Tribune News Service
Sports Budget for Friday, June 26, 2020
Updated at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC)
This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.
^Ravens center Matt Skura has had a 'remarkable' rehab. He has his wife to thank.<
FBN-RAVENS-SKURA-SPORTSPLUS:BZ — "Why are you running so fast?"
Matt Skura heard the question and didn't know what to say, really. He was running again, and it felt like a race, and that was enough. In an early-morning workout last month in Charlotte, N.C., all the Ravens center wanted to do was put one foot in front of the other faster than he had in months. The only competition was his very pregnant wife, and now somewhat annoyed training partner, Emma.
"Where's that been?" she recalled asking him later.
2150 by Jonas Shaffer in Baltimore. MOVED
^NBA says 5% of players tested for coronavirus have COVID-19<
^BKN-CORONAVIRUS-POSITIVETESTS:BLO—<The NBA and NBA Players Association said that 16 of 302 players tested positive for COVID-19 as the league ramps up screening before the resumption of professional basketball next month.
"Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician," said the joint statement.
The 5% positive rate is slightly below the 6.1% national 7-day moving average, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
150 by Brandon Kochkodin. MOVED
^NBA finalizes plan to restart season with 22 teams in Orlando on July 30<
^BKN-SEASON-PLAN:LA—<The NBA and its players union officially announced Friday the league will resume play with 22 of its teams July 30 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., a development that comes as cases of the coronavirus continue to spike around the resort property.
"We have worked together with the Players Association to establish a restart plan that prioritizes health and safety, preserves competitive fairness and provides a platform to address social justice issues," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in the release.
350 by Dan Woike. MOVED
^Kevin Sherrington: Why MLB's stringent COVID-19 guidelines will make the return to baseball anything but normal<
^BBO-SHERRINGTON-COLUMN:DA—<Good news: Turns out MLB officials weren't sitting around on their aspirations the last three months after all!
It may have seemed as if they were just stonewalling the union, but they were also putting together an operations manual on the off chance that everyone snapped to their senses. And not just any operations manual, either. The level of detail in this 101-page puppy, acquired by the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant, would put to shame the safety team at a nuclear plant.
Officials hoped these rules and guidelines would "return a sense of normalcy" to our way of life. Only there's nothing normal about any of this.
1250 by Kevin Sherrington. MOVED
^Scott Lauber: Tough regional schedule might be 'reality check' for Phillies' playoff ambitions<
BBN-LAUBER-COLUMN:PH — Four months and another world ago, when the Phillies gathered in Florida for what appeared to be a placid spring training, team officials had one overriding concern: the National League East.
It's the case before any season that the Phillies would gauge their chances of success by sizing up their rivals. But after hiring an accomplished manager (Joe Girardi) and adding a talented free-agent pitcher (Zack Wheeler) and a shortstop (Didi Gregorius) to a group that won 81 games last year, the club's high command wondered — sometimes aloud, often privately — if the roster was good enough to win, say, the NL Central but still finish fourth in the loaded NL East.
850 by Scott Lauber in Philadelphia. MOVED
^Paul Sullivan: Sammy Sosa shouldn't wait for an invitation to Wrigley Field, and other unsolicited advice<
BBO-SULLIVAN-COLUMN:TB — Offering unsolicited advice to athletes, executives and owners is one of the many perks of being a Chicago Tribune sports writer.
You often can get under the skin of a powerful person, as when White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf pulled me aside after I'd written a column calling for changes at new Comiskey Park, including blowing up the upper deck and replacing the blue seats with green ones.
"Why are you making such a big (expletive) deal about the seats in the upper deck?" he asked.
1000 by Paul Sullivan in Chicago. MOVED
^Domingo German's domestic violence ban will keep him from Yankees for entire regular season<
BBA-YANKEES-GERMAN:NY — The Yankees will proceed through the pandemic-saturated 2020 micro-season without Domingo German while he finishes his domestic violence suspension.
