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Archive for September, 2013

(New York) (AP) – The National Football league struck a deal to show game highlights and other video content on Twitter ahead of the short messaging service’s initial public offering of stock.

The deal is part of Twitter’s “Amplify” program, which lets TV broadcasters show ad-supported video clips in users’ Twitter feeds.

The NFL and Twitter say the deal will let football fans interact with NFL video content created specifically for Twitter — on computers, tablets or mobile devices. The league says content will include highlights from in-game highlights from NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football and clips from other regular season and postseason games.

There will also be news, analysis fantasy football advice and other content.

The NFL says this is the first time it has partnered with a social media company.

(New York) (AP) – Steve Mills is returning to the New York Knicks as president and general manager, replacing Glen Grunwald in a front-office shake-up just days before the start of training camp.

Mills spent a decade as an executive at Madison Square Garden and before that worked at the NBA for 16 years. He left MSG in 2009 after the arrival of Donnie Walsh as Knicks president.

Grunwald replaced Walsh in 2011 and constructed much of the roster that helped the Knicks win a playoff series last season for the first time since 2000. The Knicks said in a release Thursday that he will remain with the organization as an adviser.

Sunday’s news that Broncos linebacker Von Miller conspired with a sample collector to cheat drug tests broke ground only as it related to the involvement of the collector.  It already was known generally that Miller had done something to try to beat the test.

For Miller, it ultimately was a good thing that a collector was implicated.  By all appearances and based on everything we’ve been told, the NFLPA seized on the involvement of the league’s representative to reduce Miller’s ultimate punishment, dramatically.

We’ve heard that the league wanted to suspend Miller for as much as a year.  Without the collector’s involvement, it could have happened — especially since the NFL still has the ability to issue the discipline and to resolve the appeal in cases involving violations of the substance-abuse policy.

In any other workplace, Miller could have been at risk of something much worse than a one-year suspension.  Employees who affirmatively disrupt an employer’s internal investigation processes routinely are deemed to be unfit to remain.

“He didn’t test positive for anything,” an unnamed source told USA Today in late July.  In hindsight, the comment is laughable.

Of course Miller didn’t test positive.  He didn’t test positive because he cheated the test.

If the collector hadn’t been involved, and if the NFLPA hadn’t pushed it so aggressively, Miller would have had a lot longer than six weeks to ponder the consequences of his conduct.

In trying to solve one problem, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano may have made another one more difficult to fix.

Wednesday, Schiano named Mike Glennon as the new starting quarterback for Tampa’s winless team (0-3), a move that makes sense on one obvious level. The offense was wretched under Josh Freeman, and the 6-foot-7 Glennon has a strong arm that can make use of so-far-wasted flankers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.

So there’s that.

Schiano’s bigger issue, though, is one of trust. He had to deny a report that he rigged the captain’s vote to displace Freeman of that title. There was a meeting with star cornerback Darrelle Revis to clear the air about a report saying the former New York Jet wasn’t used to Schiano’s micromanaging ways. Then last week, as the cries from outside the Bucs complex rose for Glennon, Schiano told fans on local radio, “We’re going to work real hard with [Freeman] as we’ve been doing. When you get a little mojo going, a little rhythm going, it can take you a long way.” And just two days ago, in the wake of the Bucs’ 23-3 loss to New England, Schiano insisted he was sticking with Freeman.

Now, though, Freeman won’t have time to get any mojo going. It’s too late for him and it’s starting to get late for Schiano. These aren’t the 2012 Washington Redskins or Indianapolis Colts or Miami Dolphins – teams that had previously struggled and could afford to wait for a rookie quarterback to blossom. The Bucs brought in defenders Revis and Dashon Goldson to win now, and they’re going to have to win now under a rookie quarterback with a tendency to throw the big pass and also throw the big pick.

“The main thing for us was the performance of the team the last nine games was 1-8 and that’s tough,” Bucs GM Mark Dominik told USA TODAY Sports Wednesday. “[Freeman] hasn’t played well. That’s a part of it. If you don’t have a quarterback in this league, you don’t have a shot. We felt like we’d seen enough of what we needed to see.”

