<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:31:20 -0400 Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:31:20 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[How Star Little League Team Taney Dragons Got Their Start]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:56:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg

Twenty years ago, the league behind the Taney Dragons started with three parents, a coach and a permit to play on a Philadelphia field.

Now, the youth baseball team is the subject of national media frenzy thanks to its remarkable Little League World Series run and star pitcher Mo'ne Davis' 70 mph fastball.

“The kind of attention we’ve had has absolutely been mind-boggling," co-founder Ellen Siegel said.

Siegel is one of the five original founders of the Taney Youth Baseball Organization, which was formed back in 1994 by a group of locals who wanted to create a different kind of team for the city's children.

“We wanted to be inclusive and allow girls to play,” Siegel said. “We also wanted players who weren’t as skilled to be allowed to play with the very skilled players. We wanted to be instructional which was our biggest point. Game, scores and winning weren’t as important as teaching all the kids proper mechanics, good sportsmanship, teamwork, camaraderie and knowing the game.”

The decision to create a co-ed squad paved the way for the team's roster to incude 13-year-old Davis, whose series shutout and spunk have landed her national headlines and a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She's set to pitch again tonight, when the team goes up against Las Vegas.

Siegel, a clinical psychologist who serves on the league’s board of directors and helps administer the league’s registrar, website and Facebook page, still remembers the league’s humble beginnings at the Markward Recreation Center on 400 South Taney Street in Philly.

“We practiced there and we’d have scrimmage games there and it was so wonderful to have something in our neighborhood with our kids,” Siegel said. “Then we thought it would be wonderful if we started a league of our own.”

While the Markward Rec Center served as the home field, neighborhood parents and kids had a different name for it that ended up sticking.

“All the neighbors called it Taney Field because it’s on Taney Street,” Siegel said. “I don’t think anyone really knows the real name. If you ask anyone where Markward is they’ll say, ‘what?’ If you ask them where Taney is they all know. That’s where we got our name.”

The league remained a local attraction for nearly two decades until last year, when they officially joined the Little League.

“We’ve always had the same kind of rule as Little League which is you need to play on your intramural team during the season,” Siegel said. “Then after that there are tryouts for the select tournament teams. The select, more competitive team will play after our regular season is over.”

With the tremendous success of the Dragons and the national attention they’ve gained, Siegel says the league's popularity may become a problem.

“We’re already getting so many requests to join us next year and we don’t have open registration until January,” Siegel said. “We’re worried about the influx of how many people would want to play because we can’t accommodate. We already had 73 teams this year from ages 3 to 16. We don’t have places for them.”

Siegel hopes the league will receive offers for more fields for the teams to play on.

“We’re in a situation where we don’t own our own fields, like a suburban league,” Siegel said. “We use Philadelphia Parks and Recreation fields.”

Regardless of what happens with the increased interest or with Thursday’s game, Siegel is confident the spirit of the league, defined by unity rather than winning, will remain high for years to come.

“We care about each other,” Siegel said. “Taney families, even on regular teams bond together and help each other out. To me that’s the essence of what we’re all about. The sense of community.”

To donate to the league, visit the Taney Youth Baseball Association website.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UMd. to Offer Lifetime Scholarships to Student Athletes]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:47:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/5812421946_7446ca97a3_z.jpg

The University of Maryland says it will begin offering lifetime scholarships to all of its college athletes.

Starting in November, athletes who leave school to pursue professional careers can come back to finish their degree.

Athletes who leave school because of an injury or family emergency will also be able to return to finish their work.

But those students must be in good academic standing when they leave.

<![CDATA[Bank Forecloses on Dwyane Wade's Suburban Chicago Home]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:01:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DWade+Tie+Bar.jpg

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade makes millions of dollars a year playing basketball, but it appears that money hasn't been going toward his home in Chicago's south suburbs.

According to documents obtained by NBC Chicago, The PrivateBank and Trust Company is attempting to foreclose on Wade's $1.2 million home in the 1600 block of E. 158th Street in South Holland.

Wade is listed as the owner of the home, along with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Wade. The former couple engaged in a bitter, public divorce in the which the basketball star was granted custody of their children.

According to court documents, the former couple owes almost $541,000 on the home, including close to $1,500 in late charges, and monthly mortgage payments had not been made on the home from November 2013 to July 2014.

Wade's attorney's sent a statement Wednesday. 

"Dwyane Wade and his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches reached a financial settlement in July 2013, which included Ms. Funches being awarded the Chicago home in which she resides.  Mr. Wade had provided a very generous settlement to Ms. Funches to continue to live a wonderful lifestyle and maintain the home mortgage payments he previously paid before the settlement was reached. As the sole homeowner, Ms. Funches defaulted on the mortgage and the home is now under foreclosure with the bank. We will take the necessary measures to affirm Mr. Wade is not responsible for the home’s foreclosure since he was absolved of all financial responsibility when Ms. Funches was awarded the house.”

The 7,847 square foot home has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a theater and exercise room, a guest house, in-ground pool and of course, a basketball court.

Siohvaughn Wade is believed to be the occupant of the home.

