Perimeter runs and left-side attempts

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Funny anthem standoff goes sideways when Mariners' Robbie Ray, Royals' Luke Weaver ejected for antics

A lighthearted pregame standoff between former teammates took a sharp turn on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium when they were both ejected ahead of first pitch. Seattle Mariners pitcher Robbie Ray won the standoff against Kansas City Royals reliever Luke Weaver.

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Ray and Weaver were teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019 and part of 2020. After the playing of the national anthem, they both stayed on the field, hats held over their hearts, without any will to concede. Weaver looked as if he might fall asleep with his head to the side. Respective teammates brought over water, sweat towels and a Theragun for massages as the standoff continued

It obviously caused a delay and the umpiring crew wasn't happy. As first pitch ticked closer, the group huddled together at home plate for the usual exchanging of lineup cards. The teams took the diamond ready to start the game and Royals starter Max Castillo was ready on the mound.

And still, Weaver and Ray did not move. Home plate umpire Adrian Johnson jogged over and appeared to wave them off. He became more pugnacious and pointed for Weaver to leave the field. The time of first pitch was already three minutes prior.

Weaver did move first, eliciting a cheer from the Mariners dugout for their mini victory. Except Johnson had actually ejected them for delaying the game. Not a victory at all, it seems.

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Funny anthem standoff goes sideways when Mariners' Robbie Ray, Royals' Luke Weaver ejected for antics
Cassandra Negley
Cassandra Negley·Writer
Mon, September 26, 2022 at 3:18 AM·2 min read
In this article:

Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals
Tomorrow4:25 AMvsDET
Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners
Tomorrow7:25 AMvsTEX

A lighthearted pregame standoff between former teammates took a sharp turn on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium when they were both ejected ahead of first pitch. Seattle Mariners pitcher Robbie Ray won the standoff against Kansas City Royals reliever Luke Weaver.

Ray and Weaver were teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019 and part of 2020. After the playing of the national anthem, they both stayed on the field, hats held over their hearts, without any will to concede. Weaver looked as if he might fall asleep with his head to the side. Respective teammates brought over water, sweat towels and a Theragun for massages as the standoff continued, per MLB.com.

It obviously caused a delay and the umpiring crew wasn't happy. As first pitch ticked closer, the group huddled together at home plate for the usual exchanging of lineup cards. The teams took the diamond ready to start the game and Royals starter Max Castillo was ready on the mound.

And still, Weaver and Ray did not move. Home plate umpire Adrian Johnson jogged over and appeared to wave them off. He became more pugnacious and pointed for Weaver to leave the field. The time of first pitch was already three minutes prior.

Weaver did move first, eliciting a cheer from the Mariners dugout for their mini victory. Except Johnson had actually ejected them for delaying the game. Not a victory at all, it seems.

The Royals led, 2-1, through three innings before both teams escalated it into a football score. The Mariners scored eight in the fifth and two in the sixth. The Royals answered with an 11-run sixth-inning and ended up winning 13-12.

Ray is 12-10 in 2022 with a 3.6 ERA and last pitched on Wednesday. Weaver has a 6.43 ERA in 11 appearances since the Royals acquired him in a trade with the Diamondbacks in July. He was not available on Saturday, either, and has not pitched since a week ago.

As Thursday night bled into Friday morning in April 2021 during the NFL draft, Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones repeated: “Pressure, pressure, pressure.”

The Cowboys were mere hours removed from selecting Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th overall draft pick, a surprise decision. Drafting a cornerback or safety? That would have checked out for a franchise whose secondary had struggled mightily in recent years. Choosing a defensive end to wreck pockets? That, too, could have been justified given the value of rushing in an increasingly pass-heavy league.

But Parsons was an off-ball linebacker in college. Could he really blow up pockets the way the Cowboys envisioned?

Fast-forward 17 months and the now-reigning defensive Rookie of the Year has done just that. Last week, Parsons became the first player in NFL history to notch 17 sacks in his first 18 career games, despite Parsons aligning primarily along the defensive line in just six of those contests. Parsons raced to 13 sacks, 83 tackles, 37 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles as a rookie. Through the first two weeks of this NFL season, he has amassed four sacks (tied for the league-most), five hurries and 13 total pressures, per Pro Football Focus.

