Quadtrine Hill Set To Fight For Chapionship Saturday Night

UNDEFEATED Quadtrine Hill is fighting for the 2009 State of Florida Heavyweight Boxing Golden Gloves Championship THIS Saturday night at 7 pm. at Fort Lauderdale Airport Hilton Hotel 1870 Griffin Road Dania Beach, Florida .

The event is the National WOMEN"S Championships. He fights sometime between 7 and 8 pm and let's all go out and support!

Bookmark and Share

OchoCinco Loves Frank Gore

Chad Johnson Ochocinco tweeted on his twitter page that Frank Gore will rush for 1700 yards this season. Here is what Ocho had to say:

“Just finished training with Frank Gore at South Florida gym, can we say 1,700 hundred yards!!!! Niner fans get ready”

Bookmark and Share

Thrill list: NFL

These lists are not mere compilations of all-time bests in their respective sports but all-time bests at quickening the pulse and evoking a visceral response from those fortunate enough to have witnessed their artistry.

6. Devin Hester
He hasn't played long enough to be on such an august list, and he declined a bit in 2008 when he was force-fed the wideout position. But the Bears return ace is the one home-run hitter at the return position who scares special teams coaches into kicking away from him on every return.

Click here to see the rest of the rankings.

Bookmark and Share

Talented Olsen looks to build on productive 2008 season

In the fourth of nine position previews in advance of training camp, coach Rob Boras discusses the Bears tight ends.

What impressed you most about the season that Greg Olsen had last year?
It was just how he found his role in the offense and how he was able to build a rapport with Kyle [Orton]. We were able to create some mismatches and he took advantage of them.

It seems like Greg has already developed a rapport with Jay Cutler. What have you seen from those two?
Both Greg and Dez [Clark] have done a good job. It’s just a matter of getting the opportunity to run routes with Jay and making sure they’re getting on the same page. They’ve had a lot of reps together. It’s important that those guys understand and see things the same way, and so far they’ve been able to do that.

How valuable is Greg to the Bears offense in terms of his tremendous versatility?
Greg has a unique combination of size and speed, but he also has great football intelligence. It’s one thing to have those measurables, but not to be able to exploit them because you’re not able to handle the offense. He has the size, the speed and the intelligence for us to line him up anywhere in the offense, and hopefully within that we can create some mismatches and get him lined up against a safety or a linebacker and hopefully allow him to make some plays for us.

There’s been a lot written and said about how Greg is an ascending player with Pro Bowl potential. But Dez Clark is also a highly productive and important contributor. What type of role do you see him filling this year?
Desmond and Greg are both vital to the success of our offense. They’re good football players. They play consistent and they’re capable of making plays. There’s a lot mentioned about Greg, but Dez brings a consistency to us and a guy that you can rely on. He’s a pro, which I think is the ultimate compliment. His role like every player’s is going to be defined once we get through training camp and the preseason. It’s hard to define now, but I wouldn’t see his role varying a whole lot from what it’s been.

Is there a 1-2 punch in the NFL you’d rather work with than Dez and Greg?
I feel fortunate not only to have those two guys but the rest of the guys in the meeting room, too. They’re talented football players and I like the way that they prepare themselves mentally off the field as well. They’ve been everything that you could hope for to coach.

Bookmark and Share

Cora takes out frustration on Erin Andrews

The Mets haven't been winning and Alex Cora hasn't been hitting, but that is no reason for him to go after Erin Andrews this way.

ESPN's beauty was hit in the chin by a Cora foul line drive in the fourth inning of last night's Mets-Dodgers game. Andrews was taken to the hospital a few innings later and it turned out the ball only caused a bruise.

Bookmark and Share

Sleepers who may awaken in second half

Chris Perez appeared to move further away from a closer role when he was traded from the Cardinals to the Indians. He had been working in a setup role behind journeyman Ryan Franklin, but now he has Kerry Wood to contend with in the bullpen. But Wood has struggled (5.08 ERA, four blown saves). Also working in Perez's favor is that in 2008 Cleveland auditioned virtually all of its other ninth-inning options, without much success. Jensen Lewis entered 2009 as the No. 2 man behind Wood, but he's posted a 5.03 ERA. If Perez pitches well initially, he could quickly rise to the closer-in-waiting position, and waiting for a Wood injury is never a bad percentage play.

Bookmark and Share

Huff hurts more than his pride

SEATTLE – - After getting picked off at first base with men on first and third and one out in the Orioles' five-run ninth inning on Wednesday, first baseman Aubrey Huff would have liked nothing better than to jog of the field and disappear into the dugout, not drawing any more attention to himself than he already had.

Instead, Huff, who slipped and fell while in the rundown, was forced to limp off the field, flanked by Orioles head athletic trainer Richie Bancells. He was later diagnosed with a strained left groin, but he said that he didn't think it would keep him out for an extended period.

"I think my pride was more hurt than my groin," said Huff who went 1-for-5 in the Orioles' 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners. "I did the whole splits, and it just kind of grabbed me real quick. It's kind of sore, but everything is cool."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said that Huff will be re-evaluated today, an off-day, and it's too early to tell if he'll miss any time.

"He won't be able to say one way or the other if it's minor, major or if he'll be out," Trembley said. "He wanted to go out there [for the bottom of the ninth], but Richie said it probably wasn't good to do that."

Bookmark and Share


METAIRIE - Gaby Sanchez provided the fireworks for the Zephyrs with a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the tenth inning to lift New Orleans past the Omaha Royals 4-3 Thursday night.

The drama began in the tenth inning when Manny Mayorson led off with an infield single off Omaha pitcher Victor Marte. John Raynor advanced him to second base with a sacrifice bunt, then Gookie Dawkins walked and Cameron Maybin singled to center before Sanchez came through with the game-winning hit.

Sanchez was 3-for-4 with two RBI on the night to lead the way for the Zephyrs, who have now won three in a row. Jai Miller and John Lindsey each added a double and a run scored for the Z's.

Jay Buente (2-0) got the victory by pitching a perfect tenth inning. Hayden Penn started and pitched well for four innings before allowing three runs in the fifth. Three Zephyr relievers, including Buente, combined to throw five scoreless innings to secure the win.

