Friday, March 21, 2014

No major deals? B's still excel

<Buy Cheapp>By Nick Mallard,

Updated: 03/21/2014 06:50:18 AM EDT

Circle March 5 on your calendar.

That date just two weeks ago was the day critics sounded the death knell for the Boston Bruins and their hopes this season.

The experts said the Bruins needed to make a big transaction by that day, the NHL trade deadline. The defense was too inexperienced. The team needed depth. The amount of holes in the roster was akin to Swiss cheese.

Without some kind of big deal, the Bruins would fade down the stretch. If they made the playoffs, a quick and painful exit was imminent.

It can't be argued that the Bruins lacked a splashy move at the deadline. Acquiring Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter, a pair of unspectacular defensemen, was essentially all General Manager Peter Chiarelli did.

Sure, the Bruins had won their last two games as the deadline approached, but prior to that, they had dropped a pair coming out of the Olympic break. Certainly, something had to be done to make sure Boston did more than tread water down the stretch.

The lack of movement at the deadline would surely be Boston's undoing.

What's that old saying? Hindsight is 20-20?

Looking back, it certainly seems that doing very little at the trade deadline was the right thing to do. Since then, the Bruins (47-17-5) have rattled off eight more victories, running their winning streak to 10 games.

And yes, inexperience on the blue line -- the problem many critics felt could be solved at the deadline -- could still come back to haunt Boston. Who knows how defensemen like Matt Bartkowksi and Dougie Hamilton -- crucial to the team's success this season -- will react in extended playoff minutes without Dennis Seidenberg manning a defensive spot.

But that's the future. In the present tense, Boston is firing on all cylinders. The 10-game winning streak matches the Anaheim Ducks' own stretch for the longest in the NHL this season.

Defensively, there have been hiccups, but the Black and Gold find ways to overcome the flaws. Whether it's 36-year-old Jarome Iginla finding the fountain of youth and leading the team in goals with 26 or netminder Tuukka Rask -- and backup Chad Johnson, for that matter -- stealing games, every night there's a new hero.

Depth isn't an issue, at least offensively. Iginla's play resembles his all-world years in Calgary a decade ago, while linemates David Krejci (team-leading 60-points) and Milan Lucic look as motivated and effective as ever.

And Brad Marchand, the team's pesky sparkplug, has forgotten his scoring slump that started the season, having now potted 22 goals, and is clicking seamlessly with Patrice Bergeron (20 goals) and Reilly Smith (19 goals).

And it's not just the top two lines potting markers. Defenseman Torey Krug is the two-way, puck-moving point man fans have clamored over for years, scoring 14 goals this season and providing key minutes on the power play. Captain Zdeno Chara has even gotten in on the offensive end, scoring 16 times.

Behind a solid team-defense philosophy, Rask and Johnson have combined to put up the second-best goals-against average in the league (2.10). Rask is third in both GAA and save percentage and has won 31 games, while Johnson has been sensational in relief, going 15-3-1 with a 2.14 GAA.

Combine a red-hot offense and spectacular netminding and you get a league-leading plus-74 goal differential.

The key to Boston continuing the success lies with Claude Julien. The head coach shrugged off recent comments about the team peaking too early, pointing to several things he thinks his players can do better. That drive will certainly keep the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins from falling into complacency down the stretch.

While there's still a lot of hockey left to be played this spring, it's nice to see the world didn't end following the trade deadline. They're not a perfect team, but the Bruins have embraced the idea of being a team perfectly.

Why change now?

Follow Nick Mallard on Twitter and Tout @n_mallard

Thursday, March 20, 2014

See Robinson Cano run - well, probably not


Seattle Mariners' robinson cano jay z Cano at bat against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training baseball game, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Robinson Cano is beginning the first season of a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners.

Imagine how much he might havve made if he ran hard to first base.

Cano's baseball skills are undeniable: He has batted .300 or better in seven of nine seasons, has hit at least 25 homers five consecutive years, has played in at least 159 games in each of the last seven seasons and won two Gold Gloves as a second baseman. But, you know, he doesn't like running out ground balls.

I recall once going to a Yo-Yo Ma concert in which the famed cellist dogged it on some minor chords because, as he told me afterward, "they're just minor chords." That's the last time I'm paying $6 on StubHub for classical tickets.

Some argue that Cano has occasional leg problems, and by picking a spot here and there not to run hard, is saving those legs. Really? By jogging those 90 feet between home plate and first base, he's extending his career? Please. A Ritz-Carlton bellhop covers more ground between the check-in desk and the elevator bank, and he's carrying luggage.

With his new contract, Cano is making $150,000 a game, but that doesn't guarantee the former Yankee will run out grounders. That would be like me getting 150 grand per column and leaving off punctuation from time to time because I'm not in the mood.

To negotiate his latest deal, Cano switched agents, from Scott Boras to Jay Z. From rapping to repping, Jay Z has seamlessly made the transition from offensive lyrics to offensive contracts.

(Column Intermission: Springbrook's boys basketball team won three games in three nights to advance to the Maryland Class 4A state semifinals. When the Blue Devils won the region final - as Aaron Robinson made four of five three-pointers in the opening quarter - I nearly cried for the first time since watching "Rudy." And my stepson, Isaiah Eisendorf, has gotten so good, I might add him to my will and drop my brother; sorry, Steve.)

Jay Z had hoped to procure Cano a $300 million deal, but settled for a mere $240 million with no conditions on running out grounders. I am reminded of the pre-Scott Boras/Jay Z days, when greed did not overtake America and contract talks were a lot simpler - as demonstrated in this scene from the 1942 film "Casablanca," in which Sam the piano player considers a job offer:

Rick: "Sam, Ferrari wants you to work for him at the Blue Parrot."

