<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:07:25 -0400 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:07:25 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Marlins Shortstop Hechavarria Named NL Player Of The Week]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:23:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/173192233.jpg

Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday.

Hechavarria helped the Marlins run off five straight wins with an exceptional week. The shortstop hit an eye-opening .500 and knocked in ten runs during the week. After beginning the year on a down note, Hechavarria lifted his season average to .333 overall.

This is the first time that Hechavarria has been named Player of the Week in his young career. At only 26, it is possible that future accolades await Hechavarria. Not only has the shortstop opened eyes with his bat, but he also has flashed Gold Glove caliber defense.

In Sunday's win over Washington, Hechavarria gave the Marlins a timely three-run triple. At the time, his team was trailing by a run. That three-base hit changed things in a hurry and propelled Miami to its season-high fifth straight win.

Hechavarria has remained in the eighth spot of Miami's lineup despite the recent surge. This may be a case of not fixing something that isn't broken. It is possible however that manager Mike Redmond eventually moves Hechavarria up in the lineup. A potential landing spot could be the second slot in the order.

In 2014, Hechavarria hit .276 and he has improved every season thus far in the big leagues offensively. The shortstop came over in the well publicized trade with Toronto in 2012 and has been a key part of Miami's infield ever since.

Hechavarria and the Marlins will look for a sixth straight win on Monday night when they take on the New York Mets at Marlins Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sox-Orioles Game Postponed]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:51:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP120698137157.jpg

The White Sox and Orioles must wait at least another day to play as Baltimore cleans up from overnight riots and fires.

For the second day in a row, the teams' game was postponed.

"After consultation with MLB & state & local officials, tonight’s game between the Orioles & the White Sox at Oriole Park has been postponed," the Baltimore Orioles tweeted Tuesday.

The Orioles asked fans to keep their tickets and parking passes until more information is made available.

A makeup date will be announced as soon as possible, the team said.

About 1,000 fans were inside the stadium when Monday's game was called off, and many gates already had been closed.

At least eight police officers were confirmed to be injured Monday in protests that heated up in the Liberty Heights area and near a shopping mall in Baltimore on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral.

Gray died a week ago of an unexplained injury while in police custody. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Carmelo Sounds off on B'more Unrest]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:51:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Carmelo-Anthony-Baltimore-Protests.jpg

Knicks star player and longtime Baltimore resident Carmelo Anthony called on protesters to “build up our city not tear it down” amid demonstrations that turned violent Monday.

Anthony sounded off in an Instagram post about the unrest in the city following the death of Freddie Gray, a man who died from spinal injuries while in police custody April 19.

Following Gray’s funeral Monday, more than a dozen police officers were attacked while stores were looted and several buildings set ablaze. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a State of Emergency in the height of the violence Monday evening and the National Guard was called in to restore order.

“To see my city in a State of Emergency is just shocking. We need to protect our city, not destroy it,” Anthony wrote in the Instagram post.

In the post, Anthony said he thinks the protesters should fight for what they believe in but added, "it takes no time to destroy something. But, it can take forever to build it back up."

"If not yourself, then Think about the youth. How this will impact them. Let's build our city up not tear it down," he said.

Anthony was born in Brooklyn but moved to Baltimore when he was 8 years old. He was one of the region’s top high school players before playing his senior year at the basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in southwest Virginia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Sox-Orioles Game Postponed]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:08:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP120698137157.jpg

Monday's baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles was canceled because of clashes between protestors and police. The epicenter of the protests is less than a mile from the ballpark.

"After consultation with Baltimore City Police Department, tonight’s game between the Orioles & White Sox at Oriole Park has been postponed," the Orioles said in a Tweet at 5:20 p.m.

An announcement about a make-up date was not immediately announced. Fans should keep their tickets, the team said.

About 1,000 fans were inside the stadium when the game was called off, and many gates already had been closed.

At least eight police officers were confirmed to be injured in protests that have heated up in the Liberty Heights area and near a shopping mall in Baltimore on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral.

Gray died a week ago of an unexplained injury while in police custody. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Out-Flexed By Woman]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:32:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/210*120/FlexCam.PNG

One woman brought the big guns to a recent Philadelphia indoor professional football game, but there was no reason to call the police.

"It started with a fun in-arena event and then started to blow up," said Soul Chief Operating Officer, John Adams.

