lucky's Blog

He couldn't believe it was happening

When Kershaw arrived 10 years ago, the Dodgers didn't have a Roy Halladay or Chris Carpenter type to school him on the finer points of pitching and life in the majors. Brad Penny was on his way to posting a 6.27 ERA and was upset that the team hadn't signed him to an extension. Derek Lowe was still logging 200 innings a season, but he was in his free-agent walk year and on his way out of Los Angeles. So Kershaw quickly figured things out on his own. Men's Fanatics Branded Tobias Rieder Breakaway Burgundy Red Home NHL Jersey: Arizona Coyotes #8 "He had kind of a youthful swagger about him that a lot of us fell in love with," Sweeney said. "It was almost like he couldn't believe it was happening. He had the ability to have fun all the way leading up to the day he was pitching, and then he was locked in. You don't usually see that from kids. Plus, Rick Honeycutt was perfect for him. They had a real good relationship that I felt was essential for him. When you don't have veteran guys, you need a confidant, and I think Rick was that. Which was really cool." #36 Nike Marcus Smart Kelly Green NBA - Backer Boston Celtics Long Sleeve T-Shirt When Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti acquired Greg Maddux in 2008 -- the second time he traded for Maddux in three seasons -- he envisioned a bit of the Jedi master rubbing off on the prodigy. Maddux was 42 years old and in the final weeks of his brilliant career, but he could still be a positive influence on a budding staff ace. "Half of bringing Greg in was I knew he would be a positive influence on everybody -- including the hitters," Colletti said. "I knew how Greg thought and processed information. He was at the end of his career, but the wisdom was still razor-sharp. Greg might be the smartest pitcher I've ever been around on a daily basis. To me, he borders on genius. I would always want somebody like that around somebody like Clayton." "The day he came in, no one announced it," Sweeney said. "No one said, 'Hey, Sandy is coming into camp.' But I walked out of the clubhouse, and the bullpen is tucked in there in the corner and they're sitting there having a conversation. If it wasn't the first time Clayton met him, it was pretty close. And I'm like, 'That's what you want.' "I remember seeing them in the bullpen and thinking, 'Oh, my gosh.' That was like me talking to a Tony Gwynn, who would have that type of impact you need as a young guy. It was pretty special. At the beginning of his career, everybody was like, 'He has the ability to be Koufax,' and you're like, 'Come on. Stop. Look at the numbers.' Having him try to meet that challenge, that was tough. Womens Yasmany Tomas Jersey But he's getting pretty damn close." The relationship deepened over time. In the spring of 2010, Kershaw and Koufax appeared together at an event for Torre's Safe at Home Foundation in Los Angeles. They shared a ride back to Arizona on a private plane and spent an hour talking pitching and other assorted topics. Kershaw later observed how much the conversation meant to him and how much knowledge he filed away from it. "It reminds me Womens Pekka Rinne Jersey of Barry Bonds and Willie Mays, which I saw in San Francisco,'' Colletti said. "It's a younger player understanding the walk and the history of somebody who came before them and was obviously stellar in the same career -- in the same city, too. And there's a respect back, from Willie to Barry and from Sandy to Clayton, because they recognize and understand the craft. It's like a student and a teacher. There's a reciprocal gift both ways." Kershaw's windup is inimitable and distinct. He raises his arms unusually high and drops his landing leg almost to the ground before beginning his momentum toward the plate. The slight pause in his delivery and arm angle create deception and throw off the hitter's timing. The motion isn't exactly the same as it was upon arrival, but the basic tenets are in place. "You have to be a tremendous athlete to have the unique mechanics he has and the ability to repeat them," said former Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. "Those are the building blocks of his command and his ability to execute. He works tirelessly on the repeatability of his mechanics. When he was able to find that slider and implement it right away, it just worked Mario Hezonja Youth jersey with his natural arm slot. He had a tremendous [grasp] for what the pitch was supposed to feel like in his hand and how it was supposed to be executed." Former Dodgers star Orel Hershiser, now a team broadcaster, compares Kershaw to Jim Furyk, Hubert Green and other successful golfers whose swings would never appear in an instructional book. But at the key points in the process -- at the height of the backswing, on point of contact and at the top of the follow-through -- everything is in sync. cheap jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china

