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• Six first-year eligible candidates are among the 27 semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018: CB/S Ronde Barber, G Steve Hutchinson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Brian Urlacher, WR Randy Moss andDE/DT Richard Seymour. The Class of 2018 will be unveiled during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special to air nationally (Feb. 3, 2018) on the eve of Super Bowl LII.
• The New York Knicks named Dan Sabreen vp-public relations, effective Nov. 27. Sabreen has spent more than a decade at CBS Sports, most recently as vp-communications.
• For every save made by goalkeepers during MLS Eastern and Western Conference Championships and MLS Cup, Allstate said it would donate two new soccer nets to fields in need in that club's city. MLS goalies participating inlcude Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew), Joe Willis (Houston Dynamo), Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders) and Alex Bono (Toronto FC).
• 2018 BBWAA ballot unveiled, with 14 1st timers including Chris Carpenter, Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome, Johan Santana, Omar Vizquel Full ballot

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2018 NFL Pro Bowl Voting (To Date)
1. Carson Wentz QB Philadelphia Eagles 273,367
2. Tom Brady QB New England Patriots 239,989
3. Le’Veon Bell RB Pittsburgh Steelers 227,771
4. Todd Gurley RB Los Angeles Rams 215,687
5. Antonio Brown WR Pittsburgh Steelers 215,584
6. Drew Brees QB New Orleans Saints 207,751
7. Kareem Hunt RB Kansas City Chiefs 204,611
8. Jared Goff QB Los Angeles Rams 200,346
9. Russell Wilson QB Seattle Seahawks 183,630
10. Alex Smith QB Kansas City Chiefs 178,392
11. Rob Gronkowski TE New England Patriots 168,663
12. Zach Ertz TE Philadelphia Eagles 156,183
13. Julio Jones WR Atlanta Falcons 124,556
14. Joey Bosa DE Los Angeles Chargers 117,480
15. Kyle Juszczyk FB San Francisco 49ers 116,816
16. Aaron Donald DT Los Angeles Rams 102,194
17. Luke Kuechly LB Carolina Panthers 101,131
18. A.J. Buoy CB Jacksonville Jaguars 92,686
19. Everson Griffen DE Minnesota Vikings 91,621
20. Geno Atkins DT Cincinnati Bengals 88,126
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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
Saturday
Feb132016

Pack Man: Evan Longoria Talks MLB, Marketing, Getting Traded (As In Cards)

By Barry Janoff

February 12, 2016: Evan Longoria, third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays, has visited New York many times to play the Yankees and on occasion the New York Mets.

This time he came to New York, in the middle of winter, to open sets of 2016 Topps Series 1, the first release from the iconic trading card company to celebrate its 65th anniversary with baseball cards. Carlos Beltan of the Yankees also was in the Topps offices in New York.

It also was in anticipation of the 2016 MLB season, with Spring Training camps set to open in Florida and Arizona Feb. 18-19.

Longoria, the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year, three-time All-Star and, entering the 2016 season, the Rays all-time leader in home runs (205) and RBI (708), knows his way around off the field, as well.

Among his endorsement deals are Red Bull, New Balance, Wilson, Topps and SKLZ sports training equipment. He also has appeared in spots for New Era and Pepsi. He owns a restaurant in South Tampa, Ducky's, which opened in December 2013

While getting a sneak peek at the new Topps MLB set — with Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals on packaging and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angeles voted by fans to appear on card No. 1 — Longoria spoke to NYSportsJournalism about baseball, marketing and the art of the trade (as in trading cards).

NYSportsJournalism.com: Have you seen changes in the way players endorse products and in the way fans and consumers react to those deals?

Evan Longoria: Definitely. I work with SKLZ, and I've been with them for about four years. From that standpoint, their main concern has been the authenticity of their products and the way in which people view their products. When I work with them, the goal is to continually make it a more viable representation of what a Major League Baseball player would use. So it's important for marketing companies and product companies to make sure that what they are branding and who they are using directly relates to what the product is trying to say.

NYSJ: Have you seen more of an effort from the players' side to align with companies and products that they actually use, and become more involved with the company itself, and not just get into a marketing relationship that would not be authentic with consumers?

EL: Yes. It's a give-and-take. The further you get along with your career, the more you have to align yourself with companies that make sense for you now and moving forward. You can't just take every marketing opportunity that comes your way. Inevitably, there are good ones and bad ones. Just like there are good companies and bad companies. So you have to take the time, sift through them and see what makes sense for you. In the end, you want to say that you are involved with the right companies.

NYSJ: You've been with the Rays since 2008 and are involved in the community, so are you seeing that the type of player you are on the field and the deals you make off the field have had an impact?

EL: I have definitely tried to embrace my role within the community. I love the fans there. They have been very gracious to my family and me. The team has played well. And there's been nothing negative on or off the field. It's about trying to turn the page every year and put out a good team and a good product. Be a good team and continue to support the community in as many ways as possible.

NYSJ: Have you had a chance to see the new Topps Series 1 set?

EL: I like it. I opened some packs and found my cards. I think it was rigged. (Laughs.)

NYSJ: Were you a card collector growing up?

EL: I did have cards. I grew up in southern California, so I followed the teams there and was partial to those cards. I remember keeping some of them in plastic sheets. I enjoyed opening the packs up. I enjoyed chewing the gum, which they don't put in packs anymore.

NYSJ: Do you see Topps cards and card collecting as a good way to reach young fans?

EL: Topps does a great job of that. I know kids give me my cards to sign. The company has been involved with baseball for all these years, so it is part of baseball history.

NYSJ: Do you think your Topps cards are valuable with kids?

EL: I have a lot of my own cards. I keep them to remember what that exact moment was (each season). I'd like to think kids want my cards, especially in Tampa. Maybe not so much in New York or Boston. (Laughs.)

NYSJ: How have they treated you in New York today?

EL: (Laughs.) I just got here this morning so I haven't been heckled yet by (Yankees) fans.

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