The rookie quarterback will get a pass if this doesn’t work out right away. The second-year coach may not. Schiano, previously a head coach only at the college level, has a history of finding terrific talent, but he does not have a history of championships, and so his credibility at this level isn’t as proven as it would be if he came from a winning NFL franchise. So in his case, the benefit of the doubt will be quicker to run out.

When a coach’s track record isn’t there, or is unclear, there’s a temptation to wonder if a coach really knows what he’s doing. That’s amplified when the coach is hard-edged and demanding, which Schiano is. This move shows Schiano has a strong opinion about Glennon – Schiano recruited Glennon at Rutgers – and the coming weeks will show if his opinion is right. If it’s not, then it will be far more difficult to believe his other opinions are right.

Schiano is the coach who changed the culture at Rutgers for the better, and that won him the credibility to get an NFL job. He came in last year and changed the culture in Tampa, demanding hard work and precision in a way that even veteran Ronde Barber embraced. The defense is much improved, which matches Schiano’s impact going all the way back to when he was yelling at Ed Reed as an assistant at the University of Miami. The Bucs are now in a place where they can win with a dose of offense.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Schiano’s also the guy who didn’t beat West Virginia in 11 tries, and didn’t produce a lot of memorable offensive players not named Ray Rice. Scarlet Knights fans will remember (or have repressed) the Chas Dodd/Gary Nova/Tom Savage rotation over the last years of Schiano’s term. You can blame poor quarterbacking in the short run, but eventually it’s the fault of the coach who doesn’t develop his signal callers into solid starters. That part of Schiano’s rep is going to lose him credibility fast if Glennon doesn’t succeed this season. If Glennon looks ready, it helps prove Freeman just wasn’t good enough. If Glennon falters, it becomes even more of a possibility that Schiano doesn’t build championship teams.

A parallel can be found with Bill Belichick in Cleveland. Looking back now, many wonder why it didn’t work out there. At the time, though, the coach’s demeanor rankled many, he didn’t have a reliable quarterback – remember rookie quarterback Eric Zeier in 1995? – and patience ran out quickly. After all, who was he but Bill Parcells’ assistant?

The Bucs have won without star quarterbacks before. Brad Johnson won a Super Bowl in Tampa. But for the most part, there haven’t been standout signal-callers and this era requires that more than ever. Glennon is the 33rd starting quarterback in franchise history, and franchise history only goes back to the 1970s. Freeman clearly isn’t the answer, so Schiano shouldn’t get too much criticism for making this decision. The question is whether Glennon can take the team any farther. If he doesn’t, then the question becomes whether Schiano can take the team any farther.

Dominik said he thinks the Bucs can beat Arizona at home this weekend with Glennon as a “game manager.” But the game manager on trial here isn’t the quarterback.

It’s the head coach.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — All of those young arms embraced this pennant race. The St. Louis Cardinals threw five rookies at the Washington Nationals and clinched a tie for their first NL Central title since 2009.

Shelby Miller earned his 15th win with relief help from Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal in a 4-1 victory that spoiled Jordan Zimmermann’s bid for his 20th win and wrapped up a three-game sweep on Wednesday.

All are 24 or younger, and all have been filling critical roles for a while now.

”We know what’s at stake and what we need to do to get the job done, how many games we need to win,” Miller said. ”Hopefully, we can just win them all.

”It’s just been an amazing year, I’ve had so much fun and there’s still a lot of baseball left.”

Miller (15-9) has been in the rotation all year and leads major league rookies in wins after allowing a run in six-plus innings. Maness induced a double-play ball in the seventh, Siegrist hasn’t allowed a run in an NL-best 23 1-3 scoreless innings and has a microscopic 0.47 ERA and the 23-year-old Rosenthal saved all three games in the series.

Rosenthal, who struck out Adam LaRoche to end a perfect ninth, was ready when closer Edward Mujica faltered.

”It’s been a fun year, especially right now,” Rosenthal said. ”Guys are getting to pitch in different situations than they had all year. Everybody’s stepping up.”

Yadier Molina had the go-ahead hit and Matt Adams homered for the Cardinals, seeking their first division title since 2009. Manager Mike Matheny reported screaming in the clubhouse after the Cubs’ Darnell McDonald’s go-ahead three-run homer off Francisco Liriano in a 4-2 victory over the Pirates and admitted he’d taken peeks at the scoreboard.

