Why the Jets gave Joe Flacco a new team before Cam Newton signed with one

Another veteran QB found a new home in 2020 NFL free agency who isn’t named Cam Newton. The Jets signed Joe Flacco to a one-year deal, a move announced by his agent. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the contract for the former Ravens and Broncos starter has a base worth of only $1.5 million with incentives maxing out at $4.5 million.

Flacco, 35, is recovering from neck surgery to correct an ailment that cut short his lone season in Denver. The 2007 first-rounder and Super Bowl 47 MVP for Baltimore didn’t want to retire and now can get to stick around in the league for at least another season, if he proves to be healthy enough.

Meanwhile, 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton, released by the Panthers in March, remains a free agent and still the best veteran QB on the market. So why did the Jets take a flyer on Flacco instead, given that he also carries a level of recent injury history mystery?

DECOURCY: NFL should boot proposed onside kick change right off the planet

First, Flacco, who has made plenty of money in his career and once was the highest-paid QB in the NFL, settled for relative little money to keep playing for someone. Second, after his time with the Broncos proved, pre-injury, that he no longer could be counted on as a starter, Flacco clearly settled on being a willing backup behind 2018 No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold in New York.

Flacco’s deal is similar to the last QB of first-round note to sign. Jameis Winston, the 2015 No. 1 overall pick, went from Buccaneers five-season starter to settling for a $1.1 million base salary plus incentives to back up Drew Brees with the Saints late last month.

For Newton, as the 2015 NFL MVP, reports are it’s been difficult for him to accept both a lesser deal and one that doesn’t come with a real chance to compete for a starting job. So far, the Patriots and Jaguars have held firm on rolling with second-year third-day picks Jarrett Stidham and Gardner Minshew, respectively, instead of wanting to bring Newton or another viable veteran alternative into the mix.

The Redskins (Ron Rivera and Scott Turner) and Broncos (Mike Shula) are Newton’s best remaining coaching staff fits. But Washington has Dwayne Haskins and already traded for former Panther Kyle Allen to compete with him, while Denver is gung-ho on Drew Lock, far removed from Flacco, to the point that it doesn’t want him looking over his shoulder.

Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains, who oversee the Jets’ offense as coach and coordinator, needed more of a regular pocket passing type behind Darnold. Before Flacco, the Jets’ best No. 2 option was David Fales. When Darnold had mononucleosis early last season, their backup situation was badly exposed.

Newton as a unknown quantity to teams because of his durability was never really a fit for New York. Jets general manager Joe Douglas also is vary familiar with Flacco’s makeup and skill set. Douglas started as a longtime scout with the Ravens from 2000 to 2014, and Flacco was drafted by Ozzie Newsome in the middle of that tenure.

Is it shocking that Newton hasn’t found a fit with any team, even at the lowest price? Yes. Is it surprising that the Jets would roll the dice with Flacco as a No. 2 instead of considering Newton? In their current situation, not at all.

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Ceballos deals Arsenal a blow as he insists he wants to return Real

‘I am a Real Madrid player… they are the ideal team to succeed’: Dani Ceballos deals Arsenal a transfer blow as he insists he wants to return to the Bernabeu after his loan spell

  • Dani Ceballos joined Arsenal on loan last summer and has impressed there 
  • The Spain midfielder managed to work his way into Mikel Arteta’s side recently 
  • He insisted in an interview that he wanted to see out his Real Madrid deal

Dani Ceballos has hinted he will call an end to his time at Arsenal when his loan spell expires – by insisting he wants to see out his contract at Real Madrid.

The midfielder joined Arsenal on loan in the summer transfer window and had an impressive first few games with the north London side before being ruled out in November with a hamstring injury.

That saw him stuck on the sidelines for three months, damaging his prospects of staying at the Emirates.

Dani Ceballos has hinted he will call an end to his time at Arsenal when his loan spell expires

Yet Ceballos managed to work his way back into Mikel Arteta’s thoughts and the manager picked him to start in the three games prior to the coronavirus lockdown.

The Mirror are reporting that Arsenal want to keep him in north London but Spain international Ceballos has other priorities. 

‘I am a Real Madrid player… and any player in the world would like to play for Real Madrid,’ Ceballos told Spanish outlet TVE on Wednesday.

‘I have a contract with them for three more years and they are the ideal team to succeed.’

The midfielder has insisted that he views Real Madrid as the ideal team with which to succeed

The 23-year-old’s loan deal with the Gunners is set to expire on June 30 but Arsenal are likely to ask Real to keep hold of him until the end of the campaign.

But once the season finishes, it looks as though Ceballos intends to fight for his place in the side at Real.

There is no purchase agreement in the deal that took Ceballos to Arsenal last summer.

‘I am happy and I have a contract with Real Madrid,’ Ceballos added.

‘I am 23 years old. Now I feel much more a player and I am prepared for any challenge that comes my way.’ 

