Credit: Parliament Live TV
Credit: Parliament Live TV
Raptors-Bulls postponed as Raptors don't have enough players to play due to COVID-19 protocols.
The golf world wore red shirts and black pants to honor Tiger Woods on Sunday.
Mike Tomlin, typically quiet during the offseason, is speaking out about a 'collective failure' in NFL hiring practices.
Leicester City 1-3 Arsenal: The Gunners were too good for Leicester despite the Foxes’ early goal
Yildirim was done after the third round.
“Everybody’s talking about Gane being this big contender, but look what Francis Ngannou did to Rozenstruik,” White said. “This was his coming out party and his chance to show the world who he is. He won, but let’s leave it at that. He won.”
Louis Nix III was a standout defensive lineman for Notre Dame before playing three seasons in the NFL.
Arik Gilbert was one of the top recruits in the nation last year.
CALGARY — Defending champion Kerri Einarson advanced to Sunday's final of the Canadian women's curling championship with a 9-3 semifinal win over Alberta's Laura Walker. Einarson meets Ontario's Rachel Homan in a rematch of last year's final in Moose Jaw, Sask., where Einarson edged Homan in an extra end for her first title. Einarson's foursome from Manitoba's Gimli Curling Club is attempting to win back-to-back crowns in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts for the first time since Homan in 2013 and 2014. Einarson scored three points in the sixth end against Walker to control the game with a 6-2 lead. Walker conceded after Einarson scored another three in the eighth. Walker downed Manitoba's Jennifer Jones 9-8 in a morning tiebreaker to get to the afternoon semifinal against Einarson. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Brian Delaney checked his ticket, found his seats and then sat down for a minute in the sunshine. It wasn't a typical late February day in Arizona — a little cool, a little breezy — but Delaney didn't complain a bit. “You ever been through a Colorado winter?” the Colorado Rockies fan said with a grin. The good humour and smiles were easy to find as baseball fans streamed into Sunday afternoon's spring training opener between the Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. A downward trend in COVID-19 cases throughout most of the country has meant that a limited amount of fans are allowed back in spring training facilities throughout Arizona and Florida. At Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the crowd was capped at about 2,200 fans, which is 16% of the usual capacity. Delaney said he never hesitated to get tickets for himself and Debra Mierzwa once they went on sale a few weeks ago. “Oh yeah,” Delaney said. “We were never worried. This is great.” The happy and halfway-normal scene on Sunday was a far cry from 353 days ago, when incredulous fans stood outside Salt River Fields and digested the news that baseball — and pretty much the rest of the world — was being shutdown because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Nearly a year later, things are very different. “It seemed like forever," said Brandon Ramsey, who lives in the Phoenix area and went to the Reds-Indians game in Goodyear on Sunday. "Last year got cut a little short. To come out here for opening day us just fantastic. They did a great job in socially distancing. They made sure we were safe.” Aside from the World Series and NL Championship Series held last October at a neutral-site park in Arlington, Texas, this marked the first time fans were allowed at big league baseball games since March 12. By now the safety protocols for sports events have become familiar. Fans in Scottsdale are spread out in small pods of two, four or six people. Masks are worn except when eating and drinking. People sitting on blankets in the grass beyond the outfield wall were given spray-painted squares to stay separate. Cleaning crews are ubiquitous. But spring baseball appears to have considerable safety advantage over its NBA, NHL and college basketball counterparts: It's played outdoors where studies have shown the virus is less effective at spreading. “We feel really good about our ability to host spring training in the safest possible way,” Cactus League executive director Bridget Binsbacher said. All 30 teams in Major League Baseball are allowing fans at their spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida, though capacity will be severely limited. The Chicago Cubs are welcoming the most fans (3,630 per game) while the San Francisco Giants will have the fewest (1,000 per game). The Yankees and Twins have the largest percentage of seats available, with the potential to reach 28% of capacity. The outlook for spring training has changed drastically just in the past month. Back in January, the Cactus League sent a letter to MLB suggesting that the spring schedule be delayed because of high COVID-19 case counts in Maricopa County, which is home to all 15 teams in Arizona. But then cases plummeted in Arizona and the plan to play games pushed forward. Binsbacher and others became much more optimistic. For some fans, the progress came too late. Don Witynski is a 58-year-old Milwaukee Brewers fan from Wisconsin who has travelled to Arizona the past four years for about a week during spring training. He said his family of four would watch three or four baseball games but the trip also includes hiking and other outdoor