The Philadelphia Soul features a "Flex Cam" during a break in the action, calling out spectators to flex for the camera shown on the jumbo tron. One woman attending the April 12 game gave fans a big surprise when the "Flex Cam" panned toward her.  

The video, posted to the Soul's YouTube channel, begins like most others, showing fans flexing for the camera. The camera focuses on a man with two women sitting behind him who appear to be discussing something as he shows off his muscles.

A little later, the camera comes back to the man who is promptly shown up by one of those women.

"You've been stoned, my brother!" the announcer said.

Turns out, the flex cam was staged and the man and woman featured in the video are an engaged couple, according to Adams. He said, "We take a lot of pride in our in-arena experience and that's all this was meant to be." But when the video was posted to the Soul's Facebook page, it blew up.

The video was shared more than 6-thousand times and had about 600,000 views from the Facebook page as of Monday afternoon. The Soul's YouTube version of the video had been viewed nearly 4.5 million times.

Adams also noted that the Soul were undefeated as of Monday.

Jon Bon Jovi is a former owner of the Philadelphia Soul. 



Photo Credit: Phillysoulfootball Youtube
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<![CDATA[Marlins Designate Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Assignment]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:05:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/455748034.jpg

The Miami Marlins designated Jarrod Saltalamacchia for assignment on Monday which effectively ends the catcher's time in South Florida.

Saltalamacchia will now be available to any team, but it is unlikely any team will pick up the remainder of the veteran's contract. Once Saltalamacchia clears waivers, Miami is expected to release the catcher. The team will be on the hook for the remainder of his deal which runs through 2016 and is valued at $14.2 million.

After being a part of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox in 2013, Saltalamacchia came home and signed with the Marlins. At the time, Miami figured it was adding a dependable offensive force behind the plate. Saltalamacchia however struggled to find his swing in Miami last year and got off to a horrid start in 2015.

With his average plummeting and his strikeout total soaring, the Marlins benched Saltalamacchia and turned to prospect J.T. Realmuto. Ever since the young catcher took over, Miami has seen an improvement in the lineup. Realmuto has not put up big offensive numbers yet but he has vastly out-produced Saltalamacchia.

Miami has Jeff Mathis on the disabled list and once he returns, there was going to be no room for Saltalamacchia on the roster. Rather than wait for that day, the Marlins made the move early and will keep Jhonatan Solano on the team as a backup instead. Solano is more adapt to the role of being a reserve catcher.

The Marlins have won five games in a row and have inched closer in the division after a rough five-game skid earlier in the season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Sign Greg Jennings]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 08:36:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/460751188.jpg

The Miami Dolphins landed another offensive weapon when they signed Greg Jennings to a two-year deal on Wednesday.

Jennings had met with Miami recently as well as other teams, and the wide receiver apparently found the Dolphins to be a good match. Jennings was a member of the Minnesota Vikings last season, but was rendered expendable when his former team acquired Mike Wallace.

The interesting twist in this signing is Jennings is likely only a Dolphin because Miami opted to move Wallace. In a way the two players were traded for each other, albeit not directly. The 31-year old will slide right into the offensive playbook in a lot of the same plays Wallace previously took part in.

Jennings had his finest seasons with the Green Bay Packers before bolting to Minnesota as a free-agent in 2013. There, Jennings signed a big-money deal for five years. His time with the Vikings would end up being much shorter than that however. The production was not what the team expected as the WR amassed only 1,546 yards and ten touchdowns in two seasons.

Already this off-season, Miami has added defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, tight end Jordan Cameron, offensive tackle Jason Fox, and WR Kenny Stills among others. Miami has spent a great deal of money as it looks to end a streak of missing the postseason.

The Dolphins could continue to look for talent in the free-agent market as well as via trades. The team could also help out quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the offense with its selections in the upcoming NFL draft.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Complete Sweep of Nationals]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 16:08:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/471251532.jpg

The Miami Marlins stayed hot with a 6-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday in what was the team's fifth consecutive win.

The win also completed a sweep for Miami which is the first of the year for the team. After losing five games in a row, the Marlins have rebounded in the best way possible with five straight wins. The roller coaster ten-game stretch has Miami right back at only three games under .500.

