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Heisler: Steph Curry changed the way the game’s played, LeBron James changed the system

first_imgThinking in decades as we step way back to see who and what happened in the NBA and why:Ten years ago …LeBron James, once the most-hyped teen in the game’s history, was 25, an Akron, Ohio native seemingly set with his hometown team in nearby Cleveland … a year from leaving as the most notorious free agent of all time as his fans papered over his billboards and burned his merchandise.Kobe Bryant was 31, en route to his fifth title that spring – one more than Shaquille O’Neal, he would note – seemingly in his prime but only three years from his devastating Achilles injury. LeBRON CHANGES THE SYSTEMOf the stars of his magnitude, only Wilt Chamberlain had ever been as controversial, and that was in an era in which the NBA had just ridden in on a turnip truck with only 17 teams, including the Buffalo Braves, Kansas City-Omaha Kings and Baltimore Bullets.Trapped on humble Cavaliers rosters, James joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in the 2011 move that called down the unprecedented backlash known as “Heat Hate” … making them a major box-office draw with all rooting against them while making four NBA Finals in a row and winning two titles … before LeBron stunned all anew in 2014 by returning to Cleveland, where he made four more Finals in a row and led the Cavs back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Warriors in 2016 to win his third title.Heading the drive wherein stars signed short-term contracts to take control of their careers, LeBron was nonetheless the greatest gift to NBA owners, driving the rising Finals ratings that led to a new TV bonanza.After which …EVERYONE GOT REALLY RICHThe previous TV contract had been only a 21 percent increase from the one before, reflecting the NBA’s struggle after its 1990s zenith with Michael Jordan, with Forbes projecting that 17 of the league’s 30 teams lost money during the 2009-2010 season.The new TV deal in 2016 was a 279 percent increase, reflecting a glowing reappraisal as Curry’s fireworks-show Warriors happened with James’ Cavs as their foil in four Finals in a row.With the new TV deal tripling teams’ revenue from $31 million to $93 million per season, valuations zoomed to the sky.In 2010, Forbes projected the Knicks as the league’s most valuable team, worth $655 million.Forbes now projects all 30 franchises over $1 billion, with the No. 1 Knicks at $4 billion and the No. 2 Lakers, who don’t own their own arena, at $3.7 billion.KAWHI TIPS THE BALANCE OF POWERAnybody could tell you Luka Doncic, the 20-year-old Dallas star, will be among the great NBA players of the next 10 years.Nobody could tell you who the next Kawhi will be.The Lakers’ 2009-2010 titles seemed to settle the question of whose era it was, giving them five with the aging Spurs stuck on four since 2007, seeming to fade from memory after first-round defeats in 2009 and 2011 as Tim Duncan turned 35.Instead, eight weeks after their 2011 first-round loss to Memphis, the Spurs turned their fate around, trading Coach Gregg Popovich’s favorite, George Hill, to Indiana for the No. 15 pick to take the long-overlooked Leonard, who had shown impressive flashes in March as the Aztecs reached the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.Few NBA stars have been bigger surprises than Kawhi. Aside from his much-admired defense, the undersized center who made 41 3-pointers in two college seasons and