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Don Larsen, who pitched only perfect World Series game, dies at 90

Don Larsen, the journeyman pitcher who reached the heights of baseball glory when he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history in 1956 with the New York Yankees, died Wednesday, his representative, Andrew Levy, tweeted Wednesday night. Larsen was 90.

Levy said the former pitcher died of esophageal cancer in hospice care in Hayden, Idaho. Levy said Larsen’s son, Scott, confirmed the death.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Larsen was the unlikeliest of characters to attain what so many Hall of Famers couldn’t pull off in the Fall Classic. He was 81-91 in his career, never won more than 11 games in a season and finished an unsightly 3-21 with Baltimore in 1954, the year before he was dealt to the Yankees as part of a 17-player trade.

In the 1956 World Series, won in seven games by the Yankees, Larsen was knocked out in the second inning of Game 2 by the Brooklyn Dodgers and didn’t think he would have another opportunity to pitch. But when he reached Yankee Stadium on the morning of Oct. 8, he found a baseball in his shoe, the signal from manager Casey Stengel that he would start Game 5.8

“I must admit I was shocked,” Larsen wrote in his autobiography. “I knew I had to do better than the last time, keep the game close and somehow give our team a chance to win. Casey was betting on me, and I was determined not to let him down this time.”

The Dodgers and Yankees split the first four games, and Stengel liked the deception of Larsen’s no-windup delivery. The manager’s instincts proved historically correct. The lanky right-hander struck out seven, needed just 97 pitches to tame the Dodgers and went to three balls on a batter only once — against Pee Wee Reese in the first inning.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement Thursday that Larsen’s perfect game has “remained unique for 63 years and counting.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“On a team of many stars, Don illustrated that anyone can make history — even perfection — on our sport’s biggest stage,” Manfred said.

In their 2-0 win, the Yankees managed only five hits against the Dodgers’ Sal Maglie but scored on Mickey Mantle’s home run and an RBI single by Hank Bauer.

Larsen, selected MVP of the 1956 Series, had two close calls. In the second inning, Jackie Robinson hit a hard grounder that was deflected by third baseman Andy Carey to shortstop Gil McDougald, who threw out Robinson. In the fifth, Mantle ran down a long drive to left-center field by Gil Hodges. With two outs in the ninth, pinch hitter Dale Mitchell took a third strike, completing the perfect game and sending catcher Yogi Berra dashing out from behind the plate to leap into Larsen’s arms.

Browns fire coach Freddie Kitchens after 1 season, 6-10 finish

Even after a dispiriting loss to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens spoke like he’d have a job to come to on Monday.

Turned out, he would not.

Shortly after the team landed from Cincinnati, owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager John Dorsey met with Kitchens at the team’s practice facility to fire him following one season in which Cleveland finished 6-10.

“We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organization but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach,” the Haslams said. “Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed.“nfl nike jersey cheap

The Haslams have now gone through six head coaches, including interims, since buying the team in 2012. Cleveland will be hiring its 12th head coach since returning to the NFL in 1999.7

After another listless performance in Sunday’s 33-23 loss to the then-1-14 Bengals, yet another coaching move in Cleveland felt unavoidable – even as Kitchens pushed back on any inevitability.

“We’ve got meeting scheduled through next week, and I’m looking forward to going to work tomorrow,” Kitchens said. “They have not given me any indication of anything else. Mr. Jimmy and Dee, I think they want me to do my job, and that’s what I’m gonna do – until they tell me not to, if they tell me not to.”

The Haslams had seen enough, as Kitchens’ brief tenure was enveloped by discipline issues and distractions.

The Browns ranked in the top five in penalties and penalty yardage all season.

Then on Nov. 14, in the closing seconds of a victory over Pittsburgh, star defensive end Myles Garrett ripped the helmet off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and slugged him in the head with it. The incident left Garrett suspended indefinitely, and the ensuing melee led the NFL to fine both the Browns and Steelers $250,000 apiece.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Before the Dec. 1 rematch, Kitchens was photographed at the movies wearing a “Pittsburgh started it” T-shirt, a reference to the brawl. After the Steelers won the game 20-13, which severely damaged Cleveland’s playoff chances, several Pittsburgh players criticized Kitchens for wearing the shirt.

