<![CDATA[NBC New York - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:43:05 -0400 Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:43:05 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Advocates to Monitor Arrest of 49er]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:31:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/221*120/MCDONALD_leaves_jail.jpg

Domestic violence advocates said they plan to closely watch how San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald's case plays out in court, and how the National Football League will respond if the player is found guilty to a charge of felony domestic violence.

McDonald, 29, was taken into custody early Sunday after officers responded to a domestic violence incident at a home in an upscale neighborhood at the 2500 block of Bentley Ridge Drive, according to San Jose police. He faces a felony charge of domestic violence.

"I'm very disappointed, especially after two or three days ago the announcement from the NFL that this would not be tolerated," said Kathleen Krenek, a domestic violence advocate.

Krenek is the executive director of Next Door Solutions for Domestic Violence and has worked with victims of domestic violence for 30 years. She was shocked it took only three days for a player to be arrested on charges of domestic violence after the NFL rolled out stiffer punishments for the crime.

The change comes after outrage over the light punishment given to Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice, who was caught on tape beating his then-fiance. Rice received a two-game suspension from the league.

"They came out with a strong message a little bit late," Krenek said of the NFL. "But they did come out with a strong message. Now they need to follow it up."

NFL players will be subject to a six-week game suspension for a first domestic violence offense and banishment from the league for a second, according to the new rules.

"This is your opportunity to say this is not acceptable, we don't accept it, we don't condone it, and we are asking all men to think differently if they are hurting their partner," Krenek said.

Meanwhile, McDonald is out of custody after posting $25,000 bail.

So far, McDonald is not saying much about the incident.

"It's a crazy situation," McDonald said Sunday as he walked out of the jail less than 10 hours after his arrest.

McDonald's alleged victim may have been pregnant, sources told NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo.

He was apparently involved in an altercation with his fiancee, who had bruises on her arms and neck, according to the Sacramento Bee. 49ers teammates Vernon Davis and Demarcus Dobbs were also reportedly present, the Bee reported.

But McDonald maintained his innocence.

"The truth will come out," he said. "Everybody knows what kind of person I am."

McDonald is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 15.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[49ers' Ray McDonald Arrested]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:24:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/221*120/MCDONALD_leaves_jail.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested for domestic violence overnight, San Jose police confirmed.

San Jose police Sgt. Heather Randol said the 29-year-old was taken into custody early Sunday after officers responded to a domestic violence incident at a home in an upscale neighborhood at the 2500 block of Bentley Ridge Drive, SJPD said in a release.

McDonald was taken into custody without incident and booked into Santa Clara County Jail on felony domestic violence charges, according to the release. He has posted $25,000 bail and has been released from jail, police said.

So far, McDonald is not saying much about the incident.

"It's a crazy situation," said McDonald, as he walked out of the jail less than 10 hours after his arrest.

McDonald's alleged victim may have been pregnant, sources told NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo.

He was apparently involved in an altercation with his fiancee, who had bruises on her arms and neck, according to the Sacramento Bee. 49ers teammates Vernon Davis and Demarcus Dobbs were also reportedly present, the Bee reported.

But McDonald maintained his innocence.

"The truth will come out," he said. "Everybody knows what kind of person I am."

The 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said in a statement Sunday that the organization is "aware of the recent reports regarding Ray McDonald and we take such matters seriously. As we continue to gather the facts, we will reserve further comment.”

McDonald, who has been playing for the 49ers since 2007, was arrested on the same street where 49ers' outside linebacker Aldon Smith was busted for a DUI last September, sources told NBC Bay Area.

The NFL has suspended Smith on Friday for the first nine games of the 2014 season for violating the league's policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.

McDonald's arrest comes after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a tougher domestic abuse policy on Thursday. NFL players will be subject to a six-week game suspension for a first domestic violence offense and banishment from the league for a second, according to the new rules.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[49ers' Aldon Smith Out for 9 Games]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:24:29 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/aldon-smith-preason-2014.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers will play more than half the season without the team’s best defensive player.

