Baltimore Ravens Sign Veteran Dallas Clark

The Baltimore Ravens signed veteran tight end Dallas Clark to a deal Sunday, the team announced.“[General Manager] Ozzie [Newsome] has an agreement in principle with Dallas Clark as of today,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Sunday. “So he’ll be in tomorrow to get a physical. Obviously, all of that is going to have to pan out for us to finalize it, but Dallas Clark is on his way to Baltimore right now.”Clark is a 10-year veteran who played nine years for the Indianapolis Colt. While there, he played under Ravens current Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell. Clark was one of quarterback Peyton Manning’s favorite targets in Caldwell’s offense.This signing will bring stability to a tight end position after the team has lost their two starters in that position in Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson to injury.In addition to Clark, the Baltimore Ravens has also signed veteran Brandon Stokely. Harbaugh says even with the two players’ long-time status, they will still have to fight for roster spots.“They’re both really accomplished players. We’re excited to have them,” Harbaugh said. “By no means though is anything guaranteed, and they understand that. They want an opportunity to compete for a job. They’ll be in competition for a job with our guys that are here, and we’ll see how that plays out. That’s how we like it.” read more

Paul Drops 40 Leads Clippers to Defeat Nuggets in

Chris Paul dominated the game with a high of 40 points and 11 assists to bring the Los Angeles Clippers to a 118-111 overtime defeat over the Denver Nuggets at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night.Paul made a layup with 22 seconds left in regulation sending the game into overtime. In a total of 42 minutes he added seven rebounds and 12 of 13 shooting to his efficient game.Paul had 15 points by halftime, when the Clippers trailed 47-46.The Nuggets lost their chance to win in regulation when JaVale McGee missed a 6-foot jumper at the buzzer.Clippers’ Darren Collison looked good with his 27 points, hitting 10 out of 13 shots. Blake Griffin scored 17 points with eight rebounds in 39 minutes of play for the Clippers.Evan Fournier and Anthony Randolph both scored 16 points for the Nuggets, while veteran Andre Miller dropped 15.Los Angeles shot 52 percent from the field compared to the Nuggets’ 49 percent.According to Yahoo Sports, “This is the second straight year the Clippers played at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Last year, the first time the Clippers hosted a game in Las Vegas, Ty Lawson’s layup at the buzzer gave Denver a 106-104 win.” read more

About Time Carmelo Anthony Jim Brown and Others React

InstagramAfter Michael Jordan released a statement yesterday speaking up about violence by and against police, many in the sports world reacted to the retired NBA player’s stance. Atlanta Black Star reported Jordan was “saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late” adding, “I can no longer stay silent.” Carmelo Anthony thought the Charlotte Hornets owner’s opinion was overdue.During a meeting on community issues between Team USA players and local police in Los Angeles, Anthony praised Jordan for finally speaking out about a political issue, especially one that relates to African-Americans. It is something the former Chicago Bulls player has steered clear of in the past.“I thought it was brilliant and about time that he stepped up and said what he said,” the New York Knicks forward told ESPN at the Boys and Girls Club in California. “Because at the end of the day, amongst us, he is our face. He’s an African-American above every powerful African-American, so for him to step up in the midst of these times right now, it was very big on his behalf.”Carmelo Anthony on Michael Jordan’s statement today. “I thought it was brilliant and about time he stepped up.” pic.twitter.com/D3htGey0MI— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 25, 2016“And not also just step up – it’s not always about money and giving back,” he said, referring to Jordan’s $2 million contributions to organizations dedicated to improving police and community relations. “But for him to step up and put his money where his mouth at, the timing was perfect.”Social media reaction was mixed.Jaison Oliver encouraged doubters to read about the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, one of the organizations Jordan gave $1 million to. But he also decried the other $1 million donation to the Institute for Community-Police Relations.However, Jordan absolutely could’ve better allocated the other $1mil he gave to the police chiefs org. Stop playing both sides, Mike.— Jaison Oliver (@oJaison) July 26, 2016And Beats Music’s director of influencer marketing Kenny Hamilton pointed out Jordan’s private philanthropy.Michael Jordan has donated money over the years for various causes in a silent manner. Yet people always criticize what they don’t know.— Kenny Hamilton (@KennyHamilton) July 25, 2016Besides Anthony, at least one other athlete has also commended the billionaire ex-baller. Jim Brown – who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965 – praised Jordan for finally speaking up about anti-violence.“I applaud Michael. He’s taken his time to, what I think, put his mind to what he was going say and represent,” Brown told the sports network. “He put his money there and the only thing I can do is praise him and thank him for reaching out for and using his tremendous people power in a way that I feel will make a difference in this country.”Still, some are more critical. Panelist Kevin Blackistone questioned why Jordan would donate to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the Legal Defense Fund over Black Lives Matter.“I’m hard pressed to believe how you can be emotionally moved by the extrajudicial killings of Black men in this country, and then cut a check for a million dollars to the police,” he said on Around The Horn Monday. “The police aren’t in need of funding when it comes to this situation.”“Why not give the Black Lives Matter movement a legal arm and fund – and seed some funding to start that as a new civil rights movement for a new generation,” he said of the Legal Defense Fund donation.He added the star should use his platform as a Hanes underwear spokesperson to urge the company to “bring back some of the 30 plants  they closed down in the early 2000s here and…bring those jobs back to urban America” to give Black youth better jobs. read more

