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    LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard in L.A., only matter of time as Leonard traded to Toronto Raptors

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will have to wait a little longer for All-Star Kawhi Leonard to find his way to the West Coast after the San Antonio Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.

    Leonard has made it clear that he wants to play in L.A., so it's unlikely he'll play more than one season in Toronto if he plays at all. He still has to pass a physical and he could sit out this season, but he would risk being fined up to his full salary.
    LeBron could be teammates with Leonard before the trade deadline next season if Toronto decided to deal Leonard early so they could get something for him and prevent him walking away for nothing at the end of the season.

    Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on

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    Cleveland opens the second part of the 2018 season with three games in Texas starting Friday.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Here is the preview and pitching matchups for the Indians' series against the Rangers.

    Where/when: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Friday through Sunday.

    TV/radio: SportsTime Ohio will televise all three games. WTAM/1100 AM and WMMS/ 100.7 FM will broadcast the series.

    Pitching matchups and starting times: RHP Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.24) vs. LHP Martin Perez (2-4, 7.67) Friday at 8:05 p.m.; RHP Carlos Carrasco (11-5, 4.12) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (5-7, 4.64) Saturday at 8:05 p.m. and RHP Mike Clevinger (7-5, 3.47) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (5-8, 4.36) Sunday at 3:05 p.m.

    Series: The Indians lead the Rangers, 2-1, this season. The Rangers lead the Indians overall, 342-323.

    Hot pitchers: Carrasco is 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 16 strikeouts since coming off the disabled list July 6. He swooped in and picked up a win Sunday after Trevor Bauer had pitched seven spectacular innings against New York. Perez tossed seven innings of one-run ball against Baltimore on July 14, but ended up taking a tough-luck loss, 1-0.

    Hot hitters: Edwin Encarnacion posted 14 games with at least two RBI before the All-Star break. He ranks fifth in the American League in RBI (65), and 35 of those have come via a home run. He is averaging 4.9 at-bats per RBI, the 4th-best rate in the league. Texas All-Star Shin-Soo Choo is hitting .351 in July with an OPS of 1.127. He is riding a 51-game streak of reaching base safely, a franchise record for a single season.

    Team updates: The Indians took two of three games against the Rangers at Progressive Field in May. A 12-inning loss in the middle game of the series was highlighted by Michael Brantley's grand slam to tie the score at 6-6 with two out in the bottom of the ninth. But Nick Goody, working his second inning of relief, gave up back-to-back homers to Joey Gallo and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa in the 12th. The Indians salvaged a split against the Yankees in their final game before the All-Star break behind Brantley's late homer and couple of hustle runs by Jose Ramirez and Erik Gonzalez. The Rangers, mired in the A.L. West basement, lost five of their last seven games heading into the break.

    Disabled list: Rangers - RHP Doug Fister (knee), LHP Joe Palumbo (elbow surgery), LHP Alex Claudio (ankle), RHP Chris Martin (groin), C Carlos Perez (ankle), RHP Matt Bush (elbow), RHP Tony Barnette (shoulder), RHP Ronald Herrera (shoulder), RHP Clayton Blackburn (elbow) are on the disabled list.

    Indians - RHP Josh Tomlin (right hamstring), OF Lonnie Chisenhall (left calf), RHP Evan Marshall (right elbow), LHP Andrew Miller (right knee), RHP Nick Goody (right elbow), LHP Ryan Merritt (left shoulder), RHP Danny Salazar (right shoulder) and RHP Cody Anderson (right elbow) are on the disabled list.

    Next: Pittsburgh arrives Monday at Progressive Field for a three-game interleague series.

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    Will it be Jarvis Landry? Josh Gordon? Who will lead the Browns in receiving yards in 2018? Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio --  Who will lead the Browns in receiving yards in 2018? Will it be running back Duke Johnson, who led the way with 693 in 2017?

    Or will it be newcomer Jarvis Landry, who led the NFL with 112 receptions in 2017 and the Dolphins with 987 yards?

    How about Josh Gordon, who blew the doors off the NFL with a league-high 1,646 yards in 2013 en route to Pro Bowls.

    And then there's Corey Coleman, who's heading into what offensive coordinator Todd Haley described as a "make or break year.''

    Find out our predictions in the video above.

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    Check here for the live second-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship 2018 on Friday, July 20, in Kentucky.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Troy Merritt (10-under) led by three shots entering the second round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship 2018 on Friday, July 20, in Kentucky. LPGA Tour standout Brittany Lincicome was 6-over through 18 holes.

    Lincicome is a sponsor's invite. Last week, she finished second at the LPGA Tour's Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.

    Sam Ryder, Billy Horschel, Whee Kim, Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Scott Brown, D.A. Points, Brian Gay, Davis Love III and Chris Kirk are among others in the field.

