As we once again hit Monday we’ll take another look back at the happenings in the sport’s world this week that people are talking about, starting with the New England Patriots gearing up for their regular season start next Sunday against the Houston Texans in Foxborough.
Thursday was their last preseason game, and in what has become a game featuring huge amounts of players that won’t have jobs come Saturday afternoon a bunch of guys wearing Patriots uniforms beat another bunch of guys wearing New York Giants jerseys 17-12.
Pretty much the lone highlight of the game was Pats QB Danny Etling scampering for an 86 yard touchdown as all 11 faux-Giants were fooled by the naked bootleg up the right side. As expect, Etling’s reward for the great play was cleaning out his locker on Saturday.
All told the Patriots made 26 cuts to their roster Saturday, with perhaps the biggest surprise being they only needed to make 25. Head coach Bill Belichick is often a step ahead of everyone else, and by making the extra cut to 52 players instead of the usual 53 he could add a player without the need to make another cut.
On Sunday, Belickick did just that, claiming Amara Darboh off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks and Chad Hansen from the New York Jets. Both are wide receivers, adding to a position that the Patriots lacked depth in. There wasn’t a corresponding transaction of releasing a player because Julian Edelman does not count against the roster maximum as he will be placed on the suspended list.
There were no surprises in the Patriots cut list, where “name” players like Brandon Bolden, Marquis Flowers, Mike Gillislee, and Cyrus Jones were all missing from nearly every writer’s 53-man roster guesses and were indeed on Belichick’s cut list.
On Sunday the Patriots signed eight players to their practice squad: Cole Croston, Danny Etling, James Ferentz, Trent Harris, Riley McCarron, Vincent Valentine, Ralph Webb, and Jomal Wiltz. All spent the entire preseason with the team. As the maximum number of players on the practice squad is ten the Pats can add two more before having to make any cuts for additions.
They also have seven players on Injured Reserve: Darren Andrews, Braxton Berrios, Cody Hollister, Ryan Izzo, Ulrick John, Christian Sam, Will Tye, and Isaiah Wynn. None are eligible to be activated for the 2018 season.
Over at Fenway the Red Sox seemed to have broken out of their slump–if one considers playing near .500 ball over their last 17 games a “slump”–as they head into the final month of the regular season. It was great to see Eduardo Rodriguez back on the mound Saturday as he struck out 12 in 5.2 innings and earned his twelfth win of the season in his return from the disabled list.
In injury news for two other pitchers, Chris Sale threw a surprise bullpen session Saturday. When Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam asked Sale how it went the reply was “Really good…rolling”. That’s great news for Red Sox fans. In some not great news, David Price was hit in the wrist by a screaming line drive off by Miami Marlins left fielder Austin Dean and had to leave the game.
X-rays were negative and Price went to see a hand specialist who apparently confirmed there was no significant damage. According to manager Alex Cora Price will miss his next start in Atlanta, which has the added benefit of Price not having to bat against the National league opponent.
With MLB rosters expanding on September 1st the Red Sox recalled several players from Pawtucket, with right hander William Cuevas, middle infielder Tzu-Wei Lin, lefties Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, and first baseman Sam Travis all heading to the big club.
Rafael Devers should be headed back to the big club after Pawtucket’s season ends Monday. Devers, who was placed on the disabled list on August 17 with his second hamstring injury of the season can be activated from the DL at any time. This is his third stint on the list this season.
For some national sport stories…here, last week in the posting “Something only I care about” section, I mentioned the French Open not allowing Serena Williams to wear her catsuit anymore. Well, there was another fashion issue at this week’s US Open, only with a far different resolution.
With court temperatures over 100°F at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center the “heat rule” was enacted. The heat rule allows the women a 10-minute break between the second and third sets of their matches, and the men the same amount of time between the third and fourth sets. The heat rule has been used many times before for the women but was used for the first time for the men on Tuesday at the US Open.
