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  1. The 74 Best Tattoo Ideas for Men | Improb — February 27, 2020
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Wrexham tattoo studio set to open ‘bigger and better’ premises this weekend –

Published: Thursday, Feb 27th, 2020

A team of local tattoo artists are preparing to celebrate theopening of their brand new premises in Wrexham.

After almost eight years in theSouth Arcade of Ty Pawb, Dexterity Ink is heading across thetown centre to a larger and more prominent premises on Vicarage Hill.

The bigger and better studio will officially open its doors to thepublic on Saturday 29th February.

The move will also see theindependent business rebrand to Dexterity Wrexham and an expansion of theservices thestaff can provide.

Our business is growing so we needed to expand, explained Cathy and Lee, owners of Dexterity Wrexham.

Our new unit at 1-3 Vicarage Hill is a three story building with a much bigger and better shop frontage and in a much better location for passing trade.

In thenew studio we have a much more comfortable waiting area as well as offering a full laser tattoo removal service.

We struggled to find a new unit in Wrexham and we wanted to make sure that it was still in thetown centre so when we found this building it was a real blessing.

We love this town and this is thereason we have rebranded ourselves as Dexterity Wrexham.

The new Dexterity Wrexham Studio will open at its new home on Vicarage Hill on Saturday 29th February.

You can find out more about thebusiness on Facebook, here.

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Thursday February 27th 18:43

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Wrexham tattoo studio set to open 'bigger and better' premises this weekend -


The HUM: Movin’ and Groovin’ on Leap Day 2020 – Mad River Union

This is a Leap Year, which means theres a knock-down-dragged-out Presidential Election later on in the year, but more immediately, theres an extra Leap Day added to February for arcane reasons.

My dear departed old friend, Gregg Vinny DeVaney would invariably explain on our dearly departed radio show Fogou, that it goes back to the time of Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced a revised Gregorian calendar in October 1582 to deal with the fact that the average year is 365.2425 days long, not 365. (Im pretty sure he just liked the Gregg reference.)

Anyway, that discrepancy messes with calendars, etc. even though time is basically relative, but lets not go there, since the Theory of Relativity is beyond my pay grade. Lets just thank Gregory XIII for this extra day.

This year Leap Day, Feb. 29, falls on a Saturday. There may not be a connection, but thats the day Melvin Seals and JGB play at Eureka Muni in the first ever benefit concert for Uplift Eureka helping Humboldts Homeless with a night of movin and groovin to the sweet tunes of the artist who helped pioneer and define what has now become Jam Band Music, with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to Uplift Eureka programs designed to support our houseless community members in accessing vital resources to obtain housing, employment, and to reclaim independence.

Without getting into defining jam band music, Ill agree Mr. Seals is a jam master on his Hammond B-3, and this weeks requisite Deadhead delight. All ages. Doors at 6:30 p.m., showtime 7:30 p.m. Food vendors, beer and wine for 21-plus and as they put it, A Good Time For A Great Cause!

Same day, at Blue Lake Casinos Wave Lounge, we have another Deadhead delight as Miracle Show plays more songs from the Dead/Jerry canon from 9 p.m. on. Its not a benefit, but at least theres no admission. Yes, tie dye optional at either show.

Also that Leap Day (Feb. 29), the newly minted NorthTown Art Collective is hosting an event at Fatbl (in Northtown where Kinkos used to be) from 3 to 9 p.m. The collective promises to gather together once a month to show Humboldt what they got, specifically, live music (as opposed to Dead music) with the Return of the Fatbl Cypher, hosted by Nac One and DJ Just One, plus special guests from Object Heavy, including keysman Brian Swizlo (who owns Fatbl). They say masked man Quenten Wall of Sound is gonna lead us into the night. They also promise live painting/printing by Over There Designs (and friends) and live FREE tattoos done by Michael Joy of Nor Cal Tattoo (reservations in advance, limited to 15 from provided flash sheet in store). Fun all day to mark that Flying Leap.

Growing up in the Bay Area in the 60s it seemed like I was part of a cultural revolution. Amid political chaos, music provided a trippy soundtrack and I witnessed the dawning of the jam band era with the Dead, the Airplane, Quicksilver, Big Brother (all San Francisco bands) playing with Jimi, Cream and others. Go ahead, say Hey Boomer, but I was there.

