Tag: Team

Are the Spurs the Best Team in Pro Sports? Gregg Popovich Joins the 1,000 Victory Club

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Gregg Popovich joined an exclusive group for NBA coaches when he achieved his 1,000th victory against the Indiana Pacers. He is the third fastest coach to achieve the milestone, only behind Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Any time you are in a group with those two coaches, you know you are doing something right. And Popovich has done it in a small market in San Antonio. Jerry Sloan, formerly of the Utah Jazz, is the only other coach to win 1,000 games all with one team. However, Popovich is the only one to accomplish such a feat while also winning an NBA championship. With the way things are today, it's unlikely that this feat will ever happen again, much less someone winning five titles with the same team and winning 1,000 games.

When you look back at Popovich's career in San Antonio, it was not always smooth sailing. When he was hired in the mid-nineties to be the new coach, there was a lot of push back from the fan base. Popovich was coming from a front office job to the sideline and not many fans approved of that.

However, once David Robinson arrived and Tim Duncan came later on, that animosity quickly diminished. The Spurs won their first NBA championship in 1999, but no sports betting experts predicted that they would become a dynasty over the next decade. They have since won four more championships under Popovich and have consistently been one of the top teams in the Western Conference during his tenure.

Young Spurs fans today probably don't remember how bad things were in San Antonio before Popovich arrived. The Spurs weren't exactly a consistent contender, but "Pop" was able to turn that around quickly. Good coaches seem to be like a father figure to players, and that's exactly what Popovich is. It's no wonder why guys like Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have stayed with him for so many years.

With longevity and loyalty almost non-existent in the NBA nowadays, the Spurs have been a rare franchise in those terms. There's no telling how that could change when Pop finally decides to stop coaching, but the culture that he has created is second to none.

Popovich may not coach long enough to surpass Jackson or Riley for total wins as a coach, but you can argue that his career accolades is right up there with theirs. With an aging team, his core players may not have many years left. He has built up guys like Kawhi Leonard to be stars in the league, so that may keep him going. A lot of experts predict that he will stop coaching when Duncan decides to retire, but I wouldn't be so certain about that. He still has the fire and passion on the sideline so I would expect him to coach at least a couple more years after Duncan hangs it up. One thing we know for sure is that there won't be another "Pop" in the league for a long time.

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Source by Jimmy Reilly

Categories: Sports Betting

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Help Your Team Play Its A-Game With the Hack Attack Pitching Machine

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When looking for a pitching machine for your baseball or softball team, consider the Hack Attack. Recommended for all ages- Little League, high school, collegiate, as well as professional levels- it helps your batters develop different aspects of hitting. Helping to enhance speed, accuracy, and control, both new and seasoned baseball and softball players have an effective training tool to fine tune their hitting skills. Major league coaches use this pitching machine not only for training sessions all season, but also prior to games during warm-ups. Here are 5 reasons why they are so popular.

Top 5 Reasons to use the Hack Attack

  1. Unique 3-wheel design improves vision and accuracy: The exclusive 3-wheel design enables players to see the ball clearly all the way through the feeding motion and release, just like a live pitcher. This allows them to better predict the ball’s behavior and time their swing accordingly. The excellent three-point contact also improves their swing accuracy.
  2. Easy to use: Both the Hack Attack and the Junior Hack Attack include an inside/outside adjustment that provides an instant location change. The throwing head pivots instantly in any direction to pitch major league 100+mph fastballs, and right- and left-handed breaking pitches, including curveballs, sliders, and split fingers. In comparison, two-wheel and one-wheel machines are slow, awkward and have unrealistic spins. Arm machines are even more limited, and can only offer a straight fastball.
  3. Enhanced safety: Safety is of the utmost importance any time you are using a pitching machine. This three-wheel machine incorporates safety features like wheel guards that protect users from moving parts.
  4. Portability: Number of wheels impacts the portability. With a three-wheel machine, transportation is easy. The Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine also easily fits through a standard doorway, and into an SUV or full-size car.
  5. Warranty: A five-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship provides the assurance of a good quality product.

Tip: Consider purchasing a team feeder along with your pitching machine. It allows batters to load the machine and practice by themselves. They do not need someone to throw during batting practice. Many coaches invest in a cover to protect the machine from the elements and extend its service life. Made of lightweight, weatherproof vinyl, it has an elastic bottom for a secure fit.

Three-wheel Hack Attack machines have been helping collegiate and Little League teams perfect their swing for years. Where can you buy one? At an established sports equipment distributor who provides quality products and service. They can show you the different options and help you select the right model.

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Source by C. Brian Richardson

Categories: Sports Betting

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How To Run A Youth Baseball All Star Team

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You’ve just completed an exhausting 20-25 game schedule complete with a few rain make-up games at inopportune times. The season had everything including controversies among other teams, your own parents, league board members, and other headaches. Your reward for coping with all of this, and leading your team to the league championship, is to coach the 11-12 year old All Star team. Think your phone rang a lot during the season? You haven’t seen, or heard, anything yet. Your first duty as coach is to inform your spouse that your long awaited vacation will have to be postponed because your league needs you. You also discuss putting off the repair of your washer machine because, with All Stars, the laundry room is now on call 24 hours a day.

