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home : sports : college/pro August 13, 2020

Heyward's 4 RBIs power Cubs to 7-1 win over Indians
Jon Lester and the Cubs didn't let another of 2020's distractions slow them one bit.

Lester looked comfortable on a mound where he helped make history, Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer and Chicago returned from a four-day layoff and rolled to a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, who welcomed back manager Terry Francona after a couple bumpy days.

Lester (2-0) allowed three hits in six innings as the Cubs, whose weekend series at St. Louis was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the Cardinals, moved to 11-3 for the first time since 2016.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Spring college football: When? How much? Who plays?
Back in April, not long after the pandemic canceled the NCAA basketball tournament, the idea of moving the 2020 college football to the spring of 2021 was already being tossed around.

A last resort is what it was called by conference commissioners and athletic directors.

When it looked as if the U.S. might be winning its fight against COVID-19, the idea of a spring season mostly fell by the wayside.

"We broached it very little in our AD meetings and really haven't gotten serious about it at all," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said Tuesday. "I had one AD from another league call and just talk about it a little bit."

Time to start talking about it a lot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Pac-12 postponing sports through the end of the calendar year
In a release posted on the Pac-12’s website:

"The Pac-12 CEO Group voted unanimously to postpone all sport competitions through the end of the 2020 calendar year.

The decision was made after consultation with athletics directors and with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee who expressed concern with moving forward with contact practice. The Conference also announced that when conditions improve, it would consider a return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Big Ten officially postpones fall sports
The Big Ten became the first major NCAA Division I conference to officially postpone their fall sports. In a release posted to the Big Ten’s website:

"The Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Golden Knights to take on resurgent Blackhawks
Max Pacioretty used some weights and a stationary bike to work out in his room during his quarantine period inside the NHL bubble in Edmonton. He rejoined the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday and skated with the team the past couple of days.

He's ready to go. Well as ready as he can be to step right into the NHL playoffs.

Pacioretty returns to a Golden Knights team aiming for another deep postseason run after it went 3-0 in round-robin play to secure the top seed in the Western Conference. Standing in their way in the first round are Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks, fresh off an impressive performance against Edmonton in their qualifying series.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

College football coaches facing tough adversary: uncertainty
College football coaches are facing the daunting challenge of getting their players to maintain the required focus to prepare for season-openers when the prevailing question swirling around the sport is when, or if, the season will even be played because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Preparation is a regimented endeavor. Practice periods are measured on a clock on the field, whistles signal the time to hustle from one drill to another. And uncertainty is a formidable opponent to the process.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Pirates-Cards series postponed over virus woes
The entire three-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis that was set to begin Monday night at Busch Stadium has been postponed while the Cardinals deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.

There have now been 27 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 13 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A star-studded list of NFL players looking for 2020 rebound
Von Miller is determined to show 2019 was an oddity, not an omen.

Miller’s performance last season was nothing to scoff at considering he had eight sacks and made his eighth Pro Bowl. But his five-year run as an All-Pro first- or second-team selection came to an end and the Denver Broncos’ playoff drought persisted.

“I didn’t play to the ‘Sack Master’s’ standards,” Miller said. “My coaches felt like there was more for me to give. Most of all, I feel like I can give more and I can be more. I don’t feel like I’m finished yet.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Players unite in push to save college season, create union
Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players, pushing for the opportunity to play this season, despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players' rights movement in the Big Ten, didn't like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence's message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

"There was a lot of division," Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

Monday, August 10, 2020

New PGA champion Morikawa's toughest moment came after round
If all you saw were the highlights of how Collin Morikawa beat back the biggest names in golf and walked off with the PGA Championship, you'd conclude he did it the old-fashioned way.

The 23-year-old Californian delivered a 6-under 64 in the final round, including a signature shot that fans will be talking about for decades. He hit more fairways and greens, and picked up more strokes with the putter over four days than anyone else in the field. He even arrived at TPC Harding Park with some built-in advantages, in top form after winning twice on tour during this re-jiggered season, and he knew the course well from his days playing college golf at nearby Cal-Berkeley.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Astros, A's clear benches, empty seats; Oakland wins ninth straight
The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros apparently were tired of playing nice.

So following two quiet games at the Coliseum, true feelings seemed to come out and tempers flared Sunday, months after Houston's sign-stealing scandal was brought to light by Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers.

Things got so angry the benches cleared — and the stands emptied, too, during Oakland's 7-2 victory over the AL West rival Astros.

Monday, August 10, 2020

White Sox slugger Eloy Jiménez wants to stay in left
CHICAGO (AP) — Eloy Jiménez has no interest in the designated hitter job with the Chicago White Sox. His team wants the same thing for him.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Blackhawks elminate Oilers 3-1 in best-of-5
Edmonton, Alberta (AP) — Brandon Saad, Matthew Highmore and Dominik Kubalik scored and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Edmonton 3-2 on Friday, knocking the Oilers out of the postseason tournament.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Cubs-Cards weekend series postponed
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The entire three-game series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis at Busch Stadium was postponed Friday night after two more Cardinals players and a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Surprising Marlins win again, top Mets 4-3 for 6th straight
NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Cervelli hit a three-run homer, Humberto Mejia impressed in his abbreviated major league debut and the Miami Marlins kept up their surprising surge, beating the New York Mets 4-3 Friday night..
Saturday, August 8, 2020

66 players opt out of NFL season due to coronavirus fear
(AP) — A total of 66 players have opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly half of them linemen.
Friday, August 7, 2020

Vegas dominates Blues 6-4, now one win from top seed
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Mark Stone scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection with under 7 minutes left, and the Vegas Golden Knights took a big step toward clinching the top seed in the Western Conference by beating the St. Louis Blues 6-4 in round-robin play Thursday night.
Friday, August 7, 2020

Royals hit three homers, beat Cubs 13-2 to stop 6-game slide
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Whit Merrifield, Maikel Franco and Jorge Soler homered, and the Kansas City Royals stopped a six-game slide by pounding the Chicago Cubs 13-2 on Thursday night.
Friday, August 7, 2020

Toews' 2nd goal breaks late tie, Blackhawks beat Oilers
Matthew Highmore tied the score with 5:47 left in the third period, and Jonathan Toews got his second of the game 4 1/2 minutes later to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of their qualifying round series Wednesday night.

"We stuck with it and I think it was a great team effort," Toews said.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Houser strong, Brewers end Sox 6-game streak
Dallas Keuchel saw the potential in Adrian Houser when the two were coming up with the Houston Astros. Outings like this were just what he envisioned.

Houser dominated over seven innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the White Sox 1-0 Wednesday night to snap Chicago's six-game win streak.

"What a long way he's come," said Keuchel, who was drafted by Houston in 2009 — two years before Houser. "I was very, very happy to see the transition the last two years. But obviously, I wasn't very happy to see it tonight. He had all the talent in the world when he was drafted."

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Darvish pitches Cubs past Royals 6-1 for 6th straight win
Yu Darvish pitched seven sharp innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the skidding Kansas City Royals 6-1 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.

Javier Báez drove in two runs for the Cubs (10-2), who handed Kansas City its sixth consecutive defeat. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo each had two hits and scored twice.

Darvish (2-1) was in midseason form for the second straight outing. He gave up five hits, struck out four and walked one.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Spieth quietly chasing grand slam
The spotlight on Jordan Spieth should be bright enough to cut through the marine layer blanketing Harding Park this week at the PGA Championship.

Win this major and he joins the most exclusive club in golf with the final leg of the career Grand Slam. Only five other players — Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen — have won all four majors since the Masters began in 1934.

This is his fourth chance, and the longest anyone went from winning the third leg to completing the Grand Slam was three years by Player and Nicklaus.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

NBA: The race for No. 8 out West is quite wild
Devin Booker does not like the notion that the Phoenix Suns, whose playoff chances were beyond slim when the season was suspended, should simply be happy to be in the NBA's bubble.

He sees it quite differently.

"People can say we have a nothing-to-lose mentality," Booker said. "We don't look at it like that."

Hard to argue. The Suns, like a lot of other teams out West, have much to play for right now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Big 12 to allow teams to play 1 nonconference football game
Big 12 schools agreed Monday night to play one nonconference football game this year to go along with their nine league contests as plans for the pandemic-altered 2020 season continued to fall into place.

