This Week in US Sports: Paul sticking around, MLB pitchers keep throwing at batters

By Sports Desk July 18, 2019

Chris Paul did not get what he wanted, but he is apparently not too mad about it.

In the meantime in MLB, batters really need to start watching their heads.

And in the NHL a ton is happening, and yet, nothing actually is.


1. Paul staying with Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder had hoped to move Paul quickly after acquiring him in a package for Russell Westbrook last week, but that is apparently not going to happen.

Paul is likely to start the season in Oklahoma City, according to ESPN, and could play out a good portion of the campaign, or even longer, there.

Oklahoma City reportedly tried to move Paul to the Heat, but their proposals were not to the liking of Miami, so Paul, and his three years and more than $100million left on his contract, will stay with the Thunder.

Fortunately, both Paul and the Thunder reportedly see value in him sticking around, so it is not a total loss for either party.

2. Plunk wars

It is that time of year. Baseball players are throwing at each other again and two pitchers were suspended for their actions on Wednesday after throwing at the heads of opponents a day earlier.

Philadelphia Phillies reliever Hector Neris was mad at himself so he threw at David Freese.

Then, Los Angeles Angels reliever Noe Ramirez threw at Jake Marisnick for breaking his catcher's nose and giving him a concussion.

Both players were suspended for three games. Both men will appeal.


3. NHL has oddly eventful week

For some reason there was a lot going on in the NHL this week. There were several signings and a somewhat notable trade.

- The Chicago Blackhawks traded Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators for Zack Smith.
- Minnesota Wild re-signed Ryan Donato to a two-year deal after he excelled following his trade there for Charlie Coyle at the deadline.
- The Washington Capitals re-signed Jakub Vrana to a two-year deal.
- Colorado Avalanche signed J.T. Compher to a four-year deal but still have not given Mikko Rantanen an offer.

Rantanen remains unsigned as do other restricted free agent stars such as Patrick Laine (Winnipeg Jets), Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames), Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs).

All of these men face holdouts if they do not get the deals they want, but with all of the contracts already handed out teams simply might not have enough money to give especially with a lower salary cap than many anticipated. There could be a lot of disappointed young players this offseason.


4. Falcons, Deion Jones agree to four-year, $57m deal

This is how much Deion Jones means to the Atlanta Falcons defense.

After going down early in the season to injury, Jones was still given a four-year, $57m deal on Wednesday. Jones played in just six games in 2018, but Atlanta clearly have no concern about his long-term health and locked him up accordingly.

The Falcons are due for a bounce-back season if they are healthy and Jones will be a big part of it.

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  • Jack Nicklaus turns 80: Eighteen amazing facts about golf's record major winner Jack Nicklaus turns 80: Eighteen amazing facts about golf's record major winner

    Jack Nicklaus, the most prolific winner of major championships in golf, celebrates his 80th birthday on Tuesday.

    To mark the occasion, here are 18 facts about the Golden Bear, one for each of his major victories.


    - Despite his unmatched success at the highest level, Nicklaus only defended a major title on one occasion, at the 1966 Masters.

    - Before turning professional, Nicklaus won two U.S. Amateur titles in 1959 and 1961. The second of those wins saw him thrash Dudley Wysong 8 and 6.

    - He is one of only two players, together with Tiger Woods, to have completed the triple career grand slam by winning all four majors at least three times. Nicklaus achieved the feat in 1978, claiming his third Open title at St Andrews. Woods followed suit 30 years later with his third U.S. Open win.

    - Nicklaus' final appearances at each of the four majors coincided with victories for Woods - at the 2000 U.S. Open, 2000 US PGA Championship, 2005 Masters and 2005 Open.

    - There were five years - across three decades - in which Nicklaus claimed two major wins: 1963, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1980.

    - Nicklaus' memorable Masters victory in 1986 was his sixth, the most of any player. He played the back nine in six under par as he become the oldest winner of the tournament at 46.

    - The most successful seasons of Nicklaus' career - in terms of PGA Tour wins - came in 1972 and 1973. He won seven tournaments in both of those years.

    - The Golden Bear held sole possession of the 54-hole lead at a major on eight occasions and went on to seal victory every time.

    - His record margin of victory at a major was achieved at the 1965 Masters, a tournament he won by nine strokes. Gary Player and Arnold Palmer were joint second, with the trio having shared the lead after 36 holes. Nicklaus' nine-shot victory was a record triumph at Augusta until Woods won by 12 in 1997.

    - Nicklaus holds the record for the most top-10 finishes at every major, recording 22 top-10s at the Masters, 18 at the U.S. Open, 18 at The Open and 15 at the US PGA. His overall tally of 73 major top-10s puts him well clear of nearest rivals Sam Snead (48) and Tom Watson (46). Woods has 41 to date.