Kitchens, who originally came to Cleveland last year as a running backs coach, took over as offensive coordinator midway through last season after head coach Hue Jackson was fired. With Kitchens calling plays, Mayfield thrived and went on to break the NFL rookie record with 27 passing touchdowns.

Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (ankle) practices, could return Thursday vs. Spurs

Luka Doncic was a full participant in the Dallas Mavericks’ Christmas Eve practice — his first since spraining his right ankle almost two weeks ago — and could return as soon as Thursday’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs.

“He seems to be doing better every day,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know what his status will be for Thursday, but he’ll certainly be upgraded. He’s doing well. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, and then Thursday we’ll see what’s what, but things are looking better and better.”

Doncic moved well during the practice, but the Mavs want to monitor how his ankle responds before determining his status against the Spurs.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I’m feeling good,” said Doncic, who has emerged as an early MVP candidate by averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game. “Just taking care of it. [There’s] a lot of things that we have to do, and we’re just taking care of it. We’ll see how it progresses, and we’ll see if I play.”8

Doncic injured the ankle when he stepped on the foot of Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn while driving to the basket in the opening minutes of the Mavs’ double-overtime loss on Dec. 14. The ankle rolled over so far that it touched the hardwood, and the Mavs felt fortunate that X-rays were negative and Doncic was diagnosed with a lateral ankle sprain.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The Mavs managed to win two of the four games that Doncic sat out despite facing Eastern Conference powers, pulling off road wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers with Jalen Brunson replacing Doncic in the starting lineup. It would have been a 3-1 week for the Mavs, but on Sunday they became the first NBA team in a decade to blow a 30-point lead as they lost the Toronto Raptors.

“We have a great team and had some tough matchups,” Doncic said. “They played great. Like I always say, we have a deep team.”

After staying home when the team traveled to Milwaukee immediately after his injury, Doncic joined the Mavs for their weekend road trip to Philadelphia and Toronto and ramped up his rehabilitation process. He went through extended workouts under the supervision of Casey Smith, Dallas’ director of player health and performance, before both games. Doncic worked at close to full speed Sunday in Toronto, going through a series of one-on-one moves against the defense of assistant coach Jamahl Mosley.

“I just want to go back on the court to play, because I’m competitive,” Doncic said. “I just wanted it to get better quick, get back as soon as possible.”

Sources: Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis expected to play vs. Clippers

The Los Angeles Lakers will have their stars on the court for a Christmas Day showdown with the LA Clippers.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to play on Wednesday, league sources told ESPN. James missed a game for the first time all season Sunday with a thoracic muscle strain and discomfort in his groin; Davis tweaked his right knee during that game, a loss to Denver.nfl nike jersey cheap

James and Davis encouraged an impromptu early-morning practice on Christmas Eve, sources told ESPN, in preparation for the Lakers’ first game against the fully formed Clippers with both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George available to play.

The Lakers, who recently completed a stint of 12 out of 15 games on the road, also practiced Monday, but both James and Davis were held out of on-court participation.7

With an early 5 p.m. PT tip on Christmas making it too much of a time crunch to hold a morning shootaround on game day, the two Lakers leaders brought the group in on Tuesday so they could join their teammates in the walk-through to prepare for the Clippers.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel lamented his team’s overall lack of practice time and conceded that it could be a contributor to the three-game losing streak L.A. is mired in.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“We went a 10-day trip without a single practice, really,” Vogel said Monday. “One shootaround, I think. Sometimes that benefits your legs, but usually it leads to a little bit of slippage in your execution and togetherness, particularly on the defensive end.”

The Clippers beat the Lakers 112-102 on opening night in a game that the Lakers admit did not feature their best execution. “I think we were super emotional in the first game, and it showed,” Dwight Howard said this week, looking back at the loss.

James and Davis’ extra practice time would seem to be a step toward drilling down the game plan to have that knowledge to fall back on when the atmosphere gets charged at Staples Center for Lakers-Clippers, Part 2.

“It’s a little bit like the playoffs,” Vogel said. “You want to be jacked up. But sometimes the best mental approach to the playoffs is managing your adrenaline and managing the edge. But let’s start with the edge first. Bring the juice first. If we’re overboard with it, we can always pull back. But you don’t want to be it the other way around. And it won’t be.”

