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IHSA Hoping for 'Return to Play' Phase 2 Guidelines to Be Approved Next Week

The IHSA is waiting on final approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health on Stage 2 “Return to Play” guidelines. 

 

IHSA executive director Craig Anderson says it would allow for outdoor and indoor gatherings of 50 or fewer players, coaches and officials. It would also allow for athletic contests and practices. 

 

 

IHSA Stage 1 “Return to Play” started last month and the policy allows for strength, conditioning and speed workouts for groups of ten or less.

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Decades Old Tradition Coming to An End for Packers

The Green Bay Packers will have a six-decade NFL training camp tradition end as they won’t be staying at nearby St. Norbert College because of coronavirus concerns.

 

The Packers instead will have their entire training camp operations at Lambeau Field. Housing arrangements are still being finalized.

 

Packers officials said they made the switch due to NFL protocols asking clubs to maximize use of their own facilities to mitigate exposure to the virus.

 

St. Norbert had hosted the Packers for training camp since 1958

 

The Packers have traditionally eaten dinner at St. Norbert and stayed in a residence hall on campus while commuting to their training-camp workouts at Lambeau Field.

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Cubs Pitching Coach Recovering from Coronavirus

Chicago Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy is recovering from a severe case of COVID-19 that had him quarantined for 30 days.

 

The 38-year-old Hottovy broke down Wednesday as he detailed a harrowing ordeal during a conference call. The Cubs resume workouts Friday for the first time since Major League Baseball shut down camps on March 12.

 

Hottovy is in his second season as the Cubs’ pitching coach. The former major leaguer said he experienced fevers, breathing trouble and an increased heart rate. The symptoms worsened at night, making it difficult to sleep.

 

Because he didn’t want his wife and young children to catch the virus, Hottovy isolated himself in a spare bedroom at home. He struggled during one Zoom meeting with pitchers, and manager David Ross took over for him.

 

Things got so bad that Hottovy spent eight hours at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on the 12th day he was sick. He finally tested negative about two weeks ago.

 

Hottovy said he’s still weakened from the illness. He considered opting out of the season while he was sick but decided against that.

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Kings Forward, Former Chicago Standout Jabarri Parker Returns to Practice Following Positive Coronavirus Test

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton says forward Jabari Parker has been cleared to end his self-isolation following a positive test for the coronavirus. Walton also spoke to Parker about handling himself in public after photos surfaced last week of the forward playing tennis without a mask following his positive test.

 

Center Alex Len and guard Buddy Hield also announced they contracted the coronavirus, and Walton says all three are “doing much better” while being tested every other day. No players have told Walton they don’t want to take part as the Kings (28-36) prepare to play their final eight games in Orlando beginning at the end of this month.

 

Walton said on a call Wednesday, quote “This is a grown men’s league. We talk to our guys but you can’t make them do anything. All we can do is encourage them to follow the guidelines that we’ve all been given: Do your best to social distance, wear a face mask when you’re out, wash your hands as often as possible, stay away from shaking hands, those type of things.”

 

One of Walton’s top priorities now is “making sure everyone’s comfortable” — which will mean players bringing their own workout gear and leaving an extra pair of shoes that stay at the practice facility or arena.

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Cardinals to Replace Yankees in Field of Dreams Game

The St. Louis Cardinals have replaced the New York Yankees as the opponent for the Chicago White Sox in the Field of Dreams game on Aug. 13 at Dyersville, Iowa.

 

According to reports, the schedule change caused by the new coronavirus pandemic meant the White Sox no longer play the Yankees this season. 

 

Major League Baseball hopes to announce its new schedule next week. Each team will play 60 games, 40 against division rivals and 20 against teams in the corresponding regional division in the other league.

 

It remains unclear whether fans would be allowed at the game, which is to be televised nationally by Fox.

