<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:14:46 -0400 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:14:46 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Contador Eyes 3rd Tour de France Title]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:40:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Alberto-Contador-2-July-2015.jpg

Tour de France contender Alberto Contador's serious-looking face cracked into a beaming smile during a lighthearted moment at his pre-race news conference on Thursday, when he was joined by an unexpected guest.

It happened when two Dutch television journalists presented the Spanish rider with a canary in a cage, popping it down on the table right next to him.

Contador used to breed canaries when he was younger, something he says he no longer has time to do since becoming a professional rider, and he sat gazing curiously at the tiny yellow bird as it hopped around.

Yellow will be all Contador has on his mind from this Saturday onward as he tries to win back the famed jersey he won twice before, in 2007 and 2009.

The showcase race starts with an individual time trial around the Dutch city of Utrecht and ends July 26 in Paris.

Contador's 2010 Tour title was stripped from him after a failed doping test for the fat-burning, muscle-building drug clenbuterol, and his 2011 Giro d'Italia title subsequently also scrapped. Following a suspension, Contador looked well set for a podium finish at the 2013 Tour, only to slump late on in the race and finish fourth.

His frustration turned to agony when, on the 2014 Tour, he dropped out on stage 10 after a bone-breaking downhill crash during a mountain stage. Remarkably, he continued to ride for 20 minutes with a fractured left tibia — and with blood gushing from his right knee — before agony overwhelmed him.

Contador, dejected, ruled himself out of the Spanish Vuelta only to recover quicker than expected, change his mind and win the race for the third time.

Now, he has another objective: the Giro-Tour double.

"If I win just another Tour it's not going to change my career, but if I achieve the double this is something people are going to remember," Contador said Thursday. "I take a lot of motivation from this."

After winning his second Giro title in May, he now has the chance to become the first rider since Italian Marco Pantani in 1998 to complete that double the same year.

He has thought about nothing else since the Giro ended.

"I sacrificed everything. Every day, every minute I have been working toward this," he said, looking serious again with his canary friend now removed from the table. "There was no celebration. I put absolute focus on the bike. It's a new challenge for me."

A hugely ambitious one, given the strength of the opposition.

Barring his way are defending champion Vincenzo Nibali and 2013 winner Chris Froome, who also has a burning desire to win after crashing out on the cobblestones in last year's Tour. Colombian climbing specialist Nairo Quintana, runner-up to Froome in 2013, is also a threat.

"I have been training and resting. But I think I'm well recovered physically and also mentally, which is probably more important," Contador said. "There are four favorites everybody talks about but I think there are more riders ... (Romain) Bardet, (Alejandro) Valverde, (Thibault) Pinot."

While Nibali's Astana team and Froome's Team Sky have changed their Giro lineups, Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo team has retained five riders from that race.

"They're experienced and strong," Contador said. "I trust them."

Contador will be nervous, however.

This year's opening nine-day swing from the Low Countries across northern France again features the dreaded cobblestones. Rain and slippery stones are a nightmare for most riders, while some like Nibali glide over them with dismissive ease.

"The first objective is to try and avoid crashes. It's a very complicated start to the Tour," Contador said. "The first nine days there are at least six very intense stages, maybe more. It's going to be a Tour with no rest."

By his own admission, Contador felt in better condition heading into last year's Tour.

"If I had to choose between last year and this year's feeling I'd take last year's," he said. "I come here with a clear objective. I know it's very difficult."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Yard Goats to Unveil New Mascot Next Week]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:52:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/HARTFORD+YARD+GOATS+2.jpg

The soon-to-be Hartford Yard Goats will unveil their new logo on Wednesday.

The minor league baseball team, known now as the New Britain Rock Cats, will adopt its new name and mascot upon moving to Hartford in 2016. The team will play at a brand-new stadium in the city’s Downtown North development.

The Yard Goats selected their name as part of an online contest. Although a “yard goat” is actually a locomotive, many expect the team's new mascot to depict the animal of the same name. Two live goats were present when the name was announced in March.

The new logo will go public on Wednesday. Team officials said they expect to make the reveal at 1 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford.
 

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<![CDATA[NBA Star Ray Allen Is Giving Away Sneakers in Connecticut]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:10:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/081414+ray+allen.jpg

The sneaker collection of NBA star Ray Allen rivals the selection at any store you’ve ever been to, and the former UConn Husky is giving away some of his coveted shoes in the Hartford area.

