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The Man for the Job: NHL Seattle officially hires Ron Francis as GM

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NHL Seattle

The Man for the Job: NHL Seattle officially hires Ron Francis as GM

Reports were out two days ago that NHL Hall of Famer Ron Francis would be named GM of the new NHL Seattle franchise.

Now it's official.

"After seven months of due diligence, research, conversations, interviews and evaluation, we are thrilled to announce Ron as our GM," said NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke.

You can watch the introductory press conference from this morning right here:

VIDEO FROM NHL HERE

NBC Sports also has a good story on what this hire means for the franchise and what kind of GM he will be. 

 

It was 40 years ago, and it still stands as sports' biggest miracle

It was 40 years ago, and it still stands as sports' biggest miracle

It was 40 years ago today and I don’t remember an awful lot of that day. Many of the facts have escaped me over the years.

What I remember most, though, is the emotion I felt just sitting on the living room sofa watching the USA’s 4-3 win over the Soviet hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. In fact, I still get goosebumps while watching highlights of that game and listening to the great Al Michaels belt out his iconic “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” as the clock drained to :00.

It was unlike anything else I can remember in sports -- an event that lifted an entire country amidst the cold war, the Iran hostage crisis and President Jimmy Carter’s announcement that our country would boycott that year’s Summer Olympics.

And it was an upset of epic proportions, an incredible feat for the underdog American team. Consider:

  • This was prior to “Dream Team” stuff, when pros could participate in the Games. So that left the USA team with mostly college players -- average age 22 -- against the much-older, veteran Soviet team that had won four straight Olympic golds with the same cast of what were actually professional players.

  • Just three days before the Games began in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Soviets clobbered the US team 10-3 in Madison Square Garden and nobody was even surprised by the score. The gap between those teams was considered that large.

But the Americans were coached by enigmatic Herb Brooks, a tough taskmaster who had a plan to beat the Soviets with a disciplined passing attack, intense conditioning and the kind of rough checking the European teams weren’t accustomed to facing.

Brooks’ team got through the preliminary round with four wins and a tie and advanced to the medal round against the top-seeded Soviets.

And to be fair, the U.S. team was dominated through most of the game, getting outshot 39-16 and trailed by a goal heading into the final period. But Jim Craig was terrific in goal and made sensational save after sensational save.

The USA team took the lead with 10 minutes to go and held on for the win, to set up Michaels for the greatest call of his wonderful career. That wasn’t the gold-medal game, of course. The American team bounced back two days later to defeat Finland 4-2 to capture the gold.

Brooks quickly retired to the bowels of the arena as his players celebrated on the ice. His plan had worked and a nation celebrated what was as close to a sports miracle as I’ve ever seen.

If you get a chance, watch the movie “Miracle” with Kurt Russell playing Brooks and you can pick up on the emotion of it all.

And if you've ever played on a team that was an underdog or felt like one in life, listen to the “It’s your time!” pep talk he gives his players prior to that fateful game.

And it was their time. Forever.

Seattle Dragons season tickets soar past 10,000 in sales

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USA Today Images

Seattle Dragons season tickets soar past 10,000 in sales

The Seattle Dragons continue to dominate the XFL in attendance.

Just days after the Dragons set a league record with 29,172 in attendance at their home opener against the Tampa Bay Vipers, Seattle has surged past 10,000 in season-ticket sales, according to a report from The Seattle Times.

“We have had a spike in demand and we surged past 10,000 season tickets, which is an awesome story for us and the most in the league,” Dragons president Ryan Gustafson told the Seattle Times. “We’re continuing to build it every day. We’re grateful for the support we’ve gotten so far and excited to continue to build this, not just for this year but many years to come.”

As we mentioned earlier this week, the presence of former Seahawks, like receiver Kasen Williams and tackle Isaiah Battle, as well as players with Pacific Northwest ties, appears to have benefited the Dragons franchise.

XFL attendance increased across the league from Week 1 to Week 2 thanks to the Dragons impressive outing at CenturyLink Field.

A crowd of 20,000 decked out in orange, navy and green are expected again this week as the Dragons welcome the Dallas Renegades in Week 3.

XFL attendance increases by nearly 10 percent thanks to Seattle Dragons game 

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USA Today Images

XFL attendance increases by nearly 10 percent thanks to Seattle Dragons game 

The love of football runs deep in Seattle. 

An XFL record of 29,172 fans decked out in green, navy blue and orange came out to cheer on the Seattle Dragons as they defeated the Tampa Bay Vipers 17-9 in their home opener at CenturyLink Field. 

Per Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily, the XFL saw a big boost in attendance thanks to Seattle. Approximately 76,285 fans attended four games across the XFL this weekend, a 9.5 percent boost from Week 1 to Week 2. 

There are two likely reasons for Seattle’s solid attendance numbers. One, football is woven into the Seattle football community’s DNA. There’s a reason why the Seahawks have the “12th man,” and CenturyLink Field has long been known as one of the loudest stadiums across the NFL. 

