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Archive for April 23rd, 2020

2020 NFL Draft: As expected, Bengals take QB Joe Burrow with #1 Overall Pick

Joe Burrow in action 2018 by Tammy Anthony Baker, Photographer via wikipedia commons

The Cincinnati Bengals made a popular choice by selecting LSU QB Joe Burrow with its #1 pick.

The former Buckeyes player, from nearby Athens, Ohio, grew up just 170 miles from Cincinnati, was the pick everyone has said can really lift a franchise, team and city, looking for a savior.


*Born December 10, 1996 in Ames, Iowa

*23 years old

*6’3, 221

*High School: Athens in The Plains, Ohio


He played college football at Ohio State and LSU. In 2019, his second and final season with LSU, Burrow passed for over 5,600 yards with 60 touchdowns, the latter being the most in a single season in NCAA FBS history. That year he led LSU to victory in the 2020 National Championship Game. He won several awards and honors for his performance, including the Heisman Trophy. Many journalists and sportswriters deemed the season to be the greatest ever by a college quarterback.

He was drafted first overall by the Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Career highlights and awards


Led the NCAA
NCAA record
Bold Career high
Passing Rushing
Season Team GP Rating Att Comp Pct Yds TD Int Att Yds Avg TD
2015 Ohio State Redshirt
2016 Ohio State 5 169.9 28 22 78.6 226 2 0 12 58 4.8 1
2017 Ohio State 5 110.2 11 7 63.6 61 0 0 3 -5 -1.7 0
2018 LSU 13 133.2 379 219 57.8 2,894 16 5 128 399 3.1 7
2019 LSU 15 202.0 527 402 76.3 5,671 60 6 115 368 3.2 5
Career 37 172.4 945 650 68.8 8,852 78 11 258 820 3.2 13



*Constantly finds and feeds the hot receiver on offense

*Ability to look off primary read and find his 2nd and 3rd options

*Great on crossing routes in the middle of the field

*Does not force ball

*Hangs in with pressure in his face

*Definitely a leader on the field


*Yes, like everybody, he has flaws

*Lack of arm strength to really zip the ball into tight windows

*Does not throw a really tight spiral

*Not explosive on his release



MLB The Show Players League games airing on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 & MLB Network


ESPN2 begins coverage Thursday, April 23; MLB Network to air matchups on Sunday, April 26; FS1 starts playoffs with quarterfinals on Friday, May 1

1:56 PM EDT

• ESPN broadcasts championship on Sunday, May 3, with the champion scoring $25,000 donation for the Boys & Girls Clubs affiliate in his community

Select games from the final 10 days of the MLB The Show Players League, including the Playoff tournament, will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and MLB Network beginning this Thursday, April 23rd. The Players League is benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada with a total of $175,000 being donated across the 30 MLB Club communities.

ESPN2 will broadcast select regular season matchups this Thursday and Saturday from the first-ever competitive league of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s MLB The Show, solely featuring Major League players. MLB Network will broadcast select regular season matchups this Sunday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m. ET. MLB Network will also air a one-hour MLB The Show: Recap program highlighting the latest action in the tournament on Sunday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Following these regular season contests, the top eight teams advance to a Playoff tournament slated for air on ESPN, ESPN2 and FS1.

The Quarterfinals begin Friday night, May 1st, on FS1 with two best-of-three series. The Quarterfinals continue on Saturday afternoon, May 2nd, on ESPN2, before the Semifinals Saturday evening. ESPN2 and FS1 will each air a best-of-three Semifinal series on Saturday night, May 2nd. The winners of each Semifinal face off in the best-of-five Championship Series on Sunday, May 3rd, on ESPN. (A complete schedule is attached to the end of this release).

Last week, Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) launched the formation of the league where 30 players are representing their Major League Clubs in this inaugural online event to engage fans around the world and raise funds for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. The lineup includes 11 former All-Stars, five World Series Champions, and eight players age 25 or younger. Each participant is playing in a round-robin format (i.e., playing every team one time) for a total of 29 regular season, three-inning games.

If the season ended today, the top eight players and their teams that would reach the Playoffs are: 1) Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers; 2) Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays; 3) Jeff McNeil, New York Mets; 4) Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays; 5) Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers; 6) Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox; 7) Fernando Tatis, Jr., San Diego Padres; and 8) Trevor May, Minnesota Twins.

Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment will donate $5,000 on behalf of each participating player to a Boys & Girls Clubs affiliate in their team’s community. The stakes for the competition are enhanced with the league champion earning an additional $25,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club in his community.

Boys & Girls Clubs (in both America and Canada) are providing important services to help their communities navigate this new and challenging climate. Boys & Girls Clubs are facilitating provision of meals, lending support to families of first responders and medical workers, offering mental health services, and providing virtual programs for their members.

In between television broadcasts, fans can watch streams of games on a variety of digital platforms, including Twitch and YouTube. MLB Network host and avid gamer Robert Flores is continuing to provide commentary, recaps, analysis and conduct player interviews throughout the tournament. Stream information, scores, schedules, standings and highlights are available at

Fans can engage with the players in a variety of viewing experiences on the Official MLB YouTubeTwitchTwitterFacebook pages; Sony San Diego’s Twitch page; MLB Network’s Twitch account or any of the individual players’ feeds. MLB The Show is officially licensed by MLB and the MLBPA. Follow MLB The Show on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest information and updates.




Seattle Mariners 2B, SS, CF Dee Gordon named 2020 Hutch Award recipient

Dee Gordon with Seattle Mariners in action 2018 photo By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, https

Award annually given to MLB player who best represents courage and dedication of Fred Hutchinson

10:26 AM PDT

Seattle Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon has been named recipient of the 55th Annual Hutch Award.