Adeiny Hechavarria continued to be a big bright spot for Miami with another two hits. The shortstop tripled home three runs in the fourth inning and is hitting .333 this season. Hechavarria started the year out exceptionally cold, but turned the corner during the recent road trip.

In all, the Marlins had 14 hits and Dee Gordon had four of the team. Miami's new lead-off man is pacing the Major Leagues with his 32 hits and is hitting a robust .390. Gordon has had one issue with his game however and it is in the base running department. Gordon was caught stealing for a MLB-leading sixth time.

Giancarlo Stanton also tripled for Miami on a ball that missed leaving the park by mere inches. The slugger may have been able to pick up an inside-the-park home run but watched the ball sail while jogging to first base. It was Stanton's first three-base hit of the year and he also has a team-leading 17 runs batted in.

J.T. Realmuto tripled for the first time on the season as well. With that, Miami had three triples in a game for the first time since June 12th, 2000 against Philadelphia. It was the first time the scenario happened at home since June of 1999.

Dan Haren continued to be Miami's most consistent starter with another win. Haren was not at his best but he still gave Miami five innings. In those five frames, Haren allowed two runs on three hits and struck out three.

The Marlins will try to make it six wins in a row on Monday when they take on the New York Mets.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Take 4th Straight in Dominant Win]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 15:52:48 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/471121044.jpg

The Miami Marlins continued their resurgence with a 8-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday at Marlins Park.

The win was Miami's fourth in a row and follows on a five-game losing streak. With the streak, the Marlins are now 7-11 on the year and are gaining ground in the division. The win also guarantees Miami a second straight series victory and their third of the season.

Tom Koehler was brilliant in a game that Miami needed him to be. With an off-day several days away, the Marlins needed to rest their bullpen. Koehler gave manager Mike Redmond 7.1 scoreless innings of six-hit ball. The right-hander struck out four and walked only one to earn his second win of the season.

With a runner on base, Redmond elected to remove Koehler and turn to Bryan Morris in the eighth inning. Morris did his job with a pair of strikeouts and has his E.R.A at a solid 2.08 on the season now.

Backing up the pitching was an offense that continued to produce. Justin Bour who was called up on Friday made his first start of the season and collected two hits. The hulking first baseman also had a pair of runs batted in, and could find himself remaining on the roster even after Christian Yelich returns.

Ichiro Suzuki set a record with a run in the eighth inning. With his 1,968 runs combined in Japan and Major League Baseball, Suzuki now has the most runs scored by a Japanese player. The record was previously held by Sadaharu Oh.

Giancarlo Stanton reached base all four times he came to the plate with a single, double, home run and walk. It was the fifth two-bagger and fifth blast of the season for Stanton.

Adeiny Hechavarria who has been on a roll as of late hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning. It was the second homer of the year for the shortstop who has lifted his average to .324.

The Marlins will try and complete their first sweep of the season on Sunday when they send Dan Haren to the mound.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Six Players Suspended After Brawl]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 04:33:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/sale+and+samardzija.jpg

In the aftermath of Thursday’s brawl between the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, Major League Baseball has handed out suspensions to six players involved in the fracas.

The White Sox were hit with two of those suspensions, as starting pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija were each suspended for five games. If the suspensions are upheld after appeal, both pitchers would miss one start for the White Sox.

As for the Royals, a total of four players were hit with bans. Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura was slapped with a seven games suspension, and pitcher Edinson Volquez was suspended for five games. Royals outfield Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Kevin Herrera were also suspended for two games apiece.

Five of the six players that were hit with suspensions were ejected from the game as a result of their actions, with Herrera being the only one not ejected from the game on Thursday.

The two teams have had bad blood simmering this season with beanballs flying between the two sides, but Thursday’s game marked a serious escalation. When Ventura fielded a groundball off the bat of Adam Eaton, he reportedly mouthed a profanity as the outfielder jogged to first base, and that’s when the benches cleared.

After the fight and after the game, Sale reportedly tried to get into the Royals’ clubhouse to have words with Ventura, but former White Sox outfielder Alex Rios (now with the Royals) calmed him down according to reports.

All six players have the option of appealing the suspensions, and if they choose to do so, they will not take effect until after the appeal is heard by MLB.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Islanders Defeat Capitals, 3-1, Force Game 7]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:54:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/caps+islanders+game+6.jpg

The New York Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 Saturday, forcing the playoff series to Game 7 in Washington Monday.

