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He brings mobility to the position, something the Patriots haven't had with Tom Brady, and could surprise under the tutelage of future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick.","byline":"Charles Krupa","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"941","height":"1024","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/47972ac9-a77d-5a86-8cc9-817dc6a4d912/5ed51872e47e0.image.jpg?resize=941%2C1024"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"109","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/47972ac9-a77d-5a86-8cc9-817dc6a4d912/5ed51872e47e0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C109"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"326","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/47972ac9-a77d-5a86-8cc9-817dc6a4d912/5ed51872e47e0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C326"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1114","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/47972ac9-a77d-5a86-8cc9-817dc6a4d912/5ed51872e47e0.image.jpg"}}},{"id":"ee66840d-7a2b-510a-8ff0-d90c439db2e9","description":"With Kyler Murray expected to take a step forward, it stands to reason that Isabella could benefit. The second-round pick impressed at the 2019 combine with his 4.31 40-yard dash, but he had just nine catches for 189 yards and a touchdown as a rookie. Though DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk will receive the bulk of the targets, there's a good chance for Isabella to get more playing time in what's expected to be a prolific offense.","byline":"Rick Scuteri","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/e6/ee66840d-7a2b-510a-8ff0-d90c439db2e9/5ed5187310071.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/e6/ee66840d-7a2b-510a-8ff0-d90c439db2e9/5ed5187310071.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/e6/ee66840d-7a2b-510a-8ff0-d90c439db2e9/5ed5187310071.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/e6/ee66840d-7a2b-510a-8ff0-d90c439db2e9/5ed5187310071.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"6aa4ee65-9882-589f-9c19-5d6456945027","description":"Fant had at least one catch in every game in his rookie season, but he struggled to find the end zone (just three touchdowns) and caught just 60.6% of his targets. With Lock expected to improve now that the Broncos have one of the best young receiving corps in the league, Fant's numbers should increase. Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler and Courtland Sutton will draw most of the attention, giving Fant a chance to attack the middle of the field with his size and speed.","byline":"David Zalubowski","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/aa/6aa4ee65-9882-589f-9c19-5d6456945027/5ed51873343f9.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/aa/6aa4ee65-9882-589f-9c19-5d6456945027/5ed51873343f9.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/aa/6aa4ee65-9882-589f-9c19-5d6456945027/5ed51873343f9.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/aa/6aa4ee65-9882-589f-9c19-5d6456945027/5ed51873343f9.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"83e97d10-3b79-576d-a4d3-c4efff75b559","description":"Harry's production in 2020 will come down to what the Patriots have in Jarrett Stidham, but he wasn't able to do much with Tom Brady as his quarterback. Harry had just 12 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns in seven games last season as he dealt with an ankle injury suffered in training camp. However, he enters 2020 as one of the team's top wideouts, and the Patriots will be determined to find out what they have in the first-round pick. He'll get plenty of chances to prove he was worth the No. 32 overall pick.","byline":"Charles Krupa","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/3e/83e97d10-3b79-576d-a4d3-c4efff75b559/5ed518735952b.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/3e/83e97d10-3b79-576d-a4d3-c4efff75b559/5ed518735952b.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/3e/83e97d10-3b79-576d-a4d3-c4efff75b559/5ed518735952b.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/3e/83e97d10-3b79-576d-a4d3-c4efff75b559/5ed518735952b.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"ad112f94-16a5-58a0-bfee-9270092e7450","description":"Hockenson didn't live up the hype that came with the No. 8 overall selection, catching just 32 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns last season. But Matthew Stafford was only healthy in eight games, and he's expected to return to being one of the league's best starting quarterbacks in 2020. Hockenson will likely get more targets and should benefit from a year of experience in Detroit's offense.","byline":"Rick Osentoski","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/d1/ad112f94-16a5-58a0-bfee-9270092e7450/5ed518737c7a8.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/d1/ad112f94-16a5-58a0-bfee-9270092e7450/5ed518737c7a8.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/d1/ad112f94-16a5-58a0-bfee-9270092e7450/5ed518737c7a8.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/d1/ad112f94-16a5-58a0-bfee-9270092e7450/5ed518737c7a8.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"4796387d-8c9d-547f-904a-298b024282fb","description":"Johnson led the Steelers in targets and receptions as a third-round pick last season, catching 59 passes for 650 yards and five touchdowns. In fact, he led all first-year players in receptions playing with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, who rated among the worst quarterbacks in the league last season. With the return of Ben Roethlisberger and an expected return to full health after offseason hernia surgery, Johnson has a chance to be the Steelers' top receiver.","byline":"Seth Wenig","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"682","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/4796387d-8c9d-547f-904a-298b024282fb/5ed518739be26.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C682"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/4796387d-8c9d-547f-904a-298b024282fb/5ed518739be26.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/4796387d-8c9d-547f-904a-298b024282fb/5ed518739be26.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"682","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/79/4796387d-8c9d-547f-904a-298b024282fb/5ed518739be26.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C682"}}},{"id":"86c848e3-d064-5c22-871c-0df172780d81","description":"Boykin struggled to find his way last season, catching just 13 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. But with an emphasis on getting his mind to catch up with his body and developing more chemistry with Jackson this offseason, he says that he's \"capable of a lot more\" in his second season. With draft picks Devin Duvernay and James Proche more suited for the slot, the Ravens will be counting on Boykin to take a step forward as an outside receiver.","byline":"Marcio Jose Sanchez","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/6c/86c848e3-d064-5c22-871c-0df172780d81/5ed51873bc1a0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/6c/86c848e3-d064-5c22-871c-0df172780d81/5ed51873bc1a0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/6c/86c848e3-d064-5c22-871c-0df172780d81/5ed51873bc1a0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/6c/86c848e3-d064-5c22-871c-0df172780d81/5ed51873bc1a0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"7064c837-557b-57ad-a6e4-4a8d3d8d9b56","description":"Brown showed flashes of potential in his rookie season, catching 46 passes for 584 yards and seven touchdowns, but he wasn't able to reach his top-end speed while dealing with a nagging foot injury. Expected to be fully healthy this season, as shown by his recent workout videos, Brown has a good chance to be the Ravens' first 1,000-yard receiver since Mike Wallace in 2016. With all the time he's spent training with quarterback Lamar Jackson in Florida this offseason, Brown's budding chemistry with the reigning MVP should help him become a dangerous weapon in the passing game.","byline":"Nick Wass","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/06/7064c837-557b-57ad-a6e4-4a8d3d8d9b56/5ed51873dc0d1.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/06/7064c837-557b-57ad-a6e4-4a8d3d8d9b56/5ed51873dc0d1.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/06/7064c837-557b-57ad-a6e4-4a8d3d8d9b56/5ed51873dc0d1.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/06/7064c837-557b-57ad-a6e4-4a8d3d8d9b56/5ed51873dc0d1.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"b17d7005-131b-5302-b0be-56ca694a82cd","description":"Henderson battled injuries and was buried on the depth chart during his rookie season, rushing for just 147 yards and averaging 3.8 yards per carry. But with Todd Gurley released, Henderson, a third-round pick, has a chance to earn more carries this year. He'll have to beat out 2020 second-rounder Cam Akers, but the opportunity is there to be the lead ball-carrier in an offense that helped turn Gurley into a star.","byline":"Tim Ireland","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/17/b17d7005-131b-5302-b0be-56ca694a82cd/5ed518740bec2.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/17/b17d7005-131b-5302-b0be-56ca694a82cd/5ed518740bec2.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/17/b17d7005-131b-5302-b0be-56ca694a82cd/5ed518740bec2.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/17/b17d7005-131b-5302-b0be-56ca694a82cd/5ed518740bec2.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"39007225-f985-5f30-aecc-cf9d6962554f","description":"A third-round pick who the Bears traded up to get, Montgomery rushed for 889 yards and six touchdowns and added 25 catches for 185 yards and a score as a rookie. He's likely to receive most of the carries since Tarik Cohen has yet to carry the ball more than 100 times in a season and the Bears didn't draft or sign a running back in free agency. While Montgomery averaged just 3.7 yards per carry last season, he'll get most of the opportunities in the red zone and could emerge as a more productive player.","byline":"Craig Lassig","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/90/39007225-f985-5f30-aecc-cf9d6962554f/5ed518742817f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/90/39007225-f985-5f30-aecc-cf9d6962554f/5ed518742817f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/90/39007225-f985-5f30-aecc-cf9d6962554f/5ed518742817f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/90/39007225-f985-5f30-aecc-cf9d6962554f/5ed518742817f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"68f6e594-c15d-574e-a3ed-23e14a3da5b0","description":"The former Ohio State star had an up-and-down rookie season, completing 58.6% of his passes for 1,365 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Washington lacked playmakers outside of rookie sensation Terry McLaurin last season, so the Redskins drafted running back/receiver Antonio Gibson and receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and brought in LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss as an undrafted free agent. Washington still has plenty of holes, especially on the offensive line, but Haskins has the talent to be an above-average starter.","byline":"Patrick Semansky","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/8f/68f6e594-c15d-574e-a3ed-23e14a3da5b0/5ed5187449c1c.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/8f/68f6e594-c15d-574e-a3ed-23e14a3da5b0/5ed5187449c1c.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/8f/68f6e594-c15d-574e-a3ed-23e14a3da5b0/5ed5187449c1c.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/8f/68f6e594-c15d-574e-a3ed-23e14a3da5b0/5ed5187449c1c.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"03637216-7bc1-5956-81f1-2146e7b057a1","description":"The Giants' selection of Jones at No. 6 overall in 2019 was widely criticized, but the former Duke standout showed potential as a rookie with 24 touchdowns passes in 12 starts. 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Hopefully, that will be eliminated from the game.\"","byline":"BOB LANGER","hireswidth":2180,"hiresheight":1456,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/24/724ee8eb-a839-5b9f-b0b4-929e2a0f2ed3/5ec2f470370eb.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1762","height":"1177","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/24/724ee8eb-a839-5b9f-b0b4-929e2a0f2ed3/5ec2f47034a87.image.jpg"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/24/724ee8eb-a839-5b9f-b0b4-929e2a0f2ed3/5ec2f47034a87.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/24/724ee8eb-a839-5b9f-b0b4-929e2a0f2ed3/5ec2f47034a87.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"684","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/24/724ee8eb-a839-5b9f-b0b4-929e2a0f2ed3/5ec2f47034a87.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C684"}}},{"id":"262f662b-dc19-52dd-b4f5-6078bd8d60cd","description":"In winning his first championship, Jordan scores 30 points with 10 assists and five steals as the Bulls defeat the Lakers, 108-101 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. 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The team holds a victory celebration in Grant Park two days later.","byline":"Ken Levine","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":1990,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/62/262f662b-dc19-52dd-b4f5-6078bd8d60cd/5ec2f470925d0.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1768","height":"1173","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/62/262f662b-dc19-52dd-b4f5-6078bd8d60cd/5ec2f47090a6d.image.jpg"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"66","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/62/262f662b-dc19-52dd-b4f5-6078bd8d60cd/5ec2f47090a6d.image.jpg?resize=100%2C66"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"199","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/62/262f662b-dc19-52dd-b4f5-6078bd8d60cd/5ec2f47090a6d.image.jpg?resize=300%2C199"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"679","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/62/262f662b-dc19-52dd-b4f5-6078bd8d60cd/5ec2f47090a6d.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C679"}}},{"id":"3ca6d015-195e-5c1e-934b-0e8ba2d282a2","description":"Scores 33 points and wins his second championship by defeating the Blazers, 97-93 in Game 6.","byline":"John Swart","hireswidth":2589,"hiresheight":1828,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ca/3ca6d015-195e-5c1e-934b-0e8ba2d282a2/5ec2f4711c94b.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1713","height":"1209","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ca/3ca6d015-195e-5c1e-934b-0e8ba2d282a2/5ec2f47118860.image.jpg?resize=1713%2C1209"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"71","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ca/3ca6d015-195e-5c1e-934b-0e8ba2d282a2/5ec2f47118860.image.jpg?resize=100%2C71"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"212","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ca/3ca6d015-195e-5c1e-934b-0e8ba2d282a2/5ec2f47118860.image.jpg?resize=300%2C212"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"723","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ca/3ca6d015-195e-5c1e-934b-0e8ba2d282a2/5ec2f47118860.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C723"}}},{"id":"a42b3dd4-f4e3-5f63-ae23-8efd9d1e8d69","description":"The Bulls win their third championship. 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We never gave up hope, and now that this team has become part of history, it's a very gratifying feeling for me.\"","byline":"Mark Elias","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":1989,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a42b3dd4-f4e3-5f63-ae23-8efd9d1e8d69/5ec2f471afad4.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1768","height":"1172","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a42b3dd4-f4e3-5f63-ae23-8efd9d1e8d69/5ec2f471ac95f.image.jpg?resize=1768%2C1172"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"66","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a42b3dd4-f4e3-5f63-ae23-8efd9d1e8d69/5ec2f471ac95f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C66"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"199","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a42b3dd4-f4e3-5f63-ae23-8efd9d1e8d69/5ec2f471ac95f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C199"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"679","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a42b3dd4-f4e3-5f63-ae23-8efd9d1e8d69/5ec2f471ac95f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C679"}}},{"id":"b07569c4-e5ce-5a2c-bba8-98552970f8cf","description":"Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan, 30, announces his retirement from professional basketball at the Berto Center in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday morning, Oct. 6, 1993. 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Pitchers have been doing their best to keep their arms active, but not too active, and position players have been working out across the country.","byline":"","hireswidth":1895,"hiresheight":1093,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/19/e19eb4be-de39-52fa-8d47-a32badc8a90d/5ebaa1f7d9efc.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1895","height":"1093","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/19/e19eb4be-de39-52fa-8d47-a32badc8a90d/5ebaa1f7d8e7b.image.jpg?resize=1895%2C1093"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"58","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/19/e19eb4be-de39-52fa-8d47-a32badc8a90d/5ebaa1f7d8e7b.image.jpg?resize=100%2C58"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"173","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/19/e19eb4be-de39-52fa-8d47-a32badc8a90d/5ebaa1f7d8e7b.image.jpg?resize=300%2C173"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"591","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/19/e19eb4be-de39-52fa-8d47-a32badc8a90d/5ebaa1f7d8e7b.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C591"}}},{"id":"a2a32709-bf6e-57c1-b35e-fc823d792a65","description":"An 82-game season could be expanded by playing doubleheaders, taking fewer off days and stretching the regular season deep into October, and playing more games appears to be on the table. 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Going back and forth with pitchers hitting or not hitting is unfair to designated hitters and American League offenses.","byline":"Elaine Thompson","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/b5/4b58d0e5-21fd-5689-ae9e-4e66107515e6/5ebaa1f85fcc0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/b5/4b58d0e5-21fd-5689-ae9e-4e66107515e6/5ebaa1f85fcc0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/b5/4b58d0e5-21fd-5689-ae9e-4e66107515e6/5ebaa1f85fcc0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/b5/4b58d0e5-21fd-5689-ae9e-4e66107515e6/5ebaa1f85fcc0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}},{"id":"9085f931-b8be-5260-85d8-e0739fadef01","description":"The owners and the union agreed in late March on how players would be compensated during the first two months of the season. 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Outside of the colossal world health issue, the NFL season could provide football fans with some respite from the coronavirus thanks to its plethora of intriguing storylines, like Odell Beckham Jr. facing the Giants. Among them is revenge \u2014 an action that keeps players pumped and trash talking while providing fans with the endorphins necessary to shut off the rest of the world for three hours each Sunday. 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Garrett was suspended for the rest of the season without pay. He accused Rudolph of using a racial slur during the skirmish, which the quarterback denied. 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[ {"id":"d45daffe-0fe6-5761-a5a3-39dc3f631ffd","type":"article","starttime":"1591101900","starttime_iso8601":"2020-06-02T07:45:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1591102035","priority":0,"sections":[{"football":"sports/college/football"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"NCAA considering six-week timeline for college football's return","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/college/football/article_d45daffe-0fe6-5761-a5a3-39dc3f631ffd.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/college/football/article_d45daffe-0fe6-5761-a5a3-39dc3f631ffd.html","canonical":"https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/tcu-horned-frogs/2020/06/01/ncaa-considering-six-week-timeline-for-college-footballs-return/","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Chuck Carlton, The Dallas Morning News","prologue":"More and more, it looks like the ramp-up to what officials hope is a full college football season will begin in mid-July. Yahoo Sports reported last week that the NCAA Division I football oversight committee was leaning toward a six-week preseason camp, about two weeks longer than the normal beginning to the season. NCAA approval could come the middle of this month, according to Yahoo. The ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","ncaa","college football"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"d45daffe-0fe6-5761-a5a3-39dc3f631ffd","body":"

More and more, it looks like the ramp-up to what officials hope is a full college football season will begin in mid-July.

Yahoo Sports reported last week that the NCAA Division I football oversight committee was leaning toward a six-week preseason camp, about two weeks longer than the normal beginning to the season.

NCAA approval could come the middle of this month, according to Yahoo.

The COVID-19-forced cancellation of most spring football practices and on-campus workouts has forced significant adjustments in the schedule.

\"Well, we've always known that we needed to get back somewhere around the middle of July,\" Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said during a teleconference last Friday at the end of virtual conference spring meetings. \"I think we probably have to get started with football activities and football-specific training by sometime around the middle of July.\"

He noted that conferences and the American Football Coaches Association had been looking closely at a six-week model.

\"It may get shoved around a little bit,\" Bowlsby said, \"but I think it's pretty close to what we'll end up with.\"

Players are already returning to campus soon. Among other conferences, the SEC has allowed a return of football players for voluntary workouts beginning June 8. The Big 12 can return June 15.

During an interview Monday with Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd, Texas coach Tom Herman detailed what his players will face when they return to campus.

\"The week prior to that on June 8, our guys will be given a battery of tests with blood work and COVID-19 tests,\" Herman said. \"To expect them to be as in shape on June 15 as maybe they would have been in years past, I don't think anybody expects that. But I do know that for 100 years, college football found a way to get played with its participants literally leaving and going home for two to three months during the summer time.\"

Herman expects physical conditioning to lag recent years when players return, saying, \"I don't think it will be nearly as good as it was as in years past.\"

Just because the college football power brokers seem to be on the verge on agreeing for what will come doesn't mean there aren't countless problems to solve.

The Big 12 has a working group of five athletic directors exploring all the major issues involved with a return and possible COVID-19 recurrence during the season. Bowlsby said \"scenario planning\" had to be done now to be for \"real-time\" decisions later.

\"There are additional things they're working on, like how do you safeguard the game officials?\" Bowlsby said. \"How do you make sure they're properly tested and known to be negative before they're coming in contact with players? How do you take care of the sideline personnel and essential game management people?

\"Do you allow bands on the field? On the road games, do you allow pep bands to come, or are we going to embargo that for a period of time?

Do cheerleaders have to have masks on? Does everybody on the sideline have been wearing protective gear. Those kinds of things are the things this group of athletic directors is working on.\"

Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com

"}, {"id":"53bd2a43-d2b0-51a2-b430-67e489267911","type":"article","starttime":"1591101000","starttime_iso8601":"2020-06-02T07:30:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1591102036","priority":0,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/baseball"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"MLB owners float idea of playing fewer games while agreeing to pay prorated salaries","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_53bd2a43-d2b0-51a2-b430-67e489267911.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_53bd2a43-d2b0-51a2-b430-67e489267911.html","canonical":"https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-06-01/mlb-floats-idea-playing-fewer-games-players-prorated-salary","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times","prologue":"For weeks now, major league players have insisted on prorated salaries for any games played this year. After players shot down the first two concepts owners suggested to change the salary structure, owners appeared ready Monday to concede on prorated salaries by shortening the season so radically that player payout would barely change from what the owners last offered. On the day after the ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","baseball","mlb","pro-baseball","professional baseball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"d6d03f8c-81a9-5a7b-a1cc-781af98eabdd","description":"The scoreboard shows the visiting Tampa Bay Rays have defeated the Minnesota Twins on June 27, 2019, at Target Field in Minneapolis. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images/TNS)","byline":"Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America/TNS","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2139,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/6d/d6d03f8c-81a9-5a7b-a1cc-781af98eabdd/5ed6470975072.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1705","height":"1216","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/6d/d6d03f8c-81a9-5a7b-a1cc-781af98eabdd/5ed647097209c.image.jpg?resize=1705%2C1216"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"71","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/6d/d6d03f8c-81a9-5a7b-a1cc-781af98eabdd/5ed647097209c.image.jpg?resize=100%2C71"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"214","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/6d/d6d03f8c-81a9-5a7b-a1cc-781af98eabdd/5ed647097209c.image.jpg?resize=300%2C214"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"730","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/6d/d6d03f8c-81a9-5a7b-a1cc-781af98eabdd/5ed647097209c.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C730"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"53bd2a43-d2b0-51a2-b430-67e489267911","body":"

For weeks now, major league players have insisted on prorated salaries for any games played this year. After players shot down the first two concepts owners suggested to change the salary structure, owners appeared ready Monday to concede on prorated salaries by shortening the season so radically that player payout would barely change from what the owners last offered.

