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MLB to use upcoming Arizona Fall League to study Pace of Game Initiatives

(courtesy Free-Extras.com)

Experimental pace of game initiatives will be game-tested during play at the 2014 Arizona Fall League, Major League Baseball announced today. The wide-ranging plan being implemented in AFL play was developed by MLB’s new Pace of Game Committee, which was officially announced on September 22nd.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said: “The Pace of Game Committee is eager to test various ideas – ranging from the incremental to the dramatic – in order to learn more, and we are fortunate to have a setting in which we can do exactly that. We will work with the appropriate parties – including players, umpires, our partners, our fans and many other contributors to our game – to form effective pace of game recommendations that will fit the Major League level.”

Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, the chairman of the Pace of Game Committee, said: “Our committee members have many practical ideas about how we can improve our pace of game. The Arizona Fall League will be a terrific platform during which we can experiment with these ideas and take away some lessons in the hope of streamlining the pace of play.”

Experimental pace of game rules will be in place for all AFL games and will include the following:

  • Batter’s Box Rule: The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout his at-bat, unless one of a series of established exceptions occurs, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate. (Exceptions include a foul ball or a foul tip; a pitch forcing the batter out of the batter’s box; “time” being requested and granted; a wild pitch or a passed ball; and several others.)
  • No-Pitch Intentional Walks: In the event a team decides to intentionally walk a batter, no pitches shall be thrown. Instead, the manager shall signal to the home plate umpire with four fingers, and the batter should proceed to first base to become a runner.
  • 20-Second Rule [AT 17 SALT RIVER FIELDS HOME GAMES ONLY]: A modified version of Rule 8.04, which discourages unnecessary delays by the pitcher, shall apply. Rule 8.04 requires the pitcher to deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball with the bases unoccupied. The penalty prescribed by Rule 8.04 for a pitcher’s violation of the Rule is that the umpire shall call “Ball.”

In the AFL games at Salt River, a clock will be displayed in both dugouts, behind home plate, and in the outfield. The clock will be operated by an independent operator, who is not a member of the umpire crew. A pitcher shall be allowed 20 seconds to throw each pitch. The batter must be in the box prepared for the pitch during the entire 20-second period. If the batter steps out of the box during the 20-second period, the pitcher may deliver the pitch and the umpire may call a strike, unless the batter was first granted time by the umpire. As described in Rule 6.02(b) Comment, umpires may grant a hitter’s reasonable request for “Time” under appropriate circumstances.

The 20-second clock shall begin when the pitcher is in possession of the ball, regardless of whether the batter is in the box or otherwise alert to the pitcher; provided, however, that (1) with respect to the first pitch to each batter, the clock shall begin when the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher, (2) with respect to a pitch to a batter following a play in which the pitcher was involved as a fielder (including backing up throws), the clock shall begin when the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher, and the pitcher has entered the dirt circle to approach the pitcher’s plate to begin pitching to the batter, and (3) after a hitter fouls off a pitch, the clock shall begin when the umpire points to the pitcher and says “Play.” Please note that the Official Baseball Rules governing quick pitches still apply.

The clock will stop only when the pitcher begins his motion to deliver the ball (and not “when the pitcher releases the ball” as prescribed in Rule 8.04). Beginning the motion of coming to the set position shall be sufficient to stop the clock. If the pitcher maintains possession of the ball without beginning his pitching motion for more than 20 seconds, the Umpire shall call “Ball.” The umpire shall give the pitcher a reasonable opportunity to take his proper position on the pitcher’s plate after the umpire has called a ball and before the umpire calls a successive ball pursuant to this Rule.

  • 2:05 Inning Break Clock: There shall be a maximum 2:05 break between innings. Hitters must enter the batter’s box by the 1:45 mark. When batters violate this rule, the Umpire may call an automatic strike. When batters are set by the appropriate time and pitchers fail to throw a pitch before the conclusion of the 2:05 period, the Umpire shall call a ball.
  • 2:30 Pitching Change Break Clock: There shall be a maximum 2:30 break for pitching changes, including pitching changes that occur during an inning break. The first pitch must be thrown before the conclusion of the 2:30 period or the umpire shall call a ball. The clock shall start when the new pitcher enters the playing field (i.e., crosses the warning track, or foul line).
  • Three “Time Out” Limit: Each team shall be permitted only three “Time Out” conferences per game (including extra innings). Such conferences shall include player conferences with the pitcher (including the catcher), manager or coach conferences with the pitcher, and coach conferences with a batter. Conferences during pitching changes, and time outs called as a result of an injury or other emergency, shall not be counted towards this limit. A manager, coach or player will not be permitted to call a fourth time out in violation of this Rule. In such cases, the game will continue uninterrupted, and offenders may be subject to discipline.