The St Louis Cardinals Picked The Right League To Cheat In

Only in baseball can $2 million in cash, plus the Nos. 56 and 75 overall picks in the draft, seem like chump change. That’s what the St. Louis Cardinals were forced to give the Houston Astros as punishment for hacking into Houston’s scouting database several years ago. All told, it was an unprecedented penalty to be levied against a baseball team for an unprecedented act of espionage.Yet compared to cheating scandals in other sports, the Cardinals got off easy. Using the various draft-value charts floating around in the sports analytics blogosphere, let’s compare the relative value of the picks St. Louis relinquished with the consequences of some of the NFL and NBA’s biggest cheating scandals in recent memory. (We’ll put aside any monetary penalties, simply because each sport has its own salary structure, making those kinds of cross-league comparisons difficult.)According to research conducted by The Baseball Analysts, a sabermetric blog run by Rich Lederer, the 56th and 75th picks in the MLB draft tend to produce about 4.9 wins above replacement over their careers. How much is that? Losing 5 WAR over, say, a 10-year span decreases the average team’s odds of winning at least one World Series in the decade by 1.4 percentage points.1Based on a logistic regression for MLB teams since the 1994 strike.By contrast, consider the New England Patriots. For their role in Deflategate, they were stripped of the No. 29 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, plus a fourth-rounder (let’s say No. 1302That’s the final non-compensatory pick of the fourth round, which would go to the Super Bowl champion; our Elo prediction model currently favors the Patriots to beat the Falcons on Super Sunday.) in 2017. According to Chase Stuart’s draft value chart, those picks tend to produce about 43 total points of approximate value over their careers, the loss of which over a decade would cost a team 4 percentage points from their odds of winning at least one Super Bowl in that span.3Based on a regression since the NFL playoff field expanded to 12 teams in 1990. I also assumed a replacement-level NFL player would produce about 6 points of AV over that span. And the Patriots’ penalty for Spygate seven seasons earlier — losing the 31st pick in the 2008 draft — would lop 3.2 percentage points off a team’s odds of winning at least one championship in a 10-year period.(Similarly, the New Orleans Saints’ Bountygate scandal, which cost them a pair of second-round picks, carried a penalty that would decrease the average team’s odds of winning a Super Bowl over the next decade by a whopping 4.4 percentage points.)The granddaddy of all league-imposed draft-pick sanctions probably belongs to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost five first-rounders for an under-the-table agreement with forward Joe Smith that attempted to circumvent the NBA’s salary cap rules. Although two of the picks were eventually restored, those that weren’t were worth about 61 career win shares, according to research by Basketball-Reference.com founder Justin Kubatko.4Note that it’s impossible to reconstruct exactly where the Wolves would have drafted in an alternate universe without the penalty, because the sanctions changed their roster for years to come. But going from their actual records, they would have owned the No. 13 pick in 2001, No. 23 in 2002 and No. 28 in 2004 — which add up to a value of 61 WS. Losing that many wins over a 10-year period5While also adding back in the roughly 8 win shares generated by replacement-level players. would reduce an NBA team’s championship odds for the decade by 6.5 percentage points — a crushing blow that helps explain why Kevin Garnett had to leave Minnesota to win his first championship.In light of those comparable scandals in other leagues, the Cardinals got away with a relatively light slap on the wrist. But then again, in a sport where the World Series favorite only has a 15 percent chance of winning it all in any given year, every single point of championship probability counts. Share on Facebook read more

