Dump 'Em, Stretch Allen-Strong, & Ice Arrest.
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Fun
  • Flip Flop. Free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler had an agreement in place with the Baltimore Orioles to sign a 3-year, $33 million deal, but punked the birds by resigning with the Chicago Cubs instead, effectively turning the Orioles into Charlie Brown and Fowler into Lucy in the "Lucy pulls the football" Peanuts gag.
  • Dump 'Em. The Brooklyn Nets freed up some cap space by buying out and releasing 7x All-Star Joe Johnson because they're an awful 16-42 team that apparently feels sorry for wasting Johnson's time. Rightfully so.
  • Stretch Allen-Strong. Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen has Carny hands. Allen feared his small hands would drop his NFL draft stock, so he went through a series of massages to have them stretched out. It worked. His hand-size increased by nearly 1/2 inch in less than a month. Apparently we have our first look at the lead for Netflix's upcoming "Stretch Armstrong" series.
  • Coming Or Going? A day after San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke said quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be on the team for the 2016 season, Kaepernick reportedly asked the Niners for permission to seek a trade. Thanks, but no thanks.

The Main Event
WHAT?
Major League Baseball is instituting a few new rules for the 2016 season, and it's a good thing.

WHAT ELSE?
The first of three notable changes is that baserunners will no longer be able to apply bone-crushing hits on a fielder covering second base to break up a double play, known as "rolling blocks," unless they are making a "bona fide slide," which basically means they're aiming their slide at the base, not the person covering it. Baserunners who are found guilty of rolling blocks, and even the batter at the time of the block, are now subject to being called out. The second update will finally make the "neighborhood play" reviewable. The neighborhood play is that bullshit during a double play when the infielder doesn't actually touch second base before throwing to first, but the runner is called out anyway. Lastly, a 30-second time limit will be placed on mound visits, although there will be no penalty for exceeding the limit because MLB insists on implementing partially-constructed rules that need to be consistently re-evaluated.

THOUGHTS?
All of these rules are beneficial on one level or another. Baserunners can still take out infielders, which is awesome because physical violence is entertaining, they just can't be dicks about it like Chase Utley. Making the "neighborhood play" play reviewable will force infielders to not be pussies by avoided the aforementioned physical contact. And the 30-second rule, should it somehow prove effective without a penalty, is great because baseball is already slow enough, and we don't need to spend extra time watching the infield gathered on the mound for a 10-minute tea party.

Good Sport
PROMISE (SORT OF) FULFILLED!
Earlier this month we reported on Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi's effort to meet an Afghan boy, who loves Messi but is too poor to buy a jersey, so his family made one for him out of a plastic bag. Messi won't meet the boy, as originally hoped, but UNICEF was able to deliver a brand new, autographed jersey to Lionel's biggest fan. Now go find a homeless guy on the street and give him your old high school whatever-sport jersey so you can bask in glorious goodwill just like Messi.

Bad Sport
MY EYES!
World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic was forced to withdraw from the Dubai Tennis Championships due to an eye infection. He was in the middle of a quarter-final match against Feliciano Lopez when the infection, which developed into a severe allergic reaction, proved too much to overcome. Djokovic was getting his ass kicked at the time he quit, so fans booed him off the court, likely because they thought he was a sore loser. The forfeit snapped a steak of 17-straight final appearances. Don't forget your Ethan Hunt goggles next time you're in Dubai, bro. It's dusty out here.

G.O.A.T. of the Week (What is G.O.A.T.?)
Damian Lillard. It's tough to find anyone in the NBA not named Steph Curry that's worthy of "G.O.A.T." recognition, but what the hell, let's give it a try! Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers' hope for a better future, scored 34 points in Portland's 112-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, which marked his fifth-straight game scoring 30+ points. It's the first time a Trail Blazer has accomplished such a feat in 45 years.

Honorable Mention: Speaking of Curry, he set an NBA for the most consecutive games scoring a three-pointer (128) in the Warriors 130-114 win over the Magic. Curry scored a ridiculous 51 points overall, including 10 three-pointers. Somebody stop this man.

Goat of the Week (What's a Goat?)
Olivier Marcott. The Canadian junior ice hockey player was handcuffed and arrested on the ice after punching a referee. At least he didn't take off his skate and try to stab somebody.

Quote of the Week
Diaz: “Everybody’s on steroids. The whole UFC. Everybody.”
McGregor: “Your teammate Gil [Melendez] and Jake [Shields] were two caught on steroids! Not me. I'm not on those steroids. What the f*ck are you talking about?!”
Diaz: “And you."

UFC fighters Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz went at each other during a heated presser for their upcoming fight on March 5th. Ok, now we're excited.

Good Old Caption Winner
"Hi, I'm Kenny Rogers, and this is the bat fetcher trick with my teeth!"

Kudos to Michael Saukaitis for unearthing a line from one of the few decent Mad TV sketches, where Will Sasso embodies Kenny Rogers taking a bat to the jaw as a member of the Jackass squad. Heads up, Mike, a bat and/or shirt will be flying your way.

What to Watch (All Times Eastern)
Check out what's good right here.
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