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From walk-on to staple of Badger offense, can Troy Fumagalli make it at next level?

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first_imgWisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli went from coming on as a walk-on to being the most reliable receiver on a top 10 football team in the country.  Now, the battle-tested player is making his case to scouts and fans as to why he is the best tight end in this year’s draft.Though Fumagalli’s story of perseverance and hard work is impressive, it is hardly unique at Wisconsin.  The program is known for bringing in less than stellar high school prospects and transforming them into stars for the university. JJ Watt, Joe Schobert, and Ryan Ramczyk are all notable Wisconsin walk ons that are currently playing at a high level in the NFL.Despite the program’s successful track record in this regard, doubts still loom for some scouts. Many pundits have questioned Fumagalli’s athleticism, allowing him to succeed at the professional level, putting him as a day three (fourth round or later) prospect. Fumagalli’s tight end coach Mickey Turner, has no doubt about how the former walk-on will respond to this criticism.Graham Mertz: The answer at quarterback?Playing quarterback for the University of Wisconsin Badgers is a good gig. Fans will treat any completed pass like they Read…“I think whatever they say he’ll work to prove them wrong.  He’s got the combine coming up and some pro days after that.  We look at our weight room numbers here he’s doing a great job for us.  Working out, training, just beating everything.  And I think he’s feeling good right now,” Turner said. “He’s going to be 100 percent healthy going in for some of that stuff.  It’ll be interesting.  He’s always been more than athletic enough to get the job done with what we asked him to do here at Wisconsin so I’m confident in him.”Fumagalli is the first major tight end prospect Turner has worked with since assuming the position in 2015.  However, as a player at Wisconsin from 2007 to 2009 Turner got firsthand experience with former NFL-drafted tight ends Garrett Graham, Travis Beckham and Lance Kendricks.While there are differences in terms of all these tight ends’ play styles, Turner wanted to stress what aligns them is how they all produced at high levels for the university.Football: Wisconsin ends 2017 regular season undefeated, brings axe home to MadisonPaul Bunyan’s axe is returning to Madison after the University of Wisconsin football team trounced the Minnesota Golden Gophers during Read…However, what makes Fumagalli unique as a tight end prospect is his ability to be a 3-down tight end.  The Wisconsin star’s ability to perform in the receiving game, especially as a route runner. Blocking could set Fumagalli up to have a prominent role in the modern NFL lineup.Today’s NFL tight end looks much different than even a decade ago.  NFL stars Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce lead their position because of their skills as receivers and blockers.  Turner said this could open up the draft for a complete tight end like Fumagalli as most teams in the NFL are now looking for more versatility at the position.Turner echoed these sentiments when asked what Fumagalli needed to show scouts ahead of April’s draft.“I think one of his best assets as a college player was that he could be an every down tight end.  I think that’s what he’s got to show them. Cause they’re always going to have their guys that are very specific like: this is our deep ball guy, this is our goal line blocking guy and Troy is somewhere in the middle where he does a lot of things well.  I think that’s going to have be the big thing for certain teams is if he can be an every down tight end for them,” Turner said.Football: Wisconsin dominates Michigan, remains undefeated and best in Big TenThe University of Wisconsin football team came out on top at Camp Randall after a grueling game against the Michigan Read…Another fact that, at first, left some scratching their heads at his ability to catch the ball and block was that Fumagalli is missing his left index finger.  While you’d think this would hamper a tight end’s abilities, because Fumagalli suffered the injury as a young child his muscle memory is constructed to play with only 9 fingers.  When asked if this condition would hurt Fumagalli in the NFL, Turner immediately responded.“No, not at all.  In fact it might even be an asset for him,” Turner said.Fumagalli’s departure from the Badgers will undoubtedly leave a hole in the Wisconsin offense. Turner said he didn’t know if it would necessarily be a tight end who would replace Fumagalli’s receiving presence, noting that receivers or running backs may take on a larger role going forward.  However, Turner said despite a lot of players vying for the position, Kyle Penniston and Zander Neuville are getting the most reps at tight end for the team early on.Currently though, Troy is working at a combine training location off campus in preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine, which goes from Feb. 27 to March 5 in Indianapolis.  After that, Fumagalli will likely host some pro days at UW Madison and await the NFL Draft that will last three days and begin April 26.last_img read more