activities in the Arizona sun. Not this year. He said most of his friends are staying in Wisconsin this year, though a few will make the trip to the desert. “We’re hunkering down, staying home,” Witynski said. “I’ve got teenagers, 13-year-old twins. Obviously until this vaccine rolls out more we’re definitely staying home this year unfortunately.” Those are the kinds of stories that have Arizona and Florida bracing for another year of lost revenue. But limited fans are better than no fans. The appetite to watch baseball appears strong: The Rockies and Diamondbacks — who share the Salt River Fields facility — both sold out their entire spring ticket allotments about 24 hours after they went public. Delaney said he and Mierzwa were coming to Arizona regardless of the baseball situation. They enjoy trail running and Arizona in February is a fine time for that sport. Businesses in Arizona hope there more Delaneys and Mierzwas out there to make 2021 a little less painful. “It’s all part of moving the right direction,” Binsbacher said. “I can’t stress enough – health and safety was at the forefront of everything we did. But the financial numbers are real. It definitely impacts our businesses and the numbers speak for themselves. It’s a tremendous impact.” The COVID-19 hit to central Arizona's baseball economy was stark: A study from Arizona State University found that the Cactus League's season generated an estimated economic impact of $363.6 million in 2020 before the shutdown in mid-March, which was down nearly $300 million from the estimated $644.2 million generated in 2018. The study added that 2020 would have been “on a par” with 2018 had it not been for the coronavirus. As for 2021, there is cautious optimism that the Cactus League season won't be a complete washout for the local economy. But for hotels, restaurants, bars, golf courses and rental house companies, there's little doubt that finances will take a hit for a second straight year. Stephanie Pressler, who is the director of community affairs for Experience Scottsdale, said businesses are balancing realism with a little optimism now that COVID-19 cases have gone down and all teams are allowing at least some fans. “This is normally the busiest time of year for Scottsdale’s tourism industry, largely because of Cactus League spring training,” Pressler said in an email. “Understandably, our expectations are muted this year given the ongoing pandemic, though Experience Scottsdale is excited that the season is moving forward in a way that will keep teams, fans, employees and residents safe.” ___ AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Milwaukee, AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York and AP freelancer Gary Schatz in Goodyear, Arizona, contributed to this story. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports David Brandt, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — After dodging COVID-19 for almost half of the NBA season, the Toronto Raptors have been dealt a big blow. The NBA called off Toronto's game against the visiting Chicago Bulls on Sunday night due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. In a shortened NBA season reeling from COVID-19 cases and game cancellations, it's the first game cancellation for the Raptors. The league said the Raptors are dealing with positive test results, and combined with contact tracing issues, won't have the league-required eight players available Sunday. The team's trouble seemingly started on Friday when the Raptors were missing head coach Nick Nurse, five members of his staff and star forward Pascal Siakam. Assistant Sergio Scariolo stepped in to coach the team to a 122-111 win over the Houston Rockets. NBA players and staff are tested twice daily. The Raptors had 14 players available on Friday, and played 12. Siakam was the only Raptor player listed on Saturday's injury report as out due to health and safety protocols, suggesting the results and contact tracing investigations from Saturday showed either positive tests or exposure to individuals who had positive results. The names of players or staff members affected were not revealed. Prior to Sunday, the Raptors had been one of just four teams with no game postponements. Sunday's game is the 30th to be postponed this season. Makeup games will add to an already jam-packed second half of the schedule, which was released earlier this week. The Raptors were already scheduled to play 35 games in 66 days in the season's second half, including a gruelling four-game western road trip that sees Toronto play four games in six days at Denver, Utah and Los Angeles against the Clippers and Lakers. The Raptors' next game, if indeed they get the green light to go ahead, is Tuesday against Detroit. The one plus is they only play once more — Thursday at Boston — before the all-star break. The Raptors tip off the second half of the season on March 11 against the visiting Atlanta Hawks. Because of Canada's border regulations around COVID-19, and health and safety measures in Toronto, the Raptors are playing their home games out of Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Florida added 5,539 coronavirus cases and 118 deaths on Sunday. The state has had more than 1.9 million cases since the pandemic's arrival last March. — With files from The Associated Press This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ah, baseball has returned.