Somehow a much more recent S.F. band, The Stone Foxes, fits right in with that, sonic/spiritual tradition. They say, In the darkest of times, while the world faces political and environmental uncertainties of grand proportions, the responsibility of artists to reflect on the state of the world becomes undeniable. Indeed.

Head Fox and lead vocalist Shannon Koehler (or as he puts it, full-time microphone boy,) and his brother Spence have been playing together since 2005 and have been through these parts numerous times with various lineups (including opening for Zepparella 10 years ago, and playing with The Trouble in 13). Theyre currently on their Golden Burger Tour with a new EP, Gold, thats officially released Friday, Feb. 28, the day they play at HumBrews. Their p.r. peeps sent me an advance and its quite good, in fact, golden, with an update on the classic S.F. sound, although with minimal jamming.

A few years ago they took their responsibility seriously and put together the Goodnight Moon Project, (with a tip of the hat to author/poet Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, who did the drawings for the kids classic). Like that JGB show, this is an effort to raise awareness for homelessness through music. As we collect food at shows and share the voices of homeless and hungry musicians, we hope the music inspires you to help. Simply, we believe that everyone has a face...a name...and a voice.

Their project includes hooking up with local food banks and collecting non-perishable foodstuffs. I messaged them to be sure they were still doing it, they responded with an enthusiastic Yes, adding, Get a free signed poster in exchange for your donation! Right on Showtime at HumBrews 9:30 p.m. Feb. 28.

Returning to Leap Day Saturday, at the Sanctuary, Sanctuary organizers Tayloranne Finch and Daniel Nickerson share A Trip to Cowtown, a collage performance combining song, story, and performance art featuring the Incredible Collapsible Magical Marionette Music Box.

It tells the story of Peggy Pilgrim and Toe-Tapping Tommy, two wandering spirits who become friends in a world where all travel and spontaneity has been banned by the Good Government. Oh dear.

Former Sanctuary artist/resident Hazel Rickard and friends provide an opening set of music as Hazel Ra, a dream-folk band featuring soaring female melodies and delicate instrumentation, with arrangements by Kyle Butz. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m.

At the Westhaven Center for the Arts, Leapin Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., the Alphabet Baroque Club is On The Road to Hell, with music beginning in heavenly spheres, descending gradually to more infernal regions to the Gates of Hades itself. The ABC is a fun and dynamic group whose programs are known for their cheerful and historically informed presentations of seriously beautiful music with Maria Caswell (violin), Judiyaba (treble viol), Gwyneth Davis (bass viol), and Phebe Craig (harpsichord). Composers include Monteverdi, Gesualdo, Falconieri, Juana de la Cruz, Ignatio Donati, and everyones favorite, Anonymous.

Also Leap Saturday (Feb. 29) its another Soul Party at HumBrews #33 1/3 rpm with resident hepcats Funky T-Rex, DJ Red and #Jaymorg spinnin all the fatter platters that matter with special guest from the Storytime Crew, Rufkraft and a super fantastic opening set by thee King Maxwell.

Wait theres more for Leap Day. The Mr. Humboldt Pageant VII (2020) once again pits prefers he/him pronoun types against each other for a coveted title through a swimwear and formal wear contests, a talent show, and more. As usual its at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, and benefits assorted good causes. Doors at 7 p.m., show 8 p.m.

Sometimes the minimal nature of the Basements posts seem like a test, one that I dont often pass. Indie Wednesday on Feb. 26, (8 to 11 p.m.) just says, Big Lagoon is back with friends Dream Honey. So two bands? First seems to be a Dream Folk/Indie band, fitting for an indie night. Is Dream Honey related? Dunno. I could explore further, but I have neither time nor space right now.

Thursday evening, Feb. 27, from 4 to 9 p.m. the Eagle House Psychic Fair & Community Market brings together international Spiritual Mediums, Tarot Card and Palm Readers, Massage Therapists and Spiritual Healers as well as Local Artisans and Vendors of all types, for an uplifting event leading into a weekend workshop, Angels, Ancestors & Animal Allies: Discovering Your Spiritual Support Network, also at the Historic Eagle House. I think Id like to have an eagle as my totem animal/ally, if thats possible.

At Redwood Curtain Brewing Thursday (Feb. 27, 8 to 11 p.m.) its the return of Holus Bolus, aka Tom Boylan, a multi-instrumentalist one-man-psychedelic-acoustiloop artist from Crescent City. A small drum-kit, and an acoustic guitar augmented by foot pedals is all it takes. (Holus Bolus means all at once.)

