Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Candy 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Candy 2019

For the final Top Ten Tuesday of October, there might be some controversy (particularly at No. 8), but our candy ranking concludes the Halloween month of TTT’s—following up the best movies to stream, shows to stream, Halloween songs, and costume ideas.

 

10. Skittles

Most of the candy that makes the list is chocolate-based, but a fruity option needs to be thrown in, and Skittles got the edge over Starburst and Nerds. Just be wary of the “rotten zombie” flavor for those that buy the Halloween edition.

 

9. Twix

As George Costanza once said, “Twix is the only candy with the cookie crunch,” and that uniqueness gives it a spot on the list.

 

8. Candy Corn

Most seem to believe that candy corn is an abomination that should be wiped off the face of the Earth, but I disagree. While you shouldn’t eat it by the handful, candy corn is great when eating a few pieces at a time.

 

7. 3 Musketeers

Nougat inside chocolate doesn’t have widespread popularity (people either like it or don’t), but 3 Musketeers has the formula perfected with a whipped/fluffy interior that can melt in your mouth.

 

6. Hershey’s Special Dark

A case could be made for this being more of a Christmas candy, but kids and adults alike should have no complaints if offered a piece of “Special Dark” chocolate this Halloween.

 

5. Butterfinger

Personal preference will certainly change things for everyone, but the top five is pretty much locked in as all classics. Butterfinger’s crispy peanut butter core provides a good change up compared to other popular candy.

 

4. Snickers

Snickers is holding it down for all candy bars that include nuts, which could be a selling point for those who want to be somewhat health conscious around Halloween. It can also help you not play football like Betty White.

 

3. M&M’s

I certainly wouldn’t argue about people putting M&M’s in the No. 1 spot, as the variety is unbeatable when you consider there is regular, dark, peanut, caramel, pretzel, mint, etc., so there’s something for everyone (if you like chocolate).

 

2. Kit Kat

“Break me off a piece of that… I am totally blanking. What is the thing?” – Andy Bernard

 

1. Reese’s

Reese’s has some versatility, but the simple peanut butter cup is the best of the best. For kids that gather all their candy together and made trades, Reese’s would probably be considered an “untouchable.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Costume Ideas 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Costume Ideas 2019

Ahead of Halloween weekend, we’re counting down the top costumes for 2019. If you missed spooky movies to stream, spooky shows to stream, or the top Halloween songs, check them out, too.

 

10. A character from Friends or Seinfeld

 

Sony

 

Both classic sitcoms enjoyed anniversaries this year, so for those who need a last-minute idea, now might be a good time to bring out your best ‘90s clothing to be anyone from Friends’ Rachel to Seinfeld’s Newman.

 

9. Woody

 

Disney

 

Toy Story 4 was predictably another hit for the franchise, and you can’t go wrong with a retread by dusting off the cowboy hat and boots to dress up as Woody this Halloween.

 

8. Captain Price

 

Activision

 

Whether you used to be or still are a gamer, Captain Price is a great choice as perhaps the most legendary character in the Call of Duty series, and the new game releases on Friday.

 

7. Dr. Manhattan

 

Warner Bros.

 

You might need a professional to do the blue body/face paint to avoid looking like Tobias from Arrested Development, but with HBO’s Watchmen just premiering a couple of days ago, the all-powerful Dr. Manhattan should be a hit at a party with people that know the character.

 

6. Gardner Minshew

 

ESPN

 

Minshew Mania has taken the NFL by storm this season, and the Jaguars’ sixth-round rookie will likely be one of the most popular costume ideas of 2019, which has to be pretty surreal for him.

 

5. Jesse Pinkman

 

Netflix

 

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was basically an epilogue for Jesse, and fans of Breaking Bad could go out as any version of Walter White’s sidekick that they want, including (*spoiler alert for El Camino*) the turtleneck attire from the end of the movie for a wintry look.

 

4. Kylo Ren (or any Star Wars character)

 

Disney

 

The Skywalker saga will end this holiday season with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Kylo Ren—the last known surviving member of the family—is a conflicted villain that fans can pull off either with or without the mask.

 

3. Jon Snow (or any Game of Thrones character)

 

HBO

 

Game of Thrones will forever be an iconic show that can be used as a Halloween costume every year, but since it ended in the spring, now is a great time to be Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, or any number of fan-favorites.

 

2. Cliff Booth or Rick Dalton or Sharon Tate

 

Sony Pictures Entertainment

 

Quentin Tarantino’s latest film—Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood—brilliantly merged reality with fiction, and it wouldn’t take much effort to be Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, or Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate (the only real person of the three), as all of them had a distinct style that would be instantly recognizable.

 

1. Joker

 

Warner Bros.

 

Every year, the Clown Prince of Crime is one of the most popular costumes for adults and kids alike, but we obviously have a new version after Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal in Joker. “Send in the clowns.”

Top Ten Tuesday: All-Time Best Popsicle Flavors

Top Ten Tuesday: All-Time Best Popsicle Flavors

Popsicle Double Pops are making a return thanks to one hundred thousand retweets on a tweet promising to bring them back. In honor of the return of Double Pops, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over the best Popsicle flavors throughout the years. This includes flavors that have since been discontinued, and it ranks them based on the height of their runs (you can make the argument that, like many things, the quality has declined over the years).

 

10. Pop Ups

The Big Stick, Lick-A-Color, orange flavor, white pops (with mystery flavor), and Scribblers are among the other notable Popsicles not to make the list, but Pop Ups get the No. 10 on the list. “Push-Up Pops” are a Nestle product, but that’s what the Popsicle version tends to go by anyway. Both deliver fruity flavor in a softer, sherbert-like form.

 

9. Banana

 

 

This hasn’t gotten as much recognition as the 100K+ RT tweet bringing back the Double Pop, but 100K retweets on this tweet will also bring the banana flavor back. Banana is a good mix up from the traditional Popsicle flavors.

 

8. Spider-Man

 

 

The Spider-Man Popsicle is still around, but you’ll need to find an ice cream truck to get your hands on one. The frozen gumballs for the eyes aren’t great, but the strawberry and lemon combination of the actual pop part is fantastic.

 

7. Cyclone

 

 

The old classic Popsicle Cyclone is difficult to find these days, and reviews indicate they don’t make them like they used to. At their peak, the Cyclone came in different flavors, and they provide a different texture in the swirly design.

 

6. Cherry

 

 

In a Twitter poll by the official Popsicle account, Cherry is dominating the vote among four flavors for the one people want to see first from the Double Pop. Thus, the traditional flavor that turns mouths red undoubtedly earns a spot in the top ten.

 

5. Firecracker

 

 

So Popsicle’s Firecrackers are a rip-off of Blue Bunny’s Bomb Pop, but you can’t go wrong with either one. The cherry, white lemon, and blue raspberry flavored Firecrackers are ideal for hot summer days perhaps more than any other Popsicle.

 

4. Fudge

 

 

The branding technically changes to “Fudgsicle” for Popsicle’s fudge pops, but it’s obviously the same company and falls under the criteria for this Top Ten Tuesday. The original “fudge bars” are a little thicker if you go with them, so that gives Fudgsicles a boost.

 

3. Grape

 

 

Grape is not doing well in the aforementioned Popsicle Twitter poll, but it’s right there with cherry among the classic straightforward flavors. For sugar-free, grape isn’t close to as good, which is why some people might hold it in lower regard.

 

2. Root Beer

 

 

While banana was given a 100K RT opportunity by Popsicle, the Root Beer flavor is what the masses really appear to be clamoring for. Root beer floats are nice on a summer day, and the flavored Popsicle is a quick, cheap, and convenient to get a similar flavor. These would be best if they’re brought back in the bar form like Fudgsicles are offered.

 

1. Creamsicle

 

 

The Creamsicle is a prime example of things not being made like they used to. Both size and consistency of the cream bars are unpredictable now, but back in their heyday, Creamsicles were the best of the best from “The Original Brand” of colored ice on a stick.

Kawhi Watch: NBA Star Among Best Free Agents In Sports History

Kawhi Watch: NBA Star Among Best Free Agents In Sports History

As the United States celebrates the Fourth of July, there’s a lot of attention north of the border on Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard. Free-agents like this don’t become available often, and these are the greatest free agents of all-time. The NFL is in the mix, too, but the NHL is probably the league where an entire team is most important, and no hockey players made this list. To note, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer (the former signing with the Devils and the latter leaving the Devils) are among the best free agents to become available in NHL history.

 

Peyton Manning

It was unprecedented for a franchise quarterback like Peyton Manning to become available on the open market, and a similar situation isn’t likely to happen again. When Manning missed an entire season with a neck injury and it was unclear if he’d play again or be the same, the Colts went 2-14 and received the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, with the opportunity to select generational quarterback prospect Andrew Luck. Indy went with Luck, and they released Manning, making the future first-ballot Hall of Famer an unrestricted free agent. Manning is arguably a top-three quarterback of all-time, and his position is the most important in sports, so he’s probably the best free agent in the history of sports. It worked out for the Broncos, as they went to two Super Bowls and won one with Manning at the helm.

 

Reggie White

In a league that didn’t pass nearly as much as it does today, Reggie White still managed to put up mind-boggling sack numbers from the moment he arrived with the Eagles after the USFL folded. White had sack totals of 13, 18, 21, 18, 11, 14, 15, and 14 in his eight seasons in Philadelphia, for 124 sacks before he hit free agency, which is absolutely absurd. The Eagles decided not to pay White as a free agent, so he went to the Packers on a four-year, $17 million contract. Arguably the greatest defensive player in NFL history, White recorded another 68.5 sacks in six seasons with Green Bay, and like Manning, he won a Super Bowl with his new team.

 

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard just turned 28 years old, and he already has two championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards with two different franchises. He doesn’t get the publicity of a LeBron James, but his decision as a free-agent is arguably more critical for the NBA from an on-court perspective. Whichever team Leonard signs with will likely be the title favorite for the 2019-2020 season, and if he takes the path of LeBron and joins a superteam, the Lakers will be nearly unbeatable for the next few years.

 

Barry Bonds

Many people remember Barry Bonds for the steroid-enhanced seasons with the Giants, but he was an elite five-tool player that was easily on track for Cooperstown during his first seven MLB seasons with the Pirates. As a free agent at age 27, Bonds already had 176 career home runs and 251 career stolen bases, with a .275 average and .380 on-base percentage. His best baseball was ahead of him regardless of future steroid use, and his $43.8 million contract with the Giants was the most in MLB history at the time. Bonds is the only player listed here not to win a championship after signing elsewhere in free agency, but he became Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leader.

