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Writers Vote Politics, Not Baseball, in Rejecting Curt Schilling for Hall of Fame – Breitbart

 

 

Writers Vote Politics, Not Baseball, in Rejecting Curt Schilling for Hall of Fame

 

Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez, and Tim Raines won election to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Curt Schilling didn’t.

What’s wrong with this podium picture?

Schilling enjoys select company in the 3,000 strikeout club. None of the three honorees made the 3,000 hit club. Though Bagwell (.297 BA, 1,529 RBI, 449 HR), Rodriguez (311 HR, 1,332 RBI, .296 BA), and Raines (.303 BA 1,571 R, 808 SB) can make a solid if not strong case for Cooperstown credentials, Schilling, in helping to carry three different clubs to the World Series, seems if not a shoo-in at least a bloody sock-in for the Hall.

In baseball, a game of statistics, three rings plus 3,000 strikeouts equals Cooperstown (at least it did for everyone untarnished by steroids not named Curt Schilling). But in politics, a game that relies on fuzzy math, 2 + 2 = 5. Politics trumped baseball on Wednesday.

Don’t believe Curt Schilling when he says, “I promise you, if I had said, ‘Lynch Trump,’ I’d be getting in with about 90 percent of the vote this year”? Read the words of the voters.

“I had Schilling on my ballot in 2013 and 2014, the first two years he was eligible,” Randy Miller writes. “I rarely change my mind after deciding on a candidate. But I changed my mind on Schilling. His recent antics forced me to reevaluate about his character as a player, which ultimately turned Schilling to a ‘no’ vote for 2016, 2017 …  forever.”

(more…)

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Daniel Murphy’s Christianity Causes Liberal Mets Fans to ‘Hate the Homophobe, Love the Hometeam’ – Breitbart

 

Daniel Murphy boasts seven home runs and a .421 batting average this postseason. But because his stats on gay issues do not impress some Mets fans, they root against him. Yes, it’s come to this.

“Normally, I’d say I’m in,” Joe Dziemianowicz explains in the New York Daily News. “But because I’m out, I can’t. Yep, it’s a gay thing. Murphy is famously homophobic — and that doesn’t play in a major league town where the pennant is rainbow-colored.” The theater critic calls the infielder “a real bush leaguer about homosexuality” and describes his conflicted response to Murphy’s postseason heroics as “hate the homophobe, love the hometeam.”

“I don’t respect his views,” Joe Buzinski writes at Outsports. “Unlike gay people, Murphy chose a lifestyle,” he writes of the infielder’s Christianity, “and it’s one that preaches that there is something wrong with who I am. I wish he had chosen a lifestyle more inclusive and less judgmental.”

The Twittericans blast the Metropolitan blasting baseballs:

Murphy actually called the Mets bringing in Major League Baseball’s homosexual “Ambassador for Inclusion” to speak to his team this spring “forward thinking” and maintained that he would welcome a gay teammate. “I do disagree with the lifestyle,” he added, “100 percent.” A Christian slammed in the New York media for taking two days off to support his wife during the birth of their first child in 2014, Murphy vowed to “stick to baseball” and refrain from speaking to the press about his beliefs following the controversy surrounding his comments on homosexuality.

The NLCS MVP’s media detractors just can’t seem to follow suit and “stick to baseball.” If hitting home runs in six straight playoff games can’t change the subject, what could?

It seems a massive category mistake to judge athletes by the name they drop in a box, or the house of worship they visit on the weekend, instead of by their exploits on the playing field. Surely we understand that Hillary Clinton’s limitations on a gridiron don’t undermine her credentials as a presidential candidate. But we’ve become so thoroughly politicized that we knock a baseball player enjoying one of the best playoff runs in the history of the sport because a reporter coaxed him into divulging his view of same-sex relations as sinful.

Call it, depending upon your outlook, the Tim Tebow or Michael Sam effect—a culture warrior becoming a super fan based on a competitor’s religion, sexuality, or politics. ESPN morphing into MSNBC surely accelerated this development. And the Mets, by compelling players to pose for a team picture wearing orange shirts supporting gun control this season, contribute to politicizing a place where Americans seek an escape from politics. Sports for sports’ sake seems a lost cause among people who cover sports for a living.

Who cares if a player supports or opposes gay marriage if he can hit, run, and field? People who only ostensibly care about baseball surely care. Like running a tech company or baking wedding cakes, baseball has become a playing field for culture warriors to go into battle. Speak out at the risk of bean balls flying from the press box.

