Russ Lande

Draft Dish: Searching For Truth

The extended NFL draft season has led to more time for rumors and speculation about falling and rising draft stock. Is quarterback Tom Savage really flying up draft boards? Are Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix risks? We cut through the most recent noise. More»
Jorge Arangure Jr.

Sense of Urgency

The Cubs have very few recognizable names on their roster right now, and they desperately need one of those players to engineer a turnaround. While Starlin Castro is still only 24, there may be a lot riding on the shortstop's 2014 season. More»
Chuck Culpepper

Destroying Every Stereotype

For homosexual African-American athletes, coming out carried with it not only the worry of judgement by the sporting world, but also their peers. As Jason Collins, Michael Sam and others have shown, the stereotype that black America won't accept gay people is simply not true. More»
Will Leitch

Chicago By The Numbers

Chicago has icons, legendary parks, devoted fans and even a recent run of championships -- no thanks, as usual, to the Cubs. Is that enough to put it above San Francisco and Cleveland on our running list of best sports cities? Will Leitch spent a week finding out. More»
Tomas Rios

Baseball From A Different Era

Over a span of decades, baseball moved away from its "small ball" roots and into a game powered by big arms and bigger homers. But a subset of players is reminding us what the game looked like years ago, basing their careers on their elite ability to run the bases and field the ball. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Fast Starts

It may be early in the season, but a handful of rookies are already standing out from the rest of freshman crowd as contenders for Rookie of the Year. Here are five who have caught our attention -- and what they need to do to clinch the award. More»
Chris Cwik

The Rise of the Sinker

The sinker is on the rise. Use of the pitch, also called a two-seam fastball, has taken a step forward in recent seasons, both as a key component of organizational pitching philosophies, and as the preferred weapon behind some recent career revivals. More»
Leigh Montville

Stories of Strength

As 36,000 people take the starting line for this year's Boston Marathon, a million more will line the streets to cheer them on. And both the competitors and the spectators will carry a year's worth of stories of loss, triumph, and strength with them. More»
Dan Pompei

The Second Act of Elway

Few star players make the jump to successful top-level executives in the NFL, but John Elway is breaking the mold. By committing himself to all aspects of the job, Elway is helping to take the Broncos back to the heights he achieved as a player. More»
Russ Lande

Prospect Profile: Taylor Lewan

Taylor Lewan's return for his senior season didn't go exactly as planned, and he's unlikely to be a top-10 pick in next month's draft. But even though he'll be the third offensive tackle off the board, he has the talent to be a longtime starter in the NFL. More»
Michael J. Mooney

Raising The Bar

The biggest fear of a Texas football fan isn't a devastating loss. It's becoming irrelevant. But with the no-nonsense approach of Charlie Strong in place, for now, at least, there's a renewed sense of optimism among a fan base with high expectations. More»
Colin McGowan

A Labor of Love

Manager Pep Guardiola could lead Bayern Munich to Bundesliga and Champions League titles in his first year with the club, but he could still leave after just one season. He needs to enjoy a job to do it, and he won't put up with discord. More»
Neil deMause

Passing the Bucks

The recent sale of the Milwaukee Bucks is likely to be the first step in a ramping-up of the team's demands for public funds to replace the 26-year-old Bradley Center. If those aren't forthcoming, there may be renewed threats to take the team out of town. More»
Howard Megdal

Taking Nothing For Granted

First baseman Anthony Rizzo is one of the core members of what the Cubs hope is their next great team. But unlike many other baseball players, he's well aware of what he has, thanks to a cancer scare as a teenager. Rizzo isn't one to let moments go by lightly. More»
Shaun Powell

Western Conference Playoff Preview

The NBA's Western Conference playoffs are the Wild West. There's no clear favorite, and no one would be shocked if the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers or Rockets are standing when the West is finally won. Here are our predictions. More»
Michael Weinreb

Hitting the ground sprinting

When David Shaw took over Jim Harbaugh's coaching position at Stanford, many thought Shaw would need would need at least a couple of years to adjust, especially after Andrew Luck's departure. Instead, the Cardinal has gotten consistently better. More»
Will Leitch

Chicago's overlooked team

Under any other circumstances, the White Sox would be considered one of baseball's most historic franchises. But they aren't, because of their neighbors on the North Side. White Sox fans don't have an inferiority complex with the Cubs; they have a, why don't you notice we exist? complex. More»
Marc Normandin

Low Voltage

There's plenty of ways to score runs that don't involve homers, but it's extremely difficult to score enough to win without any homers at all. The Royals are putting that to the test so far this year, risking what may be their last year of James Shields on a punchless offense. More»
Colin McGowan

Holding On

News like this is always straightforwardly happy. There's a lot of work the Bucks' new owners will need to put in to construct a team worth rooting for, but they have the time and resources to do it. Finally, there's some stability in Milwaukee. That's better than nothing. More»
Shaun Powell

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview

Though many would prefer to skip past the first few rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs and just get straight to a Heat / Pacers rematch, there's some interesting matchups here. Can the Nets topple the Raptors? What will the Bulls do to stop John Wall and the Wizards? More»
Matt Brown

Perfect Fit

Seeing Lane Kiffin, of all people, joining Nick Saban's Alabama staff is a little jarring, but it makes plenty of sense. Kiffin's weaknesses have always been more off the field than on, so in a spot where he can focus on getting offensive production out of talented players, he could thrive. More»
Russ Lande

