<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Sports]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida https://www.nbcmiami.comen-usMon, 20 Nov 2017 18:18:57 -0500Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:18:57 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump Slams Marshawn Lynch for Anthem Protest in Mexico ]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:20:27 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/lynchtrump.jpg

President Trump took to social media Monday to slam Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for not standing during the U.S. national anthem as the team played the New England Patriots in Mexico Sunday.

Lynch, who has not stood for the anthem since returning from retirement at the beginning of the season, was spotted standing during the Mexican anthem.

"Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down," Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Lynch is among the NFL players who have refused to stand for the national anthem in a movement started by former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, who began his protest last year to draw attention to racial injustice and social inequality across America. Critics of the protest have slammed it for being disrespectful to the U.S. military and armed forces.  

Trump's prior calls for the NFL to suspend kneeling players have not yet produced a rule change. Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month in a memo that the league believes everyone should stand for the anthem, but still does not mandate it.

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<![CDATA[CTE Turned Ex-NFL Star From Top Lawyer to ‘Other Person']]> Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:54:12 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-822512332.jpg

After completing an NFL career that included two Super Bowls, Fred McNeill got an advanced law degree and practiced law. But within just a few years, he began to fall apart, losing his temper, losing his memory and losing job after job, NBC News reported.

“Here is this person who was so kind, so intelligent, so special, so loving, so easygoing. He made things look easy. And then he flipped to be this other person,” Tia McNeill, Fred McNeill’s widow, said in an interview.

McNeill died in 2015. He was bankrupt, unable to eat or care for himself. A positron emission tomography (PET) brain scan done in 2012 showed he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE — the degenerative brain disease being linked increasingly to professional football and to head injuries sustained in combat.

The confirmation comes too late to help McNeill. But if the findings hold up in other patients with similar symptoms, such a scan may be able to diagnose CTE in time to give patients hope for recourse while they are still alive and, perhaps, eventual treatment.

Photo Credit: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Says He Should Have Left UCLA Players in Chinese Jail]]> Sun, 19 Nov 2017 19:02:58 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/11-8-2017-ucla-basketball-hill-riley-ball-2.jpg

Two days after LaVar Ball, father of detained UCLA player LiAngelo Ball, downplayed President Donald Trump's role in the return of three UCLA men's basketball players detained in China, the president fired back.

LiAngelo Ball, brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, was one of the three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting before Trump helped return them to the United States. In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump criticized LaVar Ball for being "unaccepting for what I did for his son."

"I should have left them in jail!" Trump added.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, retweeted Trump's tweet and included his own comment.

"The President would have left American students in a foreign jail because their families didn't lavish sufficient praise on him," Schiff wrote. "How can someone in such a big office be so small?"

Freshman LiAngelo Ball was detained along with Jalen Hill and Cody Riley nearly two weeks ago and returned last week after Trump said he had a long conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the incident. 

At a press conference after their return, all three players had individually thanked Trump, and initially, Trump seemed to acknowledge the players' gratitude.

"To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You're welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made ... your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!" Trump said in two tweets.

However, by Sunday remarks LaVar Ball made on ESPN Friday caused the president to change his tune.

LaVar Ball had seemingly diminished Trump's role in getting the three players back home when he spoke on the sports network.

"What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out," LaVar Ball said. "Like I told him, 'They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.' I'm from LA. I've seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses," he said.

All three UCLA players have been indefinitely suspended from the team, coach Steve Alford said. They will not travel with the team or suit up for home games.

"They will have to earn their way back," Alford said.

Photo Credit: UCLA Athletics
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<![CDATA[Truex Jr. Goes For First Title as Girlfriend Battles Cancer]]> Sun, 19 Nov 2017 07:36:02 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-875058922.jpg

Sunday afternoon, Martin Truex Jr. will be inside his No. 78 car and hitting the turns at Homestead Miami Speedway, searching for his first ever NASCAR Monster Energy Series championship. At the same time, his biggest fan will be rooting him on while she fights a battle bigger than anything he will see on the track.