The Big 12's university presidents signed off on a 10-game schedule, adjusted to deal with potential disruptions from COVID-19 that lets schools play one nonconference opponent at home. A specific start date for conference play was not determined. The conference said in a news release it will likely begin mid-to-late September and the expectation is nonconference games will be completed before league play starts.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Kimbrel shaky again, Cubs hold off Royals for 5th straight
Jason Heyward, Jason Kipnis and Willson Contreras homered and the Chicago Cubs overcame another shaky outing by closer Craig Kimbrel to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.

Kimbrel took over to begin the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead, but struggled again and allowed two runs and two hits while getting only one out. He's yielded six runs in 1 2/3 innings in three appearances this season.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

McDavid's hat trick leads Oilers past Blackhawks 6-3
Connor McDavid recorded his first playoff hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, tying their best-of-five qualifying series at one game apiece.

McDavid scored 19 seconds into the game, then off an electrifying solo rush just past the four-minute mark, and once more on the power play late in the second period on Monday night.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Bryant homers, Mills shines as surging Cubs beat Royals 2-0
Kris Bryant homered in his return to the lineup and Alec Mills pitched seven effective innings, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Kansas City Royals 2-0 on Monday night for their fourth consecutive win.

Javier Báez had a sacrifice fly and a nice play in the field as NL Central-leading Chicago improved to 8-2 for the first time since 2016. Bryant also doubled in the first after missing two games with a stomach ailment.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

St Louis series at Detroit off after more positives
Seven St. Louis Cardinals players and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, causing Major League Baseball to postpone the team's four-game series at Detroit.

The series was to have been played at Comerica Park from Tuesday through Thursday.

"You think about how quickly something like this can spread," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "Until it touches you, you sometimes might not believe it, but needless to say we know this is very real and we know it moves quickly and it moves silently, but it can infect a lot of people fast."

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Thomas holds off Koepka to win WGC
Justin Thomas wants to make his second stint as No. 1 in the world last longer than the first time around.

"I hope so," Thomas said Sunday after winning the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to take the No. 1 spot for the first time since June 2018. "I feel like I'm a better player, and I feel like I'm more complete of a golfer now than I was then."

Monday, August 3, 2020

Illinois star Dosunmu to return for junior year
Illinois basketball star Ayo Dosunmu plans to return for his junior season rather than turn pro.

The first-team, all-Big Ten guard said in a video posted Friday on Twitter playing in the NBA is his dream. "But first, I need that national championship. Year three," he added.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Pac-12 players unite in show of empowerment
As college football leaders work to rescue a football season worth billions in revenue from the threat of COVID-19, the players have become emboldened.

They are calling out coaches and lawmakers, rallying for social cause s and asking for answers about how they are expected to safely play through a pandemic.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Báez lifts Cubs over Pirates in 11th
Javier Báez singled through a drawn-in infield in the 11th inning, scoring David Bote from third base and giving the Chicago Cubs a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Bote, who made the last out in the 10th, started the inning on second base as mandated by Major League Baseball's extra-inning rule for the pandemic-shortened season. He advanced to third on a deep fly to right by Anthony Rizzo and jogged home on Baez's first career game-ending hit against Cody Ponce (0-1).

Monday, August 3, 2020

Big Ten Freshman of Year Cockburn returning to Illinois
Big Ten Freshman of the Year Kofi Cockburn is returning to Illinois for his sophomore season.

The 7-foot, 290-pound Cockburn posted  "IM BACK ??" with a graphic on Twitter on Saturday. The announcement means the Illini will have their top two players return from a team that was in line to make the NCAA Tournament last season, after all-conference guard Ayo Dosunmu said Friday he plans to return for his junior year rather than turn pro.

Monday, August 3, 2020

6 teams idle: Manfred, union talk as MLB deals with virus
With six teams idled Friday by the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to union leader Tony Clark about the importance of players following the sport's coronavirus protocols.

Manfred and Clark talked about what needs to be done to finish the season, a person familiar with the conversation said. The person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Bears QB Trubisky out to prove doubters wrong, beat Foles
Mitchell Trubisky insists he is one motivated quarterback.

He comes into a make-or-break season locked in a competition with former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles for the Bears' job, knowing his future as a starter in Chicago and maybe anywhere else is on the line.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

SEC goes to conference-only schedule, set for Sept. 26 start
The powerhouse Southeastern Conference reconfigured its schedule Thursday to include only league games in 2020, a pandemic-forced decision that pushes major college football closer to a siloed regular season in which none of the power conferences cross paths.

The SEC's university presidents agreed on a 10-game schedule that eliminates all nonconference opponents and begins Sept. 26. The SEC championship game, originally scheduled for Dec. 5, will be pushed back to Dec. 19, 13 days before the College Football Playoff semifinals are scheduled to be played on New Year's Day.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Bears' QB battle between Trubisky, Foles about to heat up
The Chicago Bears declared the quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles an open one during the offseason.

It's about to click into gear, though it won't play out quite the way they envisioned. With no preseason games, more emphasis will be placed on the reads they make in practice.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Former Illinois, New Mexico St coach Lou Henson dies at 88
Lou Henson, the plain-spoken coach who took New Mexico State and Illinois to the Final Four during a 21-year career that included nearly 800 victories and a feud with fellow Big Ten coach Bob Knight, has died. He was 88.

Henson died Saturday at his home in Champaign and he was buried in a private service Wednesday, the Illinois athletic department said.

Henson left the game as the winningest coach at both Illinois and New Mexico State, and still ranks fifth all-time among Big Ten coaches in total wins (423) and conference wins (214). In 2015, he was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, an honor his fans thought might never come.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Báez homers twice, Cubs stay hot, beat Reds
Two homers, a deft dive to score another run, and a couple smooth-as-ever defensive plays. Vintage Javier Báez, in time to keep the Cubs' surge going.

The sensational shortstop led the way offensively Tuesday night and Alec Mills went six solid innings for an 8-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that fit Chicago's early pattern.

Chicago has won four of its first five games, scoring first in each one. Jason Kipnis' triple — Shogo Akiyama lost it in the sun — sparked the offense. Báez took it from there, emerging from a slow start that included only a pair of singles in the first four games.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Game on: NBA finally set to see games that count again
Games were canceled. Practice facilities were shuttered. A season ended unceremoniously for eight teams. The draft process was delayed, as was free agency. Some players tested positive for the coronavirus. Many more took to the streets and used their voices to demand justice and equality as racism and police brutality sparked a nationwide conversation.

The world has changed since the NBA stopped on March 11.

For 22 franchises, however, there is a goal that remains in place.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Twins top Cards 6-3
Josh Donaldson homered and drove in two runs in his Target Field debut with Minnesota, Jorge Polanco hit a two-run shot and the Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in their home opener on Tuesday night.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Cubs blow big 7-run lead, but Rizzo homers again to edge Reds 8-7
Manager David Ross was starting to relax with a seven-run lead. Didn't take long for him to remember from his playing days that Great American Ball Park can erase most anything.

Anthony Rizzo homered for the third time as Chicago built a seven-run lead, and the Cubs let most of it slip away before Jeremy Jeffress closed out an 8-7 victory over a Cincinnati Reds team coping with coronavirus uncertainty.

Then, Ross could exhale.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Dr. Fauci says Marlins' virus outbreak could endanger MLB season
The Miami Marlins' coronavirus outbreak could endanger the Major League Baseball season, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday, although he doesn't believe games needs to stop now.

More than a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19, stranding the team in Philadelphia and raising anew questions about MLB's attempts to conduct a season.

"This could put it in danger," said Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. "I don't believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis."

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

After talk of collaboration, conferences go their own way
Plans for the college football season — if it is played — should start coming into focus this week.

They will trickle down from the top of major college football, with Power Five conferences putting in place revised schedules they hope will make it easier to manage potential disruptions brought on by COVID-19.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Pirates beat Cardinals 5-1 for Shelton's 1st ML win
Pittsburgh's Derek Shelton staged baseball's first major, socially distanced umpire argument, then got his first victory as a big league manager as the Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Sunday.

Colin Moran and Jose Osuna homered, and Mitch Keller pitched five solid innings for the Pirates.

Shelton came out to argue with plate umpire Jordan Baker in the third inning after pitcher Derek Holland was ejected from the dugout for arguing balls and strikes.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Cruz homers twice and Twins beat White Sox 14-2
Jake Cave hit a grand slam, Nelson Cruz homered twice and Kenta Maeda was strong in his debut with his new team, helping the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 14-2 on Sunday.

