Tag Archives: Yahoo Sports

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

OKC Pulls the String on Scott Brooks

By Kaleb Page

April 24, 2015

Being a professional coach these days comes with more scrutiny than ever before. With 24-hour news cycles, social media and podcasts, there is no shortage of debate on how well a coach is actually coaching.

For much of professional coaching, especially in the past, the leash on a coach was at least three to four years. However, given the right circumstances that leash can be shortened or it can get the extension.

Scott Brooks was fired Wednesday by the Oklahoma City Thunder. After seven seasons as the head coach, the team decided to fire Brooks and look to go in a different direction. It’s surprising given what Brooks did in his time as a coach. He had a career record of 338-207 (.620) and was the NBA Coach of the Year in 2010.

When Brooks started his career with the Thunder back in 2008 the team was an awful 22-47, for the next six seasons Brooks coached a team that hit at least 50 wins four times. That doesn’t include the 47-19 season (2011-12) that had the team in the NBA finals facing off with the ‘Big Three’ in Miami (the Thunder would lose).

This season for the Thunder, in the much tougher Western Conference, was a roller coaster ride. Every time your looked to see what the team was doing, there seemed to be a debilitating injury. For a good 90% of the season the team was without their superstar Kevin Durant (last year’s MVP). Russell Westbrook battled many injuries (missed 15 games) to still battle night in night out, make a push for the MVP and becoming a nightly triple-double machine. It also didn’t help that versatile big man, Serge Ibaka, fell to injury keeping him out for the big stretch run toward the playoffs.

Despite the setbacks, the team was in contention all the way up to the final game of the season for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Even though Brooks took this team from nothing to something. It still wasn’t good enough to stay off the chopping block.

Now, there’s the argument that Brooks had long enough with a lot of talent to get more Finals appearances and even an NBA title. However, I’m not picking up what they’re putting down.

If anything Brooks deserved at least another year. He was the original guy that was the voice leading this group of young talent, and it was in the hardest conference in the association.

To be honest I think the real look into scrutiny should be at GM. Yes, GM Sam Presti is a bright mind at that position but there are some questionable moves that have put this team down this so-called path.

Let’s look at this team when they got to the NBA Finals. When they were in the Finals this team had Westbrook, Durant and James Harden (Yeah…you read that right). Now imagine, that team still together as a dynamic big three and even a big four if you factor in Ibaka. However, the GM took part in a three team trade that sent Harden to Houston and got Kevin Martin in return.

Yeah, let’s just say that didn’t pan out with Martin being an afterthought and leaving after just one year.

You could even look at the trade that let Jeff Green go and gave the team Kendrick Perkins. A deal that wrapped up so much money in Perkins, that it could have been used elsewhere (i.e. James Harden).

I know the coach is the figure-head of the team, and he will take the fall 9 times out of 10. In all honesty, it looks like there needs to be some changing elsewhere as well.

…But I guess that’s none of my business. (Enjoy Shaq and Charles Barkley’s take)

 

Bryan Price Drops Some Bombs

By Kaleb Page

April 24, 2015

The good old-fashioned coach tirade. It’s a work of art when done right.

Whether its Jim Mora shouting about the playoffs or Dennis Green yelling about losing after letting the Bears of the hook, the tirade when done right is something to behold.

However the one that came from Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price was far from that. Prior to Monday’s game against the Brewers, Price did his normal pregame presser. However, this day would be far from normal when it came to Price and the media.

In an article by Yahoo Sports, the actions of Price came as a surprise since the manager is known for being very respectful toward reporters.

The tirade was targeted at a Cincinnati Enquirer report that released information on Devin Mesoraco being unavailable for the big national league central match-up with the rival St. Louis Cardinals prior to that series starting. It also had to deal with another report about a call-up to replace Mesoraco that Price was hoping to keep hidden.

When the reporter asked similar questions in that regard towards the health of the club, it set the fire into a blaze.

What resulted was a 5 minute and 34 second tirade with a good 77 uses of the ‘f-word’ sprinkled in there for good measure.

It was immediately hit with backlash, and it was deserved because there is no need for all of that. I understand that there will be times were managers and media clash, but to go this far is quite far.