Ceballos worked his way back into Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up prior to the coronavirus crisis




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Minnie Lee’s scorebooks: A two-decade love letter to Reds baseball

Minnie Lee Olges loved her Cincinnati Reds.

Nearly every summer night for almost two decades, this sweet baseball-loving grandma settled into her recliner, the one next to the screen door leading to the driveway, and listened to Reds broadcasting legends Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall call Cincinnati baseball games on her radio. 

In her house, the second-to-last one on a quiet dead-end street in Louisville, Ky., Minnie Lee kept score as her beloved Reds competed on the field. She didn’t have cable TV, so she couldn’t watch many games, but she didn’t need to. She watched the Reds through Marty and Joe’s words, and she told their stories on her score sheets.

She started her collection in 1973, first on the back of an envelope, then on what was supposed to be a score sheet for a college basketball All-Star game between players from Kentucky and Tennessee, then on loose-leaf pieces of paper and finally in spiral-bound notebooks. 

The thing is, nobody really knew the extent of what she was doing every single devoted night. She lived alone, retired and long separated from her husband, though her daughter Mary lived with her husband, Bob, and three sons seven houses up the street, and they visited regularly. 

“She didn’t drive, so we would take her to the grocery store once a week, or church or wherever, and she would always say, ‘Honey, I have to be back at 7 because the Reds are playing,’” grandson Mike Murphy told Sporting News. “We all knew that. We knew she liked it, but you don’t know how much she loved it until you get into the scorebooks.”



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Minnie Lee’s early Reds scorecards
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Minnie Lee’s scorebooks are utterly, beautifully, stunningly amazing. It’s not a stretch to say they’re worthy of a spot in one of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s museum displays. They represent the essence of America’s connection, deep and true, with baseball. 

“Her scorebook had a heart,” Murphy said. “There’s a heartbeat to that thing. It’s not just numbers and data.”

They’re amazing because of the detail. She created her own scorebook grid, using a carefully folded piece of paper as a de facto ruler to keep her lines straight. She had her own style of scorekeeping, too — for example, “Stos” was a swinging strikeout, “GoSS” was a ground out to the shortstop, “S.RF” was a single to right field and a simple “H” stood for home run. 

She would flip the page over and write down — always in cursive — details as fast as she could when the action got hot. And the more Marty and Joe got excited, the more she was excited, and the larger her writing became. “Rose’s night!!” spilled into the line above and the line below, with a double underline on Sept. 11, 1985, the night Rose collected hit No. 4,192 to pass Ty Cobb on the all-time hit list. She loved Marty and Joe; the notebooks are full of “Marty says …” or “Joe says …” followed by the little tidbits they’d share on the air, or just the back-and-forth of the pair she loved so much.

They’re amazing because of how she used her scorebooks as a journal, not just of her life but significant events in the sport and in our country. If she missed any action, she’d always write why.

“I missed this part of the game. Johnny and Stephanie were here,” she jotted in her scoresheet over the first five innings of Game 1 of the 1976 World Series between the Reds and Yankees. “Had to care for Angel and missed this,” she wrote in the sixth and seventh innings of the July 15, 1984, game, when she went to tend to her neighbor’s dog. 

“She put family first. She never put listening to the ballgames above her family,” daughter Mary Murphy said. “If we came to visit, not being aware that there was a game being played, she never mentioned the game or cut our visits short so she could start keeping score.” 

On March 30, 1981, she stopped listening to the Reds game in the sixth inning, writing this on her scoresheet: “President Reagan was shot and 3 other men. I watched on TV and missed the rest of this game, but the Reds won.”



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Minnie Lee’s scorebook when President Reagan is shot
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The biggest moments in Reds history for two decades, good and bad, are there: The Big Red Machine’s failures and successes in October, the magical 1990 World Series team, the disappointing 1980s. And it’s not just Reds moments. Minnie Lee made sure she found the important games — like Hank Aaron’s 715th home run — on her radio, and she kept score throughout the playoffs, whether or not the Reds were playing. She documented Reggie Jackson’s three-homer World Series game in 1977 and the earthquake that shut down the 1989 World Series between the A’s and Giants shortly before Game 3 was about to start.

Minnie Lee didn’t score every single game every year, but she didn’t miss many. She’d give up baseball for the holy days on the Catholic calendar, and the 10 p.m. local start times for West Coast games could be tough to finish when the family had 7 a.m. Mass the next morning. Whatever the reason, she’d always write it down in her notebook. 

Her grandson Mike’s passion is to share Minnie Lee’s passion with baseball fans — especially Reds fans — everywhere. He created a Twitter account, Grandma’s Reds Scorebook, in April and tweets out pictures of her captivating scoresheets every day. The challenge isn’t finding something to tweet every day, it’s deciding which year to choose among so many great options. 

