Ben Zobrist Rips MLB in IG Post After Being Threatened with Fine for Cleats

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Chicago Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist spoke out Saturday after he received an “authentic nfl jerseys cheap official warning” letter from Major League Baseball for wearing black cleats.

Zobrist posted a picture of the letter on Instagram alongside a photo of his cleats. He said he’s worn black spikes for day games at Wrigley Field in Chicago for two years and was “curious” as to why MLB has started to enforce the uniform regulation requiring shoes to feature 51 percent of the team’s main color:

“For the last two years, I have worn black spikes exclusively at Wrigley Field for day games to pay homage to the history of our great game, and now I am being told I will be fined and disciplined if I continue to wear them. When I was a kid, I was inspired by highlights of the greats such as Ernie Banks and Stan Musial in the 1950s-60s and was captured by the old uniforms and all black cleats with flaps.”nfl jerseys for cheap

Zobrist added he’s “heard nothing but compliments” about the cleats and believes wearing them could help inspire younger fans to research the history of the sport.

The 36-year-old three-time All-Star didn’t say whether he’d continue wearing the shoes. It won’t take long to find out, however, as the Cubs’ next three games are at Wrigley Field with afternoon start times against the Chicago White Sox this nfl jersey cheap weekend and Atlanta Braves on Monday.

One Starter Every NBA Team Must Replace This Summer

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All 30 NBA teams want to get better, and though the path to improvement is complicated and context-dependent, one of the best ways to make a leap is to improve the starting lineup.

Because even the strongest starting fives have a weak link.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

And in the cases where messing with a truly great first unit seems ridiculous, we’ll get creative and search for ways to make the group more fun or more effective. In other words “must replace” will sometimes turn into “wouldn’t it be cool if…”

The criteria will shift for every team, because the 30 situations across the league are distinct heading into the summer of 2018. In the case of rebuilding clubs, it might make sense to replace a quality starter because he’s too costly or too old to fit into the organization’s big-picture timeframe. nfl jersey cheap For top-end clubs, the calculus will often be simpler: Which starter just isn’t producing enough in the short term?

Suggesting replacement doesn’t necessarily mean a team has to cut ties with the player in question either (though sometimes that’s exactly what we’ll suggest)nfl jerseys for cheap . In some situations, it just means a guy is better suited to coming off the bench.

In the long-ball era, your point guard just cannot shoot 29 percent from three-point range…unless your point guard has unusual skills in other areas (height, playmaking, defense, etc.) that make up for an inability to space the floor. We’re talking “Ben Simmons” levels of compensatory excellence.

Dennis Schroder is not Ben Simmons.

The five-year vet is a career 32 percent shooter from deep, which could mean last year’s woeful conversion rate was little more than a prolonged, mild slump. Or, it could mean that’s how effectively Schroder converts his treys when he’s the clear No. 1 option on his team.nfl jersey cheap

He wouldn’t be the first player to struggle while taking on added responsibilities.

Either way, the Hawks are in the earliest stages of a rebuild, and Schroder hasn’t shown enough in his five seasons to warrant consideration as a long-term piece. Especially for an Atlanta club that cut bait with Dwight Howard in part because of concerns about his personality. Schroder, owed $46.5 million cheap nfl jerseys over the next three seasons, could face felony battery charges stemming from an incident at a club on Sept. 29.

If Atlanta is really starting fresh, it should do so without Schroder as its first-unit point guard.

Western Conference Opening Round

1. Houston Rockets vs. 8. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Houston Rockets have been the NBA’s best team in 2017-18, and they should be almost impervious to any first-round matchups. Drawing the Minnesota Timberwolves is the least appealing option out of the candidates that existed during the season’s final week, but James Harden and Co. cheap nfl jerseys china still match up nicely against their opening foes.

Even with Jimmy Butler back on the court, the T-Wolves aren’t a great defensive team. They allow 105.1 points per 100 possessions when he’s logging minutes (the best mark of any rotation member), but that would still be just the No. 12 defensive rating in the season-long standings. Plus, Butler isn’t going to play 48 minutes per game throughout an entire postseason series, despite Tom Thibodeau’s enduring presence as Minnesota’s head coach. authentic nfl jerseys

A team with defense as its primary weakness isn’t going to topple the top-seeded juggernaut that’s climbed to its perch on the shoulders of historic offensive efforts. Harden and Chris Paul are going to have a field day, easily overcoming the absence of Luc Mbah a Moute as he tries to recover from a dislocated shoulder in time for the second round.nfl jerseys wholesale

Prediction: Rockets in five.b10b7f075e280e5ea410090f87232ccd_crop_exact

2. Golden State Warriors vs. 7. San Antonio Spurs

Watching the Golden State Warriors over the last few weeks, you get the sense they’re just biding their time and waiting to flip the proverbial switch at the most opportune moment. Injuries have decimated their rotation at times, but they still boast the services of three healthy wholesale nfl jerseys All-Stars in Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Beyond that, their bench is filled with useful veterans who understand their roles, as well as some high-upside youngsters. nfl jerseys china

But the Dubs aren’t the same without Stephen Curry, who isn’t likely to be available for this first-round clash with the San Antonio Spurs. On the season, they’ve notched a 2.9 net rating sans their star point guard (easily the worst mark on the roster), and that dropped to minus-2.7 since his second-to-last injury on March 8.

