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Wrestling icon Macho Man Randy Savage dies in car wreck today

Macho Man Randy Savage 58 died on Friday after suffering a heart attack and being involved in a car accident, according to TMZ.com

A Man both known for his in ring persona and his promotion of Slim Jims during the 90s Macho Man Randy Savage was one of the most over the top, and ICONIC pro wrestlers of his prime.

Anyone who grew up a wrestling fan during the 80s, and 90s will no doubt know who The Macho Man was. Florida Highway Patrol told TMZ that Randall Mario Poffo aka “Macho Man Randy Savage” went across a concrete median, through oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a tree. He was transported to Largo Medical Center where he died.

Hulk Hogan, another wrestling legend and one of Macho Man’s contemporary peers, weighed in on the death on Twitter.

“I’m completely devastated, after over 10 years of not talking with Randy, we’ve finally started to talk and communicate,” Hogan wrote. “He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit, I just pray that he’s happy and in a better place and we miss him.

“We miss him a lot. I feel horrible about the ten years of having no communication. This was a tough one.”

Before he was a wrestling Legend, Randy Savage was actually Randy Poffo, the minor league baseball player. In four seasons, he hit .254, driving in 66 runs and hitting 16 home runs. He never made it beyond Class A baseball, playing his final season in Tampa in 1974.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson added: “RIP Randy “Macho Man” Savage – you were one of my childhood inspirations and heros. Strength, love and prayers to the Savage/Poffo family.”

Shawn Michaels, another fixture of the wrestling world, said he heard from another wrestling mainstay, Chris Jericho. “We’ve lost one of the greats!! Our prayers go out to the family & friends of Randy Savage.”

Chris Jericho also expressed his condolences via Twitter. “Randy Savage was a true influence and inspiration to me and taught me some very important lessons,in and out of the ring. Rest in peace Mach”


Posted by Angel Espino

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Braves act quickly, name Gonzalez skipper

Former Braves coach will step into shoes of retiring Cox
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

ATLANTA — What might have initially been viewed as a setback proved to be an opportunity. As soon as the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez on June 23, Braves general manager Frank Wren took joy in the fact that he now had a clear path to recruit the man that he viewed as Bobby Cox’s ideal successor.

“It was kind of an upheaval in his life when it happened, but at the same time, it worked out really well for us,” Wren said. “Even if we had asked (the Marlins) permission to talk to (Gonzalez), I’m not sure we could have gotten it. But he was a guy we clearly wanted to talk to.”

A little more than a week after Gonzalez was relieved of his managerial duties in Florida, he was back at his family’s residence in suburban Atlanta and in position to experience what was a six-hour philosophical meeting with Wren at a cabin in Alabama. A few days later, he met with Braves president John Schuerholz.

Three months later, with their season complete and Cox preparing to begin his retirement, the Braves did what was long expected and hired Gonzalez’s as their new manager.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to manage a club like the Atlanta Braves and I am really looking forward to getting going,” Gonzalez said after being introduced as Cox’s successor during a Wednesday afternoon press conference at Turner Field.

Before guiding the cash-strapped Marlins to two winnings seasons and a 276-279 record during a 3 1/2-season stint as their manager, Gonzalez spent four seasons as the Braves third base coach. During that span, he developed a strong bond with Cox, the players and members of the front office including Wren, who was actually first introduced to his new manager while the two were with the Marlins organization in the 1990s

“On so many levels it’s perfect for us,” said Wren after introducing Gonzalez as his new manager Wednesday. “He can’t be Bobby. There’s not going to be another Bobby Cox. Bobby is very unique. Fredi needs to do them just as he did them in Florida, even if it’s different than the way we have done things for the past 20-some years here. Fredi needs to do it his way.”

After beginning a 20-year-tenure as the Braves manager midway through the 1990 season, Cox established himself as one of the greatest managers in Major League history and one of the most influential men in Braves history. He led the organization to 14 consecutive division titles, five World Series and the only world championship captured by any of Atlanta’s major professional sports franchises.