The phenomena strikes as a non sequitur. But sports fans and ideologues make for not-so strange bedfellows. They share the same blinders. They know their opinions before examining the facts. Both groups appear impervious to reason: neither last place nor the failure of their favored candidate to register in polls jars the faith in the team or candidate’s chances of success. Both fans and ideologues indulge in the impulse to reject critical thinking in favor of manufacturing reasons to support a predetermined conclusion. So, perhaps the convergence of both comes as an inevitability. But shouldn’t journalists at least strive to transcend partisanship for cause or team?

Peyton Manning readies to break the NFL’s passing record early next month but donates tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates. Magic Johnson won five NBA titles but supports Hillary Clinton and cut an advertisement for ObamaCare. Those who cheer or boo them based on their political outlook say much about themselves and our ideologically-drenched society but little about their targets. Manning and Magic remain great even if we find that their opinions grate. They’re players and not pundits, after all.

Daniel Murphy’s enemies fixating on a remark, dubbed “brave” by MLB’s gay Ambassador of Inclusion, made more than six months ago indicates a jaundiced perspective. There’s a Rorschach test quality to responding to a player hitting seven home runs in nine playoff games with taunts of “homophobe,” “bigot,” and “hater.” They’re not seeing him. We’re seeing them.

 

 

Source: Daniel Murphy’s Christianity Causes Liberal Mets Fans to ‘Hate the Homophobe, Love the Hometeam’ – Breitbart

After fight, Pacquiao wants to take Mayweather to bible study | Sports | GMA News Online

 

Manny Pacquiao is the 48th boxer seeking to beat Floyd Mayweather. If he emerges victorious in their May 2 megafight in Las Vegas, he can teach the American an experience he has never faced before – the taste of defeat.

But for the Filipino ring icon that is not the message he wants to impart to the lavish Mayweather.

“I want to teach him a lesson,” he told Balitanghali in an interview during his training in Los Angeles. “To be a good person, to be an example for everybody. To let him know that there is God and we should humble ourselves before God.”

Mayweather lives a lavish lifestyle and is particularly proud of the riches he makes as a boxer. The fighter has also run into trouble outside the ring, having been convicted twice of domestic abuse.

His profile could not be more different from Pacquiao, who serves as the Sarangani representative in the House of Representatives and is known for spending his money for charity work.

Asked how he would put the lesson across to the pound-for-pound king, Pacquiao, a devout Christian, said he would do it with his mouth and not with his fists.

 

“After the fight if I have a chance, I can share the gospel. I can share the Word of God,” he said. –

 

After fight, Pacquiao wants to take Mayweather to bible study | Sports | GMA News Online.

New York Mets player Daniel Murphy disagrees with Billy Bean’s ‘gay lifestyle’ 100 percent – Outsports

 

 

 

Billy Bean, the former Major League Baseball player who is openly gay and is now the sport’s Ambassador for Inclusion, donned a New York Mets uniform Tuesday as he raised awareness for gay ball players. One Met, Daniel Murphy, was glad Bean came to visit even if he disagrees with Bean’s sexual orientation.

Here are Murphy’s entire quotes, as reported by Mike Vorkunov of New Jersey.com:

Murphy is ready for a gay teammate, he says. The Mets consulted players this winter before bringing Bean in and Murphy called the idea “forward thinking.” More than just listening to a seminar or speech, it was an opportunity to get to known an individual. He regretted that he had not had the chance to meet Bean yet.

Murphy, a devout Christian, said he would embrace Bean despite a divergence in their beliefs.

“I disagree with his lifestyle,” Murphy said. “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”

But Murphy also saw the moment as an opening for a conversation and an avenue to get past stereotypes. The issue, he says, was “uncharted territory.”

While there may be a perception that Christian athletes may not be accepting of gay players, Murphy says that it is not the case.

“Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality,” he said. “We love the people. We disagree the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me. It’s the same way that there are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There’s a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That’s not love. That’s not love at all.”

I texted Bean to get his reaction and told him I was writing a story. He said he would think about it and get back to me but I have yet to hear anything (I will update if I do). I totally understand his reluctance to engage in public with Murphy given his delicate position as baseball’s liaison on gay issues. Players like Murphy exist and Bean will have to address them, though I imagine he would rather do it in private. I have no such restraints.

read more…

via New York Mets player Daniel Murphy disagrees with Billy Bean’s ‘gay lifestyle’ 100 percent – Outsports.