Minnie Lee died in 1996 at 90 years old, but thanks to her youngest grandson, her passion for baseball can finally get the audience it deserves. 

“This is not just a Reds fans story. It’s a baseball love story,” Murphy said. “It crosses generations and demographics. This touches everyone, with her humbleness, her uncanny sense of humor. There’s something in here for everybody.”

♦♦♦♦♦

Marty Brennaman saw bits and pieces of Minnie Lee’s work for the first time this past weekend.

“What she did, it’s incredible, really unbelievable. It’s almost incomprehensible, to try and explain to somebody how in-depth she went, basically documenting day to day, the ups and downs of this baseball team, for a lot of years,” Brennaman said. “For someone to have such a passion for the game, and particularly for a team, to do that on a daily basis over a period of that many years is just mind-boggling.”



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Minnie Lee’s hand-made “ruler” and Hank Aaron’s 715th homer
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If Minnie Lee was writing about Marty’s excitement level during the phone interview Sunday, her cursive letters would have been HUGE. It was obvious the Hall of Fame broadcaster — the 2000 Ford C. Frick award winner called Reds games on the radio from 1974 to 2019 — was enthralled with the life’s work of the biggest fan he never met. 

“It’s just incredible. It really is. I would have loved to be able to sit down with her and just talk Reds baseball,” Brennaman said. “That would have been the ultimate because of how much she loved the game. I’m sure she felt a personal connection between herself and all the players whose names she wrote down day to day over the years.

“The icing on the cake was the times she felt compelled to write notes, for whatever the reason: preparing a certain type of food or whatever. That’s unbelievable.”

And he is fully on board with the idea that Minnie Lee’s scorebooks need to be seen by baseball fans everywhere. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything,” he said, “in all the years I’ve been around with this team, that in-depth for that many seasons.”

♦♦♦♦♦

Nobody in the family really knows when Minnie Lee became a Reds fan, or how she learned to keep score. She lived in Cincinnati for a couple of years early in her marriage before moving to Louisville, but she never attended a single baseball game, again, as far as anyone in the family knows. But regardless of how/when it started, that love of baseball helped carry her through the final 20-plus years of her life.

Minnie Lee’s scoresheets are a bit overwhelming, at first glance. She packed incredible amounts of information on each page, with little notes written into the margins, but the more you see, the more they start to make sense. It’s not that there’s a method to the madness; there’s a method to the passion. 

As Murphy went page by page through the notebook in the years after his grandmother’s death, he laughed every time she tried to guess how to spell players’ names. She didn’t have a newspaper subscription, so her only option was to phonetically sound out names as she heard Marty and Joe say them and write every attempt out to see what looked right. 

FOSTER: The day the Reds and Braves made me fall in love with baseball

Ken Griffey was “Ken Griffe” for the first several years of her scorekeeping career; Murphy likes to joke that Griffey didn’t earn the ‘y’ at the end of his name until after he was part of Tom Seaver’s no-hitter in 1978. And Paul O’Neill? Well, there’s just about every variation imaginable written into her lineups. When it came to the visiting players, the guys Marty and Joe didn’t talk about as often, those were really a challenge. There’s one page on which Minnie Lee has written about a dozen different possibilities for Orel Hershiser. Terry Pendleton posed all sorts of issues. And Bob Ojeda? How in the world is a ‘J’ silent? 



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Minnie Lee’s spelling adventures
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Quick Griffey aside: He was one of Minnie Lee’s all-time favorite players (Ron Oester was another). As Murphy points out, she just writes about him differently than most other Reds. And her note about his final game in a Reds uniform (Aug. 17, 1990) is amazing, for several reasons. 

Everyone hates to see him leave. I guess he has been with the team (as a player) longer than anyone else. Tony Perez is still with the Reds but not playing (coach at first base). Ken Griffey is the last of the “Big Red Machine.” His son, Ken Griffey, Jr., is in baseball, too. I just hope our Griffey will get some job in baseball.

“She would have had the biggest hoot if she knew how good Junior became,” Murphy said.

Oh, and Mike learned that his grandma LOVED the fights that sometimes happened on the baseball diamond. 

“That was totally out of character for her. She was a hard worker, but the most mild-mannered person. You never heard her cuss,” he said. “But the way she wrote about fights, you would think she was a chain-smokin’, foul-mouthed, drinking-ringside-double-bird-flippin’-off-at-the-wrestlers type. But she was not that way at all. That was the biggest pleasant surprise for all of us when I started finding these things. She loved that stuff.”

On July 29, 1990, Minnie Lee chronicled a fight between the Reds and Phillies. 

Some fight!!! I wish I could have seen it or at least heard all of it on the radio. Marty and Joe were yelling so & noise turned up too high. 