Friday evening, Feb. 28, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sanctuary, join the Six River Montessori Model United Nations Delegates from the 5th and 6th grade representing Cote dIvoire (Ivory Coast) as they welcome Cote dIvoire native and professional West African dancer Atito Gohi, and try out the speeches they will deliver at the Model U.N. in New York City.

When I was a wee lad, I attended a Model U.N. conference representing Trinidad and Tobago. It wasnt in NYC, but I remember it as big fun, although all I really remember is that Angostura bitters comes from that island. I imagine the kids will learn much more.

Atito grew up in Africa, son of a dancer/mask maker and a singer. He leads the Vozolo Dance Company, now based in Las Vegas, and received a Living Traditions Grant from the Nevada Arts Council to spread the word about drums, dance and mask-making. Sounds fascinating.

Down in the Basement that Friday (Feb. 28, 8 to 10 p.m.) The boys are back! specifically PD3, with Paul The Other Twin, Fred (ex-Starliners) and Junior (of Fred and Jr. fame). Tres cool. Saturday in the same Basement 8:30-ish, jazzy music by Peter Leo Ciotti IV Group. (Its complicated.)

Remember last weeks Ryan McGaughey Final Fantasy VII piano concert at HSU? Hes doing it one more time at the Morris Graves Museum, Friday (Feb. 28) at 7 p.m. Music composed by Nobuo Uematsu, arrangements by Shiro Hamaguchi.

Briefly: Monday, March 2, at the Miniplex, 8:30 p.m. alt. something by Habibi (from Brooklyn) and Rudy De Anda (from Long Beach).

Tuesday, March 3, JVD, 8 p.m. awesomely funky bassist Thundercat aka Stephen Bruner (from South Los Angeles and outer space). At the Sanctuary Tuesday, March 3, folksters Palmer T. Lee (from Olympia) and Humbird aka Siri Undlin (from Minneapolis). Doors 7:30, show 8 p.m.

At HumBrews again Tuesday, March 3, Andy Frasco and The U.N. play party blues with a touch of barefoot boogie.

Remember we were talking about time and space? Im out again. Seeya.

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The HUM: Movin' and Groovin' on Leap Day 2020 - Mad River Union


Art Around the County 02.27.20 – Monterey County Weekly

MONTEREY MUSEUM OF ART, 559 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477,

Tattoo Parlor, Hollywood, 2006, by Jim Kasson.Chronographyis an ongoing solo show by Kasson. Its viewable 11am-5pm Thu-Tue until April 5.

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Convergence by JC Gonzales.Convergencedocuments Carr Lakes reclamation as a green space and community hub. It is viewable 10am-5pm Mon-Fri through August..

Fishermans Wharf, by Gudny Campbell.Celebrate Monterey in Fabric Art Quiltsis a group show opening with a reception on Feb. 28 from 5:30-7:30pm.

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Art Around the County 02.27.20 - Monterey County Weekly


An Astros Batter Got Hit On The Fourth Pitch Of The Game And This Is Starting To Look Like A Trend – BroBible

On Monday, your 2017 American League MVP* Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch in the Houston Astros first Spring Training game after being roundly heckled and booed by fans in attendance.

On Tuesday, unlike Altuves hit by pitch which appeared to be unintentional (key word: appeared), Astros shortstop Aledmys Diaz got drilled with a 97 mph fastball by Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Urena on the fourth pitch of the game and it certainly could have been construed as being on purpose.

Of note: Diaz wasnt even on the Astros team that cheated its way to the 2017 World Series title. No one cares.

Astros slugger Alex Bregman, one would have to assume, approved of this move by Urena.

Related: Astros Player When Asked How Things Are Going In Their Clubhouse Right Now: Its A (Bleeping) Mess

Prior to the game, during an on-field autograph session fans were heckling Jose Altuve calling for him to show them the bad tattoo he didnt want the world to see after hitting a walkoff home run following Game 6 of the ALCS.

Perhaps, and this is just a guess, but if Astros players like Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick would not be clapping back at fans and players for being angry at them for cheating their way to a World Series win, and stop taking away fans signs, then maybe they would be heckled a little bit less and have a few less pitches end up high and tight while they are batting.