shot 25 percent from beyond the arc, has become a career 38 percent 3-point shooter with a tight handle, now averaging 5.0 assists for the Clippers.With Leonard emerging, the Spurs went back to the Finals in 2013, losing in seven games to Miami.In 2014, the Spurs beat the Heat in six games.That made it Lakers 5, Spurs 5 in titles since 1999, and a tie for the era.THE LAKERS GO AWAYBigger problems arose for them than divvying up the era as Bryant blew out an Achilles tendon in 2013.Kobe was never the same, nor were his Lakers, beginning a six-year streak of missing the playoffs that’s ongoing.THE LAKERS COME BACKWell, for half a season, but it feels good to their fans, right?CURRY CHANGES THE GAMEIf James changed the system, Steph changed the way the pros played the game.When Curry arrived in 2010, the single-season record for 3-pointers was 202, set in 2009 by Orlando’s Rashard Lewis with little fanfare.With Steph’s other-worldly range and accuracy – he’s No. 1 among active players at 44 percent – he topped out at 402, breaking his own record by 114 and setting a mark most considered “unbreakable.”Or, it was until …HARDEN CHANGES THE GAME EVEN MORENot even the Thunder, who drafted him at No. 3 in 2009, dreamed he would become the game’s greatest scorer … which is why they traded him in an “impasse” over a mere $1.8 million per season on a four-year extension that management took as uppity.Harden’s scoring average hasn’t stopped rising since, from 10-12-17-26-25-27-29-29-30-36 to this season’s 38, the most since Chamberlain in 1962.A year ago, Harden missed Curry’s “unbreakable” record by 24 3-point baskets … and is now on pace to break it, 5.11 per game to 5.08.THE CLIPPERS HAPPENAfter decades under Donald Sterling, the laughingstock owner was forced to sell the team in 2014 after making racial remarks, with Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid beating the second-highest by $400 million.Crazy as that price was considered to be, Forbes now values the team at $2.2 billion … having appreciated 282 percent over 10 years, second only to Golden State’s 367 percent with the Warriors moving into the new Chase Center.Ballmer has his own arena plans as an adjunct to the Rams’ empire arising in Inglewood.The old Clippers are dead. Appreciated or not, these Clippers aren’t them.THE GREEK FREAK HAPPENEDThe international Kawhi, an NBA fairy tale.If the league was overjoyed to sell internationally, it’s ecstatic at the rise of foreign stars such as Doncic, Yao Ming and the human spell check, Giannis Antetokounmpo, making the enterprise truly global.From a 6-9, 196-pound rookie in 2013 who’s now 6-11 and 248, Giannis’ rise has been as stupendous as Leonard’s and Harden’s, averaging 7-13-17-23-27-28-30.Imagine who and what will happen in the next 10 years. If the last decade was a guide, we can’t. Steph Curry was a choir-boy-looking rookie at 21, averaging a modest 11.8 points for the Warriors two months into his career.James Harden was 19, an awkward-looking rookie with coat-hanger shoulders, averaging 9.7 points coming off the OKC bench, as he would for all of his three seasons there.Kawhi Leonard was 18, averaging 12.7 points two months into his college career as a 6-foot-7 center at San Diego State after being ranked No. 48 in his high school class by Rivals.com.Giannis Antetokounmpo was a twiggy-looking 15 in Athens, Greece, selling watches and sunglasses in the street.After which …center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports: No. 33 Jim Mora, UCLA Head Coach

