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NEWS REAL

• Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Miami Open (March 23) due to knee issues.

• Picking up the mantle of National Women’s Month, and anticipating what next year will be its 70th anniversary, the LPGA has unveiled “Drive On,” a multi-platform refined brand position. According to the LPGA, “Drive On is clearly rooted in golf, but it's a bigger idea. It captures the power and potential in each of us and celebrates the hard work, focus and tenacity that it takes to achieve our goals.” Full story here.

• The NBA said that the Chinese and Croatian National Teams would join all 30 NBA teams to compete at MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019 in Las Vegas, marking the first time that the league will feature two international teams, with 83 games over 11 days (July 5-15).

• The 2019 Alliance of American Football Championship, originalluy scheduled for April 27 in Las Vegas, will be played in Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas., which is owned and operated by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

• MLB and the MLB Players’ Assn. have unveiled numerous changes to the game to be installed over the next two seasons that will impact game length, marketing broadcast partners, the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby. Full story here.

POLL POSITION

Top Ten Most In-Demand MLB Tickets (based on total ticket sales on StubHub thru March 14):
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Chicago Cubs
5. St. Louis Cardinals
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
7. Philadelphia Phillies
8. Texas Rangers
9. New York Mets
10. Houston Astros

SOURCE: STUBHUB

KEEPING SCORE

The Most-In-Demand MLB Home Openers
(based on total ticket sales on StubHub thru March 14, all on March 28):

• Arizona Diamondbacks at the Dodgers (average ticket price $229.
• Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees (average ticket price $202)
• Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies (average ticket price $84)
• Chicago Cubs at Texas Rangers (average ticket price $254)
• Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (average ticket price $122)

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office March 15-17
1. Captain Marvel $69.3M
2. Wonder Park $16M
3. Five Feet Apart $13.2M
4. How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World $9.4M
5. Madea Family Funeral $8M
6. No Manches Frida 2 $3.9M
7. Captive State $3.2M
8. Lego Movie 2 $2.1M
9. Alita: Battle Angel $1.9M
10. Green Book $1.3M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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COLLEGE

BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
Cancer Drives Home
Men's Hoops Are 'Toxic'

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
SUPER BOWL LIII

Monday
Jan292018

A-Rod Talks The Talk, Walks The Walk About ESPN, Baseball, Yankees, Hall Of Fame

By Barry Janoff

January 26, 2018: So what does Alex Rodriguez have to say for himself?

Quite a bit regarding his new gig with ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball, his former team the New York Yankees, the Hall of Fame and about fame itself.
 
ESPN unveiled Rodriguez last week as part of its three-person broadcast crew for the weekly Sunday Night Baseball, joining play-by-play broadcaster Matt Vasgersian and analyst Jessica Mendoza.

In an unusual move, A-Rod will work for ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball during the regular MLB season, the return to his analyst job with Fox Sports, which he joined last season, for the playoffs and World Series.

Alex Rodriguez had a stellar 22-year MLB career on the field, hitting 696 homers, driving in 2,086 runs, being named American League MVP three times and winning a World Series as member of the Yankees in 2009.

But his career was tainted by allegations of PED use, which he denied and then later admitted.

He was suspended by MLB for 162 games — the entire 2014 season — while with the New York Yankees. He returned for two seasons, was released by the team in August of 2016, then retired.

Rodriguez was part of an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball media conference call on Friday (Jan. 26).

The Sunday Night Baseball schedule begins April 1 with the San Francisco Giants at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Why have you gone into the broadcast booth?

Alex Rodriguez: I think for me, I think it’s been well documented how much I love the game, the passion that I have for the game.

You know, my father played baseball. I’ve been playing baseball since I was in Pampers and I absolutely love it. And when you think about baseball Sunday Night Baseball, I grew up watching it. I grew up watching it with my mother every Sunday night, with my brother, with my sister and in many ways Jon Miller and Joe Morgan were the voice of baseball at a national level.

What are your thoughts on baseball entering the 2018 season?

AR: For all of us on this call who love the game, we have to have an open mind and understand it’s a very fluid time, and we’re competing for eyeballs when there’s more distractions today than ever before.

Economically the game is doing fantastic — we’re nearing $10 billion as an industry. It was $1 billion when I entered in 1994.

So that part is great. There’s great young players — when you think about Carlos Correa, Bryce Harper, the Machados and Mike Trout — and then you have great players in their prime playing for major markets, obviously Clayton Kershaw and Aaron Judge.

