Posts Tagged ‘Criticism’

When the Tampa Bay Rays traded third baseman Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants in December, it was the end of an era. But the Rays weren’t done dealing.

After sending starter Jake Odorizzi to the Minnesota Twins and designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment Saturday, Longoria wasn’t shy in voicing his critical opinion.

“I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base,” Longoria told The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly. “I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious (Dickerson) is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFA’d. Corey was our best player last year.”

Dickerson was a 2017 All-Star as the American League’s starting designated hitter. He and starting pitcher Chris Archer were the Rays’ representatives at the Midsummer Classic. The 28-year-old Dickerson hit a career-best 27 home runs, though his overall numbers were buoyed by an electric first half when he hit .312/.355/.548.

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LeBron James once again wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion on President Donald Trump.

In a new “Uninterrupted” video in which Cari Champion serves as an Uber driver for LeBron and Kevin Durant, James chimed in again on today’s increasingly divisive political environment and the polarizing commander-in-chief.

“The climate is hot,” James said. “The No. 1 job in America … is someone who doesn’t understand the people. And really don’t give a f— about the people. When I was growing up, there was like three jobs that you looked (up to) for inspiration. It was the President of the United States, it was whoever was the best in sports, and then it was like the greatest musician at the time. You never thought you could be them, but you can grab inspiration from them.”

James added that Trump’s penchant for unrestrained talk is both comical and frightening.

“It’s at a bad time,” James said. “While we cannot change what comes out of that man’s mouth, we can continue to alert the people that watch us, that listen to us: ‘This is not the way.’ It’s not even a surprise when he says something. It’s like laughable. It’s laughable and it’s scary.”

Durant didn’t hold back either.

“When we’re talking about leadership, and what’s going on in our country, it’s all about leadership,” Durant said. “You need to empower people, you need to encourage people. And that’s what builds a great team. And I feel like our team as a country is not ran by a great coach.”

Paul Pierce was enshrined into Boston Celtics folklore after the team retired his No. 34 on Sunday, but he’s apparently not the only member of the team’s 2008 championship-winning side who will receive the honor.

Kevin Garnett, a key figure in their last conquest who averaged 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds over six seasons in Boston is supposedly next in line to have his jersey retired, Pierce told ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. Although Garnett first emerged as one of the greatest power forwards in the league during his first 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Pierce says he would prefer to be eternally honored by the Celtics.

“(Garnett would) rather have his jersey retired in Boston than in Minnesota,” Pierce said. “He’ll eventually have his number retired with the Timberwolves, too, but he’ll have to wait until management sells the team.”

Garnett was a powerhouse during his opening stint with the Timberwolves. He averaged a double-double of 20.5 points and 11.4 rebounds and was a 10-time All-Star before being traded to Boston on July 31, 2007. With him in the fold, the Celtics developed their Big Three of Pierce, Garnett, and Ray Allen.

Despite waiving a no-trade clause to return to Minnesota in the twilight of his career, Garnett has long been critical of the Timberwolves’ front office, specifically owner Glen Taylor. In December, Garnett admitted he one day hopes to buy the Timberwolves in order to remove Taylor from his post.

Coming off the first Super Bowl win in franchise history, the Philadelphia Eagles are not short on confidence.

First-team All-Pro offensive tackle Lane Johnson, who’s under contract with the Eagles for the next four seasons, did his part to fuel what could become the league’s newest rivalry against the back-to-back AFC Champion New England Patriots.

“The Patriot Way is a fear-based organization,” Johnson said on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “Obviously, do they win? Hell yes, they win. They’ve won for a long time. Do I think people enjoy and can say, ‘I had a lot of fun playing there?’ No, I don’t.”

Johnson played the 2017 season with running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive end Chris Long, two castoffs from the Super Bowl LI-winning Patriots team.

The outspoken offensive lineman doesn’t see himself choosing to blend into what the Patriots demand of their players.

“They’re successful, but when they go to interviews, they act like f—ing robots,” he said. “Hey, stop being a d—head. We can be cordial for a little bit. You only get to do this job one time, so let’s have fun while we’re doing it. Not to be reckless, but I’d much rather have fun and win a Super Bowl than be miserable and win five Super Bowls.”

It’s not the first shot Johnson has taken at the Patriots and five-time Super Bowl-champ Tom Brady, calling the quarterback a “pretty boy” he’d like to dethrone prior to Super Bowl LII.

The Honky Tonk Man is best known for holding the WWE Intercontinental Championship for a record 64 weeks. In a recent interview with Andy Malnoske of Wrestling Inc., he discussed losing the title to The Ultimate Warrior in the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988.

