After a disastrous first pitch Monday, Tom Brady has returned to his natural position on the baseball diamond.

The New England Patriots quarterback threw out the first pitch at Boston's home opener, and he couldn't get over the plate at Fenway Park. David Ortiz still managed to catch it, but seeing as he is a superstar quarterback hailed for his golden arm, Brady understandably took some flack for his inaccuracy.


In his defense, Brady was a catcher during his high school days.



In a recent post on Facebook, where he has established himself as one of the funniest and most clever pros, Brady took a dig at his poor performance:


Going to stick to catcher and leave the throwing to the football field...

Posted by Tom Brady on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brady was much more accurate on the gridiron than on the mound, and the 37-year-old threw just nine interceptions in 2014. Only Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith and Russell Wilson had fewer than that.

More than two years before winning a national championship and installing himself as a part of Buckeye lore, Cardale Jones had some thoughts on going to school: Namely, that he shouldn't be forced to go to classes when he's clearly there to play football.

Jones obviously understood the NCAA system in all of its intricacies, which define Jones' value as a football player to be far exceeding his value as a student. So why attend class? Well, to keep up the charade, but also because that's the entire point of going to college.

Also, people get very mad when you make a great point about the double-standards of college athletics, even if you did so accidentally. At any rate, Jones decided to apologize for his previous statements.




According to the school's athletics website, Jones is an African-American studies major. After rising from the third-string in preseason to starter by the end of the year, and leading Ohio State to a national championship in the first year of the College Football Playoff, Jones briefly considered declaring for the NFL draft.

Ultimately, he decided he had more improvements to make in his game before jumping to the pros. In other words: He's back at Ohio State to prep himself for the NFL, but sure, he'll play along with the academic stuff if it keeps everyone's pants on.

Still, his reformed thinking on the value of education didn't stop Jones from insisting that economics, like talent, can't be taught:


So what you're saying is, school really is pointless.

Thanks to therapy started during her team-mandated 30-day suspension from soccer, Hope Solo now says she has a better grasp on her anger issues and better tools to cope with her struggles.

The star goalkeeper for the U.S. Women's National Team wrote a blog post on her personal website titled, "A Promising Start," that details her struggles and growth since she and her husband, Jerramy Stevens, were pulled over by police while driving a team vehicle.

Stevens, who was behind the wheel, was booked for a DUI, while police reports detailed Solo's rude comments and threats slung at police officers.

Solo describes how, after rejoining the team following a 30-day suspension, she emailed her teammates to discuss how she had handled that time off, as well as to apologize for her behavior.

"I told them that for the first time in my life, I'd been seeing a therapist and dealing with a lot of my issues, and finally addressing all the pain and anger that was inside of me," Solo writes. "Twice a week, I also worked with an Eastern medicine healer in Seattle who had incredible experience helping some of the greatest athletes perform at the highest levels. He really helped me see things in a different light.

"I wanted them to know that I hadn’t just taken 30 days off. Ultimately, I wanted to be a better person and teammate, and that’s what I’d been focused on."

She also acknowledged the change and adjustments the entire team was facing, as well as Solo herself. A new coach, new teammates and new outside pressures to perform were taking a toll on the team. Solo said that this, combined with her own personal strife that included a court case for a domestic violence charge, had her spending many nights in tears before her suspension.

Upon returning, she vowed to help the team reach its goals and win a World Cup this summer -- no matter the adversity or the challenges. Her teammates were on board.

"I think it was something that needed to be said, and it was awesome to see everybody’s responses back," Solo writes. "Some were a little bit more sentimental about it, and other people were like, 'Hell yeah, let’s do this.'"

Some NFL players spend their offseason working out. Others travel around the world. Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has done both while also getting an article published in a math journal.

Urschel, the Ravens' 2014 fifth-round pick who graduated from Penn State with 4.0 GPA, also happens to be a brilliant mathematician. This week he and several co-authors published a piece titled "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians" in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. You can read the full piece here.

If that title left you wanting more, here's the summary of the paper:

"In this paper, we develop a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue. This vector has been found to have applications in fields such as graph partitioning and graph drawing. The algorithm is a purely algebraic approach based on a heavy edge coarsening scheme and pointwise smoothing for refinement. To gain theoretical insight, we also consider the related cascadic multigrid method in the geometric setting for elliptic eigenvalue problems and show its uniform convergence under certain assumptions. Numerical tests are presented for computing the Fiedler vector of several practical graphs, and numerical results show the efficiency and optimality of our proposed cascadic multigrid algorithm."

Memorizing a playbook must have been a piece of cake a this guy whose Twitter handle is @mathmeetsfball.

When he's not protecting Joe Flacco, the 23-year-old Urschel enjoys digging into extremely complicated mathematical models. In a recent article for The Players' Tribune, Urschel discussed his varied interests.

