NFL union chief reveals A-Rod’s influence on HGH testing

NFL union chief reveals A-Rod’s influence on HGH testing

By Bart Hubbuch

January 30, 2014 | 10:34pm

 

 

The lesson from Major League Baseball’s off-the-field pursuit of Alex Rodriguez is holding up an agreement to begin HGH testing in the NFL, the head of the players union said Thursday.

Speaking at the Super Bowl media center during his annual state-of-the-game address, NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith said a deal to start testing for human growth hormone is “98 percent done,” except for the league’s insistence on being the final arbiter in cases such as Rodriguez’s, in which the only evidence of guilt are allegations.

Smith said the NFL has agreed to let a neutral arbitrator ultimately decide all drug cases except for Rodriguez clones and cases in which a player was convicted of a drug offense but did not necessarily test positive for that drug as part of the league’s official testing program.

A neutral arbitrator ultimately decided baseball’s dispute with Rodriguez, and Smith held that up as the model the NFL should agree to follow in any similar case in football.

“Our players aren’t in favor of any of those carve-outs [where the league would have the final call],” Smith said.

Smith also warned the NFL against punishing players for the use of synthetic marijuana because that isn’t on the official list of banned substances.

“Our drug policy has strict and well-defined drugs that are banned,” Smith said. “If they are not on that list, they cannot serve as a basis for discipline. If the league wants to make modifications to that, the process is collective bargaining.”

Smith added that, with the states of Washington and Colorado making marijuana legal in recent months, the NFLPA has had preliminary talks with the league about making medical marijuana an exception or having pot removed from the banned list entirely.

Smith did indicate a thaw in the union’s testy negotiations with the league over the drug policy, changing his tune and calling the policy “the gold standard of professional sports.”

Smith also touched on other topics:

  •  On whether the NFLPA is open to allowing the NFL to expand the playoffs and reduce the preseason, as Commissioner Roger Goodell has discussed: “We have not seen a proposal from the league to expand the playoffs or make any changes in the preseason. If and when we do, we’ll have a position.”
  •  On the two main players in the Dolphins’ bullying controversy, Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, lobbing charges at each other in the media: “I don’t think that any good is being served when either side plays this publicly.”
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Nats announce 2014 bobblehead giveaways

Nats announce 2014 bobblehead giveaways

January 30, 2014, 10:15 pm

Last week the Nationals announced plans to give away Jayson Werth garden gnomes before a game in August. That bit of news went over very well with fans.

It turns out, however, that Werth will be just one of eight figurines the Nats will give out this season. Seven bobbleheads were announced on Thursday, including Bryce Harper who had one last year, and a few new ones as well.

This year Nats fans will be able to get Jordan Zimmermann, Denard Span, Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond bobbleheads. There will also be a promotion giving one out for the William Howard Taft racing president in August.

Check out the full list here:

4/27 – Jordan Zimmermann bobblehead

5/16 – Wilson Ramos bobblehead

6/30 – Bryce Harper bobblehead

7/20 – Denard Span bobblehead

8/5 – Jayson Werth garden gnome

8/17 – William Howard Taft racing president bobblehead

8/21 – Ian Desmond bobblehead

9/27 – Fan choice bobblehead

All eight giveaways will be for the first 25,000 fans who show up to Nationals Park on those dates

All you need to know: MLB news, rumors from Jan. 30

All you need to know: MLB news, rumors from Jan. 30

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

January 30, 2014 10:22 pm ET

Michael Young has decided to retire after a very good career.
Michael Young has decided to retire after a very good career. (USATSI)

 

 

MORE: FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

We just crept another day closer to pitchers and catchers reporting and there are still five players who declined qualifying offers (one-year, $14.1 million) sitting on the free agency market unsigned. But the day wasn’t without a few nuggets. Let’s round ’em up.

RETIREMENT

Michael Young: Just a day after another player with a very good career and ties to the state of Texas retired, Young made the same decision.

ANNOUNCER NEWS

We normally wouldn’t add this here, but these are two legends.

Vin Scully: The voice of the Dodgers usually doesn’t leave the West coast, but he’ll head all the way to Australia to broadcast the Dodgers opening series against the Diamondbacks this season. (latimes.com)

Bob Uecker: Following in the footsteps of Scully, legendary Brewers voice Uecker will now cut back on his travel schedule for the first time in his career while continuing to work home games. (MLB.com)

REPORTS, RUMORS AND SPECULATION

Blue Jays: According to a report from Toronto, All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler was set to be a Blue Jay, but he exercised his no-trade clause to nix the deal. As we know, Kinsler was later traded to the Tigers for Prince Fielder.

A.J. Burnett: The free agent starting pitcher is reportedly being pursued by the Rays and Orioles.

Nelson Cruz: The market for Cruz right now, in order, is the Mariners, Orioles and Rangers, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN. Bowden notes a return to the Rangers would be on a “smaller, ‘pillow’ deal.”

Mets: The club is still looking to add a reliever, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. Prospect Wilmer Flores is still an option at shortstop, though he hasn’t played the position since 2011, because general manager Sandy Alderson wants to see what kind of progress Flores makes in spring training (MLBlogs Network). Starting pitchers John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka both have an opt-out clause in their minor-league contracts that say each pitcher has the right to leave the club if not with the major-league Mets by June (ESPN New York).

Orioles: They continue to look for a starting pitcher. A Jason Hammel return is possible, but unlikely (baltimoresun.com).

Red Sox: Earlier this week, a minor stir was created when David Ortiz seemed a bit unhappy with his current contract situation, but Thursday Ortiz noted he and the Red Sox have cleared the air and that he only asked for a one-year extension.