Now granted he didn’t attack the reporter personally or get overly vulgar, but at the same time there is a higher standard that managers have to hold themselves too. It’s another thing too that baseball has more of a family vibe to it so something like this will draw the ire of more people than some other sports might.

Since the time has passed Price has made an apology and looks to move past the situation. I hope so because Price was a nice manager one that seemed unfazed by the pressures of the job.

Well this occasion proved that thought wrong, but hey you have all that scrutiny on you 24/7 and see if you don’t lose your cool. Let us not hold this one moment over his head forever.

In the words of Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal: “Price wasn’t the first to crack, and he won’t be the last.”

Hopefully this is just the case a rare flare up by a manager who is far from this embarrassing moment.

Until then, look for a parody version of Brian Price on an episode of South Park dropping some bombs…’f bombs’ that is.

Athletes take to social media over Ferguson Verdict

By Kaleb Page

Voicing our thoughts is something all of us do when it comes to something big happening in our country. No different is this period in time when the Ferguson case coming to a close brought on many reactions from not only people in the United States, but around the world as well. One thing I won’t get into specifics on is the case or the verdict itself, but one thing I will say is that this case and the end result will be around for a long time.

After the verdict was read, not only were everyday people like you and I taking to social media to look at the reactions, discussions and to voice opinions; athletes were doing it too.

Yahoo Sports and Sports Illustrated have screen shots of some athletes tweets in reaction to the verdict and the subsequent actions in the community of Ferguson. Now I know it is good that sports outlets cover the different aspects of news that involve athletes, and this is something to cover since there are prominent athletes speaking on a big social issue at the time in this country. However, I do find a problem in doing this and highlighting certain types of things said.

When a big name athlete with a lot of influence like Kobe Bryant says, “The system enables young black men to be killed behind the mask of law” or Serena Williams says, “Wow. Just wow. Shameful. What will it take???.” What type of role does that play in feeding on to the madness we have seen on social media and in the Ferguson community?

These athletes know they hold a lot of social influence whether it is fair or not. They definitely can and do spark thoughts for people by what they say. That is why for me personally I wish athletes would just stay away from subjects like these when it is still in the heat of the moment. Don’t get into the specifics, don’t try to incite more hostile reaction, if anything just do a simple neutral message. Tweets like the ones above however, just add to the quick actions by people who don’t give time to really think on it.

I know that is human to want to speak your mind on something out there, but like I said I don’t think that it is an athletes place to jump in on this issue especially on social media. I hope that these tweets and other social media outlet outpourings by athletes similar to Kobe’s and Serena’s don’t get publicized more than they already have. Because if there is one thing sport shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be a dividing factor on top of the many factors dividing us already.

Sport should be something that brings us all together no matter the race. I hope that athletes realize that before they post on this issue.

The video above is from ESPN First Take, and it looks at how athletes speak on social media about major issues. This video is primarily about when Ferguson just began and athlete reaction at that time. I recommend watching it all as it speaks to what I wrote above as far as reaction to the conclusion of this case (or start at 5:12 on the video).

North Dakota Announcer Suspended

BY LORI RAUDIO

The University of North Dakota’s overtime loss to Northern Arizona was no doubt upsetting to players and fans alike. Play-by-play radio announcer Paul Ralston, however, was apparently very upset by the game.

In an interview with North Dakota’s coach, Brian Jones, after the game, Ralston referred to the loss as a “choke job.” This phrase clearly upset North Dakota’s Athletic Department, which suspended Ralston for two games. The incident was featured on almost every major news outlet including ESPN, CBS, and Yahoo Sports.

To many people, it may not seem like a big deal. After all, we have heard much worse. I think one of the main factors in the decision to suspend Ralston was because his comment was made directly to the coach. Jones, however, did not seem fazed by it. He talked about how his team let the game slip away.

Many bloggers and Twitter users have commented that the suspension seems a bit excessive. While I tend to agree, I also respect North Dakota’s decision. Ralston blatantly disrespected Jones, a fellow employee of the school, to his face. While it is Ralston’s job to report honestly about the game, he definitely crossed a line.

In the wake of the Brent Musburger incident, it is evident announcers are being watched closer than ever. It raises the question of how much freedom of speech announcers have. There seems to be a struggle for some announcers to report the game fairly and keep the audience entertained without offending someone. All the media incidents as of late will only increase scrutiny on announcers’ commentaries.