San Francisco Giants rely on Hunter Pence for balance

Hunter Pence is to the San Francisco Giants what ballast is to a ship. He keeps the club balanced with his dedication and leadership skills, while infusing a sense of buoyancy into the team that is powerful enough to keep it afloat, even when the water is gushing in from multiple gaping holes below the surface of the sea.

Pence had his work cut out for him last season, when Matt Cain, Angel Pagan andBrandon Belt all ended up on the shelf at the same time for a spell. After a blistering 43-21 start to the season, the Giants vessel hit an iceberg and the iceberg struck back, with the result that San Francisco plummeted from the best in Major League Baseball to tenth seed in the playoffs.

When the ship is listing and in danger of sinking, Pence is apt to don any one of a number of hats to keep the team focused, as he did in the 2012 playoffs when he transmogrified into Preacher Pence and the Traveling Medicine Show, and righted the vessel. His series of pep-rallies before each of the six elimination games played that postseason, was instrumental in propelling the Giants into the World Series, where they swept the stunned Detroit Tigers.

Hunter Pence. One Hunter Percent. Scooter-riding, goggle-eyed, fence-crashing, bench-clearing, good-natured right-fielder of the Giants. There is no other personality in Major League Baseball who comes close to exuding this Zorba-like effervescence in every part of his life. When fans all over the country started to poke fun at his iconic congeniality, by creating and carrying signs, Pence embraced it.

“Hunter Pence…played Marv from “Home Alone” …is a gatherer …struggles with long division  …puts ketchup on his hot dog

HUNTER PENCE WHISPERS, “I’M SORRY,” EVERY TIME HE CATCHES A FLY BALL.

…wears sandals with shorts …never mistakes you’re for your …eats suggested serving sizes …likes “Godfather-Part III” and  …thinks SF stands for center field” are just a few of the hundreds of signs that were seen from August through the end of the season.

If there is anything more energizing than seeing the tables turned in such a bedazzling manner, it would be witnessing Pence deriving such enjoyment out of the experience. From the moment the first sign appeared, until the Panda did his backwards flop on the third-base side of the foul line, sealing the third World Series Championship in five years for the Giants, Pence reveled in the spotlight.

Somewhere in the early part of the season, when the cameraman zeroed in on a sign in the AT&T Park stands, Mike Krukow tagged “One Hunter Percent” as the season’s best nickname. Unwilling to graciously sit and take the occasional day off, Pence had his 331-consecutive-starts streak end on the second-to-the-last day of the season, asBruce Bochy gave several of the regulars the day off. By pinch-hitting in the seventh inning, though, Pence kept his consecutive-appearances-streak alive at 382 games.

When his iconic scooter was stolen early in the season, the entire city of San Francisco went on a pilgrimage to uncover the whereabouts of Pence’s main means of transportation. Was nothing sacred?

From the June Swoon which stretched into August, to the ever-lengthening list of injuries, Pence did not allow his teammates to give up. Having Travis Ishikawa inserted into the lineup as left-fielder, a position he had only played seven times before in his MLB career, did not phase the Orange and Black one bit, and their confidence was rewarded when Ishi clinched the pennant with his monumental three-run blast.

 

Pence hit twenty home runs altogether last season, second to Buster Posey’s 22. If he had hit one more double, Pence would have had thirty doubles, twenty homers and ten triples, while knocking in 74 runs and scoring 106, second in the National League to Anthony Rendon’s 111. Of all his epic games last season, I culled ten out of the archives as reminders that he not only motivates those around him, he gets the job done himself. I listed them here from ten on down. Hunter Pence:

10) …went 4-for-5, with three extra-base-hits, two RBIs and three runs scored against the Brewers, in a 15-5 victory, August 31.

9) …went 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBI singles in a 3-1 win over Milwaukee (August 30th).

8) …as leadoff hitter had two singles and a double and scored all three times as the Giants defeated the Padres 5-3.

7) …went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs in a 10-4 victory over the Braves, May 14.

6) …had three hits and scored four runs for the first time in his Giants career in an 11-10 win over the Pirates May 5th.

5) …went 2-for-5 with a homer in a win over the A’s July ninth, the only W in four tries against Oakland last season.

4) …went 0-3 until the ninth inning, when he drilled a bases-clearing double in the ninth to produce a win and a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, July 23rd.

 3) …went 3-for-5 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored in Game Four of the World Series, a game the Giants won 11-4.

2) …made a leaping catch at the fence in the sixth inning to rob Jayson Werth of extra bases and hold onto a 2-1 lead, in a game the Giants would win 3-2, clinching the National League Division Series.