"I am a mathematical researcher in my spare time, continuing to do research in the areas of numerical linear algebra, multigrid methods, spectral graph theory and machine learning. I’m also an avid chess player, and I have aspirations of eventually being a titled player one day."

Urschel somehow found the time to compete in a chess tournament earlier this month:


While at Penn State, Urschel helped teach a math class:

There must be something about brilliant offensive linemen and the Baltimore Ravens. Before Urschel arrived, Harvard graduate Matt Birk manned the line for Baltimore.

While he continues his push toward an NFL career, Michael Sam is making good use of the spotlight. Sam made his debut Monday on the latest season of ABC's Dancing With The Stars.

Sam danced the cha-cha to the popular song Uptown Funk, by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. The judges awarded him 26 out of 40 possible points -- a decent showing for any dancer's first week.

Sam follows a long and accomplished line of football players to compete on the reality show, including past winners Emmitt Smith, Donald Driver and Hines Ward. One big difference: Those guys already had accomplished NFL careers under their belts, whereas Sam is still trying to get his started.

As the package reveals, those pursuits have not been shelved for his season on Dancing With The Stars. His professional dance partner, Peta Murgatroyd, said that Sam is putting in three hours of football training every day -- and then joining her to dance for four hours.

Whatever happens going forward, Sam is far from the worst athlete to appear on DWTS, where past athletes including Keyshawn Johnson, Metta World Peace and last season's Lolo Jones all got the boot after the first week. Sam is likely to stick around a little longer, provided he improves his footwork.

"Everything about the dancing was terrific, but your footwork was atrocious," head judge Len Goodman said.

Voting for this week has closed, and the first elimination will be announced next Monday night.

Like many college seniors, Pat Connaughton has one eye on his coursework and the other on his career.

Unlike many college seniors, Connaughton career options include two different professional sports as well as any number of business opportunities.

Connaughton is a starting guard for 11th-ranked Notre Dame, which won the ACC tournament and is a No. 3 seed in the Midwest region of the NCAA tournament. The 6-foot-5 Massachusetts native is also a fireball-throwing right-handed pitcher who was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth round of last June's MLB draft. Connaughton made four starts last summer for the Class A Aberdeen Birds, going 0-1 with a 2.51 ERA in short-season.

Here are Connaughton's baseball highlights from 2014:

"He's a terrific athlete who is just scratching the surface of what he can do," Dan Duquette, the Orioles' executive vice president of baseball operations, told ESPN for a story published earlier this year. "He's got a great arm and we're hoping he puts his energy into baseball full time."

That decision is still up in the air, as Connaughton's NBA stock has been rising. If he's not picked in the second round of the NBA draft, he may earn an invite to some team's training camp. A versatile swingman who captained his team as a senior, Connaughton raised his three-point accuracy from 38 percent his junior year to 44 percent in 2015.

The Fighting Irish are winners of eight of their past nine games and upset second-ranked Duke on their way to the ACC tournament title. Here's a look at Connaughton on the court:

Connaughton, 22, has accomplished all of this while maintaining a 3.0 GPA in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.

The Connaughton family is being advised by Sam Samardzija, whose son, Jeff, also played two sports at Notre Dame (football and baseball). Jeff chose to pursue baseball professionally and things turned out pretty well for him. Samardzija recently agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal to pitch for the Chicago White Sox.

Connaughton told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that he's leaning toward professional baseball, but a strong finish to his career could change that plan.

According to MLB.com, 12 men have played in the NBA and MLB, with the most recent being Mark Hendrickson. The 6-foot-9 southpaw played for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1996 to 2000 before enjoying a 10-year MLB career.

Now 40 years old and a grandfather, Hendrickson recently tried making an MLB comeback but was released by the Orioles.

Another notable two-sport star was Danny Ainge, who played second base for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1979-1981 while finishing his college basketball career at BYU. He went on to play in the NBA from 1981-1995 and is now the president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics.

In Dallas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones built a $1.3 billion stadium designed to be the greatest football venue in the country. In Minneapolis, construction is underway on the "Ice Palace," a domed behemoth with an exterior style that evokes the region's brutal winter landscape.

In Santa Clara, the 49ers opened Levi's Stadium this year with insistence that it was the most technologically advanced stadium in the world. And just 33 miles to the north, the Oakland Raiders are making plans for a new stadium of their own.

But so far, the plans aren't following the NFL's "new normal." Where so many teams are chasing bigger, better, more lavish stadiums -- ones with significant funding from taxpayers, in many cases -- the Raiders are taking a more modest approach.

They want a smaller stadium.

That's assuming the franchise doesn't up and leave for Los Angeles, where developers have plans in place to built a $1.7 billion mega-stadium. The venue could accommodate both the San Diego Chargers as well as the Raiders, giving the L.A. area two NFL teams along with one impressive stadium.

