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‘My Kids Get To See All These Amazing Women’: Amber McKenzie On Athlete Unlimited Lacrosse

(CBS Local)– This weekend is a big one for women athletes around the world. Thousands of women will be competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and in the Metro DC area, a new professional women’s lacrosse league called Athlete Unlimited Lacrosse debuts on CBS Sports Network.

Photo Credit: Athletes Unlimited

Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse is the third league to be created under the Athletes Unlimited banner from co-founders Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros. Athletes Unlimited Softball made its debut in 2020 and Athletes Unlimited Volleyball was played earlier this year in Texas. The new league puts a twist on traditional lacrosse with new rules, a smaller field and the opportunity for players to earn money for personal causes. Former University of North Carolina player Amber McKenzie is one of the women playing in the five week league and CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith chatted with her about the new league, her journey in lacrosse and being a mom.

“I had said that I was going to hang up my cleats after 2020, but then the pandemic happened,” said McKenzie. “I was approached with this opportunity after our season was cancelled in the old league and they told me about the non-traditional way of the sports. They told me about how the players would be ranked and how the teams would change every week. This opportunity with Athletes Unlimited as definitely something I wanted to be a part of. After I heard about the way the league was structured and the support they have for moms, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

“I have been a member of the player executive committee, which helps decide on some rules and truthfully lots of different things in the league,” said McKenzie. “I have been a part of that for the past six or eight months and I’m so happy to be on-site and have all the women playing. Both Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros are athlete driven. Even after our first scrimmage, we met about a bunch of rules and the way the game was structured and the number of the players on the field and they were open to all of our ideas.”

The defender is a two-time world champion and was named to the All-World team in 2009 and 2013. In fact, McKenzie was named Defender of the World in 2009 and she is excited for what type of impact this fast-paced, high scoring league can have on the next generation of young lacrosse players.

“There are eight minute quarters and the games are going to go by really fast, but they are going to be really fun to watch,” said McKenzie. “I’m grateful for my husband because he has been so supportive of this journey. Athletes Unlimited has a great policy for moms, so I am given a stipend every week to have childcare while I’m performing. My kids get to see all of these amazing women putting so much passion into their sport and I’m super excited for them to be a part of this as well. I want this league to be there for the future of lacrosse.

“I’m a full-time mom and we have women working full-time jobs while they’re here,” said McKenzie. “We have a stock trader and women are here performing at the top of their game. We hope this can be their income and that this can be the way they provide for themselves and families. It has to start somewhere and that’s why we are so grateful for Athletes Unlimited so that there is a future there. We are impacting the game of lacrosse and many other things with athlete causes and each player gets to play for their own cause and non-profit.”

Watch Athletes Unlimited Fright night at 5pm EST and 7:30pm EST on CBS Sports Network.


Olympics 2021: USWNT Vs. New Zealand 5 Things To Know

(CBS Local)- The USWNT’s Olympic journey got off to a rocky start with a 3-0 loss to Sweden in their opening match on Wednesday. It was the worst loss for the national team since a 3-0 defeat against France in the 2017 SheBelieves Cup. The team doesn’t have much time to find answers or dwell on the loss however as their next match, now almost a must win, sees the team take on New Zealand on Saturday morning.

As the team gears up for its second match of the tournament, here are five things fans should know about the opponent, New Zealand.

All-Time Series

The USWNT has dominated the all-time series against New Zealand, winning 15 of the 17 meetings to this point for a 15-1-1 record. This is the fourth time the teams have met at the Olympic Games, with the U.S. scoring a 2-0 win in Rio and London and a 4-0 win in 2008 in Beijing.

The most recent meeting between the two came in May of 2019 with the U.S. posting a 5-0 victory as part of their send-off series ahead of the 2019 Women’s world Cup. Carli Lloyd tallied a pair of goals with Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis joining her in the scoring department.

Lloyd and Alex Morgan each have six career goals against the Football Ferns.

U.S. Connections

New Zealand’s head coach, Tom Sermanni spent a year and change in charge of the USWNT from January 2013 to April of 2014 recording a 18-2-4 record in that time. He also oversaw the first team debuts of multiple players on the current roster in Julie Ertz, Kristie and Samantha Mewis, Christen Press, Crystal Dunn and Lindsay Horan. There’s plenty of familiarity with the American roster from his time in charge of the NWSL’s Orlando Pride as well.

Three of the New Zealand players are currently on NWSL rosters as well in defenders Abby Erceg and Ali Riley along with midfielder Katie Bowen.

New Zealand Searching For Win As Well

New Zealand’s opening match resulted in a loss as well, coming up short against their regional rivals Australia 2-1. Though the score looks closer than the U.S.’ 3-0 defeat, the reality is Australia dominated the match. New Zealand was outshot 16-5, gave up more shots on goal 8-3, allowed more corners 10-1 and lost the possession battle 60-40.

The two Australia tallies came in the first half from Tameka Yallop (20′) and Samantha Kerr (33′) while New Zealand’s goal came in stoppage time of the second half from 20-year-old Gabi Rennie (90’ 1).

New Zealand Olympic History

This is the fourth straight Olympics soccer tournament that New Zealand has qualified for. Their best result previously was in London in 2012 when they made it to the knockout stage by beating Cameroon 3-1. They have not made it past the group stage in any of their other three appearances.

USWNT Generally Doesn’t Suffer Back-To-Back Losses

The loss to Sweden was shocking both for the result and the fact that the U.S. was so thoroughly outplayed across the field as CBSSports.com’s Sandra Herrera noted. If there’s any good news to come out of the match, it would be that the USWNT doesn’t typically lose two matches in a row. The last time it happened was in the 2017 SheBelieves Cup when they dropped a 1-0 loss to England and a 3-0 loss to France.

Prior to that, you have to go back to the 2014 Algarve Cup when they lost to Sweden (1-0) and Denmark (5-3) in consecutive matches. It’s a predicament the U.S., particularly this group of players, hasn’t found themselves in often. Former striker Abby Wambach noted as much on Twitter following the Sweden result.

Last thing I would want to be right now is the next opponent of this team. Nobody puts baby in the corner. https://t.co/AVk0hi1oVt

— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) July 21, 2021

The U.S. and New Zealand kick off the second match of group play on Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time on NBC Sports Network.


Keselowski Buys A Stake In Roush Fenway

Brad Keselowski is ready to begin the “next evolution” of his racing career.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – SEPTEMBER 08: Brad Keselowski (2) Team Penske Ford Mustang GT sits on his pit box during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on September 8, 2019, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jack Roush put a long-term vision for Roush Fenway Racing in motion Tuesday when the 79-year-old team owner introduced Keselowski as a new partner in the NASCAR team.

Keselowski is leaving Team Penske, where he won the 2012 championship, because he wanted an ownership role in an organization as part of his legacy in NASCAR. With Roush Fenway, Keselowski will not only drive the No. 6 Ford next season but have a considerable role off the track.

Keselowski will replace Ryan Newman, who drove the Roush flagship car the past three seasons.

Keselowski said he had four reasons for joining Roush Fenway: a long-term driving contract, being in a leadership role with the team, taking on a ownership role and having a place in the sport when he retires from driving. He likes the competitive future of the team particularly, with the advent of NASCAR’s next generation car.

BROOKLYN, MI – AUGUST 09: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) wins the pole during qualifying of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Consumers Energy 400 race on August 10, 2019 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I think I am buying into a stock that is about to go up,” Keselowski said during a news conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Said Roush: “He’s ready for the next challenge and I welcome him as a partner.”

Although terms were not disclosed, team President Steve Newmark said Keselowski paid for his “minority” stake in the team but neither Roush nor the Fenway Sports Group relinquished any shares. That stake could increase over the years, Newmark said.

The company will continue to be called Roush Fenway Racing for now, though changes could come later.

“It’s a win when you can get a Hall of Fame driver behind the wheel, but what was more important is the leadership skills that Brad brings,” Newmark said.

DAYTONA, FL – FEBRUARY 08: Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Koch Industries (6) during practice for the Busch Clash on February 8, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Roush fielded his first car in 1988 for a full Cup Series schedule with Mark Martin in the No. 6, the original number of Roush Racing. The team has fielded cars in all three NASCAR national series and has 137 Cup victories. Kurt Busch gave Roush his only Cup title in 2004. Greg Biffle won Xfinity and Truck series championships for Roush, while Carl Edwards and current driver Chris Buescher also won Xfinity titles.