Wade is now engaged to actress Gabrielle Union.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 23:08:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/Steve+Ballmer+Clips+1.JPG

Steve Ballmer on Tuesday left Microsoft's Board of Directors, citing new commitments as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a day after publicly stepping into his role with the team.

"The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately," Ballmer wrote in his resignation letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."

Ballmer, who handed off the reins as CEO to Nadella in February, expressed confidence in the company’s future and said he is proud that "Microsoft has been my life's work."

"I bleed Microsoft -- have for 34 years and I always will," he wrote.

Ballmer bought the Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, for $2 billion in May.

The deal was approved by the NBA and finalized Aug. 12 after a tumultuous court battle between the Sterlings.

Shelly Sterling said last week she is "thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner."

Ballmer introduced himself to thousands of Clippers fans on Monday during an energetic rally at the Staples Center that also featured several players and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ballmer promised to keep the team in LA and to usher in an era of many victories.

"This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," Coach Doc Rivers said at the rally. "I couldn't be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization."

In a response to Ballmer's resignation letter Tuesday, Nadella thanked Ballmer for his time at the company and wished him success.

"I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft," Nadella wrote.

Ballmer remains a shareholder at Microsoft.

<![CDATA[Little League Star Mo'ne Davis on Sports Illustrated]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:25:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/monedavisap.jpg

Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old girl who's become baseball's breakout star, has become the first Little League player ever to make the national cover of Sports Illustrated.

Not that the Philadelphia eighth-grader needs any more firsts under her belt — not with her blinding 70 mph fastball, and certainly not with the Series shutout she threw last week, making her the first girl ever to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history.

Mo'ne, an honor roll student at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, has helped make her team the Taney Dragons the first Little League team from Philadelphia ever to advance to the Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

But Mo'ne's sports goals extend far beyond baseball.

"To be honest, I never thought I'd be famous for baseball," she told Sports Illustrated. "I want to play basketball, and I could also do both basketball and baseball — but I really want to play basketball."

She one day hopes to play basketball for the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship, preferably as the point guard for the Huskies. Her mother Lakeisha McLean says she's confident her daughter can do it.

"When Mo’ne says she's gonna do it, she's gonna do it," McLean said.

Mo'ne will take the mound Wednesday in Las Vegas when the Taney Dragons take on the only other undefeated team in the Series, the Mountain Ridge team from Las Vegas.

--David Chang contributed additional reporting.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[LaRoche's 1st Career Walk-Off Homer Lifts Nats]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:51:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/453793144.jpg

The Nationals extended their winning streak to a season-high seven games Monday with a 5-4 victory against the Diamondbacks, their third walk-off win in a row after Adam LaRoche hit a game-winning home run in the 11th inning.

Washington's third straight walk-off win tied a franchise record set by the Expos on July 26-28, 1988. The Nationals also became just the second team in the majors to accomplish that feat this season, joining the Rays, who did so May 22-24.

Even more impressive than that is the fact that LaRoche's home run Monday was the first-ever walk-off home run of his career.

He entered the game with 235 career regular-season home runs, the second-most among players who never hit a walk-off homer. Only Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira has more with 361 career home runs.

"[It's] nice to get my first one -- it took me long enough," the 34-year-old told reporters. "I got every bit of it, I did. Just a crazy few days. I don't know how we've gotten these walk-off situations the last few days, but we have and have been able to grind back."

LaRoche is hitting .306 with six home runs and 12 RBIs in August. 

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[RGIII Still Can't Slide]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:07:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/205*120/4537924741.jpg

Much of the focus of the Redskins' preseason game against tbe Browns was on Cleveland's quarterback competition (and Johnny Manziel's middle finger), but Robert Griffin III was by no means invisible.

He finished 6-for-8 for 112 yards and an interception, but he also scrambled four times for 24 yards, leaving himself vulnerable to big hits from the Browns' defense.

He slid awkwardly on multiple runs and absorbed unnecessary contact from three Browns as he ran toward the sideline on one particular play in the first quarter. Griffin even came up limping following one cringe-worthy slide. He suffered a thigh contusion during the game, but it is not considered serious. 

“It’s something we have to continue to talk to him about: how important he is to this franchise,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters. “When he gets out of the pocket, he needs to protect himself. He’s had a career where he’s been able to get out of those predicaments with his speed and athleticism. But here, being that it’s a 16-game season with all the great talent that’s across the league, he’s got to pick his shots and learn how to get down a little bit better.”

In a recent article on ESPN.com, a "high-ranking personnel evaluator" told Mike Sando that Griffin's running style is unsustainable and leaves him susceptible to hard-charging defenses.

"He is not going to make you miss," the anonymous evaluator said. "Some of these other quarterbacks can shake a guy or make a move."

Following his gruesome knee injury two seasons ago, Redskins fans watch Griffin scramble through their fingers. To his credit, Griffin is aware that he must improve in regards to avoiding such contact.

“It’ll continually be a work in progress,” Griffin told reporters when asked about his decision-making when he takes off with the ball. “I’m going to keep focusing on getting down in those situations — knowing when to fight for those yards and when not to.” 