Allen has started sharing clues on Instagram. You can follow him at rayn34.

Within a day of posting the announcement on his Facebook page, thousands of people have shared and commented on the post.

Allen generated a large fan base in Connecticut while playing basketball for UConn, then returned to New England went on to play for the Boston Celtics.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Boatright Gets Chance With Brooklyn Nets]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:16:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP156461816029.jpg

The NBA Draft didn't go like Ryan Boatright had hoped but after not hearing his name called Thursday night, the former UConn standout signed with the Brooklyn Nets. RealGM.com first reported the news.

While going undrafted wasn't a surprise to some, virtually every expert figured Boatright's path to the NBA would include proving himself this summer.

"I haven't gotten any promises," Boatright told the Chicago Tribune days before the draft. "… I just hope I can get into a good situation, where I've got a chance to play, whether it's by being drafted or signed [as a free agent]."

An anonymous scout said before the draft that the NBA summer leagues might be Boatright's best chance to prove himself.

"I think the prospects of second round are less than 50-50, but there’s a chance of him getting drafted," the scout told the New Haven Register's David Borges. "Even if he doesn’t, for sure he’ll be invited to summer league camps and get a strong look from multiple teams. He’ll be sought after." More details via the Hartford Courant:

[Boatright] could [also] spend time in the Developmental League, which even many first-round draft picks do, or play overseas, which can be very lucrative. His close friend and former UConn teammate, DeAndre Daniels, was picked in the second round, 37th, by the Raptors last year, and after playing in the summer league, he spent the season playing in Australia, while Toronto retained his NBA rights.

"At the end of the day, I'm going to make a lot of money playing basketball," Boatright told the Tribune. "My main goal and hope is to play in the NBA. I don't question myself or doubt my ability."

Now Boatright just has to convince everyone else that he belongs. But if the rest of the NBA is like UConn coach Kevin Ollie, it won't take long for others to catch on to Boatright's talents.

"Boat is gonna create his own chance," Ollie said, via the Register. "And if they're not gonna open the door, he's gonna kick it down."

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<![CDATA[Ollie Calls Team 'Talented Group']]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:12:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+ollie+uconn+against+bryant.jpg

Kevin Ollie spoke to reporters last week about the 2015-16 Huskies team and he called it "a talented group," according to the New Haven Register.

Hardly surprising, we know. Every coach, at least publicly, will offer a similar refrain this time of year, but you get the sense Ollie really does feel good about the roster, especially with the addition of three veteran transfers that provide some much-needed experience.

Speaking of which, Shonn Miller, in Ollie's eyes, is "rebounding magnet ... very cerebral, able to pick up on things quickly," while Sterling Gibbs is "just a basketball player. He plays at a pace you can't get him out of, which is something I love."

"He's not a Ricky Moore, as far as pushing the ball. But he's also a very smart player throwing the ball ahead."

As for the veterans currently on the roster, Ollie had this to say about junior Amida Brimah: "[He needs to] eliminate some of those foolish mistakes that he did. Some of them were trying to take charges, or illegal screens 35 feet from the basket ... It happens, but I think it happened too much for him. Freshman, sophomore year, I'll lay off, but junior year, you've got to eliminate some of those mistakes and stay on the court. I think he's heard that a lot from me, he's aggravated from me saying that -- which is a good thing."

Then there are Terrence Samuel and Rakim Lubin, who transferred this offseason.

"Sooner or later, it's gonna happen," Ollie said. "They felt they had a better situation playing a little more in another program."

"I thought Terrence played a lot of minutes. I stuck with him, but he stuck with me, too. He allowed us to win a championship. He played a pivotal role. You hate to see him go, because that team was something special to me. Not because we won the national championship, but that year prior, to stick by me in the lean times, I've got a special place in my heart for that team."

Oh, and there's the third transfer, Terry Larrier, who will sit out the upcoming season but be eligible for 2016-17.

"Wow. Ooooooh, he is so good," Ollie said. "Man, he is fantastic. He's long, he's athletic, he can shoot the ball, runs the court, great person to be around. His teammates love him."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jim Renner Reacts to Fan Army]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:38:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jim_Renner_Reacts_to_Fan_Army_1200x675_472673347998.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Marlins' Stanton Out With Fracture in Hand]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 02:59:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-478685206.jpg

The Miami Marlins will be without the services of Giancarlo Stanton for the foreseeable future due to a fracture in his left hand.