1) …launched a two-run home run and got on base four times in Game One of the 2014 World Series, as the Giants won, 7-1.

There were many choice moments from which to choose. I put the two-run home run from Game One of the World Series, as the top prize because he set the tone for a successful repeat of their 2010 and 2012 titles, under the most daunting of circumstances. Without Pagan and 2010 postseason hero Matt Cain, the task seemed undoable.

Though a Southerner (from Houston) as so many of the Giants are, Pence does not represent the stoic manner of Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, so much as theJake Peavy (Alabama) school of animation and emotion.

Preacher Pence has demonstrated that energy admirably in the locker room, with expletive-laden speeches that showed that he has not lost his touch. In fact, he had the crowd at AT&T Park in the palm of his hand, orchestrating an impromptu rally with 41,000 of his closest homies. He restrained himself admirably during this rally and kept it family-oriented.

The Dude can rock a stadium, as well as our souls, and he’s ours for at least four more years. Four more years! It sounds more like a political slogan than a baseballism. How about, Hunter Pence for Mayor of AT&T Park? Works for me.

 

After all, how wrong can 41,000 fans be?

 

 

 

San Francisco Giants rely on Hunter Pence for balance.

Carbon dioxide emissions help tropical rainforests grow faster: Study shows trees absorb more greenhouse gas than expected | Daily Mail Online

 

 

 

 

Tropical forests are growing faster than scientists thought due to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

A Nasa-led study has found that tropical forests are absorbing 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year as they photosynthesise and grow.

And this is far more than is absorbed by the vast areas of boreal forest that encircle the Arctic.

The researchers claim their findings show that rainforests like the Amazon are essential for soaking up excess greenhouse gases, and play a far greater role than had been previously realised.

Dr David Schimel, a researcher at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, who led the study, said: ‘This is good news, because uptake in boreal forests is already slowing, while tropical forests may continue to take up carbon for many years.’

However, Dr Schimel and his colleagues warn that deforestation in tropical rainforests could exacerbate climate change by leaving more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In total, they estimate that forests and other vegetation absorb around 2.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, about 30 per cent of that emitted by humans.

As emissions add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, forests worldwide are using it to grow faster.

However, the rate at which they absorb this has been hard to estimate with many studies producing contradictory results.

As many rainforests consist of mature trees that are often hundreds of years old, they were not thought to absorb much carbon dioxide.

Young fast growing trees tend to absorb more carbon dioxide as they use the carbon as they grow.

Global air flows and data on deforestation also suggested tropical forests were releasing more carbon dioxide than they absorb.

But this new study suggests the tropical forests are using far more of the carbon, and so growing far faster than previously believed.

Dr Schimel and his colleagues, whose work is published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, used computer models, satellite images, data from forest plots and photosynthetic experiments to build up a picture of how forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

He said: ‘What we’ve had up till this paper was a theory of carbon dioxide fertilisation based on phenomena at the microscopic scale and observations at the global scale that appeared to contradict those phenomena.

‘Here, at least, is a hypothesis that provides a consistent explanation that includes both how we know photosynthesis works and what’s happening at the planetary scale.

‘All else being equal, the effect is stronger at higher temperatures, meaning it will be higher in the tropics than in the boreal forests.’

However, he added that changes in water supply to forests due to changing climate and deforestation could alter the amount of carbon dioxide tropical forests are absorbing.

He said: ‘The future tropical balance of deforestation and climate sources and regrowth and carbon dioxide sinks will only remain a robust feature of the global carbon cycle if the vast tropical forests are protected from destruction.’

AMAZON DEFORESTATION FALLS

Deforestation in the world’s biggest rainforest, the Amazon, dropped by 18 per cent over the past year.

Brazil said that 4,848 square kilometers (1,870 square miles) of rain forest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014 – an area slightly larger than the US state of Rhode Island.

The figures were down from 5,891 square kilometers (2,275 square miles) cut down during the same period a year earlier.

It comes in the wake of the adoption of a controversial bill revising the Forest Code, which was 2012 after more than a decade-long effort by Brazil’s powerful agricultural lobby, mostly eased restrictions for landowners with smaller properties, allowing them to clear land closer to riverbanks.

Rain forest clearing is responsible for about 75 percent of Brazil’s emissions, as vegetation is burned and felled trees rot.

 

The Amazon extends over 6.1 million square kilometers (3.8 million square miles), with more than 60 percent within Brazil’s borders.