Five Intriguing Day 3 Pass Rushers

Finding star players -- especially pass rushers -- late in the draft is what separates the most successful teams. With that in mind, here are five potential Day 3 pass rushers who have the tools to develop into quality starters. More»
Mike Tanier

The Sad State of Running Backs

Running backs are traditionally football's second-biggest stars, but the position is rapidly becoming the worst job in professional sports. Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew at least got the opportunity to cash in with their previous contracts. The current generation won't be so lucky. More»
Steve Kim

Fighting The Inevitable

If it seems like Bernard Hopkins has been around forever, that's because he basically has been. Months away from 50, Hopkins is preparing to fight Beibut Shumenov, but while his longevity and dedication must be respected, many think it's time for him to finally step aside. More»
Mike Tanier

Field Guide to Youth League Parents

The advent of spring also brings the start of the little league season and that means a variety of toxic personalities are roaming the ball fields of your local town. Before you encounter one, read our field guide to youth league parents. More»
Matthew Kory

Baseball's Best Practical Jokes

Pranks are a time-honored tradition in professional baseball, whether it's a shaving cream pie in the face after a walk-off home run or a glove that smells of, well, you know. But the best jokes ever pulled are ones that uses more inventive avenues of expression. More»
Matthew Kory

Bad And Getting Worse

Pitching is an incredibly specialized skill, so think about just how much work, talent and luck it takes to get to the majors as a pitcher. Now think about having to bat in the big leagues, having neglected it for years. Pitchers are getting worse at it. More»
Will Leitch

Da Bears Still Rule

The Cubs have the national romantic storyline, the Bulls have the Jordan years, the Blackhawks have those two shiny new Stanley Cup titles, the White Sox even have the White House. But in Chicago itself, the Bears are the way the citizens see themselves. More»
Russ Lande

A Fourth to Be Reckoned With

Jimmy Garoppolo may not be the first quarterback chosen in the draft, but he'll be up there -- possibly even in the first round -- thanks to his strong arm, accuracy and agility. Here's a breakdown of the crucial skills that will make Garoppolo a quality starting passer. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

A Matter of Time

So far this season, replay reviews have helped to overturn 28 bad calls -- yet some still say instant replay causes unnecessary delays. But in a sport that embraces double headers and extra innings, can't we afford a few extra minutes to make sure the right team wins? More»
Matt Brown

Controlled Chaos

All of a sudden, Auburn is reinventing itself as the premier innovator in modern college football, leading to debates about the way the game should be played. The Iron Bowl, already so incredibly passionate, has added another layer of intrigue. More»
Mike Tanier

The Mettenberger Solution

The Bengals must draft Zach Mettenberger. The LSU quarterback is the solution to their Andy Dalton dilemma, and it's easy to see why once you examine all the scenarios -- if Dalton's play improves, deteriorates, or remains at its current plain yogurt state. More»
Colin McGowan

The Numbers Game

A recent report pegs the value of an average college football player from 2011 through 2015 at $178,000 per year. Implementing payment for college athletes will be a complicated process, but at least now we have a place to start the conversation. More»
Holly MacKenzie

Toronto's adopted son

To encounter the Raptors' Amir Johnson is to embrace him. Besides helping his team reach the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, Johnson's adventurous spirit and man-of-the-people attitude has made him Toronto's adopted son. More»
Aaron Gordon

The Doc Is In

The trick for any commentator is to capture a game's spirit and on this front Mike "Doc" Emrick -- NBC's lead play-by-play announcer for the NHL -- cannot be matched. Emrick's called thousands of hockey games and has a lovable list of synonyms for pass. More»
Elena Bergeron

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Erik Spoelstra doesn't get a lot of support in the Coach of the Year voting because he has LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. But while he won't win the award, it's unfair to overlook the job he's done in pulling together his star-studded team into champs. More»
Chuck Culpepper

The End Is Not Near

The round-the-clock coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial isn't surprising -- the public's interest has long since swamped our misgivings. But the breathlessness is especially glaring on a day when the dramatic testimony ended early. More»
Chuck Culpepper

The Value Of Struggle

A world away from the California where Jackie Robinson grew up or the Brooklyn where he made his name, Jackie's son David is living in Tanzania, happy to be a coffee farmer, father, teacher and vehicle for social and global change. It's an unexpected life, but it's his. More»
Shaun Powell

The New Faces of Baseball

Historically black colleges and universities, HBCUs for short, find themselves in an interesting athletic position these days. With the popularity of baseball waning among young African Americans, many HBCUs have as many, or more, whites and Latinos on their rosters. More»
Will Leitch

Happy to be Here

Despite injuries and low-win seasons, Bulls fans still keep piling into the United Center in droves. The stadium has been in the top three in attendance consistently for the past decade. So here's our question: How much of this, still, is attributable to Michael Jordan? More»
Neil deMause

Food For Thought

Why don't most pro sports teams let their fans bring in outside food? Because they'd much rather have you spending money on their massively overpriced pizza, hot dogs and beer. While some baseball teams still allow it, the end may be near for those holdouts. More»
Howard Megdal

Same Old Story

Jackie Bradley Jr., the best outfielder so far for the Boston Red Sox, may be the best argument against making too much of small samples we've seen in some time. His massive shifts in performance have come without Bradley altering his process, his outlook or belief in himself. More»
Aaron Gordon

Remembering The Whalers

When you root for a team that doesn't exist, wins are briefly sharing a memory with a random person. Losses are when you walk into the Official NHL Store in New York City and are greeted with a display devoted to the team -- the Hartford Whalers -- it took away. More»
Joe DeLessio