The game was rough and marked by big hits, including Alex Ovechkin's hit on John Tavares in the middle of the third period, which led to the Caps losing track of the puck and the Islanders breaking a tie that had lasted most of the game.

The Caps thought they had tied the game again with a goal later in the period, but under review it was clear the puck had hit the crossbar of the goal and had not scored.

The Islanders scored again on an empty goal with less than a minute to go.

The Islanders played with passion in what could still be the last game of professional hockey in their home, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The team moves to Barclays Center next season.

Now, the series returns to Washington for the final game on Monday.

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington for updates on this story.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bettor's Guide to the Kentucky Derby]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:31:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP718172799342.jpg

Fancy putting down a wager on the Kentucky Derby but don't want to look like a novice when you place your bet?

American Pharoah remains the current favorite to win the Run for the Roses on May 2 (watch it live on NBC from 4 p.m.) with odds of 2:1, with Dortmund (9:2) and Carpe Diem (7:1) also heavily favored. Last year's winner, California Chrome, entered the race as the favorite at 5:2.

American Pharoah has won both the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby so far in 2015, with Dortmund having picked up victories in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, the San Felipe Stakes, and the Santa Anita Derby. Carpe Diem is coming off wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and the Toyota Blue Grass.

For all you inexperienced bettors out there, here's a quick guide to betting on the Kentucky Derby that'll have you sounding like a serious handicapper by the time American Pharoah approaches the starting gate.

DECODING THE LINGO

Odds-on many racing newcomers may not know what the odds actually mean. Whenever there are two numbers (e.g., 2:1 for American Pharoah at time of writing) displayed on a tote board at a racetrack or on a list of wager options, the first number (2) denotes the minimum amount of profit the wager will pay. The second number (1) is the amount you need to wager to win the first amount.

Once the final finishing places of a race are official, the track will post the prices of the winning wagers. In the above example, the horse will pay $2. The track will then add the $2 profit and the $1 wager together to derive the payout: $2 + $1 = $3. Dortmund at 9:2 would therefore pay $11 on a $2 bet.

If a horse is quoted with only a single digit, it is implied that the missing second number is a 1. In other words, a 7 on the tote board means 7:1. So if you made a $2 wager, a bet on a horse with 7:1 odds would pay $16. That's because 7:1 is the same as 14:2, so $14 + $2 = $16. (In betting on horse races, payouts are generally based on a $2 wager.)

Now that the odds makes sense, it’s time to decide the type of wager you want to make. Here are some of the most popular bets:

Win Your horse must finish first to collect.

Place Your horse must finish first or second to collect.

Show Your horse must finish first, second or third to collect.

Exacta You play two horses, and they must come in first and second in the exact order specified in order to collect.

Exacta Box You play two horses, as above, but here they must come in first and second in either order to collect.

Trifecta You play three horses, and to win, they must come in first, second and third in exact order to collect.

Trifecta Box You play three horses, and they must finish first, second and third in any order to collect.

Superfecta You play four horses, and they must come in first, second, third and fourth in exact order.

Superfecta Box You play four horses, and to win they must finish first, second, third and fourth in any order.

 

SPECIAL CONDITIONS

But novice bettors need to take into account more than just the odds for the Kentucky Derby. To further boost your chances of making a winning bet on May 2, you should also consider the following:

Distance: The Kentucky Derby is run over a distance of a mile and a quarter. Some horses are bred for distance and are usually better candidates than one without a lineage of success at long races that place a premium on endurance.

Weather/Track Condition If there is a chance for bad weather and/or an off track, it’s essential to consider that when handicapping the race. To measure a horse’s ability in this type of race, take a quick look at his past performances, and see if he has any experience on a muddy or sloppy track.

Coverage of the 141st Kentucky Derby will air live Saturday May 2 starting at 4:00 p.m. ET on NBC.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Rejuvenated Marlins Win Second Straight]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:04:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/470745718.jpg

The Miami Marlins won for the second time in as many days with their 9-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.

After ending a five-game losing streak a day earlier, Miami carried that momentum into this one. With four runs in the fourth inning and another four in the sixth frame, Miami picked up an easy win.

Giancarlo Stanton finished off a strong road trip with another good game. The slugger hit a two-run home run during the sixth inning to give him four on the season. Stanton also has 14 runs batted in on the season despite a slow start. All four of Stanton's blasts came during this trip that stopped in New York and Philadelphia.