German received an 81-game suspension in January following an MLB investigation of an altercation between the Yankees pitcher and his girlfriend. The league's decision was applied retroactively to Sept. 19 — the date German was placed on administrative leave — a stretch that included a combined 18 regular-season and playoff games, leaving him with 63 games left on his ban.
250 by Bradford William Davis in New York. MOVED
^Orioles allowed to use Camden Yards for training camp and games; possibility of fans under discussion<
BBA-ORIOLES-CAMDENYARDS:BZ — The Orioles will be allowed to start their planned training camp at Oriole Park at Camden Yards next week, with outdoor sporting events allowed under both the state and city's reopening plans.
Discussions are ongoing, however, as to whether fans might be allowed to attend games at any point in the 2020 season, Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan said.
In the current phases of reopening for the state of Maryland and Baltimore City, sporting events are allowed to be held outdoors but with no spectators.
650 by Jon Meoli in Baltimore. MOVED
^MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium? Not in 2020, maybe in 2022.<
BBO-DODGERS-ALLSTARGAME:LA — The fans of Los Angeles have waited 40 years for baseball's All-Star Game. That wait will go on for at least another two years, but the game will return to Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980.
The Dodgers had been scheduled to play host to the All-Star Game July 14, but the start of the 2020 season has been delayed to July 23 because of the coronavirus outbreak. As Major League Baseball officials complete the 2020 schedule, they also are working on a new date for a Dodger Stadium All-Star Game.
250 by Bill Shaikin in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Pirates lay off more staffers, this time in baseball operations<
BBN-PIRATES-FIRINGS:PG — A day after more than two dozen layoffs on the business side, the Pirates turned their attention to baseball operations, reshaping the department under new general manager Ben Cherington.
Multiple sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Friday that the Pirates had "laid off" around 15 people involved with baseball — from those providing hitting and pitching instruction in the minor leagues to others who were involved in scouting and even in the Dominican Republic.
The move was made now to allow those affected to figure out the next steps in their careers. The Pirates will pay salaries through Oct. 31 and benefits through the end of the calendar year.
350 by Jason Mackey in Pittsburgh. MOVED
^Tom Krasovic: Looking back, San Diego voters deserve thanks for rejecting Chargers' initiative<
FBN-KRASOVIC-COLUMN:SD — Nearly four years after San Diegans voted down the Chargers stadium-convention center plan seeking $1.15 billion in hotel tax money, a few words are in order.
Thank you, voters.
Thank you very much.
And if Dean Spanos and family were given truth serum, they'd likely say thank you, too.
Football lovers who criticized San Diego voters for rejecting the ham-handed Chargers measure in November 2016 never were on the best footing, but amid the current economic crisis, their case has crumbled to dust.
1500 by Tom Krasovic in San Diego. MOVED
^Dieter Kurtenbach: Why 49ers star George Kittle won't land the massive contract he wants<
^FBN-KURTENBACH-COLUMN:SJ—<By the time George Kittle's rookie contract with the 49ers expires at the end of this (hopefully) upcoming season, he'll have made a total of a little over $4 million in four years from the defending NFC champions.
On his next deal, he's looking for five times that total, annually.
But I don't think the 49ers are going to pay it, because they have a secret weapon in the negotiation.
Of course, anyone who watches the 49ers knows that Kittle is worth every penny he is asking for and more.
1050 by Dieter Kurtenbach. MOVED
^Dolphins owner Steve Ross pledges $13 million to help fight systemic racism<
^FBN-DOLPHINS-ROSS:FL—<Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross has pledged to invest $13 million over the next four years into the RISE organization he started after the Bullygate saga of 2013 — with the goal of using sports to end systemic racism.
The new financial commitment, which was announced Friday, brings Ross' total investment in RISE — which stands for Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality — to $30 million.
The national nonprofit has been using sports to educate and empower young people, helping them address racial discrimination, championing social justice and working to improve race relations since 2015.
