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Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
SportsCenter (10 a.m., ESPN)
The Tampa Bay Rays thought they discovered an unlikely semi-pro league gem in 2000 whose hitting power was compared to Babe Ruth: Gregory “Toe” Nash. But, after just one year of pro ball, legal trouble sent Nash to prison for nearly a decade. Jeremy Schaap reports on Nash, a talent from the Louisiana sugar fields who proved too sweet to be true.
“I was supposed to be on TV right now, playing ball. You know, I just messed it up. I’m talking in my head, ‘Everything’s right there in front of me’. You know, just one wrong turn.” — Gregory “Toe” Nash
“I mean, it was just like this new born, like a project, like you could just build him. He hit right handed. He hit left handed. Homer. Homer. Both sides. I mean, no one’s hitting opposite field home runs at will, in rookie ball. He’s in left field just throwing the ball on a line to home plate. It was almost like, ‘What’s Toe going to do today?’” — Jonny Gomes, Red Sox outfielder and Nash’s rookie ball teammate in Princeton, W.Va.
“I remember in the second inning he hit a home run, a towering home run. As the game continued to play out, he’s batting left-handed. If it was 402 down the right side, then he hit it 460.” — Benny Latino, former Rays scout recalling the first game he saw Nash play in Louisiana’s semi-pro Sugar Cane League
Pastor Dean has baptized 66 professional umpires, calling them safe in the only way that matters.
Jon Mooallem writes: “Every day is Judgment Day for an umpire. In the early days of organized baseball, team owners actually encouraged fans to harass umps who made questionable, or just unpopular, calls — throw beer bottles at them, or even the occasional brick.”
Should the Cavs take the raw but tantalizing wing with high upside? Or the NBA-ready forward with a lower ceiling? The ESPN Front Office, a new panel of ESPN analysts and NBA Insiders, went pick-by-pick and debated every possible scenario as if they were actually in the war room on draft night. ESPN NBA Front Office: Tom Penn, general manager; Chad Ford, assistant GM; Amin Elhassan, director of scouting; Kevin Pelton, director of analytics; George Karl, head coach.
Two weeks ago, a group of 11 girls from eight states met for the first time in Chino Hills, California, brought together by their love of baseball. The next day they took the field as a team — the only all-girls team in a tournament of boys. Reported by espnW.com’s Sarah Spain, who is also a SportsCenter anchor for ESPN Chicago 1000 and reporter for ESPNChicago.com.