Martin Prado had his best day as a Marlin thus far with three hits. Prado brought home four runs on a day that included his third double. Since moving to the second spot in the order, Prado has hit better which has had a domino effect on the lineup.

Not to be outdone, Adeiny Hechavarria had four hits to lift his batting average to .311. After starting out the year in a big slump, the shortstop surged on the trip and could move up in the lineup if this persists.

While his offense exploded for eight runs, David Phelps had a banner day of his own with seven shutout innings. Phelps allowed only three hits, walked two and struck out five. The reliever turned starter now has a 3.55 E.R.A this season.

The Marlins will open a homestand on Friday against the Washington Nationals at 7:10 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gear Up For the Big Day at the Spiral Stakes]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:33:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2015-04-22+at+2.43.01+PM.png Meet the horses, jockeys and owners at the Spiral Stakes as we gear up for the Kentucky Derby. ]]> <![CDATA[Meet a Special Yearling at Winstar Farms]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:27:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2015-04-22+at+2.22.27+PM.png Audrina returns to Winstar Farms to meet the yearling she helped deliver just last year. ]]> <![CDATA[Train to Be a Jockey With the Pros]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:22:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2015-04-22+at+2.07.16+PM.png We're at the North American Racing Academy to learn how to be a professional jockey. ]]> <![CDATA[Marlins Finally Return to Win Column]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:04:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/470730570.jpg

The Miami Marlins ended a five-game losing streak with their 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

The win gives the Marlins a 4-11 record this year, and comes at a time when rumors are swirling about manager Mike Redmond's job. With this victory, the rumors should be quieted a little for a day. If Miami was to fall in the series finale however, that could change again.

Miami's offense had a breakout day with ten hits including two-hit days from four different players. Martin Prado collected his second double of the year as one of those aforementioned two-hit players. That double was the only extra base hit for the Marlins in the win.

Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto and Adeiny Hechavarria also had two hits in the game. For Realmuto, the day lifted his average to .318 in what has been a good start for the prospect. Realmuto is likely to remain Miami's starting catcher for the foreseeable future.

Five of Miami's runs actually came courtesy of mistakes by the Phillies. The big one was during the eighth inning when Dee Gordon's fly ball to center-field was dropped. All three base runners scored to pad Miami's lead. An inning earlier, the Marlins took the lead on a balk.

Jarred Cosart came away with the win after a solid effort. The right-hander allowed only one run on four hits in six innings. If his spot in the lineup was not due up, it is possible Cosart would have stayed in for another inning of work.

Steve Cishek saw action for the first time in a week even though there was no save situation. While getting work in, Cishek contributed a perfect inning of relief/

The Marlins will try to win only their second series of the year when they send David Phelps to the mound on Thursday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redmond's Marlins Enter Philly in Need of Wins]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:38:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452991886.jpg

Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond's job could be on the line as his team takes on the Philadelphia Phillies starting Tuesday.

The Marlins, who are 3-10, have not openly put Redmond on the hot seat, but there are rumblings that owner Jeffrey Loria is not pleased with the start of the season. Part of that displeasure reportedly stems from comments made by Giancarlo Stanton last week. The slugger was unhappy with a lack of fire from the team. The Marlins have also dropped four in a row after being swept by the New York Mets.

Redmond signed a contract extension towards the end of last season that carries him through the 2017 season. This however does not guarantee that the skipper will keep the position that long. Loria has terminated managers in the past regardless of their contract status including the infamous dismissal of Ozzie Guillen.

Part of the problem for the Marlins is an inability to find a timely hit and have the offense click at the same time as the pitching. In the first few games of the year, the pitching was solid for the most part, but the bats were silent. Recently, Miami has put runs on the board more often but the arms have let it done.

The Phillies are not considered contenders by any measure, and the Marlins on paper are a more talented group. The issue is, Miami does not look as talented as it should be. Despite the games coming on the road, this is a series the Marlins should be able to come away victorious in.

If the Phillies win this series, its entirely possibly that Redmond will not return to Miami with the team. Whether it be a question of Redmond's in-game managing or just a necessary change in style, Loria could opt to move on.

