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Mets’ Michael Conforto shows sign of ending slump

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The Mets’ streakiest batter has looked like two different hitters in recent weeks.

Michael Conforto showed signs Tuesday of breaking out of the cold stretch that had ensnared him of late after his hottest streak of the season. He went 2-for-4 in the Mets’ 12-5 loss to the Braves, with his second-inning double marking his first extra-base hit since July 19.

Coming into Tuesday, the outfielder was 2-for-22 in his last seven games, a slump that manager Luis Rojas attributed to Conforto’s timing at the plate.

“It’s been so on and off,” Rojas said before the game. “He’s just not getting to a point where his hands need to get when he’s loading. It’s a timing thing. He did it in one at-bat and then he didn’t do it in the other. It caused him to rush to the ball and not being able to recognize secondary pitches or be late on fastballs.”

Conforto looked as if he were turning a corner in his disappointing season with a hot five-game stretch going into and coming out of the All-Star break. He hit 8-for-21 with four home runs, helping boost a Mets offense that looked to be finally starting to live up to its potential.

Michael Conforto
Michael Conforto
Corey Sipkin

Still, he closed Tuesday with a slash line of .209/.336/.345.

“If he gets his hands into a good position and his loading mechanism, I think he’s going to do some damage,” Rojas said. “He does it one at-bat and not the other. He’s in a little bit of an inconsistent mode right now, so we’re looking at him to be more consistent with his loading mechanism.”


David Peterson underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal on his right foot, according to his Instagram. The right-hander initially went on the 10-day injured list July 1 with a strained oblique that was expected to cost him up to eight weeks. Then he suffered the freak foot injury, which led to his transfer to the 60-day IL and put his season in jeopardy.


Brandon Drury, who was double-switched into Tuesday’s game in the fourth inning, went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run. … Dominic Smith, who came out in the double switch as starter Jerad Eickhoff was pulled, is fine, according to Rojas.

To make room for Eickhoff, who was re-signed for Tuesday’s start, the Mets optioned Travis Blankenhorn to Triple-A Syracuse and designated Roel Ramirez for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster. The Mets had claimed Ramirez, a right-handed pitcher, off waivers from the Cardinals last Wednesday.

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Mac Jones explains how his girlfriend, mom help him ‘break down’ football games

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Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ coaching staff is stacked.

Although Bill Belichick and his staff in New England are teaching Jones the NFL ropes, it’s his mother Holly Jones and girlfriend Sophie Scott who are lending advice behind-the-scenes.

“[Sophie] understands football and so does my mom, so I always get the breakdown from them after the game,” Jones said on WEEI’s “Merloni and Fauria” podcast.

Jones, in a separate interview a few days prior, mentioned that his college girlfriend helped him learn the Patriots playbook during preseason.

While on “Merloni and Fauria,” the host asked Jones if Scott “gets any days off” from discussing the playbook — to which he joked, “Yeah, we’ll see when I get home.”

“Yeah, so I listen to them and my dad, obviously the coaches most importantly,” Jones said. “But it’s good to take whatever they thought I could do better. I always ask them what I can improve on, and they’ll give me something. They’ve been pretty good about that.”

The Alabama product and Scott, also a University of Alabama alum, met at school. They went public with their romance on Instagram in Sept. 2019. 

Jones — the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — was the talk of preseason after he beat out Cam Newton for the starting quarterback job in New England.

Newton was released by the Patriots on August 31, and later said he would’ve been a distraction if he wasn’t the starting quarterback in New England.

Jones was able to spread the ball well in New England’s Week 1 loss (17-16) at home against the Dolphins. He completed passes to eight different players and racked up 281 passing yards and a touchdown.

The Patriots visit the 0-1 Jets on Sunday.

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Nicki Minaj claims she was invited to White House to discuss COVID after viral tweet

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Nicki Minaj said she was invited to the White House to discuss COVID-19 after claiming the vaccine can cause impotence – but an official has shot down her claim, saying the rapper was only offered a phone call with a doctor.

“The White House has invited me & I think it’s a step in the right direction. Yes, I’m going. I’ll be dressed in all pink like Legally Blonde so they know I mean business,” the 38-year-old rap superstar said in a tweet Wednesday.

“I’ll ask questions on behalf of the ppl who have been made fun of for simply being human,” Minaj added.

However, a White House official refuted her claim about being invited in person, saying the singer was simply offered a call.

“As we have with others, we offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she has about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine,” the official told Fox News.

Nicki Minaj has claimed that the White House has invited her to Washington DC in order to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine. White House officials have refuted the statement.
Nicki Minaj has claimed that the White House has invited her to Washington DC in order to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine. White House officials have refuted the statement.
Robert Kamau/GC Images

But Minaj doubled down and insisted she was indeed invited to the White House, but that she suggested a “Live” online session instead because she doesn’t want to travel due to the pandemic.

“Do y’all think that I would go on the Internet and lie about being invited to the … White House?” she said on Instagram, according to Newsweek.

She wrote: “We’d like to offer Nicki an invitation to come to the White House to speak with two people… the two names… um, what is that man’s name… Dr. Fauci and with the surgeon general.”

