Joe's Morning Sports-Friday, August 2, 2019

ESPN reports that New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin detailed the challenges of his three seasons working with LeBron James as Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, saying the experience was "miserable" and questioning James' winning instinct in Los Angeles.  Griffin told Sports Illustrated for a story published yesterday that the annual challenge of building a title contender around James was too stressful, even if it did result in a championship in 2016.  "Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable," Griffin said. "Literally the moment we won the championship, I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money."  Sources close to James told ESPN yesterday they were "shocked" at Griffin's characterization of the superstar.  

Major League Baseball has handed down its suspensions stemming from Tuesday's brawl between the Pirates and Reds in Cincinnati.  Pittsburgh reliever Keone Kela received the biggest punishment, a ten-game ban after admitting he threw at a batter during the game.  Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett earned an eight-game suspension and former Red Yasiel Puig picked up a three-game ban.  Puig was traded to Cleveland after the game.  Pirates infielder Jose Osuna was suspended five games, while Pittsburgh pitcher Kyle Crick and Cincinnati pitcher Jared Hughes each got three.  Reds manager David Bell was ordered to sit out six games, and Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle was penalized two games.  Bell already had been ejected when he ran onto the field to get after Hurdle.  All six players have appealed their suspensions.

The Omaha World Herald reports that the Nebraska football team barely missed being one of the coaches' 25 most-favored preseason teams.  But the USA Today coaches poll identifies every team that received a vote, and the Huskers got plenty.  They're 26th in the preseason poll released yesterday.  Seven Big Ten teams, including three from the West division, made the top 25, more than any other league.  However, the highest-ranked team, fifth ranked Ohio State, is just outside the top four which would make the College Football Playoff.  Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and Georgia are the top four.  The Huskers finished 4-8 last season and returns its starting quarterback, Adrian Martinez, and many of its top players on defense.

The five-time defending league champion Creighton volleyball program has been picked to finish second in the BIG EAST Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches.  The Bluejays were tabbed second despite five BIG EAST regular-season titles, five conference tournament titles and a 95-5 overall record against league foes since the start of the 2014 campaign.  Seniors Megan Ballenger, Madelyn Cole, and Brittany Witt were each named to the BIG EAST's Preseason All-Conference Team.  It's the third straight season Witt has been recognized with such an accolade.  This year marks the seventh straight season with multiple Bluejays named Preseason All-BIG EAST, and fifth in a row with at least three honorees.  Marquette was tabbed the preseason favorite by league coaches, earning eight first-place votes and 80 points overall.  Creighton’s regular-season starts Aug. 30 at the Husker Invitational in Lincoln with a match against tournament host Nebraska.

Team USA advanced to the medal round at the Pan American Games in Peru last night with a hard fought 70-53 victory over Venezuela, a team considered to be one of the favorites in the tournament.  Seton Hall’s Myles Powell scored a game-high 30 points and Creighton grad Geoffrey Groselle recorded eleven points and hauled down six rebounds for the victors.  Teammate Ty-Shon Alexander was 0-4 from the field and only scored one point.  With a 2-0 mark record in Pool ‘A’, Team USA has already clinched a spot in the medal round before playing Puerto Rico tonight at 9:00 in its final game of Pool play.  Puerto Rico is also 2-0.  The Pan American Games is a multi-sport event featuring teams from North, South, Central America and the Caribbean.

Nebraska women’s soccer senior defender Sinclaire Miramontez earned a spot on the 2019 Women’s MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, announced by the United Soccer Coaches yesterday.  Miramontez, a Kansas native, is one of 57 student-athletes named to the watch list.  She has received first-team All-Big Ten honors during each of the last two seasons after claiming a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2016.  Miramontez is a two-time All-Region selection, making the first team in 2018 after achieving second-team status in 2017.  She enters her senior campaign having started 58 games over the last three seasons.  The leader of NU’s defense, Miramontez also has three career goals and one career assist.  The winner is announced at the United Soccer Coaches awards banquet on Jan. 10 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo.

Local Schedule:  Omaha Storm Chasers at Reno (Bsbl-9:05).

Local Scores:  Tacoma 5 Omaha Storm Chasers 2 (Bsbl).

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      Final    Miami            5    Minnesota              4,  12  Innings

      Final    N-Y  Mets      4    Chi  White  Sox      0

      Final    Oakland        5    Milwaukee              3






      Final    Toronto        11    Baltimore      2

      Final    Houston          7    Cleveland      1

      Final    Tampa  Bay      9    Boston            4






      Final    Philadelphia    10    San  Francisco      2

      Final    St.  Louis            8    Chi  Cubs                0

      Final    Atlanta                4    Cincinnati            1,  7  Innings

      Final    L-A  Dodgers        8    San  Diego              2






      Final    Connecticut      68    Phoenix              62

      Final    Dallas                87    N-Y  Liberty      64

      Final    L.A.  Sparks      76    Las  Vegas          68






      Final    Baltimore      17    Chicago      16


In other news

A day after Jay-Z announced that his Roc Nation Company was partnering with the NFL, the rap icon explained that he still supports protesting, kneeling, and NFL player Colin Kaepernick, but he’s also interested in working with the league to make substantial changes.  The Grammy winner and en…

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will likely miss the rest of the preseason with an injury near the front of his left ankle.  Colts general manager Chris Ballard says he isn't sure if the injury will keep Luck out of the Sept. 8 season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.  Indy…

Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown has lost his grievance with the NFL over his use of an old helmet that is no longer certified as safe to use for practice or play.  The arbitrator issued the ruling yesterday after holding a hearing last week with Brown, representatives from the league …