The official blog of WTOP Sports.
Who is behind redskinsfacts.com?
WASHINGTON -- A new website, registered roughly one month ago, purports to be “a growing online community of passionate Washington Redskins fans and others who support the team’s use of its name and logo.”
The graphic-heavy, burgundy and gold site is supported by a Twitter account of the same name, but who is really behind the effort?
Slate editors Josh Levin and Jeremy Stahl dug into the site’s back end source code to try to figure that out. Stahl joined WTOP on the air on Wednesday to explain the results of what they found.
“If you look at the source code on the website and you look at the original followers on the Twitter account, there are clear links to this site,” said Stahl. “It’s a very clear indication that was a Burson-Marsteller project.”
The first three and five of the first six followers of the account were Burson-Marsteller employees. That crisis management firm was hired by the Redskins recently to help the team in its public relations battle over its nickname.
After initially issuing vague statements about the connection between the team and the site, Stahl says the team has been more forthcoming recently.
“After having originally given press quotes that they know of the site and completely support the effort, to make it seem a little bit, you know, like they weren’t involved, they’ve conceded that, yes, they are backing the site,” said Stahl.
Slate said they reached out to the Redskins for comment regarding Burson-Marsteller’s involvement in building the site, but had not heard back at the time of publication. Burson-Marsteller also has yet to respond, they said.
Editor’s Note: Redskinsfacts.com has purchased advertising on this site, and others including The Washington Post, Washington Times and Sports Illustrated.
Baker has historical night for Cubs
You probably don’t know who John Baker is. But the backup catcher for the Chicago Cubs had an historical night at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.
As the Cubs-Rockies game dragged into extra innings tied at 3-3, the Cubs ran out of pitchers. As a result, they summoned Baker to come on to pitch the 16th frame. He tossed a scoreless inning, issuing a one-out walk, but inducing a 4-6-3 double play to escape unscathed. In so doing, he became the first player to pitch and catch for the Cubs in the same season since 1896.
But Baker was just getting started. Due to lead off the bottom half of the frame, he drew a walk. Chicago would go on to load the bases with one out for Starlin Castro, who hit a liner to medium-deep right field. Baker tagged at third and scampered home with the winning run, becoming the first big leaguer to score the winning run and earn the win on the mound since 1968.
Not bad for a guy who hadn’t pitched since the Cape Cod League, while in college. Baker is 33.
He also ended a game that set its own record, as the longest in either club’s history in terms of time at six hours and 17 minutes.
Scully to return; Dodger Stadium approves
Few players in sports achieve legendary status. Even fewer broadcasters ascend to such a plateau.
But if the game of baseball has a living legend in the booth, it’s unquestionably Vin Scully. On Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, players worked together to deliver a multi-lingual, between-innings piece of news to the crowd: Scully will be returning for his 66th (!) season of Dodger baseball in the booth next year.
Peyton dances to “Rocky Top Tennessee,” Ginuwine
WASHINGTON -- Peyton Manning took a moment out of preparing for the NFL season at Broncos Training Camp to entertain teammates, fans and media by dancing to Rocky Top Tennessee on Monday. Teammate Wes Welker also joined in on the fun.Manning was the quarterback at the University of Tennessee in college. Welker, who grew up in Oklahoma City and attended Texas Tech, has no excuse.
The fun didn’t stop there, though, at least on the internet. Vine user James Dator mixed the video of the two Broncos dancing with “Pony” (appropriately), by D.C. native Ginuwine. We like this version better.by WTOP Sports via YouTube 7/29/2014 2:44:27 PM
The Melkman breaks windshield in Boston
WASHINGTON -- The Toronto Blue Jays demolished the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park Monday night by a score of 14-1. But that wasn’t the only thing that slugger Melky Cabrera -- who homered twice -- destroyed.
Cabrera’s second shot was a rising drive that kept backspinning as it approached the Green Monster, eventually clearing the seats and smashing the windshield of a car parked in the lot behind the wall.
Not exactly the kind of souvenir you’re looking for when you go to the ballpark.
Dodgers, Diamondbacks Triple-A clubs brawl
WASHINGTON -- Just a little over a year ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks tangled in one of the largest brawls in recent baseball history. Over the weekend, their Triple-A affiliates -- the Albuquerque Isotopes and Reno Aces -- followed suit.
