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Archive for January 11th, 2018

MLB announces 2018 regular season schedule game times

ESPN to broadcast Opening Day quadruple-header on March 29th

Major League Baseball today announced the game times for its master 2018 regular season schedule, which will begin on Thursday, March 29th, when all 30 Clubs are scheduled to play. ESPN will provide extensive Opening Day coverage that begins with the Chicago Cubs visiting the Miami Marlins (12:40 p.m. ET), followed by the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros visiting their intrastate-rival Texas Rangers (3:35 p.m. ET/2:35 p.m. CT).

The quadruple-header on ESPN continues with the defending National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers hosting their NL West-rival San Francisco Giants (7:08 p.m. ET/4:08 p.m. PT), while the Cleveland Indians visit the Seattle Mariners (10:10 p.m. ET/7:10 p.m. PT) to close out ESPN’s Opening Day coverage. Overall, ESPN will broadcast 10 games over the first six days of the 2018 season.

FOX will begin its 2018 national coverage on Saturday, March 31st when the Rangers host the Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington at 4:07 p.m. ET/3:07 p.m. CT on FS1. MLB on TBS live game coverage will return Sunday, July 8th, and continue each Sunday through the end of the regular season.

MLB Network will have extensive coverage of Opening Day, featuring 17 hours of live coverage beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 29th, followed on Friday, March 30th by the return of its regular season programming lineup of MLB CentralHigh Heat with Christopher RussoThe RundownMLB NowIntentional TalkMLB Tonight and Quick Pitch with live look-ins at games in progress, previews, highlights and analysis.

The 2018 season will mark the first time since 1968 that every team across the Majors will open on the same date. The 1968 campaign began on Wednesday, April 10th with each of the 20 Major League Clubs in action. Additionally, the 2018 season will mark the 12th season in history, and the first since 2011, to open on a Thursday. Other seasons to do so include 1901-04, 1907, 1912, 1959, 1973-74 and 1976.

The final day of the 2018 regular season, which features 12 divisional match-ups, is scheduled for Sunday, September 30th. For the fourth consecutive year, all games played on the final scheduled day of the regular season will begin at 3:00 p.m. (ET), with potential Postseason ramifications at stake.

Among the other highlights of the 2018 regular season:

In a rematch of the last two National League Championship Series, the Cubs will host the Dodgers at Wrigley Field for a three-game series beginning on Monday, June 18th at 8:05 p.m. (ET)/7:05 p.m. (CT). The Clubs will square off again a week later for a four-game set at Dodger Stadium beginning on Monday, June 25th at 10:10 p.m. (ET)/7:10 p.m. (PT).

The Astros and New York Yankees, who met in the 2017 American League Championship Series, will play a four-game series at Minute Maid Park beginning on Monday, April 30th at 8:10 p.m. (ET)/7:10 p.m. (CT). The Clubs will meet for a three-game series at Yankee Stadium beginning on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28th at 1:05 p.m. (ET).

2018 Opening Day includes an Interleague match-up between the Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park (1:10 p.m. ET) in a renewal of the franchises that met in the 1909 World Series.

The Dodgers host the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium at 4:10 p.m. (ET)/1:10 p.m. (PT) on Sunday, April 15th, which is Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball.

Interleague play throughout the season will feature the AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West. Notable series feature renewals of four World Series matchups over the past 10 years, including Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays (April 13th-15th at Tropicana Field); Cubs-Indians (April 24th-25th at Progressive Field, May 22nd-23rd at Wrigley Field); Yankees-Phillies (June 25th-27th at Citizens Bank Park); and Giants-Rangers (August 24th-26th at AT&T Park).

In special international events, the Minnesota Twins will host the Indians on April 17th-18th at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while the San Diego Padres will host the Dodgers at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey on May 4th-6th in Monterrey, Mexico.

On Sunday, August 19th (7:10 p.m. ET), the Phillies will host the New York Mets in Williamsport, Pennsylvania during the second “MLB Little League Classic” at Historic Bowman Field.

In the 30th anniversary season of the 1988 World Series, the Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics will play a two-game series at Dodger Stadium on April 10th-11th, as well as a two-game series at Oakland Coliseum on August 7th-8th.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Tigers, who met in the 2006 Fall Classic, will square off at Comerica Park on September 7th-9th in a rematch of the 1968 World Series in its 50th anniversary season.

