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New York Mets can’t buy a break

Just a couple of years, the two big-market franchises synonymous with dysfunction and owners in financial hardship were the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.

The Dodgers have come out of it swimmingly under new and bold ownership. The Mets and the same owner, and a little more money to play with, but they’ve still got a mountain to climb. And they aren’t getting the breaks, either.

The one piece to the puzzle that looked the brightest is pitcher Matt Harvey, and the news is awful there. He has a torn ligament in his elbow, and for a young pitcher, that almost always means one thing is on the horizon: Tommy John surgery. The Mets ace, who started in the All-Star Game for the National League at Citi Field last month, is almost certainly out for the year.

The diagnosis came as a shock to Harvey, 24, who was just feeling mild discomfort. He will try to avoid the surgery if possible, but the longer he waits, the longer he’ll be out if it’s determined he needs the surgery.  Yahoo’s Jeff Passan broke down which pitchers have tried the rehab approach and put off the surgery, but the list of people who needed it outweighs those who didn’t.

“Throwing a baseball’s kind of an unnatural movement as it is,” Harvey said Monday to the New York Times. “Anytime you pick up a baseball, you’re always at risk for anything. We realize that as pitchers.”

Going nowhere fast — with Harvey or without him — the Mets traded outfielder Marlon Byrd (.285, 21 HR) and catcher John Buck (.215, 15 HR) to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who look playoff-bound.

And, in a cruel twist of fate, the deal came on Marlon Byrd T-shirt night. No, you can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Source: About.com

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Should Boston Celtics Tank or Try to Win?

Source: About.com

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Monday Morning Manager: Kershaw showing his value

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in a spending mode, and why not these days? They’re running away with the NL West and seem to have a team that’s built for the postseason.

But even they have to admit that signing up Clayton Kershaw long-term is go…

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Japan repeats in Williamsport

The little leaguers from Chula Vista, Calif., looked dominant in winning the U.S. championship, but they ran into yet another fabulous team and lost in the title game to Japan on Sunday at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

B…

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Durant and Westbrook

Championship or Bust for Oklahoma City Thunder

Durant and WestbrookMany people, myself included, believe the Oklahoma City Thunder would have represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals last season if Russell Westbrook wouldn’t have suffered a torn meniscus. As it was, the Thunder failed to get past the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs.

Entering the 2013-14 season, Westbrook is believed to be healthy and the Thunder once again have championship aspirations.

Click here to read my detailed 2013-14 NBA preview for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Don’t get me wrong:  OKC is still a very young team. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are all under 25-years-old. However, all three of them should now have enough postseason experience to win a championship for Oklahoma City.

The Western Conference won’t be as easy for the Thunder to win as it was last season; Doc Rivers is now in charge of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dwight Howard will likely make the Houston Rockets a hard team for anyone to beat.  With that said, Durant and Westbrook still form the best duo in the NBA.

Do you believe this 2013-14 is a championship or bust season for the Thunder?

(Image source: Getty Images)

Source: About.com

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4,000 reasons to appreciate Ichiro

If Ichiro Suzuki had started his baseball career in the United States, we might all be talking about another record chase right now. And it would be one of the most renowned in sports.

The New York Yankees outfielder hit a milestone on Wednes…

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Cheering fan

Super Sleepers: Can One of These “Underdogs” Stun the Nation?

Remember the Jets and Miracle Mets of ’69? The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team? The Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson stunner?

Every sports fan loves a great upset, especially when it’s his team doing the upsetting.

The Super Bowl has had a few surp…

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Gold Glove awards joining 21st century

Every year, the Gold Gloves are announced and the eye-rolling begins.When Derek Jeter was the Gold Glove shortstop in 2010 — his range even at that point was in the lower half of the league — it was damaging to the reputation of the awards.

Jeter in 2010 led AL shortstops in fielding percentage, but that’s only part of the position, of course. Can you imagine evaluating hitters on batting average alone? We’d revere Hal Morris and Mark Grace over Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.

So how best to judge fielders objectively? Sabermatricians have done their best over the years, and Rawlings — the baseball equipment giant that gives out the award — has listened.

The company is partnering with the Society for American Baseball Research, and the SABR’s new Defensive Index will be used to help pick the winners. SABR designated a committee to come up with the index, which will account for 25 percent of the vote, along with the traditional methods of polling managers and coaches.

From the SABR announcement:

The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and Runs Effectively Defended built by SABR Defensive Committee member Chris Dial. The two metrics included in the SDI originating from play-by-play data are Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating.

This is long overdue, and a noteworthy attempt to get the awards winners right every year.

Source: About.com

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New Orleans Saints

NFC South: Saints Come Marching Back!

New Orleans Saints

The NFC South is one of the newer divisions in the NFL, but one of the most successful, evenly matched and certainly one of the most fun to watch.

Every team in the division has played in a conference championship and every one has played in a Super Bowl.

Since 2002, when the division was formed, every team has won the division at least twice, so it’s a very evenly matched division.

In terms of entertainment value, from a fan’s perspective, the NFC South has some of the most exciting and wide-open, pass-happy offenses to watch.

By the way, did you see where Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton said Tampa Bay secretly believes starting quarterback Josh Freeman can’t play, and that they are grooming rookie Mike Glennon to take over pronto?

“Josh Freeman has proven to me that he can’t play,” Tarkenton said in a radio interview with WDAE.

What do you think? Is Josh Freeman bogus? I mean, the guy did throw for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns last year.

And can the Saints, with newly returned coach Sean Payton, break Atlanta’s stranglehold on the division? Will they at least finish better than last year’s 7-9?

Here is what I think, based on training camp and preseason film, as well as extensive interviews with league sources.

- Getty Images

 

Source: About.com

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Mike D

It Pays to Lose: Los Angeles Lakers Preview for 2013-14

Since the Los Angeles Lakers remain one of the most popular sports franchises in America, I decided it was time to put together an in-depth preview of the team for the 2013-14 NBA season.

Writing the preview wasn’t as easy as I expected it …

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