Stanton suffered the injury during Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The slugger grimaced following a strikeout in the ninth inning, and trainers checked his hand in the dugout afterwards.

Stanton is expected to miss four to six weeks with surgery pending. Miami has brought up Cole Gillespie to take Stanton's place on the roster. Ichiro Suzuki figures to be the main beneficiary in terms of playing time.

Stanton currently paces Major League Baseball in home runs and figured to be a lock for participation in the Home Run Derby. The outfielder was also one of the leading vote-getters for starting gig in the All-Star Game itself. But both of those events would now seem to be out of reach for the injured star.

The Marlins gave Stanton a 13-year $325 million contract in the off-season, which represented a major commitment and risk by the team. Stanton is one of the best players in the game, but has struggled to play a full season in his MLB career.

Miami now may turn into sellers and move pieces such as Dan Haren and Mat Latos. Both pitchers are set to be free agents, and the team is 15 games under .500. A playoff appearance is unlikely without Stanton's bat to help an already quiet offense.

The Marlins will take on the Dodgers again on Saturday as they look to end a five-game losing streak.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ Travelers Championship Brings in the Green for Charity]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 12:57:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Travelers+sunrise+1200.jpg

As golfers were hitting the greens at the Travelers Championship on Saturday, others took a swing at helping the next generation.

Since 1952, the Travelers Championship has given $32-million dollars back to charity.

One of the organizations that benefits is the First Tee of Connecticut, an organization devoted to helping kids learn the game of golf, no matter their family’s financial status.

“It’s just really fun to come out here and play on the course with all of my friends and just hang out and have fun,” said program participant James Mullarkey.

“Golf, to me, is a way to learn about life. So, he gets to learn about life in First Tee,” added his father Jay.

First Tee gets great exposure at the Travelers Championship. Its headquarters sit right next to the practice greens.

“It allows us to tell the world what we do, how we do it, and how important it is for us to get the support of the community to make these programs for our kids affordable and accessible,” said David Polk, the First Tee of Connecticut executive director.

First Tee received the $10,000 Pro-Am purse on Wednesday. Saturday, $30,000 in scholarships were handed out by the organization to kids who might not otherwise be able to afford the program.

From the beginning, the Travelers Championship has been about giving back, donating 100-percent of the net proceeds to 140 different charities each year.

“Last year was $1.5 million and we’re on pace to break that record this year,” said Tournament Director, Nathan Grube.

Travelers’ premier charity, Hole in the Wall Gang camp, which serves 25,000 seriously ill children in the region, was also picked by the PGA in 2014 to be its national charity of the year. The grant that comes along with title will send 12 kids to camp.

“Events like this and organizations that support us are super important. All of our services are provided free of charge to the children and families we service,” said Beth Starkin, a spokesperson for Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Grube says non-profit organizations use the tournament to thank their donors, fundraise for free, and gain new exposure for their cause.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Travelers Championship: What You Need to Know]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:51:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Travelers_Need_to_Know_1200x675_472070211949.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Future NBA Stars' Fashion Sense Shines at Draft]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:47:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NBA+suit+3.jpg

One of the NBA's biggest nights provides the stars of the show a chance to display their best (and sometimes wildest) suits.

Each year, it seems, draft picks step up their fashion game, and the 2015 NBA Draft, held Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was no exception. 


Take Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, from the University of Arizona Wildcats. While he was selected 23rd overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, the attention might have been focused on his red and black checkered pants.  The color scheme was a perfect fit for the Blazers, but the match was short-lived. He was traded soon after to the Brooklyn Nets.

Devin Booker wore a bright blue suit as his name was called by the Phoenix Suns, who took him with the 13th overall pick. His orange tie matched the Suns hat he donned on stage for the photo opportunities.

Perhaps one of the most animated players, Ohio State point guard D'Angelo Russell, pointed above as he wore a red and white suit with a checkered shirt (although Buckeye fans would call the suit "scarlet"). He was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, so he didn't quite match his new team's color scheme. 

Breaking away from bright colors and going toward patterns, Karl-Anthony Towns wore a gray, black, and white chevron-patterned suit jacket. The former University of Kentucky Wildcat, who was selected first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, broke from tradition by showing up without a tie.

