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Larry Brown says Kentucky ‘should go 45-0’

As the college basketball season was about to launch, SMU coach Larry Brown saw one clear favorite:  the Kentucky Wildcats.  “John (Calipari) with all that talent should go 45-0,” he told USA Today.  “If you take their first and second teams and split them up, they’d probably have the No 1 and 2 teams in the nation.”  

Between the Lines: The Wildcats have nine high school All-Americas, which supports Brown’s assessment of the talent. 


Japan has 20-year-old fireballer, and a robot is next

Japanese baseball continues to be a rising sun.  A team of American major leaguers touring Japan for a five-game series opened by getting shut out 2-0.  Kenta Maeda, 26-year-old righthander pitched five innings of two-hit ball and looked ready to move to the major leagues, as he’s talked about doing.  But the Japanese pitcher who attracted the most attention was 20-year-old Shohei Otani, who retired the side in the eighth.  “To see a guy his age throw nearly 100 miles an hour is impressive, said John Farrell, managing the MLB team.  “He has a long loose body with tremendous arm speed.”

Meanwhile, the Japanese are well on their way to inventing a robot that can play ball.  The Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory at the University of Tokyo is developing a range of robots that can each perform a baseball skill.  One can field, one can bat, one can pitch, one can run, etc.  The end result is supposed to be a single robot that performs all the tasks of playing baseball.


CenturyLink selling watered-down beer?

An investigation by KOMO 4 in the state of Washington found that CenturyLink Field was selling beer at Seahawks games that had alcohol content below the advertised amount.  Reporters took samples of several beers to a local laboratory and found that most had less alcohol than the advertised amount.  Federal law requires beer must be within 0.3% of what’s advertised.  But Shocktop at CenturyLink had 4.7% alcohol, not the 5.2% it’s supposed to have, and Bass Pale Ale was off, from 5.1% to 4.5%.  Bud Light was too light, 3.9% instead of 4.2.


Kansas City stadiums cited for food-safety dangers

The food manager at Kansas City’s Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that improper food handling and dirty conditions put fans’ health at risk, including during the World Series.

Among the concerns: cockroaches in the vending area, mouse feces on the same tray as pizza dough, food at unsafe temperatures, and an abundance of fruit flies.  Jon Costa, district food-safety manager for Aramak, which runs the concessions at both venues, warned that there “could be a catastrophe.”


Brandon Marshall agrees to fight Lions fan for $25K

Chicago Bears Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall engaged in a twitter war with a Detroit Lions fan, and the upshot is they agreed to take their differences into the ring, with the loser paying $25,000 to go to charity.  This story has become a media/social media sensation, but the fight is not likely to happen because it has little chance of ending well.  The Bears have enough problems without this.


Ryan fined $100k for F-bomb on the sidelines

The NFL office fined New York Jets coach Rex Ryan $100,000 when he yelled, “F— you” to someone as he was leaving the sidelines after his team beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium.  The fine was unusually heavy because this was the third time Ryan was cited for profanity.  “I thought I said, ‘Thank you,’” he joked.  He would not say who was the target of his expletive.


J.J. Watt could be All-Pro tight end?

NFL scouting guru Gil Brandt tweeted:  “I think if J.J. Watt dedicated himself to playing tight end, he’d be All-Pro within a year.”  The Houston Texans’ defensive lineman is sometimes used as a tight end in goal-line offense.  He began his collegiate career at Wisconsin as a tight end.  He scored his second receiving touchdown as a pro Sunday in Cleveland.  Texans QB Ryan Mallett said, “Oh, my gosh, I never would have thought my first touchdown pass would be to a defensive lineman.”


49ers linebacker Brooks removes himself from game

Ahmad Brooks, a starting linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, took himself out of Sunday’s game with the New York Giants.  He was unhappy with reduced playing time due to the development of rookie Aaron Lynch and the reinstatement of Aldon Smith after a 9-game suspension for gun and alcohol offenses.  After the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he and Brooks “are working through something.”  Brooks said:  “I’m not taking questions today.  . . . Yeah, we’re working through something.

Between the Lines:  Brooks is a better run stopper than Smith and Lynch, but while he’s good at coverage and rushing the passer, he’s not as proficient in those skills as the other two.  By walking out on his teammates, he’s no longer appreciated in the locker room, and he has damaged his market value.


Marshawn Lynch stays on the field for halftime show

When the Seattle Seahawks left the field at halftime of their game in Kansas City, star running back Marshawn Lynch remained on the bench.  In effect, he became the halftime show.  He would not speak with reporters after the game, even though the NFL office warned him that continued failure to meet media obligations would result in a $100,000 fine.  He did speak to by phone from the team bus and said he stayed behind because of “fatigue.”  Coach Pete Carroll supported Lynch, saying he “was banged up” and “he felt like getting stretched, staying there at halftime, was the best thing for him.”  Video showed Lynch being stretched out on a bench being massaged.  Still, Seattle sources say Lynch will not be with the team next season, when he will be 29.


Hoyer says Mallett ‘has strongest arm I’ve ever seen’

Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer was not surprised by the winning performance of Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett, making his first NFL start.  Hoyer, who was a teammate of Mallett in New England, said, “He has the strongest arm I’ve ever seen.”


Gruden: ‘not his place’ for Griffin to fault teammates

Following a 27-7 home loss to woeful Tampa Bay, Washington QB Robert Griffin III said:  “The great quarterbacks, the Aaron Rodgers, the Peyton Mannings, those guys don’t play well if their guys don’t play well.”  That did not set well with Griffin’s coach, Jay Gruden:  “It’s his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions.  It’s my job to worry about everybody else. . . . It’s not his place.”


Jaguars cornerback tries to use bubble gum for cash

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz was arrested for disorderly intoxication and trespassing after he tried to use bubble gum instead of cash at a grocery store in Miami Beach.  According to a police report, Gratz argued with a store clerk who would not accept his bubble gum in lieu of money, which the player said he did not have.  When Gratz refused to leave the store, the clerk called police.  When police arrived, they asked Gratz to leave, but he said, “No, I’m not leaving.”  The police said Gratz smelled of alcohol.  They arrested him and he spent the night in jail.


Canseco plans to auction off his severed finger

Former baseball star Jose Canseco accidentally shot off a finger while cleaning his .45-caliber Remington pistol.  He’s tweeted his intention to auction the severed finger on eBay along with the gun as “a package deal.”  It’s doubtful, however, that the website auction house will permit the selling of body parts.

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