Who to Root for in the NHL Playoffs

The NHL postseason is finally here, but if you don't already have a rooting interest -- or are tuning into hockey just now for the first time this season -- a little guidance may be in order. Let us help you decide where to hang your helmet. More»
Patrick Hruby

Appeal to Sanity

Northwestern appealed the NLRB's ruling that college players have the right to unionize, which comes as little surprise. But the avenues they pursue in their appeal are less about arguing the facts and more about trying to describe the world they want, even if it's not the world we have. More»
Colin McGowan

Back In the Pool

When Michael Phelps announced recently that he's coming back to swimming, there was no pomp or big press conference. A man who's very good at swimming is returning to the sport he loves. That's as pure and simple as it should be. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Strong Starts

The first month of the season represents roughly a sixth of its total length, but it's always better to start a season strong. We may not have much in the way of predictive metrics on who's going to make the playoffs, but we can examine the teams that have played well this spring. More»
Tomas Rios

Worst Laid Plans

If the UFC has any interest in staying profitable, it will have to pursue the idea that MMA is a legitimate sport and its long-term success is tied to not just meeting, but surpassing the attendant standards. Unfortunately, its history doesn't give much room to hope. More»
Colin McGowan

All By Himself

Carmelo Anthony is likely to opt out of his contract this summer, though that doesn't preclude a return to the Knicks. No matter what he does, drama will be included. Either way, Anthony's decision won't be motivated by the public perception. It will be made out of self-interest More»
Mike Tanier

Mandatory Monday: NFL Cold Stove

There is a fine line between tantric and tedious, and the NFL is pushing that line as far as it can go. We have almost a month of wondering where Johnny Manziel will end up before the draft. Here's the latest in the not-news around the league. More»
Leigh Montville

The Second Time Around

Bubba Watson finished off his four-day march though the Masters in grand style with a final round of 69, then turned and looked at his wife and two-year-old son and cried, in true Bubba style, because he still couldn't believe that he could have won -- again. More»
Joe Lemire

Late Power

Chris Davis joined an exclusive club last year when he hit 53 homers, finally showing the power and eye in the bigs that had led him to eye-popping stat lines in the minors. But what can be expected from him in this follow-up season? More»
Jack Moore

Hot Brew

The Brewers keep turning up the heat. Sunday's win capped off a third consecutive series sweep and pushed their odds of making the playoffs over 50 percent. The stars are in place and this year's supporting cast looks strong. Is this the year for the Crew? More»
Sports on Earth Films

The Finish Line

When 78-year-old runner Bill Iffrig was knocked off his feat by a bomb blast yards from the finish of the 2013 Boston Marathon, he was unwittingly thrusted into the spotlight. But there's much more to Iffrig than just those images of him at that tragic event. More»
Geoffrey Gray

Pacquiao's Next Step

Even though the judges had him ahead on all scorecards, Manny Pacquiao seemed to age in the ring in this rematch against Timothy Bradley. Should the welterweight champ keep facing the same foes in the ring, or focus fully on his political future? More»
Will Leitch


We'll have a new installment of Leitch Across America this week, where we'll be immersing ourselves in Chicago's sports culture. One thing is for sure about the Windy City: its residents' love for their hometown is infectious and sports are tied to almost everything here. More»
Michael Weinreb

Cat Diplomacy

After a tape surfaced last fall of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini profanely decrying his own fan base, it appeared his fate was sealed. But Pelini is still there and beyond repairing the Husker's mediocre program, he needs to repair his own image, hence the cat stunt last Saturday. More»
Seerat Sohi

Searching for Jackson's Five

Everyone seems to be critic when it comes to Warriors coach Mark Jackson, including Golden State's owner, Joe Lacob. But despite a shifting lineup, assistant coach firings and an embattled leader, Jackson's Warriors could surprise us in the playoffs. More»
Jack Etkin

Elder Statesman

Paul Konerko has been a member of the White Sox for nearly two decades, but he knows that the end is much closer than the beginning. As Jose Abreu solidifies the first base job, Konerko is doing what he can in his new role, both on and off the field. More»
Geoffrey Gray

Pacquiao's Counterpunch

For all the pre-fight hype about faith and will and killer instinct, it was Manny Pacquiao's superior technical ability and hand speed that were able to stop a game Timothy Bradley Jr. in their rematch for the WBO welterweight title on Saturday night. More»
Sarah Turcotte

The Terrifying Front

Masters TV viewers have been limited to only a glimpse or two of the front nine so far -- but that has been where much of the action has been, including a record-tying 30 from Gary Woodland and the toughest hole of the week, the par-4 fourth. More»
Howard Megdal

Capuano Not A Typical Reliever

Chris Capuano, whose fastball clocks in at an average of 88 mph and who routinely uses placement, not velocity, to get batters out, is not the type of pitcher you necessarily expect to flourish in a relief role. But that's exactly how's he's excelling in Boston. More»
Matt Brown

Balancing Act

Dorial Green-Beckham's actions got him kicked off the Missouri football team, an admirable act by coach Gary Pinkel considering how productive his wide receiver had been. Now the school needs to stand behind its words and get Green-Beckham help, even if he's not playing. More»
Sarah Turcotte