In addition, Major League Baseball will continue to study potential modifications to its system of instant replay. The 17 home games scheduled at Salt River Fields will feature the review system currently utilized in all MLB games, with connectivity to MLB’s Replay Operations Center at MLB Advanced Media in New York. Those games will be played under experimental regulations, pertaining to the scope of replay, review initiation, time limits and other factors.

The Arizona Fall League, the game’s premiere, off-season developmental platform, is administered by Major League Baseball.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

NFL, DIRECTV agree on new multi-year deal to extend SUNDAY TICKET

(courtesy Free-Extras.com)

New Agreements Also Renew NFL Network with TV Everywhere,

Expand DIRECTV’s Digital Rights and Continue Distribution of New DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE Channel

NEW YORK and EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 1, 2014 – The National Football League and DIRECTV have extended and expanded DIRECTV’s exclusive rights to carry NFL SUNDAY TICKET and its package of every Sunday afternoon out-of-market game through a new multi-year agreement.

The new agreement also expands DIRECTV’s rights to stream NFL SUNDAY TICKET live on mobile devices and via broadband, known as NFL SUNDAY TICKET.TV, as previously announced.

Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the new pact, DIRECTV will also continue to broadcast its RED ZONE CHANNEL and its new DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE channel that debuted this season. In addition, DIRECTV and the NFL also extended their NFL Network distribution relationship with DIRECTV to offer its customers TV Everywhere access to NFL Network anytime, anywhere on virtually any device.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with DIRECTV,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “DIRECTV and NFL SUNDAY TICKET have served our fans well for 20 years and continue to complement our broadcast television packages. We also appreciate DIRECTV’s commitment to NFL Network, which it has carried since the channel launched in 2003.”

“This new agreement is a testament to the terrific long-term relationship we have with the NFL and its millions of fans across the country,” said Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DIRECTV.  “NFL SUNDAY TICKET has always been the centerpiece of DIRECTV’s sports leadership and we’re pleased to continue our relationship with the NFL and be a part of the league’s future growth and success.”

Under the new NFL SUNDAY TICKET agreement, DIRECTV will continue to offer all out-of-market Sunday afternoon games in HD. DIRECTV customers who purchase NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX will also have access to the online/mobile service to watch their games on virtually any device; a Game Mix channel with up to eight games on one screen; both the RED ZONE CHANNEL and new DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE channel; and Short Cuts, which offers replays of each Sunday game in 30 commercial-free minutes.

The new DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE channel is devoted entirely to fantasy football and fields a team of fantasy experts offering real-time game-to-game fantasy analysis and statistics powered by NFL.com Fantasy.

About DIRECTV

DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is one of the world’s leading providers of digital television entertainment services delivering a premium video experience through state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming and industry leading customer service to more than 38 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America. In the U.S., DIRECTV offers its over 20 million customers access to more than 195 HD channels and Dolby-Digital® 5.1 theater-quality sound, access to exclusive sports programming such as NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, Emmy-award winning technology and higher customer satisfaction than the leading cable companies for 14 years running. DIRECTV Latin America, through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, and other Latin American countries, leads the pay TV category in technology, programming and service, delivering an unrivaled digital television experience to more than 18 million customers. DIRECTV sports and entertainment properties include two Regional Sports Networks (Rocky Mountain and Pittsburgh), and minority ownership interests in Root Sports Northwest and Game Show Network. For the most up-to-date information on DIRECTV, please visit www.directv.com.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY DIRECTV & NFLmedia.com

Entire Team JEGS goes pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October

Pro Stock Motor car

Jr. Dragsters

 

DELAWARE, Ohio (Oct. 1) — Team JEGS is going all-in for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with all of its race cars sporting a pink paint scheme for races in October.

 

The effort will be spread across NHRA, ARCA, CRA, and other special events and will include 10 Coughlin family members.

“October, with it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is near and dear to a lot of our hearts, not just here in America but around the world,” Jeg Coughlin Jr. said. “Being affiliated with the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University with the JEGS Foundation, we couldn’t be more proud to work with our partners there and with Mopar, Dodge, Mac Tools, Oakley, Speedco, and Traxxas to turn this car into a nice tribute to breast cancer awareness.”