Cruz added two doubles and drove in seven runs for the reigning AL Central champion Twins, who won two of three. Maeda (1-0), a Japanese right-hander who was traded in February from the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowed two runs and struck out six in five innings.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Chatwood dominates, Cubs romp Brewers 9-1
Tyler Chatwood turned in the sort of performance the Chicago Cubs thought he would deliver on a regular basis. The right-hander, who struggled with his control for much of his first two two seasons with the team, sure was locked in.

For the Cubs, it was a welcome sight.

Chatwood pitched three-hit ball over six innings, Willson Contreras homered and Chicago beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-1 on Sunday to take two of three in their opening series.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Chiefs' Duvernay-Tardif first to opt out of 2020 NFL season
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to opt out of the upcoming NFL season on Friday, choosing to put his medical degree to use on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic rather than helping the Kansas City Chiefs defend their first Super Bowl title in 50 years.
Saturday, July 25, 2020

MLB already adjusting to strange new extra-innings rules
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The first big league game with an automatic runner in extra innings was decided with a blast rather than a bunt.
Saturday, July 25, 2020

With no crowds, Wrigleyville has different feel for Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) — Laurie Shaw heard the roar of the crowd and let out a laugh.
Saturday, July 25, 2020

MLB, players agree to expand playoffs to 16 teams
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and the players’ union agreed Thursday to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 16 for the pandemic-delayed season, a decision that makes it likely teams with losing records will reach the postseason.
Friday, July 24, 2020

Baseball gets its opening day, now a season looms
(AP) — The fans behind home plate at Dodger Stadium were fake, and so were the cheers in the nation’s capital.
Friday, July 24, 2020

Angels' Trout confirms he'll play this year
Mike Trout is confident enough in baseball's safety rules to stay on the field during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trout has decided to play for the Los Angeles Angels in the shortened baseball season, although his year will be paused in a few weeks by the birth of his first child. The three-time AL MVP confirmed his decision Wednesday before the Angels’ final exhibition game against the San Diego Padres at Angel Stadium.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Fox taking fans to the ballgame with a virtual crowd
Fox will be taking viewers out to the ballgame by adding a virtual crowd in parks during its baseball telecasts this season..

The network revealed on Thursday that it will include computer-generated fans in the stands beginning with their three games on Saturday. Fox begins its coverage with Milwaukee at the Chicago Cubs, followed by San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers, and concluding with the New York Yankees at Washington.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

NCAA committee asks board for time on fall sports
The NCAA football oversight committee is asking the association’s Board of Governors to avoid making a decision soon on whether to conduct fall championships as college sports tries to find a path to play through the pandemic.

A letter dated July 21 was sent by committee chairman Shane Lyons, the West Virginia athletic director, to the board before it meets Friday. The letter was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press and first reported on by Yahoo Sports.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Tokyo head: Olympics not possible under current conditions
The delayed Tokyo Olympics could not be held next year if conditions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continue as they are, the president of the organizing committee said Wednesday.

In an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK, Yoshiro Mori said he was hopeful the situation would improve and suggested a vaccine was the key.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Texas delays some high school football; Florida pushes ahead
Texas will play high school football this fall, but some of it will be delayed, attendance will be limited and masks will be required as the state fights a surge in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The University Interscholastic League released its guidelines for Texas public high school fall sports Tuesday, pushing back the start of the football and volleyball seasons for the largest schools by one month into late September. Football championships for those schools will be in January.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

AP sources: Blue Jays to play in Pittsburgh if Pa. approves
The Toronto Blue Jays will play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh if the state of Pennsylvania approves it, two officials familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

The agreement to share the stadium with the Pirates is pending state approval, according to the officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because they were not authorized to speak ahead of the government decision.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A whole new look, for a whole new NBA game experience
There’s no bench. The courtside broadcasters will not be courtside. And the stat crew will be doing their work inside what loosely can be described as an oversized hockey penalty box.

The NBA comes back Wednesday with a very different look.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Wolves owner listening to offers, Garnett hoping to buy
Kevin Garnett wants to come back to Minnesota — as a Timberwolves owner.

The longtime NBA superstar said Tuesday he is part of a group that is hoping to buy the franchise from Glen Taylor, who has owned it since 1994.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

AP Source: NFL to scrap all preseason games

(AP) — The NFL has offered to scrap all preseason games, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

PGA's Rahm a rising star
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Jon Rahm won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation’s top college golfer. That was four years ago.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

National League pitchers ponder season with no swings
(AP) — Three or four hours before a National League game, they’d be cackling around the cage.
Monday, July 20, 2020

A look ahead at the National League Central
(AP) — With Major League Baseball set to resume this week, here’s a breakdown of each of the NL Central teams, including new arrivals, key departures, lineups, and rotations.
Monday, July 20, 2020

How will the NFL handle players who opt out?
The 60-game mini-season Major League Baseball assembled this summer was still long enough that a dozen or so health-concerned players, even a few stars, decided to skip it.

The NFL's player pool is more than twice as big as MLB's, groomed for fundamental extreme-contact activities of blocking, tackling and covering that are as inherently ripe for virus spread as any in sports. If the 2020 season can get off the ground this fall amid the global paralysis of the COVID-19 pandemic, players opting out will be a sure bet.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

NFL's Snyder vows culture change amid allegations
Washington NFL owner Dan Snyder said Friday he's committed to improving the culture inside the team after allegations of sexual harassment, while the league will wait for a law firm's review before taking action.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that 15 female former employees said they were sexually harassed during their time with the team. Snyder said the behavior described in the story has no place in our franchise or society."

Saturday, July 18, 2020

NBA: Races for season's individual trophies are over
The NBA’s MVP race is over. So is the battle for every other individual regular-season trophy.

The league told teams Friday that none of the seeding games will be taken into consideration for any postseason award, and that voting for those honors — such as All-NBA, rookie of the year and defensive player of the year — will be completed before the July 30 restart of the season at Walt Disney World.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Hendricks to start on opening day for Cubs
It was quite a moment for Kyle Hendricks and David Ross.

Of course, the affable Ross was a bit more excited than the reserved Hendricks.

Hendricks was selected by Ross to start on opening day for the Chicago Cubs, getting the nod over Yu Darvish. Ross, who is beginning his first year as a major league manager, finalized the decision on Thursday, first telling his starting pitchers in a meeting before privately congratulating Hendricks on the accomplishment.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

As MLB 60-game season draws near, careful optimism prevails
With the start of Major League Baseball's shortened season a week away, games in empty stadiums and strange extra-inning rules are on the verge of becoming reality.

Now that players have gotten used to COVID-19 tests, social distancing and wearing masks in the clubhouse, it's just about time to see if 30 teams can handle a 60-game schedule amid a pandemic.

Friday, July 17, 2020

NCAA optimistic, but warns of surging pandemic
The NCAA handed down its latest guidelines for playing through a pandemic while also sounding an alarm: The prospect of having a fall semester with football and other sports is looking grim.

If the games can go on, the NCAA says college athletes should be tested for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before they play, players with high-risk exposures to the coronavirus should be quarantined for 14 days and everybody on the sideline should wear a mask.

Friday, July 17, 2020

St. Thomas can go D-I; ousted from D-III
The NCAA gave the University of St. Thomas permission Wednesday to jump directly from Division III to Division I, the final clearance for a bold move born out of the Minnesota private school's ejection from its conference for being too dominant.

The Tommies, who had secured a spot in the Summit League for all but three of their 22 varsity teams pending NCAA approval, announced they'll join the Pioneer League for football and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for women's hockey. The men's hockey program is still in the process of finding a conference.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Illinois State Bowlers file lawsuit against Pritzker
The Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association (ISBPA) today said that it has filed a lawsuit asking a Lee County state court to invalidate Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “unconstitutional and improper” exercise of authority to issue consecutive emergency declarations that improperly restrict the number of people allowed in a bowling center.

ISBPA officials said that successive orders issued by the governor related to COVID-19 have caused “tremendous emotional and economic hardship” during the past several months.

“Frankly, Gov. Pritzker has thrown a gutter ball on this one. Even medical experts agree that bowling is not a highly dangerous activity with regard to COVID-19 spread,” said R. William Duff, Jr., executive director of the ISBPA.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

IHSA to Defer to IDPH, ISBE & Governor's Office on all Return To Play Guidelines moving forward
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on July 14, 2020 that it will defer to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Governor’s Office on all of its Return To Play Guidelines moving forward.

