Little League World Series on TV is wrong, but really it's wrong even without TV

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Little League World Series on TV is wrong, but really it's wrong even without TV

By DWIGHT JAYNES (@dwightjaynes)

If you aren't a regular reader of Abby's World on this website you should be. And this week Abby Chin really hits the nail on the head with her blog post on the Little League World Series.

I refuse to watch any of it on ESPN, just on general principles. No good can come from putting 12-year-old kids on national television playing baseball. It's just so out of whack and I refuse to support it.

I remember years ago when I was covering minor-league baseball one of the players was watching a telecast of it in the clubhouse and turned to me with a sad smile and shook his head.

"More people are watching these kids play than have ever watched me play," he said. "And what I want to know is, where do these kids go from here? What could top this? Look at the size of that crowd and the stadium they're playing in.

"Twelve years old and they'll likely never have anything like this again."

And then he added, "And I can't imagine what it would be like to drop a fly ball or make a baserunning mistake on national television at the age of 12..."

I agree. But I'll go you one better -- I don't think the whole concept of kids at 12 playing a "World Series" makes any sense, either. I coached Little League for years and was constantly frustrated by how it screws up the baseball season for kids.

To get the whole all-star thing done in time for the World Series in Williamsport, Pa., most leagues stop playing by mid-June, just when baseball weather arrives in these parts. But worse, an entire league shuts down so that 12 kids can move on as "all-stars."

So the season is over for dozens of other kids while those special ones get to move forward and keep playing and get the sort of intense coaching they all should get. And the problem is, at that age, many of the best kids are just the biggest ones, the early developing ones. And they are usually the ones with advantageous birthdays that allow them to actually be 13 by the time the tournament is in full swing.

It's really an unfair system and it's not conducive to developing quality baseball players over the long haul, which is why Little League -- at least in this area -- has lost ground to local baseball associations such as Junior Baseball.

The local organizations usually sanction many more games, allow teams to play later into the summer and stop any playoff action at the state level -- which is plenty far enough.

When it comes to Little League, my advice is just say no.

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, Blazers know a lot can happen and happen quickly

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, Blazers know a lot can happen and happen quickly

HOUSTON – The proof was in the pudding-- there was one team that seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, and there was one team that was is still trying to find its way.

The Rockets took it to the Blazers 132-108 at the Toyota Center on Monday night.

“I think at every point in the season you come across teams, and some teams are playing well, some teams are not playing so well,” Damian Lillard said postgame. “That’s how every season is. I think right now they’re just in a stretch where they’re playing really well, and we’re still finding our way. They played their game, and did a lot of things they wanted to do, and we didn’t take a whole lot away from them. That was the story of the game.”

But what about the story of the Trail Blazers 5-9 start to the season?

It may very well have to do with continuity.

Think about this for a moment – the Blazers have a total of nine new players on their roster, including their two, two-way players. Now, Carmelo Anthony is about to enter the fray.

Portland took pride in its continuity over the last handful of seasons and said many times that team’s familiarity had helped lead them to success. They talked about their maturity as a unit.

It’s ironic the Blazers were playing in Houston on Monday night.

Last season, the Rockets started out the season 1-5.

Houston kept with it, though, because like everyone says: It’s a long season.

The Rockets finished with the fifth best record in the league, 53-29.  They eventually lost to Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.

Fifty-three wins, after going 4-7 through their first 11 games.

The Blazers currently stand at 5-9 on the season, which is tied for 12th in the Western Conference standings with the San Antonio Spurs.

Nearly every Trail Blazer has referenced how much being on the road will continue to help them become more familiar with each other.

That takes time, and luckily for the Blazers, they still have that time.

Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts offered up this message postgame:

“It’s a long season. A lot can happen, and you’ve got to move onto the next one. In some ways, you’ve got to have a short memory. Winning two nights ago in San Antonio was a big win for us and we knew this would be a tough one coming in. But, the thing is, you never know when you’re gonna get on a roll, and all it takes is one or two games to get on that roll.”

We'll see if the Blazers will begin that roll Tuesday night when Portland is back in action against the 4-9 New Orleans Pelicans. 

Switching it up: The Rockets defense led to the Blazers stagnation

Switching it up: The Rockets defense led to the Blazers stagnation

HOUSTON – The Trail Blazers finished with a season-high 28 assists on Monday night, but yet watching the game you might not believe that.

