Commissioner: Major League Baseball season to start in July

Commissioner: Major League Baseball season to start in July
Baseball Commissioner, Rob Manfred. (AP)
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Updated 24 June 2020

Commissioner: Major League Baseball season to start in July

Commissioner: Major League Baseball season to start in July
  • Players pushed back against the league proposals, noting that they had already agreed to a pay cut in March

LOS ANGELES: The 2020 Major League Baseball season is set to start in July, Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday, after players signed off on health protocols and agreed to report to training.

The announcement that the season will begin July 23 or 24 comes after weeks of wrangling between owners and players over a framework for a season shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon,” Manfred said in a statement.

“We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”

Manfred’s comments came after the Major League Baseball Players Association said its members would report to training camps on July 1.

“All remaining issues have been resolved and players are reporting to training camps,” the union said.

MLB and the MLBPA had been at loggerheads over how to salvage a season that should have begun on March 26.

The league proposed a succession of deals that would have seen the players receive only a percentage of their salaries, prorated by number of games played.

Players pushed back against the league proposals, noting that they had already agreed to a pay cut in March and should not be required to accept a further reduction in salary.

The MLBPA had wanted a longer regular season, but when the union rejected the most recent MLB proposal owners voted on Monday to impose a 60-game schedule — which would still be contingent on reaching agreement with players on health and safety protocols.

MLB said in a statement posted on MLB.com that the players had accepted the protocols.

When the season gets underway teams will play in their home ballparks without fans, baseball opting against the kind of “bubble” environment that will see the NBA return to action with all teams playing at a single location at a sports complex at Disney World in Florida.

To decrease travel, each team will play the majority of its games against its four division rivals, and remaining games against the clubs in the corresponding geographical division in the other league.

Under format, players will receive the full prorated share of their salaries.

Multiple media outlets reported that as usual 10 teams will qualify for the playoffs.


West Bromwich reject Al-Hilal’s bid for Brazilian midfielder Matheus Pereira

West Bromwich reject Al-Hilal’s bid for Brazilian midfielder Matheus Pereira
Updated 12 min 54 sec ago

West Bromwich reject Al-Hilal’s bid for Brazilian midfielder Matheus Pereira

West Bromwich reject Al-Hilal’s bid for Brazilian midfielder Matheus Pereira
  • Saudi champions offered $17m but English football club wants almost $30m

RIYADH: English Football League Championship club West Bromwich Albion has rejected a bid of $17 million from Saudi champions Al-Hilal for Brazilian midfielder Matheus Pereira, Arabic sports daily Arriyadiyah reported.

The English club has set a price of $30 million for the player, but it is expected that the Riyadh giants will test its resolve with an offer of $20 million to be paid over two installments and have lined up other deals in case the renewed bid fails.

An unnamed Brazilian player, who plays in his country’s national league, is believed to be at the forefront of that list, with Al-Hilal’s management receiving an initial approval to make a move.

Pereira, 25, however, remains a priority for new coach Leonardo Jardim and his board. He began his football career at the age of 15 with the Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, where he rose through the ranks to represent the first team.

He was sent out on loan three times by Sporting, the first in the 2017 to 2018 season to fellow Portuguese team Chaves, then to FC Nuremberg in Germany the following campaign.

In the 2019 to 2020 season, West Bromwich became the third team to take him on loan before making the move permanent last year.


Dutch runner Hassan falls, gets up and wins 1,500 meter heat

General View of athletes in action with Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Jessica Hull of Australia in front on Aug. 1, 2021. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
General View of athletes in action with Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Jessica Hull of Australia in front on Aug. 1, 2021. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
Updated 02 August 2021

Dutch runner Hassan falls, gets up and wins 1,500 meter heat

General View of athletes in action with Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Jessica Hull of Australia in front on Aug. 1, 2021. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
  • The 28-year-old 1,500 and 10,000 meter world champion crashed to the ground when Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok tripped and fell in front of her as the bell went for the final lap

TOKYO: Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan kept alive her hopes of an unprecedented Olympic treble after picking herself up following a fall to win her 1500 meters heat on Monday.

The 28-year-old 1,500 and 10,000 meter world champion crashed to the ground when Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok tripped and fell in front of her as the bell went for the final lap.

There were gasps of disbelief from within the sparsely populated stadium as it appeared her hopes of a three-pronged attack on the 1500m, 5,000m and 10,000m had disappeared.

General View of athletes in action with Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Jessica Hull of Australia in front on Aug. 2, 2021. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

However, the Ethiopia-born athlete got back to her feet and moved through the gears as she hunted the leaders down.

Needing to finish in the first six to qualify automatically for the semifinals, she ate up the ground to the leading pack and had the strength to cross the line in first place in a time of 4min 5.17sec.

She earned herself a round of applause from watching athletes including American Cory McGee, who had run in the previous heat.