 

 

Carbon dioxide emissions help tropical rainforests grow faster: Study shows trees absorb more greenhouse gas than expected | Daily Mail Online.

Rare comet Siding Spring’s Mars flyby triggered meteor shower: NASA : SCIENCE : Tech Times

A meteor shower flew by Mars last month, triggered by a passing comet named Siding Spring. Two NASA missions and one ESA mission caught this rare event on their equipment, and scientists are beginning to study the data to make sense of this event. These three missions yielded new data showing that the comet directly affected Mars’s atmosphere, causing a large increase in the layer of ions in the upper atmosphere of Mars.

The comet passed by Mars on October 19. NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft all detected a change in the level of ions in Mars’s ionosphere caused by fallout from the comet. This is the first time scientists have ever been able to show a correlation between a passing meteor and an increase in the layer of ions on a planet.

Some dust from the comet burned up when it hit Mars’s atmosphere, producing a meteor shower. This dust directly affected Mars’s atmosphere.

“The comet’s dust slammed into the upper atmosphere, creating a massive and dense ionospheric layer, and literally changed the chemistry of the upper atmosphere,” said Jim Green, director of the NASA Planetary Science Division.

Green said that NASA was surprised by the amount of dust the comet generated. Fortunately, in anticipation of a potential dust storm, NASA moved its MAVEN spacecraft to avoid damage from the meteor shower.

“Observing the effects on Mars of the comet’s dust slamming into the upper atmosphere makes me very happy that we decided to put our spacecraft on the other side of Mars at the peak of the dust tail passage and out of harm’s way,” Green said.

MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph sensed the comet’s effect by observing an increase in the ultraviolet produced by magnesium and iron ions, which stayed strong for two hours after the comet’s passing and then petered out over the next two days. NASA was not able to capture images of the meteor shower, but they had an artist create a depiction of how the shower likely appeared.

MAVEN will continue to look for long-term changes that this comet’s passing may have made to the atmosphere on Mars.

via Rare comet Siding Spring’s Mars flyby triggered meteor shower: NASA : SCIENCE : Tech Times.

Madison Bumgarner and the American Way

 

 

Fans tuning-in to Game Seven of the World Series witnessed an astronomical phenomenon as much as a sporting event.

Madison Bumgarner, who won two games, saved the finale, and boasted a .43 earned-run average against the Kansas City Royals, became before America’s eyes a star so blinding that even the bright lights of the big game couldn’t drown out his brilliance.

The 6’5’’ hurler’s performance harkened back to the era before pitch counts and automatic five-man rotations. More than that, it put the exclamation point on the end of the steroid era. The San Francisco Giants star wasn’t yet born when another Bay Area-hero, Jose Canseco, won the American League MVP award in 1988, ushering in a period when a leadoff hitter knocked 50 dingers and previously nondescript players’ shoe sizes, head circumferences, and teeth mysteriously grew along with their power numbers. Jose, as he later admitted, won awards through steroids. Bumgarner earned his achievements by relying on more ancient performance enhancers: hard work, determination, perseverance.

Bumgarner hails from a town in North Carolina called Hickory, named for a tall tree that’s tough, hard, and resistant to the pressure of the elements. It’s roughly 2,500 miles from San Francisco but exactly a world away. His father built the house in which he grew up. His mother helped build Madison into a grown up in her Father’s house, a local Baptist church. At 20, the pitching phenom, bedecked in jeans, married his high-school sweetheart, a girl he had telegraphed his intentions to by gifting her a cow.

Bumgarner captivated Americans this postseason because he embodied the best in them and demonstrated what one can accomplish by adhering to their work ethic and values. After decades of Bonds, McGwire, Clemens, Sosa, and other cheaters, the humble ace exemplified the no-shortcuts, grinding ethos that made America’s Pastime, and America, great.

And in doing so, the baseball-famous Bumgarner metamorphosized into world famous, a figure that transcends a sport and permeates the consciousness of the casual fan. Before the playoffs, the Giant surely didn’t stand tallest in his division. Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw, compiling a jawdropping 21-3 record and a 1.77 ERA, pitched as the story all season. Even from his own team, the names of two-time Cy Young Award-winner Tim Lincecum, throwing a no-hitter for the second consecutive season in June, and veteran Tim Hudson struck a more familiar sound to the ears of the casual fan. But Octobers, as the leaves of the hickory tree remind us, change everything.

