Country star Luke Bryan apologizes for All-Star national anthem

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There’s nothing quite so patriotic as using a cheat sheet to sing the anthem.

Luke Bryan’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game was met with pretty scathing reviews, not only because of its length, but because he appeared to keep checking his hand and watch during the performance.

Bryan took to twitter Wednesday to explain:

Morning everyone. I really wanna explain the national anthem performance from last night.

I had a few keys words written down to insure myself that I wouldn’t mess up. I just wanted to do my best. I promise it was from the heart.

If I offended anyone with my approach I sincerely apologize. Anytime I sing the anthem it is an honor and my heart beats out of my chest.

I did check my watch because I knew the stealth bomber would fly over 2 minutes in and I knew a started a little late.

Being a part of the all star game was amazing and I look forward to the next time I can perform the anthem. Thanks y’all. Love ya

You might not want to wait by the phone, Luke. FOX already has plans to have the 2013 All-Star Game anthem performed as a medley featuring six American Idol runners-up.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.