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Week 12 Sports Update

NBA: As states begin to lift stay-at-home orders put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the NBA says it will relax league restrictions next month, clearing the way for players to train at some team facilities. Beginning on May 8, players will be able to train and receive treatment at team buildings — as long as it can be done safely and as long as the facility is in a jurisdiction that isn’t under a shelter-in-place order, NBA officials said.

“The potential rules changes would allow teams to make their practice facilities available for use by the team’s players for workouts or treatment on a voluntary, individual basis if the team’s facility is in a city that is no longer subject to a government restriction,” the league said in a statement.

In any area where a team can’t open its facilities, the NBA adds, “the league will work with the team to identify alternatives.”

The NBA’s move to reopen facilities, while a significant step, does not mean a decision on the league’s return to regular season games is imminent. It has been shuttered since March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the league’s first active player known to test positive for COVID-19.

MLB: “The most realistic time range for Opening Day — somewhere between mid-June and July 4, in the view of most officials — would allow for an 80- to 100-game regular season, with the schedule running through October. An expanded postseason at neutral sites might follow, with the World Series ending in late November or early December.”

The goal for both owners and players is to maximize the number of games in the season and thus maximize revenues. At this point, playing half of the 162-game slate feels ambitious, but with larger rosters and perhaps more frequent scheduled doubleheaders it’s theoretically doable.

Obviously, any postseason that stretches into the vicinity of Thanksgiving and beyond is going to require the use of ballparks in warm-weather locales or at least with retractable roofs. With cold-weather, outdoor teams like the Yankees, Twins, Nationals, Cubs, Mets, Phillies, Indians and others plausibly aiming for contention, arranging for neutral sites in advance will be a necessity.

NFL: Four teams will carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads in 2020 as part of the International Player Pathway program.

Isaac Alarcon, a former Mexican college football national champion, will join the Dallas Cowboys. David Bada, a former defensive end for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League, will join the Washington Redskins. Australian Matt Leo, who played football for the Iowa State Cyclones, will join the Philadelphia Eagles and former Austrian U19 national team running back Sandro Platzgummer will join the New York Giants.

The four NFC East clubs will carry these players on their roster until the end of training camp. At that time, the players are eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, granting the team an extra practice squad member that is ineligible to be activated during the 2020 season.

The NFC East was chosen to receive these players in a random draw.

Week 11 Sports update

NBA: John Wall, in conjunction with the John Wall Family Foundation, surprised doctors and nurses at UNC Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina and MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. with a donation of 2,300 N95 masks to aid their efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Wall also partnered with Chick-Fil-A to provide approximately 600 meals for front line workers and first responders at each location.

Both locations hold a special place in Wall’s heart. Wall lost his mother, Frances Pulley, to breast cancer in December. In the months leading up to her passing, Pulley received the majority of her medical care from MedStar Washington Hospital Center and spent her final days at UNC Rex Hospital in Wall’s hometown of Raleigh.

The donations of masks and meals at both locations were made in Ms. Pulley’s name.

MLB: With the spread of the novel coronavirus threatening Major League Baseball’s 2020 season, the league and the union continue to seek ways to salvage the year as best they can. Predictably, that has entailed any number of proposals and contingency plans, including those that would see teams either all isolated in Arizona, or split between Arizona and Florida. On Monday, multiple league sources informed CBS Sports about a different idea that has been discussed in recent days. 

In this arrangement, the league would have teams stationed in one of three hubs: Florida, Arizona or Texas. The clubs would then make use of the local major- and minor-league (or spring training) facilities and play regular season games behind closed doors without fans.

One source even expressed guarded optimism about the idea’s chances of coming to fruition.

Ballparks in St. Petersburg (Florida), Phoenix (Arizona), and Arlington (Texas) each have roofs, retractable or otherwise, that would safeguard against rainouts and other extreme weather, allowing for multiple games to be hosted at those sites per day. Theoretically, MLB could also ask teams stationed in Florida and Texas to drive three-plus hours to other MLB parks (Houston’s Minute Maid Park and Miami’s Marlins Park).

It’s unclear if MLB would assign 10 teams to each metropolitan area, or if it would opt for an unbalanced approach that would see 12 teams in one area and eight in another.

NFL: The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft ticked along methodically at first but it eventually brought the sparks that everyone had been expecting, with the biggest move of the night courtesy of the Packers, who traded up to take Aaron Rodgers’ heir apparent in Jordan Love. Day 2 was more active in terms of trading, with the biggest perhaps being saved for last, as the Saints dealt away all four of their Day 3 picks to slide into the end of Round 3 for tight end Adam Trautman.

Keep it locked here for live updates, breaking news and rumors ahead of the draft as well as the picks themselves with takeaways and more once the third day of the draft gets underway. During the hours leading up to Day 3 we will be providing more analysis and the latest rumors and hopefully a few completed trades. Happy draft weekend!

Week 10 Sports Update

NBA: When are the NBA and live sports going to come back? That’s one of the main questions everyone across the country is wondering right now as we sit in isolation trying to stay safe from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, the answer is that no one knows, not even NBA commissioner Adam Silver. 