By 1988, The Honky Tonk Man was one of the biggest heels in the wrestling business. He said at that point he had made himself a pariah to audiences, so they were wishing for anyone to beat him and take his title.

“It’s like, every kid out there that was eight years old when I said, ‘I’m walking down the streets, I’m the greatest of all time, I’m looking for a fight, nobody can beat me,'” Honky explained. “Every eight-year-old kid out there that’s 38 now would say, ‘Boy if he comes down my street I can kick his rear-end, I’ll kick this guy’s butt.’ So then when I go out and they wanted anybody to beat me, they didn’t care who it was, they wouldn’t have cared if it was the milk man that beat me, they just wanted somebody to beat me, just get the belt off this guy.”

The Honky Tonk Man was originally supposed to face Brutus Beefcake, but he had was pulled out of the match due to a storyline injury. So Honky got on the mic and made an open challenge, which The Ultimate Warrior responded to. The Ultimate Warrior pinned him in just 31 seconds, sending the crowd into a frenzy. But Honky remembers how deflated they were when they realized who was the new champion.

“So when I did lose, there was such an explosion in the building if you go back and listen,” Honky said. “Then I lose to The Ultimate Warrior and then the people are like, ‘Yes! Yes, he lost!’ And then the second breath is, ‘But not to that guy! We wanted him beat, but not to that guy.’ So you can’t win.”

Honky said he knew his run at the top of the card was over, so he wanted to go out on his own terms. He said he had complete control over how he would lose the Intercontinental title.

“My time was up and I knew it. The one time I had creative control over everything, was that match,” he said. “I put it all together, it was my idea, they let me do it that way. It was good for him, it was good for the company and people still hated me anyway.”

Honky also discussed how he became a top heel in the WWE. He said it was through learning from the great wrestlers that came before him. He would take certain aspects of various heels and apply them to his character and that helped him get on the audience’s bad side.

“Being the bad guy with my mannerisms and the way I would do stuff, I studied the good ‘bad guys’ in the business back then,” he said. “I would watch and see Harley Race, how he would have a match with Jack Briscoe, or I would watch Terry Funk have a match with someone and see what they did and how they did it and how they made people mad. And then I would listen to interviews, those key words that guys would say… Those things make people mad. So I was able to capture the audience that way.”

Former WWE superstar Terri Runnels was one of the legendary female wrestlers to be honored at the 25th anniversary of Monday Night RAW. On her Cigars, Scars and Superstars podcast, Runnels discussed some things that happened behind the scenes at the show.

RAW 25 was shot in two locations, the Barclays Center and the Manhattan Center, which was the home of the first-ever broadcast of Monday Night RAW. There were only a few matches and segments at the Manhattan Center, which drew the ire of the crowd. Runnels revealed that she was disappointed in the presentation even though she understood the necessity for two locations.

“I was very disappointed [with Raw 25]. I really was,” Runnels said. “First of all, I was proud to be there and proud to be with my WWE family again; that was wonderful, but pretty much after that, it was kind of like, ‘Wow, really?’ I thought that [two locations] was a great idea because there’s no way that you can fit capacity crowd that would want to see it in that tiny Manhattan Center location. In order to have it at the Manhattan Center you would have to have it at some other place. I heard from friends that were at the Manhattan Center felt that they got jipped because they only had a few matches and it was dead in between.”

The female wrestling legends were featured in only one segment that night in which they were simply introduced to the crowd in the Barclays Center. Even though she’s aware of how the WWE had to balance the 25th anniversary with the go-home show before the Royal Rumble, Runnels admitted she was disappointed the female superstars didn’t get more shine on the show.

“I think I am disappointed. I don’t feel like I was disrespected, but I just think that they had; this is my guess, but I believe they had a monster of a show to try to do and figure out,” she said. “This many talents coming into Raw that is normally not there like past legends, and I just think it ended up being a time thing; ‘We don’t know what else to do, let’s just have them come out and wave.’ I don’t know, it was just disappointing because I loved my WWE family and all of that and it was just disappointing. It was a let down.”

Runnels said none of the other female superstars were angry while they were at the show. She did, however, reveal that the conditions they were preparing in while they were backstage were less than ideal.