After one of those ten minute breaks France’s Alize Cornet returned to the court but then noticed that in her rush to change shirts she had put it on backwards. So she simply walked to the back of the court, pulled her arms through the shirt, turned it around, and was good to go.
Only that was against the rules. While the men are allowed to change their shirts on the court during end changes, women had to leave the court to change. So when she exposed her sports bra she was assessed a code violation for the action.
As you may have guessed, social media exploded in its support for Cornet.
But you have to hand it to the USTA, they didn’t hide from the issue. In a statement released soon after, the USTA said “All players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair. This is not considered a Code Violation. We regret that a Code Violation was assessed to Ms. Cornet yesterday. We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen moving forward.
“Fortunately, she was only assessed a warning with no further penalty or fine. Female players, if they choose, may also change their shirts in a more private location close to the court, when available. They will not be assessed a bathroom break in this circumstance.”
Good for the USTA to recognize the rule was unfair and for quickly taking steps to fix the issue.
Now baseball is about to get confronted with a rules issue, only it has little to do with clothing. Saturday night umpire “Country” Joe West confiscated a “cheat sheet” card from Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Austin Davis. West said the card violated rule Rule 6.02(c)(7), which states that “The pitcher shall not…have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.”
West also indicated that while the rule allowed the umpire to eject Davis West did not believe the issue warranted Davis being thrown out of the game because he wasn’t trying to cheat. West added “In the long run, maybe they’ll let him have it. Right now, my hands are tied until they say yes or no. Right now, until the office says it’s OK to carry this, he can’t do it.”
MLB needs to clarify that pitchers can carry such a cheat sheet, provided they only use it between batters and not during an at-bat. Batters have the ability to read up on pitcher’s tendencies from the dugout, and fielders can legally carry cheat sheets to position themselves better. Pitchers should be given the same ability, even if all it does is give them a little confidence.
You aren’t going to see much in the way of local college football stuff here on 210Sports normally, but Worcester’s own Assumption College has people talking as two of their football alumni are making some noise. First is tight end Scott Simonson, who after stints on the practice squads of the LA Raiders and Carolina Panthers made the New York Giants 53-man squad out of training camp this season.
Another former Greyhound making football news is kicker Cole Tracy, who transferred to SEC powerhouse LSU as a fifth-year senior. He’s already showing the Tigers what he can do, tying the school’s record with his 54-yard field goal in the second half in LSU’s 33-17 win over the University of Miami Saturday night. In addition to the record kick Tracy also hit two 21-yard field goals and a 43 yarder, for a 4-4 night. He also tacked on three extra points.
In local hockey news the Railers signed two players, forward Jordan Kwas and defenseman Alexis Vanier. Kaws is a veteran of five ECHL seasons, but because he’s played 235 games that count toward the ECHL’s veteran limit of 260, he doesn’t officially count as one. That’s a pretty good pick-up for Railers Head Coach and GM Jamie Russel.
Vanier is a big defenseman, listed at 6’5″ and over 220 pounds. A fourth round pick by San Jose in 2014, Vanier is a very physical defenseman and has a booming slapshot. He should head into camp with something to prove after having to spend a season in the LNAH.
And finally, both players that Russel issued qualifying offers to will not be returning to play for Worcester. Earlier Ben Masella was traded to the Florida Everblades (ECHL) for future considerations, and on Tuesday defenseman Patrick McNally signed with Eispiraten Crimmitschau (DEL2). The Railers maintain his ECHL rights for the 2018-19 season.
In some news about Worcester pro hockey alumni, former IceCats forward Trevor Gilles announced his retirement on Tuesday after playing 19 seasons. Gilles, who played for South Carolina (ECHL) in 2017-18, was the last former IceCats player still playing in North America. Gilles was one of three players to only appear in playoff games for Worcester. Kurt Drummond and Sean Haggerty, also both IceCats, were the other two.
With the Gilles retirement and Michal Handzus hanging then up last month there are now just two former IceCats with announced contracts to play next season, with Ladislav Nagy suiting up for HC Kosice in Slovakia and short-time IceCats forward Arvid Rekis playing with the DEL’s Augsburger Panther. Last season there were eight still playing.