Truex Jr. and his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, have been together since 2005 when he was winning championships in what is now the Xfinity Series. Over the last 12 seasons, Truex Jr. has brought home 14 wins – including seven this season alone and 12 since the 2015 season started – and finished in the top 10 almost 160 times.

Still, his success has come since the shocking 2014 diagnosis that Pollex had stage III ovarian cancer. Extensive chemotherapy put it in remission before doctors a tumor the size of a ping-pong ball in her spleen. She had her spleen removed just days before Truex Jr. won this year’s race in Kentucky.

“I think the race track is a good place to go to kind of forget about all your troubles. You go there, perform well and it makes everything better,” Pollex told NASCAR.com in September, after she was with Truex Jr. has he won at Chicago to start the playoffs and the race for a championship.

Pollex has created a website where she updates fans about her medical condition and says she has felt the love and support from NASCAR fans during this difficult time.

“I kind of feel like that’s the path God has put me on. Everyone is dealing with a struggle or something going on in their life. No one’s life is perfect. I just put it all out there and hope it inspires or helps someone,” Pollex said.

At the same time, Truex Jr. hopes to put a smile on his longtime girlfriend’s face with a championship this weekend – even if he doesn’t know how he will react should he win the title.

"I don't even know if I can comprehend (what that would mean) to win a championship. I don't even have the words yet. I'd rather not think about it until we get to that point,” he said during Thursday’s media day in Miami Beach.

Truex Jr. and the other three drivers racing for a title will take the green flag in the Ford EcoBoost starting at 3 p.m., which can be seen on NBC 6.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Game Preview: Week 11 vs. Buccaneers]]> Sat, 18 Nov 2017 19:32:43 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-866860958.jpg

The Miami Dolphins will look to end a three-game losing streak when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Miami's season is quickly slipping away, following a promising 4-2 start. Tampa Bay has struggled this season as well however and has yet to win on the road. With a game they need to have, the Dolphins will once again have an off-field story surrounding them.

On Saturday morning, Miami waived Rey Maualuga following an arrest. Maualuga had seen action in recent weeks and collected a number of tackles. Mike Hull will pick up extra playing time, following Maualuga's exit. Maualuga joined Miami in the off-season and missed time early on due to some conditioning issues.

The Dolphins have struggled defensively as of late, after beginning the year solid on that side of the ball. With Ryan Fitzpatrick behind center for Tampa Bay, it is likely that Miami will have to defend against a busy running game. That is an area that the Dolphins could have some trouble in. If the Buccaneers can get a rhythm going on the ground, the playbook will really open up for the veteran Fitzpatrick.

Miami's offense has improved, but is nothing spectacular itself. Jay Cutler has had an inconsistent season and has been picked off six times. Cutler does have seven touchdowns in his last three games combined, while also throwing the ball plenty. It is likely that Cutler will once again sling the ball into the air around 40 times in this one. Last week, only 59% of those attempts landed up successful and that is a number that has to improve in this game.

Miami was originally set to host Tampa Bay to begin the season, with this week serving as a bye week for both teams. Due to Hurricane Irma, plans changed and both teams will now be playing for an 11th straight time. Fatigue has been evident at times and it could also explain some injuries that Miami has dealt with this season.

William Hayes is the only Dolphins player listed as questionable on this week's injury report. In what could be considered a rare sight, Miami was able to practice almost completely as a team this week. Whether that preparation shows in this contest remains to be seen. Head coach Adam Gase has been vocal with his displeasure this season over some mental mistakes. Some of those errors could be blamed on injuries leading to diminished playing time.

Sunday's kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Homestead a Homecoming For Several NASCAR Crew Members]]> Sat, 18 Nov 2017 10:22:16 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/NASCARBuschTrack-GettyImages-498384764.jpg

While South Florida and NASCAR aren’t two things that are commonly associated with one another – as Homestead Miami Speedway has been the site of an annual race only since 1999 – the area has more of a history than you might think.

From the Allison family, including legendary drivers Bobby and Donnie who grew up racing across Miami-Dade County before making it big on the NASCAR circuit, to the drivers that made the Hialeah Speedway a destination, South Florida has a rich history when it comes to stock car racing.