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Players Pay Tribute to Michael Brown]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:53:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0818-redskins.jpg

Several Washington Redskins players paid tribute to Michael Brown, the Missouri teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer earlier this month.

As they were being introduced prior to Monday night's game against the Cleveland Browns, veteran safety Brandon Meriweather walked onto the field with his hands up along with several other defensive backs.

Their hands were up referencing reports that Brown had his hands up in surrender when he was shot by a Ferguson officer.

<![CDATA[Notable Little League Graduates]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:29:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/edt-tom-selleck-486432585.jpg From Vice President Joe Biden to Hollywood stars Adam Sandler and Danny DeVito, a look at some of the most famous Little League graduates.

Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Walk-Off Weekend Has Nats Streaking]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:40:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/453758772.jpg

In both of their games against the Pirates over the weekend, the Nationals trailed late, Saturday by three runs in the bottom of the eighth and Sunday by one in the bottom of the ninth.

Yet in each instance, Washington celebrated in walk-off fashion, sweeping their second straight series and extending their winning streak to a season-long six games.

Saturday, Wilson Ramos' ground-rule double to deep right scored Bryce Harper to secure a 4-3 victory after Kevin Frandsen and Adam LaRoche sparked the rally in the eighth. The Pirates had won 61 straight games against the Nationals/Expos franchise when leading by at least three runs in the eighth inning or later, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Then on Sunday, after Rafael Soriano blew a save with the Nationals leading 4-2 entering the top of the ninth, Asdrubal Cabrera (who was hitting a MLB-worst .197 with runners in scoring position over the past two seasons for players with a minimum of 200 at-bats) singled in Jayson Werth to tie the game. Scott Hairston's sacrifice fly in the 11th brought home Werth for the victory.

The Nationals, the hottest team in baseball with their current winning streak, now lead the Braves by six games in the NL East.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cleveland's QB Competition Comes to Washington]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:07:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/452727898.jpg

There is much intrigue surrounding a preseason game between the Redskins and the Cleveland Browns on Monday at FedEx Field, as Cleveland's well-publicized quarterback competition will ultimately be decided. 

Browns coach Mike Pettine recently said that he hopes to announce either Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel as his starting quarterback Tuesday for Week 1 against the Steelers.

How both fare against the Redskins will provide Pettine with vital information. Hoyer will start, but the plan is for Manziel to receive equal time with the first-team offense.

"I think it's a little overblown as to who the starter is going to be," Pettine told reporters last week. "The key component, as I've stated earlier this week, is that we are going to balance the reps. We will play it a little by ear as it goes on, we haven't truly decided as far as the rotation but the goal is, for when we look at the stat sheet at halftime, that they both have the same amount of repetitions and hopefully they both get a good amount of work."

Robert Griffin III -- like Manziel, a former Heisman Trophy recipient -- can commiserate with "Johnny Football" about the attention and scrutiny he has received.

"You can’t fight that battle," Griffin told The Washington Times. "There’s always going to be something that you say or something that you do that somebody’s not going to like. It's not to be liked, but to be yourself and if that's who Johnny is then that’s who is if he accepts that.... The media probably won’t accept that, they'll probably continue to cover it and do whatever they want to do with it. From my perspective, for what I've had to go through, it's hard to fight some of the stuff that’s been said. But, you have to just continue to be yourself."

Meanwhile, coach Jay Gruden plans to play his starters for only a quarter, so Hoyer and Manziel should both see reps against the Redskins' top defenders within the first 15 minutes. Former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is now in charge of the same in Cleveland, which should allow for a bit of interest.

For the Redskins, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, both of whom sat out of the preseason opener against the Patriots, should play Monday, giving the team and the fans their first glimpse at Washington's revamped receiving corps.  

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fan Suffers Cardiac Emergency at 49ers Levi's Stadium, Dies]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:59:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulancegeneric.jpg

A man has died after suffering a cardiac emergency during Sunday's San Francisco 49ers preseason opener against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium, the Santa Clara Fire Department said.

The report of a cardiac emergency came during the third quarter, Santa Clara Fire said. When stadium medical personnel reached the man in section 221, they treated him, administering CPR.

He was rushed to O'Connor Hospital, but was pronounced dead by emergency room doctors.

The 49ers issued a statement:

“The 49ers organization is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of our fans earlier today. We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family and friends in this time of sadness.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[White Sox Legend Hospitalized]]> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 16:27:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_minnie_minoso2.JPG

Chicago White Sox great Minnie Minoso was hospitalized after a fall from his boat, officials said Saturday.

Team spokesperson Scott Reifert confirmed Minoso was "pulled from the water [Friday] and taken to St. Joseph Hospital for tests."

The team talked with the 88-year-old baseball legend Saturday and Minoso reportedly said he is "feeling fine."

Reifert said Minoso will likely stay hospitalized for one more day to run more tests. He is expected to be released tomorrow.

Minoso is a fan favorite, and the first Cuban to play for the South Siders.