Another retirement took place this week, albeit on the other end of the spectrum. Josh Monk, who made his pro debut last season for the Railers, played in just 13 games before suffering a concussion that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Monk decided to retire recently, and will be a graduate assistant at Providence College this season.
And for the hat trick, Bridgeport defenseman Patrick Cullity also hung up his skates. Cullity played 12 games for the Railers last season, and was rumored to not be returning to hockey this season. Michael Fornabaio’s column makes it official.
There was essentially nothing new on the PawSox move to Worcester last week. There was a public hearing in front of the City Council’s Standing Committee on Economic Development on Tuesday at the Crompton Collective, just a stone’s throw from where the proposed ballpark will be built. As is often the case at these kind of meetings, the event itself was the news as opposed to anything discussed at it.
I didn’t go, but I did have a “minion” at the event, who reported to me that they had, well, nothing new to report. They did say that once again a potential affiliation change was talked about. I’ve tried to avoid sounding like a broken record on this subject, but seeing as the message is not being received I guess I will have to keep repeating myself.
There is only two ways the that now PawSox could possibly lose their affiliation with the Boston Red Sox: Larry Lucchino is bought out of the Fenway Sports Group (the ownership group of the Boston Red Sox), or Lucchino sells the AAA franchise to someone not a part of the Fenway Sports Group.
If anyone tries to convince you that there’s some other scenario where the affiliation could change, ignore them. Those are the only two things that could lead to the Boston Red Sox not affiliating with the PawSox/WooSox.
MISSED THIS LAST WEEK
After last week’s post was put to bed the Massachusetts Pirates tweeted some awards they received from the National Arena League. Sean Brackett was named 2018 NAL MVP, Ameer Ismail was named 2018 NAL Head Coach of the Year, and “Arthurrr the Pirate” won for Best Mascot.
SOMETHING ONLY I CARE ABOUT
Can anyone explain to me why signing your scorecard in a professional golf event is still a thing? This week at the final round of a pre-stage Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament Japan’s Tomo Watanabe was disqualified for signing for a final-round 68 when he actually shot 69. Reports say the mistake was he wrote a 4 instead of a 5 on his scorecard for the fifth hole.
It’s not a case of Wantabe attempting to cheat because everyone’s score is posted as it happens, it was just an honest mistake. And because of that, a qualifying spot he easily had earned was lost. I find this incredibly silly. It’s an archaic rule that is meaningless in tournaments like this.
Perhaps even worse, one of the beneficiaries of this silly rules violation at the tournament is Tony Romo, who would have failed to make the top 36 that was required to move on to the next stage had the error not been made. But with Wantabe disqualified Romo moved up the standings to a tie for 36th, so he advanced.
Wantabe earned his chance at making the pro tour, and he should be given his chance.
HAVE SOME LINKS
NHL grooming next generation of officials at Exposure Combine
From The Washington Post:
A lifelong dream washed away
Runs in the Family
(Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough went searching for his biological parents. He found them where he never would have expected.)
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Red Sox at Atlanta, NESN, 1:05pm
Red Sox at Atlanta, NESN, 7:35pm
Red Sox at Atlanta, NESN, 12:10pm
Revolution at NYC FC, NBCSB, 7pm
Red Sox vs Houston, NESN, 7:10pm
Red Sox vs Houston, NESN, 4:05pm
Patriots vs Texans, CBS, 1pm
Red Sox vs Houston, ESPN, 8pm
All times EDT
With Monday’s final round of the Dell Technologies Championship still to come Tiger Woods is once again staring to look like the Tiger of old. But as I’ve mentioned on twitter before, the big difference between Tiger now and the Tiger of his heyday is that opponents no longer fear seeing his name race up the leaderboard.
If you’re not within a couple stokes of the lead you need the front runners to come back to you a little to give you a chance. Tiger always used to get that benefit. He won’t anymore. Now he need to go out and earn it the hard way.
All by himself.
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