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Still finding rhythm, Blue Jays’ Berrios pleased with Spring Training opener –



SARASOTA, Fla. – Even in the first Grapefruit League game of this abbreviated spring, even against a Baltimore Orioles team that still appears to be exceptionally bad, Jose Berrios is looking for any little edge he can find.

So, knowing he’s likely to face the American League East rival several times during the season ahead, the ace Toronto Blue Jays right-hander was careful with what he offered up in his first of four pre-season starts.




Play Ball: Blue Jays Baseball Starts Today!

March 18 2022

No matter that he was facing only one, maybe two of the Orioles regulars. Every look counts and the less information a frequent opponent has against him, the better.

“I already have six years at this level, they know my weapons – but team is in the same division, so I don’t want to show all my strengths,” Berrios said after logging two outs in each of the first two innings of a 9-5 victory Friday. “They know me, but I don’t want them to keep seeing me so early. I wanted to feel where we are with the spin, the changeup, fastball we have to throw it over the plate. But I know when the lights go on that things are going to change a little bit.”

Such a strategic outlook coloured the entirety of Berrios’ approach to the 2022 season.

Feeling secure after signing a $131-million, seven-year extension allowed him for the first time to focus his off-season on being “ready for October” rather than gearing up to be ready for the middle of March, he said.

Among his focuses, picking up on a thread from late last year, was concentrating on keeping his weight on his heel rather than his toes on his back foot as he’s driving to the plate. The subtle weight shift allows him to avoid tipping forward and stay better in line throughout his delivery.

An immediate result is that despite a somewhat messy 27-pitch first inning – in which manager Charlie Montoyo pulled him with the intent of having him re-enter the game in the second – plus roughly 10 more in the second, he said there was no fatigue in his arm or elsewhere.

“In past spring trainings, my back hurt, my glutes hurt, like tight,” said Berrios. “Today, I didn’t feel those little things.”

All of which left him pleased with his day’s work. He felt strong though out of rhythm, which is to be expected given that he reported for duty last Sunday and started in a game five days later.

The Orioles got him for two runs on a Tyler Nevin double in the first and Berrios retired the only two batters he faced in the second, a beneficiary of the re-entry rule instituted this spring instead of the ability to roll-out innings employed a year ago.

“It was weird,” Berrios said of coming back into the game. Under different circumstanes, “maybe I’d feel frustrated or something. Now, we know why we came here. We came to work. We’ve got a plan, that’s what we do. Keep following the plan and try to execute.”


Kevin Gausman starts Saturday at the Philadelphia Phillies.

Berrios is on pace to start opening day April 8 in Toronto. Is that the plan? “I think I have a chance,” he said with a smile. 

During a meeting with Major League Baseball officials Thursday, manager Charlie Montoyo and his staff were informed about the plan to use the re-entry rule this spring. In this instance, he said, “it worked out great” but when asked if he’d prefer the ability to roll out an inning, he grinned and said, “well, if you want to go by this game … I know how I feel right now because it was a five-hour game. That’s the rule. It worked out for us today.”

Time of game was actually three hours 33 minutes, but his exaggeration is demonstrative of a plodding game in which pitchers from both sides struggled to get out of innings.

Bo Bichette was hit by a pitch in the first and walked twice after before exiting the game. He was replaced by top prospect Orelvis Martinez, who made a couple of loud outs, including one rocket to shortstop that had the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sound off the bat (there was no Statcast data available for the game).

Righty Adrian Hernandez, who struck out 44 batters in 28.2 innings while walking just eight and allowing 12 hits at high-A Vancouver last year, was among those to impress Montoyo. He struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings. “That changeup is pretty nasty,” said Montoyo.

Cavan Biggio, who didn’t make the trip, will focus his defensive work this spring at second base, right field and first base, said Montoyo. There are no current plans to get either him or Santiago Espinal reps in centre field.

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The Best Canadian Players Ever To Play In The NFL



When people talk about the best players in the history of the NFL, they usually talk about American players. Well, when we consider that most of the legends were from this country, this should not come as a surprise. The case is the same today. Just take a look at and you will see who the most popular individual players are and the top betting picks for football enthusiasts.

However, looking further north, we can see that there are many splendid Canadian players who graced the NFL with their talent.

Let’s take a look at the best ones who played in the league.

Nate Burleson

This ridiculously talented American-Canadian football player had a successful career in the league. He played as a wide receiver for various teams throughout his career, including the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns. Burleson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft.


He quickly made a difference on the field, showcasing his speed, agility, and reliable hands. During his time with the Vikings, he became known for his ability to make acrobatic catches and his versatility as a receiver. In 2006, Burleson signed with the Seattle Seahawks, where he continued to excel. He played a key role in the team’s success, helping them reach the Super Bowl in the 2005 season. However, injuries limited his playing time during his tenure with the Seahawks.

In 2010, this wonderful man joined the Detroit Lions, where he had some of the best years of his career. He formed a dynamic receiving duo with Calvin Johnson, and together they became one of the most formidable wide receiver tandems in the league. Burleson’s leadership and veteran presence were also highly valued by his teammates. After his time with the Lions, Burleson signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

Bronko Nagurski

This football diety wrote a delightful piece of the NFL history and he made the whole of Canada proud. He played as a fullback and defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears in the 1930s and early 1940s. Nagurski was known for his incredible strength and power on the field, earning him a reputation as one of the toughest players of his time.