Early on Monday evening, Silver joined TNT’s, Ernie Johnson for an interview that was broadcast on the NBA’s Twitter feed and he answered plenty of questions about what’s going on behind the scenes at league offices right now. Perhaps the most interesting thing he said is that the league likely won’t have any clarity or the ability to make decisions about returning to play until at least May. In fact, Silver said in some ways he knows less now than he did right after suspending the season. 

NFL: The Arizona Cardinals made a massive move on March 16, trading for star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. On March 20, the team announced the trade that sent running back David Johnson, a second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-rounder to the Houston Texans for Hopkins and a fourth-round selection. More than two weeks later, the deal has yet to become official with both players needing to pass physicals till the swap is formally complete. Despite the delay, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a video conference Tuesday that he’s not worried about the deal getting scuttled.

MLB: MLB is considering playing games as early as May, ESPN reported. Other reports say the league is considering having all teams play in Arizona, where half of MLB teams hold their spring training in the Phoenix area. The stadiums are all within about 50 miles from each other, allowing teams to quarantine in a hotel and not have to travel very far for their games. The games, of course, would be played without fans. ESPN also reported that the league is discussing using an electronic strike zone so the plate umpire would not have to be right on the catcher and hitter. Still, the league says it has yet to seek approval for any specific plan from government officials or the MLB Players Association so far.

“The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus,” according to MLB’s statement. The MLB Players Association had no comment to this story.

Week 8 Sports Update

***Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there is no sports/games being played at this time, therefore news is brief and to the point.

NFL: Timing is of the essence when it comes to NFL free agency and offseason acquisitions. The perception of moves can drastically change based on when something happens. 

The Chicago Bears epitomize how poor timing can wreck an offseason and make their moves look far worse in retrospect.

Even without that added caveat, general manager Ryan Pace’s plan looked suspect from the start since he invested heavily in aging veterans.  

When both factors are taken into consideration, the Bears simply failed at the start of the new league year and had the offseason’s worst overall effort. 

Free agency, like spring, serves as a renewal period. The GM’s job is to properly manage the roster so the most growth can occur during the following season. Certain players are pulled, while others are added. 

NBA: Though news of the coronavirus pandemic has been discouraging, NBA executives still cling to hope of arranging a one-site, fan-less, 16-team playoff and a five-to-seven-game regular-season prelude, according to multiple NBA sources.

“They’re very determined to have a champion,” one industry source said.

The playoffs could be reduced to a slew of best-of-three series across the board. A single-elimination format has been all but ruled out — only under consideration as a last resort.

“Nothing is off the table,” another league official said.

MLB: Dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is not only changing the fabric of Major League Baseball, but it’s also redefining the role of major league managers. This global public health crisis has led to a shift in responsibilities in which the title “major league manager” itself might need an upgrade.

Long gone are the days of authoritative figures like Earl Weaver or Billy Martin, who in the words of Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, were “the judge, the jury and the executioner.” The responsibilities of the manager’s job have been rewritten, with it being no longer just about how much they know about baseball or guiding their players through spring training and 162 games. Now — perhaps more than ever — it’s also about how much they care.

Week 6 Sports Update

NBA: For 11 days, Luke Janka, an educator from Brooklyn, went from doctor to doctor to emergency room, pleading for a coronavirus test. As his lungs tightened and his desperation spiked, he was finally admitted to a hospital, put on oxygen and administered the test. At the same time, the entire roster of the Brooklyn Nets was quickly tested, even though most players appeared in perfect health. Results came back fast; four players, including star Kevin Durant, tested positive.

NFL: Monday was highlighted by the wide receiver position as there were two blockbuster deals centered around two of the most talented pass catchers the league has to offer. DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson and some draft capital. Later in the day, the Buffalo Bills sent a bevy of draft picks (including the No. 22 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft) to the Minnesota Vikings for receiver Stefon Diggs. 

As for Tuesday, it was all about the quarterbacks. Tom Brady announced that he will be leaving the New England Patriots after 20 years with the franchise and he is expected to eventually sign with Tampa Bay. Philip Rivers and the Colts agreed in principle to a deal, as did Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers. Speaking of Carolina, they also have allowed former MVP Cam Newton seek out a trade. 

MLB: Since last week, Major League Baseball has been engaged in a variety of discussions with stakeholders to identify ways to blunt the wide-ranging impact of the national emergency resulting from the global coronavirus pandemic. As those conversations continue, MLB is announcing today a league-wide initiative that will create a level of uniform compensation for Minor League players, covering the period between now and the originally scheduled start of the Minor League season. MLB is taking this initial step today because of the effects of the season’s postponement on Minor League players and their families. MLB intends to continue working with all 30 Clubs to identify additional ways to support those players as a result of the delayed 2020 season.

Week 5 Sports Update

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo acknowledges he initially feared the knee sprain that has caused him to miss his last two games might be a much more serious injury.

“I was nervous right when I fell on the floor,” Antetokounmpo said Wednesday. “I was able to walk it off and play a few minutes and I felt better, but the next day I was extremely sore, so I was nervous.”

