Welcome to Hot Button, a round-the-clock feature that'll cover ... well, everything. At all times. In all sports.
We'll try to keep a focus as to what might most interest Pittsburgh sports fans. But the place needs Pittsburgh fans to be vibrant. Let's hear from you, including your own content and contributions to this stream. We'll be right there with you.
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Tuesday, 12:25 p.m.: Pittsburgh son Mark Cuban has gotten himself into trouble a few times in the past. Nothing too terrible, but a few knicks in the wallet ... Talking to players when he's not allowed to. Talking a little too much from courtside. Now, it's talking to reporters and leaking information from a Board of Governors meeting.
Cuban, flashing some of that Mt. Lebanon wit, commented on the number of his undisclosed fine of $50,000 being leaked to ESPN: "I appreciate the irony of your reporting on a fine that someone should -- but won't -- get fined for leaking to you," Cuban told ESPN. -- Sunday
CUBS TRADE FOR CATCHER
Tuesday, 11:45 a.m.: With All-Star Willson Contreras headed to the 10-day injury list, the Cubs sent left-hander Mike Montgomery to the Royals on Monday night in exchange for catcher Martin Maldonado. An MRI on Monday revealed that Contreras had a strain of the arch muscle in his right foot.
Montgomery, who said he'd been told he'll start Friday's game for the Royals, had his place in Cubs lore established when he got the final out of the 2016 World Series to end the franchise's 108-year championship drought. -- Barger
— Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) July 16, 2019
GLASNOW FACES SETBACK
Monday, 8:40 p.m: Former Pirates hurler Tyler Glasnow is facing another setback in his quest to return from a forearm injury, as per numerous reports. He was previously shut down in late June, so to say this is a setback will be an understatement. Glasnow's 2019 might just be over. - Rollison
#Rays Cash said Glasnow, who got an MRI Monday, will he shut down from throwing for two more weeks, which puts his return in more doubt. “I don’t know” Cash said, when asked about his potential return this season.
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) July 15, 2019
Monday, 6:46 p.m.: Former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant has officially applied for reinstatement to the NFL, per ESPN's Dan Graziano:
Suspended former Steelers and Raiders WR Martavis Bryant has formally applied to the NFL for reinstatement. Bryant has been working with the NFL and NFLPA on steps he needs to take to address his mental health issues with resources such as therapists and ADHD treatments.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 15, 2019
Bryant has been in the league five years since being drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. However, he's never appeared in all 16 games of a season, most notably missing the entire 2016 campaign due to suspension. He was most recently suspended in December of 2018 for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement from a previous ban. -- Hunter
MORGAN MOVING ON
Monday, 3:12 p.m.: Now-former Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan is moving on.
"My purpose in life is bigger than the game," Morgan told ESPN. "What football taught me was the power of influence. My goal is to create better and more meaningful opportunities for marginalized communities to break the cycles of generational poverty and build greater wealth and economic mobility. I feel a deep responsibility to leverage my platform for this."
Last season, Morgan had 25 tackles (19 solo) and one half sack in 12 starts. His best season came in 2016, when he put up nine sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. -- Hunter
Monday: 3:06 p.m.: Another day, another blow to the Bengals' offensive line. The team's first-round pick, Jonah Williams, reportedly will miss all of 2019 after having shoulder surgery. Now, guard Clint Boling has called it quits on his professional football career, per Adam Schefter. Boling has started every game he's appeared in since 2012, 106 in total. -- Hunter
GRADY GETS PAID
Monday, 3:04 p.m.: The Falcons agreed to a four-year, $68 million deal with Grady Jarrett, who, despite never making a Pro Bowl nor registering more than six sacks in a season, is widely considered one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. Pro Football Focus gave Jarrett a 90.1 pass-rushing grade on third downs last season, the ninth-highest they'd ever given an interior lineman. I guess the Falcons subscribe to that site. -- Hunter
ADS COMING TO MLB UNIS?
Monday 3 p.m.: Fans can expect to see advertising logos on major-league uniforms within the next three years, according to a report by Sports Business Journal. The report said clubs would average between $6 million and $8 million in annual revenue from this arrangement.
MLB's interest reportedly stems in part from the NBA's success with selling ad space on uniforms, with teams averaging about $7 million per year in new revenue. The MLB Players Association would have to approve a uniform patch as part of the next CBA, which would start in the 2022 season. -- Barger
ALEX SMITH SHEDS BRACE
Monday, 2:30 p.m.: Redskins QB Alex Smith took his first steps in eight months without his external fixator brace. Smith, 35, had been wearing the brace since his devastating leg fracture in a game late last season against the Texans.
The external fixator was surgically implanted with wires piercing through Smith's leg to the outer rings of the device. His fibula and tibia were shattered, an injury that led to more than a half-dozen surgeries. Additionally, Smith developed a post-op infection, which required further procedures.
Smith recently said he hopes to play football again but still needs to make primary progress ... like relearning how to run.
“The last (eight) months have been nothing short of crazy,” said his wife, Elizabeth Smith, in announcing this on Instagram. “Although it’s not over, today is a big milestone." -- Barger
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) July 15, 2019
Monday, 10:19 a.m.: Legendary boxer Pernell Whitaker was hit by a car late Sunday in Virginia Beach and has passed away at 55. Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006 and held world titles across four weight classes. He also won gold in the 1984 Olympics. -- Hunter
The best lightweight I ever saw passed away today. Yes, that includes Roberto Duran, Floyd Mayweather, Ike Williams, and anyone else you want to mention. RIP Pernell Whitaker.
