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Tom Brady Returns; Colin Kaepernick will be centered in Game 6

Was that a diss from Knicks' Carmelo Anthony to Nets' Jeremy Lin? Carolina Panthers Cam Newton still in concussion protocol

 

Check out video of Episode 79 of What's The 411Sports, where the panel of Keisha Wilson, Mike McDonald, and Sydney Wayman, are talking about:

The return of Tom Brady after serving an NFL four-game suspension for deflated footballs

MLB Playoffs - in particular, the Chicago Cubs; can the Chicago Cubs take it all?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will come under center in NFL Week 6, and a whole lot more in the video for What's The 411Sports Episode 79.

  • Published in Sports

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Commissioner Rob Manfred Sends Letter to MLB Fans

Major League Baseball is entering a new era. Former MLB Commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig has exited the stage and entering the spotlight is Rob Manfred. Today, the newly minted MLB Commissioner Manfred wrote a letter to Major League Baseball fans.

Here is Major League Baseball Commissioner Manfred in his own words:

Dear Fans:

On the night of August 14, 2014, I left a Baltimore hotel after being elected Commissioner of Baseball. As I began to reply to the overwhelming number of congratulatory messages coming in, it hit me that I'd just been entrusted to protect the integrity of our National Pastime and to set a course that allows this great game to continue to flourish -- now and in the years to come. Needless to say, I was deeply honored by the trust the owners placed in me.

Today is my first day as Commissioner, and I am incredibly excited to get to work. I am grateful to Commissioner Selig for his expertise and friendship. His leadership set a direction that led to historic success.

The mission before us is clear: To honor the game's history while welcoming new people to our great sport -- people who will one day pass their love of baseball down through the generations. That is what our parents and grandparents did for us, and it is what we are doing for our own children. Baseball is a game firmly rooted in childhood experiences, and its vitality and growth rely heavily on giving young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to play and watch baseball.

This notion that baseball is the game of children is central to my core goals as Commissioner. Maybe that is because my own Little League experience in upstate Rome, New York was such an important part of my childhood. I will never forget my intense dedication to that club and to my teammates -- each of whom I can still name to this day -- and being part of a perfect game.

My top priority is to bring more people into our game -- at all levels and from all communities. Specifically, I plan to make the game more accessible to those in underserved areas, especially in the urban areas where fields and infrastructure are harder to find. Giving more kids the opportunity to play will inspire a new generation to fall in love with baseball just as we did when we were kids. Expanding Little League, RBI and other youth baseball programs will also help sustain a steady and wide talent pool from which our clubs can draw great players and create lifelong fans.

As Commissioner, I will draw closer connections between youth baseball and MLB. I want to inspire children's interest in baseball and help parents and coaches foster that passion. In the coming years, MLB will work with college, high school, amateur and youth baseball programs to help grow our game and to ensure that the best players and talent have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I call it "One Baseball" -- a partnership between all professional and amateur groups involved in our game.
Our children can look at MLB today and find a wave of new stars worthy of emulating both on and off the field. Players like Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout and aces Madison Bumgarner,Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw have powerful stories to tell -- and MLB will tell them across every platform. We will continue to internationalize our game and to celebrate the fact that we have the most diverse rosters in the world. Our mission is to build upon this recent success by creating opportunities for the next wave of baseball talent. We also must continue to nurture inclusive environments for all the contributors to our game and our loyal fans.

Another priority for me is to continue to modernize the game without interfering with its history and traditions. Last season's expanded instant replay improved the game's quality and addressed concerns shared by fans and players. We made a dramatic change without altering the game's fundamentals. I look forward to tapping into the power of technology to consider additional advancements that will continue to heighten the excitement of the game, improve the pace of play and attract more young people to the game.
The Major League Clubs have bestowed an extraordinary opportunity upon me. My pledge is to work every single day to honor their faith in me and your love of this game.
Sincerely,

Robert D. Manfred, Jr.
Commissioner of Baseball

MLB pitchers and catchers start reporting to Spring 2015 training on February 19, woo-hoo!!!

  • Published in Baseball

Masahiro Tanaka Will Not Win 20 Games

Can Masahiro Tanaka Win 20 Games?

In this segment, What's The 411Sports hosts and reporters assess Masahiro Tanaka's abilities.

They tackle the question, can New York Yankees ace pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, win 20 games. Without blinking an eye, reporter Gregory Alcala answered the question with a resounding "NO".

What's Wrong with Japanese Pitchers?

