The First half of the Major League Baseball Season

The Major League Mid-Summer Classic is fast approaching, This weekend is the final full weekend of Big League action until after next week’s MLB All-Star game in Miami.

In the National League East the team fro the Nations Capitol the Washington Nationals have already won 50 games and hold an 8 and a half game lead over the second-place Atlanta Braves. The  Nationals have been led by the bats of outfielder Bryce Harper,  First Baseman Ryan Zimmerman and  Second baseman Daniel Murphy. Harper is batting .323 and leading the team with 20 home runs while Zimmerman is batting .332 with 19 homers.Meanwhile, Murphy has the best batting average of the three with his .340 average.

 

Defensively for the Nationals,  Max Scherzer has been the man on the hill garnering 10 wins in his 17 starts this season. Max is bolstering an ERA of 1.94 and he struck out 163 batters. Scherzer and the Nationals wrap up the first half of the season this weekend hosting the Atlanta Braves for a three-game series.Meanwhile, Scherzer,  Harper, Murphy, and Zimmerman will be joined by teammate  Stephen Strasburg on the National League team in next week’s All-Star game.

 

The American League East is a division that is always full of excitement..The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox add fuel to their rivalry every year. Just ahead of the mid-summer break the Red Sox are on top of the division with their 49 wins and a  three-game lead over second place New York, who is only a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

The power behind the Bosox has been off the bat of outfielder Mookie Betts who is batting .274  with 15 home runs. But when you’re talking about Betts you can not ignore the fact that the 24-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee is making noise with his glove as well. Mookies’ homers lead the team just ahead of  Center Fielder Andrew Benintendi and first baseman Mitch Moreland who both have 12 Dingers.

 

Defensively Bostons’ hurlers are led by Chris Sale and his 11 wins in 18 starts.Drew Pomeranz is right behind Sale with his 8 wins in 16 starts and Pomeranz has struck out 92 batters in the 84 innings he has pitched so far this season. Sale has been selected as an All-Star this season and will possibly start in the mid-Summer classic next week. He will be joined by teammates Betts and Craig Kimbrel.

 

Looking back at the National league the  Milwaukee Brewers and their hot bats lead the National League Central. The Brew Crew have been blasting off on opponents with 133 home runs second in the major leagues only to the Houston Astros’ 138  Round Trippers. Thie weekend will be interesting and fans can anticipate plenty of excitement as the Brewers host the New York Yankees in a three-game homestand. The Yankees have hit 128 Home runs as a team. As A matter of fact, this series will feature the current home run leader Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Eric Thames of Milwaukee who started this season hitting a home run in five straight games. Judge currently has 29 homers and Thames has 23.

 

Speaking of home runs, in the National League West the L.A. Dodgers who lead the Division by 5 and a half games have gone yard 123 times this season and garnered 58 wins.Los Angeles will wrap up the first half of their season this weekend hosting the Kansas City Royals.

 

In the American League West, the  Houston Astros are on top and own the best record in the major leagues with 58 wins against 28 losses. Houston has been powered by the George Springers 25 home runs, Springer leads a group of eight Astros who all have over 10 homers this season.

 

And finally, in the American League Central the Cleveland Indians Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins are only separated by a game and a half. This weekend the Indians close out the first half of the season hosting the Detroit Tigers for three games and  Minnesota will host the Baltimore Orioles.

 

Who do you think had the best first half of a season in 2017?

Trevin A  Jones

Follow me on Twitter: @UMTSportsreport

Reach out with questions or comments at News@UrbanMediaToday.com

 

Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. NBA Free Agency-To no surprise, it started off intense as top free agent Paul George ended up in a sign-and-trade with the Oklahoma Thunder for G Victor Oladipo and power forward Domantas Sabonis, which heads to the Indiana Pacers. The other top free agent move came this week as former Utah Jazz F Gordon Heyward will sign with the Boston Celtics in either a sign-and-trade or a straight free agent signing.
  2. Why OKC for George? I admit I was surprised as I figured he would end up at either Cleveland or Houston, but the Thunder struck me curious because of their quiet posture, or so it appeared. They obviously needed more than NBA MVP Russel Westbrook’s output and George fit that bill. It’ll definitely make the Thunder stronger, but not good enough to take down the Golden State Warriors.
  3. How long will George stay in OKC? I don’t think he’ll stay long as the Thunder doesn’t like to pay their free-agent players (see James Harden and Kevin Durant) so he may just be a glorified rental-player for a team who still has to pay Westbrook the max money he deserves.
  4. Will Heyward fit in Boston? I think he will. I like his game. He obviously was the glue to the Jazz’s 51-win season and they tried their best to keep him, but they knew that Heyward was due for a huge payday and would never pass up an opportunity to play for a top contender for the Celtics. He’ll team with G Isaiah Thomas & make the team better, but they’re still not good enough to take down the Cavs and LeBron James.
  5. Carmelo Anthony-Now that George and Heyward are signed, the focus is on a non-free agent who’s looking to get away from the NY Knicks in the person of Carmelo Anthony. The reports are that he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Cavs or Rockets, but obviously, there’s work to be done on compensation for the Knicks. Don’t hold your breath on this one folks as it will take some time to work out if it actually happens.
  6. Will Carmelo work in Cleveland? Yes, he will, because the pressure would be on him to be ‘The Man” on the court. (that belongs to King James) Melo would suffice as a role player who can score and will complement James and Kyrie Irving well. But such a move would probably take giving up F Kevin Love to get him and I don’t think Love will be missed in Cleveland.
  7. Will Carmelo work in Houston? because he already knows what it’s like to work with other high scorers (see Denver Nuggets with Allen Iverson 2006-08) and it needs to be more than that. The Rockets aren’t a championship environment and will need more than James Harden and Chris Paul. Melo wouldn’t be that missing piece because there would still be no chemistry.
  8. Steph Curry’s deal-Lost in all the signings was the max deal that Warriors G Steph Curry received and what a deal it was: The 2-time NBA MVP signed a max deal worth $201 million, making him the first $200 million player in NBA history. And Curry does deserve it. It’s hard to believe that he was still on his rookie contract. Not bad for one who just won his 2nd NBA title in 3 years.
  9. Warriors other FA moves-The NBA champs weren’t done as they retained F Andre Iguodala and signed former LA Laker Nick Young to deals, which will definitely make the stronger as if they needed more
  10. Kevin Durant-Apparently this new NBA Champion has a new deal as well as he agreed to a new 2-year contact with the Warriors that will pay him $25 million in year one and an option year of $26.25 million in year two. A pretty selfless move by Durant who wanted to help his team’s salary cap by allowing the champs to retain their players. So far it’s working.
  11. MLB All-Star Team-Yep, it’s that time of year, the Mid-Summer Classic which is truly the best all-star game in all of the sports in my opinion. In the AL, Cleveland and Houston are tied for the most (5) and in the NL, the Washington Nationals have 5. The game will be played Tuesday, July 11th in Miami.
  12. Aaron Judge-To no surprise, my favorite NY Yankee is one of the AL Starters as he’s among 23 players who will make their first all-star appearance. So far Judge is hitting .331 with 29 HR and 65 RBI. Impressive. He’ll definitely win AL Rookie of the Year.
  13. Pirates All-Star Representative-For those who didn’t know, every MLB team will have at least one All-Star Representative which I think is kinda weird, but anyway, the Pittsburgh Pirates will send utility man Josh Harrison to the NL team in Miami. This will be Harrison’s 2nd all-star appearance after he made it in 2014. So far Harrison is hitting .279 with 9 HR and 27 RBI.
  14. No Andrew McChtchen or Filipe Rivero? Unfortunately not as both players certainly deserved to get in. And there’s still a possibility that they will as injury replacements McCutchen leads the Pirates with 16 HR and Rivero is the new closer with 5 saves and a 0.78 ERA.
  15. MLB Final Vote-The fans have a chance to vote 2 more players in and it was announced that KC 3B Mike Moustakas and fellow LA Dodgers 3B Justin Turner earned those votes to join their respective All-Star teams.
  16. The fate of the Pirates-Well, they failed to capitalize on the struggling NL Central as they got swept by the last-place SF Giants, and I feel that they will indeed unload several players by the August 1st Trade Deadline. Those players include McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Tony Watson and possibly Harrison. So stay tuned.
  17. NFL-To no surprise, this sport is pretty quiet as they get ready for training camps later in the month. Free agency is still going on, but there’s no current news on a significant signing.
  18. Le’Veon Bell-The question is will the Steelers All-Pro RB hold out for training camp? My answer is no because I don’t think he’s that foolish. I think the team will still strike a deal with him before camp starts, which means it has to happen soon.
  19. Darelle Revis-Apparently no one has expressed interest in the veteran All-Pro CB, probable because he’s probably done, but time will tell. He still could end up with the New England Patriots and maybe switch to safety. I wish the Steelers would pick him up.
  20. McDavid gets paid by the Oilers-He’s truly the next big hockey star and will probably be the next face of the NHL after Sidney Crosby retires. He won the MVP award and now the Edmonton Oilers gave C Connor McDavid an 8-year deal worth $100 million, which places his deal 3rd behind Crosby’s $104.4 million. He apparently wanted less to enable the Oilers to build a better team around him. Selfless guy.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on Twitter