As she got older and her hearing worsened, she had to turn up the volume on her radio, to the point where anyone standing outside two or three houses away could hear the game clearly, the noise escaping through that screen door. Good thing her neighbors loved her, too. So by 1990, it was already loud, and when Marty and Joe started yelling during the basebrawl, well, the pitch was just too much for her to make anything else out. 

Minnie Lee was away from her house for three weeks in 1984, caring for Miss Boesser, her former landlord turned friend who was in declining health.

“While she was gone, she asked me to keep the newspaper sports page of the Reds,” Mary Murphy said. 

Thing is, Mary wasn’t a baseball fan. She thought her mother wanted the reports about the local minor league team, the Louisville Redbirds, then the Cardinals’ Triple-A team. 

Oops. So on a page in her book — that year, she used loose-leaf paper in a binder — Minnie Lee wrote: “I missed the games from June 25/84 to July 15/84. Was with Miss Boesser at her place.”

And nothing more was made of it.

“She didn’t fuss or get mad or anything,” Mary Murphy said, laughing as she thought back. “She just said, ‘It’s the Cincinnati Reds I wanted.’”

Reading through his grandma’s scorebooks, over and over, Murphy noticed a trend. 

“As she got older, she did get more emotionally into the writing,” he said. “I think she was lonely, I guess. I’d love to know, did she ever go back and pull it out in December or January and go back and look through it? I never got to ask those questions. Those are things I wished I could ask.”

Here’s what she wrote after the penultimate game of the 1989 season, a 9-2 loss to the Astros that left the Reds with a 75-86 record. 



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Minnie Lee signs off for the 1989 season
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And here’s the last game in Minnie Lee’s scorebook, October 27, 1991. 

You remember that one. Jack Morris pitched 10 innings of shutout baseball as the Twins outlasted the Braves in one of the best World Series Game 7s in baseball history. This is what she wrote:

Twins won World Series in 7 games. 
1991
I have never seen a bunch so Happy as the Twins are! 
Both teams were wonderful. I feel for the losers, but to let the other team get only 1 run was good.

Those six lines of typed text? Minnie Lee used 18 lines’ worth of space on her paper. And of those 41 words, eight were double-underlined.

Yep, Minnie Lee really loved baseball. 

♦♦♦♦♦

Minnie Lee Prewitt was born on Jan. 23, 1906. 

She played basketball for the Cambellsville College team — she was teammates with her sisters, Stella and Ethel — and she was president of her sophomore class in college. Under her picture in the Garnett and Gray yearbook was this poem … 

“A girl that’s seldom meek and mild,
The girl that’s peppy all the while,
The girl that’s never cross nor blue; 
Minnie Lee, that’s you.”



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Minnie Lee, basketball player
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Her life was far too often marked by tragedy. She was the second of nine children born to Milo and Thula Prewitt, two of whom died in infancy. Her parents were killed in a well accident when she was 15 — a gas explosion overwhelmed Milo as he was digging the well, then Thula when she went in to help her husband — and the siblings were split up, though they stayed in touch as best they could.

Minnie Lee and her husband, Joe Olges, had five children. Their first, Joseph, died when he was 8; he fell through the ice of a frozen pond and drowned, on Feb. 3, 1942, an accident too awful to even think about. 

Despite the tragedy, Mary Murphy remembers a happy childhood. She remembers her mother reading “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” giving life to Mark Twain’s characters with her tone and inflections; she’d taken drama classes and put those lessons to use when reading stories to her children — and, Mary notes, was a big reason her scorebook notebooks included big letters and underlines and exclamation points for emphasis. 

“She was a very loving mother,” said Mary, who is now 81 and still lives in the same house on the dead-end street. “She never raised her voice. We knew by her eyes that we’d better behave.”

Minnie Lee often worked as a nanny — picking up tasty recipes for her family along the way — and spent many, many years working in the nursery at St. Joseph’s Orphanage. 

Minnie Lee has other two daughters, Ruth and Roberta. Jack, Minnie Lee and Joe’s second-born son, played fullback for the Flaget High football team in Louisville that won city, state and Catholic championships in 1952, a team quarterbacked by Paul Hornung. Yes, that Paul Hornung. Before he was the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame, four-time NFL champion (including Super Bowl I) and Pro Football Hall of Famer, he followed the lead blocks of Jack Olges to an unforgettable high school football season. 

♦♦♦♦♦

Mike Murphy, the youngest of Minnie Lee’s 14 grandchildren, was born one year before she started her scorebook obsession/collection, and the two shared a special bond.

Nearly every morning during the summer, Murphy would ride his bike down the street just to ask his grandma if Johnny Bench, his favorite player, hit a home run the night before. When the family would gather for Thanksgiving or Christmas at Minnie Lee’s house, Murphy would sneak away to look at the stack of notebooks and just imagine the glorious baseball stories they told. 

