LeBron shows too much ego, too much skin
With the Cleveland Cavaliers falling behind Golden State 3-2 in the NBA Finals, LeBron James tried to reassure his team by announcing his greatness. “I’m confident,” he said, “because I’m the best player in the world. It’s that simple.” Although most basketball observers would agree, it’s rare for a player to proclaim himself as the best. After all, Golden State’s Steph Curry was voted Most Valuable Player for the season. James created a more disturbing controversy when he huddled with the team before Game 4 and while adjusting his basketball shorts inadvertently exposed his penis to cameras. Thus a video was created that immediately went viral, and now ABC faces a possible fine from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has sometimes imposed six-figure fines on networks airing nudity “when children are likely to be watching.” It’s also possible the NBA could fine James for not being more careful with his wardrobe adjustments.
Cardinals investigated for hacking Astros’ database
The St. Louis Cardinals admit they’re being investigated by the FBI to determine if members of their front office hacked into the Houston Astros’ database. This would be the first known case of corporate espionage involving professional sports teams. There has been mistrust between the two organizations ever since the Astros in December 2011 hired Jeff Luhnow out of the Cardinals’ front office to be their general manager. The Cardinals may have thought Luhnow had taken information from them, so they would retaliate by searching the Astros’ in-house records. The Cardinals have the major leagues’ best record – 42-21 – and are considered the model franchise for success combined with efficiency. The FBI reportedly found that the Astros’ network had been entered from computers in homes of Cardinals’ employees. According to The New York Times, the breach may have occurred because Luhnow used some of the same passwords with the Astros that he used in St. Louis.
Boras says MLB ‘censored’ mention of his name
Scott Boras, a players’ agent who is reviled by baseball teams because he drives hard bargains, said MLB Network in its coverage of last week’s draft “censored its announcers from referencing our company. MLB is not committed to a free journalistic standard.” Network analyst Greg Amsinger did mention Boras once – attributing the lower than expected drafting of two prospects to their being advised by Boras. Draft guru Jonathan Mayo referred to the agent as “Lord Voldemort,” the fictional evil wizard in the Harry Potter series who’s considered too vile to mention by name. MLB refused to respond directly to the claim by Boras, but some general managers have said publicly that they will not negotiate with the hardballing agent because they consider him unreasonable.
Dellavedova gives up coffee after IV for dehydration
Matthew Dellavedova, unlikely hero of the NBA Finals, scored 20 points in 39 minutes in Cleveland’s Game 3 win but later was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where he received an IV and spent the night recovering from dehydration. Doctors advised him to stop drinking a cup of coffee before the game and at halftime. It’s a ritual he’s followed throughout his career but must abandon when playing starter’s minutes – and then some. Dellavedova, who was undrafted out of Australia, was Mr. Airball in Games 4 and 5, missing 18 of 23 shots. Which caused some to wonder if he was suffering from caffeine withdrawal — jittery without the coffee.
27-year-old rookie junkballer throws no-hitter
Chris Heston, who threw the first no-hitter by a Giants rookie in 103 years, is not the type of pitcher who throws no-hitters. When he beat the New York Mets 5-0 last week, his fastball averaged 90.8 mph and never reached 93. Nor does he throw a knee-buckling curveball. He struck out 11, mostly with sliders and changeups. He did not walk a batter, but he hit three. He’s never been thought to have no-hit stuff. Baseball America ranked him as low as No. 25 among prospects in San Francisco’s farm system. “I’m just out there trying to change speeds as much as possible,” said Heston, who’s 6-4, with a 3.77 ERA.
Patriots bench Butler for missing ‘voluntary’ workout
Organized Team Activities in the NFL are, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, “voluntary.” Even so, the New England Patriots held Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler out of practice for a week because he was late to the opening day of OTA’s. Butler informed coaches that his flight was canceled because of weather issues, but the team felt he should have taken an earlier flight. Butler is expected to be a starting cornerback after making the last-second interception that sealed a Super Bowl victory. The Players Association is investigating another possible rules violation by coach Bill Belichick, who is not alone in punishing players who do not show up for “voluntary” workouts. Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly waived Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis when he stayed away from OTA’s, as he was negotiating a contract extension.
Sam leaves Canadian League, career may be over
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL, was signed by the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian football League after being cut by NFL teams. But the defensive end abruptly left the Alouettes on the eve of their first exhibition game, saying he was headed home to Texas for “personal reasons.” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp told the Montreal Gazette: “If he doesn’t come back, I would think football’s over for him.” One report had Sam leaving because the team objected to him appearing on the reality-TV series Dancing With the Stars. Another report had him suffering from migraine headaches. Still another attributed his departure to “pouting because he wasn’t very good.”
Notre Dame coach says all his players ‘at risk’ academically
Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly has joined other coaches and researchers who say the demands of college academics are overwhelming to most student/athletes. “All of my players are at risk,” Kelly told Notre Dame Insider. “Honestly, I don’t know that any of our players would get into the school by themselves right now with the academic standards the way they are.” Five Notre Dame football players were suspended last season by the university amid an investigation of academic fraud. “We have to provide all the resources necessary for them to succeed.” Kelly said, “and don’t force them into finding shortcuts.”
15-year-old Cole Hammer to play in U.S. Open
Cole Hammer – how’s that for a name of a golfer? – will be at age 15 the fourth-youngest ever to play in the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at Chambers Bay in Washington. “I’ve dreamed about it my whole life,” said Hammer, who is from Houston. He qualified by shooting 64-68 at Northwood Club in Dallas. He’s grown 4 inches in the past 10 months but still weighs only 125 pounds. He intends to play golf for the University of Texas after he graduates from high school in 2018.