 

LeBron James

Last year’s free agent decision by LeBron James wasn’t quite as impactful as the first two, and he felt he had unfinished business at home in Cleveland and seemed to be going there no matter what for his second decision. But LeBron’s 2010 decision (actually titled “The Decision” in the special that aired on ESPN when he announced his intention to join the Heat) was monumental for the NBA. James was just 25 years old and was arguably the best player in the league, so he might have been the best free agent of all-time to have prime years left to build a franchise around.

 

Greg Maddux

After finding his footing the first two years of his big-league career with the Cubs, Greg Maddux won at least 15 games in his next five seasons, but he was coming off his best season—including his second All-Star appearance, 20 wins, a 2.18 ERA, and a Cy Young award—in 1992, the year before he hit free agency. Maddux was also a superb fielder as a pitcher (he has a record 18 Gold Glove awards), and there probably isn’t a better player at his position to ever hit free agency. Maddux would sign with the Braves and win three more Cy Young awards in a row his first three seasons in Atlanta.

 

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal was a dominant true center in his first four seasons with the Magic, but he was apparently low-balled by the franchise in a move that had major ramifications for the NBA. At just 24 years old, Shaq was a Rookie of the Year, a three-time All-NBA player, an MVP runner-up, a scoring leader, and a player that had been to a Finals. Back in the NBA of the 90s, big men were critically important, and Shaq was arguably the best by far and was yet to enter his prime (no disrespect to Hakeem Olajuwon, who was in his mid 30s at the time). O’Neal won three Finals MVPs with the Lakers after signing with Los Angeles.

 

Deion Sanders

The super-athletic Deion Sanders was one of the best draft prospects in history, and he earned the nickname “Primetime” with electric plays on defense and in the return game after he was selected fifth overall by the Falcons in 1989. After being named a First-team All-Pro in his final three seasons with Atlanta, Sanders hit free agency as a shutdown cornerback, was named an All-Pro for a fourth straight year, and won a Super Bowl in his lone season with the Niners, then hit free agency again. It was coined the “Deion Sweepstakes”, and the Cowboys won it, getting another four All-Pro seasons out of Deion and a Super Bowl in their first year together. Years later, cornerback Darrelle Revis also became a big-time free-agent player at his position, earning over $100 million in his career.

Summer Is Here: Best Backyard Games To Play This Season

Summer Is Here: Best Backyard Games To Play This Season

It’s summer! The longest day of the year delivers plenty of sunlight, and there’ll be a lot of time for outdoor fun these next few months. Whether you’re looking to kill some time on the weekend with a few friends or want to offer a selection of games during a backyard party, these are the best backyard games to play this summer.

 

Kan Jam

Kan Jam has been around since the 1980s, but it’s exploded in popularity in recent years and can really energize a backyard bash or a tailgate. The rules for the frisbee-toss game are straightforward, and it’s easy for most people to play once they get the hang of throwing a frisbee. It’s one point for a deflection that hits the can, two points for a direct hit of the can, and three points for slamming the frisbee into the top; and because of the automatic win for slotting the frisbee directly into the can, it’s not over until it’s over. Instead of buying a Kan Jam set (which costs around $40), you can also build the game yourself using old recycle or garbage cans and a regular frisbee.

 

Volleyball

You’ll need at least six-to-eight people to play volleyball, but buying a set can be relatively inexpensive if you go the route of an easy-install plastic net. It can be difficult for little kids to play, but you can obviously go lenient on the rules and allow them to double-hit (or allow more than three hits before it has to get over the net to the other team) to make it an enjoyable game for everyone. Just be careful of putting athletes that might take the game a little too seriously with youngsters or unathletic people that might have trouble avoiding a spike.

 

Cornhole

Perhaps more commonly known as bean-bag toss or sack toss today, cornhole is a mainstay at tailgates because it isn’t really dangerous with plastic resin bags being tossed at low velocity (a frisbee like used in Kan Jam could potentially cause some damage to people if it slips away). Cancellation scoring (so if your team scores four points and the other team scores three points, the total for the round is a net gain of one point for your team) adds another element to the game.

 

Wiffle Ball

Like volleyball, you’ll need a few people to play wiffle ball, but the variation on the timeless “stick and ball” game isn’t too difficult for most people to pick up—just keep your eye on the ball. Wiffle ball is probably better for kids than it is adults, but everyone can still join in on the fun for an inning or two.

 

Ladder Toss

Ladder toss (or ladder golf) is probably easier to play with just two people for a one-on-one match than cornhole, but it’s similar to most backyard games in that it goes to 21 points. The cancellation scoring is also used in ladder toss, and you can play in teams (by alternating each turn with a teammate) if you want.

 

Pool Basketball

Unless you’re staying at a hotel with an indoor pool and net or you’re lucky enough to have an indoor pool, this game is a quintessential summer game because it can only be played in the summer. Pool basketball is typically reserved for younger people looking to move around a lot, but you can also play a game of horse while cooling off in the pool instead of playing on hot pavement. Also, many people are able to dunk in the pool when they can’t come close to doing so on an official ten-foot net outside the pool, so that’s a major bonus.

 

Horseshoes

Quoits is another longtime traditional option for a backyard game, but horseshoes is closely related. This is more of a mature game reserved for adults or older youths that can handle a heavy metal horseshoe. And you can use the term “ringer” in horseshoes, which is pretty cool.

 

Giant Jenga

You’ll have to keep a close watch so that the blocks don’t all fall atop a small child, but people of almost all ages can get involved in Giant Jenga. A cute Labrador puppy was even able to get involved and get a tough block out during a Jenga game last month:

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Read This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Read This Summer

Summer officially begins in just a few days, and many people will spend some of their free time reading outside or at the beach. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over some of the hottest novels to read this summer. The list slants toward newer novels instead of classics like The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird, and all quoted recaps are via Amazon.com.

 

10. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Ranked No. 10 because most of the list is newer novels, but with the HBO original series Game of Thrones over, now might be a good time to give the A Song of Ice and Fire series the show was based on a try.

 

“Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.

 

Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.

 

Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.”

 

9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Published this year, this new psychological thriller said to [mini spoiler alert] have a major twist.

 

“Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

 

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

 

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations―a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….”

 

8. Thin Air by Lisa Gray

Author Lisa Gray creates a small-town cast of characters with a great backstory about the main character.

 

“Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.

 

Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten. Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute. A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death.

 

To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there. But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.”

 

7. One Day in December by Josie Silver

For those interested in a warm novel, One Day in December is recommended by the Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine book club.

 

“Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

 

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

 

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.”

 

6. Beneath a Scarlett Sky by Mark Sullivan

Set to become a movie, Beneath a Scarlett Sky is a story of perseverance and triumph.

 

“Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

 

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

 

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

 

Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.”

 

5. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The anticipated debut novel of Daniel Mallory, writing under the pen name A.J. Finn.

 

“Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

 

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

 

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.”

 

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Reese Witherspoon was also a fan of Little Fires Everywhere, and she and Kerry Washington are starring in a Hulu limited series about the book.

 

“From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

 

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

 

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

 

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

 

Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.”

 

3. The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah

With over 38,000 reviews on Amazon, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightengale was made into a controversial movie releasing more widely in the United States this summer.

 

“France, 1939 – In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

 

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

 

With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingaletells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France―a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.”

 

2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Released in 2014, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is an emotional tale that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

 

“From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

 

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

 

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

 

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).”

 

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Another 4.8/5.0 on Amazon, Where the Crawdads Sing is the first novel by Delia Owens, and it’s received a ton of love since its 2018 release. Hello Sunshine is making the novel into a movie.

 

“For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

 

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Moments In U.S. Sports History

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Moments In U.S. Sports History

With the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off today for the USWNT, now is a good time to take a look back at some of the greatest moments in U.S. sports history. Here are the top ten.

 

10. US Men’s Basketball Refuses Silver

All the moments are American triumphs, and despite Team USA not officially bringing home gold in 1972, most likely agree that this counts as one, too. The US beat the USSR after holding them from scoring in the final seconds (there was even an on-court celebration), but officials basically ignored the international rule that states a timeout can not be called following a free throw, which allowed the Soviets to get another opportunity to win gold. Instead of accepting silver, the United States protested—and the protest stands to this day.

 

9. Team USA Wins First Curling Gold Medal

This wasn’t a huge event that had the entire country watching like basically everything else on the list, but I stayed up until the early-morning hours for the 2018 Winter Olympic Curling Final, which was close throughout until a knockout blow by John Schuster basically sealed things against Sweden. Considering the prior success for Team USA (their best ever finish was bronze in 2006), it was a monumental upset.

 

8. Underdog Rulon Gardner Wins Gold

Speaking of upsets, no one expected unknown wrestler Rulon Gardner to win it all in 2000 Summer Olympics, but he shocked the world by defeating Russian Aleksandr Karelin—who hadn’t lost an international match in 13 years or given up a point in six years—to win gold for the United States.

 

7. Kerri Strug Overcomes Injury

In the 1996 Summer Olympics (which took place in Atlanta), Kerri Strug courageously fought through a significant ankle injury from her first jump in the competition, jumping again—and sticking the landing on basically one leg—to seal gold on the final jump against the favored Russian team. Strug couldn’t compete in the individual events the rest of the way, so it makes her effort to bring home team gold all the more impressive.

 

6. Carli Lloyd Takes Over In 2015 WC Final

The United States was expected to get a very difficult game against Japan in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final, but the now-legendary Carli Lloyd came out with one of the greatest performances in the history of sports—scoring a hat trick in just 16 minutes. Fans should certainly remember the final of her three goals coming from midfield, and it cemented Lloyd as one of the all-time USWNT greats.

 

5. The Dream Team

The United States men’s Olympic basketball team was represented by non-professionals in 1988, which led to them settling for bronze. But in 1992, things changed, as NBA superstars—headlined by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, and others—made up the roster of the “Dream Team”, and they absolutely dominated in retribution for ’88. The closest game was a 38-point victory in the semifinal.