Keselowski said he never seriously considered trying to keep the No. 2 car that he has driven or get into the No. 29 car that has ties to his family legacy.

Keselowski and Buescher will be the only two drivers for the 2022 season, though the organization could explore adding a third driver in the years to come. Newmark said the team tried to find a way to keep Newman, even in a part-time ride.

The team has been on a slide for several seasons with a pair of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. victories in 2017 the only Roush Cup wins the past seven seasons.

TALLADEGA, AL – OCTOBER 23: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, is introduced prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Keselowski admitted over the weekend it was “hard to walk away” from working with Roger Penske but said he wants to have a legacy in racing that goes beyond being a driver.

“This is a big dream of mine to be an owner and partner at the NASCAR level with the right ownership group,” Keselowski said.

He will have a significant role on the competition team but it will remain a collaborative effort with Roush Fenway.

The seeds of the partnership were planted last fall when Newmark and Keselowski were having a conversation about NASCAR’s next gen cars and the state of the sport.

As Newmark discussed the organization’s eventual succession plans with Roush Fenway Racing, Keselowski told him he wanted to establish a legacy of being a leader in NASCAR beyond just being a driver. Talks continued after that and both sides decided it was a mutually beneficial partnership.

HOMESTEAD, FL – OCTOBER 18: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Penske Racing Ford talks with members of the media during testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 18, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Roush anticipates the decision will spur other older owners to think about their legacy plans — and other drivers to follow the path of Keselowski and Tony Stewart before him.

“I don’t think Brad is the last of the drivers who will say I want a piece of the action when they get out of the driver’s seat,” Roush said.

As for Roush, he said he has no immediate plans to retire as owner, joking that he will still plans to be at the track on race days to be a “nuisance” to his drivers.

Keselowski wouldn’t put a timetable on when he might step away from driving, saying that as long as he’s still winning races and competing for championships he will remain behind the wheel.

But it’s clear he was ready to establish a legacy in the sport beyond being just a driver.

“It’s a huge moment,” Keselowski said. “I never dreamed this big.”

The 37-year-old Keselowski has won 35 Cup races during his his career. He has one won Cup race this year along with seven top-five finishes, and he currently ranks ninth in the standings heading into the summer break.

He will continue to race for Penske Racing for the remainder of the season.

 

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Tigers Win 6th In Row

Matt Manning pitched six strong innings and the Detroit Tigers won their sixth straight game, beating the skidding Texas Rangers 4-2 Wednesday night.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 21: Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo (60) celebrates with Detroit Tigers second baseman Jonathan Schoop (7) after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Wednesday July 21, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Robbie Grossman, Zack Short and Akil Baddoo hit home runs as the Tigers matched their longest winning streak since an eight-game run in 2016. Detroit has allowed a total of seven runs during this success string.

“This is just a lot of fun right now,” Short said. “We’re going out there every day expecting to win, and we’re picking each other up. I’ve struggled a little lately, and we’ve kept winning. Today, it was my turn to help.”

The Rangers have lost eight in a row. They’ve been outscored 47-5 in six games since the All-Star break and have played 69 straight innings without holding a lead.

“I feel better than I did, because we’ve at least given ourselves a chance in the last two games,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We weren’t doing that for a while.”

DETROIT, MI – JULY 21: Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matt Manning (25) pitches in the third inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Wednesday July 21, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Called up from Triple-A Toledo to make his sixth career start, Manning (2-3) gave up one earned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out four.

“I’ve put a lot of work in between starts to get more life on my fastball,” he said. “That’s starting to show up in games, and that gives me a mix I can use to attack guys. My change and my slider look like my fastball when I’m pitching well.”

Gregory Soto pitched the ninth for his 10th save, but only after a bloop single, a hit batter and a balk put the tying runs in scoring position.

“Gregory certainly gets some style points for that inning,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “This was a tough win, but we hit the home runs when we needed them, and the pitchers got us through.”

DETROIT, MI – JULY 21: Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch (14) pats Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo (60) as he comes into the dugout after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Wednesday July 21, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jordan Lyles (5-7) gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings. He has allowed seven homers in 11 innings in two starts since the All-Star break.

“I’m not sure what is happening,” Lyles said. “Obviously, I need to give up fewer home runs, but no one in baseball has figured out how to stop them. We just need to look at these two outings and figure out what is happening.”

Grossman homered in the first inning for the second straight day. John Hicks, who previously played for the Tigers, tied it with an RBI double in the second. Manning, though, retired the next three hitters to keep the Rangers from adding on.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 21: Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo (60) steps on home plate after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Wednesday July 21, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“That’s a key moment in the game,” Woodward said. “We had an opportunity to take the lead, and we couldn’t get a runner home from second with no one out. (Manning) gave us some chances, but we didn’t take advantage.”

Short hit a two-run homer in the second. David Dahl’s RBI double pulled Texas within 3-2 in the fourth.

The Rangers, who haven’t led since July 10, fell further behind in the fifth when Baddoo connected.

“Lyles did a nice job against us, but we hit the mistakes he made,” Hinch said.

SIGNINGS

The Rangers have signed their third-round draft pick, high school shortstop Cameron Cauley, and their fourth-round choice, high school catcher Ian Moller. Both players will report to Texas’ spring training site in Surprise, Arizona.

STREAKING

Detroit’s Jonathan Schoop extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an eight-inning single. It was the 900th hit of his career.

UP NEXT

The teams finish their four-game series on Thursday afternoon with Detroit lefty Tyler Alexander (1-1, 4,40) facing Mike Foltynewicz (2-9, 5.91).

 

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


3M Open Preview: ‘We’re Going To See A Different TPC Twin Cities,’ Says CBS Sports’ Dottie Pepper

(CBS Minnesota) — This year’s 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities is sandwiched between the Open Championship in England and the men’s Olympic golf competition in Japan. Yet many of the PGA Tour’s best are making the trip to Blaine, Minnesota for the third instance of the tournament. That includes second-ranked Dustin Johnson and ninth-ranked Louis Oosthuizen. The 2019 and 2020 3M Open were birdie-fests, and this year’s has the potential to be as well.

Michael Thompson is the defending champion, shooting a 19-under 265 last year to beat out Adam Long by two strokes. Matthew Wolff, who was the defending champion last year, was also in striking distance before his six-stroke bogey on the final hole. Wolff won the inaugural 3M Open in 2019 with a blazing 21-under 263, edging out Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa. Both Thompson and Wolff, who returns to the PGA Tour after a two-month break, will look to add another title to their resume.

Johnson was the world’s top player as recently as last week. While he tied for eighth at the Open Championship, Jon Rahm tied for third. That was all it took for the two to switch places. It was also only his second top-10 finish since February, when he tied for eighth at the Genesis Invitational. Johnson hasn’t won since the November Masters. A back injury forced him to withdraw from last year’s 3M Open after one round.

“He did not play well here last year,” according CBS Sports on-course reporter Dottie Pepper. “But I think having given some him some experience and not seeing it for the first time will help. He does have some momentum after last week, finally breaking through the top 10.”

Oosthuizen has played exceptionally well the last few months. He’s placed in the top 10 in five of his last six events, dating back to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. That run has included a tie for second at the PGA Championship, second place at the U.S. Open and a tie for third at the Open Championship.

“He is starting to putt better,” Pepper observed. “He’s always been a phenomenal ball-striker, good driver of the golf ball. But things started to turn around for him when we were in New Orleans at the Zurich Classic. Granted, he had a partner. But things really started to turn in the right direction for him. The putter has been the big, big difference.”

Johnson, Oosthuizen, and the rest of the 156-man field will face a TPC Twin Cities course that once was a sod farm. The par-71, 7,431-yard links course, framed by grand oaks, spruce and pines, flows through the prairie and hilly terrain of the Minnesota countryside. Small lakes dot the layout, where water is a factor on most holes. The three par-5s all approach 600 yards in length. Despite the water and the length, TPC Twin Cities has allowed its fair share of birdies the first two years.