Omaha starter Heath Phillips allowed just two unearned runs over six innings. He also doubled, in the first at-bat for an Omaha pitcher in nine years. The starting catcher, John Suomi, left the game with an injury, and designated hitter J.R. House stepped behind the plate with Phillips taking the seventh spot in the batting order.

The two teams will meet again Friday night with Clay Hensley (RHP) taking on Kyle Davies (RHP) with the first pitch scheduled for 7 pm.

Bookmark and Share

Leggett Fighting For a Spot on Practice Squad

Last year, Lance Leggett did a pretty good job in training camp and during the preseason. He didn’t have mental lapses, didn’t run the wrong routes, or anything else that would warrant a negative review.

The problem that will probably develop with Leggett is the inability to get over the playing time hump, much like what happened to Steve Sanders in the past (before he played briefly last season). Does Leggett possess skills or flash potential superior to Braylon Edwards, Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi, Mike Furrey, and David Patten? While Hubbard may be raw, can Leggett overcome the fact that the coaches are intrigued by his big-play potential? Can Leggett, who was Romeo’s UDFA, outshine Norwood, who is Mangini’s UDFA and has already been making a lot of noise?

I think Leggett is more polished than the five receivers listed in today’s Part II and I like what he has to offer, but I don’t expect him to be given as much “respect” as the other players trying out. If it was my practice squad, you’d probably see Leggett and Norwood on it.

Final Roster Odds: >2%
Practice Squad Odds: 50%

Bookmark and Share

Kenny Phillips Giants' Top Prospect

When you draft a safety from the University of Miami, it’s understood that you’re receiving a tremendous athlete who has the ability to become an elite defender in the National Football League. Just like the late great Sean Taylor and the best defender in the game today, the Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed, Kenny Phillips comes from the school otherwise known as the “U” and is about to break out from the shadows and create his own legend on the gridiron

In his first-year in the league, Phillips, the No. 1 prospect in the Giants organization, began the season as a situational defender and special team’s player. He played in all 16 games, starting three, and made his first career start against Philadelphia when James Butler went down with an injury, giving the New York fan base a taste of what they can expect for years to come. Phillips finished the season with 67 tackles and an interception. This offseason, Phillips showed up at OTA’s 16 pounds heavier; Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin insisted that, “It’s all muscle.” The extra weight shouldn’t hurt Phillips’ agility and speed, but it will allow him to play physical and with more confidence. After a year of learning, Phillips is ready to take the next step and solidify himself as the next great safety from Miami.

Bookmark and Share

Confident Hester making strides at receiver position

In the third of nine position previews in advance of training camp, coach Darryl Drake discusses the Bears wide receivers.

How did Devin Hester perform in OTAs and how pleased are you with his development this offseason?
He performed just like I thought he would. He continues to make strides. He’s playing with so much more confidence in everything he’s doing. We’re playing him at every spot. We’re moving him around; he’s doing a lot of different things. The biggest thing you see is the plays that he makes. He and Jay [Cutler] have gotten on the same page with a lot of things. I’m really pleased with his development. Hopefully it will continue and we’ll see what we hope we’re going to see.

What are your expectations in terms of the type of player Devin can become this year?
I think he can be the best, and my expectations are just that. His expectations are just that. We’re not trying to sell ourselves short. We’re trying to reach for the stars. He’s got that kind of ability and that kind of mindset, so we’re going to go for it. We’ve got some goals we want to attain and he’s got some goals he wants to attain, so we’ll see what happens.

What are Devin’s strengths as a receiver and what does he need to work on in training camp?
His strengths are his quickness, his ability to get in and out of cuts, and his hands. The thing that we need to continue to improve on is reading coverages; understanding what’s happening to you because things change after the snap. Learning to react and adjust consistently takes a period of time. It takes time for guys to totally understand the inner-workings of secondary play and how the secondary rotates and what the defense is going to be in just by looking at a linebacker’s alignment. That just comes from continuing to play and it takes guys years before they’re able to understand that.

Bookmark and Share

Bucs' Winslow helps Eagles soar

BEALSVILLE - A severe setback for the Plant City Eagles youth football league led to a helping hand from a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, who invited the team to join his weekend football camp.

The setback occurred earlier this year when someone stole football uniforms, other equipment and food from the team's 1,500-square-foot combination concession stand/storage building at its Bealsville home field east of Plant City.

"Back in March, our concession stand got hit pretty bad," said William Thomas Jr., a volunteer who handles the Eagles public relations. "It totaled about $10,000," he said of the loss and damages.

"They came in with a truck and backed it up to the concession stand," he said. "You could see the tracks where they pulled up there and took their time" loading everything from jerseys, helmets and other football gear to frozen foods, other concession items, plus electronics.

Word of the unfortunate loss reached one of the team sponsors, Bright House Networks, which operates Bay News 9, and the cable station did a story on the theft.

"Our information got to the Buccaneers, and we got a call from One Buc Place," Thomas said. "The next thing we know we had scholarships for the kids to attend football camp compliments of Kellen Winslow," Thomas said.
The Bucs' newly acquired tight end, Kellen Winslow Jr., put on the three-day camp for about 200 youngsters, ages 8 through 18, including about 30 from Plant City.

The June 19 to 21 camp focused on fundamental football skills, including hands-on instruction from Winslow, assisted by Bucs teammates, coaches from top local high schools and area colleges.

Tomlin Middle School student Quay Young was among the Plant City players excited about the opportunity to polish football skills at the camp One Buc Place, the Buccaneers training headquarters.

"My mama asked me if I wanted to come today, and I jumped out of bed and I said yes," the 12-year-old said. Over lunch with teammates, the young running back expressed his dream of someday playing in the NFL, preferably with the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Buccaneers.

Kemmy Burton, 9, an Eagles running back and wide receiver for two years, shares similar dreams. "I just want to be a professional player," he said. He'd love to play for the Indianapolis Colts, "Because Peyton Manning is my favorite player, and they have a good record."

Like his teammates, Kemmy was enduring opening-day drills and workouts during the especially humid weather and looking forward to the tournament game that wrapped up the camp, held from midmorning to 3:30 p.m. each day.

