62, Tucson Sugar Skulls 47

Two of the three games really weren’t surprises. Iowa kicked the living s*** out of Bismarck for most of the game in Des Moines on Friday night. Though Bismarck did actually hold a lead for part of the game. On Saturday Arizona did the same to Tucson, with the Sugar Skulls only putting up a fight in the final quarter. I would not be surprised if we see Arizona host Iowa in the United Bowl this July.

On the other hand the Nebraska/Quad City game was a fight to the death. Every quarter, every play, every second was a f*****g battle. The game itself was a war from the opening kick to the final whistle. Do yourself a favor and watch the damn game! I absolutely can’t do it justice and as of now this is far and away the Indoor Football Game of the Year.

National Arena League:
Orlando Predators 74, Carolina Cobras 69
Massachusetts Pirates 70, New York Streets 51

When the schedule came out for the season only one game (Carolina/Orlando) was scheduled for this week. Well after the Streets were unsurprisingly not able to play at MSG they moved their game to Memorial Day in Westchester. Both games were a what in the f*** just happened as two of the best teams in the league hosted the two worst. Orlando was coming in off a 60-7 ass kicking by Jacksonville the previous week while the Pirates just suck. Well they shut me up by winning on the road in one of the toughest (Carolina) and dumbest (NY) arenas in the NAL.
News
Holy sh*t there is actual news for the first time in a few weeks to report! OMFG! As a background, last week, an um “altercation” (according to the CIF) took place during the Omaha-Oklahoma game which resulted in play being stopped for an extended period of time.

The end result was a blanket unsportsmanlike conduct penalty being placed on both teams, which resulted in three Beef players being disqualified for their second penalty. Needless to say fans were not happy about the debacle.

Yesterday the CIF released a statement (which you can read here) that said the players who were ejected will not be suspended and just adds to the clusterf*ck.

I don’t see a reason for the blanket penalties being issued and this just makes the CIF looks more unprofessional. Especially waiting until damn near game day to issue a statement on the ensuing week.The post Norling: IFW – Playoff Races are Coming to a close appeared first on Last Word on Sports.

Red Sox’s David Price, Matt Barnes Praise Alex Cora’s ‘Even Keel’ Attitude

While it certainly hasn’t been the start to the 2019 Major League Baseball many predicted the Boston Red Sox would have, their manager still is sticking to what he knows.
After winning a franchise-best 108 games in 2018 en route to a World Series championship, many believed Boston would come out hot considering it was bringing back a bulk of its lineup. But ace Chris Sale is 1-6, and reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts has struggled a bit from the leadoff spot.
It would be easy for Cora to change his tune, but the skipper is staying true to himself. And it certainly does not go unnoticed amongst his players.
“It’d be easy to change and try and press and do things drastically different though we had success doing them last year, but he hasn’t,” reliever Matt Barnes told MLB.com. “He’s got his principles and what he expects of us.”
David Price echoed his teammates comments, noting Cora “hasn’t changed one bit.”
“Us as players definitely respect that,” Price said. “Managing is not easy, especially in Boston. He hasn’t changed one bit from last year to this year. The difference is where we started and how our season has gone so far. For him to stay the same AC, that’s awesome.
“When managers feel that pressure and start making unnecessary moves or just feeling panic in the dugout or in the clubhouse, I think that can definitely kind of filter its way to the players,” Price added. “For AC to stay even keel through all of this, I think that’s kind of helped us get back on track.”
The Red Sox currently sit 7 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees heading into Friday’s game. But there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played, and it sounds as if the players certainly trust their manager to lead them to another lengthy playoff run.