Related: Astros Owner Jim Crane Sends Desperate-Sounding Letter To Season Ticket Holders Vowing To Make Houston Proud Again

For instance, when asked about the fans reaction to the Astros during their first game on Monday, Correa, who had already sounded off more than once about fans and players, responded, What reaction? I didnt hear anything.

I guess the fans will just have to get a little bit louder then, huh?

Its going to be a very long season for the Houston Astros, and anyone related to them.

Related: Houston Astros File 26-Page Response To The First Of 7 Lawsuits: Rule Infractions Will Occur During The Games

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An Astros Batter Got Hit On The Fourth Pitch Of The Game And This Is Starting To Look Like A Trend - BroBible


The Yogi: You may have to travel far to get close – The Concord Insider

By Mike Morris - Feb 26, 2020 |

Traveling by yourself is a bit like yoga in that you see who you are without any support.

In my mind, Im quite the solo traveler. I pack light, go with the flow and dont sweat the small stuff.

In reality, Im better off staying at home. My pack weighs too much, I hold up the line at airport security and I freak out a little when I show up at the wrong Days Inn for my one night stay. Id rather be at home. I prefer sleeping in my own bed. I like my morning routine. And as much as I like the view of Phoenix from 40,000 feet, I prefer my feet firmly planted on the ground.

Im sitting in a hotel room in Phoenix, Ariz., on the way to Sedona and Baron Baptistes Level One Yoga Training. I have a simple goal in mind: To immerse myself in this week long training, and to bring this powerful form of yoga to our little studio in Concord. In a few hours, Ill be heading north across the desert, the monsoon rains beating down and bringing needed water to this arid world. Ill be riding with a new friend, Andrea, who is driving from Lake Elsinore, Calif. Well meet for the first time this morning, and join 100 other folks at what Baron Baptiste calls our journey into power.

Solo travel is a lot like practicing yoga. You get a glimpse of who you are, without any support. And you realize there is support, all around you. When you step on to your yoga mat, it helps to have a destination in mind: healing, fitness, peace, power. It helps to know where you are going. The poses in yoga class, like your travel plans, are leading you somewhere. Along the way, whether you are heading to the red rocks of Sedona, or to the deep rest of Savasana, the journey will always help you learn something new about how you show up in the world.

The first thing I learned was that I didnt want to go. My wife, Heather, dropped me off at the Manchester airport. I didnt want to leave my family. I didnt want to leave the yoga studio. And yet, I knew Id be bringing something amazing back. I just dont know yet how it will unfold.

The second thing I learned is that people are amazing, friendly and open. All you have to do is ask questions and listen. It also helps to smile a little. Its true when traveling. Its true in yoga class. Here are a few of the people I met in my first day of travel:

Shawn and Caroline were heading from Manchester to Seattle. The three of us were almost two hours early for our flight. The three of us have small children at home, and were missing them already. I asked them if theyd like to join me in a short yoga practice. They politely declined, and Shawn took a couple of photos of me busting out some yoga next to Starbucks.

I sat next to Laura on the way to Philadelphia. She had just finished her masters degree at SNHU, and was heading back to Amarillo, Texas. We shared a couple stories about Palo Duro Canyon, one of her favorite places. Her family has lived in the Texas panhandle for generations, and she has a tattoo on her right wrist memorializing her Dad, Cody. His birthday was Febr. 22, 1971. She still loves him dearly. She was also really tired, so I stopped asking her about her story, and let her take a nap.

I met Indu in Philly, while walking between gates and looking for a quick bite to eat. I asked directions to my gate, and where I might find some healthy food. She showed me the way, and said Terminal B and C have the best food. I asked if I could get a decent salad. She said yes, and that I could also get Chik-Fil-A. She also asked me why I would I want to ruin a good meal by eating kale and quinoa. She smiled like she had a really fun secret.

Fred was the shuttle driver who took me to the Days Inn. Twice. Hed been in Phoenix for 40 years, but he still sounded like the kid from Queens, where he was born. He said his family moved to Arizona right after the Blizzard of 78.

As I write this, the monsoon rains are pouring down outside. Folks will be converging on the Mago Retreat Center from all over the country in a few short hours. My new friend, Andrea, will be rolling up in the next hour. As I go for my last cup of coffee for the week, I meet one more person. Stephanie is behind the counter at the Days Inn. Shes from Buckeye, Ariz. I ask her if she likes living out here.

She says: Its home.