We Talk Curling And Stats With The Guys Who Won The Gold

By Neil Paine Here are some excerpts from the conversation.On advice for first-time curlers:Hamilton: “My best advice would be, don’t fall. In my first game at the Olympics, I fell. So don’t go down — it’s still hard ice. But in seriousness, if you go in with an open mind and are really curious about the sport itself — not just the throwing aspects, but actually immersing yourself in what curling is about — you’ll find all these people who are so willing to help and teach and get you into the strategy, which is really the draw. … Making shots is great, and it felt good when you made your first couple of shots in curling when you tried it, but when you finally learn why you’re throwing that shot, why making that shot set you up later in the game to win, it’s just a remarkable feeling. It really is like chess on ice, just that mental game mixed with a finesse game, mixed with the brute force of sweeping. It has all the aspects of a really fun game.”On preparing with analytics guru Gerry Geurts of CurlingZone.com:Hamilton: “He sat us down at our summer camp and explained to us where we sat [among] elite players at certain things, like with the hammer/without the hammer, up by one with the hammer/down by one with the hammer … and it went on for all of the potential scoring scenarios. And he gave us feedback [on] which positions we could be better at, which ones we’re really good at, where we need to keep doing what we’re doing. Then he gave us some info on other teams in those same kind of numbers. … I’d be lying if I said that didn’t come into play at all.”On the flaws of using curling percentage to judge players and teams:George: “It’s incredibly subjective because it depends on what types of shots you’re playing. And the way that they do stats for the television events [is] really simplistic because they’re only going on make/miss or how close you were to making the shot [but] not factoring in the difficulty of the shot. … So for the viewer at home, looking at our percentages, they probably thought that we weren’t playing nearly as well as our record would imply. … But a lot of that is because we’re playing with a lot more rocks in play. We’re making a lot more difficult shots, but the viewers are not seeing that.”On the role analytics might have in the game in the future:George: “There’s a major change coming up next season where they’re literally changing the rules in the game, where stats are going to have to be applied to figure out what the best strategies are … (Editor’s note: The change involves being able to add one extra protected stone to the area in front of the house.) It doesn’t seem like much — it’s only one more rock that you can’t take out to play — but it completely changes the strategy of how you start ends out, and they’ve been using it in Grand Slam events so far. So you see it maybe six or seven times a year, and teams are still kind of tinkering with strategy on how to defend, especially [because] it’s a way more offensive game. … Stats are going to be huge in figuring out the best ways to go about defending with this new strategy because we just haven’t done it that much.”On whether curling will be able to capitalize on its newfound popularity:Shuster: “I think you’re going to see it because [of] the ratings that we were getting during the Olympics and the ratings we’ve been getting with “Curling Night in America” the last couple of years. What happens is, we haven’t had national television coverage between Olympic cycles, and then every Olympics we get more and more coverage and the ratings get better and better. And then all of a sudden, NBC Sports Network ran “Curling Night in America,” so we had a weekly show going on. After we won the gold, they’re going to show one live game every single day during the world [championships] that are coming up in Vegas. … I think curling right now could be on [the same] trajectory as something like poker was 10 years ago. If the world championships are high-quality, entertaining TV this year, people are going to demand it more, and we’re going to start seeing it on more of a regular basis moving forward.” More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed But after the U.S. men’s Olympic curling team won gold in Pyeongchang, we knew it had to become reality. So, on Friday, despite bad weather in the Northeast — which left Nate calling in from an airport tarmac after his flight was diverted — I was joined in the FiveThirtyEight podcast studio by Olympic champion curlers John Shuster, Tyler George and Matt Hamilton.We talked about curling analytics, the team’s new celebrity fans and where the sport goes from here. You can listen to it on your phone by subscribing to our NBA podcast, “The Lab,”1Sadly, we don’t have a curling podcast feed … yet. or by clicking the play button below. Embed Code It all started as a predawn tweet: read more