Now that the draft is out of the way, the players can focus on basketball.  The 2015-16 season will start on October 27.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ryan Boatright Goes Undrafted by NBA Teams]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 09:37:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP156461816029.jpg

UConn has a history of producing great point guards, and recent history have seen them go in the first round of the NBA Draft. That trend changed on Thursday when Ryan Boatright, who followed in the footsteps of Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier in Storrs, didn't hear his name called at the 2015 NBA Draft.

The development wasn't a huge surprise; unlike Walker, a national player of the year candidate, and Napier, the Huskies' most valuable player during their title run in 2013-14, Boatright was always considered undersized by NBA standards. That doesn't mean his professional dreams are crushed, he'll just have to find another onto an NBA roster.

"I haven't gotten any promises," Boatright told the Chicago Tribune days before the draft. "… I just hope I can get into a good situation, where I've got a chance to play, whether it's by being drafted or signed [as a free agent]."

Next up: Boatright will show what he can do during the NBA summer leagues, which is what an anonymous scout said might happen in the days leading up to the draft.

"I think the prospects of second round are less than 50-50, but there’s a chance of him getting drafted," the scout told the New Haven Register's David Borges. "Even if he doesn’t, for sure he’ll be invited to summer league camps and get a strong look from multiple teams. He’ll be sought after." More details via the Hartford Courant:

[Boatright] could [also] spend time in the Developmental League, which even many first-round draft picks do, or play overseas, which can be very lucrative. His close friend and former UConn teammate, DeAndre Daniels, was picked in the second round, 37th, by the Raptors last year, and after playing in the summer league, he spent the season playing in Australia, while Toronto retained his NBA rights.

"At the end of the day, I'm going to make a lot of money playing basketball," Boatright told the Tribune. "My main goal and hope is to play in the NBA. I don't question myself or doubt my ability."

Other notable players who were on the bubble and ultimately didn't get drafted include Cliff Alexander, Christian Wood, Jonathan Holmes, Aaron Harrison and Chris Walker.

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<![CDATA[The 2015 NBA Draft First Round Picks]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:37:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-478518558.jpg The first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York, has concluded. Click through to see who will be making their professional debut in the 2016-2017 season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[7th Annual Women's Day at Travelers Championship]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:26:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/travelers+championship+crowd.jpg

Fans and volunteers keep going to watch PGA Tour Golf in Cromwell year after year no matter what the tournament is called.

"We've come since it was the GHO," said Michelle Queen. "Just love golf; it's a great time of year and the players are awesome. Right after the U.S. Open; I mean, you can't beat it."

Thursday marked the seventh annual Women's Day.

Women crowded into a tent to hear from the celebrities for the day, Chef Cat Cora and Martha Stewart. They don't need to be told that when it's very hot, as it is here, it's very important to have something to drink.

"We only really shared three," said Gayle Breen, displaying her bag of empty juice and water bottles. "You definitely have to have something to drink. We didn't drink enough and that's why we're leaving."

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<![CDATA[Auriemma Talks Transfers]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:53:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-nat-champs.jpg

Kevin Ollie's Huskies have welcomed three transfers to the program this spring, and Geno Auriemma's team has Natalie Butler, the former Big East Freshman of the Year from Georgetown, set to take the court this fall.

There has been a run across the game on players leaving their original college teams for playing time elsewhere -- Brianna Banks and Sadie Edwards departed UConn for playing time elsewhere -- and Auriemma knows that even the three-time defending national champs aren't immune.

“I’m sure we’re as susceptible as anyone else,” he said Monday, according to SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “That’s why I laugh when people talk about the kids who have transferred from our place like it’s the end of the world. I don’t begrudge anybody if they go to another school and say, ‘Hey look, I made a mistake.’ That’s not a negative. We make mistakes in recruiting. Kids make mistakes in picking schools.

“What has happened is we have a little bit more access to these kids earlier. One of the results of that is that kids commit earlier, and maybe the coaches and the players haven’t gotten a chance to know each other very well during the recruiting process. And maybe some promises were made along the way, and then you can’t deliver on those promises. Then it all kind of comes to a head. I’m not there so I don’t know.”

And that's the thing: When you're the best program in the nation, naturally you attract the best players -- none of whom are not accustomed to sitting on the bench. So when they get to college, and everyone is just as good as they are it can be a shock -- especially if it cuts into their playing time. Still, Auriemma's ability to retain players has been good during his tenure.