 

4. Michael Phelps Wins 8 Gold Medals

Michael Phelps is arguably the greatest Olympian of all-time, and his prime came during the 2008 Summer Olympics when he took home gold a whopping eight times (a world record). United States swimmer Mark Spitz had the previous record for seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics, and it was awesome to see Phelps top him with the final event being a team 4×100-meter medley relay.

 

3. USWNT Wins 1999 World Cup

It doesn’t get much more intense than a shootout for gold, and Brandi Chastain was able to come up clutch and create an everlasting legacy for herself and women’s soccer by scoring against China on the team’s final kick in the 1999 final. Chastain’s iconic celebration where she ripped off her jersey and went to the ground in joy remains one of the most memorable images in U.S. sports history.

 

2. Jesse Owens Dominates 1936 Olympics

You could say that Jesse Owens had the first ever victory over Hitler and Nazi Germany, as he took home four gold medals in 1936, ruining Hitler’s hopes to show German athletes dominating on the world stage. Owens won three track events and the long jump, causing the German leader to apparently leave before the award ceremonies.

 

1. “Miracle on Ice”

The Soviet Union had entered the 1980 Olympics winning five of the previous six gold medals in men’s ice hockey, and they were heavy favorites once again thanks to an experienced roster. At the same time, the U.S. was the youngest team in the field, but were able to advance to the medal round—where they were set to take on the USSR. The young Americans held their own entering the third period down 3-2, and they scored two goals to shock the world, leading to Al Michaels’ memorable call: “Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!” Team USA would eventually take home gold by beating Finland.

Live Sporting Events That Should Be Broadcast In 4K

Live Sporting Events That Should Be Broadcast In 4K

As White Wolf first reported back in February, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be broadcast in 4K on DIRECTV. All 52 matchups from the Group Stage to the Final will be shown in ultra-high-definition. Now, the World Cup is a huge worldwide event, but there are other big sporting events that should be broadcast in 4K sooner rather than later, too.

 

Stanley Cup Final

If you have the right television, hockey already pops off the screen because of the bright white ice; but the sport would look really awesome in ultra-high-definition broadcasts. Hockey in 4K would allow you to see the puck more clearly, along with the ice flying up as players zoom around the rink—and ideally, we’d at least get it for the final round with the Cup on the line. NBC broadcasts the Stanley Cup Final, and they aired a wide-ranging event like the Olympics in 4K, so it should be possible to get seven hockey games in the high-end format.

 

World Series

Championship rounds always have a different atmosphere, and that feels most clear for the Super Bowl and World Series, with the crowds clearly sounding more energized even from sitting on the couch at home. The picture quality should also get crisper for the Fall Classic, which would make the entire experience in 4K feel more like you’re actually at the stadium than at home. Like hockey, baseball deals with a smaller object of play (a hockey puck and a baseball), so getting higher resolution helps viewers track the ball better around the diamond.

 

PPV Fights

HBO got out of boxing, which is disappointing, but those remaining players in the fight game—like Showtime, ESPN, and DAZN—should do their best to get out consistent 4K broadcasts to make fight night a bigger and better event worth spending a weekend night on. Boxing and UFC fights don’t need a bunch of cameras to capture as many angles as professional team sports, so a 4K broadcast should be easier to accomplish. One issue is inconsistent internet connection and the bandwidth requirements for ultra-HD on streaming platforms like ESPN+ and DAZN, especially for live events as opposed to pre-recorded 4K content.

 

NFL Sunday Ticket

DIRECTV’s contract for NFL Sunday Ticket can expire after this season because the NFL has an opt-out, and it’s obviously a very lucrative package for them to offer to their customers, so they’ll be doing whatever they can to extend the partnership with the NFL. The AT&T company would be smart to offer a 4K option for Sunday Ticket in 2019, which would make many customers very happy and more loyal as the NFL decides where to place Sunday Ticket for the next several years. Whichever network eventually gets Sunday Ticket, 4K should be a must so America can watch its favorite sport in the highest quality video available for 17 Sundays of the year. Cable companies might get mad that the NFL allows DIRECTV to broadcast in 4K, but fans that spend hundreds of dollars per year in extra to watch every game should get that perk.

 

Super Bowl

Finally, it’s time we get the Big Game in 4K. As stated earlier, NBC broadcasts the Olympics in 4K; and FOX (World Cup) and CBS (golf tournaments) have used the ultra-high-definition format, too. With all three Super Bowl networks having the capability to air live sports in 4K, it’s a bit ridiculous the biggest sporting event of the year (in the U.S., at least) doesn’t get that treatment. Yes, the majority of viewers would not have access to the Super Bowl in 4K because only DIRECTV and Dish currently offer 4K live sports (though that could change next year), but if the networks can get enough cameras to show the game in ultra-HD, they should simply show it for the people that can see it.

Full 2019 Women’s FIFA World Cup Schedule

Full 2019 Women’s FIFA World Cup Schedule

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will begin tomorrow with Group Stage play, and if you missed it, all the games will be broadcast in 4K. Below is the full schedule (all games listed in ET) for tomorrow’s kickoff game through the World Cup Final. [Note: games for the USWNT are in bold and italics.]

 

Group Stage

 

Friday, June 7

Group A: France vs. Korea Republic | 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Saturday, June 8

Group B: Germany vs. China PR | 9:00 AM ET | FS1

Group B: Spain vs. South Africa | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

Group A: Norway vs. Nigeria | 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Sunday, June 9

Group C: Australia vs. Italy | 7:00 AM ET | FS1

Group C: Brazil vs. Jamaica | 9:30 AM ET | FS1

Group D: England vs. Scotland | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Monday, June 10

Group D: Argentina vs. Japan | 12:00 PM ET | FS1

Group E: Canada vs. Cameroon | 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Tuesday, June 11

Group E: New Zealand vs. Netherland | 9:00 AM ET | FS1

Group F: Chile vs. Sweden | 12:00 PM ET | FS1

Group F: USA vs. Thailand | 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Wednesday, June 12

Group A: Nigeria vs. Korea Republic | 9:00 AM ET | FS1

Group B: Germany vs. Spain | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

Group A: France vs. Norway | 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Thursday, June 13

Group C: Australia vs. Brazil | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

Group B: South Africa vs. China PR | 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Friday, June 14

Group D: Japan vs. Scotland | 9:00 AM ET | FS1

Group C: Jamaica vs. Italy | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

Group D: England vs. Argentina | 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Saturday, June 15

Group E: Netherlands vs. Cameroon | 9:00 AM ET | FS1

Group E: Canada vs. New Zealand | 3:00 PM ET | FS2

 

Saturday, June 16

Group F: Sweden vs. Thailand | 9:00 AM ET | FS1

Group F: USA vs. Chile | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Monday, June 17

Group B: China PR vs. Spain | 12:00 PM ET | FS1

Group B: South Africa vs. Germany | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

Group A: Nigeria vs. France | 3:00 PM ET | FOX

Group A: Korea Republic vs. Norway | 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Tuesday, June 18

Group C: Jamaica vs. Australia | 3:00 PM ET | FS2

Group C: Italy vs. Brazil | 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Wednesday, June 19

Group D: Japan vs. England | 3:00 PM ET | FS1

Group D: Scotland vs. Argentina | 3:00 PM ET | FS2

 

Thursday, June 20

Group E: Cameroon vs. New Zealand | 12:00 PM ET | FS1

Group E: Netherlands vs. Canada | 12:00 PM ET | FOX

Group F: Sweden vs. USA | 3:00 PM ET | FOX

Group F: Thailand vs. Chile | 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Round of 16

 

Saturday, June 22

TBD: 9:00 AM ET | FS1

TBD: 12:30 PM ET | FOX

 

Sunday, June 23

TBD: 11:30 AM ET | FS1

TBD: 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Monday, June 24

TBD: 12:00 PM ET | FS1

TBD: 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Tuesday, June 25

TBD: 12:00 PM ET | FS1

TBD: 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Quarterfinals

 

Thursday, June 27

TBD: 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Friday, June 28

TBD: 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Saturday, June 29

TBD: 9:00 AM ET | FS1

TBD: 12:30 PM ET | FS1

 

Semifinals

 

Tuesday, July 2

TBD: 3:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Wednesday, July 3

TBD: 3:00 PM ET | FS1

 

Third Place Playoff

 

Saturday, July 6

TBD: 11:00 AM ET | FOX

 

Final

 

Sunday, July 7

TBD: 11:00 AM ET | FOX

2019 Stanley Cup Final Schedule And Prediction

2019 Stanley Cup Final Schedule And Prediction

This season’s Stanley Cup Final has been 49 years in the making, as the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues are left standing after a crazy several weeks of the postseason. These two franchises met in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, and Boston-vs.-St. Louis has been a big-time sports rivalry that’s had championship matchups in all four of the major American professional sports leagues, with a record 11 matchups total between the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA.

 

Here’s the upcoming schedule for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. The home teams are listed second, all game times are 8:00 PM ET, and Games 2 and 3 will be on NBCS instead of NBC.

 

-Game 1 | Blues vs. Bruins | Monday, May 27 | NBC

-Game 2 | Blues vs. Bruins | Wednesday, May 29 | NBCS

-Game 3 | Bruins vs. Blues | Saturday, June 1 | NBCS

-Game 4 | Bruins vs. Blues | Monday, June 3 | NBC

-Game 5 | Blues vs. Bruins | Thursday, June 6 | NBC

-Game 6 | Bruins vs. Blues | Sunday, June 9 | NBC

-Game 7 | Blues vs. Bruins | Wednesday, June 12 | NBC

 

Biggest Questions

 

Boston: Can Tuukka Rask continue his dominance?

Statistically, Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask is one of the best goalies of all-time, and he’s playing as well as ever with a .942 save percentage this postseason. In his playoff career, Rask has the best save percentage of all-time at .92788 (minimum 55 games). If his level of play remains at this level, it’ll be difficult for the Blues to prevent Boston from winning their second Stanley Cup this decade.

 

St. Louis: Can the Blues continue their stellar play on the road?

The Bruins are 6-2 on the road themselves, but the Blues are 7-2 and have gotten more wins with their backs against the wall—like falling behind twice in the Western Conference Final against the Sharks. And with Boston holding home ice throughout the series, St. Louis obviously must take at least one game on the road—and they shouldn’t panic if they drop a game or two at home.