Podcast Injured QBs The Nationals Implode A NWSL Finals Preview

Congratulations to Tim Curry and Luke Barr for winning Madden with Walt as their quarterback.FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur tries to untangle the Nationals’ many woes.The Guardian’s Howard Megdal looks at whether the NWSL is taking advantage of its American fan base.Five things you need to know before Thursday’s NWSL championship game.Significant Digit: 1. The WNBA has admitted that a pivotal call at the end of a playoff game — giving the Minnesota Lynx a 1-point win — was incorrect. Hot Takedown Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Sept. 29, 2015), we reveal the names of the two people who won the Super Bowl in Madden NFL 16 with FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey at quarterback (his avatar at least). Then we look at the rash of injuries to NFL quarterbacks and whether it’s going to doom their teams, we tour the many, many reasons the Washington Nationals imploded this year, and we preview Thursday’s National Women’s Soccer League championship game. Plus, a Significant Digit on a wild finish in the WNBA playoffs.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Below is a video excerpt and links to some of what we discussed on the show. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS What’s to blame for the Nationals’ collapse? If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. read more

Late NCAA Bracket Submissions Show Were A Nation Of Procrastinators

Deadlines are powerful motivating forces for journalists, tax filers, eurozone negotiators — and bracket pickers. The number of men’s NCAA Tournament brackets submitted per minute by ESPN.com users peaked at 11:51 a.m. EDT on Thursday, mere minutes before the 12:15 p.m tipoff of the first-round opener and the deadline to enter picks, according to data provided by our colleagues at ESPN.com.1Per their request, we’re sharing only the relative magnitude of submissions, not absolute numbers. The maximum rate of bracket submissions per minute on Thursday was more than three times the high of the day before and about five times the max on Monday and Tuesday. All told, even counting the wee hours in the U.S., there were more brackets submitted in just half of Thursday than in all of Tuesday. Not everyone waits until the last minute, though. At ESPN.com, there was an earlier, although lesser, spike in online bracket submissions just after the bracket went up. For every three people who were madly filling in chalk and upsets in their entries just before noon on Thursday, there were two hitting submit on theirs eight minutes after the first Tournament Challenge bracket was submitted at 7:12 p.m. on Sunday.Maybe it’s my bias as a journalist showing, but I think the procrastinators had the right idea: They could benefit from forecasts like ours.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 March Madness Predictions. At CBSSports.com, the surge came even later. Bracket submissions to the site peaked at 11:59 a.m., according to spokeswoman Annie Rohrs. read more

Upcoming Big Ten battles will determine fate of mens soccer team

As the season winds down for the Ohio State men’s soccer team, the remaining stretch of games might be their toughest test yet.Four out of the next five games will be Big Ten showdowns for the Buckeyes. These games will ultimately decide who wins the conference championship and what team could make it to the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes’ remaining Big Ten opponents are Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. The lone non-conference game is against West Virginia. Penn State and Indiana are leading the Big Ten, and Wisconsin and Michigan are tied with OSU for fourth place. OSU is within striking distance of claiming that top spot, making the Buckeyes’ next few games very important.OSU plays Penn State on Sunday in a game that could decide who wins the conference. Penn State sits at 2-0-1 in the conference. They have beaten Michigan State on the road, Michigan at home and tied Northwestern. OSU sits at 1-1 in the Big Ten.“If we want a conference championship we have to beat Penn State,” coach John Bluem said. “If we don’t beat Penn State, I would say we’re probably out of the conference championship race already. So for us it becomes a knockout game already.”Kickoff is at 2 p.m. Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Bluem said that as the season winds down, OSU cannot lose more games. Every game from this point on means a lot in the conference race and the ability to make the NCAA Tournament. read more