Mike would tag along when his mom and grandma went to the grocery store; his quarter allowance was enough to buy one pack of baseball cards, which he would open next to his grandma on the bench seat of the family Oldsmobile on the way home. The 1978 Topps set stands out in his memory, and two cards in particular. The first one was Steve Garvey, because Murphy’s T-ball team was the Dodgers, and Garvey’s Popeye-esque forearms looked like the forearms on his dad, who was a steelworker and a bricklayer.

The other was Cesar Geronimo. 

“I remember flipping through the pack and finding a Reds player,” Murphy said. “I said, ‘Grandma, who’s he?’ And when she said Cesar Geronimo, I thought that was the coolest name I’d ever heard. I made her say it back to me about 50 times. The other guys on the team were named Joe, Pete, George, Ken, Dave, Tom … so when I heard Cesar Geronimo? I was enamored with him from that point on.”

Minnie Lee was, essentially, Murphy’s own personal Baseball-Reference; if the players he saw in his packs played in the National League and Marty and Joe talked about them, she had a story. She could tell him which cards were good and which ones weren’t. And she knew which ones knew the value of a good education, too. 

“Mike had a hard time with the first grade,” Mary Murphy said, with a motherly laugh all these years later. “He’d cry and didn’t want to go to school. He’d stand and look out the window and say, ‘Did Johnny Bench have to go do school?’”

It took a couple of months to adjust — the strict Catholic school nuns were a shock to the system of a boy who grew up in such a loving environment — but with the knowledge that Johnny Bench endured school, Murphy decided he could, too. 

And he stuck with it. He’s a special education teacher at an elementary school in Louisville, back in the classroom after years as a school administrator. And the one time he met Johnny Bench? Murphy asked the Hall of Famer to sign “Johnny Bench, 1965 Valedictorian.”

“He turned to the guy next to him,” Murphy recalled with a laugh, “and said, ‘I have never signed that in my entire life.’”



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Johnny Bench
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Because the two shared a love of baseball, it eventually became Murphy’s honor to give his grandma the same Christmas gift every year: a 200-sheet, three-section notebook and a package of pens. 

“She played it up when I gave it to her, too. Trust me,” Murphy said. “Her eyes were big, like, ‘I know what’s in here. I’m set!’”

When Murphy got a little older, the two would flip through the notebooks together at her house, Murphy sipping on a cup of Postum and eating a cheese blintz or a pimento-cheese sandwich lovingly prepared by his grandma. 

Murphy collected the notebooks after Minnie Lee died of natural causes in 1996, at 90 years old. He knew he wanted to do something special with them, but wasn’t sure exactly what. Finally, with his brother Jeff’s wedding approaching in July 2007 — knowing the family would be together — Murphy dove into his new project. For two months, he organized and stacked and copied pages and notebooks, crying and laughing constantly as he read his grandma’s words. 

A few days before Jeff’s wedding, Murphy told his brother about his project and asked whether it would be OK to give them out at the end of his reception. Jeff, of course, agreed. 

Murphy made four copies of this labor of love, a binder book he titled “Game day through the eyes of Marty & Joe and the ears of Minnie Lee.” He separated the book into nine sections, each tailored to unique elements of his grandma’s scoresheets. He gave one to his mom, one to his uncle Jack, one to his Aunt Ruth and one to his Aunt Roberta, Minnie Lee’s four surviving children. He wrote a letter to the four, a heartfelt note that included this near the end.

I truly believe she kept these books for us to read and share later. There are so many priceless memories in this book. We are truly blessed to be able to read these simple conversations that she had with herself and hear her wisdom long after her death. I wanted these notebooks because of my early memories with her growing up. I had no idea that they contained all of these priceless memories. I’ve laughed and cried many of times during this process. Grad some Kleenex, enjoy and share these experiences with your families.

And for each of Minnie Lee’s kids, Murphy found and clipped out a piece of paper where she’d written out her name, so the letter was signed by their mother. 

Brennaman was blown away by the book when he saw pictures. 

“I thought that was really cool, I swear to goodness,” he said. “Periodically, people will show me things similar to hers, but not nearly to the extent in which she undertook it.” 



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Tribute book to Minnie Lee Olges
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♦♦♦♦♦

One last story for today, though there are thousands more screaming to be told. 

Murphy played catcher because he wanted to be like Johnny Bench, so when Bench retired after the 1983 season, Murphy needed a new favorite catcher. The easy choice was Gary Carter, the Expos’ All-Star catcher who always had a huge smile on his face and played the game with Bench’s passion. 

When Carter was traded to the Mets before the 1985 season, Murphy became a big Mets fan. The 1986 season was unforgettable; Carter finished third in the NL MVP voting and the Mets went on to win a classic World Series against the Red Sox. 

So when Murphy was doing his book project, he flipped through Minnie Lee’s section on the 1986 postseason. What she wrote after the Mets won the NLCS made him sob uncontrollably. 