Gordon was chosen for his commitment to helping his community through various philanthropic efforts including the Flash of Hope program to help children and families affected by domestic violence. Gordon is deeply committed to this issue, as he lost his own mother to domestic violence when he was six-years old.

In addition to Flash of Hope, Gordon volunteers his time to help with poverty and hunger relief and cancer patients. He has teamed up with Food for the Hungry and the Striking Out Poverty campaign to raise funds to help meet the most urgent needs in some of the most underserved communities in the world. Food for the Hungry offers access to life-changing resources such as clean water, medical aid, food, equal educational opportunities for girls and boys, vocational training and empowerment. Gordon’s efforts with Striking Out Poverty have benefitted those in the Dominican Republic, Syrian refugees in resettlement camps and one of the most impoverished districts in Rwanda, Africa.

“This award has an incredible history, and I’m grateful to be a part of its legacy. I believe it’s our duty as professional athletes to give back to the communities that support us. Recognition isn’t why I do it, but it is an honor when an organization like Fred Hutch recognizes the efforts,” said Gordon.

The Hutch Award was created in 1965 in honor of Fred “Hutch” Hutchinson, a standout Major League player and manager who was from Seattle. Hutch died of cancer in 1964, and inspired creation of the Seattle-based cancer research center that bears his name.

The Hutch Award is one of the longest-running, most prestigious awards in baseball. Past honorees include 14 Hall of Fame players and former Mariners Raul Ibañez (2013), Jamie Moyer (2003), Omar Vizquel (1996) and John Olerud (1993).

Because the annual Hutch Award luncheon will not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gordon will be honored in mid-May with a virtual event that will include other notable baseball names.

About Flash of Hope

When Dee Gordon arrived in Seattle in 2018, he brought with him his Flash of Hope program to assist children affected by domestic violence. Gordon partners with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, LifeWire, New Beginnings, API Chaya and DAWN, a nonprofit based in South King County, to host families throughout the season for a day at the ballpark. Participants receive game tickets, gift cards, meals, Flash of Hope T-shirts, and the opportunity to watch batting practice on the field. Gordon also spends time with each Flash of Hope participant to share their personal experiences.

Gordon supports other local charities including the Boys & Girls Clubs, Seattle Children’s, Special Olympics USA, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Mariners Care programs such as On BASE, RBI (Reviving Baseball in Innercities) and the Mariners DREAM Team school assemblies.

Support for Fred Hutch

While the in-person luncheon at T-Mobile Park has been cancelled due to the coronavirus, supporters can still step up to the plate and donate to Fred Hutch. This year, donations will support Fred Hutch’s #GivingTuesdayNow campaign. Gifts will fuel research to end the COVID-19 pandemic, from tracking the virus to developing tests, treatments and vaccines. To make a gift, click here.

Read more: Seattle Mariners


MLB, MiLB, still working on plan to eliminate several Minor League teams








Joint MLB-MiLB statement

10:06 AM EDT

Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball jointly issued the following statement today:

“The respective negotiating teams of Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball held a constructive meeting on Wednesday. The parties are continuing their discussions, with the goal of concluding a mutually beneficial long-term agreement in the near future.”





Blue Jackets sign goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to 2-year contract extension


Rookie netminder ranks among NHL leaders in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts in 2019-20

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to a two-year contract extension through the 2021-22 National Hockey League season, club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.


Merzlikins, 26, has posted a 13-9-8 record with a 2.35 goals-against average (GAA), .923 save percentage (SV%), five shutouts and 848 saves in 1,816 minutes in 33 contests in 2019-20.  He ranks second-T in the NHL in shutouts and fifth in goals-against average and save percentage (minimum 20 games played), while leading all rookie netminders in each of those categories and ranking second in minutes and games played and third in wins.

Elvis Merzlikins


“We’ve believed for several years that Elvis Merzlikins was the best goaltender outside the NHL while he was playing in Switzerland and this year he has shown that he has the ability and drive to be a very good goaltender in this league,” said Kekalainen.  “He is quick, athletic and driven to succeed and we are excited to see what the future holds for Elvis and our hockey club.”


The Riga, Latvia native led the NHL in shutouts and ranked second in the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage from December 31 through the pause in the current season on March 12 (minimum 15 games played) with a 13-5-4 record, 1.97 GAA, .935 SV% and five shutouts in 23 appearances.  He became the sixth goaltender, and second rookie, since 1929-30 to record five shutouts in a span of eight games when he accomplished the feat between January 11 and February 7 with an 8-0-0 mark, 1.00 GAA, .967 SV% and five shutouts.  He collected his first career NHL win on December 31 when he made 36 saves in a 4-1 vs. Florida.


Selected by Columbus in the third round, 76th overall, at the 2012 NHL Draft, Merzlikins registered a 105-79-7 record with a 2.63 GAA, .920 SV% and 15 shutouts in 210 career outings with Lugano in the Swiss National League (NLA) from 2013-19.  He captured the Jacques Plante Trophy as the league’s Goaltender of the Year in the 2015-16 and 2017-18 campaigns.  In 2018-19, Merzlikins posted a 22-18-0 record with a 2.44 GAA, .921 SV% and a career-high five shutouts in 43 games with Lugano.


The 6-3, 187-pound netminder has represented Latvia in several international tournaments.  He was named a top three player for his country at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 IIHF World Championships and participated in the 2019 tournament.  He also played for Latvia at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships and 2012 IIHF U18 World Championships.






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