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    John Farrell and the Boston Red Sox weren't going to let Michael Pineda get away with using his pine tar stash against them twice. In the second inning of Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees, Farrell asked umpire Gerry Davis to check Pineda's neck, which appeared to have pine tar slathered on it. 

    Aye yi yi, Michael Pineda again?

    Pineda beat the Red Sox on April 10 with what appeared to be pine tar globbed on his pitching hand. The Red Sox didn't complain then. After the game, Pineda said it was only dirt, an explanation that no one really believed but was happy to shrug away. Since the Red Sox didn't complain, the league didn't punish Pineda.

    This time, things are different. Pineda was swiftly thrown out of the game after Farrell's inquiry and Davis' inspection. Pineda will face a

    Read More »from Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected after pine tar is discovered on his neck
  • It's been a while since every Thanksgiving NFL game was a great matchup. There's always a dud.

    Not this year. By making a tweak with the networks, the NFL guaranteed three tremendous matchups, and it will be all NFC teams. The day starts with Chicago at Detroit, followed by Philadelphia at Dallas and capped off by the big one, Seattle at San Francisco, a rematch of the NFC championship game and one of the top few games on the entire NFL regular-season schedule. That is the best Thanksgiving schedule, top to bottom, in many years.

    Part of the problem in past years was network rules. Fox gets NFC games. CBS gets AFC games. If there is an NFC vs. AFC game, the network of the road team's conference got the game (for example, if it was an AFC team at an NFC team, CBS had the rights). Because traditional hosts Dallas and Detroit are both from the NFC, there needed to be an AFC team involved to meet those guidelines. Therefore, options were limited. Last year, the Raiders were one of two AFC

    Read More »from 2014 NFL schedule: Thanksgiving will be an NFC party, with some great games
  • The NFL isn't messing around with its 2014 schedule.

    The world champion Seattle Seahawks will kick off the season with a game not against their archrivals, the San Francisco 49ers, or the team they beat in the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos, but rather with a foe that created controversy two years ago.

    Remember the replacement referee fiasco game — aka, The Fail Mary — in Seattle in 2012? Yep, the NFL powers-that-be have orchestrated a rematch in Week 1 on Thursday, Sept. 4 on NBC in prime time.

    The league announced all 256 games for the regular season, and it features some interesting highlights:

    • Three Thanksgiving games that feature all NFC teams for the first time.

    • A new Thursday slate of games, split through the season by CBS and NFL Network, that kicks off in Week 2 with a rivalry game of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens.

    • Flex scheduling that can begin as early as Week 5, which is a change from years past, when it typically began starting in Week 11.

    • Other key

    Read More »from NFL schedule: 2014 campaign kicks off with Packers at Seahawks
  • 2014 NFL regular-season schedule - Week by week

    Byes: None

    THU, SEPT 4

    TIME (ET)

    TV

    Green Bay at Seattle

    8:30 p.m.

    NBC

     

     

     

    SUN, SEPT 7

     

     

    New Orleans at Atlanta

    1 p.m.

    Fox

    Minnesota at St. Louis

    1 p.m.

    Fox

    Cleveland at Pittsburgh

    1 p.m.

    CBS

    Jacksonville at Philadelphia

    1 p.m.

    CBS

    Oakland at NY Jets

    1 p.m.

    CBS

    Cincinnati at Baltimore

    1 p.m.

    CBS

    Buffalo at Chicago

    1 p.m.

    Fox

    Washington at Houston

    1 p.m.

    Fox

    Tennessee at Kansas City

    1 p.m.

    CBS

    New England at Miami

    1 p.m.

    CBS

    Carolina at Tampa Bay

    4:25 p.m.

    Fox

    San Francisco at Dallas

    4:25 p.m.

    Fox

    Indianapolis at Denver

    8:30 p.m.

    NBC

     

     

     

    MON, SEPT 8

     

     

    NY Giants at Detroit

    7:10 p.m.

    ESPN

    San Diego at Arizona

    10:20 p.m.

    ESPN

     

    Byes: None

    THU, SEPT 11

    TIME (ET)

    TV

    Pittsburgh at Baltimore

    8:25 PM

    CBS

     

     

     

     

     

     

    SUN, SEPT 14

     

     

    Miami at Buffalo

    1 PM

    CBS

    Jacksonville at Washington

    1 PM

    CBS

    Dallas at Tennessee

    1

    Read More »from 2014 NFL regular-season schedule - Week by week
  • Kory Sheets and the Riders won the 2013 Grey Cup; did exceeding the cap help them?Wednesday's news that the Saskatchewan Roughriders were the only team to exceed the CFL's salary cap in 2013 (they spent $4,417,975 in salaries, $17,975 over the cap) is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, this breaks one pattern; the 2011 and 2012 seasons both saw no team go over the cap, the first seasons since at least 2007 with no violations. However, it reinforces another pattern of Saskatchewan being the team most willing to flirt with the cap line; the Roughriders were over the cap in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and they've committed four of the six reported cap violations under the salary management system first implemented in 2006. (The others came from Montreal in 2007 and Winnipeg in 2009).