    Site: Nicholasville, Ky.
    Course: Keene Trace GC. Yardage: 7,328. Par: 72.
    Purse: $3.5 million. Winner's share: $630,000.
    Television: Thursday-Friday, 5-8 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel).
    Defending champion: Grayson Murray.
    Last week: Michael Kim won the John Deere Classic.
    FedExCup leader: Dustin Johnson.
    Notes: The field includes Brittany Lincicome, a two-time major winner on the LPGA Tour and among the longer hitters in women's golf. She is the first woman to receive a sponsor's invitation to a PGA Tour event since Michelle Wie in the 84 Lumber Classic in 2007. ... Murray won last year when it was played in Auburn, Alabama. ... J.B. Holmes, who grew up in Kentucky, did not qualify for the British Open and is taking off this week. ... With four events left in the regular season, William McGirt is holding down the 125th spot in the FedEx Cup by three points over Lucas Glover. Sergio Garcia, who is playing the British Open, is at No. 128. Adam Scott is at No. 121. ... Davis Love III is the only former major champion in the field. He is playing in the same field as his son, Dru, who received a sponsor's exemption. ... Chesson Hadley is the last player to win an opposite-field event while ranked inside the top 100 in the world ranking. He was at No. 92 when he won the Puerto Rico Open in 2014.
    Next week: RBC Canadian Open.

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)

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    In the eighth year of serving as the unofficially official Big Ten prediction, the Buckeyes are no longer the overwhelming favorite, as they have often been.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In December's Big Ten Championship game, Wisconsin lost to Ohio State by six points.

    Seven months later, the Badgers lost to the Buckeyes by one vote.

    In preseason balloting conducted by of 28 writers from around the Big Ten, Ohio State was picked by 14 voters to win the Big Ten this season, while Wisconsin received 13 votes and Michigan State picked up the final vote.

    This is the eighth year of our preseason poll, which was started when the Big Ten stopped conducting its own vote of media members, the only power conference to shirk that duty. The Big Ten will release only a list of players to watch when players, coaches, media and fans gather in Chicago for two days of preseason hype on Monday and Tuesday.

    Not since seven years ago has the vote been this close. 

    * See preseason Big Ten player of the year voting

    Wisconsin is gaining on the Buckeyes, at least when it comes to perception of the league's premier team.

    The Badgers were a unanimous choice to win the West after running through an undefeated regular season a year ago. The Badgers received all 28 first-place votes, while Iowa was a clear choice to finish second in the West.

    In the East, Ohio State received 23.5 first-place votes, with one voter picking Ohio State and Michigan to tie for first. Michigan State got two first-place votes, Penn State got one and Michigan earned 1.5. The result was basically a three-way tie for second, as the Spartans, Nittany Lions and Wolverines were separated by 1.5 points.

    Here are the full predicted standings, with a first-place vote counting for seven points, down to a seventh-place vote earning one point.


    1. Ohio State, 191.5 points (23.5 first-place votes)

    2. Michigan State, 142 points (2)

    3. Penn State, 141.5 points (1)

    4. Michigan, 140.5 points (1.5)

    5. Maryland, 75.5 points

    6. Indiana, 60 points

    7. Rutgers, 33 points


    1. Wisconsin, 196 points (28 first-place votes)

    2. Iowa, 155 points

    3. Northwestern, 138 points

    4. Nebraska, 104 points

    5. Purdue, 98.5 points

    6. Minnesota, 64.5 points

    7. Illinois, 28 points

    * The bottom was nearly as clear as the top. Illinois was picked last in the West by every voter, while Rutgers received 23 of 28 last-place votes in the East.

    * Among second-place votes in the East, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan each received eight, while Ohio State had four second-place votes. No voter picked Ohio State lower than second.

    * Northwestern and Nebraska had the widest range, with each team receiving votes for second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the West. 

    So while Wisconsin was the clearer favorite in the division, the Buckeyes held the one-vote lead when it came to championship predictions. Here was the breakdown of the full predictions for the Big Ten Championship game.

    Ohio State over Wisconsin (14)

    Wisconsin over Ohio State (9)

    Wisconsin over Michigan (2)

    Wisconsin over Penn State (1)

    Wisconsin over Michigan State (1)

    Michigan State over Wisconsin (1)

    That's the edge. The Badgers were picked by every voter to reach the title game, and that in itself is an advantage over the Buckeyes, who were only pushed to the championship by 23 voters. But we're going by title prediction here, and that went 14 to 13 to 1 in favor of the Buckeyes.

    So what does that mean for the College Football Playoff, which left out the Big Ten a year ago? Here were the voter predictions on which Big Ten teams would make the playoff.

    Ohio State (13)

    Wisconsin (12)

    Both Ohio State and Wisconsin (2)

    Michigan State (1)

    A year ago, Ohio State was the clear favorite, predicted by 29 of 38 writers to win the conference. Wisconsin was the overwhelming choice to win the West, and 22 of the 38 voters correctly predicted the Buckeyes over the Badgers in the Big Ten title game. That was the first time that the poll was right since it started here in 2011.

    But usually there has been a clear choice, even though it proved to be wrong.

    Ohio State was also the clear favorite in 2016 (27 of 29 voters), 2015 (40 of 40 voters), and 2013 (25 of 26 voters). Michigan State was the pick in 2014 (22 of 25 voters) after Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller's preseason injury. 