A nine-time All-Star outfielder and Gold Glove winner, he debuted at Comiskey Park in 1951 and played in parts of four decades with the team.

<![CDATA[MMA Fighter "War Machine" Arrested]]> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 13:44:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/war+machine+mug+ph+blue+bg.JPG

MMA fighter Jonathan "War Machine" Koppenhaver was arrested at a Southern California hotel Friday a week after an alleged confrontation with his ex-girlfriend, adult film actress Christy Mack.

Koppenhaver was sought by law enforcement for one week after allegedly assaulting Mack in Las Vegas on Aug. 8, according to the Simi Valley Police Department and the US Marshals Service.

He was wanted by Las Vegas police on suspicion of battery by strangulation, domestic battery, assault with a deadly weapon, coercion with force, battery substantial bodily harm, and open and gross lewdness, officials said.

Mack claims Koppenhaver left her with 18 broken bones in her face, a fractured rib and a ruptured liver. She shared photographs of the attack with NBC News and on her Twitter account.

He was arrested about 1:45 p.m. at the Extended Stay America Hotel in the 2400 block of Stearns Street in Simi Valley, police said. Police found cash and pizza inside his room.

"Police came, they used a battering ram to batter down the door," hotel guest Mary Casamento said. "We heard some loud thuds and banging, it sounded like chairs or furniture."

According to the US Marshals Service, Koppenhaver had been hiding out at the hotel for a few days.

Mack took to Twitter about the alleged confrontation.

Koppenhaver tweeted earlier this week about being "cursed" and that police "never believe me." He also tweeted Mack, saying he "can't believe what happened."

A person who identified himself as a Koppenhaver family spokesperson told NBC4, "The family does not have anything to say."

Koppenhaverwas awaiting extradition to Las Vegas. He faces multiple battery and assault charges.

NBC4's Kate Larsen contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Ventura County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Snyder, Gruden Take #IceBucketChallenge]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:00:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/BvGLhoQCMAEfcFx.jpg

On Thursday, I shared with you Keith Olbermann's challenge to Daniel Snyder to participate in the #IceBucketChallenge to raise money and awareness for ALS.

Well, I doubt that Snyder accepted Olbermann's specific dare, but the Redskins owner and coach Jay Gruden were both drenched following practice Friday. 

Here is more visual evidence of the challenge, which also featured former Redskin Joe Theismann, president/general manager Bruce Allen and PR guy Tony Wyllie.

I have yet to be challenged, though I would not be opposed to being completely dry while making a donation.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the ALS Association

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: @NBCDianna]]>
<![CDATA[Nats Make Franchise History Against Mets]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:22:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/230*120/453621578.jpg

The Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the Mets on Thursday in a 4-1 victory, taking a six-game lead over the Braves in the NL East with roughly 40 games remaining in the regular season.

In defeating New York (which included a rare Stephen Strasburg road win), Washington set a franchise record.

The Nationals have now won 11 straight games at Citi Field, their longest-ever road winning streak against a single opponent. The previous record of 10 as the Expos came against the Cubs from 1982 to 1983. Washington has outscored New York 74-21 during the streak. 

Meanwhile, the 11th straight loss to the Nationals at home was also a franchise record for the Mets, overtaking their 10-game skid against the Braves at Shea Stadium from 1991 to 1992.

There have been significantly longer losing streaks of this particular kind in recent history; Toronto snapped a 17-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium last month and the Rays lost 18 straight in Cleveland from 2005 to 2010.

Yet the Nationals have four more games in New York from Sept. 11 to 14, and four more victories at that time could realistically solidify a division title and playoff berth.

In the mean time, the Nationals return to Washington for a 10-game homestand beginning Friday against the Pirates.

"We played really well here," manager Matt Williams told reporters in New York. "Now we've got to go do it at home."

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Broke Into Miami Heat Star's Home: Police]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:39:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/081414+ray+allen.jpg

Police are investigating after a group of teenagers broke into the home of Miami Heat free agent Ray Allen early Thursday, officials said.

The group of seven teen had been attending a party next door when they decided to go to the Coral Gables home around 2:30 a.m., Coral Gables Police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said.

The teens, who believed Allen and his family weren't home and said they thought it would be "cool" to go in the house, entered through an unlocked back door, Denham said. Allen's wife and kids were sleeping upstairs but were awoken by the commotion, Denham said.

"She heard people walking up the stairs and that's when she yelled out to them, "what are you doing in my house?" Denham said. "As soon as they heard that, they fled the house."

They told some parents what had happened and the parents drove them to the police department to report what happened, Denham said.

"They stated that they did enter the home," said Denham. "They were there to see where Ray Allen had lived. They honestly thought that he had moved from the house."

The teens were questioned for several hours but released. They could face misdemeanor trespassing charges if Allen's wife decides to press charges, Denham said.

Denham said the teens saw a bunch of boxes and furniture covered up in the home and said they thought Allen had joined LeBron James in leaving the Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Allen, who spent the past two seasons with the Heat, is a free agent and hasn't said whether he'll retire or play another year.