Sunday, when the Monster Energy Series will crown their champion for the 16th straight time in Homestead, a total of seven crew members with South Florida ties will be looking to help their team to a win – with two looking to help bring home a championship.

Fort Lauderdale native Allen Mincey is a mechanic for the No. 4 driven by Kevin Harvick looking for their second title while Hialeah native and Miami Lakes High graduate Joey Meier will be a spotter for the No. 2 car Driven by Brad Keslowski, also looking for their second crown.

Matt Tyrell, a graduate of South Plantation High School, will work as the gas man for the No. 77 car while Justin Bosch, a Redland native Southwest Miami High grad, has spent 10 years driving the transport truck for the No. 22 car.

Two former Miami Dolphins have moved over to racing, as Nate Bolling (who spent time in training camp in 2004) works as a jackman for the No. 11 car while Shannon Myers, who was the final draft pick of legendary coach Don Shula in 1995, switched from wide receiver to rear tire changer for the No. 21 car.

Another rear tire changer for the No. 6 car, Justin Fiedler, is a graduate of the University of Miami. You can see all their drivers when they take the green flag at the Ford EcoBoost 400 this Sunday right here on NBC 6.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tampa Bay QB Denies Allegations of Groping Uber Driver]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:31:04 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/winstonuber.jpg

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston took to social media Friday denying an allegation he groped an Uber driver in 2016.

In an interview with Buzzfeed News, a woman who identified herself only as Kate said she was hailed to downtown Scottsdale, Arizona to pick up a passenger Sunday March 13, 2016. There, she told BuzzFeed a small group of men placed Winston in the front passenger seat.

"I started driving, and right away, Jameis behaved poorly," she said. The driver says while waiting in line at a food drive-thru Winston "reached over and he just grabbed my crotch." She says he held his hand there for three to five seconds and removed it only after she looked up in shock and said, "What’s up with that? I wasn't just creeped out. I was frozen."

Winston took to social media to respond to the allegations.

"A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver," Winston wrote. "I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her."

Winston went on to say the accusation was false. He says he addressed the report immediately with Uber after the driver reported it, but his Uber account was still suspended.  

"I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false," Winston wrote.  "While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way."

According to ESPN, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the "allegation was shared with the NFL and we have reached out to Uber to request any information they may have."

This isn't Winston's first foray into controversy. While in college the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner settled a dispute involving two federal lawsuits with a woman who accused him of rape, although Winston had said their encounter was consensual.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dale Earnhardt Jr. Prepares For Final Homestead Run]]> Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:41:45 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/DaleEarnhardt1.jpg

When the checkered flag stops flying and the fans have filed out of Homestead Miami Speedway following Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, the career of one of NASCAR’s biggest names will come to an end.

Plenty of fans are going to pile into the grandstands to see who will be crowned champion of the Monster Energy Series – but just as many, if not more, will be there to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his final laps as a full time NASCAR driver after announcing his retirement in April.

"We want to end well. We want to be competitive. We want to work...we want to put in a good effort this weekend. That will be fun to try to figure out if we have a competitive car. I look forward to getting to work on it," Earnhardt Jr. said.

The son of NASCAR legend Dale Sr., the driver known as “Little E” joined his father in the sport’s top level in 1999. He finished second in the 2001 Daytona 500 in which his father crashed into a wall and died at an area hospital – thrusting Dale Jr. into the spotlight of not only making his own name, but living up to his father’s legacy.

Over his 19 season career, Earnhardt Jr. won 26 Monster Energy Series races and was consistently voted the most popular driver in the sport – all while never being able to bring home a championship that his father won seven times during his career.

His final race will come at a Homestead track where he hasn't had much success, finishing 10th or better just twice in his career.

"I'm looking forward to getting on the track and get our car handling, and see if we can make the thing get around there pretty good so we can have some fun on Sunday," he said.

Earnhardt Jr. has battle concussions throughout his career, including one that sidelined him for the second half of the 2016 season. After getting married last New Year’s Eve and expecting a baby in early 2018, Dale Jr. knows he has plenty of excitement coming despite leaving the track.