From Dedeaux to the Bronx: Aaron Boone reflects on his baseball career

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first_imgYankees’ manager Aaron Boone is known for his home run in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, which sent the Yankees to the World Series. (Photo courtesy of USC Athletics) Still, his experience in those games would prove crucial. Though the stakes might have been a little higher, Game 7 of the ALCS wasn’t Boone’s first time playing for a ticket to the final destination.  With one swing, none of that mattered. Boone clobbered a first pitch knuckleball into the left field seats at Yankee Stadium, sending New York to the World Series. Though Aaron and Bret just missed out on donning the Cardinal and Gold together, they finally had a chance to take the field as teammates with the Cincinnati Reds in 1998. On the last day of the season, the Boones made up half of the first starting infield in baseball history comprising two sets of brothers.  Boone has made a name for himself as a manager for his willingness to get in an umpire’s face when he disagrees with a call. His most famous rant, during which he screamed at a home plate umpire, “My guys are fucking savages in that box,” has become a rallying cry for the 2019 Bronx Bombers. Boone, who was ejected from his MLB debut as a player, described himself as “pretty laid back” before conceding that “I had my moments.” “I guess it just kind of happened to work out that way,” Boone said, laughing. “I’ve loved, obviously, my ties to USC. I think people that know me know how much it means to me and how much the University means to me … I feel so proud and honored to get to come to work every day for the Pinstripes. I feel blessed [for] the opportunities that I’ve had in my lifetime in being able to chase my dreams.” Boone made the most of the opportunity to play collegiate baseball at USC. In his three years as a Trojan, Boone hit .302 with an .821 OPS to earn a third round selection by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1994 MLB Draft.  But this is the season you think of when you think of Aaron Boone. Not because of those numbers, not even because of his stellar first half with the Reds that landed him a spot on the National League All-Star team.  The Yankees were facing their archrival Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Boone was at the plate against Boston’s Tim Wakefield in the bottom of the 11th. He was in the midst of a forgettable postseason, going 5-for-31 with nine strikeouts and 1 RBI to that point.  However, that doesn’t mean that USC has no alumni who could make a potential Fall Classic run. It’s only fitting that former Trojan Aaron Boone is leading the charge for the New York Yankees as they look to add to an MLB-high 27 World Series championships, 25 years after he played for the program with double the College World Series titles of any other school in the nation. Boone, now in his second season as the Yankees’ manager, played third base at USC from 1992-1994. He is the younger brother of Bret Boone, a retired 14-year major leaguer and three-time All-Star who also played for the Trojans.  “It’s such a majestic place,” Boone said of USC. “I think they do a great job of preparing people for careers and for life after college, so to speak. Not just me and baseball — I think it’s just something that the University has always done well, and it’s a great place to have gone to school.”  But now, with father and son on the same team, the circumstances were different. Most people would find Boone’s situation peculiar and, at times, slightly uncomfortable, but that’s not how it played out.  It’s one of the most famous moments in baseball history, and it came out of nowhere — a surprising feat considering Boone’s lack of postseason experience (in the majors, at least). The father-son duo in Cincinnati was short-lived. After two-and-a-half subpar seasons, the elder Boone was fired midway through the 2003 season. Just three days later, Aaron was traded to the Yankees.  The two had shared a clubhouse before. When Aaron was a toddler, Bob was a catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. The future Yankees manager routinely hung out in the Veterans Stadium clubhouse with his father and his teammates — including Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose — who often got a kick out of Aaron’s impersonations of various Phillies.  It’s the year when Boone became an October legend. Though Aaron claims to have been a Trojan fan before his brother started college in 1988, he admitted that continuing the family tradition made his time at USC all the more special.  Now, Boone finds himself back where he’s spent a good chunk of his life: in the dugout. From playing third base at USC to taking over as the manager of baseball’s most famous franchise, it’s clear that Boone can’t seem to keep out of the spotlight.  “One of the things I’m so grateful [for] with my dad is he always took us with him,” Boone said. “We were always at the park with him, so we got to know and be around so many great guys, got to do so many great things at the ballpark as kids growing up that  allowed us to fall in love with the game.” “He didn’t really treat me any different, wasn’t harder on me, wasn’t easier on me,” Boone said of his father. “I was an established player at that point, and he treated me with a lot of respect like I was one of his established players. And then away from the field, to have my mom and dad around was cool … I never felt weirdness from my teammates … I never wanted them to feel like they had to hold their tongue around me or anything like that, and I don’t think that was the case.” Six months after writing goodbye letters to his family in case he didn’t survive the procedure, Boone became the first Major Leaguer in history to play after undergoing open heart surgery.  Perhaps Boone’s most remarkable feat came when he was a Houston Astro in 2009. That March, he received open heart surgery to replace an aortic valve. Boone had known of his heart condition since he was at USC, but the effects had recently accelerated.  With the MLB postseason beginning Tuesday, the Trojans have exactly zero former players taking the field on baseball’s biggest stage.  Boone spent half a season with New York. He hit six home runs, drove in 31 runs and posted a modest .254/.302/.418 line through 54 regular season games there.  “To be able to get back to where I got to play in the big leagues again in the month of September — I remember my first game back, how nervous I was just being out in the field again,” Boone said. “But it was really rewarding to get to play with my teammates again for that month of September.” Through all of his career’s twists and turns, Boone hasn’t forgotten the campus that kickstarted it all.  “It was a great way to get my feet under me at the big-league level,” Aaron said of playing third base in the latter half of his rookie season while Bret played across the infield at second. “To have [my] brother over there, it was really cool.” In the last two years of Boone’s college career, USC reached the NCAA Regional Finals, where a win would have put them in the College World Series. The Trojans lost to Texas in 1993 and LSU in 1994, and Boone twice fell a game shy of Omaha.  2009 was Boone’s last season as a player. On Feb. 23, 2010, the 12-year veteran hung up his spikes, headed for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and shuffled between the studio and the broadcast booth until 2017.  “Everything you experience in the course of your life prepares you and hopefully plays a role in your career,” Boone said. “Playing in huge regional settings at LSU and Texas with everything on the line — I think those are where you gain experience. I certainly think it helped me moving forward in my career.” “I had become a huge ‘SC [football fan] when I was in middle school,” the La Mesa, Calif. native said. “And then my brother happened to go to ‘SC, so it just got me more entrenched with the school and with the program. And then all throughout high school, I always wanted to go to ‘SC. So when that became a reality, it was pretty cool.” Though he denied that college Boone was also a “savage,” it wouldn’t be an unfair word to describe his baseball career. Boone has already etched his name into the history books, and a 28th World Series ring for the Yankees would further cement his legacy as one of baseball’s greats.  The Boone lineage in Cincinnati didn’t stop when Bret was traded to the Atlanta Braves in the winter after the 1998 season. Aaron only had to wait two years for his father Bob to take over as the Reds’ manager.  If there’s anyone in the game who’s up to the task, it’s Aaron Boone — the man who has seen and done it all.last_img read more

