David Price Already Excited For Next Chance To Celebrate In ‘City Of Champions’

David Price didn’t know what to expect, but he does know he now wants more.
He wants more of the adulation, and he wants the chance to once again celebrate delivering the latest World Series to Boston.
The Red Sox pitcher completely flipped the playoff script, winning both the American League Championship Series and World Series clinchers. Price and his teammates did all they could to take full advantage of Wednesday’s celebration through Boston. And while Price had a blast, it left him wanting to do it all again.
“That was more than I expected. I wish I could start over now and enjoy it, but that was very special,” he told reporters outside Fenway Park after Wednesday’s World Series parade.
Price started the day by revealing he intends to finish his seven-year contract with the Red Sox. With his third season completed, Price has the ability to opt out of the deal, but he’ll instead stay in Boston.
“We’re coming back. I’ll be here for four more years, and we want to win another one,” he said.
“I want to experience that again so I can really enjoy it. That was, I didn’t know what to expect today, but now that I know what to expect, I want to do it again.”

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Price’s comments and demeanor Wednesday signaled a noticeable shift even from Sunday when the Red Sox won it all in Los Angeles. Price emphatically took a victory lap during his postgame press conference, while giving off the sense the entire experience was still sinking for him.
Wednesday was a different story, though. Perhaps for the first time since his introductory press conference with the Red Sox, a jubilant Price let down his guard. Everyone already knew he embraced playing with his teammates in Boston, but it was fair to wonder how much he cared or enjoyed playing for Boston.
“This is why I came to Boston,” Price said with his armed wrapped around teammate Brock Holt. “This is the city of champions and to be a part of a championship team in Boston with my guy Brock is so special. It’s so special. To do what we did, this is why I came here.”
He also shared a similar sentiment on Twitter.

Obviously I have nothing to compare this (Duck boat tour) to but NOTHING will ever compare to today!!! Thank you #redsoxnation #optin #stayingrighthere
— David Price (@DAVIDprice24) October 31, 2018

Patriots Practice Report: Sony Michel, Dont’a Hightower Present As Pats Prep For Packers

FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ first practice of Green Bay Packers week was a non-padded walkthrough, with players taking the field Wednesday in helmets and sweats.
The nature of the practice made taking exact attendance difficult, but running back Sony Michel, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon all were present after sitting out Monday night’s 25-6 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Michel, who injured his knee in the Patriots’ Week 7 win over the Chicago Bears, had returned to practice Saturday before sitting out Monday’s contest.
Linebacker Elandon Roberts participated, as well, after briefly leaving the game with a groin injury.

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Wide receiver Julian Edelman and right guard Shaq Mason were not spotted during the brief portion of practice that was open to reporters.
Mason left the Bills game with a calf injury and did not return. Edelman played the full game, catching nine passes on 10 targets for 104 yards in his best performance of the season, but was slow to get up after a few plays.
“I’m feeling good,” Edelman said after the game. “We just played a Monday night football game, which always can be a battle — a division game on the road against a tough opponent. So everyone’s got bumps and bruises. It’s the NFL.”
The 6-2 Patriots are preparing to host the 3-3-1 Packers on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

Bill Belichick Has Unique Take On Tom Brady-Aaron Rodgers Debate

FOXBORO, Mass. — Even New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (kind of) weighed in on the Tom Brady-Aaron Rodgers debate this week.
The Brady-Rodgers comparisons have picked up steam with the Patriots playing the Green Bay Packers this Sunday night. Belichick once called Brady the greatest quarterback of all time. A reporter asked him if he still believes Brady is better than Rodgers.
“I’ve never played against Tom Brady,” Belichick said. “So, I’m glad he’s our quarterback, he’s a great quarterback. He’s won a lot of games for us, hopefully he’ll win a lot more. We’ve won a lot of games because of him. But I’ve never played against Tom Brady. So, this is a different context.
“I would say playing against Aaron Rodgers is very, very difficult. He’s as good as anybody I’ve ever faced. We’ve faced a lot of good ones through the years, and that’s not to take anything away from anybody else. Just saying the guy’s a great player. He can do everything that a quarterback needs to do, consistently does it well. He throws a lot of touchdowns, doesn’t throw many interceptions. Good receivers make a ton of yards after he gets them the ball, and a big part of that is him getting them the ball in space on the run so they can continue to gain positive yards after the catch. He doesn’t make them work for the ball. He gets out of some plays that very few guys can get out of. He’s got tremendous production down the field, so once again, he leads the league in touchdowns to interceptions, he leads the league in big plays. He’s thrown however many long passes to however many different receivers. It’s not all one guy. So, he’s a great player.”