After taking a glacially slow home run trot on Friday night, the Dodgers prospect and Isotopes shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena came to bat for the first time Saturday. He took a pitch up and in early in the plate appearance and ended up striking out. Aces catcher Blake Lalli made contact with Arruebarruena as he threw the ball down to third base and tensions escalated.
Arruebarruena shoved Lalli and was ejected immediately, but the benches and bullpens cleared quickly onto the field with punches being thrown everywhere. In all, 10 players were ejected, and suspensions are sure to follow.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, demoted Arruebarruena back to High-A Rancho Cucamonga after the incident.
See the full video below.
Half of Redskins fans expect team to be mediocre
WASHINGTON -- A recent poll indicates that following last year’s 3-13 debacle of a season, Redskins fans expect only a modest improvement this season.
Vox Populi Polling found that 48 percent of the 701 D.C. area residents they surveyed who consider themselves ‘Skins fans expect the team to win between six and nine games this season. That’s nearly twice the number (25 percent) that expect them to win 10-15 games.
Six percent of those polled are fatalistic about their team’s futility, expecting three wins or fewer. Meanwhile, three percent are delusionally optimistic, predicting an undefeated season.
For updates on Redskins Training Camp, check out George Wallace’s daily reports from Richmond.WTOP's George Wallace kicks off his Redskins Training Camp blog as Jay Gruden opens his first camp as a head coach.
Women’s World Cup Qualifying coming to D.C.
Rapinoe (left), Alex Morgan and the U.S. Women's National Team will play in
D.C. in October. (AP Photo/Doug Benz)WASHINGTON -- The 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which serves as a qualifier for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, is coming to Washington D.C.Eight teams from the region, including the U.S. Women’s National Team, will be split into two groups of four and play doubleheaders in Kansas City, Chicago and Washington. The final set of doubleheaders will take place October 20-21 at RFK Stadium.The top two finishers in each group will advance to the semifinals in Philadelphia, with the two finalists and winner of the third-place game securing spots in the World Cup. Canada will host the Cup, so they have already qualified automatically.The CONCACAF Women’s Championship will feature the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala, as well as the four semifinalists from the CFU Women’s Caribbean Cup.Ticket information will be made available in the near future.
Nats rookie wins National Anthem standoff
The Washington Nationals are taking on the Colorado Rockies in the series finale at Coors Field Wednesday afternoon. But before the game could actually begin, a player from each side had another score to settle.
Nationals pitcher Aaron Barrett and Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes engaged in a good old-fashioned staredown. Neither player would give an inch as starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa prepared to throw his first pitch. Eventually, Barnes was asked to leave the field of play, making Barrett the winner.
Players and coaches alike gave Barrett encouragement in his quest. See the whole video below.
Chihuahuas prank Jeff Francoeur again
Say this about the El Paso Chihuahuas -- they appear to be having a good time.
The Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres is playing its inaugural season after moving from Tucson and rebranding as the diminutive canines. In addition to showing us a propensity for next-level jersey design, the team has gained notoriety for the early-season prank pulled on veteran Jeff Francoeur, in which teammates convinced him that Chihuahuas pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf.
Now, they’ve pranked Francoeur again, locking him in the coaches’ bathroom, which he was not supposed to be using.
Francoeur may have gotten the last laugh, though. The Padres purchased his contract on Wednesday.
deadspin.comby WTOP Sports via YouTube 7/23/2014 6:33:52 PM
Medically sidelined Baylor player offered NBA job
A 7-foot tall center, Isaiah Austin was projected as first-round
NBA Draft pick after a pair of successful seasons with the Baylor Bears. But in
the final week leading up to the draft, he was diagnosed
with Marfan syndrome, effectively ending his career before it ever
The NBA, for its part, offered a humbling recognition, ceremonially
drafting Austin. But the gesture was not a hollow one.
It turns out, league commissioner Adam Silver has offered
Austin a job in the league office -- as soon as he graduates. In the meantime,
Austin is working part-time with the NBA Cares community program.