 

In addition to his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge carrying a pink paint scheme at NHRA Pro Stock races, Coughlin will wear a special Nick Pastura-designed helmet and an Oakley-designed firesuit for breast cancer awareness. His team will also sport pink and yellow Oakley-designed crew shirts for the month, which kicks off with the NHRA Nationals this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. shows his support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October

“There are lot of patients out there who have been affected, a lot of caregivers who have been affected, and if we can help spread the cheer as the whole month does through a multitude of arenas — not just in drag racing or motorsports — we’re happy to do so,” Coughlin said. “Early detection is the key with any illness, certainly with most cancers. We’re proud to do it and kick into October that way.”

 

Troy Coughlin Sr.’s Chevrolet Corvette Pro Mod will carry the pink theme in a special race in Norwalk, Ohio, this weekend and at the NHRA Pro Mod race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

“I’m pretty excited about it,” Troy said. “We did it for the first time on my stuff last year, and Jeg has done it for a couple years now. It’s been pretty neat to bring awareness to breast cancer and all cancer. It’s neat to be a part of it and to be a part of making the world a better place.”

Team racing helmet

Troy’s son T.J., who always wears a pink fire jacket when he races, will have his Sportsman cars in pink, too. He’ll race in the NHRA national events in Reading and Las Vegas.

 

“It’s one of the coolest causes there is,” T.J. said. “Pink is very fluorescent and a wild color. It’s a great cause to support, and there are a lot of fans we impact. Hopefully we can show fans we care and we support them.”

Troy’s daughters Paige and Kelly will race pink and yellow Jr. Dragsters throughout the month, as will Mike Coughlin’s sons Jack and Clay. Makenna Brown plans to race in a pink JEGS.com Jr. Dragster. All of the Jr. Dragster drivers will also be wearing pink crew shirts to show their support.

 

John Coughlin’s son Cody will carry a pink paint scheme on his stock car for the month, racing in ARCA at Kansas Speedway and in the CRA race in Winchester, Ind.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Scott “Woody” Woodruff; COURTESY TEAM JEGS PR

NFL Week 5 is approaching; What to expect

(courtesy Free-Extras.com)


STILL IN THE MIX: History shows that a losing record at this point in the season does not negate a team’s chances of making the playoffs.

Since the current playoff system (12 teams) was instituted in 1990, 25 teams have rebounded from a losing record after four weeks to qualify for the postseason, including the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers in 2013. Four of those clubs advanced to their Conference Championship Games, including the 2001 New England Patriots (1-3) en route to their Super Bowl XXXVI victory.

Since 1990, teams that started 1-3 or worse and made the playoffs:

YEAR TEAM RECORD ADVANCED TO:
1990 New Orleans 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
1990 Philadelphia 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
1991 NY Jets 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
1992 San Diego 0-4 Divisional Playoffs
1993 Green Bay 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
1993 Houston 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
1995 Detroit 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
1995 Philadelphia 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
1996 Dallas 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
1996 Jacksonville 1-3 Championship Game
1997 NY Giants 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
1998 Buffalo 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
2000 New Orleans 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
2001 New England 1-3 Won Super Bowl XXXVI
2002 Atlanta 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
2002 Tennessee 1-3 Championship Game
2002 NY Jets 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
2002 Pittsburgh 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
2004 Green Bay 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
2005 Chicago 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
2007 San Diego 1-3 Championship Game
2008 Minnesota 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs
2011 Denver 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
2013 Carolina 1-3 Divisional Playoffs
2013 Philadelphia 1-3 Wild Card Playoffs

NFL

500 CLUB: Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING has 499 career touchdown passes and can join BRETT FAVRE (508) as the only players with 500.

Favre recorded his 500th career touchdown pass in his 293rd game on his 9,924th pass attempt. Manning has 8,563 career attempts and will face the undefeated Arizona Cardinals (3-0) in his 244th regular season game on Sunday.

A look at how quickly Favre and Manning reached each major touchdown pass milestone in terms of games and attempts:

NUMBER OF GAMES TO REACH MILESTONE TDs
PLAYER 100 200 300 400 500
Brett Favre 62 107 167 228 293
Peyton Manning 56 106 157 209 ??

NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS TO REACH MILESTONE TDs
PLAYER 100 200 300 400 500
Brett Favre 2,030 3,533 5,645 7,699 9,924
Peyton Manning 1,922 3,689 5,306 7,226 ??

NFL

COOL BREES: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES has 39,936 passing yards since joining the Saints in 2006, the most of any NFL player during that span.

Brees needs 64 passing yards against Tampa Bay to become the sixth quarterback in NFL history with 40,000 passing yards with one franchise. He will play in his 132nd game with New Orleans on Sunday and can surpass DAN MARINO (Miami Dolphins, 153 games) as the fastest quarterback to reach 40,000 passing yards with a team.

