Orioles

Chiefs begin picking up pieces after heartache

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Chiefs begin picking up pieces after heartache

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs returned to work Monday at their practice facility near Arrowhead Stadium, trying to find a sense of normalcy after two days of unimaginable heartache.

It proved nearly impossible to do.

The locker that once belong to Jovan Belcher, the linebacker who killed his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself Saturday, still had all his belongings in it. His shoes were piled up on the floor and freshly laundered clothes hung from a hook.

To enter the building, Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli had to walk past the place in the parking lot where Belcher put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, and Crennel admitted that an unsettling feeling came over him.

Teammates gathered in meetings and to watch film from Sunday's 27-21 win against the Carolina Panthers, one that ended an eight-game losing streak. They couldn't help but notice the empty seat that once belonged to their close friend.

``We have to deal with the events of the last few days, and it's not over, and it may not be over for some of us for most of our lives, but time heals all wounds, and so we're going to start working on the time thing,'' said Crennel, who's been a rock for everyone in the organization.

``It was like coming to work like you normally do,'' he said. ``Now you think about the events as you walk through the door and walk through the parking lot, but you know the events are over, and you can't undo them. All you can do is work for the future and toward the future.''

Following the emotional victory over Carolina, Crennel declined to discuss many of the details surrounding Belcher's suicide. He shared a bit more on Monday while attempting to prepare his team for the next game, including his exchange with the linebacker moments before his death.

``I was trying to get him to understand that life is not over, he still has a chance and let's get this worked out,'' said Crennel, who didn't know about Perkins' murder while he talked to Belcher.

Crennel, who has coached at the college or pro level for more than 40 years, said he had never seen Belcher with a gun before, and expressed his concerns over players owning firearms without knowing the laws.

``Generally what we've attempted to do was tell them to know the law, turn your gun in to our security people, let us hold onto it and then after that, if you need it, you can take it home,'' he said. ``You can go put it in your safe or whatever you need to do with it, but the law allows for them to have guns.''

Much of Monday seemed quite normal for the Chiefs.

They gathered for their normal team meetings in the morning, and watched video of their win over Carolina. They broke mid-afternoon to begin planning for next Sunday's visit to Cleveland.

Still, there were signs at every turn that nothing was quite as usual.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt routinely sticks around the day after a game, but this time he was there to lend support to an organization in mourning. Chaplains were also at the facility, as were outside counselors brought in to help players and staff come to grips with tragedy.

``It's new territory for everyone,'' tight end Tony Moeaki said. ``We're all trying to figure out how to handle the situation. We're just trying to take it one day at a time, come into meetings - it's nice to be in meetings, watching film. Your mind's not on it as much.''

Linebacker Brandon Siler said he spent Thanksgiving with Belcher, and ``it was Thanksgiving as you know it, all laughs and praying and loving.''

``It was hard to walk back in the parking lot, but it was harder to sit in the meetings,'' Siler said. ``He sits right beside me. That was hard. You keep looking at that seat, thinking he was going to show up at some time, you know? That's hard.''

Players were also struggling to reconcile the man they knew with the man who murdered 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, and who left a 3-year-old girl, Zoey, an orphan.

``I try not to do it, really,'' right tackle Eric Winston said. ``I just try to accept the fact who he was pre, and who he was after, and I'm not sure those thoughts can live together, but until the end of the season, that's just going to have to do.''

Yes, there is still a season to be played.

The Chiefs visit the Browns on Sunday and visit Oakland the following week, before returning home to play Indianapolis. Their season finale is Dec. 30 at Denver.

``It's something that there is no textbook on how to handle, and how to feel, and there's a lot of emotions, confusing emotions,'' center Ryan Lilja said. ``But we're going to try to get back to football as best we can, and let guys grieve whatever way they need to, and be respectful of that, but we need to try to be back on football, and it's going to be tough.''

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Who the Orioles could pick at No. 2 in 2020 MLB Draft, according to one expert

Who the Orioles could pick at No. 2 in 2020 MLB Draft, according to one expert

In the 2019 MLB Draft, the Baltimore Orioles took a major step toward rebuilding their roster and farm system by selecting catcher Adley Rutschman No. 1 overall. The switch-hitting backstop projects to become the cornerstone of the franchise. This year, the team can add another major piece in the 2020 MLB Draft as they have the second overall pick.

Though the draft has been shortened from 40 rounds to just five, it doesn't truly impact what Baltimore will do at No. 2. There, they will still have an opportunity to select the next piece of their future, and plenty of good options will be available.

But, unlike last year where Rutchsman was the shoo-in all along, the choices are not as clear cut in 2020. MLB Pipeline senior writer Jim Callis, who has closely studied the group of prospects, believes there are a few different ways the Orioles could go.