Sometimes we have to travel far to get closer. See you on the mat, my friends.

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The Yogi: You may have to travel far to get close - The Concord Insider


Nola slipped in one key area last season and is out to improve on it in 2020 –

Aaron Nola slipped in one key area last season and is out to improve on it in 2020

CLEARWATER Aaron Nola did not have a bad season in 2019 by any stretch of the imagination. He made every start and went 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA. There are pitchers all over baseball who would love to have a season like that.

But it's indisputable that Nola's 2019 season was not nearly as good as his 2018 season. In 2018, he was brilliant. He went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. He finished third in the National League Cy Young voting.

Nola's WHIP in 2018 was a sterling 0.975.

Last season, it was 1.265.

After pitching two scoreless innings in his spring debut Sunday, Nola reflected on his 2019 season.

"I didn't get ahead," he said.

He's right.

Check out the numbers.

In 2018, Nola threw a first-pitch strike 69.4 percent of the time. That ranked second in the majors to St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas (71.1).

Last season, Nola's first-pitch strike percentage slipped to 62.3. That ranked 39th in the majors, well behind leader Max Scherzer (70.4) and teammate Zach Eflin, who ranked fourth (68.6).

Nola ended up walking 3.6 batters per nine innings last season, up from 2.5 in his big year of 2018.

So, it's no surprise what Nola is working on this spring.

"Just fill up the strike zone and throw the ball down a lot," he said. "That's kind of the key. Get ahead of guys and stay ahead of guys. I just want to focus on having that tunnel vision around the plate."

If you've paid attention to the things Phillies pitchers have said this spring and even late last season, you know they weren't always comfortable with the practices of former manager Gabe Kapler and former pitching coach Chris Young. The theme in this camp, at least among the pitchers, can be summed up in one word.


"I'm just going to simplify some things and throw my fastball for strikes," Nola said. "I don't want to throw too hard too early in the count."

Nola pointed to his outing Sunday. He allowed a hit to open the game then got a double-play ball with a strike down in the zone.

"I want to try to get ground balls and I felt like I did that today," Nola said. "I got a double play and it's satisfying to get double plays."

Nola, 26, has so far enjoyed bonding with Bryan Price, his fourth pitching coach in as many seasons. Price espouses some traditional philosophies, like keeping the ball down. In that regard, he is similar to Bob McClure and Rick Kranitz, two former Phillies pitching coaches that Nola thrived under.

"That's been my mindset ever since I started to pitch and it is really stressed now," he said of pitching down in the zone. "I think that's what pitching should be and that's what we've always learned how to do.

"I think the state of the game is to simplify things and get back to that part of it. I look forward to my one-on-one bullpen sessions with (Price). When you have a bad game or not as good of a game as you want to go back to basics in the bullpen sessions. I've had previous pitching coaches like that and it has helped me a lot. Just to simplify things is going to go a long way."

Nola believes if he does a better job getting ahead early in counts that his curveball and particularly his changeup will become better weapons for him in 2020. His changeup blossomed under McClure and Kranitz during their stints in Philadelphia.

"My changeup wasn't as consistent as it was in previous years," Nola said. "I am just trying to get back to throwing that for strikes down more.

"When I'm throwing everything for strikes, I have three pitches."

Manager Joe Girardi has not named an opening day starter yet,but Nola is expected to be the guy when he does.

And when Nola takes the mound March 26 in Miami, his goal will be this:

Strike 1.

That's a big reason he had a great season in 2018 and why he slipped some in 2019.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. --Six games into the exhibition schedule, Joe Girardi is really liking what he sees of two players.

One might end up being his third baseman this season.

The other will play in the low minors.

Jean Segura played well at third base in the Phillies 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. He made a nifty backhand stop of a ball off the bat of Nelson Cruz to start a 5-4-3 double play in the first inning. He also had a pair of hits, including a double. He is 4 for 9 with two doubles in the early going.

Jean had a really good day, Girardi said. That (double play) was not an easy play. What I like is its smooth, its not panicky. Looks like hes been doing it.

The Phillies are evaluating Seguras ability to play third base. They are also taking stock of his comfort level at the position because he has never played there before. If Segura can handle third base, he will open the season there and Scott Kingery will play second base, his best position.

So far this spring, Segura has played three games at third base. If he continues to look good there, would the Phillies even bother to look at him at second, where he does have experience, this spring?