A decade of dominance as seen by the ace and

CLAYTON KERSHAW CRACKED open a window into the future on May 25, 2008. One minute, Vin Scully was introducing the television audience to the 2006 first-round MLB draft pick from Texas with the smooth cheeks and slight hesitation in his delivery. Thirty-two pitches later, Kershaw walked off the mound having struck out the side against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of his major league debut. #4 Nike Swingman Tyson Chandler Women's Black NBA Jersey - Phoenix Suns Statement Edition While the crowd of 46,566 at Dodger Stadium exulted in the possibilities, the fans had no idea how deeply the blips between, "Good morning, good afternoon and goodnight'' would resonate with Kershaw. A decade later, he recoils at the notion he made things look easy by whiffing Skip Schumaker, Ryan Ludwick and Troy Glaus in that Sunday matinee. Limited Youth O. J. Howard Olive/Camo Jersey: NFL Nike Tampa Bay Buccaneers #80 2017 Salute to Service "Yeah, and I walked the second guy and gave up a double to Pujols,'' he said. The box score is a testament to his annoyance. Kershaw walked Brian Barton on Alex Erickson Youth jersey four pitches before allowing a double to deep left-center by Albert Pujols for his first big league run. That is his biggest takeaway from the inning. Kershaw recovered from that indignity to go six strong, and he has encountered very few blips since. If he handed the ball to manager Dave Roberts after his Opening Day start this week and kept on walking, he would go straight to Cooperstown on the first ballot. Kershaw turned 30 years old March 19 and has three Cy Young Awards, an MVP, five ERA titles, four strikeout titles and seven straight All-Star Games on his résumé. He's paid like an ace, with three years and $98 million left on the mammoth contract extension he signed in 2014. Kershaw has to decide by November whether he'll exercise an opt-out clause in the deal. Based on his 21 1/3 scoreless innings and 23-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Cactus League, he's not exactly stressing it. With his 10-year anniversary in the majors approaching, Kershaw talked to about his evolution as a pitcher and a professional. How did he get here, and how does he plan to maintain the level of performance he has established? The best pitcher in baseball and some fellow passengers on his journey reflect on the pivotal moments, revelations and attributes that have helped make Kershaw Kershaw. Kershaw's rookie year was a mixed bag. He logged a 4.26 ERA in 22 appearances and walked 52 batters in 107 1/3 innings. Command of the strike zone was a problem, and the issues spilled over into April 2009. After Kershaw got clobbered by the Astros and Rockies in back-to-back starts, manager Joe Torre and hitting coach Don Mattingly summoned him to Clayton Keller Authentic Jersey the office for some straight talk. "Joe and Donnie were in there and basically said, 'Look, if you're not throwing your curveball for a strike, you have one pitch,'" Kershaw said. "They told me, 'You need to figure something out.'" Kershaw has always found spinning a ball more natural than mastering the arm speed and grip required to make a changeup work. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt showed him a slider grip, and he began tinkering with input from bullpen catcher Mike Borzello. In 2009, he threw the slider about 7 percent of the time. Last year, his slider usage was a whopping 35 percent. Among elite big league pitchers, only Tampa Bay's Chris Archer made more liberal use of the pitch. "The curveball was working well, but it wasn't a pitch you could call," said Mark Sweeney, a member of the 2008 Dodgers. "It was so nasty, it was a swing-and-miss pitch, but you couldn't drop it in for a strike. It had so much depth to it, but it had that arc to it where you weren't going to get the call. And a lot of hitters tried to stay off it because they couldn't do much with it. The slider really was the separator. That took him to a different level." 'The hitters will tell you what you need to Ales Hemsky Womens Jersey do' Kershaw's pitch usage through the years reflects his ability to read situations and adjust. His fastball usage peaked at 72 percent in 2009 and gradually declined to 47 percent in 2017. Even with 2,057 innings' worth of big league wear on his arm, Kershaw's velocity has held firm at a tick under 93 mph. But he threw fastballs last year at the same rate as Jason Vargas, whose 85.6 mph was the slowest in the majors by a pitcher not Claude Giroux Jersey named R.A. Dickey. "None of this is on purpose,'' Kershaw said. "It's just a matter of what's working -- what you feel like you need to do to get guys out. I never go into a season thinking I'm going to use a certain pitch one way or the other. The hitters will tell you what you need to do. Through time, Kershaw has discovered that a well-placed fastball complemented by an 88 mph slider and a 73 mph curveball can bring success even with negligible use of a changeup. His two breaking balls live in blissful harmony and complement each other wonderfully. Lefty hitters have a .190/.243/.308 career slash line against him. Righties are only a tad less overwhelmed, at .210/.266/.306. "Two completely different grips," Kershaw said of the slider and curve. "Two completely different thought processes, so that really helps me to differentiate between the two. I have to have both of them. I can't just live off one or the other. I have to have both.",103902

Edmunds brothers ready to graduate from Virginia

There's a story Cookie Edmunds likes to tell about her youngest son's first taste of football. She was watching Tremaine Edmunds toddle around along the sideline of a Pee-Wee game Homer Bailey Jersey that featured his two older brothers. He loved the action, and after watching a few plays, he found his mother and offered a proclamation. "I can't wait to play football," he told her, "so I can knock somebody's head off." #1 Authentic Gregor Blanco Grey Majestic MLB Road Women's Jersey: San Francisco Giants Cool Base That proved to be a pretty accurate prediction for how Tremaine Edmunds' football career would unfold, from stardom in high school to a career at Virginia Tech that saw him emerge as one of the most fearsome defenders in the country. Now, some 15 years after telling his mother of his plans for the future, Edmunds is about to reach the pinnacle -- a likely first-round draft pick and potentially the first linebacker off the board, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. (Houston Texans Jeff Allen Game Nike Women's White Jersey) NFL Road #79 "It just shows you how long I've been working and how long I've been wanting this," Edmunds said. "Now, getting to this stage, it means so much to me." Of course, the anecdote also captures the other part of Lorenzen Wright Jersey what has defined Edmunds' career. His older brothers, Trey and Terrell, were the ones on the field that day. Years later, the three would be on the field together at Virginia Tech. The past two years, Terrell and Tremaine have been the anchors of the Hokies' defense together. (Terrell is a year older, but each had a year of eligibility remaining.) And now, with Terrell projected as a midround selection, the odds are all three will be on an NFL roster when the new season begins this fall. Even in a football-obsessed household, that seems a bit surreal, Tremaine said. "It's really crazy," he said. "We've all dreamed of it, and now here we are. We're blessed and thankful for the opportunity, but we're going to compete. That's for sure." Trey played running back for the Hokies and Maryland, and while he wasn't drafted out of college, he Womens Daniel Alfredsson Jersey caught on with the Saints last season and played in all 16 games. Terrell blossomed into one of the ACC's top safeties at Virginia Tech, racking up nearly 150 tackles over the past two seasons. Then there's Tremaine, who at 6-foot-5, 253 pounds, emerged as a legitimate star, finishing last season with 109 tackles, including 14 for a loss. "I always knew I was a big-time player, and I'm glad other people are seeing that, as well," Tremaine said. That made Tremaine's decision to leave Virginia Tech early an easy one. Terrell said he was confident doing the same. And while both had some pangs of guilt, passing up one last chance to play together, they insist that didn't factor into their ultimate choice. The past few months have been a whirlwind, and the brothers haven't seen nearly enough of each other. Tremaine was headed back to Virginia Tech's campus earlier this week to unwind a bit. They have plans, however, to all be in Arlington, Texas, together -- along with Cookie and their father, Ferrell, who also enjoyed a distinguished NFL career -- for the draft. Tremaine's name will be called first, and the family is eager to celebrate together. Terrell said he's still hoping to upstage his brother with a fresher look; they've been shopping for the right suit. At some point in the weekend, Terrell's name will be called, too, and then things will be forever changed. Odds are, there will be three Edmunds brothers on three different teams, and for a family that has always been close and always bonded over football, that's a big transition. But it's also a big opportunity -- one they've been waiting a long time to enjoy. "It's going to be crazy, but also an exciting moment," Terrell said. "Playing against your brothers at the highest level possible, going out and talking a bunch of junk to them, doing what you've done your entire life but doing it on a national stage, that's what it's all about." For some players, their number is like their identity and they'll keep it throughout their career. If a number is already taken by someone on their new team, it's customary to work out a deal for it, whether that means paying for it or donating to the charity of the player's choice. While some are willing to pay whatever it takes to get their old number back, others such as new Raiders receiver Jordy Nelson don't feel the same. Nelson said in an interview that he wasn't even going to pay a dollar to get No. 87 back from former Packers teammate Jared Cook. He went with No. 82. Some players have to switch because the numbers they want have been retired. Packers tight end Jimmy Graham is switching back to No. 80, which he wore with the Saints, as the No. 88 he wore with the Seahawks was retired in Green Bay. Other players must switch numbers coming out of college because the NFL has different rules than the NCAA regarding what positions are allowed to wear certain numbers. Here are some of the numbers of the players who switched teams this offseason via trade or free Freddie Hamilton Jersey agency. Some numbers have not been made official yet because they are subject to change after the draft. cheap jerseys china cheap jerseys free shipping cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys

You wouldn't like Eddie Butler when he's angry

therapy. Things slowly got better when he realized he was headed down a bad path. And, of course, he had help along the way. His coaches and parents were there for him. “After years of working on it and being aware what gets me mad and how to react, I’ve gotten better,” Butler said. “When I was at Radford, the coaches took me out to dinner. They wanted to make sure I was all right.” Men's Adidas Jason Chimera Authentic Black NHL Jersey: New York Islanders #25 1917-2017 100th Anniversary Butler's college coach at Radford, Joe Raccuia, didn’t mince words when talking about Butler’s issues. He and the other coaches saw the talent in the freshman, who turned down the Texas Rangers after being drafted out of high school, but also saw a player headed in the wrong direction. “One of the things Eddie does is talk about how good he is before he performs,” Raccuia said. “He probably did it at the Cape [Cod League]. He probably did in the minors. He probably did in a big league clubhouse. He did it at Radford when he first got here. Then when T. J. Logan Authentic Jersey you get hit around, it’s a humbling experience.” Men's Reebok Matt Calvert Authentic Navy Blue Third NHL Jersey: Columbus Blue Jackets #11 The dinner with Raccuia helped, and though there are those negative stories about Butler, he garnered praise at every level of baseball for being a fierce competitor who used his emotions to help him. “I think Eddie is a super competitor,” said Gary Lavelle, his high school coach. “We were in a conference championship game, and he pitched two days earlier. He wanted to close out the championship game. His velocity was way up when he came in. He stepped it up a notch and blew them away. I saw him use his emotions to help himself.” How do the people closest to Butler know he’s getting better? They see little signs on the mound -- not the exaggerated emotions he used to portray. “The worst thing he does now is twist the baseball trying to rub the major league emblem off,” Butler’s dad said. “If he’s having a great time, he doesn’t fidget with that baseball. If he’s struggling or someone makes a bad play, we know it’s because he rubs that baseball.” Has the anger issue been conquered? Butler doesn’t think so, as he believes he might have to deal with it in one form or another for the rest of his life. But he’s getting there. Realization is the word used to describe Butler’s progress. Realizing the problem is the first step to a solution. “I just knew I had a short fuse,” Butler said. “When something didn’t go my way, I usually let it be known. Looking back, it wasn’t the greatest thing. I’ve had umpires miss calls, and the next thing you know, I’m trying to throw the ball 100 mph. I’m like, ‘What am I doing?’” Kris Bryant added three hits and two RBI as Chicago got its first home win in the first night game at Wrigley Field this season. Albert Almora Jr. also had three hits and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs in the Cubs' highest scoring performance in their first 11 games. Baez belted a three-run shot to right-center against Steven Authentic Jeremy Vujnovich Jersey Brault in the second and connected against Dovydas Neverauskas in the eighth, sending a solo drive to back of the bleachers in left. The crowd of 35,596 chanted "Ja-vy! Ja-vy!" after he rounded the bases, and he obliged the cheers with a curtain call. "I've been working on focusing on just me and the pitcher out there," Baez said. "Forget about the whole field, everything really. Launch angle. The miles off the bat, all this stuff, I was hitting with all this stuff. I clear my mind and it's all about compete. So that's how I've been taking it." Baez, who recently got engaged, also hit two solo homers in Tuesday's 8-5 loss in the series opener. The dynamic infielder became the first player with consecutive multihomer games for the Cubs since Alfonso Soriano from May 16-17, 2008. "Four homers in two days is OK," Cubs pitcher Jon Lester deadpanned. "I'm glad he's on our side." Pittsburgh had Jaelen Strong Youth jersey won four of five for its first 8-2 start since 1992. Sean Rodriguez hit a three-run homer and David Freese connected for a solo shot, but the game got away from the Pirates during the Cubs' four-run sixth. Baez struck out swinging leading off the inning against Tyler Glasnow (0-1), but he reached safely when the ball got past Authentic Jonathan Lucroy Jersey catcher Francisco Cervelli for a wild pitch. He advanced on Jason Heyward's bouncer to first and then swiped third with pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella at the plate. Pittsburgh then brought its infield in and La Stella hit a grounder to second baseman Josh Harrison. Baez broke for the plate and Harrison's throw was wild as Chicago grabbed a 5-4 lead.The Cubs poured it on from there. Zobrist capped the sixth-inning outburst with a two-run single back up the middle. Pinch-hitter Ian Happ connected for a two-run homer in the seventh, and Bryant tacked on his second RBI double of the game. "I think toward the end I could have made a couple better pitches, but overall I felt all right," Glasnow said. "Some bad luck, but that's baseball." cheap jerseys free shipping cheap jerseys china wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys free shipping cheap jerseys china wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys free shipping cheap jerseys china