Austin will be on the Baylor bench as an assistant coach
this winter.Silver and Austin shake hands after the latter was ceremonially drafted by the NBA back in June. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Former Redskin Fred Davis wanted by police
WASHINGTON -- D.C. Police are looking for former Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis in connection with a domestic violence incident in Adams Morgan on June 3.
The incident occurred in the 2400 block of 18th street NW.
Click here for the full story: www.wtop.com
Yankees acquire third baseman Chase HeadleyWASHINGTON -- The New York Yankees acquired third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres Tuesday in exchange for infielder Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitcher Rafael De Paula. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman first tweeted the move, which has been confirmed by the Yankees.Headley, 30, addresses an immediate need at third base for the Yankees, but is having a sub-par year. He is just two years removed from a fifth place finish in the NL MVP vote, but is slashing just .229/.296/.355 with 12 doubles and seven home runs so far this year.The move answers questions for a Yankees club that is tied for second in the AL East, four games out of first place. But Headley will be a free agent at the end of the season, so the trade does not appear to have any immediate implications in regards to Alex Rodriguez, whose suspension will end at the conclusion of the 2014 season.Solarte hit .254/.337/.381 with six home runs in 75 games for the Yankees this year. De Paula was 6-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 89 innings in 20 games with Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees.Headley fills an immediate need for the Yankees. (AP Photo/Don Boomer)
Wiz will debut new alternate uniformsWASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards will debut new alternate uniforms for the 2014-15 season. Featuring more navy blue than other Wizards kits, the jersey will include "Washington" lettering, and the shorts will showcase the secondary "Monument" logo.Washington Wizards 2014-15 alternate uniforms. (Washington Wizards)
What do you think? Share your opinion on Twitter using the hashtag #WTOPspin.
Watch Astros mascot attack Dan KolkoWASHINGTON -- Life is not always easy as a sideline reporter.You’re at the mercy of the players in the dugout next to you, sometimes hostile fans behind you, and yes, even volatile mascots.MASN’s Nationals sideline reporter Dan Kolko experienced the latter of these earlier this year when the team visited Houston earlier this year. But, thanks to the internet, video never dies. This gem appeared on MLB Network last night.The Nats swept both ends of the four-game season series with Houston. Maybe that’s why the Astros’ mascot, Orbit, was taking out his frustration.When is baseball back again?(h/t @NLBeastNats)
Minor league team unveils epic jerseys
WASHINGTON -- There are jerseys, then there are jerseys.
Minor League Baseball, long known to push the envelope when it comes to promotions, may have broken down a new barrier in jersey design.
The El Paso Chihuahuas, the new Triple-A franchise in Texas’ far west border town, will feature jerseys with a giant Chihuahua face across the front. Not a logo, not a drawing, a photo of a giant Chihuahua.
John Daly, purveyor of pantsWASHINGTON -- John Daly has brought his pants game to the British Open.The day before the field tees off at Royal Liverpool, Daly has been seen stalking the course in, wait for it, SpongeBob SquarePants pants. Or is it just SpongeBob Square…pants?Click on the image below to see a close-up of Daly’s threads.The pants in question... (AP Photo/Jon Daly)
Former Towson gymnast conquers American Ninja Warrior course
WASHINGTON -- A former Towson University gymnast is making waves on the show American Ninja Warrior. While that may sound like the type of event that attracts the hulky, muscle-bound types, at just 5 feet tall and 100 pounds, Kacy Catanzaro is changing that perception quickly.