The NFL has suspended outside linebacker Aldon Smith for the first nine games of the 2014 season for violating the league's policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.

Smith's suspension is without pay, the league announced Friday.

Smith will be eligible to return to the 49ers’ active roster on Monday, Nov. 10, following the team’s Nov. 9 game against the New Orleans Saints, the NFL announced. He'll likely be back on the field when the Niners play the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 16.

“Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for it as a team," San Francisco 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said in a statement following the league's announcement. "Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the season ahead.”

Smith will not be able to appeal the suspension as the appeals process has already run its course, CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reported.

The 24-year-old Smith, one of the NFL's top pass rushers, missed five games last season to undergo treatment at an in-patient facility following his DUI arrest Sept. 20.

Just before training camp began last month, the 24-year-old Smith was sentenced to serve three years of probation and to spend 11 days with a work crew after he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges.

He has repeatedly said he has been sober since his DUI arrest last September. Smith played in a 27-7 home loss to the Colts on Sept. 22, two days after he was arrested and jailed on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. After the game, he publicly apologized for his behavior and later announced he would leave for treatment.

While the Niners went on a five-game winning streak without him, Smith's menacing presence was sorely missed. The team still picked up his 2015 contract option this spring.

In his latest run-in with the law, Smith was arrested April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said Smith was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became uncooperative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb. No charges were filed.

In November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a June 2012 party at his home. Investigators said several shots were fired, two partygoers were injured and Smith was stabbed. In the subsequent investigation, prosecutors say detectives found five unregistered, illegal weapons in Smith's house.

Last season, Smith finished with 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games with eight starts. He was initially worked back in slowly, but demonstrated he had stayed in shape while away.

Selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft out of Missouri, Smith had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks during the 2012 season for the 49ers, who lost to Baltimore in the Super Bowl after that season.

Read more from CSN Bay Area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[USC Player Suspended for Lie]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 03:21:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/USC+Josh+Shaw.jpg

A USC football player and co-captain admitted on Wednesday that he lied when he said he hurt his ankles while jumping off a second-floor balcony to save his drowning nephew from a pool, the player said in a statement from his attorney.

Senior cornerback Josh Shaw first told USC's Ripsit Blog that he jumped off the balcony on Aug. 23, landed on the concrete and crawled into the pool to rescue the child, suffering the sprains as a result of the jump.

But on Wednesday, Shaw admitted that the story was "made up," and school officials called it "a complete fabrication."

"On Saturday August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth," Shaw said Wednesday in statement from his lawyer. "I apologize to USC for this action on my part."

"My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and espcially coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful," the statement continued.

The Ripsit blog has since deleted its initial story about the rescue. Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities, school officials said.

"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian said in a school statement."He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story."Sarkisian said earlier Wednesday that the campus was looking into phone calls that disputed Shaw's account of what happened.

"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized," Sarkisian said in the statement Wednesday. "Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."

The football player's sister, Asia Shaw, shared her reaction with NBC4: "I support him with whatever he does 100 percent – 110 percent."

Carmen Trutanich, who represented USC football players before serving as Los Angeles city attorney, says Shaw may have felt pressured to lie.

"It was a kid afraid of telling the coach, 'Hey coach I got hurt doing something stupid,'" Trutanich said. Trutanich is not representing Shaw.

Students were surprised to hear their fellow Trojan lied.

"I'm shocked," one student said. "I didn't think he'd be capable of doing something like that."

"I think that's just really disappointing, because we all thought he was a hero," another student said.

On Tuesday, Sarkisian defended Shaw and said he had "no reason, no history to not believe Josh."

Los Angeles police told NBC4 on Tuesday they had not had any contact with Shaw, but they did take a burglary report Aug. 23, the same night of his fall, in which the victim named Shaw as her boyfriend.

"He is not listed as a suspect, and police had no contact with him," LAPD Officer Sara Faden told NBC4. "His name is just listed in the body of a police report."