“He’s inordinate in his intensity,” Jones said last Tuesday on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “You can’t always get your finger on that when you’re evaluating a player, but boy, his intensity. And of course that translates with his natural athletic ability, which is freakish.

“In this game which is ‘Pressure Player City,’ if you can be a pressure player … you can do some damage. And he is that.”

As the Cowboys open NFC East play Monday night against the New York Giants, they look for Parsons to continue impacting quarterbacks and games. Around the hallways of Cowboys headquarters, the question isn’t will Parsons dominate, but how.
‘Not just his speed, but his smarts’

Parsons has lined up for 120 defensive snaps through two games, per PFF. Ninety-five times he has attacked from the defensive line, 24 times as a down linebacker and once Parsons aligned in the secondary.


Even that split doesn’t fully capture the diversity Parsons has integrated into his game in Year 2. As an edge rusher, Parsons has aligned across opponents’ left tackles and their right. He has circled outside en route to the pocket and swam inside. Former nine-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, whose 12-season career with the Cowboys and Broncos included 138.5 sacks, marveled at Parsons’ effectiveness on the move.

Not just his speed, but his smarts,” Ware told Yahoo Sports by phone Sunday. “Usually when you first come in, they’re like, ‘Hey, just dip and rip. Dip and rip around the corner.’ Now I’m starting to see him sharpen his toolbox and use other people’s moves to be effective in his own way.”

Ware pointed to Parsons’ first sack of the season, when Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced third-and-5 from Dallas’ 8-yard line halfway through the second quarter. When Parsons rushed from the right side, Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith kicked out to block him. Parsons didn’t hesitate, instead spinning inside and reaching for Brady’s ankle to complete the sack. Tampa Bay settled for a 36-yard field-goal attempt that was no good.

Parsons sacked Brady again the following drive, quashing another promising red-zone visit. The following week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Parsons sacked Joe Burrow twice — once rushing from left edge and dipping underneath, the other time rounding from right defensive end.

Parsons’ point of attack changed. Opponents’ “focal point,” head coach Mike McCarthy said, will not.

“When [opponents] play the Dallas Cowboys, he’s probably the first one they’re talking about in their offensive room,” McCarthy said. “We have to continue to create targeting challenges for the offense [to] make the offensive staff of the opponent work harder, the challenge of where he is.

“Because at the end of the day, he’s so disruptive.”

So how will that play out against the Giants?
New plan vs. New York?

The Cowboys will likely again shift Parsons’ assignments. The Giants have averaged 5.2 rushing yards per attempt compared to 5 passing yards per attempt, with star Saquon Barkley compiling 282 yards from scrimmage (236 rushing) and a touchdown, including a 68-yard carry he ripped off while bursting down the left sideline in the Giants’ season-opening win at Tennessee.

Cowboys defenders discussed in meetings the threat Barkley’s speed, elusiveness and knack for jump cuts pose. Perimeter runs and left-side attempts will be a point of emphasis. Ware said if he were defensive coordinator, he would favor Parsons’ right-side coverage to account for that.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said he doesn’t want Parsons playing just rush end.

“There is temptation to keep him there because he’s had success doing that,” Quinn said. “But he’s also a really good linebacker too and he can make plays off the ball that may not add up into some of the spaces. Having the ability to be not always where you’re supposed to be adds value.”

Parsons demonstrated that value in the Cowboys’ opener. On second-and-2 late in the first quarter, Brady handed the ball off to running back Leonard Fournette. Parsons had rushed the passer the snap immediately prior, but now appeared again a middle linebacker. As Bucs blockers cleared Fournette’s path, Parsons cut through a lane along which five of his teammates were engaged. Just as Fournettte reached the open field, Parsons threw him out of bounds.

Fournette gashed Dallas for 17 yards, but didn’t score. The Bucs settled for a field goal on a drive that had momentarily seemed destined to end with Fournette in the end zone.

Parsons welcomes the chance to make plays like that, whether it’s game-changing sacks — or simply being disruptive so his teammates benefit.

“The best player in the league, I don’t want to be anything short of that,” Parsons said. “Being the best player in the league doesn't mean you are going to have 20 sacks. Being the best player in the league leads your teams to championships and wins and having the best defense.

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