“I think it was soft and gave up most of the scores because of the conditions,” Pepper said. “We had a lot of rain in the first couple of times around. The golf course was extremely soft. This is a hot, dry forecast for the week, so I think we’re going to see a different TPC Twin Cities. Going out there shooting darts the way they did in the last two years is not going to necessarily be the case.”

Half of Minnesota is experiencing a drought, and dry conditions can make for a firmer course. But the course’s groundskeepers have assured that the TPC Twin Cities will be in prime condition, thanks to a mild winter, a dry spring, and a recent touch of rain.

The course eases players in with a relatively short par-4 that offers plenty of birdie chances. At 593 yards, the par-5 sixth hole is a double dogleg leading to a wide putting green. The seventh hole, nicknamed “Tom’s Thumb,” is a 372-yard par-4, that could see some eagles, despite the new pushed-back tee. The ninth hole is a long par-4 at 489 yards, but tends to not play up to that distance thanks to the wind. The treacherous green slopes toward a lake on the right. The par-4 14th hole, measuring 415 yards, doglegs left around Cavner’s Cove.

“The TPC Twin Cities had the second-most approach shots hit by the field from 175 to 200 yards of any course on Tour in 2019 and 2020,” Pepper pointed out. “It’s not an easy golf course. They have to lay up in some spots to avoid where the bunkers pinch in. And there’s a decent amount of water on the golf course as well. So, if that’s the situation again this year, with longer shots coming in as hard and fast, I don’t think you’re going to see these super-low scores [like] the first two times this event was played.”

The area is expecting partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid to high 90s for the tournament. Rain is not in the forecast.

Here are the favorites:

Dustin Johnson (7-1)

Johnson isn’t turning in top-10 finishes week in and week out, but he has played better of late. He has four consecutive top-25 showings, including a tie for eighth at the Open Championship. Eight strokes off the lead was probably not the redemption he was seeking. But a win at the 3M Open could restore him to number one. Johnson withdrew from his only appearance at TPC Twin Cities due to a back injury.

Tony Finau (14-1)

Finau, ranked 19th in the world, came in third in last year’s 3M Open, as part of a group that was three strokes off the pace. He’s found limited success this season, including top-10 finishes at the Masters and PGA Championship, but has also missed two of his last three cuts. Finau hasn’t won in five years, but this TPC Twin Cities course suits his game.

Louis Oosthuizen (14-1)

Oosthuizen has climbed 13 spots in the rankings since the start of the year. He’s been on fire since late April, making the top three in three different majors. But his success hasn’t led to another PGA Tour win. Oosthuizen has just only one Tour victory, which came 11 years ago at the Open Championship. He has never played at TPC Twin Cities.


NBA Shifts Gears Quickly

Detroit, you are on the clock.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – APRIL 16: The Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper waves a Detroit Pistons flag during the third quarter of the NBA game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Little Caesars Arena on April 16, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The NBA offseason — if you can call it that — is here. The Milwaukee Bucks officially flipped the league calendar to summer on Tuesday night, capturing their first title in 50 years and turning out the lights on a season that navigated its way through a pandemic to crown a new champion.

There isn’t much of a break, of course.

The NBA draft, with the Pistons holding the No. 1 pick and presumably the chance to choose Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, is fast-approaching on July 29. Free agency starts in less than two weeks, on Aug. 2. Most new contracts can be signed starting Aug. 6, and summer league opens two days after that.

NORMAN, OK – FEBRUARY 27: Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) calls a play during overtime against the Oklahoma Sooners on February 27th, 2021 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman Oklahoma. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“We made it. We crowned a champion,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the trophy ceremony in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. “I have to say playing through a pandemic required enormous resilience from all 30 teams. Thank you to every team and every player in the league for a tremendous season.”

And now, it’s already next season.

The good news is there’s a sense of normalcy, even amid a pandemic, and the NBA plans to continue along that path. Training camps will begin in late September, as is the new normal. Preseason games are back in early October, and the league’s 76th season — even though it’ll be celebrating its 75th anniversary all year long — starts Oct. 19.

That’s not even three months away.

Los Angeles, CA – June 30: Phoenix Suns fans reacts against the LA Clippers in the first half of game six of a Western Conference finals NBA playoff basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

The pandemic was the storyline of the entire season — obviously, since it has been the storyline across the entire planet — and no one in the NBA expects that next season will be able to start without the continued threat of COVID-19. Protocols will remain in place; how many and how strict will depend on the virus and what’s happening in the world in a few months.

“I think the players have a better understanding of sort of what we’re up against in trying to run this business and I think we have a better understanding of the players and what it’s like to travel the amount they do and to the stresses they’re under, the emotional and physical burdens they’re under by competing at this level,” Silver said at the start of the finals. “And hopefully we can continue to build on that.”

Some issues to watch over the coming days and weeks:

INJURIES

Players missing time with injuries was a major issue this season and the offseason already has seen more news on that front.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 14: LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) ready for defense during the game 4 of the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers on June 14, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers just had surgery to repair a partially torn ACL; injuries to that ligament, unfortunately, aren’t rare in basketball, but partial tears are not exactly common. The Clippers haven’t said how long they think he’ll be sidelined. ACL reconstruction tends to cost players several months, and that means the start of Leonard’s season is in obvious doubt.

FREE AGENCY

Chris Paul helped Phoenix get to the NBA Finals and now has a decision to make about his $44 million option for next season. He could opt-in and stay, or opt-out — and quite possibly still stay, if he and the Suns work out a new deal.

Los Angeles, CA – June 30: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns against the LA Clippers in the fourth quarter of game six of a Western Conference finals NBA playoff basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

There will be plenty of seasoned veterans on the market, including Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley. Leonard could be a free agent as well, if so inclined.

An interesting situation to watch will be Victor Oladipo, most recently of Miami and someone who would like to remain with the Heat. He’s coming off another leg surgery and may not be ready to start next season, which could certainly affect his number of suitors — and how much they will be willing to offer him.

THE DRAFT

Detroit picks first, followed by Houston, Cleveland and Toronto. Orlando has two picks in the top eight and Oklahoma City has three picks in the first 18 — the start of the massive haul of draft capital that the Thunder have acquired in recent years.

AUBURN HILLS, MI – MARCH 17: A shot of the Detroit Pistons logo on the court prior to the game between the Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors at the Palace of Auburn Hills on March 17, 2017 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

NEW COACHES

At minimum, seven teams will open next season with new coaches — Washington, New Orleans, Dallas, Indiana, Orlando, Boston and Portland.

Assistant coaches have been hired in some places and the staff shuffling will continue in many NBA cities over the next few weeks. The draft, free agency and summer league will provide the first hints on how the teams with new coaches will change their respective franchise’s approach this coming season.

THE RAPTORS

The NBA still hasn’t said if the Toronto Raptors can truly be the Toronto Raptors again.

The inability for teams to cross the U.S.-Canada border during the pandemic meant the Raptors couldn’t get in or out of their home for games, so this season was spent with them displaced in Tampa, Florida. And while the Raptors spoke highly of Tampa, they don’t want to be back there.

There are good signs in that regard — among them, the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing their home games in Canada again starting July 30 — but there has been no official announcement yet from the league that NBA teams will be able to cross the border this fall.

 

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Tigers Top Punchless Rangers For 5 In Row

Robbie Grossman and Eric Haase homered as the Detroit Tigers extended their winning streak to five games with a rain-delayed 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers left fielder Robbie Grossman (8) bats in the first inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Rangers have lost seven straight and been outscored 43-3 in five games since the All-Star break. They were shut out in the previous three before Tuesday.

“I was really upset yesterday, but I was a lot happier today,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “We had better at-bats and better swings. We just got beat.”

Tarik Skubal (6-8) got the win, giving up one run and four hits in six innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

“The Rangers are really aggressive, so I knew if I could throw a sinker early in the count, I could probably get a groundball,” Skubal said. “When I can do that, I don’t worry about the strikeouts.”

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JUNE 27: Tarik Skubal #29 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the top of the second inning at Comerica Park on June 27, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Three relievers finished for the Tigers. Gregory Soto struck out the side in the ninth for his ninth save.