Silent Partners

Caddies never get as much press or attention as the golfers they work with, and while that's understandable, it's also unfair. A caddy's job isn't just to carry the bags and know the ins and outs of the course, it can also be to serve as psychologist, friend, scapegoat or bartender. More»
Tomas Rios

Beautiful Disaster

The Mets aren't going to win anything this year, because they play in a division with the Nationals and Braves. (Also, because they're the Mets.) Still, it's hard to look at a team with Bartolo Colon, Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth and not at least think they could be entertaining. More»
John Perrotto

Uncertain Future

Chase Headley has been a member of the Padres organization since he was drafted back in 2005, but as he enters the final year of his contract, he doesn't know where his future will be. In the meantime, he's doing his best not to let the constant rumors get the best of him. More»
Will Leitch

Much Ado About Nothing

Whether or not Michael Pineda illegally had a substance on his pitching hand against the Red Sox is almost beside the point. In today's hot take media world, you'll hear enough opinions on the matter to make you wish you'd never even heard about it in the first place. More»
Chuck Culpepper

Fight For Your Rights

UFC's arrival in Abu Dhabi shines another spotlight on human rights issues in the region, as does the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It makes for an awkward situation, because while rewarding an area that has restricted rights seems unfair, it does increase the conversation around the issue. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Adding Insult to Injury

A few streaky seasons have left Angels fans questioning whether Josh Hamilton is worth his $125 million contract. And just when it looked like he might redeem himself, a thumb injury on an ill-conceived play will have him out for two months. Can he recover? More»
Russ Lande

Sleeper Hits

With the NFL draft less than a month away, a few surprising names have found their way onto the radar as possible first-round picks. We sifted through the rumors to find out which players could make a major impact -- or at least carve out a respectable career -- this year. More»
Tim Casey

Just a Sea Dog

Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens turns 22 in July, and Baseball America, and rank him among the top 50 prospects in baseball. He's been living up to the hype, but Boston is being careful with their young star. More»
Shaun Powell

Sudden Impact

The two runaway leaders in the the NBA's Eastern Conference are losing games (somewhat unintentionally), resting players (intentionally) and raising questions about their championship swagger. Can they silence the doubters? More»
Brian Tuohy

Tanks For Nothing

After witnessing the Philadelphia 76ers lose their 26th straight game two sports fans decided it was time to act upon an idea they had been stewing over for some time. Through a petition, they want to pressure the league to abolish its draft lottery. Will it work? More»
Michael Weinreb

Reality Check

It's been 10 years since Michigan won a Big Ten title, and this unprecedented run of uncertainty in Ann Arbor shows no signs of letting up. Can Brady Hoke and Devin Gardner finally stabilize the Wolverines and begin meeting lofty expectations? More»
Sarah Turcotte

The Most Interesting Man at Augusta

After the first day at the Masters, Bill Haas, defending champ Adam Scott and the 2012 winner Bubba Watson were all atop the leaderboard. Fun, but not exactly it's-totally-cool-that-Tiger's-not-here fun. What can get us over that hump? Miguel Angel Jimenez. More»
Mike Tanier

Sophomore Sleepers

After inconclusive rookie seasons, these second-year players could make a big impact on this year's first round. Will they get a second chance to prove their worth? Or will their teams draft their replacements? Here are our predictions. More»
Colin McGowan

Leaving the Nest

Jim Boeheim claims Tyler Ennis needs another year at Syracuse to hone his game before he's ready for the NBA. It's understandable why he'd want Ennis to stay in school, but it's a selfish suggestion nonetheless. Here's why draft prospects should strike while the iron is hot. More»
Geoffrey Gray

A Born Fighter

The ideal body of a prize fighter should be lithe and lean, but behold Timothy Bradley, who takes on Manny Pacquiao again for the welterweight championship in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Despite his ultra-muscular build, Bradley is confident he'll earn a rematch victory. More»
Will Leitch

Not Just Another Story

Derrick Gordon's announcement feels like just another story because of the news cycle, and the perpetual exhaustion it inspires, not because of its actual importance. This is a huge deal. But there are many more huge deals left to come. More»
Marc Normandin

Life After Mariano

For so many years, the Yankees were unlike anyone else, rarely having to worry about their closer situation. But with Mariano Rivera gone, now they're stuck doing what everyone else does, trying to get by with mere mortals on the mound. More»
Matt Brown

A New Identity

Clemson will look a lot different when it takes the field in 2014, with a familiar core of offensive players gone. But that doesn't mean we should forget about the Tigers. Led by a potentially dominant defense and great coaching, they could be ready to surprise. More»
Mike Tanier

Ultimate Guard Showdown

There is room in the annual NFL draft conversation for only two guards. Traditionally, one is the experienced, quick-footed technician and the other is the raw-but-talented project. So between David Yankey and Xavier Su'a-Filo, who's this year's best? More»
Russ Lande

LSU Pro Day Report

There was no media circus at LSU's pro day, but those who were there were not disappointed. From the quick return of quarterback Zach Mettenberger from an ACL tear to a stellar day from his receivers, there was a lot to like for draft scouts. More»
Tomas Rios

Drifting toward spectacle

Jake Shields is one of the best in his weight class, but he was released from the UFC this week for being too ... well, boring. His firing is further proof that the UFC is becoming more interested in spectacle than sport. Could that mean greater danger for its athletes? More»
Shaun Powell

The Best in the NBA 2014

This NBA season hasn't been pretty, from injuries to tanking to problems in New York and L.A, but it wasn't a total loss. There are still players deserving of accolades, so we hand out awards for the best in the league, including a fierce MVP debate. More»
Colin McGowan

