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LeBron James sends Cavaliers to Game 3 in matching suits

Basketball superstar LeBron James has made a habit of buying his teammates gifts during the NBA playoffs.

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Previous gifts have included Beats by Dre headphones, Apple watches, Samsung Edge phones and even personalized shields. This year, James wanted his teammates to look sharp when they arrived for Game 3 of the Cavaliers’ first-round series, which shifted to Indianapolis on Friday. So, he bought matching suits for all 15 players, ESPN reported.

The Cavaliers arrived at Bankers Life Fieldhouse wearing gray suits, a white oxford shirt, a gray tie and a gray cashmere cardigan sweater, ESPN reported. Players also received black leather boots, overcoats and bags.

The Cavs looked good before the tip-off, but Indiana’s players were not impressed. The Pacers won 92-90, sending Cleveland to a 2-1 deficit in the series.

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card fetches record  $2.88 million at auction

Mickey Mantle baseball cards are coveted by collectors, and the 1952 Topps card of the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame outfielder remains the gold standard for post-World War II collectibles.

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The bar was raised even higher Thursday night, as a ’52 Mantle in mint condition -- graded PSA 9 by Professional Sports Authenticator -- sold for $2,880,000 in an online event hosted by Heritage Auctions. That price, which includes the buyer’s premium, is the most ever paid for a post-World War II trading card and the second-highest for any trading card, Sports Collectors Daily reported. 

The highest amount was $3.12 million for a T206 Honus Wagner card sold in October 2016 by Goldin Auctions.

“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is more than just a baseball card,” PSA President Joe Orlando said in a news release. “It is pop culture art and the symbol of the card collecting hobby itself.”

There were 21 bids cast for the Mantle card, which was part of Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Card Catalog Auction. The previous record for a 1952 Mantle graded PSA 9 was set in 2006, when Memory Lane Auction sold one for $282,588, PSA said in its release. The previous record for a Mantle card, regardless of grade, was a PSA 8.5 that sold in 2016 for $1.13 million.

The card that was sold Thursday night was owned by former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis, who played for six teams during his professional career. Wednesday night, Mathis spoke with with ESPN’s Bob Ley about the card and his love for collecting. Mathis said he sold the card to finance a new home in Tennessee, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Mantle’s 1952 card is not the slugger’s true rookie card, but it is the first card that Topps issued. The 1951 Bowman card of the Mick is considered his rookie card, and one graded PSA 9 sold during this week’s Heritage Auctions sale for $750,000.

“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card captures the attention of baseball fans, serious collectors, and investors alike and this auction made it one of the most valuable sports collectibles in existence,” Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage Auctions, told Sports Collectors Daily. “It’s a phenomenal price, a world record, but it’s also the natural progression of a trend we’ve seen building for years.”

Legendary Pittsburgh wrestler, Bruno Sammartino has died

Legendary wrestler, Bruno Sammartino has died. He was 82.

Sammartino grew up in Italy, but moved to Pittsburgh in 1950. He held the WWE Championship title for nearly eight straight years, which remains a record to this day.

Sammartino went on to perform many feats in the ring.

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He held the WWF Title for 12 years, the longest anyone held the title. He survived a broken neck and went back to the ring to fight again. He sold out Madison Square Garden 187 times.

He left wrestling in the 1980’s.

After wrestling he stayed in Pittsburgh where he was most loved.

30,000 runners start wet, windy Boston Marathon

About 30,000 runners braved freezing and torrential rain and wind on the race between Hopkinton to Copley Square for the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Yuki Kawauchi from Japan won the men's Boston Marathon with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 58 seconds.

He’s the first Japanese man to win the Boston Marathon since 1987, according to The Associated Press, beating 

Geoffrey Kirui, of Kenya, to win his first Abbott World Marathon major title.

Desiree Linden is the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985, the AP reported.

Linden is a two-time Olympian and 2011 Boston runner-up. She ran the slowest time for a woman’s winner since 1978 with a time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds, the AP reported.

Tatyana McFadden won the women's wheelchair race and her fifth Boston Marathon, while Marcel Hug took home his fourth consecutive Boston Marathon win in the male wheelchair division.

The cold weather was a big problem for some runners at the marathon. The marathon’s medical director told Boston 25 news that hundreds of people suffered from hypothermia and cold-weather related issues.