“Skubal has really good stuff, and those three guys at the end were just filthy,” Woodward said. “It’s going to be tough to beat that team at the end of games.”

Dane Dunning (3-7) allowed three runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings before being removed as the Rangers try to limit his workload.

“I felt pretty good out there. I just made two mistakes and they hit them out,” Dunning said. “I understand why they are keeping my pitches down, but I really wanted to get that last out in the fifth.”

The game started 2 hours, 10 minutes late due to thunderstorms in the area.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo (60) and Detroit Tigers center fielder Victor Reyes (22) jog back to the dugout after the half inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I think it says a lot about our team that, even with a last-minute rain delay that went two hours, we came out hungry and ready to go,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.

The Rangers appeared likely to end their scoring drought in the first inning, putting runners on first and third with one. But then Joey Gallo popped out and the Tigers foiled a double-steal attempt when first baseman Jonathan Schoop’s throw got Eli White at the plate.

“That’s just a mistake,” Woodward said. “The runners have to realize they aren’t going to throw to second on that play. That’s something we can fix.”

Instead, Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the first on Grossman’s homer over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers shortstop Isaac Paredes (19) bats in the second inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I thought you could really sense the shift in momentum after the first inning,” Hinch said. “We made a nice defensive play to get out of the top of the inning and Robbie goes up there with a plan to attack one and hits it out. That’s huge.”

The Rangers tied it in the fifth on Andy Ibanez’s RBI double, ending their scoreless streak at 27 innings — their longest since a 28-inning drought in July 1972.

Haase made it 2-1 in the bottom of the inning, hitting his 14th homer. Schoop added an RBI single off Jay Sborz, and Harold Castro gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead with a run-scoring single in the sixth.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers second baseman Harold Castro (30) bats in the second inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ROSTER MOVES

Detroit optioned RHP Alex Lange to Triple-A Toledo after the game and will recall RHP Matt Manning to start Wednesday against the Rangers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

The Tigers announced before the game that RHP Spencer Turnbull will undergo Tommy John surgery this month. Turnbull, who no-hit the Seattle Mariners on May 19, is expected to miss the rest of this season and most of 2022.

WATER DELIVERY

Tigers INF Niko Goodrum, LHP Ian Krol and OF Akil Baddoo delivered 275 cases of water to the residents of Flint, about an hour north of Comerica Park. The city has been dealing with lead-tainted water since 2014.

UP NEXT

The teams continue their four-game series Wednesday, with Texas starter Jordan Lyles (5-6, 5.20 ERA) facing Manning (1-3, 6.95).

 

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Olympics 2021: Sweden ‘Hands Down’ Biggest Threat To USWNT In Group Stage

(CBS Local)- The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) kicks off its quest for the Olympic gold medal in the early morning hours of Wednesday when the team takes on Sweden in group stage play at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The U.S. enters the tournament as heavy favorites and Vlatko Andonovski’s team is hoping to avenge its fifth place result from Rio in 2016.

The USWNT has gone unbeaten in 44 straight matches but CBSSports.com soccer writer and host of the Attacking Third podcast, Sandra Herrera, says the U.S. performance in their last 5-10 games has been particularly impressive answering some of the questions people had about the team.

“This is a team led by head coach Vlatko Andonovski that wanted to see certain things come to light ahead of this Olympic Games and we started to see that when they started getting back into camps and getting back into international friendlies because a lot of these players had to deal with certain things amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” Herrera said in an interview with CBS Local’s Ryan Mayer. “Coming away with all of these wins and all of these results, they were getting some questions answered. A player like Tobin Heath who had been injured, an integral part of this attack. Was she going to be fit? Was she going to be ready in time for the Olympics? Here she comes in the final two matches, lighting things up and letting everybody know she has returned. There’s a lot of strengths across this 22 player roster. They’re the team to compete against in these Summer Games.”

READ>>>How, When To Watch USWNT At Tokyo Olympics

There are many familiar faces on this Olympic squad from both the 2019 World Cup winning team and the Rio 2016 Olympic team, so fans will have plenty of recognizable names to cheer for. One that Herrera thinks could become more of a household name in this tournament as a recent returnee to national team play is Kristie Mewis.

“She hasn’t been involved with the national team for the last six years. She really played her way back into this stage off of the back of impressive club play,” Herrera said. “We’re talking club play with the Houston Dash of the NWSL where they went on to win the 2020 Challenge Cup final. Impressive in the midfield, was a big piece of that team, integral in that championship final. She’s a player that could possible have an impact in this Olympics.”

While many of the questions were answered and the U.S. enters with clear strengths at every level of the field, Herrera points to the back line as an area that opponents could look to exploit if they’re looking for weaknesses.

“If you’re looking to try to find someone, it’s so hard but if you’re the opposition, you’re looking maybe at that back line. Crystal Dunn is quite frankly one of their better defenders. She’s an attacking outside back, she has the ability to cover a lot of space out on the flank,” Herrera said. “But, when you’re looking at the center back duo or maybe the veteran outside back in Kelley O’Hara, there might be some looks from the opposition where they say, ‘hey, there’s maybe a little bit of lack of speed, maybe a lack of pace, maybe we can try to expose those areas.’ But, we’ll see. They’re going to have to catch these defenders on a real off day.”

All that said, the U.S. as Herrera noted, is the team to beat entering the tournament. The group stage will see them face Sweden, New Zealand and Australia and it’s the Swedes that Herrera points to as the biggest threat to a U.S. medal.

“Hands down it’s absolutely Sweden. They’ve been a rival of the USWNT for many years,” Herrera said. “There’s a lot of history there between these two sides. Their games have always been very tense, close, tightly contested matches and we’re probably going to see something similar to start off this group stage. If I’m the USWNT, I’m looking at this and embracing it for the challenge that it is because these two teams are going to be kicking off their Olympic journeys going head-to-head in that very first group match. It’s probably going to tell us a lot about how that group shakes out.”

Here is the USWNT’s full group stage schedule including the channel you can catch them on.

Wednesday, July 21 vs. Sweden 4:30 a.m. EDT (USA Network)

Saturday, July 24 vs. New Zealand 7:30 a.m. EDT (NBC Sports Network)

Tuesday, July 27 vs. Australia 4:00 a.m. EDT (USA Network)


TPC Twin Cities Profile: Will 3M Open Home Give Up More Low Scores?

(CBS Minnesota) — TPC Twin Cities opened a little over two decades ago in Blaine, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It was there that renowned golfers Arnold Palmer and Tom Lehman, the latter a Minnesota native, turned what was once a sod farm into a haven for championship golf. The par-71, 7,431-yard links course, framed by grand oaks, spruce and pines, flows through the prairie and hilly terrain of the Minnesota countryside. Small lakes dot the layout.

The course had been a regular stop on the PGA Tour Champions since 2001, hosting the 3M Championship through 2018. With that event’s conclusion, TPC Twin Cities undertook renovations to prepare itself for its debut on the PGA Tour as host of the 3M Open in 2019. It was the first time a course had made that transition.

The “competitive enhancements” began just days after the 2018 Champions. Long, harsh Minnesota winters limited the timetable for the work. The renovations lengthened the layout to its current distance and narrowed it to up the difficulty. What once played as one of the Senior Tour’s easier courses increased in distance by over 400 yards.

Many of the changes affected TPC Twin Cities’ finishing holes. On the par-4 16th hole, rough was replaced with bentgrass, and bunkers were moved to narrow the hole. The par-3 17th hole received new tee boxes. The lake on the par-5 18th hole doubled in size, completely changing how players have to approach it. Extra room was built in to accommodate grandstands and hospitality, space that will be needed again at this year’s event.

TPC Twin Cities eases players in with a relatively short par-4 that offers plenty of birdie chances. At 593 yards, the par-5 sixth hole is a double dogleg leading to a wide putting green. The seventh hole, nicknamed “Tom’s Thumb,” is a 372-yard par-4, that could see some eagles, despite the new pushed-back tee. The ninth hole is a long par-4 at 489 yards, but tends to not play up to that distance thanks to the wind. The treacherous green slopes toward a lake on the right. The par-4 14th hole, measuring 415 yards, doglegs left around Cavner’s Cove.