Officers responded to the call about 11 p.m., Faden said. While officers were speaking with people outside, a resident returned and spoke to police.

They asked her about her roommates and "people in her life," and she mentioned Shaw as her boyfriend, Faden said.

Conan Nolan and Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: USC Athletics]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Evidence to Be Tossed]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:41:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP296842589971.jpg

A Massachusetts judge has allowed some evidence to be suppressed in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, court documents show.

The former star Patriots tight end had asked the court to suppress the evidence — an iPhone, a Blackberry, an iPad and two iPad minis — which was obtained when his home was searched last June after the killing of Odin Lloyd.

Defense lawyers argued that that evidence was not part of the original search warrant and that a state trooper did not have the proper paperwork when he entered Hernandez's home.

Tuesday, the Bristol County Superior Court granted that motion, allowing that evidence to be thrown out.

Earlier this month, the court denied Hernandez's motion to exclude a digital video recorder, a hard drive and Hernandez's cell phone.

The hard drive allegedly contains files showing Hernandez holding the murder weapon and his movements around the time of the murder. The phone, according to prosecutors, had text messages Hernandez sent to Lloyd, as well as the former NFL star's alleged right hand man, Ernest Wallace, on the night of the killing.

Hernandez is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of Lloyd. He is also charged with the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston in 2012.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office told NECN Tuesday afternoon that it cannot comment on the case, due to an ongoing gag order.

NECN will have more as this story develops.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ledecky Sets World Record in 1,500 Freestyle]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 05:48:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP973055938873%281%29.jpg

U.S. teenager Katie Ledecky sliced almost six seconds off her own world mark in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle on Sunday, winning in 15 minutes, 28.36 seconds to post her second world record in as many nights at the Pan Pacific championships.

The 17-year-old Ledecky improved her record in the 400 freestyle on Saturday. She collected her fifth gold medal of the meet in convincing fashion in cool but clear conditions on the last night of competition.

It was the third time in 13 months she's set the mark in the 1,500, and the second in three months since her 15:34.23 at Shenandoah on June 19.

Ledecky holds world records in the 400, 800 and 1,500-meter freestyle events.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dan Marino Returning to Dolphins]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 18:26:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DanMarino14.jpg

Dan Marino is coming back to the Miami Dolphins. The Hall of Fame quarterback has agreed to accept a position with the team.

The Dolphins released a statement Sunday from team owner Stephen Ross and Marino confirming the story, which NBC 6 broke Saturday night.

“Dan is and will always be an important part of the Miami Dolphins and we are excited to get him involved in a more formal way,” Ross said. “Dan is unquestionably one of the greatest players in NFL history and his enthusiasm and passion for the Dolphins is inspiring to everyone here."

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role. I have always considered myself a Dolphin for life and I look forward to supporting the organization anyway I can,” Marino added. “Stephen Ross is a passionate guy who is committed to building a first-class, winning organization. I'm excited about the future of the team and where the organization is headed.”

Marino will serve as a special advisor to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and C.E.O. Tom Garfinkel. The team says Marino will work with the organization in a variety of different capacities. Marino has been more visible at Dolphins camp lately, watching practice Thursday as well as being in Davie for the ALS ice bucket challenge the week before. For 17 years, Marino was the face of the franchise and both the team and the 52-year-old have had mutual interest in finding a role for him within the organization.

In his career with the Dolphins, Marino played in 242 games (240 starts) and was 4,967-8,358 (59.4 percent) for 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns and 252 interceptions for an 86.4 passing efficiency rating. Marino holds 31 Dolphins regular season team records (43 overall, including playoffs) and is tied for three others (seven, including playoffs). Marino also holds five NFL regular season records and is tied for six others. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 5, 2005 and enshrined on August 7, 2005. Marino’s No. 13 jersey became the second Dolphins uniform number to be retired, on Sunday, September 17, 2000, at halftime of the Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens game at Sun Life Stadium, where he was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll. He was also a charter inductee in the Dolphins Walk of Fame on December 4, 2011.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Beats Las Vegas in LLWS]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 10:56:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/245*120/jrw+win+us+title.jpg

Chicago's Jackie Robinson West All-Stars took the U.S. title in the Little League World Series with a 7-5 win over Las Vegas' Mountain Ridge Saturday.