    In 2012, Michigan was the favorite with 11 votes, with Michigan State the next choice with seven.

    In 2011, Nebraska edged Wisconsin 12 votes to 11 in the preseason, but the Badgers went on to win the inaugural title game.

    In the seven-year history of the Big Ten Championship, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State have each won two crowns and Penn State one. The Badgers have reached the title game a leading five times, winning in 2011 and 2012, but losing in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

    It would be a surprise if the Badgers aren't back again as the champions of the West.

    Even though they weren't the pick in the poll, it won't be a surprise if they beat the Buckeyes for the title this time. Those who cover the Big Ten see it as almost too close to call.

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    The junior defensive end and senior quarterback were picked by 28 Big Ten writers in a poll conducted by

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa was the clear choice as the 2018 Big Ten preseason defensive player of the year, while Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley nosed out Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor for the offensive honor.

    The voting was conducted by in a survey of 28 writers from around the Big Ten. We've been asking media members to vote since 2011, when the Big Ten abandoned any official preseason honors. All the league will release when conference media days open in Chicago on Monday will be a list of 10 Big Ten players to watch for 2018.

    We already know to watch Bosa, McSorley and Taylor.

    * Ohio State named favorite to win Big Ten - barely

    A junior who projects as a top-10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Bosa made first-team All-Big Ten last year as a sophomore when he wasn't even a starter on Ohio State's deep defensive line. This season, he's expected to play more snaps and build on his 8.5 sacks, which ranked second in the conference.

    Bosa beat out Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards and Michigan linebacker Devin Bush to win the preseason vote. Those three were also first-team All-Big Ten picks last year.

    Here was the full voting, with players receiving three points for first place, two points for second and one point for third.


    1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State DE, 74 points, (20 first-place votes)

    2. Rashan Gary, Michigan DE, 38 points, (6)

    3. T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin LB, 24 points

    4. Devin Bush, Michigan LB, 14 points (1)

    5. Paddy Fisher, Northwestern LB, 8 points (1)

    6. Joe Bachie, Michigan State LB, 5 points

    7. Chase Winovich, Michigan DE, 2 points

    8. D'Cota Dixon, Wisconsin S, 1 point

    8. Olive Sagapolu, Wisconsin DT, 1 points

    8. Khaleke Hudson, Michigan LB, 1 point

    McSorley, the second-team All-Big Ten quarterback a year ago behind J.T. Barrett, received 14 of 28 first-place votes to beat out Taylor, who led the conference in rushing last season as a freshman. He gained 1,977 yards on the ground and was a first-team all-conference pick. Ohio State running back JK Dobbins, also a freshman last year, was the clear choice for third place.

    Here was the full voting on offense.


    1. Trace McSorley, Penn State QB, 66 points, (14 first-place votes)

    2. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB, 61 points, (11)

    3. JK Dobbins, Ohio State RB, 28 points, (2)

    4. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State QB, 7 points, (1)

    5. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State QB, 3 points

    6. Noah Fant, Iowa TE, 2 points

    7. Shea Patterson, Michigan QB, 1 point

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    The Orioles traded its franchise shortstop for five prospects to the Dodgers.

    Manny Machado is going to Hollywood. The Baltimore Orioles traded its franchise shortstop to the Los Angeles Dodgers for five prospects. Some fans feel the Dodgers won the trade, getting one of the best shortstops in the league and a powerful bat that will be useful in the playoffs. Others think the Orioles unloaded a player the front office was never going to retain, and received prospects to shore up its farm system in return. The future is bright for O's fans. What do you think? 


    The Dodgers didn't need a bat, but when the team got an opportunity to trade for one of the best in the league, you can bet Los Angeles jumped at the chance. Getting Machado makes the Dodgers the team to beat in the National League. Machado's slash line of .315/.387/.575 is one of the best in baseball and he brings plenty of power, with 24 home runs before the All-Star break. The Dodgers won this deal.

    MOREMachado trade gives Dodgers firepower to end 30-year World Series drought

    Baltimore had to know it was never going to get Machado to re-sign with the team, especially with how the Orioles are performing now. In return, Baltimore acquired some much-needed pieces to shore up its farm system, including a future star in Yusniel Diaz. Here is Matt Powers of MLB Daily Dish with more:

    This is a good return for sure. Diaz can be very good. Kremer and Bannon are under the radar to many, but each has a chance to exceed expectations and become very valuable players. Pop is a potential high end reliever. Valera is more of a depth piece, but he does have some value in his versatility. I like the deal for the Orioles considering this was a rental return.

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.

    0 0 Cavs writer Joe Vardon answers fans' questions. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Do you have a Cavs question that you'd like to have answered in Hey, Joe? Submit it here or tweet @joevardon.

    Hey, @JLeBeau76: They didn't ask me, but I'm OK with the Cavs' decision to try and stay competitive. I think there is real risk to total rebuilds -- as in, small-market teams like the Cavs can go into them and never come out.

    I think they earned the right to shoot for the playoffs with this mix of younger players and four players with rings (Love, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, and Channing Frye). If it doesn't work, they can always trade away Love and Kyle Korver and maybe George Hill or Smith by the trade deadline. In this scenario, they could still sink to the bottom 10 in the NBA and hold onto their No. 1 pick for next season.