On the day after the players pitched a 114-game season with prorated salaries, the owners considered a 50-game season under the same terms. The number of games halfway between 114 and 50 is 82 - the very number of games the owners pitched last week - but splitting the financial difference in half might not be so easy.

The union did agree Sunday to a radical realignment this season, in which the traditional divisional alignment would be scrapped, and whatever schedule is agreed to would be played completely in a geographic region. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels would play in a 10-team western division, along with the other teams in the National League West and American League West. An industry source confirmed the development, which was first reported Monday by the Boston Globe.

The owners had not presented a 50-game proposal to the union or even committed to it among themselves as of late Monday, and they remain willing to consider other options, but the commissioner's office believes it has the unilateral right to set the length of schedule so long as it pays players a prorated salary.

The players were dismayed to hear that after the commissioner repeatedly had invoked the need to get back on the field to provide entertainment for homebound Americans during a time of crisis. The owners now might prefer one-third of a season to one-half of a season. Union officials also expressed frustration that owners have floated three proposals publicly but made one actual proposal to the union.

The players collectively would make about $3.8 billion in the traditional 162-game season and about $2.7 billion under the offer the union pitched Sunday, according to a Spotrac study.

Under the sliding scale of pay cuts beyond prorated salaries the owners proposed last week, players would have made about $933 million over an 82-game season. With prorated salaries over 50 games, players would make about $1.17 billion.

With teams hoping to open training camps this month and start the season next month, both sides have started to put sweeteners on the table, including an expanded postseason, easing up on the luxury tax and salary deferrals.

The number of games is on the table too: ESPN, which first reported the development, said the owners could go as high as 60 games. However, a source told the Los Angeles Times the number of games could go as low as 42, in which case players would make about $985 million.

On March 26, the parties agreed that players would be paid prorated salaries for any games played this season, so a half-season would mean a 50% pay cut.

The owners say that language did not envision games played without fans. They need players to take an additional pay cut, they say, or else they would lose more money by playing those games than by not playing them. The players say the owners have not provided sufficient documentation to support that assertion.

The owners publicly floated a 50-50 revenue-sharing plan without actually proposing it - the blowback made a formal proposal moot - and then proposed a sliding scale of pay cuts, which the players rejected.

___

(Times staff writer Jorge Castillo contributed to this report.)

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

"}, {"id":"cfb201a3-aaea-59c5-9323-46c76f8b97d0","type":"article","starttime":"1591101000","starttime_iso8601":"2020-06-02T07:30:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"basketball":"sports/basketball"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"'It's really cutthroat:' In a year harder than most to make a WNBA roster, rookies contemplate next steps after being cut, deciding to sit out or making a team","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_cfb201a3-aaea-59c5-9323-46c76f8b97d0.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_cfb201a3-aaea-59c5-9323-46c76f8b97d0.html","canonical":"https://www.courant.com/sports/hc-sp-wnba-rookie-class-20200530-20200601-r4i2c43nofckvbitmoaedcpnca-story.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Alexa Philippou, The Hartford Courant","prologue":"Even after getting drafted by the Chicago Sky in April, Kiah Gillespie was aware of how difficult it was going to be to make a WNBA roster. That's why when the opportunity arose for her to sit out the 2020 season and try for a spot on the Sky in 2021, she felt like that was her best move.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","wnba","basketball","pro-basketball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"f6364a09-52ca-5860-8ea8-d0fad3eb0e80","description":"Kiah Gillespie of Capital Prep celebrates her team's Class L championship after defeating Weaver 69-53 in March of 2014. (Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/TNS)","byline":"Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/TNS","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":1993,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/63/f6364a09-52ca-5860-8ea8-d0fad3eb0e80/5ed64708e21c6.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1766","height":"1173","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/63/f6364a09-52ca-5860-8ea8-d0fad3eb0e80/5ed64708dfd5d.image.jpg?resize=1766%2C1173"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"66","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/63/f6364a09-52ca-5860-8ea8-d0fad3eb0e80/5ed64708dfd5d.image.jpg?resize=100%2C66"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"199","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/63/f6364a09-52ca-5860-8ea8-d0fad3eb0e80/5ed64708dfd5d.image.jpg?resize=300%2C199"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"680","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/63/f6364a09-52ca-5860-8ea8-d0fad3eb0e80/5ed64708dfd5d.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C680"}}}],"revision":1,"commentID":"cfb201a3-aaea-59c5-9323-46c76f8b97d0","body":"

Even after getting drafted by the Chicago Sky in April, Kiah Gillespie was aware of how difficult it was going to be to make a WNBA roster. That's why when the opportunity arose for her to sit out the 2020 season and try for a spot on the Sky in 2021, she felt like that was her best move.

\"There weren't that many options. It wasn't that hard of a decision to make,\" said the Meriden native and former Capital Prep standout who was drafted out of Florida State. \"I think the best thing for me was to decide to sit out and have an opportunity to get a year of professional playing experience (overseas) under my belt before I came back for training camp in 2021.\"

This year, it was even tougher for drafted players like Gillespie to land a roster spot. Teams needed to get under the salary cap without holding training camps, with the season having been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and many clubs could only afford to carry 11 players under the league's new salary structure. That confluence of factors resulted in just under half of the 36 draftees landing roster spots by last Tuesday's deadline, some opting to sit the season out and the rest waived before the teams who drafted them could see them play.

\"They got their NCAA Tournament taken away, then they don't get to have the in-person draft, and now they don't even get to step foot in training camp. Is there any type of a bright side?\" ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said. \"I just really feel for this class.\"

___

Though the WNBA season had already been postponed by the time the draft rolled around, players were hopeful that they could soon participate in training camps and, for those on the bubble, earn a spot on a team. That possibility was extinguished when the league and the players' union agreed that rosters must be finalized by May 26 so that players could start getting paid.

In addition to the 10 players they already had under contract, the Connecticut Sun had added two rookies and signed four players to training camp contracts, lining up what they expected to be a competitive camp. Last week, the Sun waived those four camp invites as well as third-round draft pick Juicy Landrum.

\"Over the years, there have been players who will beat out a veteran (for a spot) because they've had a really good camp, or in preseason played really well against a certain team and even though they originally get cut might get picked up later that year, either by the team they're in camp with or by a team that they played really well against in the preseason,\" Lobo said. \"So those opportunities go away.\"

Sun coach/general manager Curt Miller said it's possible the Sun would bring back one of their recent cuts when they're able to add a 12th player during the season, similar to how Natisha Hiedeman - a rookie drafted out of Marquette who was cut in training camp last year - was later brought back. She eventually played in all but one of the Sun's postseason games and re-signed with the franchise in the offseason.

As free agents, waived players can also be signed by a different team than the one that drafted them. And Lobo offers a potential long-term silver lining: No longer tied to salaries based on draft position, waived draftees who prove themselves overseas may be able to demand more money next season and have more say over which team they play for. One player who came to mind for Lobo as well-positioned for this was Miami's Beatrice Mompremier, the No. 20 overall pick who was cut by Los Angeles.

___

Gillespie was thrilled that the Sky took a chance on her, even after she unexpectedly dropped to the third round of the draft. Still, she wasn't necessarily in the most favorable of situations to make the team. The Sky can only carry 11 players for most of the season, and there was essentially one opening for their three draft picks and a training camp signee to fight for.

Gillespie has been designated as non-active for the full season, meaning that, unlike a waived player, she can't play in the WNBA at all this year. But her rights will be retained by the Sky, and she was told she's guaranteed a spot in training camp next season. In the meantime, she intends to spend this next year getting into WNBA shape and developing her game.

Among this year's draftees, three international players and two of the Atlanta Dream's picks also chose to sit out 2020.

\"I think it sets me up for the chance to make that Chicago Sky roster and be on a team where they're really interested in my skillset and what I have to offer,\" Gillespie said. \"It also gives me an opportunity to work on those things that I necessarily wouldn't have been the best at going into training camp this season.\"

Gillespie could have taken her chances this year and tried to find an opportunity with another team, but she went with what she saw as the less risky move.

\"I just looked at it realistically,\" Gillespie said. \"A lot of teams had to make a lot of tough decisions, and they had to waive players that they probably didn't necessarily want to waive because they haven't gotten the chance to really check out their skills. I felt that it was just smarter for me to stay somewhere and actually get the opportunity to play in front of them than to roll the dice and see if another team would pick me when they had people that they couldn't necessarily keep.\"

___

Kaila Charles knows that her work isn't over just because she landed a spot on the Sun's roster. The two rookies Connecticut started the 2019 season with (Kristine Anigwe and Bridget Carleton) were either traded or waived by early August.

\"It's really cutthroat in a way,\" said Charles, who was taken No. 23 overall. \"I wish we could have more teams and then more people could play. But it is very hard to make a roster, and I see that now, actually experiencing it.\"

Even though she made the cut, she's seen what happened this year with her peers. Five of the 12 teams didn't keep a 2020 draft selection. Charles was the sole player selected in the second half of the draft to make a roster.

\"It really does hurt to see that,\" Charles said. \"This whole situation is kind of unfair. ... As a competitor, I know how much I wanted to be on the court to prove myself, and so I feel for these other girls.\"

That reality makes Charles all the more motivated to work harder. She does whatever she can to stay sharp and in shape, both through the Sun's organized workouts and other activities on her own. And once she finally gets to step on the court with her new teammates, she wants to reaffirm to her team that she belongs there.

\"It just gives me so much confidence that they believe in me and think of me so highly as a player, and being able to have that opportunity - especially going second round - is just a blessing,\" Charles said. \"It gives me confidence that my coaching staff believes in me, and that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.\"

Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

"}, {"id":"687b8e94-8af7-5cd5-802f-f83e0892535b","type":"article","starttime":"1591016400","starttime_iso8601":"2020-06-01T08:00:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"football":"sports/football"},{"football":"sports/professional/football"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Charles McDonald: The NFL has already shown that it doesn't care","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/football/article_687b8e94-8af7-5cd5-802f-f83e0892535b.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/football/article_687b8e94-8af7-5cd5-802f-f83e0892535b.html","canonical":"https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/ny-roger-goodell-nfl-george-floyd-20200531-7f724bukevhnlknhtb6ct4wgee-story.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Charles McDonald, New York Daily News","prologue":"The NFL has already told you what it stands for. Over the weekend, the NFL released a statement in support of the protests sweeping the nation in response to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. \"There remains an urgent need for action,\" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote. \"We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","nfl","football","pro-football"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"687b8e94-8af7-5cd5-802f-f83e0892535b","body":"

The NFL has already told you what it stands for.

Over the weekend, the NFL released a statement in support of the protests sweeping the nation in response to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department.

\"There remains an urgent need for action,\" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote. \"We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.\"

Nice enough statement. It would carry more credibility if the NFL had not already shown exactly how little it cares about these very issues.

The NFL wasn't interested in using its platform just four years ago when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner in protest of the same infrastructural violence that ended Floyd's life on May 25.

The NFL wasn't interested in using its platform just four years ago when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner in protest of the same infrastructural violence that ended Breonna Taylor's life on March 13.

The NFL wasn't interested in using its platform just four years ago when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner in protest of the same infrastructural violence that ended Ahmaud Arbery's life on February 23.

The NFL effectively banished Kaepernick from the league for giving voice to the pain and suffering that Black people have endured for centuries at the hands of the government. Now, at a moment when that pain, suffering, anger and agony has become impossible to ignore, the league says it wants to help.

The NFL had its chance, and blackballed it.

The NFL is so incapable of addressing race that even its statement in support of the protests carefully avoids naming it. Not once in the NFL's statement did it explicitly mention the suffering that black people are enduring. Not once they did mention that Floyd, Taylor, and Arbery were senselessly killed. The word \"police\" did not appear in the NFL's 150 word statement.

That matters.

The NFL presents specific issues in general, ambiguous terms, in part, because the people running the league don't experience trauma that is unique to the black experience in America. White billionaires don't have to be afraid of fatal consequences when a police officer pulls them over. Meaning gets lost when the people relaying the message don't have a stake in the matter. Or when their stake is at odds with the message in the first place.

The NFL has worked this playbook before, diluting the core issue at hand rather than risk the hard conversations that go along with a reckoning about the specific and urgent matter of police violence against black people. Generalities about systemic issues don't do anything except allow the NFL to give itself a pat on the back.

The NFL did this when Kaepernick began his peaceful protest during the 2016 season, expanding the conversation to the manner of protest rather than addressing the reasons for it, and already it's inching down the path toward throwing some money at the problem and hoping to go back about its business.

The NFL is all about sanding down the edges. This is evident in its partnership with the Players Coalition, which was founded in 2017 to \"challenge dominant power structures, build mass popular support and use culture to shift policy and change lives,\" and goes about its business in a way that's unlikely to offend the league's partners. The Players Coalition is dedicated to doing work that benefits marginalized people, but the league only supports it so long as it minds its manners while doing so. For the NFL, manners trump message.

The NFL was never going to prove it cares about black people with a single statement. It's spent too long proving otherwise for that to be realistic. But given that recent history, the very least the league could have done as it presented itself for applause is to address the problem by name: the mistreatment of black people by agents of the government.

The NFL had a chance to explicitly show its workforce, which is overwhelmingly black, that do in fact see them as human beings instead of cash cows that pump money into their pockets every Sunday.

The NFL failed again.

Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com

"}, {"id":"6f840e75-9458-5bf1-9745-7052716e470d","type":"article","starttime":"1591015500","starttime_iso8601":"2020-06-01T07:45:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/baseball"},{"professional":"sports/baseball/professional"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"MLB players union pitches 114-game season, but makes no movement on pay","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_6f840e75-9458-5bf1-9745-7052716e470d.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_6f840e75-9458-5bf1-9745-7052716e470d.html","canonical":"https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-05-31/mlb-union-owners-season-pay-cut-coronavirus-union-proposal","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times","prologue":"Five days after major league owners asked Mike Trout to play for about $8 million this season, the players union replied with a proposal under which Trout would play for about $25 million. The union's counterproposal, delivered to owners Sunday afternoon, calls for a 114-game season that would start June 30 and end Oct. 31, followed by a 14-team postseason. The proposal envisions more ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","mlb","baseball","pro-baseball","professional baseball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"6f840e75-9458-5bf1-9745-7052716e470d","body":"

Five days after major league owners asked Mike Trout to play for about $8 million this season, the players union replied with a proposal under which Trout would play for about $25 million.

The union's counterproposal, delivered to owners Sunday afternoon, calls for a 114-game season that would start June 30 and end Oct. 31, followed by a 14-team postseason. The proposal envisions more doubleheaders than usual.

The offer is almost certainly a nonstarter for owners. The players have not retreated from their position that a March 26 agreement entitles them to full prorated pay - that is, about 50% of previously guaranteed salary for the 82-game season the owners had proposed. The owners responded with a sliding scale that would have paid players from 22% to 46% of their salaries, with the greatest cuts assessed to the highest salaries. Under Sunday's proposal, the additional games mean that owners would pay players about 70% of their salaries.

Still, if the two sides shift the argument from the language in the March 26 agreement to a dispute over percentage of salary, there could be a path toward a compromise.

The owners pitched a season that would start in early July, with the postseason in October because of concerns about a second wave of the coronavirus this fall. If the postseason cannot be played in November, the players proposed to defer $100 million in salaries over the next two years.

The players also proposed a $100 million salary advance when training camp resumes, presumably in mid-June.

Under the proposal, players who qualify as high risk if they contract the coronavirus - or if they live with someone who is at high risk - could choose not to play this season and still receive full salary and service time. Any other player could choose not to play, but his compensation would be limited to service time.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

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Nobody ever decreed that Major League Baseball must resume spring training by the middle of June, open the season by Fourth of July weekend, play 82 regular-season games, and tie a bow on the playoffs by the end of October \u2013 or else.

Those were always soft targets, never set-in-stone deadlines.

So, it won't exactly be curtains for baseball in 2020 if MLB and the Players Association can't settle their differences by the end of the week. If they have to start the season on Aug. 1, play only 60 or 70 games, and push the World Series into early November at a warm-weather neutral site, well, so be it. Late is better than never.

Still, this is undeniably the most critical week for baseball in 25 years.

It would be one thing if MLB scrubbed the season because medical experts or city/state governments didn't sign off on the league's 67-page manual for playing in the midst of a pandemic that has caused more than 105,000 deaths in the United States (still a possibility). It would be quite another if it all unraveled over money \u2013 specifically how much 30 owners and 1,200 players will lose this year \u2013 at a time when more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March.

Most industry observers can't imagine the sides not coming together on an 11th-hour economic agreement to salvage an abbreviated season. But as the weekend ended, they appeared entrenched in their respective positions over a secondary pay reduction for players beyond the cuts that were agreed upon in late March.

And if the next few days don't bring an end to the nearly week-long standoff, it will become increasingly difficult to reach a compromise, even though the repercussions of 18 months (at least) without games would leave baseball badly damaged and perhaps beyond repair.

\"This is going to be a very tough thing to reconcile,\" said Vince Gennaro, associate dean at NYU's Tisch Institute for Global Sport. \"I think there's going to have to be significant concessions by the players to do this. And in the end, I don't know who's going to blink first.\"

Neither side trusts the other enough to keep its eyes anything less than wide open. With negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement looming late next year, the last thing that either wants to do is make a concession for one partial season that it won't get back in the future.

The central issue is a March 26 agreement in which players agreed to prorated salaries based on the length of the season. One hundred games, for instance, would mean roughly a 40% pay cut for each player; 82 games, as MLB has proposed, would be a 50% cut; and so on.

But the owners claim that language in the March accord stipulates that the deal may be redrawn if conditions change, such as fans being unable to attend games. Commissioner Rob Manfred has estimated that gate-related streams \u2013 ticket sales, luxury suites, concessions, parking \u2013 account for an average of 40% of teams' revenue, and the owners want the players' salaries to be further scaled back accordingly.

\"Just speaking as an economist, it just makes perfect sense that you wouldn't stop the salary adjustments at (what was agreed to in March),\" Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist said recently. \"There'd be some further reduction based upon not having fans in the stands. That's just straight economics. There's no ideology there.\"

Last week, MLB proposed secondary cuts based on a sliding scale of income levels. Phillies star Bryce Harper, who was due to get paid $27.5 million in 2020, would have his salary reduced from $13.75 million in an 82-game season after the previously agreed-upon cuts to roughly $6.25 million, according to ESPN estimates. But teammate Rhys Hoskins, due to make $605,000 this year, would reportedly retain most of the roughly $302,500 (based on 82 games) that remained from the initial cut.

The union was \"extremely disappointed,\" a source said last week, by what it considered \"massive\" additional cuts and has not yet issued a counterproposal. The players, who would be incurring the greatest health risk by returning to play and have a finite number of years to maximize their earnings, aren't budging on their refusal to accept another pay cut. At least not without a more thorough audit of the owners' books.

Washington Nationals star pitcher Max Scherzer, a member of the union's eight-player executive subcommittee, made that clear in a pointed statement last week. The message was reinforced in an email from influential agent Scott Boras to his clients and obtained by the Associated Press.

Assuming that neither side budges on the March agreement, is there another solution? The players have reportedly considered proposing a longer schedule. But the owners claim that more games only means more lost revenue for them. There's also a fear that a World Series in November could be at risk of getting canceled by a second wave of the coronavirus. The postseason, of course, is where teams reap the bulk of the national TV money.

The players could also agree to deferring a portion of their 2020 salaries to help ease the owners' cash flow problems. But baseball will feel the economic effects of an abbreviated season well beyond 2020, according to experts, and Gennaro speculated that owners are unlikely to be willing to take on additional debt.

But what if the players trade secondary cuts in 2020 to gain leverage in the looming CBA talks? Could a short-term sacrifice lead to long-term gains, such as changes to the competitive-balance tax system that has served as a deterrent for many teams to raise payroll above a stipulated level?

\"I think that needs to be handled delicately,\" Gennaro said. \"If either side concedes too much on the current season, this partial season, that will set a tone for the future (CBA) negotiations and sort of set the bar.\"

Here we are, then, waiting for someone to blink.

More than the 2020 season hangs in the balance.

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.inquirer.com

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PHILADELPHIA - At some point, the conversations turn to money. Talks about restarting sports may start with public health, and maybe finish there. In the middle, somewhere in all these conversations, somebody is in charge of talking about the economics of the coronavirus crisis.

These are not short conversations.

All over the landscape, the professional sports and big-time college sports, the dollar figures on the line are into the billions. Not just overall, most separate sectors. The NFL has billions of dollars on the line. So does Major League Baseball. Even the Power 5 college leagues - billions. Combine it all, you get deep into the tens of billions.

As the NBA looks to resume play in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, the dollar figures involved could depend on whether the league includes some regular-season play or cuts straight to the playoffs. Either way, the losses in revenues still could run into the many millions.

If Major League Baseball games aren't played this year, team owners stand to lose nearly $4 billion, according to commissioner Rob Manfred. The players union, ever distrustful of ownership, has asked the league to produce evidence to support that claim.

