On Daniel Murphy and Paternity Leave

Molly Friedman and Nicole Lyn Pesce, reporting for the NY Daily News:

New father and Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy is the latest parental punching bag after three New York sportscasters mocked him for skipping the team’s first two games to be with his wife and son — but experts and parents say the ballplayer was right to take the paternity leave, help his wife, bond with his kid and then get back to work.

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Father may know best on TV, but on sports talk radio, retribution was swift. On separate WFAN shows, broadcasters Mike Francesa, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton said Murphy should have sucked it up to support his teammates not his wife.

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On Sparks Bay Area Sports

Along with my good friend Karen Datangel, I’ve spent the last couple months being part of an exclusive Giants Insiders group. We’re local to the Bay Area, and we all follow the San Francisco Giants.

The purpose of the Insiders program was/is to act as a private beta for the Sparks Bay Area app for iPhone, which officially launched this week on the App Store. The simplest way to describe Sparks is as a Twitter for sports, in essence. You write short, Twitter-like messages (with an image) to "spark" conversation about your team(s). As a sports fan, I was eager to be part of the beta group.

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‘Throw Until You Die’

Tom Verducci profiles Masahiro Tanaka for SI. On pitching in Japan, Verducci writes:

By the time Tanaka put himself up for auction in Beverly Hills, he’d thrown 1,315 total innings through age 24, a workload unheard of in the majors for any young pitcher over the past 40 years. The last player to be worked that hard that young was Frank Tanana, who debuted in 1973 at age 19 and whose shoulder was shot by the time he was 25.

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‘Concussion Game Plan’

Apple highlights how iPad is helping treat concussions with a new “Your Verse” page:

Sports-related concussions seem to be in the headlines every day, but detecting them remains mysterious — more art than science. They rarely show up on imaging tests. And their symptoms are often hidden by athletes who don’t want to miss a single play. Now Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is using iPad to take the mystery out of concussions with an app that lets trainers monitor symptoms moments after an event occurs. Already players are making safer returns to the field, court, and ice.

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On Scott Cousins, Buster Posey, and Rule 7.13

Andrew Baggarly for CSNBayArea.com, on MLB’s new no-collisions-at-home-plate rule:

While stressing that the rule was subject to an umpires interpretation, Torre said if the events of May 25, 2011, were to play out this season, Cousins would have been called out, possibly ejected and subject to potential discipline including a fine and suspension.

“He just went right to (Posey),” Torre said. “And that’s against the rule. You have to go to the plate.”

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On Richard Sherman

Dave Zirin for The Nation, on the Seahawks’ cornerback speaking his mind:

James Baldwin once said that America was a country devoted to the death of the paradox. We want our jocks to be jocks, our poets to be poets, our ditch diggers to be ditch diggers and our black athletes from Compton to not have the ability to call out the dominant culture on its own hypocritical bullshit. Richard Sherman is that paradox. But unlike the athletic paradoxes of the past, he is also acutely aware of the ways in which twenty-first-century media are attempting to put him in that box and kill his paradox. Richard Sherman has the ability to use words as weapons and spit arguments as easily as he spits insults. That makes him interesting. That makes him provocative. That makes him dangerous. And Beats by Dre aside, that makes him difficult as hell to brand.

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On the 49ers’ Full Potential

Ray Ratto, writing for CSNBayArea.com:

But 2014 will be a hugely important year, and not because of the gaudy new digs. The 49ers are that very good team that has the wherewithal to be great but hasn’t proven it in the all-in hand yet. What they have accomplished is very difficult. What they have not yet done is more difficult still.

Astute analysis of why the Niners lost tonight in Seattle — contrary to what Anquan Boldin thinks, they clearly aren’t better than the Seahawks. Losing two out of three games this year proves that thesis, I think. Going to three straight NFC title games is no small feat, to be sure, but San Francisco needs to get better — Colin Kaepernick especially — in order to come through when it really matters.

‘Dear NFL Owners: It’s Not Your Coaches. It’s You.’

Dave Zirin for The Nation, on the cronyism that is NFL ownership:

These are not franchises in need of “someone inspiring” or “smarter game schemes” or “Jon Gruden” or whatever threadbare hooey gets expectorated from NFL talking heads. The problem is owners whose duplicity, meddling, graft and parasitical parsimony have turned their teams into joy-sucking failures. Most damning is that in each and every case, with the possible exception of Detroit and Tampa Bay, the team would be better served by just firing the owners and keeping the head coaches who were sent packing. Even in the cases of Detroit and Tampa Bay, where it is a definite positive for all concerned to wave goodbye to Jim Schwartz and Greg “Chet” Schiano, you are still left with owners who once thought it would be a great idea to hire Jim Schwartz and Greg Schiano.

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MLB Commissioner ’100 Percent’ Retiring in 2015

Jayson Stark, reporting for ESPN.com:

On the eve of baseball’s quarterly owners meetings and as he begins what he says will be his final year in office, Selig was adamant that, despite previous instances where he said he’d retire but stayed on, this time there is no turning back.

“It’s 100 percent,” said Selig, who will turn 80 in July. “This is definitely it. I’m more comfortable today than I was when I [announced] it in October, if that’s possible. Jan. 24, 2015, is it. And I’m very comfortable with that. I’m done.”

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‘Heavy Hitters on Pariahs’ Row’

Richard Sandomir, writing for The New York Times:

The message is clear: Stellar achievements like Bonds’s 762 home runs, which once would have made election to the Hall a cinch, cannot be accompanied by a strong whiff or reality of banned drug use. In Rodriguez’s case, baseball believes that he has used prohibited substances for years and interfered with its investigation into his conduct.

I highly doubt Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, et al, will ever get in — maybe posthumously.

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