    - The last PGA Tour cheque of Nicklaus' illustrious career earned him $11,130, when he finished in a tie for 63rd at the 2004 edition of the Memorial Tournament, aged 64.

    - A teenage Nicklaus finished 12th on his PGA Tour debut, at the 1958 Rubber City Open. He was only one off the lead after 36 holes.

    - In an stunning run from the 1973 Masters to the 1976 Masters, Nicklaus recorded top-10 finishes at 13 successive majors. Hogan holds the record with 18.

    - Nicklaus was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 - the highest civilian honour available in the United States. He became only the seventh athlete to receive the honour and the third golfer after Byron Nelson and Palmer.

    - When Nicklaus won The Open for the fourth and final time in 1980, it represented his 15th consecutive top-six finish at the event. That remarkable streak featured three of his four wins and six of his seven runner-up finishes.

    - Nicklaus won the 1956 Ohio Open as a 16-year-old amateur, beating a host of professional players. He credited the win to Snead, having played an exhibition with the golfing great after round one of the tournament.

    - In 17 consecutive seasons from 1962 to 1978, Nicklaus won at least two events on the PGA Tour. He also finished in the top four in the money list in each of these seasons.

    - Last but not least, Nicklaus' haul of 18 majors remains the benchmark. Woods claimed his 15th, after an 11-year barren spell, at last year's Masters, but still has lots of work to do to catch Jack.

  • Super Bowl window still open for Packers, says Rodgers Super Bowl window still open for Packers, says Rodgers

    Aaron Rodgers is confident Sunday's defeat to the San Francisco 49ers did not represent his final opportunity to win a second Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers.

    Veteran quarterback Rodgers led the Packers to the NFL title in February 2011 but has since been frustrated in his pursuit of another ring.

    The 49ers' 37-20 success at Levi's Stadium marked Green Bay's third NFC Championship Game loss in six seasons.

    Rodgers, now 36, threw two touchdowns and two picks as the Packers failed to recover from a one-sided first half, but he believes this team can still win again, aided by general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur

    "The exciting thing is I have a lot of faith and trust in Brian and his staff," he said. "I think Matt LaFleur deserves a lot of credit for the way that we performed week in and week out.

    "He even set the vision every week. Very simple messaging. With his leadership and empowering guys the way that he did, and with Brian adding pieces as he did this offseason and will continue to do, the window is open for us.

    "That's the exciting thing. It doesn't make this feel any [better], but that is very exciting moving forward.

    "The window is open and I think we'll be on the right side of one of these real soon."

    However, Rodgers acknowledges such defeats are especially painful in the final years of an esteemed career.

    "It's a little raw right now, for sure," he added. "It definitely hurts a little more than earlier in the career just because you realise how difficult it is to get to this spot.

    "With all of the changes this offseason, [a new coach], the installation of a new system and a new programme, to get to this point, you feel like it was something special because it just didn't really make sense.

    "We weren't picked by most people to win our division, but we found a way to not only do that but to win a home playoff game and get to this spot.

    "It just kind of felt like it was meant to be almost, so that was a little bit disappointing.

    "It's a little more disappointing when you realise that I don't have the same number of years ahead of me as I do behind me."

  • 49ers star Mostert addresses 'doubters and naysayers' after punishing Packers 49ers star Mostert addresses 'doubters and naysayers' after punishing Packers

    Raheem Mostert sent a pointed message to the NFL teams who cut him after leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.

    Mostert, 27, dominated the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 220 yards in San Francisco's 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers.

    The 49ers now have two weeks to prepare for their Super Bowl date with the Kansas City Chiefs, giving running back Mostert the chance to reflect on his rough ride to the summit.

    The Florida native passed through six franchises before settling with San Francisco in 2016.

    "I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers," Mostert told a post-game news conference.

    "Now I get to tell them: 'Look where I'm at now.'

    "I never gave up on my dream and the opportunities when they presented themselves. I always worked hard no matter what. Before every game, I looked at the cut dates, when I got cut.

    "I've been on seven different teams and the journey has been crazy. Not everybody can deal with that type of stress and the pain and agony I went through. I kept the faith in not only myself but whoever gave me the opportunity.

    "This organisation has gone a great job with that."

    Mostert ran in three TDs to help the 49ers to a 27-0 half-time lead against the Packers and scored his fourth in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium.

    San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman, a Super Bowl champion with the Seattle Seahawks, suggested Green Bay had the wrong mindset after losing 37-8 when the teams met in November.

    "I think they were trying to pump themselves up, hype themselves up. They were talking about a revenge game," Sherman said.

    "When you stay ready, you don't got to get ready. They were trying to hype themselves like 'man, we're going to be ready this time.'

    "You weren't ready the first time and that was in front of the whole country. That was a Sunday night game. It kind of bothered us a little bit – did you not take the game seriously?"

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