In the 110th anniversary season of the 1908 Fall Classic, the Cubs and Tigers will meet for a two-game series at Wrigley Field on July 3rd-4th, as well as a two-game series at Comerica Park on August 21st-22nd.

The 2018 All-Star Game, to be hosted by the Washington Nationals, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17th at Nationals Park.

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

With Spring Training just weeks away, Top 10 Right Now! returns on MLB Network

Series returns for eighth season

Brian Kenny to host MLB Network’s ten-part countdown of the best players by position this Saturday, January 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET

With Spring Training less than five weeks away, MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now! series, which ranks Major League Baseball’s top players at each position, will return for its eighth season this Saturday, January 13 with Top 10 Shortstops Right Now! at 9:00 p.m. ET and Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now! at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Hosted by Brian Kenny, each Top 10 Right Now! ranking takes into account player performance over the last two seasons, a number of offensive and defensive metrics, both advanced Statcast data and traditional numbers, and expert analysis by the MLB Network research team. The Top 10 Right Now! series will feature analysis from MLB Network on-air personalities and former Major Leaguers Eric Byrnes, Cliff Floyd, Mike Lowell, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Hall of Famer John Smoltz, Jim Thome, Dave Valleand Preston Wilson, plus roundtable discussions with Kenny, President of SABR Vince Gennaro, The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh and MLB.com analyst Mike Petriello.

For the second consecutive year, fans can submit a top-10 list for each position by voting on MLB Network’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using #Top10RightNow. All #Top10RightNow votes will be incorporated into an overall fan-generated Top 10 Right Now! list in each episode.

The complete schedule for MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now! series is listed below:

Saturday, Jan. 13: Shortstops, 9 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 13: Third Basemen, 10 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 20: Right Fielders, 9 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 20: Second Basemen, 10 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 27: Left Fielders, 9 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 27: Catchers, 10 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 3: First Basemen, 9 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 3: Starting Pitchers, 10 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 10: Relief Pitchers, 9 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 10: Center Fielders, 10 p.m. ET

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

Joint statement released by NFL-NFLPA on Tom Savage Concussion Protocol

The NFL and NFLPA have completed their joint review of the application of the Concussion Protocol involving Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage during Houston’s game against the San Francisco 49ers on December 10. As de​tailed below, the parties have both concluded that while the medical staff followed the Protocol, the outcome was unacceptable and therefore further improvements in the Protocol are necessary.

The review showed that following a hard tackle, Mr. Savage was immediately removed from the game and evaluated for a concussion.  The Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (“UNC”) and team physician reviewed the initial broadcast video, saw the play and Mr. Savage’s response and followed the Protocol by performing a complete sideline concussion evaluation on Mr. Savage, which he passed. The slow-motion video, which focused more directly on the fencing posture, was not broadcast until after the doctors had begun the sideline evaluation and thus was not seen by the medical staff prior to the evaluation. The Texans medical staff continued to monitor Mr. Savage after the initial evaluation and shortly after his return to the game, identified symptoms that had not been present during the sideline evaluation and took him to the locker room for further evaluation.

The NFL and NFLPA recognize that Mr. Savage’s return to the game did not reflect the expected outcome of the Protocol. As such, the parties have agreed that no discipline will be assessed, but have already implemented several improvements to the Protocol to prevent such an unacceptable outcome in the future. Working in conjunction with the NFL’s independent Head, Neck and Spine Committee, these improvements include:

  • Implemented a pilot program utilizing a centralized UNC based at the league office to monitor the broadcast feeds of all games. The UNC will contact the team medical staff on the sideline should they observe any signs or symptoms warranting further evaluation.
  • Defined impact seizure and fencing responses as independent signs of potential loss of consciousness, representing “No-Go” criteria under the current Protocol. Players who display either of these signs at any time shall be removed from play and may not return to the game.
  • Require a locker room concussion evaluation for all players demonstrating gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand).
  • Officials, teammates, and coaching staffs have been instructed to take an injured player directly to a member of the medical team for appropriate evaluation, including a concussion assessment, if warranted.
  • Require all players who undergo any concussion evaluation on game day to have a follow-up evaluation conducted the following day by a member of the medical staff.
  • Added a third UNC to all playoff games and the Super Bowl to serve as a backup who can step in immediately should one of the original two UNCs be absent from the sideline for a time to attend to a more severely injured player.