“That was awesome,” said McGee, who qualified as one of the six fastest losers. “To be able to get up and focus like that and finish first is amazing.”

Jebitok, 19, said she was “devastated” after she trailed in 12th in her heat but she was subsequently reinstated and will be in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Her compatriot Faith Kipyegon is likely to be Hassan’s greatest threat after she coasted to victory in her heat in a time of 4:01.40.

“I am very happy with my performance,” said the 27-year-old. “I will not be focusing on Sifan. I will be concentrating on my own race if hopefully we meet in the final.”

 



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Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs claims shock Olympic 100m win

Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy crosses the finish line and wins gold. (Reuters)
Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy crosses the finish line and wins gold. (Reuters)
Updated 01 August 2021

Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs claims shock Olympic 100m win

Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy crosses the finish line and wins gold. (Reuters)
  • The fastest man in the world this year, American Trayvon Bromell, was eliminated in the semi-finals
  • Jacobs had not even broken 10 seconds until this year

TOKYO: Unheralded Italian sprinter Lamont Marcell Jacobs stormed to a shock gold in the Olympic 100 metres on Sunday after Caeleb Dressel collected his fifth swimming gold medal of the Games.

Jacobs crossed the line in a European record of 9.80sec at the Olympic Stadium to succeed retired Jamaican legend Usain Bolt as champion of the blue riband event of the athletics programme.

Fred Kerley of the United States took silver in 9.84sec and Canada's Andre de Grasse collected bronze in 9.89sec.

The fastest man in the world this year, American Trayvon Bromell, was eliminated in the semi-finals.

Jacobs had not even broken 10 seconds until this year.

"It was my childhood dream to win an Olympic Games and obviously a dream can turn into something different, but to run this final and win it is a dream come true," the Texas-born Italian said.

Jacobs credited improvements in training, diet and mentality for his progression this season.

"I really work hard with my mind," he told AFP. "Because when I was arriving at the big moment my legs don't work too good. Now my legs go really good when it's a big moment."


From Japan to Germany: Golf’s Olympic gold medal winner Xander Schauffele’s roots span the globe

Xander Schauffele, of the US, poses with his gold medal next to bronze medal winner C.T. Pan of Taiwan, left, and silver medal winner Rory Sabbatini, of Slovakia, right, for the men's golf at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (AP)
Xander Schauffele, of the US, poses with his gold medal next to bronze medal winner C.T. Pan of Taiwan, left, and silver medal winner Rory Sabbatini, of Slovakia, right, for the men's golf at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (AP)
Updated 01 August 2021

From Japan to Germany: Golf’s Olympic gold medal winner Xander Schauffele’s roots span the globe

Xander Schauffele, of the US, poses with his gold medal next to bronze medal winner C.T. Pan of Taiwan, left, and silver medal winner Rory Sabbatini, of Slovakia, right, for the men's golf at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (AP)
  • American Schauffele won by a shot from surprise silver medallist Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia
  • 27-year-old Schauffele, a four-time winner on the US PGA Tour, has a family heritage which includes Japan

KAWAGOE, Japan: Xander Schauffele had more than thoughts of a medal inspiring him to gold at Tokyo 2020 on Sunday.
The world number five golfer was driven on by his father’s lost Olympic opportunity, and the 30 or more members of his Japanese extended family, including his maternal grandparents, who would have been on the course to cheer his every shot had there been spectators allowed.
American Schauffele won by a shot from surprise silver medallist Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia, with Taiwan’s C.T. Pan taking bronze after an epic seven-man playoff.
The 27-year-old Schauffele, a four-time winner on the US PGA Tour, has a family heritage that straddles the globe.
He says he was brought up culturally more Japanese because his Taiwanese mother ws brought up in Japan.
“My fellow countryman (Pan) is right next to me,” he laughed at the medallists’ press conference.
“We got a worldly deal. France, Germany, Taiwan, a little bit of Japan. My mom was born in Taiwan, so actually by blood I’m half-Taiwanese.
“My mom grew up in Japan from the age of four... and my grandparents have been in Japan ever since. So I have a family split between Taiwan and Japan.”
And that means normally it’s family party time whenever he arrives in the Land of the Rising Sun, at least when there are no Covid restrictions or states of emergency in force for his largely Tokyo-based relatives.
But Schauffele’s heritage spans far more than the US and the Far East. His father Stefan, who is half-French, was a top decathlete for Germany who never got to realize his own dreams of Games glory.
Stefan’s car was hit by a drunk-driver four decades ago on his way to Olympic training, shattering his sporting ambitions in an instant as he suffered multiple injuries including the loss of sight in his left eye.
Schauffele, the 2017 US PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, was proud to have won the medal for Team USA but pointed out he was the only member of his family who is actually American.
“I’m the only natural-born citizen in my family, being born in the United States,” he smiled. Schauffele’s brother, Nico, was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and he says his globe-trotting family background gives him a great perspective on life.
“I think that me being very international it’s taught me a lot about different cultures and it’s made me understanding of different cultures,” said Schauffele, who has made more than a dozen visits to Japan.
“I think that if everyone sort of had the ability to travel more and experience other cultures they would be more willing to get along, potentially.”
Silver medallist Sabbatini, born in Durban, South Africa, and now playing for Slovakia, was full of praise for Schauffele.
“Xander, never mind his golf game, probably one of the nicest gentlemen I’ve ever met. Always hospitable, you can tell he was raised right,” said Sabbatini, who shot an incredible final-round 61 to snatch a shock medal.
Schauffele had suffered the agony of losing out in the final pairing of the Masters to Hideki Matsuyama at Augusta, but hoped Japan would forgive him for turning the tables to register his first win since the 2020 Tour Championship.
“I can’t speak for the Japanese people, I’m sure my grandparents are very happy,” he said.
“But they may be the only people in Japan who were pulling for me, rather than Hideki.”


