Redskins

Nadal enters Brazil Open, which starts Feb. 11

Nadal enters Brazil Open, which starts Feb. 11

SAO PAULO (AP) Rafael Nadal has entered the Brazil Open next month, which could mark his first tennis action since Wimbledon.

Organizers of the Sao Paulo tournament announced the entry of the 11-time Grand Slam winner on Tuesday.

Nadal hasn't played tennis since June, mainly because of tendinitis in his left knee. He was scheduled to play in an Abu Dhabi exhibition event last month, but a stomach virus forced him to withdraw and skip the Australian Open.

The Brazil Open starts on Feb. 11. He's also entered the Mexican Open in Acapulco from Feb. 25.

He won both tournaments the only previous time he entered them in 2005.

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The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick back in April with one very clear goal in mind: new franchise quarterback. 

What isn't clear, however, is that timeline. 

Eventually, Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback. That could happen Week 1 2019, or it could be a year away.

Haskins wasn't particularly impressive during the team's minicamp, and veteran signal caller Case Keenum looked like the better option. Remember, though, real football is more than two months away. The mental aspects of NFL life that Haskins struggled with during the spring sessions, like calling plays and getting to the line of scrimmage in correct formations, are quite fixable. Haskins is smart and has talked about his commitment to learning the playbook. 

If that happens by the time Haskins gets to Richmond, then the quarterback competition will look much different than it did in Ashburn. And the 'Skins don't report to Richmond for another month. 

Here's the reality: Haskins should absolutely compete for the starting quarterback job. That's the minimum expectation for first-round picks. 

The important news: Haskins will compete for the starting job in Richmond. Jay Gruden has been clear about that.

Now, if Haskins doesn't win the job, he can't start. Politics or expectations can't push him into the top spot, no matter what pressure might be applied. 

Football players improve, often dramatically, over the summer. Haskins has all the physical talent needed to take the QB1 spot. He just needs to learn the speed of the NFL, which is challenging, and the depth of the offensive system, which is daunting. 

It's entirely possible Haskins does not win the Redskins starting quarterback job. In fact, it's probable he doesn't, by Week 1 anyway. 

But the notion that he can't start because of a difficult early portion of the schedule is crazy. If Haskins is the best option to win games, Gruden is obligated to give his team the best chance to win a game, regardless of an opponent. 

In a lot of ways, the Redskins decision with Dwayne Haskins is really up to Haskins. Compete and win the job? The decision will be easy. 

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Manny Machado is returning to Baltimore and the boo birds should stay out of Birdland

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Manny Machado is returning to Baltimore and the boo birds should stay out of Birdland

Let’s not do this, guys.

It’s fun to have players to cheer against. Baseball certainly needs more villains in the sport, and Manny Machado looks like he could fill that role for the league.

But not in Baltimore. Not on his return.

It’s popular to boo players who have gone on to greener pastures, especially when they’re still talented enough to be coveted by their original teams. But Manny Machado is no longer an Oriole because of the Orioles themselves, not Machado.

This isn’t the Bryce Harper return, after he turned down a legitimate offer from the Nationals to sign with their most hated rivals. Machado was traded away, and then wasn’t offered a contract last offseason. Furthermore, the Orioles, unlike the Nationals, have no designs on competing in the next few years. It never would have made sense for Machado to waste his prime years on a team starting over from scratch.

He knew it, the Orioles knew it, and thankfully, fans in Baltimore knew it too.

I’ve never been one to tell fans how to spend their time at the ballpark, or whether or not they are “real” fans based on whether they choose to jeer or cheer. It’s their money and their fandom; I have no place to judge it.

That said, please don’t boo Machado.

To be clear, it’s not immunity from all boos in perpetuity. If Machado ever comes out and throws his bat at Trey Mancini or charges the mound at Dylan Bundy, then by all means, deafen him. 

But that doesn’t sound like the Manny Machado Orioles fans came to know and love over the years, does it?

Machado gave Baltimore everything he had for more than half a decade, and the city loved him for it. He provided violent home run swings and graceful plays in the field. He filled the memories of Orioles fans with literal countless unbelievable moments. 

He was the most purely talented player the Orioles have ever employed, and he did something no player was able to do from 1998-2011: Get the O’s to the postseason again.

If for no other reason, the magical 2012 run cements Machado as a player with too strong a legacy in Charm City to get booed in his first game in the city as a visitor.

Thankfully, much of this probably doesn’t need to be said. Baltimore fans are a smart bunch, and they understand the situation Machado was in. Besides, who among us would turn down $300 million to live in San Diego?

When Machado steps to the plate Tuesday night, give Machado the sendoff he never got after his trade. Remind him how much joy he brought to the city for such a long time. Remind yourselves that, in rare situations, it’s okay to give an ovation to an opposing player. Remind everyone of what makes Baltimore fans special, by reminding Manny Machado of what made him so special to us.

Do this however you choose. Make a sign. Ask for an autograph. Wear his jersey. Cheer.

Just don’t boo.

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