Weather can be a challenge for runners of the Boston Marathon, according to the AP:

  • Monday had temperatures in the 30s with rain and wind.
  • In 2007, the area had a nor’easter leading up to the race.
  • Five marathons were run in snow; latest in 1967.
  • In 1976 temperatures were so hot that the race was nicknamed “Run for the Hoses.” Runner’s World reported that temperatures hit mid-90s.
  • In 2012, temperatures hit 89 degrees.
  • In 1905, temperatures topped 100 degrees.
  • In 1939, racers ran in the dark at the start of the marathon thanks to a storm and partial solar eclipse.
  • In 2002, the mist was so thick that helicopters covering the race were grounded.
  • In 2010, flights for runners heading to Boston were grounded because of a volcano in Iceland that was spewing ash into the sky that stopped air traffic in Europe grounded for weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Boxer wearing border-wall shorts crumbles against Mexican opponent

An American boxer wearing boxing trunks that depicted a border wall was beaten by his Mexican opponent Thursday night.

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Rod Salka faced Francisco Vargas in Indio, California, KABC reported.

Salka's shorts had a brick-wall pattern in American flag colors, with the slogan “America 1st” emblazoned his waistband.

That didn’t matter to Vargas, who defeated Salka by TKO, sending Salka and the wall crumbling to the mat in the sixth round.

Salka, 35, fell to 24-5 as his five-bout winning streak was stopped. Vargas improved to 24-1-2.

KC Royals sign player with autism to minor-league contract

The Kansas City Royals signed a player with autism to a minor-league baseball contract Friday, WDAF reported.

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Tarik El-Abour, 25, an outfielder from San Marino, California, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 and did not speak until he was 6. He is believed to be the first player with autism to sign with a major-league baseball organization, the Kansas City Star reported.

“Baseball and autism are very similar in terms of discipline and repetitiveness,” former Royals player and team special adviser Reggie Sanders told WDAF. “It kind of goes hand-in-hand. It’s a beautiful thing when it can marry together.”

Sanders’ 40-year-old brother, Demetrius, was diagnosed with autism at age 3, the Star reported. Sanders decided to launch a foundation to spread awareness about the condition.

“We’re doing something that provides an opportunity for people to see what it looks like for inclusion, number one, and creates that awareness — but also in sustainability,” Sanders, who ended his 17-year major-league career in 2007 after two seasons with the Royals, told the Star. “For me, that’s really what tugs my heart.”

El-Abour played baseball at Pasadena City College in California and transferred to Concordia University after his sophomore year. After being cut by Concordia, El-Abour played at Pacifica College and Bristol University.

In 2016, El-Abour played in the independent Empire League and won rookie-of-the-year honors after hitting .323, the Star reported. Last year, El-Abour batted .240 in league play.

El-Abour will play in rookie-league games at the Royals’ extended spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona, WDAF reported.

Golfer's tee shot hits bird in mid-air at PGA Tour event

This is not what Kelly Kraft had in mind when he wanted to shoot birdie.

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Playing at the RBC Heritage PGA Tour event at Harbour Town Golf Links on Friday, Kraft’s tee shot at the par-3 14th hole glanced off a “giant, black bird” and fell into the water in front of the green.

The bird flew away, and so did Kraft’s chances of playing this weekend.

“It cost me the cut, most likely,” Kraft told PGATour.com. “There was a helping wind, and I hit a 7-iron, caught it perfect. It was probably 30 yards off the tee box and this giant, black bird swooped in front of it and hit it and the ball fell 20 yards short in the water. It would’ve been in the middle of the green. It might have been close. I got screwed.”

Hitting a bird on the golf course is a rarity, and Kraft called for a ruling from a Tour official. 

“Robert Garrigus (Kraft’s playing partner) came running up to me first,” said Mark Dusbabek, one of the Tour officials on site. “He said, ‘His ball hit a bird in flight! That’s a cancel-and-replay, right?’”

Wrong. The cancel-and-replay rule only applies when a ball hits a man-made object, like a power line, ESPN reported.

“The big difference is a bird is a God-made object,” Dillard Pruitt, another rules official, told PGATour.com. “Whereas a telephone wire is man-made. It’s just a stroke of bad luck. It doesn’t happen very often, but today is Friday the 13th. Freaky Friday.” 

Kraft was forced to take a double-bogey on the hole. He recovered slightly with birdies at No. 17 and No. 1, but bogeyed the seventh hole to finish at 1-over par 71. His two-round total of 143 meant Kraft missed the cut by one shot.