Never mind the exact numbers. The disruption of the 2020 season, however long it persists, almost certainly will cause unprecedented economic damage from which MLB might need years to recover.

\"Under the best of circumstances, the 2021 revenue that MLB generates is not going to be $10.5 billion like it was last year,\" said Andrew Zimbalist, author and professor of economics at Smith College. \"This year, obviously, it's not going to be that. But even if they play a full season next year, it's not going to be $10.5 billion. There's going to be a lot of questions and uncertainty going forward about what's going to happen, not only in 2021 but in subsequent seasons.\"

According to published reports, NHL teams lose about $1.3 million for each regular-season home game not played - and more for playoff games that aren't held.

The NHL seems intent on resuming the season with a 24-team format (without fans) that would have play-in games and would eventually have 16 teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That would help the league recoup some of its losses. The NHL stands to make as much as $500 million in TV revenue if the playoffs are held.

In other words, the NHL stands to lose as much as $500 million in TV revenue if the playoffs are not held.

College sports as an entity has just as much on the line. ESPN calculates as much as a $4 billion loss if the 2020 football season is canceled.

Many of these calculations need to be set up in various categories. What about games with no fans? What about shortened seasons with no fans? What about socially distanced fans in some states, no fans in others? All those questions come with price tags.

Should the NFL salary cap drop by roughly 30% next year? Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp, Ltd., a prominent sports consulting firm, thinks that is one possible scenario, should the league have to play the 2020 season with no fans in the stands.

Observers have theorized that of the four major professional sports leagues, the NFL might suffer the least financial damage from playing a season without fans, given that most of the league's money comes from national TV deals, and teams play only eight regular-season home games a year.

That doesn't mean the loss of stadium revenues wouldn't be a big deal for the league and for the Eagles, though. Forbes magazine, working off 2018 figures, recently estimated that the league would lose around $5.5 billion with no stadium revenues in 2020 - including tickets, concessions, sponsors, parking and team stores.

Ganis, who has worked with teams on such things as stadium projects, feels that $5.5 billion figure for loss of all stadium revenues this year might be \"a little high.\" He said local revenues tend to account for 25 to 27% of a team's annual take, probably a little less than $4.5 billion a year.

So Ganis also feels Forbes' estimate that the Eagles would be in line to lose $204 million is also a bit high. Still, even a little less than that is a lot, especially when you consider that Forbes pegged the Eagles' operating revenue - their profit after expenses - at $150 million. Forbes has estimated the Eagles' franchise value at $3.05 billion, but until Jeffrey Lurie sells the team, that number is largely theoretical; Lurie doesn't have a vault with $3.05 billion in it that he can swim around in, a la Scrooge McDuck.

___

How bad will it get for Major League Baseball this year? It's impossible to say until MLB and the players agree on the particulars for what the season and salary structure will look like.

Start here, though: Manfred estimates that an average of 40% of teams' revenues are gate-related - ticket sales, luxury suites, parking, concessions. Zimbalist believes it's actually closer to 50% once sponsorship money is figured in.

That's why the owners want to revise a March 26 agreement with the union that called for players to receive prorated salaries based on the number of games played. MLB contends that the agreement was contingent on fans being present; the union believes a deal is a deal and notes that the players would be risking their health by agreeing to play in the midst of a pandemic.

MLB has proposed a sliding scale that would give the lowest-paid players the highest percentage of their prorated 2020 salaries while requiring the highest-paid players to accept the most significant cuts. The union expressed strong disappointment over that plan.

This week is critical. An agreement likely would need to be reached within the next seven to 10 days to meet a projected resumption of spring training in mid-June and an early July start of the season.

\"I consider myself to be a players' guy, but just speaking as an economist, it just makes perfect sense that you wouldn't stop the salary adjustments at 50% (based on playing half as many games),\" Zimbalist said. \"There'd be some further reduction based upon not having fans in the stands. That's just straight economics. There's no ideology there. I think the owners are putting forward totally reasonable ideas here.\"

While the owners and players haggle over money - a terrible look given the worldwide economic hardship - the league has cut costs in other ways, namely reducing next month's amateur draft from 40 rounds to five.

Some teams reportedly will initiate pay cuts or furloughs beginning June 1. In a May 8 letter to employees, Phillies managing partner John Middleton committed to keeping full-time staff through at least October.

___

Almost every variable comes with a dollar figure attached.

The trickle-down in college sports is enormous. If big-time football schools play a shorter schedule, that means less buy games, which means smaller-time schools that count on getting paid to show up will have less money they need for their own budgets. All this after overall school budgets already are getting slashed.

The two biggest variables are about students showing up on campus, since their tuition keeps the doors open at many schools. Say that happens, will there be sports in the fall? Will there be sports with fans? Limited fans? No fans?

\"Even if it's just the game and stadium revenues they lose, that's a really significant part of these athletic budgets,\" said Joel Maxcy, a sports management professor at Drexel. \"There is going to be pressure to get back if they can.\"

Would the Power 5 even be the Power 5 without football? Would many of those massive advantages swing over to disadvantages? What if a few billion in revenues evaporates, with the expense side of the ledger not able to go down dollar-for-dollar with it?

\"The coaches' salaries and the capital investments ... they're on the hook for paying off the debt on those investments,\" Maxcy said, even if coaches and administrators take pay cuts.

Before the answers come in on a lot of these questions, the list of sports being dropped is growing. Furman baseball and men's lacrosse, Cincinnati men's soccer, Old Dominion wrestling. East Carolina dropped men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's swimming and diving. None of the local schools have announced a sport being dropped. Yet. No Power 5 schools have dropped one. Yet. Let's wait and see what happens if football revenues are down in the fall.

You see some colleges start to drop sports and on the surface it doesn't make sense, since many baseball and soccer and tennis players and track athletes pay full tuition or close to it.

\"That's really why they have those sports, to attract students,\" Maxcy said.

So why drop them? Maxcy explains that, too. If the tuition payments don't hit the athletic budget, but the operating costs and coaching salaries of a sport are in that budget, then the athletic director has a problem when he's told to cut his budget by a certain percentage.

\"I think that's what it is,\" Maxcy said. \"Every department, what can you cut? What can we do?\"

If a sport is due for a facility upgrade, that's now a real problem. There is another problem, Maxcy points out, that is different in college sports than in the pros, where the leagues negotiate returns with their players. It's one thing if college athletes test positive for the virus. But if there's a serious health issue involving a college player - \"somewhere, someone,\" Maxcy said - what happens then? He gave the example of the Maryland football player, Jordan McNair, who died of heatstroke in 2018 after participating in a workout. What happens if a player ends up on a ventilator?

\"It would be the same sort of public relations problem,\" Maxcy said. \"The question has to be answered: Why did this happen when there was no need to play football? I think that's the issue they're up against.\"

___

Ganis said he expects the NFL to respond to this crisis adroitly, as he feels it has so far, as witnessed by the way the league pulled off its virtual entry draft.

\"The NFL has demonstrated that it can adapt very well ... they have so far been spot-on in their ability to modify and keep everything moving forward,\" he said.

The bright spot on the NFL horizon might be the upcoming negotiations for new TV contracts to replace the current deals expiring in 2022. As was demonstrated with the record-breaking draft ratings, a future that might entail less time spent milling about in public spaces is going to whet the public's appetite for televised sports. Advertisers can look forward to very large audiences.

\"There's a combination of factors here that make the NFL even more important to the broadcasters than it was before. On the other side, there's the issue of how financially strong some of the broadcasters will be,\" Ganis said.

Even if there is a broadcasting partner who isn't faring well overall, streaming services are expected to be part of the bidding this time around. Some observers expect the NFL's TV rights fees to double.

Some NFL sponsors might be hurting, unable to afford commercial rates. But Ganis said TV sports has been in this place before, decades back, when once-omnipresent tobacco advertising was banned. Doom was predicted. Other sponsors emerged to fill the void. The prophets of doom didn't foresee Microsoft or Apple, for example.

\"Technology advertisers are massive now in the NFL. The competition for getting people to come to a platform or a shopping site is going to be tremendous,\" with people more leery of going to stores and mingling, Ganis said. He noted that the online merchant Wayfair bought a Super Bowl ad this year.

___

The NHL could have played hardball with its players. Instead, it decided against it.

The NHL's collective bargaining agreement permits teams to negotiate new salaries for players if the league \"suspends, ceases or reduces operations\" in-season because of a \"state of war or other cause beyond the control\" of the league or the teams.

But Bill Daly, the league's deputy commissioner, told ESPN the NHL has advised clubs not to rely on that paragraph and to pay players.

Teams are suffering, however. If the NHL stands to make as much as $500 million in TV revenue if the playoffs are held without fans, expect those figures to be even larger for the NBA. Meanwhile, ESPN reported earlier in May that the NBA had reached an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association to extend until September the 60-day window that preserves the league's right to terminate the collective bargaining agreement in the wake of the pandemic.

Maxcy at Drexel figures that if total revenue for the 2018-19 NBA season was $8 billion, and about $2.7 billion of that came from national television, it is not clear how much of that TV money would be gone. A billion or so in lost stadium revenue probably is a reasonable estimate, Maxcy said. \"That's still without accounting for payroll easing,\" Maxcy said, noting that players gave up a portion or their salaries for every lost regular-season game.

___

The finances of American soccer are notoriously secretive, but we've gotten some hints this spring about how much money teams are losing.

When the shutdown began in March, the Columbus Dispatch estimated that the Crew could lose around $900,000 per canceled game, including $400,000 from ticket revenue.

Obviously Philadelphia is a larger market than Columbus, but on the MLS landscape, it's not so different. The Crew averaged 14,856 fans per game last year at 20,000-seat MAPFRE Stadium, and drew 17,473 for the one home contest they got in this year.

The Union averaged 17,111 fans per game last year at 18,500-seat Subaru Park, and didn't get a home game before the season stopped.

It's not a perfect comparison, but it's closer than bigger teams like the Seattle Sounders and Atlanta United, both of which averaged more than 40,000 fans per game last year.

The Union haven't imposed any layoffs or furloughs on their staff so far. They've also set up a relief fund for their game-day workers.

MLS teams do have some TV revenue in the bank, from deals with ESPN, Fox and Univision that pay a few million dollars a year. That isn't the case in the NWSL, which just started deals with CBS and the streaming site Twitch. When the Chicago Red Stars unveiled their new jersey last month, owner Arnim Whisler said merchandise sales are the team's only source of revenue right now.

___

The NFL salary cap is pegged to the league's gross revenues, so if revenues go down this year, the cap will have to follow. But maybe not to the tune of $60 million.

\"The players association might suggest to have the loss covered over two years or three years, so that it's less of a one-year impact,\" Ganis said. \"I don't think anybody's gotten to that point yet,\" in thinking of possible scenarios.

A huge drop in the NFL cap would mean teams releasing prominent players - assuming those players and their agents don't agree to contract modifications.

\"You may have a lot of movement, a lot of players who are released to fit under the cap,\" Ganis said. Those players wouldn't necessarily find a robust market, given that the cap would drop for every team.

Whenever fans do return, Ganis expects changes to the stadium experience. If fans come back this year, maybe elderly fans, or those with comorbidities, most at risk in the pandemic, would be asked to stay home. Maybe from now on, fans will be ordering and paying for concessions via their phones, rather than standing together in lines and forcing the concession workers to handle cash.

Ganis mentioned one possible change to the stadium experience that frankly does not seem workable in Philadelphia. He noted that crowded bathrooms will be a concern, and that studies have shown \"two beers equals one bathroom trip.\" So Ganis thinks limiting beer sales could be a solution.

It seems more likely that Eagles fans will arrive in rubber boots, even when rain is not in the forecast.

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.inquirer.com

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There was concern last spring. The union reps in the Yankees' clubhouse were trying to reach out to their younger teammates to make sure they knew the ins and outs of the union and understood the importance of sticking together. They were being proactive, knowing that a big fight with the league was on the horizon.

\"It's pretty informal, just talking to guys, particularly younger guys about what the union is trying to do and what's coming up,\" Zack Britton said in a March 2019 interview about the union's preparations for the next collective bargaining agreement. \"We just want to make sure everyone is on the same page.\"

Tuesday, MLB used the current coronavirus pandemic to try and drive the wedge right into that weak spot in every clubhouse in baseball: the haves vs. the have-nots in the union.

Delivering their financial proposal, a sliding scale on which the owners would pay their players a prorated portion of their contracts, MLB and the union took the next step in trying to get a 2020 MLB season back on the field. Nearly 11 weeks ago, MLB shut down spring training and postponed the regular season indefinitely as the country tried to deal with the coronavirus, which has devastated the economy and killed 100,000 Americans as of Wednesday morning.

The first round of negotiations on health and safety went smoothly, though the union pointed out Tuesday that those issues are not entirely settled yet. The second round had been built up by the owners' initial suggestion of 50-50 revenue sharing to account for no fans being allowed in the ballparks, leaked before the proposals were made and drawing the ire from players. After players like Rays pitcher Blake Snell popped off about the plan, which was seen as a second pay cut after the players had already agreed to prorated salaries, the public outcry and pressure fell hard on the players.

So, Tuesday, the owners' tact, of asking players to accept a sliding scale portion of that prorated salary, which under the current 82-game plan amounts to a 50% pay cut, was an attempt for the league to \"fall back\" from a more aggressive proposal.

Instead, it was met by the players with disbelief.

For the Yankees that puts new ace Gerrit Cole in the tightest of situations. He signed a record deal for a pitcher this offseason and would have been paid $36 million this season. Under the current proposal, Cole would make $8 million, over a 77% pay cut. He wouldn't be the only one in the Yankees clubhouse taking a hit, but he'd be taking the biggest one.

As Brewers pitcher Bret Anderson immediately pointed out, it singled out the superstars in the clubhouse and put the pressure of returning baseball on them.

\"Interesting strategy of making the best most marketable players potentially look like the bad guys,\" Anderson tweeted.

Another player, who falls quite a few rungs beneath Cole on the sliding scale but will take about a 65% pay cut under the current proposal, is absolutely concerned about this becoming an issue within the clubhouse.

\"It looks bad if I say it's unfair publicly, I look greedy,\" the player said. \"MLB knew what it was doing. Guys are going to protest this and their teammates, the younger players, who are making their first real money, are going to be mad at them, because they just want that pay check.\"

\"The owners knew what they were doing,\" he added. \"Now, they'll sit back and watch the union fight internally.\"

This has been a sore spot for the union for a few years.

It was early in spring training 2019 that Britton said the union was making an effort to reach out to younger players after another alarmingly slow free-agent market that paid the big contracts, but squeezed out the middle class of players. There was also an alarming trend of watching young players avoid arbitration by signing extremely-team friendly extension deals, like Luis Severino and the Phillies' Aaron Nola. Looking back over the last collective bargaining agreement, the players realized they had to be unified to get a better deal.

Now, the union has to hope that those efforts over the past year have helped or face yet another divisive decision.

Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com

"}, {"id":"2b7dd38e-2488-5852-9acd-e5d44badf594","type":"article","starttime":"1590668100","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-28T07:15:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1590669961","priority":0,"sections":[{"football":"sports/football"},{"football":"sports/professional/football"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Will Trubisky be able to handle pressure from Foles in Bears' QB competition? 'That'll be the big question,' Nagy says.","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/football/article_2b7dd38e-2488-5852-9acd-e5d44badf594.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/football/article_2b7dd38e-2488-5852-9acd-e5d44badf594.html","canonical":"https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/bears/ct-chicago-bears-mitch-trubisky-nick-foles-matt-nagy-rich-eisen-20200527-mqy7on36nfdvhgjzb6p5t327hm-story.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune","prologue":"CHICAGO - The announcement came April 3 over a conference call with local media. Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy declared \"an open competition\" for the starting quarterback job. It was a significant development but hardly surprising. The Bears had put the writing on the wall in spray paint two weeks earlier when they traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars in ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","nfl","football","pro-football","bears"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"73dddb86-36a3-579b-9267-ce798191bf33","description":"Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy, right, watches quarterback Mitch Trubisky warm up before a game against the the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 30, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.","byline":"Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS","hireswidth":2048,"hiresheight":1152,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3d/73dddb86-36a3-579b-9267-ce798191bf33/5ecfaf4f888c4.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1920","height":"1080","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3d/73dddb86-36a3-579b-9267-ce798191bf33/5ecfaf4f88292.image.jpg?resize=1920%2C1080"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3d/73dddb86-36a3-579b-9267-ce798191bf33/5ecfaf4f88292.image.jpg?resize=100%2C56"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3d/73dddb86-36a3-579b-9267-ce798191bf33/5ecfaf4f88292.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3d/73dddb86-36a3-579b-9267-ce798191bf33/5ecfaf4f88292.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C576"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"2b7dd38e-2488-5852-9acd-e5d44badf594","body":"

CHICAGO - The announcement came April 3 over a conference call with local media. Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy declared \"an open competition\" for the starting quarterback job. It was a significant development but hardly surprising. The Bears had put the writing on the wall in spray paint two weeks earlier when they traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars in exchange for Nick Foles.

After last season's offensive regression, after the Bears finished 29th in the NFL in both total yards (296.8 per game) and scoring (17.5 ppg), after Mitch Trubisky staggered through a maddening season with a passer rating of 83.0, the Bears weren't about to pretend the status quo would be acceptable in 2020. Thus, they made their moves.

They traded for Foles, later rejected the fifth-year option on Trubisky's rookie deal and made it clear to everyone that they want to enter the 2020 season with a starting quarterback who inspires confidence in his coaching staff and teammates. That requires an open competition.

May the best quarterback win.

Will that be Trubisky? Will it be Foles? Trubisky or Foles? Foles or Trubisky?

This is the most significant storyline in the Bears' 2020 turnaround effort. And as Nagy made the rounds Wednesday doing interviews with multiple national outlets, it was clear that's where most of the spotlight is going to shine on his team in the months ahead.

So how will this dynamic effect Trubisky, who not long ago was thought to be the Bears' long-term answer at the position but now is in a contract year fighting to remain the starter for Week 1?

On NBCSN, Rich Eisen pressed Nagy on whether Trubisky would be able to hold up to a pressure-packed competition that will be scrutinized from every angle. If Nagy has pushed Trubisky over the last two seasons to become mentally stronger, to strengthen his next-play mentality, are the Bears concerned about how he'll respond with his job security shakier than it ever has been?

How, Eisen wondered, will Trubisky handle the push from Foles to take his job?

\"That'll be the big question,\" Nagy said. \"All he can do, and the discussions that we've had is you can only control the opportunity that you have right now. Control what you can control. He has gotten to this point through a lot of hard work. And now? The way he has been in these meetings that we've had, in these discussions that we've had, I absolutely love his attitude. I don't think he could have handled this situation any better.

\"You look at a guy in our situation, where we went ahead and made a trade for Nick, any person when that happens, you're just going to feel like, 'OK, how do I make this better?' And for probably a day or two, he was that way. After that and ever since, he's been really good. And I appreciate that about him.\"

It's worth pointing out that attitude and work ethic never have been Trubisky's big problems. So it's neither surprising nor significant that the 25-year-old quarterback has retained a needed level of drive and positive energy. Trubisky's bigger issues have come in being able to process opposing defenses at an elite level. His inability to make game-changing plays on a consistent basis has been problematic. And last season his struggles were a major reason the Bears went from Super Bowl hopefuls in September to third-place disappointments by Christmas.

Nagy further addressed the quarterback storyline Wednesday morning with Colin Cowherd on ESPN.

\"The simple fact of the matter is that we want to have the best possible team we can have in Chicago with the Bears,\" Nagy said. \"So right now we're presented with a great healthy competition between two quarterbacks who are going to battle their tails off. We understand that.

\"And the thing with Mitch is, he is very competitive. And he is 19-10 (the last two seasons as a starter). ... But he also knows he can grow in a lot of different ways. And so the time is right now for that to happen. He's excited for it.\"

All of this comes with the caveat that the competition can't actually start until the quarterbacks are allowed to compete. That requires the Bears being allowed to get back on the field and given the greenlight to practice again.

In that regard, there's still no telling when the first reps of this competition will occur and how much time the Bears then will have to sift through everything.

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

"}, {"id":"729d2c43-34f1-5b1c-a06c-f567ffccacfb","type":"article","starttime":"1590615000","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-27T16:30:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"soccer":"sports/soccer"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"National Women's Soccer League returning to play with summer tournament in Utah","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/soccer/article_729d2c43-34f1-5b1c-a06c-f567ffccacfb.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/soccer/article_729d2c43-34f1-5b1c-a06c-f567ffccacfb.html","canonical":"https://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/story/2020-05-27/nwsl-returning-tournament-utah-coronavirus-megan-rapinoe","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times","prologue":"Soccer could be the first professional team sport to return from the COVID-19 break with the NWSL on Wednesday announcing plans for a 25-game tournament to be played behind closed doors in Utah beginning June 27. The NWSL will house players from its nine teams at two hotels in the Salt Lake City area, where they will live and train during the monthlong competition. Players will be tested for ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","soccer","women's soccer"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"729d2c43-34f1-5b1c-a06c-f567ffccacfb","body":"

Soccer could be the first professional team sport to return from the COVID-19 break with the NWSL on Wednesday announcing plans for a 25-game tournament to be played behind closed doors in Utah beginning June 27.