"You should give back to your community," Winslow said during a midday break. As a child, Winslow said, he attended similar football camps such as the one he offers. Other scholarships to the camp were awarded through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay.

Winslow, acquired from the Cleveland Browns on Feb. 27, signed a Bucs contract in April that will pay him $36.1 million over six years. He is considered as one of the NFL's top tight ends.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are struggling to replace the stolen gear. "We have some uniforms, and we're conducting fundraising," including chicken dinners, to replace more, Thomas said. "There's an effort under way in the community to help us recoup some of our losses," and some local nonprofit groups made donations, he said.
Enrollment in the Plant City youth football league was 249 last season, 320 counting the cheerleading program, he said.

Lighting and security at the home field at the Bealsville Recreation Center, 5009 Nesmith Road, have been improved since the theft, Thomas said. Though authorities obtained some fingerprints at the scene, there have been no arrests, he said.

"We had that concession stand up and running to where we figured another year and we'd be self-sufficient," but the theft "set us back about two or three years," Thomas said. "We're definitely hurting."

To contact the team or make a tax-deductible donation, call (813) 737-1352 or go to www.plantcityeagles.com.

Bookmark and Share

Huff strains groin in Wednesday's win

SEATTLE -- Baltimore first baseman Aubrey Huff strained his left groin while caught between first and second base in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Mariners and left the game.

Manager Dave Trembley said afterwards that the club's head athletic trainer, Richie Bancells, wouldn't have any immediate "determination of the extent or severity" of the injury until Thursday.

"He won't be able to say one way or the other if it's minor, major or if he'll be out," Trembley said. "[Huff] wanted to go out there [for the bottom of the inning], but Richie said it probably wasn't good to do that."

Huff, meanwhile, said he didn't think it was a big deal and certainly not worthy of the 15-day disabled list.

"No, I don't think so," said Huff, who has previously strained his right groin. "It just crept up on me. I did the whole splits, and it just kind of grabbed me real quick. It's kind of sore, but everything is cool. I think my pride was more hurt than my groin."

If Huff's injury is determined to be DL-worthy, the Orioles would not have to trade or designate for assignment and possibly lose either outfielder Felix Pie or utility man Oscar Salazar right away.

With shortstop Cesar Izturis on schedule to return to the team Friday, the Orioles were facing a tough decision to clear roster space for Izturis, with Pie and Salazar both being out of Minor League options and seeming to be the only players the Orioles could afford to lose off the active roster.

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said Tuesday that Pie and Salazar had generated interest from other clubs, and he indicated that neither would make it through waivers without being claimed by another team.

Bookmark and Share

Eric Winston's Texans 2009 season preview

Texans offensive lineman Eric Winston talks about 2009 season and his fellow teammate and proCane Andre Johnson.

Bookmark and Share

Chris Zellner Now a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Chris Zellner was named the strength and conditioning coach for the Wayland Warriors in Massachusetts. Zellner who graduated from the University of Miami this past spring where he was a four-year player for the Hurricanes he had 14 catches and a touchdown in 2008 for the 'Canes.

``The kids love him. He's been a great addition,'' said Head Coach Scott Parseghian.

This week 15 of the Warriors are participating in the football camp at Bentley University. On weeknights at Wayland High School, Zeller is working with athletes both in the weight room and on conditioning.

Zellner had a tryout after the draft with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but seems to have found a home as a High School coach. Congratulations to Chris.

Bookmark and Share

Kenard Lang, Head Coach at Jones High School

Just a little update on Kenard Lang for everyone. He is the Head Coach at Jones High School in Orlando and has been since January of 2008. After a great career in the NFL, Lang is gaining experience as a High School coach and who knows, we may see him at the U or in the NFL after he gains a little more experience.

Bookmark and Share

Stallworth partied with DJ Williams before crash

According to police documents and taped statements, Stallworth fell asleep about 10:30 p.m. the night before the accident. He woke up about 1:18 a.m., text messaged pals and went to the Liv club at the Fontainebleau resort.

There, he partied with fellow Browns receiver Braylon Edwards and Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams, a former University of Miami player.

He got to the nightclub after 2 a.m. He bought a $375 bottle of Patrón for Edwards, ordered five shots at $18 each, water and a Red Bull for himself and some women before closing his tab.

Club staff said he ''conducted himself in his usual low key and friendly manner,'' documents said. One security guard said Stallworth ''appeared coherent'' as he left before 5 a.m.

Stallworth, 28, told police he went home to Miami, tried without luck to sleep and decided to drive to South Beach for breakfast on Ocean Drive. He did not feel drunk, he told Millan.

Bookmark and Share

Lawyer fires back at Michael Irvin

Mark Taylor, the Dallas attorney who is representing three plaintiffs who filed suit against Michael Irvin claiming Irvin stole their idea for a reality show, has shot down claims made by Irvin in a countersuit by saying Irvin’s allegations are “nothing but unsubstantiated, generalized claims.”

Irvin in a response filed late last week denied that any contract existed between him and the plaintiffs in relation to the reality show and also filed a counterclaim in the case.

About a month ago, the original plaintiffs, Jordan Bealmear of Thermal, Calif., and Shannon Clark and Christopher Harding, both of Louisville, Ky., alleged Irvin’s reality show “Fourth and Long” was their idea, but one that had been intercepted by Irvin during negotiations to work together on the program.

Irvin’s court filing accused the plaintiffs of fraudulently representing themselves as producers who had the appropriate connections and know-how to put such a show together. Irvin also accused the group of defaming him when he decided not to pursue further communications with them.

The plaintiffs' attorney Taylor added late Monday: “In his counterclaims, Mr. Irvin claims to have been defamed, but he doesn’t describe the actual defamatory statement my clients are alleged to have made. Mr. Irvin claims that my clients tortiously interfered with his business relationships, but he doesn’t identify the relationship that was damaged or how my clients damaged it. Mr. Irvin claims my clients have committed an act of civil extortion, but he doesn’t specify what that act was.”