Picking your league All Star team can be an incredibly emotional time that may result in hurt feelings that extend beyond the season, and sometimes for years. Some leagues have incorporated having the players vote for part of the All Star team. Many leagues have the coaches decide in a meeting run by the league commissioner (or player agent). The first priority is to decide the number of players to draft on the team. If your league charter defines this number, then this is what you have to follow. Otherwise this decision has to be made at this meeting. Issues need to be discussed, such as: is it required by the league charter to have everyone play; and how much are they required to play? This issue can become a headache, as the substituting of players will sometimes be a distraction for the coach in charge during the game. Usually, prior to this meeting, the head coach has his assistant coaches assigned by the league. This can be a problem because sometimes coaches would rather take their regular season assistants than two other assigned head coaches that they have never worked with before. I would prefer the latter even though you are discussing strategies with two other people you might have learned to detest during the season. During All Stars, the coaches on the bench who were adversaries during the year always seem to get along as long as the team keeps playing.

Once the coaches and team are made, it is imperative that the head coach (or manager) hold a parents meeting. This meeting is even more important then your regular season team parents meeting. The meeting should be a requirement and not last more than 10 or 15 minutes. The key points for the coach to stress to the parents are that because your child is an All Star, he is expected to play any position on the field (except maybe pitcher & catcher). The point of this is that many of the players were their team’s shortstops during the season and they are asked to play the outfield. You need to assure parents (and even the players) that it is imperative that all nine positions are equally important. Other points that should be discussed should be about playing time. I always told parents that I won’t be popular as a coach at the conclusion of All Stars for every family but that the league entrusted me to use my judgment whether they think it is right or wrong. I always stress that I can only guarantee the minimum required playing time and that you should consider this if you are going to cancel vacation plans for these All Star games.

Practices should be run a couple of ways. You will probably have in your mind the batting order and fielding positions. I would urge all coaches to mix things up in the practices and try players at different positions. There will be some minor unexpected absentees and you should be ready for this as coach.

The All Star games themselves can be some of the highest pressured tension in youth sports. Neighboring leagues will be in attendance and players will have expected nervousness. You can cut your regular warm ups short and take the team in the outfield and play any silly type of game you can think of. I have always used a game where I divide the team in half, and with a hard ball for each team, the teammates must pass the ball to each other using only their neck. This meaningless sounding game helps to relax the players, and for 11 and 12 year olds, this might be the best warm up for them.

All Stars are the highlights for some players and leagues. Aside from all of the potential problems and arguing, if your All Star team ends up going on a nice winning streak, there is nothing like it. Getting far into any tournament will require some luck. If your team gets eliminated, this is where, as a coach, you have to give them the “ultimate” pep talk. Now some teams continue to play in other local tournaments, which is great way to end the season.

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Source by Marty Schupak

Categories: Sports Betting

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Need For LA:Middle Infielders More Need Than Half A Season To Work Together Into A Championship Team

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All throughout the world of baseball, writers and pundits are applauding the acquisitions of the Dodgers. At the trade deadline Los Angeles landed two veteran All-Stars to improve their middle infield, hoping that this duo would lead last year’s National League Champs to their first World Series title since 1986.

Brian Dozier, who recently set a record for home runs by a second baseman, came to the West Coast in a deal with the Minnesota Twins. Just the day before, Los Angeles made a transaction to get slugging shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles.

Most likely those acquisitions will help the offense of the Dodgers, but they could very well negatively affect what happens on the diamond. Both Machado and Dozier have more than proven their defensive skills, having won several Gold Gloves between them.

However, baseball history seems to indicate that middle infielders need a lot of time playing together before they can win it all. A look back at the most recent Novembers provides insight into just how important it is that the second baseman and shortstop spend more than simply a few months together.

Last year Houston had the phenomenal pair of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, who have been playing side by side for an extended period. Twelve months before the Cubs had youngsters Javier Baez and Addison Russell, who had become acclimated to one another the previous season.

The year before veterans Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar looked after the middle of the diamond for a second straight season, helping the Kansas City Royals to their first World Series title in thirty years. The connected middle infield, combined with a superb and deep bullpen, took the Series from the New York Mets.

That tandem had come close in 2014, when the Royals won the pennant but lost to the Giants in the Fall Classic. San Francisco’s middle infielders had only been together since just before the All Star break, rookie Joe Panik getting called up to the Big Leagues to take over second base in late June.

Fortunately for the Giants, they had a veteran Gold Glove winner at shortstop to help his young double play partner get acclimated. Brandon Crawford more than fulfilled that role, having already played on San Francisco championship teams in 2010 and 2012.

For additional evidence of the importance of a well -connected shortstop and second baseman, one can look back even further. In the Nineties the Yankees dominated the baseball postseason, anchored by shortstop Derek Jeter and his double play partner Chuck Knoblauch.