“We want birdies and train wrecks,” as Hollis Cavner, the tournament’s executive director, said before the inaugural event. ”We feel very comfortable that this golf course is going to play hard and fast. It’s going to play long. If we get wind, it’s a game-changer.”

That generally wasn’t the case against its first PGA Tour field. Matthew Wolff shot 21-under for the event in just his third PGA Tour event as a professional. The exciting finish included two eagles. Bryson DeChambeau’s was followed by Wolff’s 26-foot eagle putt for the lead and the win. He bested DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa by just one stroke. The cut line was 4-under. Twelve players finished the weekend better than 15-under.

The tournament’s second field fared almost as well. Last year Michael Thompson birdied two of his last three holes to secure a two-stroke win. He shot 19-under for the event. Adam Long, who barely made the cut, finished second. Nine players finished one stroke behind Long.

This year’s 3M Open falls a week after the Open Championship and a week before the Men’s golf competition at the Olympics. Thompson returns to defend his title. Dustin Johnson, the world’s second-ranked player, is also in the field.

Watch the 3M Open Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, July 25, 3:00 – 6:00 PM ET on CBS.


Detroit Routs Texas 14-0

Miguel Cabrera drove in five runs, including a bases-loaded double in a four-run fifth inning, and the Detroit Tigers routed the Texas Rangers 14-0 on Monday night.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) laughs at some fans behind the dugout during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Rangers have lost six straight, the last three by a combined score of 29-0. The last major league team to allow that many runs while being shut out in three straight games was the 1906 Brooklyn Superbas, who were outscored 31-0 between July 6-9.

“If anyone on this team isn’t embarrassed right now, they shouldn’t be on the field and they shouldn’t be part of our organization right now,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “These guys all want to play in the major leagues, but you have to earn that.”

Tigers starter Casey Mize was only expected to pitch three innings as the team tries to limit his workload. However, when he retired the first nine hitters, he came back out for the fourth, allowing one single. He struck out four.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize (12) pitches in the first inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Mize tried to avoid manager A.J. Hinch at the end of the fourth, but it didn’t work.

“I was hoping to stay away from him because I wanted to go another inning,” he said. “But we’re being careful with innings right now, and I understand that.”

Joe Jiménez (4-1) got the win in relief.

Kyle Gibson (6-2) allowed eight runs, matching a career-high, on 10 hits and two walks in five-plus innings. The Tigers had snapped his 16-start unbeaten streak in a 5-3 win on July 7.

“I honestly don’t know how to explain this,” Gibson said. “They’ve got some good veteran hitters — I’ve been facing Miggy since I was in Minnesota — but this isn’t indicative of how I’ve pitched this year. Maybe they are just ahead of me in the scouting report, but I need to fix it.”

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo (60) hits a two run homer in the third inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on Akil Baddoo’s two-run homer to left in the third inning, and Jonathan Schoop’s RBI single made it 3-0 in the fifth.

Gibson hit the next batter, Robbie Grossman, to load the bases with one out. Cabrera fell behind 1-2 before lining a double to left, then brought the crowd of 13,704 to its feet by taking third on the throw home. Cabrera, one of baseball’s slowest runners, was originally called out, but the call was overturned by replay.

“Every time he comes to the plate, we’re proud to be out there,” said Victor Reyes, who had four hits. “It’s an honor just to play on his team.”

Gibson was removed after the Tigers started a seven-run sixth with a walk and a single. Reyes singled off Brett Martin, loading the bases, and Baddoo followed with a two-run single.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Detroit Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario (46) lines out to the pitcher during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After Schoop’s RBI single made it 9-0, Grossman singled to reload the bases for Cabrera. This time, he lined an 0-2 pitch to left for a two-run single, earning a standing ovation. Joe Barlow came in and walked Jeimer Canderlario and Eric Haase — the eighth and ninth straight Tigers to reach base — to make it 12-0. Harold Castro ended the streak with a sacrifice fly, scoring Cabrera.

Baddoo finished with four RBIs and scored three times.

With two hits, Cabrera (2,931) moved past Rogers Hornsby and Jake Beckley for 38th place on the career list. His five RBIs gave him 1,768, tying David Ortiz for 22nd.

“These are big moments for Miggy personally, but they are also huge for our team, our franchise, and our fans,” Hinch said. “He’s passing some very special names right now — he belongs to that elite class of the game.”

DETROIT, MI – JULY 19 Texas Rangers center fielder Joey Gallo (13) jumps for this ball to no avail as it falls into the glove of a fan in the first row for a home run off of the bat of Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo (60) during the Detroit Tigers versus the Texas Rangers game on Monday July 19, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

TRAINER’S ROOM

The Tigers placed C Jake Rogers on the 10-day injured list with a sore arm shortly before the game and recalled C Grayson Greiner from Triple-A Toledo. Hinch said he is expected to miss a few weeks. INF Isaac Paredes was checked by the team’s training staff and left the game after singling in the sixth inning.

MOVES

Texas optioned OF Jason Martin to Triple-A Round Rock after the game and recalled RHP Demarcus Evans.

GALLO HELPING OUT

Things could have been even worse for Gibson, but Joey Gallo threw out a pair of Tigers runners from right field, giving him four assists in his last seven defensive games.

“After the game, I shook Joey’s hand and told him I’m proud to be able to manage him,” Woodward said. “We were down 10 runs tonight and our best player was doing everything he would do in a tie game. We need more guys to show that kind of effort.”

MORE MILESTONES

Cabrera’s fifth-inning double gave him 1,099 extra-base hits, tying Eddie Murray for 21st all-time. With 588 doubles, he’s four behind Todd Helton for 19th on the career list.

UP NEXT

The teams continue a four-game series on Tuesday, with Detroit’s Tarik Skubal (5-8, 4.36) facing Dane Dunning (3-6, 4.22).

 

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Baseball Report: Yankees Fan Beans Red Sox Outfielder Alex Verdugo, Gets Banned For Life

(CBS New York) — The second half of the MLB season is officially underway. And it kicked off with one of the crazier weekends baseball has seen in awhile, both on and off the field. A New York Yankees fan beaned Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo with a baseball. A shooting outside Nationals Park in Washington caused brief turmoil, followed by a heartening show of humanity. And then the New York Mets had an impressive on-field gaffe (even for them) that they still somehow overcame.

This week’s Baseball Report looks at the Yankees fan now banned from MLB ballparks, the gunshot that postponed Saturday’s Nationals game with the San Diego Padres, and the Mets’ three-run mistake.

Yankee Fan Banned

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is as heated as rivalries get. But during Saturday’s game between the teams, things went too far. In the sixth inning, Verdugo tossed a ball into the left field stands to a young Red Sox fan. But a Yankees fan intercepted the ball and threw it back at Verdugo, hitting him in the back.

Boston’s leftfielder wasn’t hurt, but he was certainly angry. His manager Alex Cora pulled his team off the field while umpires and security sorted out the situation and to give Verdugo a chance to calm down. The fan was soon ejected, but not arrested.

A fan threw a ball at Alex Verdugo… pic.twitter.com/V8F55GE4fM

— Justin Groc (@jgroc) July 18, 2021

Play eventually resumed on the rainy afternoon, though the game didn’t last much longer. It was called after the sixth inning due to inclement weather, with the Yankees earning a 3-1 win.

The team released a statement Sunday that reads “While the Yankees appreciate the spirit and passion of our fans in our various rivalries — especially with the Red Sox – reckless, disorderly and dangerous behavior that puts the safety of players, field staff or fellow fans in jeopardy will not be tolerated.”

The fan has been banned for life from Yankee Stadium and every other major league ballpark.

Shooting Outside Nationals Park

The Nationals-Padres series began Friday with San Diego putting up 24 runs in a win. Saturday night’s game was called after gunshots outside the ballpark induced panic inside the ballpark. It wasn’t immediately clear where the gunshots originated.

In the moments after the gunshots, some fans ran for the concourse, while others hid behind their seats. People shouting “shooter” could be heard in certain sections. Players from both teams, including Padres Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., ushered family members and fans into the relative safety of the dugouts and up into the tunnels. In heat of the moment, that seemed like the safest place to go.