Cox simply laughs when he hears that the task of serving as his successor could prove daunting. But he is certainly serious about his belief that Gonzalez was the right fit to move the organization forward.

“Fredi is a great pick to lead this organization forward,” Cox said. “He knows the game inside and out. He’s got a great personality with players. His communication skills are excellent. Anything you’d want in a young manager, Fredi possesses. It will be an easy transition. We haven’t won a lot in the past couple years. We’ve come close. Fredi is younger. He’s got more ideas, better ideas maybe and can get this team going again.

“About replacing me, that’s crazy. You know (Dodger legendary manager Walter Alston) was replaced by Tommy Lasorda, who was a scout and then a Minor League manager. He did a great job and they forgot all about Walter Alston. That’s what’s going to happen here.”

Long before Gonzalez gained great notoriety and widespread respect when he pulled Hanley Ramirez from a game because of lackadaisical play this year, Gonzalez was widely respected within the Braves organization. He served as Triple-A Richmond’s manager in 2002 and then spent the next four years as Atlanta’s bench coach.

Along the way the 46-year-old Gonzalez studied Cox’s approach and developed a friendship with the veteran skipper that remained while he was with the Marlins. The two have shared many baseball experiences together while sitting in dugouts and in the suburban Atlanta coffee shop they routinely visit together during the offseason.

“Nobody can replace (Cox),” Gonzalez said. “Our goal is simple, just keep putting flags on that (left field) façade up there. I don’t think there is a person alive that can replace Bobby. We just want to continue a winning tradition and go from there.

“You’ve got to be yourself. I think if somebody has to be fake or has to put up a front to be the guy who was here before, people see right through that. You just have to be comfortable under your own skin. What you see is what you get. There’s no ego here. When we win, it’s about the team. I will tell the team that on the first day.”

While there is certainly a need to find an outfielder who could help generate some offense, Wren spent the past couple of months recognizing his managerial search as one of this offseason’s top priorities. Thus when the Cubs and at least four other clubs began showing interest in Gonzalez, he and Schuerholz set up another interview in September.

Fortunately for the Braves, Gonzalez was as interested in them as they were in him. He spent the past few months routinely watching the Braves on television and occasionally scouting some prospects at Minor League games. Atlanta had remained his family’s hometown while he was employed with Florida and in an attempt to prevent them from wasting time and money, he informed interested clubs that this is where he wanted to remain.

“For me, it was a really easy decision,” Gonzalez said. “As the meetings went along, the more comfortable you felt. Then you started watching games in a little different light and started watching the Minor Leagues. It’s a helluva organization and it’s a good fit.”

Gonzalez coaches will include three holdovers from Cox’s staff. Pitching coach Roger McDowell and third base coach Brian Snitker will remain in their same roles. Former hitting coach Terry Pendleton will now serve as the first base coach.

Carlos Tosca will handle the same bench coach role he held while with Gonzalez in Florida. The Braves will spend a couple more weeks evaluating potential hitting coaches.

Wren said the desire to give Gonzalez a chance to put some of his own guys on his staff led to former first base coach Glenn Hubbard and former bench coach Chino Cadahia being relieved of their duties. Neither was offered a chance to remain in the organization in some capacity.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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In celebration of Bobby Cox

ATLANTA — The Giants were halfway on their trek from the mound to the clubhouse to continue their series-clinching celebration when the noise from the crowd became too loud to ignore.

The chants of “Bob-by! Bob-by!”, had persisted, accompanied by a video montage on the scoreboard — a tribute to retiring Bobby Cox, who had just finished managing the 4,641st major-league game of his career, a 3-2 loss to the Giants in Game 4 of the National League Division Series — when the Turner Field fans grew louder as they were treated to an appearance and wave from the man of the hour.