Police said the seven teens involved were "crying" and "terrified." The teens have not been arrested for trespassing because an officer must witness the incident. The group hasn't been arrested for burglary either because there was no forced entry, no intent, and nothing was stolen.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bostonian Launches Etsy-Style Site for Sports Fans]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 18:56:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sports-etsy-87771483.jpg

A Boston resident is hoping to change the online shopping game for sports fanatics. In an effort to connect buyers with story-focused sports memorabilia and original sports-themed pieces, Chas Wagner launched an online store called Rally.
“Whenever I’d wear an old sports jersey, my friends would ask, ‘Where did you get that?’ and I like that compliment,” Wagner said. He'd become increasingly interested in vintage sports apparel, what he calls, “products with a story or a personality behind them.” After realizing original and vintage sports items were hard to find, Wagner opened the online store.
Wagner likens his site to Etsy, a marketplace for artisans to sell and showcase items they’ve made themselves, with the difference being that Rally sells sports-themed items exclusively. Distinct from most online marketplaces, Rally provides independent designers with an outlet to sell their merchandise, giving graphic designers like Elliot Gerard, of White Plains, New York, an opportunity to showcase their work. Rally now has 15 original creators and accepts vintage pieces from users. 
In addition to designers, Rally depends on everyday users selling their vintage and historic sports paraphernalia. Wagner said he aims to build a community and conversation based on sports.
“I value stuff that takes me back to my childhood, Wagner said, It’s not just a Derek Jeter jersey. It’s thinking, ‘I remember being in Yankee Stadium with my dad and I’ll never forget it.’” 
Rally’s focus is to collaborate with artists and users looking to sell not just their vintage items, but their stories.
Wagner said he has plans to expand their web-based outlet into brick-and-mortar stores in the distant future. He envisions the spaces to "feel like a museum” and hopes to make them a venue for sporting events, for speakers and athletes to share their stories and for artists and designers to showcase their work. In the immediate future, Wagner is working on creating a mobile app for the site.
Rally products are found exclusively on the site, meaning you won’t find its merchandise in Dick’s Sporting Goods or City Sports. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins File Appeal of Trademark Ruling]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:00:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/197*120/182622212+%281%291.jpg

Thursday, the Washington Redskins filed their appeal of the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s June decision to cancel several of the team's trademarks because it was "disparaging to Native Americans."

"We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision," said Bob Raskopf, trademark attorney for the Washington Redskins, in a statement.

According to the release, "the appeal is in the form of a complaint, effectively starting the litigation anew, this time in a federal court before a federal judge, and not in the administrative agency that issued the recent split decision."

The team will argue that its First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated.

"Specifically, by cancelling valuable, decades-old registrations, the Board improperly penalized the Washington Redskins based on the content of the team’s speech in violation of the First Amendment," the statement said. "The complaint also alleges that the team has been unfairly deprived of its valuable and long-held intellectual property rights in violation of the Fifth Amendment."

While the case is in federal court, the Redskins’ federal trademark registrations remain in full force and effect, giving them the right to use its marks and to enforce them against infringers and counterfeiters.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Olbermann Challenges Snyder to #IceBucketChallenge]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:45:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/453310774.jpg

Those of you who are frequent users of social media have surely seen the #IceBucketChallenge phenomenon that has raised $5 million this week alone to combat ALS.

It seems that everybody and their mother has doused themselves in freezing-cold water, and it's been incredibly popular in the sports world, with local athletes like Alex Ovechkin and Bryce Harper both taking part.

Another local sports figure was recently challenged. And it is a fairly interesting one.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has been dared by ESPN talking head Keith Olbermann to participate.  

Olbermann has been one of Snyder's harshest critics, regularly allotting time on his program to chastise the Redskins organization for their polarizing name. (Evidence here, here and here.)

Admittedly, Olbermann can be a bit of a blowhard, but the proverbial gauntlet has been thrown down. 

I doubt that Snyder will respond, but you never know, right?

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Won't Play "The Stripper" Song]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 08:45:15 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/HAwks_UC_-jkozik.jpg

An online push to ban the song "The Stripper" from being played at the United Center during Chicago Blackhawks hockey games appears to have worked.

The organist traditionally plays the song during the "Shoot the Puck" promotion when an obviously attractive woman participates.

Blackhawks President John McDonough told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday that starting with the upcoming season, the song will no longer be played.

Blackhawks brass were asked about the song at the recent fan convention, and a #BanTheStripper hashtag was picking up steam on Twitter.

Some have also called for a revamp of the scantily-clad Ice Crew, but McDonough told the newspaper that it's "very common throughout the league," and that the team is discussing ways to make female fans feel more welcome at the United Center.

In other words, the Ice Crew is likely safe for now.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com/ jkozik]]>
<![CDATA[Court Denies Sterling's Appeal to Halt Clippers Sale ]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 23:08:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_donald_sterling_clippers_v_stiviano.jpg

A California appeals court on Wednesday denied Donald Sterling's latest effort to halt the historic $2 billion sale of the LA Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The Court of Appeal rejected Sterling's petition for emergency relief to unwind the sale of the Clippers because "the sale has closed."