 

A temporary 8,000-seat stadium is nearing completion at the site, about 200 miles west of Chicago, adjacent to where the movie was filmed on a diamond in a cornfield. This would be the first major league game played in Iowa.

 

The movie, released in 1989, starred Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster and Ray Liotta.

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NFL Slashing Preseason, Moving Exhibition Start Date Back

The NFL will cut its preseason in half and push back the start of exhibition play so teams have more time to train following a virtual offseason made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.

 

Players are still discussing with their union whether to ask for the cancellation of all preseason games, according to two people familiar with their thinking. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because a decision hasn’t been made.

 

The pandemic forced teams to conduct their entire offseason programs via videoconference. So, teams will be gathering together for the first time when training camps open July 28.

 

Minus the usual minicamps, on-field practices and in-person weight training from April to June, players’ conditioning won’t be what it normally is. So, eliminating the first week of preseason games Aug. 13-16 will give them more time to ratchet up their football fitness.

 

Teams will now play exhibitions Aug. 20-24 and Aug. 27-31 during what were originally the second and third weeks of exhibition play, with all 32 teams playing one home and one road game.

 

Most of those games will remain the same as originally scheduled, although some matchups in that second slate will have to be changed so every team gets a game at home.

 

The exhibition finales on Sept. 3 were also scrapped, giving teams more time to get ready for the regular season, which opens Sept. 10 with Houston at Kansas City.

 

There are no changes to the regular-season schedule.

 

The league continues to draw up protocols, not only for COVID-19 mitigation but for ramping up practices during the first few weeks of training camp.

 

The annual Hall of Fame Game pitting Pittsburgh and Dallas on Aug. 6 was recently scrapped as the induction ceremonies were pushed back to 2021.

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Baseball Cancels Minor League Season

Baseball’s minor leagues canceled their seasons Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the head of their governing body said more than half of the 160 teams were in danger of failing without government assistance or private equity injections.

 

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body founded in September 1901, made the long-expected announcement. The minors had never missed a season.

 

National Association president Pat O’Conner estimated 85-90% of revenue was related to ticket money, concessions, parking, and ballpark advertising. The minors drew 41.5 million fans last year for 176 teams in 15 leagues, averaging 4,044 fans per game.

 

MLB teams are planning for a 60-game regular season and most of their revenue will derive from broadcast money.

 

O’Conner said many minor league teams had received money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act.

 

He hopes for passage of H.R. 7023, which would provide $1 billion in 15-year federal loans from the Federal Reserve to businesses that had 2019 revenue of $35 million or less and “have contractual obligations for making lease, rent, or bond payments for publicly owned sports facilities, museums, and community theaters.”

 

In addition, the Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and minors expires Sept.. 30, and MLB has proposed reducing the minimum affiliates from 160 to 120.

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1st Overall Pick Agrees to Deal with Tigers, In Player Pool

No. 1 overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a minor league contract on Tuesday, and the team said the infielder will join its player pool for this abbreviated season.

 

Torkelson’s deal includes an $8,416,300 is a signing bonus, which is $1,000 above slot value, and a $2,500 contingent bonus for days on the roster of a minor league affiliate, which cannot be earned until 2021. He is to receive $100,000 within 30 days of the deal’s approval by Major League Baseball, and 50% of the rest on each July 1 in 2021 and 2022.

 

Detroit had the top pick for the second time in three years after drafting right-hander Casey Mize in 2018.

 

Undrafted out of high school, Torkelson hit 54 home runs at Arizona State. The Tigers took the slugging first baseman with the top pick, then said they intended to try him at third.

 

He’ll get a chance to show what he can do, sooner rather than later. Detroit announced 58 selections for its player pool Sunday, leaving two spots open. On Tuesday, the Tigers said Torkelson will be added to that group.

 

The Tigers also included Mize and several other top pitching prospects in that player pool, meaning it’s possible that some of Detroit’s biggest young names could reach the majors at some point this season.