This is concerning. The defending champions are vulnerable until their floor general returns, no matter how impressive nfl jerseys from china Quinn Cook has been while capitalizing on this unforeseen opportunity.

However, the Spurs aren’t suited to pull off the upset. Head coach Gregg Popovich will milk as much production from his troops as humanly possible, but San Antonio is outclassed without Kawhi Leonard. It overachieved throughout the season with a roster filled of middling talents and downward-trending veterans, but it now has to deal with its leading offensive star (LaMarcus Aldridge) lining up against Golden State’s premier individual stopper (Green).

NBA Playoff Bracket 2018: Round-by-Round Predictions

You can now breathe.

The end of the NBA’s 2017-18 regular season featured one twist after another as myriad squads battled for playoff positioning in both conferences. We saw a de facto play-in game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets that wasn’t necessarily just for the No. 8 seed because of the jam-packed nature of the standings. We witnessed the Philadelphia 76ers winning roughly 43 games in a row to steal away the East’s No. 3 spot.nfl jersey

So on and so forth.

But now the playoff field is set. After weeks of breathless speculation, we know all of the first-round matchups.

Let’s see what’s going to happen next—not just in the opening round, but in every one that would follow authentic nfl jerseys . From the Houston Rockets’ defense of the West’s No. 1 seed against the dangerous Timberwolves to the conclusion of the NBA Finals, we’ve peered into the crystal ball and figured it all out. f46ef5b4f7cd485579959c5728c3aa17_crop_exact

1. Toronto Raptors vs. 8. Washington Wizards

Though the Toronto Raptors cooled off at the end of the regular season, that’s understandable. cheap nfl jerseys china They had been operating in sole possession of the No. 1 seed for quite some time, and complacency was bound to set in for an outfit so universally focused on doing away with the unfortunate reputation it’s earned over the last few postseasons.

Why focus on meaningless regular-season contests when the playoffs are all that matters? wholesale nfl jerseys

Toronto has struggled to gain momentum during prior opening rounds, but that won’t be the case in 2018. This team is built for the playoffs, as it no longer relies as heavily on isolation proclivities. Instead, the Raptors share the ball and make the most of a wealth of secondary talents. While Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan remain the leading contributors, they haven’t had the luxury of operating alongside a wide range of talented running mates quite like this. nfl jerseys wholesale

Benches typically aren’t as effective in the playoffs. The Washington Wizards, for example, will lean heavily on their starting five and attempt to minimize the minutes of any secondary contributors not named Tomas Satoransky or Kelly Oubre Jr. But reserves still matter, and Toronto’s have been the best in the league (8.3 net rating).

Kevin De Bruyne: I would be a deserving Player of the Year – but it is impossible to compare me to Mo Salah

Kevin De Bruyne believes he will be a worthy winner of Player of the Year, but says it is impossible to compare his talent with Liverpool rival Mohamed Salah.

Amid Manchester City and Liverpool’s desperation to reach the semi-final of the Champions League, the fight between De Bruyne and Salah to be recognised by their peers offers an absorbing sub-plot.nfl jerseys cheap china

Whoever comes out on top over the next two weeks will surely influence wavering voters deciding who has been this season’s outstanding performer. City’s Belgian midfielder is not shy of admitting he thinks he would warrant the accolade.TELEMMGLPICT000156328855_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqJwcOq3zzVZdXmODgA8vKOfhekDCxeSyQ5ynAR5Hp5k8
“I think there is almost no game where my standard has dropped, so I have been very constant, and I am very happy with myself. To maintain the level the amount of games I have played, the amount of minutes, I am very pleased with that.” nfl jerseys

De Bruyne also acknowledged Salah credentials, the Egyptian taking his tally for the season to 37 with his latest strike against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The City man says it is a thankless task trying to judge who has been most influential.

“You cannot compare – it is impossible. So how do the players choose?” nfl jersey said De Bruyne.

“Everybody has his own opinion. It depends on what people are looking for in a player.

“Salah has a remarkable goalscoring run, and he plays very well like an inside forward type of role, cheap nfl jerseys china for me. This season he has been incredible.

“To compare us, I don’t know. With the statistics how are we going to compare ourselves? It’s totally different, I played (against Everton) like a defensive midfielder, how you can compare me to an inside forward? I have no idea.

Steve Kerr Defends Stance When Asked About Not Attending Stephon Clark Rally

A Sacramento, California, reporter questioned Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on Saturday about him and his team not attending the march for Stephon Clark put on by former Warriors and Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes.cheap nfl authentic jerseys

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, a reporter asked Kerr if he was being contradictory by not attending.