The team started off strong, matching Nevada's three-run start and taking the lead in the second inning. The team maintained their one-point lead, keeping Nevada from scoring in the second, third, and fourth innings.

Nevada regained their lead following a home run in the fifth inning, but Jackie Robinson West tied the score with a hit from Joshua Houston. Chicago then scored again later in the fifth inning, bringing the score to 7-5, which ultimately brought them to victory.

“Throughout the Little League World Series, Jackie Robinson West has played with enthusiasm, energy and a whole lot of heart," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. "While they have already won the hearts of fans across the country now they are officially the U.S. Champions."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauded the players for becoming only the third team ever from Illinois to reach the championship game of the Little League World Series.

"The City of Chicago could not be prouder of them," Emanuel said in a statement. "Their positive attitude and success on the field has rallied people from every neighborhood to support these kids and they continue to demonstrate why they are the pride of Chicago. What a comeback. What a win!"

Supporters, including Emanuel and Quinn, gathered Saturday at an official watch party for the team, held at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, located at 1250 W. 119th St.

Chicago's Chance the Rapper also came to cheer on the team.

Despite rain, fans also gathered on State Street, in front of the Chicago Theater, between Randolph and Lake Streets, to watch the game live on a big screen.

Two more watch parties are scheduled for 2 p.m. at both locations for Sunday's game.

The little league team from the South Side faced off against Philadelphia Thursday, winning 6-5 against the team that made national headlines for their star female pitcher Mo'ne Davis.

The team continued its historic run with Saturday's rematch against Las Vegas. The West champions beat JRW in four innings in a mercy-rule game last Sunday behind five homers.

Chicago now moves on to the World Series Championship game against South Korea Sunday. Saturday's losing teams will play in a consolation game Sunday morning.

The success of Jackie Robinson West, comprised of all black players, marks the team's first appearance in the Little League World Series in 31 years.

Their popularity has continued to grow throughout their journey, sparking support from Major League Baseball players and even Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

After Thursday's game, Emanuel said win or lose, the city will hold a parade for the team.

"No matter what happens these kids are champs," Emanuel said. "We will have a parade respectful of them because they are winners whatever the score is."

]]>
<![CDATA[Boy With 1 Arm Is Golf Prodigy]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 17:48:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/one+arm+3+year+old+tommy+morrisey.jpg

Summertime for 3-year-old golf prodigy Tommy Morrissey means days spent hitting 100-yard drives over lakes at an Atlantic County country club. He steps up to the tee, lines up his driver, hesitates for just a moment, and cracks the golf ball over the water…all with one arm.

Tommy was born missing his right hand and part of his right arm below the elbow.

As he grew up in his hometown of Juniper, Fla., Tommy would watch golf on television with his father Joe and mother Marcia Lee. When he was about 18 months old, Tommy’s parents noticed that he was very interested in the sport, standing in front of the television and mimicking the golfer’s swings.

They gave him a set of plastic golf clubs, brought him out on the range, and saw he was a natural from his first perfect contact.

“His true ability is to look and learn,” Joe said. “I have given him very little instruction.”

When he was a little over 2-years-old, Tommy began using an iPad to look up golf tutorial videos on his own.

“I walked in, I asked what he’s doing, and he said, ‘Daddy, I’m taking a golf lesson’,” Joe said.

At night, teddy bears would not accompany Tommy to bed. Instead, he was tucked in with an array of at least 7 clubs.

“One time he refused to go to bed, and [I] finally got him to go to sleep and he insisted on this club or that club,” Joe said. “I put him down, and my wife and I heard him yelling, ‘Mommy, Daddy, you forgot my putter!’”