 

Torkelson hit .340 with six home runs and 11 RBIs in 17 games this year during a college season shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

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MLB Teams Will Not Be Able to Disclose Coronavirus IL Players

Trying to find out the status of a baseball player coming back from an ankle injury definitely will be easier than learning whether someone tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

Major League Baseball said Tuesday that a team will not specifically announce a COVID-19 injured list placement for a player who is removed from the club after testing positive, just an IL trip.

 

MLB’s operations manual says a positive test, exhibiting symptoms that require isolation for additional assessment or exposure to someone who has had the virus are cause for placement on the new COVID-19 IL.

 

Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement states that for any medical condition not related to employment “a club may disclose only the fact that a medical condition is preventing the player from rendering services to the club and the anticipated length of the player’s absence from the club.”

 

Cashman noted the situation continues to evolve as MLB and the players’ union continue discussions. Testing of players and staff will begin Wednesday as they report to their teams to resume workouts. They will be tested once every two days.

 

Last week, Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies became the first MLB player known to have tested positive. According to reports, the All-Star outfielder was one of three Colorado players to have a positive test.

 

Numerous other teams have said they have players who have tested positive for the virus without identifying any of them. The Philadelphia Phillies announced seven, while the Detroit Tigers said one player who was living in Florida but not working out at the team’s spring training facilities in Lakeland also tested positive.

 

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said a few players have tested positive but declined to specify how many. Several Toronto Blue Jays players and staff members also have tested positive.

 

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said remaining educated about best practices is going to be crucial for everyone.

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Bears Offering Season Ticket Holders Refunds

The Chicago Bears are offering full refunds to season ticket holders because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Season ticket holders who choose that option will be able to renew their seats for the 2021 season, the team says. The Bears are not sure how many fans will be allowed at Soldier Field this season.

 

Chicago is scheduled to open at Detroit on Sept. 13 and host the New York Giants a week later. The Bears also have home preseason games against Cleveland and San Francisco on Aug. 15 and 29.

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Illini Sports Beat Writer Weighs In On Coronavirus Impacts on Return to Sports

Keeping athletes healthy by following the basic protocols is how the return to sports in college is going to work.

 

That's according to Bob Asmussen who follows Illinois sports for the Champaign News-Gazette and illinihq.com. He indicates a return to sports in Champaign can be successful by following the most basic protocols.

 

 

There is concern around the college football community about the transmission of this virus because of the constant contact nature of the sport. Asmussen says college football is going to give the season a try but does not get the sense there's any sense of the season getting canceled.

 

 

Asmussen says the best thing for the athletes is for them to be on campus with the top-of-the-line medical facilities and a controlled environment rather than any issues they may encounter at their homes.

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Cubs Announce Two Staffers Test Positive for Coronavirus

Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer says two staff members have COVID-19 and were experiencing mild symptoms.

 

Hoyer would not reveal their names. He says one was tested because “a friend of a friend had it and he’d been in contact with that person,” and the other was “out of an abundance of caution.”

 

Hoyer says no players have tested positive or opted out of this season because of concerns about the coronavirus, nor have any coaches.

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IHSA Moving Forward With State Series for Girls Wrestling

The IHSA is moving forward with an individual state series for girls wrestling. Lena-Winslow head wrestling coach Kevin Milder says the numbers are growing in the sport.

 

 

Milder serves on the IHSA wrestling advisory committee. The girls state wrestling tournament will first be offered in the 2021/2022 school year.

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Denny Hamlin Wins at Pocono

Dennyh Hamlin topped Kevin Harvick on Sunday night to win the second Cup race of the weekend at Pocono Raceway and flip the result of the opener. The 1-2 finish out of each driver is a clear sign two of the best drivers in the game are poised again to make a championship push.

 

Hamlin has four wins this season for Joe Gibbs Racing and Harvick has three for Stewart-Haas Racing as they start to separate themselves from the rest of the field.