To everyone's astonishment, Greg Alcala goes on to say that he doesn't like Japanese pitchers and gives his reasons based on statistics.

Do you agree with Greg?

Do you think there is still time for Tanaka to win 20 games?

Check out the video to listen in on the conversation about Tanaka here.

Major League Baseball Business and Employment Opportunities at 3rd Annual Diversity Business Summit

You are invited to the 3rd Annual Major League Baseball Diversity Business Summit, the premier sports employment conference and supplier diversity trade fair. The MLB Diversity Business Summit, co-hosted by the New York Yankees, will be held in New York City on Monday, April 14th and Tuesday, April 15th, which is Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball.

The meetings and networking sessions on Monday, April 14th and Tuesday, April 15th will be held at Manhattan Center, 311 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001.

Various elements of the third annual MLB Diversity Business Summit include a keynote speech by Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, league-wide networking, matchmaking sessions for entrepreneurs, interviews for job seekers, panel discussions, workshops and more. Additionally, the Yankees will host attendees at Yankee Stadium for the Welcome Reception on April 14th and the Jackie Robinson Day Interleague game between the Yankees and the Chicago Cubs on April 15th. As a part of Jackie Robinson Day ceremonies, the Yankees will honor Nelson Mandela with a dedication of a plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.

The MLB Diversity Business Summit uniquely and directly connects attendees with decision-makers for employment and business opportunities from all 30 MLB Clubs, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media, Minor League Baseball Clubs and MLB's Central Office in New York City.

MLB: Mets 2014 Season Outlook

The pain of what used to be has not left us. By us I mean New York natives. By pain I mean what could've been of the 2006 assembled New York Mets. I loved that team. As someone who bleeds orange and blue, you are aware of the success of the neighboring baseball club in the New York Yankees who reside only a borough away. We share the state with their fan-base, we can't escape their cockiness, confidence or spoiled golden spoon of a fan mentality. We are fully aware of the 27 world championships and 40 American League Pennants. We have been educated about their dominance and rich history, literally and literally.

That's why 2006 was supposed to be our year as Mets fans to reclaim the city and the hearts of all New Yorkers, because when the Yankees win, its expected and envisioned but when the Mets win, the entire state rises. That's what the Mets were capable of. That offseason featured a class of players who help the Mets ascend to the top of the National League East and eventually, one win away from a trip to the World Series. That class includes, Xavier Nady, Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, Billy Wagner, Julio Franco, and Kris Benson.

These off-season acquisitions were additions to a team that already featured a young and talented core of Jose Reyes and David Wright, the best left-side of the infield in the majors at that time. An All-Star center-fielder in Carlos Beltran was already in place. The Mets had an ace in Pedro Martinez, a Hall-Of-Famer in Tom Glavine and other complimentary starting pitchers in Steve Trachsel, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez and Oliver Perez. This team finished their regular season with a 97-65 record, winning the NL Eastern Division. It was safe to say that current GM at that time in Omar Minaya was definitely earning his salary. For the season and memories he provided due to his responsibilities as a GM for the New York Mets, he should have a statue.
In that post-season, the Mets easily eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers, sweeping the series, three games to none. In the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets fell one game shy of a World Series berth by one pitch that froze Beltran at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. The Mets haven't recovered since then. It's been six years since the Mets have qualified for the post-season and like the team, the fans have suffered enough.

It's 2014, and this offseason for the Mets, sings a different tune from those of recent years. Here's why: Current GM Sandy Alderson was brought in to be the successor of Minaya, following the 2010 MLB season. Since his entry into the New York Mets front office, Alderson has revamped and vastly improved the Mets farm system, acquiring Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants for Beltran and cash, Noah Syndergaard & Travis D'Arnaud from the Toronto Blue Jays for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. As far as drafting, Alderson has selected Matt Harvey in his initial first draft of 2010 and in years 2011, 12 and 13 has drafted Brandon Nimmo, Michael Fulmer, Gavin Cecchini, Kevin Plawecki and Dominic Smith, respectively. Acquiring these top prospects through deals and the drafts has been acknowledged by ESPN analyst and Prospect Expert, Keith Law who rates the Mets farm system 6th overall in the MLB. That's high praise. That means Alderson has been doing something right. It means Alderson's prospects aren't just showing up to play, they're making their presence felt in the Mets organization knocking on the doors of the big leagues to join the show.