Why 2019 MLB All-Star Nod Would Be ‘Cool Experience’ For David Price

David Price has been named an All-Star five times in his Major League Baseball career.
So why would being selected to the 2019 Midsummer Classic be so special for the left-hander?
Well, it would be the 33-year-old’s first nod in four seasons since joining the Boston Red Sox. And more importantly, it would be his first since his son, Xavier, was born in May 2017.
“It would be a cool experience to take Xavier for the first time. For sure,” Price recently told MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “I know how much he enjoys going to the field and being in the clubhouse and going out on the field and doing stuff like that. And so I know he would love that. And same way with my niece and my nephew. That was the best part of All-Star Games was having my niece and my nephew on the parade (route) with me and coming and hanging out on the field during the Home Run Derby and stuff like that.”
Price, who signed a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Red Sox before the 2016 season, boasts an impressive résumé. In addition to his five All-Star selections, he won an American League Cy Young Award with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 and a World Series title with Boston in 2018.
But some memories transcend personal accolades, and Price might be able to treat his 2-year-old son to quite a week in Cleveland if he continues pitching well over the next few weeks. Price currently owns a 2-2 record, a 2.83 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and 10 strikeouts per nine innings through nine starts.

Nathan Eovaldi Injury: Alex Cora Reveals Pitcher ‘Getting Close’ To Game Action

Nathan Eovaldi took his next step in recovering from surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow in April.
The Red Sox pitcher threw a simulated game Friday before Boston’s contest against the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Eovaldi tossed 54 pitches, 22 from the mound, according to Providence Journal’s Bill Koch.
Manager Alex Cora provided more information on his pitcher Friday evening:
“He was really good. Stuff was great,” he said, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “… It seems like he’s getting close to seeing some action. (We) will map out whether his next outing is a simulated game or rehab outing tomorrow. He’ll be with us sooner rather than later.”
Cora also added he will use Eovaldi as a starter once he returns, and did not consider using him out the bullpen.
“That fifth game is really important for us,” Cora said, per Speier. “… Having the rotation, having guys go deep into games, that’s how we operate here.”
Eovaldi started in just four games before heading to the injured list. And if he can come 100 percent, he’ll certainly provide a boost to the Boston rotation.

Worst Tattoo In NBA? Jimmy Kimmel Ranks Five Horrendous Ink Decisions

Jimmy Kimmel hosted a special episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” before Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Thursday night, and the late-night talk show host touched on more than just the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors.
Kimmel took aim at some of the most horrendous ink in the NBA, ranking the five worst tattoos he’s spotted among former and current players.
The segment was pretty hilarious, even though Kimmel likely left off a few tattoos deserving of criticism. His issues ranged from ink location to poor execution, with some tattoos being almost recognizable thanks to shoddy work.

All told, NBA uniforms — tank tops and shorts, essentially — expose a lot of skin, so why not spice things up with some ink? A few players, especially those making millions upon millions of dollars, just might want to choose their tattoo artists a little more carefully.

Bruins Practice Notes: John Moore In For Matt Grzelcyk; Patrice Bergeron Good To Go

