Shohei Ohtani’s first official BP with Angels shows he can perform under pressure

first_img Angels offseason roster moves: who’s new and who’s gone? After a big offseason, Angels bring improved roster to spring training Shohei Ohtani: Who is the Angels’ new guy? Although Ohtani’s first official batting practice session had that highlight, Ohtani said it left something to be desired. In Japan, batting practice rounds are longer, and the BP pitchers throw from the mound, instead of in front of it.“I wasn’t really used to that style, so I wasn’t able to perform at my best,” he said through his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. “I’ll have fun making some adjustments.”Ohtani described his day in front of a press conference packed with about 200 media members, an event at which the Angels also announced the first significant financial windfall from Ohtani’s presence. Funai, a Japanese electronics company, will sponsor the backdrop at Angels press conferences and some advertising at Angel Stadium.The Angels are clearly capitalizing on the eyeballs certain to follow Ohtani’s every move.As Ohtani attempts to live up to the hype as a two-way star in the majors, all of his milestone moments are certain to be closely chronicled, and Wednesday marked a significant step. In first week with Angels, Shohei Ohtani is making an impression on his teammates PreviousThe Angels’ Shohei Ohtani looks out of a rainy car window as he leaves a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani adjusts his hat while running the bases during batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsThe Angels’ Shohei Ohtani smiles as Mike Scioscia jokes around during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani waits his turn during batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Fans look for autographs as the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani heads to the lower fields during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani runs in the outfield during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani looks to third base during a drill during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani covers third base during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani pauses while running the bases during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani smiles as he picks up balls after batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani warms up during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani prepares to take batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani runs the bases during batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Fans try to get Shohei Ohtani’s attention after the first official Spring Training workout for Angels’ pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani is followed by the media after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani works out in a light rain during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Members of the media, including many from Japan, watch as the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes the field during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani warms up during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani stretches during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani stretches during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani warms up during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani warms up during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani warms up during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, at left, smiles next to teammates John Lamb, Nick Tropeano and Jesus Castillo, center from left, during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani works out during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and his translator Ippei Mizuhara, center, during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Angels’ staff look at the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani heads in the cage for batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani walks out of the clubhouse under a media swarm during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Angels’ General Manager Billy Eppler joins the coaching staff as the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Asian fans looks through the fence hoping to see the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Members of the Japanese media keep an eye on the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Fans look for autographs as the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani walks back to the clubhouse during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Members of the media wait for a press conference to begin for the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes in Tempe on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, right, and his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, arrive for a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, and his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, talk to the media during a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani smiles at his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani looks at his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani laughs with his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)Members of the media take photos of the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani during a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani leaves a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani leaves a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani looks out of a rainy car window as he leaves a press conference at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes after the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 47The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during the first official Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)ExpandTEMPE, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani demonstrated his ability to perform under pressure during his first major league-style batting practice session with the Angels on Wednesday.After a few rounds, he learned about the traditional way that BP ends in the majors. As long as the hitter hits balls that the coaches judge to be “hits,” he gets to continue.Just after hearing this explanation, Ohtani belted an opposite-field homer. He followed that with a deep drive that almost cleared the fence again, but Manager Mike Scioscia insisted it was an “out.” Will Shohei Ohtani’s success in Japan continue with Angels? Former teammates, Japanese baseball officials think so Angels key spring training dates With Angels pitchers, catchers and one pitcher/designated hitter holding their first workout of the spring, Ohtani went through the standard stretching and agility drills. He played catch. He practiced covering first and fielding bunts, all the mundane exercises that fill the early spring for pitchers. Then, when the other pitchers had headed for the clubhouse, Ohtani hit with the catchers.On Thursday, he will throw his first bullpen session. He’ll face hitters in batting practice for the first time over the weekend, Scioscia said.Although Ohtani had been working out informally for several days in Arizona, this time he pulled on a full Angels workout uniform and went through his paces under the eyes of Scioscia and General Manager Billy Eppler.“Once I put on my new Angels jersey, I felt this is going to be a new year,” he said. “I was simply very excited to set my feet on the ground.”A few hours earlier, Scioscia said he doesn’t expect Ohtani to have any problems with the pressure.“I think this guy is very well grounded,” Scioscia said. “I think he understands it. He’s going to be fine. I don’t think he’s going to be consumed with anything but getting himself ready on the field and handling the other things afterward.”The adjustments will be numerous, and Ohtani addressed many of them during a 30-minute press conference, held at a ballroom in a hotel adjacent to the ballpark.Ohtani said he’s going to communicate daily with the coaches and the training staff about the nature and volume of his workouts. As Ohtani attempts to succeed as a pitcher and a hitter, preventing injury and overwork from either pursuit will be critical.Scioscia reiterated before the workout that the Angels will not add any outfield practice for Ohtani, who played outfield his first couple seasons in Japan.“We are not looking at him to play a position,” Scioscia said.The Angels will put only one restriction on Ohtani’s use of his plus speed while he’s on the bases, telling him not to slide head first. Ohtani said that’s not a problem, since his team in Japan also prohibited head-first slides.Otherwise, though, Ohtani is going to be free to use his speed, including stealing bases, Scioscia said.Related Articles “He’s a special athlete and he’s had great success in Japan running the bases and doing things a position player needs to do to try to get himself in position to score a run,” Scioscia said. “He has a great stride. He has tremendous speed. He can steal a base. I want him to play baseball.”Off the field, the 23-year-old is adjusting to living alone for the first time – “I feel kind of lonely by myself in a three-bedroom place.” – and to bonding with his new teammates. He said he’s played golf and basketball with them.“I am having a pretty good time so far,” he said.Earlier this week, Ohtani stopped by to visit his former teammates with the Nippon Ham Fighters, who are also training in Arizona. Hideki Kuriyama, the Fighters manager, said Ohtani told him that he feels “he has great teammates, and he feels it’s a good atmosphere.”Kuriyama, who watched Ohtani’s batting practice as a guest of the Angels, said he thinks the spotlight is actually going to help Ohtani perform in the majors: “He is the type of player who will perform better with a lot of pressure on his shoulders.”In a small way, he showed that with one batting practice homer. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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California couple accused of strangling newborn