You wouldn't like Eddie Butler when he's angry

reenbrier Christian Academy, in Virginia, was playing nearby Bishop Sullivan. Emotions were running high. Several pro scouts were in the stands to watch Greenbrier senior right-hander Eddie Butler. Instead of trying to impress those who had a say in his future, Butler wanted some revenge. Men's Nike Washington Redskins #83 Brian Quick Elite Green Salute to Service NFL Jersey “This kid just kept running his mouth the whole time,” Butler recently recalled of the 2009 game. “He ran his mouth in the fall and ran his mouth all winter. He went to a rival school. So I hit him on purpose. We cleared benches. A couple guys got ejected.”It wouldn’t be the first or last time emotion overcame Butler. Now a member of the Chicago Cubs bullpen, Butler admits he had -- or even has -- an “anger problem.” In fact, he’s still trying to overcome it -- or at least put it in its place. Women's Gary Payton Swingman White Nike Jersey: NBA Oklahoma City Thunder #20 Association Edition “I did it this spring training,” Butler said. “I had a bad inning. Threw my glove against the bench then kicked it under the bench.”The irony is Butler might be the last guy on Mario Edwards Jr Womens Jersey the Cubs you would think has a short fuse. Usually there’s a smile on his face, but underneath it all, he has struggled to maintain control.“He would get in trouble for doing stupid stuff,” Eddie’s dad, Tim Butler, said via a phone interview. “But he would give everything up just to go to baseball. We took everything else away from him. He lost his TV in his room. He would have to go to bed right after dinner and no friends. But he got to go to practice.”Eddie Authentic Justise Winslow Jersey summed it up: “I used to hold things in, hold things in, then explode.” A day in middle school provided quite the scene.“I got angry and Authentic Steve Grogan Jersey yelled at a girl in the middle of class and got suspended,” Butler said. “That’s when my parents sat me down and said, ‘Look, you need to get this under control.’ It was either losing baseball or stop hanging out with friends and no TV and stuff. I chose baseball.”It was a good choice, as Butler was eventually drafted in the first round by Colorado after attending Radford University. Before spring training in 2017, he was traded to the Cubs for James Farris, who has since retired. Baseball should have been his release. Instead, it only fueled his anger, especially when things didn’t go his way. Fortunately, the thrown bats, kicked gloves and punched water coolers never resulted in real harm -- for himself or his teammates.“You would see him do that stuff, but I think it was just a maturing thing,” said teammate Tyler Chatwood, who played with Butler in the Rockies system. “He was pretty young, getting called up. He’s been able to mature.” "We were in a conference championship game, and he pitched two days earlier. He wanted to close out the championship game. His velocity was way up when he came in. He stepped it up a notch and blew them away. I saw him use his emotions to help himself."Gary Lavelle, Eddie Butler's high school coach While Butler has grown on the mound, his past actions earned him a reputation across baseball -- for better or worse. “The Cubs were aware,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “The industry was aware.” Maybe that’s because of those scouts in the stands the day Butler hit a high school kid on purpose, leading to that brawl. One of those scouts in attendance worked for the Cubs.“There were three scouts there that day, and I was one of them,” Cubs area scout Billy Swoope said. “I don’t know how to say this, but it kind of perked me up a little bit. I was like, ‘OK, this guy doesn’t fool around.’ It kind of intrigued me about him to the point where I wanted to sign him out of high school.” Yes, Butler’s anger problem actually made Swoope take notice of him, but taking out frustrations on equipment isn’t usually viewed as a positive.“I’d throw a bat or helmet and accidentally hit a guy on my team, and I’d feel like an idiot,” Butler said. “I’d have to go apologize to them for getting mad and slamming something down and hitting someone else. ... Then I’d be yelling at umpires, doing all kinds of stupid stuff like throwing at the other team and punching coolers. I punched a wall once.” Butler didn’t have to be reminded that the wall never loses in those battles. Epstein was quick to point out that many players show their anger in the moment; it can happen after a bad at-bat or poorly pitched ball -- or, in Epstein’s experience, in the office.“There were times when you have to release a guy, and you want a big body in the room,” he said with a half-smile. Fortunately, Butler was good enough to advance in baseball even as his anger got the best of him at times, but he didn’t exactly light the world on fire with the Rockies and is still finding his way with the Cubs. He surprised even himself with his performance in a 17-inning marathon in the second game of the season, when he threw seven stellar innings in relief -- all in extras. “Pitching with your back against the wall was kind of cool,” Butler said. “I was surprised with how well I handled it. I didn’t let it get to me too much. I threw my best game I ever threw in the big leagues. ... I wasn’t sure how I would respond to one pitch forcing the game to be over. I didn’t think about it once I left the bullpen. He actually suffered the loss against the Marlins, but only after Brandon Morrow gave up the winning hit while Butler was looking on from the dugout. Did that infuriate him? “No,” Butler said with a chuckle. “I wanted to win that game, but I pitched well. I wasn’t mad.”His defenders -- such as his parents and perhaps even Swoope -- will say the anger comes from his being overly competitive. Butler allows for that notion but also understands that he has to stay in control.“It actually fizzled out in baseball more than off the field,” Butler said. “Things would aggravate me and stay with me all day.”His mom remembers one incident in particular.“We had an unattached garage,” Monica recalled. “He was on his four-wheeler. Dad got on him about something, and he had a little bit of an attitude. When Justin Coleman Authentic Jersey he came around the back of the garage, the door was closed, and he ran the four-wheeler right into the door and tore it all up. A brand new door. He told us he hit he garage door not because his attitude, but because the brakes weren’t working. He had to replace the cost with doing chores around the house.”