Just ended up in the Padres dugout bc of shooting. Thank you Manny Machado and @Padres pic.twitter.com/B2GaJ7Wt6V

— Alaina (@alaina1424) July 18, 2021

“The situation changed immediately; there were no longer players or fans,” Tatis said to reporters. “I feel like everybody is just people. Just human beings out there.”

“I didn’t know what was going on, but I wanted to make sure that everybody was safe,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said to reporters. “You don’t ever think it’s gonna happen, but when it does, it’s definitely a different situation.”

Within a few minutes, an announcement over the stadium’s PA system instructed people to stay inside the ballpark. The game was eventually suspended, with the Padres winning 8-4. The game resumed Sunday afternoon, when the Padres added two more runs to secure the win.

It would later be learned that the shooting happened outside the stadium on South Capitol Street. Police think the incident involved gunfire between cars. Three people with injuries resulting from the incident have been found, but not the actual shooters.

Strange Mets Play And How They Recovered

In the first inning of Sunday’s game, the Mets were already down by three runs, Mets righthander Taijuan Walker was facing Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman. The bases were loaded. Newman hit a slow dribbler up the third-base line that looked foul, but upon closer examination, was touching the line and, therefore, fair. Walker came off the mound to field the ball and, believing it was foul, swatted the ball with his glove toward the Pirates’ dugout.

The ball was (correctly) ruled fair. While Walker argued the call, no other Mets went to retrieve the ball. Three Pirates baserunners came around to score. Newman made it to second base. Walker was charged with an error, while Newman was credited with a single and an RBI.

Walker was incensed. Mets manager Luis Rojas ran from the dugout to argue the call as well and, after bumping an umpire, was ejected.

The Mets still managed to win the game, despite being down 6-0 in the first inning after giving up a six-run comeback to the Pirates the night before. Dominic Smith started off the Mets’ scoring with an RBI single in the third inning. The next inning, Travis Blankenhorn hit a three-run shot. A throwing error in the sixth inning allowed another run. And then Michael Conforto hit a two-run home run in the ninth to put the Mets ahead.


Tigers Sweep Twins With 7-0 Win

Jeimer Candelario homered, drove in three runs and started two double plays as the Detroit Tigers finished a weekend sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 7-0 win on Sunday.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 18: Detroit Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario (46) gets congratulations from Detroit Tigers first base coach George Lombard (26) during the Detroit Tigers versus the Minnesota Twins game on Sunday July 18, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The game was the seventh in a row between the teams. Minnesota swept a four-game series at home immediately before the All-Star break before losing three in Detroit. The series was originally scheduled for four games, but Friday’s doubleheader was rained out. The Tigers swept a doubleheader on Saturday.

“This is a weird game at times,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “They beat us up at their place, and then we come home and get a sweep. You don’t usually see any team twice in a row like this, plus we’re going right back there in a little over a week.”

Wily Peralta (3-1) pitched seven shutout innings for the second time in three starts, allowing four hits and four walks while striking out four. Peralta, who was aided by four double plays, is 3-1 with a 0.34 ERA in his last five starts.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 18: Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Wily Peralta (58) pitches in the fourth inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Minnesota Twins game on Sunday July 18, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I’m a groundball pitcher, so having that kind of defense behind me is a great feeling,” said Peralta, who is in a major league rotation for the first time since 2017. “I didn’t really have a good feel for the ball in the first couple innings, and they made some big plays.”

J.A. Happ (5-5) took the loss, giving up seven runs on 11 hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out four and allowed two home runs.

With a doubleheader on Monday, Happ had to pitch deep into the game despite not having his best stuff.

“Unfortunately, this is the position we’re in right now,” he said. “It doesn’t happen as often these days, but we needed innings. I just couldn’t get out of a couple bad innings.”

DETROIT, MI – JULY 18: Detroit Tigers second baseman Jonathan Schoop (7) gets congratulations from Detroit Tigers first base coach Ramon Santiago (39) after hitting a two run homer during the Detroit Tigers versus the Minnesota Twins game on Sunday July 18, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jake Rogers led off the third with a double and moved up on Derek Hill’s bunt single. Akil Baddoo struck out, but Jonathan Schoop gave the Tigers the lead with a sacrifice fly. After Robbie Grossman walked, Miguel Cabrera made it 2-0 with an RBI single and Candelario’s double gave Detroit a three-run lead.

Baddoo and Hill both stole bases in the game as Hinch continues to manage an up-tempo style.

“It’s fun out there right now,” said Hill, who has stolen six bases in 11 games with the Tigers. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can be aggressive on the bases and we are all executing right now.”

Schoop made it 5-0 with a two-run homer in the fifth, his 17th, and Candelario hit a two-run homer of his own in the seventh.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 18: Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Alex Lange (57) gets high fives from the fielders following the 7-0 victory during the Detroit Tigers versus the Minnesota Twins game on Sunday July 18, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“(Happ) pitches very efficiently, so we thought we could get seven innings out of him even with the score a little worse than we would like,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He got the second out in the seventh, but Candelario hits one out and makes it a frustrating finish for him.

“We just didn’t play well in this series. We’ve got an inexperienced group right now and we need to learn from this.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: C Mitch Garver (groin) will join the team on Monday in Chicago and is expected to be activated during a four-game series against the White Sox.

GETTING CLOSER TO 3,000

Cabrera’s RBI single in the third was his 2,929th hit, tying him with Al Simmons for 40th in major league history. Cabrera got a bigger cheer from the crowd in the ninth inning when he lifted teammate Harold Castro into the air as the Tigers’ scoreboard displayed “Simba Cam.”

UP NEXT

Twins: Minnesota plays the White Sox in a doubleheader on Monday. Griffin Jax (1-1, 8.66 ERA) and Jose Berrios (7-3, 3.48) are scheduled to start for the Twins.

Tigers: Detroit hosts the Texas Rangers for a four-game series starting on Monday. Casey Mize (5-5, 3.59) is scheduled to start for the Tigers in the opener against Kyle Gibson (6-1, 2.29).

 

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Red Wings Pick Up Defenseman Leddy

The New York Islanders acquired forward Richard Panik and a second-round draft pick this year from the Detroit Red Wings on Friday for defenseman Nick Leddy.

TAMPA, FL – JUNE 15: Blake Coleman #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders during the first period in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Semifinals of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on June 15, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Detroit will retain 50% of Panik’s salary.

Panik has 88 goals and 106 assists in 517 regular-season games in nine seasons with Tampa Bay, Toronto, Chicago, Arizona, Washington and Detroit. The 30-year-old Slovak split last season with Washington and Detroit, finishing with four goals and nine assists in 48 games.

TAMPA, FL – JUNE 25: Blake Coleman #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders during the third period in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Semifinals of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on June 25, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Leddy, also 30, has 65 goals and 271 assists in 776 regular-season games in 11 seasons with Chicago and New York. He has seven goals and 26 assists in 121 playoff games, helping the Blackhawks win the 2013 Stanley Cup. Last season, the former University of Minnesota star had two goals and 20 assists in 56 games.

 

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Almirola Pulls Off Shocker At New Hampshire

Aric Almirola carried the weight of a winless season while chasing a playoff berth that seemed implausible for a driver buried deep in the standings on a Stewart-Haas Racing program that had yet to take a checkered flag.

His confidence sagged. The pressure tightened on the No. 10 team.

LOUDON, NH – JULY 18: Aric Almirola, driver of the (10) Smithfield Ford Mustang, pulls into Victory Lane after the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 18, 2021, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With darkness falling at New Hampshire, Almirola saw his season suddenly come into focus. Almirola sprung to life late Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and pulled off the surprise victory, a vital boost for SHR, Ford and another shakeup of the NASCAR playoff picture.

“Coming into this race, we never gave anybody a reason to pick us,” Almirola said. “It feels good to be the underdog and come out of nowhere and have the race car we did.”

Almirola snapped a 98-race winless streak and added New Hampshire to a rain-shortened win at Daytona in 2014 and Talladega in 2018 for his third victory in 374 races.

LOUDON, NH – JULY 18: Aric Almirola, driver of the (10) Smithfield Ford Mustang, with the trophy after winning the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 18, 2021, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

And he’s in the playoffs.