Tim McCarver, who caught Bob Gibson, called the 25-year-old “Gibsonesque.” Jack Morris, World Series workhorse for the Tigers, Twins, and Blue Jays championship teams, labeled the 2014 Fall Classic MVP “my kind of guy.” Curt Schilling, he of bloody sock fame, simply tweeted “best post season performance ever.”

But the most meaningful compliment came from the man who enrolled a four-year-old Madison Bumgarner in a baseball league full of bigger boys. “OMG,” his father texted him before the ninth inning of Game Seven. “You’re so much more than awesome. To see you work on the mound reminds me of watching you in high school. You are willing yourself to perfection and dragging the team along with you. I couldn’t be more proud of your baseball accomplishments.”

The accomplishments were his, not a chemist’s. They were made in Appalachia, tested near the Ozarks, and applauded betwixt and beyond. Their elbow-grease ingredients proved the same stuff that lifted the Wright Brothers, elevated Andrew Carnegie from rags to riches, and pushed Audie Murphy on to new battlefields nursing wounds that would have removed other men from them. It’s an American story, even if Americans periodically forget that’s how we got from there to here, even if baseball forgot that’s how one makes it from the bush leagues to the big leagues.

Baseball lost its way. A grounded guy from Hickory, North Carolina, reoriented the game in the right direction on Wednesday night.

via Madison Bumgarner and the American Way.

What Is Behind San Francisco Giants’ Bizarre Even-Year Postseason Magic? | Bleacher Report

 

 

It’s too easy to say it. But with the San Francisco Giants having punched their ticket to a third World Series in the last five years, we might as well:

Death, taxes and the Giants in the World Series in even years.

Such is the pattern. The Giants went to and won the World Series in 2010, did it again in 2012 and now have a shot to do it again in 2014. Even if the Kansas City Royals stop them, this whole even-year magic thing the Giants have going on is a cool trick.

Inevitably, though, the question has to be asked: How in the heck does this even-year stuff happen?

Giants skipper Bruce Bochy was asked about that recently. His response, via ESPN’s Jayson Stark:

An interesting remark. And also a familiar one for Bochy scholars. If you know where to look, you’ll find that “unselfish” is something of a buzzword of his when his guys are playing well.

Granted, Bochy’s insistence that the Giants play unselfish baseball does mesh with the popular perception of them as perhaps baseball’s ultimate team-oriented ballclub. If that’s a good enough explanation of their even-year magic for you, you’re welcome to leave it at that.

But there is more to the story. A lot more, for that matter. If we were to boil it down to just a couple common trends in particular, first would be how even-year Giants teams benefit from…

via What Is Behind San Francisco Giants’ Bizarre Even-Year Postseason Magic? | Bleacher Report.

NRL plan to grow in the Pacific region | The Roar

NRL plan to grow in the Pacific region | The Roar

NRL chief Dave Smith says the huge number of elite players with Pacific island backgrounds can help grow rugby league in the region.

Smith announced the code’s new Pacific Strategy plan on Wednesday alongside Jarryd Hayne and Sonny Bill Williams and said the high-profile pair have helped increase popularity of the game into an area that historically has been a predominantly rugby stronghold.

Dual code superstar Williams, who was part of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup-winning squad in 2011 and helped the Sydney Roosters win the NRL premiership last year, is a huge name in Samoa, the birthplace of his father.

Hayne represented Fiji in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and credits his time with the team as the catalyst for changing his life away the field and becoming one of the game’s best players.

Williams, who is recovering from a broken thumb, will fly to Samoa this weekend to kick-start the program while Hayne is due to fly to Fiji later this year once Parramatta finish their season.

“We’ve been thinking for a while how we might develop the game,” Smith said.

“Nearly 40 per cent of our players are from the islands so I think it’s important to recognise that and the development potential there is important for the game.

“I think it’s very possible that we could see a team from the islands in the World Cup final in 2017.”

Papua New Guinea – the only country in the world that has rugby league as its national sport – had a team in the Queensland Cup competition this year where they have more than held the their own.

Smith said it was too soon to talk about a team from the Pacific having a team in the NRL but believes the game has a chance to help introduce football clinics and education programs for children in addition to fostering better community links with local governments and businesses.

“PNG has been going for about a year now and has been incredibly successful,” he said.

“It was about the time being right and having so many players who want to give something back.

“We’ll be working in tandem with respective governments and making sure as the community benefits come through everybody plays their part,” he said.

“The opportunity for us as a game to make people’s lives better in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and PNG is phenomenal and the rich flow of players coming into the game means it is worth the investment.”

via NRL plan to grow in the Pacific region | The Roar.