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Belichick clearly wasn’t going to touch the Brady-Rodgers debate head-on, but the reporter, Henry McKenna of Patriots Wire, still got a quality answer out of the Patriots head coach.
Rodgers has only started one regular season game against Belichick. He went 24-of-38 for 368 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Packers’ 26-21 win in 2014.
Belichick recalled Rodgers “killed” the Patriots in that game.
Brady has won five Super Bowls, while Rodgers has won one. Brady is a three-time MVP, while Rodgers has won the award twice.

Lions’ Matt Patricia Snaps At Reporter For Posture During Press Conference

If you’re gong to come at Matt Patricia with questions, you better sit upright.
Or else, you know, he’ll get upset.
The Detroit Lions head coach snapped on a reporter Wednesday over posture — of all things. Patricia’s outburst came amid a deluge of questions about the Lions trading receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Take a look:

Hey, we weren’t in the room, so it’s impossible for us to speak to the reporter’s posture. Still, it seems like a weird thing for Patricia to care about in the first place.
In his first year in Detroit, Patricia has led the Lions to a 3-4 record, good for last place in the NFC North.

Chris Sale, Red Sox Haven’t Started Contract Extension Discussions Yet

The Red Sox announced Tuesday — one day before their World Series parade through the streets of Boston — that they exercised Chris Sale’s contract option for 2019.
But what does the future hold for the left-hander beyond next season?
Sale, who was acquired from the White Sox before the 2017 season, is entering the final year of a contract he signed with Chicago in 2013. He’s slated to earn $15 million in 2018 — $16 million if he’s named the American League Cy Young Award winner this offseason — and the Red Sox will need to decide at some point whether the seven-time All-Star is part of their long-term plans.
So far, Boston hasn’t discussed a contract extension with Sale. Red Sox principal owner John Henry revealed such during Wednesday’s World Series celebration.

No contract extension discussions have begun with Chris Sale, John Henry says
— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) October 31, 2018

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John Henry on a potential Chris Sale extension:"We haven't had any conversations about any contracts thus far," Henry said. "I haven't Dave. We've been focused like the players on one thing."
— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) October 31, 2018

Red Sox owner: John Henry: "I've never seen a year in which there was no talk about contracts, there was no talk about media. I was the only one that complained about the media this year."
— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) October 31, 2018

Now, this obviously isn’t huge news. The Red Sox just wrapped up an amazing World Series run and knew they held a club option on Sale for 2019. They don’t need to decide on the pitcher’s long-term future right now, and Boston might prefer to see how Sale looks next season after dealing with a shoulder issue this season before giving him a lucrative contract extension.
The lack of talks still is notable, though, if only because it shines light on the elephant in the room. Sale has fit like a glove with the Red Sox, putting together two excellent seasons in Boston’s pressure-packed environment, but he’ll turn 30 years old in March and has a track record of wearing down late in seasons. Do the Red Sox want to roll the dice by signing him to a huge deal, especially with David Price planning to stick around for four more years at $127 million and Mookie Betts, among others, also nearing free agency?

NBA Rumors:What Jimmy Butler Will Do To Force Trade From Timberwolves

Jimmy Butler will give the Minnesota Timberwolves no choice but to learn to play without him.
The Timberwolves star plans to sit out Wedneday’s game again the Utah Jazz for reasons that are labeled “precautionary” but might be more dubious than that. NBA Sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski Butler might take an extended absence in an effort to force the Timberwolves to trade him.