During his splendid career, Nagurski helped lead the Bears to multiple championships, including the NFL Championship in 1932, 1933, and 1940. He was a dominant force on both offense and defense, known for his ability to break tackles and his hard-hitting style of play. Nagurski’s physicality and versatility made him a standout player in an era when two-way players were common.

He was later shown the heavenly doors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. This of course, only made his legacy a legit one in this neck of the woods. What do his colleagues have to say about him? Well, most of them remember him being one of the toughest dudes to roam the green fields.

Mike Vanderjagt

This absolute legend became famous for playing as a placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2005 and later for the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. Vanderjagt was known for his accuracy as a kicker and he has the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made with 42. He was also the first kicker in NFL history to have a perfect season, making all of his field goal and extra point attempts in 2003.

Vanderjagt was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career and was a key contributor to the Colts’ success during his time with the team. Imagine having those tales to tell the kiddies on your lap when you get old.

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Jimmy Butler steals the show on NBA media day with ‘emo’ phase look following Damian Lillard’s trade to the Milwaukee Bucks



CNN — 

Whether or not Miami Heat’s golden child Jimmy Butler’s new “emo” look is just a phase, the NBA star carried it off with some aplomb, drawing plenty of laughs from his teammates.

One year on from his memorable fake dreadlocks look, the 34-year-old outdid himself by turning up at the Heat’s media day on Monday sporting a straightened fringe, piercings in his eyebrow and lips and painted black nails.

Butler said he’s now “emo” and after the summer he and the Heat have had, who can blame him?

After former Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and his agent publicly stated on numerous occasions that he would only want to play for Miami, it seemed like a matter of when, not if, the 33-year-old would end up in South Beach.


Butler led the Heat to an improbable NBA Finals appearance as the eight seed last season, so it’s easy to imagine his excitement at the prospect of Lillard’s addition to the roster pushing the team over the top and to its first title in the post-Lebron James era.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) gets his new hairdo brushed at the start of a TV interview, during the NBA basketball team's media day, in Miami, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

However, the Milwaukee Bucks swooped in last week with a package that blew Miami’s out of the water, meaning Lillard will now be plying his trade in Wisconsin and not Florida.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” Butler said as he entered his press conference, pushing his fringe out of his eyes. “I’m emo. This is my emotional state, I’m at one with my emotions so this is what you get.”

Despite failing to acquire Lillard and losing key contributors Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, Butler remains confident ahead of the upcoming season, telling reporters the Heat are going to win it all.

If it’s good news that he’s now at one with his emotions, Butler might just also be a gifted method actor and isn’t actually going through a belated “emo” phase. The six-time All Star could be heard saying “don’t make me break character” as he entered the press conference.

Oct 2, 2023; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler poses for a photo during media day. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

His new character was certainly a hit with his teammates and had Bam Adebayo crying tears of laughter as the pair were having their photos taken for the new season – which means, yes, Butler will have this hair in official photos for the entire year.

Certainly not someone to do things by halves, Butler was fully immersed in his new state and even posted songs from emo bands on his Instagram story throughout the day.


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Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook



In the ever-expanding world of online sports betting, selecting the right sportsbook is crucial. This is to ensure an enjoyable and secure gambling experience. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. For instance, you can be looking into sites like BestOdds to find a sportsbook to go with but do not know what exactly to check.

This article will explain the basics of finding an excellent online sportsbook.

Licensing and Regulation

The first and most critical factor when choosing an online sportsbook is ensuring it operates in a legal and transparent manner. A reputable sportsbook should possess a valid license from a recognized regulatory authority. These licenses indicate that the sportsbook adheres to strict standards, including fair play, responsible gambling and financial security.

Before registering, check for the sportsbook’s licensing information. In most cases, you will find this in the footer of their website. Some of the most reputable regulatory bodies for online sports betting include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.


Additionally, research the sportsbook’s track record for regulatory compliance and any previous non-payment or unethical practices incidents. User reviews and industry news sources can provide valuable insights into the sportsbook’s reputation.

Odds and Betting Markets

The quality of odds and the variety of betting markets offered are key factors in determining the suitability of an online sportsbook. Competitive odds provide better potential returns for your bets, while a wide range of markets allows you to explore different betting options.

Compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to ensure you get the best bet value. Some websites and apps even offer odds comparison tools to make this process more convenient.

Moreover, consider the breadth of sports and events covered by the sportsbook. Whether you’re into mainstream sports like football, basketball, or soccer or niche sports and events, the sportsbook should offer diverse markets to cater to your preferences.

Security and Payment Options

Security is paramount when sharing personal and financial information with an online sportsbook. Look for sportsbooks that employ the latest encryption technologies, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard your data. Consider factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security further.

Payment options are another critical aspect. Ensure the sportsbook offers convenient and secure methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets (like PayPal or Skrill) and cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin). Choosing a sportsbook that supports your preferred payment method is essential to streamline your betting experience.


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