RG3 accuses the Rams of playing dirty

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RG3 accuses the Rams of playing dirty

From Comcast SportsNetASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Pushed and shoved throughout a game he felt was "unprofessional" and "dirty," Robert Griffin III finally heard the obvious from one of the St. Louis Rams defensive players."I remember one play," the Washington Redskins quarterback said. "After the play, the guy said: We're going to hit you every play.'"I said: Isn't this football?' It's nothing that I'm not used to. It was extremely weird the way they went about it, though."Sunday's 31-28 loss was barely over when the Redskins starting talking about replacement officials who had lost control and Rams players who were engaged in too much rough stuff after the whistle.A few days have gone by, but it's still too raw to let it rest. Griffin is going to handle the ball a lot this year -- he already had 20 rushes in addition to 55 pass attempts -- so the Redskins don't want him taking any extra hits, especially ones that he feels aren't clean."There was some extracurricular stuff going on after the plays," Griffin said. "They were doing a lot of dirty things. I still think they have an extremely good team, that doesn't take anything away from them, but the game was unprofessional. Who am I to talk? I've barely been a pro for very long, but from what I experienced against the Saints compared to that game, it was definitely unprofessional and it does need to be cleaned up."Griffin was sacked only once by the Rams, but he was knocked down several times."I don't want to tip-toe the lines of anything that's happened with bounties or anything like that, but they were definitely going after me," Griffin said. "They made it a point, obviously, all week to hit me. Some of the shots were cheap of that nature. But it's nothing I can control. Teams are going to try to hit me because they don't think I can take a hit. I think I've proved over my career that I can."It's something the Redskins have to watch as they prepare for this week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The replacement officials are getting a reputation for letting players get away with more."You have to have people take control," coach Mike Shanahan said. "And there wasn't any control in that game. Hopefully officials next week will take control. That's what you have to do as an official."If the first couple of weeks are any indication, the Redskins (1-1) are going to have to rely on Griffin more than planned this season. Traditionally, rookie quarterbacks succeed when they're surrounded by a solid running game and good defense, but Washington has already allowed 63 points and has lost injured defensive starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season.Griffin and the offense were able to outscore the Saints in Week 1 and came close to beating the Rams. The Redskins actually lead the NFL in scoring with 68 points, and they might have to keep up that pace unless the defense improves."We've definitely got to put up a lot of points to help them out until they get their situation on that side of the ball fixed with the injuries and the stuff like that," tight end Fred Davis said.Griffin also had the usual humorous and insightful moments during his weekly news conference, including the latest update on his ongoing marketing tussle with NFL uniform sponsor Nike.Griffin, who has a deal with Adidas, upset the league office when he covered up the Nike swoosh with the letter "H" to spell the word "heart" on his official team warm-up shirt before the opener against the Saints.So, he instead wore a plain gray T-shirt over the warm-up shirt when he took field before the Saints game. Asked if he was covering up the swoosh because of his Adidas allegiance, he laughed."Um. Nah. It's, uh. Yes," he finally said. "There's no way around that one. I can't dance around that one. In the preseason I had a blank, white, normal NFL equipment one, and they took it and gave me the other one. I just wanted to have a blank shirt on, and I'll probably have a blank one on the next game."Meanwhile, a visiting Japanese reporter joined in the RG3 hoopla, asking Griffin about the fact that he was born in Japan as the son of military parents."I'd like to thank my mom and dad for having me over there," he said.But Griffin didn't play any football in Japan. His mother declared it off-limits."My mom wouldn't let me play football as a kid," he said. "She didn't want me to get hurt. I didn't play until I was in seventh grade."Which means his mother probably wasn't happy with that Rams game, either.NOTES:CB Josh Morgan has been cleared to practice after sustaining a concussion against the Rams. He was officially listed as limited Wednesday. Asked how many concussions he's had, he answered: "I think that's a funny question. I don't remember." ... WR Pierre Garcon (foot) and S Brandon Meriweather (knee) were also limited.

A's president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

A's president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

New A’s president Dave Kaval said Friday in a press conference that the team would do everything in its power to make up for the loss of revenue-sharing money from Major League Baseball, but he did not address how the team’s payroll would be impacted for the time being.

Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement eliminates the hefty annual check the A’s have received from the more prosperous clubs, reportedly around $35 million last year. That money will be incrementally reduced, with the A’s receiving 25 percent less each of the next four years until it’s phased out completely.