“There is an unprecedented level of planning for this school year due to COVID-19, and we have come to understand that there needs to be a greater consistency between the guidelines for returning to learn and returning to interscholastic athletics,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Some of the recommendations by the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and directives from IDPH have come into direct conflict with each other, especially as it relates to the use of masks by student-athletes. As a result, we feel it is important to let IDPH and ISBE provide a consistent direction for our membership moving forward.  We will wait on direction from these organizations for further guidance on Return to Play plans for the 2020-21 school year.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

White Sox prospect to play in local St. Louis league
Jake Burger just wanted to play again. Some real competition after a couple of major injuries.

He found a spot — practically in his own backyard.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Patriot League punts on fall football season as SEC leaders meet
(AP) — The Patriot League joined the Ivy League on Monday, punting on football and other fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic while holding out hope the games can be made up.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

No Corey Crawford as Chicago Blackhawks begin practicing again
(AP) — Corey Crawford was absent Monday when the Chicago Blackhawks practiced for the first time since the NHL season was suspended, casting doubt on the goaltender's availability for their qualifying series against Edmonton.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

NASCAR Cup rookie Cole Custer wins in upset at Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — Cole Custer saw an opening and, with help from a friend, squeezed through for the most fulfilling moment of his young racing career.
Monday, July 13, 2020

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen encourages masks after positive test
(AP) — Play ball — and mask up, too.
Protective face coverings won't be out of sight when Major League Baseball resumes in less than two weeks. Some players and coaches are planning to wear them on the field.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Washington NFL team to drop 'Redskins' name after 87 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington NFL franchise announced Monday that it will drop the "Redskins" name and Indian head logo immediately, bowing to decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.
Monday, July 13, 2020

IndyCar drivers are grateful fans are back this weekend
(AP) — Simon Pagenaud says racing hasn't been quite the same without spectators to cheer the drivers on for the opening stages of the IndyCar season.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Giants' catcher Posey out this year over virus concerns
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Giants star catcher Buster Posey decided to opt out of the 2020 season Friday out of health concerns for his newly adopted twin baby girls during the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Practices begin at Disney, as teams begin restart routines
(AP) – Nikola Vucevic had to raise his voice a bit to answer a question. He had just walked off the court after the first Orlando Magic practice of the restart, and some of his teammates remained on the floor while engaged in a loud and enthusiastic shooting contest.
Friday, July 10, 2020

Baseball players get a peek at playing without fans

(AP) — Baseball players got a sense of what the game will be like without fans in the stands upon returning for workouts last week.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Big Ten scraps nonconference football games due to pandemic 
(AP) — The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will not play nonconference games in football and several other sports this fall, the most dramatic move yet by a power conference because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Friday, July 10, 2020

'Heartbreaking day' - Stanford drops 11 sports to cut costs
(AP) — Stanford was already facing some difficult financial choices as it tried to support one of the nation's largest athletics departments.
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Kimbrel looking to bounce back in second year as a Cub

CHICAGO (AP) — With just 60 games this season, the Chicago Cubs need Craig Kimbrel to be better than he was last year.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

MLS to resume season minus 1 team amid growing virus concern
Major League Soccer is about to resume its season — in a state that has seen a huge spike in coronavirus infections, with one team absent because of a COVID-19 outbreak, and with plenty of worry about what will happen next.

The MLS is Back tournament starts Wednesday in Florida. The league’s teams are sequestered in resorts for the duration of the World Cup-style tournament, which will be played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

More positive tests, canceled workouts add to MLB unease
As baseball nears the two-week countdown to the start of its delayed season, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep more players, including Boston Red Sox projected opening day starter Eduardo Rodriguez, off the field.

On Tuesday, one day after Major League Baseball released its 60-game schedule, there was continued evidence of the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Chiefs, Mahomes agree to 10-year, $503 million deal
The Kansas City Chiefs made sure they'll have Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes around as long as possible.

Mahomes agreed to a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million, according to his agency, Steinberg Sports. The deal is worth $477 million in guarantee mechanisms and includes a no-trade clause and opt-out clauses if guarantee mechanisms aren't met.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Trump critical of possible NFL, MLB name changes
President Donald Trump on Monday criticized a pair of pro sports teams that are considering name changes in the wake of a national reckoning over racial injustice and inequality.

Trump tweeted, "They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct."

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Major League Baseball releases full shortened schedule
Major League Baseball released its pandemic-shortened schedule Monday, featuring a tantalizing season opener between the New York Yankees and World Series champion Washington Nationals, even as some teams were still bogged down by coronavirus concerns.

By the time MLB revealed each team's 60-game slate Monday evening, the Nationals and Houston Astros — last year's pennant winners — had canceled workouts because of COVID-19 testing delays that one executive worried could endanger the season.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

DeChambeau wins PGA Rocket Mortgage Classic by 3 shots
Bryson DeChambeau pounded protein shakes and lifted iron to transform his body, adding 40 pounds of mass, and changed his game to put a premium on power.

The plan is working.

Monday, July 6, 2020

IHSA & IDPH announce Phase 4 Return To Play guidelines
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on Friday, July 3, 2020 that its Stage 2 Return To Play Guidelines have been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and can be instituted by IHSA schools on July 5. The IHSA also announced that it will no longer reference the guidelines as the Stage 2 Return To Play Guidelines, and will instead will refer to them as the Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines, matching the verbiage used by the state in its Restore Illinois plan. The IHSA Stage 1 Return To Play Guidelines, which were implemented on June 5, will now be referred to as the Phase 3 Return To Play Guidelines for the same reason
Monday, July 6, 2020

NHL, players association agree on protocols to resume season
The NHL and NHL Players' Association agreed Sunday on protocols to resume the season, a major step toward the return of hockey this summer.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press there was an agreement on protocols for training camps and games and the sides are still negotiating an extension of the collective bargaining agreement, which is crucial to the process.

Monday, July 6, 2020

American coach makes mark, wins Austrian title
Jesse Marsch came to Europe to make a name both for himself and for every other American soccer coach.

He managed that in a big way.

Marsch led Salzburg to this season's Austrian league title, the most significant trophy won by an American coach in Europe.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

NFL's Redskins, MLB's Indians to consider name changes
The Washington Redskins began a "thorough review" of their name Friday, a significant step toward moving on from what experts and advocates call a "dictionary-defined racial slur."

Even though owner Dan Snyder had shown no willingness to change the name since buying the team in 1999, the recent national conversation on race has renewed opposition to the name and prompted sponsors to speak up. With support from the NFL, it may finally lead to a new moniker for the long-struggling storied franchise with long-ago Super Bowl success.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Cubs' Quintana undergoes thumb surgery
Already concerned about the depth of their rotation, the Chicago Cubs will have to get by for at least a little while without one starter because of a freak injury.

Left-hander José Quintana had surgery to repair nerve damage in his pitching thumb Thursday after he cut himself washing dishes.

Chicago did not have a timetable for his return.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Shorter preseason another challenge for NFL coaches
Fewer preseason games following an offseason without on-field workouts creates more challenges for new coaches, players who changed teams and rookies.

The NFL is cutting the exhibition schedule in half and pushing back the start of the preseason to allow teams more time to train because the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of organized team activities and minicamps.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Human foosball: New form of soccer developed for pandemic
Soccer-starved Argentines have found a way to play their beloved sport while social distancing, though the rules have been altered and the dazzling end-to-end dashes produced by national legend Diego Maradona are impossible.

Dubbed "metegol humano," or "human foosball," the system designed for the coronavirus pandemic involves dividing the field with white chalk into 12 rectangles and restricting each player to a defined space. The ball can be passed across rectangles, and players can dribble inside their areas. The modified game emphasizes passing and shooting over running and fancy footwork. And of course there are no rough tackles.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Debate swells over the Landis name on MLB's MVP trophy
The baseball organization that presents the annual MVP awards will consider whether the name of former commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis should be pulled from future plaques.

"The issue is being addressed," Jack O'Connell, longtime secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, said Wednesday. "It will definitely be put up for discussion."