(Courtesy of Mike Murphy)

Minnie Lee leaves Mike a note
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Now for the World Series!! Mike, I’m hoping your Mets win!! I know you are pulling for them, I am too. Ray Knight is an ex-Red. I’d like for MacNamara’s team to play well, too.”

Read that again. Murphy certainly has, hundreds of times.  

“You open that up years later, not knowing it’s there, and you see that?” 

Mike paused. 

“It’s like she was leaving us all love notes the whole time.”

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Premier League stars worried about treatment due to 15-minute limit

Premier League stars ‘are worried they will not be treated properly for injuries’ due to 15-minute time limit included in new coronavirus training guidelines

  • The Premier League has outlined guidelines for phase one of footballs return
  • Social distancing guidelines will only allow 15 minutes of essential therapy
  • Players are concerned about the physical toll this will have on their bodies
  • While those returning from injury fear this could cause them to break down  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Premier League players are concerned that the new social distancing measures outlined in phase one of football’s return will mean they are unable to receive adequate treatment from medical staff.

Premier League captains – including Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mark Noble, and Troy Deeney – had a video conference call on Wednesday with league bosses, the PFA and Government officials to discuss player welfare amid Project Restart talks.

According to The Telegraph, the proposed social distancing guidelines outlined will only allow players 15 minutes of ‘essential recovery/therapies’ after training, before leaving to head home.

Players will only be allowed 15 minutes of ‘essential recovery/therapies’ after training

This is a part of the social distancing policies outlined in phase one of footballs return

With top-flight football set to return behind closed doors on June 12, players will be required to finish all 92 Premier League games within the space of 50 days, increasing the importance of treatment.

Players have also raised concerned over the physical toll a lack of treatment will have on their bodies as they undergo an intense training regime to prepare for the start of the Premier League just just 11 days after they return to training on June 1, having spent several months away from the pitch. 

While those returning from injury fear breaking down due to an increase in training volume and a decrease in treatment.  

Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Moussa Sissoko are among many of the stars that could be vulnerable to the new social distancing restrictions. 

 Injured players worry that this could cause them to break down again when they return

Injured players require more time with medics to prepare their bodies for returning to play  

Despite the difficulties a social distanced return to training could cause, Jose Mourinho is eager for football to return.   

‘I have not asked for any delay,’ said Mourinho. ‘I want to train, and I am desperate for the Premier League to return as soon as it is safe to do so, particularly now we are seeing other leagues preparing to return to action.’ 

The Premier League have since been asked if players will be granted great access to Doctors and physio’s in phase two and three of football’s return.  

It has been reported that the Premier League will present the phase two protocols over the next seven days, but it is feared that an increase in treatment time could leave players and medics at greater risk of contracting the virus. 




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Jonjo Shelvey says a Newcastle takeover would be 'good for the city'

‘Fans want a change of ownership – I’m looking every day to see what happens’: Jonjo Shelvey says a Newcastle takeover would be ‘good for the city’ but admits he does not know if the £300m deal will go ahead

  • Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey  is eager for the takeover to be completed
  • Shelvey revealed that the players haven’t been informed of any developments
  • 28-year-old spoke highly of Mike Ashley, saying ‘he has always been good to me’ 

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey would welcome a takeover of the club but admitted that he doesn’t know whether the deal will go ahead.

The Magpies are reportedly close to being taken over in a £300m deal by a coalition backed by funds from the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Mike Ashley has accepted a deal from the consortium, which is led by Amanda Staveley.

The proposed takeover has been criticised in some quarters, especially given Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. 

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey says a takeover would be a major boost for the club 

Shelvey revealed that he is constantly checking the media for updates on the takeover and says that, while he wants a takeover to happen, he will carry on doing his job in the same way irrespective of who owns the club. 

Shelvey told The Beautiful Game Podcast: ‘We’re the same as the fans, we don’t know what’s going on. I read the internet and Sky Sports to see if there has been an update, We don’t get told anything, it’s just one of them, if it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

‘I know the club have been in this situation on numerous occasions but at the end of the day that club obviously pays your wages so for me it doesn’t matter who is in charge.’

Shelvey spoke highly of current owner Mike Ashley, saying ‘he’s always been good to me’

The 28-year-old says that if a takeover does happen it would provide the club and the city with a major boost. 

He said: ‘For the fans, they want a change of ownership. If that happens it would be great for the fans and for the club and probably for the city, but like I say, I’m literally looking every day to see what’s happened, and you do see these hashtag #CANS everywhere.

‘We don’t know, we’ll find out when the fans find out. It’s obviously a shame that a lot of the staff have been furloughed, but we made the donation to the charities, we got together with all the other clubs. 

Current owner Ashley has been heavily criticised by many Newcastle supporters for the way in which he has run the club, but Shelvey spoke in positive terms about the businessman. 