Tommy has since switched to real clubs, having torn apart multiple sets of his old plastic ones. The weight of the clubs is a challenge for him, but Jeff LeFevre, Golf Director for the Linwood Country Club where Tommy and his father play during their summers at the Jersey Shore, says that difficulty does not hold the prodigy back.

“It’s such a difficult game with two hands, two arms,” LeFevre said. “And here we are, a 3-year-old with one arm with absolutely great rhythym, great set-up…truly, truly a golf prodigy.”

Tommy doesn't see himself as different than other children his age. He simply calls his shorter arm “Nemo” after the fish with one small fin in Finding Nemo.

In addition to his love of golf, Tommy plays many other sports, punting a football or hitting a baseball out of the park.

Joe and his wife say that while having one arm has been a challenge for Tommy, in the end it is also a gift.

“He has been able to bring grown men to tears on the driving range. . .In his short life, he has been able to inspire many, make people second guess their own capabilities,” Joe said. “…He is doing it with probably one of the most powerful tools, and that is the innocence of a child.”

In the end, Tommy is just a kid wanting to have fun playing the sport that he loves.

“He does like to hit the ball in the water, but that’s ‘cause he’s 3,” Joe said. “He doesn’t understand that’s bad yet.”

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<![CDATA[Charges Filed Against Teens Who Entered Ray Allen's Home]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 03:16:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/081414+ray+allen.jpg

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office filed trespassing charges against the seven people who walked into former Miami Heat star Ray Allen’s home last week.

Coral Gables Police originally said they were not filing charges against the teenagers. The teens were identified by police as: Ernesto Romero, 18; Jonathan Ramirez, 19; Kevin Ramos, 18; Alana Garcia, 18; Christian Lobo, 18; Angel Sanchez, 18; and Jorge Guerrero, 18.

Coral Gables Police said the group of seven teens was at a party next door when they decided to enter Allen’s home through an unlocked back door in the early morning hours of August 14. Allen wasn’t home, but his wife and children were sleeping inside and were awoken by the commotion.

The teens ran from the home after Shannon Allen, Ray’s wife, yelled at them, according to Coral Gables Police. In a 911 call made by Shannon Allen, she described the teens’ actions as if they were on a tour of the home.

“They were like, if they were on a tour, pointing out stuff,” Allen told the 911 dispatcher. “Like, ‘Oh, wow, look at this picture. Oh my God, look, he’s got a flat screen TV.’”

The Allens met with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office this week to give statements on the incident and to push for charges to be brought against the teens.

The Allen's attorney, Gregory Victor, gave a statement Wendesday afternoon that read:

"Ray and Shannon have been advised that the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office has filed Trespass charges against the 7 intruders to their home. The determination as to what specific charges to file was entirely within the discretion of the State Attorney's Office and the Allen's are satisfied with both the decision to prosecute and the charges being pursued. The Allen's are thankful that no one was hurt and they are appreciative for all the support they have received from their community."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Cheers Mo'ne Davis at LLWS]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 00:36:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg

Some hard-hitting Las Vegas batters may have gotten the better of Philadelphia's Taney Dragons at the Little League World Series on Wednesday, but Taney fans' confidence in their team, led by pitching phenom Mo'ne Davis, didn't flag on Twitter.

Taney lost to their Nevadan rivals 8-1, despite plenty of impressive plays — including a hit from Mo'ne in the fourth inning that helped give the Dragons their first run of the game, and an impressive sliding catch by Zion Spearman. Fortunately Taney isn't out yet. They play Chicago Thursday night for a shot at the U.S. Final.

Wednesday night, supporters from their hometown and far beyond took to Twitter to cheer on Taney with the hashtag #BelieveInDragons.

Before the game, Philly's big-league, grown-up teams had offered their support, too:

 So did state-wide leaders:

 One fan had a helpful reminder to over-eager fans, though, that they're just kids, after all:



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How Star Little League Team Taney Dragons Got Their Start]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:56:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.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[Bank Forecloses on Dwyane Wade's Suburban Chicago Home]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:01:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.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, 19 Aug 2014 22:58:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.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.

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