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New England Patriots Saturday Super Bowl Pool Report

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Jenny Vrentas Pro Football Writers of America; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

 

 

Saturday Pool Report
New England Patriots Practice
February 2, 2019
By Jenny Vrentas
Pro Football Writers of America

ATLANTA—For a few minutes Saturday morning, Bill Belichick’s top concern was opening a bag of macadamia nuts for his 2-year-old granddaughter, Blakely. The Patriots coach has spent the past two weeks preparing for Super Bowl LIII, which included stashing some snack packs in his pants pocket in case of a hungry toddler.

Blakely, the daughter of Belichick’s son, Steve, was born in October 2016, so this will be her third Super Bowl before she turns 3.

“She’s starting off fast,” Belichick said.

Blakely was one of more than 800 friends and family who joined the Patriots players, coaches, front office and staff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday morning. After finishing a week of practice at Georgia Tech, the Patriots did not hold a walk-through or practice on Saturday, but instead came to the site of the game for team photos and a gathering with their guests. This is the same routine they have followed in previous Super Bowls.

“This breaks up the day and lets them participate in it with their families,” Belichick said. “This is a dream for every player to play in this game, so to be able to share it with loved ones and family is special. We have tried to embrace it.”

The entire 53-person active roster and 10-person practice squad were present, along with players on injured reserve, including running back Jeremy Hill and defensive back Eric Rowe. The Patriots have no players with an injury designation for the final game of the season. “Everybody is good,” Belichick said.

The Patriots buses, escorted by police, pulled up to Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 10:40 a.m. and filed inside. Quarterback Tom Brady was in the middle of the pack, holding the hand of his 6-year-old daughter, Vivian, with his wife and two sons walking closeby. Brady spotted former teammate and Hall of Fame nominee Richard Seymour, who rode in with the team, and wrapped him in a warm embrace.

The players changed into the white jerseys and navy pants they’ll wear in the game and walked out onto the field for photos. Brady kneeled for the quarterbacks’ picture, prompting a few staff members to playfully call out to him that he looked like he was posing for a Pop Warner photo. Belichick stood next to the team photographer, smiling as he watched each position group line up with their arms around each other.

“It’s fun to see them having fun,” Belichick said. “They’ve earned it. You’ve gotta earn your way here; there is no other way to get here. So it’s very satisfying to see them having fun and enjoying each other and having the camaraderie that comes with getting to the game.”

Brady and Belichick posed for a photo with team owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, the team president. Then, the entire team climbed onto a stack of risers for the customary team photo. As the Patriots families and friends came down onto the field, they took a final team picture with several players and coaches holding their young children, who were carefully passed up the rows. For the next 40 minutes, they all mingled on the field. Brady met up with his parents and sisters, while Vivian did cartwheels nearby. The traveling party of Devin and Jason McCourty, the first twins to play together in the Super Bowl, sported shirts that read, “All we do is twin,” with “win” printed in contrasting red letters.

During their visit, Belichick was taking mental notes about the stadium, which opened in 2017. The Patriots have not played here before.

Belichick added that he did not think noise would be as big of a factor this week as in the conference championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. “The stadium is so big,” he said. “It’s going to be loud, but I don’t think it is going to be deafening loud, just because of the size of it and because the crowd is half and half, not all 80,000 against us.”

Belichick said it usually takes him three days to get through all the reminders he gives his team before the game, covering topics such as the pacing of the game, which will have 11 commercials in each half and a 29-minute halftime. “There’s no momentum to it,” he said. “It’s like going to a traffic light, stop, traffic light, stop—that kind of thing. But that’s the game, so you’ve gotta play it that way.”

He will gather the team for a team meeting Saturday night and another one Sunday morning, before heading to the stadium. Belichick said there will be no special guests at the meeting the night before the game.

“Just us circling the wagons and playing for each other,” he said. “We are playing a good team, and we are going to have to play our best game of the year.”