Almirola was the latest surprise winner and played havoc with the playoff picture with only four races left before the 16-driver field is set. Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick are among the drivers who could use a win and clinch a berth.

The race was delayed nearly two hours by rain and NASCAR called it early due to darkness, leaving it eight laps shy of its scheduled conclusion.

New Hampshire was scheduled for 301 laps and 318.46 miles. Almirola took the checkered in 293 laps. He broke up the Team Penske party — Brad Keselowksi and Ryan Blaney had a fun back-and-forth for the lead at one point — and Christopher Bell could not catch him.

LOUDON, NH – JULY 17: Christopher Bell, driver of the (54) Dewalt Toyota, exalts in winning the Xfinity Series – Ambetter Get Vaccinated 200 on July 17, 2021 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Bell won the Xfinty Series race Saturday and was second. Keselowski, Joey Logano and Blaney made it a 3-4-5 finish for Team Penske.

“I felt like I probably had a little bit better pace than him, able to get to him,” Bell said. “Lapped cars were giving him a bad time. If I was able to get to him, it was going to be a heck of a race.

Almirola rested his head on the car in almost stunned disbelief that he clinched his playoff spot.

“There is no doubt we have struggled,” Almirola said. “But guess what? We’re going playoff racing.”

Almirola, who entered 27th in the points standings, was the first driver out of the SHR pack that includes Kevin Harvick, Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe to take the checkered flag. Almirola had only two top 10s this season. Harvick was sixth and led a race-high 66 laps.

LOUDON, NH – JULY 18: Brad Keselowski, driver of the (2) eCascadia Ford Mustang, keeps Tyler Reddick, driver of the (8) CAT #WeDigLandscaping Chevrolet Camaro, at bay during the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 18, 2021, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ford drivers took five of the top six spots.

Almirola said there was “enough light” to keep racing to the scheduled finish.

NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller defended the decision to shorten the race.

“We just felt like it was getting too dark and needed to call it. It’s just as simple as that,” he said. “Completely based on raceability. ”

NASCAR started the race under wet conditions and that decision turned into a disaster when Kyle Busch, the polesitter, spun on the slick track and wrecked only six laps into the race. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin also spun and the red flag was waved to stop the race. Truex and Hamlin returned to race. Busch’s race in the No. 18 Toyota was over and he bit his tongue on NASCAR’s call to start the race.

LOUDON, NH – JULY 18: Kyle Busch, driver of the (18) Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, exits turn 4 during the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 18, 2021, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“It never should have gone green to begin with, but then it kept getting worse and worse lap over lap,” Busch said. “We’ve been talking about it for two laps that it was raining. There’s no sense in saying what I want to say, it doesn’t do you any good.”

Hamlin said, “this is just a bad look.”

NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said on NBC Sports races have started in the mist but the track “got slick in a hurry.”

RAIN-DELAY THEATER

New England Patriots return specialist Gunner Olszewski, the honorary pace car driver, and drivers Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie tossed the football around with fans during the delay.

BUSCH’S BUMP

Busch pulled down the window net in his Toyota and appeared to bump the pace car in frustration on his way to pit road. Miller said NASCAR would address Busch’s actions this week.

UP NEXT

Summer vacation! With NBC busy with Olympics coverage, NASCAR takes a rare two-week break and does not return until Aug. 8 at Watkins Glen. Watkins Glen was bumped from the schedule last season because of the pandemic. Elliott won the last race on the road course in 2019.

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Penske’s Iconic No. 2 Will Be Driven By Austin Cindric Next Season

The long breakup between Roger Penske and Brad Keselowski was finalized Thursday when Austin Cindric was named driver of the flagship No. 2, replacing the driver who won Team Penske its first Cup championship.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – SEPTEMBER 08: Brad Keselowski (2) Team Penske Ford Mustang GT sits on his pit box during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on September 8, 2019, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Keselowski had a prolonged contract negotiation a year ago that netted him only a one-year extension and salary cut, and Team Penske said around the same time it would move Cindric up to the Cup Series to drive for partner Wood Brothers Racing.

Keselowski has since tested the market and told Penske he was looking for an ownership stake in a Cup team.

“The way we’re structured, that just wasn’t available,” Penske said. “We’re sorry to see him go. This was not a disagreement or anything else. This was a business decision that was made on both sides fairly and squarely.”

If ownership was not so important to Keselowski, Penske said he would have extended his contract for two to three years. Instead, Keselowski will leave after 12 seasons — drivers don’t usually part ways with Roger Penske voluntarily — and the plans for Cindric were upended.

HAMPTON, GA – JULY 10: Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Car Shop (22) before the NASCAR Xfiinity Series Credit Karma Money 250 on July 10, 2021, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The No. 2 Ford was open and Cindric, the 22-year-old son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric, could stay within the organization. Penske stressed that his new Cup driver has proven he deserved the iconic seat.

“You know, you come in as the son of the guy who is president of Team Penske, you probably come in with a little weight on your shoulders,” Penske said. “But he’s proven to be the driver he is, the individual he is and this is a big step for him.”

Keselowski has not announced officially what he’s doing next year, but it’s been openly discussed that he’ll move to Roush Fenway Racing with a piece of ownership — a move seemingly confirmed by Penske.

“Brad’s done a hell of a job for us and he’ll bring a lot of value to Roush,” Penske said.

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 03: Team Penske owner Roger Penske during a post-race press conference media in the ThriveHive Digital Center deadline room after his driver Joey Logano wins the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 on March 3, 2019, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Keselowski said on social media that he was making the move to “embrace a new opportunity and challenge” and called it a decision he did not take lightly.

Keselowski noted that when he arrived at Penske in 2010, the organization had 65 Cup Series wins and was still seeking its first Cup title. He gave Roger Penske the championship in his third season, won 34 of his 35 career Cup wins with the team and is a perennial title contender.

He heads to Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the defending race winner, and he currently is ranked 10th in the standings with a playoff-qualifying victory.

“Over our years together we developed into a formidable force,” Keselowski said. “Today the team has more than 130 Cup Series wins, two Xfinity Championships and two Cup Series Championships. I am so proud to have played a role in these wins and milestones.”

FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 03: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) walks through the crowd during driver introductions before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 on November 03, 2019 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Cindric, meanwhile, was to replace Matt DiBenedetto in the No. 21 Ford for the Wood Brothers. That seat will now go to Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton.

Cindric has 12 career Xfinity victories and is leading the championship standings. He already has made six Cup starts this year in preparation for next season but never expected to land the No. 2.

He said he still has a photo of Keselowski doing a victory burnout at Bristol autographed by Keselowski in the bedroom at his parents’ house.

“Driving the two car for Team Penske certainly comes with a great responsibility and obviously great heritage,” Cindric said. “I’m excited to tackle it head-on.”

BRISTOL, TN – AUGUST 16: Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Ford Mustang MoneyLion (22) during the running of the 38th annual Food City 300 on August 16, 2019 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Burton is the 20-year-old son of retired racer and NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton. He won four races last season and currently is fifth in the Xfinity Series standings.

All the shuffling put DiBenedetto out of a ride, again. He made the playoffs last season knowing Cindric was taking his seat, but he had hoped plans would change with Keselowski’s impending departure.

The journeyman driver posted a nine-minute video venting his frustration at losing yet another ride. DiBenedetto said the No. 21 team had been “broken” for some time, but he’d hoped a recent crew chief change would improve performance and help him keep his job.

“It’s OK to have human emotion,” DiBenedetto said in his video. “It doesn’t make it not suck.”

Wood Brothers co-owner Eddie Wood said the decision to go with Burton paired him with Cindric as two young Cup rookies at the same time NASCAR rolls out a new car.

“The Next Gen car is coming and that’s a white sheet of paper, drivers in particular,” Wood said. “We felt that was a good time to bring in a young rookie. Being rookies, they’re both on the same level and this new car is such a white sheet of paper that even if you’re a veteran, if you’re a 20-year veteran, you’re really not going to have a lot on a rookie.”