"There is nothing for this court to stay," the ruling read.

"Shelly is thrilled that her decision to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer has been upheld by the Court of Appeal," Shelly Sterling's lawyer Pierce O’Donnell said in a statement Wednesday.

The move was Sterling's last legal maneuver to block the record-breaking team purchase negotiated by wife Shelly Sterling, a sale that was officially completed Tuesday.

"While we have no doubt Donald Sterling will appeal to the Supreme Court, we are beyond thrilled and gratified and supremely confident that this is now over and done and Steve Ballmer is the undisputed owner of the Los Angeles Clippers," Ballmer's attorney Adam Streisand said Wednesday.

Shelly Sterling said she was initially given her husband's blessing to sell the team, but Donald Sterling later refused to sign the deal and challenged in court her right to negotiate the sale.

The path to approval appeared clear after a judge in the case ruled against him last month.

<![CDATA[Wizards Release 2014-15 Schedule]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:52:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/219*120/489636501+%281%29.jpg

The NBA released its complete 2014-15 schedule Wednesday evening, and the Washington Wizards will open the season on the road against the Miami Heat on Oct. 29. Their home opener will take place on Nov. 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Among the more notable games on Washington's schedule, the Wizards will be featured in one of five Christmas Day games, visiting the New York Knicks for an early-afternoon matinee.

As for LeBron James, Kevin Love and the reinforced Cleveland Cavaliers, they will visit Verizon Center on Nov. 21 and Feb. 20.

The Wizards will play nine Friday home games throughout the season and 12 combined on Saturdays or Sundays. 

Click here for the complete schedule

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Survey: More Than Half of Young Athletes Would Play Hurt]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:11:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007497680_1200x675_317841475903.jpg A new survey questions just how safe young athletes may be on the playing field. The survey reveals nine out of 10 said they've been injured. News4's Aaron Gilchrist reports.]]> <![CDATA[VSP: Jayson Werth Stopped for Driving 105 in 55 MPH Zone]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:21:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP268897360830.jpg

Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth is facing a misdemeanor reckless driving charge in Northern Virginia after he was caught allegedly driving 50 miles over the speed limit on the Beltway earlier this summer.

Werth was pulled over for driving 105 mph in a 55-mph zone, Virginia State Police said.

A trooper paced a Porsche 911 that pulled onto northbound Interstate 495 at Georgetown Pike (Route 193) in Fairfax County about 8 a.m. July 6. The trooper stopped the car as it took the GW Parkway exit off the Beltway.

Werth was released on a summons. 

The 35-year-old had a court date scheduled Aug. 8, which was continued to Nov. 12. 

“The Washington Nationals have been in communication with right fielder Jayson Werth regarding this situation for multiple weeks," a Nationals spokesman said in a statement. "Jayson is cooperating with the authorities. As it is an ongoing legal matter, the team has no further comment.”

The charge was first reported by the The Nats Enquirer blog.

Werth signed a seven-year deal with the Nationals in 2010 worth $126 million.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Nats Continue Road Domination of Mets]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 07:49:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/207*120/453539058.jpg

While out of town, the Nationals have made themselves at home at Citi Field. Following their 7-1 victory Tuesday, the Nationals have now won 23 of their last 27 games in Flushing Meadows, including nine straight (the longest of any Mets opponent).

The dominance does not end there for Washington. Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond and Michael Taylor (making his MLB debut) all hit home runs, the fifth time Washington has hit at least four home runs in a game at Citi Field, all of which have come in the past two seasons.

Meanwhile, the Mets themselves have only five such games of their own at home since the park opened in 2009.

Rendon, Desmond and Taylor all went yard in the sixth inning, the first time the Nationals have hit three homers in an inning in nearly two years (Sept. 5, 2012).

Also, during that aforementioned nine-game winning streak at Citi Field, the Nationals have outscored the Mets 67-18.

That's what we call domination.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBA Files Response to Sterling Lawsuit]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 23:08:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/6P_YAMAMOTO_STERLING_CHURCH_web_1200x675_271966275727.jpg

The NBA countersued former Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust on Monday, arguing the high-profile spectacle over Sterling's racist comments and the resulting sale of the team hurt the league.

In its response to the antitrust lawsuit Sterling filed in June, the league asked the court to enforce an indemnification of the NBA for losses incurred as a result of the leaked recording of Sterling making discriminatory comments about minorities and the subsequent legal wrangling to remove him as an owner of an NBA team.

Sterling was fined $2.5 million and banned for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA. He susequently agreed to a sale before reversing course and fighting his wife Shelly in court to block any deal to divest of the Clippers.

“This matter has caused devastating and incalculable harm to the NBA and its teams, as well as sparked an intensely adverse public reaction,” the claims reads.

The NBA's suit asks for compensation foor costs incurred while investigating the recording of Donald Sterling’s discriminatory statements, the cost of enforcing its ban and the legal costs of the lawsuit.

The response also argues that because Donald Sterling was removed from the Sterling Family Trust by his wife Shelly as part of the saga to sell the Clippers, he no longer has any interest in the company that technically owned the team, and therefore cannot sue on its behalf.