Jimmy Butler is taking next step in six-week-long process aimed at getting the All-Star out of Minnesota by sitting tonight against Utah, and could lead to extended absence for Butler, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 31, 2018

Butler started contemplating not playing tonight on Tuesday, and the final decision was made Wednesday morning, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Timberwolves termed it "general soreness and precautionary rest,” but Butler informed Tom Thibodeau of his decision.

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— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 31, 2018

Buttler requested a trade last month after telling the Timberwolves won’t re-sign with them next summer, when he has the option to opt out of the final year of his contract. He sat out most of training camp and preseason while he waited for the Timberwolves to oblige him.
But Minnesota’s steep and ever-shifting asking price for Butler reportedly prevented a trade from materializing and him to accept starting the season on its roster as a fully committed while the team makes good-faith efforts to trade him.
The shaky truce between Butler and the Timberwolves appears to have dissolved after just two weeks and seven games, in which he averaged a team-high 22.5 points and added 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3 steals per game.
He now appears set to sit, while the Timberwolves consider accepting the Houston Rockets’ whopping renewed bid or another team’s offer for the disgruntled star.

Warriors ‘Paying Close Attention’ To Celtics, Think Very Highly Of Kyrie Irving

The Boston Celtics are seen by many as the NBA’s team of the future, but there is a very realistic possibility they could win the NBA Finals as soon as June.
The C’s have built a roster loaded with depth, experience and versatility that makes them a difficult matchup for any type of opponent.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick recently talked to several Golden State Warriors players about potential playoff opponents, and it’s obvious the two-time defending champions understand the Celtics would present a difficult challenge in a seven-game series.
“1. They are clearly paying close attention to Boston – never mind that they don’t play the Celtics until Jan. 26 — and hold Kyrie Irving in extremely high regard,” Amick wrote. “Anyone who remembers his stepback three over Curry from the right wing in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals understands why. Boston big man Al Horford gets all kinds of respect from his Warriors peers as well.”

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Draymond Green, in particular, had plenty of praise for Celtics superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.
“Kyrie has been there and done that, and he’s going to embody that (spirit),” Green told Amick. “Kyrie is going to love that moment, to love being that guy that has been there and showing everyone else the way. And I think that’s what makes them a threat is that (reality that), yeah they have all the pieces, but Kyrie has the experience and I think that’s what makes them great.”
The Celtics have beaten the Warriors in each of the last three seasons, including two wins at Oracle Arena in Oakland. These teams played two thrilling regular-season matchups during the 2017-18 campaign, with both teams protecting their home court.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won’t be playing the Warriors in the NBA Finals for a fifth consecutive season. A new team will emerge from the Eastern Conference. The Celtics won’t have an easy walk to the 2019 NBA Finals, but they are the favorites, and likely would provide the toughest challenge to the Warriors’ quest for a three-peat.

Mind Over Matter: Mental Strength in Combat Sports

Physical preparation is only part of the game — the real fight is in one’s mind.

The famous saying goes: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” While some people are born with more favorable opportunities than others, in the end, the mind is a person’s best frenemy. It can cause a millionaire heir to lose everything with the same success that it can cause an impoverished individual to amass massive fortunes. The mentality is also what makes a fighter. MMA might be a contact sport, but it’s even more so a mind game on par with the likes of poker.

Trash Talkers – the Bullies of MMA

Photo Pixabay

Staying unmoved by trash talk is a sign of internal strength.

It might sound weird to think of a bullied pro-MMA fighter, but that’s what trash talking is. Granted, the power disbalance in trash talking doesn’t exist as is the case with bullying. Nevertheless, trash talkers verbally abuse their opponents, leaning on the rules that forbid fights outside of the octagon. The trash talker is pushing his opponent’s buttons aware that a physical response is unlikely to occur. School bullies do the same: they pick on those kids that are the least likely to respond. Given that the blood of fighters is boiling the closer they get to a match, it’s hard to imagine how many of them keep composure while listening to their opponent’s trash talk at press conferences and weigh-ins. So, what does science say about effective ways to deal with bullying/trash talk without losing it?