ESPN Forecast: Who will win, sweep Round 1 of NBA playoffs?

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid has missed the last seven games after suffering an orbital bone fracture following an on-court collision with teammate Markelle Fultz on March 28. When he returns to the court -- likely in the first round of the Sixers' playoff Authentic Quintin Demps Jersey series against the Miami Heat -- Embiid will don a face mask, joining a handful of recent NBA stars who suffered facial injuries and were forced to wear protective gear. Women's Nelson Agholor Black Name & Number Logo : NFL Nike Philadelphia Eagles #13 Pullover Hoodie Embiid showed off a dramatic black mask on the sideline at the Sixers' home finale Wednesday night and leveraged the situation in his Jason Williams Jersey favor on social media -- as he has done in almost every scenario this season -- by posting a self-deprecating Instagram photo. TORONTO -- April 18, 2015, was a glorious early-spring day in downtown Toronto, sunny and reasonably warm. Thousands of Toronto Raptors fans had packed into Maple Leaf Square to watch a massive screen on the side of Air Canada Centre, the fulfillment of an urban planner's dream. Adidas NHL Men's Pierre Turgeon Red Home Premier Jersey - #77 Montreal Canadiens Just after noon, Masai Ujiri stepped onto a temporary stage wearing one of his trademark form-fitting dark suits and was handed a live microphone. The Raptors' general manager and team executives were anxious to show off the admirable scene with a special guest who'd flown in for the kickoff of the playoffs, NBA commissioner Adam Silver. In the elevator on the way, Silver joked about when Ujiri had gotten up on the same stage a year before and screamed "F--- Brooklyn" to fans' joy just before the Raptors opened the playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets. But the Nets won the game, with Paul Pierce making a jumper to ice it, and Silver fined Ujiri $25,000 for his language. They all laughed at the memory. This time, of course, everyone would behave and the improved Raptors were going to handle the Washington Wizards in Game 1. Who cared that Pierce, now with the Wizards, had waved off the Raptors by saying they didn't have the "it" factor? Look at the scene; this was "it." "The atmosphere in Toronto for playoff games is incredible; what you see on TV doesn't do it justice," Pierce said, looking back. "You have to be there to feel it. "But you know, nobody respected the Raptors, even on their home court. If you got the Raptors in the playoffs, it was nothing to fear. It was a matchup I always wanted." There it is. Harsh and plain. And the losses keep happening. Game 1 has been a demon the Raptors cannot shake. It has gone from nuisance to unexplainable to unacceptable. The Raptors' Game 1 losing streak is at 10. More confounding is they're 0-6 at home. Six Game 1 defeats in front of that relentless crowd when they have had the higher seed and the alleged advantage. In their history, the Raptors are a depressing 1-12 in Game 1s. But the current core that has been in Toronto since it made its first appearance in six years in 2014 -- Lowry, DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and coach Dwane Casey -- are 0-7 in Game 1s. Five of them have taken place in their beloved building. And it haunts them. It must be said that three times in the past two seasons, the Raptors have recovered from Game 1 losses to win the series. But the added stress seemed to affect them in the next round. The Raptors have just finished the greatest regular season in their history, winning the No. 1 seed and 59 games. They have built a deep and flexible roster that can withstand injuries, bend to an opponent's strengths and reduce the burden to keep their stars fresher for the postseason. They will have Game 1 at home as long as they're alive in the East playoffs.And they will carry the weight of the CN Tower on their backs when they host the Wizards on Saturday to try to end this splitting headache. "We have to take advantage. We have to," Lowry said. "Game 1 will be the most important game for us. We haven't talked about it much in the past, but this year it's going to be an emphasis, at least, my personal emphasis." In 2006, the No. 3-seed Raptors were favored against the New Jersey Nets. It was a "red out," and all fans were given red T-shirts for the effect. But no one told the Nets, who wore their red alternate road jerseys so they looked and felt like the home team. Played like it, too. They won Game 1 and the series. In 2016, Lowry made a miraculous shot at the buzzer from just inside half court to force overtime against the Miami Heat in Game 1 at home. Were there no bars in front of all the rows in the upper deck, fans might've toppled onto the court. The scene in Maple Leaf Square -- aka Jurassic Park in the playoffs -- resembled a mosh pit."It's just crushing when you lose at home in Game 1," said Raptors season-ticket holder Jamie Schacter, who has owned seats in the first row since 1995. "When we get the early game, we cringe. Basketball players, and the Raptors especially, it seems, play better at night."On Saturday, the Raptors will have to deal with yet another 5:30 p.m. start. But it may be simpler than that. Lowry and DeRozan have had some miserable Game Daniel Winnik Jersey 1s. In the 2014 loss to Brooklyn, they combined to shoot 11-of-31. They were worse the next season against Washington. When Lowry hit the miracle shot against Miami in 2016, it was a part of a 3-of-13 shooting night. In a 2016 Game 1 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Lowry and DeRozan were 8-of-32 from the field. In the 2016 conference finals against Cleveland in Game 1, Lowry was 4-of-14. Last season in their Game 1 loss to the Bucks, Lowry was 2-for-11. In Game 1 against the Cavs in Cleveland in 2017, DeRozan's plus/minus was minus-32. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys

One of the top two quarterbacks in this

class, Wentz is blessed with a strong combination of size and athleticism. He has very good arm strength to make all the necessary throws. He displays quality accuracy at all three levels. There are some concerns about his lack of experience and making the jump from the FCS level. However, Wentz has the tools, football intelligence, maturity and leadership skills to develop into a quality starting QB in the NFL." In the NFL: Early returns on Wentz look terrific. The Eagles gave up a lot to get him, but he went 11-2 as a starter last season, threw 33 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and was an MVP candidate before tearing his ACL. The arrow is pointing up. Men's Reebok St. Louis Blues #30 Martin Brodeur Premier Blue 2017 Winter Classic NHL Jersey As a prospect: "Goff is an experienced three-year starter who is one of the most natural passers in this class. He has excellent pocket presence and feels pressure naturally to buy time while going through progressions. Goff shows accuracy and touch with the ability to deliver from an uneven platform. He has added weight and that eases concerns about his durability. He might need time adjusting to an NFL playbook coming from a wide-open system. He is one of the top two quarterbacks in this class and has the tools and acumen to develop into an above-average starter." In the NFL: Goff had a historically poor seven-start rookie Authentic 12th Fan Jersey season in 2016, before excelling under new head coach Sean McVay last season. His decision-making was much improved and he was tied for second in the NFL with 8.0 yards per pass attempt. This will be a big season for him. Men's Limited Jeff Heuerman White Jersey: Vapor Untouchable Road #82 NFL Denver Broncos Nike As a prospect: "Rosen is the best pocket passer in the 2018 draft and is NFL ready. Accuracy, touch and timing are his best traits. Throws from a balanced base. Gets the ball out on time. He lacks ideal mobility and turnovers have been an issue (26 INTs and seven fumbles lost in 30 starts), but the reality is that Rosen carries an elite grade based solely on his tape. If a quarterback-needy team at the top of the draft passes on Rosen it will have everything to do with concerns regarding his durability and "football character." As a prospect: "Allen has elite arm strength and his accuracy is good when his feet are set properly. Also has better-than-average accuracy when on the move. Allen is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks to come out of college in the last five years. His ceiling is incredibly but so too is his bust potential. The team/situation he's drafted into will be far more important to his success than his draft slot." As a prospect: "The concerns about Locker's inconsistent accuracy from within the pocket were expected to hurt his stock more than they did in the end. He must improve his footwork and the consistency of his release, but he has all the physical tools, enough size, strong arm and excellent mobility. There are no questions about his intangibles, either. Locker is the kind of player who can command the huddle and win over a locker room. If he Tomas Hertl Jersey can improve his fundamentals and ability to hit receivers from within the pocket he will prove to be worth the pick." In the NFL: The concerns about Locker's inconsistent accuracy proved true, as he had a career 57.5 percent completion percentage and 27 TDs to 11 INTs. He went 9-14 as a part-time starter in four Alex Erickson Womens Jersey seasons with Tennessee before retiring. As a prospect: "Manziel is the most polarizing player in this year's draft. On the downside, there are concerns about his ability to make plays from within the pocket and stay healthy in the NFL. Plus, his off-the-field behavior has some wondering if he'll be the kind of leader who's the first player in and the last player out of the building. On the plus side, he's a fierce competitor when he takes the field, he has above-average arm strength and he is an escape artist who can buy time for his receivers to get open and break long runs when he gets a lane to scramble." In the NFL: Manziel's maturity has certainly been an issue, as he lasted only two tumultuous seasons with Cleveland before being cut. He's currently attempting a comeback. As a prospect: "Flacco certainly has the makings of a franchise quarterback. He's tall enough to scan the field from the pocket, flashes good pocket presence and has the strongest arm of any quarterback in this year's class. However, he isn't nearly as polished as Coby Fleener Jersey Matt Ryan and he played against a lower level of competition at Delaware. Keeping that in mind, he's going to have a steeper learning curve, so it's going to take time for him to realize his potential." In the NFL: Whether or not you believe Flacco is elite, he has had sustained success at the NFL level. He's 92-62 as a starter, has missed only six starts in 10 seasons and has reached the playoffs six times, including a Super Bowl victory. He's also 10-5 in the playoffs. As a prospect: "A poor performance at his pro day, concerns about his lean frame as it relates to his ability to handle NFL punishment and average arm strength are legitimate concerns that caused Bridgewater's stock to drop substantially. There is a lot to like about his tape, though, and he could prove to be a steal with that in mind. He reads coverage, anticipates well and shows excellent footwork in the pocket. His ability to handle and beat pressure also stands out." In the NFL: Bridgewater led the Vikings to the playoffs in 2015 as a Pro Bowler, before blowing out his knee in training camp prior to the 2016 season. He has thrown only two passes since then and signed on with the Jets this offseason. wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys

Football changes

My heart rate went up a bit but I tried to calm myself down, because I knew it would be decisive,” Cristiano Ronaldo said. All that and it came down to this: 180 minutes reduced to a single moment. A 3-0 victory for Real Madrid in Matt Niskanen Youth jersey Turin, 3-0 to Juventus in Madrid and then, in the 93rd and final minute, with 39 remaining seconds that would soon be considerably more, Lucas Vázquez went down, nudged by Medhi Benatia. So here they were, a semi-final waiting, everyone watching two men standing 12 yards apart at the north end of the Santiago Bernabéu. Well eventually. One shot but a long time to take it. Juventus surrounded the referee and Gigi Buffon was sent off. Men's Nike New York Jets #71 Ben Ijalana Limited Black 2016 Salute to Service NFL Jersey “The referee had a rubbish bin where his heart should be,” Buffon said, while Vázquez insisted: “It’s a penalty, the centre-back arrives and bundles me over. But in a situation like that the protests are normal, it’s the last minute after a great game.” Ronaldo thought differently. “I don’t know why they were protesting but football’s like that,” he said. As he left the stadium, he and Buffon embraced. They had not seen each other when the moment came. Buffon walked, Wojciech Szczesny came on to replace him. All the while, Ronaldo waited. Szczesny had no time to warm up or touch the ball. Ronaldo, who admitted “the minutes before taking the penalty felt eternal”, had it. Szczesny headed on to his line, where he jumped up and down pushing the bar, making it wobble. Ronaldo, still standing there, took a deep breath and then another, as if trying to force both lungs out with the air that had filled them. He was not the only one. Eventually he began his run, Dani Carvajal Womens Derek Roy Jersey way behind him, on his knees and unable to look. The clock had said 92min 21sec when Vázquez went down; by the time Ronaldo struck the penalty it was 96.55. The nerves he admitted to having were not visible, the ball flying into the top corner – his 15th goal in the competition this season, at least one in every match – and the stadium erupting. “Where does the fear go when it escapes your body?” Jorge Bustos asked in El Mundo. There was a lot of it rushing out. It had been there – “somewhere between your intestines and your throat”, Bustos reckoned – from the start to the end. Comebacks form part of Madrid’s legend, encapsulated in the phrase uttered by the forward Juanito in 1986. Madrid had been beaten 3-1 by Internazionale in the first leg of a Uefa Cup tie but Juanito warned that the second leg would be different, saying in cod Italian: “Noventa minuti en el Bernabéu son molto longo.” Ninety minutes in the Bernabéu are very long. It was supposed to apply to opponents, not Madrid, but here it was reversed. These 90 minutes were molto, molto longo indeed. When Juventus scored their first, one minute 16 seconds had gone and it was 8.47pm; when Madrid scored their first, finally ending it, it was 10.40pm. An hour and 53 minutes of suffering and then an explosion. Somehow they had found a way through. On the front of the sports daily Authentic Paul Martin Jersey AS, the headline said: “From panic to the semi-final.” Madrid had escaped thanks to a “miracle”. In El Mundo, Orfeo Suárez saw Madrid still “on course for their Holy Grail, like Christ resurrected. Cristiano, taking his place standing there in the form of a cross, was as implacable in applying punishment as he was suffering in martyrdom”. Suffering was the word. “Journalists are supposed to say things like: ‘How lovely football is,’” Bustos wrote. “Lovely? Bollocks.”

Six of the most dramatic nights in

The almost shocking conclusion to what Womens Dontae Johnson Jersey had been a notable Juventus recovery against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu has not only divided opinion – it was a penalty all day long, one could only admire the stealth with which Medhi Benatia administered his shove in the back of Lucas Vázquez and the bravery of Michael Oliver for punishing it – but has also inspired much talk of the evening being one of the most dramatic in Authentic Menelik Watson Jersey the history of the European Cup and Champions League. However the latter stages of the competition have frequently produced controversy, spectacle and drama. Here are six other notable European nights to consider. Men's Limited DeAndre Washington White Jersey: Rush Vapor Untouchable #33 NFL Oakland Raiders Nike Comebacks do not come any more unexpected or spellbinding than this. Call it the greatest of escapes, the miracle of Istanbul or just the ultimate games of two halves but the fact is the first half was so embarrassingly one-sided that some Liverpool supporters are said to have attempted to leave the stadium during the interval, only to find the gates locked. Cue a little tactical adjustment by Rafa Benítez, who brought on Didi Hamann for the second half, and heroic performances by Steven Gerrard and Jerzy Dudek, and Liverpool recovered a three-goal deficit, negotiated extra-time and then won on penalties. Unforgettable. Women's Majestic San Diego Padres #34 Rollie Fingers Replica Green Salute to Service Cool Base MLB Jersey Almost certainly the height of European injustice, as the Norwegian referee Tom Henning Øvrebø waved away four reasonable Chelsea penalty appeals before a 90th-minute goal from Andrés Iniesta swept Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona into the final with their only shot on target. One of the most memorable images of the night was Michael Ballack sprinting half the length of the pitch while remonstrating with Womens Karlos Dansby Jersey the hapless official, before Didier Drogba’s sweary rant to the camera at full-time earned him a five-match ban. Øvrebø apologised some years later but it was far too late to earn Guus Hiddink the shot at Manchester United in Rome he so craved. Barcelona were at the height of their supremacy under Guardiola in 2010 but Inter arrived at the Camp Nou with a 3-1 lead from the first leg. The visitors soon went down to 10 men when Thiago Motta was dismissed in the first half but what followed was a defensive masterclass, more organisation than improvisation, as Inter virtually abandoned attack to concentrate their resources on stopping Barcelona from scoring again. This was peak José Mourinho who, after outwitting Guardiola while short-handed, was presented with few problems by Louis van Gaal’s Bayern Munich in the final. Perennial underachievers in Europe, Inter had suddenly landed the treble of the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and Champions League. A 10-goal final certainly sounds dramatic, even if the distribution of goals suggests the showpiece might have been a tad one-sided. In Britain at least, this felt like it was the moment when the European Cup came of age, when the scales fell from insular eyes and the attraction of continental competition was suddenly grasped. The final provided royal entertainment for an immense Hampden Park crowd of 127,621, an audience that seemingly included – just like the Sex Pistols at the Free Trade Hall or the Velvet Underground’s first Alex Iafallo Jersey LP – a great many people who would later be inspired to achievements of their own. If this was football, Britain wanted more. Strange as it might seem now, it came as news to the nation at large to discover there was something intoxicatingly special about European nights at Anfield. Liverpool under Bob Paisley were breaking new ground – in Bill Shankly’s time the club had never been synonymous with European success – and when the French champions scored an away goal the home side needed two more to progress. Thanks in part to a hugely partisan crowd, Ray Kennedy and David “supersub” Fairclough they got them, though knowing what we know now the most arresting sight of the evening was the spilling, seething, all-standing Kop. cheap nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china