Friday, July 3, 2020

Will there be an asterisk on the NBA title?
(AP) — The 2020 NBA champion, if one is crowned, will have emerged as the ultimate winner from a season that lasted more than a full year from start to finish. A season that saw political unrest between the NBA and China, the deaths of David Stern and Kobe Bryant,racial issues across the nation and, if that wasn't enough, a pandemic.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Some NFL players raise concerns on playing through COVID
(AP) — Some NFL players are raising concerns about playing football amid the coronavirus pandemic while others are ignoring advice of medical experts by working out with teammates.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Teams not able to disclose who goes on IL due to virus
(AP) — Trying to find out the status of a baseball player coming back from an ankle injury definitely will be easier than learning whether someone tested positive for the coronavirus.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Judges question warrants in Kraft massage parlor case
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida appellate judges on Tuesday questioned the legality of search warrants that let police secretly video record New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others paying for massage parlor sex, pressing a prosecutor on his contention that the warrants were legally valid.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

New league attracts softball's best, empowers players
CHICAGO (AP) — Victoria Hayward would have been in Japan right about now, preparing for the Olympics as captain of Canada's softball team.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Shohei Ohtani returns to 2-way role with Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani will resume his two-way career with the Los Angeles Angels when baseball returns.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

COVID slows rehab for Wizards' Wall, won't return this season
(AP) — John Wall will not join the Washington Wizards for the resumption of the NBA season this summer, ending the chances of the five-time All-Star guard playing his first game since 2018.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Some new college basketball coaches turn to experienced transfers
(AP) — Mark Byington has spent more than three months as the men's basketball coach at James Madison without being able to take a recruiting trip or meet personally with the eight players joining his program during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Roster shuffle: Some MLB players will sit out season
PHOENIX (AP) — A small group of players, including Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman and Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, have announced they plan to sit out this season. The Minnesota Twins have shuffled their on-field staff to protect the health of some of their older coaches.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Johnson wins Travelers to extend career-long season streak
Dustin Johnson won the Travelers Championship on Sunday to end a long drought and extend his career-long season victory streak to 13.

Johnson closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Kevin Streelman at fan-free TPC River Highlands. Johnson last won in Mexico City in March 2019.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Source: Patriots sign QB Cam Newton to replace Tom Brady
The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, bringing in the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Hamlin caps marathon day of racing at Pocono with 4th win
Round 2 at Pocono went to Denny Hamlin. Hamlin seized the spotlight, specifically in victory lane when Pocono had to set up lights after the race ended in the dark.

Hamlin topped Kevin Harvick on Sunday night to win the second Cup race of the weekend at Pocono Raceway and flip the result of the opener. The 1-2 finish out of each driver is a clear sign two of the best drivers in the game are poised again to make a championship push.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Condensed prep time brings new challenge for MLB players
CHICAGO (AP) —When major leaguers report next week for spring training 2.0 — or perhaps more accurately, baseball's first summer camp — time will be one precious commodity with about three weeks to go before opening day.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

Future of top NHL draft propsect Lafreniere still uncertain
(AP) — Alexis Lafreniere was supposed to walk on stage Friday night in Montreal as the top pick in the NHL draft.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

The NBA is coming back, and here's 10 things to know
(AP) — The deals are done. The NBA is coming back. The season will resume on July 30 at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

NFL training camps still on for late July
(AP) — The NFL still plans to hold training camps on time beginning in late July, though contingency plans are in place.
Friday, June 26, 2020

True Hollywood story for Mets' top draft pick, son of actors
NEW YORK (AP) — Call it a true Hollywood story for first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong. And no act at all, in fact.
Friday, June 26, 2020

Bubble-free life means MLB players, coaches must be careful
PHOENIX (AP) — Baseball’s bubble-free environment is an anomaly as the sports world tries to come back amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Friday, June 26, 2020

Cubs announce deals with 3 draft picks
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs finalized minor league deals with three more draft picks on Thursday, including second-round selection Burl Carraway.
Friday, June 26, 2020

College athletes using platform to address social issues
(AP) — Deuce McAllister grew up in Mississippi and was well aware of the racial history of Ole Miss when he decided to play football there in the late 1990s. Even so, he never got used to seeing the Confederate battle emblem on game day.
Friday, June 26, 2020

MLB submits plan to Canadian government to play games in Toronto
TORONTO (AP) — Major League Baseball has submitted a plan to the Canadian government to play in Toronto this year and health authorities are examining it.
Thursday, June 25, 2020

NHL HOF: Iginla now 4th black player elected
(AP) — Like most kids growing up in Edmonton, Jarome Iginla admired Oilers legends Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. As a young Black hockey player, he paid particular attention when he saw someone in the NHL who looked like him in Grant Fuhr.
Thursday, June 25, 2020

After 60 games last year, Series champions Nationals were in trouble
WASHINGTON (AP) — Maybe this gives fans a sense of what it will mean to have a Major League Baseball season shrunk down to just 60 games this year during the pandemic: Where were the Washington Nationals that far into 2019?
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Rope found hanging in Wallace's garage a coincidence
(AP) — NASCAR went to Talladega Superspeedway on heightened alert after Bubba Wallace, its only Black driver, took on an active role in a push for racial equality.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Rapinoe, Press among players opting out of NWSL tournament
(AP) — U.S. national team players Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Christen Press have opted out of the National Women's Soccer League tournament kicking off this weekend in Utah.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pro tennis set to resume in Australia after lockdown
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tennis players in Australia will have a chance to compete for prize money for the first time since March in a UTR pro series starting this weekend in Sydney and continuing in city hubs across the country from next week.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Paul Casey tuned in for more than golf in PGA Tour's return
(AP) — Paul Casey was among three players from the top 25 in the world yet to play since the PGA Tour resumed competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He and Patrick Cantlay are playing the Travelers Championship, leaving Adam Scott as the only one still not back.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

For openers: MLB tries again with short season, skewed rules
Mid-March, a spring training exhibition between the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. Even before the final out, both sides had gotten the official word: Major League Baseball was shutting down immediately because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Ford stepping down as Lions owner, daughter taking over
DETROIT (AP) — Sheila Ford Hamp went to visit with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1973 after being part of the first class of women who went to Yale as freshmen and graduated. She told him all she ever wanted to do was work for the league.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Blaney wins Talladega, NASCAR unites behind Wallace
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Even in victory, Ryan Blaney thought about what happened to close friend Bubba Wallace over the weekend. And what happened afterward.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

MLB plans 60-game slate, shortest since 1878
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball plans to unilaterally issue a 60-game schedule for its shortest season since 1878 after the players' association rejected a negotiated deal of the same length, putting the sport on track for a combative return to the field amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Webb Simpson celebrates Father's Day PGA win at Harbour Town
Nothing can top the first time Webb Simpson won on Father's Day, a U.S. Open title eight years ago at Olympic Club and hearing his father's laughter on the phone to share the joy.

Harbour Town was special in its own right.

Dressed in his Sunday yellow shirt — his late father's favorite color — Simpson emerged from a crowd of contenders with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine for a 7-under 64 to win the RBC Heritage by one shot over Abraham Ancer and set the tournament scoring record.

Monday, June 22, 2020

NASCAR: Noose found in Bubba Wallace garage at Alabama race
NASCAR has launched an investigation after a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the elite Cup Series who just two weeks ago successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues.

NASCAR said the noose was found on Sunday afternoon and vowed to do everything possible to find who was responsible and "eliminate them from the sport."

Monday, June 22, 2020

Following athletes, NCAA takes aim at Confederate flag
Emboldened by the athletes it serves, the NCAA is taking another stand on a social issue.

The NCAA on Friday expanded its policy banning states with prominent Confederate symbols from hosting its sponsored events, one day after the Southeastern Conference made a similar declaration aimed at the Mississippi state flag.

The current NCAA ban, in place since 2001, applies to what the NCAA calls predetermined sites, such as for men's basketball tournament games.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

NHL's focus shifts to Canadian cities as possible hubs
Canada has approved the NHL's return-to-play proposal that could lead to one or more cities north of the border serving as host sites for the league's 24-team playoff format.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Friday that the nation's top public health officer, and health officials in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario had signed off on the NHL plan.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Southeastern Conference pushing Mississippi to change state flag
The Southeastern Conference is considering barring league championship events in Mississippi unless the state changes its Confederate-based flag.

"It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi," Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement Thursday. "Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all. In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the State of Mississippi until the flag is changed."