first_imgA California couple has been arrested after authorities say the couple allegedly strangled their newborn baby.According to the Oxnard Police, they were called to St. John’s Medical Center Friday due to the report of an infant who was brought in with suspicious injuries.  Doctors found that the infant was unconscious and attempted to resuscitate the infant, however, he later died of his injuries.During the investigation, authorities found that the infant’s mother 20-year-old Andrea Torralba and her boyfriend, 21-year-old David Villa did not want the child so they decided to strangle him.Both has since been arrested on a felony charge of assault on a child by means of force resulting in the child’s death.Villa’s bail has been set at $5,000,000 while Torralba’s bail has been set at $1,000,000.last_img read more

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Police looking for 3 ‘persons of interest’ in Hard Rock Hollywood garage shooting

first_imgSeminole Police have released surveillance video of potential shooting suspects.Authorities are searching for three people who they believe are persons of interest in a shooting that occurred Thursday morning in the Winner’s Way parking garage at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.According to authorities, Pierre Jules LaCroze, 37, of North Lauderdale, was fatally shot just before 12:30 a.m. on the sixth floor of the parking garage.According to police, they are looking for two men and a woman, seen on video walking together in the casino and walking off an escalator together.Police said the group left the casino’s garage in a four-door, gray sedan that had its right-side hubcaps missing and its left brake light burned out.No motive for the shooting has been released.The FBI is assisting Seminole police detectives in the investigation.Anyone with further information about the shooting is asked to call Seminole Police at 954-967-8900. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.last_img read more

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Bedfordshire golfer leads East qualifiers for Grand Medal Final