After the 132-108 loss to the Rockets, the Blazers explained how their offense went "stagnant."

Just as the Rockets do, they switched on nearly all screens against the Trail Blazers. And as many opposing teams often do, Houston tried to take  Damian Lillard out of the game.

Early in Monday night's loss, the switches opened up the lane for Nassir Little and Hassan Whiteside. Yet, the Blazers weren’t able to continue to take advantage of those mis-matches.

“They played their game. They played a good game. I think we could’ve done a better job, but give them credit. They did what they do. They got up a lot of threes and really hurt us on the offensive rebounds… They made us stagnant a little bit offensively because they switch a lot. We’ll be better prepared for it next time.” -- Rodney Hood

On the season, the Trail Blazers are averaging 18.6 assists per game, which ranks dead last in the league. 

Damian Lillard was dropping dimes against the Rockets, however. He finished with 13 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds.

Lillard leads the Blazers in assists with 7.1 per game, which is actually 10th best in the league.

Lillard acknowledged he was able to get those assists by the Rockets switching.

 “Usually when a team is switching, you end up getting bigs matched up on guards, and naturally you’re gonna try to take advantage of the match-up,” Lillard said. “Early, we were throwing it into Whiteside when smaller guys were on him, and then other times when a big was on me, or CJ, or Hoodie, we were attacking the bigs. But, when you’re up against that, there’s ways to take advantage of it with still having movement and moving the ball… Instead of just playing one-on-one. It did get stagnant.”

Lillard had a tough night shooting, going 4-of-15 from the field and just 1-of-6 from deep, so he got involved in other ways.

CJ McCollum, however, remained hot from the field, a carryover from Saturday’s game in San Antonio.

McCollum shot 10-of-19 from the field, while also hitting five of his 12 three-point attempts vs. the Rockets. He led the way with 25 points. 

Despite shooting well, McCollum agreed there wasn’t much movement at times.

“They switched everything and it makes it hard to play offensively and then you get into playing one-on-one.”

The Trail Blazers will now look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans, who are currently 4-9 on the season.

Trail Blazers lose: James Harden always plays as if he has a cheat code

Trail Blazers lose: James Harden always plays as if he has a cheat code

James Harden went out and did what he does Monday night in Houston. He didn’t even do it as well or as often as he usually does.

The guy averages 39.5 points, 14.6 three-point attempts and 14.8 free-throw attempts per game. And he fell short of all those things.

“If you would have told me that he would shoot 10 threes and 10 free throws, I would probably take that all night,” Trail Blazer Coach Terry Stotts said. “For him, he had a sub-par night.”

But par for Harden is different than other players. He’s a scoring and foul-drawing machine. Along the way he has his tricks – for opponents and referees – and pulled some of them off against the Trail Blazers as his Rockets dumped Portland 132-108.

Everyone knows about his step-back three-point shots. And the way he throws a leg out on that shot as he’s falling backwards, very often drawing fouls on unsuspecting defenders, even though officials know he does that every night. He travels more than most players, too, and gets away with it most of the time.

All in all, he’s probably the hardest-to-watch great player I’ve ever seen. Because it's as if he has a cheat code.

For the record, he finished with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists, hitting five of his 10 threes. For Harden, that’s practically a night off, rather than an off-night.

But his skilled ball handling and clever moves combined with his ability to fool referees make him an almost impossible player to defend.

“He gets calls every night,” CJ McCollum said. “A lot of them are fouls. He knows how to play the game. He’s aggressive, he’s smart. Got to give him credit. Averaging 20 points a game in this league is tough, Averaging 30 is great. Averaging 35 or 40 is next-level great.”

Lillard talked about the hazards of trying to defend Harden when he’s getting the calls he often gets.

“It’s hard to defend,” Lillard said, “When he’s driving to the basket, you don’t want to touch him. When he’s rising up for a three, you don’t want to get too close to him because he’s kicking his legs out and throwing his arms up on his follow-through, through your arms. If you get that type of whistle, it’s tough to defend.”

What made Harden doubly tough on Monday was his passing skills. He drew players to him and often dished off to teammates for easy baskets.

“He did what he normally does,” Rodney Hood said. “And he got his teammates involved. He wasn’t as aggressive as he’s been in the past couple games, but he got everyone else involved and I think that’s what got them going.”