"I've felt very good about that decision before the race in Daytona started in February, that this was it. And I was more thankful to be able to compete this year than I was to ever question whether I should go farther," said Earnhardt Jr.

He won’t be leaving the sport, though, as Earnhardt Jr. will join the NBC Sports team as a color commentator of NASCAR coverage on the network starting in 2018.

Earnhardt Jr. is one of three drivers who will be closing out their careers this weekend in Homestead. Matt Kenseth, a long time friend of "Little E", announced this season will be his last as did Danica Patrick, who made the shocking announcement this weekend that she will retire from NASCAR after this weekend and racing all together after next year's Indy 500.

Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Weekend Football Preview: A Tale of Two Streaks]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:00:29 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/192*120/GettyImages-873056348.jpg

With the holidays right around the corner, most South Florida’s football teams have something to be thankful for. While the three area college programs already know they will be working well into the December holidays, the Miami Dolphins are thankful they are still in the playoff conversation after a three game losing streak.

The area will again be the center of football action with three games this weekend – as the state’s other two college powers in desperate need of a win in what has been a season to forget if you’re wearing orange and blue or garnet and gold. Here’s a preview of this week’s action.

Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

You may remember this game as the one scheduled for the start of the season, but was later postponed thanks to Hurricane Irma. Now, both teams that came in with such high expectations for 2017 have a combined record of 7-11 and need a win if they want any chance of making it to the playoffs.

The Bucs will likely be without starting quarterback Jameis Winston as he deals with a shoulder injury, which gives Miami a decent chance to break their three game losing streak.

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Miami Hurricanes vs. Virginia Cavaliers

The ‘Canes, coming off a big win last week over Notre Dame, climbed to No. 3 in this week’s playoff rankings and looks to avoid a letdown against a Cavaliers team coming in off a loss last weekend to Louisville. Miami has clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game against Clemson and will make it to their first ever College Football Playoff if they win their final three games.

FIU Panthers at FAU Owls

Don’t look now, but one of the games of the year in the Sunshine State will be taking place this weekend as both teams – who will be heading to bowl games this season – face off in a game that has conference title implications. A win by the Owls and they will play Dec. 2nd for the Conference USA title, while the Panthers need a win in their next two games and two FAU losses to make it to that game.

Florida State Seminoles vs. Delaware State Hornets

In what has been maybe the most disappointing season in recent college football history since they started the year ranked No. 3, the Noles limp in at 3-6 needed to win their final three games just to make it to a bowl game. Luckily, they are facing a Hornets team who has gone 5-39 in the FCS level since the 2014 started, so this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

Florida Gators vs. UAB Blazers

After losing last week to South Carolina in their SEC finale, the Gators will (baring a major need from the NCAA to fill bowl slots) be watching the postseason from home. Their biggest goal, at this point, is gaining momentum for 2017 and ruining the season for both the Blazers – who will be bowling in their return to playing college football – and their finale against Florida State next week.

Other State Games

Orlando will be the site of the annual Florida Classic again this year, as the FAMU Rattlers and Bethune Cookman Wildcats meet in one of the best rivalries when it comes to the game and events surrounding it. The No. 14 ranked UCF Knights will take to the road when they face the Temple Owls.

In the pro game, the Jacksonville Jaguars will look to continue their surprise season when they take on the winless Cleveland Browns.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump Has a Ball as NCAA Champion Teams Visit]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:47:28 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/trumpballvb.jpg

President Donald Trump hosted 18 NCAA national championship teams at the White House on Friday, Nov. 17, even tossing around a volleyball with one.

<![CDATA[CTE Found in Living Ex-NFL Player for 1st Time: Study]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:52:15 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_764021564440-Fred-McNeill-NFL-Player.jpg

The "unique pattern" of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the debilitating brain disease known as CTE, has been found for the first time in a patient before he died, NBC News reported.

It was detected in a brain scan of former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill, according to the doctors behind a study published in the journal Neurosurgery last week. The scan could lead to the development of treatments for the incurable disease.

CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head, and has been found in many dead NFL players' brains, including former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who killed himself in April before a murder conviction against him was cleared.

So far, the only way to definitively diagnose CTE is by looking at the brain after death, but a 2012 scan of McNeill's brain that seemed to show protein deposits characteristic of CTE was confirmed in an autopsy after McNeill died last year.

Photo Credit: AP Photo, File]]>
<![CDATA[NASCAR Driver Races in Homestead Decades After Uncle's Death]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:23:26 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-869891640.jpg

It’s a name that have a shared history that will never be taken away – John Nemechek. It’s the name of a former NASCAR truck series driver who lost his life after a crash inside Homestead Miami Speedway and of his nephew, who Friday will hope to win at the same track.

The younger Nemechek, named John Hunter in honor of his uncle and racing in the same Craftsman Truck Series as his uncle, wasn’t even born yet when his namesake crashed into the wall with 25 laps to go turning that fateful race on March 16, 1997. John Nemechek would be airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he died five days later from his injuries.

“Our family has a lot of history at Homestead Miami Speedway,” Nemechek said in an interview with NBC 6. “Being named after Uncle John and driving the No. 8 car at Homestead is definently special for the whole family.”

The day after Nemechek’s accident, crews began scheduled work to make the turns at the speedway less dangerous – a move done in an effort to attract a race from NASCAR’s top series, which would finally take place in 1999. They were changes planned before the crash and ones that likely would have saved Nemechek’s life.

Months after the tragic incident, Joe Nemechek – John’s uncle and John Hunter’s father – won the first race held at the track since the accident in what is now called the Xfinity Series. Joe had named his son, born three months after the accident and five months before his win, after his fallen brother.

“I definitely think there are some emotions there every time you look at a corner here, from my dad to my grandmother and my grandpa,” said John Hunter, who added that while most of his family has since moved from their native Lakeland to North Carolina, they will still be there cheering him on Friday night.

John Hunter was one of the final six drivers in the running for a series championship before a 19th place finish in Texas on November 3rd set him back. While he won’t be running for a title, Nemechek still plans on bringing his best and going for a win.

“If you’re not coming here to win, you don’t need to be here,” he said. “I know there is a championship going on, but at the same time we are here to win races. I definitely think just running up front, having a good run and finishing out 2017 strong definitely will feel good.”

In spite of the tragedy that struck his family, John Hunter knew at a young age this is what he wanted to do.

“I knew I wanted to race from a very young age, I just didn’t know exactly what. I think I was around the age of 11 or 12 when I finally decided I didn’t want to race motocross anymore and get back into a stock car and now we’re here,” he said.

Nemechek will be going for his first win inside Homestead Motor Speedway after finishing second in 2015 and 11th the following year.

<![CDATA[Drivers Brings Championship Hopes to Homestead Sunday]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:23:39 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-875044794.jpg

While there will be over 40 drivers taking the green flag at Homestead Miami Speedway for the final race of the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Series season, only four people have a chance to leave the track being able to call themselves champion for the year.

The last four standing – Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keslowski and Martin Truex Jr. – met with the media Thursday afternoon inside the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach, each one eager to get onto the track one final time in 2017 and bring home the title.

While three of the drivers each have hoisted a series championship (Keslowski in 2012, Harvick in 2014 and Busch the following season) Truex Jr. is still searching for his elusive title. The New Jersey native won seven of the 35 races this season, but knows it doesn’t matter with NASCAR’s playoff format.

"I’ll wreck any damn one of these three,” Truex Jr. said. “I’m going to race these guys just like I do every single week."

"If it (points) wasn’t set back at zero, we’d probably all be congratulating Martin right now with the season he’s had,” said Keslowski. But it is. Everyone has an opportunity."

Both Harvick and Busch were able to clinch their championships by winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 and they know the importance of doing something just 15 other drivers have ever accomplished – winning multiple titles.

"I think a second championship validates the first one,” Busch said. There are a lot of arguments being made that we didn't deserve the first one. This would put (us) in another elite group."