Also, the Seattle Dragons boast a team with many former Seahawks players. Dragons head coach Jim Zorn, receivers Keenan Reynolds and Kasen Williams, left tackle Isaiah Battle, backup quarterback B.J. Daniels and reserve cornerback Mohammed Seisay all have ties to the Pacific Northwest and to the Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Defenders had two former Seahawks: defensive end Tavaris Barners and quarterback Cardale Jones on their roster. 

The Dragons are back at CenturyLink Field in Week 3, hosting the Dallas Renegades. If Seattle sees a similar crowd, and the St. Louis BattleHawks, who are playing at home for the first time, get a significant boost, it could be another big week for the revamped XFL. 

Portland Diamond Project secures new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel

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Portland Diamond Project

Portland Diamond Project secures new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel

The Portland Diamond Project has partnered with Restore Oregon to secure a new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel, they announced Tuesday afternoon via their Twitter.

From the renders released on their social media, it appears the historic carousel will be installed near the new baseball stadium. 

The carousel was built in 1921 by  C.W. Parker and closed in 2012 when the Jantzen Beach shopping center underwent a $50 million renovation. The mall's owners promised to house the carousel in an empty, climate-controlled store where it would be restored once construction finished. However, it never returned.

Restore Oregon added the carousel to their list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places shortly after. In 2017, the mall's owners announced they donated the carousel to Restore Oregon who began a search for a permanent home. Well, they found a partner. 

In November 2016, the Portland Diamond Project signed an agreement in principle to develop the Port of Portland’s 45-acre Terminal 2 Property as the future home for Portland baseball.

[RELATED: Portland Diamond Project reveals new renderings of proposed ballpark]

Let’s get Kraken: Seattle’s NHL team might have a name

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Let’s get Kraken: Seattle’s NHL team might have a name

It’s time to unleash the Kraken.

According to John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor, a name has allegedly been decided for the NHL’s 32nd franchise team: The Seattle Kraken.

“From everything that I’ve heard, it looks like Seattle Kraken is going to be the name,” Hoven said on NHL Network Radio."I was a little bit in shock personally, just because we had been told several times previously that was not the name that they were going for. It looked like they were leaning toward Sockeyes.”

Hoven said he initially thought the franchise was leaning toward the Sockeyes, but it has since come out that there is a sexy, contemporary, new adult, sports romance series called Seattle Sockeyes already. The interesting twist is the plot of the book series, written by USA Today bestselling author Jami Davenport, is about a billionaire determined to bring professional hockey to Seattle.

NHL Seattle released a statement via Twitter on Wednesday addressing the rumors: 

People on Twitter certainly had mixed reactions to the reported name, but the NHL Seattle franchise is not confirming the name...yet. 

Totems, Emeralds, Rainiers, Sockeyes, Renegades, Sea Lions, Seals, Evergreens, Whales, Cougars, Eagles and Firebirds were also on the list of potential names the Seattle ownership group registered for the expansion franchise.

The Seattle NHL expansion team plans to open a remodeled Key Arena next June just in time for its team to start playing in the 2021-22 NHL season.

Brosius, MLB issue statements in wake of allegations made against Mike Trout

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IMAGN

Brosius, MLB issue statements in wake of allegations made against Mike Trout

In the wake of accusations made by the son former Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius against MVP outfielder Mike Trout, both David Brosius and Major League Baseball are setting the record straight. 

This comes on the heels of a story that appeared on this website, which brought to light an allegation of HGH use by the David Brosius made against Trout on social media. 

On Friday, Major League Baseball and the Baseball Players Association released a joint statement:

“Since the inception of the MLB-MLBPA Joint Drug Prevention Program, no major league or minor league player has ever received a therapeutic use exemption for, or otherwise received permission to use, Human Growth Hormone (HGH).”

The Angels issued a statement saying they “support the joint statement by Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Assn. regarding the therapeutic use exemptions.”

Brosius also walked back his accusation via social media.

I’d like to clear the air about a comment made earlier this week about Mike Trout potentially using HGH. The statement in question was taken from a conversation where I was explaining how there are certain situations in which actions that would usually be against the rules and considered cheating, are deemed okay for medical or other reasons, thus not cheating. The example I used of Mike Trout does not stem from information from my Dad or sources within the MLB and has no evidence behind it. I had no intention of this becoming an accusation against Mike Trout or causing the uproar it did. Mike Trout has been the face of MLB for good reason, as he is an amazing player and even better example for baseball players like myself. I would like to sincerely apologize to him and his family for the unfair statement I made and the negative fallout it has had on them. No criticism or skepticism should be pointed at him, it should all be at me. I had a lapse in judgment when posting the comment and have learned my lesson on how powerful and dangerous social media can be.

