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Tag:NFL
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 4:01 pm
 

Jeter weighs in on Peyton Manning leaving Indy



By Matt Snyder


In case you haven't heard -- and over here at Eye on Baseball we'll forgive you if you missed it -- long-time Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is parting ways with the only professional franchise he's ever known. [Head over to Eye on Football for full coverage]

Anyway, Manning has lots of things in common with Derek Jeter of the Yankees. In addition to having been the face of each's particular sport for a long period of time, and evidently being clones in how they watch NBA games (see above, from a 2006 Miami Heat game), the two became poster children for spending a long career with the same team. Jeter's still locked up with the Yankees for the next few years, but no more for Manning. And Jeter has weighed in:

"It's just weird. You know, it always seems like some guys should be with one team their entire career," he said of Manning's departure from Indy. (via Sweeny Murti of WFAN)

Jeter does have a good perspective on this. He's entering his 18th season with the Yankees. Jorge Posada retired this offseason after 17 years in pinstripes and Mariano Rivera is beginning his 18th campaign for the Yankees. Such a trio staying together on one team these days is very rare. It probably could only happen on the Yankees and in baseball, considering the lack of a salary cap, but it's still pretty cool those three stuck together for all those years.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:13 pm
 

NFL lineman helped Matt Kemp get in top shape



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With pitchers and catchers reporting this weekend, there will be a slew of reports about players coming into camp in great shape -- either having lost weight or put on muscle. The only thing we'll see more of than these reports people on Twitter and on blogs mocking those reports thinking they're making an original point about these kind of stories by making tired jokes.

One of these stories came over the Associated Press wire on Thursday, as the AP talked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp about his offseason training. Kemp attributed much of his success last season to his offseason workouts at Zone Athletic Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz. Kemp dropped 15 pounds before going to camp last year and went on to an MVP-type season. What caused an editor to send me a link to the article was the hook that Zone is owned by an NFL player, who worked out alongside Kemp. What caught my eye was that NFL player was Eagles guard Evan Mathis.

Mathis isn't exactly a household name, despite the fact that ProFootballFocus.com ranked him the No. 1 guard in the NFL last season. But I covered Mathis both in college at Alabama and in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and got to know him a little bit. So, with that as a starting point, I emailed Mathis about working with Kemp and he agreed to answer a couple of questions about his work with Kemp, as well as with the Dodgers' Dee Gordon and Darnell McDonald of the Red Sox.

Any doubt Mathis knows what he's talking about? Check out this photo of what he did during the NFL lockout:

Evan Mathis

Q: How'd you hook up with Matt Kemp?
A: We met six or seven years ago at a now-defunct training facility.

Q: Do you follow baseball at all, did you know much about him?
A: When we first met, he hadn't been in the majors yet.

Q: So after working with Matt last offseason, how closely did you follow him last year?
A: He was pretty much Zone Athletic Performance's first professional athlete client. As soon as we opened he was in there training preparing for his 2011 season. I definitely followed him throughout the season watching his hard work and dedication pay off.

Q: I'm sure you were happy with his success, but where you surprised?
A: Not at all.  The two trainers at Zone who handle our professional athletes, Garrett Shinoskie and Adam Mathis, have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to bringing the best out of an athlete. When you combine that with a player who has the drive and determination that Matt has, it's destined for success.

Q: What's the difference between working with baseball players and working with football players?
A: I'm not the one writing the programs but it is definitely different. But so is training an offensive lineman and a safety. Everybody has different strengths, weakness, goals, and requirements.  All of that goes into the formula for devising anyone's most efficient workout program.

Q: Are there any similarities?
A: Indeed there are some similarities. Most baseball and football players can benefit greatly from developing explosion through their hips.