 

Prediction

Keep in mind, the Bruins have had 11 days of rest, and it’s possible rust is a factor early in Game 1 as they attempt to get their footing against a physical Blues team. On paper, Boston should be considered the favorites to win another Stanley Cup: they’re first in goals allowed per game and second in goals scored this postseason, and they’re first in power play percentage. They have the experience advantage with Rask, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci. But the Blues feel like they have the makings of a team that can pull off the upset. Head coach Craig Berube took the team from the bottom of the standings into this position after being named interim coach in November, and they’re playing with a noticeable edge this postseason. Vladimir Tarasenko is heating up and could help break Rask’s spell; and teammate Brayden Schenn hasn’t had big offensive numbers this postseason, but his all-around hustle could lead to some pucks bouncing St. Louis’ way this series.

 

If the series goes seven games, I think Boston would win the series because of their experience. However, the Blues might ride their momentum to steal an early game on the road and win their first Stanley Cup at home in Game 6.

 

Prediction: Blues in six

Picking XFL Team Names For All Eight Cities

Picking XFL Team Names For All Eight Cities

The AAF folded last week, ending in the middle of their inaugural season, but spring football will be back next year with the XFL. Led by deep-pocketed billionaire Vince McMahon and with more time to plan compared to the AAF’s rush to launch, the XFL figures to be much more successful than the AAF. The eight cities for the next startup football league are known, but they do not yet have team names, so we’ve come up with XFL team names for each city.

 

Dallas Drifters

Back in 2001 when the XFL was first in existence, the names were pretty edgy (the New York/New Jersey team was called the “Hitmen”), and while they’ll probably be tamer for 2020, there should be good names to play with. For many people, the Dallas Drifters would probably bring up thoughts of a gun-slinging killer that comes and goes as he pleases, but the name itself isn’t at all controversial. The XFL might feel Drifters is too similar of a name to Cowboys, but a drifter arguably sounds cooler than a cowboy. The logo could be a black-hatted gentleman that lets you know what the team is about.

 

Houston Space

Houston is known as the world capital of space exploration, so a simple name like the Houston Space (or maybe Spacemen) for an XFL team would work. This would fall in line with two major professional sports teams in Houston—the NBA’s Rockets and the MLB’s Astros—which is a plus as the team looks to get a foothold in the area.

 

Los Angeles Vipers

Ideally, the animals associated with team names will be relevant to the area, and southern California has an abundance of snakes, including vipers. The Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB are the only other major professional sports team names after a snake, viper is arguably one of the better animal names to use for a team name, and the Los Angeles Vipers sounds original. Desperados, Runners, and Stars were three other potential names in consideration for the Los Angeles XFL team.

 

New York Knights

This might be the best potential XFL team name on the list, as New York Knights just flows very nicely, and “Knights” is an imposing and dignified name that’s been underutilized in professional sports (the Golden Knights of the NHL made a great choice for their expansion team name). A knight mascot—whether a dude dressed as a knight or a cartoonish knight like UCF uses—would probably be the best in the league. It’s easy to picture the New York Knights becoming the XFL’s most popular team.

 

Seattle Sea Lions

Sea lions are amusing creatures, the fact that “lion” is in the name makes them more imposing, and there are a lot of them around Seattle. The SEA-SEA to start the city name and mascot name might be ripping off the Seahawks a bit, but the XFL probably doesn’t care if the NFL is mad about that. Considering all the rain in Seattle, the Sun Dodgers might also be a pretty good original name. (Seattle Rain might’ve been the choice if not for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign FC women’s soccer team.)

 

St. Louis Steel

Incorporating something about St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch seems like a good idea to get people understandable upset about the NFL taking away their franchise to rally around a new football team that takes pride in the city. The Gateway Arch consists of steel, so the St. Louis Steel would be a tough name that can incorporate the arch into the team logo. A primary gray steel color scheme—perhaps for alternate uniform at least—would be something different.

 

Tampa Bay Bull Sharks

Tampa Bay was the most difficult city to come up with an XFL team name, but the alliteration between Bay and Bull makes “Tampa Bay Bull Sharks” sound smooth. And bull sharks are among the most dangerous sharks, making the team name more daunting. The Gators might be a better option, but it’s unclear if the University of Florida’s Gator name would be a positive or negative for the XFL—the league probably has the research to determine that if Gators is under consideration.

 

Washington Commanders

The Washington Generals might work better if not for the basketball team of the same name (the one that the Globetrotters beat up on), but the Washington Commanders is a similar name that projects power and solidity. There shouldn’t be much concern about “stealing” the name of an AAF team (the San Antonio Commanders), as the AAF will be far in the rear-view when the XFL takes the field next spring. The Washington Americans and Washington Wardens are two other options for the XFL team in the nation’s capital.

Top Ten Tuesday: NHL Seattle Potential Team Names

Top Ten Tuesday: NHL Seattle Potential Team Names

If you haven’t heard already, the NHL is coming to Seattle. There’s a lot to be done including branding and a lot of construction before the team debuts in 2021 as the NHL’s 32nd team, but the team name is one of the most important things for the ownership group to decide. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over ten of the best name possibilities for Seattle’s NHL franchise. According to Clark Rasmussen of DetroitHockey.net, 13 names have been trademarked as potential possibilities, and those are marked with a star in the rankings below.

 

10. Seattle Pacifics

This name has dual meanings, as pacific basically means “peaceable” (though that might not fit with a tough hockey team), but it’s also for the Pacific Ocean, which is of course right off the west coast of Washington state.

 

9. Seattle Marmots

The Olympic marmot is the official endemic mammal for the state of Washington, so it’d be something the region can get behind for Seattle’s NHL team name. It’s low because I don’t think most people know what a marmot is (basically like a squirrel).

 

8. Seattle Evergreens*

Evergreens are stout trees that don’t lose their leaves during the year (hence the name ever-greens), so that toughness and resiliency translates well for an NHL team. A logo based around a tree could be simple yet powerful for The Evergreen State’s new franchise.

 

7. Seattle Emeralds*

While the Evergreens would be more Washington-focused, the Seattle Emeralds would be more focused on the city. Emerald City isn’t an extremely well-known nickname for Seattle, but it’s easy to imagine it quickly catching on, especially if the team is successful.

 

6. Seattle Owls

The owl population has declined in Washington over the years, so the Seattle Owls would be a solid name that would also bring attention to the decline of a cool animal. No professional sports team is named the owls yet, which is a bit of a surprise—there’s an opening for Seattle.

 

5. Seattle Seals*

The Seattle Seals is a definite fit, as it keeps the “Sea Sea” theme as is used with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. Seals appear to be pretty fun animals that most people like.

 

4. Seattle Sea Lions*

Sea Lions is very similar to Seals, but it’s a bit more regal as a name even if sea lions aren’t actually all that different than seals. This also keeps the “Sea Sea” for the city and nickname.

 

3. Seattle Kraken*

Naming your team after a mythical creature might be a stretch, but Seattle Kraken is intimidating—and the trademarking of the name indicates there’s a chance this happens. The franchise and the crowd would probably quickly conjure unique themes and cheers based on the name.

 

2. Seattle Snipers

The lone nickname not trademarked by ownership to make the top five is the Seattle Snipers. The nickname flows nicely, and snipers are most applicable to hockey and soccer when it comes to sports. No guns need to be involved in the logo, as it could focus on sniping in terms of hockey. And the No. 1 potential name shows ownership isn’t afraid to go with a name on the edge.

 

1. Seattle Renegades*

Seattle Renegades just feels right as a name for the 32nd NHL franchise. They might be the last expansion franchise we get in hockey or professional sports in a while, and they’ll be definite outsiders looking to repeat the early success the Las Vegas Golden Knights had in 2018.

Sports Mount Rushmores For The NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL

Sports Mount Rushmores For The NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL

Happy Presidents’ Day to all. In honor of America’s Presidents’ Day, we’re going over the Mount Rushmores for the United States’ four major professional sports. There have been countless remarkable athletes throughout the decades, so these could be totally different depending on who you ask. Let’s get right to it.

 

NFL

 

Tom Brady

While the Mount Rushmore of the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL could vary greatly, there are a few guys that should be locks and likely will be for years to come; Tom Brady is one of those players. Brady is the only legend on any of these Mount Rushmores that is still playing, so hopefully people appreciate his accomplishments as his historic career continues. Brady’s six championships might never be topped, and he’s still not done, as he’ll likely be in more Super Bowls, and he’s almost a lock to eventually set the all-time marks for regular season passing touchdowns and passing yardage at some point.

 

One liner: Football’s greatest player and champion.

 

Lawrence Taylor

Off-field issues aside, Lawrence Taylor is undoubtedly one of the greatest football players ever. Defensively, many coaches—including Bill Belichick, who coached Taylor with the Giants—and players believe “L.T.” is the best to ever suit up, and Belichick noted twice in the past few months that he doesn’t think anyone else belongs in the conversation with him. L.T. was basically a true master of everything as a modern NFL linebacker, and his 1986 NFL MVP as a defensive player—the second defensive player to win the award, and potentially the last ever—is a testament to his ability and impact on the field. Taylor also has a couple of Super Bowl titles to further confirm his greatness.

 

One liner: A jack-of-all-trades, master-level defender.

 

Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice had 20 seasons to accumulate his amazing numbers that look like they might not ever be touched despite the league trending towards more passing since his retirement, but it’s not like the Hall of Fame receiver didn’t play at a high level late in his career. 1,211 yards at age 40 is mind-boggling, and in his prime, Rice was just uncoverable. During Rice’s 11-year run from 1986-1996 when he was named First Team All-Pro ten times, he averaged 1,404.5 yards and 12.6 touchdowns per season while never going under 1,000 yards or eight touchdowns—and the only season in that span where he was under 1,200 yards was in 1987 when he caught a then NFL-record 22 touchdowns in just 12 games. Both the consistency and eliteness were just insane.

 

One liner: Unmatched consistency at a time the game was tougher on receivers.

 

Reggie White

This final spot on the NFL Mount Rushmore could have easily been a running back like the great Jim Brown or the electric Barry Sanders, but another defender gets the nod to make it an even 2-2 split between offense and defense. Reggie White is second in NFL history with 198.0 career sacks (behind Bruce Smith with 200.0), and he likely would be the NFL’s all-time sack leader if not for two seasons spent in the USFL to start his professional career (in which he recorded 23.5 sacks). White was a ten-time First Team All-Pro, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team, 1980s All-Decade Team, and 1990s All-Decade Team, along with having his No. 92 retired for both the Eagles and Packers. White’s arrival in Green Bay was the catalyst that helped them win Super Bowl XXXI.