Lions win despite loss, moving up to No. 3 in 2020 NFL draft

The most dramatic moments for the Detroit Lions on Sunday came hundreds of miles and two time zones away from Empower Field at Mile High. For the purposes of this flailing Lions season and everything that is to come in the future, what happened in Maryland and Miami mattered much more.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

As games between fellow top-five draft contenders went to overtime — actually overlapping with a quarter of Detroit’s 27-17 loss to Denver on Sunday — there were questions about how high or how low the Lions could go, at least in terms of the 2020 NFL draft.

As the Miami Dolphins kicked a field goal at the end of overtime to beat the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants scored an overtime touchdown to best the Washington Redskins, the Lions moved from No. 5 in the draft to No. 3. And the chase for potential defense-changing Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young remains on in earnest.8

In the Super Bowl era, they now have the worst record of any team that went unbeaten in the team’s first three games, snapping a 50-year-old mark held by the Bengals, who went 4-9-1 in 1969 after starting 3-0. Coincidentally, they lost at Denver in their season finale. While this isn’t the last game for the Lions, the loss did lock up this mark for Detroit.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

A loss Sunday in the season finale against Green Bay would give the franchise its worst season since a 2-14 record in 2009 — one year removed from the franchise’s winless 2008 season.

But a loss to the Packers on Sunday combined with a Washington win over Dallas would give the Lions the No. 2 overall pick and a really, really good chance at Young.

Silver lining: The Lions activated starting running back Kerryon Johnson on Saturday and he ended up being a decent part of the team’s game plan. He didn’t take his first snap until late in the first series, but had 10 carries for 42 yards — including the bulk of the work in the third quarter on a drive that ended with a Kenny Golladay touchdown. It’s still reasonable to question why Johnson was playing in a game with little meaning, but the duo of Johnson and Bo Scarbrough showed promise, combining for 76 yards and 4.2 yards per carry.

Bold prediction for next week: One unexpected player is going to have a standout performance with more playing opportunity. The pick here is linebacker Steve Longa, who might see increased work if Jahlani Tavai’s shoulder injury keeps him out. Should that happen, don’t be surprised if Longa has a double-digit tackle day to show he can play some defense along with his role as one of Detroit’s top special-teams standouts.

Describe the game in two words: One. Left. The 2019 Lions season mercifully comes to an end Sunday against the Packers. Green Bay could be playing for a bye or a division title. The Lions will be playing for the last time until the 2020 season.

Patrick Mahomes won’t admit connection between finger counting and draft

So maybe Patrick Mahomes does feel snubbed for being the 10th player and the second quarterback selected in the 2017 NFL draft.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback was seen counting to 10 on his fingers after throwing a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce late in the first half of Sunday night’s 26-3 win over the Chicago Bears. Ten, as in the 10th player drafted, on the same night he and the Chiefs were facing the only quarterback selected ahead of him that year.

The Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky was drafted second overall.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I don’t know if there was necessarily a meaning,” Mahomes said later. “I was just kind of in the moment and just enjoying it. … I knew it was a big moment in the game and you look to take advantage of it when you get that opportunity against that defense.

“I was just out there having fun. … We had a big score before the half and I was just trying to enjoy it. You’ve seen me play. I play with emotion. I like to just go out there and have fun with my teammates.”7

Perhaps. But the timing, with the Chiefs facing the Bears and Trubisky, seemed to make Mahomes’ gesture more than a coincidence.

Even one of his teammates, running back Damien Williams, seemed to understand the significance. Williams offered Mahomes congratulations as the quarterback was heading off the field while counting and approaching the sideline.

Mahomes was the clear winner in the quarterback battle with Trubisky. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a score. Trubisky completed 18 of 34 passes for 157 yards.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Kelce said he didn’t see Mahomes’ 10 count.

“I can’t really see Pat doing that,” Kelce said. “He’s a humble guy. You know what drives everyone sometimes is something deeper. I’m sure he’s happy where he is, but that probably helped him in his early years. Kind of gave him some motive and gave him some fire.

“I think he’s the type of competitor that he feels, every single game, every single time he touches the football he’s trying to prove something. Well, not necessarily prove something but be the best he can and show the world that you know that he is the best.”

That just hadn’t been Mahomes’ way, until Sunday night. He’ll celebrate after a touchdown with his teammates, but is quick to deflect any credit to his coaches and teammates.