 

Nutrition Tips That Will Help Your Age Well

How much do you really know about maintaining a healthy diet? Is there a plan in place when it comes to nutrition? If so, would you like to make your plan even better? Are all of your nutritional needs met? If you feel shaky about these questions, read on for some tips to help you improve.

Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. You should try to eliminate snacking all together, but if you find yourself craving something to munch on throughout the day or for a midnight snack, try having a piece of fruit. It can be just as filling as a cupcake or cookie but it’s a lot healthier and a lot fewer calories.

When cooking your lower-calorie and lower-fat diet meals, increase the amount of spices and flavoring you use. This will help you feel more satisfied with less food. If you get a variety of tastes in your meal, you won’t feel as deprived as if you are eating bland low-fat foods.

Limit your consumption of red meat to once a week or less. A great treat, red meat is not as healthy for you as other forms of protein. Try replacing some of your meals with fish, beans, and grains as the main components. Red meat has its place but nutritionally you can do better.

If you can make one change to improve your nutrition, it should be to reduce or eliminate sugars. Much has been made of low-glycemic index foods, and indeed there is a strong basis to show that lowering sugars can guard against health problems such as diabetes, as well as lowering one’s appetite for sugary foods, which can contribute to weight loss.

In order to maintain a healthy body, getting the right amount of sleep is very instrumental. A good sleeping tip that anyone can do is to limit the intake of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. These substances can disturb sleep patterns, and therefore, will prevent the body from having proper rest.

Make sure you read all labels and understand you know what it is you are eating before you eat it. You don’t want to go in with any assumptions about foods you are unsure of before you eat them. Do some reading and research to know what is and isn’t healthy for your body.

Add some avocados into your daily nutritional diet. They are rich in many nutrients. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats that help reduce the level of cholesterol. They are also high in potassium, an important mineral in stabilizing blood pressure. Avocados are a good source of folate, which is important for a healthy heart.

Carrots are universally recommended by nutritionists. Most of us eat carrots because we like the taste. They are also rich in carotenoids, vitamins, and iodine. Studies show that carrots lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of lung cancer. Also, carrots provide a natural source of sugar, that is safe for diabetics.

Teenagers can have a hard time getting the nutrition that they need. Girls tend to find that this is a time that they gain weight easily, while boys tend to lose it. Helping your teen strive for a healthy diet that is geared toward nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight will help them get through this hard time of life.

Liven up your homemade omelet, by including fresh or frozen vegetables. Omelets have an irresistible attraction when they contain fresh or frozen vegetables. Vegetables add interest, as well as, texture, color, flavor and vital nutrients. Just slice some up, saute and then add them to the omelet just before you flip and close it up.

While sports drinks with electrolytes are good for situations in which you are undergoing a highly rigorous physical activity, such as playing basketball or football, they aren’t necessary for the average fitness buff. Unless you risk severe hydration during your workout or sports activity, stick with cold water instead of hitting the sports drinks.