 

One liner: A true force on the field and a model person off it.

 

 

MLB

 

Babe Ruth

The discussion for greatest baseball player of all-time always includes George Herman Ruth Jr., better known as “Babe”. It tends to get overshadowed because of his greatness as a hitter, but Babe Ruth started his career as one of baseball’s best pitchers, recording 94 wins and a 2.28 ERA in his career. “The Bambino” became one of the game’s best hitters toward the end of his Red Sox career, but he really exploded into a legendary figure during his time with the Yankees, hitting 54 bombs in his first season in the pinstripes and never looking back. Ruth finished his career with 714 home runs, a .342 batting average, a .474 on-base percentage, and he still has all-time marks in career slugging percentage (.690) and OPS (1.164). There’s some question about how good Ruth would be if he played today, but it’s not like everyone did what he did back in the day.

 

One liner: One of baseball’s original legends.

 

Hank Aaron

These legendary baseball players have some strong names nicknames, as Henry Louis Aaron and the nicknames “Hank” and “Hammer” are all excellent. Ruth’s home run record stood until Henry Aaron broke it 39 years later in 1974, and many consider Aaron the true “Home Run King” at 755 career homers, with Barry Bonds’ 762 homers tainted by the steroid era. Aaron does still hold the MLB record for RBI (2,297) and total bases (6,856) in a career, and he’s top-five in hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). Aaron was selected to a mind-boggling 25 All-Star games, which is just crazy to think about.

 

One liner: An all-time power hitter and the true Home Run King.

 

Ted Williams

Considered by many as the greatest hitter who ever lived, Ted Williams has the numbers to back it up: a .344 career average, .482 career on-base percentage (best in MLB history), 521 career home runs, a two-time Triple Crown winner, and the last player in MLB history to hit .400 in a season. Williams’ overall numbers might’ve been even better if military service didn’t interrupt part of his playing career, but his loyalty to country helps his argument for making baseball’s Mount Rushmore. It’s hard to see another player ever hitting .400 in a season or matching Williams’ career batting average, which is highest in the live-ball era. A two-time AL MVP and 19-time All-Star for the Red Sox, the only thing missing for Williams was a championship.

 

One liner: There might never be a better hitter.

 

Willie Mays

You could say Jackie Robinson should be on the MLB Mount Rushmore because of the difference he made breaking baseball’s color barrier; Mike Trout will almost certainly be on here someday, and some might argue he should be on right now as arguably the best baseball player ever; and Ken Griffey Jr. likely would be a lock for baseball’s Mount Rushmore if he didn’t battle injuries. It could have also been Mickey Mantle and others, or perhaps a full-time pitcher, in a sport with more players with a case for the Mount Rushmore than any other because of its long history. But Willie Mays is the choice as a fellow five-tool player like Trout and Griffey, as the 24-time All-Star showed more longevity in his career. Mays was just below Aaron as a 24-time All-Star, he won two NL MVPs, a World Series, and a record-tying 12 Gold Gloves. Mays hit 51 home runs in 1955, and he hit 52 home runs a decade later in 1965, which is the longest stretch between 50-homer seasons. And his 660 career home runs with a .302 average and 330 steals while playing outstanding defense is tough to match.

 

One liner: A rare five-tool player with longevity.

 

 

NBA

 

Michael Jordan

Any NBA Mount Rushmore starts with Michael Jordan, who became the game’s great modern-day champion during an epic run in the 1990s which included two three-peats for his six titles—you can also throw in Jordan’s national championship win during his college career at North Carolina. MJ was unguardable as an offensive force that led the league in scoring ten times while adapting his game from pure freak athlete to one of the game’s most skilled players, but his defense and competitiveness were a big reason he became the greatest. Despite playing against tough defenses in an era that was not as favorable as today for offenses, Jordan averages the most points per game in history (30.12). MJ also won two Olympic gold medals, including as a member of the 1992 “Dream Team”.

 

One liner: A dominant champion that helped take the NBA to new heights in popularity.

 

Wilt Chamberlain

Somehow overshadowed—despite his size—in the discussion of greatest basketball player of all-time for some reason, Wilt Chamberlain clearly belongs on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore. Chamberlain is behind only MJ in career scoring at 30.07 points per game, and he’s the only player in NBA history to average either 40.0 points per game (which he did in 1962-1963 at 44.8 points per game) or 50 points per game (which he did in 1961-1962 at 50.4 points per game). Everyone knows about Wilt’s 100-point game in 1962, a performance that will likely stand as the record forever; and his 22.9 rebounds per game almost certainly won’t ever be broken, either. Chamberlain did it at a different time, but he still probably would’ve been a dominant big man in any era.

 

One liner: One of the most unstoppable players in the history of sports.

 

Magic Johnson

Perhaps the greatest point guard of all-time despite standing at six-foot-nine, Earvin “Magic” Johnson was almost like MJ before MJ as a clutch performer, five-time NBA champion, college basketball national champion, and “Dream Team” Olympic gold medalist. As a rookie, Johnson started at center in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, recording 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in a Lakers win, becoming the only rookie to ever win Finals MVP in the process. With nine appearances in the Finals, Magic could’ve had a more accomplished career if not for his HIV diagnosis in 1991. Magic is still the NBA’s all-time assist leader at 11.2 helpers per game for his career.

 

One liner: One of the greatest all-around basketball players ever.

 

Bill Russell

Bill Russell is one of the top champions in all of sports, winning 14 championships between the NBA, Olympics, and college basketball. Behind only Wilt Chamberlain in career rebounding marks, Russell is second all-time in NBA history for total rebounds and rebounds per game (22.5). While he was a very capable scorer and playmaker on offense, Russell’s rebounding and defense was the foundation of both his game and Boston’s 11 titles during a stretch that likely won’t ever be matched in any team sport.

 

One liner: The NBA’s 11-time champion belongs on its Mount Rushmore.

 

NHL

 

Wayne Gretzky

“The Great One” Wayne Gretzky is considered the greatest hockey player of all-time by almost everyone, and he was so good that he was immediately put into the Hockey Hall of Fame without a waiting period. Gretzky holds one of the most insane stat nuggets of all-time: he has more career assists than any other player in NHL history has total points. The Canadian legend has 894 career goals (also the most ever), 1,963 career assists, and 2,857 career points, along with a +520 plus/minus during his time on the ice. Gretzky led the Oilers to four Stanley Cup titles.

 

One liner: No debate he belongs on NHL’s Mount Rushmore.

 

Mario Lemieux

Health issues impacted Mario Lemieux’s career, but he played more than enough time to be considered one of the greatest hockey players ever. Appropriately nicknamed “The Magnificent One” (a similar nickname to Gretzky), Lemieux really was magnificent on the ice, as a smooth and athletic man that moved unlike most six-foot-four guys in skates—as indicated by him being the only player in NHL history with 70+ power-play goals in a season, which he did three times. Lemieux was also immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame upon retirement in 1997, but he then returned to the ice from 2000-2006. The Penguin great basically saved the franchise from bankruptcy by purchasing it in 1999, and he won an additional three titles as the team owner (2009, 2016, 2017) after winning back-to-back titles as a player in 1991 and 1992.

 

One liner: A force on the ice and one of hockey’s most important people.

 

Gordie Howe

“Mr. Hockey” might be the best nickname of anyone on these Mount Rushmores, and Gordie Howe earned it by playing in the most NHL games of all-time and being the oldest person in league history to play (52 years old). With 801 career goals in his 26 seasons (24 with the Red Wings), Howe is behind only Gretzky in career goals. Howe has four championships, and he led the playoffs in scoring six times. He continued his playing career in the WHA, and then even for one shift in the IHL in 1997 to become the only player to appear in six different decades—clearly, Howe loved hockey as much as anyone.

 

One liner: Mr. Hockey should have a spot on the sport’s Mount Rushmore.

 

Bobby Orr

Bobby Orr played in just nine full NHL seasons (12 total) and played in just 47 games after he turned 27 years old, but he had a nearly unmatched impact during his time with the Bruins when he was healthy. Orr won two Stanley Cup Finals and two Conn Smythe Trophies, including scoring a game-winning goal in the 1972 Final. He revolutionized his defenseman position as a skilled playmaker, and he’s the only player at his position to win two scoring titles. Orr is fourth in NHL history in point-per-game average (1.39), and his +597 plus/minus surpasses even Gretzky despite playing just 657 career games.

 

One liner: The best defenseman in NHL history.

 

 

Bonus: College football is arguably the second most popular even in America behind professional football, so here’s a bonus Mount Rushmore for the great Saturday tradition.

 

College football

 

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow was a key contributor on Florida’s national championship team in 2006, following it up with a Heisman Trophy in 2007 and another national championship as the team’s starting quarterback in 2008. Tebow then returned for his senior season, which ended in a crushing Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama—but the Gators finished strong under Tebow with a 51-24 Sugar Bowl victory and a No. 3 ranking to end the season. There weren’t many players out there in any sport that played the game with more passion than Tebow, who gave an epic speech as a college athlete after the team’s loss in its 2008 championship season. Tebow was automatic in most short-yardage situations, and he was very efficient as a passer operating Urban Meyer’s attack.

 

 

One liner: There might not be a better leader in the history of collegiate athletics.

 

Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders had to bide his time while playing behind All-American running back Thurman Thomas at Oklahoma State, but he more than took advantage of his opportunity in the starting role after Thomas moved on to the NFL. As a junior in 1998, Sanders put together one of the most prolific seasons in college football history, rushing 344 times for 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. Both the yardage and touchdowns still stand as the highest single-season marks in history.

 

One liner: An epic record-breaking season is enough for college football’s Mount Rushmore.

 

Archie Griffin

The only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in history obviously belongs in the discussion of college football’s Mount Rushmore. While Archie Griffin never had an all-time single-season season performance like Sanders, he led Ohio State in rushing all four of his college seasons and was named a three-time All-American. Griffin rushed for 100 yards in an NCAA record 31 straight games, and he was able to get his No. 45 retired because he didn’t leave school early like other college football greats. The Buckeyes had a 40-5-1 record and won four Big Ten titles during Griffin’s time at the school.