That impact is Harvey taking the baseball world by storm in the 2013 MLB season displaying his dominance as the Mets ace, going 12-10, striking out 261 batters, all while posting a 2.39 era, which earned him his first All-Star selection. Its Wheeler, who was ranked 6th overall in MLB.com's top 100 prospects list and 4th in the Right-hander Pitchers list, being brought up to the major leagues during the 2013 MLB season exhibiting a pitching repertoire along with the results of a 7-5 record and 3.42 ERA, striking out 84 in a short stint, which has solidified his spot in the starting rotation for immediate future. It's Syndergaard, who was selected to represent the Mets in the 2013 All-Stars Futures Game at Citi Field, possessing a 95 mph four seam fastball, and 80 mph curveball also throwing a two seam fastball and a circle change-up. Its D'arnaud who in 2013 was ranked 6th in MLB's Top 100 prospects list only to have his ranking slip to 23 due to injury, take the helm as the Mets catcher now due to his bat, defensive capabilities and game-managing potential.

The Mets have prospects who are ready to contribute now to conclude the Mets dry spell in postseason play along with a 2013-14 offseason class in which the Mets made headlines for the first time in a long time. Former All-Star, Chris Young was signed to a one-year $7.25 million dollar contract on November 22, 2013 to help shore up the Mets outfield. On December 6, 2013, Curtis Granderson was lured away from the Yankees and the OF market agreeing to a four-year $60 million dollar contract signed December 6, 2013 with the Mets to bring power to a Mets lineup that has lacked that aspect of their offense. With Harvey expected to miss the duration of the 2014 MLB regular season, Bartolo Colon, fresh off an 18-6 season for the Oakland Athletics, posting a 2.65 ERA, has signed on to join the Mets cause as insurance in the starting rotation, confirmed December 11, 2013. With All-Star third basemen David Wright already in the fold along with solid rotation starters Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, starters who have yet to reach their full potential, the culmination of prospects, starters, and all-stars suggest the Mets should contend for a playoff spot this upcoming season. Nothing is easy when it comes to the Mets, which is exactly why making the playoffs isn't a sure definite.

Questions that have yet to be answered throughout this spring still linger. Who will command first base? Alderson has offered Ike Davis and his services to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles, all teams who have pressing first basemen needs due to his struggles at the plate while Lucas Duda faces a similar predicament despite both having moments this spring as they make their cases to man the right-side of the infield. Who will solidify themselves as the everyday shortstop? I have absolutely no faith in Ruben Tejada who posted .202 Avg through 57 games last season, which is why Wilmer Flores has been given ample time to prove himself defensively between 2nd and 3rd base as his bat is too pure to keep him from the lineup. Can the Mets hit enough to support their solid pitching staff? It's no secret that the Mets rotation will continue to improve but wins aren't being registered by pitchers due to the poor offensive production. Maybe the additions of Young and Granderson can alleviate the pressure on the pitching staff to toss zeroes every outing.

Can the Mets stay healthy? One of the reasons why the Mets have failed to qualify for postseason play is due to the fact that they cannot stay on the field. If the Mets can answer half of all of these questions, the Mets will rock Citi Field like Shea Stadium did in 06. I'm praying on it, and I believe. I believe in the Mets. When they win, life is just better. Maybe in the not too distant future, we can experience another 06 in this new decade.

 

MLB: New York Yankees 2014 Season Outlook

October 30, 2013 is long gone and will never be revisited in reality. It can be revisited as far as MLB History is concerned through all media outlets. That was the day the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 4 games to 2, to capture their eight world-series title in franchise history. If you're a Red Sox fan, you enjoyed it, you celebrated it and you relished it. Your team just won the World Series and that feat is something you probably savored, especially at the expense of the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox and the Yankees produce the greatest rivalry in sports all-together, and with the Red Sox winning the most recent championship, it's only fitting that the Yankees re-modified and improved their roster to make a championship run of their own. I mean it's what the Yankees do. They are no stranger to winning titles, they own 27 of them, the most in MLB history.

Thomas, Glavine, and Maddux Introduced to Media as New Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees

Frank Thomas should have warned the media to wear sunglasses. His sun blinding smile soaked up the Waldorf Astoria ballroom Thursday when he was introduced along with Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux as the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees. One year after the Baseball Writers of America did not vote any player into Cooperstown amid steroid allegations surrounding the eligible players, all three players were voted in on their first year on the ballot. It not only spoke to what they accomplished on the field but the way they carried themselves off of it.