first_img Bedfordshire teenager Sophie Mills shot an impressive net score of three-under par to lead the East region qualifiers for England Golf’s 2012 Grand Medal Final. The 14-year-old from Wyboston Lakes scored net 71 and was three shots clear of the field at the East region medal final at John O’Gaunt Golf Club in Bedfordshire. The event was contested by the best women club medal players from six Eastern counties and the top 10 qualified for the Grand Medal Final to be held at Worcestershire Golf Club on Saturday, June 23.   The 10, who will join qualifiers from five other regions to compete for the title of England’s champion medal player, are: Sophie Mills (Wyboston Lakes), Sarah Howe (Ipswich), Jean Jolley (Rushcliffe), Chelsea-Mae Laundon (Chelmsford), Amy Crowson (Aylesbury Vale), Dawn French (John O’Gaunt), Anna Fairs (Fynn Valley), Leah Plester (Theydon Bois), Tina Tuckwell (Cretingham) and Julie Richards (Letchworth). All the regional finalists returned the best four scores at their club in the English Women’s  Medals during 2011. This will be Sophie’s second trip to the Grand Medal Final where she tied second last year, taking third place on countback. At that time she was playing off 11 handicap and has since reduced to eight – and another hefty cut is on its way after her performance at John O’Gaunt. “I’m really excited about going back,” said Sophie. “And Dad’s excited too!” Her father, Stuart, is a former professional and caddies for her. He also got her interested in the game, which she has been playing seriously for just two years. Sophie played steady golf in yesterday’s regional final, starting with seven straight pars. She had a birdie on the 17th and approached the last hole having dropped only three shots all day – only to take a double bogey. “I was disappointed, but it was still ok – and I did hole some good putts out there as well,” she said. Net qualifying scores Par 74, CSS 77, handicaps in brackets 71 Sophie Mills (Wyboston Lakes, 8) 74 Sarah Howe (Ipswich, 3), Jean Jolley (Rushcliffe, 19), Chelsea-Mae Laundon (Chelmsford, 12), Amy Crowson (Aylesbury Vale, 12), Dawn French (John O’Gaunt, 7), Anna Fairs (Fynn Valley, 19) 76 Leah Plester (Theydon Bois, 19) 77 Tina Tuckwell (Cretingham, 17), Julie Richards (Letchworth, 24). 13 Apr 2012 Bedfordshire golfer leads East qualifiers for Grand Medal Final last_img read more

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Inside Conditions…Conspiracy theory

first_imgAfter watching the debacle, oops I meant game between the Steelers and Patriots Sunday evening, I am thoroughly convinced that New England is on a serious run toward the Lombardi Trophy. Why do I say that, you ask? Well, if they could thump the Steelers like they stole a pork chop before Sunday dinner, what makes you think that they can’t duplicate that feat against the rest of their NFL colleagues? But Watson wait; before we exit Scotland Yard, please, please as Judge Judy might say, “put on your listening ears” because I am about to offer up a few “incredible” if not “credible” theories.Hey, hey, are you sure the Patriots don’t have some sort of outer space “Hubble” satellite cam taping Steelers practices and shoplifting their defensive and offensive signals from outer space. Okay, I know that may seem a bit farfetched but it certainly appeared at least until just a little over 12 minutes were left in the fourth quarter as if Steelers offense was playing like space cadets.I truly believe, (you don’t have to sanction me because I just ran out of my meds) that Robert Kraft, the deep pockets owner of the “Pats” purchased a few military “drones” at the last garage sale held by the former vice-president Dick Cheney, immediately after he was forced to give up the second chair of our purple mountains majesty.The Patriots no longer need “Haterade” drinking snitches to do their dirty work. They now can use “unmanned” aircraft to fly over the Steelers practice facilities to extract all sorts of illicit information. When the Patriots were questioned as to why a “human-less” aircraft was flying over the Steelers south side site with the New England logo plastered all over it, an anonymous source informed me that the Patriots were scanning the south side as a precautionary measure against the local yuppie wine drinkers breaking into the Steelers trophy room at “high midnight” and making off with one or two of the prominently displayed “six pack.”Was it just my imagination, and no I am not talking about the old school ballad sung by the “Temptin” Temptations? Did it appear as if Bill Belichick was calling the defensive signals for the Black and Gold? If this was the case then those signals could only favor the “Brady Bunch? The Pats might not be cheating but they have gotten deep inside the Steelers heads. Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Arians usually appear perplexed and dazed at the sight of a Patriots uniform and they always appear to leave the offensive game plan on the blackboard.The Steelers appear to be totally afraid of the dark mystique created and maintained by the very devious Belichick and his “Krafty” organization. I am totally perplexed as to why this modern day “thug” is still roaming the sidelines?According to www.salary-money.com, Ben Roethlisberger allegedly lost $473,529.00 per game as a result of his four game suspension. That amounts to $1,894,116.00 for pre-meditated stupidity. On the other hand check out the penance for pre-meditated skullduggery by New England. Belichick was fined the NFL maximum of $500,000 for cheating and the Pats were ordered to pay $250,000 as a result of those violations. Roethlisberger was fined more than a million dollars more than the Patriots as a result of conduct unbecoming off the field. Meanwhile, Belichick and his “Boston” cheating bootleggers were given the economic penalty equivalent to a mint julep and given the gr…..eeeeen light for conduct unbecoming to the nature of the game. Commissioner Roger Gooddell’s comments were as usual weak as heck. “This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid long-standing rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field,” Goodell said in a letter to the Patriots.” The commissioner seems too worried about important things such as dog lovers and bathroom stalls. Hey something like the integrity of the game, that can wait.The Steelers defense was not all bad, at least not according to the post game victory speech by Tom “Terrific” Brady who said, “Troy (Polamalu) is one of the best in the game. Ike Taylor is a great player. We knew we had to come out and counter it. Everybody was up for the challenge.” Let’s get real. As long as the NFL has double or triple standards don’t be surprised by the “preferential” treatment that specific individuals or organizations receive. Athletes are fined and raked over hot coals just for trying to perform their duties on the field, while others in “power” openly violate the rules and they are rewarded by being raked over the hot sands of Honolulu.The NFL says players will not decide fines. Who decided the Patriots fines? Was it minimal because some of the tapes vanished? Aloha.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@new­pittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)last_img read more