Bookmark and Share

Dolphins' Carey, others help youth football leagues

The Florida Youth Athletic Association has garnered support from heavy-hitters -- Wal-Mart, Pepsi-Cola, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital and Miami Dolphins' offensive tackle Vernon Carey, a former University of Miami standout -- to host several events that help fund and build corporate awareness for youth athletic leagues throughout Florida.

• FLYAA will tee off the festivities on Friday, July 17 with a golf tournament at Orangebrook Country Club in Hollywood. Carey is hosting the tournament which will raise funds to support youth parks throughout Florida. Tee-off is 11 a.m. and will convene with a media roundtable for community sports writers. The event is sponsored by the Hollywood Police Department.

• FLYAA and Joe DiMaggio's Children Hospital will host the third Making Our Fields Safe Injury Prevention Training program on July 25 in Hollywood. Youth coaches will learn injury prevention techniques and other physical rehabilitation techniques to prevent youth injuries. At the conclusion, each coach will receive certificates for participation in each training component. This event is open to all football and cheerleading coaches affiliated with FLYAA.

• FLYAA is a non-profit charitable foundation, comprised of many individual youth athletic leagues whose goal is to assist in funding youth sports organizations. FLYAA sponsors more than 42,000 youth athletes, age 4-15, in Florida.

FLYAA anticipates reaching more than 100,000 youth in the next three years by including participation in the following youth organized sports: baseball, lacrosse and roller hockey and coed sports such as basketball, soccer and softball.

Visit flyaa.org.

Bookmark and Share

Burrell breaks out of slump with game-winning HR in 11th

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Struggling slugger Pat Burrell picked an ideal time to pull out of a horrendous slump, hitting a two-run homer in the 11th inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

The AL champions stopped a four-game losing streak that included three losses to rookie pitchers, but hardly pulled out of an offensive funk -- managing just two hits in six innings against Marc Rzepczynski in the 23-year-old lefty's major league debut.

The Rays finished with four hits overall, two after the fourth inning, when Rzepczynski walked three, including Gabe Kapler with the bases loaded, to fall behind 1-0.

Scott Rolen tied it in the eighth with a run-scoring single that extended his career-best hitting streak to 24 games.

Burrell, mired in a 4-for-34 slump, hit his fourth homer of the season connecting off Brandon League (1-4). Dan Wheeler (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings to get the win for the Rays, who were outscored 25-7 during their four-game skid.


Brewers' Braun, Melvin clear the air

MILWAUKEE -- Hours before the start of a key homestand, Brewers All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun and general manager Doug Melvin met for a tete-a-tete in a quiet dugout at Miller Park. They cleared the air after what amounted to a two-day spat in the media.

Then it was back to baseball.

"Doug and I are cool," Braun said.

"We're moving forward," Melvin said.

The surprising rift between Melvin, the popular GM who inherited a 106-loss team in late 2002 and built a contender that made it to the postseason in 2008, and Braun, the young superstar who will start his second All-Star Game next week, formed on Sunday, when Braun called on Melvin to bolster the Brewers' starting rotation. Melvin shot back Monday, calling Braun's comments "inappropriate" and "irresponsible."

Melvin even suggested that, "I'll be glad to have Ryan help if he wants to. I'll give him a badge and he can be my deputy."

On Tuesday, Deputy Braun faced reporters in the same dugout where he and Melvin met hours earlier. He delivered an unprepared statement that he said, "came from the heart."

"Doug and I met this afternoon as soon as I got to the ballpark," Braun said. "We had a good discussion. I think both of us now have a clear understanding of where each other is coming from, and it's derived from being competitive. Everybody wants to win. It's not going to jeopardize my relationship with him and it's not going to jeopardize my relationship with the organization. I know they are trying their best to do their jobs. They always have, and always will. This is basically a misunderstanding.

"I feel like my comments were kind of taken out of context a little bit, blown out of proportion. I was a little bit surprised that it became the story that it has. With that being said, I take full responsibility for everything that I say, for all of my actions. At times I'm emotional, I'm passionate, and it's derived from wanting to win. I definitely take full responsibility for everything.

"That being said, Doug and I are cool. Everything is good. I have no issues with anybody. I apologize if I offended anybody in the organization. That clearly wasn't my intent. I wasn't trying to disrespect anybody. I wasn't trying to call anybody out. It wasn't a conversation that I initiated; I was basically responding to a question. I try, when I'm dealing with the media, to be honest, and sometimes I'm honest to a fault. It gets me in trouble, and I recognize that. It's a strength and a weakness that I need to be more aware of at times.

"Moving forward, hopefully this is something I'll learn from. It's definitely something I'll learn from. We'll move on."
Reached by telephone, Melvin had the same sentiment.

"We cleared the air," Melvin said. "I told him that neither one of us needed to apologize to the other. We just talked. Now we're moving forward. We're OK. It was important that we get together."

Braun made his original comments after the Brewers lost for the fourth time in five games on Sunday, including three losses in four games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Right-hander Mike Burns, one of two new additions to a starting rotation missing Manny Parra (demoted to Triple-A) and Dave Bush (injured), surrendered seven runs without escaping the fifth inning in Sunday's 8-2 loss.

The other new starter, Seth McClung, surrendered seven runs in 3 1/3 innings of the series opener and has since been moved back to the bullpen.

"We need to find a way to throw the ball a little better to have success," Braun said Sunday. "When you're constantly behind in games, it's not easy. It's not fun. [The Cubs'] starting pitching was clearly a lot better than ours this series. ... We're at the point right now where it would be important for us to go out there and acquire somebody."
McClung was asked for his response on Tuesday.

"It wasn't the smartest thing to stay, but I'm sure it came from a decent place," McClung said. "He just wants us to do well. I don't think that pointing fingers is ever a good thing, but I think it's going to blow over. We've never had an incident before, at least while I've been here, and I feel like we're a tough enough team as far as everybody liking each other that this will blow over. We have tough skin."

Brewers pitching coach Bill Castro said he had not been approached by any pitchers who were upset by Braun's comments. Still, Castro wasn't thrilled.

"We all have a job to do," he said. "Leave it at that."

Could it divide the pitchers and the hitters?