“It’s kind of a dumb rule that you can’t re-tee there,” Kraft said. “If you hit a power line, you can re-tee, and if a bird moves your ball while it’s resting you can replace it. But there’s nothing you can do about this.“This has got to be more unusual than a hole-in-one. Two moving objects colliding? I mean you hit balls all day long on the range and you don’t hit another ball in the air.”

Kids skip school for Cubs home opener, run into school-missing principal at ballpark

Two boys from Illinois did what almost any diehard Cubs fan would do: They skipped school to get to the home opener this week.

Tucker and Gunner Speckman tempted fate with a sign that caught a lot of attention, WQAD reported. It said “Skipping school. S-h-h-h, don’t tell Principal Versluis.” The sign was intended to get them on television. It did its job and got the attention of the MLB, which posted it to its Twitter account.

But Tucker and Gunner weren’t alone at the game Tuesday . Little did they know Principal Patrick Versluis, the same principal on the sign, also skipped school. He actually called off sick so he could take his son to the first home game of the season.

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As much as the boys probably didn’t want to see the administrator, he didn’t want to see his students either.

“I saw him and I was kind of ducking down,” Versluis told the Chicago Sun Times. “I didn’t want him to see me either. I’m here with my son, Aiden, who’s in the fifth grade and I called out sick for the day.”

Versluis is part of a group of guys who share season tickets. This year he was the lucky one to get the opening day game. He said that while school and learning are important, so are some experiences that you can’t pass up.

“Attendance is important. But, we also learn from these experiences in life. Who’s giving up opening day? Come on,” Versluis told WQAD.

The boys are apparently good students, too. WQAD said they were given the tickets by their parents for straight A’s.

Tucker and Gunner did meet up with Versluis and snapped a photo of the trio of skippers.

The Cubs fell to the Pirates 8-5.

 

Father running in Boston Marathon to support center that treated daughter

Thousands of people will be running the Boston Marathon on Monday, all with their own reasons. But for one girl from Scituate, Massachusetts, and her father, the motivation is giving back.

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Maeve Kendall was 9 years old when she was diagnosed with a form of leukemia called acute lymphoblastic leukemia antigen, or ALLA.

“At first I was just worried about it. I was like, am I going to die?” said Maeve, now 12.

While ALLA is highly treatable, it was a long road for Maeve and her family with years of treatment.

“Injections in her spine to make sure the cancer doesn't go to her brain; a kid that age shouldn't have to go through that stuff,” said her father, Mike Kendall.

The family got through those difficult days with love, hope and the support of the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

“I love doing everything they have there, they have crafts. It just makes the experience more easier,” Maeve said.

She’s now cancer-free, but Maeve’s bones are still weak from the treatment. Her dad is her strength.

“He's kind of like my legs, because I can't run. So that's what's cool about it,” she said.

Now her father’s legs are going to carry him 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston to raise money for Dana-Farber.

He his running “to make sure that the next kid or the next man or woman who comes along has a better chance and a better quality of life as their going through treatment,” Kendall said.

Seeing Maeve at the finish line will make it all worthwhile.

“I think about that moment a lot when I'm out there running. That's exactly what I'm doing it for to have that fulfillment at the end,” Kendall said.

The Kendalls are hoping to raise $15,000 for Dana-Farber. To learn more about Mike’s run and donate, visit the Run Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge website.

Florida youth football coach punched 3 kids, police say

A Florida youth football coach has been arrested and faces child abuse charges for allegedly punching three kids during a fight on the field, New Smyrna Beach Police said.

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Larry Shawn Cruce, 33, of Orange Park, was arrested Saturday.

Police were called to the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex at 1800 Turnbull Bay.

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Witnesses told police that after the last play of the game several kids got into an argument that turned into a fight on the field. Team players with the Middleburg Broncos, near Jacksonville, ran onto the field and got involved in the fight, police said. Cruce began to hit and punch several of the kids who belonged to the Cudas football team, police said.

Cruce grabbed one of the Cudas player’s face masks, punched him in the face and then attacked two other students, witnesses said.

“He came out of nowhere, just lifted up my helmet, hit me in my neck, then my coach grabbed me away,” said victim Omahri Meeks.

The kids were not seriously hurt.

Other coaches broke up the brawl.

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"There are consequences to actions and decisions that we make as adults. I definitely hope that it goes all the way. He needs some type of punishment for this, to teach him a lesson that this is not something you do,” said Meeks' mother, Charmaine Winter.

Cruce refused to comment to WFTV reporter Lauren Seabrook.

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