Catanzaro recently became the first female competitor ever to qualify for the National Finals at the 2014 Dallas finals. Watch the full video of her impressive run through the course.by WTOP Sports via YouTube 7/16/2014 2:30:00 PM
Self-serving beer coming to MLB All-Star GameWASHINGTON -- Self-serving beer? It may sound like the future, but it will be a reality for fans attending the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota Tuesday.Fans can purchase a $10, $20 or $40 card and purchase whatever size beer they want by the ounce. According to NBC News, Budweiser and Bud Light will run 38 cents an ounce, while higher end brands Shock Top and Goose Island 312 cost 40 cents an ounce.Fans here check out the new self-serving beer kiosk, DraftServ. "It's been phenomenal," says CEO/Founder Jose Hevia. http://t.co/JYoxscvkXGJul. 13, 2014
Nationals TV ratings down 34 percentWASHINGTON -- Television ratings for the Washington Nationals have taken a dive this year, a trend that could impact both the current MASN negotiations and the long-term possibilities of the Nats getting their own regional sports network (RSN).According to SportsBusiness Journal’s July assessment, the Nationals are averaging just a 1.90 rating this year, down 34 percent from last season.This is particularly troubling in Washington, as the Nationals and Orioles have yet to renegotiate their current contract with MASN. The Nationals are looking for a larger piece of the revenue pie than they have been receiving since the initial incarnation of the deal was struck in 2006. But, while the Orioles’ draw is down seven percent overall this season, their total draw has now passed the Nats’ once again.The SBJ article’s primary focus is on the precipitous drop in ratings for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their first season on their new RSN. There are several different potential factors, but a lack of distribution for the channel (only carried on Time Warner Cable in the LA market) has been the biggest challenge.Such a challenge could also face the Nationals if they decide to eventually break away from MASN to create their own RSN. The Houston Astros have faced similar issues with their own network, though some of the trouble has been attributed to the team’s lack of a quality on-field product and other competing sporting events. But for the same problems to hit the Dodgers -- a storied franchise coming off a division title, and one that sits in first place in the NL West heading into the All-Star break -- portends larger issues for other clubs.
From LeBron James' official Instagram account:
Sports Illustrated reports LeBron James returns to Cleveland
WASHINGTON -- According to a Sports Illustrated report on Friday morning, LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Akron, Ohio native began his career with Cavaliers before moving to the Miami Heat in 2010.
Full story here: www.wtop.com
Could Chandler Parsons determine LeBron’s fate?
WASHINGTON -- The LeBron James sweepstakes again has the NBA world at a standstill. Who is the one man that might force his hand to make his decision before the end of the weekend? Chandler Parsons.
Parsons is not a household name for casual fans, but the free agent wingman, who has spent his three-year NBA career with the Houston Rockets, signed a three-year, $46-million offer sheet with the cross-state rival Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. The Rockets have 72 hours to match the offer, or else Parsons will go to Dallas.
This seemingly unrelated move between two teams that are not even courting James could very well have a complicated domino-effect on the entire free agent market.
Houston is pursuing free agent Chris Bosh, who has been James’ teammate in Miami the past four years. Because of NBA free agency rules, the Rockets can afford to sign Bosh first, then re-sign Parsons without going over the salary cap, but not the other way around.
However, Bosh’s decision whether or not to stay in Miami likely hinges on James’ decision to do the same. He has reportedly been offered a four-year, $88 million max contract by Houston -- more than the Heat can afford -- but is waiting on the LeBron sweepstakes to unfold.
This leaves the Rockets in the unenviable position of trying to decide whether or not to hold out for Bosh, who could be a difference maker in a loaded Western Conference, at the risk of losing Chandler. And it potentially pushes James’ decision up ahead of Sunday’s impending 72-hour deadline, depending on Bosh’s decision.
All of this is to say that, while James is entitled to take his time in the free agent process and still may well do so, Parsons’ decision has forced the Rockets’ and Chris Bosh’s hands, and could send the entire free agent market spinning into the weekend.
Is this the catch of the year?
WASHINGTON -- The Boston Red Sox have a had a rough season following their World Series win in 2013. But young center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. may be giving them reason to hope for the future.
Bradley turned in one of the top highlights of the season Wednesday in Boston, getting a tremendous jump and laying out to rob the White Sox’ Tyler Flowers of extra bases. Was it the catch of the year? Decide for yourself.
Bryce Harper's new 'This Is SportsCenter' adWASHINGTON – A new This Is SportsCenter commercial for ESPN features the softer side of Bryce Harper.
The young Nationals star is shown watching the classic baseball flick “Field of Dreams,” leading to his trademark eye black running. See the full spot below.by WTOP Sports via YouTube 7/10/2014 2:30:56 PM
Get your Brazilian soccer name
Getting ready for today's World Cup semifinal between Brazil and Germany? We'll have live coverage here on WTOPspin later this afternoon, but in the meantime, you can get your very own Brazilian soccer name right here.
I backed Brazil to win, Fred to score & declared Luiz my man of the tournament. I feel a complete and utter prat.by Piers Morgan via twitter 7/8/2014 9:20:50 PM
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