"I hope not," Castro said. "I hope he said what he needed to say, whatever he was trying to say or bring out."
Brewers manager Ken Macha knew something was up when he received a call from Melvin on Sunday night, after the Brewers returned from Chicago. With an off-day on Monday, it was "very uncharacteristic," Macha said, for the GM to call.

"Doug can stand on his record," Macha said. "He's pretty good at what he does. Last year, he wound up getting a pretty good pitcher for this ballclub."

That was CC Sabathia, acquired in a blockbuster deal with the Indians that cost the Brewers their top prospect -- Matt LaPorta -- plus talented center field prospect Michael Brantley and two pitchers.

"I'm glad they got together and they're on the same page," Macha said of the meeting between player and GM. "We have to focus on winning games, and to do that, everybody has to be pulling the rope in the same direction."

Melvin and Braun will be pulling for some time. Melvin signed a three-year contract extension through 2012 last fall, less than six months after he inked Braun to a new, eight-year deal through 2015.

Bookmark and Share

Pat Burrell's wife opens Tampa Cycling Studio

Tampa, FL- Champagne, memorabilia, and bikes set the stage as guests celebrated the debut of Tampa's Soho Cycling Studio. Why is Rays DH Pat Burrell mingling in the opening night crowd? You could say, he's a little attached to the owner who happens to be his wife, Michelle.

"I think the place is great," says Pat. "I think it's in a great location. She's done a phenomenal job preparing and getting this place ready."

"It's something new and exciting that's not common to the area, " says Michelle. "I've been working out a long time. I love it. I was in the service for a few years so that kept me in shape."

That's right, she's an ex-Marine, a five year veteran for a matter of fact. And, now, she wants to keep you in shape. With two thousand square feet, 30 bikes & 100 inch flat screens - for virtual riding and music videos, Soho Cycling offers 50 minute sessions followed by an intense ab workout. Her hubby's not the only major leaguer impressed.

"I know if you do 10 minutes on it, you got a good sweat going," says Burrell's teammate Evan Longoria, who stopped by to celebrate the Soho Cycling's opening. "So, if you do 50 minute classes, you'll be pretty much out of gas."

Just don't expect Pat to be taking a spin. There's a pretty good reason.

"He's not really into spinning. He's kind of big for a bike," explains Michelle. "6-5, 240 pounds is a little hard on the knees sometimes."

Pat's just fine with hanging in the background.

"You know she's probably watched me play 1,000 times," says Pat. "For her to have something like this going on, all the energy she put into it, I'm just happy to be here to support her. "

Soho Cycling Studio is located at 2017 West Kennedy Blvd (the corner of Albany & Kennedy). The studio offers classes seven days a week.

Monday's opening was also a benefit for The Spring of Tampa Bay. Soho Cycling Center presented a check for $2500 to the charity which has provided sanctuary and service to more than 30,000 abused adults and children since 1977. Its Domestic Violence Hotline is 813-247-7233.

For more information about Soho Cycling Studio. You can call 813-944-3044.

Bookmark and Share

Bills Still Open To Trade for Roscoe

Word we're getting is that Bills WR and punt returner extraordinaire Roscoe Parrish wanted to be traded more than the club wanted to grant his wish. Parrish's already mild offensive contributions are expected to be reduced further, but the club is hesitant to part ways with such a dynamic special-teams performer without appropriate compensation. If an attractive opportunity does present itself before the midseason trading deadline, the Bills are still open to pulling the trigger.

Bookmark and Share

Meet the rookies: Adkins happy to represent 'The U'

For 14 consecutive years the University of Miami had at least one player drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, but that streak came to an end this year. In fact, the only member of the 2008 Hurricanes to get drafted was Spencer Adkins, who was selected in the sixth round by the Atlanta Falcons. Recently the linebacker sat down with Times sports reporter Jonathan Zopf to talk about life at "The U," why he chose to be a sociology major, and how the heat of Atlanta differs from Miami.

Question: What was it like playing at The U?
Answer: It was fun. I mean, it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to — I thought I was going to come out with a couple of rings, but at the same time it was a beautiful experience.

Q: So many people, when they make it to the NFL, make a big deal about it being a brotherhood there. What is it about the school, and what does that mean to you?
A: They really walk and talk that. Every year in the offseason they come back and teach the young dudes what they know from playing in the NFL. They come out with us, have a good time, so it is a brotherhood.

Q: Miami has a rich tradition and for 14 years it had a first round pick in the NFL draft. You were the only one from that school picked this year. How did that make you feel?
A: It was kind of bittersweet. I was fortunate enough to go, but at the same time that’s not the standard for what we do every year.

Q: Were you surprised that you were the only one drafted?
A: A little. I definitely thought my boy Bruce (Johnson) would go.

Q: You were a sociology major in college, why did you chose that?
A: I just like knowing people. Knowing people’s habits was an interesting topic for me.

Q: You chose Miami over Georgia, how does it feel to be playing here now professionally?
A: It feels good. I like the weather. It’s hot, but it’s not the same type of hot that I had in Miami.

Q: Compare the heat. Which is worse?
A: Oh, Miami definitely. It’s just hot. It feels hotter.

Q: But there’s no South Beach here.
A: That’s OK.

Q: You don’t miss that at all?
A: I miss it a little bit, but I can always go back and visit so that’s not a big thing.

Q: You were a top prospect coming out of high school, but you didn’t really get much playing time until your junior season (last year), how did you deal with that?
A: I just kept my head in the game. There were a lot of players in front of me. Every dude that was in front of me is in the NFL right now, so it’s not like it was a lack of talent. At Miami, sometimes you just have to wait a little bit. When it was my time to play, I showed up.

Q: Speaking of time to play, I understand you didn’t play football until high school...
A: Well, I always played sandlot, but I never played organized football. I was always a little too big to play in the pee wee leagues, so when I got to high school it was kind of natural for me.

Q: Did you know when you got to high school that’s what you were going to do?
A: Yeah, I played three sports. I also ran track and played basketball, and basketball was my first sport. But I started growing wider instead of higher so ... I kind of look more like a football player, so that’s the way I went.