— Max Kellerman (@maxkellerman) July 15, 2019
Monday, 10:16 a.m.: The 49ers and kicker Robbie Gould finalized a long-term deal Monday, keeping him locked into the Bay Area for the foreseeable future. Earlier this offseason, Gould requested a trade and the Bears, his old team, seemed likely suitors. But the 49ers were able to calm things and work out a two-year, $10.5 million fully guaranteed deal. The contract also includes an option clause that can turn into a four-year, $19 million deal with $15 million guaranteed, per Adam Schefter. -- Hunter
This just in: 49ers and K Robbie Gould reached agreement this morning on a long-term deal, beating today’s deadline for franchise players to sign a deal, sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 15, 2019
Sunday, 4:31 p.m.: Jordan Binnington carried the Blues to their first Stanley Cup, and now he'll need both hands to carry his cash to the bank after signing his first big-time NHL contract for two years at $8.8 million. -- DK
DJOKOVIC WINS EPIC FINAL
Sunday, 3:20 p.m.: It took nearly five hours, 24 games in the fifth set and finally a tiebreaker, but Novak Djokovic survived a relentless challenge from Roger Federer on Sunday to win his fifth Wimbledon men's singles championship, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3) and remain unbeaten against Federer in three Wimbledon final matchups. It was Djokovic's 16th Grand Slam title, four short of Federer's record 20. -- Barger
Unbelievable. Unshakeable. Unstoppable.@DjokerNole wins his fifth #Wimbledon title in an instant classic, defeating Roger Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) #JoinTheStory pic.twitter.com/S2Mx1yyJ3M
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 14, 2019
OBJ HURLS 100-YARDER
Sunday, 10 a.m.: This bit of NFL oneupmanship started at a workout in Los Angeles on Wednesday when Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. was videotaped launching a throw that appeared to travel from goal line to goal line. Steelers cornerback Joe Haden, an observer in the video, said, "That was the whole field!" Then Beckham issued a challenge for a throw-off to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. Perhaps in response, Mahomes showed off his arm on Saturday by throwing a ball from the field over the top of the end-zone upper deck at Arrowhead Stadium. -- Barger
Does OBJ have a better arm than Eli Manning?!
— Shanna (@shanna_mcc) July 11, 2019
GIBSON HAS CANCER
Sunday, 9 a.m.: Hall of Fame right-hander Bob Gibson has pancreatic cancer, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Gibson, 83, received the diagnosis several weeks ago and sent a message to living Hall of Famers, notifying them of his battle. He is hospitalized in Omaha, Neb., his hometown, Gibson's agent, Dick Zitzmann, told Rick Hummel. Gibson spent his entire 17-year career with the Cardinals and went 251-174 with a 2.91 ERA with 3,117 strikeouts, retiring after the 1975 season. -- Barger
— SABR BioProject (@SABRbioproject) July 14, 2019
TWINS' KEPLER OWNS BAUER
Sunday, 9:10 a.m.: Talk about owning a pitcher. When the Twins' Max Kepler smacked solo home runs in the first and second inning Saturday night at Cleveland, it gave him home runs in five consecutive at-bats against Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer -- three against him on June 6, including a walk-off blast, and then two Saturday night. Kepler, who has 11 career home runs at Progressive Field, matched the record for homer streaks against a pitcher in MLB's expansion era. It was previously done by Carlos Delgado against Jorge Sosa in 2003-04 and Frank Howard against Bob Hendley in 1963-64. -- Barger
KEPLER LOVES THE LAND!
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 13, 2019
CAN'T WRITE IT
Saturday, 1:58 a.m.: Sometimes sports have the storylines we pay millions at the box office to experience. Other times, something so inexplicably beautiful happens in a game that you question if it could be dreamt up with a pen at all. Remember Dee Gordon breaking down when he hit a leadoff home run in his first game after friend and teammate Jose Fernandez's death? The entire team wearing his jersey ... It made baseball more than a game. Hours ago, Tyler Skaggs' mom threw a strike on a ceremonial first pitch in the Angels' first home game since the pitcher's death. His entire team wore No. 45 in his honor, went out and threw a combined no-hitter and laid every one of those jerseys on the mound in his honor. Unbelievable, powerful, terribly sad stuff. More than a game. -- Sunday
A no-hitter on the first home game after Tyler Skaggs’ death ...
Reminds me of Dee Gordon’s leadoff homer in the first game after Jose Fernandez passed. Only homer of the season.
Can’t write this stuff.
You can. But no one should believe it.
— Charlie Kane (@PGATOURKane) July 13, 2019
Debbie Skaggs, Tyler's mom, threw out the first pitch and it was right down the middle 🙏
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 13, 2019
Bigger than sports 🙏
After the Angels threw a combined no-hitter, the players placed their No. 45 Tyler Skaggs jerseys on the pitcher’s mound. pic.twitter.com/vXYXj8L4PV
— ESPN (@espn) July 13, 2019
In the Angels' first home game since the passing of Tyler Skaggs, on the night the Angels all wore Tyler Skaggs jerseys, and on the night Skaggs' mom threw out the first pitch, the Angels have thrown a no-hitter.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 13, 2019
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