Patrice Bergeron wasn’t on the ice for the Boston Bruins’ practice Friday afternoon, but head coach Bruce Cassidy was quick to ensure the Bruins’ star center will be on the ice in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Following Bruins practice Friday in St. Louis, Cassidy said Bergeron was given a maintenance day and did not skate with the team at practice, but Bergeron will be ready to go Saturday night at the Enterprise Center.
“I fully expect he’ll be in the lineup,” Cassidy said before pausing and adding, “well, he will be in the lineup tomorrow.”
Perhaps the maintenance day will do Bergeron some good. The Bruins certainly could use the first-line center back on track, as the Blues have done a tremendous job of slowing down Bergeron and his linemates, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Cassidy isn’t worried about his top line and believes that trio will regain its bearings in Game 3.
“I know them well enough by now and seeing how they’ve performed in the playoffs. They’ll eventually get to their game and I believe it will be tomorrow,” Cassidy said. ” … Today they all came in in good spirits. They’re ready to go. They know they need to be better, they admitted it. We’ve gone through some with them, and hopefully, it will help them with certainty tendencies St. Louis does.”
— Matt Grzelyck didn’t make the trip to St. Louis, and he won’t play in Game 3 after taking a hit to the head in the Bruins’ Game 2 loss. Cassidy said Thursday that Grzelcyk was in the concussion protocol, and it’s unclear whether or if he’ll return during the series. John Moore most likely will be the defenseman drawing into the lineup to take Grzelcyk’s place. The decision came down to either Moore or Steven Kampfer, and Cassidy is leaning toward Moore, who, like Grzelcyk, is a left-handed shot.
“He’s a left stick, keeps everything simple in terms of pairs and on their strong sides, but we’ll make that decision in the morning, and I’ll let you know for sure then, but that’s the way I’m leaning,” Cassidy said.
— The Blues will be without fourth-line winger Oskar Sundqvist, who was suspended one game for his hit on Grzelcyk. Massachusetts native and Boston College product Zach Sanford is expected to take Sundqvist’s place in the St. Louis lineup.
— Expect the Bruins, who registered just 23 shots on goal in Game 2 despite five power plays, to look to shoot the puck much more Saturday night especially with the man advantage.
“I think we forced plays that we don’t typically do,” Cassidy said. “Give them credit — they have good sticks. They played our bumper tight, and I don’t think we adjusted well enough to what was available. We’ve looked at that, worked it on a little bit today to see if we can get a little more movement to open up some seams.”
— The Bruins undoubtedly are walking into hostile territory with St. Louis hosting its first Stanley Cup Final game in nearly 50 years, but they have been very good on the road to this point in the playoffs.

Raptors Fans Chant ‘Paul Pierce Sucks;’ Celtics Legend Basks In Hate

Paul Pierce embraces the villain’s role in the afterlife of his NBA career.
Toronto Raptors fans offered the Boston Celtics legend and ESPN NBA analyst a rude welcome Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena when they serenaded him with a “Paul Pierce sucks” chant during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The last 20-plus years in which Pierce received boos and similar chants at NBA arenas prepared him to soak up his latest moment in the limelight.

Raptors fans dead wrong for chanting "PAUL PIERCE SUCKS" to his face like that. pic.twitter.com/uznxlSy1Sc
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 31, 2019

We’re not sure what prompted the Raptors fans to hate on Pierce. Perhaps his prediction Toronto would beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals is the source of Raptors fans’ ire.

Paul Pierce picked the Raptors in 6
Raptors fans: pic.twitter.com/q8crLBWWMi
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 30, 2019

Paul Pierce picking the Raptors to win, so our congratulations to the Golden State Warriors for being the first team to three-peat before the finals begin.
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) May 31, 2019

Nevertheless, Pierce’s Raptors pick looks good after Game 1, which Toronto won 118-109. Then again, his previous predictions also appeared accurate after the opening phase of the series.

THE PAUL PIERCE CURSE STRIKES AGAIN pic.twitter.com/1H4NlbWwZJ
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 26, 2019

Ex-Patriot Admits Wanting To ‘Choke The (Expletive)’ Out Of Ray Rice

Martellus Bennett has no time for domestic violence.
The former NFL tight end appeared Thursday on an “Athletes + Activism” forum hosted by The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill and touched on several topics, including Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing efforts to combat police brutality and the mistreatment of minorities. The conversation at one point shifted to the issue of domestic violence in professional sports, and Bennett made it clear he was disgusted with Ray Rice, whose NFL career ultimately ended after a video surfaced in 2014 of the former Baltimore Ravens running back dragging his then-fiancée (now-wife), Janay Palmer, out of an elevator in Atlantic City.
“Watching the video of Ray Rice, I wanted to choke the s— out of Ray Rice,” Bennett said. “Right? I wanted to punch him in the face. When I see those guys, if they’re on my team, I have issues with those guys. Like I’m going to tackle you every single day. Right? Hit me! I’m serious. This pisses me off when I see these things going on.”
Bennett doesn’t just have an issue with domestic violence from a moral standpoint. He also doesn’t understand the NFL’s punishment for such transgressions, as there seems to be inconsistency across the board, especially when compared to how the league handles marijuana- and other drug-related suspensions.
“If you hit a woman, you should not be playing football,” Bennett said.
“There’s not any excuse for child abuse,” the 32-year-old added, alluding to the ongoing situation involving Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill ” … Hitting a child to me at this position is ridiculous. Discipline your child, discipline how you want, you know what I’m saying. But things get to the extreme.”
Bennett, who spent parts of two seasons with the New England Patriots in his 10-year NFL career, certainly isn’t afraid to speak his mind, regardless of the topic, and it appears he’s more than ready to take a stand against domestic violence and the culprits who commit such disgusting acts.
You can learn more about Bennett’s Imagination Agency here, and here’s more information about Bennett’s new book “Dear Black Boy.”

Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam Inspired from Father’s Death

Pascal Siakam has waited his whole life for this opportunity. The young rising star for the Toronto Raptors is playing in his first NBA Finals, and rising to the big stage. Siakam put up 32 points and eight rebounds, carrying the Raptors to the franchise’s inaugural victory in the NBA Finals.

Amidst the excitement across Canada, the Raptors forward is playing for a greater purpose. For Siakam, every chance he gets to play basketball is an opportunity he does not take for granted.

“Every night that I go out there, I have a bigger purpose, and I play for something greater than just basketball,” said Siakam after the 118-109 Raptors victory over the Golden State Warriors. 
Siakam Battles Adversity of Father’s Death
Pascal Siakam was born in Cameroon. Youngest of four brothers, Siakam initially did not have an interest in basketball. He was poised to become a priest, cherry-picked from an early age to embrace the Catholic values of his family.

Pascal was particularly close to his Father, Tchamo, who worked at a local transit company. It was Tchamo who encouraged his son to go pursue his dreams of playing basketball in the United States. While playing at New Mexico State, Siakam would receive the unfortunate news of his Father’s passing in a car accident. A numbing reality for a youngster trying to play basketball while adjust to life away from his parents.

“It was definitely one of the toughest moments in my life, not being able
to go home for the funeral,” revealed Siakam.

While a breakable moment for some, Siakam used the death of his Father as motivation to become a perennial basketball star. The desire and drive to get better is what attracted Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri to draft Pascal with the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

“Pascal wants to be a versatile player in this league who could do it all. He wants to be a star,” states Ujiri. 
Siakam Has Performed Strongly for Toronto Raptors
The 2018-19 NBA season has demonstrated Pascal Siakam’s transcendent rise in stardom. Not only is he a physical defender, but Siakam is able to utilize his size to attack the basket in the post with ease. For the season, Siakam averaged 16.9 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists with game, on 54.9 percent shooting.

While Kawhi Leonard has claimed the spotlight as the Raptors’ premier superstar, Siakam has epitomized playoff toughness and tenacity. In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with Kawhi being targeted defensively, Siakam took control offensively, putting up 25 points and 11 rebounds. There was a stretch in Game 1 of the NBA Finals where the Siakam went 15-for-15 from the field. Nick Nurse was quick to praise his big man, who has been consistently improving since last summer.

“He’s worked his tail off,” said Nurse after Game 1. “His work ethic and his mindset just keeps building for him.
The Ceiling is High for Raptors Big Man
Adverse moments shape the makeup of an individual. For Pascal Siakam, it made him a tougher, grounded human being.

In NBA history, the Finals came up North to Canada. While Siakam is grateful for the fan support, his purpose of playing is far greater. There was a day where a young kid from Africa would never have thought to go professional and play in the NBA. With the Toronto Raptors up 1-0 in the NBA Finals, Siakam is focused on being a critical impetus to help his team win. At the same time, honouring his Father’s legacy and the country of Cameroon.

“I have a lot of support from my fellow Cameroonians and just Africa
in general,” says Siakam. “When my Dad died,  it was a turning point in my life, just going through that type of adversity. It definitely made me the
person I am today.”The post Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam Inspired from Father’s Death appeared first on Last Word on Sports.