Make sure you’re getting enough folic acid in your diet during your pregnancy. If you’re not, the low levels can lead to abnormalities in the fetus or even spina bifida. Even if you have to take a vitamin every day to keep your folic acid levels up, do whatever it takes to keep the baby healthy.

Apples are great sources of nutrition. They are full of fiber, including pectins, which help make you full, pleasantly sweet, contain lots of antioxidants, and in general fill you up without too many calories. Their portability also makes them great for having as a snack between meals or taking to the office.

Eating a balanced diet also means balancing uncooked and cooked foods. Try to make one third of the foods you consume uncooked. This will help you ensure that you’re getting plenty of natural nutrients and they’re not all being destroyed in the cooking process. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help.

Vegetables should make up a large part of your diet. Try to include them in every meal. To get more vegetables in your diet add them to everything. Put peas, carrots, and corn in casseroles, add lettuce and tomatoes to sandwiches and wraps, and snack on vegetables with dip. Use vegetables to liven up your food, and you will be eating the recommended amount in no time.

There are tons of different diets and eating plans out there available for anyone to try. It should be noted however that the essential plan of nutrition is the original food chart which incorporates all of the different food groups into a balanced diet. It is important to acknowledge that we need a little bit of everything in order to maintain a healthy body.

Do you know as much as you should know about nutrition? Are you following a better diet now? Are you going to be able to properly modify a nutritional plan to fit your needs? Does your plan provide for your needs? The tips in the above article can help you with some of your fitness questions.  editor@urbanmediatoday.com

Best Beaches for Families to Drive in Pittsburgh, PA

In your college years, spring break has all been about partying into the early morning hours of several of the craziest and wildest vacation destinations. However, now that you already have your own family and got kids, spring break and hot spots like Cancun and Miami would not just cut it. Nevertheless, it does not mean that you need to give up all the excitement and fun to escape several days from the ho-hum and chill situations of Pittsburgh. There are lots of great spring break getaways, which are conveniently located within just a few hours of downtown Pittsburgh, most of which, offering lots of family-friendly relaxation and fun. Pack up your car and your suitcases, and treat the entire family to a spring break vacation in one of these destinations considered the best for Pittsburgh families.

  1. Camelback Mountain Waterpark – Get wild and wet at Camelback Mountain Waterpark. It is the largest waterpark in Pennsylvania. You will forget that you are in the Pocono Mountains when you are slipping and sliding on more than 37 different water slides, rides, and attractions amidst its 84-degree and climate controlled temperature. The Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark is ideal for the entire family, as it is offering fun for all ages, ranging from the Camel Kid Theme Park, up to the family rides for the little ones, and the rushing thrill rides specially designed for bigger kids.
  2. Rehoboth Beach – Nothing says spring break, such as a trip to the beach. With that, the Rehoboth Beach in Delaware is among the favorite seaside stops of Pittsburghers. It is family friendly, welcoming, and clean. Rehoboth is offering a resort feel without all of the craziness that you would see at common spring break beaches. As a matter of fact, it is a great place for kids because of it numerous boardwalk activities, parks, and restaurants.
  3. New River Gorge National River – There is no place like the New River Gorge National River in Virginia, which you can take in great outdoors. The entire family is going to enjoy endless days of having to explore the mountain region of the state with everything from hiking and camping up to white water rafting. Younger children are going to love the Youth Arts in the Park events, the Junior Ranger program, along with the Science Youth Nature Camp. Get yourself surrounded by the beauty of nature with this about a 4-hour drive south, in Glen Jean.
  4. Delaware Beaches – The Atlantic Coast is offering sun-craving Pittsburghers with an easy ocean escape. In the southern Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach is drawing a younger crowd because of its renowned party vibe and nightlife.
  5. Jersey Shore – Just like the beaches in Delaware, the Atlantic coast in southern New Jersey is an approximately 7-hour drive from Pittsburgh, offering a wide range of beaches, from the urban boardwalk and famous casinos of the Atlantic City to the amusement parks and calm Victorian beauty of Cape May in Wildwood.