The NCAA has already said it would not schedule postseason events in Mississippi because of the state flag.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Vikings, Cook hit impasse as NFL's latest RB contract standoff
Dalvin Cook logged off last week from virtual team activities with the Minnesota Vikings, no longer willing to participate until he has secured a new contract.

Cook's situation is the latest standoff of sorts between an NFL team and a star running back, with the possibility of several more in the coming year in a league that has steadily driven down the financial value of the position.

The Vikings, though, have made no secret of their desire to make Cook the centerpiece of their offense. It's difficult to envision them not eventually striking a deal with a player they've frequently praised for his work in the backfield, in the locker room and in the community. Cook was the only player pictured on a promotional graphic the team created earlier this spring for the release of the 2020 schedule.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Steelers' Cam Heyward: team will be united if it opts to protest
Cam Heyward is well-versed in the sometimes messy optics associated with taking a stand against social injustice.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end and his teammates met it head on in 2017, when a miscommunication with left tackle and Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva left Villanueva on the field in Chicago for the national anthem while the rest of the Steelers remained in the tunnel. The image — Villanueva with his hand over his heart, the other 52 players on the roster hidden in darkness — became a flashpoint in the debate on what is and what isn't the proper way to protest.

Nearly three years later, it still stings.

Friday, June 19, 2020

MLB thinks Manfred has framework for return, union quiet
After days of angry exchanges over money between Major League Baseball and the players' association, Commissioner Rob Manfred started to doubt whether there would be a 2020 season and said as much on national television.

He then called union head Tony Clark and offered to fly from New York to Arizona to meet for the first time in three months. They spoke one on one for several hours Tuesday in a room at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale and emerged with what MLB considered a framework for each leader to sell to his side.

MLB thought it had terms to play the pandemic-delayed season in empty ballparks, not just a proposal.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

2020 US Open plan: Fewer line judges, ball people, events
Electronic line-calling will be used instead of line judges for U.S. Open matches at all courts except the two largest arenas, while singles qualifying and mixed doubles, junior and wheelchair competition are being eliminated entirely.

There also will be three ball people instead of six at courts other than Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

NBA lays out its vision for Disney restart to teams, players
Here's some of what awaits NBA players going to Disney next month: game rooms, golf course access, cabanas with misters to combat the heat, fishing areas, bowling, backstage tours and salon services.

It only sounds like vacation.

The NBA described very specific plans to players and teams for the restart on Tuesday, doing so in a memo and handbook both obtained by The Associated Press. With safety being of the foremost importance during the coronavirus pandemic, players were told they will be tested regularly — but not with the deep nasal swabs — and must adhere to strict physical distancing and mask-wearing policies.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Commissioner Rob Manfred says baseball season in jeopardy
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says there might be no major league games this year after a breakdown in talks between teams and the players' union on how to split up money in a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The league also revealed several players on big league rosters have tested positive for COVID-19.

Two days after union head Tony Clark declared additional negotiations futile, Manfred reversed his position of last week when he said he was "100%" certain the 2020 season would start.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Trubisky says he's not conceding Bears starting QB job to Foles
Mitchell Trubisky understands why the Chicago Bears acquired quarterback Nick Foles.

That doesn't mean he's ready to hand over the starting job.

Trubisky said the trade for Foles gave him extra motivation to show he can develop into the franchise quarterback the Bears thought he would become when they moved up a spot to draft him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Playing for free, salary drop, 2022 lockout possible for MLB
Jeremy Jeffress, Jordan Montgomery, Kevin Plawecki could be playing for free this season, earning salaries lower than what they already received as advances.

Mookie Betts, George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, James Paxton and Marcus Stroman are likely to find fewer bidders, dollars and contract years as the free-agent market lurches into a free fall next offseason.

And all of baseball could be bracing for a spring training lockout and shortened 2022 season after the coronavirus pandemic heightened the likelihood of the sport's first work stoppage since 1994-95.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Berger a winner at Colonial as PGA returns without spectators
The PGA Tour spent two months learning about the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to develop a safe plan to return, followed by another month hoping for the best.

Commissioner Jay Monahan said his confidence in the plan came with a dose of uncertainty.

"If we ... got into a situation where we were dealing with a number of positive tests, that's something — candidly — that I lost a lot of sleep over in the weeks that preceded coming," Monahan said.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Briscoe finds a way, wins NASCAR Xfinity race at Homestead
Chase Briscoe lost much of his team and got a win for them.

Briscoe survived two late cautions and a frantic overtime finish to prevail in an Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway — while adding to a nightmarish weekend for Noah Gragson, who saw a huge lead slip away in the final laps for the second consecutive day.

Briscoe was without crew chief Richard Boswell, car chief Nick Hutchins and engineer DJ Vanderley, all of whom began serving four-race suspensions for a safety violation that happened Saturday. So Briscoe — a big Tony Stewart fan growing up — got Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli to fill in as his crew chief and prevailed.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Wait continues for hundreds of undrafted baseball players
NEW YORK (AP) — They sat anxiously by their phones, computers and TVs, hoping to hear their names called by big league teams.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Florida governor signs college athlete NIL compensation bill
(AP) — Florida has cleared the way for college athletes in the state to earn money from endorsement deals as soon as next summer. That comes even as some in college sports want to slow things down due to concerns about how athlete compensation will actually work.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

2020 Baseball Draft Selections
Friday, June 12, 2020

NHL players not rushing back to rinks for voluntary skates
(AP) — John Tavares took his sticks home from the rink in Toronto to tape them up so he wouldn't waste his limited time there.
Friday, June 12, 2020

With a swing and silence, PGA Tour gets back to business
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The start was even more quiet than usual for a Thursday morning on the PGA Tour, only the silence never left over the next 12 hours as golf was back to business at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Friday, June 12, 2020

NASCAR now tasked with enforcing flag ban
(AP) — Reese Witherspoon tweeted a high-five emoji for her A-list stamp of approval that NASCAR banned the Confederate flag.
Friday, June 12, 2020

Baseball commissioner says '100%' chance of MLB season, new proposal soon
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says there is a “100%” chance of big league ball this year.

Major League Baseball will make another proposal to start the pandemic-delayed season in empty ballparks, but Manfred vowed Wednesday to unilaterally order opening day if an agreement is not reached.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Cubs take local star Ed Howard with first-round draft pick
Ed Howard lost his senior season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Prom was canceled. Same for graduation at Mount Carmel High School on Chicago’s South Side.

Through it all, the 18-year-old Howard kept working. And he got rewarded Wednesday night.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Chicago Bears end offseason program early
The Chicago Bears are ending their offseason program early.

Coach Matt Nagy said nine weeks are enough and he wants his players to focus on training without having to worry about video conferences four days a week. The team will hold its final virtual meeting on Thursday — a week and a half ahead of schedule.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Mid-American schools create separate conference for esports
Aiming to recruit and engage more competitive video gamers, a dozen schools in the Mid-American Conference are creating a standalone esports conference to offer structured competition without the extensive rules that govern intercollegiate athletics.

That means the teams can enlist not just amateur players but a type prohibited in traditional college sports: competitors who already turned pro or made money from gaming, sometimes as teenagers years before college.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Amanda Nunes dominates Spencer, defends belt at UFC 250
Amanda Nunes' impressive reign atop two UFC divisions is showing no signs of decline.

In fact, her dominance is making history.

Nunes became the first UFC fighter to defend two championship belts while actively holding the titles in both weight classes Saturday night, earning a dominant unanimous decision over featherweight contender Felicia Spencer at UFC 250.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Harvick cherishes Atlanta win, looks to help off the track
After another dominant performance at one of his favorite tracks, Kevin Harvick relished the past and looked ahead to the future.

He wasn't entirely focused on what he can do behind the wheel.

Monday, June 8, 2020

IndyCar gets through well-screened, delayed opener in Texas
Through all of the uncertainty and unknowns after more than eight months since the last IndyCar race, Scott Dixon and another pair of former champs relied on their experience for podium finishes.
Monday, June 8, 2020

IHSA Return to Play Guidelines released
As released by the IHSA on Friday: "The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors has approved Return to Play Guidelines developed within the current structure of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan that provide the first step in IHSA student-athletes returning to participation.

The Return to Play Guidelines were developed by the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and have been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Ohio Gov. approves attendance at Memorial PGA tourney
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine approved a plan for Muirfield Village Golf Club to have at least some fans for the Memorial in July, which would make it the first PGA Tour event with a crowd since the tour was shut down March 13 by the coronavirus.