“I’m proud of the fact that in the 30 years that we have been doing this, very, very, very few kids that start and play 30 minutes decide that this isn’t the place for them,” Auriemma said. “I’m kind of crossing my fingers and hoping that trend continues.”

The old saying, "winning fixes everything" certainly doesn't hurt.

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<![CDATA[UConn Lands Recruit No. 3, DB Eddie Hahn]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:50:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

Commitments seem to come in bunches, and certainly holds this recruiting season. The Huskies landed two high school players for the 2016 class last week -- quarterback Donovan Williams and wide receiver Keyion Dixon -- and got a third when defensive back Eddie Hahn announced Wednesday that he had committed to UConn.

Hahn, a 3-star recruit according to Rivals.com, played quarterback and safety at Red Bank Catholic High School in New Jersey. His relationship with coach Bob Diaco dates back to Diaco's time as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator.

"Coach Diaco recruited (former teammate) Quentin Nelson when he was at Notre Dame," Hahn told Scout.com before he committed to UConn. "So he was here for a long time recruiting Quentin, and I was able to get a good relationship then and just be able to say 'Hi' and talk football."

Hahn, who had offers from Buffalo and NC State, called Diaco "One of the most honest coaches that has recruited me." That's a great sign for a team in desperate need of good players as Diaco tries to refashion them into a legit FBS program.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA["They Don't Own Everything": Yankees Fan Takes on MLB]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 12:36:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/yankees+shirts+mlb.jpg

The man behind the iconic Yankee Stadium "roll call" is preparing for a legal fight against the union representing the players he cheers.

"Bald Vinny" Milano, the leader of the stadium's "Bleacher Creatures," makes his living designing and selling baseball t-shirts. But this week the MLB Players Association demanded that he "cease and desist" from selling certain shirts on his website, including one commemorating Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit.

"I think they have really overstepped their bounds," the father of two from Bellmore, Long Island, said.

The union has taken issue with shirts relating to current Yankees players, claiming the designs infringe on MLB copyrights.

Among the shirts the union wants Milano to stop selling is the one with the word "McCannimal" for catcher Brian McCann and another that reads "Teixecutioner" for Mark Teixeira.

In a statement, MLBPA spokesman Greg Bouris said "the Players Association has the responsibility to protect the rights of its licensees and the players."

According to Milano, the players nicknames and shirt designs are all his own and do not infringe on any copyright.

"They don't own everything," Milano said from his sales table outside Yankee Stadium. "I'm creating my own stuff and they can't claim ownership on things that I create." 

Milano has yet to respond to the MLBPA, but for now, continues to sell the t-shirts he says are most popular with his customers. He's been selling shirts like them for more than a decade.

"I will fight because that's who I am," he said.

Milano received support as he hawked his shirts before and after Wednesday's game.

"I think they should give these little guys a chance," fan Leo Clark said.

"How can MLB shut everybody down and makes money for themselves?" asked fan Jim Mooney. "I have no problem with what this guy is doing."

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<![CDATA[Celebs Head to Cromwell for Travelers Pro-Am]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 22:18:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/george+lopez+celeb+pro+am.jpg

Big-name athletes and Hollywood celebrities all gathered at the green in Cromwell Wednesday afternoon for the Travelers' Celebrity Pro-Am.

Actor and comedian George Lopez flew in to Connecticut from LA just to support the cause.

He was better at entertaining the crowd than he was with his swing, and of course he took advantage of each available moment to crack a joke.

"My grandmother had Travelers insurance and when she fell at the story, they wrote the check quick," said Lopez.

Following behind Lopez was ESPN's Chris "Boomer" Berman, dressed to the nines in a bright magenta shirt and rocking longer locks than normal.

Boomer says he hasn't cut his hair since turning 60 but today, 90 is likely going to be his lucky number.

"I shoot about a 90. We'll see how it goes. Ninety could be really good or really bad," said Berman.

Connecticut being home for Boomer, he didn't let the nerves get the best of him.

NBC's own Matt Lauer was admittedly a little intimidated by the size of the crowd.

"They know you're not a pro golfer, but you still don't want to embarrass yourself off the first tee so I think this is as much pressure as an amateur golfer has," Lauer said.

It was all talk because once he got in the zone, his swing got quite the response from the spectators.

