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Marlins hire their general manager as field manager

When the Miami Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond on Sunday, they hired as his replacement their general manager, Dan Jennings, who has not managed a baseball team other than Davidson High School in Mobile, Ala., in 1985.  He also has never played the game – on any level — which caused many in the game to ridicule this move.  MLB analyst and former player Chris Singleton said, “It’s a circus down there.”  Jennings admitted that when he told his mother about it, “she said, ‘Are you crazy?’”  The move is symptomatic of the growing power of the GM, who traditionally was limited to assembling the roster but left all game strategy to the field manager.  Mike Hill, president of baseball operations for the Marlins, said he felt Jennings, 54, has “an intimate knowledge of our club, how we tick.”  The latest change means the team’s star slugger, Giancarlo Stanton, is playing for his eighth manager in six years.  Redmond, who managed the Marlins for 2+ seasons, is under contract through 2017.  The Marlins are still paying his predecessor, Ozzie Guillen, which causes speculation that the main purpose here is to save money.


Bulls butting heads?  Rose and Butler battle for ball

Chicago Bulls guards Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler are not happy sharing the ball with each other, and that may have been a factor in their losing in the decisive Game 6 of the Eastern semis. So says Dan Bernstein of CBS Chicago“A common NBA problem affected the Bulls at the worst possible time —  two alpha dogs and only one basketball.”  In the first quarter of the game, Rose shot 5-for-9.  For the rest of the game he was a passive 2-for-7, causing speculation that he was sulking with Butler constantly screaming for the ball.


More hot air from Deflategate

In denouncing the Ted Wells Report that led to severe penalties against them, the New England Patriots claimed that when locker-room personnel were talking about deflating, they were making joking references to attempts at physical fitness and weight reduction, not to letting air out of footballs.  But Rodney Harrison, former safety for the Patriots and now an analyst for NBC Sports, doubts the veracity of the Wells rebuttal.  He told the Larry Brown Sports website:  “I believe they’re being attacked.  At the same time it’d be naïve of me to say they didn’t bring it on themselves.  . . . To sit here and be naïve and say Tom Brady didn’t have any idea that the balls were under a certain level, I would have to say I don’t believe that.”


Spikes returns to Pats after scoffing at their injury reports

Brandon Spikes was drafted by the Patriots and played for them for four years as a bone-rattling but slow-moving inside linebacker.  Like many Patriots players, he resented the authoritarianism of Bill Belichick.  When he signed with Buffalo in April 2014, he tweeted “4 years a slave.”  He later said some of Belichick’s injury reports misstated his health.  “That’s the way they do things there,” he said.  So it surprised many in Patriots Nation when Belichick this week signed Spikes to a one-year contract.  But with Don’t’a Hightower and Jarod Mayo questionable for the season opener after knee surgeries, Spikes is a significant acquisition.


Seahawks’ Irvin says, ‘Atlanta’s where I want to be’

The Seattle Seahawks are dealing with fallout from linebacker Bruce Irvin being quoted saying “Atlanta’s where I want to be.”  Given that Irvin’s rookie contract expires after the 2015 season, the assumption was he was encouraging the Falcons to pursue him when he becomes a free agent.  Seahawks coach Pete Carroll explained that Irvin was in Atlanta working out and that he only meant that he always will consider Atlanta his home.  Not necessarily where he plays football.  That said, Irvin last month ranted on Twitter with obscene remarks about the Seahawks after they declined to pick up a $7.8 million option to sign him for 2016.


Mettenberger promises to fight Mariota ‘to the death’

Zach Mettenberger told ESPN’s Adam Caplan he’s not conceding that Marcus Mariota, the second player chosen in the NFL Draft, will replace him as quarterback of the Tennessee Titans.  “I’m extremely confident in myself, almost to a fault,” Mettenberger said.  “People who know me know that I’m not going down without a fight to the death.”  Mettenberger found a supporter in NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell, who prior to the draft recommended passing on Mariota and staying with Mettenberger, who he considered “more advanced as an anticipatory thrower and has a little better arm.”


Putin scores 8 goals in exhibition hockey game in Sochi

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin dressed in full hockey player’s uniform last week and scored eight goals in an exhibition game in Sochi.  Playing in an arena used in the 2014 Winter Olympics, Putin and everyone else on the teams wore No. 70, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.  At 62, Putin showed he could skate and score with wrist shots and slappers.  He even got involved in a brief scuffle.  Putin’s team, composed mostly of government officials and businessmen, won 18-6.  Russia’s leader did benefit from setups by a couple of ringers, former NHL stars Pavel Bure and Valen Kamensky.

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