Monday, April 15

Sports

Ryan Giggs and football: A very complicated relationship
Sports

Ryan Giggs and football: A very complicated relationship

The celebration was almost as glorious as the goal itself. The fuzz of chest hair, the twirling shirt, the body swerve to evade the Manchester United fans who had run on the pitch in their euphoria.On Sunday, it is 25 years since Patrick Vieira, a genuine great of Arsenal’s midfield, played a wayward pass amid the high drama of an FA Cup semi-final between the leading two English sides of the time.Ryan Giggs took the ball and then he was off and running, picking up speed from inside his own half, slaloming past opponents, one by one.Vieira tried to get back but Giggs, crossing the halfway line, dipped his shoulder to get away. Lee Dixon was next to come across. He, too, could not get near him.Arsenal had the most famously parsimonious defence in English football — yet Giggs had magic in hi...
Fueled by donor spending spree, Ryan Day confident Ohio State can finally break through
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Fueled by donor spending spree, Ryan Day confident Ohio State can finally break through

COLUMBUS, Ohio — At his postgame news conference following Ohio State’s 30-24 loss to Michigan last November, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day looked defeated and despondent. He surely realized at that moment that despite winning 88 percent of his games as a head coach, he and his program would now be defined by their unthinkable three-year losing streak to the Wolverines.Four-plus months later, sitting in his office at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the 45-year-old Day is smiling, giddy and seemingly at ease. He exudes the confidence of a coach who knows how loaded his roster is, after getting back nearly every one of Ohio State’s juniors who could have turned pro while adding some of the most accomplished transfers in the portal.“At Ohio State, you’ve got to beat the Team Up North and win every...
How can you tell if a football manager is actually good at their job?
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How can you tell if a football manager is actually good at their job?

An important thing to remember about Andre Villas-Boas is that he had ridiculously good hair.You don’t spend a record-shattering €15 million (£12.9; $16.3m) fee to sign a rookie manager away from Porto unless you’re pretty sure you know what you’re getting, and one thing Chelsea knew for certain, back in the heady days of 2011, was that the man with a swirling, fox-red side-parting looked impossibly cool getting tossed in the air during trophy celebrations. Villas-Boas at Porto in 2010 (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)Hair like that had sexy new ideas — a philosophy, perhaps. It had the sort of rakish sweep that could command a press conference, smouldering volcanically above the jagged peaks of an unbuttoned collar. But when the 33-year-old prodigy conducted his first in...
MLB insiders “pretty worried” by rise in arm injuries to top young starting pitchers
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MLB insiders “pretty worried” by rise in arm injuries to top young starting pitchers

Matt Blake texted Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber a conciliatory message over the weekend. As a member of the Cleveland player-development system in the 2010s, Blake aided Bieber’s rise from college walk-on to unanimous American League Cy Young Award winner in 2020. For a time, Bieber represented the modern model for the manufacturing of a big-league ace, a player who added strength to his frame, velocity to his fastball and spin to his offspeed pitches as he ascended the ranks.By the time Blake sent his text, though, Bieber had become part of a growing, more troubling demographic: talented young pitchers who will spend this season as spectators. Two days after the Miami Marlins announced 20-year-old phenom Eury Pérez would undergo Tommy John surgery, the Guardians disclosed Biebe...
Gabby Thomas: The U.S. track star with a bigger goal beyond Olympic medals
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Gabby Thomas: The U.S. track star with a bigger goal beyond Olympic medals

AUSTIN, Texas — There was a moment on a recent random Wednesday, as the world champion sprinter and Olympic medalist Gabrielle Thomas juggled emails about a meeting she had to run at a volunteer health clinic and readied for a voiceover for a commercial with a blue-chip sponsor and figured out the logistics of an upcoming weight-training session, when she had something of an epiphany.“I really did not perceive my life being the way it is now,” she said, looking up from her phone as she sipped a coffee at a cafe.She’s not kidding.Pretty much everything Thomas has accomplished in track, the two Olympic medals in Tokyo in 2021, the silver medal in the 200 meters and the gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay at the world championships last year in Budapest, is a little bit of a blur.She has an u...
New scene at NBA games: Fans screaming at players about their losing bets
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New scene at NBA games: Fans screaming at players about their losing bets

