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by Laken Litman, FortheWin.com 6/29/15
It’s the No. 1 vs. No. 2 teams in the world Friday in the semifinals. The most dangerous attack in Germany, a team that’s scored more goals (20) than any other this World Cup, pitted against the strongest defense in the U.S., which has conceded just once.

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by Kristin Hussey, New York Times 6/29/15

Jason Klein and his business partner, Casey White, run Brandiose, a San Diego-based sports marketing firm. Their specialty is concocting unconventional team names and logos, he said, like the Flying Squirrels (Richmond, Va.) and the Iron Pigs (Lehigh Valley, Pa.). Mr. Klein said his firm had worked with 55 minor league baseball teams to update mascots and logos and to create about a dozen team names since it opened 15 years ago. The firm’s goal is to brand teams with fun, family-oriented personas.


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Home Grown
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by Vic Carucci, Buffalo News 6/29/15
I would fully expect the Bills to extend Matt Cassel’s contract to provide cap relief if they are convinced he will have the job. The fact that hasn’t happened and that there is no indication of it happening any time soon after his struggles through the offseason raise some legitimate questions about whether he will be on the roster if he isn’t starting.

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by Grant Wuhl, SI.com 6/29/15

​An historic day for national equality and something that happens on a sports playing field are nowhere near the same thing, obviously, and it’s certainly not the intention here to equate the Supreme Court’s decision with the U.S.’s pursuit of a World Cup trophy. If Friday’s decision was History with a capital “​H,” then winning the U.S.’s first World Cup in 16 years will be history with a lower-case “​h.”​


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Inside the Terrible Trop

by Bill Pucko, BylineSports.com 6/29/15

Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, is where the Tampa Bay Rays play.  It is on all the lists of the worst baseball stadiums in America, usually at the bottom.  If this is true, then it is iconic in its own twisted way.  I needed to see it.
 
Understand that in my world, entitlement should be considered one of the seven deadly sins.  Actually making them eight, along with gluttony, wrath, sloth, greed, lust, pride and envy, they were the pillars of early Christian morality.  It's why the New York Yankees are considered godless, especially by Red Sox fans.
 
But we seem to believe we are entitled to a certain level of entertainment in these places, above and beyond the baseball, which in St Pete these days, is pretty good.  So I went to the Trop trying to like it.
 
The concourse has a carnival atmosphere and a couple of disc jockeys.  There is a mascot race, a large video message board in centerfield, an impressive variety of food, and a game host with an entourage of attractive women who dance and smile.  All staples these days.  There is also a 10,000 gallon aquarium full of cownose rays which you can actually pet.  They're trying. 
 
It was originally the Florida Suncoast Dome.  It was built in attempt to steal a Major League Baseball team.  The Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants both used it to get stadium deals of their own.  It was designed by HOK out of Kansas City, the most famous stadium designers in the country.  But unlike some of its more famous projects, Camden Yards in Baltimore and PNC Stadium in Pittsburgh, this just wasn't their best work.
 
Tropicana Field is the only remaining fixed roof stadium left in the major leagues.  The rest went the way of the Metrodome, Kingdome and Astrodome.  None were beloved.  The Trop has a slanted roof.  It's supposed to help make it hurricane-proof.  It also saves a little money cooling the interior.
 
The place is drab.  There are exposed concrete walls and the field surface looks like an old shag rug.  It is difficult to see a fly ball against the beige colored roof.  The lighting isn't great.
 
Then there are the four catwalks.  These are suspended walkaways used to support the roof and the sound system.  They are actually in play.  There are different rules which apply to each.  It would serve no purpose to try to explain them here.
 
Eight years ago Carlos Pena hit a pop up into the B-ring.  The ball did not come down.  He was awarded a double.  Jonny Gomes once hit a ball into the same area.  With the it stuck in the catwalk, Gomes legged out a triple, only to have the ball come loose.  It was caught for an out.
 
Still, I refused to believe that they are trying to create a negative baseball atmosphere at the Trop.  Until I heard this. 
 
As part of the pre-game announcements, the team posts a phone number you can use to specifically and anonymously report people moving up into seats where they don't belong.  This is a time honored baseball tradition and in Tampa, where attendance lags, they should be encouraging it.  But there it was, the snitch line.
 
I went to the Trop trying to like it.  I failed.

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from Popular Mechanics 6/29/15

A lot of times we add $1,000 to the price and take it away later, assuming that everyone will negotiate. And everyone will negotiate. Even the sweetest old ladies in the world turn into saber-tooth tigers when they sit down at the desk.


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by Brian Kalchick, Rant Sports 6/24/15

Being drafted No. 1 is a significant accomplishment, but it doesn't guarantee future success. Which top picks have been the best and the worst over the past 15 years? Here's how they stack up.


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Fantasy
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by Scott White, CBSSports.com 6/29/15
The fact is Chris Colabello is not showing any signs of slowing down, batting .349 (15 for 43) over his last 11 games, so you might as well get what you can out of him. He has demolished left-handers in particular, batting .394 with a 1.172 OPS against them, and has four on the schedule this week, including crushable types like Wade Miley and Kyle Ryan.

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by Scott Pianowski, Roto Arcade 6/24/15

Logan Forsythe was an ordinary hitter for the first four years of his career, though playing part-time might have held him back to some extent. Perhaps he's showing his true colors now that the Rays need him to play every day.

 

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