Trout, who signed a 12-year, $430 million contract with the Angels, has never been suspended for a failed drug test throughout his career. The Angels outfielder has earned eight All-Star Game nominations, seven Silver Slugger Awards, and three American League MVP trophies in his nine years as a professional baseball player.

 

Scott Brosius' son, David, accuses Mike Trout of taking HGH, finding loophole

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Scott Brosius' son, David, accuses Mike Trout of taking HGH, finding loophole

Major League Baseball... is burning. 

Caught up in one of the biggest cheating scandals to ever rock the league, it appears some would prefer to see the entire baseball world scorched. 

In recent days, MLB managers AJ Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran have all lost their jobs because of a scheme devised by the Houston Astros that uses trash cans and video cameras to send out signals to hitters.

To pour gasoline on the fire even more, the latest rumor about one of the MLB's best players could bring the league to its knees. 

David Brosius, son of former Seattle Mariners third base coach Scott Brosius, accused Trout of taking human growth hormone for a "thyroid" issue in what are now deleted comments on Instagram. 

David Brosius, who was a baseball player himself, a left hand pitcher who spent one season at Oregon State before transferring to Linfield, also deleted his Instagram account in the wake of the social media comments he made.

NBCSNW cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the now deleted account. 

Scott Brosius, who was born in Hillsboro, Oregon and attended both Rex Putnam High School and Linfield College, played for the Oakland A's and New York Yankees. He's a three-time World Champion, a Gold Glove winner and was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He became head coach at Linfield in 2008 and was named Northwest Conference coach of the year five times (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014). In 2013, Brosius' team won Linfield's first NCAA national baseball championship. 

In addition to confirming the now public cheating scandal that has shaken the MLB to its core, Scott's son, David, threw out the unsubstantiated claim that, true or not, carries equally harmful implications. 

"If you want to read something better, Mike Trout takes HGH for a 'thyroid' condition," Brosius wrote on Instagram. "It's a loophole he found and the MLB doesn't make it public because they don't want fans knowing their best player is on HGH. But people within know..."

Trout has never been suspended for a failed drug test throughout his career. The Angels outfielder has earned eight All-Star Game nominations, seven Silver Slugger Awards, and three American League MVP trophies in his nine years as a professional baseball player. 

The claims are unconfirmed and baseless, but David's close family ties (his dad) to the Mariners 3rd Base Coach is enough to get people's attention. 


So, to recap...


Ugh, not Yelich, too...

MLB may force other sports to follow its lead in drug testing, treatment

MLB may force other sports to follow its lead in drug testing, treatment

Major League Baseball hit a home run yesterday.

MLB, in concert with its players association, announced Thursday it has updated its drug policy, with testing for cocaine and opioids beginning in spring training and marijuana no longer on the banned substance list.

And the best part of the change is that failed tests will now be met with treatment plans, rather than just punishment. Players will be punished only if they violate prescribed treatment plans.

It sounds like the most sensible approach to drug testing in all of sports.

Tyler Skaggs, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, died of an opioid overdose last July and there is little doubt that this policy change is at least in part due to the recognition that opioid abuse has become a serious societal problem. Skaggs died with fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system.

“It is our collective hope that this agreement will help raise public awareness on the risks and dangers of opioid medications and contribute positively to a national conversation about this important topic,” said Dan Halem, M.L.B.’s deputy commissioner for baseball administration and chief legal officer, in a statement.

MLB will now test for opioids, cocaine, fentanyl and synthetic THC. It’s been apparent for a few years now that the sports leagues have lost the battle over marijuana, with the substance now legal in many areas of the country and to officially back off on testing for it is the correct move.

This surely will apply pressure to other leagues to implement the same sort of policy, including the elimination of marijuana from the banned-substance list.

Tampa Bay/Montreal deal stalled... what it could mean for MLB to Portland

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USATI

Tampa Bay/Montreal deal stalled... what it could mean for MLB to Portland

On Wednesday, it was revealed that negotiations stalled to split the Tampa Bay Rays home games between Tampa Bay and Montreal. Now, the organization has decided to honor their agreement with Tropicana Field and remain in Florida until 2027, announced in a letter from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman addressed to City Council.

However, once the agreement ends the Rays will most likely be moving away from the area and playing in a different market. Evidenced by the organization declining Kriseman’s offer to extend their deal beyond 2027. Last season, despite making the postseason, the Tampa Bay Rays were second to last in Major League Baseball in average attendance.

This could be positive news for supporters of the Portland Diamond Project, an organization dedicated to bringing Major League Baseball to Portland. With the Rays’ decision, it appears a MLB franchise will be looking to relocate and Portland may be able to host the team. 

Back in November 2018, the Diamond Project announced an agreement with the Port of Portland to develop Terminal 2 property as an eventual site for the stadium. 

Investors for the property include Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Nike, and more. Also, the petition to bring Major League Baseball to Portland has reached over 44,000 signatures.

Wouldn't it be cool to see something like this happening in Portland? 


One can only hope.