”Yeah, I was guilty again of watching during the game,” Matheny said. ”It wasn’t my intent, but it did happen.”

Molina had an RBI in all three games for the Cardinals, who swept the season series 6-0.

Zimmermann (19-9) allowed four runs in seven innings. The Nationals had five hits one day after breaking up rookie Michael Wacha’s bid for a no-hitter in the ninth inning.

”I’m not really disappointed,” Zimmermann said. ”Twenty wins is a lot of wins and 19 is not too far off.”

Adams hit his eighth home run since replacing injured Allen Craig earlier this month and doubled for the Cardinals, who lead the Pirates by three games with three to go. The Reds lost 1-0 to the Mets on Wednesday and were eliminated from the divisional race.

The Cardinals (94-65) are a season-high 29 games above .500 and have a day off before 14-game winner Lance Lynn faces the Cubs on Friday night to open the final series.

Miller was wild high early and walked two of the first three hitters to set up Bryce Harper’s RBI single. The Nationals had no other runners in scoring position against the 22-year-old Miller, who allowed a run in six-plus innings and beat them for the second time this season.

Miller was 10-3 with a 1.75 ERA at home, becoming the third pitcher to reach double-digit victories at 8-year-old Busch Stadium.

”I didn’t think he had too much,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ”I thought he was all over the place and really wasn’t setting up his pitches and we helped him out in a lot of situations.”

Zimmermann had won his previous four appearances and had been coming off a two-hit shutout of Miami. But he is 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis, and lost Game 2 of the NL division series last fall.

Daniel Descalso doubled leading off the third and scored on Matt Carpenter’s groundout to tie it. Zimmermann hit Matt Holliday to open the fourth, and Adams doubled ahead of Molina’s two-run single that made it 3-1.

The Cardinals were 15-2 against the NL East and also swept Miami and Philadelphia.

NOTES: Zimmermann has 43 career wins, one shy of the Nationals’ franchise record held by Livan Hernandez. … Miller’s 15 wins is the most by a Cardinals rookie since Dick Hughes won 16 in 1967. … Lynn (14-10, 4.09) faces Travis Wood (9-11, 2.98) on Friday. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.02) gets his final start on Friday at Arizona against Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.28). … Jon Jay has 16 hits and is batting .340 during an 11-game hitting streak.

(West Plains) – The schedule for the 2013-2014 MSU-West Plains Grizzlies Basketball schedule has been released.

The season starts at home for the Grizzlies November 1 at 7 PM at the West Plains Civic Center with the Grizzly Tip-Off Classic, where the Grizzlies will play Otero Junior College. Also playing that day at 2 PM is Snead State vs. North Iowa Area Community College.

To view the schedule, click here.

Veteran forward Brenden Morrow patiently waited to see the situation around the league in his search for a contract and it finally paid off. Morrow is headed to the St. Louis Blues.

Morrow had been picking up some interest as training camps rolled along and was mulling over the offers. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com he liked the offer from the Blues enough to take it.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the contract is worth $1.5 million.

As LeBrun points out there is the one major connection between Morrow and St. Louis right off the bat. Morrow was a Star for his whole career until last season when he was traded to Pittsburgh. Hitchcock and Armstrong know him well even if it’s been a while since there were all together and Morrow’s game and health have depreciated.

That said on the surface it looks like a great fit. Morrow is still a tough hard-working forward who is more suited for a third-line role at this point. The way he plays fits right in line with the way the Blues play; defense first and physical. If he can remain healthy it’s a pretty safe play from the Blues.