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Titans ready, eager to win with coach Whisenhunt

first_imgIn this May 27, 2014 file photo, Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) passes during NFL football minicamp as coach Ken Whisenhunt watches in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A coaching change always creates excitement, bringing the promise of more wins and elusive playoff berths.Ken Whisenhunt’s resume is loaded enough that the Tennessee Titans believe their new boss can end their losing ways.“He understands what perfection looks like,” receiver Nate Washington said. “He understands what a Super Bowl looks like. He understands what getting to that top tier in the NFL is going to take, so his expectation right now is much needed. He understands what it’s going to take for us to get to where we want to be, and that’s hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the day.”That’s bold talk for a franchise that last reached the postseason in 2008 and last won a playoff game in January 2003. The Titans had losing records four of the past five seasons. New president Tommy Smith fired Mike Munchak after a 7-9 record and went outside team ties in hiring a man with Super Bowl experience.Whisenhunt took the 2008 Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl, and won a championship ring three years earlier as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator.The Titans made a bunch of other changes, too. They cut one-time 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson, long-time kicker Rob Bironas, right tackle David Stewart and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. General manager Ruston Webster brought in a batch of veterans, including Pro Bowl punt returner Dexter McCluster, linebackers Shaun Phillips and Wesley Woodyard, and right tackle Michael Oher. He also re-signed safety Bernard Pollard and kick returner Leon Washington.Whisenhunt brought in Ray Horton as defensive coordinator, and he’s starting to move the Titans from the 4-3 scheme they’ve played for a couple of decades to a 3-4. Webster continues tinkering with the roster, helping ramp up the pressure to perform.“That’s what it needs to be like,” Pollard said. “Guys need to walk around on eggshells. That’s how it needs to be, and I think guys are understanding. Guys are seeing what it’s really like. …  With our coaching staff, they eat football, they sleep football. They smell like football, and that’s what we needed.”Some things to watch for at the Titans’ training camp:ALL EYES ON LOCKER: How the Titans fare depends heavily on quarterback Jake Locker. He has missed 14 of 32 games since being chosen the starter, which is why Tennessee did not pick up his 2015 option. But the Titans have made it clear Locker is the starter. Charlie Whitehurst was brought in as the backup.Locker didn’t miss a session on the field this offseason and will go into training camp healthy.“Jake works hard,” Whisenhunt said. “He’s doing a great job as far as studying the offense and understanding his reads, really done a good job with a lot of the little things. His footwork, his technique, we’ve seen improvement there, and that’s really exciting to see.”NO MORE CJ: Johnson was cut in April, so the Titans must replace the NFL’s second-leading rusher since 2008. Bishop Sankey, a second-round pick out of Washington, has a chance at the starting job with veteran Shonn Greene coming off his second knee surgery in the past year. Veteran Dexter McCluster also will be used at running back after catching 53 passes in Kansas City last year. With Johnson, the Titans averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2013.REPLACING VERNER: Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner signed with Tampa Bay rather than returning to Tennessee, and the Titans didn’t sign a veteran to replace him. Instead, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, a third-round draft pick in 2013 out of Connecticut, is competing with Coty Sensabaugh to start opposite veteran Jason McCourty.BRAND NEW KICKER: Tennessee unexpectedly cut Bironas in March and brought in Maikon Bonani, who only kicked one field goal in the preseason with the Titans last year. Bonani, a Brazilian native who played at South Florida, at least spent most of the preseason in Tennessee. Travis Coons, an undrafted free agent from Washington, also is competing for the job.TOP DRAFT PICK: The last team to sign its first-round draft pick a year ago, the Titans may cut it close again with left tackle Taylor Lewan. The 11th pick overall out of Michigan remains unsigned. Right guard Chance Warmack missed the first four practices of camp before getting his deal last year.___Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

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