DeWine announced the decision Friday. He said on Twitter that casinos, racinos, amusement parks and water parks will be able to open on June 19.

"In addition, we received safety plans for the Memorial Golf Tournament to be held July 13-19," he wrote. "We are approving that plan."

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Penske wants full fans at Indy 500, ready for IndyCar opener
Roger Penske will watch the IndyCar season opener from a suite at Texas Motor Speedway — his first time off the pit stand and on the other side of the fence since his teams failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1995.

His relocation is partly for safety. At 83, Penske is considered at high risk for the coronavirus and he will avoid large crowds by working inside the paddock from a transporter separate from the rest of his team. But as the new owner of the IndyCar Series, he has also relinquished his role as a strategist for Team Penske to avoid conflicts of interest.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Saints' Brees takes first step toward mending relationships
Drew Brees now realizes he'd fallen out of touch.

His contemporaries drove that home when they pilloried him this week for repeating a long-held conviction he'd always felt comfortable expressing.

In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Brees repeated his opposition to kneeling during the national anthem. And the biting backlash that followed prompted the Saints' star quarterback to issue a public apology Thursday in which he acknowledged he totally "missed the mark."

Friday, June 5, 2020

International investigation finds doping cover-ups in weightlifting
An investigation into the International Weightlifting Federation has found doping cover-ups and millions of dollars in missing money, lead investigator Richard McLaren said Thursday.

McLaren said 40 positive doping tests were "hidden" in IWF records and that athletes whose cases were delayed or covered up went on to win medals at the world championships and other events. The cases will be referred to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"We found systematic governance failures and corruption at the highest level of the IWF," McLaren said.

Friday, June 5, 2020

MLB rejects 114-game schedule, threatens plan of about 50
If Major League Baseball and its players take the field for a coronanvirus-delayed 2020 season, it will be after acrimonious negotiations that resemble their labor war of a generation ago.

MLB rejected the players' proposal for a 114-game regular season  with no additional salary cuts, and will turn its attention to a shortened slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer. Owners last week proposed an 82-game schedule starting in early July.

"We do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible," Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter Wednesday to chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer that was obtained by The Associated Press.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

AP source: NBA presents players with plan for season restart
The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league's board of governors on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

The teams that will be going to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, would play eight games to determine playoff seeding starting around July 31 before the postseason begins, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

IndyCar restart at Texas before another month to race again
Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and the rest of the IndyCar drivers were in sunny Florida around spring break ready to start the season.

"We geared up, we had the offseason, we had done all the preseason testing ... you kind of had all that pent-up tension to get going," five-time IndyCar champion Dixon said this week.

Nearly three months later, they are finally set to run their first competitive laps of the season. Then they will wait another four weeks to race again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

NHL post-quarantine: Recapturing team chemistry a challenge
Claude Giroux's Philadelphia Flyers were the hottest team in the NHL back when hockey was still being played.

That was more than two months ago and their next game could be two more months away. He can't predict how things might go if the season resumes.

"I don't know," Giroux said. "Right now, everything's unknown."

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Big Ten Commissioner Warren creates anti-racism coalition 
The Big Ten's Kevin Warren, the first black commissioner of a Power Five conference, is creating a coalition to give the league's athletes a platform to voice their concerns about racism.

Warren announced Monday the formation of the Big Ten Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition, with athletes, coaches, athletic director and university chancellors and presidents.

Warren said the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while being detained by police motivated him to take action beyond merely putting out a statement decrying racism.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Non-revenue sports fret over college compensation plan
College coaches in non-revenue sports are worried about the impact legislation allowing compensation for athletes could have on their programs.

More than a dozen national associations in various sports – hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming and gymnastics, among them – have signed a memo outlining "significant concerns" about effects of allowing athletes to profit for use of their names, images and likenesses (NIL). The concerns include reduced resources for lower-profile programs, the risk of "crowdfunded recruiting" for boosters to "buy talent" for a competitive advantage, increased influence by agents and whether schools can effectively monitor for compliance.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

F1 will start with 2 races at the Austrian GP in July
Formula One will finally get underway with back-to-back races at the Austrian Grand Prix in July as part of an eight-race European swing.

The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg will host races on July 5 and 12, governing body FIA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The next race will be in Hungary on July 19 followed by consecutive races at the British GP at Silverstone on Aug. 2 and 9 after the British government exempted elite sports from an upcoming quarantine on foreign visitors.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Gragson wiggles past Allgaier to win Xfinity race at Bristol
Noah Gragson squeezed past JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier with four laps remaining, a move that caused Allgaier to crash, and Gragson held on at Bristol Motor Speedway for his second win of the season.

Gragson also won the season-opening race at Daytona to begin his second year with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race team. Gragson was winless in 2019 in his first full season in NASCAR's second-tier series.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Future of stadiums, arenas promises high tech, low capacity
The smell of barbecue wafts through the parking lots hours before kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium, and when the first salvo of fireworks explode overhead, thousands of Chiefs fans begin to march en masse toward the entrance gates.

That's how things normally are on an NFL game day in Kansas City.

But these days, very little is normal, and like so many things in life the football season ahead is rife with uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic that brought sports to a standstill for months has everyone wondering what games will be like when spectators are finally allowed back in — and whether they will even want to show up.

Monday, June 1, 2020

MLB Players want more games, no more cuts
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball players appeared likely to propose more regular-season games this year while holding to their demand for full prorated salaries, people familiar with their deliberations told The Associated Press.
Friday, May 29, 2020

UFC, boxing back on in Vegas after Nevada approves return
Mixed martial arts and boxing are back in business in Nevada.

The Nevada Athletic Commission unanimously agreed Wednesday to allow two UFC events and two Top Rank boxing shows in Las Vegas over the next two weeks.

The decision ends the moratorium on combat sports that has been in place in Nevada since March 14, when the commission stopped competition amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Title IX major factor for colleges looking at possible sports cuts
Financially challenged schools considering cutting sports in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic are making difficult decisions of who gets to keep playing and who doesn't.

The choices aren't just about money when they involve women's sports. And while Title IX doesn't prevent women's sports from being eliminated, the federal law is a huge part of the conversations.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Virtual 7th-inning stretch brings familiar ballpark feeling home 
It's 3 o'clock, about the time they'd be getting ready for the seventh-inning stretch at an afternoon Red Sox game. Josh Kantor settles onto the bench of the Yamaha Electone organ in his living room and clicks on his wife's iPhone to begin another show.

Each afternoon since what would have been opening day, the Fenway Park organist has been livestreaming concerts of ballpark music and other fan requests on Facebook in an attempt to recreate the community feeling baseball fans might be missing during the sport's shutdown.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Chase Elliott ends Busch's win streak, collects $100,000 bounty 
Chase Elliott gained a measure of revenge against Kyle Busch on Tuesday night — and then let him know about it.

Elliott snapped Busch's seven-race Truck Series winning streak and collected a $100,000 bounty at Charlotte Motor Speedway before imitating Busch's victory celebration after the race by bowing to the camera.

"Hopefully nobody gets their feelings hurt over it," Elliott chuckled.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

'A step toward normalcy' - NHL shapes a return to play plan
Rosy as the news might sound, Gary Bettman made no promises in announcing the NHL has the framework of a plan in place to return to the ice.

"We hope," the commissioner said, "that this is a step back toward normalcy."

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Australian doctors say NRL aim for July 1 fans 'absurd'
Two days from the restart of the National Rugby League, the Australian Medical Association urged organizers to slow down their "absurd and dangerous" plans to have spectators in stadiums by July 1.

There will be no spectators on Thursday when the Brisbane Broncos host the Parramatta Eels in the first NRL match in more than nine weeks, but Australian Rugby League chairman Peter V'Landys hopes to lift the ban as soon as social distancing restrictions and border closures are eased in the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Busch passes Cindric to win Xfinity race at Charlotte
Kyle Busch normally celebrates his victories by climbing on top of his race car and bowing to the crowd.

But with no fans in attendance at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday night due to the coronavirus pandemic, Busch passed on the tradition after driving past Austin Cindric on the final lap of overtime to claim his 97th career Xfinity Series win.