Shelvey said: ‘Mike’s always been good to me. He obviously sanctioned the deal to bring me to the club and every time I’ve met him he’s been sound as anything. I can’t really say a bad word about him.

‘I know the fans obviously don’t want him here but at the end of the day he’s been absolutely fine for me and I speak on behalf of the players when I say it’s the same for them. But it is what it is, whether he feels his time is up is down to him. I tend to stay out of business and words you see flying about on the deal.’ 




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'I don't give a f**k about the nation's morale': Rose slams Project Restart plan

Newcastle United star Danny Rose has slammed Government plans to resume the Premier League in June and says he doesn’t ‘give a f**k’ about boosting the nation’s morale.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for the season to resume in June today with the publication of a 50-page document that details the conditional moves that the UK will be making in the coming months to ease the lockdown.

The Premier League was the last of the major leagues in Europe to suspend play and they’ve aggressively targeted a return in June alongside Serie A and La Liga, despite the fact that the UK is estimated to be three to four weeks behind both Italy and Spain in their stage of the pandemic.

Rose joined Newcastle from Tottenham in January and has managed just five appearances for the Magpies but he’s in no hurry to add to that as he described plans to return in just three weeks’ time as ‘b******s’.

‘Peoples lives are at risk! Football shouldn’t be spoken about til numbers have dropped massively. It’s b******s’.

Though the Government has given the green light, there remains a number of obstacles to overcome.

There remains a substantial amount of clubs that are not on board with plans to play at a neutral venue, with recent reports claiming Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have joined members of the bottom six in opposing the plans.

The project is also fully dependent on the number of deaths and new cases coming down and any spike – which wouldn’t be the biggest surprise given the relaxing of lockdown measures – would further postpone the season.

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A third Brighton player tests POSITIVE for coronavirus

‘Despite all the measures… we’ve still had another player test positive’: Brighton chief Paul Barber confirms THIRD positive coronavirus test at the club… less than 24 hours before the Premier League will meet to discuss Project Restart plan

  • The latest news is a setback to the Premier League’s Project Restart plan  
  • Two Brighton players tested positive for coronavirus in March and April  
  • Graham Potter’s squad have been isolating from each other since the shutdown 
  • Premier League clubs meet tomorrow to discuss the plan for the next few weeks
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A third Brighton player has tested positive for coronavirus in the latest setback to the Premier League’s Project Restart.

The South Coast club confirmed on Sunday that another member of their playing staff had contracted the deadly virus just over a week before top-flight clubs were hoping to return to group training – it comes after the club revealed previous positive tests on March 26 and April 2.

‘Despite all of the measures that we’ve been taking over the past few weeks, where the players haven’t been involved in any significant training at all, we’ve still suffered another player testing positive for the virus,’ Brighton CEO Paul Barber told Sky Sports News on Sunday.

A third Brighton player has tested positive for coronavirus, one day before the crucial meeting

Premier League clubs will meet on Monday to discuss the Project Restart proposal 

Graham Potter’s squad have been isolating from each other since the shutdown, although the club did recently open their training ground up for players to do socially-distanced physical training. 

On Monday, shareholders from the 20 clubs are meeting once more to discuss the details over a proposed return to action. Teams were hoping to resume training on May 18.  

“So there are concerns and I think it’s normal for all clubs to have those concerns,’ Barber continued. 

‘We want to make sure we do everything that we can to ensure those protocols are in place and are safe and secure and mitigate the risk as far as we can.” 

Brighton chief Paul Barber admitted he has concerns about the Premier League restarting 

Brighton sit 15th in the Premier League standings, just two points above the relegation zone

“One of the things we’ve asked the Premier League for is a complete plan of all of the stages of returning to play,” Barber said.

“First we need to get players back training in small groups, then they need to get involved in some contact training and then training for a match before the match itself.

“So there are lots of stages, it’s very complex and there are people at the Premier League working very hard to produce detailed paperwork to move through those stages as safely as possible.”

The Brighton CEO was speaking to BT Sport about the resumption of the Premier League

Barber reiterated earlier this week that Albion want to finish the season but that ‘the most important thing in all of this is to protect safety of the players and the staff.’

He added: ‘There are going to be situations, almost inevitably, over the weeks that follow – assuming we can start safely – where teams are going to suffer situations where players get ill.   

‘And we need to understand what the Premier League’s plan is for what happens in that eventuality because at the end of the day, we’ve said it 1,000 times in last 8 weeks, player and staff safety must be an absolute priority.’ 

Albion striker Glenn Murray, meanwhile, has also spoken out against some of the proposed plans to restart.

He admitted he did not want to jeopardise his children’s health and branded suggestions players could be quarantined in hotels ‘far-fetched’.   




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A history of the Air Jordan 1s: How Michael Jordan’s first custom shoe went from banned to billion-dollar business

Oh, what might not have been.