Get ready for what you would need for the summer while thinking about which among these best beaches are really best to drive with families. editor@urbanmediatoday.com

NBA: Free Agency is Fan-tastic

The NBA Free Agent Signing Period started off with a bang after the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers announced a trade just days before the official start of Free Agency. That trade was Chris Paul going to the Rockets for seven players, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations

 

Wow, really seven players ( Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer), I think that most of you will agree this is a game changer for the Rockets who will now add CP3 to the backcourt that already has triple-double threat  James Harden aka The Beard.

 

Things became even more interesting Friday night at midnight when NBA Free Agency became official. Golden State Warriors All-Star Guard Steph Curry topped the Saturday morning headlines when it was announced that the Golden State Warriors re-signed the star guard to a $201 million dollar five-year contract. Making Curry the $200 million man. The Warriors then went on to re-sign veteran forward Andre Iguodala to a  $48 Million dollar 3-year   Contract as well as Sean Livingston signing to $24 Million  3  year deal and David West agreeing to a $1 Million 1-year  deal. Not to mention NBA MVP Kevin Durant is now an unrestricted free agent but has every intention of re-signing with the Warriors in a deal that could earn him at least $31 Million dollars a season. Golden State is looking Golden and still, could add another scorer in the L.A. Lakers  Nick  Young (aka Swaggy P) a 6’7″ Shooting Guard who is instant offense off the bench. Oh yeah and the NBA Champions still have  Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

 

Another big story that took place on the first full weekend of the Free Agency Signing period was that of Indiana Pacers Forward Paul George taking his 23 Points per game to Oklahoma City and joining the 2017 NBA MVP  Russell Westbrook adding more versatility to the Thunders offensive attack. In return, the Indiana Pacers received former Indiana University star Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Oladipo averaged 15 points and 4 rebounds per game for OKC, while the 6’11” Sabonis averaged a mere 5 points and 3 rebounds per contest.  What makes this deal more interesting for OKC is that George will still become a free-agent at the end of next season and has made it clear he interested in playing for the L.A. Lakers. Maybe Oklahoma City can convince him to stay if his teaming up with the Triple-Threat machine Westbrook can get the Thunder past the Warriors and into the NBA Finals.

 

The L.A. Clippers after losing Chris Paul to the Rockets mad sure they would not lose slam dunking forward Blake Griffin who they signed over the weekend to a 5-year deal worth $173 Million making him the next face of the Clippers. As did the Toronto Raptors with All-Star Point Guard Kyle Lowry, Signing the point guard to a three-year $100 Million deal.

 

 

Then there is Utah Jazz star forward  Gordon Hayward who is being sought after by the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. Hayward led the Jazz to the playoffs last season averaging 21 points and 5 rebounds a game and if the Jazz can’t convince their star to stay put they may not see the post season for a long time to come. Also in New York Carmelo Anthony has made it known that he will opt out of hi no trade clause with the New York Knicks if he is traded to the Houston Rockets or the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 10-time All-Star has not had it easy in New York in the not so distant past but still has major talent and if added to what’s happening in Houston or paired up with Lebron James in Cleveland  The Young man from Baltimore would make some noise ( in a good way ).

 

Keep your eye on the decisions of Hayward and Anthony as well as Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay who is expected to meet with   Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers.

 

Like I said this year NBA Free Agency signing period is Fan -tastic  (Have you paid attention to the amount of money being spent?)

Trevin A  Jones

Follow me on Twitter: @UMTSportsreport

Reach out with questions or comments at News@UrbanMediaToday.com

Things You Have To Know About Cooking

Cooking has many benefits. Cooking saves money, as you can spend less on fast food and casual dining restaurants, and eat less expensive, home meals. Cooking is healthier than fast food, as you can use fewer oils and fats to prepare food. This article can help anyone learn to cook.

If you are following a recipe, make sure that you do not follow this religiously, as you should always add a personal spice to your meal. Instead of following a pizza recipe to the tee, add some red pepper to inject a punch into your dish to make it unique and individualized.