MSU takes on Illinois State in “White Out” conference opener

FIRST AND TEN

  • The Missouri State Bears are 12-16 in MVFC openers since joining the league in 1985, with 17 of their 28 openers coming against ranked opponents; MSU has gone 4-13 vs. ranked foes and 8-3 vs. non-ranked opponents.
  • Ranked 24th in this week’s FCS Coaches Poll, the Illinois State Redbirds (1-2) represent the eighth ranked opponent for the Bears in a Valley opener over the last nine seasons.
  • Bears’ quarterback Kierra Harris ranks third in the MVFC and 12th nationally with five of the Bears’ eight rushing touchdowns on the season.
  • MSU’s Terry Allen brings a 10-6 career mark against the Redbirds into Saturday’s contest, as well as an 82-40 home record overall in 21 seasons as a head coach.
  • Missouri State leads The Valley and ranks 17th nationally in red zone defense (.692), while Illinois State has scored in each of its 10 trips inside the opposition’s 20-yard line to lead both the conference and all of FCS football.
  • Junior receiver Julian Burton leads the Bears and ranks third in the Valley in receptions per game (5.3), as well as seventh in the MVFC in both receiving (57.0) and all-purpose yardage (91.8) per game.
  • Senior cornerback Howard Scarborough broke up a pair of passes vs. UCA to move into a tie with Marcus Shipp for 10th place on the Bears’ all-time list with 20 for his career; he needs just one more PBU to move up to the ninth spot.
  • Senior receiver Dorian Buford needs 62 receiving yards to reach the 1,000-yard marker and just 16 more catches to crack the 100-reception barrier for his MSU career.
  • Missouri State dropped its third game of the 2013 campaign by six points or less with Saturday’s setback to UCA; the loss marked the Bears’ 10th setback by a touchdown or less in the last four seasons.
  • All but one of the Bears’ 11 FCS opponents in 2013 are receiving votes in at least one major poll this week, with three ranked in the top 10 and five rated among the top 25 in the country in the FCS Coaches Poll.

THE SERIES

ISU leads 17-15-1 with the Bears winning three of the last six meetings overall. MSU is 7-8-1 at home against the Redbirds, and head coach Terry Allen is 10-6 all-time against ISU. Illinois State coach Brock Spack is 3-1 against the Bears.

WHITEOUT / PARENTS WEEKEND

As part of Missouri State’s annual Family Weekend, Saturday’s contest has been designated as a “White Out” game, with all fans encouraged to wear white. The MVFC opener for both clubs will also mark MSU’s annual “Coaches to Cure MD” game, benefitting muscular dystrophy awarness and funding.

ABOUT ILLINOIS STATE

After a Division I FCS playoff run in 2012, Illinois State (1-2) is coming off a 31-17 home victory over Abilene Christian. The Redbirds got 201 passing yards from quarterback  Blake Winkler and a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown at the end of the first half to seal the win.

COACH Terry Allen

Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (UNI, 1979) is 123-112 (.523) in his 21st year as a head coach and 28-53 (.346) in his eighth year at Missouri State. Allen is 10-6 vs. Illinois State (6-2 at home) and has an 82-40 overall home record (18-21 at MSU). Allen is a five-time MVFC Coach of the Year and has previous head coaching stints at UNI (1989-96) and Kansas (1997-2001).

Allen entered the 2013 season 14th in victories among active FCS head coaches and 32nd on the NCAA’s all-time FCS victories list. He will be shooting for his 60th career MVFC victory this Saturday. Allen has compiled a 59-39 record in 15 seasons as a head coach at UNI (1989-96) and Missouri State (2006-present) in league play, trailing only current UNI sideline boss Mark Farley (64 wins) in all-time conference victories.

Additionally, Allen sits in third on Missouri State’s all-time conference wins list. He trails only Jesse Branch (31 wins) and Rich Johanningmeier (27).

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday was scratched from the Cardinals’ lineup on Monday night with back spasms.

Holliday was in the original lineup for the game against Washington, but was removed 20 minutes before the first pitch.

Holliday missed Sunday’s game at Milwaukee with the same ailment.

Shane Robinson started in left field on Monday.

Holliday was 13 for 26 on the recently completed seven-game trip. He is hitting .298 with 20 homers and 91 RBIs.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals pieced together a lineup on Monday without the two players who had accounted for one-quarter of the team’s season RBI total. They had a bullpen that lacked a designated closer.

But in their return to Busch Stadium for the final push in the season’s final week, the Cardinals were lifted to a 4-3 win over the Nationals by others who emerged to pick up the slack.

Showing continued signs of finding his swing at a critical time, Carlos Beltran delivered a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the fifth inning. A sequence of rookie pitchers then held that lead for Adam Wainwright, ensuring the Cardinals of maintaining their two-game division lead over the Pirates and Reds — both of whom clinched spots in the postseason on Monday.