Q: You miss playing basketball?
A: I still play a couple pick-up games here and there, but my skills have kind of fallen away a little bit. I’m gonna have to rekindle them.

Q: How have you adjusted to life in the NFL?
A: Aw man, it kind of really hasn’t hit me yet. They take care of me because we’re rookies, you know what I’m saying? They kind of ease us in really gently, so it hasn’t hit me yet. I’m sure it will soon enough.

Q: Any rookie hazing going on?
A: Nah, the vets are cool out here. Maybe carry a helmet here or there, but that’s about it.

Bookmark and Share

2009 Old Spice Devin Hester Football Camp

Join Chicago Bears wide receiver and two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler Devin Hester for football fundamentals and fun at the 2009 Old Spice Devin Hester Football Camp.

presented by Fifth Third Bank

Open to Boys and Girls ages 7 to 14

Dates:    July 11 - 12, 2009
Location:    Niles West High School - Skokie, IL
Time:    9:00a.m. - 1:00p.m.
Cost:    $199 ($6 online and credit card convenience fee not included)

Refund Policy: A full refund less $35 handling fee will be available until two weeks prior to camp

Each Camper Receives: *Camp T-Shirt *Camp Team Photo *8 Hours of Expert Instruction *Opportunity to Win Contests and Prizes *A Fun and Educational Experience Guaranteed!

Stations and Fundamentals Each day, the campers will experience various stations, specializing in fundamental skills and the team concept of football. Individual groups will be small to assure that each camper gets maximum instruction from the top coaches in the Chicago area.

Games and Competition Daily games will be a staple in the Devin Hester Football Camp. Each camper will be placed on a team according to his or her age. He or she will play a minimum of one game each day in addition to participating in various camp competitions.

Camp Store Snacks, drinks and assorted camp items will be available for purchase.

Camp Bank For the convenience and safety of the campers, a camp bank is available in conjunction with the camp store. Each camper may deposit any amount of money in the bank at check-in and will be credited that amount for the week. Bank balances will be distributed to campers at check out. Campers are not encouraged to carry money with them at the camp.

Inclement Weather Policy: *In the event of heavy rain or inclement weather, the camp will be moved to a nearby indoor facility. Camp instruction and other related activities will continue inside the facility. Parents will be notified of the indoor location in the Camp Bulletin that they receive at check-in on the first day of camp. *Alternate days/make-up sessions/refunds will not be offered. The decision to modify the schedule rests solely with the camp director and management.

Bookmark and Share

Michael Irvin says accusers defamed him

Former Dallas Cowboys football player Michael Irvin has denied all allegations in a lawsuit filed by three people who claim he stole their idea for a reality TV show about unknowns trying out for a professional football team.

Irvin denies that any contract existed between him and the plaintiffs and also filed a counterclaim in the case.

Irvin accuses the plaintiffs of defamation and slander, civil extortion and duress, tortious interference with current and prospective business relations and civil conspiracy, among other causes of action.

About a month ago, the original plaintiffs Jordan Bealmear of Thermal, Calif., and Shannon Clark and Christopher Harding, both of Louisville, Ky., alleged Michael Irvin’s reality show “Fourth and Long” was their idea, but one that had been intercepted by Irvin during negotiations to work together on the program.

The plaintiffs in Irvin’s response also are referred to as The Bealmear Group. Irvin’s court filing accuses The Bealmear Group of fraudulently representing themselves as producers who had the appropriate connections and know-how to put such a show together. Irvin also accuses the group of defaming him when he decided not to pursue further communications with them.

The plaintiffs, in a lawsuit filed in Dallas County earlier this year, accused Irvin of fraud, fraud by nondisclosure, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

However, in a response to the suit filed late last week, Irvin says he had the idea to produce an "American Idol”-type reality show about football try-outs years before he met the plaintiffs. The counterclaim filed by Irvin also contends that Irvin told his attorney about the idea before meeting any of the plaintiffs.

In Irvin’s response, he alleges that a friend of his, Bonnie-Jill Laflin, knew of Irvin’s interest in producing such a show and connected him with one of the defendants Shannon Clark who also had mentioned creating a show with a similar concept.

Irvin says without the friendship with Laflin, the plaintiffs never would have been able to secure a meeting with him. In addition, Irvin said he told Laflin he would meet with the group, but already had the idea for the program and did not make a commitment to them at any time. His filing also states that the meeting wasn't exclusive and that Irvin had meetings with others, including former Cowboys Coach Barry Switzer, about doing a TV show.

Irvin also said he learned the group “had nothing to offer” and the show discussed was not based on proprietary information, but rather on a common business plan that many in the entertainment industry were pursuing after the success of American Idol-type reality shows, according to court documents

“After being rejected for this project by Irvin, the Bealmear Group, in much the same manner as one would expect of a spurned lover, or a spoiled child, began and continues to wage a campaign to publish false, misleading and/or defamatory remarks about Irvin, his reputation and his methods and manner of doing business," alleges the suit, filed on Irvin's behalf by Dallas attorney Larry Friedman.

The plaintiffs in the original lawsuit claimed they developed the concept behind the show, which they were calling “Guts to Glory” and ended up in contact with Irvin and his representatives to invite Irvin to be the show’s host.

The plaintiffs said they offered a deal in which Irvin and his agent would receive 25 percent of the proceeds and the plaintiffs would receive 75 percent. They later struck a deal in which Irvin would take 75 percent of the aggregate executive producing fee, while the plaintiffs would share the remaining 25 percent and that adaptions of the show for other sports would involve a 50-50 split, according to the lawsuit.

During the negotiation process, the three say Irvin was provided with marketing tools, including a story board, to present to Dallas Cowboys executives and Dallas Cowboys Coach Jerry Jones with the intent of getting the team involved.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs said they were escorted out of a March 10, 2008, deal signing meeting at the Dallas law offices of Friedman & Fiegler LLP in which Larry Friedman was present. Their attorney, Larry Kopeikin, was attending the meeting via a conference call. When they were brought back into the meeting, the plaintiffs were told that Irvin would have to review the deal memo before signing.

Days later, they learned that Irvin would only agree to a 95-5 percent split with Irvin taking a 95 percent cut, and five days after that Irvin sent an e-mail to Clark stating that he had never used the storyboard in his presentation to Jones, according to the lawsuit.