650 by Omar Kelly. MOVED
^Joe Starkey: Brandin Knight's right — Vince Carter's the best dunker ever<
BKN-STARKEY-COLUMN:PG — Two days into this horrendous year, I contacted former Pitt basketball star Brandin Knight for a story about a dunk.
It was the 20-year anniversary of Julius Page's legendary leap-and-smash over Georgetown's Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje (aka "Boom-Boom"). My text exchange with Knight took a turn when I asked if Page going boom-boom on Boom-Boom was the best dunk he ever saw in person.
Knight: "2nd best. Maybe 1-B."
Me: "You can't leave me hangin' on 1-A!!"
650 by Joe Starkey in Pittsburgh. MOVED
^Rasheed Wallace, Stephon Marbury blast new Knicks front office led by Leon Rose, William 'World Wide Wes' Wesley<
BKN-KNICKS-WALLACE-MARBURY:NY — Two former Knicks blasted the new front office, with Rasheed Wallace calling the hirings of Leon Rose and William Wesley "a brain fart" by the organization and Stephon Marbury labeling Wesley, in particular, a "world wide sucker."
Marbury didn't get into specifics during his social media rant, but Wallace said the executives carry baggage into their new jobs because of their dealings as agents and won't have the respect of players because they lack a basketball background.
800 by Stefan Bondy in New York. MOVED
^Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, NBA All-Star Draymond Green call out 'systemic racism' of NCAA in joint op-ed<
^BKN-WARRIORS-GREEN-SENATOR:HC—<U.S. Sen Chris Murphy paired with NBA All-Star Draymond Green this week to link efforts at reforming the NCAA with a broader fight for racial justice that has intensified since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
In an op-ed published on ESPN.com, the Democratic senator from Connecticut and the Golden State Warriors forward described college football and basketball as "a system in which predominantly white executives, coaches, athletic directors and others profit off the unpaid labor of majority Black players."
400 by Alex Putterman. MOVED
^Will Hornets be allowed to practice? High health-safety bar will make it difficult.<
BKN-HORNETS-PRACTICE:CH — The NBA and its players association appreciate the plight of the eight teams — including the Charlotte Hornets — not part of the season restart near Orlando, Fla.
However, those eight teams won't get to practice or scrimmage this summer without the strictest health assurances in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Union executive director Michele Roberts said she wouldn't agree to "any return to play that doesn't have the same guarantees of safety and health" that the NBA will enforce on Disney's Florida campus to resume the season.
450 by Rick Bonnell in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED
^Luke DeCock: Send them home: How many positive tests before we pull the plug on college football?<
FBC-DECOCK-COLUMN:RA — So it looks like college football, collectively, is prepared to wait for one of its players or staffers to get critically ill or worse before it pulls the plug on summer workouts. As the positive COVID-19 tests pile up, as players pile into bars and pile out infected, few colleges are taking a step back and asking, "Should we really be doing this right now?"
They should not. That is unfortunate. It is also obvious.
The relentless push for college football is above all else financial, although not necessarily in the same cynical way as the opposition to athletes capitalizing on their image rights. Athletic department budgets are built around football. The money football brings in funds scholarships and creates jobs.
1150 by Luke DeCock in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED
^Two more PGA Tour players withdraw from Travelers Championship following a positive coronavirus test<
GLF-TRAVELERS-CORONAVIRUS:HC — Two more PGA Tour players withdrew from the Travelers Championship Friday following a positive coronavirus test.
Denny McCarthy, 27, withdrew after testing positive. He was scheduled to tee of his afternoon with Bud Cauley, who tested negative but still withdrew, and Matt Wallace, who continued to play.
"I was feeling pretty tired and sore after the round yesterday but didn't think much of it because I had practiced a lot Monday to Wednesday," McCarthy said.
750 by Shawn McFarland in Cromwell, Conn. MOVED
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