"It kinda felt a little odd," Busch said. "I guess I could have bowed to the camera."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Virus crisis a challenge for youth fitness nonprofits
Mariana Ochoa worries about the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on her three boys. Their school is closed. She can't take them to their favorite park at the moment. There is no backyard at their home on the southwest side of Chicago.

The fitness routines she gets from Chicago Run are a weekly highlight for Mariano, 9, Victor, 7, and Jesus, 5.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

NHL plans small-group training as Phase 2 of return
The NHL hopes to have players back in team facilities soon -- with plenty of precautions.

The league, which paused its season on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, released a memo Monday saying it is targeting early next month as the start date for Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol, including the opening of practice rinks and allowing small, voluntary group workouts on and off the ice.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Michigan man builds Wiffle ball dream field in his backyard
There is nothing quite like the experience of live baseball. The grass, the dirt, the sunshine and the chalk lines underneath abundant sunshine, sunsets or bright lights. Overpriced beers and the right mix of action and leisure — it is hard to imagine all of that without your senses tingling.

It is like a slice of heaven.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Florida baseball team lists stadium on AirBnB for $1500
A Florida team is selling people the "ultimate baseball experience" by putting their oceanview stadium up for rent on AirBnB for $1,500 a night.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos says guests will have access to the clubhouse, a large bedroom, the batting cage and the field.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Keselowski wins 600 to extend Johnson's losing streak
Brad Keselowski, in a contract year and trying to up his value in free agency, gave Roger Penske a victory on what should have been the most celebrated day in motorsports but was instead just a 6-plus hour NASCAR show.

Keselowski extended Jimmie Johnson's losing streak to 102 races by holding off the seven-time NASCAR champion in overtime early Monday to win the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR schedule.

Monday, May 25, 2020

NCAA to lift ban on football, basketball workouts
The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to lift a moratorium on voluntary workouts by football and basketball players effective June 1 as a growing number of college leaders expressed confidence that fall sports will be possible in some form despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

This decision clears the way for individual workouts by athletes, mostly on their own, subject to safety and health protocols decided by their schools or local health officials..

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Berlin derby taken to the streets in battle of team stickers
The unofficial Berlin derby has been going on for months, with fans of rival soccer clubs Hertha and Union decorating the city's lampposts, road signs, transit stops and more with stickers in their respective team colors.

The official derby is finally coming on Friday, two months after the Bundesliga match between the local rivals was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Hamlin scores 2nd win at rain-shortened Darlington
Denny Hamlin won NASCAR's first Wednesday race since 1984 when rain stopped the event with 20 laps remaining at Darlington Raceway.

The Daytona 500 winner was out front but out of fresh tires and trying to hang on when he got unintended help from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. The reigning Cup champion caused Chase Elliott to crash eight laps earlier to bring out the caution.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

NFL eyeing face guard that works like surgical mask
With an eye toward getting back on the field during a pandemic, the NFL is working on a helmet face guard that might provide the same sort of protection as a surgical mask.

"A lot of players have played with a clear shield to protect their eyes," Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay said Tuesday during a video conference call with Atlanta media. "This would be extended even further."

Thursday, May 21, 2020

NCAA postseason bans nearly double despite steady APR stats
The number of teams facing postseason bans because of low scores on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate has nearly doubled in one year.

Fifteen teams face the most severe sanction next season or the season after compared with eight in 2019-20. Stephen F. Austin and Alabama A&M each had three teams on the list released Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Belmont set for June 20 without fans, leads off Triple Crown
Horse racing's Triple Crown will look different this year from start to finish.

The Belmont Stakes will be run before the Kentucky Derby and Preakness for the first time and take place at a shorter distance. It will lead off the Triple Crown on June 20 in New York with no fans in attendance and at a distance of 1 1/8 miles instead of the 1 1/2-mile "test of the champion" that has been the race's trademark for nearly a century.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Rain postpones Xfinity Series' return at Darlington Speedway
Noah Gragson couldn't wait to get back to Xfinity Series racing at Darlington.

Instead, he and the rest of the competitors will have to wait until Thursday after heavy rain postponed the series' first race since March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports.

"After two months of waiting, what's another couple of days?" Gragson said.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

US Open no longer 'open,' eliminates qualifying for major
The U.S. Open might feel more like a closed shop this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which already has postponed the U.S. Open at Winged Foot from June to September, has forced the USGA to do away with qualifying for the first time since 1924.

Open qualifying is the hallmark of golf's second-oldest championship. The USGA often points out that typically half of the 156-man field has to go through either 36-hole qualifying or 18-hole and 36-hole qualifying.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Angry ump: Garcia says he kept quiet to protect son-in-law
Richie Garcia was among baseball's best-rated and most popular umpires, and like many umps was known for the ones he missed: the Jeffrey Maier call in the playoffs, the pitch to Tino Martinez in the World Series.

He lost his job in the failed labor strategy of mass resignations in 1999 and was welcomed back to Major League Baseball two years later as a supervisor. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, he was fired on the eve of the 2010 season.

Garcia stayed quiet for a decade, not wanting to cause any problems for son-in-law Vic Carapazza, among the top umps of the current group.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Bull riding may be 1st US professional sport to welcome fans
One of the first professional athletic sports to allow spectators to attend as states gradually lift restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus is known for its wild, dangerous action: bull riding.

Professional Bull Riders has announced a new competition that will culminate in South Dakota on July 10-12 with live crowds. As people itch for a return to daily activity, it's all a part of an effort by professional sports organizations around the world to give bored fans at least a taste of what once was.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Michael McCaskey, who succeeded Halas as Bears' leader, dies
Michael McCaskey, who led the Chicago Bears for nearly three decades following the death of his grandfather George Halas, died Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer, the team said. He was 76.

A Yale graduate and the oldest of Ed and team matriarch Virginia McCaskey's 11 children, Michael joined the family business in 1983 as president and CEO following the death of Halas, a founding father of the NFL and the franchise. He succeeded Ed McCaskey as chairman in 1999 and remained in that role until brother George McCaskey took over in 2011.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Lefty QB Tua Tagovailoa is a rarity in the right-handed NFL 
When Tua Tagovailoa  signed his rookie contract with the Miami Dolphins, the left-handed quarterback from Alabama didn't have to worry about smudging his signature.

He signed the documents with his right hand.

Yes, the NFL's latest lefty QB is a natural right-hander, one whose father, Galu, turned him into a (sometimes) southpaw in his youth.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Harvick wins at Darlington as NASCAR returns to racing 
This was a 400-mile drive unlike any other in modern day NASCAR.

The grandstands were completely empty. There wasn't a single tailgate inside the track. Everyone wore face coverings — some with the team logos, others opting for plain disposable medical masks. It was nothing close to the corporate sponsorship, pomp and patriotic traveling circus that symbolizes NASCAR.

But when the engines fired at Darlington Raceway following a 10-week layoff during the coronavirus pandemic, it turned into a regular old race.

Monday, May 18, 2020

NASCAR putting its safety plan to test as racing restarts 
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Crew chief Chad Knaus won't get a look at the car Hendrick Motorsports built for Darlington Raceway until he gets to the track Sunday morning, a few hours before the race.
Saturday, May 16, 2020

Tirico returns from afar, will host golf 1,000 miles away
(AP)  — Mike Tirico returns to his role as host Sunday on NBC when live golf is shown on television for the first time in more than two months, and he can't wait.
Saturday, May 16, 2020

Rodgers says Packers' decision to draft Love surprised him
(AP) — Packers star Aaron Rodgers acknowledges Green Bay drafting a quarterback in the first round surprised him and complicated his hopes of playing his entire career with the same team.
Saturday, May 16, 2020

PGA Champ Thomas set to take swing on 2K21 cover
(AP) — Justin Thomas can put down the driver and grab a controller: The former PGA Championship winner made the cover of the "PGA Tour 2K21" video game.
Friday, May 15, 2020

Beach volleyball star Walsh Jennings offers virtual training
(AP) — A longtime evangelist for outdoor and active lifestyles, beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings knew the national stay-at-home orders would be especially hard on young athletes and others trying to stay fit.
Friday, May 15, 2020

Busch to rush back into racing
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR champion Kyle Busch will sprint back into competition when the season resumes by running all seven races that have been scheduled over an 11-day span.
Friday, May 15, 2020

New analytics spur helmet safety in football
(AP) — While no one is actually playing football right now, analytics and data collecting are contributing to safety in the sport like at no other time.
Friday, May 15, 2020









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