Sam: "Oh I like it fine here [at Rick's]."

Rick: "He'll double what I pay you."

Sam: "Yeah, but I ain't got time to spend the money I make here."

Rick (to Ferrari): "Sorry."

Sure, Sam left a lot of money on the table, and with Jay Z or Boras in his corner, he probably could've tripled his salary. But what about happiness? What if he didn't like the commute to the east end of Casablanca? Sam was ahead of the curve and likely ran with gusto to his piano every shift.

Will the Mariners get their $240 million worth? If he helps them win, Cano will spike attendance, but, otherwise, he is not a draw. People come out for A-Rod and Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, to see Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole pitch, but nobody's changing their Friday night plans to watch Cano run halfheartedly after hitting a ground ball.

A number of years ago, I applied for a position at a telephone company as a utility line repairman. At the job interview, I mentioned that, on occasion, I didn't like climbing telephone poles early in the morning. That ended the interview and my chances for the job.

Similarly - and I know someone out there is going to tell me this isn't analogous - shouldn't the fact that a player doesn't run hard to first on routine grounders preclude him from work at the highest levels of baseball? Apparently not. Well, shouldn't it at least preclude him from signing one of the biggest contracts in MLB history? Apparently not.

I wonder if Robinson Cano at least runs hard to the bank. Nah. He probably has direct deposit.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SHLD: Sears Will Spin Off Lands' End on April 4

Burke Speaker, Investorplace Writer

sears ( SHLD) is pushing Land's End out on its own to be an independent company beginning in April, which will trade under NASDAQ with the symbol LE.

]SHLD stockholders as of March 24 will receive a 0.3 share of Land's End for each share of SHLD stock they own.

Reuters is reporting that prior to the spin-off, Lands' End will pay a $500 million dividend to Sears which is funded by a new senior secured term loan.

Sears has been struggling financially and it's been speculated for some time that it would shed Land's End.

Lands' End is the latest asset that Sears has shed as it struggles with mounting operating losses and declining sales.

Sears spun off its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores unit in 2011 and its Sears Hometown and Outlet business in 2012. The company continues to operate its Sears department stores and the Kmart discount chain.

Lands' End is expected to borrow perhaps some $175 million for capital via an asset-based senior secured revolving credit facility, Sears said in its announcement.

Sears is down in the last full year by 13%, but went up about 1% on the news.

SHLD stock is down 8% year to date.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

©2014 InvestorPlace Media, LLC

Monday, March 17, 2014

Target deals 3/16: Eggs, cheese, apples, granola bars and more!

Target has some good deals this week on eggs, cheese, apples, granola bars and more! There is also an in-ad Deal Of The Day for pet food and litter. Please share any other deals you find at Target this week!

The deals from the ad this week are valid 3/16 - 3/22/14.

In-ad coupon: $10 off dog/cat food or cat litter purchase of $40 or more (excludes treats and rawhides). Valid in-store only. Coupon expires 3/22/14.

Deals from the ad:

Eggs, 1 dozen, $1.79 - .50 mobile coupon when you text THANKS to 827438 AND 5% off Cartwheel discount

Market Pantry shredded cheese, 6 - 8 oz, $2.00 - .75/1 mobile coupon when you text THANKS to 827438 AND 5% off Cartwheel discount

Market Pantry granola bars, 6 or 8 count, $1.50 - %5 off Cartwheel discount

Gala or Granny Smith apples, 3 lb bag, $2.99 - $1 fresh fruit mobile coupon when you text THANKS to 827438 AND 5% off Cartwheel discount for bagged apples

Hormel Always Tender baby back pork ribs, $2.99/lb - $1 coupon from 2/9 SS

Additional ways to save at Target: printable coupons: You can find printable coupons at when you scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on Coupons. The store Target coupons can be combined with manufacturer's coupons on the same item.

Cartwheel discounts: There are also coupons available through their Cartwheel program HERE. With the Cartwheel discounts, you can load specific % off savings to your Cartwheel account and then print out a barcode that is scanned at the register at the store or show the barcode on your smartphone through the Cartwheel app (which is what I usually do to save money on ink and paper). These Cartwheel savings can be combined with store and manufacturer's coupons for even greater savings. No more than one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon and one Cartwheel offer can be combined per item. Each Cartwheel offer may be used for up to a maximum of 4 qualifying items per offer per transaction. Limit of 1 Cartwheel barcode per transaction and 6 Cartwheel barcode transactions per day.

Mobile coupons: Target offers mobile coupons regularly (inlcuding some grocery coupons!). Sign up for them by texting OFFERS to 827438. These coupons can be used with the other discounts. See their website for more information.

Coupon Policy: You can see the full Target coupon policy on their website HERE.

Red Card: If you have the Target Red Card credit card, you get another 5% off.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

NJ Transit off-peak discount for train riders to be reconsidered

A report received by state Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson in response to his question of whether NJ Transit could restore off-peak discounts for rail riders has been sent to the circular file.

"I threw the report in the garbage," Simpson said Wednesday during the monthly NJ Transit board meeting.

The report from NJ Transit's rail operations noted that the discounts during weekends and other off-peak hours, which were discontinued several years ago, were not viable for "capacity reasons," said Simpson, who chairs the board.

"I could not come before this body and try to sell that, because it made no sense," he said. "I don't think the report was worth the paper it was written on, so I've asked folks to go back to the drawing board."

