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Best of FanRag Sports: Memorial Day Weekend

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Every morning we collect the most entertaining, intriguing and informative stories from around the FanRag Sports network and bring them to you all in one place. Here you can find the top NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA and fight-sport stories of the day prior to get caught up on the news you need to know before starting your day.

Today’s edition features the return of Josh Hamilton, a look back at UFC 187 and a John Calipari sales pitch.

Sit back, relax and take a look back at an exciting weekend in the world of sports. Here is the best of the best courtesy of FanRag Sports.

 

Today’s Knuckleball

MLB: AUG 22 Orioles at Cubs

Javy Baez Slowly But Surely Working Way Back to Bigs

Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez struggled in limited time at the Major League level last season. He began this season in Triple-A, and is still with the Iowa Cubs, in an effort to improve his swing and make a triumphant return to Chicago.

Making his 2015 debut on April 30, Baez has hit .323/.413/.508 in his last 75 plate appearances. He is striking out far less in Triple-A than the historically bad pace he was on in the Majors last year.

Still, despite the improvements, Baez’s path to the MLB roster appears to be blocked. He’s playing second base and shortstop, but both of those positions are occupied by young stars in the Majors already.

Kunckleball’s Ryan Davis takes a closer look at Baez’s improvements and how he can find his way on the 25-man roster sooner rather than later.

 

Today’s Fastbreak

NBA: NOV 13 Wizards at Bulls

The 9 Lives Of John Paxson

Recent years have not been kind to Chicago Bulls fans. Sure there have been plenty of times where they’ve played well and there was hope in the air, but the ultimate prize has eluded them.

While Derrick Rose’s injury has certainly played a significant role in the team’s latest misfortunes, the issue is much, much deeper. A big reason why is years of mismanagement and lack of accountability, says Fastbreak’s Matt Carpenter.

A poor draft history, worse trades and free agent whiffs have left the Bulls where they are today. Carpenter asks why John Paxson has somehow avoided the blame.

“12 years. Eight lottery picks. And this is what you’re left with, Bulls fans.”

 

Today’s Slapshot

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Marc Crawford on Learning, Auston Matthews and Analytics

Slapshot’s Sean Tierney interviewed former NHL head coach and current coach of the ZSC Lions of National League A, Marc Crawford via email. Crawford discusses the process of coaching, potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft Auston Matthews and the world of analytics.

Crawford’s success as a hockey coach in multiple countries makes this interview very intriguing. To get a better idea of how hockey coaches think, check out this story on Today’s Slapshot.

 

Today’s Knockout

MMA: OCT 29 UFC 137 Penn v Diaz

UFC 187’s Most Important Moments

UFC 187 is in the rearview mirror and what a show it was. Knockout’s Dane Curley breaks down the most important moments from Saturday night, from a Hall of Fame inductee to a champion who lived up to the hype to what he calls the best round ever.

If you missed the event or just want to relive some of the memories, Today’s Knockout has all the coverage you need, starting with this article.

 

Today’s Pigskin

NFL: AUG 23 Preseason - Rams at Browns

Cleveland Browns venture into season with special teams unknowns

The Cleveland Browns have a lot of problems. A lot of problems. But despite drama at the quarterback position and the demoralizing years of losing, Cleveland’s defense is special enough to give the Browns a puncher’s chance of winning the AFC North, or at least a wild card spot.

However, the Browns need more than just their defense to play well. Barring an unforeseen transformation, Cleveland’s offense will be a below average unit. Where they can really make up ground is on special teams, but that unit is in a state of flux.

Pigskin’s Andy Dudones has an in-depth break down of Cleveland’s special teams situation and walks the reader through each of the key positions. Special teams may ultimately be the difference in deciding if the Browns have a successful season or another failure.

 

Today’s U

NCAA BASKETBALL: APR 04 Div I Men's Championship - Final Four - Wisconsin v Kentucky

John Calipari Continues to Sell Kentucky

If you go to Kentucky, you will have a great chance at making it to the NBA. That’s the message head basketball coach John Calipari is sending to potential recruits at every meeting. While that has some in Wildcats Nation upset, it’s the ultimate recruiting tool.

Yes, Caliapri’s main goal is to win, not send players to the NBA, but by selling that message, he gets the best recruits and puts Kentucky in the best position to win.

U’s Bobby Reagan explains that by sending the message that playing at Kentucky can help one day put you in position to make millions of dollars, everybody wins.

 

FanRagSports.com

MLB: SEP 07 Rangers at Rays

Welcome Home, Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton is expected to make his re-debut with the Texas Rangers later today. After a tumultuous offseason that resulted in the Los Angeles Angels essentially giving up on Hamilton and selling him off to any bidder, the outfielder returns to the place where he had his most success.

David Roberts walks through Hamilton’s offseason from hell, while explaining the new opportunity that he has with the Rangers. Hamilton now has another chance to not only succeed in MLB, but succeed as a person.

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