The NWSL will house players from its nine teams at two hotels in the Salt Lake City area, where they will live and train during the monthlong competition. Players will be tested for the coronavirus before leaving their home market and then screened regularly while in Utah.

Games, which will be broadcast and streamed by CBS, will be played without fans at Zions Bank and Rio Tinto stadiums. The tournament will consist of four group-play games for each team followed by an eight-team knockout tournament that will conclude July 26.

\"As our country begins to safely reopen and adjust to our collective new reality, and with the enthusiastic support of our players, owners, as well as our new and current commercial partners, the NWSL is thrilled to bring professional soccer back to the United States,\" commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement. \"This exciting month-long tournament will showcase our league's talented players and provide our fans the type of world-class entertainment they've come to expect from the NWSL.\"

Not everyone shares Baird's enthusiasm. Players can opt out of the tournament, and several veterans of last summer's Women's World Cup-champion U.S. team are expected to do so.

The Washington Post reported earlier that Megan Rapinoe, the reigning world player of the year, has given no indication she would come to Utah and as many as a half-dozen other World Cup veterans also could stay home. Without them the NWSL tournament would lose much of its luster.

The NWSL was scheduled to begin its 2020 season on April 18.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

"}, {"id":"58be1971-20ab-5707-8c7d-b919bc4adc5d","type":"article","starttime":"1590583500","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-27T07:45:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"basketball":"sports/basketball"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has revolutionary idea for NBA playoff format that would increase stakes","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_58be1971-20ab-5707-8c7d-b919bc4adc5d.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_58be1971-20ab-5707-8c7d-b919bc4adc5d.html","canonical":"https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/mavericks/2020/05/26/mark-cuban-has-a-revolutionary-idea-for-the-nba-playoff-format-but-it-may-harm-the-mavs-postseason-chances/","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Callie Caplan, The Dallas Morning News","prologue":"DALLAS - Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is hopeful the NBA will resume the 2019-20 season this summer. And he has a revolutionary idea that would increase stakes for playoff qualification. In a proposal Cuban has suggested to the league office, according to an ESPN report, the NBA would play five to seven regular-season games. Then the top 10 teams apiece in the Eastern and Western Conference ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","basketball","nba","pro-basketball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":1,"commentID":"58be1971-20ab-5707-8c7d-b919bc4adc5d","body":"

DALLAS - Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is hopeful the NBA will resume the 2019-20 season this summer.

And he has a revolutionary idea that would increase stakes for playoff qualification.

In a proposal Cuban has suggested to the league office, according to an ESPN report, the NBA would play five to seven regular-season games. Then the top 10 teams apiece in the Eastern and Western Conference would qualify to the postseason, re-seeded based on record.

There would then be two play-in matchups: the No. 17 vs. No. 20 seeds and the No. 18 vs. No. 19 seeds. The winners of those clashes - via either single games or a best-of-three series - would advance to play the 15th and 16th seeds, respectively, for the final playoff spots in each bracket.

The playoffs would then continue as its traditional best-of-seven-game series format - but seeded No. 1 through No. 16, rather than using separate Eastern and Western Conference brackets.

It's unclear whether the NBA plans for all teams, regardless of standing, would participate if and when the NBA resumes.

But Cuban's plan would include all 30 teams in an effort to appease the financial burden of local television contracts, to increase competitiveness and to allow playoff teams time to re-acclimate to live play.

\"It's fair,\" Cuban told ESPN. \"It's entertaining.\"

The Mavericks (40-27) entered the hiatus at seventh place in the Western Conference, meaning Dallas would fall into previously discussed play-in postseason formats involving teams at No. 7 through No. 10 in the conference standings.

However, the Mavericks likely wouldn't be involved in Cuban's proposed qualification process.

Just 12 NBA teams have fewer losses than Dallas (27), and only Brooklyn (34 losses) and Memphis (33) are within seven of the Mavericks - the highest amount of regular-season games Cuban proposed to ESPN.

Should the NBA resume the season with an increased number of regular season games before Cuban's proposed postseason format, Dallas would have a chance to finish lower than No. 14 - the final automatic berth.

The NBA confirmed Saturday through a league spokesman that it's in discussions with the Walt Disney Compact to use the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando as a central location for the remainder of the season.

The location \"makes sense because Disney is our biggest partner,\" Cuban said recently on The Hardline on 96.7 FC/1310 The Ticket.

Should the regular season resume how Cuban envisions - with a weeks-long training camp and at least five regular-season games for players to adjust - Cuban doesn't expect the Mavericks to have issues.

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have been outside the U.S. during the hiatus, Cuban said, and several other players are in the U.S. but not in Dallas. But Cuban expects the team will help its players return to Dallas as safely as possible within whatever quarantine and distancing restrictions the league institutes.

Aside from a potential new playoff qualification structure, that leaves general safety of players and personnel as Cuban's biggest concern in the process of the NBA's resumption.

\"Being more hopeful, being more confident - we will not do anything unless we feel like we can protect all the (players) and essential personnel,\" Cuban said on The Ticket. \"Period. End of story.

\"In the event that someone does get sick, I don't know. ... That will be up to (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver) and the doctors and all the scientists we've hired, and the epidemiologists to come up with a plan on how we deal with that.\"

Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com

"}, {"id":"96a26d05-ac3f-5953-9fee-d0d907f9dfe0","type":"article","starttime":"1590582600","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-27T07:30:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1590582778","priority":0,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/baseball"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"How can pitchers avoid 'spike' in Tommy John surgeries when baseball returns?","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_96a26d05-ac3f-5953-9fee-d0d907f9dfe0.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_96a26d05-ac3f-5953-9fee-d0d907f9dfe0.html","canonical":"https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/pirates/2020/05/26/Pirates-return-Ahmad-Velasquez-Wolforth-Tommy-John-elbow-avoid-injury-MLB/stories/202005260064","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Jason Mackey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette","prologue":"Ron Wolforth has written five books on pitching, while his Texas Baseball Ranch has gained notoriety for blending technology with a non-traditional approach to increase pitchers' velocity and performance. Since 2003, 64 Wolforth clients have been drafted. Dr. Chris Ahmad is an orthopedic surgeon at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He teaches at Columbia University, ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","mlb","baseball","pro-baseball","professional baseball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"96a26d05-ac3f-5953-9fee-d0d907f9dfe0","body":"

Ron Wolforth has written five books on pitching, while his Texas Baseball Ranch has gained notoriety for blending technology with a non-traditional approach to increase pitchers' velocity and performance. Since 2003, 64 Wolforth clients have been drafted.

Dr. Chris Ahmad is an orthopedic surgeon at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He teaches at Columbia University, serves as the head team physician for the Yankees and has been performing Tommy John surgery for more than 20 years.

Together, they share the same concern.

With baseball expected to ramp back up soon, and for over-exuberant, no-longer-quarantined pitchers to try and achieve top speed as quickly as possible, there will likely be an increased risk of arm injuries, specifically ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) issues that ultimately result in Tommy John surgery.

\"The coronavirus pandemic may very well indirectly cause a spike in Tommy John surgery because of intense enthusiasm, lack of ideal conditioning, poor mechanics, faster-than-usual ramp up and avoidance of symptom communication,\" Ahmad wrote on Medium earlier this month. \"Everyone who is involved in baseball and is willing to recognize this threat can improve these modifiable risks and help their players avoid Tommy John surgery.\"

How major league pitchers, who are routinely among the most well-compensated players on the field, can avoid serious arm injuries could literally be a million-dollar question, one Wolforth and others have spent a lifetime preparing to answer.

The process of ramping back up safely is one that includes several layers, starting with how pitchers are training now, extending through what will become spring training 2.0 and ultimately the 2020 season.

In some cases, it might not be a huge thing. Like if a pitcher had access to a workout facility with a catcher and was able to occasionally throw to live hitters, great. But others haven't been so lucky.

How that plays out should be fascinating, said Dr. Rand McClain, who runs his own sports medicine practice (Regenerative & Sports Medicine) in Santa Monica, Calif.

\"It may end up teaching us something good or bad,\" McClain said. \"We've been channeled into this idea that the only place to work out is on the field or in the gym, in groups.

\"Not to sound like an old geezer, but in my generation, they were just building gyms. You learned your sport and got your fitness outside the gym. The options are there. It's more about the execution.\"

Allegheny Health Network director of sports performance Frank Velasquez would likely agree. Velasquez was the Pirates' strength and conditioning coach from 2003-12 and knows plenty about baseball-specific training.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Velasquez has been working out of AHN's two sports performance centers, in Wexford and Bethel Park, helping to train some major leaguers from Pittsburgh on other teams.

But regardless of whether the player is a pro or a high schooler, a good starting point for Velasquez involves routine.

\"Something Monday through Friday that keeps you regimented,\" Velasquez said. \"You're getting up. You're going to do this or that. You're going to have lunch. You might take a nap. You have family time. We don't want 'em just floating away like a ship at sea.\"

On the pro side, the implementation of a routine is less about doing something - these guys know they need to work - and more about what it is that you do, how pitchers' arms respond to those specific demands.

At the Texas Baseball Ranch, Wolforth focuses a lot on soft tissue, trying to keep it \"robust and resilient,\" which he said can be achieved in a variety of ways.

Wolforth often has his pitchers throw weighted balls or use wrist weights. There's even a contraption that looks like a cross between a bowling pin and a grenade called the Connector Throwing Club that he has pitchers chuck into a net or screen.

\"Preparing your soft tissue for competition is really a physiological thing,\" Wolforth said. \"Soft tissue needs to have a time for adaptation to prepare for these stresses.\"

If there's limited space, no worry. One way to ramp back up is to throw harder and harder into a screen or net or even into a sock that's tied around the wrist. (Fancier versions can be purchased online.)

\"Although it's not perfect, the soft tissue of the shoulder and elbow doesn't know if it's throwing at 15 feet or 300 feet,\" Wolforth said.

Crafting a weekly routine, the same as in-season outings, should be done carefully, Wolforth said. Two days should be heavy, where pitchers \"push the envelope.\" Three should include medium work, and two should be light, where you basically warm up, do something quickly, and you're done.

\"That allows the soft tissue to actually adapt to the stress you put on it,\" Wolforth said.

Ahmad stressed honesty in his Medium post, which was geared toward all levels. Anyone experiencing arm pain should say something. Parents should watch for over-icing, habitual massaging of the elbow or NSAID abuse - signs of potential soreness.

Often, Ahmad added, pain in other parts of the body could also indicate overuse and a future UCL issue.

\"Going fast with a return to baseball is like tailgating the car in front of you at high speed,\" Ahmad wrote. \"You simply don't have time to respond when driving 76 mph with two feet separating you and the car ahead. A high-speed crash can ruin your career. This is especially true in bad conditions such as night time, rain, winding slippery roads, etc. If we slow down, we dramatically improve safety. When conditions allow, we speed up and avoid injury.\"

Velasquez has been emphasizing not just physical fitness - or proper sleep, nutrition and hydration - but sport-specific movements. For example, instead of having his players run for time or distance, he'll have them complete base running circuits.

\"I don't want the first time for those guys to run the bases to be at spring training,\" Velasquez. \"That just increases the risk of an injury.\"

Velasquez has also become a part-time psychologist, talking down some of his pitchers when their bullpens aren't as sharp as they'd like them to be.

\"I don't expect 'em to dot a gnat's a-- right now, and they shouldn't either,\" Velasquez said. \"They'll get a few weeks with their own coaches and a more intense regimen, where they can hone in.

\"But with there still being a question mark on when they're going back, I tell them, 'Don't use all your bullets now. I don't want you to report to camp with shoulder tightness.' \"

Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com

"}, {"id":"7dda9d3b-16bc-566e-97b3-072f75c16cc3","type":"article","starttime":"1590582600","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-27T07:30:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1590582778","priority":0,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/baseball"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"'Like a paid therapist': Baseball agents' role broadens during time of uncertainty","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_7dda9d3b-16bc-566e-97b3-072f75c16cc3.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_7dda9d3b-16bc-566e-97b3-072f75c16cc3.html","canonical":"https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-05-26/mlb-agents-roles-broaden-during-coronavirus-pandemic-scott-boras-ryan-hamill","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times","prologue":"LOS ANGELES - Sixty-seven pages of safety protocols sat on a desk in Andy Mota's South Florida home a week ago. The document, crafted by Major League Baseball to explain in extreme detail how the league can avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus during a potential abbreviated season, required careful reading. Yet Mota couldn't help letting his mind wander, thinking about players in ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","mlb","baseball","pro-baseball","professional baseball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"29751cf8-dfd8-5faf-818e-255ddb9e8eca","description":"A baseball with MLB logo is seen at Citizens Bank Park before a game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies on June 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pa. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images/TNS)","byline":"Mitchell Leff/Getty Images North America/TNS","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2001,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/97/29751cf8-dfd8-5faf-818e-255ddb9e8eca/5ece5a32649ad.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1763","height":"1176","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/97/29751cf8-dfd8-5faf-818e-255ddb9e8eca/5ece5a3263057.image.jpg?resize=1763%2C1176"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/97/29751cf8-dfd8-5faf-818e-255ddb9e8eca/5ece5a3263057.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/97/29751cf8-dfd8-5faf-818e-255ddb9e8eca/5ece5a3263057.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/97/29751cf8-dfd8-5faf-818e-255ddb9e8eca/5ece5a3263057.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"7dda9d3b-16bc-566e-97b3-072f75c16cc3","body":"

LOS ANGELES - Sixty-seven pages of safety protocols sat on a desk in Andy Mota's South Florida home a week ago. The document, crafted by Major League Baseball to explain in extreme detail how the league can avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus during a potential abbreviated season, required careful reading.

Yet Mota couldn't help letting his mind wander, thinking about players in distress. In addition to his major league clientele, he manages 25 minor leaguers, a group coming to grips with the likelihood its 2020 season will not be staged.

One of his clients, a 20-year-old who signed as an international free agent for more than $600,000 about three years ago, recently concluded he would need to sell the home he purchased for his mother in the Dominican Republic. The weekly $400 check MLB has sent to minor league players since April 8 will cease May 31. He has not been paid regular wages since last season ended in early September. If he doesn't play this summer, he will not receive a salary again until next April.

The player, who Mota declined to identify out of respect for the delicate nature of the situation, told his agent, \"I don't even know how I'm going to eat.\"

\"It's heartbreaking to have to tell the minor league players they might not play in 2020,\" said Mota, a senior vice president of baseball at Wasserman Media Group and the son of former Dodgers player and coach Manny Mota. \"Imagine a Dominican kid. This is his job, to play for five months and make $1,500 a month (in season). That's his income for the year.\"

Three months ago, Mota and other agents were prepping their major league clients for arbitration hearings. They were traveling from Florida to Arizona, bouncing around spring training sites, to spend time with minor and major leaguers about to embark on a new season.

Now?

\"I'm kind of like a paid therapist,\" said Ryan Hamill, a player representative for Creative Artists Agency.

Hamill has spent his 15 years as an agent talking players off all sorts of emotional ledges. So have his counterparts at other firms.

The coronavirus pandemic complicated that duty. It spawned a set of concerns that encompasses more than a player's career arc.

The most contentious issues - deciding where to play, receiving fair compensation and ensuring the league can prevent a coronavirus outbreak if a partial season is negotiated - have been deliberated in public. Fear of becoming infected with the virus has tinged the conversations.

\"They want to play the game,\" said Danny Horwits, a baseball agent for 32 years. \"They love the game. It's their livelihood, the way they earn their money. So they obviously want to go out and play. But at the same time, they want to make sure they're healthy, their families are healthy. And they want to make sure they're able to see their families and their children and their wives.\"

Keeping clients informed is key. Squelching social media misinformation is often necessary. In early May, a rumor spread across Twitter alleging the minor league season had officially been canceled. Horwits, who is president of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, had informed his clients a day earlier that no one had yet called off the season. The assurances didn't stem the tide of questions.

\"There were families and players reaching out to make sure, is there something different than what we heard yesterday?\" Horwits said.

MLB had already moved to eliminate 42 minor league teams in 2021, which would cut some 1,000 players. Those vying for the remaining roster spots - and the accompanying salaries that are expected to range, at minimum, from $400 per week in rookie and short-season leagues to $700 per week in triple A - are not only worried about missing their paychecks this summer. They're worried about never playing professional baseball again.

\"These dreams are being crushed because of things they have no control over,\" Hamill said. \"That's really the most difficult thing to have to explain to somebody, that he didn't do anything wrong. There's nothing (he) did and there's nothing (he) could have done.\"

It's no less difficult for players trying to break into the sport. In response to the pandemic, MLB's annual draft of amateur players was shortened to five rounds from its usual 40 and a $20,000 limit was placed on the bonuses teams can offer undrafted free agents. The decision has jeopardized hundreds of career paths. Agents had to adjust in kind - from advising draft prospects on how to stay in shape for a potential minor league debut to helping them decide if staying in school would increase the likelihood of a large payout in the future.

\"That's the stuff we're dealing with,\" Mota said. \"Keeping our guys informed, No. 1, and trying to encourage them to stay positive.\"

Agents have essentially taken on the role of administrative assistants, parsing out to their clients information gathered from various experts, including health officials. Scott Boras has set up video conferences between Mayo Clinic employees and his clients.

Boras, perhaps the most prominent baseball agent, has also publicly advocated for players. His Twitter feed boasts a long list of his radio appearances. He tells team owners what he thinks they should do in each public address.

He proposed extending the playoffs into December. In April, he suggested calling players to spring training sites in waves before states began to reopen. Boras said everyone would practice \"functional isolation\" and the control groups into which they were sorted would protect players from interacting with anyone who had been infected with coronavirus. In a May 5 op-ed for the New York Times, he wrote that baseball needs to return to help the country heal.

Even without wading into the public forum, however, baseball agents have had no issue staying active.

It just may not be obvious. Hamill's young daughter, thrown off by her dad's persistent presence this spring, wondered if he no longer had baseball friends to keep him away from their Hermosa Beach home.

\"Baseball friends\" have kept Hamill quite busy. One of his clients, Anaheim native Michael Lorenzen of the Cincinnati Reds, started a home workout video series called \"Zen Den\" on Instagram. Another client, Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox, spent weeks participating in MLB's virtual video game tournament before losing in the finals.

Serious matters have taken up much more of Hamill's time. He spent some 12 hours fielding calls last Monday, when members of the MLB Players Assn. held a 3 1/2-hour video conference call to go over the league's 67-page health and safety proposal.

\"When those guys are on the field, they're not calling me,\" Hamill said. \"They might text me when they come out of the game after either a bad or good outing, from the clubhouse, but they're not calling me all day long saying, 'Hey, what's going on with the new proposal by the MLB? What's going on with the MLBPA?' \"

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

"}, {"id":"28254f16-f55b-5ad0-b892-7ebe446c4760","type":"article","starttime":"1590581700","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-27T07:15:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"hockey":"sports/hockey"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"NHL unveils return to play plan, with several details to be determined","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/hockey/article_28254f16-f55b-5ad0-b892-7ebe446c4760.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/hockey/article_28254f16-f55b-5ad0-b892-7ebe446c4760.html","canonical":"https://www.latimes.com/sports/hockey/story/2020-05-26/nhl-return-to-play-plan-2020-stanley-cup-playoffs","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times","prologue":"LOS ANGELES - The NHL unveiled its plan to complete the 2019-20 season, confirming a 24-team restart format that wouldn't include the Kings or Ducks, effectively ending their seasons. The Return to Play Plan, which received approval from the league and NHL Players' Association before being announced by Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, calls for the season to restart no sooner than July ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","nhl","hockey","pro-hockey"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"2bbcb7e5-cf52-533e-8fc4-aad7fb5a83f9","description":"NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media prior to the All-Star Skills Competition at Enterprise Center in St Louis on Jan. 24, 2020. Bettman said the league is considering several places as sites to finish the season. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/TNS)","byline":"Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America/TNS","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2001,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/bb/2bbcb7e5-cf52-533e-8fc4-aad7fb5a83f9/5ece5dfa68694.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1763","height":"1176","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/bb/2bbcb7e5-cf52-533e-8fc4-aad7fb5a83f9/5ece5dfa6611e.image.jpg?resize=1763%2C1176"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/bb/2bbcb7e5-cf52-533e-8fc4-aad7fb5a83f9/5ece5dfa6611e.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/bb/2bbcb7e5-cf52-533e-8fc4-aad7fb5a83f9/5ece5dfa6611e.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/bb/2bbcb7e5-cf52-533e-8fc4-aad7fb5a83f9/5ece5dfa6611e.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}}],"revision":1,"commentID":"28254f16-f55b-5ad0-b892-7ebe446c4760","body":"

LOS ANGELES - The NHL unveiled its plan to complete the 2019-20 season, confirming a 24-team restart format that wouldn't include the Kings or Ducks, effectively ending their seasons.