Thats a conversation wed have in a week or so, Girardi said. We have to continue to see what it looks like. Scott looks good at second. If Jean looks comfortable at third and it seems like Didiand him have a good thing going there, we might just leave him. I dont know. Its too early.

Segura played shortstop for the Phillies last season. He is moving from that position to make room for Didi Gregorius, who signed a one-year, $14 million contract in December.


Girardi, who caught for 15 seasons in the big leagues, has become smitten with Rafael Marchan, a catching prospect from Venezuela who turned 21 on Tuesday.

The kid does a lot of things right, said Girardi.

Marchan has gotten a chance to play in big-league camp because Andrew Knapp (oblique) and Deivy Grullon (tooth infection) have missed some time.

Phillies officials felt comfortable enough with Marchans defense to give him the start with Zach Eflin on the mound Wednesday. Marchan responded with two hits and was praised for his work behind the plate by Eflin. Marchan had one miscue --he overran a high, spinning pop up --but Girardi chalked that up to inexperience.

I told him, You finally made a mistake --the pop up, Girardi said with a laugh. He just went after it too quickly.

Girardi called Marchan a master blocker of balls in the dirt earlier this week.

Marchan is a 5-foot-9 switch-hitter. He was a shortstop until he started working out for teams as a catcher in 2015 and the Phillies signed him for $200,000. He has played 136 professional games in Single A the last two seasons and hit .285. He has yet to hit a homer in pro ball, but that doesnt concern Girardi.

Heres my thought, Girardi said. He doesnt have to show power. He just has to hit, be an adequate hitter, or he could become a really good hitter. Take his walks, handle the bat. Defensively, hes going to save you runs by catching. Those are RBIs for me. Hes going to save you a lot of runs catching.

Marchan went unselected in the Rule 5 draft in December, not surprising because of his age, experience level and still-developing bat. But if he has a good year in 2020, he might not get through the draft.

Girardi thinks Marchan can develop into a big-leaguer, much like another converted infielder once did with the Phillies.

Im not comparing here, but Carlos Ruiz was not a great hitter when he first came up, Girardi said. Hes got talent and you hope he figures out the bat part of it because if he does,you have something really special.

Thats high praise.


Girardi said Adam Haseley checked out fine in concussion protocol but would not return to action for another day or two. Haseley banged his head on the ground attempting a diving catch on Tuesday.

Outfielder Matt Szczur has yet to play because of a hamstring injury. Reliever Robert Stock has forearm pain and will be examined on Thursday.


The Phillies play the Red Sox in Fort Myers on Thursday. Nick Pivetta will start.

FORT MYERS, Fla. It was just one pitch in the first inning of an exhibition game Wednesday, but it painted a vivid picture of who Zach Eflin was as a pitcher last year and who he wants to be this year.

With a man on first base and one out, Eflin was facing Nelson Cruz. The Minnesota Twins designated hitter is one of the most dangerous power hitters in the game, having averaged 34 homers over the last 11 seasons.

The count went full on Cruz and Eflin didnt hesitate. He went to his best pitch, the sinking fastball. Cruz beat a hard ground ball to third and Jean Segura made a nice backhand play to start a 5-4-3 double play to end the frame.

I was pretty excited about that, Eflin said later. Going back to my sinker. Its a situation where I need to throw it.

Eflin was asked what pitch he would have thrown in that situation last season.

Ah, last year, maybe fastball at the top of the zone, he said. Maybe I would have tried to rip a hard cutter or slider. Something like that.

The sinker has always been Eflins bread and butter pitch. But last season, under former manager Gabe Kapler and former pitching coach Chris Young, he was encouraged to emphasize four-seam, power fastballs at the top of the strike zone. He did have some success with the approach early in the season, but eventually lost his way and his spot in the rotation. After some soul searching and some counsel from teammates such as Jake Arrieta, Eflin decided that if he ever returned to the rotation he would go back to featuring his best pitch, a fastball with movement down in the zone. He returned to the rotation in mid-August, ironically when Arrieta went down with an elbow injury, and pitched well over the final weeks of the season tosolidify his placethis year'sseason-opening rotation.

Its not easy, said Eflin, recalling last seasons struggles. When youre trying to be someone youre not, its not the best way to go about it.

At the end of the day, we want to feel as good as we can on the mound and when youre trying to do something different, you dont feel good.