Strictly Business

It would be surprising if John Calipari left Kentucky, but it's in his best interest to appear to be keeping one eye on the NBA. That's why the Lakers rumor that Rex Chapman has been dishing out the past few days does nothing but benefit Coach Cal. More»
Joe DeLessio

Derek Jeter, Media Master

Derek Jeter has demonstrated remarkable discipline to avoid not just real scandals, but the kind of non-scandals that the New York tabloids love to scribble. Few, if any, sports icons of Jeter's stature have managed to maintain such an impeccable media record. More»
Howard Megdal

Calculated Speed Demon

If there's one dominant tool in the five tools we think of when we picture the St. Louis Cardinals, it's speed. Names like Lou Brock, Enos Slaughter and Whitey Herzog might come to mind. But Yadier Molina, the active stolen base leader for the Cardinals, certainly does not. More»
Patrick Hruby

Why The Derrick Gordon Story Matters

On Wednesday, University of Massachusetts shooting guard Derrick Gordon came out as the first openly gay player in NCAA Division I men's basketball. Many responded swiftly to the tune of "who cares?" Here's the answer to that question. More»
Michael Pina

Mystery Men

Not every NBA player can be a star on the level of LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but that doesn't mean that they can't play an important role. From bench scorers to defensive rocks to pure sixth men, these five overachievers are helping their teams to the playoffs. More»
Will Leitch

Save Us, Albert Pujols

Tuesday night was a big night for MLB's home run record. The loudest story of the night was yet more nostalgia for a pre-Barry Bonds era -- yet we also got a reminder of Albert Pujols' power. He's now the only active player with even an outside chance at the title. More»
Chuck Culpepper

Broken Down

Oscar Pistorius took the stand at his murder trial, coming under an aggressive barrage of questions from the prosecutor. As gasps reportedly filled a chamber, Pistorius' voice quavered into a tone you might have trouble forgetting. It sounded like helplessness. More»
Sarah Turcotte

Place Your Masters Prop Bets

So Tiger Woods won't be playing at the Masters. But if you need reasons to get excited for the tournament, how about having a little skin in the game? We assembled a list of prop bets just for the occasion. (You're welcome, Jim Nantz.) More»
Colin McGowan

Shining Moments

What is there to say about Geno Auriemma's Connecticut? They just won another title in dominating fashion. And, while the coach himself can come off like a bit of a jerk, it's still obvious that he truly cares about his players. More»
Russ Lande

Bigger Is Better

Running backs seem to be less and less valuable each year, but that doesn't mean teams can get by without them, and the Seahawks and 49ers just showed how important a back can be. Big backs are especially useful, so we'll count down the draft's best five. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Getting Late Early

It's far too early in the baseball season to judge whether a team has a chance to pull it together or not, but that doesn't mean we can't investigate and see what's going wrong. For the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Twins and Reds, does a slow start foreshadow a long season? More»
Aaron Gordon

Mining the Past

If you're having a slow news day, why not bend the space-time continuum? That seemed to be the inspiration behind ESPN's awkward "live-blogging" of Hank Aaron's historic 715th home run. Let's hope this doesn't become a habit. More»
Geoffrey Gray

Compassionate Warrior

As Manny Pacquiao trains to fight Timothy Bradley, he's a different fighter and a different man than he was earlier in his career. The new, more mature, Pacquiao spends time on politics and religion as well as on boxing, and that lack of aggression may hurt him in the ring. More»
Sarah D. Bunting

They Oughta Be In Pictures

Baseball movies don't tend to do great business outside of fans, usually because they focus too much on the game rather than the appeal of some its great characters. We put together a list of possible biopics based on Shoeless Joe Jackson and Jimmy Piersall, to name a few. More»
Shaun Powell

The Legend Continues

It's been forty years since Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run. This week, thousands of fans gathered at Turner Field to pay tribute to a living legend -- and the man many baseball fans still consider to be the true home-run king. More»
DJ Gallo

Saying Goodbye to the Captain

Derek Jeter's farewell tour is officially in full swing, with every little detail being "his last" this or that. We took the temperature outside Yankee Stadium during Jeter's final home opener to see how fans were feeling. More»
Jorge Arangure Jr.

Penned Up

For all the success the Orioles' Brian Matusz has had as a reliever, and as grateful as he is to be in the majors, he still misses his days as a starter -- when he'd spend an hour talking to a catcher about an opposing team's lineup. More»
Dan Pompei

Numbers In Safeties

For years, safety was considered a second-class position, the place where teams would stash failed cornerbacks who couldn't run well enough. With the NFL evolving into a pass-happy league, suddenly safety is a very important spot -- and the pay is evolving to match. More»
Howard Megdal

Past is Present

The St. Louis Cardinals' new Hall of Fame, ready in time for the team's home opener, highlight's the team's remarkable continuity. The Cardinals don't feel like a baseball team right now. They feel like a continuum of baseball history. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Small Sample Size Wonders

The first weeks of the baseball season bring the eyebrow-raising variances that come from small sample sizes. Let's look at some impressive early performances, from Mark Trumbo to Chris Tillman, and whether it's likely they'll be sustained. More»
Matt Brown

Seeing Double

Florida State's spring scrimmage will be nationally televised on Saturday, giving us a first look at the defending champions. With a Heisman quarterback and several key pieces returning, what are the chances of the Seminoles pulling off a rare repeat? More»
Will Leitch