The Return to Play Plan, which received approval from the league and NHL Players' Association before being announced by Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, calls for the season to restart no sooner than July and move directly into a qualification stage for the postseason, with games set to be held at two yet-to-determined \"hub\" locations in NHL markets.

Bettman called the plan \"fair to all of the teams, and our best option under the circumstances,\" and added that games won't restart until \"the go-ahead from medical experts and the relevant government authorities is given.\"

The top four teams in each conference, as decided by winning percentages when the season was suspended March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will receive a bye into the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the meantime, they will play a series of round-robin games that will decide their playoff seeding. Teams seeded Nos. 5 to 12 will participate in best-of-five qualifications series to play their way into the 16-team field.

From there, several specifics of the playoff format have yet to be decided. The first and second rounds could be either best-of-five or best-of-seven series, and Bettman said the league has yet to decide whether to use a set bracket or adjust for seeding after every round. The conference finals and Stanley Cup Final will be best-of-seven series and played at one of the hub sites.

Regarding hub locations, Bettman said Los Angeles is one of 10 potential sites being considered. One hub city will host the Western Conference teams while the other hosts the Eastern Conference, though both hubs could be in markets from the same conference, according to Bettman, who added that each club will be limited to bringing no more than 50 club personnel to each hub location.

\"We will not set dates, choose sites or begin to play until we know it is appropriate and prudent and approved to do so,\" Bettman said.

The roughly 15% of regular-season games that were remaining when the league suspended the season, including 12 games for the Kings and 11 for the Ducks, will be scrapped.

The bottom seven teams in the standings - which also include the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres - will instead turn their attention to a modified NHL draft lottery, which will be held in two phases beginning June 26 and keeps the odds of the Kings (9.5%) and Ducks (8.5%) getting the No. 1 overall pick the same.

\"This is a bit complicated,\" Bettman said of the new lottery system, which will require a second phase only if one of the top three picks in the draft goes to one of the eight \"placeholder\" spots being reserved for the eight losers of the best-of-five qualification round. \"The format was adopted in order to maintain distribution of lottery-winning odds that were in place entering the 2019-20 season.\"

Many other questions remain before play can resume, including the health and safety procedures. So far, the NHL has only released its rules for \"Phase 2\" of its return protocol, which outlines precautionary steps required to allow players to begin training again in small groups.

Specific plans for staging a three-week training camp period (\"Phase 3\"), as well as the games themselves (\"Phase 4\"), have yet to be announced, though neither is expected to begin before July. Those phases won't begin until the league has secured plans for a \"comprehensive system of testing,\" Bettman said.

Also unclear is how far the start of the 2020-21 season, which is still expected to include a full 82-game schedule for each team, will be pushed back. Normally, the NHL regular season begins in early October, but there has been speculation the 2020-21 schedule might not begin until November or December.

Various players and executives from both the Kings and Ducks expressed interest over the last several weeks to finish their current seasons. However, when the NHLPA held a team-by-team vote to approve the general concept of the NHL's 24-team proposal last week, neither club's players reportedly voted down the measure.

The only teams whose players rejected the format were the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning - teams that will participate in the modified playoff structure. Those no votes were indicative of a drawn-out debate within the league over a 24-team format that failed to appease all concerns but garnered the most consensus among plans to complete the season.

\"I am certain that depending on which team you root for, you can find some element of this package that you might prefer to be done differently,\" Bettman said. \"But we believe we have constructed an overall plan that includes all teams that, as a practical matter, might have had a chance to qualify for the playoffs when the season was paused. This plan will produce a worthy Stanley Cup champion that would have run the postseason gauntlet that is unique to the NHL.\"

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

"}, {"id":"9a05d6d8-de0d-5b92-9f9c-133b6f5f9821","type":"article","starttime":"1590511500","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-26T11:45:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/baseball"},{"professional":"sports/baseball/professional"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"As MLB tries to save 2020, minor-league teams across the country might be out at home","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_9a05d6d8-de0d-5b92-9f9c-133b6f5f9821.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_9a05d6d8-de0d-5b92-9f9c-133b6f5f9821.html","canonical":"https://www.star-telegram.com/sports/mlb/texas-rangers/article242939966.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram","prologue":"As the 30 MLB team owners and the players union bicker over how to divvy up the revenue in a potential 2020 season, at least they are projecting to have some cash hitting the books. Ticket revenue and concessions accounted for 30-40% of the $10.7 billion MLB made last season, and teams won't have that this season. But revenue of local TV contracts, even if prorated, and the windfall from the ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","baseball","mlb","pro-baseball","professional baseball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"337e7429-33cd-5b76-9d16-b40cca069d57","description":"Dugout of a minor league baseball game August 21, 2017 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images/TNS)","byline":"Sean Rayford/Getty Images North America/TNS","hireswidth":6612,"hiresheight":4413,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/37/337e7429-33cd-5b76-9d16-b40cca069d57/5ecd2f6f3fc0e.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1762","height":"1176","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/37/337e7429-33cd-5b76-9d16-b40cca069d57/5ecd2f6f3cacb.image.jpg?resize=1762%2C1176"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/37/337e7429-33cd-5b76-9d16-b40cca069d57/5ecd2f6f3cacb.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/37/337e7429-33cd-5b76-9d16-b40cca069d57/5ecd2f6f3cacb.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"683","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/37/337e7429-33cd-5b76-9d16-b40cca069d57/5ecd2f6f3cacb.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C683"}}}],"revision":1,"commentID":"9a05d6d8-de0d-5b92-9f9c-133b6f5f9821","body":"

As the 30 MLB team owners and the players union bicker over how to divvy up the revenue in a potential 2020 season, at least they are projecting to have some cash hitting the books.

Ticket revenue and concessions accounted for 30-40% of the $10.7 billion MLB made last season, and teams won't have that this season. But revenue of local TV contracts, even if prorated, and the windfall from the national TV deal, especially the postseason piece, remain as revenue streams.

The owners of minor-league teams, however, have almost no revenue streams beyond the turnstiles and concession and souvenir stands. More than 160 revenue-generating affiliated clubs in North America have invested in the 2020 season over the winter, and are now wondering if they will get any return.

If fans can't attend their ballparks because of the threat of COVID-19, the clubs would rather not have a season. Ballparks sat empty across the country this Memorial Day weekend, often a solid money-making date for minor-league teams.

One of them is the Texas Rangers' Double A affiliate, the Frisco RoughRiders, one of the most valuable franchises in minor-league baseball. But there isn't one minor-league franchise, no matter how successful in past seasons, than isn't hurting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

\"It's indescribably challenging,\" Frisco general partner/CEO Chuck Greenberg said. \"We go through the entire offseason incurring expenses, paying our staff and making various investments in anticipation of the upcoming season. Under any circumstances it would be difficult, but the timing (to suspend the season so close to the start of season) made it far more acutely so.\"

Minor-league teams don't control who plays for them or who their coaches are, and they don't pay their salaries or for their equipment. But MLB organizations don't pay to operate the games, unless they own their affiliates.

The Rangers own High A Down East and Low A Hickory, but Triple A Nashville and Short-Season A Spokane are independently owned along with Frisco.

Also hanging over some minor-league franchises is MLB's plan to reportedly contract 42 affiliates. The short-season teams will take the brunt of that, and Greenberg owns the short-season State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League.

The goal of contracting to four affiliates for each team, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said, is to ensure quality facilities for players, reduce travel and help minimize costs. MLB and Minor League Baseball have floated the idea of giving contracted franchises a chance to operate teams in leagues for undrafted players or minor-league free agents.

\"There have been no agreements on contraction or any other issues,\" MiLB said in a statement last month. \"MiLB looks forward to continuing the good faith negotiations with MLB tomorrow as we work toward an agreement that best ensures the future of professional baseball throughout the United States and Canada.\"

While there was buzz around the topic last month, generated by a Baseball America report, Greenberg is in the dark on this aspect as well. Baseball America said Wednesday that MLB will likely give MiLB a list of the 120 franchise it wants to remain as affiliates.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus might take care of some of the issue on its own. \"It's hard to know how things will go given the virus,\" Greenberg said.

The RoughRiders have led all of Double A baseball in attendance the past 15 seasons. They drew 455,765 fans in 2019, and their top-10 all-time single-game crowds have come since the Greenberg Sports Group's first full season as owners in 2015.

Greenberg, who also has the High A Myrtle Beach Pelicans in his portfolio, said that all 38 full-time Frisco employees are still receiving paychecks. Even though the expectation is the minor-league season will be canceled, Frisco is still preparing for a season.

Greenberg said Frisco received government assistance that was good for two months' worth of payroll. While grateful to have it, the funds were only a Band-Aid over a much larger financial scar because Frisco is a seasonal business.

Frisco has also started booking events at Dr Pepper Ballpark, which is owned by the city, to at least generate some revenue.

The RoughRiders are hosting a 5K run, The Home Run, which participants will run at home. (Proceeds will help support the North Texas Food Bank.) And Frisco merchandise can be had at discount prices.

\"I'm proud of the fact that far we haven't laid anybody off, we haven't cut anybody's wages, and we're doing the best we can to be productive as a unit,\" Greenberg said. \"But it becomes increasingly challenging and there's increasingly little that can be accomplished.

\"So, right now we're in wait-and-see mode about whether we're going to play, and we're looking at every means possible of utilizing the ballpark for other events to create some active revenue streams but also as a community asset.\"

More bad news is that seasonal and game-day employees, as many as 400 of them, are missing out on paychecks, and that has a negative trickle-down effect on businesses in the community that are already hurting.

\"We feel for them and their families and wish there was more we could do to help,\" said Greenberg, the Rangers' general partner from 2010-2012. \"But we're just completely stymied.\"

The best-case scenario at this point is for some kind of season, with fans socially distanced. With capacity for more than 10,000 people, Dr Pepper Ballpark is larger than the average minor-league facility and has restrooms and concessions spread throughout the ballpark.

If there isn't a season, Greenberg said the best-case scenario is the development of a coronavirus vaccine before next season is scheduled to begin. Families will want a fun and affordable activity, and that's what minor-league baseball is all about.

Right now, though, times are tough.

\"We just have to wait and be prepared for anything,\" Greenberg said. \"And hope for the best.\"

Visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at www.star-telegram.com

"}, {"id":"7d2b3a53-03b7-5092-b2dd-e3133a86524f","type":"article","starttime":"1590497100","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-26T07:45:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"hockey":"sports/hockey"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"NHL issues 'Phase 2' guidelines of return-to-play efforts","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/hockey/article_7d2b3a53-03b7-5092-b2dd-e3133a86524f.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/hockey/article_7d2b3a53-03b7-5092-b2dd-e3133a86524f.html","canonical":"https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/penguins/2020/05/25/nhl-phase-2-guidelines-return-to-play-pittsburgh-penguins/stories/202005250064","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Matt Vensel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette","prologue":"Expecting to permit its players to return to team facilities in the coming weeks, the NHL on Monday issued a 21-page memo to its teams and players laying out guidelines that will be in place for Phase 2 of the return-to-play protocol. In Phase 2, which the memo said will be \"strictly voluntary,\" players will be allowed to skate in small groups. The vast majority of players have not been on the ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","hockey","nhl","pro-hockey"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":1,"commentID":"7d2b3a53-03b7-5092-b2dd-e3133a86524f","body":"

Expecting to permit its players to return to team facilities in the coming weeks, the NHL on Monday issued a 21-page memo to its teams and players laying out guidelines that will be in place for Phase 2 of the return-to-play protocol.

In Phase 2, which the memo said will be \"strictly voluntary,\" players will be allowed to skate in small groups. The vast majority of players have not been on the ice since the season was suspended March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines would allow for a maximum of six players at a time to train at the team facility. On-ice workouts would be for players only, so no coaches or team personnel will be allowed on the ice, though they can observe in person.

The memo said goalies will be allowed to hire an independent goalie coach to work with on a one-on-one basis. That coach cannot be a team employee.

Players must wear face coverings, except when skating or exercising off ice.

If tests are available in their city, players and club personnel will be required to be tested for the coronavirus 48 before returning to the team facility. If not, they must prove they self-quarantined in that city for at least two weeks.

After that, if possible, they would then be tested twice a week going forward.

\"As an overriding principle, testing of asymptomatic players and club personnel must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests,\" stressed the NHL, with testing limited in some areas.

The guidelines also said players and club personnel must \"record symptoms and conduct temperature checks\" daily, before arriving at a team facility.

If you want to spend Memorial Day reading the full memo, here you go.

According to the memo, players who currently live in an NHL market who don't play for that team will be allowed to skate and work out at that facility. That is noteworthy as it relates to the Penguins because, for example, Nick Bjugstad and Jason Zucker both returned to Minnesota after hockey was halted.

The memo didn't give an exact date on when Phase 2 will begin, only that the NHL is targeting early June. The NHL will continue to \"monitor developments in each of the club's markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate.\"

That last part is significant, because on April 29 the NHL and the NHLPA in a joint statement said their hope was to begin Phase 2 in \"the mid-to-later portion of May.\" Obviously, that timeline proved to be at least a little optimistic.

The league also gave no indication in Monday's memo of how long Phase 2 would go on. Phase 3 would be full-team training camps. Phase 4 is the games, and there is a lot that must still be figured out before things progress to that point.

At least we have a good idea of what the playoff bracket would look like. Friday, the NHLPA's executive board voted to move forward with a 24-team playoff that begins with 16 teams playing a five-game play-in round. Through their player rep, 29 of 31 teams, including the Penguins, approved that framework.

Under that format, the Penguins open against the Montreal Canadiens.

Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com

"}, {"id":"8d6edf32-0a34-5cbd-a507-3634bf452e45","type":"article","starttime":"1590496200","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-26T07:30:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/baseball"},{"professional":"sports/baseball/professional"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Evan Grant: If the MLB wants to save the 2020 season, this will be a make-or-break week","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_8d6edf32-0a34-5cbd-a507-3634bf452e45.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/baseball/article_8d6edf32-0a34-5cbd-a507-3634bf452e45.html","canonical":"https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/rangers/2020/05/25/if-the-mlb-wants-to-save-this-season-this-will-be-a-make-or-break-week/","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Evan Grant, The Dallas Morning News","prologue":"All that matters this week is everything. If a baseball season is to be saved, if MLB is, as it has often said, to be part of the healing of America, then this is the week to either put up or continue to recede from the nation's consciousness. After a month worth of posturing - and some world-class leaking - the league and its Players Association must reach an agreement about the protocols and ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","baseball","mlb","pro-baseball","professional baseball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":1,"commentID":"8d6edf32-0a34-5cbd-a507-3634bf452e45","body":"

All that matters this week is everything.

If a baseball season is to be saved, if MLB is, as it has often said, to be part of the healing of America, then this is the week to either put up or continue to recede from the nation's consciousness.

After a month worth of posturing - and some world-class leaking - the league and its Players Association must reach an agreement about the protocols and finances for returning to play. If the sides can't agree by June 1, which just happens to be a week from Monday, putting together even a half season's worth of games before an expected fall second wave of COVID-19 hits becomes logistically more difficult. And if the parties haven't reached an agreement by June 1, then it's all the more likely it will be because, as usual, their negotiations have bogged down in animosity, mistrust and somebody's overriding desire to \"win.\"

There is only one way to win this: To play baseball, providing the coronavirus does not roar back.

In Taiwan, they've done it. In Korea, they've done it. On Monday, Japan announced it set sights on mid-June.

\"I'm optimistic, personally,\" Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said last week. \"It's clear there are two major topics that need to be addressed sufficiently. The first is the health and safety of everyone involved. I believe if that one can be met, and I'm hopeful that it can, then I would anticipate everybody involved would work and figure out the second element, which is the financial one.\"

What MLB has laid out on health protocols is detailed, ambitious and probably unenforceable across the game. As Elvis Andrus pointed out last week, are you going to eject somebody for giving a high five? The answer: Of course not. These should be treated as guidelines and recommendations, but there will be momentary lapses in the name of emotion and reaction. As long as players are armed with information, they are the ones taking the most physical risk and must be given some leeway to police themselves.

Finances are, in theory, trickier. Billionaires are trying to squeeze out some short-term savings while their long-term investments continue to grow in value. Millionaires are being asked to take pay cuts that amount to more than 50% of their negotiated contracts. The league had previously pitched a 50-50 share of revenues, which the players viewed as a salary cap. The new proposal, which is likely to still include some degree of an additional pay cut or deferral of some 2020 salary is due on Tuesday.

The players can't win this element of the conversation. Nor should they try to.

Everything they aim for in these negotiations must be geared towards the long game. Such as: Free agency this coming winter and preparation for the next round of collective bargaining negotiations set for after the 2021 season. Their aim should be: Obtaining more useful information from the owners, particularly a clearer definition of what qualifies as team-oriented revenue streams and building solidarity amongst a base that has no conscious recollection of what players had to fight for in previous contentious negotiations.

Getting a better picture of finances would be critical to long-range negotiations. If the owners present a more transparent picture of those finances, too, it might just build a bit of trust for the next round of negotiations. It would be an essential building block for a real \"partnership,\" a phrase ownership likes to throw around when it's convenient. It's hard to be partners with somebody who isn't providing you an open look at their business.

As for solidarity, it's expected that pre-arbitration players, those with the lowest salaries in the game, would not see a further cut to their salaries. It's important the union ensure that protection. It would also be important to negotiate for as large an active roster - say, 30, rather than 28 - for this season to give the most guys possible service time and major-league money.

The union has been driven by stars. Right now, it needs to act to protect the \"little guys,\" relatively speaking, in this. And by agreeing to play baseball, it's also likely to help save a few jobs around the game for office lifers, who have endured painful pay cuts and furloughs, already. In that way, the players might actually finally be seen as the guardians of the game more than the owners.

Come time for the next negotiations, information, solidarity and public opinion would be three very valuable tools to bring to the negotiating table.

This is the week to get all that. Even if it costs some more money in the short-term.

All that matters is, well, everything.

Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com

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Jerry Sloan, the coach who took the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 on his way to a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame, died Friday. He was 78.

See a gallery of photos of the longtime Jazz coach at the end of this story

The Jazz said he died from complications related to Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia.

Sloan spent 23 seasons coaching the Jazz. The team \u2014 with John Stockton and Karl Malone leading the way in many of those seasons \u2014 finished below .500 in only one of those years. Sloan won 1,221 games in his career, the fourth-highest total in NBA history.

Photos: Notable Deaths in 2020

Utah went to the finals twice under Sloan, both times falling to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Sloan entered the Hall of Fame in 2009.

He spent 34 years in the employ of the Jazz organization, either as head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser. Sloan started as a scout, was promoted as an assistant under Frank Layden in 1984 and became the sixth coach in franchise history on Dec. 9, 1988, after Layden resigned.

\"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization,\" he Jazz said in a statement. \"He will be greatly missed.\"

Photos: Remembering Jerry Sloan

Photos from the career of the former player and coach:

Photos: Remembering Jerry Sloan, 1942-2020
"}, {"id":"c2630138-1d54-57b6-8dd1-556a345d360b","type":"article","starttime":"1590098400","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-21T17:00:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"basketball":"sports/basketball"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Scott Fowler: 'The Last Dance' portrayed Michael Jordan the champion, but he's failed as an NBA owner","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_c2630138-1d54-57b6-8dd1-556a345d360b.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_c2630138-1d54-57b6-8dd1-556a345d360b.html","canonical":"https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/scott-fowler/article242862851.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":3,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Scott Fowler, The Charlotte Observer","prologue":"\"The Last Dance\" was superb entertainment - a 10-hour starburst of nostalgia that showcased the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls in general and iconic basketball player Michael Jordan in particular. 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\"The Last Dance\" was superb entertainment - a 10-hour starburst of nostalgia that showcased the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls in general and iconic basketball player Michael Jordan in particular.

But the series focused its Jordan-centric lens only through June 1998, when Jordan was 35 years old and once again standing at basketball's mountaintop.

Jordan is 57 now. But the ESPN documentary only contained six words in its tiny postscript about MJ's last 22 years: \"Michael Jordan went back into retirement.\"

There's been a lot more to Michael Jordan's large life than that. He un-retired one final time, playing two seasons for the Washington Wizards. He bought the Charlotte Hornets. He got divorced, got married again and had twin girls. He gave a Hall of Fame speech in 2009 that provided a glimpse behind the disrespect curtain that this documentary then pulled back for good.

But the great question left unanswered by \"The Last Dance\" is this: Why has Jordan - still consumed with and motivated by all slights, real and imagined - been so spectacularly unsuccessful as an owner?

The second act of Jordan's basketball life has been the polar opposite of the first. The man who willed his team to hundreds of wins as a player just can't do the same thing as an owner.

As a player, Jordan won 30 NBA playoff series in his 13 years playing for the Bulls. As Charlotte's primary basketball decision-maker, Jordan's teams have won zero playoff series in 14 years. He's had final say over the franchise's basketball operations since becoming a minority partner in June 2006.