Kevin O'Connor, who has been forced out as NJ Transit's vice president and general manager of rail operations, was not at Wednesday's meeting - the first for new executive director Ronnie Hakim.

Coupled with a train fare hike of 25 percent in May 2010, off-peak passengers who lost their 15 percent Online Deals had to pay nearly 50 percent more - 64 percent in the most extreme cases.

Off-peak hours generally are outside of 6 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays.

David Peter Alan, who chairs the Lackawanna Coalition rail advocacy group, said outside of those hours, "there is plenty of room" on the trains.

"I am so glad to hear a commissioner take an active part in matters that really affect us as riders," Alan said after the meeting. "I didn't see that report, but I believe the commissioner said it recommended against restoring off-peak rail fares. And if it said that, he put it in exactly the right place (the garbage)."

Orrin Getz, a member of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers who rides the Pascack Valley Line, noted that Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road have greatly expanded off-peak service by offering discount fares.

Simpson said NJ Transit needs to be creative when looking at opportunities for off-peak discounts - for example, studying the feasibility of a reduced off-peak fare to Hoboken Terminal.

"The goal is - you've got the trains running, anyway - to get as many seats filled," he said. "It's the airline model - fill the seats."

Looking at off-peak discounts is part of a large to-do list for Hakim, a Simpson ally who arrives from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

On the bus side, Simpson said he would like to see more alternatives to dropping people off at the already overstuffed Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, including dropping people off on the street or bypassing the bus terminal to take riders to the East Side of Manhattan.

NJ Transit also is opening up some committee meetings to the public, beginning with the customer service committee at 10 a.m. Wednesday and the administration committee at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the NJ Transit headquarters next to Newark Penn Station.


* NJ Transit to consider bringing back off-peak discounts

* Commuters skeptical about idea to bypass Port Authority's bus terminal

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

General's defense to try for plea deal in sex case

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (AP) - Attorneys for a U.S. Army general charged with sexual assault said Tuesday that they have decided to try to renegotiate a plea bargain with a new set of military officials after the judge determined that the high-profile case may have been improperly influenced by political concerns from the Pentagon.

Judge Col. James Pohl sent the jury of generals back to their duty stations around the world after defense lawyers for Brig. Gen Jeffrey A. Sinclair announced their decision. The two sides now enter negotiations to try to resolve the case. A new general with new legal advisers would have to be brought in to approve any new On Sales.

The twist came with the Pentagon under heavy pressure from Congress and beyond to combat rape and other sex crimes in the military.

Under the military code of justice, the decision was supposed to be decided solely on the evidence, not its broader political implications.

Sinclair, believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer court-martialed on sexual assault charges, is accused of twice forcing a female captain to perform oral sex on him in Afghanistan in 2011 during a three-year extramarital affair. He has admitted to the affair but denied assaulting the woman.

The defense has portrayed the woman as a liar who concocted the allegations after she saw emails between Sinclair and another woman.

Sinclair, 51 and the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, appeared upbeat as he left the courthouse Tuesday morning, joking with the military police officers who guard the door.

Pohl had declined to dismiss the charges outright on Monday. But he reviewed newly disclosed emails in Sinclair's case and said he found the appearance of "unlawful command influence" in military officials' decision to reject a plea bargain with the general in January.

But Pohl said the emails showed that the military officials who rejected the plea bargain had discussed a letter from the accuser's lawyer. The letter warned that allowing the general to avoid trial would "send the wrong signal."

Lead defense attorney Richard Scheff said Sinclair would not agree to plead guilty to any charges involving sexual assault or any charges that would result in his being required to register as a sex offender.

"He did not sexually assault anybody," Scheff said. "He did not threaten anybody. He's not maltreated anybody. We'd love to resolve the case. But if we can't, we look forward to our day in court and his vindication."

Even though the defense team appeared optimistic it could reach a deal, Scheff said it might still be weeks before the case is resolved.

Lt. Col. Robert Stelle, the lead prosecutor, declined to comment.

In December, Sinclair had offered to plead guilty to some of the lesser charges in exchange for the Army dropping the sexual assault charges, but he was turned down.

Sinclair's plea offer was discussed in emails among a high-ranking Washington-based Army lawyer, the prosecutors and the commanding general overseeing the case.

The judge said he doesn't think the whole case was tainted, just the decision on a plea agreement. The judge also criticized prosecutors for not giving defense lawyers the emails sooner: "The only reason we are in this conundrum is because of the government's late notice."

Last week, Sinclair pleaded guilty to three lesser charges involving adultery with the captain and improper relationships with two other female Army officers. Those charges could bring 15 years in prison. A trial then began on the remaining sexual assault charges, with a potential sentence of life in prison.

Now, with Tuesday's decision, the defense may ask Pohl to withdraw Sinclair's guilty plea in favor of whatever new deal can be hashed out with the Army.

Sinclair's accuser came out against a plea bargain on the sexual assault charges in a December letter sent by her attorney, Capt. Cassie L. Fowler. Fowler suggested that the proposal deal would "have an adverse effect on my client and the Army's fight against sexual assault."

Though prosecutors deny any consideration was given to Fowler's comments about the potential fallout, the emails turned over to the defense Saturday show they did discuss her assertions.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Walmart has the cheapest iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c yet

Walmart is ready to sell buyers looking for on-contract smartphone even cheaper iPhone 5s models, as well as other smartphones, ( via 9to5Mac) reports. Purchased with a two-year contract with either AT&T or Verizon, the iPhone 5s costs only $119, down from its previous $145 price. Similarly, the iPhone 5c now costs $29 on-contract, down from $45, while Samsung's Galaxy S4 is priced at $49 instead of $99.