first_imgName: Jim L. MoraTitle: Head Football Coach, UCLAAdChoices广告Ads by TeadsAge: 53Three wins over USC in as many years on the job have afforded Mora a bravado not seen in decades at the other major football program in L.A. It’s no coincidence UCLA’s best three-year stretch since the 80s began in 2011 when the former Falcons and Seahawks head coach took his first head coaching job in the college ranks. Mora has bypassed offers to return to the NFL each offseason and his commitment to UCLA appears to be paying off as the upward trending program landed No. 1 recruits in the country at quarterback, running back and tight end in the 2015 recruiting class. Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports• Introduction• Photo gallery of Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports• Dramatic change in Los Angeles sports power structure Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Whicker: Kershaw, deGrom turn game 1 into a showdown of arms

first_imgClayton Kershaw ambled off to the dugout after 6 2/3 innings, bathed by cheers he didn’t need to hear, surrounded by Mets on the basepaths who were excited he was leaving.“It wasn’t like we stood up and cheered,” said New York manager Terry Collins. “But it’s nice to see him walk off the field with us in the lead.”The Mets led 1-0 on Daniel Murphy’s home run in the fourth inning, the one piece of meat in a riveting famine of a playoff game. At one point Kershaw and Jacob deGrom had struck out 12 of the first 21 hitters. Kershaw had 11 strikeouts in five innings. Mets batting coach Kevin Long was getting ribbed in the dugout at that point. “They were telling him it was a good plan, seeing if we could strike out enough to drive up his pitch count,” Collins said. And it worked as well as anything else. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “As I sit here right now, he might have gone a little too far,” Collins said.First, however, the Dodgers have to make sure there is a Game 4, and to do that they have to beat either Noah Syndegaard at Dodger Stadium tonight or Matt Harvey in New York on Tuesday night, neither of which will be simple.Mattingly’s rationale was to make sure Kershaw didn’t have to face Wright for the fourth time when it mattered. In the first inning, Wright treated the fans to several souvenirs, fouling off eight pitches, six with two strikes, and going through a 12-pitch at-bat that launched Kershaw on the road to bad pitch count numbers.“(Curtis) Granderson started out by putting a good move on the first pitch (and lining out),” Murphy said. “I was afraid that it would be something like an eight-pitch inning, but David went up there and battled, and it paid dividends later. Plus, he won the at-bat (with a walk).”The crucial seventh began with a walk to Lucas Duda. “Clayton was a little out of sync there,” Mattingly said. With one out, Kershaw faced shortstop Ruben Tejada, whose defense got him playing time over Wilmer Flores’ offense. Tejada had 38 walks this year. He fell behind Kershaw 0-and-2 and fouled off two pitches, then took four balls. That was the plate appearance that put the Dodgers in check, and deGrom, a former infielder at Stetson University, moved them closer to checkmate with an expert bunt that moved up the baserunners.“Then Granderson comes up with a great left-on-left walk,” Murphy said. Kershaw tightened his lips as he snatched the ball back from A.J. Ellis, following a 3-and-2 pitch, at 95 mph, that just missed. He has been through enough postseason pickles to know when things turn sour.But it was hard to lay anything on Kershaw when you saw how much horsepower was under deGrom’s hood. The first batter he faced was Carl Crawford, and he took care of him with five pitches at the following speeds: 97, 97, 97, 97 and 98.“He beat us with velocity a lot of times,” Mattingly said. “I thought we did a good job laying off the breaking balls that he wanted us to chase. But that meant he was able to get us out with high fastballs. He was good tonight, but we had some chances.’The Dodgers were 0 for 6 with men in scoring position in the first four innings. Then deGrom began mixing in some off-speed stuff (definition: 85 to 90 mph) and he retired 11 straight Dodgers and struck out the last three he faced.The question is whether Kershaw will hear any more cheers in 2015, and for what reasons.center_img • PHOTOS: deGrom, Mets beat DodgersThis time Dodgers manager Don Mattingly lifted Kershaw to bring in reliever Pedro Baez, after Kershaw had walked three Mets, and David Wright was due to hit with two out.This decision will be second-guessed, of course, but Mattingly had perfectly sensible reasons, since Kershaw had thrown 113 pitches. The problem was not generated by Mattingly, but by a front office that had this ailment in the bullpen last year and could not find the prescription for it. Here, Baez hulked his way in, threw high-velocity fastballs, fell behind and watched Wright, one of the best Mets ever, rip a two-run single to center that put New York up 3-0 in a game it would win 3-1.deGrom left, too, after seven innings and 121 pitches. Collins had toyed with the idea of bringing back the shaggy right-hander for Game 4. last_img read more