Kaval said the loss of that money simply underscores the importance of the A’s identifying a new ballpark site in Oakland so they can build a stadium to open up new streams of cash. Kaval said he’s walked all of the sites the team is considering around the city, but he didn’t offer a timetable for when a site would be chosen or when construction might begin.

In the meantime, the A’s president stressed repeatedly in a media conference call Friday that all of the revenue the team does generate going forward will be invested back either into the on-field product or the fan experience at The Coliseum.

“I think the key thing is being smart about deploying resources,” Kaval said. “There’s no silver bullet. You have to address a variety of aspects with folks’ interaction with the club.”

He added that could include everything from broadcasting to “the hot dog you eat to players you watch.”

Until a new ballpark becomes reality, the challenge is how the A’s can generate the revenue they’re losing from MLB while still playing in the antiquated Oakland Coliseum, which hardly entices fans to come out and has become the butt of national jokes for numerous plumbing issues.

Kaval mentioned boosting ticket sales and improving sponsorship deals at The Coliseum as two potential revenue streams, though he adamantly declared the A’s won’t be raising ticket prices.

As for how payroll will be affected, if at all, Kaval only said that he’s dedicated “to providing all the tools needed for Billy Beane and David Forst and our baseball operations staff.”

Last season the A’s had an Opening Day payroll of $86.8 million, according to the Cot’s Baseball Contracts website. There’s speculation that that total will shrink due to the loss in revenue sharing.

It’s undeniable that the A’s financial future is tied to finally getting a new ballpark. They’re considering rebuilding on the current Coliseum site, which is complicated until the Raiders’ situation gets resolved, but are also considering locations at Howard Terminal and near Laney College.

Kaval, also president of the San Jose Earthquakes, was instrumental in getting a soccer stadium built for that team. Without talking specific sites, he said he’s spent lots of time driving around and walking all the locations the A’s are considering.

“It’s been exciting to visit the locations, walk them, squint and kind of envision where the stadium would be and the views. And how it could transform the different communities (around) the site.”

He maintains his belief that a “ballpark village” type environment is critical so that fans have motivation to visit the area even when games aren’t being played. Kaval has also said he thinks such a development is possible at The Coliseum.

He was asked if there was a renewed sense of urgency to the ballpark search given the elimination of revenue sharing.

“I think building a ballpark is something you do one time in your life. It’s a generational thing. I think it’s something we want to be very thoughtful about and make the right decision.”

What the new labor agreement means for Giants

What the new labor agreement means for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association sent out a long press release on Friday afternoon highlighting the changes in the new labor agreement. The release included a chart that had references to surtaxes and first-time payors and CBT thresholds, and for Larry Baer, Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and the rest of the front office, that was probably the most important part. 

Without getting an actual look at the organization’s books, it’s hard to know exactly how the new tax rules will impact what the Giants might or might not do over the next five years. We can take an educated guess, though, and mine is that it probably won’t be a big deal. The Giants are already a tax-paying team and they’ll likely stay that way, but they have never been all that far above the threshold. They’re not the Dodgers, who went $100 million over the line at one point. 

The Competitive Balance Tax Threshold for 2017 is $197 million and by 2019 it jumps to $206 million. It’ll be $210 million in the fifth and final year of this new labor agreement. That seems somewhat in line with the rate at which the Giants’ payroll has increased, and the assumption is that they’ll stay on that trajectory going forward, possibly dipping under the tax one year to avoid second-time or third-time taxes. This shouldn't change the way they operate. 

We’ll spend plenty of time talking about the tax if payroll continues to rise, but for now, let’s focus on some of the more interesting parts of the new agreement. For instance, this line: 

Home-field advantage in the World Series will be awarded to the Club with the higher winning percentage in the Championship Season, rather than based on the outcome of the All-Star Game.

That’s huge, and it’s a change that will be more apparent to fans than a tax threshold. Under the new rule, the Cubs would have hosted Game 7, not the Indians. Here are some other highlights from the labor agreement, and how they might affect the Giants … 

--- Beginning in 2018, the regular season will be expanded to provide four additional off-days for players. 

This will help every team (and the beat writers), but the Giants will benefit more than most. They are not the Cubs, with a lineup full of 23-year-olds. It’s an aging core with a brutal travel schedule (because they're on the West Coast), and guys who play through a lot of minor injuries will surely appreciate the extra time. Because Bruce Bochy doesn't alter the rotation during off days, this adds extra rest for the veteran starters. This might buy Buster Posey an extra start or two a year, too. 