Furthermore, buying any Samsung smartphone between March 9th and March 22nd will net buyers a free $50 Walmart gift card, as long as the deal involves inking a new carrier contract.

Walmart isn't the only retailer ready to offer buyers a cheaper iPhone, as Price Compare Buy is currently offering the handset for $50 off the regular price, or $149.99 with new contracts. The same deal applies to the colored iPhone as well, as Best Buy sells the iPhone 5c for $49.99 with new contracts. However, Walmart appears to be ready to do anything to beat its rival when it comes to iPhone prices.

CNN Money sees the iPhone price drop more as an indication that the "smartphone market is approaching saturation, which makes it harder for new products to replicate the success of previous offerings," rather than a sign that the iPhone 5s' successor may launch much earlier than believed.

Meanwhile, iPhone 5c deals are only to be expected considering that a recent report revealed that impressive iPhone 5c stock is gathering dust in storage both with Apple's suppliers and retail partners.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Macau casino that caters to gamblers others shun emerges as an unlikely winner

High-rollers who bet millions without batting an eye have turned Macau into the world's gambling capital.

But a bare-bones casino where gamblers pay for their own drinks has emerged as an unlikely winner in the chinese happy new year cards design territory by trumpeting its HK$20 ($2.58) minimum bets.

Jay Chun says his Kam Pek casino, housed in a downtown office...

MLB News: Seven Extension Candidates Before Season Starts

With Spring Training mercifully around the corner, it's that time of the year when teams start negotiating contract extensions. Clayton Kershaw started off the extension season with a deal that guarantees him $215 million, and the Atlanta Braves recently agreed on a lucrative deal with first baseman Freddie Freeman that will keep him under team control through his age-31 season while guaranteeing him approximately $100 million of new money.

Here are some players that are good candidates for contract extensions before the season begins.

Max Scherzer - When the Detroit Tigers traded away Doug Fister in what can best be described as a fleecing by the Washington Nationals and General Manager Mike Rizzo, it became apparent that they would focus on locking up CY Young winner Max Scherzer.

The 29 year-old hurler has blossomed over the last two seasons, posting a 3.29 ERA and 11.0 fWAR with a 29.0 percent strikeout rate that only Yu Darvish can top.

In 2013, he headlined a Tigers pitching staff that broke the major league record for strikeouts in a season, as he pitched to a career-best 2.74 ERA and 6.4 fWAR, on his way to capturing 28 of the 30 first-place votes in the AL CY Young voting. He's just one year from free agency, and after seeing the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka, he may decide to test the waters.

Miguel Cabrera - Just last year, the Tigers locked up Justin Verlander to a long-term deal that involved five years and $140 million of new money. Scherzer doesn't have his rotation mate's track record, but given the current rate of inflation in free agent salaries, a contract extension could approach Verlander territory.

Besides worrying about a Scherzer extension, the Tigers also have to deal with Miguel Cabrera's impending free agency. Shortly after trading for Cabrera in the 2007-08 offseason, the Tigers inked him to an eight year deal worth $152 million.

Now, the reigning AL MVP has just two years and $44 million left on that deal. If the Tigers don't extend him, he'll hit free agency at 32, a point at which he would likely have enough gas in the tank to procure another long-term deal. Mike Trout is the better all-around player, but Cabrera is the game's best hitter, and a move to first base should increase his value and his health.

Hanley Ramirez - It was just last season that the baseball world had seemingly given up on Hanley Ramirez as a superstar. From 2011-12, he hit a very mediocre .252/.326/.416 while playing below-average defense. His 3.9 fWAR put him on the same footing as Alcides Escobar, a far cry from his first five seasons when his 28.2 fWAR marked him as the premier shortstop in baseball and one of baseball's five best players.

Fast forward to 2013, and Ramirez produced one of the best seasons ever by a shortstop, albeit in only 86 games. He hit .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs for a 191 wRC+ and 5.1 fWAR. When he was on the field, he was the best player in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers and their seemingly endless stream of cash are intent on locking him up long-term, and something in the range of $20-25 million per year seems likely.

Jason Kipnis - In his last pre-arbitration year, Jason Kipnis established himself as one of the top five second basemen in baseball. Improving on a solid 2012 season, the 26 year-old hit .284/.366/.452 for a 130 wRC+ and 4.5 fWAR as the Cleveland Indians were a surprise playoff team. Among second sackers, only Matt Carpenter and robinson cano to dodgers Cano had a higher wRC+.

Because Kipnis didn't debut until 24, he isn't scheduled to hit free agency until he's about to turn 31. He's not on the elite level of Cano or Pedroia, and there are plenty of examples of second basemen who faded relatively young. Right now, it looks like he'll make in the neighborhood of $20 million over his three arbitration seasons, and any additional years will likely cost around $15 million per year.

Jon Lester - Jon Lester has publicly stated that he would be willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Boston. After a 2012 season where he posted a 4.82 ERA (though with more encouraging peripherals) he rebounded to a 3.75 ERA with 4.3 fWAR in 2013. In addition, he surrendered just six runs in five postseason starts, helping lead the Sox to a World Series title.

Since beating cancer, Lester has been one of baseball's most durable pitchers, averaging over 200 innings a year for the past six seasons, and totaling 27.5 fWAR, the 8th highest mark among starting pitchers. Even with a hometown discount, something in the range of five years and $90 million seems a likely price to keep Lester from hitting free agency after the 2014 season.