Improbable Ending

Tonight Kentucky was taken out by a story even more fascinating than its own. Connecticut beat Kentucky 60-54 to win its fourth national championship in the last 15 years, in one of the most improbable tournament runs in recent memory. More»
Russ Lande

Prospect Profile: Notre Dame D Line

Notre Dame's Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt have, at different times, been discussed as potential top 15 picks, but there's a drastic difference between the two. One should be drafted in the first round; the other is a third- or fourth-rounder. More»
Colin McGowan

The Bishop and the Atheist

Johan Cruyff is a bishop, and José Mourinho is an atheist. They don't get along. They both think soccer is about ideas, but they're constantly bickering about which ideas those are.On the pitch, these ideas quarrel with each other. More»
Steve Kim

More Than a Title

When Manny Pacquiao faces Tim Bradley this Saturday night in Las Vegas, he'll be fighting for more than just the WBO welterweight title or any kind of "revenge." He'll be fighting for his place in the pay-per-view hierarchy -- in other words, for his market value. More»
Matt Norlander

Heir to the throne

Connecticut is king of college basketball. This isn't an of-the-moment statement. In some ways, Kevin Ollie elevated UConn's reputation and improved their image even after the terrific but controversial Jim Calhoun left, proving that the program is unshakable. More»
Patrick Hruby

A Doctorate In Misdirection

Another day, another highly-paid NCAA official trying to refute the idea that college athletes deserve the same rights as other college students. Why is it so difficult for the men in charge to accept how ridiculous their arguments really sound when said aloud? More»
Will Leitch

Blast From The Past

RBI Baseball 14 is a reboot of the beloved video game classic from the 1980s, and while it's clearly aimed at capturing the nostalgia of adult gamers, it's also fun, which is particularly important when trying to appeal to the children of those adults. More»
Leigh Montville

Perfect Matchup

College basketball is about to see something that has never happened before as two undefeated teams square off in an NCAA final. There's more to it for the UConn and Notre Dame women, too, because they've seen just so much of each other over the last few years. More»
Colin McGowan

The Duncan Strategy

The Miami Heat are carefully managing the playing time of Dwyane Wade, a similar strategy to that employed by the Spurs for Tim Duncan. This has worked well so far in the regular season, but will it work for the playoffs? More»
Jonathan Tamari

A Perfect Fit in D.C.

Early on, DeSean Jackson could get away with being a young, immature firecracker on a team laden with veteran leadership. But now he's a veteran player and still a damn headache. Luckily, for Dan Snyder, there's no talent with too much baggage. More»
Matt Norlander

Ready For An Unpredictable Finish

A No. 8 and a No. 7 still stand. We've never seen the final game feature two teams whose seeds tally up so high. This year, all the predictions of unpredictability came true, although UConn and Kentucky don't feel like typical seven and eight seeds. More»
Geoffrey Gray

Doc's Debut

Taking the mound for the first time as a big leaguer 30 years ago today, Dwight Gooden carried more than his family's burdens. He had been the Mets' top draft pick at a time when they were one of the worst teams in baseball. The 19-year-old wouldn't disappoint. More»
Mike Tanier

Mandatory Monday: Double Dipping

While the percentages are not encouraging, history provides many examples of NFL teams who grabbed a pair of impact players and ushered in a new era of glory. Let's count down a list of the biggest double first-round success stories, from the birth of the draft through a few years ago. More»
Howard Megdal

Second To None

Anthony Rendon is turning heads in Washington with his natural hitting skill, but with third base occupied by Ryan Zimmerman, Rendon has now turned his attention to trying to learn second base. So far, so good for a young player the Nationals believe is a big part of their future. More»
Jack Moore

A tainted crown

In his first start of the season Sunday against Tampa Bay, Yu Darvish reached 500 strikeouts in just 401 2/3 innings pitched, a new record. History shows that this might not be the greatest news for Darvish: Previous strikeout sprinters have had their careers derailed soon after 500. More»
Aaron Gordon

Divergent Crews

Turner Sports aired three simultaneous broadcasts of each Final Four game, featuring home announcers for each team and the usual neutral crew. It's great to see networks trying something different, appeasing fans who don't need neutrality as much as entertainment. More»
B. David Zarley

Hoop Dreams

Dizzy Lizzy Delicious can accurately be called a circus performer, but she's so much more than that. Artist, teacher, athlete, international traveler -- Lizzy's journey from Australia to Chicago isn't just one of distance, but one of elevating her craft. More»
Will Leitch

Finally On The Radar

For all the wildness of the Kentucky-Wisconsin game, it is Connecticut that is the surprise in the national championship game. At every stage, UConn has been overlooked by their better-ranked, more-known opponents, up to and including Florida. More»
Howard Megdal

Talkin' About The Nets

No one seems to be convinced that the Brooklyn Nets are contenders. At least not in a real sense, as in: a team that could win the Eastern Conference. And maybe that's fair, but then again, the Nets have beaten the Heat three times this season. More»
Sarah Turcotte

Center of Attention

Golf Digest's choice to put Paulina Gretzky on their cover elicited no shortage of controversy, in no small part due to the fact that Gretzky isn't actually a golfer. Yet it seems assured that this issue will sell magazines, and in that light, the decision seems understandable. More»
Dan Pompei

Age Is Just A Number

On his third try at being an NFL head coach, Pete Carroll has finally found success and stability in Seattle. He's also found what many coaches never seem to get right -- that to relate to players decades his junior, he has to stay young himself. More»
Matthew Kory