Jordan has been Charlotte's majority owner since 2010 after he bought out Bob Johnson. Since Jordan has been heavily involved in the basketball decision-making, the Hornets have lost 58.4% of their games. Yes, an owner has far less direct effect on basketball games on a night-by-night basis then a star player does. But still, the Hornets are 464-651 since Jordan bought in. That's a large sample size, and not a good one.

\"The Last Dance\" was a 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls. ESPN

The business part of things has worked out fine. Jordan's investment in the Hornets has appreciated considerably.

But on the court, Charlotte has floundered - game after game, season after season. In Jordan's 14 seasons, Charlotte has had 11 losing years.

___

Michael Jordan the owner never has employed anyone like Michael Jordan the player, and that's been his biggest problem. But even when he drafted an NBA all-star like Kemba Walker, Jordan and his management team failed to provide enough talent around him to make the Hornets a serious threat for a deep playoff run. The Hornets eventually lost Walker in free agency, with no compensation, to Boston last year.

It is true that Jordan has evolved for the better as an owner. Jordan, general manager Mitch Kupchak and head coach James Borrego all appear in synch now as the team embarks on its latest rebuilding-with-youth project. Kupchak has the sort of juice that previous Charlotte GMs were never granted. Jordan listens better now. He's more patient.

Still, the Hornets were consistently better 20-25 years ago - when they were playing and losing against Jordan's Bulls, but also winning 50 games a year - than they are now.

Does all this losing as an NBA owner eat at Jordan? Of course it does. He won six NBA championship rings as a player with Chicago in the 1990s, as well as the 1982 NCAA championship at UNC. Winning consumes him. As a player, it defined him.

As an owner, Jordan has never seen Charlotte get even to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Charlotte's most statistically notable season came when the then-Bobcats went 7-59 in 2011-12 - which is, by winning percentage, the worst record in NBA history.

As incredibly good as \"The Last Dance\" was in terms of sheer entertainment, it skips over Jordan's Charlotte ownership entirely. It ends with Jordan celebrating while at the height of his powers, the way we all would like a documentary about our own lives to end.

And I get that, because the show was mostly about the 1997-98 season. Watching Jordan get angry about an officiating call in yet another Charlotte loss in 2012 would not be nearly as compelling as the Michael Jordan highlight reel that \"The Last Dance\" often was.

___

\"The Last Dance\" does overdo it on occasion, burnishing the myth of \"The Great and Powerful MJ\" by telling the same story over and over.

The story always goes like this: Jordan feels like someone disrespected him (a high school coach who cut him from the Wilmington Laney varsity; B.J. Armstrong when he played for the Hornets; former Bulls GM Jerry Krause - who absolutely gets trashed in \"The Last Dance.\")

Then Jordan deals with that perceived disrespect by winning. He drags his teammates along for the ride, challenging them when they don't necessarily want another challenge. He yells a lot. In the case of Steve Kerr - and wouldn't it have been something if Jordan had hired his former teammate as Charlotte's head coach at some point - Jordan punches him in the eye.

Undoubtedly, Jordan has felt disrespected as an owner, too, because in his competitive life, Jordan thrives on disrespect. So there's always something. If he doesn't have anything handy, he makes something up. The LaBradford Smith story from \"The Last Dance\" is a prime example.

But Jordan has never has been able to shake off the Hornets' incessant mediocrity like he shook off Bryon Russell on the last shot of \"The Last Dance.\" He has miscalculated - or allowed others to miscalculate under his watch - on numerous personnel decisions (signing Lance Stephenson; hiring Sam Vincent and Mike Dunlap as head coach for one bad year apiece; drafting Adam Morrison with the No. 3 overall pick and picking Malik Monk over Donovan Mitchell; giving Nic Batum $120 million).

And the MJ name - and all the magic that still comes with it - still hasn't been able to lure a superstar to Charlotte. This was always supposed to be the ace in the hole when Jordan assumed primary ownership in 2010, because who would turn down a chance to play for MJ? Lots of people, it turns out. Instead, the superstars and the super-agents have always located their super-teams elsewhere.

___

Surely Jordan has more appreciation now for the great work Krause did as a GM in Chicago. Although few people appeared to like Krause much at all, GMs aren't supposed to win popularity contests. Krause found Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant in the same draft in 1987, used a second-round pick on Toni Kukoc long before locating foreign big men who could shoot became an NBA trend and plucked future head coach Phil Jackson out of the CBA.

As much as Jordan wouldn't want to hear this, what he could have really used his own Jerry Krause in Charlotte. He long ago realized it's more difficult for him to own a team and win than it is to play for one and win.

\"It's harder because I can't impact the game in shorts and tennis shoes,\" Jordan said in 2014 in Charlotte. \"When I did have those on, it was easier to prove people wrong. It's harder to do that now when I've got a suit on.\"

And so here we are, with Jordan still trying to produce a winner in Charlotte. I'd love to see it. It would be a lot more fun to write about than another 36-46 team.

But after a decade of Jordan as the Hornets' majority owner, I'm not holding my breath for ESPN's filmmakers to ever find a worthy sequel in Charlotte. Last dance? Shoot, I'd settle for a first dance.

Jordan was unbelievable in shorts and tennis shoes. But now he's in a suit, it's 14 years later, and we're all still waiting.

Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com

"}, {"id":"fc961712-6de3-5d7d-8826-916292539ab4","type":"article","starttime":"1590066000","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-21T08:00:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"hockey":"sports/hockey"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"If the NBA picks Disney, does the NHL zero in on Las Vegas?","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/hockey/article_fc961712-6de3-5d7d-8826-916292539ab4.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/hockey/article_fc961712-6de3-5d7d-8826-916292539ab4.html","canonical":"https://www.tampabay.com/sports/lightning/2020/05/20/if-the-nba-picks-disney-does-the-nhl-zero-in-on-las-vegas/","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Diana C. Nearhos, Tampa Bay Times","prologue":"TAMPA, Fla. - As the NHL considers its plans to resume the season, \"where\" has been as big of a question as \"how.\" If the NBA is zeroing in on a single hub in Orlando, as multiple reports indicate, it may create an opening for the NHL in Las Vegas. The NBA reportedly has had Las Vegas among its site candidates for resuming its season. The NHL is still considering many options, but it seems to ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","hockey","nhl","pro-hockey"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"a04f2b70-05a5-5198-af33-e262d8843e98","description":"Members of the Knights Guard celebrate on the ice after the Vegas Golden Knights' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on March 3, 2020 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images/TNS)","byline":"Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/TNS","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2047,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/04/a04f2b70-05a5-5198-af33-e262d8843e98/5ec67506b1f70.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1743","height":"1189","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/04/a04f2b70-05a5-5198-af33-e262d8843e98/5ec67506af870.image.jpg?resize=1743%2C1189"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/04/a04f2b70-05a5-5198-af33-e262d8843e98/5ec67506af870.image.jpg?resize=100%2C68"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"205","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/04/a04f2b70-05a5-5198-af33-e262d8843e98/5ec67506af870.image.jpg?resize=300%2C205"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"699","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/04/a04f2b70-05a5-5198-af33-e262d8843e98/5ec67506af870.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C699"}}}],"revision":1,"commentID":"fc961712-6de3-5d7d-8826-916292539ab4","body":"

TAMPA, Fla. - As the NHL considers its plans to resume the season, \"where\" has been as big of a question as \"how.\" If the NBA is zeroing in on a single hub in Orlando, as multiple reports indicate, it may create an opening for the NHL in Las Vegas.

The NBA reportedly has had Las Vegas among its site candidates for resuming its season.

The NHL is still considering many options, but it seems to be leaning toward using a few hub cities. The current talk is to resume with 24 teams playing at two sites (the league's other seven teams would be done for the year). If that's the case, one site in the Eastern Conference and one in the West would make sense.

Tampa was originally on the list of cities to consider, along with nearly half the league. The Lightning submitted a proposal and have not been eliminated. But if the league goes with two cities, Tampa appears less likely to be one of them.

Las Vegas checks off most of the boxes under consideration.

The option to have a single resort, connected to T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights' home, dedicated to the NHL is one thing that makes Las Vegas attractive. Also, more than enough hotels are in the arena's immediate vicinity to put each of 12 teams in one if the league leans that way.

A hub city would need to have space in its arena for multiple teams, which means at least four locker rooms, ideally more. T-Mobile Arena hosts the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament without issue.

The Golden Knights' practice facility has two full-sized sheets of ice, and at least two other buildings are in the area, for a total of six sheets. That should be enough for 12 teams to practice. If teams also hold training camps in the hub cities, six might not be enough, though.

Edmonton, which has many practice rinks and a large arena with six dressing rooms and an attached hotel, is another strong contender in the West. The Alberta government would have to be on board, however.

Options in the East are less obvious, given it has more coronavirus hot spots. Columbus would make a lot of sense: four dressing rooms at the Blue Jackets' Nationwide Arena, plenty of practice rinks, no attached hotels but multiple in the immediate area. Toronto has all the necessary amenities but would need the Ontario government to approve.

The NHL still has multiple scenarios on the table for resuming its season, which was put on hold March 12. Chief content officer Steve Mayer, who organizes the league's big events, told the website The Athletic that he goes to bed with one scenario and wakes up to another. But the idea of 24 teams in two cities does seem to be gaining steam.

Only the Red Wings have been eliminated from playoff contention, but there were about 21 teams in the race when the season was shut down.

Bringing 24 teams back to play is a nice round number and potentially easier to build a season-ending tournament for. There are conflicting ideas about whether \"regular-season\" games would be played on return or if play would start with the playoffs. Maybe the lower seeds would play a round robin to determine seeding and the top two teams in each conference duke it out for No. 1.

Timing is still very much up in the air for a season resumption. The NHL would like it to happen as soon as is safe, but it already is expecting to push back the start of next season, so isn't rushing this.

Its plan is still to start with small groups skating in their home arenas, but that doesn't have a start date. The tentative target is mid June for small groups, then maybe late June for training camps and mid to late July for games to begin.

Visit the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) at www.tampabay.com

"}, {"id":"b2c18012-f375-5472-91be-fa0ee283d668","type":"article","starttime":"1590064200","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-21T07:30:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"basketball":"sports/basketball"},{"professional":"sports/professional"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"How will the NBA resume play? Jared Dudley has some answers","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_b2c18012-f375-5472-91be-fa0ee283d668.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/basketball/article_b2c18012-f375-5472-91be-fa0ee283d668.html","canonical":"https://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/story/2020-05-20/lakers-jared-dudley-discusses-how-the-nba-plans-to-resume-play","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times","prologue":"LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley believes it's in the best interest of players to resume the NBA season. When he hears the opposing viewpoint from his peers, it concerns him. \"There has been people that have voiced it not only to the media but behind the scenes,\" Dudley said. \"They haven't been well educated and gotten the information they needed to be able to make the ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","nba","basketball","pro-basketball"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"a36ee535-c918-524f-92e6-885d53799f12","description":"The Los Angeles Lakers' Jared Dudley scrambles after a loose ball against the Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 15, 2020. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)","byline":"Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS","hireswidth":2000,"hiresheight":1238,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/36/a36ee535-c918-524f-92e6-885d53799f12/5ec6750737cfa.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1830","height":"1133","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/36/a36ee535-c918-524f-92e6-885d53799f12/5ec6750737254.image.jpg?resize=1830%2C1133"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"62","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/36/a36ee535-c918-524f-92e6-885d53799f12/5ec6750737254.image.jpg?resize=100%2C62"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"186","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/36/a36ee535-c918-524f-92e6-885d53799f12/5ec6750737254.image.jpg?resize=300%2C186"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"634","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/leetemplates.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/36/a36ee535-c918-524f-92e6-885d53799f12/5ec6750737254.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C634"}}}],"revision":1,"commentID":"b2c18012-f375-5472-91be-fa0ee283d668","body":"

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley believes it's in the best interest of players to resume the NBA season. When he hears the opposing viewpoint from his peers, it concerns him.

\"There has been people that have voiced it not only to the media but behind the scenes,\" Dudley said. \"They haven't been well educated and gotten the information they needed to be able to make the right, proper statement. That's for one, on the union, and one, on the league. Because the league has been so hush hush.\"

That lack of transparency, Dudley believes, is causing confusion. So on a Wednesday afternoon video call with reporters, Dudley practiced full transparency about what he and other players have been told about the potential for the NBA's return to play after the league was shut down March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During a 25-minute session, Dudley shared that when the league resumes players won't actually be confined to isolation, what he imagines the playoffs will look like and why it's important to consider that every team has its own version of a Dennis Rodman.

- In the first week of June, Dudley is expecting NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to allow teams to expand use of their facility to small groups of players, rather than limit the use to individual workouts. \"I don't think you're going to go from zero to 100. Especially with the politics have gotten so involved with basketball returning, but you can't just go from that to 10-on-10 full court. Just your bodywise, so I think they'll give us seven to 10 days of individual workouts, then that next seven days practice and then you'll get your two- to three-week training camp before we head to Orlando or Vegas.\"

- The \"bubble\" won't really be total isolation. \"You will be allowed to leave. (NBPA executive director) Michele Roberts has said it. Even Adam Silver on a conference call. Now just because you leave, if we're gonna give you that leeway, if you come back with corona you can't play.\" Dudley said there will be constant testing. While he doesn't anticipate a league rule not allowing players to leave the so-called bubble, he thinks teams might implement that rule themselves. \"Bron, AD and all the top guys we have, we'll be wrapping them in a bubble and not letting them go anywhere,\" Dudley said of All-Star forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Dudley also expects players to be allowed to have families join them after a certain period of time. \"Some people with newborns, it might be difficult. I know Giannis (Antetokounmpo) voiced a concern about that. But I think that once you put it into perspective I think everyone wants to finish.\"

- Dudley urges players to think about what could happen if the season doesn't resume and the league is able to call upon the \"force majeure\" clause in the collective bargaining agreement that could void the agreement and possibly player contracts. \"Some fans on Twitter say, 'Hey, Jared just wants to win a championship,' \" Dudley said. \"Well, yes, that's true. But it's also financial. I'm set. It's not for me, it's (other) guys. I know LeBron and Chris Paul, they would lose 10s and 15s millions of dollars. And I know people don't want to hear that ... but someone - maybe Talen (Horton-Tucker, a rookie) - is on a two-way (contract). How do you expect him to be able to pay bills?\"

- Dudley has heard two possible scenarios for rounding out the playoff field. The first involves teams playing 5-7 games so they can reach 70 games this season to help satisfy local television contracts. The second was having play-in games to sort out the eighth seeds in each conference. A third option, of course, is just beginning the playoffs based on the current standings. \"There is going to be someone out,\" Dudley said. \"Technically is it unfair that we went straight to playoffs? Is it unfair to Memphis if we have a play-in game and they're 3 1/2 games up? And so at the end of the day, it's so much bigger than those teams.\"

- What will the playoffs look like? \"They will all be seven-game series,\" Dudley said. \"Adam Silver has already said that. That's the money winner. When it comes to Disney, that's why it will be in Orlando. Disney owns ESPN. That's where they make their money - during the playoffs and Finals. It will all be seven games. That one I'm almost 100% sure of.\"

- For the Lakers, Dudley believes a slow windup to the season will be critical because of the veteran nature of their team. \"I ain't going to lie to you,\" Dudley said. \"(The layoff) hurts older teams. And even LeBron, I remember hearing an interview when people said, 'Oh, it's going to help him because of his body, he gets to rest.' No. At a certain age, it's kind of like once those wheels get going, you want them to keep going.\"

- Dudley said Silver has told players that the league can only restart if they are at a point where another positive COVID-19 test would not require play to be suspended again. That means the league would have to be comfortable finding a way to contain the illness once it's discovered and stop the spread among its players. He said there are plans to test players before every game and also to quarantine players who test positive.

- Won't players police themselves and not put themselves in risky situations to avoid disappointing their teammates? \"When you're dealing with 300 different players - if you've seen the Jordan documentary, every team got a Rodman, he just doesn't have green and blue hair. There's always someone who's outside the box, who does that, takes the risk and says, 'Hey listen, man, I'm healthy and I feel good.' \"

- Dudley has heard that in order to help players stay on the property, Walt Disney World might open restaurants just for players, or have activities available on the grounds that would be secluded. \"Maybe someone has a home on Disney,\" Dudley said. On that front, the Milwaukee Bucks might have an advantage. Brook Lopez has a home on Disney's property.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

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CHICAGO - After the Bulls won their fifth NBA championship in 1997, Michael Jordan sat at the postgame news conference and fielded a question about a potential rebuild.

\"No one is guaranteed rebuilding in two, three or four years. The Cubs have been rebuilding for 42 years,\" he said, referencing their then-drought without a World Series appearance.

A similar quip could be made about the Bulls now: 22 years after Jordan played his final game for the franchise, the team has not returned to the NBA Finals since. The Bulls have been to the Eastern Conference finals only once in that span, getting dispatched by LeBron James and the Heat in five games in 2011.

That \"Last Dance\" season of 1997-98 produced a sixth championship in eight years with Jordan still at the peak of his powers before the dynasty came to a halt the following season, which didn't begin until February 1999 because of a lockout. Jordan retired for the second time, Scottie Pippen was sent to the Rockets in a sign-and-trade deal and coach Phil Jackson went on his first sabbatical.

Only a few holdovers remained from the championship team, and the Bulls headed into a certain losing season for the first time since Jordan's first few seasons in the league.

Toni Kukoc led the team in points (18.8), rebounds (7.0) and assists (5.3) per game. The Bulls, meanwhile, scuffled to just 13 wins (a .260 winning percentage) during a season shortened to 50 games by the lockout, the lowest number of wins in team history.

And that team still holds a dubious place in NBA history - it scored 49 points during an April loss to the Heat, the fewest points by any team in the shot-clock era.

There will be no 10-part documentary on the 1999 Bulls, but here's a look back at the team charged with following \"The Last Dance,\" including where they were during the 1997-98 season, whom they replaced and their contributions to the Bulls in the lockout-shortened season:

___

The holdovers

Toni Kukoc

1997-98: Started 52 games and was the team's third-leading scorer.

1998-99: Led the Bulls in points (18.8), rebounds (7.0) and assists (5.3).

When Jerry Krause first started pursuing Toni Kukoc to come from Europe to the Bulls, he thought about Kukoc as someone who not only could play alongside Jordan and Pippen, but also could lead the team once they moved on. Kukoc was thrust into the leading role in '99 after most of the core moved on. Although he was the team's best player, he wasn't able to carry a team on its own.

Ron Harper

1997-98: Starting point guard averaged 9.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

1998-99: Starting shooting guard averaged 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Ron Harper joined Toni Kukoc as the only returning starters for the Bulls, starting 35 games in '99 and finishing second on the team in scoring with 11.2 points per game. However, at 35 and in his 13th season in the league, his days of being a go-to option had faded.

Dickey Simpkins

1997-98: Played 21 games off the bench.

1998-99: Played all 50 games (35 starts).

Dickey Simpkins saw some action during the beginning of the 1998 playoff run, and he saw a bump in playing time after the roster turnover. A former first-round pick by the Bulls in 1994, Simpkins made just 17 career starts before he became a regular starter in '99. He was relatively productive, averaging 9.1 points and 6.8 rebounds while leading the team with 2.9 win shares, an advanced metric that estimates the number of wins a player contributed to.

Randy Brown

1997-98: Played 71 games at point guard, mostly as a reserve.

1998-99: Became the primary point guard, starting 32 games.

Randy Brown never was a scorer coming off the bench for the Bulls during their second three-peat, but he saw increased playing time in 1999. That led to some career-high numbers - 8.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game - as he became the lead guard for the Bulls offense.

Bill Wennington

1997-98: Played 48 games, mostly as a reserve.

1998-99: Played 38 games, mostly as a reserve.

The Bulls kept Bill Wennington in the same role despite not having Luc Longley or Dennis Rodman in the frontcourt.

Keith Booth

1997-98: Played six games.

1998-99: Role player who played 39 games.

The Bulls drafted Booth in the first round in 1997, but his NBA career spanned just two seasons, getting opposite ends of the experience. He barely saw the floor in his first season but averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in '99.

Rusty LaRue

1997-98: Played 14 games.

1998-99: Played 43 games.

Rusty LaRue was undrafted but earned a spot on the Bulls in limited playing time in 1997-98 and saw his playing time increase the next season. He played about 17 minutes per game and hit 33.7% of his 3-pointers off the bench.

___

The newcomers

Coach Tim Floyd

1997-98: Iowa State head coach.

1998-99: Bulls head coach.

General manager Jerry Krause made it very clear that coach Phil Jackson was not going to return, and many believed Tim Floyd had been handpicked as the successor. Floyd was a fairly successful college coach, but his success did not translate to the NBA. He went 49-190 (.205) in his four seasons with the Bulls.

Brent Barry

1997-98: Averaged 10.9 points and shot 39.3% on 3-pointers for the Clippers and Heat.

1998-99: Signed a six-year, $27 million contract.