Harvick, who won eight races during his championship 2014 season, knows a second title on Sunday would be a team effort.

"It’s not boxing. This is a car race and there are a lot of things that are involved in it. It’s not my mind against his mind,” he said. “It’s my team and everybody who has to show up and navigate the weekend because this weekend is not like any other weekend we’ve been to."

Of course, what would NASCAR be without a little rivalry – and look no further than the longstanding feud between Busch and Keslowski.

“Sometimes you just don’t like a guy — fact of the matter,” Busch said. “There is a respect factor out there on the race track and you certainly do a better job sometimes when you’re around some of those guys that you may or may not necessarily like.”

“From my perspective (it would be) a little bit foolish to get caught up with any one person. I do think that both of us are fortunate to have great cars, great teams and when you run up at the front a lot things are going to happen,” said Keslowski.

The race will be the last of three during Ford Championship Weekend, crowning a champion in each of the sport's three Green flag for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 is set for 3 p.m. and can be seen on NBC 6.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins' Stanton Wins NL MVP Award]]> Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:14:07 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-866409230.jpg

Miami Marlins All-Star Giancarlo Stanton was named the National League's Most Valuable Player on Thursday.

Stanton's historic season set franchise records, as well as Major League Baseball marks. With 59 home runs, Stanton kept Miami in the playoff race and brought excitement daily to the ballpark. Stanton is also the first player in franchise history to take home the MVP award.

Stanton finished ahead of Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds and Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the honor. The trip were named as finalists following the World Series, with Stanton seen as the favorite by many. Goldschmidt's Diamondbacks reached the playoffs, which likely helped him finish second in votes.

Stanton picked up a Silver Slugger award and the Hank Aaron award earlier this off-season, while also competing for a Gold Glove. 2017 was Stanton's best season as a big-leaguer thus far. It also may have been Stanton's final campaign in South Florida.

Due to a higher salary and new ownership, Stanton is a prime candidate to be traded this off-season. While the Marlins have not publicly stated a desire to trade Stanton, rumors continue to swirl. Miami has reportedly been active in discussions with multiple teams, but the progress of those talks is unknown.

Should Stanton exit Miami, he will leave as the holder of multiple franchise records. At only 29, the sky is the limit for Stanton and a trip to Cooperstown is a possibility. With ten years remaining on his current contract, Stanton's name should become even more prevalent in the history books.

Should Miami retain Stanton's services, it is likely that the team will trade away at least one other outfielder instead. With Stanton's salary set to be the highest on the team, it could prove difficult to field a competing roster at a lower payroll total.

Miami will likely remain busy all off-season, with plenty of talks expected at next month's Winter Meetings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Olympians' Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes]]> Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:42:11 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/AdobeStock_95072047.jpeg

White meat or dark meat? Fresh cranberries or canned? Sweet potatoes or regular mashed potatoes? When it comes to Thanksgiving dishes, Team USA athletes are taking sides.

Photo Credit: evgenyb - stock.adobe.com]]>
<![CDATA['Canes Rise to No. 3 in Latest CFB Playoff Rankings]]> Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:43:33 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-873056358.jpg

Fresh off a huge win over a hated rival, the Miami Hurricanes continued their move up the College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday night.

The ‘Canes moved up four spots to No. 3 in the latest list, putting them in prime position to be one of the four teams selected should they win their remaining three games – their home finale Saturday against Virginia, Nov. 24th at Pittsburgh and the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2nd against Clemson.

Alabama is ranked No. 1 this week, while those same Clemson Tigers are No. 2 and Oklahoma came in ranked at No. 4. Miami made the move after a smothering 41-8 victory over Notre Dame, who previously had been ranked No. 3 in the playoff rankings.

It’s the first time the Hurricanes have been ranked in the top four since the system started in the 2014 season and the first time a team from the state of Florida has been ranked that high since Florida State made the inaugural playoff group.