SHEFFIELD, England — Liverpool halted a run of four defeats in the Premier League as it ended a miserable February with a 2-0 win over last-place Sheffield United on Sunday. A series of fine first-half saves from Sheffield goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale kept the defending champions at bay in the first half. The 20-year-old academy graduate Curtis Jones made the breakthrough for Liverpool in the 48th minute when he fired in off Trent Alexander-Arnold's deflected cross. There was a brief check for whether the ball had gone out of play in the buildup but there was no conclusive evidence that it had. Oliver McBurnie sent a header wide in Sheffield's best chance of levelling the score before Liverpool made it 2-0 in the 64th. Roberto Firmino weaved through the defence before hitting a shot which took a deflection before going past Ramsdale. The Premier League ruled it was an own-goal for Sheffield's Kean Bryan, meaning Firmino went a seventh game without a goal in the league and Champions League. The second goal took the game out of reach for a Sheffield team with just three league wins all season as Liverpool marked its first league game without conceding a goal since a 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Jan. 17. However, it was not the kind of emphatic victory which might have boosted Liverpool's confidence further after a miserable recent run which included last week's defeat to rival Everton and losses to Manchester City and Leicester which buried an already ailing bid to retain the title. Mohamed Salah missed from close range in the 80th and Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian, standing in for Alisson Becker after his father died, stopped a late attempt from Oliver Burke. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Fernando Tatis Jr. gets a full no-trade provision through 2028 as part of his $330 million, 14-year contract with the San Diego Padres. After that he will have the ability to block a trade to 13 teams for the remainder of the deal. However, the 22-year-old Tatis already has two years of major league service, so if he remains in the major leagues he would acquire the right after 2028 to block trades under the collective bargaining agreement as a 10-year veteran who has been with his team for five years or longer. His contract calls for a $10 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of approval of the contract by the commissioner's office and a $1 million salary this year, his last season before he would have been eligible for arbitration. He gets $5 million in 2022, $7 million in 2023 and $11 million in 2024, the three seasons he would have been eligible for arbitration. Tatis receives $20 million each in 2025 and 2026, the first two seasons after he would have become eligible for free agency, $25 million apiece in 2027 and 2028, and $36 million in each of the final six seasons. He also gets a hotel suite on all road trips, and the right to purchase a premium luxury suite and four of the best available premium season tickets for all Padres' home games. Tatis' deal, announced Monday, exceeds in length the $325 million, 13-year agreement in November 2014 between Miami and Giancarlo Stanton, who was traded to the New York Yankees in December 2017, and the $330 million, 13-year contract ahead of the 2019 season between Philadelphia and Bryce Harper. He has baseball's third-largest agreement by amount, trailing Mike Trout's $426.5 million, 12-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels that started in 2019 and Mookie Betts' $365, 12-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that begins this season. Tatis will give up a percentage of his salary to a company called Big League Advance as part of a contract in which he accepted an up-front payment several years ago. While the details of Tatis' deal with the company are not known, a lawsuit filed by Francisco Mejía in 2018 said Mejia received $360,000 as part of agreements in which he agreed to repay the company 10% of future earnings. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice. ___ More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB Ronald Blum, The Associated Press
Alan Bowman made 16 starts for Texas Tech. He threw for 5,260 yards, 33 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for the Red Raiders.