The Marlins and Phillies will begin the series on Tuesday when Dan Haren opposes Jerome Williams at 7:05 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Greg Hardy Suspended for 10 Games]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:57:21 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/greg-hardy-jason-garrett.jpg

Dallas Cowboys fans will have to wait quite awhile to see defensive end Greg Hardy on the field.

The NFL announced Wednesday that Hardy has been suspended 10 games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league.

Hardy was informed of the suspension in a letter from league commissioner Roger Goodell, which detailed the findings of the two-month investigation into Hardy’s case that followed his last court appearance.

"This suspension is something that we anticipated prior to Greg's signing, and we respect the Commissioner's ruling," said Jerry Jones. "Our organization understands the very serious nature of this matter. We will use our resources --work closely with Greg and with the league -- to ensure a positive outcome."

According to a report by The Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys and NFL are now awaiting an appeal by Hardy to see if he can get the 10-game penalty reduced.

Hardy was found guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats in a bench trial last July, but he appealed and was granted a jury trial. When that jury trial was set to begin in February, the prosecution couldn’t locate the accuser and the charges were dismissed.

The next month, Hardy signed an incentive-heavy, one-year deal with the Cowboys, who of course were well aware that the 2013 Pro Bowler was facing league discipline.

Now, Hardy is set to make his Cowboys debut on Thanksgiving Day against his old team, the Carolina Panthers.
 

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<![CDATA[Race to the Triple Crown]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:06:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/orb-wins.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Blackhawks Give Fans Late-to-Work Excuse Note ]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:41:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Blackhawks-Predators-21-April-2015.jpg

For many diehard Blackhawks fans, Tuesday night’s game was filled with excitement, suspense, and a lot of yawns.

The game, which ended early Wednesday morning after Brent Seabrook scored the winning goal in triple overtime, lasted nearly five hours and had many fans staying up well beyond their bedtimes to watch.

For the many fans likely wishing they could call in “hockey,” er "late," to work, the Blackhawks have you covered.

The team tweeted out an excuse note signed by “The Chicago Blackhawks” to excuse any lateness or sleepiness for those who were “up too late celebrating the win.”

For that, and for the glorious goal that ended Game 4 with a big win, many Hawks fans say “Thank you.”



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Seven Ways to Fake Being a Racing Expert]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:39:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP233467296026.jpg

You're not a horse racing expert, but you can act like one for the Kentucky Derby.

Amid all the hats, the mint juleps and the gambling, the real focus May 2 will be on the potential for something historic, as a narrowing field of elite young racehorses aims for the first Triple Crown victory in 37 years.

Don't know the first thing about horse racing? It doesn't matter. These seven tricks will help you get in on the spectacle as though you do.

1. Learn the lingo, and use it liberally.

You'll actually get to know something about racing later. For now, just pepper your comments with some jargon.

Before the race, check out race handicappers' predictions, check the tote board for the odds and watch the horses head from the paddock to their posts. Once the race begins, listen to the call, or the horses' running positions — but don't expect to have the foggiest idea what the caller is saying. (Don't worry, the race will only take a few minutes.)

A horse that's a closer runs his best later in a race, a stayer or router is good at running distances and a front-runner runs best at the head of the field. A horse is pinched back if it's held in close quarters, and if it's boxed in it's shut off or pocketed.

Horses' distances from each other in the stretch, or the last straight section of track, are measured by a head, e.g., the length of a horse's head. At the finish line, a photo finish is so close the finish-line camera has to figure out who won, and a dead heat is an exact tie. A horse finishes on the board if he's one of the first four to finish.

2. Know what's at stake, and tell everybody else.

You probably already know that only 11 horses have ever pulled off the feat of winning all three legs of the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The last to manage it was Affirmed, back in 1978.

You might also know that since 1978, 11 have won the the first two legs only to flame out at Belmont. That was the case last year, when California Chrome fell short in the 1.5-mile, tough-to-handicap race that's often called the "Test of the Champion," with good reason.

There's plenty that can go wrong for a would-be Triple Crown winner: A great horse can get pocketed or pinched back, especially in the Derby's and the Preakness' crowded fields.

Or, in the Belmont, it can be overcome by better-rested rivals that ran in Louisville, then skipped the Preakness. Other horses have had their hopes dashed by jockey error at Belmont, where jockeys' tactics play a bigger role and riders may be tempted to accelerate too early in the comparatively long race.