If the current rankings stay the same – which is unlikely since Miami and Clemson will meet – the Hurricanes would play in the Rose Bowl on January 1st, the site of their fifth national title win during the 2001 season. A win in that game would send Miami to the playoff title game the following week in Atlanta.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Roy Halladay Remembered By Family, Friends, Teammates]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:00:59 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/halladaymemorial.png

Former Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay was remembered by friends, family and teammates at a celebration of life in Clearwater, Florida, Nov. 14. Halladay died in a plane crash on Nov. 7.

<![CDATA[UCLA Basketball Players Detained in China Returning Home]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:19:18 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/UCLA.jpeg

Three freshman UCLA Basketball players are on their way home from China after being detained on suspicion of shoplifting in Shanghai.

<![CDATA[These US Olympians Made the Jump Between Summer and Winter Games]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:10:07 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/eddie-egan.jpg Since the modern Olympics were founded in 1896, there are only a handful of Americans who have participated in both the Summer and Winter Games. Here are the athletes who have competed in both.

Photo Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron, Cavs Hop on NYC Subway; One Rider Is NOT Impressed]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 05:41:16 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/SPORTS+LEBRON+JAMES+-+11093512_WNBC_000000018618977.jpg

A Monday morning subway ride with a team of NBA players? Only in New York. 

Video posted to the Cavaliers' Twitter account shows LeBron James and his teammates, in town to play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, hopping on the subway from Penn Station back to their hotel after practice Monday morning. Former Knick J.R. Smith was among the train-taking contingent.

"We had two options: a 45-minute bus ride or a six-minute train ride, so we decided to hop on the train with the squad," James says in another video. 

James and Dwyane Wade managed to grab seats, but their other teammates who had to stand didn't exactly have much clearance in ceiling room.

"We're squishing," James remarks as he films his teammates scrunched over in the subway car. 

James said it was his first time riding the subway in New York.

Despite their apparent effort at staying incognito in hoodies, the players didn't exactly blend in. Eagle-eyed straphangers who noticed them on the train waved and said hello. But a man -- later identified as James Michael Angelo -- seated next to James became irritated when James pointed the camera in selfie mode toward him and says, "Can you not?" before putting his hand in front of his face.

New Yorkers, after all, are notoriously hard to impress.

Later Monday, Angelo posted his own video inside his office explaining himself. 

"I had no idea who LeBron James was, because I don't watch football," he said. 

The woman filiming Angelo corrects, "Basketball."

"Oh it's basketball?" he says. 

The MTA, for its part, tweeted in response to the video: "Thanks so much for taking the subway Lebron, but the King of this town is @kporzee and we're riding with the Knicks tonight." 

Photo Credit: News 4 New York
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<![CDATA['Muchas Gracias, Beisbol': Beltran Retires After 20 Seasons]]> Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:10:24 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_17317625723703.jpg

After 20 seasons, Carlos Beltran is leaving baseball on top.

After winning his first World Series ring with the Houston Astros this year, the outfielder is retiring, he announced Monday in a personal essay for The Players' Tribune

"I am blessed to have played this game for 20 years. I am blessed to have played for so many great organizations," he wrote. "And I am blessed to be a champion."

Beltan played for seven teams -- Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Houston Astros -- and made nine All-Star appearances. He won the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year award and three Gold Gloves.

But he almost didn't even pursue the sport, he revealed in his Tribune essay. The Puerto Rican native was equally passionate about volleyball as a teenager, but he ultimately realized there is more opportunity for success in baseball. 

Baseball, he wrote, was always about more than winning.

"And as I got older, and I became the player that the younger guys came to for advice, I started to understand something … that my purpose in this game is not only to hit home runs or to win championships. It is to share what I know with the younger players, like so many other players have done for me," he wrote. "It is to give back to the game of baseball."

He realized this purpose when he nervously approached slugger Barry Bonds during the 2007 All-Star weekend to ask for hitting advice and Bonds received him with kindness and a willingness to coach him. 

He finishes his 20-year career with with a .279 average, 435 homers, 1,587 RBIs and 312 stolen bases.

Beltran said he never felt pressured to win a World Series before he retired, determined instead to "give back to the game of baseball."

"But it still feels nice to have a ring," he wrote. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File]]>