And so it goes. Playing the Rockets, especially in the regular season, is going to be a tough task. In the playoffs, when the officiating is usually better and the pressure is heavier, things have always changed for Houston and Harden.

But this year, time will tell.

Carmelo Anthony calls Portland the "perfect opportunity" to get back on track

Carmelo Anthony calls Portland the "perfect opportunity" to get back on track

HOUSTON – As the Trail Blazers and Rockets game was coming to a close on Monday night, the newest Trail Blazer Carmelo Anthony was sharing his side of the story.

Melo posted on his Youtube page a video describing his feelings on how the reported deal went down with Portland, and how he is preparing for this new chapter in his life both physically and mentally.

The last year and a half as just been like an emotional rollercoaster.

The 10-time All-Star described how he got the call from the Trail Blazers last Wednesday and says, “that Thursday was a commitment.”

“Let’s really get serious about this, let’s make something happen that led to the next day which was Friday and they wanted me to come and get right into it.”

But Carmelo explained how he needed a few days to get back into a mental and emotional state:

“I had almost detached myself from the game a little bit,” Anthony said.    

The 35-year-old feels like the stars have aligned now with Portland, saying, “now it seems like a perfect opportunity."

Melo will now meet the Blazers in New Orleans. The Blazers and Pelicans tip-off at 5:00pm PT Tuesday. 

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO HERE:

Instant Analysis: Rockets prove to be too much against Blazers

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Instant Analysis: Rockets prove to be too much against Blazers

HOUSTON – Both the Trail Blazers and Rockets got out and ran early and often on Monday night. Early in the game, it was all about who was more successful on the fastbreak and who could get to the free-throw line more.

The Rockets blew the game wide open in the third quarter.

Monday in Houston marked the first night of a back-to-back for the Blazers. Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts pulled his starters with 3:49 to go in the game. Houston led 120-99 at the point before the Rockets continued to roll to their 11th overall victory.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Rockets 132, Trail Blazers 108

Here are three quick takeaways from Monday’s loss:

1.  So much attention on Lillard opened up opportunities for others

The Rockets, as they do, switched on nearly all screens against the Blazers and with so much of their focus on Damian Lillard, the lane opened up for Nassir Little and Hassan Whiteside early in the game, but the Blazers had a hard time converting in the second half.  

2. Harden doing what Harden does

Whether it was drawing fouls, especially on the young Blazer defenders, finishing at the rim, or knocking down threes, James Harden was putting up MVP-type numbers and leading his team to a victory.

Harden also took advantage of his matchup against Blazers rookie Nassir Little. Harden went to his bag of tricks to bait Little into fouling him from deep. Little racked up four fouls in the first half.

The connection between Harden and Clint Capela was also on full display. That’s what makes Harden so difficult to defend, he’ll get his buckets, but he’ll also find his teammates for the lob or hand-off down low.

3. Rockets overpower Blazers on the boards

Heading into the fourth quarter, Houston was outrebounding Portland, 46-32. The Rockets also had 23-second chance points after three quarters compared to the Blazers’ eight.  Houston showed off its weapons on both ends and proved once again why the Rockets were predicted to be one of the top teams to beat in the West.

Up Next: The Blazers will play in their second leg of this back-to-back when they visit New Orleans on Tuesday night. The Blazers and Pelicans tip-off at 5:00pm PT.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!

 

4 notable post-bye week updates from Seahawks HC Pete Carroll

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USATI

4 notable post-bye week updates from Seahawks HC Pete Carroll

The Seattle Seahawks returned to work on Monday for a bonus practice following the team’s Week 11 bye.

Pete Carroll spoke to reporters following the session and provided a few interesting updates regarding Seattle’s roster and other NFL headlines. Here’s what you need to know from the presser.

1. Tyler Lockett (leg) is on the mend

Lockett spent two nights at Stanford hospital to make sure his leg contusion didn’t worsen. Carroll said initially there was fear of compartment syndrome developing. Carroll said he felt badly for Lockett as it’s “always a weird feeling” leaving guys behind.

The good news is that Lockett is on the road to recovery, and there’s still a chance that he plays in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“He’s doing better,” Carroll said. “We’ll know more later in the week, but we’re hoping – planning on him being able to play. He’s got to show it to us, so we’ll see.”