Homer Bailey - After years of being a top pitching prospect Homer Bailey has emerged over the last two seasons. 2013 was especially good, as the 27 year-old righthander had a career-best 3.7 fWAR along with a 23.4 percent strikeout rate.

With a fastball that averaged 94 miles per hour in 2013 and three secondary pitches, Bailey has excellent stuff, and could potentially make a Scherzer-like leap in 2014.

Though the Reds would like to sign him to an extension, he's only one year away from free agency and like Scherzer, the Tanaka bidding frenzy might entice him to test the free agent market.

Mat Latos - If the Reds can't lock up Bailey, they may turn their attention to rotation mate Mat Latos, who turned in an excellent 2013 season, with a 3.16 ERA and 4.4 fWAR.

The 26 year-old right-hander's elbow issues down the stretch might be a cause for concern, but overall, he's been very durable and his fastball velocity and swinging strike rate have been steady.

Latos is two years from free agency, and should command significant money in 2015, his final season of team control. Most likely the Reds will have to settle for either Bailey or Latos, with an extension for one meaning free agency for the other.

These are just some of the extension candidates that are close to free agency. While the Nationals agreed on two-year deals with Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, they remain players that the club would like to secure long-term, along with pitchers Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg. Jeff Samardzija and Justin Masterson seem to be at an impasse with their respective teams, but discussions could turn around.

With the escalating prices in free agency, teams are more inclined to spend significant money on younger players. While there is a bit more uncertainty with a player who's only had one or two good seasons, paying for the prime seasons of a good player is more cost effective than paying for the decline seasons of a superstar.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Travel packages for Cardinals fans combines beach and baseball

February is a perfect time for daydreaming of two things many of us love: the beach and baseball.

Jupiter Beach Resort, an upscale hotel perfect for that catching a little beach time and Cardinals Spring Training, is offering two packages for Cardinals fans.

Play Ball! Spring Training package includes:

* 10 percent off best available rates on all room types

* Welcome gift including a baseball, red Sharpie pen and a box of Cracker Jacks

* $10 for a hotdog and beverage at Roger Dean Stadium (after tickets are presented at the stadium)

* Daily breakfast for two

Rates start $324/night and are valid from Feb. 28-March 27. To reserve, call 1-866-943=0950 or book online at and use Best Deals BALL.

Diamond MVP Spring Training package includes:

* Luxurious room accommodations in a Superior Suite

* Breakfast each morning for up to 4 people

* 4 Field Box tickets

* One "Day At The Stadium Experience":

o A personal curbside Roger Dean Stadium escort will greet your party

o A behind-the-scenes tour of the clubhouse and the 110-acre sports complex

o An opportunity to watch batting practice on the field

o Ceremonial First Pitch - Join the players for the pre-game festivities and then throw the first pitch to start the game off

o Two children can sit pre-game in the dugout for a photo and autograph opportunity (must be 13 years old or younger)

Rates start at $520/night (available during Spring Training home games only) and is valid from Feb. 28-March 27. Availability is limited. To reserve, call 1-800-228-8810 or visit and use promotional code DIAMOND.

And don't forget to enter the Post-Dispatch's contest for a free trip to Jupiter here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Galaxy S5 & iPhone 6 Release Dates MIA, But First Deal Isn't

Shoppers waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Apple iPhone 6 release dates to buy a new phone in 2014 are in for a special deal from Coupon Buy during the next two weeks.

Best Buy is not announcing the iPhone 6 release or stepping up to let shoppers know when to expect a Galaxy S5 release, but they are offering a deal that will help shoppers save $50 on these hot new phones anytime during 2014.

The new Best Buy smartphone deal offers $50 off the price of any phone on Sprint, Verizon or AT&T during 2014. Unlike many deals, you don't need to be up for a contract renewal right now to take advantage of this deal.

In fact, if you plan to buy an iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 or even an existing phone like the iPhone 5s, HTC One or Galaxy S4 you need to sign up for this deal.

Simply enter your mobile phone number on the Best Buy promotion page between February 2nd and February 15th and you'll reserve a $50 Best Buy gift card for when you update your phone. If you have a family plan you can register the primary line and up to four additional lines - each with a $50 gift card.

After you sign up, you can then buy a new iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 or any other phone sold at Best Buy between now and December 31st. The $50 gift card can be applied to the purchase price of the phone, and shoppers that don't need a new phone on release day can even pair this up with sales that could drop the price of the iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5 before the end of the year.

There is no commitment connected to signing up for this $50 gift card offer. If you don't upgrade or don't buy a new phone from Best Buy in 2014 the offer simply fades away so there is no reason to skip this if you think you will buy a new phone in 2014.

Best Buy offers this deal to upgrades and to users who switch a line to one of these carriers, but the offer is not good for new lines. Shoppers can check the upgrade eligibility of their lines to see if any are available in 2014.

This is the same offer Best Buy made in 2013, which worked out well for many shoppers, but there is one catch for early adopters. If you absolutely need the iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 or any other new phone on the first day it is available you might be out of luck. Best Buy typically sells the new iPhone and new Galaxy device at release, but stock is very limited and some stores may not be able to meet demand for weeks.

The iPhone 6 is expected to arrive in 2014 with many rumors suggesting another fall release, with a small chance for summer. Almost all the leaks suggest an iPhone 6 with a larger screen and many suggest two iPhone 6 models with larger screens, one between 4.5-inches and 4.8-inches and another above 5-inches in size. We expect a metal design and it is very possible that Apple will offer a Sapphire cover over the display. It is also likely that Apple will include a new Apple A8 processor and TouchID.