“Nobody was pissed off. It was a ball of fun in our dressing room, but I had to tell you, that was another interesting thing,” she said. “We were put in a basketball court; we were blocked off with black curtains, and there was another area where male legends were blocked off as well. Next to that they were filming all day the APA vignettes so because of that the overhead lights couldn’t be on. We were trying to be ready in almost pitch black dark. They brought one little light and shun it over but it was still dark over there. We kept asking if we can please get lights and how much longer the vignettes were done and they’re like, if we don’t get them done we have to get them done live so we may not be able to put the lights on at all. I couldn’t see to get in my suitcase; I couldn’t find stuff, it was dark. We did not have a mirror. I asked for a folding mirror; they actually gave me that, but there was no running water to wash our hands close by. That was very interesting.”

Runnels left the WWE in 2004 after a successful run as a manager and valet to multiple superstars. She said the big difference now within the company is the environment is more buttoned-up than it was in the past.

“It is very different now. It’s just very corporate. The word that comes to my mind is that there is a bit of antiseptic feeling,” she said. “I would that maybe in terms of the whole sexual harassment; there’s so many things like Wrestlers Court and hazing that used to go on very rapidly in our business, but in a lot of ways that fun is taken out.”

 
 

Miami – David Beckham has finally achieved his goal of bringing Major League Soccer to Miami, but the prospect of a stadium without parking that drives up housing costs in a low-income neighborhood is no hit with residents.

The former England captain and glitzy star of storied Champions League teams was formally awarded an MLS franchise on Monday, but key details remain up in the air, such as its name and logo and when it will debut.

For the 25,000-seat stadium, the investor group led by Beckham has acquired land in an area called Overtown, a working-class district between downtown and Little Havana.

They still need to buy one more piece of land, but for now the deal is held up in court by a lawsuit. The investors are confident they will prevail.

“Our 24th team now is in Miami. The stadium is in the Overtown site,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.

One problem is that Miami is already choked with traffic and the stadium will not have its own parking lots.

And people in the neighborhood fear housing costs that are already rising will force them to move away as they keep going up.

“We are largely overwhelmed by the larger forces in the community that are out there. Our voices are not being heard sufficiently,” said Ernest Martin, a member of the Miami River Commission, an association of people living near the waterway.

Martin was especially critical of the lack of parking.

But Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Monday that although the stadium itself will have no on-site parking, there are plenty of big lots two to three blocks from the planned arena.

He also pointed to public transport, but people in Miami love their cars.

The problem of rising housing costs comes with gentrification. Overtown is a black-majority neighborhood of some 13,000 people, and 24 percent of the residents earn less than $10,000 a year, well below the poverty level.

Worried about rent

“This has been a low-income housing area for many years,” Martin told AFP at his home along the river.

“Ultimately, the big increase in rent for the area will cause Overtown to become a more select area for residential users,” he added.

The barren lot of land where the stadium is supposed to go up is surrounded by a fence on which neighbors have hung a sign that reads “No to the stadium.”

Nearby are modest apartment buildings and a few shops. At a corner liquor store, the cashier tends to customers from behind bulletproof glass. The storefront is protected by iron bars.

Douglas Romero, a 27-year-old resident of Overtown, told AFP that this year his rent has already gone from $1,050 a month to $1,200.

“I’m a little worried, you know,” Romero said, holding his four-year-old son.

“The prices of rent have been going up lately, starting in January. The only thing would be, if prices go up, you know, everybody looks to move. Everybody looks for somewhere else.”

Second time lucky?

It isn’t even the city’s first tryst with MLS.

Its first team, Miami Fusion, made their debut in 1998 but only played for four seasons before being cut from the league after the 2001 campaign amid low ticket sales and the lowest revenues of any team in the competition.

Football in America is nowhere near as popular as baseball, basketball, or American football. But Beckham and his fellow investors are counting on the cultural diversity of Miami – with its large Hispanic and Caribbean populations – to attract fans.

And not all in the neighborhood are against the newcomers: “Him bringing the stadium here … it’s wonderful,” said Cedric Dixon, 52. “It’s excitement. It’s changing Miami.”

Landscaper Williams Charlie is skeptical that the new stadium can bring jobs, but says “we need a soccer team” nonetheless.

“Beckham knows what he’s doing. I’ll go right to the game – if they don’t move us out.”

One sign of how deeply opposed some are is the emergence of a Facebook group against the stadium which publishes scary videos of football-related violence as a way of warning against the dangers of hooligans.

“It’s not a done deal!” is the slogan of the Overtown Spring Garden Community Collective.

This is true: the proposed sale of the last piece of land needed is being held up by a millionaire named Bruce Matheson, who argues the county had no right to cede the first lot without opening it up to bidding.

He lost his first battle in court but has lodged an appeal.

Mayor Gimenez, meanwhile, remains bullish. “We are very confident that we are going to win the lawsuit,” he told reporters.