Kerr said the following in response:

“It’s up to each individual if he is going to pick his spots to make his contribution to society. I’m very confident and comfortable in my own skin. And [our players] what they do for our communities, the way they speak out, the way I’ve spoken out. I feel very, very confident in what we’ve tried to do and I’m also very, very serious about my job. So, you can balance that whichever way you want. You can be accusatory if you like. cheap authentic nfl jerseys I’m comfortable with what our team does and with what I do.”

The Kings were set to host the Warriors on Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).hi-res-a459ab8cc6a5ab3e71d430776815c52f_crop_north

The rally took place at noon local time on Saturday across the street from Sacramento City Hall, per Tony Bizjak, Darrell Smith and Jon Schultz of the Sacramento Bee.

Barnes spoke about Clark, who was shot and killed by police officers on March 18. cheap nfl jerseys from china The two officers pursuing him said they thought the 22-year-old Clark was holding a gun, but it was a cellphone.

Kerr has been outspoken on social issues in recent years, as have the Warriors’ two biggest star players in Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

After a series of black people getting shot by police in 2016, Kerr said, “nfl cheap jerseys I would hope that every American is disgusted with what is going on around the country,” according to Marissa Payne of the Washington Post.

Kerr also expressed support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protesting during the national anthem.

Although no Warriors players or personnel attended Saturday’s rally, Kings guard Garrett Temple was there, per Rhiannon Walker of nfl jerseys cheap china The Undefeated.

Netherlands Shock Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal 3-0 in International Friendly

The Netherlands defeated Portugal in an international friendly on Monday night, as the Dutch won 3-0 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Memphis Depay gave the Oranje a surprise lead after 11 minutes, and the advantage was doubled as Ryan Babel found the back of the net after 32 minutes.

The crowd were stunned as Virgil van Dijk’s half-volley found the bottom corner, giving the Dutch a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Portugal failed to make an impression in the second half, with Cristiano Ronaldo substituted early, and the Netherlands were comfortable winners in the end.

The Dutch set up with a firm core in a 5-3-2, allowing Depay and Babel plenty of freedom to stream forward as opportunity presented itself.

Portugal dominated the ball in the early stages but failed to produce a cheap nfl jerseys from china threat as they quickly fell behind.

Depay was ecstatic as he gave the Netherlands an early lead, linking with Donny van de Beek to clinical effect.

Portugal attempted a swift comeback, with Ronaldo tumbling in the box as he searched for a penalty, but when the incident was ignored, the Real Madrid icon showed his displeasure.

Moments later, it was 2-0 to the Netherlands, as Babel’s header hit the back of the net at pace.nfl cheap jerseys hi-res-c4dca2bd1cc59cbf5fabcbf5139a7fcd_crop_north

The Portuguese were clearly despondent as their opponents were far from dangerous, but worse was yet to come.

Poor marking saw the Dutch once again strike, with Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk showing his prowess with a controlled finish.

The 26-year-old smashed his shot into the bottom corner with style, and the half-time lead was a shock to the system.

The Netherlands have failed to display a clinical edge in nfl jerseys cheap china recent months as they failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but the first shoots of recovery were present in the first half.

Portugal failed to put their foot on the gas in the second half and were down to 10 men as Joao Cancelo was shown red for a late tackle.

The 23-year-old was dismissed in the 61st minute for a second bookable offence, as his side appeared on their knees.authentic nfl jerseys

Ronaldo was taken off moments later as Portugal attempted to give minutes to their squad, with the Dutch in firm control of the contest.

The match petered out as the Portuguese accepted defeat, and the Dutch were rewarded with a much-needed victory against a major nation.

Portugal will need to play much better than this in the weeks ahead wholesale nfl jerseys , and the European Championship holders cannot simply rely on Ronaldo to take them through to the knockouts in Russia.

Kevin Durant Out at Least 2 Weeks After Rib Injury Diagnosed as Fracture

Kevin Durant is the latest Golden State Warriors star to be sidelined by an injury.

The 2014 NBA MVP had already nfl jerseys for cheap  been ruled out of Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings due to sore ribs, but it apparently isn’t only a day-to-day injury. According to Connor Letourneau of  nfl jerseys cheap china the San Francisco Chronicle, Durant will miss at least two weeks due to an incomplete rib cartilage fracture.
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Durant explained to reporters Friday how he suffered the injury, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater:

Earlier this season, Durant missed time due to a sprained ankle and a cheap nfl jerseys china  right calf strain. However, he had played in each of Golden State’s past 27 games heading into Friday.

The 2017 NBA Finals MVP is enjoying another fine season, averaging 26.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.9 blocks per game.

While having Durant, Curry and Thompson each sidelined by  authentic nfl jerseys injuries is hardly ideal, Golden State can do without them for the rest of the regular season. The Warriors have already clinched their fourth straight Pacific Division title and are all but locked into a top-two seed for the postseason at 52-16. They may not catch the Houston Rockets for the No. 1 seed, wholesale nfl jerseys but home-court advantage isn’t crucial for the defending champions.

Instead, Golden State’s top priority over the next month is to get everyone healthy for the playoffs.