NBA players have always gotten an earful from fans, whether at home or on the road. It comes with the job.But this season, it’s getting darker.The recent surge in legalized gambling in every pro league, and throughout college athletics, has impacted American sports in ways thought unimaginable just a few years ago. But along with the potential good that hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenues bring to the NBA and other leagues, something new and ominous has arrived: verbal abuse directed at players and coaches based solely on fans’ wagers.GO DEEPERTrotter: With legalized betting, could society be the big loser?Fans can now bet in real-time on their smartphones, on all aspects of the game, including minutiae such as how many rebounds one player might get in the first half, and how m...
NFL executives unfiltered on 2024 free agency: The best and worst from all 32 teams
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NFL executives unfiltered on 2024 free agency: The best and worst from all 32 teams

NFL free agency continues, but with the major signings and trades complete, it’s time to check in with executives around the league for thoughts on all 32 teams’ moves to this point.There is so much to discuss, from Kirk Cousins’ Minnesota exit to the New York Jets’ desperation, the Green Bay Packers’ big additions and even what’s next for the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys as potentially tricky contract situations percolate.For each team, I’ve noted the average per-year salary (APY) of players who were added from other teams and players who left to sign with other teams, along with the differential between the two. Contract information was gathered from a variety of sources, including Over the Cap, Spotrac, media reports and league sources. Information for a few smaller contracts ...
Inside the ‘very predatory’ world of illegal betting that lured Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter
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Inside the ‘very predatory’ world of illegal betting that lured Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter

In the story Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter Ippei Mizuhara initially told to ESPN, the two men logged into Ohtani’s bank account together on eight or nine occasions in 2023 and wired increments of $500,000 to Mathew Bowyer, an alleged illegal bookmaker under federal investigation. In the story Ohtani told the public days after Mizuhara recanted his initial claims and was fired by the Dodgers, the interpreter stole the money to pay off his gambling debts.Both versions of the story generated a question that stumped the general public: Why would a bookie extend a line of credit of at least $4.5 million to someone who said he was drawing an $85,000 salary as an interpreter with the Los Angeles Angels? The scenario was easier to understand for those acquainted with the inner workings of gambling m...
Aaron Rodgers and a VP bid that never was: ‘That would’ve been really interesting’
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Aaron Rodgers and a VP bid that never was: ‘That would’ve been really interesting’

OAKLAND — The quarterback wasn’t there. No mention of his name across two hours. Maybe there was no need.The mere prospect of a pairing had already served its purpose — driving news cycles, stirring speculation, drumming up intrigue around a longshot bid for the White House by an outsider intent on defying political norms. But Aaron Rodgers running for Vice President of the United States?This not only defied political norms, it strained credulity.It was all but impossible to envision Rodgers balancing the rigors of his day job as quarterback of the New York Jets with a high-stakes political campaign, particularly this fall, when the heart of the NFL’s regular season collides directly with Election Day. Still, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., independent candidate for president and a member of Americ...
Sex offender, ex-Jaguars employee who hacked jumbotron sentenced to 220 years in prison
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Sex offender, ex-Jaguars employee who hacked jumbotron sentenced to 220 years in prison

A U.S. District judge in Florida sentenced a convicted sex offender to 220 years in federal prison for producing, receiving and possessing child sex abuse material, and for hacking the jumbotron in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium after the team did not renew his contract upon learning that he was a registered sex offender.U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis sentenced Samuel Arthur Thompson, 53, for the offenses Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said in a release. A federal jury convicted Thompson in November 2023 of the offenses, as well as of producing child sex abuse material while required to register as a sex offender, violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.Thompson was pre...