 

One liner: The only two-time winner of one of the most prestigious individual honors in sports.

 

Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker immediately entered college football as an absolute freak for Georgia, becoming the first true freshman to be named an All-American while helping lead the Bulldogs to a national championship. Walker rushed for 1,616 yards, 1,891 yards, and 1,752 yards along with touchdown totals of 15, 20, and 17 in his three college seasons, and he was the only player to ever finish top three in Heisman Trophy voting in all three years in school. Walker was also SEC Player of the Year every year of his college career and has his No. 34 retired despite leaving school early.

 

One liner: An immediate force of nature from a freshman to a junior.

Exclusive: 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup To Be Broadcast In 4K On DIRECTV

Exclusive: 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup To Be Broadcast In 4K On DIRECTV

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France will begin in June, and it will officially be available in 4K. White Wolf has learned the entire tournament—which will be aired on FOX and FS1 in the United States—will be broadcast in 4K via DIRECTV:

 

All 2019 Women’s World Cup games will be available in 4K to eligible DIRECTV customers with compatible equipment starting in June.

 

So from the start of the Group Stage on June 7 to the Final on July 7, all 52 World Cup matches will be available in ultra-high-definition through DIRECTV.

 

To watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 4K, you’ll obviously need compatible equipment: a 4K television, a 4K-capable DIRECTV box, and the correct DIRECTV programming package.

 

The 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Russia was also broadcast in 4K last year, with matches available in the ultra-high-definition format from DIRECTV, Layer3 TV, Dish Network, Altice USA, Comcast (next-day availability in video on-demand only), and Hisense televisions with an exclusive Fox Sports: 2018 World Cup Edition App. The tournament was also available in 4K across the Atlantic, and the same will likely be the case for the Women’s World Cup this summer.

 

AT&T Communications’ DIRECTV is the United States’ clear leader in live 4K content, with three channels (104, 105, and 106) including two full-time 4K channels (104 and 105). Channel 106 is the satellite provider’s event channel, which features at least several sporting events per month. DIRECTV’s monthly 4K/4K HDR events schedule can be viewed here.

 

Led by Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Julie Ertz, the United States Women’s National Team is attempting to repeat as World Cup champions (2015) and win the country’s fourth title overall (1991, 1999, 2015).

 

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins on June 7.

LA-Boston And New York-Philadelphia Headline The Best Sports City Rivalries

LA-Boston And New York-Philadelphia Headline The Best Sports City Rivalries

A notable sports rivalry between two of the United States’ most prominent cities will again hit center stage this Sunday for Super Bowl LIII, but LA-Boston is just one of the several best sports city rivalries.

 

Boston vs. Los Angeles

This Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots (New England/Boston) and Rams (Los Angeles) is what got this discussion going, and the two cities have a long history of intense rivalry that’s continued in two major sports title games the last several months. Toward the end of last year, LA and Boston met in the World Series, with the Red Sox prevailing over the Dodgers in five games. Earlier this millennium, the Lakers and Celtics split a couple of NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, and the two teams have met a stunning 11 times (12 if you count when the Lakers were in Minneapolis); the Celtics lead the Finals series 8-3, but the Lakers have won three of the last four.

 

While playing in opposite conference and having never met in the Stanley Cup Final, the Kings and Bruins don’t have much of a rivalry in the NHL, but the LA-Boston rivalry extends beyond the playing fields. Some of the best movies occur in either Los Angeles or Boston, and the two sides are pretty much opposites—LA is vibrant, showy, and casual (even the movies with killing have a more chill vibe to them), while Boston is tough, gritty, and realistic (think The Departed, The Town, and Black Mass).

 

And of course, the Boston-originated “Beat LA” chant that originated in the 1980’s is one of the most well-known chants and will live on forever.

 

New York vs. Boston

Dominated by Yankees-Red Sox, perhaps the best rivalry in all of sports, New York versus Boston has a strong case for the best sports-city rivalry. People from New York and people from Boston simply aren’t too fond of each other when it comes to their sports teams, and the rivalry runs through all four major sports: Yanks-Sox, Jets-Patriots, Rangers-Bruins, and Knicks-Celtics. Also, the Patriots and Giants have met in two Super Bowls in the last 15 years, which intensified the New York-Boston rivalry. The proximity of the two East Coast giants makes the rivalry all the more heated.

 

New York vs. Philadelphia

New York and Philadelphia are closer together than New York and Boston, and the rivalry is arguably bigger. The Phillies and Yankees met in the 2009 World Series, which the Yanks won, but the focus of the rivalry is certainly on the teams within the same conferences in the four major professional sports leagues: Giants-Eagles, Mets-Phillies, Rangers-Flyers, and Knicks-Sixers. Many New Yorkers look down on Philadelphians, while many Philadelphians don’t understand all the hype about the Big Apple. The debate even stretches to food, as citizens of both cities swear by their gourmet options, with the counterpart having simply terrible dishes in comparison.

 

The Bay vs. LA

The Bay Area versus Los Angeles is the West Coast’s most notable rivalry—which there aren’t many of in an area that’s more laid-back compared to the diehard fan bases throughout the rest of the country—but things have really picked up with the ascension of the Golden State Warriors into the NBA’s preeminent power. Giants-Dodgers, Athletics-Angels, Warriors-Clippers (and more so the Lakers now too), 49ers-Rams, Sharks-Ducks/Kings, and even Raiders-Chargers (for now) give multiple options in every sport, so these matchups are very frequent between groups of fans that probably have superiority complex when it comes to their respective cities.

 

Detroit vs. Chicago

Overall, the Detroit-Chicago rivalry hasn’t been all that intense, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best city rivalries historically. The Blackhawks and Red Wings have met since 1926 and has been one of the best rivalries in hockey. The Bears and Lions have the longest-running rivalry in the NFL, meeting at least once a season since 1930 (though they only met once in the postseason, with Chicago winning the NFL title in 1932). While both franchises have been down on their luck in recent years, the White Sox and Tigers have an MLB rivalry that’s gone on for over a century. And Michael Jordan’s Bulls had to get over the hump against the “Bad Boys” Pistons team before winning their first championship. Hopefully these two north-midwestern cities ramp the rivalry intensity back up in the coming years.

 

New York vs. Los Angeles

The two biggest cities in America fittingly have one of the better sports rivalries despite being on opposite sides of the country and not playing in the same division in any of the four major professional sports leagues. When NY and LA come together, it becomes an East Coast versus West Coast thing, probably to a higher extent than Boston-LA does because it’s the two biggest cities. New York and Los Angeles have played in 11 championship games, which isn’t a huge number—but LA holds a narrow 6-5 edge after the Kings broke the 5-5 tie with a 2014 Stanley Cup victory over the Rangers.

 

Philadelphia vs. Boston

Philadelphia versus Boston, the participants in last year’s Super Bowl, is becoming a big thing, with Philly acting in some ways as the upstart looking to eventually take the “City of Champions” title from the fellow East Coast city. The two cities have the most American history of anyplace in the country, they’re America’s most patriotic cities, they both have a bunch of working-class fans, and they’re just pretty similar overall.

 

Sixers-Celtics was one of the NBA’s best rivalries in the middle-to-later part of last century, and it’s picked up the last couple of years; while Flyers-Bruins have met both in the Stanley Cup Final (a Flyers win in 1974) and the Eastern Conference playoffs, including a stunning 3-0 series comeback in 2010—the next season, Boston got revenge with a sweep on their way to a championship. Phillies-Red Sox is a nice little interleague rivalry where both opposing fans travel well to the home stadium of the other team. A split in Super Bowl matchups, with the most recent win by the Eagles, gives each side some bragging rights in a great All-American rivalry with a ton of potential, as Boston is basically what Philadelphia wants to be.

Sports Media Pundits Should Stop Acting Like Know-It-Alls

Sports Media Pundits Should Stop Acting Like Know-It-Alls

Sports media is among the most negative things in the United States. There are many sports writers and analysts that are fair, but the majority has always seemed to go with a pessimistic slant—because it’s very easy to be negative.

 

The rise of social media has led to the rise of negativity in sports media, as many are eager to share their own thoughts about how a player or coach is “bad” or to retweet one of the big personalities from three- and four-letter networks spewing their usual daily nonsense.

 

Last week, supposed experts of all sports, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman of ESPN’s First Take, questioned whether the Oakland Raiders should move on from quarterback Derek Carr. Given First Take is a ridiculous, mindless debate show that discusses these sorts of things, it’s probably a fair discussion for the venue.

 

But Carr felt Smith (who has no problem calling players “scrubs” and other names from behind the safety of a screen) and Kellerman (who said Carr “didn’t want it”) crossed the line.

 

 

 

 

Carr arguably went too far challenging the ESPN hosts to a fight, but it’s easy to understand the quarterback’s frustration. Because Smith and Kellerman have a platform, they think it’s OK to say anything about professional athletes and coaches; Carr obviously doesn’t think that’s right, and his tweets indicate it’s not just an issue with the First Take debaters.

 

You could certainly argue Carr should just ignore the negative noise, but it’s hard to have a problem with someone defending their reputation—unfortunately a lot of people actually watch, listen, and are influenced by First Take—especially against a couple of guys that have no idea what they’re talking about.

 

It’s fair to say Stephen A. Smith’s football credibility went out the window in just 30 seconds last month.

 

 

Mistakes happen, but Smith clearly can’t actually watch much football to get all that wrong—particularly the Hunter Henry and Derrick Johnson part—like he did. So if you’re Carr, it probably doesn’t feel right when you have guys like that criticize you.

 

Still, negativity sells. Many people have had a ton of success by yelling the loudest and being the most negative. While some might call that “keeping it real,” I consider it either going out of your lane or selling your soul (the networks love hiring negative and opinionated people because it leads to controversy, which leads the ratings—just look around).

 

My theory is that for some of the “experts,” being negative simply makes them feel better about themselves. This is especially true for people on Twitter—like those on television and radio, these people also use a shield (social media) to basically write things they would not say to the face of the person they’re criticizing.

 

It’s difficult to pinpoint another reason for 30-50-year-old men feeling it’s OK or normal to criticize young athletes competing collegiately or trying to play professionally.