Today, the Jordan brand is, in a word, iconic. With 34 mainline sneaker releases, various collaborations and billions of dollars in kicks sold, Michael Jordan is synonymous with sneakers.

What started as a basketball sneaker quickly crossed over into pop culture, then into fashion, then, years later, into high fashion. There’s never been a more influential brand when it comes to footwear — it’s essentially historical, irrefutable fact.

But…

But what if it never came to be? What if the NBA pushed harder to keep those kicks off the court? What if the Nike folks didn’t find a way to use the “banning” of the Air Jordan 1 to catapult the sneaker’s stardom?

Well, part of why the Jordan brand is big now is because the NBA kind of didn’t want it to be.

Why was the Jordan 1 banned from NBA games?

On Oct. 18, 1984, Jordan took the court in an exhibition game vs. the Knicks wearing sneakers that were predominantly red and black. This wouldn’t seem to be such a foreign concept today, but in 1984, there were certain uniform guidelines that were adhered to. For sneakers specifically, a player had to have shoes that matched those of his teammates and also contain 51 percent white. The red and black sneakers — Jordan later would refer to them as “devil’s colors” — caught the eye of NBA commissioner David Stern.

Because the sneakers broke several rules, NBA executive VP Russ Granik sent a sternly worded letter (get it?) to Nike VP Rob Strasser in February 1985, confirming that Jordan would not be allowed to wear those sneakers on the court.

However, as with all things Jordan, there’s a bit of legend that goes into it.

While a pair of sneakers that Jordan wore were banned from play, it wasn’t the Air Jordan 1. In fact, it was the Jordan 1 precursor — the Nike Air Ship — that was banned because of the color scheme “His Airness” wore. Though the sneaker’s silhouette was strikingly similar to that of its successor, the Air Ship was a pre-existing model.

In future years, Jordan and Nike would amend the color scheme to feature more white to fit in with the NBA’s rules. Jordan would wear the Air Jordan 1 “Banned” colorway at the 1985 dunk contest, with Nike’s “Banned” ad campaign in full swing.

The 51-percent rule would stay in place until the late 2000s, when NBA relaxed the color restrictions for its players. In 2018-19, color restrictions for sneakers was completely removed.

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There’s a good reason Dave Gettleman wore a mask in his empty NFL Draft room

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is the type of executive fans wait on the edge of their seats to mock.

His questionable draft track record and tendency to make odd public statements has led to quick-fire ridicule. Sometimes the urge to make fun gets in the way of waiting to hear the full story.

That’s what happened Thursday during Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, when Gettleman operated from his home office wearing a mask over his face. At first, fans on social media thought it was another moment to joke about considering there was seemingly no one he needed to protect himself from. In fact, he had a serious reason for covering his face.

Gettleman, a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2017, had an IT person in his house and didn’t want to take risks considering his prior chemotherapy treatment and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Giants took left tackle Andrew Thomas from Georgia with the No. 4 overall pick.

New York has at least one selection in every round this year.

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'Neymar is not a leader': Ex-Man United man Rafael criticises PSG star

‘Neymar is not a leader… he needs to listen more’: Ex-Man United and Brazil defender Rafael criticises PSG star but labels him ‘the best player in the world’ when he has the right mentality

  • Neymar was appointed Brazil’s captain following their exit at the 2018 World Cup
  • He was stripped of the armband by Brazil boss Tite for last year’s Copa America
  • Rafael has insisted the 28-year-old forward does not show leadership qualities

Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar has been criticised by former Manchester United defender and compatriot Rafael.

The forward was appointed Brazil’s captain following their quarter-final exit at the 2018 World Cup but he was stripped of the armband by Brazil boss Tite for last year’s Copa America.

And Rafael, who won the silver medal alongside Neymar at the 2012 Olympic Games, insists the 28-year-old does not show leadership qualities but is ‘the best player in the world’ when he the right mentality.  

Brazil star Neymar has been criticised by ex- Man United defender and compatriot Rafael

Rafael (left) has insisted that the 28-year-old forward does not show leadership qualities

‘He needs to improve a lot outside the pitch to come inside the pitch and do his best. I hope he can do that and if he does we have a big chance to win [World Cup],’ he told ESPN.

‘Neymar is not a leader. I don’t think he’s a leader. It’s not him. He can do the things he does because if he is good, if he’s focused and concentrated, he is the best player in the world.

‘There are a lot of things you need to do. If he does that and someone can put this in his mind – I know him and I’ve played with him – I know he’s hard guy to listen to orders. It’s not good with him.

‘I think he needs to listen more and if he does that it will be hard to stop Brazil.’   

Neymar won the Confederations Cup with Brazil back in 2013 plus the gold medal in Rio four years ago and will be looking to bring more glory to his homeland with the Copa America and World Cup on the horizon. 

Rafael won the silver medal for Brazil alongside Neymar at the 2012 Olympic Games




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