White House officials stated that they offered to call Minaj and connect her to a doctor to explain the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
White House officials stated that they offered to call Minaj and connect her to a doctor to explain the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Minaj continued: “And do you know what I said? I said, ‘Well, I would rather not have to travel, can we do something like a [Instagram] Live’ and they said that they’re open to me choosing a platform to do a Live but they never have taken that off the table for me to come to the White House.”

In response to the statement from the White House, she added: “And then just imagine someone saying, ‘Oh, no, we offered Nicki Minaj the same phone call we offer everybody else.’ What? You think they would offer that to Mookie in the projects. No. ‘Everybody else.’

“And I see why a lot of celebrities keep themselves bubbled up. You understand? We’re living in a place without free healthcare. So anybody in this country has the right to question anything about their health,” she said, according to Newsweek.

Minaj was reportedly blocked from Twitter after the now viral tweets regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Minaj was reportedly blocked from Twitter after the now viral tweets regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Instagram

The “Starships” singer made headlines this week when she skipped the Met Gala and tweeted her more than 22.6 million followers that it required attendees to be vaccinated. She said she wouldn’t get the jab until “I feel I’ve done enough research.”

Minaj later shared an unverified story about a cousin’s friend in Trinidad and claimed the unidentified person “became impotent” and “his testicles became swollen” after receiving the shot.

Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed her claim as misinformation.

“There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen,” the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Tuesday on CNN.

Meanwhile, Minaj also told her followers on Instagram that she had been placed in “Twitter jail” for her controversial remarks and vowed to never use the platform again, according to Fox Business.

“I’m in Twitter jail y’all,” she proclaimed Wednesday. “They didn’t like what I was saying over there on that block, I guess my poll was gonna be asking questions is OK I like being fkng dumb then boom. Can’t tweet.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci (right) has publicly dismissed Minaj's claims saying there is no proof of impotency.
Dr. Anthony Fauci (right) has publicly dismissed Minaj’s claims saying there is no proof of impotency.
CNN

Minaj later added: “Look at what they just did. I will never use Twitter again. First of all, I didn’t give any facts about any vaccine… I didn’t give any facts about anything,” according to Newsweek.

But a Twitter rep later told BuzzFeed that the platform “did not take any enforcement action in the account.”

In another development, a government minister in Trinidad and Tobago said officials in the country “wasted so much time” trying to confirm Minaj’s bizarre claims about the shot’s reproductive side effects.

“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad… and none that we know of anywhere in the world,” Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh told reporters, the BBC reported.

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Fencing installed around the Capitol ahead of anticipated Sept. 18 protest

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Fencing around the US Capitol building has been reinstalled ahead of a planned rally Saturday in support of the Jan. 6 rioters.

Late Wednesday night, workers wearing construction vests put together the fencing around the government building as local law enforcement braces for the “Justice for J6” demonstration.

The rally is being held to protest the detainment of those arrested in connection to the Jan 6. insurrection. 

The riot saw hundreds of former President Trump supporters violently breach the Capitol, leading to five deaths. 

More than 600 people are facing federal charges linked to the insurrection, and over 60 have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating in the Capitol.

Meanwhile, Washington DC has seen several other security threats in recent weeks, prompting law enforcement to be on high alert ahead of the protest — including a man claiming to have a bomb outside the Library of Congress and another who was arrested outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters after being found in possession of several knives and a machete.

Workers install security fencing around the U.S. Capitol in preparation for this weekend's Justice for J6 Rally.
Workers install security fencing around the U.S. Capitol in preparation for this weekend’s Justice for J6 Rally.
Getty Images

The fencing around the building is the first major security measure being taken in preparation. It was last seen surrounding the Capitol in July, when it was originally removed

It is unclear how many people will attend Saturday’s rally, however, one of the organizers, Matt Braynard with Look Ahead America, told Fox5 that he is estimating around 700 people. 

“We’ve cooperated with the Capitol Police, Park Police, Metropolitan Police. We’ve got additional security–a diplomatic security team–to help make the event be smooth,” Braynard, a former Trump campaign staffer, said.

Capitol building
US Capitol Police, Washington Metropolitan Police and the FBI Washington Field Office will be monitoring the event.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“We’ve got volunteers who are going to be there to help keep everybody safe. We’re encouraging everybody to leave in groups together so they can’t be targeted.”

He has also told attendees in a message on the rally’s website not to wear or bring any “political, candidate, or another organization’s paraphernalia” including “clothing or banners supportive of President Trump or President Biden.”

Rather, rallygoers are being told to “[b]e respectful to our security team and law enforcement” and “wear your red, white, and blue and bring your American flag and signs to show your support of the J6 prisoners.”

US Capitol Police, Washington Metropolitan Police and the FBI Washington Field Office will be monitoring the event.

Capitol riots
More than 600 people are facing federal charges linked to the insurrection, and over 60 have pleaded guilty,.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

This week, Capitol Police requested assistance from the Pentagon ahead of the rally. 

Defense Department press secretary John Kirby confirmed the request to reporters on Wednesday but declined to elaborate on its nature except to say that Pentagon officials are “analyzing” it and “if it can be validated and supported, we’ll do that.”

“My understanding is that it is not an exorbitant ask,” he added. “It’s not of a particularly large size or major capability. I think it’s really more in the form of some manpower support.”

In addition to the Capitol protest, Look Ahead America has planned smaller rallies in 17 states, including outside the state capitol buildings in New York and New Jersey.

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