 

Take note of these next few months leading up to the NFL Draft, and you’ll see plenty of geniuses hatefully giving opinions on players. Some guys become targets of the negativity mob for some reason—last year former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was among the biggest targets, and this year it looks like it’ll be former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.

 

If a critic happens to be right one out of ten times, you’ll never hear the end of it. If a critic is wrong, their “take” is simply forgotten, ignored, or deleted.

 

The reality is no one within the NFL and other leagues actually takes negatively-opinionated sports pundits seriously. But unfortunately, despite the fact that sports coverage has gone off the deep end, that doesn’t mean the negativity will ever stop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Fast-Food Chains

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Fast-Food Chains

The National Champion Clemson Tigers visited the White House last night, and President Trump purchased thousands of fast food items (because of the government shutdown) for the team to dine on.

 

 

 

 

If it’s good enough for the national champions at the White House, it’s probably good enough for a lot of us. So, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over the best fast food restaurants. Please note, this list does not include pizza or dessert (such as Krispy Kreme, which would be high up on the list) places.

 

10. In-N-Out Burger

If they were a nation-wide chain, perhaps In-N-Out Burger would be higher than No. 10 on the list. However, only West Coasters get the benefit of one of the better burger chains in the country. The In-N-Out quality is steady, but the menu isn’t as expansive of some other places,

 

9. Burger King

Burger King has made progress with their breakfast slate in an attempt to catch up with competitors like McDonald’s in the department, and it’s helped make them better overall. BK is solid, but most likely agree it’s not quite in the elite tier of fast food restaurants. One major mishap was not eliminating toys from the kids menu (aside from partnerships, such as a recent one for the Aquaman movie), as that’s a definite boost for children.

 

8. Whataburger

Many of the Clemson players are probably big fans of Whataburger and might have been hoping it somehow made it to Washington D.C. for last night’s dinner. If you haven’t been in the south, you never had the burger chain before, but just take a look at the huge menu and you’ll want to give it a try someday.

 

7. McDonald’s

McDonald’s gets the slight edge over Whataburger because it’s available across the United States and is among the most convenient fast-food chains in the world. Also, McDonald’s has a wide arrangement of desserts (including the McFlurry, despite them becoming a meme because of broken machines), coffees, and breakfast options.

 

6. Popeyes

Most of these restaurants focus on burgers for their lunch and dinner offerings, but Popeyes delivers chicken with a Southern twist. The majority of states have Popeyes, and the chicken is arguably normal-restaurant-quality. And if you aren’t into chicken, there are other Southern-style non-chicken options from Popeyes, including fish and shrimp.

 

5. Five Guys

Has anyone tried the hot dogs from Five Guys? They’re probably fine for a non-sandwich option (hot dogs are not sandwiches), but the burgers are what Five Guys are known for. There are plenty of toppings to choose from to make a burger to your liking, you can order plenty of boardwalk-style fries to go with it. Also, while a bacon shake they offer might not be for you, there are several great options available at locations that offer milkshakes.

 

4. Taco Bell

Taco Bell has exploded in popularity the last several years, focusing on younger generations and utilizing social media—along with solid television commercials. The menu has also gotten better in recent years, as Taco Bell hasn’t been afraid to try new things to attract people to them—and tacos just work. There are also vegetarian options for those living that lifestyle.

 

3. Wendy’s

Similarly, Wendy’s has done a good job of driving home the point that their beef is “fresh, never frozen.” It shows in their burgers, as they probably have the best when compared to McDonald’s and Burger King. The fries and chicken are of pretty good quality, and they get the bacon right on their burgers. Also, the simple Frosty remains a timeless dessert item to go with a meal.

 

2. KFC

There arguably isn’t a better fast-food place to get a full meal than Kentucky Fried Chicken. They have an excellent choice of sides to go along with the classic chicken and chicken sandwiches that are tough to top. Non-meat-eaters aside, you can just buy a bucket of chicken, some Popcorn nuggets, a combo, a pot pie, or a $5 fill-up box and you’re probably good to go ordering from KFC.

 

1. Chick-fil-A

It was a big surprise that Chick-fil-A wasn’t included in Clemson’s White House feast, as it would have been a good fit with the religious, faith-driven squad led by Dabo Swinney. There have been many stories about Chick-fil-A employees going above and beyond for their customers, which gives the restaurant a boost in the rankings. Chick-fil-A also happens to have truly excellent, tasty food—from the chicken, to salads, to yogurts, to soups, to great milkshakes.

Heisman Trophy Kyler Murray’s Decision: Baseball Or Football?

Heisman Trophy Kyler Murray’s Decision: Baseball Or Football?

By tonight at midnight, Oklahoma’s multi-sport star and 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray must make a decision on his future. In case you are unaware of the unique situation that Murray is gifted enough to be in, here’s a rundown.

 

Last year, the Oakland Athletics took Murray with the ninth overall pick in the MLB Draft while allowing him to continue playing football for the Oklahoma Sooners in the fall. The expectation was that Murray would play one year of football because he loves the sport and wanted to start at quarterback for one college season, but that he would then report to 2019 Spring Training.

 

However, Murray played better than anyone imagined, winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Sooners to a Big 12 title and the College Football Playoff. He also played pretty well in the Orange Bowl against a tough Alabama team. Murray’s success on the gridiron complicated things, as he’s now projected as a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft (if he declares).

 

Now, Murray has a huge decision to make, and it would be big for Major League Baseball if he chooses their sport.

 

The A’s already guaranteed Murray a $4.7 million signing bonus (which he would have to give back if he opts for football), but he’d immediately make more as a first-round pick in the NFL. As a reference, the 32nd overall pick in last year’s NFL draft (Lamar Jackson, who happens to be a quarterback) was guaranteed $7.5 million at signing, including a signing bonus of nearly $5 million. If Murray is drafted in the first round, he’d make more than with his MLB signing bonus.

 

Then there’s the future earnings to consider. It’s going to come down to Murray’s success in whichever sport he chooses, but if he’s an MVP-level stud in baseball, he has more monetary upside. With 25-man major league rosters and 162 games per season in the MLB as opposed to 53-man rosters in the NFL and 16 games per season in the NFL, contracts can get substantially higher in baseball. However, because Murray is a quarterback, it’s different.

 

Franchise quarterbacks now make around the same amount as the top players in the MLB. For reference, here are the top ten salaries for MLB players and NFL quarterbacks (by average salary per year, via Spotrac):

 

MLB

SP Zack Greinke: $34.4 M

SP Clayton Kershaw: $31 M

SP David Price: $31 M

1B Miguel Cabrera: $31 M

2B Jose Altuve: $30.2 M

SP Max Scherzer: $30 M

OF Yeonis Cespedes: $27.5 M

SP Justin Verlander: $27 M

SP Jon Lester: $25.8 M

Four tied with $25 M

 

NFL

Aaron Rodgers: $33.5 M

Matt Ryan: $30 M

Kirk Cousins: $28 M

Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5 M

Matthew Stafford: $27 M

Derek Carr: $25 M

Drew Brees: $25 M

Alex Smith: $23.5 M

Joe Flacco: $22.1 M

Russell Wilson: $21.9 M

 

Keep in mind, of those top-ten MLB players over half are starting pitchers. The potential contracts of free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado could be upwards of $30 million, but the fact of the matter is top NFL quarterbacks are on about an even playing field with top MLB players—it’s a different scale than the straight-up MLB-to-NFL comparison some people use when discussing the benefits of choosing baseball over football.

 

Future earnings shouldn’t be the sticking point for Murray’s decision, and the signing bonus isn’t a huge deal either—though it’d be in favor of football if Murray is selected in the first round. However, the A’s have (according to multiple reports) come on strong over the weekend ahead of the Monday-at-midnight deadline, sending a contingent that included Major League Baseball officials to attempt to talk Murray into playing baseball while offering him a major-league contract and a 40-man roster spot. This major-league contract could be more in-line with what Murray would make as a top-ten selection in the NFL draft—a guaranteed $10-$20+ million would give Murray something more to think about.

 

There are also the injury concerns for Murray in football, as he’d be the smallest quarterback in the league at about five-foot-nine and 180 pounds. However, Murray clearly has a ton of confidence about his ability and believes he can play football at the next level.

 

Basically, Murray’s decision will likely come down to which sport he loves more. Murray is great at both, but most accounts suggest he likes football better, and his hesitancy during this process indicates as much. And the grind of minor-league baseball probably isn’t as appealing as professionally playing a sport in which he was just the best college player in the nation and would likely be competing for a Day 1 starting job for an NFL franchise.

 

For Major League Baseball, it’d be a coup to take the Heisman Trophy winner from the titanic National Football League. The NFL would get over it quickly, and it’s undoubtedly more important for the MLB. One of the world’s most explosive and promising young athletes choosing baseball would help inject some energy into a game that some of the millennial-mindset people have shied away from because of the perception that it’s too slow or boring.

 

Perhaps the most talked-about story of the MLB offseason ending with the league getting shunned for football would be unfortunate. This story could also drag out, as Murray could declare for the NFL draft, report for Spring Training, and make his decision in the coming weeks. But for now, everyone awaits to see if Murray ends it today by choosing baseball.

Are Replay Reviews In Sports Actually A Good Thing?

Are Replay Reviews In Sports Actually A Good Thing?

Everyone wants the right call to be made at sporting events, which is why every major sport has adopted instant replay. However, not everyone is on board with big moments in epic games events being reviewed.

 

Last night’s game between the Red Sox and Astros is a prime example of instant replay leaving a lot of people unhappy. Houston star Jose Altuve hit a ball to deep right field, and Boston right fielder Mookie Betts made a leaping home-run-rob attempt at the wall. It looked like Betts would have caught the ball with great timing on his jump, but a few fans reached out and interfered with the play.

 

I seem to be in the minority, but I believe umpire Joe West and his crew made the right call by ruling it fan interference—leading to Altuve being called out—after instant replay. But no one can know for sure whether Betts would have secured the ball before it went over the wall.

 

Ideally, there would have been a camera directly perpendicular to the angle of the fence, giving a clear view of the fans to determine how far they reached for the ball. We’ll also soon get to how camera angles can make replay better with another sport.

 

It was a big play in a huge game, and it’s still up for debate despite replay. Instead of stopping the game for a lengthy replay review, the umpires should come together, make their call off of what they saw, and go with it.