Forgotten Ace

Gangly, with scraggly, perpetually wet hair and drooping shoulders, Clay Buchholz doesn't look like an ace. That's just what he is, though -- when he's healthy, which he often isn't. Still, the Red Sox' fifth starter may be their best pitcher. More»
Will Leitch

Honest Viewing

This year's Final Four promises to be among the biggest spectacles ever, likely to set a record for the largest attendance for a basketball game. It will cap off a wonderful tournament, but while we watch, it's hard to ignore the ongoing labor struggles in the game. More»
Michael Clair

Team Astro: Where Chaos Reigns

You may have noticed that during the first week of the baseball season, not a single player has been beaten to death on the field. Nor has anyone had a baseball bore through their body. If those are things you'd like to see, "Team Astro" is the series for you. More»
Matt Norlander

The Power of Three

Two more wins for the Gators would earn coach Billy Donovan a spot on a very short list of three-time champions -- an impressive feat, especially since he's likely only midway through his coaching career. Here's what a win in Arlington could mean for his future with Florida. More»
Colin McGowan

Suspension of Disbelief

Police botched their investigation. FSU screwed theirs up as well. At this point, can we really blame incompetence? Or is it a symptom of a much larger issue of colleges sweeping sexual assault cases -- especially those involving athletes -- under the rug? More»
Joe DeLessio

Ballpark Pricing

The results of the annual Fan Cost Index might be shocking -- $337 for a Yankees game?! -- but they can also be misleading. If you don't mind sitting in the nosebleeds or skipping the concession stand, America's pastime is still one of the best bargains in town. More»
Russ Lande

Rumor Has It

It's not always easy to tell which NFL draft whispers are real and which ones are bogus. While nothing is 100 percent certain, the following reports came from trusted league sources -- but if they're wrong, you didn't hear them from us, of course. More»
Shaun Powell

NBA Franchise Power Rankings

Every organization sets a standard. Some have built-in advantages, but even those are squandered if the management is weak. Here's how we rate the NBA franchises taking into account three important top layers: ownership, the front office and coaching. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Upon Further Review

The Giants seemed to have gotten the short end of the replay challenge stick this week in a 5-4 loss. But baseball may need one or two worst-case scenarios, if only to reveal why the current challenge system is still very much a work in progress. More»
Michael Weinreb

Unionize The U

If any college football team should lead the fight for a players' union, it's Miami. The Hurricanes' roots are in rebelliousness, in being a program defined by its disregard for NCAA rules. So why not lead the charge against an increasingly disliked system? More»
Will Leitch

Grin And Bear It

So know it's going to be a year of this for the Yankees and Derek Jeter: It's another farewell tour. So yeah, sorry Derek: You have to do it, and pretend you aren't eating every bit of it up. It feels good to say goodbye, even if we're not always sure why. More»
Colin McGowan

Barcelona's Grave Mistake

La Masia is far from barren, but it's not producing the caliber of prospect it has in the past. Perhaps this begins to explain why Barcelona are in violation of FIFA's youth transfer rules. More than any other big club in the world, the they prefer to bring players through their youth ranks. More»
Joe Lemire

Sliding Hard

Bryce Harper was nearly knocked unconscious on Opening Day, but don't expect that to make the 21-year-old more cautious. It's not just his light-tower power but what one teammate calls "that Pete Rose kind of charisma" that has him poised for stardom. More»
Greg Hanlon

Sins of the Preacher

Chad Curtis agreed to this interview because he's still upset that he didn't get to take the stand at trial, when he was convicted of molesting three teenage girls at the high school where he volunteered. Curtis maintains that he is innocent. The girls tell a different story. More»
Matthew Kory

The Best Possible Baseball Team

Who are the best players in baseball? Everyone will answer that question differently, choosing to include (or not) contract value, age, production or hometown allegiance. This is one man's opinion, and it includes some of the biggest, brightest names in the game today. More»
Russ Lande

Five Skill Position Prospects To Know

As the NFL draft nears, everyone is focusing on names like Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. To look only at the stars neglects the lower-round prospects who make noise every season. Here are our five choices for skill position names to know. More»
Matt Brown

Onward and Upward

Over most of the last 25 years, Bill Snyder has spent a lot of time proving people wrong. Kansas State may have fallen off the national radar last year, but that doesn't mean it should be forgotten. In fact, the Wildcats might be college football's best sleeper in 2014. More»
Howard Megdal

Mike Francesa Talks To A Baby

Radio host Mike Francesa ranted on Wednesday about baseball players taking paternity leave, after he learned that the Mets' Daniel Murphy would miss a few days to be with his wife and newborn son. Now, we imagine how Francesa would talk to his own baby. More»
Marc Normandin

Tampa Trio

The Tampa Bay Rays are hoping this year's pitching trio -- Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Chris Archer -- will live up to their huge potential, unlike 2010's core of Matt Garza, James Shields and David Price. All three are young and cheap to boot. More»
Matt Norlander

Familiar Four

The past 10 NCAA tournaments have proven that March is completely unpredictable, but April -- home to the Final Four -- is not exactly championships anonymous. Schools like, UConn, Florida, Kentucky and Duke keep showing up, and that's not a bad thing. More»
Michael Weinreb

An Experiment Worth Trying

The idea that allowing college players to profit from their work is gaining acceptance, and there's not much of a valid argument to be made to the contrary. It might come with risk, and it might change the way we view college sports, but it's absolutely worth trying. More»
Mike Tanier