In addition to implementing these changes to the Concussion Protocol, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer and NFLPA’s Medical Director have hosted conference calls with every Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant, Booth ATC Spotter and relevant team medical staff members to review the changes to the Protocol and the signs and symptoms of concussion. The NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, NFL and NFLPA will conduct a comprehensive off-season review of all aspects of the protocol with an emphasis toward continued improvement in detection and diagnosis.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

Recapping records, milestones achieved Week 16 in the NFL

THE WEEK THAT WAS – WEEK 16

TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS clinched the AFC South division title and joined the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (NFC East, home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs) as teams to go from “worst-to-first” this season. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

If the CAROLINA PANTHERS, who have already clinched a playoff berth, win the NFC South, 2017 would tie the 2005 and 2006 seasons for the most such “worst-to-first” clubs in NFL history.

The PANTHERS (playoff berth), LOS ANGELES RAMS (NFC West), MINNESOTA VIKINGS (NFC North) and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS(playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All four teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

Entering Week 17, five of the eight divisions have a team either in or tied for first place that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. This season, six teams – Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans and Philadelphia – have all qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason last year.

This weekend, four clubs – the BALTIMORE RAVENSBUFFALO BILLSLOS ANGELES CHARGERS and TENNESSEE TITANS – are vying for the final two playoff spots in the AFC. In total, eight teams will clinch a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016, tied with the 2003 season for the most such teams since 1990.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

SEASON PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 6 (Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
   
2017 8* (Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia)
*Two of Baltimore, Buffalo, Los Angeles Chargers & Tennessee will qualify for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2016

– NFL –

GURLEY DOES IT ALL: Los Angeles Rams running back TODD GURLEY totaled a career-high 276 scrimmage yards (158 receiving yards, 118 rushing yards) and had two touchdown receptions in the team’s 27-23 win over Tennessee in Week 16.

Gurley is the third player in NFL history to have at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer OLLIE MATSON (November 28, 1954) and HERSCHEL WALKER (December 14, 1986).

The players with at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a single game in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM DATE RUSHING YARDS RECEIVING YARDS
Todd Gurley LA Rams December 24, 2017 118 158
Herschel Walker Dallas December 14, 1986 122 170
Ollie Matson^ Chicago Cardinals November 28, 1954 115 161
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Gurley, who has 2,093 scrimmage yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and six receiving touchdowns this season, is the third different player in NFL history to have at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five touchdown catches in a single season. The other two players to accomplish the feat are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: O.J. SIMPSON (1975) and MARSHALL FAULK(2000 and 2001).

The players with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five touchdown catches in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON SCRIMMAGE YARDS RUSH TDS REC. TDS  
Todd Gurley LA Rams 2017* 2,093 13 6  
Marshall Faulk^ St. Louis Rams 2001 2,147 12 9  
Marshall Faulk^ St. Louis Rams 2000 2,189 18 8  
O.J. Simpson^ Buffalo 1975 2,243 16 7  
*Through Week 16
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

PROLIFIC PASSERS: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 239 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 23-13 win over Atlanta last week.

Brees, who has 70,200 career passing yards, joined PEYTON MANNING (71,940) and Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (71,838) as the only players in NFL history with at least 70,000 career passing yards.

PLAYER TEAM(S) CAREER PASSING YARDS
Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 71,940
Brett Favre^ Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota 71,838
Drew Brees San Diego, New Orleans 70,200*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brees, who ranks fifth in the NFL with 4,089 passing yards, extended his NFL-record streak to 12 consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards.

Detroit quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD, who leads the NFC with 4,123 passing yards, surpassed 4,000 passing yards for the seventh consecutive season, the second-longest streak in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM(S) SEASONS SEASONS WITH 4,000+ PASS YARDS
Drew Brees New Orleans 2006-17 12*
Matthew Stafford Detroit 2011-17 7*
Peyton Manning Indianapolis 1999-2004 6
Matt Ryan Atlanta 2011-16 6*
*Active streak (Ryan has 3,778 yards in 2017)

Ryan, who has 3,778 passing yards this season, has recorded at least 4,000 passing yards in each of the past six seasons and can extend his streak to seven consecutive seasons with 222 passing yards against Carolina in Week 17.

– NFL –

PHENOMENAL FITZ: Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD had nine receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals’ 23-0 win over the New York Giants in Week 16.