NFL week 7 guide to fantasy football

Play ‘Em Ben Roethlisberger: So much for being rusty. Big Ben returned from his suspension throwing for 257 yards with three touchdowns and one interception against the Browns. This week, he takes on a Dolphins defense that allows 22 points per game and Big Ben’s last game against Miami, 220 yards and three touchdowns. From here on out, Big Ben is a Top Ten quarterback. Matt Cassel: Cassel and the Chiefs offense woke up last week against the Texans, 209 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Cassel gets another great matchup against Jacksonville, who allows 264 passing yards per game. Look for Cassel to find Dwayne Bowe or Tony Moeaki around the goal line. Consider Cassel as a bye-week filler. Joe Flacco: Flacco has been solid in the past four weeks, throwing six touchdowns versus one interception. Flacco is a must-start this week against Buffalo. Buffalo is known for its horrid defense against the run, but showed holes in the secondary against David Garrard in Week Five, 178 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Expect Flacco to lean on Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin in the passing attack. Chris Ivory: Ivory took advantage of his rare playing time last week against Tampa Bay, 15 carries for 158 yards. Ivory will continue to get the workload if Pierre Thomas (high-ankle sprain) is out. Ivory will find running lanes against a Browns defense that has allowed 100 yards to opposing running backs in four out of the first six games. If you’re in a bind at the running back position, Ivory is worth picking up. Michael Bush: Darren McFadden is still nursing a hamstring injury, so Bush should see the majority of the carries. The Raiders face a Broncos defense that allows 128 rushing yards per game and Bush has had success against Denver, 133 yards and a touchdown. Before playing Bush, monitor McFadden’s health status. Jeremy Maclin: Maclin ran past the Falcons defense last week, 159 yards and two touchdowns. Maclin will be the focus of the Eagles’ offense because DeSean Jackson will be out with a concussion. Look for continued success as Maclin and Kevin Kolb are developing a tight bond and face a Titans’ pass defense that ranks 27th in the league. Bench ‘Em Chad Henne: Henne has now thrown two touchdowns passes in three straight games after his performance against Green Bay, 239 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. If you’re looking for quarterback help, avoid Henne this week against the Steelers. Henne’s last game against Pittsburgh wasn’t too impressive, 140 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Along with Henne, avoid running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Ryan Torain: Torain looks like the better back in Washington over Clinton Portis, but I’m not jumping on the bandwagon yet. I expect the Bears to bounce back from a poor outing against Seattle, 114 yards and two touchdowns allowed rushing. They will stack the box and force the Redskins to throw the ball. Until Torain puts up consistent numbers, I’ll continue to pass on “The Train.” LeSean McCoy: McCoy is dealing with a rib injury and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Even at full strength, I would advise sitting McCoy. The Titans have a stout run defense that allowed Maurice Jones-Drew 57 yards Monday Night. The Eagles still remain a pass-first offense and will take advantage of the Titans’ weak pass defense. Marques Colston: I am losing patience with the Saints receiver as he continues to be mediocre. He had 53 yards against Tampa Bay. Colston continues to get the majority of the targets, but is not involved in the red zone. It’s tempting to start Colston against Cleveland, but Lance Moore and Robert Meachem continue to be involved in this offense. read more

OSU mens basketball loses top recruit LaQuinton Ross

The Ohio State men’s basketball team is more than a month away from kicking off its 2011-12 season, but its Final Four hopes have already taken a small hit. OSU announced Monday that incoming freshman LaQuinton Ross was ruled an academic non-qualifier by the NCAA and will not be on the Buckeyes roster when the team opens practice on Oct. 14. Ross, who according the Rivals.com was the No. 43 overall recruit in the class of 2011, was the highest-ranked of the five players who committed to play for OSU coach Thad Matta this season. In his senior season of high school, Ross averaged 25.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. As an academic non-qualifier, Ross did not meet the academic standards that are required for all NCAA Division I athletes. According to the NCAA’s official website, an incoming student must be a high school graduate, achieve a 2.0 GPA and present a qualifying score on either the SAT or ACT. Academic non-qualifiers are not permitted to receive an academic scholarship for a full year, meaning that Ross likely won’t play for the Buckeyes until the 2012-13 season, at the earliest. Despite Ross having signed a letter of intent last November to play for the Buckeyes, being ruled as an academic non-qualifier returns his status with the NCAA back to that of a prospect. As a prospect, Ross is allowed to be recruited and can sign to play with schools other than OSU, granted that he academically qualifies for the 2012-13 season. Ross has spent the past summer in Columbus, playing alongside current and former OSU players. CBSSports reported on Monday that Ross, who attended high school at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J., would be returning to his home state of Mississippi to “take a class and retake the SAT.” From his Twitter account, @qross2011, Ross posted on Friday at approximately 7 p.m.: “Struggling is something I’m use to!! I seem to bounce back everytime this time want be any different!!” The Buckeyes were hoping that Ross, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward, would help replace some of the perimeter scoring that the team lost when forward David Lighty and guard Jon Diebler graduated. With senior guard William Buford and sophomore swingmen Deshaun Thomas and Jordan Sibert returning this year, it is possible that Ross may not have found playing time in Matta’s rotation. With 2010-11 All-American and OSU leading scorer and rebounder Jared Sullinger returning for his sophomore season, the Buckeyes are expected to be a top-five team to start this season. OSU kicks off its regular season on Nov. 11 against Wright State in the Global Sports Shoot-out. read more