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SABR 45: Chicago Baseball History Walking Tour


max mannis sabr 45 chicago walking tour

I am currently in Chicago covering the annual SABR National Convention, SABR 45. The actual panels and presentations begin today, but because it is in Chicago, a huge baseball town, there is always something to do that is related to baseball. So, yesterday, I went on a baseball history walking tour that stretched a course of two miles of the Windy City. The tour was especially great because it was led by SABR's Web Content Editor/Producer and baseball author Jacob Pomreke, who just last week published Scandal on the South Side, a new book about the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal. He was just the right guy to show us around this town from a baseball perspective. 

This walking tour was a great way to start the convention, but was obviously just a little taste of what is soon to come in this great baseball town. There’s so much local and national baseball history in this city.

Click the image below to check out a slideshow of the places we visited and their importance in baseball history!
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2015 NBA Draft: Preparing for Draft Day

  • Hoophead
  • Shehan Jeyarajah
  • June 25, 2015, 11:56 AM

2015 nba draft prep

Later today, 60 dreams of becoming a pro basketball player will be realized at the 2015 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

But while fans get to see the finished products walk on stage, hundreds of hours of preparation goes into making dreams a reality. 

Most potential first-round picks declare for the NBA draft in April. That gives them only two short months until the NBA draft on June 25. In that time, players have to transition from being regular college students to professionals. 

“The process is crazy,” former Arkansas big man Bobby Portis said. “I’ve never been away from my mom or outside of Arkansas this long. I just have to remember, every kid doesn’t get to experience this.” 
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Virginia Wins Its First College World Series Title!


virginia 2015 college world series

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Six weeks ago, it looked as though Virginia might not even qualify for its conference tournament, let alone the NCAA tournament.

Look at the Cavaliers now.

They're baseball national champions for the first time after finishing a magnificent postseason run with a 4-2 victory over Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.

"This team was a crazy ride this year," said coach Brian O'Connor, who was born in Omaha. "Certainly, we had a lot that went against us through the year, but this team found a way and got into the NCAA tournament. It's an amazing example of what you can do if you put your mind to it, play for each other and have each other's backs.

"Not many people thought this could happen. I couldn't have forecast it. But we're darn glad we're sitting up here with this trophy."
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2015 NBA Draft Media Day: Prospects on Prospects

  • Hoophead
  • Connor Mellas
  • June 24, 2015, 6:16 PM

The top NBA prospects gathered in Manhattan today to speak with the media ahead of tomorrow night’s draft. But for many of the soon-to-be-pros, the event doubled as a high-profile reunion between former teammates, old friends, and long-time rivals.

Here’s what a few of the future NBA-ers had to say about each other:

nba draft 2015 justise winslow jahil okafor

Justise Winslow (Duke, forward) on Jahlil Okafor (Duke, center):

“Over the past four or so years, getting to know him, getting really close with him, Team USA and then you go to Duke and become brothers, become champions… It’s just been fun, having someone with a very common experience as you coming through the same situation and going through the same experience. It makes it a lot easier, just having someone that you know so well here.
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Brian Yancelson

NBA Prospect Denzel Livingston is Ready For the Next Level


denzel livingston nba draft

During a fifth-grade game against his childhood friend, Denzel Livingston discovered his talent as a shooter. It had been a down game for Livingston, but now he just needed to find a way to get the ball in the hoop one final time. 

As the clock wound down, a lucky bounce put the ball in Livingston’s hands. He made the shot, and, as Denzel’s older brother Jarel recalls, “We all went crazy. We just picked him up and ran all over the court.”

Last December, a 21-year-old Livingston took part in a similar celebration when his tiny university, San Antonio’s Incarnate Word, flew into Lincoln, Nebraska, and defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Ten Conference. The stunning victory made ESPN's Sportscenter and put UIW — which two years ago wasn't even a Division I program — on the map nationally. 

Now Livingston hopes the momentum he picked up as a senior in college, when he ranked fourth in the nation in scoring, will be enough to get his name called at the NBA draft on June 25 in Brooklyn.
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The Kris Bryant Era Has Begun in Chicago


kris bryant chicago cubs

Kris Bryant has not seen the billboard in person, at least not in full. Sometimes while standing in the on-deck circle at Wrigley Field, he'll glimpse a sliver of it. On the billboard he's posing in his Cubs uniform, adjusting his cap, in front of a backdrop of exploding bright colors, like a superhero. "It's cool," he says, "but I'm not rushing out there to take a selfie of myself in front of ... myself."

He is the most ballyhooed prospect since Bryce Harper, a power-hitting prodigy, the rarest of commodities in this era of fire-breathing pitchers. And yet it's almost jarring how grounded Bryant seems. In five quick years he's gone from being a straight-A student (save for a single B+ in precalculus) at Bonanza High in Las Vegas, to an aspiring dentist on the premed track at the University of San Diego, to the starting rookie third baseman and cleanup hitter for the Cubs. The 23-year-old looks younger than he does on the field. He is towering and wiry-strong (6'5", 215 pounds), but he doesn't have gym-built muscles. ("I don't like to lift," he says, "I'm more focused on the skill aspect of the game than, well, looking good.") He is quick with a smile and a big laugh, and his face — long, dimpled, blue-eyed — is a lot friendlier than it is when he stands in the batter's box, waiting to unleash what many expect will soon be the most intimidating home run swing in baseball.
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Brian Yancelson

Pelicans Hire Warriors Assistant Alvin Gentry as New Coach


new orleans pelicans alvin gantry

Just six days after he lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy, and three days after he paraded through the streets of Oakland as a champion, Golden State Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry was introduced as the new head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. 

Gentry, who was last a head coach in Phoenix, from 2009–13, brought great enthusiasm to his introductory press conference, making it clear that he believes this Pelicans team is, well, ready to take flight. 
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