Samsung is reportedly planning a Galaxy S5 release for April or May and a launch event for the device in February or March. Rumors suggest we could see a larger 5.2 or 5.25-inch display and a higher 2560 x 1440 resolution is possible on at least one Galaxy S5 model. Additional rumors suggest a faster processor, enhanced 16MP camera and an updated TouchWiz Android overlay with new apps.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your mobile gear and loves to talk about tech on numerous radio programs. Josh uses an iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, HTC One, iPad mini, MacBook Air and Review Windows notebooks on a daily basis. Josh Smith on Google+ Email:[email protected]

George Clooney's 9 best quotes from Reddit AMA - 01/29/2014 | Entertainment News from

George Clooney participated in a reddit gone wild AMA (Ask Me Anything) Q&A session on Jan. 28, where he talked about everything from his basketball skills, shoe cobbling and even joked about his "Gravity" co-star Sandra Bullock.

Clooney took part in the Reddit AMA to promote a charity called Satellite Sentinel project and his new film "The Monuments Men," which he directed, produced and stars in. The movie focuses on a group of people who attempt to rescue artwork stolen by Nazis in World War II and return them to their owners.

Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett also star in "The Monuments Men," which hits theaters on Feb. 7.

Check out nine quotes from George Clooney's Reddit AMA below.

1. He loved beating Leonardo DiCaprio in basketball.

"It's true. That was a fun day. It's always fun when you play people younger than you and win. We're playing a bunch of six year olds tomorrow."

2. He likes to make (cobble, specifically) shoes, and is better at it than Daniel Day-Lewis.

"Let me just tell you this. When Daniel Day-Lewis was spending all his time playing Lincoln, I was just fixing shoes. He's spending all the time focused on the hat, and the pipe, and getting into character, and I remained focused - with the overalls and the hammer."

3. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's Golden Globes joke was all in good fun ... but there will be payback.

"Usually it's pretty funny. You know I got really good by Tina and Amy the other day and I'm working on getting them back in a big way. But for the most part most of the time when it's bad it's actually funny."

"You actually feel bad for the comedians up on stage cause you know if you've ever gone to a comedy club and you see somebody bomb it makes you cringe. Shows like that are designed to have fun with you without being devastatingly unkind. I've been the target of a couple of stupid jokes that didn't work, but in general I've only seen a couple that were really vicious toward people, and they didn't work. When they don't work you feel badly for the person doing it."

4. Brad Pitt pranked him big time while filming "Ocean's 12."

"It was Brad, we were shooting Oceans 12 in my hometown in Lake Como and he had a flier sent around saying George only wants to be called by his character's name Danny Ocean, don't look him in the eyes, and it got into the local paper. As you know, jokes don't translate at all, and they called me il divo [roughly translates to "divine male performer"], and said that I was treating the crew like [expletive]. When it got into the paper I came downstairs and Brad had the paper in his hand, and I said, 'You're mine from here on out. Brad just said, 'Please don't harm my children.' Yeah, he's done some pretty rotten things."

5. He is asked if he regrets making "Batman & Robin" a lot (but he doesn't).

"I get that question a lot. It's a funny thing, you've got to remember that when you're doing a movie, a lot of times you're spending 4 or 5 months on set and sometimes you're making really good friends and sometimes not. Some of the best films have been the least fun experiences and some of the worst, I've made lifelong friends out of it.

"It's the kind of thing where the memory of the film is very different than how it was reviewed, because it's months out of your life and you end up making close friends or having great experience on films that don't necessarily work. And that's a tricky thing to come to terms with."

6. Clooney is currently filming Disney's "Tomorrowland" and was strapped to a harness during his AMA.

"I'm on set and literally have a harness on right now. I was late, because right before I was hanging from about 30 feet over four different blue screens. So as we're talking now there are all these wires and contraptions hanging off of me. It's really, really, really good and Brad [Bird]'s a wonderful director, and a wonderful guy with a wild imagination. And if I don't screw it up it'll be a terrific film. Everybody's really good in it."

"Anyway, you always have to be careful what you say about these films so I don't want to sort of ruin it by telling you that everyone dies in the end. Oops, I've said too much."

7. He jokes his "Gravity" co-star Bullock couldn't lay off the alcohol on set.

"It's tricky cause Sandy drinks so much that oftentimes it's just hard to keep her upright. No, you know, Sandy and I have known each other for over 20 years and we both were struggling actors when we first met. She was dating a friend of mine at the time who's still a good friend of ours. Every time we're together it's funny. She's somebody I adore, really, she's just fun to be in a room with."

"I'm sure people will assume people aren't quite who they appear to be on screen -- they're shorter or taller or meaner or dumber--but Sandy is exactly what she appears on screen, an incredibly charming woman who's really just fun to hang out with. Very smart and centered, even though she does drink a lot."

8. Clooney feels "The Monuments Men" offers a positive view of the world.

"Grant [Heslov] and I finished shooting The Ides of March and looked back at the films we'd been doing, and it was nothing but cynical films. We're really not cynical people, so we thought we should do one with a positive view of the world. Grant had read the book and said maybe this is a film. We took it to Sony and they loved the idea. It was less about art in what we were looking for and more about looking for a new interesting story. I didn't know the story before."