Mahomes, while not acknowledging the meaning of his 10 count, did indicate he remembered being the second quarterback drafted two years ago.

Madison Bumgarner reaches 5-year, $85M deal with D-backs, sources say

Left-hander Madison Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal, sources familiar with the agreement told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The value of the contract was first reported by The Athletic. There is $15 million of deferred money in the deal.

This marks the second time in four years the typically frugal Diamondbacks have signed a top-tier, free-agent pitcher. In 2015, Arizona added right-hander Zack Greinke on a $206.5 million, six-year deal.

Arizona went 85-77 last season and traded Greinke to Houston in late July. The Diamondbacks haven’t had a lot of success in October lately, not winning a game in the National League Championship Series round since taking their only World Series title, in 2001.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Bumgarner will join a rotation that includes right-handers Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly and left-hander Robbie Ray, who is in the final year of his contract and sources said is likely to move in a trade. If Ray is dealt, left-hander Alex Young or right-hander Mike Leake would fill out the rotation.1

The 30-year-old Bumgarner, the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 World Series for the San Francisco Giants, went 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA last season, following two somewhat forgettable injury-shortened seasons.

In 2019, Bumgarner bounced back to tie for the National League lead with 34 starts and was second with 207 ⅔ innings pitched, which erased many doubts that the Giants icon could again showcase his trademark durability.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

A 10-year veteran, “MadBum” logged six straight seasons with double-digit wins, more than 200 innings and 30-plus starts — finishing with 18, 18 and 15 wins, respectively, in 2012, 2013 and 2014. But the 6-foot-4 left-hander went 4-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 17 starts in 2017, when he missed nearly three months following a dirt bike accident during an off day in Colorado. He threw just 111 innings that season to match his career-low total from 2010, when he was promoted to the majors in June.

Then, Bumgarner broke the pinkie on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive from Kansas City Royals hitter Whit Merrifield in his final 2018 spring training start, and he underwent surgery to insert pins into the finger. He returned in June and wound up going 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 starts and 129 ⅔ innings.

In April 2012, Bumgarner signed a $35.56 million, six-year deal through 2017 that included $12 million in club options for both 2018 and ’19. Before San Francisco staged a bit of a midseason surge to get into playoff contention this past season, Bumgarner was mentioned as a potential top trade target prior to the July 31 deadline.

Bumgarner has 1,794 strikeouts, which ranks 14th on the active list, and has a career record of 119-92 with a 3.13 ERA. He was a clutch postseason pitcher in each of San Francisco’s World Series-winning campaigns in 2010, ’12 and ’14.

Anthony Davis says Lakers trio urged 50-point effort

It wasn’t Anthony Davis’ idea to score 50 points Sunday in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 142-125 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Avery Bradley first suggested it to him at halftime, when Davis was already up to 27 points. DeMarcus Cousins then encouraged him to keep chasing it during second-half timeouts. And finally, Rajon Rondo instructed Davis to go get one more bucket when his point total was up to 48.

“The team was telling me, they weren’t telling me how much I had, but they were saying, ‘Get 50,'” Davis said after logging the fourth 50-point game of his career. “Usually I don’t really pay attention. I just go out there and play and try to get the win. But it’s hard when your teammates are constantly reminding you, ‘Go get 50! Go get 50!’ So they made sure I was constantly reminded.”

James finished with 32 points (including a 6-for-8 mark from 3-point range) and 13 assists. He assisted on eight of Davis’ field goals, including setting up the one that gave Davis the half-century mark with a 7-foot floater over the Wolves’ Jordan Bell.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

It was the most assists James has had to any one teammate in a game this season and the second most to any teammate in a game in his 17-year career, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. (Last March, he dished 10 assists to JaVale McGee.)

“For me and AD, we just, it starts with us,” James said. “If we’re on the same page it makes it a lot easier for the rest of the ballclub, and that’s both on and off the floor. So we’re just trying to lead by example, lead by command, lead by our voices, lead by our play and see where it takes us. It’s been pretty good for us so far.”8

Davis became just the second teammate of James’ career to score 50 in a game. Kyrie Irving did it twice for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2014-15 season. James didn’t play in one of those games, and the other went to overtime.

Davis did his damage in 39 minutes, going 20-for-29 from the field and 10-for-10 from the line.