Brent Barry was the Bulls' biggest offseason addition and became the team's third-leading scorer with 11.1 points per game. But he suffered an injury early in the season that limited him to 37 games (30 starts) while he shot 30.2% from beyond the arc, the worst mark of his career. He lasted only one season in Chicago and was traded to the SuperSonics.

Mark Bryant

1997-98: Played 70 games at center for the Suns.

1998-99: Played 45 games at power forward.

The Bulls shipped Luc Longley to the Suns for a 1999 first-round pick, Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells and Mark Bryant before the season. Bryant began the year in the starting lineup and averaged 9.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in about 27 minutes. He lasted just one year with the Bulls.

Kornel David

1997-98: Played for the Rockford Lightning in the Continental Basketball Association and Alba Fehervar in Hungary.

1998-99: Signed as a free agent.

Before his left his home country, David was advertised as \"the Michael Jordan of Hungary.\" Once he got on the court, it was clear the comparison was a bit overzealous. David, the first Hungarian to play in the NBA, was in Bulls training camp in 1997 before a stint with Rockford in the CBA and returning to Hungary and helping his national team end a 30-year drought to qualify for the European championship. He appeared in all 50 games for the Bulls in '99, playing 18 minutes per game while averaging 6.2 points.

Corey Benjamin

1997-98: In college at Oregon State.

1998-99: Taken with the No. 28 pick in the draft.

Corey Benjamin appeared in 38 games as a reserve for the Bulls, but he is best known for claiming he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one. The boast prompted Jordan, retired and still dealing with a finger injury via cigar cutter, to show up to practice to accept Benjamin's challenge - and promptly demolish him.

Also on the 1998-99 Bulls roster: Mario Bennett (3 games), Cory Carr (42 games), Charles Jones (29 games) and Andrew Lang (21 games).

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

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American football has a playing field of 57,600 square feet, with 9,600 of those covering the two end zones. NHL hockey is played on a rink with 17,000 square feet. The regulation NBA basketball court covers 4,700 square feet.

The average playing field in major league baseball covers 2.49 acres, or 108,464 square feet. Target Field is a touch smaller at 107,593 square feet. Fenway Park in Boston, opened in 1912, has the smallest playing field at 99,000 square feet.

There are 34,000 square feet in the grass and dirt areas of a baseball infield, and another 77 square feet for the two batter's and the catcher's boxes.

The NFL starts a play with 22 players generally covering one-fourth of the field and about to engage in numerous collisions.

Hockey has 10 skaters in pursuit of an elusive rusk, while two mummified human targets remain vigilant as to the outcome of scrums for that hard, dry biscuit.

The NBA has 10 players battling for a much larger object, many defenders attempting to get close enough to an opponent to feel his breath - although, thankfully, that wasn't a problem with any of our Timberwolves after Robert Covington was traded.

Baseball is played in by far the largest area, with natural spacing, and with contacting an opponent as an irregular occurrence.

These are great advantages for baseball in our virus world, and should make it much easier to resume playing the actual game than for the other major sports.

Yet, either because Commissioner Rob Manfred and his advisers are knotheads, or to mollify politicians and bureaucrats holding sway over a return to action, MLB decided to issue a 67-page document filled with demands on uniformed personnel both at the ballpark and away from it.

This could have been done with one page of eight dos and don'ts, but that would not have been viewed as a properly over-the-top virus response by various state leaders, so we have 67 pages, right down to discouraging postgame showers at the ballpark.

I'd put the credit for this 67-page document as follows:

MLB kissing up to politicians and their personal Faucis in an attempt to get the go-ahead - 60%. Manfred's knotheads being wildly officious - 40%.

How obtuse do you have to be to ban baseball players from giving one another high-fives and handshakes after a three-run bomba, while at the same time the NHL is talking about setting up pod cities for playoff games, the NBA still mentions the possibility of full playoff series, and the NFL intends to be functioning fully by late summer?

As was covered last week, from Twins great Joe Mauer to Morristown (Minn.) Morries great Kyle Green, the catcher in baseball participates in a uniquely confined area.

Catchers have the hitter in front, either left or right, and the plate umpire on their back, creating potential wheezing and other unsanitary events within fewer than six feet.

Thus, MLB might want to pay extra attention to the catcher between innings, with suggestions such as, \"Hey, Mitch, put a little of that hand sanitizer on your forehead,\" or, \"Tortuga, let's take your temperature; you look slightly overheated.\"

Beyond that: play the game.

And if the ballplayers are on the road, and the restaurants are open in that town, and they want to go to dinner after a day game, and the unmarried ones spot a person of interest at the bar and want to buy said individual a drink ... well, this is still America, land of the free, Rob Manfred be danged.

Speaking of free, go ahead and argue with me: State that hockey players can all wear face shields and are wearing thick gloves; that football players have all that gear and also can wear face shields; and that all NBA teams can be encouraged to play defense like the Wolves.

I'm still betting if the virus is properly determined, it can do some damage in a hockey pile in a corner or in front of a goalkeeper, or when Alexander Mattison is trying to punch it in at the goal line, or when Rudy Gobert (who launched the sports shutdown in America) and Nikola Jokic meet in the middle late in a playoff game in Salt Lake City.

Baseball doesn't need 67 pages of haughty edicts. Baseball doesn't need its players leaving the ballpark still covered in sweat and grime. Baseball's space and low-contact action means it only needs a bit of common sense.

If football, hockey and basketball are even thinking about getting back on the field or in the arena in the near future, baseball preparations could resume soon.

Meaning, noon Friday.

Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com

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Major League Baseball's proposal to players for avoiding the spread of the novel coronavirus during a potential abbreviated season was obtained by The Times last weekend. The \"2020 Operations Manual\" is a hefty document but essential in addressing one of the two most crucial issues - money being the other - that the two sides must bridge before teams begin an abbreviated spring training.

Here are the most important takeaways from the manual's 67 pages:

___

Chemistry-building won't look the same

Athletes are creatures of habit. Some like to arrive at stadiums early to take advantage of the high-end equipment available to them. Some like to soak in the atmosphere of the clubhouse, cracking jokes or playing cards with teammates and support staff. However difficult it might be to define team chemistry, players see these moments as vital to the team's success.

And they will pretty much cease to exist in 2020.

Individual locker stalls will be six feet apart, shrinking the number of people crammed into the space at one time. Physical distance will be maintained at all times. Masks will be worn except on the field and when engaging in strenuous activities, such as exercise. Individuals will be instructed to spend as little time indoors as possible.

The plan bans use of saunas, steam rooms, hot and cold tubs, hydrotherapy pools and cryotherapy chambers, all of which players utilize to accelerate muscle recovery. That could put players at greater risk of injury.

___

And that's just the beginning

- Players will be encouraged to take batting practice outside whenever possible, so indoor batting cages will be off-limits more often than not. That probably means no postgame hitting sessions in the stadium tunnels.

- Buffets and food spreads will be eliminated and group dining will be discouraged. Teams will provide individually wrapped food directly to players, in take-out form.

- Most meetings will be conducted virtually. If that's not possible, attendees will be physically distanced in meeting spaces and possibly asked to wear face coverings.

- Showering at the stadium will be discouraged.

- Use of exercise equipment will be staggered to avoid high-density indoor gatherings. MLB recommends teams relocate equipment outside, if possible, so they don't have to worry about increasing ventilation for highly trafficked indoor spaces.

- Every month, each team's highest-ranking baseball operations executive and medical staff member will be required to submit a form confirming their team's cooperation with protocol.

___

Social distancing means reimagining social life

Restrictions will extend beyond the walls of the stadium and encroach on players' personal lives. When on the road, Tier 1 and 2 individuals (see below), who are the only people allowed to travel with the team, must not ...

- Eat or drink anywhere open to the public.

- Invite to their hotel rooms anyone not a member of the traveling party or an immediate family member.

- Use public hotel amenities.

- Leave the hotel for non-baseball activities without permission.

Returning home will provide only a limited reprieve. Tier 1 and 2 individuals will be expected - but not required - to spend as little time as possible in public spaces and around large groups. That means avoiding restaurants, bars, clubs and fitness centers.

___

Tier what?

The people needed to run a season have been sorted by MLB into tiers and will have varying degrees of access to team facilities.

Players and members of the coaching staff, including trainers and bullpen catchers, will belong to Tier 1. So will umpires, though they will not count toward a team's limit of 66 members in Tier 1. Up to 50 players, a manager, eight uniformed coaches, two bullpen catchers, two trainers, two team physicians and one strength and conditioning coach will be designated in this category.

Tier 2 includes front office and public relations staff, additional coaches and medical staff, video and replay personnel, clubhouse attendants, traveling secretaries, translators, the head groundskeeper and security personnel. No more than 35 individuals will be granted Tier 2 access. Attendants and staff in the visiting clubhouse and umpires' room will not count toward the limit.

Up to 150 individuals will form Tier 3. The group will comprise, among others, broadcast personnel, groundskeepers, transportation providers, cleaning staff and security detail not assigned to restricted areas.

Those with Tier 1 clearance can access clubhouses, locker rooms, weight rooms, training rooms, batting cages, bullpens, playing fields and dugouts. Tier 2 individuals will also be allowed to enter areas frequented by on-field personnel, but will be encouraged to limit contact with those in Tier 1 and wear masks around Tier 1 individuals if doing so does not interfere with their job performance. Tier 3 personnel do not require close contact with Tier 1, according to the document, so they mostly will be confined to nonrestricted areas. They can access restricted areas when Tier 1 individuals are not present.

Members of the media will not be permitted to enter restricted areas or have close contact with Tier 1 individuals. MLB has not yet provided information regarding access to players and club personnel for interviews.

___

Celebrations will have to get more creative

The elaborate high-five routine players love to create and fans love to watch repeatedly on their cellphones? They won't exist in 2020.

MLB will ban high-fives, hugs, fist bumps and every physical interaction not strictly necessary. Six feet of distance will separate individuals wherever possible. For instance, players will not stand shoulder to shoulder during the national anthem, the playing of \"God Bless America\" or any pregame ceremonies.

The in-game restrictions will look strange too. Fielders will be asked to take several steps away from the baserunner when the ball is out of play and between pitches. Will holding a runner be possible? Base coaches are expected not to approach a runner, fielder or umpire. Once they reach base, what will hitters do with the shinguards and elbow braces they normally remove?

Pitchers will be encouraged to use their own rosin bags and hitters their own pine tar and batting weights. Individuals will be instructed not to touch another's equipment. Any communal equipment must be disinfected regularly throughout each game. The only people allowed in the dugout are Tier 1 individuals \"who are necessary and active for the day's game.\" Anyone else can sit in the stands, spaced appropriately.

___

Basic human behaviors will have to be modified or unlearned

- Spitting, chewing smokeless tobacco and eating sunflower seeds will not be allowed.

- Players and other on-field personnel will be encouraged to wash or sanitize their hands after each half-inning or after handling equipment.

- They will be asked to avoid touching their face with their hands, including to give signs, wiping away sweat with their hands, licking their fingers, whistling with their fingers and other such actions.

- Baseballs will be thrown out of play after they are touched by multiple people.

- Teams will be discouraged from throwing the ball around the infield.

___

Who gets tested? What if they're positive?

Everyone in the three tiers will be subject to coronavirus and antibody tests before spring training commences, presumably in mid-June. After that, Tier 1 and 2 personnel will have body temperatures taken at home and when entering the stadium every day.

Players, coaches and umpires will be tested several times a week for the coronavirus, mostly using saliva tests, and occasionally for antibodies. The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Lab in Salt Lake City, which MLB uses for drug testing, will be converted into a COVID-19 testing site and provide test results within 24 hours.

Anyone who reports COVID-19 symptoms or has a temperature above 100 degrees will not be allowed into a team facility. He or she will be directed to self-isolate.

Those who test positive will quarantine, but not necessarily for the 14 days health officials recommended at the start of the pandemic. They will receive remote care from team medical staff. They will be released once they receive negative results from two tests analyzed by MLB's Salt Lake City facility at least 24 hours apart.

Teams will conduct a contact-tracing investigation for the individuals believed to have been around the person who tested positive and arrange expedited diagnostic testing for them. Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can continue to work but must be asymptomatic. The individual will undergo more frequent temperature and health monitoring, be asked to wear a mask at all times except while on the field and be tested on a daily basis for at least seven days.

Additionally, anyone identified as high-risk by the team - either a person with underlying conditions or who lives with someone who could suffer severe illness as a result of COVID-19 - will not be allowed to enter any area visited by the person who tested positive without approval from MLB medical advisors.

MLB believes it can avoid a full shutdown in the event of a positive case because it will have been monitoring asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals since club facilities reopened for spring training.

___

Wait, there's more

- Teams might find themselves trucking their equipment city to city. Doing so would help them avoid touch points such as airport security checks.

- MLB wants individuals to avoid using elevators, so teams will be encouraged to book rooms on the lower floors of hotels and use stairs.

- Travelers will get used to returning to messy hotel rooms. Hotel staff will be expected to refrain from cleaning the interior of rooms during a team's stay.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

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CHICAGO - \"Most people struggle to be present. People go sit in ashrams for 20 years in India trying to be present. Do yoga. Meditate. Trying to get here. Now. Most people live in fear because we project the past into the future. Michael's a mystic. He was never anywhere else. ... His gift was not that he could jump high, run fast, shoot a basketball. His gift was that he was completely present. And that was the separator.\"

- Mark Vancil, author of \"Rare Air,\" discussing Michael Jordan's psyche during Episode 10 of the ESPN Films documentary series \"The Last Dance\"

___

If only life worked like film or fairy tale, with the ability to press stop - or at least pause - when the delight and exhilaration reaches its pinnacle. If only we all had the opportunity to close the back cover and roll the credits at the highest of highs.

Then we'd know exactly what it felt like to be Michael Jordan late on a Sunday night in Salt Lake City in June 1998. We'd know the adrenaline and satisfaction pulsing through Jordan's veins as he held his right hand in the air, the iconic pose captured from myriad camera angles.

Each vantage point carries the same artful impact. The moment had been captured forever.

That's where the finale of \"The Last Dance\" led us Sunday, to Jordan's final shot as a Bull, to that 19-foot pull-up jumper near the top of the key, to that frozen image that hangs on the walls of sports bars and home offices and man caves across Chicago.

Poor Bryon Russell, stumbling and then nudged to his left. Poor Jazz fans - the men with hands clasped behind their heads, the women covering their mouths. All that tension becoming Delta Center despair as the pebbled Spalding that Jordan shot splashed through the net with 5.2 seconds left.

So clutch. So storybook. So damn poetic.

All of it frozen in time.

\"If that's the last image of Michael Jordan,\" Bob Costas said on the NBC broadcast, \"how magnificent is it?\"

That final shot had delivered another championship. A sixth championship.

For Jordan, for the Bulls, for their fans, this is arguably the moment of all the impossible-to-count moments.

Every rabid sports city should be lucky enough to sample such invigoration. Every athlete should be so fortunate to experience a triumph even one-thousandth of that magnitude. Every human should be able to find, even for a handful of fleeting moments, that mystical immersion in the now that Jordan seemed blessed with.

In the final minute of his final game with the Bulls, he tapped into his preternatural microfocus. Jordan didn't stress over Scottie Pippen's badly wrenched back. He didn't fear a three-point deficit on the road with 41.9 seconds left. He didn't fret over the 20 shots he had missed that night as the needle on his fuel gauge drifted toward \"E.\"

He just dialed in on each moment, one after another.

The driving layup. The hatchet steal from Karl Malone. The iconic jumper.

The team's final defensive stop.

The bliss of his last championship.

\"I had faith,\" Jordan told coach Phil Jackson on the court minutes after the final buzzer. \"I had faith. ... Every time we were close, I knew we were going to do it.\"

The Bulls were in major danger, but all Jordan could see was a path to victory. He was low on energy but full of self-confidence. He was down to his final few grains of sand in an exhausting 14-year odyssey with the Bulls. Yet he remained completely present.

___

Is it any coincidence that director Jason Hehir accompanied the documentary's final scene - the one about the Bulls' emotional coffee-can bonfire - with Pearl Jam's \"Present Tense\"?

As Jackson had preached and Jordan had absorbed, the Bulls' inevitable ending never had to become a debilitating burden. It was simply part of their collective journey, even if it arrived sooner than almost everyone wanted.

Ultimately, that final night in Utah provided a fitting end to the Bulls' \"Last Dance.\"

The conquest. The uplifting celebration. The ability, in that moment, to fully appreciate the journey and all of its challenges, learning experiences, struggles and grand rewards.

But was this the way it should have ended? Shouldn't Jordan, Jackson and Pippen have been given the chance to chase a seventh title together?

Shouldn't Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause have bent over backward to offer that opportunity? Shouldn't they all have had giant wall art of Jordan's quote from a year earlier, after the Bulls' fifth championship?

\"We're entitled to defend what we have until we lose it.\"

That sentiment should have played on a loop until the kings were unseated.

Alas ...

All these years later, Reinsdorf has tried to explain how the Bulls core was getting older and more expensive, how roster renovations were an immediate must. Reinsdorf says in the documentary that \"it would have been suicidal\" to overpay for Pippen, Steve Kerr, Dennis Rodman and Ron Harper to stick around. The dynasty, Reinsdorf argues, wasn't detonated.

\"It just came to an end on its own,\" he says.

Krause, in an excerpt from his unfinished and unpublished memoir that his family provided to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, stresses the team's physical deterioration, its salary-cap obstacles and the increased pressure that would have put on Jordan to continue being a miracle worker.

Chasing a seventh Larry O'Brien Trophy would have been more demanding than any of the previous six.

Still, Jordan deserved his final word too.

\"I felt we could have won seven,\" he says. \"I really believe that. We may not have. But, man, just to not be able to try, that's something I just can't accept. For whatever reason, I just can't accept it.\"

___

Ten episodes of \"The Last Dance\" offered a compelling reminder - or perhaps an awakening - as to how much of a struggle the Bulls' championship pursuits often were. Especially that \"Last Dance\" in 1997-98. And while that realization has created a profound spike in appreciation for the team's greatness, for Jordan's determination and competitive brilliance, it also subtly teases the idea that a different on-court ending might have been brutally unfulfilling.

Sure, Jordan's elite talent and self-described \"win-at-all-costs\" mentality provided the ultimate flotation device. His reliability under pressure was the Bulls' unmatchable advantage. But isn't it also fair to reason that the undertow of the physical fatigue, of the emotional struggles, of the internal tension within that team would have become too powerful at some point?

Even in a lockout-shortened 1999 season, isn't it conceivable the Bulls would have been weighed down by an untimely injury or a Rodman meltdown or a draining squabble between Jackson and Krause? Or Pippen and Krause?

Isn't it easy to imagine a couple of last-minute Jordan shots missing their mark? Isn't it fathomable that the '99 Bulls, even with Jordan, could have been taken under by the Magic or Knicks or Pacers or Spurs? And doesn't the mere idea of that threaten the sweetness of the way it actually ended on the court for Jordan and the Bulls?

As captivating as that seventh-title debate can be, perhaps it's better to concentrate on what \"The Last Dance\" brought back to center stage over the past month. The interest in this epic saga was rarely about the events that weren't but about all the moments that were, about the impressive and adversity-filled rise of a 6-foot-6 guard from North Carolina and the NBA franchise he dared to carry to incomparable heights.

Through that lens, as narrow and glorifying as it may be, perhaps it's best to land back in that climactic moment in Utah and pause for reflection and appreciation. That valiant final-minute mettle. That iconic jumper. That priceless behind-the-scenes footage of the subsequent hours.

The champagne showers in the locker room and Jordan's congratulatory meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio. The unfathomable mob scene spilling out of the lobby at the Bulls hotel. The piano inside Jordan's hotel room that he couldn't play all that well. Yet no one seemed to care.

\"Got another one in ya?\" Jordan is asked, presumably about another championship and not another off-tune piano piece.

\"Come on, man,\" Jordan promptly replies. \"It's the moment. It's the moment. That Zen Buddhism (expletive). You've got to get in the moment and stay here. Just stay in the moment.\"

It's an understandable request. In that moment of all moments, who would ever want to leave?

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

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PITTSBURGH - Nearly two decades after the Rooney Rule was adopted by the National Football League to create more high-level coaching opportunities for minority candidates, 32 league owners have agreed it's time to strengthen it and do a better job of developing coaches for top positions. One of those owners is the son of the man for whom the rule is named.

\"We felt like when the Rooney Rule first passed, we did achieve some changes and we did see an increase in minority hiring for a period of time,\" said Steelers president Art Rooney II, whose late father, Dan, came up with the initial plan in 2003. \"It's hard to explain why that's changed over the last few years.\"

To ensure better advancement for minority candidates to become head coaches and coordinators, the NFL adopted a series of wide-sweeping reforms to the Rooney Rule on Tuesday that will also include increased off-the-field opportunities for general manager positions. In addition, other procedures in diversity and inclusion have been implemented by the owners to increase advancement across the league for minority and female candidates in front-office and senior-level positions.

Currently, there are four minority coaches, including the Steelers' Mike Tomlin, and two minority general managers in the league.