Developers in Carson, California, where land has been acquired to build the stadium, are making an aggressive effort to woo the Raiders and Chargers. In the proposed deal, both franchises would co-own the to-be-named Los Angeles Stadium.

Contrast that with the Raiders' alternative -- and what appears to be its preference -- of building the NFL's smallest stadium, and staying in Oakland. The $800 million price tag is right around what they would pay to own half of a proposed Los Angeles Stadium.

If we're judging off of recent NFL precedent, the L.A. construction would seem to be the favorite. It's large, beautiful, and in a great location that would guarantee high-profile events, including the Super Bowl.

But according to Floyd Kephart, a development executive working to facilitate an agreement on a new Oakland stadium, the lavish trappings offered in Los Angeles aren't at the top of the franchise's list of priorities. He paints owner Mark Davis as someone who is fiercely loyal to the fan base in Oakland and has no interest in moving the team.

That said, the team remains without a deal for a stadium, and the clock is ticking. Kephart said the process is brewing frustration.

"It's all political and bureaucratic," Kephart says. "It has nothing to do with anything that is a negotiating point. That’s what I would tell you from a business perspective."

It's not unusual for an NFL franchise to be at odds with the local government over a new stadium construction. And if that were the case, Los Angeles is perfect collateral. Like the Vikings before them, the Raiders could float a move to L.A. as a likely alternative if its demands aren't met.

But there's a big difference in how those two teams have sought out a new stadium. In Minnesota, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf wanted a huge sum of financial backing from taxpayers. He wanted a grand construction that would serve as a cash cow and attract the Super Bowl.

The Raiders have no such fantasies. Any proposal for a new stadium would be modest. The team intends to draw up schemes for a 55,000-seat stadium, which is smaller than O.Co Coliseum -- in fact, it would be the smallest in the NFL. And Kephart says it isn't asking the city for a dime.

"The deal has always been, no new debt and no public taxes to pay for anything related to either of the sports teams," Kephart says. The Raiders are prepared to provide as much as $500 million for a new stadium. Private financing is expected to cover the rest of the cost.

In other words, the city of Oakland and Alameda County could become the new home for a great revenue-generating venue -- a source of profit for both governments. All that stands in the way is a formal convening of the city and the county, which jointly owns the land where the new property would be built.

So far, neither sides have come to the table. Kephart said that there are new politicians who have recently taken office, including a new mayor in Oakland and a new county commissioner in Alameda. He suggests that both parties are acclimating to one another right now, and that's caused the stadium planning to get placed on the back burner.

Progress toward a formal negotiation process appears to be happening, but it's moving at a turtle's pace. In the meantime, the Raiders have yet to produce formal plans for an Oakland stadium.

With every passing day, possible suitors for the Raiders grow more aggressive about stealing the franchise out of indecisive Oakland. Last week, backers for Los Angeles Stadium filed a ballot initiative to move the Raiders' relocation one step closer to reality. Los Angeles isn't exactly foreign territory: The Raiders called L.A. home from 1982 to 1994, before and after which they played in Oakland.

Some experts suggest that a relocation to the L.A. market also positions the Raiders for a financial bonanza. The larger stadium and invigorated local fan base would drive ticket sales, and modern revenue generating features in the stadium would far exceed what the outdated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum currently has to offer.

The mere valuation of the Raiders franchise would be poised for a dramatic upward revision. As noted in a a column for ThePostGame last month, Leigh Steinberg estimates that the Raiders -- currently the NFL's lowest-valued at an appraised $970 million -- would quickly "double their value" by moving back to southern California.

Contrast that with Oakland, where the Raiders had to tarp 10,000 seats in the Coliseum just to bring game attendance closer to capacity -- although it still struggled to sell out home games and avoid TV blackouts. A long streak of losing hasn't helped -- the Raiders have gone 12 seasons without a winning record, and only twice did they win more than five games in a year -- but the franchise doesn't have a lot going for it in Oakland.

Yet the franchise, and in particular owner Mark Davis, seems reluctant to leave Oakland. Kephart insists that there are two reasons why: For one, Davis wants to do everything he can to stay in Oakland.

And second of all, the Los Angeles deal isn't as great as it's being made to seem. Despite some lofty suggestions for how much the Raiders could benefit, Kephart hasn't seen any hard evidence backing up those claims.

"The L.A. market is a very tough market for anything," Kephart says. "For the NFL, it has been a challenging market -- both for the Rams as well as the Raiders.

"I don't think [the financial benefits of a move] are going to outpace what a new stadium in Oakland would do, with a dedicated fan base already in place. Oakland is the brand, to a large degree."