 

Hamlin is racking up milestones as he chases his first NASCAR Cup championship. Hamlin has 41 victories to move to 19th on NASCAR’s career list and his sixth win at Pocono matched Jeff Gordon for most at the 2½ mile tri-oval track.

 

Hamlin raced to his fourth victory of the season to cap a wild, marathon day of racing at the track, with three NASCAR races and nightfall in the finale. Pocono doesn’t have lights -- but the pit road numbers were lit up and glowed as Hamlin won for the second straight year at Pocono.

 

Hamlin had a late vibration in his No. 11 Toyota on Saturday that hindered his attempt to catch Harvick down the stretch. About 25 hours later, Hamlin surged past Harvick and built a nearly 3-second lead once the SHR driver got caught up in lapped traffic.

 

The Daytona 500 champion’s victory capped the first NASCAR tripleheader at one track. The race was delayed by lightning and rain, as much a part of Pocono as a JGR driver taking the checkered flag. Gibbs’ roster has six of the last seven winners at Pocono.

 

They ran six laps before the race was red-flagged nearly 51 minutes because or rain. NASCAR ran several pace laps before the race finally went green around 6:15 p.m. It was a race against darkness to complete the full 350 miles.

 

Harvick won Saturday’s race and put the brakes on a burnout — he had to save that engine for another run in the same No. 4 Ford. The starting lineup was inverted for Sunday’s race so Harvick started 20th.

 

Erik Jones was third, Chase Elliott fourth and Aric Almirola was fifth.

 

The rain wreaked havoc with the third NASCAR race of the day at Pocono. Brandon Jones opened the day with a win in the Truck Series race and Chase Briscoe won the Xfinity race. Pocono became the first track in NASCAR history to hold three national series races on the same day.

 

NASCAR’s hope to capitalize on being about the only major sport to run live every week with sports on pause in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has been besieged by weather issues. Sunday marked the ninth race out of 15 this season with a weather delay and three have been moved a full day. It’s hard to keep TV viewers interested when its a parade of Air Titans instead of a mad dash to the checkered flag.

 

Pocono is notorious for rainy weekends and in 2016 had two Cup races and an IndyCar race all washed out and run on Monday. The “Need Help or Info?” signs around the track went unneeded as the only thing in the grandstands was rain.

 

It put yet another damper on seven-time Jimmie Johnson’s farewell season. Johnson, a three-time winner at Pocono, was honored by the track over the weekend. Pocono painted “Jimmie” on one side of the start/finish line, added a painted “48 Jimmie Johnson” rock to their infield collection of race legends, and his two young daughters gave the command for the driver’s to start their engines. He finished 16th.

 

Chase Briscoe held off Ross Chastain in overtime to win the crash-filled Xfinity Series at Pocono Raceway, the second of three NASCAR races at the track on Sunday.

 

Brandon Jones won a two-lap sprint to the finish to win the wreck-filled Truck Series race, the first of three NASCAR races Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

 

Harvick snapped an 0-for-38 drought at Pocono, taking the checkered flag Saturday at one of two tracks where victory had eluded him.

 

Harvick won the first of two NASCAR Cup races in front of no fans this weekend at Pocono and will start 20th on Sunday with the field set by inverting the lead-lap finishers.

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DJ Holds On for Win at The Travelers

Dustin Johnson won the Travelers Championship on Sunday to end a long drought and extend his career-long season victory streak to 13.

 

Johnson closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Kevin Streelman at fan-free TPC River Highlands. Johnson last won in Mexico City in March 2019.

 

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus each won in 17 consecutive years. Johnson failed to win in 2014, but is given credit for winning in the 2013-14 season from his victory in the fall of 2013 in Shanghai. The tour changed to a wraparound season in 2013.

 

Johnson tapped in for par on the par-4 18th, raised his ball to acknowledge the smattering of applause from course workers, officials and reporters, the only in-person witnesses allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

He finished at 19-under 261 for his 21st PGA Tour title.