Antetokounmpo said he practiced Wednesday but remained uncertain over whether he would play Thursday against the Boston Celtics.

MLB:  The Cardinals are working to extend the contract of longtime catcher Yadier Molina for at least one more year and “probably” two more seasons. Molina, 37, has been the Cardinals’ primary catcher since 2005 and, over the course of his career, has shouldered the largest workload of any backstop in the game. His durability is the stuff of legend, as evidenced by 15 straight seasons of at least 107 games caught and an average of 126.4 games caught per season during that remarkable stretch.

NFL: When NFL free agency begins March 18, Byron Jones is expected to set a new benchmark for defensive back contracts. Teams are anticipating Jones, who has spent his entire five-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, will command a deal worth between $16-18 million per season. Per Over the Cap, Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins owns the highest average annual salary among defensive backs at $15,050,000. The Dallas Cowboys seem likely to at least let Jones test the market at this point, though there is still time for things to change leading up to free agency.

Important News for Sports Teams: The potential spread of coronavirus, also called COVID-19, has prompted several leagues, teams and individual players to weigh in on the infectious disease as it has made its way to the United States. Several teams have taken preemptive measures to limit the coronavirus spread, including limiting media access and spectators and canceling events and competitions altogether.

NCAA Tournament games will be played with limited attendance

Week 4 Sports Update

By: Lucas Birch My Blog: Premier League Roundup

MLB: On March 3, the Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly signed former MVP Christian Yelich to an 8-year deal worth $215 million. This is the largest deal that the Brewers have ever conducted in their history. This came at just the right time for the Brewers considering their lack of involvement with key Free Agents in the offseason.

NBA: Lebron vs Zion: The Lakers faced the Pelicans in an NBA matchup. Lebron James had another classic game dropping 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists. Zion Williamson’s 35 points was not enough to see off the Lakers. The pelicans fell at home 122-114. Could there be a future rematch in the playoffs?

NFL: In recent news, sources are saying that the Jaguars are trading A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round pick. This solidifies the Broncos recovering defense as Bouye was pivotal in one of the best defensive teams in the league last season. Bouye racked up eight interceptions. It will be interesting to see how his following season plays out with the Broncos.

Week 3 Sports Update

NBA: On Monday, February 24th, the Staples Center held a memorial service celebrating the lives of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna and reflects the basketball jersey numbers worn by both Kobe (No. 24) and Gianna (No. 2). NBA Legend, Michael Jordan spreads his emotion and love towards Kobe and the Bryant family as he says that, “as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be”. More than 20,000 people attended the memorial in memory of the two lives that had past.

NFL: Former Ohio State DE, Chase Young is not planning to take apart in the combine drills this week. The projected top-three pick will be present for interviews and medical exams. Will this instance effect his draft picks or playing time?

MLB: The Houston Astros have faced a large amount of criticism due to their sign-stealing scandal that has dominated headlines during the offseason. With that in mind, William Hill sportsbook set an over/under on the number of Astros batters that will be hit by pitches in the 2020 season at 83.5. Both the over and under options for 83.5 are at -110. That would be about one batter hit every other game, according to SportsLine.

Week 2 Sports Update

NBA: NBA Center, Cint Capela’s Health was a major factor in his trade from the Houston Rockets to the Atlanta Hawks in early February. Capela is dealing with plantar faciitis, and was originally expected to be out for only 2 weeks. After one week of resting, Coach Lloyd Pierce stated that “it will be weeks before Capela will be able to play again”.

MLB: The Houston Astros are under heat after the alleged cheating scandal in the 2019 MLB season. Players are being questioned and most show no sincere apologies of these instances. MLB All-Star Aaron Judge said that, “I am sick to my stomach” after speaking on the Astros cheating scandal. He believes that the team should be punished and that there should be question that they were probably cheating their way to the World Series as well.

NFL: The Chicago Bears agree to signing Demetrius Harris, the previous TE from Cleveland as he only lasted one season with the Browns. The unemployment was not too long, as the Bears and Harris agreed to a one-year deal contract with the Chicago Bears.

Week 1 Sports Update

NBA: Dwayne Wade appeared on the “Ellen show” on Monday, February 10th, to discuss how he supports his 12-year-old sons recent gender identity change. He stated to Ellen that as a father you should always be, “Unconditionally loving and supporting to your child in whoever they are”. Dwaynes son was origionally named Zion, but now wants to be known as Zaya. Wade then stated that, “as for me… nothing changes in my love. Nothing changes in my responsibilities. So, all i have to do now is get smarter and educate myself more”.

NFL: Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers are parting ways after 16 seasons. Although, the QB says that he is not ready to retire just yet. Rivers syas he wants to take his talents elsewhere and find a new city to thrive in.

MLB: MVP moved to a different team? Kris Bryant in discussion for a near future trade. Although, the Mookie Betts trade saga is nearing a conclusion, he might not be the last MVP Award winner moved this offseason. Multiple National League teams have contacted the Cubs to make offers for third baseman Kris Bryant, according to David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 in Chicago.