A major-league deal: A’s roll out $19.99 monthly ballpark pass

This ought to get fannies in the seats.

On Thursday the A’s announced a new program beginning in June in which the team will sell monthly ballpark passes for $19.99, only $4.99 more than the lowest price tickets selling on the team’s official ticketing site.

A little back of the envelope math: Using June as an example, the A’s play 15 home games, including series against the best teams in the AL and NL, the Yankees and Nationals, respectively. Fifteen games for $19.99 comes to $1.33 per game.

Not. Bad.

The A’s (16-18) are averaging 16,159 fans per game, second worst in the majors, and they recently removed the tarp from third deck, which has remained largely empty.

The details: Passes, available only through MLB’s Ballpark app, include a seat for every game except in the (very long-shot) event of a sellout and includes access to the Oakland Coliseum’s Shibe Park Tavern and food trucks.

The early response has been overwhelmingly positive, the San Francisco Chronicle noted, even internally.

The cost to Washington shouldn’t be too high, but — and there’s a pretty big but here — given that Chicago held up general manager Mike Rizzo and the Nats like a convenience store in a bad neighborhood for Eaton, it might not get a fair deal for a player who was largely ineffective in a key role. Would the Chicago front office feed off Rizzo’s desperation?

The safest bet Washington could make at this point is to NBA Cheap Jerseys China consider in-house options to close games. Both Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen are closer candidates. Treinen’s stuff certainly plays better than Robertson’s.

For Washington to make a run at a playoff spot this year, it probably can’t afford to stumble out of the gate. Having a bona fide closer on opening day would probably be in its best interest.

But Robertson might not be worth taking a gamble on, either, even with options running out.

Marshawn Lynch return? Raiders might pull RB from retirement, report says

Marshawn Lynch is retired. He has made that clear multiple times: “I’m done. I enjoyed my time playing. Now it’s time to watch my cousins do they thing,” he told 60 Minutes Sports last June. Said former teammate Michael Robinson: “I called Beast Mode. Record this, everybody, please. Marshawn Lynch is retired. He told me from his own mouth. He said, ‘Dude, I’m not going anywhere.'”

The Raiders might be calling Lynch’s bluff.

Oakland, in need of a running back after Latavius Murray signed a free-agent deal with the Vikings on Thursday, is “strongly considering” bringing Lynch out of retirement and onto its roster, according to ESPN.

In order to eliminate that confusion, the league apparently is making a dance video to show what’s right and wrong. This is a tactic they’ve used in the past for other rules changes, such as showing players what is (and isn’t) a catch, and how to properly tackle.

Even though the video isn’t out yet, at least one player is upset at just the idea that it needs to be made. Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin voiced his thoughts on Twitter saying, “[The] NFL [needs] to [be] worried [about] a lot of other s— than worrying about a dude celebrating.”

Growing up wanting to b in the NFL I always thought when you got to the professional level you could have as much fun as you want.

Irvin isn’t the only one who feels this way, but he’s the Make Your Own Cheap Jerseys most recent outspoken critic. During the season, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, who was penalized numerous times for his celebrations, called for the league to explain what’s within the rulebook.

“You know you can’t really complain about the rules. You always want to stay positive, but in the midst of everything it feels like we need more clarification in regards to what I can and cannot do,” Brown said in October. “Excessive celebrating shouldn’t cost more than guys hitting guys in the helmet.”

Manfred later Tuesday refuted the tweet’s claims that the commissioner didn’t respond to offers by Correa

Chris Sale may have taken a no-decision in Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Blue Jays, but the new Red Sox ace was still strong. Last December’s trade with the White Sox continues to pay off for the Cheap Throwback NFL Jerseys BoSox. Sale struck out 13 and walked just one in eight scoreless innings while scattering four hits. Sale is 1-1 in four starts with a 0.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings. Sale threw 102 pitches on Thursday, with 80 strikes.

The tweet claimed that Correa got no response from the commissioner and said, in closing, that “[p]unishment does not function as a deterrent when sanctions are applied arbitrarily.”

However, Manfred later Tuesday refuted the tweet’s claims that the commissioner didn’t respond to offers by Correa, and, in fact, said the reason he was placed on baseball’s permanently ineligible list was for his not cooperating, as requested by MLB after a federal investigation was concluded and Correa’s case adjudicated.

The commissioner’s statement read in part: “[MLB’s] Department of Investigations repeatedly requested Mr. Correa’s cooperation through his attorney. On July 21, 2016, Mr. Correa was informed directly that he would be placed on the permanently ineligible list if he did not cooperate with the Department of Investigations. Mr. Correa not only steadfastly refused to answer any questions, but also opposed the release of any documents by the [federal] government to the Office of the Commissioner. On August 23, 2016, Mr. Correa’s attorney told the Department of Investigations that Mr. Correa was not interested in ‘providing any information directly or indirectly to MLB.’”

MLB reportedly pitches two key rule changes in effort to speed up games

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made no secret of his desire to speed up the pace of play during games, and it appears baseball is trying to take some tangible steps in that direction.