The league also used the claim to continue to distance itself from Sterling's statements recorded by then-companion V. Stiviano.

"Mr. Sterling's discriminatory views toward African Americans and 'minorities' in general, as well as his demands of a female acquainance that she not associate publicly with African Americans or 'minorities,' or bring them to Clippers' games, are antithetical to the [NBA's] most basic values, principles, and purposes," the league said in its suit.

The NBA announced Tuesday that the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer has been completed.

<![CDATA[Selfies Instead of Autographs at Redskins Training Camp]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 22:35:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007493807_1200x675_317639235628.jpg Fans sought selfies with players than autographs from them at Redskins training camp this summer. News4's Dianna Russini reports.]]> <![CDATA[Chris Baker Wins Redskins Dance-Off]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:32:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/232*120/BuyOiHwIAAE0CNd.jpg

The Redskins packed up and left Richmond on Tuesday, but not before defensive lineman Chris Baker and rookie running back Lache Seastrunk participated in a dance-off Monday prior to the afternoon walkthrough.

Baker has displayed his serious dancing skills before, and with that said, Seastrunk never stood a chance.

Hey, it's the preseason.



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Photo Credit: @dckerwin]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Wrap Up Training Camp]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:35:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/204*120/453497770.jpg

As the final practice of training camp concluded Tuesday, one Redskins player shouted "Freedom!" following 16 days of practices in Richmond. 

Perhaps that declaration is premature; Washington still has plenty of work to do and three preseason games left to play, but there is reason for optimism.

"Honestly, every time we leave camp we feel good," left tackle Trent Williams told reporters. "It's always an optimistic feeling leaving camp so I don't know that there was anything different [this time]."

Unlike last summer, this year's training camp was devoid of daily drama. There were no quarterback controversies (despite what some may want you to believe), no major injuries and mostly cooperative weather. 

“I never want a media circus or anything like that,” coach Jay Gruden said. “I don’t know what happened last year; I wasn’t here. But everybody’s one the same page as far as what we’re talking about, what we’re doing on the field. There’s no hidden agendas, I don’t think. Hopefully that remains consistent throughout the season, not just in training camp.”

Following a day off, the Redskins will return to their Ashburn headquarters to finish preparing for the regular season, which begins in less than a month. With little to blunt the good vibes emanating from Richmond, the Redskins are confident that they can rebound from a disastrous 3-13 season. 

"You always have that optimism, but at the end of the day reality sets in," corner DeAngelo Hall said. "You see the preseason, you see how you're doing in drills and you think, 'We'll probably struggle with this or struggle with that.' With this camp it's been different. You see all the weapons and you see the success we can have and you get excited about it. We can't wait to strap it up for real."  

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ballmer "Humbled and Honored" to Be Clippers Owner]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:51:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/489614221.jpg

The sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is complete, NBA officials said Tuesday after months of legal battles involving long-time Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his wife.

The finalization of the $2 billion transaction already approved by NBA owners marks the end of Donald Sterling's run as the league's longest-tenured owner and the beginning of a new era for the Clippers and their fans, who remained loyal during what Ballmer described as "some extraordinary times."

In a statement issued Tuesday, the NBA said: "The transaction in which Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers closed today following the entry of an order by a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the team. The NBA Board of Governors previously approved the sale and Ballmer is now the Clippers Governor."

"I'm really, really happy that it was sold today. I hate losing the team, but it’s going to a wonderful person who's going to make us all proud," Shelly Sterling said during an afternoon press conference. "I know he’s going to bring a championship to this city."

Shelly Sterling negotiated the $2 billion deal with Ballmer and signed an agreement May 29. Shelly Sterling said she was initially given her husband's blessing to sell the team, but Donald Sterling later refused to sign the deal and challenged in court her right to negotiate the sale.

The path to approval appeared clear after a judge in the case ruled against him last month. During an interview earlier this month, Ballmer was cautious about calling the team his own -- despite the court ruling --  but issued a statement Tuesday in which he praised Clippers fans for their patience and expressed excitement about the future of one of the league's most-promising franchises.

"I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers," Ballmer said in a statement. "Clipper fans are so amazing. They have remained fiercely loyal to our franchise through some extraordinary times. I will be hard core in giving the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the court. And we will do whatever necessary to provide our fans and their families with the best game-night experience in the NBA."

Ballmer plans to meet with fans Aug. 18 when the team has scheduled a Fan Festival at Staples Center.

Shelly Sterling said she is "thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner."

Attorneys for Sterling and Ballmer said the deal was finalized at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, said at the news conference that Donald Sterling had filed a petition opposing the sale. O'Donnell called it a "desperate act" and said he was confident the court of appeals would not take the case.

The legal quarrel continued until late last week when Donald Sterling's petition with a state appeals court requesting an order blocking the proposed sale was denied. An attorney for Ballmer said the sale was completed after the court order was signed.

"Judge (Michael) Levanas signed his court order authorizing the sale even if Donald Sterling filed an appeal and we were ready," attorney Adam Streisand said in a statement Tuesday. "Within minutes, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered."