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Dodgers’ bats stay hot in 9-3 win over Giants

first_imgTHE GAME: The Dodgers collected 15 hits in a 9-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon in Scottsdale.PITCHING REPORT: RHP Kenta Maeda pitched into the third inning, gave up a leadoff home run to Steven Duggar, struck out Kelby Tomlinson and was done for the day. Maeda allowed just that one run and two hits in his 2-1/3 innings, walked none and struck out three. … LHP Henry Owens retired the first two batters he faced then walked the next two, threw a wild pitch along the way, and came out of the game.HITTING REPORT: Over their past two games (both against NL West rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Giants), the Dodgers have scored 23 runs on 34 hits. … Yasmani Grandal hit his first home run of the spring. It came with the switch-hitting Grandal batting right-handed against Giants reliever Tony Watson, who finished last season with the Dodgers. … Chase Utley ended an 0-for-10 start to the spring with an RBI double. … Yasiel Puig was 2 for 3 with an RBI double and a run scored. … Edwin Rios also had an RBI double. … Logan Forsythe returned to the lineup after being sidelined by illness last week. He was 2 for 3. … Donovan Solano had two of the Dodgers’ six doubles.UP NEXT: LHPs Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill are scheduled to make their spring debuts on Monday. Ryu will pitch in a “B” game against the Chicago White Sox while Hill will start the Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians (RHP Mike Clevinger), noon (No TV or radio). Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Byron Scott says Lakers defense was ‘atrocious’ against Minnesota

first_imgEL SEGUNDO — Lakers coach Byron Scott sat for a spell with general manager Mitch Kupchak following practice Saturday. Some 14 hours earlier, the Lakers stunk up Staples Center defensively on their way to a 120-119 loss at the hands of the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, who, even with those 120 points are still averaging only 101.4 this season.A reporter asked Scott if Kupchak had to talk him off the proverbial ledge.“Nah, nobody will ever have to talk me off the ledge,” Scott said. “If you ever hear of me committing suicide, you know I got murdered, OK, because I’m not going to kill myself, believe me. … I might kill them, but I’m not going to kill myself.”Scott was laughing by that time, as were reporters. But that doesn’t mean Scott is any unhappier with “them” – meaning his players – than he was late Friday night. The Timberwolves shot 57 percent from the field, 55.6 percent (10 of 18) from 3-point range. This from a team that entered 3-10, 1-5 on the road. Scott said part of the problem is that his team speeds things up at times when it should be doing the opposite. Not just offensively, but defensively as well. The Lakers are allowing a league-high 111.4 points.“We’ve gotta slow down sometimes and say, ‘Hey, let’s just stick to our principles,’ instead of going haywire,” he said. “We do it on both ends sometimes, which is something we’ve gotta solve.”Hill chimes inThe faces were long Saturday. Post Jordan Hill wore one of them. He had just eight points, three rebounds and no blocks Friday; as a team, the Lakers had just one blocked shot. Hill believes his team – though itself just 3-13 – overlooked Minnesota.‘Man, I feel we took them light,’ he said. “We thought it was an easy win, but they came out and just kept fighting, took it to us.”The antidote?“As soon as we step on the floor, we’ve just gotta give it our all and just lay it all on the floor no matter how your team is or what the team record is,” Hill said.Raptors’ DeRozan outIt was learned Saturday that Toronto shooting guard DeMar DeRozan will be out indefinitely with a torn left adductor longus tendon, which is in the thigh. It was sustained in the Raptors’ loss to Dallas on Friday.DeRozan, out of Compton High and USC, is Toronto’s leading scorer at 19.4 points per game. Scott was bummed out to learn of this.“I feel sorry for the young man because he’s a hell of a basketball player,” Scott said. “I know he’s an L.A. kid as well.”Scott said DeRozan’s absence won’t change how he prepares for the Raptors, the Eastern Conference leaders.“Not really,” he said. “They’re still very athletic, they’re young and they get after you pretty good. (Small forward) Terrance Ross is a good player, so it will probably put a little bit more on his plate. And the same thing with (point guard) Kyle Lowry and those guys.”Lowry is averaging 18.6 points and 6.4 assists. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img That’s not to mention that Minnesota had a whopping 37 assists. Mo Williams had 11, Gorqui Dieng and Corey Brewer eight apiece.“I can’t say anything different than what I said last night, guys,” said Scott, whose team Sunday will host the Toronto Raptors (13-3) at 6:30 p.m. at Staples Center. “Like I said, lack of focus.“I watched it last night, I watched it this morning and our lack of focus and the mistakes we made mentally, it was atrocious. I addressed that with them this morning and told them how I felt and I’ll leave it at that.” Scott admitted that once he reviewed the tape, it was even more repulsive.“I think it looks worse,” he said. “I mean, seriously, you sit there in person and watch it and you know it’s pretty bad. When you go home and watch it again and, you know, I found myself shaking my head a lot of times when I was having my nice little drink of stuff. And then again, I said, “Let me watch it again in the morning,’ It didn’t look much better this morning, either.” last_img read more