“I don’t think it’s a clear cut decision at No. 2 yet," Callis told MASN's Steve Melewski.

When it comes to who Callis could see Baltimore selecting, the dream-scenario would be Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State University. However, it's considered a dream because the most likely outcome is that the Detriot Tigers will take Torkelson first overall. The first baseman has a special bat according to Callis and resembles the talent Rutschman has demonstrated at the plate.

Though there is a slim chance of it happening, the idea of those two one day sharing a lineup card in Baltimore would have the Orioles over the moon with excitement.

“To image those two guys in the middle of the lineup," Callis said. "Woo, that would be pretty exciting.”

Yet, if Torkelson does go No. 1, there is still plenty of talent available in the draft class. A name that comes to mind for Callis is Vanderbilt's Austin Martin. The position player asserted himself as a top prospect after his 2019 collegiate season in which he led the SEC in batting average (.392) and on-base percentage (.486) all while helping his team dominate the toughest conference in baseball and claim a College World Series title.

In Martin, the Orioles could be getting another reliable bat for years and years to come, one Callis claims to be the "best pure hitter in the draft." However, Martin's major area of concern is defense, as many are still unsure as to what his best position is. 

“I think there’s some questions as to where he’s gonna play," Callis said of Martin. “Is he a center fielder, a third baseman, an offensive second baseman? That’s a little unclear.”

After struggling in the infield, largely due to an inability to consistently make the throws from the left side of the diamond, Martin made the move to center field. However, due to the shortened 2020 season, he lost valuable reps in the outfield. Despite that, Callis sees that and one other option as Martin's best spot in the pros.

“My guess is he’s going to be a center fielder or second baseman," Callis said.

If the Orioles are not sold on Martin, or want to grab a player of similar skill but for a little less price, Nick Gonzales out of New Mexico State could be a fit as well. Versatile, he led the NCAA in batting in 2019 with a .423 average.

Baltimore could also decide it wants to add a pitcher at No. 2 overall, and based on how Callis views that portion of the draft class, it could be a beneficial decision. After a down year for pitchers in 2019, things look a lot better in 2020.

“[2019] was not a good year for college pitching. It was probably, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, the worst draft I’ve seen in terms of first-round caliber college arms," Callis said. "This year, college pitching is a strength. There’s a lot of good college pitching.”

The best, according to Callis, is Texas A&M's Asa Lacy. The left-handed starter was off to a strong start to the 2020 season (3-0, 0.75 ERA) before games were canceled. The Orioles could always use another arm to one day rely upon at the Major League level, and Callis sees Lacy as the best prospect to fit that mold.

Even with Lacy's potential, the talented pitching class may sway Baltimore away from him. The Orioles also hold the No. 30 and No. 39 picks in the draft in addition to their first-round selection, and Callis has a feeling that other very good arms will be available.

“There’s gonna be really good pitchers available at 30," Callis said. "Much more so than I think the hitters that will be available at 30.”

With the draft just a couple of weeks away, Martin, Gonzales and Lacy are seen as the three most likely options for the Orioles. No matter who the team ends up selecting with the No. 2 overall pick, Callis believes that they will become a big part of Baltimore's future success. A few years down the line, the 2020 class should have a good reputation in Callis' eyes.

“It’s the first year of the decade. I would bet that we look back in history and this would be one of the top two or three draft classes of the 2020s," Callis said.

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Ravens' Marlon Humphrey gets creative for morning workout, climbs rock hill

Ravens' Marlon Humphrey gets creative for morning workout, climbs rock hill

With the NFL season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the beginning of OTAs and other training sessions have been delayed. Therefore, players have had to get creative with their workouts based on their surroundings.

From truck pushing to weight-lifting sessions in mom and dad's driveway, there has been no shortage of unique workouts across the league. However, Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey may have just claimed the title of most creative.

On Monday, the star defender shared a video on Twitter of a workout he and his brothers participated in. The three looked to be focusing on cardio and strength-building, but not in the way it's typically done. Finding a large pile of gravel and rocks, they took turns running up the terrain. It's easy to feel the burn in your thighs and calves just looking at it.

Humphrey and his brothers made the exercise look rather easy, though it is certainly anything but that. Even the smallest piece of gravel on flat ground can sometimes trip someone up, and here, the cornerback is running up a hill composed entirely of it.

After former Ravens safety Eric Weddle responded to the video by letting Humphrey know just how insane the workout is, Humphrey admitted it didn't last long.

If this type of tricky surface isn't slowing Humphrey down, there isn't much that can. When the NFL season does begin, it could be a long year for opposing wide receivers who are tasked with somehow escaping his coverage.

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