ESPN.com reported Monday that MLB submitted proposals to the players’ union last month that would raise the strike zone and eliminate the need for pitchers to deliver four balls on an intentional walk. The commissioner’s office first floated the changes last year but did not submit them to be enacted until January.

The latter initiative would seem to have a greater chance of being enacted, but it also doesn’t figure to make much of an impact on the overall pace of play. ESPN notes that pitchers issued 932 intentional walks last season, or just one every 5.2 games. But having a batter simply take his base after the decision to issue an intentional walk is made certainly would speed up the process a bit.

Five years almost to the day after the Braves set their mark, the Brewers matched the record on April 20, 1987, after blazing through their first 13 games. As with the Braves, the Brewers’ hot start wasn’t expected.

But also like the 1982 Braves, the 1987 Brewers couldn’t parlay their early streak into postseason magic, despite featuring future Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. And like the 1982 Braves, the ’87 Brewers streaked in the other direction, too.

After a win on May 2 gave them a 20-3 record, the Brewers embarked on a 12-game losing streak that dropped them out of first place, never to return. They ultimately finished in third place with a record of 91-71.

The endings to the Braves’ and Brewers’ seasons shouldn’t diminish the accomplishment of a 13-game winning streak. No team has really come close to equaling the teams’ hot Chicago Blackhawks Cheap Jerseys starts since. A lot has to go right. There must be talent, yes, but there also has to be a good bit of baseball luck.

Then again, maybe there’s something unlucky about that No. 13 after all.

NFL free agency: Giants get Eli Manning insurance by signing Geno Smith

Tigers ace Justin Verlander looked very shaky in his last two starts, prompting concern in the Motor City. Cancel the red alert. Verlander looking very strong in seven scoreless innings Thursday against the Mariners. He struck out eight and scattered five hits and two walks. He didn’t get a decision in Seattle’s 2-1 victory.

Mets starter Matt Harvey gave up six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Braves in a 7-5 loss. The right-hander yielded five hits and five walks. On a positive note, Harvey had four quality starts to begin the season before Thursday’s tough outing.

Every kid dreams of hitting a walk-off grand slam to win a game in extra innings. Matt Carpenter lived that dream Thursday afternoon as the Cardinals beat the Blue Jays 8-4 in 11 innings.

Geno Smith will remain in New York as he is expected to sign with the Giants, according to ESPN.

Giants expected to sign former Jets QB Geno Smith, per @JordanRaanan and me. Smith and Brandon Marshall teammates again.

According to NFL Media, the former Jets QB will take a physical with the team over the weekend and likely sign Monday. The 26-year-old will be brought in to compete for the backup quarterback position behind Eli Manning with Keith Wenning and Josh Johnson.

Smith had a roller-coaster of a career with the Jets, starting off with two poor seasons. His next two seasons were cut short due to injury, and he hasn’t had a chance to show if he’s progressed as a passer.

Now, he’ll get a chance to study under Manning, although it’s unclear how long his contract will end up being. If nothing else, the Giants will get a quarterback with at least some playing experience behind Manning in case the starter suffers an injury.

Smith reportedly had interest from other teams, including Dallas Cowboys Cheap Jerseys the Chargers and Browns.

Gary Sanchez injury update: Yankees catcher expected off DL for Cubs series

The Yankees are expected to activate catcher Gary Sanchez from the disabled list Friday in time for the opener of a much-anticipated series against the Cubs in Chicago.

“That’s the plan,” Brian Cashman said Thursday (via the New York Daily News).

It was hard to tell if excitement or merely autocorrect was in play later in the afternoon, when Sanchez tweeted: “Taking off for Chicago. See you on the filed, tomorrow.”

Sanchez, who hit 20 homers in only 53 games in a breakout rookie season in 2016, has missed 21 games with a strained right biceps suffered April 8 in Baltimore.

But led by this year’s rookie sensation, Aaron Judge, the Yankees have gone 16-5 without Sanchez, averaging 6.2 runs per game. Judge has 13 homers in only 104 plate appearances.

In five games this season, Sanchez, 24, is 3 for 20 with one home run.

Austin Romine (.316/.349/.456, two homers and 10 RBIs with no errors behind the plate) has filled in more than admirably.

Friday’s 2:20 p.m. ET game opens a three-game series at Wrigley Field between two storied first-place teams, one with the most World Series titles in MLB history (27) and the other coming off its first in 108 years.

Wilson has thrown knuckleballs in games before, but coaches asked him to do it sparingly out of respect to his catchers in San Francisco.

The Beard — if we can still call him that — is confident Cheap Miami Dolphins Jerseys in his ability to knuckle balls in there. He even admired one of his pitches at the USC session.

“I can already see myself out there,” Wilson said, “Throwing up some waffles.”

Baseball Hall of Fame 2017 full voting results: How did Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens fare?

If it were just about the numbers, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Manny Ramirez would be a lock to make the Baseball Hall of Fame. But the trio, all linked to performance-enhancing drugs in their careers, will have to wait at least another year to achieve baseball’s highest honor.

Ramirez, who unlike Bonds and Clemens, caught and punished twice by baseball for PED use, received 23.8 percent in his first attempt at the Hall of Fame.

Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge went 3 for 5 with two runs scored, a home run and two RBIs in an 8-6 win over the Blue Jays. The home run was Judge’s 13th of the season, and his 10th in his last 14 games. Judge’s 13 home runs are the most by a rookie in their first 25 games of a season in MLB history.

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa finally caught fire with four hits and a solo home run in a huge 10-1 win against the Rangers. In addition to man-handling their AL West foes, Correa also raised his average to .255 on the season.

Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon has been impressive early this season, but the young hurler was lit up for six earned runs off of eight hits in just five innings in Cheap Jerseys USing Paypal a 7-2 loss to the Reds. Despite the loss, Taillon is still 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA this year.

Diamondbacks (17-12) at Nationals (18-9), 2:05 p.m. ET — Two of the most explosive offensive teams in MLB will face off after splitting the series’ first two games. Reigning NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer (3-2, 2.94 ERA) will take the mound for Washington to duel against Braden Shipley, who is making his season debut.

Bernie Kosar: ‘No disrespect’ with ALS remark about Dwight Clark

The Cubs are good. It’s no secret, and there’s no secret to their success. At this point, the biggest unknown is whether the Cubs are going to be just as hungry in 2017 as they were in their championship-winning season. The gang’s still all together, and the Cubs made sure to supplement the outfield with Jon Jay and the bullpen with Wade Davis. Solid moves all around for a team that could be a dynasty in a few years.

Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar said Wednesday he meant “no disrespect” to 49ers great and former Cleveland director of football operations Dwight Clark when he made a joke on Cleveland radio about Clark’s ALS diagnosis.

“We had a bad weekend with Gale Sayers being diagnosed [with dementia] … Dwight Clark Cheap Hats And Jerseys with ALS,” Kosar said on WKNR-AM, on Wednesday. “I could make a joke about [Clark’s] struggles in picking players when he was here. It almost makes me wonder if maybe it started earlier.”

Clark, who announced Sunday he has Lou Gehrig’s disease, was with the Browns from 1999-2002. Cleveland was 21-43 during those four seasons.

“It’s not about Schwarber hitting leadoff. He’s just not hitting like Schwarber yet, that’s all,” Maddon said. “Once he starts hitting, which he will, that number’s (on-base percentage) going to get so pretty.”

Schwarber’s woes continued as he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Ducks some. Oilers less.

It started out well enough. Just past five o’clock local time, the upstart Edmonton Oilers played host to the bullshit shitbird Anaheim Ducks. Fans chewed Detroit Lions Cheap Jerseys their nails in anticipation. More food than usual was eaten to comfort the anxious. Buttholes everywhere. Clenched.

And then it got better. By some grace of god, a technical difficulty (thanks, Rogers) forced someone other than Brett Kissel to sing the US national anthem. “It’s happening, isn’t it?” We all thought.

Tennessee had two major areas of need coming into this year’s draft. It addressed both of them by the 18th pick of the first round. Davis may have seemed overvalued at the No. 5 overall pick, but the run on wide receivers that followed validated the Titans’ choice. Thirteen picks later, Jackson shored up a big hole in the secondary while adding significant special teams value. Taylor and Smith should add more punch for an offense that needed to surround Marcus Mariota with playmakers.

Ezekiel Elliott’s 2016 disproved the recent adage that running backs aren’t worth premium picks. The Jags doubled down on that in 2017, selecting Leonard Fournette at No. 4 overall. Fournette could be a generational talent, but he’s coming off a disappointing junior year at LSU. If he lives up to expectations, he could transform Jacksonville’s offense and take pressure from embattled quarterback Blake Bortles. Tackle Cam Robinson (and, to a lesser extent elusive wideout Dede Westbrook) will also be a boon for Bortles.

Larry Bird will step down as Pacers’ president of basketball operations, according to report

Larry Bird is stepping down from his position as Indiana Pacers’ president of basketball operations, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. His position will be taken over by Kevin Pritchard. Bird is expected to continue working with Pritchard and the Pacers as a consultant, according to Woj.

The move comes after Indiana was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. It was the first time the Pacers were swept in their franchise’s storied history.

The Cavaliers’ spread lineup has proven much more fruitful than its normal unit with two other All-Stars. It yanks the thought of helping from opposing teams and forces them to guard either LeBron or the three-point line. It’s a perpetual nightmare that Pacers head coach Nate McMillan is fighting through and losing against.

Amid Cleveland’s midseason defensive breakdown, Tyronn Lue said he had a secret plan to fix the Cavaliers. If the first round has been any indication, his plan is to spread the offense out and score more points.

And at least against Indiana, my guys, it’s working.

The Cavaliers are a game away from sweeping the Pacers at Banker’s Create Cheap Jerseys Life Fieldhouse. They’ll have the winner of the Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks series Custom Cheap Jerseys in the second round. And if Cleveland continues to spread its opponents out like this, the victor of that No. 3 vs. No. 6 showdown had better be ready to put a body on James and pick its poison.

Otherwise, it’ll be death by the spread with LeBron delivering the elimination blows.