Q: You mention the hips, that seems to make sense -- it's something you hear from all coaches. Hips seem to be an underrated part of the body to work on, but it makes sense because it's close to your center of gravity and controls everything in both the top and bottom half of the body. What kind of specific things do you do to strengthen that part of the body?
A: In baseball it's more about rotating the hips. A player can make an explosive rotation and put their strength behind the swing. For myself in football, when I hit a defender I explode through my hips and lift their center of gravity on contact. Some simple hip exercises include the medicine ball keg toss, kettle bell swing, step-ups, and the list goes on. The most important aspect of training for hip explosion is maintaining ones flexibility. At Zone, the trainers use the first ten minutes of each workout to do stretches and warm-ups to ensure maximum flexibility.

Q: Not giving away any secrets, but what's a typical workout like for an elite-level pro athlete? What about the diet?
A: Off-season training at Zone usually consists of 6 day weeks, each workout an hour long.  The average schedule is like this: Monday = arms, Tuesday = legs, Wednesday = core/conditioning, Thursday = torso, Friday = power, Saturday = core/conditioning. Each day has different dietary guidelines based on that day's workload.

Q: What's the most important thing you teach at Zone?
A: In a close second to the training is the diet.  Most athletes have no idea how to follow efficient nutritional guidelines. An athlete has to treat their body like a machine and put the best fuels into that machine that will maximize its production. I still have Garrett write out my diet because I'm not the expert in that field and he is.

Q: What kind of diet tip do you have for anyone out there?
A: The biggest thing for me was understanding the importance of carbohydrates. When used the right way, they can feed your muscles to maximum growth and help you maintain a high metabolism. My diet is a carb cycling diet. Based on the intensity of each day's training I will have either a high, medium, or low intake of carbs for that day. A lot of people try the low or no carb diets but that's like trying to drive a car with no gasoline. Your body needs its carbs. Getting into the details of the carb cycle would turn this response into an essay. There are numerous articles on the web about it and the trainers at Zone are actually working on an eBook guide as we speak.

Q: Any workout tips?
A: Change your routine every three-to-four weeks, don't stick to the same lifts for long periods of time. Every three weeks at Zone we have a completely new set of workouts. This aids in injury prevention, avoids training plateaus, and ensures that all muscle groups are getting their necessary attention.

Q: Often when a player starts camp and says they're "in the best shape of their life" people kind of roll their eyes and make a joke out of it. Does it matter or is it just talk?
A: Being in the best shape of your life definitely does matter for an athlete. There are two problems when it comes to an athlete saying that. The first is whether or not it's true when they say it. The second is, while it may be true, some guys won't work to maintain it throughout the season. Kemp stayed in constant contact with the trainers at Zone making sure he was doing everything he could to carry over all of the hard work he did throughout the season. I said I was in the best shape of my life going into last season and it definitely showed on the field.  I had a great year and it gave me a great starting point for this off-season to get in even better shape for 2012.


Q: Are you a baseball fan at all? Do you have any baseball background?
A: Growing up I was always a baseball fan. I was an avid card collector, a huge Frank Thomas fan, and I played a little baseball from ages 12-17. I still dabble in card collecting and can tell you almost any player's rookie year from 1986-2003. I tell Matt Kemp every day I see him that we need to go to the field so I can show him how to crush a ball. He thinks that it would be easier for him to crossover to football than it would be for me to go to baseball. I'm confident that I would crush a few bombs in BP if given the chance.

Check out the attached picture of a tweet between myself and Frank Thomas. I have to make something like this happen one day.


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Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Kemp, Rodgers come to Ryan Braun's defense



By Matt Snyder


By now, surely every baseball fan has heard about 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun getting nailed for failing a performance-enhancing drug test. The 50-game suspension is pending an appeal, but in the meantime seemingly everyone is weighing in with opinions on the matter. Braun very recently got public, vocal support from a pair of MVP candidates.

Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who finished second in the NL MVP voting to Braun, would have won the award if the BBWAA decided to revote. Still, Kemp is supporting his friend.

"Nobody's proven anything man ... we don't know anything." Kemp told TMZ.com. "That's a good dude. That's my homie."

Also, fellow Milwaukee-area fan favorite -- and frontrunner for NFL MVP -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers voiced his support on ESPN Milwaukee radio (via Sports Radio Interviews).