Royals: They have brought back starter/reliever Bruce Chen on a one-year deal.

Today, the Yankees officially signed a light-hitting thirdbaseman from Oakland named “Scott.” Dare we think of the last time this happened?

 

 

“I felt unbelievable depression hit me.”

"I felt unbelievable depression hit me." –John, on his reaction to Jeter’s injury, Daily

Our Man in Libya

Our Man in Libya

JOHNAPALOOZA: The Master sings with Sammy


 

‘Seinfeld’ Reuniting? It Never Left in the First Place

‘Seinfeld’ Reuniting? It Never Left in the First Place

The ‘Seinfeld’ cast will reunite, but the ‘show about nothing’ hasn’t really gone anywhere

      By                            

January 30, 2014         

The cast of NBC's "Seinfeld" is shown in this undated handout photo. Pictured from left are Michael Richards as Kramer, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes and Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld.The cast of “Seinfeld” — Kramer (Michael Richards), George Costanza Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) — are expected to reunite for a secret confirmed by Seinfeld.

A “Seinfeld” reunion is real and it is (probably) spectacular.

During a guest spot on the “Boomer & Carton” radio show Thursday morning, star and co-creator Jerry Seinfeld addressed  speculation that a “Seinfeld” project was in the works – speculation fueled by comments he made in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” and a photo taken of him and “Seinfeld” co-star Jason Alexander walking into the show’s iconic Tom’s Restaurant.

images

Seinfeld didn’t say much, but he dismissed rumors that the project was for a Super Bowl commercial or an episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” He did confirm that something was filmed, that other “Seinfeld” characters were participating and that co-creator Larry David was involved but would not be on camera. He also said it was a “short-ish” form project and likely a “one-and-done” deal that would be coming “very, very soon.”

[READ: Oxfam, Scarlett Johansson Cut Ties Over SodaStream Partnership]

The cast of “Seinfeld,” which also includes Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, has reunited on screen previously for an episode of David’s show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that was crafted around a fake “Seinfeld” episode.

But there are many other ways that, in the 15 years since the show went off the air to an audience of 76.3 million, “Seinfeld” never truly left our consciousness. Here are just a few:

In syndication

Since its series finale in 1998, Seinfeld has found new life in syndication, where it plays on local stations that cover 90 percent of the country as well as on TBS, which plays 20 episodes a week that average 1 million viewers each. It often ranks among ad-supported cable’s top off-network sitcoms.

With its syndication deals renewed for a fifth time, the show’s earnings since going off the air eclipsed $3 billion in April, or $17 million per each of its 180 episodes.

The stars

For some cast members, “Seinfeld” has been the peak of their careers. Alexander (who played George Costanza) has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows since, but his own show, “Listen Up!,” ended after its first season. After playing Cosmo Kramer, Richards’ own post-“Seinfeld” show, “The Michael Richards Show,” never made it past the pilot stages, and the rest of his career has been tainted by his well-publicized racist outburst during a stand-up routine. Jerry Seinfeld continues to do stand-up and appears in TV and movies, but these days you’re more likely to see the Seinfeld name when it’s his wife freaking out about an Uber bill.

However, in a victory for petty and narcissistic women everywhere (or at least the brilliant comic actresses who play them), Louis-Dreyfus has seen her career blossom in the post-“Seinfeld” era, first with her five-season show “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” and now with her Emmy-winning role on “Veep.” Critics have noted that Louis-Dreyfus has been able to tap into her “Seinfeld” persona, Elaine Benes, to play the selfish and cunning Vice President Selina Meyer, who has been described as “a power-suited version of Elaine from ‘Seinfeld.'”

[ALSO: Is Bill Murray White? An Unscientific Census of ‘Saturday Night Live’]

Festivus

Few sitcoms can say they have invented a holiday, and fewer still have had those holidays take on a life of their own after the show’s finale. The celebration of Festivus, per the episode “The Strike,” was created by George’s father as a “Festivus for the rest of us” and includes an aluminum pole, the airing of grievances and the feats of strength.

“Seinfeld” fans now throw their own Festivus parties. Festivus  also has been embraced by the political community, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., raising money off of it and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.,  using it as an excuse to air his own grievances about recently passed legislation. There were also the Festivus poles erected in the state capitols in Wisconsin and Florida in order to make a point about religious freedom, drawing their own conservative backlash.

Michael Young retires after 14 seasons — he was an All-Star Game hero twice

Michael Young retires after 14 seasons — he was an All-Star Game hero twice

Mike Oz

By                                  6 hours ago                             Big League Stew

                                        

 

 

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(Getty Images)

Michael Young won’t be enshrined in Cooperstown one day, but he had an admirable career that will conclude with a nice round batting average of .300. In baseball, that means you were pretty good.

 

Young, 37, has decided to retire, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Young spent 13 seasons with the Texas Rangers before splitting the 2013 season with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Teams were still interested in Young, and Rosenthal reports a few deals were on the table. Young had said he was either going to re-join the Dodgers or retire. He opted for the latter, to spend more time with his family.

Young’s name is popular in the Rangers’ franchise record book. He’s the team’s all-time leader in hits, runs, double, triples and total bases. He was a seven-time All-Star, who won a batting title in 2005. He led the league in hits twice, as recently as 2011.

There’s also this: Young can forever brag about being a hero in the All-Star Game twice, and that’s definitely brag-worthy. In 2006, he was named the All-Star Game MVP after hitting a two-run triple in the ninth inning of the American League’s 3-2 win.

 

In 2008, he hit a game-winning sac fly in the 15th inning, ending the longest All-Star Game ever played. The AL won 4-3.