The Giants, who even at the height of their euphoria, the franchise’s first playoff series win since 2002, stopped and redirected their attention to the first-base dugout and added their own applause. Cox in turn tipped his cap and saluted the Giants, who now advance to face the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.

For a moment the congratulations coexisted before Cox descended the dugout steps for the final time as uniformed personnel, to the warm embrace of his players.

Back in the clubhouse, Cox began to address the Braves, to thank them for their service.

“The best I could,” Cox said at his press conference of his attempt. “Told them I was really proud of them.” He paused, leaned back in his chair and rubbed his left hand over his chin as tears welled up.

He regained his composure. “A grown man shouldn’t do this.”

Then Cox did something inexplicable: He reverted to talking about the lost game of that night, without the prompting of another question.

“But I can’t say enough about Derek Lowe,” Cox said, his voice growing livelier again. “He’s going to be a 20-game winner next year, I think, if he gets any support at all.”

He continued from there, discussing how his starting pitcher had worked long and hard with his pitching coach to adjust their game plan. Here he was, a retiring legend, addressing reporters who came to hear him talk one final time as Braves manager and doing so in a room where the exhilarating yells of the Giants could be heard in the background, and yet he was deflecting attention onto others.

It was classic Bobby.

The ultimate players’ manager was retiring in the same way he spent his Hall of Fame career — trying to improve the Braves.

“It’s always about winning the game,” said first-base coach Glenn Hubbard, who played or coached for Cox for 22 years. “And it’s always been about winning the game.”

On Monday night, the Giants won the game with a late rally sparked by timely hitting that was mostly absent for the Braves this series. After San Francisco rightfielder Cody Ross and Atlanta catcher Brian McCann traded solo home runs, the Braves led 2-1 in the top of the seventh when a combination of walk, single, walk, run-scoring error and RBI single from Ross put the Giants up 3-2, the lead they’d hold onto.

The Giants received their fourth straight quality start, this time from the rookie Madison Bumgarner, who got the win after throwing six innings of two-run ball. That starting pitching offers hope they’ll be able to contend with the surging Phillies, whose potent offense this year has been joined by their best pitching staff, one headed by Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

San Francisco’s bullpen turned its first scoreless performance, as Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson finished the Braves, who had two runners on with two outs in the ninth before Melky Cabrera grounded out to end the game.

That was the baseball Cox wanted to talk about after the game even if most of the questions were about the end of his tenure, and so he alternated between postgame manager — all he’s known for the better part of the past three decades — and a legend set to retire.

The first question he received was, “How did that feel at the end?” Without missing a beat, the manager launched into a game summary.

“We played a really good ballgame,” Cox said. “And Derek pitched great, I thought. And we got the groundballs — they were just out of reach. We wanted this game big time to get back to San Francisco [for Game 5]. It just didn’t happen. The balls were just out of reach for us, turning double plays.”

Only then did he allow any sentiment to enter his answer, “I’m proud of the team. I told them that a while ago. They’ve come a long ways with this team. They played their hearts out, and I’ll miss them.”

The players said Cox didn’t get far into his closed-door postgame remarks.

“He tried,” veteran catcher David Ross said. “I think everybody in the here was emotional. A man like that tried to pour his heart out and couldn’t — there aren’t enough good things to say about Bobby Cox.”

This 2010 Braves team was about as fitting a tribute to Cox as one could find. They lost nine straight at the end of April but quickly rallied to first place. Even after they lost Chipper Jones and Martin Prado to injury, the Braves coasted along the best they could, managing to sneak into the playoffs with a final-week push.

In the postseason, however, their weaknesses were evident. The bullpen, which was pitching without Billy Wagner, who was injured in Game 2, blew leads in Games 3 and 4. The offense, only average with a healthy lineup, couldn’t muster much offense without Jones or Prado.