Braun situation
"I was very surprised the news came out the way it did. You would think that there would be some sort of confidentiality surrounding the situation because he is appealing it. Other than that, I don’t really want to comment a whole lot on the allegations or whatnot. I would say I 100 percent support Ryan and believe in him and it’s not going to affect our friendship in the least. I’m 100 percent supporting him and behind him and believe in everything that he says.”

And then Rodgers brought out the big guns:

"I’ve known Ryan for a while now and we’ve spent a lot of time hanging out. I’ve been in the locker room and I’ve seen him working out and stuff. It’s just ridiculous the allegations. I think as much as he probably can’t say a whole lot right now just the fact that he was willing to take a test right after that and I don’t know exactly what all is out there but I just am trusting that my good friend has not been using anything illegal and I’m very confident that’s the case because I know how much he cares about the integrity of the game and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.”

It's going to be a while before we know how Braun's appeal comes out, but he seems to be getting lots of support from people close to him. That didn't seem to happen with, say, Roger Clemens or Manny Ramirez. Is it because Braun's a nicer guy with more friends or because he actually is innocent? We can't say just yet.

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Posted on: October 31, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Bryce Harper goes 'Tebowing'



By Matt Snyder


Considering I was on the road for the World Series and paying attention only to baseball for the past two weeks, I seemed to miss out on the whole "Tebowing" thing.

Evidently it's either a way to honor or mock Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Sure enough, baseball's top prospect -- Bryce Harper of the Nationals' system -- decided to get in on the action.

The picture here is actually Harper's current Twitter avatar (@BHarper3407 for those interested).

It's interesting in the light that both Harper and Tebow seem to elicit strong emotions from fans of each respective sport. There's really no gray area for most, as you either love or hate either player with a passion.

Hat-tip: MLB.com

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 5:51 pm
 

NFL coach branching out into baseball

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Raheem MorrisPerhaps looking ahead to the NFL lockout when he may need a part-time job, Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris tried his hand at managing a baseball team on Tuesday.

Morris was in uniform and sat on the bench with Rays manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday and even had carte blanche to call hit-and-runs and bunts. And then in the fourth inning of the game against the Blue Jays, Morris went out to the mound to take James Shields out of the game after the right-hander reached his 60-pitch limit.

"It was funny. I'm definitely used to seeing Joe come out there," Shields told the Tampa Tribune. "He came out, he walked out to the mound and said, 'So what do we do now?' I said you're supposed to get the ball from me, and he's like, 'Oh, OK. Then hand me the ball. What are we doing after the game?' This is what we're supposed to talk about out there. It was pretty funny."

Morris also took the lineup card to the umpires at the start of the game.

Bucs wide receivers coach Eric Yarber took batting practice and ground balls before the game and served as the first base coach during the first inning. 

Morris also did some scouting of his own while he was in camp.

"[Evan Longoria could] probably play a little linebacker for me, a little Sam," Morris told MLB.com. "He's got some toughness. I notice he's got a little bit of swagger."

He'd also take B.J. Upton.

"Maybe coming in as the nickel, he doesn't want to tackle," Morris said. "So I'll get him out there on third down. But Joe got him to run the bases hard now, so I can get him to tackle."

Maddon said he'd like to take a turn running the Bucs' scout team.

"If he can see over our line, he's got a chance," Morris said.

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Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:34 pm
 

Target Field won't host Vikings

Target Field Wrigley Field hosted a college football game and Yankee Stadium is on tap to host a college football bowl game, but Target Field won't be joining the football frenzy.

Although the Minnesota Vikings are currently homeless after the collapse of the Metrodome -- the Twins' former home -- they won't look to follow the Twins to Target Field. Nobody from the Vikings or NFL have contacted the Twins, team president Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune 's La Velle E. Neal III .

"Yes, this facility could hold both football and soccer games," St. Peter said.

It's more likely the Vikings will play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.

Still, St. Peter said there are two different configurations for football fields and in the future the team would consider hosting "other functions" at the park, but would prefer to wait a year or two before doing so.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


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