How about the decade before that? The Detroit Tigers teams of the Reagan Era enjoyed the luxury of having Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker playing side by side, highlighted by a World Series title in 1984. In the Seventies the Big Red Machine was driven by having shortstop Dave Concepcion and second baseman Joe Morgan for extended seasons, culminating in back to back championships in 1975 and 1976.

You can find many more examples in the annals of baseball, but do you know what is much harder to find? The answer is a single team that has gone on to win the World Series after having replaced both shortstop and second base in the middle of the season, which is what the Dodgers are hoping to accomplish this year.

Dozier did hit a home run in each of his first two games with Los Angeles, and Machado collected four hits. Baseball history, however, seems to suggest that the newcomers will need more than two months together to carry their team to the ultimate goal.

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Source by Doug Poe

Five Current Players Who Could Soon Join Trammell And Chipper As One Team Hall Of Famers

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Because six new players were enshrined in Cooperstown over the weekend, many baseball broadcasts have included discussions about the current inductees as well as possible future inductees. During one particular game, an analyst praised the fact that two of the new Hall of Famers spent their entire careers with just one team.

He was referring of course to Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell. Jones received 410 of 422 votes during his first year of Hall eligibility, while Trammell was elected by the Veterans Committee.

The point was made that baseball fans may not for at least another decade see even a single one-year player reach Cooperstown, much less two of them. The announcer identified two certain future inductees, Albert Pujols and Adrian Beltre, who each have played for several different teams.

A cursory look at other stars nearing retirement, however, seems to indicate that we will indeed soon see another one-year player. Indeed, there could be two or more.

Here is a list of likely or highly possible one-team players who could be enshrined in Cooperstown after they leave the field.

Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals

This guy is a no-brainer for Hall of Fame induction in his first year of eligibility, no matter what his offensive statistics are. He has been the premier catcher for almost two decades, has led the Redbirds to multiple World Series appearances, been selected as a perennial All-Star,and remains one of the best clutch hitters in all of baseball.

Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners

Closing in on his fourteenth season King Felix is likely to amass two hundred wins by the time he hangs it up, which is far short of the coveted three hundred mark that guarantees enshrinement. His era, however, makes it nearly impossible to get more than fifteen victories per year, so that fact in addition to a Cy Young Award and six All-Star games might land him a plaque.

Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds

His lengthy contract almost ensures that the Canadian will finish his playing days at Great American Ball Park, and his numbers are approaching HOF statistics.

Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins

The native Minnesotan has declined since winning the Most Valuable Player Award as Twins catcher, which could hurt his chances to get into the Hall. Plus, because he is at the end of his current contract with his home town team, Mauer could be dismissed from this list if he signs elsewhere next year.

Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants

Ten years into his career the catcher is a six time All-Star with both a Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Award, but it might be his three World Series Championships that eventually get him to Cooperstown.

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Source by Doug Poe

The Cincinnati Reds Could Become Canada’s National League Team

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While the Washington Nationals are celebrating their tenth year anniversary as a baseball team, there is another city looking sadly back at a decade without their beloved club. Back in 2005, the Montreal Expos moved to the Capitol city of the United States, thereby extracting the American pastime from its northern neighbors.

Canadiens still have the Toronto Blue Jays to root for, a team that is contending at this moment. There is hope that at some point in the near future Major League Baseball will return to Montreal.

Two big league teams did indeed play a game there this season, right before the regular Opening Day. The obvious choice as home team was Toronto, but their opponents may not be as randomly chosen as most people believe.

The Cincinnati Reds, who were chosen to play the Blue Jays in the Spring Training finale, are establishing a strong Canadian connection beyond just that exhibition game. The Reds may be the team for Canadiens to root for in the National League, at least until that glorious day when they get their own franchise.

A few years ago, Cincinnati gave first baseman Joey Votto a ten year contract worth over $200 million, the most lucrative deal ever awarded to a native of Canada. Based on that contract alone, the Reds certainly increased their number of fans to the north of Ohio.

This year’s draft recently offered more reasons for Canadiens to adopt the Reds as their N.L. team. Cincinnati drafted five players from Canada, almost half of the total number drafted overall. Here are the five prospects who could be wearing Cincinnati uniforms in a few years.

Cincinnati’s fourth overall pick was outfielder Miles Gordon of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic in Oakville, Ontario. The organization then selected in round 17 second baseman J.D. Salmon-Williams, who went to Suzuki Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario.

One round later the Reds nabbed left handed pitcher Isaac Anesty out of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School in Guelph, Ontario. Then in round 22 they opted for

Right handed pitcher Darren Shred out of St. Roche Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario.

Finally, in round 32, Cincinnati drafted Will McAffer, a right handed pitcher from Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver, British Columbia. With that choice, Cincinnati became the first team to ever draft as many as five Canadiens in the same year, a sure sign that the team’s following might stretch to across the Great Lakes.

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Source by Doug Poe

Categories: Sports Betting

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