In response, the attorney for the plaintiffs, Mark Taylor of Dallas, originally told the Dallas Business Journal that the issue is not whether the idea for the show was original, but whether Michael agreed to enter into a deal and then reneged on the terms of the deal.

Taylor was unable to be reached for comment on Monday to respond to Irvin’s counterclaims.

Bookmark and Share

Red Sox inquire about Gaby Sanchez

Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Marlins - The Red Sox inquired about the big righthanded hitter, who has spent the season at Triple A (New Orleans) after it was thought he’d start for the Marlins out of spring training. With Hanley Ramirez red-hot and a top pitching staff, Florida, which is serious about staying in the National League East race, is looking for bullpen pieces, but the Sox don’t seem to be in that mode at the moment.

Bookmark and Share

Braun calls on Brewers to make moves

Ryan Braun hopes general manager Doug Melvin makes a move soon to improve the Milwaukee Brewers.

Braun, the top All-Star vote-getting NL outfielder for the second straight season, voiced his frustrations Sunday after the Brewers lost 8-2 to the Chicago Cubs, who won three of four in the series.

"We're at the point right now where it would be important for us to go out there and acquire somebody," Braun said.
"I know [Melvin] is trying to make our ballclub better. I know he recognizes the importance of making a move and making it soon, but at the same time I think everybody's recognized there's a lot of teams that are still in the race."

The Brewers, one game behind the Cardinals in the tight NL Central, host St. Louis for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.

"No matter who is in there, we have to find a way to throw the ball better for us to have success," Braun said. "I think when you're constantly behind in games, it's not easy and it's not fun."

Bookmark and Share

Reliever Chris Perez ready to close door on his poor start with Indians

CLEVELAND: It was not the kind of first impression any pitcher would want to make.

An overly amped up Chris Perez proceeded to hit not only the first batter he faced in his Indians debut on June 29, but the second as well.

Then he mixed in a walk. A wild pitch, too.

In what seemed like an eternity (but lasted just two-thirds of an inning), Perez gave up four earned runs and quickly earned the ire of more than a few already frustrated Tribe fans.

''This is what we traded Mark DeRosa for?'' was the thought of many of those fans.

Perez, who arrived in that trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, was supposed to help fix a bullpen that has been the focal point of this poor season for the Indians, not make it worse.

All parties involved believe that it was just an aberration.

The statistics seem to indicate as much. Consider that Perez hadn't allowed four runs in an outing his entire pro career (113 games spanning 179 innings).

''We need to knock the edge of his last (outing),'' Indians manager Eric Wedge said a few days later. ''I imagine next time we'll get him in a situation where there's no specific role, just get him out there and get an inning under his belt.''

That's exactly what happened four days later when Perez took the mound for the second time, limiting the Oakland Athletics to one hit in one shutout inning of work.

''That first outing was really an abnormality,'''Perez said. ''Usually, I come out and am really aggressive and work off my fastball, which is my bread and butter. Then I try and put hitters away with my slider.

''In that first outing, I was kind of shellshocked after the first two guys. The first guy I hit I was ahead of him 0-1 and the slider slipped out of my hand, and unfortunately hit him. The second guy, I kind of got up underneath the ball and it nicked his arm. After that, I was trying to feel for it. I wasn't aggressive and was trying to nip the corners.''

Despite his debacle of a debut, Perez's upside is intriguing. He's a young pitcher who turned 24 on July 1 and throws 95 mph consistently. That alone is an improvement in an organization void of many power arms.

''The arm's there, the stuff's there and (Perez has) got some experience,'' Wedge said. ''We just need to handle him accordingly until he gets comfortable over here.''

Now that Perez has begun to settle in, Wedge's next move is to figure out just where he fits in.

''I closed for 21/2 weeks last year with St. Louis,'' said Perez, a Tampa, Fla., native, who began the season at Triple-A Memphis before being promoted to the Cardinals on May 16.

''Ultimately, that's what I'd like to do. I like having the ball in my hand at the end of the game, with everyone up on their feet and pulling for you to get the last three outs. I feed off that. But I'm comfortable with any role in the bullpen.''
Perez had gone 1-1 with a save and a 4.18 ERA with the Cardinals this season. He had struck out an impressive 30 batters in just 232/3 innings but also had issued 15 walks.

Originally selected in the first round (the 42nd pick overall) out of the University of Miami in the 2006 draft, Perez was ranked by Baseball America as the Cardinals No. 3 prospect entering the season.

''Right now, I know I just need to come in here and get my feet wet,'' he said. ''But say, after eight or 10 good outings and they want to put me in the set-up role, I've done it before and I know I can handle it.''

Perez came to the Indians with an exemplary attitude, despite being traded from a sure playoff contender in the National League to a struggling last-place team in the American League.

''St. Louis is a great place,'' he said. ''And yeah, we were in first place. But at the same time, I have a great opportunity here to lock onto a role and be a part of turning things around for a club that was in the playoffs two years ago and still has a lot of those pieces here.''

A flurry of moves the past two weeks by General Manager Mark Shapiro has brought not only Perez, but a handful of other new arms to the Tribe bullpen.

''We're trying to figure out what these guys are capable of,'' Wedge said. ''We've got a new set of guys and we're trying to define some roles. We're just going to have to work with trial and error — that's where we are.''

That being said, Wedge is upbeat about the improvements his boss has made.

''I do like what we've done with our bullpen,'' Wedge said. ''I feel like we've got a chance to do something there.''

Which is good news for Perez, who knows it's not so much how you start that people will remember you most for, but how you finish.

Bookmark and Share

Kenny Phillips re-lives his rookie season

Here is a photo from a photo shoot for Reebok this week in which Kenny Phillips, Domenik Hixon and Eli Manning re-enacted training camp stories.

I’d love to hear about this one where Hixon seems to be slapping a bound-up Phillips across the face with his glove.

The ads are for Speedwick, Reebok’s premiere training shirt which will be worn by all 32 teams in training camp in a few weeks.