 

Daily Almanac for Sunday, February 3, 2019: Day 34 of the Year and Super Bowl Sunday

DAILY ALMANAC WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF www.almanac.com

 

(courtesy Old Farmer's Almanac)

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Former Columbus Clippers player Torey Lovullo has contract extended as D-Backs manager

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY D-BACKS MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

 

Torey Lovullo 2017 photo By Mwinog2777 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to terms on a contract extension with Manager Torey Lovullo.

“Torey’s leadership and ability to connect with people, specifically our players and coaches, provides the foundation for the culture we continue to cultivate and grow in Arizona.” said D-backs Executive Vice President & General Manager Mike Hazen. “This is an exciting day for Torey, his family and the D-backs. We can’t wait to get started at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in two weeks.”

Lovullo, 53, enters his third season at the helm of the D-backs. The 2017 BBWAA NL Manager of the Year has had back-to-back winning seasons and posted a .540 winning percentage (175-149). The club advanced to the postseason in 2017, his first as manager, clinching a Wild Card spot with a second-place finish in the NL West with a 93-69 record. The D-backs defeated the Rockies in the Wild Card Game but were eliminated by the Dodgers in the Division Series.

Lovullo, who was named the D-backs’ eighth manager on November 4, 2016, was the fastest manager in club history to reach 100 wins, doing so in his 171st game. His 93 wins in in 2017 were the most by an Arizona manager in his first 162 games, 1 more than Bob Brenly’s 92 in 2001, and the 24-win differential from 2016 to 2017 was the fourth-largest increase in franchise history.

 

D-Backs sign veteran reliever Greg Holland

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY D-BACKS MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

 

Greg Holland throwing for Royals in 2015 By Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

Jake Barrett designated for assignment

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to terms with RHP Greg Holland on a 1-year contract. To make room for Holland on the roster, the D-backs designated RHP Jake Barrett for assignment. The D-backs’ 40-man roster remains at 40.

Holland, 33, is 1 of 3 pitchers with at least 3 40+ save seasons since 2013, joining Kenley Jansen (3) and Craig Kimbrel (3), and ranks fifth in the Majors during that span with 169 saves, trailing only Kimbrel (244), Jansen (234), Aroldis Chapman (197) and Fernando Rodney (190).

The 3-time All-Star (2013-14, ’17) also ranks in the Top 20 of all relievers since 2013 in save percentage (5th, 90.9), opponent OPS (15th, .583), strikeouts per 9.0 innings (16th, 11.64), fewest home runs allowed per 9.0 innings (16th, 0.55), opponent average (18th, .199) and hits per 9.0 innings (19th, 6.45).

In 2018, Holland posted a 0.84 ERA (2 ER in 21.1 IP) in 24 games after signing as a free agent with Washington on August 7, and combined to go 2-2 with 3 saves, a 4.66 ERA (24 ER in 46.1 IP) and 47 strikeouts in 56 appearances with the Cardinals and Nationals. He was designated for assignment by St. Louis on July 27 and released on August 1.

 

Saturday, February 2, 2019 Almanac: Day 33 of the Year; Groundhog Day

DAILY ALMANAC WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF www.almanac.com

 

(courtesy We Heart It)

 

CANDLEMAS/GROUNDHOG DAY

It’s no accident that Groundhog Day and Candlemas are celebrated together, for both signify the triumph of light over darkness, spring over winter.Candlemas was originally a Celtic festival marking the “cross-quarter day,” or midpoint of the season. The Sun is halfway on its advance from the winter solstice to the spring equinox. The Christian church expanded this festival of light to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and her presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple. Candlelit processions accompanied the feast day.Since the traditional Candlemas celebration anticipated the planting of crops, a central focus of the festivities was the forecasting of either an early spring or a lingering winter. Sunshine on Candlemas was said to indicate the return of winter. Similarly, “When the wind’s in the east on Candlemas Day / There it will stick till the second of May.”A bear brought the forecast to the people of France and England, while those in Germany looked to a badger for a sign. In the 1800s, German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought their Candlemas legends with them. Finding no badgers but lots of groundhogs, or woodchucks, there, they adapted the New World species to fit the lore.Today that lore has grown into a full-blown festival, with Punxsutawney Phil presiding. For all things groundhog, visit the folks at Punxsutawney and see what Phil is predicting this year.

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