Had Frank Thomas been more successful on the gridiron, he might not be in New York putting on his Hall of Fame jersey and hat. After his freshman year at Auburn, his college coach told him he was a good football player but could be a great baseball player. Thomas never looked back. At the conclusion of a stellar 19-year career, Thomas finished with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBIs and a .301 batting average. More remarkable for a guy his size (6'5 240lbs) is that he is the ONLY player in the history of the game with 7 straight years of 20+ homers, 100 RBIs, 100 walks and a .300 batting average. Think of all the great players who have a plaque in Cooperstown. Thomas stands alone in those categories. He's most pleased with his batting average against what's described as the "top tier" pitchers he faced.

"I hit the great ones. I think my career batting average is much better against the top tier pitchers."

Thomas clearly recalls facing the greatest closer the game has ever seen in New York Yankees Mariano Rivera.

Said Thomas laughingly, "I did great early and then not so great the next ten years. He made mistakes with me early and I took advantage of it. The next 10-year period, he never made a mistake."

Over his 19-year career, Thomas' mistakes were few and far between.

Teammates Glavin and Maddux Get The Nod in the Same Year

They were born just 20 days apart and when their major league careers were finished Tom Glavine (305) and Greg Maddux (355) combined for 660 victories. They pitched 28 years as members of the Atlanta Braves winning 436 games. Suffice it to say they were the best 1 and 2 pitchers in baseball from 1989 thru 2002. In 12 seasons, Glavine won more than 15 games 9 times. He won 20 games 5 times during that stretch. He signed as a free agent with the New York Mets in 2003 winning 52 games, including the magical #300 in 2007. Maddux began his career with the Chicago Cubs winning 18 games in 1988. It began a streak of at least 15 wins for the next 17 straight seasons, the longest streak by any pitcher in the history of the game. It is only fitting that they will accompany their manager Bobby Cox into the Hall as Cox was voted in last year by the Veterans Committee.

Said Glavine, "to have the opportunity to go in with Greg and Bobby, two guys that have been so instrumental and influential is even more special."

Maddux, who had an opportunity to sign with the Yankees as a free agent before signing with Atlanta, threw over 5,000 innings, striking out over 3,300 batters. The "Ferris Bueller" look a-like was a master of "painting" the corner of the plate with a variety of pitches that never topped over 90mph.

"It's a tremendous honor to be included in this," said the soft-spoken Maddux. "I can't wait to meet some of the guys that are already in the Hall of Fame. To share this moment with Glav and Frank is a very special moment as well. It's a tremendous honor."

The steroid cloud will hover over baseball for as long as the game is played. Deciding who should be voted in based on the speculation of what player may or may not have used illegal supplements will be that scab that simply will not go away.

Teammates Glavin and Maddux Get The Nod in the Same Year They were born just 20 days apart and when their major league careers were finished Tom Glavine (305) and Greg Maddux (355) combined for 660 victories. They pitched 28 years as members of the Atlanta Braves winning 436 games. Suffice it to say they were the best 1 and 2 pitchers in baseball from 1989 thru 2002. In 12 seasons, Glavine won more than 15 games 9 times. He won 20 games 5 times during that stretch. He signed as a free agent with the New York Mets in 2003 winning 52 games, including the magical #300 in 2007. Maddux began his career with the Chicago Cubs winning 18 games in 1988. It began a streak of at least 15 wins for the next 17 straight seasons, the longest streak by any pitcher in the history of the game. It is only fitting that they will accompany their manager Bobby Cox into the Hall as Cox was voted in last year by the Veterans Committee. Said Glavine, "to have the opportunity to go in with Greg and Bobby, two guys that have been so instrumental and influential is even more special." Maddux, who had an opportunity to sign with the Yankees as a free agent before signing with Atlanta, threw over 5,000 innings, striking out over 3,300 batters. The "Ferris Bueller" look a-like was a master of "painting" the corner of the plate with a variety of pitches that never topped over 90mph. "It's a tremendous honor to be included in this," said the soft-spoken Maddux. "I can't wait to meet some of the guys that are already in the Hall of Fame. To share this moment with Glav and Frank is a very special moment as well. It's a tremendous honor." The steroid cloud will hover over baseball for as long as the game is played. Deciding who should be voted in based on the speculation of what player may or may not have used illegal supplements will be that scab that simply will not go away. For one day however, three guys, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux had baseball fans and writers talking about all the good things they did on and off the field.

For one day however, three guys, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux had baseball fans and writers talking about all the good things they did on and off the field.

Video:Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees' Introduction Press Conference

 

  • Published in Baseball
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