9. You (yes, you) can go on a date with Clooney for as cheap as $10.

"I think I might be the cheapest date ever, $10. I'm literally the cheapest date anyone has ever been on. Check out It's gonna be fun though, we are gonna get out of the car together, walk the Monuments Men red carpet, the paparazzi will take a bunch of pictures, we'll go backstage at Letterman. You'll get to see the other side of it all, which is unusual and fun."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

This Isn't A Misprint: Best Buy Is Now Offering $50 Off The Purchase Of An 'iPhone 6'

Coupon Codes will soon offer $50 off the purchase of an "iPhone 6," "Samsung Galaxy S5," and any other new smartphone that is released before the end of the year. This is part of a new "Any Carrier. Any Phone. Any Plan. All In One Place" promotion.

To secure your $50 Best Buy gift card, you must register your interest in purchasing a new phone between Feb. 2 and Feb. 15, 2014. You will receive your gift card at the time of purchase - as long as that purchase is made before the end of 2014. You are under no obligation to purchase a phone after signing up. The deal simply expires at the end of Dec. 31, 2014.

Full details are as follows:

  • Between Feb. 2-15, 2014, just register your mobile phone number, email address and up to four more phone numbers on a family plan in-store or on
  • Then, any time before Dec. 31, 2014, purchase and activate a new mobile phone with the registered phone number and a two-year agreement on AT&T, Sprint or Verizon Wireless at any Best Buy or Best Buy Mobile store.
  • Enjoy your $50 Best Buy gift card, which can be applied to the phone purchase.

Best Buy hasn't been shy about discounting new smartphones, as its early iPhone 5c promotion in October proved. Nonetheless, this appears to be the first time the company has offered a discount on handsets that have yet to be released, let alone announced. Publicity stunt? Perhaps, but $50 is $50.

To register for your Best Buy gift card, click here beginning Feb. 2.

The next Samsung Galaxy is likely to arrive in April, while Apple's next crop of iPhones are expected in late summer or early fall.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Seattle Mariners: 11 Players Who Will Be Fighting for Roster Spots This Spring

<robinson cano fangraphsp>Stefen Romero/Abraham Almonte/Xavier Avery

Seattle's outfield depth chart is a big question mark. Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley can be safely penciled in as starters, but other than that, the depth is unknown.

As mentioned earlier, Hart and Morrison can be dispensed as outfielders, but it should be done so sparingly because they aren't good defensively. Bloomquist can still play some outfield, but he's been used primarily as an infielder over the last couple seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Abraham Almonte, Xavier Avery and Stefen Romero all have a chance to make the Opening Day squad, but there will likely only be one backup outfield position available.

Almonte played in 25 games last season. He was unimpressive at the plate and made four errors in 38 chances. Almonte is only 24 and hit .314 with 11 homers in 94 games for Triple-A Tacoma last season, so his outlook is promising. Another stint in the minors leagues wouldn't hurt, though.

Avery came over in the trade with the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Michael Morse last season.

The former second-round pick has seen action in 32 big-league games and is very raw offensively, but he has speed and put up an excellent zone rating of 11.904 in 216 innings, which translated to a minus-1.4 UZR, per FanGraphs, due to poor arm strength. Avery is also 24 and was a superior base stealer in the minors, which would be helpful to a Mariners team that stole just 49 bases in 2013.

Romero hit .306/.357/.506 in 1,296 minor league at-bats (330 games) and displayed some power. Although he's never played in a major league game, based on stats alone he's the most ready to step into a reserve role. He's also changed positions several times, playing five different spots on defense in the minors.

Spring training will ultimately determine the fate of these three for at least the beginning of next season but don't be surprised if the outfield is a never-ending carousel.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jax Taylor Makes Out With Blonde Woman at Hotel - Who Is She? Report

Things don't seem to have worked out between Vanderpump Rules stars Jax Taylor and Stassi Schroeder. But there's never any doubt that Jax has plenty of ladies clamoring for a chance to date him, as this latest sighting proves.

Jax was reportedly spotted making out with a beautiful blonde woman at the HBO Luxury Lounge at the Four Seasons in L.A. over the weekend, according to Life & Style. Jax and this new mystery gal had apparently been looking at pandora jewelry earlier that day. Then, they were seen getting quite frisky.

"She was all over him, tickling his back," says an onlooker. "They were making out in the line to get their cars!" Yowza.

It will be interesting to see if this turns into a relationship, or if this is just a fling. In Season 2 of the show, Jax - who reportedly hooked up recently with Shahs of Sunset star GG Gharachedaghi - points out that he has been bouncing around from woman to woman since his split from Stassi, and Jax has even sought treatment for a possible sex addiction.

It's becoming clearer and clearer that Jax and Stassi probably won't end up together, as she is currently in a steady relationship of her own. But now that we've gotten word that Vanderpump Rules will likely return for Season 3, we wonder if we'll maybe see Jax introduce his new blonde to Stassi in the future. Maybe Jax met his blonde pal in class?

Do you think things between Jax and this lucky lady will last?

Ex-Ravens running back Damien Berry denies putting Super Bowl ring up for sale

Former Ravens running back Damien Berry denied putting his Deal Today Bowl XLVII ring up for sale, telling The Baltimore Sun that the pending auction wasn't authorized by him.

Berry said a friend put the ring up for sale without his knowledge, selling the ring to an undisclosed third party that later sold it to Goldin Auctions.

"I would never knowingly sell my Super Bowl ring," Berry said. "I'm not that kind of guy. That's not me. The ring means a lot to me and I want to do whatever it takes to get it back. This isn't what I'm about."