Even the tiniest fans stood in awe as they watched and waited for their favorite celebrities to approach the crowd for autographs.

"Lots of them I see on TV, and it's really cool," said Andrew Collins.
 

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<![CDATA[Little League World Series Champs Sue League Over Stripped Title ]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 00:44:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/tlmd_jrw_stage_igram.jpg

Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Little League team on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Little League International seeking answers after the league stripped the team of its championship title earlier this year.

The lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, aims to force Little League to “provide the information it would not voluntarily disclose” to JRW.

According to an investigative report from Henderson Adam LLC, the group representing JRW, the law firm sent Little League a series of letters asking for “all relevant information” surrounding the league’s decision, but Little League “refused to be transparent.”

“Given the refusal by Little League to meet with JRW, its failure to provide notice and the opportunity to be heard, and its refusal to be transparent and provide material information regarding its decision to strip JRW of the title, JRW was compelled to file suit,” the report states.

Little League in February stripped the young team of its Little League World Series national championship title after officials determined the South Side team added top suburban players in violation of residency rules.

"This is a heartbreaking decision," Little League International President and CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a statement. "What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome."

In addition, team manager Darold Butler was suspended from Little League activity and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly was removed from his position, Little League International spokesman Brian McClintock said in a statement.

McClintock said an investigation revealed that Butler and Kelly knowingly violated rules by using a falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament and used players who didn't qualify because they lived outside the team's actual boundaries.

Jackie Robinson West officials have previously denied the team violated any residency rules or recruited outside players.

Jackie Robinson West has set up a fundraising page to raise money for the team.

In a statement, Little League International said it hadn't had the opportunity to review the petition and said it would be inappropriate to comment. Still, the League said its rules and regulations allow it to impose any penalties it deems appropriate.



Photo Credit: distractyourface/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Professional Soccer Coming to Hartford]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:14:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Soccer+Header+Generic+Soccer.jpg

Professional soccer is coming to Connecticut year-round, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned.

Professional Sports Management Group is bringing professional soccer to the state and Hartford City FC will play both indoors and outdoors.

Mitch Anderson and the management team said Hartford City FC will play year-round.

The larger goal is to bring a high level professional team to the capital city. The ownership group is vying for an expansion franchise in the North American Soccer League, which is one step below Major League Soccer. The NASL's marquee franchise is the New York Cosmos and has teams in markets such as Miami, Minneapolis and Tampa.

"Connecticut deserves professional soccer. we've known it for years," Anderson said.

The team has signed a deal to play in the Major Arena Soccer League indoors at the XL Center starting in November.

"With diverse international community in the Hartford area, professional soccer here will be highly supported," team owner James Duckett said.

About a dozen indoor soccer games will be coming to Hartford to complement professional and college hockey, as well as UConn basketball games in downtown Hartford.

"We feel that in the indoor is a good montior and benchmark for us to start," Anderson said.

Connecticut's team would begin play in 2017 in a brand new 15,000-seat soccer outdoor venue in the South End of the city.

"It's a great opportunity for us to build something that the City of Hartford and State of Connecticut will be proud of," Anderson said.

There is a request for proposal to demolish Dillon Stadium in the Coltsville section of the city, with plans to build a state-of-the-art soccer stadium for a high-level pro team starting likely in 2017.

Duckett believes Hartford is the ideal place for pro soccer, but said the team has an opportunity to give back to the city, as well.

"I have a vision of creating something for the kids, creating something for the comminuty and bringing hartford back to life again," Duckett said.

Duckett and Anderson said they're planning to fund the construction with private money. The group has plans to host several international matches every year, as well, with an eye toward bringing in teams that will resonate with the various ethnic communities in and around Hartford.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Another SI cover for Warriors MVP Stephen Curry]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 10:09:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/208*120/stephhalf.PNG

Warriors MVP Stephen Curry will be featured on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated, the magazine announced on Tuesday.

The Warriors have now been featured on a Sports Illustrated cover five times this season and seven times since 2013.

Curry has now been featured on the cover five times, including three during the Warriors championship season. He was featured on back-to-back regional covers during the playoffs, once after the Western Conference Semifinals against the Grizzlies and then before the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers.

Subscribers and newsstands in Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona will receive the Curry cover, which is available starting Tuesday.

The other regional cover features fellow Under Armor rep Jordan Spieth, who won the US Open on Sunday.

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