--- Additional restrictions on start times of games on getaway days so that players will arrive in their next city at an earlier time.

Again, a small but important boost for the Giants and other West Coast teams. Bochy has been very public about his issues with the schedule, and the Giants often get home at three or four in the morning and then play a game that night. This guarantees a little more time to rest at home, and it might finally force the Dodgers to play a weekday day game or two. The Giants haven’t appreciated the fact that they host games at 1 p.m. on getaway days and then end up sitting in Los Angeles traffic at midnight a few days later. 

--- The 15-day disabled list will be replaced with a 10-day disabled list.

Time to again become familiar with IT Band Syndrome!  Teams are going to game this, and Bochy certainly will. He has long said that he’d like to put every reliever on the DL during the season to freshen up the arm, but it was just too big a hit when it was 15 days. I could see multiple relievers a year spending 10 days away because of a minor ailment. This also should kill the long-running “Player X goes day-to-day for eight days and then ends up on the DL anyway” routine that drives fans crazy. 

--- Following election of players by fans, the Commissioner’s Office will select seven players from the National League (4 pitchers) and five players from the American League (4 pitchers) to participate in the All-Star Game. Such selections will replace the selections awarded to the managers of the American and National League teams in the prior agreement.

Maybe they’ll now realize that Crawford is an All-Star? 

--- The Home Run Derby format will remain the same, but player prize money will be increased throughout the term.

This is disappointing simply because there’s nothing in the wording here that says “MADISON BUMGARNER WILL BE IN THE HOME RUN DERBY.” (I still believe that he’ll find his way into the Derby eventually.)

--- Agreement on a list of best practices for Clubs in maintaining clubhouses, including standards for meals, amenities, assistance for player families, etc.

I wonder if players argued for this purely because of Wrigley Field. The Cubs chill in a spacious renovated clubhouse that looks like a spaceship. Visiting teams dress in a musty room that’s the size of a studio in The Mission, and they have to walk out to the center field bleachers to find the cage. It’s a small thing, but every advantage matters. 

--- Revenue Sharing: The number of market disqualified Clubs will be reduced from 15 to 13, with Oakland phased-out over four years beginning in 2017.

I don’t know how this will actually play out, but it can’t hurt the Giants, the other team in this market. 

--- Pension benefits for classes of retired players will be increased.

This sounds like it’ll help plenty of former Giants, so that’s cool. 

--- The Major League minimum salary will increase from $507,500 in 2016 to: $535,000 in 2017; $545,000 in 2018; $555,000 in 2019; and be subject to a cost-of-living adjustment in 2020 and 2021.

What a life. That's basically a free car for Ty Blach. 

--- The parties agreed on an international play plan in which Clubs will stage games or tours in Mexico, Asia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and London over the next five years in order to grow the game.

So … are we going to Punta Cana or what? 

There are no details about how exactly this plan will play out, but if it’s an aggressive one, I’d assume they’ll want some big-name teams and players in these games. The Giants certainly would be one of the bigger draws. 

--- Players will receive additional compensation for participating in Club and League-sanctioned events, in amounts ranging from $15,000 to $100,000 per player depending on the location and schedule.

What a life. 

--- International Amateur Talent Acquisition: This is a long section, but the gist of it is that signing pools will now come in between $4.75 million and $5.75 million. 

The Giants have never gone particularly crazy on the international market, so this should help them simply because it cuts down on teams that do (including two, the Dodgers and Padres, in the division). In theory, they should now have a much better chance at the big-time international prospects who previously shot out of their preferred price range. 

--- Use of tobacco products on the field will be banned in all ballparks where it is prohibited by local law or ordinance. Any player who makes his Major League debut in 2017 or later will be prohibited from using smokeless tobacco on the field in every ballpark.

This is already the case at AT&T Park, but it’s not enforced. Most players have at least started to hide any use publicly, and I’d imagine that’s all MLB really wants. 

--- The Commissioner’s Office will implement an Anti-Hazing and Anti-Bullying Policy as a supplement to the Workplace Code of Conduct. 

The end of rookie dress-up day? The end of the Dora the Explorer backpacks being carried out to the bullpen? If true, the Giants might already be ahead of the curve. They didn’t publicize their dress-up day last September (in part because they were playing terrible baseball) and the backpack is camo. 

--- Various improvements to the allowances that players receive, including moving allowances. 

Congrats to Mark Melancon.