2. Seattle looking at a TE swap in Week 12

Unlike Lockett, Carroll wasn’t as positive about Luke Willson (hamstring).

“It’s going to take Luke a bit. I don’t think he’ll have a chance to make it back this week. We’ll see what happens.”

That all but assures that the Seahawks will activate Ed Dickson off of Injured Reserve. The deadline to do so is 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Jordan Roos is a likely roster casualty in order to make room for Dickson. Phil Haynes would become the backup center if that ended up being the case. Wilson could also be an IR candidate if they deem his hamstring injury severe enough to warrant such a move.

“We’ve been waiting for the opportunity to get Ed to go,” Carroll said. “We’re thinking that’s where we’re going to go with this.”

3. A potential opportunity coming for Ugo Amadi

Seattle’s fourth-round pick has been a staple on special teams and has flourished into a standout gunner on punt coverage. But apparently he’s been progressing on defense as well.

“He’s doing really well,” Carroll said. “He’s been a playmaker on special teams throughout. His opportunities will continue to come about because he’s been so consistent in everything he’s doing. He hasn’t done anything that isn’t good.

“I’m anxious for him to contribute more. He’s been with us long enough that it’s time for him to get some more opportunities.”

Amadi is working primarily at nickel while getting a few reps at safety as well. Given that Jamar Taylor has struggled a bit in recent weeks, Carroll hinted that Amadi’s time could be coming.

“He’s in a competitive situation,” Carroll said of Taylor. “He has to keep doing well to hold his spot.”

4. Seattle misses Colin Kaepernick’s workout.

Carroll said that the Seahawks sent a representative to attend Kaepernick’s workout on Saturday in Atlanta. However, once the location was moved last minute away from the Falcons practice facility, Carroll said that logistics didn’t work out.

“I was real curious to see how the workout went,” Carroll said. “Just competing as always.”

That feels a bit odd to me. If 27 teams were apparently able to make it at one location, it’s weird that only eight were able to make it to the revised location. The high school was reportedly only an hour or so away from the Falcons facility. It kind of seems like a statement being made by the teams who opted not to make the drive.

Get to know ‘Cable Thanos,’ the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

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Russell Wilson/Twitter

Get to know ‘Cable Thanos,’ the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

You might know this guy already, or at least know of him. If you don’t, you’ve assuredly seen his work pop into your social media feeds.

His name is Josh Cashman – a 24-year-old from Mukilteo, Wash., who is a lifelong Seahawks fan and current student at Western Washington University majoring in Multidisciplinary Studies and Video Production. You likely know him by his Twitter handle: @cablethanos_.

He’s the mastermind behind the viral Seattle Seahawks hype videos beginning in 2018. Cashman, the latest guest on the Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast, detailed how these videos came to be.

But let’s start with his moniker. Where’d “Cable Thanos” come from? The Avengers reference is pretty obvious, but Cashman explained that it was meant as a joke toward Tom Cable. Some on Twitter pointed out that Cable shared a resemblance with Marvel’s most epic villain. So Cashman edited something featuring Cable wearing Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet. Instead of Infinity Stones, the gauntlet was filled with underwhelming offensive linemen. When Cable snapped his fingers, a la Thanos in the movie “Infinity Wars,” Russell Wilson disintegrated like the Avengers.

Now back to the videos. The first one was made after the Seahawks beat the Lions last season to improve to 4-3.

Cashman created it almost satirically given that nobody expected Seattle to be any good. Based on all preseason expectations, 4-3 felt like a record worth celebrating, even if it was mostly in jest. Seahawks Twitter loved the video. While Cashman only expected to make the one, the people demanded for more.

“They kept winning and I kept making them and here we are,” Cashman told NBC Sports Northwest.

The videos are hard to describe – a combination of fun and ridiculous that leave you asking yourself, “What on earth did I just watch?” (Deadspin compiled a few of the videos into one article)

“I don’t pride myself on its professionalism, I pride myself on as in-your-face-as-possible and as crazy as I can make it,” Cashman said.

He’s doing a damn good job of sticking to that mission statement. The football highlights take a back seat in Cashman’s videos to well-timed movie references, video game clips and other bits and pieces of pop culture. A healthy dose of poking fun at media who count out the Seahawks is also a sure-fire way to rally the troops on social media.