“Just keep feeding him,” James said. “He was efficient all night. Getting the ball exactly where he wanted it: midpost, low post, perimeter. He can do it all, so it’s our job to continue giving him the ball.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

It was Davis’ third game with 40-plus points this season, and it came on the heels of a 39-point effort at Portland on Friday. He and James became the first pair of Lakers teammates to combine for 70-plus points in back-to-back games since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

“The first thing that sticks out to me is that he has four steals, a block and great defense for all 39 minutes he was out there,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of Davis. “He played strong on that end of the floor and anchored us, and to still go for 50 in what I feel like is an old-school, smashmouth way of getting 50 — no 3s? Right? [He shoots] 20-for-29 and then living at the free throw line. Post-ups, offensive rebounds, crashes, all those types of things. Just an old-school performance and one for the ages.”

Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) out vs. Cardinals

Despite returning to practice as a limited participant a week ago, Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner said he will be out Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He isn’t speculating on his availability after that, either.

“I don’t want to look too far ahead because it’s still going to take some time,” Conner said Thursday. “We’ll see. Hopefully I can get out there as soon as possible, but this week? Nah.”

Conner, who hasn’t played since a brief appearance against the Browns on Nov. 14, said he’s been taking scout team reps this week.

“Just don’t want to take none of the game reps away from some guys that are going to be active,” said Conner, who was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. “Nice to get out there and just run around.”7

Conner injured the AC joint in his right shoulder during the final two minutes of a win against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 28. He was wrapping up his best game of the season: 145 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Conner missed the next two games against the Colts and Rams before trying to play against the Browns in the Thursday night game. Conner realized after a quarter that his body wasn’t ready.

“I just wasn’t ready to come back,” he said. “I just tried to fight through it, but I wasn’t able to.”

Rookie Benny Snell Jr. has stepped up in Conner’s absence, particularly in the past two games. He scored his first NFL touchdown this past Sunday against the Browns, a 1-yard run to give the Steelers a 17-10 lead. He finished the game with 16 carries for 63 yards. A week earlier against Cincinnati, Snell led the Steelers with 21 carries for 98 yards.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“He prepared himself well,” Conner said. “My job is to be there [for] anything he needs, questions that he has. He’s been doing great.”

Before he played against the Browns, Conner said playing with the injury was a matter of pain tolerance. He said he’s “day-by-day” at this point but isn’t ruling out returning to the field in the final three regular-season games. The Steelers are in contention for the final AFC wild card, holding the No. 6 spot if the regular season ended today.

“Honestly, taking it day-by-day,” Conner said. “So whatever that may be, I’m not going to count it out until I’m done for sure.”

Raptors’ Masai Ujiri won’t be charged for shoving deputy

California prosecutors announced Tuesday that they won’t charge Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri for shoving a sheriff’s deputy after the deciding game of the NBA Finals in Oakland in June.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office announced the decision Tuesday afternoon, when the Raptors were in Toronto receiving their championship rings for defeating the Golden State Warriors.

The DA’s office said it met with Ujiri and his attorneys on Monday and decided the matter was better handled “outside of the courtroom.”nike nfl jerseys for cheap

“I am extremely pleased with the decision,” Ujiri said in a statement issued through the team from Toronto, where the Raptors opened their regular season against the New Orleans Pelicans.

“While these past months have been difficult waiting for a determination on this matter, I understand the nature of the process and am appreciative of the efforts of all involved,” Ujiri said. “I am happy that this is now behind me and I look forward to the task of bringing another Championship to the City of Toronto.”6

The Raptors had just won their first title after taking Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on June 13 when Ujiri went onto the court to join his celebrating team.

A sheriff’s deputy stopped him because Ujiri didn’t provide the proper on-court credential, leading to a shoving match that was partially captured on video.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Several bystanders intervened, and Ujiri got onto the court without displaying any credentials.

An attorney for the deputy contended that the deputy suffered a concussion. The sheriff’s office said only that he was placed on medical leave. The office filed a report of misdemeanor battery with the district attorney’s office.

An effort Tuesday to contact a spokesman for the sheriff’s office was unsuccessful. Messages to the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Alameda County seeking comment from the deputy weren’t immediately returned.

Ujiri attorney Robert Beles said his client is gratified and said the DA’s office conducted a thorough investigation.

“It was definitely the right conclusion,” he said, calling Ujiri “a decent human being and a good man.”