Donald Sterling, who purchased the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million, has been under pressure since April to sell the team since the release of recorded conversations with companion V. Stiviano that included racist comments. The wealthy real estate mogul chastised Stiviano for bringing black men to Clippers games.

The NBA commissioner moved to oust the 80-year-old Sterling in the days after the recording's release as fans, current and former players and others called for action.

The league put those efforts on hold pending a decision on Shelly Sterling's ability to sell the franchise. The transfer to Ballmer hit a stumbling block when Donald Sterling contended he had been duped by his wife into submitting to medical tests as part of a plot to have him ousted from the trust so the sale could move forward.

Two doctors examined Donald Sterling and determined him to be mentally incapacitated. At issue during the trial of Sterling v. Sterling was whether Shelly Sterling acted within guidelines established by the Sterling Family Trust when she negotiated the deal, which the judge refused to block.

The trial included several outbursts from Donald Sterling, who lashed out at his wife, her attorneys and his attorneys. He also vowed to sue the league until the day he dies.

An attorney for Donald Sterling, Maxwell M. Blecher, said Tuesday his client will not be issuing a statement regarding the NBA's announcement.

Photo Credit: GC Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wizards Release Preseason Schedule]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:30:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/248*120/489636593.jpg

Following a successful 2013-14 season in which they recaptured the attention of Washington fans, the Wizards announced their 2014-15 preseason schedule Monday afternoon.

The Wizards will play eight games, beginning Oct. 6 against the Bulls. They will play neutral site games against the Pelicans (in Jacksonville and Baltimore) and Hornets while also hosting Maccabi Haifa of the Winner Sal League, the top basketball league in Israel.

Tickets for the game in Baltimore will go on sale to the general public on Aug. 20. The rest will be available at a later date.

Below is the entire schedule:

Monday, Oct. 6 -- at Chicago -- United Center (Chicago, IL) 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 8  -- at New Orleans -- Veterans Memorial Arena (Jacksonville, FL)  7:00 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 10  -- at Charlotte -- Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Greenville, SC)  7:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 12 -- vs. Detroit -- Verizon Center (Washington, DC)  1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 15 -- vs. Maccabi Haifa -- Verizon Center (Washington, DC)  7:00 p.m.

Friday , Oct. 17 -- vs. Charlotte -- Verizon Center (Washington, DC)  7:00 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 20 -- vs. New Orleans -- Baltimore Arena (Baltimore, MD)  7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 22  -- at New York -- Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)  7:30 p.m.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Harper 'Desecrates' Braves' Logo]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 11:18:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/206*120/4534059681.jpg

Fans of the Atlanta Braves don't like Bryce Harper. That much is self-explanatory. Yet they directed their vitriol toward the Nationals slugger in a peculiar way Saturday.

Apparently, Harper desecrated Atlanta's "A" emblem drawn into the dirt behind home plate by allegedly scraping his cleat over it with intent on his way to the batter's box.

Notice how he drags his right foot over the logo? That was evidently enough for fans at Turner Field to boo him more lustily.

It even made the paper:

What’s the problem with the ‘A’ Bryce Harper? 

The Nationals outfielder dragged his foot across the Braves emblem in the dirt behind home plate - in a clearly intentional move - in each of his first three trips to the batter’s box in Saturday night’s game against the Braves.

Harper has been roundly booed in each plate appearance during the series. He apparently chose to take the lack of southern hospitality out on the Georgia clay. He kicked at the Braves’ ‘A’ emblem on his way into the left-hand batter’s box once, twice and three times.

For his part, Harper didn't even realize that he was "doing" anything (or played it off expertly). 

"That's the last thing on my mind when I'm coming to the plate," he told reporters. "I have no idea."

In things that undoubtedly happened, the Nationals defeated the Braves 4-1 in 11 innings after a rain delay of nearly four hours. The final out wasn't recorded until 2:29 a.m. Sunday morning. 

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Strasburg Terrible On The Road]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 09:04:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/225*120/453360786.jpg

Friday in Atlanta, Stephen Strasburg allowed seven runs on seven hits -- including a career-high four home runs -- in five innings as the Nationals lost 7-6 to the rival Braves.

Unfortunately, Strasburg's disastrous road performance was not an exception, but the rule. In 12 starts away from Nationals Park this season, he is 1-8 with a 5.25 ERA. (Comparatively, he is 7-2 with a 2.41 ERA at home.)

Opponents are hitting .291 against Strasburg on the road (.234 at home), he is walking more batters (21 to 14 at home in roughly 16 fewer innings) and striking out two fewer batters per nine innings (11.7 at home, 9.5 on the road). 

Overall, Strasburg's early-inning struggles continued as well. He allowed three of his four home runs in the first two innings. Ten of the 18 home runs he has allowed this season have come in the first or second innings and his ERA in both is 5.40.

And by the way, he is now 1-3 with a 6.99 ERA at Turner Field in seven starts.

Strasburg's next scheduled start is also on the road, Thursday against the Mets. Maybe he should be sent down to the minors. Kidding.

But really, maybe he should just stay home from now on.  

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>