3. Handicap the race yourself. (Remember that term?)

You can't feign some authority on horse racing without concocting a fervently held opinion on which horse will win.

Which horse has home-track advantage? What's its breeding like — geared for speed, or distance, or something else? What sort of races has it been running lately? Has it had any injuries? Who trains it?

The field for the Kentucky Derby is still shaping up. But more than a week out from the race, American Pharoah looks like a probable favorite, and Dortmund remains undefeated.

4. Bet on it.

Nothing screams "I know what I'm doing!" like advising your friends on how to spend their money, right? Right — well, as long as your friends aren't big gamblers. In that case, pay close attention.

Use Colin Bertram's primer to get a handle on what horses' odds mean and what they don't. Remember, a horse's odds reflect not how likely it is to win but how heavily other people are betting or expected to bet on it to win.

Once you've picked your favorites from the field of contenders and decided what kind of bet you want to make, examine the morning-line odds, which predict what people will probably bet on each horse. (The odds will change once betting actually has begun.)

The first number tells you how much profit your bet will get you should you win, and the second tells you how much you must bet to get it. If the horse you pick has 3-5 odds at the time of writing, that means you have to bet $5 in order to win $3 profit, so if you bet $10 and your horse wins, you'll get back $16.

5. Trot down Memory Lane.

Recall those halcyon days of horse racing — you know, when the only other sports worth their salt were baseball and boxing, and when your parents hadn't even met yet.

The mechanics of horse racing have changed plenty over the decades. Wealthy dynastic families ruled breeding, not commercial breeders, and as a result, horses were bred for stamina. Today, they're bred for speed.

But most fundamentally, horse racing doesn't have nearly the fan base it did in its heyday, back before pro football, pro basketball, casinos and, well, the internet horned in on its popularity. At racing's zenith, the track was the automatic mecca for gamblers.

6. Honor the greats.

Now you get to the really fun part of exercising your newfound authority: Breathlessly regaling your friends with tales of great races of yore as though you were there.

Bloviate about Secretariat's astounding 1973 Triple Crown, which he won by an unheard-of margin of 31 lengths. As the victor crossed the finish, the runner-up couldn't even fit on the television screen.

Wonder what would have happened if Man o' War, ranked the 20th century's best by Blood-Horse magazine and The Associated Press, had ever run for the Triple Crown. It wasn't around yet when Man o' War raced in the early 20th century, though he did sire some Triple Crown horses.

Reminisce about Kelso, who ran in the early '60s until he was 9 years old. Now all the Belmont contenders are 3-year-olds, and most horses are retired soon after that age to stud duty, which is far more lucrative than racing. (That was impossible for Kelso, who was a gelding, or castrated horse.)

Wax poetic about legendary filly Ruffian — even Secretariat's trainer said she might be better than his most famous horse — whose career was cut tragically short by a broken leg at Belmont in 1975. (You can still pay your respects at her grave at Belmont.)

7. Get ambitious.

If you really want to boost your expert cred, do your homework, and stake out a controversial stance or two. Read up, and weigh in, on hot-button topics like horse breeding habits, nasal strips and the sport's undeniable decline in recent decades, and what could reverse it.

Steve Coburn, the co-owner of last year's Triple Crown contender California Chrome, has grumbled that the growing numbers of Derby contenders that sit out the Preakness before returning for the Belmont have made Triple Crown wins all but impossible. He wants the rules tweaked so that only colts that run the Preakness can compete at Belmont.

He said last year that if his horse didn't win the Triple Crown — which it didn't — he doubted he'd ever see another winner. "There are people out there trying to upset the apple cart," he said. "They don't want a Triple Crown winner. They want a paycheck."

Indeed, the decades-long Triple Crown drought, and the sport's waning popularity, have encouraged talk of tinkering with the format and timing of the three key races, and not just among figures who have, quite literally, a horse in the race. Weigh in on what you think should be done, too.

But don't limit your expressions of your newfound expertise to such existential hand-wringing.

Try picking an underdog to root for Saturday. When you place your bet, try a superfecta, naming the top four horses in the order you expect them to place.

And whatever other stories you tell your friends, make sure to leave room for one still in the making: the first time you bluffed your way through the Triple Crown.

Just wait until the next big race to tell it. By then, you might actually be an expert.

 

This story has been updated from an earlier version.



Photo Credit: AP]]>