The quarterbacks with 40,000 passing yards with one team and the number of games it took each of them to reach the milestone:

PLAYER TEAM NO. OF GAMES TO REACH

40,000 PASS YARDS

Dan Marino Miami Dolphins 153
Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts 154
Tom Brady New England Patriots 162
Brett Favre Green Bay Packers 164
Dan Fouts San Diego Chargers 168
John Elway Denver Broncos 183
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints 131*
* 39,936 passing yards with New Orleans

NFL

COWBOY WAY: Dallas running back DE MARCO MURRAY has rushed for at least 100 yards and a touchdown in each of his first four games, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH for the fourth-longest such streak in NFL history to begin a season.

With at least 100 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Murray can join Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN (six) and O.J. SIMPSON (five) as the only players to do so in at least five games to begin a season.

The longest start-of-season streaks in NFL history with at least 100 rushing yards and a touchdown run:

PLAYER TEAM YEAR STREAK
Jim Brown Cleveland 1958 6
O.J. Simpson Buffalo 1975 5
Emmitt Smith Dallas 1995 4
DeMarco Murray Dallas 2014 4*
* Active streak

NFL

TOM TERRIFIC: New England’s TOM BRADY needs 60 passing yards against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football to become the sixth quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 career passing yards.

In 15 seasons, Brady has 49,940 career passing yards.

The NFL players with the most career passing yards:

PLAYER YEARS PASSING YARDS
Brett Favre 1991-2010 71,838
Peyton Manning* 1998-present 65,778
Dan Marino 1983-1999 61,361
Drew Brees* 2001-present 52,284
John Elway 1983-1998 51,475
Tom Brady* 2000-present 49,940
* Active

NFL

TEs WITH 10K YARDS: JASON WITTEN of the Dallas Cowboys has 9,955 career receiving yards, the third-most among tight ends in NFL history.

With 45 receiving yards against Houston, Witten can join TONY GONZALEZ (15,127) and Pro Football Hall of Famer SHANNON SHARPE (10,060) as the only tight ends with 10,000 career receiving yards.

Witten, who will play in his 180th career game in Week 5, can become the second-fastest tight end to reach the milestone. Gonzalez reach 10,000 yards in his 177th game, while Sharpe did so in his 203rd game.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

Heitkamp’s season-high 16 kills leads ONU Vollyball to sweep of Defiance

Final 1 2 3 4 5 T
Defiance (9-10) 18 12 16 0
Ohio Northern (12-6) 25 25 25 3
Defiance Ohio Northern
K: Bree Anderson – 10
B: Hope Neargarder – 3
D: Rebecca Kain – 19
SA: Jaidyn Patridge – 1
K: Claire Heitkamp – 16
B: Hannah Davis – 4
D: 2 Players (#3, #15 – 12)
SA: Ashley Borchers – 3
TEAM STATISTICS Defiance Ohio Northern
Hitting % .100 .319
Blocks 5.0 4.0
Digs 55 56
Aces 1 6

full stats

By Tim Glon

ADA — Sophomore Claire Heitkamp had a season-high 16 kills and hit an impressive .640 to lead Ohio Northern to a 25-18, 25-12, 25-16 victory over Defiance in volleyball action Tuesday night at the ONU Sports Center.

The Polar Bears (12-6 overall) hit .319 as a team with 49 kills and just 11 errors in 119 attempts.

Freshman Hannah Davis added 10 kills and had four blocks and sophomore Ashley Borchers dished out 39 assists.

The Yellow Jackets (9-10 overall) were led by Bree Anderson with 10 kills. DC finished the match hitting just .100 with 29 kills and 18 errors on 110 attempts.

The Polar Bears featured a balanced offensive attack, as five players had 20 or more attempts and none had more than Davis’ 26.

Northern started slowly as Defiance jumped to a quick 7-2 lead in Set 1.

After an ONU timeout, the Polar Bears rattled off seven straight points to take a 9-8 lead.

Later in the set, a 7-1 run put ONU in control 17-12.

Heitkamp finished the first set with six kills and a .667 hitting percentage.

In Set 2, Northern was in control throughout, racing to a 9-2 lead. Leading 15-11, ONU ended the set on a 10-1 run to win 25-12.

The Polar Bears again started quickly in Set 3, leading 5-1 and 9-3 before cruising to the sweep.

Ohio Northern will start Ohio Athletic Conference play on Saturday with a 1 pm contest at John Carroll.

 

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY Tim Glon; COURTESY ONU SPORTS INFORMATION

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