In an article for Psychology Today, psychotherapist F. Diane Barth writes about “six smarter ways to deal with bullies.” Summarized, her tips all lead to one conclusion: you must stand your ground when dealing with a bully. It is moments like this that speak of the mental resilience that MMA fighters need to stay focused on the upcoming match and not on a provocation-seeking opponent. Indeed, trash talking is not limited to MMA. It’s also present in many other sports, but most notably, in poker. Some poker players are notorious for their unrestrained mouths, and one can often notice the same type of dynamic at top poker tournaments — one or several players keep trash talking while others look unphased as if having literal nerves of steel.

Fighting Through the Pain

How is it that MMA fighters can take repeated blows yet street fights usually end after one successful punch? To answer, let’s quickly go over how pain forms.

We feel pain when trauma is causing distress to the body. First, the pain receptors under the damaged area register the offense. Then they send signals to the spinal cord that something’s wrong. During the third stage, the brain processes the signals from the spinal cord, resulting in the sensation of pain in the traumatized region. In the final stage, the body works on getting back to mitigating pain. Generally, pain medications work in two ways: by getting in the way of transmitting the signal from the neurons to the brain or in the case of opioids, by mimicking the pain-inhibiting chemicals released during the last stage.

 

MMA fighters don’t have the luxury of using painkillers during fights, so it’s the third stage — processing pain — that is helping them to manage it. For example, pro fighters learn to fight through the pain by not focusing on the sensations they feel. That doesn’t mean that MMA fighters can “choose” to not feel pain, but rather they “choose” to not focus on it, which clinical trials suggest is an effective pain management tool. Nevertheless, this strategy doesn’t work forever, and it is only useful for the mental implications of pain. Apart from sending pain signals, when hurt, the body instinctively goes into defensive mode, which comes with physical symptoms that people can’t control, such as when the eyes water from a punch in the nose or when the body collapses from a blow to the liver.

Going All-In

Photo Pixabay

Research confirms that Rocky was right: “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

When fighters get into the octagon, a lot is at stake for them. The world of combat sports is such that one misstep can cost you everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. It’s not rare for reigning champions to go into oblivion once they lose their title. What’s more, contenders for a belt usually don’t get second chances.

Going back to the poker analogy: with every match, MMA fighters go all-in. It’s not much different from poker where even the best players rarely get to win a big tournament more than once or twice. Such is unlike in many other sports where teams and players get annual chances to compete for a much-sought-after title. Like poker, the MMA world is a dynamic field with hungry new players regularly joining the ranks. That, in turn, decreases the odds for everybody of claiming the big win. And while it might be good for business, it can be stressful to players.

With the preparation that goes in showing up in the octagon, along with the expectations of millions of eyes, losing a critical fight feels more like losing your business than a job. In such cases, some fighters change their field, others give it up altogether and yet, others manage to bounce back. A couple of years ago, researchers did a study on what happens to owners of failed businesses. The truth is, no matter how mentally strong a person is, failing sucks — the difference is how one responds to the grief. The study found out that the ones that see failures as opportunities, not as the end of the world, are the ones who manage to get back in the game stronger. These people see failure as a learning tool as do the fighters that keep going after losing a fight.

Be it MMA or poker or any other sport, trash talk, provocation and psychological warfare are regular guests. Add to the mix the physical pain of battling a pro fighter, and it becomes more than evident that when watching fighters spar or hit the gym we only see a small part of their preparation. Mental conditioning is an integral part of the training of a champion, and it’s no wonder that increasingly more pro athletes are turning to meditation and the like as a tool to cope with the inhumane stress that comes with their occupation.

 

Main image credit: Photo PixabayThe post Mind Over Matter: Mental Strength in Combat Sports appeared first on Last Word on Sports.