    To your specific question, that's the one part of this that is hard to determine. Love is an All-Star, and as the Cavs like to say, it's hard to get equal value back in a trade for one of those. Obviously, there isn't a great market for Love now. It's widely assumed Love, 29, will not exercise his $25.6 million option next summer. Maybe those assumptions are wrong, or, perhaps, Love has indicated to Cavs' management that he is intrigued by being the No. 1 scoring option for a couple years?

    He's been the second or third option in Cleveland for the last four seasons, and last year averaged 17.6 ppg. Otherwise, Love is the one sticking point on this whole tank/no tank debate. The Cavs can't have him walk next summer for nothing, especially if they fail to make the playoffs. 

    Hey, @CQOTUS: Yes, the Cavs are negotiating with Hood, beyond their $3.4 million qualifying offer. They've said all summer that Hood is a part of their long-term plans, so it would seem they intend to get something done beyond the QO, which if Hood takes then he becomes an unrestricted free agent next season. The Celtics just signed restricted free agent Marcus Smart to a four-year, $52 million deal.

    Hey, @kkondik: Why, it's Kyle Kondik, of University of Virginia Center for Politics acclaim. Welcome aboard. As of now, Thompson does not seem to have much trade value. He has two years and $36 million left on his contract. You mentioned the Celtics and Horford as a reason for another Eastern team to trade for Thompson, and it's not a bad call. Thompson is one of the very best in the league at defending Horford.

    So maybe the Raptors (Thompson is from Toronto) or the Sixers think about it. Thompson suffered through arguably his worst season last year. 

    Hey, @Gareth_Stringer: You're asking because Las Vegas sports books have the Cavs in the 26-27 win range for next season. Vegas had LeBron going to the Lakers, and the Raptors as the favorite to land Kawhi Leonard. So, the odds aren't exactly in the Cavs' favor here.

    The difference between total suckdom (I'd say 27 wins qualifies) and mid-40s with a playoff berth is Hood. If he breaks out like Victor Oladipo in Indiana or Donovan Mitchell in Utah last season, the Cavs can be better than people think. Hood averaged 16.8 ppg with the Jazz last season before he was traded here.

    Hey, @jreiber9: Yes, signing Preston as an undrafted free agent was a potential steal. Keep in mind, not only did Preston not really play any basketball last season (due to eligibility issues at Kansas and a shoulder injury overseas), but he attended four high schools before enrolling with the Jayhawks. He could use some stability.

    Hey, @cavsburner: Hmm, I have a million of them. Maybe I'll save them for a column or a book or a speech circuit? In the meantime, I'll say every NBA beat writer should have to take a mandatory trip to Napa to cover his or her team's mini, in-season vacation there.

    Hey, @TheRealBakeShow: #HeGone

    Hey, @RussAcino: Please remember my ticket for the Aug. 22 show in Columbus. As for my favorite song, I mean, my senior year at The College of Wooster, we had a weekend (baseball) series at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. Winner of the series would be in first place heading into the conference tournament. Well, the entire bus was asleep Saturday morning on the trip over from Wooster (in those days, you'd bus the morning of Game 1), and as we got into town our assistant coach found our hitting CD, cranked it full blast. First song? "Pour Some Sugar on Me." We stormed out of that bus and won weekend series.

    Hey, @nmdawk: Both players averaged more than 20 points in their two games out at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Osman looked different to me. He was moving better and seemed more comfortable with the ball in traffic. He had some nice finishes at the rim. I think both players are, at minimum, rotation players. Keep an eye on Osman.

    Hey, @BrownsFlyer: Teams like to carry three point guards and the Cavs only have two. Smith, who averaged 8.3 ppg at Summer League, has been invited to training camp. According to the Dayton Daily News, he's hoping for a more concrete offer from other teams.

    Cleveland has another "two-way" contract to hand out, and Smith would be an excellent candidate for that. Smith starred at the University of Dayton and played last year for the Cavs' G League affiliate in Canton. 

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    Ohio State's first commit in 2020 is trying to build the best class in the country through building relationships in a group chat with some of the nation's top players.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jake Wray wants to be John Elway.

    Not a legendary quarterback. Wray is an offensive lineman, a good one committed to Ohio State in the Class of 2020. Plus, Wray wasn't alive when Elway last played an NFL game in 1998. 

    Wray spent a chunk of his life in Denver. Grew up a Broncos fan. He surely has an appreciation for the man who brought his favorite team two Super Bowl titles as a quarterback. Though he might have more appreciation for the title Elway won as Denver's general manager two years ago. 

    "My dad was always in the car business, selling," Wray told last week. "He was a really good salesman, and the one thing he told me is that it's not really about what you do or what college you've gone to, it's about who you know. It's all about connections. If you're a good connector, then you'll have more influence in the end.

    "I looked at John Elway and what he did. I've always been interested in the NFL, the business side of it. When you look at it, all of those teams are put in place years before players are signed. I just had a thought that I should try that."

    His goal, whenever his playing career is over, is to be a general manager like Elway. Wray wants to collect talent and win championships. Right now he's functioning as a sort of assistant GM for Ohio State's 2020 recruiting class with the same goal.

    Mark Pantoni is OSU's director of player personnel. He's the real GM, finding players for Urban Meyer and overseeing the roster build. He has an army of recruiters, most of them the obvious ones you'd think off, coaches and support staff.

    Then he has Wray, who's using a group chat on Twitter filled with 30 or so of the best high school prospects in the country to lure talent to Ohio State in an effort to give Meyer his first No. 1 recruiting class in Columbus.  

    "I had this idea, what if our class could be more connected than any other class was at that stage? I'm committed to Ohio State. I'm the only commit. Let's see what I can do," Wray said. "I added a few people in there. There was a lot of buzz. It's all guys that are heavy on Ohio State, who we have a chance of getting."

    This happened in stages. Wray got his first offer in August of his freshman year. Later that year he created a private message group on Twitter for other players in his class with scholarship offers. By that November, Wray had offers from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and others. He was pretty well known, and had the clout to put that kind of group together. 

    The initial goal was just connecting, but Wray also knew pretty early that he wanted to go to Ohio State, so he was selling then too. 

    When he committed last April Wray made another group. It's labeled "Ohio State" on his phone, with a big red circle emoji at the beginning and a nut emoji at the end. You've seen recruits use those emojis in social media posts announcing top schools lists, or commitments.

    The group features OSU's five commits in 2020: Wray, offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., center Luke Wypler, quarterback Jack Miller and cornerback Lejond Cavazos. It also features 25 to 30 of the top remaining targets -- players Pantoni has identified to Wray, receivers Miller has identified as his top targets, other offensive linemen to join an already loaded group, defensive linemen for Larry Johnson, players to join Cavazos in the secondary. 

    Here's a sampling: Five-star defensive Bryan Bresee, five-star running back Kendall Milton, four-star receiver Rakim Jarrett, four-star receiver Rashawn Williams, four-star linebacker Derek Wingo. Name a highly-ranked 2020 player with legitimate Ohio State interest, and he's probably in the group. 

    "There's a bunch of them," said Bresee, the No. 1 overall player in the class. "Some of them just committed out of nowhere. Nobody was ready for that ... We all talk. They really like Ohio State, and they try to push it on everybody else and give us some good reasons." 

    It's a little more delciate than that though. 

    Think about it like trying to land a date. You can't come out firing at the risk of being too aggressive. Of course selling Ohio State is woven through the fabric of the whole thing, but players talked to said it's less about a hard sell and more about connecting in a way that makes the players want to play with each other, rather than play for a specific school. It just so happens that five of the players in the group are already committed. 

    Players take on different personalities. Wray is straightforward, and probably the most aggressive of the group. He prefers not to mince words. 

    "I don't like to work around the edges," he said. "I think that's how problems are developed. I'd rather be straightforward about our decisions, develop a relationship first. The point for us is to get them interested enough to take a visit to Ohio State. That's what we do. That's our job. Then Ohio State takes it from there. We don't need to sell Ohio State. It's so great it sells itself."

    Coordinating visits is a big part of the chat. But mostly it's sharing funny memes, highlight videos, stories from Barstool Sports and Bleacher Report. Normal things that teenagers everywhere would recognize.

    It's a way to express your personality. Some have more fun with it than others. 

    "Jake is the most serious person," Johnson said. "Jake is very serious. I joke around sometimes, but I can be very serious. A lot of people from California and Florida, all they do is joke." 

    How the commits are spread out geographically right now is interesting. Wray is in Marietta, Georgia after moving from Tennessee, and is a voice in the south. Johnson is in Ohio, the top player in the state. Miller is in Arizona with connections in the southwest and on the West Coast. Wypler is on the East Coast in New Jersey. Cavazos, originally from Texas, is in Florida at IMG Academy. Those are some unintended strong strategic footholds in the early stages of putting this class together.

    These are players from different parts of the country with different perspectives on things, but there's a good chance that one of the commits has some common ground with an uncommitted player because of how spread out they are. 

    "The bond we have between people who are committed is very strong," Johnson said. "For people in Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Arizona and New Jersey -- it's very strong ... For us it's not necessarily about recruiting, but building relationships."

    The question you're probably asking yourself is how much this actually matters. Well, it varies. 

    Ohio State currently has the No. 2 class in 2020, trailing Miami but with a significant lead over the Hurricanes in terms of average player rating. It's nearly three points higher. With the players committed, and the highly-ranked players giving OSU serious consideration, this might be Meyer's best chance to sign the No. 1 class. If that happens, it's obviously about a whole lot more than this group chat. 

    Wray committed before the chat existed. He prepared a Power Point presentation after his first visit as a freshman, explaining to his parents why Ohio State was the right place for him. The only thing that delayed his announcement was figuring out Meyer's future. Cavazos was in a similar position. He knew he wanted to play for Meyer. The group chat didn't have much of an impact on his commitment. 

    But the connection created through shared jokes on Twitter does play a part. 

    "I think it factors in a lot, especially for guys who want to be close to the guys they're gonna be going to school with," Wypler said. "It's real important. It won't always play a major role, but it gives them something to think about when they're choosing ... It played a big part in my decision. The relationships you have in the locker room have to be strong for you to enjoy your time there."

    Does that mean OSU will automatically get Bresee or any of the other uncommitted guys? No. But it appears the Buckeyes have the only 2020 class doing something like this. Players talk all the time, but this kind of player-run coordinated effort with specific recruiting targets isn't happening elsewhere -- at least not on this scale.

    Johnson, the No. 8 player in the class who committed to Ohio State last month, had offers from everybody. He was never asked to be part of a group like this at another school. Bresee is the No. 1 player in the country. Everybody wants him. If this existed somewhere else, he would've been asked to be a part of it. He said at The Opening Finals in June that this is the only group he's in. 

    Max Wray, a freshman offensive tackle at Ohio State and Jake's brother, was once a part of Georgia's 2017 recruiting class and tried to start something similar when he was committed to the Bulldogs. It didn't take. 

    So far it appears Jake's plan is working. 

    "I've always wanted to be a leader, so I wanted to commit early. ... It's about who you know. I kinda just figured if I know everybody, and everybody knows me, then I have pull," Wray said. "I wanted a heavy influence so I could make this class the way we're having it right now."

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    The Indians, in a series of roster moves, will add relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber along with right-handers hitters Melky Cabrera and Yandy Diaz to the 25-man roster before Friday's game against Texas.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Chris Antonetti, following the acquisition of relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber on Thursday from the Padres, said the Indians would make a "series of moves" to recalibrate the 25-man roster before opening the second half of the season on Friday night against Texas at Globe Life Park In Arlington.

    Antonetti, the president of baseball operations, wasn't kidding.

    The Indians will add Yandy Diaz and Melky Cabrera from Class AAA Columbus along with the newly acquired Hand and Cimber before the first pitch Friday night. To do so, they will or already have optioned right-hander Adam Plutko, left-hander Tyler Olson and outfielder Greg Allen to Columbus. Catching prospect Francisco Mejia, who was traded to San Diego for Hand and Cimber, created one of the openings on the 25-man roster when he was traded.

    The Indians have another roster move coming in the next few days when they add right-hander Shane Bieber from Columbus. Bieber, optioned to Columbus so he could keep pitching during the All-Star break, pitched for the Clippers on Thursday night.

    Bieber allowed two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and one walk in three innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was followed by Andrew Miller, making his second rehab appearance, as he continues to test his sore right knee. Miller pitched one inning, allowing one run.

    The rookie right-hander is scheduled to start against Pittsburgh on Tuesday at Progressive Field.

    Cabrera was hitting .321 (25-for-78) with eight RBI for the Clippers. This will be his second tour with the Indians.

    Diaz was hitting .284 (81-for-285) with two homers and 27 RBI for Columbus. This will be his first tour this season with the Indians. Diaz has played 10 games at first base, 62 at third base and 11 at DH this year.

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    NASCAR's Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. continue to be the three dominant drivers on the circuit this season.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The NASCAR season is coming down to a weekly three-car race, going into Sunday's  Foxwoods 301 in New Hampshire. It has pretty much been Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick against the field for most of the 2018 campaign. That is not expected to change much at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

    The race will be televised  2 p.m. Sunday, on NBCSN, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the booth. Live streaming for qualifying and the race is available at  SportsnetNOW and Live scoring and updates are available at NASCAR's Race Center.

    It should not be a surprise, with NASCAR looking much like Formula 1 when it comes to driver domination, that the stock car guys are thinking F-1 and taking their sport outside of the continental borders in the future.

    At the other end of the spectrum, at least one driver would like to see more short track ovals in the future. Either way, at the very least both ideas could help boost attendance.

    Below is race information for the Foxwoods 301, along with updates for Xfinity, Indy Car, Formula 1 and NHRA.

    FOXWOODS 301
    Site: Loudon, New Hampshire.
    Schedule: Friday, practice, 12 p.m. (NBCSN), qualifying, 4:45 p.m. (NBCSN); Saturday, practice, 10:05 a.m. (CNBC), 12:35 p.m. (NBCSN); Sunday, race, 2 p.m., NBCSN.
    Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (oval, 1.06 miles).
    Race distance: 318.46 miles, 301 laps.
    Last year: Denny Hamlin held off Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.
    Last race: Truex won for the third time in six starts.
    Fast facts: NASCAR spent the last two Tuesdays testing on Charlotte Motor Speedway's road course configuration, or "Roval," ahead of the Sept. 30 playoff race. The sessions proved a bit treacherous, with William Byron and Bubba Wallace crashing in the first turn on the 2.28-mile circuit. . . . Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Truex, who've combined for 14 wins so far this season, remain 1-2-3 in the standings.
    Next race: Gander Outdoors 400, July 29, Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

    Site: Loudon, N.H.
    Schedule: Friday, practice, 1:05 & 3:05 p.m. (NBCSN); Saturday, qualifying, 11:05 a.m. (CNBC), race, 4 p.m., NBCSN
    Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    Race distance: 211.6 miles, 200 laps.
    Last year: Kyle Busch won from the pole.
    Last race: Christopher Bell picked up his second win of the season.
    Fast facts: Bell led just 17 laps last week at Kentucky, but that was enough for his third career win. Bell took first despite spinning out in qualifying and being forced to start from the back. . . . Elliott Sadler has been joined by Daniel Hemric atop the point standings. Both have 608 -- but zero wins. . . . Cole Custer is third with 605 points, and Bell, despite a pair of victories, is fourth.
    Next race: U.S. Cellular 250, July 28, Iowa Speedway.