With each passing day, another pitcher seems to step up and offer thoughts about how wonderful life has been under new pitching coach Bryan Price in the first few weeks of camp. Price is open-minded to the new-school ways of pitching, but hes committed to bringing back some old-school philosophies. He has stressed the down-and-away fastball. He has stressed that pitchers work to their strengths. For Eflin, that means the sinker.

What everybody is focused on right now is being themselves and realizing what got us to the big leagues and taking advantage of doing what youre good at, so I think thats a huge step for everybody, Eflin said. I think the underlying factor is just being able to stay to our strengths and really just attacking the hitters, and for us starters to go as deep as we can in a game and really relieve the bullpen as much as we can so theyre fresh come the end of the season and playoffs. Just that being put in our heads as a starting staff is huge.

Though the sinker is Eflins strength, he still has the power on his fastball to pitch occasionally at the top of the zone. In fact, its important that he do that occasionally to change a hitters eye level and prevent them from sitting on a particular pitch or location. Eflin knows this. He learned a lot about himself and pitching last year. That much was evident in the first inning of his spring debut Wednesday: Sinker, ground ball, double play.

Outs are really precious in this game regardless of how hard they hit it, so just to be able to do that is good, he said.

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Nola slipped in one key area last season and is out to improve on it in 2020 -


War of words over Astros cheating scandal now involves partial tattoo – Brinkwire

The verbal sparring between the Houston Astros and others around the majors over the teams sign-stealing scandal is reaching new levels of absurdity from accusations of illiteracy to claims about a players partial tattoo.

Yes, really.

And spring training is only a few days old. Imagine what things might be like once the Astros start playing games.

Houston shortstop Carlos Correa took his turn escalating the situation to something a professional wrestling fan might appreciate, going after Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger on Saturday for the reigning NL MVPs recriminations.

In an interview with MLB Network, Correa responded to Bellingers barbs from a day earlier by saying: The problem I have is when players go out there and they dont know the facts, theyre not informed on the situation and they just go out there in front of cameras and just talk. And with me, that doesnt sit right. Doesnt sit right at all.

Correa went on: He either doesnt know how to read, is really bad at reading comprehension or is just not informed at all.

At Dodgers camp in Glendale, Arizona, a few players watched Correas interview on televisions in LAs clubhouse.

Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen, for one, is growing tired of hearing about the whole thing and would rather just forget what happened in 2017.

He called what the Astros did worse than baseballs steroids and gambling scandals of the past and offered up a suggestion for a way Major League Baseball could have penalized Houston.

Let them play the season, Jansen said, but ban them for the postseason this year.

And round and round it goes.

On Friday, Bellinger said the Astros were cheating for three years and called out second baseman Jos Altuve in particular.

I think what people dont realize is Altuve stole an MVP from (Yankees outfielder Aaron) Judge in 17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us, Bellinger said.

Commissioner Rob Manfred fined the Astros, took away draft picks and suspended manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow, who both were then fired by Houston.

An MLB investigation said Houston used a video feed to view and decode opposing catchers signs, then banged on a garbage can to signal to batters what pitch was coming, during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In the first of those years, Correas Astros beat Bellingers Dodgers in the World Series.

Cody didnt have a good World Series. So for him to be talking about us stealing that championship, dont talk about it, Correa said. You should not be talking about it. You should have done something about it.

Last season, the Astros lost in the Fall Classic to the Washington Nationals, whose general manager, Mike Rizzo, said Friday he hadnt heard a proper apology from Houston.

One of Correas points Saturday was that Altuve along with teammates Josh Reddick, Tony Kemp did not want help from the noise made by hitting a trash can.

Another point? That Altuve didnt want his teammates to rip off his jersey after a walk-off homer against the Yankees in the 2019 ALCS for two reasons: Altuves wife didnt like it when his shirt got removed, and, in Correas words, Hes got an unfinished tattoo on his collarbone that honestly looked terrible. It was a bad tattoo, and he didnt want nobody to see it. He didnt want to show it at all.

Bellinger had surmised that Altuve didnt want the shirt removed because he was hiding a buzzer to receive signals about what pitch might be coming.

Nobody wore buzzers in 2019, Correa said.

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War of words over Astros cheating scandal now involves partial tattoo - Brinkwire


Find your missing ink at the 25th annual Motor City Tattoo Expo – Detroit Metro Times

According to a 2018 survey, more than 46% of Americans have at least one tattoo be it a regretful past lovers name, a tribal armband, or a mishmash of Chinese characters that absolutely do not translate to serenity.