However, Ken Goldin, the founder of Goldin Auctions, told The Baltimore Sun on Saturday night that he has a copy of a sales agreement with Berry that includes witnessed, notarized documents for a chain of custody that will be made available to the winning bidder of an online auction conducted through

Goldin said that his company conducts extensive research and verification of all items, and wouldn't sell anything that it's not authorized to make available for auctions.

A source familiar with Goldin Auctions' business practices said the company conducts extensive background checks to ensure that there's paperwork backing up the legality of all sales.

The minimum bid for Berry's ring -- pictured here on the Goldin Auctions website -- is $15,000. As of Saturday night, the highest of five bids was $36,603.

A former University of Miami player, Berry spent the 2012 season on injured reserve with the Ravens before being cut prior to the start of the 2013 regular season.

Berry expressed embarrassment about the ring being up for sale.

"This isn't a good look, I know that, but I swear this didn't start with me," Berry said. "I have a lawyer who's working with me to try to get the ring back. I was shocked when people starting coming at me on Twitter about what's up with my Super Bowl ring. It's definitely upsetting, but everything will be all right."

The winter auction also includes former Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper's Super Bowl XXXV ring, former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis' 2000 Super Bowl trophy and former Baltimore Colts defensive back and kick returner Leonard Lyles' 1958 NFL championship ring.

There are no bids yet on Lewis' personal trophy, but four bids have been entered for Sharper's ring, with a high of is $14,641.

Goldin Auctions says it has sold more than $600 million worth of sports memorabilia, including a Honus Wagner T206 card for a sale of $2.1 million in 2012.

"This is a rare opportunity for a Ravens fans or a collector to own a Super Bowl ring less than a year after it was earned," Gold said in a statement announcing the auction. "NFL Championship rings and Super Bowl rings are coveted by collectors because it is rare for them to become available. That is why we are so excited to offer these unique finds in our 2014 Winter Auction."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

CES 2014: Yahoo realizing digital media dreams with News Digest, Aviate deal

Summary: If Google and Microsoft are shunning CES 2014, then it makes perfect sense that Yahoo would seize the opportunity to step in.

Ever since Marissa Mayer took over the reins in 2012, there could be one word used to define Yahoo's revolutionized business strategy since then: mobile.

Mayer has also been known to seize opportunities (if not just plenty of startups) that have been abandoned by the likes of some other Silicon Valley giants -- and the Consumer Electronics Show looks to be one of them.

The CEO took to the stage in Las Vegas on Tuesday as the search company unveiled two projects intended to change the face of Yahoo's mobile portfolio, albeit in different ways.

The big ticket item is the long-awaited debut of Yahoo's mystery news project, which has been been hyped up for months now following the widely-reported hires of the likes of New York Times columnist David Pogue and former CBS News anchor Katie Couric.

Finally executing the dream once shared by some of the company's previous chiefs, Yahoo is becoming a fully-fledged digital media property with the introduction of Yahoo News Digest.

Based primarly upon Yahoo's purchase of Summly nearly one year ago for reportedly $30 million, Yahoo News Digest sports a remarkably clean, modern interface, displaying what Yahoo product manager Nick D'Aloisio referred to a blog post as "atoms."

Does this mean "atoms" are the new cards seen on apps like Google Now? Not quite. Here's how they work, according to D'Aloisio:

We've taken summarization to the next level with News Digest, by algorithmically and editorially selecting the important articles and using multi-document summarization to identify the key 'bits and pieces of information'. We've named these bits and pieces "Atoms." Our Atoms assembled from around the web include articles, maps, infographics, Wikipedia extracts, videos, photos and more. Stories contain different atomic units which convey different dimensions of the story from the who, what, when, how, and why of a topic.

Yahoo News Digest is initially only available for iPhone and iPod touch.

But that doesn't mean Yahoo is shunning Android.

Actually, it looks like Yahoo has big plans for Google's mobile operating system this year too with the acquisition of Aviate, a San Francisco-based startup that develops an "intelligent homescreen," automatically organizing apps and surfacing apps that the algorithms within the platform deem most relevant and useful.

Adam Cahan, senior vice president of Mobile and Emerging Products at Yahoo, noted in a blog post that Yahoo will be pinning Aviate as the centerpiece of its Android experience in 2014 and "beyond."

We envision homescreens becoming smarter, more personalized, aware of your context. Aviate helps us bring this vision to life. Aviate auto-categorizes apps on your Android phone and intelligently gathers them into "spaces." By using signals to understand your context - WIFI, GPS, Accelerometer, Time, etc - Aviate automatically surfaces information at the moment it's useful. So whether you're just waking up, driving, at work, or maybe out for the night, Aviate learns your habits and helps anticipate the information and apps you need - making your phone smarter.

Financial terms of the Promotional Code have not been disclosed.

Aviate is still in private beta, but it is being made available in invite-only mode to the first 25,000 people who use code "YAHOO" when signing up.

For a closer look at how Aviate operates (or operated, at least pre-Yahoo), check out the promo clip below:

Screenshots via Yahoo, Aviate

OOPS! Yankees store promotes opening with huge Curtis Granderson photo

New Yankee store coming in the mall, advertised with a player who isn't there any more. @darrenrovell

- Zach Sterling (@zsterling10) January 2, 2014

curtis granderson mets Granderson isn't in pinstripes anymore. In fact, he's joined the Mets, and has even taken a shot at Yankees fans.

But, apparently, this store didn't get the message.

Zach Sterling tweeted the photo above of a Yankees Clubhouse Store opening up soon. Not sure exactly where this is, but it appears it's on Long Island.

Granderson signed a four-year, $60-million deal with the Mets this offseason. He spent the last four years in The Bronx.