 

This is the case for all sports, as replays can kill the momentum of a game—it’s the biggest argument against replay review. It doesn’t get much worse than a game-altering play having to get reviewed just to make sure the correct call was made despite it being obvious; though I suppose the only thing worse is a call actually being blown.

 

In baseball, balls and strikes are still called by a home-plate umpire, so there’s plenty of human error. A bad call could alter a game, so why not just let everything go? There’s something that seems OK about lettings things play out and even out, especially in a game like baseball.

 

Jon Gruden has been very open about his thoughts on instant replay in football. He doesn’t like it, especially because of super-slow-motion replays that can put some doubt in even the most obvious of rulings. Pete Carroll, a fellow Super Bowl winner, has also come out against instant replay.

 

But there’s a flip side for football, with other great coaches wanting to correct instant replay. Bill Belichick has made the suggestion of putting cameras along the boundaries—the end zone and the sidelines—to get a better look at key moments in games. It makes zero sense that there isn’t a perfect 90-degree camera in every game at every stadium, and there really might as well be no replay if they aren’t going to do it right.

 

Both Belichick and the Baltimore Ravens are among those that have suggested penalties be reviewed. Targeting is currently reviewable, but what about more game-changing penalties like pass interference and holding? There have been far too many bad penalty calls by officials—which certainly happens and is understandably—that can impact the outcome of games just as much as reviewable plays like a catch or a turnover.

 

After all, the point of instant replays is getting calls right. If penalties can’t be included in that, it defeats the purpose of having instant replay in the first place.

 

The crux of the instant replay issue is that it’ll never be perfect. So, is it better to get most things right at the risk of stopping the momentum of games; or to have a classic, shorter game with human error and controversy?

2018-2019 NHL Preview And Predictions: Awards, Playoffs, Stanley Cup

2018-2019 NHL Preview And Predictions: Awards, Playoffs, Stanley Cup

It seems like it was just yesterday that Alexander Ovechkin was leading the celebration of the Capitals’ first Stanley Cup victory, but the NHL returns tonight as 2018-2019 teams will look to etch their own names into history. New-look teams and perennial powers will all finally hit the ice in the next few days, and each squad will show what they’re made of as they attempt to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the hopes of making a run like the Capitals did last season. We’ll get to specific predictions for the upcoming season, but first some thoughts for the year.

 

Las Vegas keeps it going after their improbable season

No one expected the Golden Knights to have the type of inaugural season they had en route to their run to the Stanley Cup Final, and some might think it was a fluke that won’t be repeated. I believe the opposite will happen, with Vegas having an even better regular season than last year, claiming the Presidents’ Trophy in the process. The home-ice advantage in the postseason would make the Golden Knights the favorites just months after their 500-to-1 championship odds last season.

 

The Sharks are top-five in scoring and goals allowed

In a tough Pacific Division, the Sharks wanted to make a deal to improve their roster heading into the season, so they added Erik Karlsson in a blockbuster trade with Ottawa, boosting an already-strong defense. The two-time Norris Trophy award winner will be a playmaker on offense and a force on defense, which should help San Jose get in the top five of both scoring offense and defense. Last season, they were 13th and 9th in the respective categories.

 

The Blackhawks get back to the postseason

The Blackhawks finished last in the Central Division and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, and people aren’t optimistic about their chances for a turnaround this year. However, I expect this proud franchise to get back on track. History is on their side, and the group including Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook knows what it takes to win games.

 

The Capitals do not suffer a hangover

With all the well-deserved drinking the Caps did in celebration of their title, along with Barry Trotz resigning as the team’s head coach and taking the Islanders’ job, there might be some concern about the Capitals keeping the magic after finally winning hockey’s ultimate prize. But there are plenty of familiar faces on the roster, and as much as they loved last season’s celebration, they probably all want to make it happen again.

 

 

Playoff Predictions

 

Eastern Conference

 

Atlantic Division

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

2. Boston Bruins

3. Toronto Maple Leafs

 

Metropolitan Division

1. Washington Capitals

2. Philadelphia Flyers

3. Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Wild Card

1. Columbus Blue Jackets

2. New Jersey Devils

 

Western Conference

 

Central Division

1. Nashville Predators

2. Winnepeg Jets

3. Minnesota Wild

 

Pacific Division

1. Las Vegas Golden Knights

2. San Jose Sharks

3. Los Angeles Kings

 

Wild Card

1. Chicago Blackhawks

2. Colorado Avalanche

 

 

Stanley Cup Prediction

 

Golden Knights over Lightning

 

 

Award Predictions

 

Hart Trophy

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

 

Art Ross Trophy

Connor McDavid, Oilers

 

Norris Trophy

Erik Karlsson, Sharks

 

Vezina Trophy

Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Calder Trophy

Elias Pettersson, Canucks

 

Jack Adams Award

Dave Hakstol, Flyers

Ranking The Top Lefties In Sports For International Lefthanders Day

Ranking The Top Lefties In Sports For International Lefthanders Day

In honor of International Lefthanders Day, we are dedicating an article to the ten best current lefties in sports. The athletes listed are in no particular order, and the only qualification is being left-handed.

 

Chris Sale, Red Sox SP

Obviously, the ace on what looks like one of the best teams in MLB history should headline the list, as Chris Sale has been unstoppable in 2018. Over the past two months in particular, Sale’s ERA has dropped from an impressive 2.75 to an all-world 1.97, and he has at least nine strikeouts in every game over that span. The seven-time All-Star is a heavy favorite to bring home his first Cy Young award this year.

 

Madison Bumbarner, Giants SP

The Giants need to make a move here soon to make the postseason (currently 6.0 games back in the NL West), but if they do, Madison Bumgarner might be the only man in the sport that will be able to go head-to-head with Chris Sale and the Red Sox in a potential World Series matchup. In three World Series appearances/wins this decade, Bumgarner has carried the Giants with a 4-0 record, 0.25 ERA, and 0.528 WHIP. Those are real numbers.

 

Sidney Crosby, Penguins C

We’ll get back to the MLB for a couple more pitchers, but first let’s go to another clutch, multiple-time champion in his sport, as like Mad Bum, Sidney Crosby also has three titles. The face of the Pittsburgh Penguins and NHL will go down as one of the greatest players ever, but those who don’t follow hockey closely might not know that he’s a lefty.

 

Antonio Brown, Steelers WR

Unless you’ve seen him throw a pass or spike the ball after scoring, you might not have known that Antonio Brown is a lefty, too. The do-it-all receiver probably has an advantage by being a little different than most guys due to his dominant left side, but both hands are more than capable of snatching any pass thrown to him after getting open with first-class route running.

 

James Harden, Rockets G

Speaking of getting open, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player can probably create separation from a defender in his sleep. James Harden has an assortment of moves both on the perimeter and in the lane, with the latter allows him to win from deep, and the former frustrating defenders by drawing fouls. It might help that referees are thrown off by Harden’s awkwardness as a left-handed slasher, which leads to more calls.

 

Ben Simmons, 76ers G

There is zero doubt that Houston’s superstar guard is a lefty, but the same actually isn’t true for Ben Simmons, who might be amphibious for all we know. Still, the Australian is certainly good enough with his left hand both as a passer and around the rim to make the list, and the fact that it isn’t clear that he’s a lefty makes us think he’s definitely a lefty.

 

Rafael Nadal, Tennis

Staying international, Rafael Nadal will go down as one of the best athletes of his generation, and the Spanish tennis star is still adding to his legacy. The lefty has consistently given rival Roger Federer problems (9-3 record in majors) perhaps partly due to him being a lefty. Just as a side note, soccer legend Lionel Messi doesn’t make the list because despite being a dominant left-footer, he is actually right-handed.

 

Cole Hamels, Cubs SP

It was pretty clear that Cole Hamels would flip the switch if he got traded to a contender, and that’s exactly what’s happened since being sent from Texas to Chicago. In three starts with the Cubs, Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 18.0 innings. The 2008 World Series MVP will be a force in an October pennant race.

 

Phil Mickelson, Golf

Of course a guy nicknamed “Lefty” is going to make the list, and even if he isn’t consistently competing for major titles anymore, Phil Mickelson is still a very good golfer with six top-ten finishes in 20 events this year. His experience will be key in the Ryder Cup next month.

 

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers SP

Did anyone think Clayton Kershaw wouldn’t be included to round out a celebration of National Left-Handers Day? Injuries have impacted him this year, but Kershaw has a 2.58 ERA in 101.1 innings as he learns to win without the impossible-to-hit stuff in his arsenal. And believe it or not, he will face off with Madison Bumgarner tonight in a key divisional meeting headlined by lefties on International Lefthanders Day.

Early 2018 United States Ryder Cup Predictions For The Final Four Spots

Early 2018 United States Ryder Cup Predictions For The Final Four Spots

Fresh off the final major of the year—Brooks Koepka winning the PGA Championship, his second major this year—a lot of attention now turns to the 2018 Ryder Cup. Eight golfers have already automatically made the cut for the U.S. team, but there are still around a dozen options for the final four spots. These are my predictions for the 2018 United States Ryder Cup team, including the locks.

 

Brooks Koepka: automatic qualifier

 

Dustin Johnson: automatic qualifier

 

Justin Thomas: automatic qualifier

 

Patrick Reed: automatic qualifier

 

Jordan Spieth: automatic qualifier

 

Rickie Fowler: automatic qualifier

 

Bubba Watson: automatic qualifier

 

Webb Simpson: automatic qualifier

 

Phil Mickelson: Mickelson might as well be an automatic qualifier, as he’s been on 11 consecutive Ryder Cup teams. Lefty is tenth in the Ryder Cup points rankings.

 

Matt Kuchar:  As a member of the last four Ryder Cup teams, Kuchar is a pretty good bet for one of the four captain’s picks.

 

Bryson DeChambeau: DeChambeau was just behind Webb Simpson for the final automatic qualifying spot, so now he might have to sweat it out for the next few weeks. DeChambeau really wants to be on the team, and I like his chances.

 

Tiger Woods: Yup, Tiger is going to be on the Ryder Cup team after shooting from 20th to 11th in points. After his amazing finish at the PGA Championship, Woods made it clear that he wants to represent the United States in the fall. He’ll get his wish.

 

 

Three captain’s picks will be revealed after the 2018 Dell Technologies Championship on September 3, and the final pick will be announced after the 2018 BMW Championship on September 9.