Worldfirst by MCB secures win at 2015 Melbourne Awards

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first_imgThe city-wide benefits of the Melbourne Convention Bureau’s (MCB) hosting five of the world’s largest health conferences in one year, a world-first, continue to be acknowledged, with MCB awarded the hotly-contested Melbourne Award for Contribution to a Profile by a Corporation.MCB Chief Executive Karen Bolinger accepted the prestigious 2015 Melbourne Award from Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle at a Gala Dinner on Saturday, 14 November.“This achievement recognises the positive effect the conferences had on profiling the city internationally thanks to the participation across the whole city through our ongoing Team Melbourne approach to securing and delivering international conferences, and the incredible work of the entire MCB team,” Ms Bolinger said.“The success of these conferences was the result of a true partnership between the city, state and international associations.“Importantly, they also left legacies, such as policy and legislative change and health and social improvements meaning these conferences are still having an impact today”Staging five of the world’s largest health conferences in one year – which included the World Diabetes Congress, World Cardiology Congress, International Congress of the World Federation of Hemophilia, 20th International AIDS Conference and World Cancer Congress – attracted almost 35,000 experts in their field to Melbourne, 75 per cent of whom were international, and overall contributed $204 million to the economy.MCB is honoured to have won in a category that included reputable finalists such as Tennis Australia for the Australian Open, GM Holden’s Australia Design Centre and the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, all of which have done an exceptional job in raising Melbourne’s profile on the world stage and we congratulate them.It is the second major award for MCB in two weeks, with Melbourne also named Australia’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination, for the third consecutive year, at the World Travel Awards in Hong Kong on 30 October. Melbourne Convention BureauSource = Melbourne Convention Bureaulast_img read more

Pending Home Sales Three Steps Forward One Back

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first_imgInventory shortages remain the bugaboo in many housing markets, triggered by still-low mortgage. The result of making houses easier to buy is that competition for them has gotten fierce and home prices are rising accordingly, Yun said.“Total housing inventory at the end of each month has remarkably decreased year-over-year now for an entire year,” he said. “There are simply not enough homes coming onto the market to catch up with demand and to keep prices more in line with inflation and wage growth.”Yun was not quite dour, but also not quite bullish on the second half of 2016 either, saying that the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union last week will likely create a mixed bag for the U.S. housing market.“In the short term, volatility in the financial markets could very likely lead to even lower mortgage rates and increased demand from foreign buyers looking for a safer place to invest their cash,” Yun said. “On the other hand, any prolonged market angst and further economic uncertainty overseas could negatively impact our economy and end up tempering the overall appetite for homebuying.” in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination National Association of Realtors Pending-Home Sales 2016-06-29 Seth Welborn “There are simply not enough homes coming onto the market to catch up with demand and to keep prices more in line with inflation and wage growth.”Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR After steadily increasing for three straight months, pending home sales let up in May across all four major regions, and declined year-over-year for the first time in almost two years, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).Based on contract signings, the NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index dropped to 110.8 in May from a 115 in April and was just shy of May 2015’s index of 111. It was the first time the index decreased year-over-year since August of 2014.The largest dropoff occurred in the Northeast, which slid 5.3 percent to 93 in May and was unchanged from a year ago. The Midwest slipped 4.2 percent to 108 in May and was 1.8 percent below last May. The West decreased 3.4 percent in May to 102.6, remaining essentially flat compared to a year ago.The South was the only market to finish higher than last May. The index there declined 3.1 percent to 126.6 in May, remaining by far the most robust market on the index and 0.6 percent higher than May of 2015.NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the strong demand that has been frustrating buyers and the spring’s swift sales “took a dent out of what was available for sale in May and ultimately dragged down contract activity.”  he said.center_img Share June 29, 2016 481 Views Pending Home Sales: Three Steps Forward, One Backlast_img read more