“That’s a tough Nationals team over there playing hot baseball right now,” said Wainwright, now an 18-game winner. “I knew they were going to be hard. [It was] just a great team win. Everybody did their part again.”

The Cardinals kicked off their final homestand in front of 39,783 and sliced their magic number for a division title to four. St. Louis inched to within a half-game in the race for home-field advantage, too, thanks to Atlanta’s shutout loss.

“I’m happy that right now we have a spot in the playoffs, but we have a lot of games to play and we’re not thinking about that,” Beltran said. “We want to win the division. That’s going to be our main goal.”

The Cardinals needed the patchwork of production to make up for a pair of key absences. Allen Craig is still sidelined indefinitely, and Matt Holliday remains on the mend with a back ailment. A late addition to the lineup, left fielder Shane Robinson tied the game at 2 with his RBI single in the fourth.

An inning later, Beltran, hitting in Holliday’s customary spot in the lineup, followed a leadoff single with a 413-foot blast off Nationals starter Tanner Roark. The home run was Beltran’s team-leading 24th, but also his first since Aug. 24.

“I don’t think he feels that he’s got extra weight on his shoulders with Holliday and Allen both out,” manager Mike Matheny said. “But there are things to make up in there. Someone’s got to come through. Not to put it on Carlos’ shoulders, but today, Carlos did it.”

Though Beltran has maintained that he’s felt physically strong all month, his results have been trending upward in recent days. After batting .176 with seven RBIs in his first 14 games of September, Beltran has hit safely in each of the last five. He has six RBIs during that stretch.

“This is the time of year where I’m not thinking about myself,” Beltran said. “I’m thinking about trying to help the team any way I can. I know lately I’ve been scuffling at the plate, but the only way that will go away is by playing and continuing to take at-bats.”

Wainwright, facing a team that has the Majors’ best record since Aug. 9, would make that advantage stand. Jayson Werth crushed a first-inning curveball for a two-run homer, to which Wainwright answered by scattering only five more hits in a seven-inning start.

By the end of his night, he had established new season highs in innings pitched (236 1/3) and strikeouts (214). He left to a standing ovation in the eighth as he handed two runners over to the bullpen. Wainwright has now finished at least seven innings in 26 of his 33 starts.

“I feel great. I really do,” Wainwright said. “I think I’m feeling better now than I did a month ago. This is the time of year when Cardinal baseball, we need to show up every day ready to win a baseball game. We should be over our weak periods and ready for the playoff push.”

How successful that push can be will depend upon how the bullpen continues to evolve. Monday presented the first true test for the Cardinals sans a predetermined closer. The Cardinals announced over the weekend that they would be removing a struggling Edward Mujica from the role for at least a while.

Matheny went on to describe the closer’s role as fluid, and he illustrated the meaning of that by using four pitchers to cover the final two innings. He started with lefty Randy Choate, who inherited Wainwright’s jam and recorded the first out on a sacrifice bunt.

Next came rookie Carlos Martinez, who, three days after collecting his first career save, retired Ryan Zimmerman and Werth on groundouts. Though one run scored when Zimmerman put the ball in play, the lead held.

“It was interesting going in, but I like being in those situations,” said Martinez, with catcher Tony Cruzserving as a translator. “Hopefully, I can get more confidence in those situations.”

“I don’t even know if he realizes what he did,” Matheny added. “That was a tough assignment. … That’s the game.”

Lefty Kevin Siegrist retired the left-handed hitting Bryce Harper on one pitch to open the ninth.Trevor Rosenthal then needed only seven pitches to record the final two outs and pick up his first career save.

“At this point, everybody is just kind of sitting on their toes knowing that people may be asked to pitch in different situations,” Rosenthal said. “The guys did a great job tonight pitching in situations they haven’t pitched in before.”

For the Nationals, the Cardinals dashed their postseason aspirations for a second straight season. A year after being stunned by St. Louis in the NL Division Series, Washington was officially eliminated from playoff contention with Monday’s loss.

“I don’t feel too good right now,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “We gave it a good fight. We just came up short. Now, we are spoilers. It’s not over for us. We still have a say in this thing.”

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It’s Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.