Bookmark and Share

Phillip Buchanon Tries to Save the Lions

What possess a man to leave one team that finished third in its division for another that didn't win a game the previous year?

Well, we asked cornerback Phillip Buchanon the other day why he left the Bucs, who finished third in the NFC South, for the Lions, and his answer was simple.

"I did want to stay in Florida," Buchanon said. "Tampa was going in a different direction and I truly feel like I'm still a starter, and Detroit was one of the teams that was actually there. There were a few other teams, but Tampa was taking their time and I didn't want to wait. You either want me or you don't."

Tampa Bay decided a youth movement was the right thing to do after a 9-7 season. The Bucs did offer Buchanon a contract but not a starting job. Coach Raheem Morris liked Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber as his starters at corner. Buchanon would have to compete for the nickel corner spot.

The Lions, coming off a 0-16 season, wanted help. The defensive scheme was changing from the Tampa 2 to a more aggressive alignment where the pass rushers get to attack more and the corners play more man-to-man.

In the offseason, the Lions traded quarterback Jon Kitna to the Cowboys for Anthony Henry. Buchanon and Henry combined for three interceptions last season. That's one fewer than what the Lions had all of 2008.

There were 465 interceptions in the NFL last season and the Lions had only four of them, good for last in the NFL. Four NFL teams finished with fewer than 10 interceptions: the Lions, Cowboys, Broncos and Seahawks -- and all of them missed the postseason.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz liked the bigger corner in Henry who he hopes can contain the Donald Drivers of the world. Buchanon is being asked to contain the shorter speedy receivers such as Devin Hester of the Bears.

"Henry and I have a lot of things in common," Buchanon said. "We grew up in the same neighborhood (in Florida). He's a very humble guy, a bigger guy and I'm a nice sized guy and I'm very talented and athletic. Anthony is very smart and with his worth ethic we can learn a lot from each other."

Buchanon said he's not thinking about last season in Motown. Not thinking about why the Lions went 0-16. Not thinking about how to save the Lions from this mess that they're in.

"Last year is last year," he said. "So many elements go into a team going 0-16. I don't want to get into coaching or playing chemistry. But it's about the coaching when teams really go that bad."

The NFC North is different now.

Brett Favre is coming to the Vikings -- it's not official yet, but you know its coming. Jay Cutler is in Chicago. The Packers are going with a 3-4. Then there's the Lions.

Could the Lions get their first victory of the season in Week 1 at New Orleans? How about a Week 2 contest vs. the Vikings?

"This division has upgraded," Buchanon said. "A lot of players have shifted teams to make it a strong division. In Detroit, it will be magnified and everything I do will be magnified because right now we have no place to go but up. It's only so much losing we can do but I think we can go up."

Bookmark and Share

Braun receives All-Star nod

CHICAGO -- The ultimate goal, of course, is to win a World Series ring. But Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun espoused another last week.

"My goal is to never have an All-Star break," Braun said with a smirk.

So far, he's 2-for-2.

Braun was voted by fans to start the All-Star Game for the second successive season, joining Hall of Famer Robin Yount as the only Brewers players so honored. Braun will be joined in St. Louis for the 80th Midsummer Classic on July 14 by second-time All-Star Prince Fielder.

Braun got the nod via the fan ballot. He received the most votes among NL outfielders, as he did last year, finishing ahead of the Phillies' Raul Ibanez and the Mets' Carlos Beltran. Both Ibanez and Beltran have battled injuries in recent weeks.

Braun, though, is healthy and ready to go. He had been tracking vote totals over the weeks of balloting and could see that he had a good chance.

"I always talk about how I never have an opportunity to reflect on what I'm accomplishing," Braun said last week. "But being there, playing with guys that I admired coming up, like A-Rod and [Derek] Jeter and Manny [Ramirez], and getting to play with and against them, it really put into perspective where I'm at.

"It was an amazing experience, and something I would love to do every year."

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.

Braun has been piling up awards since breaking into the Majors in late May 2007. He won NL Rookie of the Year honors that year despite spending most of the first two months at Triple-A, then followed-up in 2008 with a third-place finish in NL MVP balloting.

He's off to another solid start this season, hitting .327 with 16 homers and 58 RBIs through a 2-for-5 afternoon in the Brewers' 11-2 win over the Cubs on Saturday. Braun was riding an 11-game hitting streak into Selection Sunday and is hitting .352 (44-for-125) over his last 30 games with seven of his home runs.

Bookmark and Share

Huff hits homer to lead Orioles past Angels 6-4

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Aubrey Huff hit a three-run homer, Luke Scott doubled home two runs and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Angels 6-4 on Friday night, dropping Los Angeles into a first-place tie with Texas in the AL West.

David Hernandez (2-2) allowed three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings after getting staked to a 6-0 lead. The right-hander, making his fourth big league start and second since Koji Uehara went on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis, struck out two and walked two.

George Sherrill got three outs for his 18th save in 21 chances.

Ervin Santana (1-4) threw 99 pitches over five innings, allowing six runs, eight hits and three walks in his first start off the disabled list, after missing two starts because of stiffness in his right forearm and triceps. Two of the runs were unearned as a result of shortstop Erick Aybar's fielding error — only the third for Aybar in his last 45 games. In his four starts this season at Angel Stadium, Santana is 0-2 with a 12.12 ERA.

The Orioles, who came in hitting a major league-best .298 with runners in scoring position, loaded the bases with one out in the first when Adam Jones was hit by a pitch, Aybar booted a potential double-play grounder by Nick Markakis and Huff singled to right. One out later, Scott lined a 1-1 pitch high off the 18-foot wall in right for a 2-0 lead.

Scott has driven in at least one run in four consecutive games, equaling the longest streak of his four-year career. The last time he did it was May 27-30, when he homered in his first four games off the disabled list and went 8 for 15 with 14 RBIs after missing 14 games with a left shoulder strain.

Huff, who didn't have an RBI in 15 previous career at-bats against Santana, made it 5-0 in the third with his 11th homer of the season after a single by Jones and a double by Markakis. Huff has 14 RBIs in his last 14 games and 55 for the season, the most on the club. The Orioles are 9-1 when he's homered.

Bookmark and Share