“He’s never panicked in my years with him as a coach,” Hubbard said. “When we started off, we lost nine in a row, and he didn’t panic. That’s what I’ve learned from him as a coach: When you’re caught in the undertow, you just keep swimming along until you get back to shore.”

Even his handling of Brooks Conrad the past two days spoke volumes of who Cox has been. After Conrad made eight errors in seven games — including three that played a key role in Atlanta’s Game 3 loss — Cox was so honest and supportive of his player that Conrad was singing Cox’s praises in a brief meeting with reporters before Game 4.

“That [communication] is why he’s one of the greatest managers,” Conrad said.

This season was an appropriate case study of what made Bobby Cox the Atlanta institution he became, for more than just the 2,504 regular-season wins, 15 division titles (including 14 consecutively with the Braves) and one World Series championship.

“This year’s remarkable what he did,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I know how banged up they were all year. Got off to a slow start. Shows you what a genius this man is to get it back on track and to get to the playoffs. … I’m going to miss this man, again, because I venerate him so much.”

At the end of the day it was about winning for Cox. But how he won mattered, too.

“I just loved being with him,” Hubbard said.

Cox will remain with the Braves on a five-year consulting contract, but he won’t be in uniform — cleats, stirrups and everything — and thus this era of the franchise is over.

But it was something everyone could celebrate.

Giants-Braves, Game 4
Source: SI
The Giants end the Braves’ season and send Bobby Cox into retirement.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/joe_lemire/10/12/giants.braves.game.4/index.html#ixzz127pcVez8

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Brooks Conrad Held Out of Braves’ Game 4 Lineup

Conrad has made eight errors in his past seven games, including the final four games of the regular season. He said after Sunday night’s game that he would not ask manager Bobby Cox to be out of the lineup.

“It’s something where I just need to play baseball,” Conrad said. “It’s pretty stupid. Obviously I let a lot of people down, but I’m not going to ask (out of the lineup).”

Glaus, a longtime everyday third baseman, has played the position sparingly over the past two years. He was hurt most of last year, and he played first base most of this season. He went down to Triple-A to reacquaint himself with third base in August, and he started a critical double play in Game 2 on Friday. He played just two innings at the position in the regular season.

Still, Cox felt a change had to be made — for the benefit of the team and Conrad.

“I talked to Brooksy a lot this morning. He needs a day off. He needs to get away for a day,” Cox said. “He was the darling of the fans all year. This shouldn’t happen to anyone. I told him to hold his head high and pinch-hit and win a game.”

It isn’t just the Braves themselves who have come to Conrad’s defense. The Turner Field crowd gave him an impromptu standing ovation as he stood in the outfield during batting practice Monday afternoon.

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Brett Favre Reportedly Apologizes to Vikings for Scandal Distraction

Brett Favre apologized to his teammates for the distraction his recent scandal with Jenn Sterger has caused, according to reports.

The quarterback met with the team at their hotel in New Jersey, where they are preparing for a Monday night game against the Jets, and reportedly told the squad that he will play “lights out tonight.”

A report from Deadspin that Favre sent nude pictures to Sterger, then a sideline reporter with the Jets when Favre was the quarterback, has quickly gained steam. Favre originally wouldn’t comment on the allegations, but the NFL decided to investigate anyway. Sterger reportedly will fully cooperate with the investigation. The NFL decided to widen the investigation after a report that Favre had allegedly sent lewd texts to two of the Jets’ massage therapists as well.

Sterger’s management released a statement Monday regarding her decision to hire counsel or not.

“We’re looking at all our options right now and our only concern is what’s in Jenn’s best interest,” Phil Reese said. Reese also reinforced that Sterger didn’t supply Deadspin with any of the evidence; the site itself admits it got the evidence through a third party.

Favre reportedly wouldn’t comment directly on the allegations at a production meeting for Monday Night Football, but would have “no problem with talking to the commissioner” about it. Pending the results of the investigation, he could possibly face a suspension.

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