 

Streelman also shot 67.

 

Streelman, who made seven straight birdies to win at TPC River Highlands in 2014, had a 37-foot birdie try on 18 that ended up just short and right.

 

He was two strokes behind Johnson on the 17th fairway when the weather horn blew for an hour-long storm delay.

 

Johnson came out of the delay and hit his tee shot on 16 into a greenside bunker. His second shot went well past the hole and made bogey to cut his lead to a stroke.

 

Johnson was at 19 under when his tee shot on the par-4 15th went left and came inches from going into the signature lake that surrounds the finishing holes. His first pitch didn’t make it to the green, and he hit the second to 4 feet to save par.

 

Mackenzie Hughes, who shot a first-round 60, had a 67 to tie for third with 23-year-old Will Gordon at 17 under. Hughes made 48-foot birdie putt on 17, which he started well left of the hole and watched as turned right to the flag. He finished the round with a much straighter 43-foot birdie putt on 18.

 

Gordon, who had no status on either the PGA Tour or the Korn Ferry Tour, had seven birdies in a 64. The finish was just enough to give him a special temporary card and unlimited exemptions for the rest of the season.

 

Johnson started the day two strokes behind Brendon Todd, and took the lead after three straight birdies put him at 20 under after 10 holes.

 

Todd shot a 75 to tie for 11th at 13 under. He made a 7 on the par-4 12th.

 

Bryson DeChambeau shot a 68 to tie for sixth at 15 under.

 

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy tied for 11th at 13 under after a 67.

 

Phil Mickelson, playing his first tournament since turning 50, followed up his opening rounds of 64 and 63 with two 71s to finish at 11 under.

 

There were seven COVID-19-related withdrawals from the Connecticut event, with two positive tests among players. Cameron Champ withdrew Tuesday and Denny McCarthy had a positive test on Friday.

 

The PGA Tour is making some tweaks to its coronavirus policies as a result of this week’s issues. Players, caddies and anyone else considered “inside the bubble” will have to test negative before being allowed on the grounds of the Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

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Clinton High School Updating Outdoor Facilities

Changes to the Clinton High School track and varsity baseball field are among the upgrades happening this summer at the outdoor complex.

 

Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says the baseball field is getting upgraded after alterations at the JV field and the varsity softball field in recent years. Additionally, the track is getting an upgrade.

 

 

Koeppel believes it was time to upgrade the track at the high school and the baseball fields at the high school are going to be as nice as any in the area.

 

 

Koeppel indicates there will be a new scoreboard coming to the JV baseball field thanks to some community support. Koeppel anticipates an announcement on that coming in the days and weeks ahead.

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Clinton HS AD Wants Students to Get Athletic Physicals Taken Care of Now

Practices for fall sports are coming up right around the corner as district athletic directors and coaches await guidance from the IHSA, who is awaiting guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says practices for junior high sports could be underway as soon as next month and now is the time to get those sports physicals updated.

 

 

According to Koeppel, students who do not have an updated physical when practices begin cannot participate until they have one.

 

 

Some physicians have a waiting list to get patients in, so Koeppel stresses it is important to make that call to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

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Illinois To Keep Athlete Coronavirus Status Quiet

Universities around the country are reporting numerous student-athletes that are testing positive to the coronavirus as they return to campus to begin summer and fall practices.

 

The University of Illinois has brought back its students-athletes and the university plans to keep quiet the status of the testing of their athletes. Bob Asmussen covers Illinois sports at the Champaign News-Gazette and indicates until games begin, the health status of the athletes will be unknown.

 

 

Asmussen believes it was inevitable student-athletes were going to get the coronavirus and while the numbers initially being reported are shocking, as time goes one, he believes the reactions will be less shocking and it will be a regular part of their summer practices.