DraftKings Week 9 Optimal Lineup: Best Picks In DFS Fantasy Football

A whopping six NFL teams are on byes this week, which means your season-long fantasy football lineup probably is a mess.
Rather than try to pick up the pieces, why not just head over to the daily fantasy realm? A full Week 9 lineup once again is ripe with juicy matchups for you to exploit.
Below is our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams ($6,000)
Yes, the New Orleans Saints’ defense has improved somewhat and plays better at home. But there should be tons of points in this marquee matchup, and Goff is coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. He’s a solid QB1 at a relatively cheap price.
Running Backs: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers ($7,800); Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears ($6,200)
No team in football allows more points per game than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (33.3). That bodes very well for McCaffrey, the most dangerous player in Carolina’s offense who has a chance to put up monster numbers in PPR formats.
Another PPR stud, Cohen gets an enticing road matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who just gave up 10 receptions out of the backfield to New England Patriots running back James White.

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Wide Receivers: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($7,600); Devin Funchess, Panthers ($5,600); Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos ($3,900)
The Rams have a loaded front seven but are a little more vulnerable in their secondary, and we expect Thomas, who’s averaging 8.3 catches per game, to be the primary beneficiary of Sunday’s shootout in the Superdome.
McCaffrey is the Panthers’ workhorse, but Funchess is right behind him. While Carolina’s No. 1 wideout cooled off a bit last Sunday with just three catches for 27 yards, he should bounce back in a big way against the Bucs’ porous secondary.
The biggest winner of the Demaryius Thomas trade? You could argue it’s Sutton, who should be in line for a lot more targets with the Pro Bowl receiver out of the picture. The Houston Texans present a tough matchup, but Sutton is too good to pass up at this dirt-cheap price.
Tight End: O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,300)
We’re rolling with Howard for the second straight week, and with good reason: He put up solid numbers early in the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center and has a sneaky good matchup in the Panthers, who have given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Flex: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns ($4,500)
Chubb has amassed 38 touches in two games since Cleveland traded away Carlos Hyde, and he should find plenty of room to run versus a Kansas City Chiefs defense that’s allowed double-digit fantasy points to 13 (!!!) different running backs this season.
Defense: Chicago Bears ($4,100)
Here’s a simple formula for choosing a defense: Pick whatever unit is playing Nathan Peterman. The abominable Bills QB will be forced back into action Sunday against Chicago, so you know what to do.
Click for the top Week 9 waiver wire adds >>

Battle Between ‘Warriors’ Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers One To Be Appreciated

FOXBORO, Mass. — Sunday night will be a treat for everyone involved.
For just the second time in their careers, teams led by Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, will face off in a regular season contest Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
The Brady vs. Rodgers debate has become a trendy topic for hot take artists and morning debate shows. While the argument is sure to rage on in the sports universe, Mike McCarthy believes the two future Hall of Famers share a trait that has elevated them to their lofty status.
“Well I think it’s really about what they do at the quarterback position,” the Green Bay Packers head coach said Wednesday on a conference call. “Obviously, what they’ve done from an accomplishment standpoint stands for itself, but if you just break down how they play the position, just the ability to be totally involved in every aspect of the offense. You know, whether it’s the run, the protections and the pass, you know, that’s not normal. I know Aaron is as dialed into the run-blocking schemes as he is with the passing game concepts. And I think that when you’re on that level and their competitive nature is really probably the greatest characteristic of both those guys, they’re just warriors. It’s who they are as players. ”

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Back in 2014, Rodgers threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns as the Packers beat the Patriots 26-21 at Lambeau Field, while Brady tossed for 245 and two scores in the loss. With the two teams only meeting once every four seasons unless the football gods bless us with a Super Bowl showdown, McCarthy knows Sunday night’s battle at Gillette Stadium is one for fans, coaches and players to relish being apart of.
“I think you have to because I mean, how many times has it happened?” McCarthy said. “I think it’s stating the obvious in not really having the opportunity to reflect on that as far as the opportunity to see these two play on the same field. I think for the fans and for everybody alike if you’re going to love football this is the fantastic opportunity to see two great players line up and, as you’ve already stated they don’t compete against each other, but I think these games are always great for football.”
The Packers (3-3-1) have struggled away from Lambeau Field this season, and with two of their next three games after Sunday being on the road, McCarthy, Rodgers and the Packers will be behind the eightball if they can’t win the battle of the GOATs.