The Need For Speed

DeSean Jackson doesn't come to Washington without baggage, obviously, or else he might still be an Eagle. For a Redskins team that badly needed a deep threat to stretch the offense and help Robert Griffin III, importing Jackson is definitely a risk worth taking. More»
Patrick Hruby

Amateur Delusions

University of Texas athletic director Patterson told reporters that he doesn't agree with a recent regional National Labor Relations Board ruling that Northwestern University football players are actually school employees. But what if NCAA amateurism applied to him? More»
Will Leitch

Forgive and Forget

Everybody loves to tear apart PED users, until they actually meet one. That seems to be what happened to David Aardsma, who came out strongly opposed to Jhonny Peralta's big Cardinals contract in the wake of a suspension -- until he became Peralta's teammate. More»
Matt Brown

Lucky Number Seven

Last year, UConn was banned from playing in the NCAA tournament. This year, with the help of Shabazz Napier, they've staged an impressive comeback -- and rebounded from getting routed in their season finale -- to earn a spot in the Final Four. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Looking For One Last Shot

After 18 seasons in the big leagues and one on the sidelines, Bobby Abreu is trying to keep his career going with the Mets. He may or not ever make it back, but he's worth remembering for the long, distinguished career he's had, even if his teammates overshadowed him. More»
Shaun Powell

Pitsville, USA

There may be no sadder story in the NBA than the steady collapse and decay of the Pistons, once one of the best-run and most-profitable organizations around. Are there any signs of hope among the wreckage wrought by management? More»
Mike Tanier

Boom or Bust

Dominique Easley could be the next John Randle or the next Steve Emtman. He could finish his career with 138 sacks or just 19 games started. He could make the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the Knee Surgery Hall of Fame. More»
Colin McGowan

Here Comes the Sun

To improve transparency -- and curb rampant media speculation about bad calls and fixed games -- the NBA is releasing the internal memos it issues to referees. But will this calculated move simply lead to a false sense of security? More»
Sarah Turcotte

Legend, Interrupted

Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from The Masters due to a back injury, meaning he'll miss the tournament for the first time since 1995. It also puts a hold on his quest to top Jack Nicklaus' record for most majors won, and makes us wonder what he'll be when he returns. More»
Jorge Arangure

Scouts' Honor

While competitors scouted the usual suspects like Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, a pair of international scouts headed to Aruba -- and stumbled upon a future World Series champ. Meet the men who discovered Xander Bogaerts. More»
Mike Tanier

Inspired (and Insane) Minor League Baseball Nicknames

Some Minor League Baseball team names are quirky or inspired. Others are just downright insane. Which category names like RiverSharks, TinCaps, Isotopes, Chukars and Biscuits fall under might depend a little on just how you view lower-level baseball in the first place. More»
Tim Casey

Mama's Boys

Kemba Walker has left UConn for the NBA and his mother has followed him to Charlotte, but that hasn't stopped her from rallying with Shabazz Napier's mother to support the Huskies' Final Four run. Both women are proud of what their sons have been able to accomplish. More»
Will Leitch

Baseball Immemorial

Our baseball history is our own history. It is a marker for our own lives. Which is why we're delighted to spread the word of Hardball Passport, a site that helps document your baseball journey and provides comprehensive stats for every single MLB game since Oct. 21, 1975. More»
Chuck Culpepper

April in Liverpool

It's April in Liverpool again, and that means another April 15, and that means the 25-year observance of the awful day at Sheffield's Hillsborough ground, where 96 fans met an untimely death. This year, Liverpool sits on top of the Premier League close to that painful anniversary. More»
Howard Megdal

Bring Your Kiddies

Opening Day for the Mets is something to cheer about (even in a loss), but it was also a reminder of just what a challenge it is to properly indoctrinate a child into a lifetime of Mets fandom right now. At least there's always David Wright ... and Mr. Met. More»
Jonathan Bernhardt

Out Like a Lion

Injuries can reshape the complexion of not just a team, but an entire division or playoff race. Here are some of the biggest DL trips around the game, and what they mean for the season -- from Yu Darvish to Clayton Kershaw, Marco Scutaro to Aroldis Chapman. More»
Leigh Montville

For One Day Only...

There are no steroids to be taken on this day. There are no doses of human growth hormone. There is nothing new on the scene. The supplements of choice today are Hamburger Helper and maybe a large Diet Coke. Happy April 1, 2014. More»
Russ Lande

Prospect Profile: Greg Robinson

A quality offensive lineman who can block pass rushers can't be underestimated. Although there is no consensus top left tackle in this draft, Auburn's Greg Robinson brings a rare combination of size and athleticism, which makes him a candidate to go in the top 10. More»
Shaun Powell

Wonder Twins

Aaron and Andrew Harrison weren't instant sensations at Kentucky. But they've matured quickly on the court over the last few weeks. And they could win two huge games in their home state, one that thought the twins may have been destined for gridiron glory instead. More»
Colin McGowan

Identity Crisis

The Indiana Pacers are the latest NBA team in crisis. Their normally modest-but-effective offense has stagnated and their defense can no longer compensate for it. The sliver of hope is that there are still plenty of tune-up games before the postseason. More»
Todd Dybas

Seattle's Savior

The expectations for Robinson Cano imply that he'll need supernatural skills to uplift the Mariners. He needs to play high-level defense, hit like a corner infielder, help the younger players and re-energize the fan base. More»