Esteban Ocon wins chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel disqualification puts Hamilton 2nd

Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
Updated 02 August 2021

Esteban Ocon wins chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel disqualification puts Hamilton 2nd

Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
  • Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged in a first lap crash, which took out five cars
  • Bottas acknowledged he was at fault after being given a five-place penalty on the grid for the next race

BUDAPEST: Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was disqualified from the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday and stripped of second place, the FIA said.
Vettel's Aston Martin car was deemed to have insufficient fuel left after the race.
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was promoted to second place behind race winner, Alpine's Esteban Ocon with Carlos Sainz in a Ferrari inheriting third place.
World champion Hamilton now has a seven-point lead over title rival Max Verstappen who moved up a place from 10th to ninth after Vettel's banishment.
“After the race it was not possible to take a 1.0 litre sample of fuel from car 5,” said an FIA statement released five hours after the chaotic race ended at the Hungaroring.
“The team was given several opportunities to attempt to remove the required amount of fuel from the tank, however it was only possible to pump 0.3 litres out.
“Given this situation, car No. 5 is not in compliance with the requirements of FIA Technical Regulations.”
The decision robbed Aston Martin of what would have been just their second podium of the 2021 season following Vettel's runner-up spot in Azerbaijan.
“The 18 points loss is disappointing for the team, but it doesn't take away from an otherwise flawless drive from Sebastian,” said a team statement.

Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged in a first lap crash, which took out five cars, and he eventually finished 10th, leaving Hamilton to take a six-point lead in the championship.
“Today we showed that our car has strong race pace. Onwards and upwards,” Ocon said of his win.
“What a moment! It feels so good!
“It’s fantastic, what can I say? Congrats to Fernando (Alonso) as well, I think the win is also thanks to him with the fight that he did.
“It’s teamwork, it’s been a fantastic day!”

“Congratulations to the Alpine team and to Esteban for his first win — he’s been a shining star for a long time,” said Hamilton who was booed again during his post-race interview by a section of the packed crowd who blame him for the crash at the British GP two weeks ago which took out Verstappen.
“Today was definitely tough, we always make it difficult for ourselves.
“Crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start, but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything and I have nothing left in the end.”
Mercedes also took over the constructors championship lead. Going into the summer break they are now 10 points ahead of Red Bull.
Two weeks after the controversial collision between Hamilton and Verstappen on the opening lap at Silverstone, there was early trouble again at the Hungaroring, this time prompted by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
With the rain coming down, the Finn triggered a series of collisions on the opening turn which not only took him out of the race but accounted for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and the McLaren of Lando Norris.
Bottas acknowledged he was at fault after being given a five-place penalty on the grid for the next race, the Belgian GP at Spa at the end of August.
“I think that’s fair enough,” said Bottas.
“I had a bad start and I lost the momentum. I misjudged the braking point and locked the wheels.
“I was responsible for hitting Lando and that meant he cut people off in front of him.
“It’s not great for me and not great others. It’s not like I did it on purpose.”
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, starting on pole for the 101st time in his F1 career, was ahead of the chaos in the rain and looked a nailed-on winner when he was on his own on the grid for the restart while the other cars were all changing tires to suit the improved weather.
Bizarrely, within one lap, Hamilton was at the back as Mercedes, having failed to switch his tires, called him in.
“I was telling the team how the track was during the lap but they said the rain was coming when we got in the car so I thought they had other information,” said Hamilton after the race.
It marked the start of an epic race from the Briton which might well have ended in his 100th GP win had it not been from superb defensive driving from 40-year-old Alonso who prevented him closing on Vettel and Ocon.
Ocon was also untouched by the first lap chaos and was second at the restart. With Hamilton’s plight, the Frenchman took over the race lead.
Four-time world champion Vettel pressed him hard but could not get close enough to mount a serious challenge.