Trading down for a load of draft capital in 1999

Robert Griffin III was the most anticipated draft pick in franchise history, but the most memorable moment came when the Redskins were the recipients of a bold (or dumb?) move by New Orleans, which traded eight picks to Washington for the fifth overall choice in the 1999 draft. The Redskins used that draft capital to move back into the first round, drafting corner Champ Bailey at No. 7 -- the player they wanted all along. Washington then used its future bounty from New Orleans to select three-time second-team All-Pro linebacker LaVar Arrington at No. 2 in the 2000 draft, then to trade up to get six-time Pro Bowl tackle Chris Samuels at No. 3. -- John Keim Limited Wayne Chrebet Youth Road White Nike Jersey - #80 NFL New York Jets Vapor Untouchable Most believed that the Bears would draft a quarterback last year, but few -- if any -- foresaw them doing so in the top three. The Bears' pursuit of Trubisky was so clandestine that virtually no one inside their own building -- outside of general manager Ryan Pace and a handful of his top lieutenants -- knew Chicago planned to select Trubisky, who had started only 13 games at North Carolina, until the exact moment the Bears turned in their official draft card. -- Jeff Dickerson It led to a decade's worth of jokes about Detroit always taking receivers in the first round of the draft. Of those four receivers, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams were gigantic busts, Roy Williams was OK and then Calvin Johnson became one of the best players in franchise history before retiring in his prime at age 30. It's brought up because of who Detroit could have picked in their places: Andre Johnson or Terence Newman in 2003, DeAngelo Hall or Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, then DeMarcus Ware in 2006. Even though it has been a decade, thinking of taking a receiver in the first round still causes a segment of the fan base to shudder. -- Michael Rothstein Ted Thompson knew that at some point he would be charged with finding the next Brett Favre. He had no idea that he'd get that chance in his first-ever draft as the Packers general manager in 2005. Still, Thompson did his due diligence, studying the top quarterbacks on the off chance one became available when he picked at No. 24. But with one of the top two QBs sure to go to the 49ers at No. 1, Thompson recalled in an interview last year: "There's only two. How is either of them going to get to us? And the one we want, how is he going to get to us?" Just days before the draft, it looked like the 49ers would take Rodgers, and that would be that as far as the Packers were concerned. But when San Francisco picked Alex Smith and Rodgers' draft free fall began, it was a no-brainer to Thompson to take the quarterback who would successfully follow Favre. -- Rob Demovsky In 2002, Minnesota was on the clock in the first round when the Chiefs beat them to a trade with the Cowboys to land defensive tackle Ryan Sims with the sixth overall pick. The Vikings ended up with offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, which worked out well, but issues arose with the clock the following year, leading them to miss out on yet another player they wanted. In 2003, Jacksonville and Carolina, who were drafting seventh and eighth respectively, took advantage of Minnesota failing to make a pick while on the clock, leaving the Vikings to select defensive tackle Kevin Williams ninth overall. Both McKinnie and Williams went on to become Pro Bowlers, so the Vikings might have gotten the last laugh in the long run, but that time management snafu is one of the more memorable gaffes in draft history. -- Courtney Cronin The Falcons traded away five draft picks to the Browns -- including the 27th overall pick that year -- to select the game-changing wide receiver. The Browns also picked up the Falcons' second- and fourth-round picks in that draft and first- and fourth-round picks in 2012. "It took me by surprise," Jones said immediately following the trade. "I feel like they have AJ McCarron Jersey a lot of trust in me. I'm not going to disappoint." Jones, with four consecutive seasons of 1,400-plus yards, is arguably the most dangerous threat in the game -- when healthy. And although some criticize the Falcons for voiding themselves of some depth, general manager Thomas Dimitroff never publicly expressed regret even though friend Bill Belichick advised him not to make Akiem Hicks Jersey the trade, according to author Michael Holley in his book "War Room." -- Vaughn McClure This one gets overlooked among the selections of Julius Peppers second overall in 2002 and Cam Newton first overall in 2011. But in 2007, the Panthers traded their first- (No. 14) and sixth-round picks to the Jets in exchange for New York's first-, second- and fifth-round picks. They got linebacker Jon Beason at No. 25 and center Ryan Kalil at No. 59 in the second round. Beason went on to become a three-time Pro Bowl selection and Kalil a five-time Pro Bowl selection. Beason was a mainstay in the lineup until an Achilles injury ended his 2011 season. And then, of course, the Panthers took Luke Kuechly in the first round of the 2012 draft and the rest is history with him. But Kalil will go down as one of the greatest offensive linemen in team history, if not the greatest. -- David Newton