After posting a few videos, Cashman’s work broke outside of the bubble of Seahawks Twitter. They went viral with fans and media around the country wondering what was happening in the Pacific Northwest. There was a FOMO element that had others wishing they were part of the Seahawks Twitter community.

Cashman’s video after Seattle’s win against the Chiefs in Week 16 literally changed his life forever. To that point, no Seahawks player had interacted with one of the pieces. But this one caught the eye of Russell Wilson. Seattle’s franchise QB quote tweeted the video which sent Cashman's Twitter ablaze.

“My notifications were going crazy,” Cashman said. “I couldn’t look away from my phone. It was blowing my mind.”

Cashman, in random fashion parallel to his videos, replied to Wilson asking if he’d like to play Super Smash Bros together. It was meant as a joke, not that Cashman wouldn’t want to play video games with Wilson, but because he assumed there was zero chance of it ever happening. And yet, Wilson accepted the offer.

“Two months later I was at his office, and now I’m part of his team,” Cashman said.

Wilson and Cashman were joined by fellow Seahawks players D.J. Fluker and Jaron Brown for the video game session. Wilson used Donkey Kong and he wasn’t very good, according to Cashman.

“He was like a D+,” he said of Wilson’s video game abilities.

That meetup took place in May. Now, as Cashman alluded to, he’s part of Wilson’s production company West2East Empire. He’s one of the editors and producers that puts together all types of recap and promo videos, usually surrounding Wilson and wife Ciara’s many ventures.

Cashman said the quarterback seldom calls him by his real name, instead referring to him by his Twitter handle. After wins, Wilson will reach out to Cashman and the rest of his team asking for innovative ideas for social videos.

“He knows what I’m good at and what I can do,” Cashman said. “It’s a collaborative effort. We are all sending ideas to each other.”

His work – both the short clips and his famed two-minute long hype videos – have collectively garnered several million views on Twitter.

Cashman used to make one after every win, but now they’re simply too involved to keep up with that pace. Now he saves his masterpieces for “big wins,” including Seattle’s Week 10 victory against the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football.”

“Hopefully we can get some more big wins so we can have more videos,” he said.

At 8-2, there’s a strong chance that the Seahawks keep Cashman busy through the final month and a half of 2019 and even as the calendar turns to 2020.

“That one win proved so much for this team, and I think they could actually go really far,” Cashman said.

Catch the entire conversation with Cashman on the Talkin' Seahawks Podcast.

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: A conversation with 'Cable Thanos,' the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: A conversation with 'Cable Thanos,' the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

If you're scrolling through Seattle Seahawks football related content on Twitter or social media, chances are high that you've seen a video that has gone viral from an account called 'Cable Thanos'.

On the latest Talkin' Seahawks Podcast, Seahawks Insider Joe Fann sits chats with ‘Cable Thanos’, the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos on Twitter and Youtube. The two dive into the behind the scenes of making the viral videos and how it all got started. Also, they talk about Cable Thanos, AKA Josh's, relationship with Russell Wilson, and what it's like to hang out with the QB of his favorite team.

Listen to the full podcast below:

MORE ON THE SEAHAWKS

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Seattle Seahawks positional grades through week 10

 

Pregame Notebook: Blazers expecting Rockets to have a faster pace

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Pregame Notebook: Blazers expecting Rockets to have a faster pace

HOUSTON -- The Trail Blazers (5-8) visit the Houston Rockets (10-3) tonight as Portland gets set for its second of six games on the road. The Blazers and Rockets tip-off at 5:00pm PT on NBC Sports Northwest.

Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard explained the challenges they will face in Houston, specifically with the duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

“I expect [the Rockets] to play how they always do,” Lillard said at Monday morning’s shootaround. “I don’t think they’ve changed much. The only difference between this year, last year, and the year before that is the pace. Obviously, you add Russ, he likes to push it, play in transition, play in space, and James prefers half court… They have a lot of shooters out there and they’re going to play in the paint… It’s going to be threes and at the rim, so that’s what our challenge is,” Lillard said.

After listing Clint Capela (concussion) and Danuel House Jr. (sacral; contusion) as probable for Monday’s game, the Rockets have announced both Capela and House are available for tonight’s game vs. Blazers.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts kept his pregame interview short after reporters were asking about the reports of Carmelo Anthony joining the team soon. Coach Stotts won’t comment further on Melo until Anthony joins the Blazers in New Orleans.

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE: