We have lots of “Talks” around here now. ProFootball, Hardball, ProBasketball, ProHockey and CollegeFootball. That’s not enough, though, so we’ve added one more: Rugby Sevens Talk.
Rugby Sevens is a variant on rugby that involves (duh) seven guys instead of the usual 15. And there are far fewer Hakas. Well, maybe not. I have no idea really, which is why I bookmarked my buddy Buzz McClain’s new blog about it, which only a few posts in is already proving educational, so no worries if you’re not all that well-versed.
Why should you check it out? One obvious reason — which I won’t lie about — is corporate synergy. NBC is going to broadcast the debut USA Sevens Collegiate
Championship Invitational next month and the blog is a good way to educate people about the sport and to hype it up a bit.
But I’d be into it even if there weren’t business reasons for it because (a) the sport seems weird and cool and I like weird and cool; and (b) the championship is going to take place right here in Columbus, Ohio, so I’ll probably go down and see it in person.
So give Buzz and Rugby Sevens Talk a look-in. If you don’t like it, hey, fine, rugby sevens has been around for 127 years so it will probably manage to go on without you. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll find something new and fun and cool and weird and, really, who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.