In other words, the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles and its shiny new stadium have done little to tempt the Raiders. Despite the optimistic conversation coming out of southern California, the team seems hopeful it can secure a new stadium deal in Alameda County.

"I'm one of these guys that believes the owner is always making the best decision for his business," Kephart says. "I actually think Mark Davis is making the best business decision to stay in Oakland.

Meanwhile, one of the most impressive stadiums in the world is waiting in the wings as a clear backup option. This hierarchy doesn't fit the recent pattern of recent sports venue constructions in America.

Professional sports franchises have become pretty savvy about using a potential relocation as collateral for building a new stadium on local turf. Los Angeles, meanwhile, has always been the convenient threat looming on the horizon: One of the country's biggest cities, a former pro football city desperate to put itself back on the NFL map.

The Vikings used L.A. to strong-arm Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota into forking over $450 million for its new building. The 49ers followed the money down to Santa Clara -- a traffic-filled drive from San Francisco. Even the proposed Los Angeles Stadium is not located within L.A. proper -- it's located, rather, where developers and private financiers found a good business deal.

Jerry Jones paid for AT&T Stadium out of his own pocket, sure, but that was a vanity project -- an outlier. Most NFL owners are shrewd businessmen that use their sports franchises as vehicles for further business deals.

You can't exactly exempt the Davis family in that group, especially if Kephart is correct that Davis is making the best business decision. Oakland's idea for a smaller, humbler stadium isn't anything less than the best business decision it can make: the price tag is lower, and the smaller stadium will make it easier to sell out home games and avoid local blackouts without lowering ticket prices.

An updated venue would feature better features for generating revenue, including improved vendor opportunities and the attraction of other major events throughout the calendar year. And by continuing to be associated with Oakland, the Raiders brand value is preserved -- an all-important consideration for any professional sports team.

The fact remains that the Raiders won't stay without a new stadium. O.Co Coliseum is worn down and features too low a ceiling on revenue opportunities. Kephart points out that even if the Raiders were to move, he's not sure Los Angeles is the favorite: alternatives like San Antonio or even sharing the Santa Clara stadium with the 49ers -- a move Davis has publicly opposed, but may ultimately prefer over going back to L.A. -- could have better odds of landing the Raiders franchise.

But the Raiders want to stay home, and they're not asking for much: a new, small stadium to replace its 49-year-old home, and at no cost to the city. Communities have been gouged for far worse in the recent past, or have lost professional teams due to their refusal to pony up -- that's the main reason the NBA's Seattle Supersonics now play in Oklahoma City as the Thunder.

Kephart is optimistic that an Oakland deal will eventually happen. The wheels of progress, he said, could start turning as early as this week. But after years of asking the city and county to come together and give the green light, the Raiders are running out of time.

It also remains to be seen what the city and county want in exchange for approving a new stadium project. Because both sides have yet to come together and reach a consensus, Kephart says the Raiders have no idea what will come out of those meetings.

"That's the whole issue," he says. "We have zero clue what the city or county actually wants or will do, or can do, as it relates to this. That's the reason we're trying to get [the city and county] to lay out an agreement between the two of them. That way you can negotiate whatever it is, so that you're not whiplashed between two parties.

"This [problem] is not new. That's why the frustration exists."

The Kobe Bryant documentary, titled Muse, premiered on Showtime last week. Director Gotham Chopra says Bryant had a thirst for knowledge when it came to every aspect of making the documentary. Could that interest develop into something Bryant pursues after his NBA playing career? Chopra offers some insight:

***

Here are two preview clips of the documentary that were released last year:

CrossFit is a fitness approach that is growing in popularity, and one reason is that local establishments can customize the experience. We got some insight into how this brand functions as a business with a former college football player who operates a place in Texas.

Damian Lillard isn't the first NBA player to demonstrat an interest in establishing a hip hop career, but the young Portland Trail Blazers star has shown that he has perhaps more potential than any of the baller-turned-rappers that came before him.

Lillard is known for his Four Bar Friday competitions, in which he encourages people to upload videos of themselves laying down verses. He's had his own lyrics printed on his shoes, and he even said he'd like to create a rap mixtape.

In New York for the NBA All-Star Game, Lillard burnished his already-considerable rap credentials during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Shade45. In this clip Lillard is laying down rhymes over the beat from Jay-Z's "Dead Presidents."

Lillard's smooth, confident delivery belies his age (24). He passionately details his rough upbringing in Oakland and how he's overcome considerable hurdles to become one of the league's more surprising All-Stars. A two-star recruit in high school, Lillard's only scholarship offer was from Weber State.

Lillard has not yet filmed any full-length videos for his music, but hopefully if/when he does they will be better than this one:

In his second All-Star appearance, Lillard came off the bench for the Western Conference squad and scored 11 points in 16 minutes.

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