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Wisconsin vs. Michigan: Time, TV channel, how to watch online

first_imgMORE: Watch Wisconsin vs. Michigan live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)Since Wisconsin defeated Michigan, the Badgers have been on a roll, winning six straight. In the last meeting, the Badger defense forced 16 turnovers and junior Ethan Happ led his squad with a double-double, scoring 26 points with 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Michigan freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis, who’s coming off a 23-point performance, will have to prove himself after going scoreless in 23 minutes and failing to reach double figures.During the Badgers’ win streak, they’ve managed to hold teams to an average of 53.8 points. Despite their recent success, Michigan still holds the top spot in the Big Ten. When is the Wisconsin vs. Michigan game?Wisconsin will play Michigan on Saturday, February 9. Tipoff is schedule for 12 p.m. ET.Wisconsin vs. Michigan TV channel, live streamThe game is televised nationally Fox. You can also stream the game live with fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.Where is the Wisconsin vs. Michigan game being played? The game will be played at Crisler Center, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The No. 7 Michigan Wolverines play host to the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers for a Saturday matinee.After getting blown out a week ago by Iowa, Michigan (20-2) redeemed itself with a 77-65 victory over Rutgers on Tuesday. Now the Wolverines will try to get some revenge as they take on the Badgers, who handed them their first loss of the season. Michigan was 17-0 before its first loss.last_img read more

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Fred VanVleet injury update: Raptors guard to have thumb surgery, report says

first_imgFred VanVleet is expected to miss more time than originally thought.The Raptors guard is set to have surgery to repair ligament damage in his left thumb, according to The Athletic, and he is expected to miss five weeks.  Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet will undergo surgery for ligament damage in his left thumb and miss approximately five weeks, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 13, 2019The team initially expected the 24-year-old to miss three weeks after suffering the injury in the second quarter of Saturday’s win against the Knicks, however, it appears his time away from the court will be at least two weeks longer. VanVleet, in his third season with the Raptors, is averaging 10.5 points and 4.6 assists in 26.8 minutes per game this season. He had been holding down a key role in Toronto’s rotation as the team continues to manage Kyle Lowry’s recurring back issues.  Related News NBA free agency rumors: Lakers, Rockets, Raptors interested in forward Markieff Morrislast_img read more

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred slurs speech in Opening Day interview, and Twitter notices

first_imgMORE:  Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whip-around show on DAZNManfred, usually succinct and clear in his delivery, did not sound like his usual self, slurring his speech. Seriously. You good, Rob Manfred? pic.twitter.com/NFvNuzQndH— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) March 28, 2019Here’s Rob Manfred sounding odd during this opening day interview…(cc: @rtjr)https://t.co/cFSM8e8mvS— Benstonium (@Benstonium) March 28, 2019By comparison, here is what Manfred normally sounds like, in an interview just a day ago: Not everything can go according to plan on Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season. There are bound to be some kinks that need to be ironed out for the remaining 161 games.During AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh’s telecast of Thursday’s Pittsburgh at Cincinnati game, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred sat in the booth to break down his reservations about adopting a universal designated hitter in the near future. For opening day, here is my full sitdown with the commissioner of #MLB on pace of play, salaries, good news on young fans and much more. Play ball! @GetUpESPNhttps://t.co/ylJ4io9fuo— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) March 28, 2019As Twitter tends to do, it had a field day with Manfred, questioning the status of his health, or even if he had partaken in too much stadium beer and hot dogs.If there’s something legitimate that I’m missing, my apologies in advance, but Rob Manfred sounds like he is under the influence of something.— Chris Mueller (@ChrisMuellerPGH) March 28, 2019I admittedly don’t know, but does Rob Manfred always sound like this?— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) March 28, 2019Is Rob Manfred speaking like he generally does or is he slurring his words? Is all ok with him?I’m not being flip.— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) March 28, 2019I don’t know if I ever heard Rob Manfred speak before .. but is it usually like this?— Steven Fabian (@StevenFabianTV) March 28, 2019Rob Manfred in the booth pic.twitter.com/REKJiuL0WD— Smitty (@Z23smitty) March 28, 2019Rob Manfred sounds like he’s really enjoying Opening Day.— Adam Bittner (@fugimaster24) March 28, 2019Rob Manfred sounds hammered— Rum Bunter (@rumbunter) March 28, 2019Following the social media storm of fans and media concerned about Manfred’s status, Pirates play-by-play announcer Greg Brown, who was in the booth with the commissioner, said Manfred was dealing with bad feedback in his headset, causing him to be very slow and deliberate in his delivery.Opening Day may have been a bit of a strikeout for Manfred in the booth, but he’ll have plenty of chances to round into midseason form in the months ahead.last_img read more

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MLB trade news: Giants add human-highlight reel Kevin Pillar in trade with Blue Jays

first_imgOFFICIAL: We’ve acquired INF Alen Hanson, RHP Derek Law and RHP Juan De Paula from the @SFGiants in exchange for OF Kevin Pillar. pic.twitter.com/rq5c1Vu58M— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 2, 2019Toronto received infielder Alen Hanson, and pitchers Derek Law and Juan De Paula in return.MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNThe Giants’ outfield currently consists of Steven Duggar, Gerardo Parra and Connor Joe. Outfielder Michael Reed was designated for assignment.OFFICIAL: #SFGiants have acquired OF Kevin Pillar from Toronto in exchange for RHP Juan DePaula, IF Alen Hanson and RHP Derek Law. OF Michael Reed has been designated for assignment.— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 2, 2019The team was deep into the Bryce Harper sweepstakes but missed out on him to the Phillies. Since then, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has not been shy about saying the team is on the lookout for outfield help.San Francisco signed Parra before the year to a minor league deal and he made the team out of spring training, but he is hitting .167 through five games. Joe, Reed and Duggar have combined to go 5 for 38 this season as well and the Giants are scrambling to get some production from their outfield spots.Pillar is a career .260 hitter with some pop and a borderline Gold Glove defender. He gives the Giants some stability in center field for the year. He is a free agent after the season, but with prospects like Heliot Ramos possibly a year or a little bit more away, he could be a good stopgap for San Francisco in the time being.He also gives Giants fans a little bit of excitement with plays like these:ARE YOU KIDDING ME, KEVIN PILLAR?!😱 pic.twitter.com/GOSUgvMxv6— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 1, 2018New season, still the same Kevin Pillar. 💪 #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/XQnw53sd5x— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 9, 2017Kevin Pillar with ANOTHER catch of the year candidate. #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/vS47OFOWkR— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 29, 2017Pillar is off to a slow start this season as he is hitting .067, but he should be a good addition to what has been bad Giants lineup. The Giants need help in the outfield and Kevin Pillar is just that.San Francisco has acquired the center fielder in a trade with the Blue Jays, Toronto announced Tuesday.last_img read more

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Survey: How do you watch sports?

first_imgWe’re always looking to improve our service and would like to hear your view.If you’d like to share your thoughts with us, please complete the quick 5-minute survey below. Your feedback will help us continue to improve our services — so the more honest the better!last_img

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