    Last week: Scott Dixon won in Toronto, his third victory in six races.
    Next race: Honda Indy 200, July 29, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio.

    Site: Hockenheim, Germany.
    Schedule: Friday, practice, 5 & 9 a.m.; Saturday, practice, 6 a.m. (ESPNEWS), qualifying, 9 a.m. (ESPNEWS); Sunday, race, 9 a.m., ESPN2
    Track: Hockenheim Ring (circuit, 2.84 miles).
    Race distance: 190.4 miles, 67 laps.
    Last race: Sebastian Vettel took first on Lewis Hamilton's hometown track in England.
    Fast facts: Hamilton won the last Hockenheim race two years ago by leading from start to finish. Hamilton, eight points behind Vettel in the title chase, has led more laps here (121) than any other active driver. ...Vettel has led just three laps at Hockenheim in his career. ...Eleven of Ferrari's 21 wins at a German Grand Prix have come at Hockenheim, which dropped off the circuit in 2017.
    Next race: Hungarian Grand Prix, July 29, Hungaro Ring, Mogyorod, Hungary.

    Site: Morrison, Colorado.
    Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 4 & 6 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 4 & 6 p.m.; Sunday, finals, 1:37 p.m.
    Track: Bandimere Speedway.
    Last year: Antron Brown won in Top Fuel.
    Last race: Steve Torrence took first in New Hampshire.
    Fast facts: Robert Hight (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in Colorado a year ago. ...Hight beat Tommy Johnson Jr. in last year's final. Johnson, a veteran with 17 career victories, has never won in Morrison. ...Torrence has a 190-point lead over Tony Schumacher atop Top Fuel, while Courtney Force leads Funny Car by 155 points over Matt Hagan.
    Next race: Sonoma Nationals, July 27-29, Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, California.

    (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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    There's more than 100 firsthand accounts in a sexual misconduct case against a former Ohio State University doctor now, according to investigators.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Three months after launching an investigation into a former team doctor who worked in the athletic department, Ohio State announced Friday that more 100 former students have reported they were victims of sexual misconduct by Dr. Richard Strauss.

    From a complaint first brought forth by former wrestler Mike DiSabato, Ohio State has now corroborated a pattern of behavior from Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005.

    DiSabato told on April 5 he was "encouraged that the university has finally taken steps to investigate the systematic sexual abuse of athletes in multiple sports at the Ohio State University." At that point, DiSabato had gathered information that led him to claim that athletes in 14 different sports had been victimized by Strauss.

    Ohio State's own investigation, conducted by independent investigators at Perkins Coie LLP, has borne out that the misconduct was in fact widespread.

    Investigators have interviewed more than 200 students and staff, the university said in a news release Friday. And investigators expect to speak to at least a 100 more people about the case.

    Strauss worked with the university for about 20 years. He was a team physician in athletics from 1981 to 1995. He also served on the faculty after resigning from Ohio State's medical staff in 1994. He retired as professor emeritus in 1998. 

    There also have been accusations of sexual misconduct at a private medical office that Strauss established in Columbus outside the university. 

    OSU President Michael Drake in May sent an email to 112,613 alumni who attended the university from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s asking for information. 

    "We are grateful to those who have come forward and remain deeply concerned for anyone who may have been affected by Dr. Strauss' actions," Drake said in Friday's release. "We remain steadfastly committed to uncovering the truth."

    Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who formerly coached wrestling at OSU, spoke Monday with the firm investigating Strauss, according to the Associated Press. He denies knowing anything about the accused abuse. 

    OSU has set up a website with details about the investigation. Anybody with questions or information can learn more by clicking here.

    Previous coverage

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    Doug Lesmerises is joined by Scott Sargent of Waiting for Next Year and Chris Manning of Fear The Sword to evaluate the LeBron era.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- LeBron James brought Cleveland its first major sports championship in 52 years, but was winning just one title in James' 11 years in Cleveland a failure by the Cavaliers?

    On the latest episode of Takes By The Lake from, Doug Lesmerises is joined by Chris Manning of and Scott Sargent of to discuss the James era and whether it should be viewed more with joy or regret.

    What more could the Cavs have done to win with James? Was it mismanagement or bad luck? Now that Kawhi Leonard has been traded, what does that tell us about how the Cavaliers handled the Kyrie Irving trade? What could the Cavs have done to avoid losing Irving and James in consecutive offseasons?

    James is now a Los Angeles Laker, but he'll always be a part of Cleveland sports. How are you thinking about his time here right now?

    Chris and Scott provide their insight and assess whether that one title is only to be celebrated, or whether Cleveland fans are justified in feeling there should have been more.

    Subscribe to Takes By The Lake at:

    Google Play 



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    Cleveland added relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to its roster Friday after a series of moves, including recalling Yandy Diaz and adding Melky Cabrera.

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cleveland Indians announced a flurry of roster moves ahead of Friday's matchup against Texas, allowing the club to add newly-acquired relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from San Diego and a couple of extra bats for the weekend series.

    Outfielder Greg Allen, starting pitcher Adam Plutko and reliever Tyler Olson were each optioned to Class AAA Columbus. The club already had one open spot on the 25-man roster that was previously occupied by Francisco Mejia, who was traded to the Padres on Thursday for Hand and Cimber.

    The club also selected the contract of outfielder Melky Cabrera from Columbus and recalled INF/OF Yandy Diaz. Additionally, outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, who has been out since July 3 with a right calf strain, was moved from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.

    Diaz, who hit .284 (81-for-285) with two homers and 27 RBI for Columbus, is in manager Terry Francona's starting lineup batting sixth at designated hitter on Friday. 

    Reliever Marc Rzepczynski, who was designated for assignment on July 11, has cleared outright waivers and elected for free agency, rather than stick around as the fifth lefty in the Tribe's bullpen.

    Here are the starting lineups for Friday's game between the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers.

    What: Indians (52-43) vs. Rangers (41-56).
    When: 8:05 p.m.
    Where: Globe Life Park in Arlington.
    Broadcast: SportsTime Ohio, MLB Network, WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM.


    Francisco Lindor SS
    Michael Brantley LF
    Jose Ramirez 3B
    Edwin Encarnacion 1B
    Brandon Guyer RF
    Yandy Diaz DH
    Jason Kipnis 2B
    Roberto Perez C
    Rajai Davis CF

    Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.24)


    Shin-Soo Choo RF
    Willie Calhoun DH
    Elvis Andrus SS
    Adrian Beltre 3B
    Rougned Odor 2B
    Ronald Guzman 1B
    Robinson Chirinos C
    Joey Gallo LF
    Delino DeShields CF

    Martin Perez (2-4, 7.67)

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  • 07/20/18--15:04: Is the 'Madden Curse' real?
  • EA Sports announced Antonio Brown will be the cover athlete for "Madden NFL 19."

    EA Sports announced Antonio Brown will be the cover athlete for "Madden NFL 19." While it is a great honor to adorn the cover of one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, some believe there is a curse attached to it. Several cover athletes have had major injuries, dramatic regressions in production, and off-field issues after being placed on the cover. Others think it's just bad luck and there are no such things as curses. What do you think?


    You don't have look far to see that the Madden Curse is real. In 2002, Dante Culpepper struggled as the Vikings notched a 4-7 record after going to the NFC Championship game the previous year. He would miss the last five games of the season due to injury. Michael Vick fractured his fibula one day after being announced as the "Madden NFL 2004" cover boy. He would only play five games that year. The Madden Curse is real.

    MOREThe history of the Madden Curse

    Curse? There are no such things as curses! Here is Brian Mazique of Forbes with more:

    Basic mathematics suggest the success of a player after being honored as the face of Madden is somewhat hit or miss. Isn't the case with just about every NFL player?
    At the end of the day, the health, well being and professional success of NFL players are real things. They can potentially cause real problems in the player's lives and in their family's. It just feels wrong to associate a video game with something that could be so serious.

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.


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    Bradley Zimmer had surgery on his injured right shoulder Friday in Dallas.

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cleveland Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer had surgery on his injured right shoulder Friday in Dallas and will not be available for the foreseeable future. Specialist Dr. Keith Meister performed the surgery and results were not immediately available from the team.

    Manager Terry Francona said prior to the Tribe's series opener against the Texas Rangers that he hoped to have an update on how the surgery went soon from Indians medical staff.

    Zimmer was placed on the minor-league disabled list June 16 after injuring his shoulder during a workout with Class AAA Columbus. He was optioned to the Clippers on June 5 after hitting .226 with two home runs and nine RBI in 34 games with the Indians, including a stint on the big-league DL.

    Francona said he communicated with Zimmer via text on Thursday and is confident the young outfielder can return from the setback.

    "It's just missing the developmental time," Francona said. "But, OK, so if his clock changes a little bit, that doesn't mean he's not going to be a great player."

    Zimmer injured the shoulder doing what Francona described as "one-handed drills" with the Clippers. He first experienced discomfort when he went to throw following the drills. The 25 year old missed 20 games in May with bruised ribs after crashing into the center field wall at Yankee Stadium chasing a double by Austin Romine.

    "I don't know if there's [one cause]," Francona said. "He's never just come out and said there was one time where [he hurt the shoulder]."

    Zimmer missed the final 19 games of the 2017 season and the playoffs after breaking his hand on a head-first dive into first base against Baltimore on Sep. 10.