Fitzgerald, who ties for second in the league with 101 receptions, has five career seasons with at least 100 catches, tied for the second-most in NFL history. Only BRANDON MARSHALL (six) has more such seasons.

The players with the most 100-catch seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM(S) SEASONS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS
Brandon Marshall Denver, Chicago, New York Jets 6
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh 5
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona 5
Andre Johnson Houston 5
Wes Welker New England 5

 

Fitzgerald, who ranks fourth in the NFC with 1,101 receiving yards, registered his ninth season with at least 1,000 receiving yards, tied for the third-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (14) and RANDY MOSS (10) have more such seasons.

The players with the most seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history:​

PLAYER TEAM(S) SEASONS WITH 1,000+ REC. YARDS
Jerry Rice^ San Francisco, Oakland 14
Randy Moss Minnesota, Oakland, New England 10
Tim Brown^ Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders 9
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona 9
Terrell Owens San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas 9
Jimmy Smith Jacksonville 9
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

LUCKY NUMBER 13: Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith passed for 304 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ 29-13 victory over Miami last week.

Smith, a 13-year NFL veteran, has a career-high 4,024 passing yards and is the third quarterback in NFL history to reach 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career in his 13th season or later.

The players to record their first season with at least 4,000 passing yards in their 13th career season or later:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON EXPERIENCE PASSING YARDS
Alex Smith Kansas City 2017 13 4,024*
Rich Gannon Oakland 2002 15 4,689
Steve Beuerlein Carolina 1999 13 4,436
*Through Week 16 ​​

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

2018 NFL Pro Bowl will see return of Skills Showdown

 

Pro Bowlers to C​ompete in Epic Dodgeball, Drone Drop, Kick Tac Toe, and More

NFL Legends Captains to Lead Pro Bowlers from Each Conference

Event Airs Thursday, January 25 at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN

For the second consecutive year, Pro Bowlers from the AFC and NFC will compete against each other in unique competitions at the PRO BOWL SKILLS SHOWDOWN, which airs on Thursday, January 25, at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN.

The Skills Showdown is one of the many events occurring during PRO BOWL WEEK, culminating with the 2018 Pro Bowl on Sunday, January 28, at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Tickets to the game, which will kickoff at 3:00 PM ET and be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and simulcast on ABC, are on sale now at ProBowl.com.

“We received tremendous feedback from our fans and players about last year’s Skills Showdown, which became one of our most popular Pro Bowl Week events,” said PETER O’REILLY, NFL Senior Vice President of Events. “With new competitions and special surprises this year, we are raising the bar even higher for both teams and are excited to see which conference ends up victorious.”

The 2018 Pro Bowl Legends Captains, JASON TAYLOR and LADAINIAN TOMLINSON of the AFC and DERRICK BROOKS and WARRICK DUNN of the NFC, will lead their respective squads. Each Skills Showdown team will feature a mix of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linemen, linebackers, defensive backs and kickers.

Taking place at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, the Skills Showdown will be produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, producers of shows such as American Ninja Warrior and Hell’s Kitchen.

Competitions at the Skills Showdown include:

  • Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball presented by Pepsi: Pro Bowlers will compete in a game of dodgeball, with every member of each team participating. The team with the last person on the court wins.
  • ​Kick Tac Toe: A new challenge that tests the accuracy of placekickers from both conferences with a version of the classic game, as they attempt to hit a 3×3 grid of targets inside the uprights.
  • Gridiron Gauntlet: Five players from each team will participate in a relay race designed to showcase strength, speed, and agility. Among other surprises, the challenge will include a 40-yard dash with an inflated parachute that is attached to the first player on each team who will sprint before tagging in teammates.
  • Best Hands presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Four receivers – two from each conference – will catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. Designated targets require a specific style of catch – diving, one-handed, over the shoulder, etc. – which must be executed before the receiver can move on to the next target.

  • Precision Passing presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Each conference’s quarterbacks will battle it out in an accuracy competition, as they attempt to hit targets of varying size and distance.

  • Drone Drop: A bonus event during which one player from each team will attempt to catch footballs dropped from drones from increasing heights above the field. The player who makes the highest catch wins money for the charity of his choice.

Fans are encouraged to join the conversation surrounding the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown on social media using the hashtag #ProBowlSkills. For additional information or to find out more about week-of festivities, fans are encouraged to visitProBowl.com.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Jake Gellerman, NFL; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

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