    The CFL has a sliding system of cap-violation penalties, though, and Saskatchewan has never exceeded the cap by enough to pay any penalty beyond a monetary fine (unlike the Alouettes, who lost a first-round draft pick in 2007 for exceeding the cap by $108,285). Thus, in essence, the Riders are just simply working with a higher cap than the rest of the league. Is that desirable, or should the cap rules be tightened to prevent it? There's a chance to revisit the rules this year thanks to the ongoing CBA negotiations, so it's worthwhile exploring how they currently work and how they could change.

    Read More »from Should the CFL go to a harder salary cap?
  • The Anaheim Ducks will be without captain and first-line centre Ryan Getzlaf for Wednesday night's pivotal Game 4 versus the Dallas Stars.

    According to the team, Getzlaf will miss the game with an upper-body injury. He's listed as day-to-day.

    His absence will likely be felt a great deal more than Teemu Selanne's.

    It goes without saying that this is a massive loss for Anaheim. Getzlaf has 4 points in the series -- a goal and an assist in both Anaheim wins -- but we knew his value to the team long before the playoffs commenced. Getzlaf finished second in the league in scoring behind Sidney Crosby, and is soon to finish second in voting for the Hart to Crosby as well. He's invaluable, and he's irreplaceable.

    One wonders if the upper-body injury is in the upper upper-body, like, say, the face. Getzlaf's been wearing a jaw protector since he took a puck to face trying to preserve the lead late in Game 1. There's a distinct possibility that it's broken, and he's playing through it.

    In Game

    Read More »from Ryan Getzlaf to miss Game 4 versus Stars with upper-body injury
  • (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

    As the NHL and NBA playoffs continue to eat up air time, there's nothing but good news for Canadian broadcasters -- at least so far.

    Outside of a Game 7 triple overtime win by the Montreal Canadiens, the CBC couldn't be happier with the way the NHL playoffs have gone so far.

    The Canadiens are moving on to the second round, which means at least one more series of big ratings for the network. The series has averaged more than 2 million viewers per game and that should only get better if the Canadiens keep moving.

    It's not as if the American teams have been drawing flies. TSN got more than 1 million viewers for its Detroit-Boston broadcast on Sunday. Saturday's Penguins-Blue Jackets game hit 1.5 million for CBC on Saturday night, but that's less than the average Toronto Maple Leafs audience during the regular season. Canadian teams drive ratings and so far the Habs have been doing just that.

    CBC executives are planning a trip to Lourdes this week to pray for a Montreal run.

    In the arena

    Read More »from The Great Canadian Ratings Report: NHL scores big — and so do the Raptors
  • Homer MooreA veteran mixed martial arts fighter who lost to Evan Tanner in his only UFC bout was arrested in Glendale, Ariz., on Monday and charged with the first-degree murder of a 19-year-old. He is being held on a $1 million bond.

    Homer Moore, 42, of Phoenix, was arrested by Tempe police in connection with the August 1999 murder of Karam Hussein Jabbar, 19. Jabbar went missing in late July, and his body was found in the trunk of a car on Aug. 3, 1999. According to police, Jabbar's hands and feet were bound and there was a bag over his head.

    The official cause of death was listed as asphyxia.

    Moore debuted on April 7, 1999, with a victory over Jason Middaugh at Rage in the Cage 4, about three months before Jabbar's death. Moore faced several notable fighters, including current UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen and UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn. HIs only UFC appearance came at UFC 34 on Nov. 2, 2001, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, where he was submitted by Tanner via arm bar at 55 seconds

    Read More »from Ex-UFC fighter Homer Moore charged with first-degree murder in 1999 case
  • Michael Smith (right) had a bit of a mixup. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

    The NBA announced the winner of its annual Most Improved Player Award on Wednesday, with Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic taking home the honors after posting career-best scoring and shooting-percentage numbers en route to leading a Suns team that nearly everybody expected to lose big while rebuilding to a stunning 48-win season that came this close to a playoff berth in the brutal Western Conference. Dragic won in a landslide, receiving more than half of the first-place votes cast by the 126 sportswriters and broadcasters who voted and netting twice as many total points as second-place finisher Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers. While the nature of MIP includes nearly endless quibbles over an individual's definition of "improvement," leading to a wide variety of potential choices for the award, Dragic's win was both richly deserved and, given the comfortable margin of his victory, largely without controversy.

    Still, given the Professional Basketball Writers Association's decision

    Read More »from Whoops: Clippers color commentator mistakenly filed MVP ballot for Most Improved Player award
  • Even as the Arizona Diamondbacks pulled out a much needed 7-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday afternoon — ruining the 100th birthday celebration at Wrigley Field and improving to 6-18 this season —  the negatives outweighed the positives. That's because the team learned immediately afterwards that slugger Mark Trumbo, who's tied with San Francisco's Brandon Belt for the NL lead in home runs with seven, has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot.

    Trumbo had been out of Arizona's lineup on Tuesday and Wednesday with "foot soreness" as the team described it, but obviously the underlying problem is a potentially huge setback for is severe. The D-Backs will cross their fingers that a second opinion nets a more positive outlook, but assuming the initial diagnosis is confirmed an already downtrodden franchise searching for answers

    Read More »from NL home run leader Mark Trumbo diagnosed with stress fracture in left foot

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