LONDON — An unexpected but burgeoning title challenge for Manchester United has fallen apart in just a few weeks. A 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Sunday was drab but consequential. It was the fifth time United has been held in the nine Premier League matches since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side went top 47 days earlier. No wonder Solskjaer downplayed the elevated status, even after the Jan. 12 victory over Burnley gave United a glimmer of hope of ending an eight-year title drought. With only three wins since then, United has allowed Manchester City to take control — with City showing the attacking strength completely lacking in United's display at Stamford Bridge. “We were both quite sort of safe,” United defender Luke Shaw said. “I don’t think we created too many chances. So a bit disappointed with that. We needed to win because obviously the gap’s getting bigger.” United does remain second in the standings, but City has now been able to extend its lead to 12 points after beating West Ham on Saturday. It is fourth-place West Ham in Chelsea's sights. Drawing a blank in a drab encounter against United kept Chelsea unbeaten in the two months under Thomas Tuchel but the west London club remained a point behind West Ham in the pursuit of Champions League qualification. Man United wants to be achieving more than just top-four finishes but its record against the biggest six teams has been dismal. Not a single goal has been scored all season by United from open play in the league against City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and, of course, Chelsea. “We are not scoring enough,” Solskjaer said. “The next step for this team is to win these games.” United was left grumbling about the refereeing at Chelsea after not being awarded a penalty in the first half for what looked like handball by Callum Hudson-Odoi. “I’m a bit concerned that we don’t get those penalties after the noises that were made a month or two ago about us getting penalties,” Solskjaer said. "So clearly there is a point of managers influencing the referees which they shouldn’t do.” The manager even claimed a “cheeky” item on the Chelsea website was “influencing referees" which pointed to how United captain Harry Maguire had “survived VAR reviews” of fouls on their players in recent encounters. “What they are saying about Harry Maguire puts pressure on the referees to give penalties against us," Solskjaer said, deflecting attention away from the ineffective attack featuring Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford. Shaw went much further with a claim about what referee Stuart Attwell told Maguire. “I heard the ref say to H, ‘If I give a pen it’s going to cause a lot of talk after,’" Shaw said. “H was told it was a pen by VAR, but I’m not going to moan.” Tuchel pointed out that United striker Greenwood had actually handled the ball. “You see this one second on the iPad and I see it on the field live,” Tuchel said. “I don’t understand why he needs to check it, but I’m glad it’s not a penalty because it would have been even worse.” A game that ended with Christian Pulisic being deployed from the bench as Olivier Giroud's replacement to lead the attack offered little attacking quality. “Now it is a moment to hang in and to show performances every three or four days which demands a lot,” Tuchel said. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
Trey Mancini took his first at-bat since last March.
NEW YORK — Charlie McAvoy had a goal and an assist, leading the Boston Bruins to a 4-1 win against the New York Rangers on Sunday. Tuukka Rask made 20 saves and earned his 299th NHL victory. Charlie Coyle scored twice and David Pastrnak added two assists as the Bruins snapped a two-game skid. Trent Frederic also scored for Boston. Alexandar Georgiev made 31 saves, but the Rangers fell for the second time in games. Colin Blackwell scored for New York. McAvoy hammered a one-timer to push the Bruins’ lead to 3-0 at 10:20 of the second period. Pastrnak and Brad Marchand assisted on the play. The Bruins and Rangers have met four times in the month of February this season, all at MSG. The teams are scheduled to play four more times at TD Garden in Boston during this abbreviated 56-game season with revamped divisions because of COVID-19. Coyle opened the scoring at 6:41 of the first period with a deft wrist shot from inside the left faceoff circle. Pastrnak’s leading pass allowed Coyle to enter the offensive zone with speed and get by Rangers rookie defenceman K’Andre Miller. McAvoy earned the secondary assist on the play. Before Coyle’s goal, Georgiev sustained a cut above his left eye following a collision with Bruins forward Nick Ritchie. Igor Shesterkin replaced Georgiev after the goal for the remainder of the first period. Georgiev returned for the second period and finished the game. Frederic extended the Bruins’ lead to 2-0 late in the first period when he redirected a puck past Shesterkin. Connor Clifton and Jack Studnicka assisted on the goal at 18:14 of the opening period. Blackwell spoiled Rask’s shutout bid at 10:47 of the third period. Alexis Lafreniere, the first overall selection of the 2020 draft, picked up his second career assist in as many games on the play. Coyle added a short-handed empty-net goal at 18:05 to seal the victory for the Bruins. POWER PLAY STRUGGLES The Bruins are 3 for 22 on the man advantage over their past nine games after going 12 for 34 over the first 10. LEARNING CURVE The Bruins dressed four rookies on Sunday, including Frederic, Studnicka, Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen. UP NEXT Bruins: Host Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Rangers: Host Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press