Or, maybe youve spent the equivalent of a down payment on a house to festoon your back with a full-color tat of a tiger fighting a lion in a volcano in space surrounded by Looney Tunes characters wearing a jersey by your favorite Red Wings player and some Roman numerals of the birthdays of your step-kids. Or, if youre a Metro Times staffer, a Damien Rice lyric you got when you were engaged to a bridge troll at 22. Ouch.

OK, not all tattoos are bound to become a pending regret, and anyway, America is both the land of the free and land of the inked. For 25 years, the Motor City Tattoo Expo has honored the weird, wonderful, and intricate beauty of permanent body art and the many insanely talented, needle-wielding artists who commit our boldest visions to flesh. This year, the expo returns to the RenCen with a weekend of contests, certification classes, seminars, and more than 300 acclaimed tattoo artists, including Kelly Dotty, Liz Cook, Myke Chambers, Remember, Carl Grace, Big Ceeze, Big Gus, and Bob Tyrrell, all ready to stick it to you.

The event begins at noon on Friday, Feb. 28, and 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, and Sunday, March 1 at the Detroit Marriott at Renaissance Center; 400 Renaissance Center Dr., Detroit;; Single-day passes are $20; weekend passes are $45.

Get our top picks for the best events in Detroit every Thursday morning. Sign up for our events newsletter.

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Find your missing ink at the 25th annual Motor City Tattoo Expo - Detroit Metro Times


Celebrities pay tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant with tattoos – Page Six

The world is still mourning Kobe Bryant.

Thousands gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 24 to celebrate the basketball players life after a helicopter crash killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others last month.

The memorial service was attended by celebrities like Beyonc, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Lopez. Bryants wife Vanessa spoke at the event, as did Michael Jordan and Shaquille ONeal.

While many have honored Bryant on the red carpet over the past several weeks including Spike Lee, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra and more others have taken a more permanent approach by tattooing the NBA stars name, face or jersey numbers on their bodies.

Amber Rose said her forehead tattoo of her childrens names was inspired by Bryants sudden and tragic death, while fellow Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James and Anthony Davis honored the Black Mamba with matching thigh tattoos of his namesake animal.

Odell Beckham Jr. and JR Smith got Bryants likeness inked on their bodies too, and Shaquille ONeals son Shareef, rappers 2Chainz and The Game and soccer star Sydney Leroux subtly paid tribute with tattoos incorporating Kobes and Giannas jersey numbers.

Below, see all the celebrities who have gotten tattoos dedicated to the late superstar so far.

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Celebrities pay tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant with tattoos - Page Six


Jose Altuve heckled with tattoo taunts while signing autographs – msnNOW

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports It's been a predictably hostile spring training so far for Jose Altuve and his Astros teammates in the wake of the cheating scandal.

The Houston Astros have no choice but to accept that the 2020 season will be a grueling one when it comes to the jeers, taunts and put-downs that well-prepared hecklers will have at their disposal in the wake of the teams damning sign-stealing scandal.

Along with every other Astros player who played a role in the scandal, Jose Altuve is learning that lesson the hard way so far in spring training.

As the Astros second baseman was signing autographs for some kids this week, he was met with taunts related to how his tattoo became a central aspect of the all-consuming controversy.

The tattoo-gate drama revolves around how Altuve appeared to tell teammates not to rip off his jersey following his pennant-clinching home run over the Yankees last October. The suspicion that gained some steam of late is that doing so would have blown the lid off how the Astros were wearing buzzers to somehow cheat.

Carlos Correa recently explained that Altuve had a tattoo in the works on his shoulder that didnt look so great, a dubious claim that elicited mockery, which then in turn inspired the above taunts.

Its certainly been a tough row to hoe thus far in camp for Altuve. He was lustily booed in his first spring training at-bat this week.

Adding injury to insult, Altuve was plunked inadvertently, it seems later in the game.

These latest indignities followed a television station in Los Angeles labeling Altuve as Astros Cheater in a chyron in footage of his apology presser a few weeks back.

In other words, buckle up, Altuve and the Astros. Its going to be a long, long season.

Related slideshow: The most notorious sports feuds of all time (Provided by Yardbarker)

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Jose Altuve heckled with tattoo taunts while signing autographs - msnNOW

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