As you cook your meal during the course of the night, make sure that you taste it at several different points. This will allow you to pinpoint exactly when it is done so that you do not run the risk of overcooking it. Tasting your food is important to achieve the quality you desire.

Pizza has a lot of flavors, to begin with depending on how you cook it but adding olive oil can help bring out a vibrant aroma. The next time you are making pizza, cook with olive oil to instill a rich flavor in the dish that you make for optimal satisfaction.

If you are always in the kitchen cooking, invest in a knife sharpener. This will ensure that your utensils are sharp at all times, which will give you the ability to maximize the quality of your cuts. Keeping your utensils up to par is very important when cooking in the kitchen.

Someone can juice fruits and vegetables if they want to be sneaky when adding nutrients to their children’s foods. The juice can be poured in with other juices or it can be added to soups. Someone could also turn the juice into homemade pop cycles which will be hard for kids to resist.

Use airtight containers for storing flour, sugar, and baking mixes in the kitchen. Not only will these containers make sure your foods aren’t contaminated by bugs, the lack of air will keep your goods fresher for longer. You can buy these nearly anywhere, so they’re a worthwhile investment.

Ginger roots can be used for several dishes so it’s worth learning how to store them. For a few days, you can just put them in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer. For a much longer storage, freeze the unpeeled ginger root and cut the piece you need while it is frozen.

When making baked goods, try to get parchment paper for lining pans. By using parchment paper, your baked goods will be easier to remove and it will help to keep your food in one piece. Also, using parchment paper makes less of a mess and is much easier to clean up afterward.

Plan your meals in advance. One of the biggest time wasters is engaging in the “what am I going to fix for dinner?” debate. Often, we could have dinner on the table by the time we fuss with examining the options. Over the weekend – or whenever your free time occurs – think through the upcoming week and loosely plan four or five meals you know your family will enjoy. This advance planning allows you the time to stock your fridge and pantry with the items you need.

Don’t use prepared seasoning mixes when you cook, especially if you have high blood pressure. These mixes often have a high sodium content. Instead, use fresh herbs and spices, or make sure you choose a low-salt mix. For more flavor, try adding lemon or lime zest or a few chili peppers to your meal.

Although macaroni and cheese is considered to be a simple dish, there are steps that must be followed to produce the perfect bowl of comfort. The macaroni cooks perfectly when you do this and is nothing short of spectacular after the nice, creamy, melted cheese is poured over the noodles. For serving, a solid spoon works best. Another great tip is to spice things up a bit with some black pepper.

If you want to have perfectly cooked bacon that does not curl up when you cook it, then you should soak it in cold water before putting it in the pan. You should also make sure to place the bacon in a cold pan because heating the pan too soon will cause it to stick.

A great cooking tip is to spray your pan with oil before you cook with it. Spraying the pan with oil will make it so that the food doesn’t stick to the pan. Trying to clean a pan with food stuck on it can be very frustrating and time-consuming.

Get all your prep work done the night before you plan to cook a big meal. Getting the most time-consuming part out of the way helps alleviate stress during the actual meal preparation. In addition, your family or friends are sure to be impressed with the speed with which you whip up a culinary masterpiece!

Stock up on ingredients at your local farmers’ market. This fresh, healthy food pretty much prepares itself. The flavors of natural foods dress up the taste of any dish. Avoid over preparing these foods to preserve the natural flavor, and follow your instinct when it says to leave an ingredient out. Sometimes, the most simple dishes are the best.

When you are boiling rice, pasta, or vegetables it is very important that you salt the boiling water before placing the food in the pot. This helps the salt absorb, and it will taste better than if you add salt to the food after it has already been cooked.

One way to ensure that you are cooking in a nutritional manner is to make sure that you do not overcook your vegetables. This is important because overcooking can actually draw the nutrients out of your vegetables and also cause them to lose taste. Try steaming your veggies instead of boiling.

As stated before, there are many benefits to cooking, including financial and health benefits. Using the sound advice found in this article, you can create fantastic dishes that will save you money by avoiding spending money on restaurants, and make you healthier, by using fresh ingredients that are low in fat. editor@urbanmediatoday.com