 

 

Asmussen worries about the health of older coaches and staffers at the University but is confident the school's leadership has a good plan in place to keep the athletes, coaches, and support staff safe and healthy as everyone looks forward to the return of college football. 

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Clinton Athletics Ready To Practice Fully; When Allowed

As much of the state anticipates moving to Phase 4 in the Governor's "Reopen Illinois" plan, many questions remain about high school sports - even for local administrators.

 

Clinton Athletic Director, Matt Koeppel, was a guest Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show.  He says practices under the current guidelines are going well, but how school sports will advance in the next re-opening phase is still unknown. 

 

 

Last week, a "phase 2" proposal from IHSA made the rounds, but official word has yet to come from the state.  Koeppel is aware of the proposal, and explains that all sports but football should hopefully be good to begin sport specific practices.

 

 

Koeppel says football is different because of the numbers in the program.  He suspects the football squad may need to be split up if group limitations of 50 or fewer are implemented.

 

 

Despite the current restrictions, Koeppel says both players and coaches are happy to be back to work.

 

 

No matter the guidelines set forth by the state, Koeppel stressed that Clinton Athletics will be prepared to adapt and proceed as safely as possible for their student athletes.

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Cubs Agree to Terms With First Round Pick Howard

The Chicago Cubs have signed first-round draft pick Ed Howard to a minor league contract that includes a $3,745,500 bonus.

 

Howard went No. 16 overall in the June 10 amateur draft. The 18-year-old shortstop was a prep star at Mount Carmel High School on Chicago’s South Side. He also started for the 2014 Jackie Robinson West Little League team that advanced to the finals of the Little League World Series.

 

The Cubs announced the contract Monday. Howard received a signing bonus equal to his assigned slot value.

 

Howard, who had committed to the University of Oklahoma, hit .421 with three homers in 35 games during his junior year with Mount Carmel. His senior season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Howard is the first Illinois high school position player to go in the first round since Jayson Werth in 1997.

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Blaney Wins Wild Finish at Talladega

Ryan Blaney held onto the lead after a restart with two laps to go Monday, earning his second straight win at Talladega Superspeedway on a day that began with NASCAR drivers throwing their support behind Bubba Wallace.

 

Blaney nipped Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the finish line by .007 seconds for his fourth win and first since Talladega in October, albeit this time before a mostly empty venue. It was a race marked by support for Wallace instead of another Big One at Talladega, though there was mayhem behind Blaney on the final lap and he also pushed Erik Jones into the wall near the finish.

 

Aric Almirola spun at the end and crossed the line almost backward.

 

Ford has now won nine of the last 10 Cup races at Talladega, and all three Team Penske drivers have won this season.

 

The racing was overshadowed by an extraordinary act of solidarity with NASCAR’s only Black driver. Dozens of drivers pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the field before Monday’s race as FBI agents tried to find out who left a noose in his garage stall over the weekend.

 

He was emotional after spending time in the top five before running short on fuel and finishing 14th, slapping hands with a group of mostly African-American fans.

 

The race began with Martin Truex Jr. on the pole, and Tyler Reddick won the first stage, which ended in a weather caution that lasted 58-plus minutes.

 

The crowd had dwindled significantly from Sunday, when up to 5,000 fans were allowed into Talladega — only the second race with fans since NASCAR returned from the pandemic-forced shutdown. 

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Webb Simpson dominates late for seventh PGA Tour win

A loaded leaderboard that looked destined for a photo finish and potentially a Monday playoff finally saw a leader emerge from the pack, and that leader also happens to be one of the five best golfers in the world right now. Webb Simpson (-22) birdied five of his last seven holes at the 2020 RBC Heritage on Sunday to land a 7-under 64 and one-stroke win over Abraham Ancer.

 

The last 100 minutes of the tournament was a tour de force. Simpson and Ancer traded absolute missiles from tee to green, all while Daniel Berger, Tyrrell Hatton, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and Joaquin Niemann weaved in and out of the lead late in the day.