\"We're not satisfied where we are,\" Commissioner Roger Goodell said on a conference call with members of the national media, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. \"We know we should and can do better. There's no single solution to this. It's a matter of the number of initiatives that we think ultimately are going to lead to better results.\"

The enhancements to the Rooney Rule, approved during a virtual meeting of the league owners, will require teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coaching vacancies; at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator vacancies; and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or general manager position.

In addition, all teams will be required to submit in writing an organizational reporting structure for the coaching staff, with job descriptions for any coach who is a coordinator or co-coordinator within that structure.

The owners tabled a proposal that would allow teams to improve their draft position based on hiring a minority candidate. The intent of the proposal was to create a \"positive\" incentive for hiring a minority candidate instead of creating a \"negative\" penalty that exists for those who don't. Goodell said just because the proposal was tabled doesn't mean the owners were against it.

\"There's a great deal of support, but there are also suggestions, amendments and thoughts that we may want to talk to others and try to strengthen it and try to make sure that it does what we were originally intending, which was to reward teams and coaches for developing minority coaches,\" Goodell said. \"It was a very positive reaction and one that will lead to additional initiatives that will be able to implement.\"

For the first time, the Rooney Rule will be expanded to also include a wide range of executive positions within an organization and the league office.

Clubs must now include minorities and/or female applicants in the interview processes for senior-level front-office positions such as club president and senior executives in communications, finance, human resources, legal, football operations, sales, marketing, sponsorship, information technology and security positions.

Also, the owners approved a resolution that will make it more difficult for clubs to block a coach from interviewing for a position with another team, allowing for increased mobility that could lead to better opportunities. The resolution will simply allow all coaches to interview for an upward position with another team, no matter what fancy or creative title they have with their current club.

\"We have developed a number of impediments through contract language and titles and other ways that clubs, in their own interest, have tried to keep their coaches on their staff, which is an understandable aim,\" said Rooney, who is chairman of the league's workplace diversity committee that oversees the Rooney Rule. \"But it did have an impact for reducing the level of mobility we'd like to see across the league for coaching positions.\"

Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com

"}, {"id":"62283ecc-7971-5894-b0b1-f314cf6345e9","type":"article","starttime":"1589977800","starttime_iso8601":"2020-05-20T07:30:00-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"football":"sports/football"},{"football":"sports/professional/football"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"'We'll do it the right way': Donning a mask and gloves, Jerry Jones, limited group of employees return to Cowboys' offices","url":"http://leetemplates.com/sports/football/article_62283ecc-7971-5894-b0b1-f314cf6345e9.html","permalink":"https://leetemplates.com/sports/football/article_62283ecc-7971-5894-b0b1-f314cf6345e9.html","canonical":"https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/cowboys/2020/05/19/well-do-it-the-right-way-donning-a-mask-and-gloves-jerry-jones-limited-group-of-employees-return-to-cowboys-offices/","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By David Moore, The Dallas Morning News","prologue":"With a mask attached tightly to his face and a pair of blue gloves on his hands, Jerry Jones opened the door to the Cowboys executive offices around 9 o'clock Tuesday morning. The Star is once again open in Frisco. Tuesday was the first day NFL commissioner Roger Goodell allowed club employees around the league to return to facilities in accordance with state and local guidelines for COVID-19. ...","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","tns","ldcjd","nfl","football","pro-football"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#mct"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":1,"commentID":"62283ecc-7971-5894-b0b1-f314cf6345e9","body":"

With a mask attached tightly to his face and a pair of blue gloves on his hands, Jerry Jones opened the door to the Cowboys executive offices around 9 o'clock Tuesday morning.

The Star is once again open in Frisco.

Tuesday was the first day NFL commissioner Roger Goodell allowed club employees around the league to return to facilities in accordance with state and local guidelines for COVID-19. The Cowboys were one of seven organizations at the front of the line.

Houston, Atlanta, Arizona, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Kansas City were the others.

Members of the Jones family - Jerry along with Stephen and Jerry Jr. - were back in the office along with a limited group of other employees. Consider it a soft opening. A larger wave of employees will report to The Star next Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday.

No coaches or players, other than those undergoing rehab, can return to the facility until all 32 teams are cleared by local and state guidelines. Dr. Allen Sills, the league's chief medical officer, said in a conference call Tuesday that there's no date targeted at this point.

Jones, who took part in the league's virtual owner's meetings from the Cowboys offices, took the symbolism of the day seriously.

A one-minute video of the owner's return was posted on the team's website. Jones called it a big day for the NFL and \"for building confidence.\" Jones talked of welcoming his employees back in the coming weeks, assured everyone the club would follow safety standards and spoke of how this return would be \"deliberate and determined.\"

Everyone who returned Tuesday was required to wear a mask in open spaces but not if they were alone in their office with a door that can be closed.

\"We'll do it the right way,\" Jones said.

His comments came from a desk that featured a bottle of hand sanitizer to his left.

Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com

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The Hocking Hills region of southeast Ohio marks a dramatic change to the state's flat farmlands, with the Allegheny Plateau creating a sandstone topography of cliffs, gorges, caves, waterfalls, meandering creeks and endless swaths of trees.

This is where Richard Esquinas used the windfall from various business ventures - selling the lease to the San Diego Sports Arena, making six-figure bets on the golf course with Michael Jordan - to build an Aspen-style \"cabin\" in the middle of nowhere. Where he moved his family in the months after self-publishing a 1993 book detailing his gambling exploits with the Chicago Bulls star that were revisited last Sunday in \"The Last Dance,\" ESPN's 10-part documentary about Jordan. Where he escaped the public shaming for daring to sully basketball's king.

\"It was a few thousand square feet,\" Esquinas says. \"It had all the luxuries. It wasn't rustic. But it was plopped down on 30 acres at the end of a 300-yard driveway, woods everywhere, overlooking a pond, rolling hills, wilderness. You felt like you were lost when you were out there.\"

Lost, and found.

Esquinas, now 65, still plays golf on the dozens of courses near his current home outside Palm Springs, still carries a single-digit handicap, still isn't averse to a friendly wager. (\"I've got guys I spar with,\" he says, \"but small numbers - $20 Nassaus.\") That hasn't changed. What has in the 26 years since he left San Diego and left behind a jet-set life - booking Sinatra and U2, arranging boxing cards with Don King, trying to build a new sports arena, courting the NBA and NHL - is less who he is than what he is.

\"I'm a yogi,\" he says quietly, confidently, proudly. \"That's it, that's the whole thing. What's a yogi? Somebody dedicated to teaching and spreading the wisdom of yoga. I felt like this is natural, this is what I want to do, I think I can help people. It's to serve and share my passion for yoga, to help people sharpen their sword.

\"But I still look pretty good in a suit, brother, if I ever put one on.\"

------

He grew up the son of a coal miner, one of eight children, in Raysal, W.Va.

Their family eventually moved to the racially charged South Linden neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio, where he caddied at Winding Hollow County Club, some days as many as 54 holes. He helped pay his way through Ohio State with college basketball bets, then moved to New York and connected with a businessman named Harry Cooper, who was looking for someone to run his publishing company in San Diego.

Then he met Jordan.

It was in August 1989, at a summer exhibition game of NBA stars hosted by the Sports Arena a few weeks after Esquinas and Cooper had acquired control of the venerable facility for $13 million. Former San Diego State basketball coach Smokey Gaines introduced them at a postgame reception. Jordan and Esquinas quickly discovered a mutual obsession for golf, and gambling.

\"Gamblers have a way of honing in on each other,\" Esquinas later wrote in his book. \"I knew he was a player and he knew I was a player. It's an instinctive thing.\"

They played the next morning at Riverwalk Golf Club, which back then was called Stardust. Jordan shot 74 and won $2,500.

Jordan made a phone call, canceled an appearance on a late-night television show in Los Angeles and drove to since-closed Carmel Mountain Ranch Golf Course for another 18 holes. Jordan won again.

Those would be the first of, by Esquinas' count, more than 100 rounds together over the next three years, on courses across the county and country, with steadily increasing stakes. Most days they played 36 holes. One day they played 45.

The standard wager of $1,000 per hole, with an agreement to automatically trigger side bets once someone got behind, quickly escalated. In September 1991 in North Carolina, after 2 1/2 rounds that day, Esquinas faced a putt where he would be down a \"manageable $6,000\" if he made it and $98,000 if he missed. He missed.

Their next round was at Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook, and Esquinas said he brought two $98,000 checks - one to cover what he owed and the other in case he lost the double-or-nothing bet that day. If Esquinas won, they'd rip up the checks. He won.

They kept golfing. Kept gambling.

\"It got out of control,\" Esquinas says.

Over the ensuing week, he chronicles in his book, the script flipped: Jordan owed him $93,000, then $153,000, then $313,000 ... then double that ... then double that again for $1.252 million following a round at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

According to scribbles in the margin of a scorecard from La Jolla County Club, Jordan lowered the running tab to $902,000 during the Dream Team's training camp at UC San Diego before the 1992 Olympics. That's when they stopped, when Esquinas tried to collect.

They ultimately agreed to $300,000, paid in installments over three years. Esquinas says he received $200,000.

Jordan admitted to that accounting in a 1993 interview with ABC's Connie Chung, saying: \"I was in the process of finishing off all the payments, but when he pulled this stunt - we never had a written agreement, I was more or less going off my honor - I felt he dishonored me, so I don't owe him any more honor. What's the balance? Zero, in my book.\"

The \"stunt\" was Esquinas' 209-page book: \"Michael & Me: Our gambling addiction ... my cry for help!\" It was released in June 1993, during the Bulls' run to their third straight NBA championship, filled with details, dollar amounts, scorecards, anecdotes, pictures.

The book's chief publicist was Rick Schloss, a longtime San Diego media relations fixture who had done work with Esquinas at the Sports Arena. A few months earlier, Esquinas invited Schloss to his Mount Soledad home and told him about his golfing adventures with the world's greatest basketball player, how he had written a book chronicling it, how he needed help promoting it.

Schloss was skeptical: \"Here's this guy telling me Michael Jordan owed him $1.252 million from golf bets.\"

Then the doorbell rang. It was a FedEx delivery for Esquinas, who opened the envelope and handed Schloss a $50,000 check from one of Jordan's associates.

\"Believe me now?\" Esquinas asked.

It wasn't Jordan's only brush with golf and gambling. The previous year, he was a witness in a federal trial on drug and money laundering charges involving golf hustler James \"Slim\" Bouler, admitting under oath that a $57,000 check from him found in Bouler's possession was not a loan, as he originally indicated, but a gambling debt. Bouler wore golf attire during the trial and entered his clubs as an exhibit.

Schloss arranged 160 interviews for Esquinas and co-author Dave Distel, the late sports editor of the Los Angeles Times' San Diego edition. Some believed Esquinas. Most didn't, including several newspaper columnists who penned scathing critiques. Nike co-founder Phil Knight wrote a nasty letter.

Esquinas also received this letter:

------

As a person whose professional status places him in the public eye, I do not see any legitimate purpose in publishing a book whose sole apparent purpose is to demean and diminish a hero to both adults and children alike.

There is cruel irony in your claim that you are one of Michael Jordan's \"friends.\" ... Even assuming, for purposes of argument, that your allegations are correct, what bona fide interest could be served by disclosing them to the public? Isn't Michael Jordan entitled to some degree of confidentiality by his so called \"friends\"?

I, for one, hope that I never have a friend or confidant who betrays my trust the way you have betrayed that of Michael Jordan. Perhaps, if we are lucky, your book will end up in the deeply discounted remainder bins along with the other \"one minute flashes\" that the public has decided not to purchase.

Sincerely,

Tom Cruise

----

The NBA investigated Jordan's gambling in 1993, inviting Esquinas to New York to discuss the claims in his book with Commissioner David Stern and a retired judge. Stern, who died earlier this year, never sanctioned the league's superstar, saying in clips aired on \"The Last Dance\" that \"given Michael's earnings and the like, it never reached epic, crisis levels.\" Esquinas calls the investigation \"a sham.\"

Esquinas also quibbles with Jordan's characterization of him.

\"Richard Esquinas, we met from a third party,\" Jordan says in a present-day interview for the documentary. \"You know, I'm actually playing golf with people all the time now. If they want to gamble, we gamble. The character of those individuals, I find out later what kind of people I was playing with. I learned that lesson.\"

Esquinas' response: \"There was a little bit of a cloud - and this is a total public relations maneuver - where he cast it as, in that era, there where a lot of people around that he shouldn't have been around, and I was part of that. I didn't know Slim Bouler. I'm not anywhere near that. He had tons of problems outside the scope of Richard E in San Diego. He tried to bring me into his irresponsibleness with people, that I was in that cluster. I wasn't.\"

Jordan never sued Esquinas. But the son of a West Virginia coal miner was never going to beat No. 23 in the court of public opinion, and he knew it.

\"What I was really feeling the most,\" he says now, \"is Jordan lovers turning into Esquinas haters, automatically, without any question about anything other than I was taking on the champ. I was taking him on and calling him out, and that was irreverent to his holiness.\"

------

His saviors: transcendental meditation, yoga, a house in the woods overlooking a pond. You felt like you were lost when you were out there.

Esquinas first learned TM and yoga at age 17, and they became a daily part of his life. When he worked at the Sports Arena, he would inconspicuously close his office door and meditate. Or he'd say he was getting out of town for the weekend and go on a yoga retreat.

It was what kept him balanced and centered on the golf course when the bets escalated from four figures, to five, to six, to seven, when he was standing over a 10-foot putt on 18 with His Airness glaring at him. It was what grounded him when the world turned on him.

\"Let me tell you something,\" Esquinas says, \"TM and yog, and then me teaching TM and yog, were the instruments for pushing away the tremendous amount of stress I took on, the tremendous amount of angst associated with doing battle with a big figure like Michael Jordan.\"

He began teaching at an upscale facility an hour away in Columbus. That grew into classes at two other downtown studios, then moving back to Columbus and opening his own studio.

He spent parts of six years studying advanced techniques at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, acquiring the title of siddha, or yoga master. By his estimation, he taught 350 people per week for more than a decade, amounting to 15,000 hours of formal class instruction and an additional 3,000 in one-on-one sessions.

He branded himself \"The American Yogi\" (because, he says, he attended The Ohio State University). His clients include three-time U.S. Olympic gymnast Blaine Wilson, NCAA wrestling and UFC champion Mark \"The Hammer\" Coleman, college and pro football players, business and community leaders.

He specializes in japa yoga, an old lineage associated with reciting mantras and developing repetition. His company, JapaWest, recently integrated the medicinal marijuana industry, selling CBD oil intended to facilitate flexibility and healing - and, Esquinas is adamant about this, not for use while practicing yoga.

In 2011, he embarked on several yatras, or spiritual pilgrimages, to India. He visited revered ashrams. He met renowned masters. He sat in a wooden boat on the Ganges river at sunrise, delicately floating candles in the placid, muddy water.

He discovered something else on the trip.

\"As I went through yoga, as I went through yatra,\" Esquinas says, \"I confided in many great seers about this and talked to them about addiction. I realized I didn't have that classic addiction thing. Michael and I were episodic. It was the episode of him and me taking it to those levels.

\"There's a thing in yoga called lila. It means 'play in life.' I enjoy and live the playfulness that life has to offer. That's all it was, an expression of that. I have a disdain for all these hard-core terms that categorize people as addicts and things like that. I think it's a narrow term. Gamblers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, they have done great work for people. But everyone doesn't fit in that modality ... I'm not anti high-stakes wagering. I'm anti irresponsible high-stakes wagering.\"

What he hasn't resolved internally, what still gnaws at him, what has him working on a sequel to \"Michael & Me,\" is not why he gambled with His Airness, but why a man worth $2.1 billion refused to pay.

\"For whatever reason, I think a lot of this is just the fact that he did not want the loss,\" Esquinas says nearly three decades later. \"He didn't want to give me a W. Maybe he was embarrassed. Writing me a check was an L to him.

\"I've sought advice and read and this and that - only speak the sweet truth, these kind of things - and somebody not wanting to pay versus can't is what I really couldn't accept. That's one of the things that's hung with me, my inability to reconcile. I understand can't pay.

\"I don't understand when a man won't pay.\"

Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com

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When Michael Jordan had a message to deliver to the world, he used what was, at the time, the best and fastest medium at his disposal: a fax machine.

Twenty-five years ago, Jordan sent out, perhaps, the most famous fax of all-time, a two-word statement that would become iconic for its simplicity. All at once, the message served as a declaration to the basketball world and helped lift Jordan's career into further legendary status, forever changing the Bulls and NBA.

This Sunday's episodes of ESPN's 10-part documentary \"The Last Dance\", which cover Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season, will dive into Jordan's first retirement from pro-basketball, his nearly 18-month sabbatical to pursue a career in baseball and a dramatic comeback - kicked off with Jordan's appropriate flair for dramatic - a two word fax to announce his comeback that read simply, \"I'm back.\"

As Melissa Isaacson wrote at the time for the Tribune, \"The words did not have to be eloquent or poetic. They did not even have to be spoken, and weren't.\"

Rumors had been swirling for weeks back in March 1995 that Jordan was going to make a comeback to basketball, a process that started when he practiced with the Bulls earlier that month. Yes, Jordan had covered his bases during his retirement ceremony a year and a half earlier - \"never say never\" he said when asked if he would ever play basketball again - but the idea of him coming back was far from a certainty. Here are a few things to know about Jordan's famous fax and the events leading up to his return:

___

1. Michael Jordan crafted the famous fax himself.

If Jordan played basketball in the modern era, he would have had the ability to send a message to the masses at his fingertips with the use of social media. Sending the \"I'm back\" as a tweet still would have been a banger that broke the internet.

But back in 1995, the fax machine was the fastest way to get the message out. David Falk, Jordan's agent, prepared a few different versions of the press release announcing the comeback, knowing he had to nail it.

\"He didn't like the feel of them,\" Falk told ESPN in 2015. \"He said, 'I'll do it myself.'\"

Here's how the fax read:

WASHINGTON, DC. (March 18, 1995) - The following statement was released today by Michael Jordan, through his personal attorney and business manager David B. Falk, Chairman of Falk Associates Management Enterprises, Inc. (\"FAME\") located in Washington, D.C., in response to questions about his future career plans:

'I'm back.'

___-

2. Jordan delivered his message and suited up the very next day.

Jordan left the sport at the prime of his career: winner of three straight NBA championships and being named the Most Valuable Player in each of those three finals, seven consecutive scoring titles, seven All-NBA first teams and six All-Defensive teams, and he was still only 32 years old by the time he rejoined the Bulls for his second act.

On a Saturday, Jordan sent out word that he was coming back to the court - the very next day. His return would come Sunday in a nationally televised game against the Pacers, keeping the No. 45 he wore in baseball. It sent the Pacers' media relations staff into a frenzy, as outlined by Sam Smith, who covered the comeback for the Chicago Tribune at the time. Indiana's PR chief needed security guards to walk with him on the floor after he had to deny angry media members' credential requests. Scalpers began selling tickets for more than $1,000.

This was Jordan's first NBA game since June 1993. He'd spent his time in between playing 127 games with the Birmingham Barons in Double A and hitting .202 - and yet there was no easing him back into action. Jordan played 43 minutes for the Bulls in his return, and he can be forgiven for a poor shooting effort (7-for-28) while putting up 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. He would play the final 17 games of that season, averaging 26.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

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3. The sports world was in need of some good news.

Jordan was already the most famous athlete in the world at the time, so his return was a lift for the entire sports world. Major League Baseball was still in the middle of the longest strike in its history, one that had cancelled the World Series in 1994 and would continue until April. O.J. Simpson, arguably the biggest football star in the world, was on trial for murder.

So the excitement for Jordan's return was high. It sparked reaction from more than just the biggest athletes around the NBA too. The Tribune's story at the time includes quotes from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and a statement from President Bill Clinton's spokesman.

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4. The Bulls were struggling at the time.

The Bulls were not in a good spot in the second full season following Jordan's retirement.

A year prior, in 1993-94, they rallied to absorb Jordan's absence to win 55 games and advance to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals before they were eliminated by the Knicks. But the Bulls struggled to start the year in 1994-95 and Jordan returned to a team just three games above the .500 mark. Most of his old teammates from the previous three-peat had moved on. Scottie Pippen and B.J. Armstrong remained, but some of the other mainstays on the court - Horace Grant, John Paxson and Bill Cartwright - were gone.

Pippen famously wore a pair of Air Jordan 10s one day while rumors swirled about Jordan's comeback, and held them up for the camera, waving his finger at the camera. (Pippen had also almost been traded in 1994 to Seattle in a deal for Shawn Kemp; Jordan told ESPN in 2008 that if Pippen had not still been with the Bulls, he would have \"probably not\" returned to the Bulls.

With Jordan, the Bulls were instantly transformed into a title contender. The Bulls had 40-to-1 odds to win the NBA championship in Las Vegas before Jordan returned, which skyrocketed to 5-to-1.

\"I've got three words,\" his teammate Will Perdue said at the time, \"Thank you, baseball.\"

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