Is there pressure coming into Sunday Night Baseball?

AR: Look, if Matt feels pressure, who has been doing this over 20 years, I’ve got a master at screwing up. So I’m certainly ready for that.

I think it’s just like getting your at-bats. I always tell coaches and executives, when they ask me about young players, you know, like the book, you need your 10,000 hours. As players, I don’t really like to make decisions on players, whether they’re going to be good, bad or indifferent before they have 2500 at-bats, which is five seasons. And there are a lot of reasons for that number.

What are your thoughts on the New York Yankees?

AR: I really enjoyed watching the Yankees be David for a change — for the first time in probably over 25 years they weren’t Goliaths. They created an incredible clubhouse culture and they were well-balanced from top to bottom.

And obviously you would always welcome a talent like Stanton. There’s a lot of pros to that. The question is what does that do to a clubhouse? How does that shift the pressure on (new Yankees manager) Aaron Boone. What does that do to the comfort level of someone like Aaron Judge? And now you shift from going from David back to Goliath.

There’s always great pros, but you also have to look at what are the ramifications. What does it do to the DH spot? And how does that affect Gary Sanchez. It’s like an architect. There’s a lot of moving parts. And you can’t put six garages on a 4,000 square foot house. Or eight garages.

So it will be very interesting to watch, because what they had last year was so special. As a Yankee fan you obviously hope that it elevates their game.

Do you want to work for the Yankees?

AR: I always want to be a Yankee, and I’m having conversations with (Yankees principal owner) Hal Steinbrenner and right now I’ll keep those private. But they’ve been very positive.

How are you different from the A-Rod who played baseball?

AR: First of all, I’ve changed. So it starts with you, right? And I think one of the things that — I changed and once I served my suspension and I had the whole year to sit down and reflect, I wanted to in many years turn the lens inward and try to figure out a better way, because I knew that I needed some type of paradigm shift.

And the suspension was long enough, unfortunately or fortunately, to allow me to think about changes and putting that change in motion. And I did not know at 40 coming back after suspension, after two hip surgeries, after two knee surgeries, if I was good enough to make the team or healthy enough to make the team.

But I certainly wanted to hang out enough to prove to myself and others around me that I was incredibly grateful and thankful to have an opportunity to put the Pinstripes back on and to be one of 750 of the lucky people that get to wear a Major League Baseball uniform.

"I’d be sitting here lying to you if I said it wouldn’t be an absolute dream to get into the Hall of Fame. But I certainly don’t control that."

What are your thoughts on getting into the Hall of Fame?

AR: I’d be sitting here lying to you if I said it wouldn’t be an absolute dream to get into the Hall of Fame. Of course I would want to get into the Hall of Fame. But I certainly don’t control that.

What I can control is my behavior, my actions, what kind of father I am, what kind of teammate I am to people like Matt and Jessica and Kevin Burkhardt and Joe Buck, whoever is my teammate.

So I think it’s not an image. This is a long ride and it’s a slow burn. And nothing’s going to happen easy. What I enjoy most now, to be honest with you, is visiting with high school or college kids and talking to them about the mistakes I’ve made, and hopefully they don’t make the same mistakes.

MATT VASGERSIAN: Yeah, I think that’s perfectly stated. When I watched Alex the same thing struck me in that you just don’t find a guy who is one of the best players to ever play a sport who, A, likes it as much as Alex does, and, B, is so detail-oriented that it makes it clear why and how he got to be as good as he was on the field, because I don’t think he was ever one of those guys that played and just kicked it into, “whatever, I’m Alex Rodriguez” gear.

If it was somebody that could do that as an analyst would be Alex, just to kind of default to clichés and broad statements and you just don’t get any of that from him. You get the sense that he’s watching. He’s researching and talking to people and doing the layered kind of analysis that you might not get from somebody who has accomplished as much as he has as an athlete.

For me, though, I’m blown away that he has the time to do that given the frequency of Instagram posts he sends out. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know where he finds time to do anything given all the Instagram posts. By the way, in the Sunday Night booth, one of my unstated goals here, Alex, maybe you could make this happen. I’m not on Instagram. If we can top the Kardashian Instagram total . . .

JESSICA MENDOZA: What?

MATT VASGERSIAN: Yes. We’ve got until the end of October. If we can send out more Instagram posts than the Kardashians, it’s a job accomplished for me.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I love it. We’ll have to do at least three every Sunday.

A-Rod Hits A Home Run For ESPN

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