 

It felt as if Simpson's birdie barrage was coming at some point, but after he played the first 11 holes in just 2 under on a day where shooting 67 seemed pedestrian, you had to wonder if it would come too late. Then the floodgates flung open. Simpson gained three strokes on the field with his putter over the last seven holes (again, five of them birdies) and secured his second victory of the season.

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Rob Manfred offers MLBPA 2021 concessions as MLB players wait to vote on 60-game proposal

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are still looking to come to a deal on the number of games for the 2020 season. The MLBPA was originally set to vote to accept or reject a proposal for a 60-game season with full prorated salaries this weekend, but it's unclear on when that vote will happen.

 

Two developments have caused the players to hit pause on voting. The first is the coronavirus pandemic. There was a COVID-19 outbreak on Friday that caused the league to order all spring training sites closed and disinfected. The players want to gather more information about the league's coronavirus protocols.

 

Also on Sunday, commissioner Rob Manfred sent a letter to MLBPA chief Tony Clark offering to remove expanded playoffs and a universal DH (both features of MLB's proposal) for the 2021 season if a 2020 season is not completed.

 

Reports confirmed that no vote was taken by the players as of Sunday afternoon.

 

 Reports indicate that the letter from Manfred was received by the players during a Sunday union meeting. It's unclear if this was due to any pushback from the players or if they simply wanted to process the new information.

 

Meanwhile, Manfred's letter is a concession to the players who would be worried about losing leverage in CBA negotiations after the 2021 season. 

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IHSA Awaiting Approval from IDPH for Next Step in Return To Sports Plan

The Illinois High School Association has sent off its proposal for the second phase of a return to sports plan involving fall practices and competitions.

 

Executive Director Craig Anderson tells Regional Radio News says things are still uncertain because they have not received approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health, however, the 'Stage 2' guidelines have been sent off to the IDPH for approval.

 

 

Anderson hopes to have all fall sports but the situation will likely dictate restrictions in place. He explains they are looking to receive guidance and approval for expanded training opportunities for their athletes and coaches.

 

 

Several states around Illinois have reopened their youth programs and in Iowa, their high school baseball and softball seasons are returning. Anderson keeps close tabs on how those are being operated and says he has a good working relationship with other directors to help in formulating the IHSA plans. 

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Still Hope for Baseball

After days of angry exchanges over money between Major League Baseball and the players’ association, Commissioner Rob Manfred started to doubt whether there would be a 2020 season and said as much on national television.

 

He then called union head Tony Clark and offered to fly from New York to Arizona to meet for the first time in three months. They spoke one on one for several hours Tuesday in a room at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale and emerged with what MLB considered a framework for each leader to sell to his side.

 

MLB thought it had terms to play the pandemic-delayed season in empty ballparks, not just a proposal.

 

The union said nothing publicly and staff conferred with the eight-man executive subcommittee and other players. Some on the players’ side considered the framework merely another plan subject to more bargaining.

 

The framework includes full prorated pay, even if games are played in empty ballparks, people familiar with the details told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because details were not announced.

 

Each team would play 60 games over 10 weeks starting July 20, though a Sunday opener on July 19 could be added. The framework would result in players receiving about 37% of their salaries and would come to roughly $1.48 billion from salaries originally totaling $4 billion.

 

Baseball’s postseason would expand from 10 teams to 16 this year, and the two wild-card games would transform into eight best-of-three series. That would create a minimum of 14 new playoff games whose broadcast rights could be sold, and MLB would have the option of 14 or 16 postseason teams in 2021.

 

MLB would guarantee a $25 million postseason players’ pool, creating postseason shares for players in the event no tickets are sold.

 

The designated hitter would expand to all games for the first time, also involving games between National League teams, for 2020 and 2021.

 

The luxury tax would be suspended for 2020, saving money for the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, and Cubs.

 

Both sides would contribute jointly to initiatives for social justice.

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