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Baseball’s ‘All-Star Game’ TV Ratings Hit Record Low

NEW YORK (AP) — The television rating for baseball’s All-Star Game may have sank to a record low but viewers increased by 1%.
The American League’s 5-2 win over the National at Denver on Tuesday night featuring Shohei Ohtani as the first two-way All-Star got a 4.5 rating and 11 share, and was seen by 8,237,000 viewers ages 2 and up, Fox said Wednesday.
The previous low rating was 5.0 for the American League’s 4-3 victory at Cleveland two years ago, which had an 11 share and and was seen by 8,140,000 viewers.
Viewers peaked at 8,897,000 from 9-9:15 p.m. EDT.
The 2020 All-Star Game was canceled due to the pandemic.
The Home Run Derby drew a combined 7,126,000 on ESPN and ESPN2 on Monday night, up from 6.2 million in 2019 and its most viewers since 2017. This year drew 6,358,000 viewers on ESPN and 767,000 viewers for a Statcast-themed alternate telecast on ESPN2.
The rating is the percentage of television households tuned to a broadcast and the share is the percentage tuned to a telecast among those households with televisions on at the time.


Kyle Larson Lands Full Sponsorship & Extension Through 2023

Rick Hendrick gave Kyle Larson a second chance in NASCAR because Hendrick Motorsports had wanted him in its lineup for years. Now that Hendrick has his man, he has locked Larson down for two more seasons with full sponsorship.

Hampton, GA – JULY 11: Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com (5) during the NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart on July 11, 2021, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Hendrick on Wednesday told his 93 dealerships that the hottest driver in motorsports has signed a contract extension through 2023 and Larson will be fully sponsored by HendrickCars.com.

It may seem like the sponsorship is all Rick Hendrick’s money anyway, but the sponsorship for 35 races in the next two years is paid for from the marketing budget of Hendrick Automotive. The deal is somewhat unprecedented because the website will also sponsor Larson in all his non-NASCAR events with branding on the nose of his dirt cars, helmets, gloves, and firesuits.

“My dealerships, the general managers and the employees, they didn’t want anyone else on the car,” Hendrick told The Associated Press.

Larson joined HMS this season on the cheap after a nearly yearlong NASCAR suspension for using a racial slur. Sponsors were initially skittish so the Hendrick website for new and used cars bought some of the ad space on the No. 5 Chevrolet.

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 07: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, poses for photos in Victory Lane after winning the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube NASCAR Cup Series race on March 7, 2021 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Speer/LVMS via Icon Sportswire)

The site has been on Larson’s car in 14 races so far this season but only three of his five NASCAR victories. A different sponsor was on the car when Larson won at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May to make Hendrick the winningest team in NASCAR history and the automotive group was not pleased.

Hendrick told AP his marketing team at Hendrick Motorsports was actively selling Larson sponsorship and had offers, but the team owner halted all conversations when his automotive group said it wanted the ad space.

“I bumped it up about 20% once automotive committed,” Hendrick said. “We had one deal for the whole thing, so I made them step up and at least match the offer. And they did, they want as much as they can get.”

The top stars in NASCAR for years were identified by their sponsors but the branding faded in an unsustainable economic model and teams have been forced to sell ad space on their cars in chunks to multiple companies.

RICHMOND, VA – APRIL 18: Alex Bowman (48) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Ally leads a pack of cars to the finish line winning the Toyota Owners 400 on April 18, 2021, at the Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, VA. (Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ally, the sponsor for Hendrick driver Alex Bowman, is the only current company in the Cup Series with a full season of sponsorship and HendrickCars.com would have matched that commitment if Valvoline had not already bought three races for next year on Larson’s car; that deal is expected to continue in 2023.

“When we race on Sunday our people are excited when they get to work on Monday,” Darryl Jackson, vice president of financial services for Hendrick Automotive Group, told AP. “By the water cooler, on the showroom floor, in the service center, they are talking about their car. It is ‘My driver. My team.’

“When you put that together with the business, it just makes sense. More leads sell more cars, right? We’ve got to advertise somewhere, so why not advertise on one of our assets?”

Larson has won a Cup Series-high four points races this season, as well as the $1 million All-Star race. He is second in the championship standings and has won 10 times so far this year in non-NASCAR events.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 07: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, is congratulated by Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 Columbia Sportswear Toyota, in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 07, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/23XI Racing via Getty Images)

He races at dirt tracks all over the country and has 56 wins since the start of 2020 — most of those coming outside of NASCAR during his 32-race suspension for using the slur while participating in an online race at the start of the pandemic.

Hendrick hinted at his automotive arm keeping the sponsorship following Larson’s win at Nashville last month and said he wouldn’t sell the No. 5 car in a “piecemeal deal because I think it’s worth more to me than to do that.”

The data proved Hendrick right.

Jackson said since the paint scheme was revealed in February, traffic to the HendrickCars.com website has exploded. Five of the six highest-trafficked days this year followed races in which Larson contended with the website as his sponsor.

“He’s created total lead generation value of $1.8 million and over $5 million in television exposure,” Jackson said. “And we haven’t even gotten to the (playoffs) yet.”

HAMPTON, GA – JULY 11: Kyle Larson, #5 Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com pits during the running of the NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 race on July 11, 2021 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson retired from NASCAR at the end of last season and inked a sponsorship deal with Carvana for his transition from Hendrick Motorsports to IndyCar. Carvana has made significant ad buys during NASCAR races, but the Hendrick group insisted it felt no competitive pressure to increase its presence.

“Look, Kyle’s on-track performance and what we saw on the business side is what drove us to make this decision,” Brian Johnson, vice president of marketing at Hendrick Automotive Group, told AP. “Kyle has elevated our business platform in such a tremendous way that this makes sense. As someone who is responsible for our advertising spends, and all things have remained equal except for the addition of Kyle, I don’t know how else you correlate what he’s doing for the company.”

Exiled from NASCAR this time last year, the 28-year-old Larson would not have dreamed of such a fortunate turn in his career. He grew up a Jeff Gordon fan and to this day links the Hall of Famer with sponsor Dupont and its rainbow and flames paint schemes.

Larson was backed heavily by Target at the start of his NASCAR career but in eight seasons has never had one company fully committed to him.

“I want to be at Hendrick for the rest of my career and if I can have this sponsorship attached to me, I think that goes a long way for my brand and my fanbase,” Larson told AP. “Someday when I’m retired from Cup and only racing dirt cars, maybe they can back me there, too. … I feel like we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


‘I’m The Glue For My Guys’: Agent Nicole Lynn On Representing Jalen Hurts, Quinnen Williams & Book ‘Agent You’

(CBS Local Sports)– The world of athlete representation has long been dominated by men, but Nicole Lynn is starting to change that. Lynn is the President of Football Operations for Klutch Sports, the agency founded by LeBron James’ agent and friend Rich Paul, and she represents big time NFL players such as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, a former top five pick in New York Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and Atlanta Falcons safety Erik Harris.

CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith recently caught up with Lynn to discuss her new book “Agent You,” how she carved out a path as an agent and the TV show that is being created based off of her life from executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

“It’s funny because I started writing the book before I ever had a book deal. I would just take down notes as I did something and it kind of slowly came together,” said Lynn. “I will say that writing a book is very hard. My goal has always been to mentor and not hide the ball. This book is a blueprint on how to be your own inner-agent, how to advocate for yourself and how to get your seat at the table. I give the raw truth and it is everything you need to define success on your own terms.”

“When I was 18 years old and got to college, I learned pretty quickly that I wanted to work with athletes,” said Lynn. “I wanted to support athletes and many of them had similar upbringings that I did. I saw there was an issue in sports and I wanted to be the change. I didn’t grow up as a big sports fanatic. It wasn’t me trying to be close to the game, it was me trying to make a change.”

While there have been many eye-opening moments during Lynn’s time as a sports agent, she says the biggest lesson she’s learned is you can’t protect every player from going broke. Lynn has learned there is only so much she can do for her clients at the end of the day.

“Thankfully I haven’t been in that exact situation, but I can see how it can happen,” said Lynn. “It was more of a wake up call that there is only so much saving you can do. It’s about relationships and spending time. Our only actual job as an agent is to negotiate the contract. Typically, a contract is around four years. I negotiate and then it’s four years later until the next deal. That’s really all my job description says and I try to go above and beyond and create that day to day personal relationship where I’m call one and the glue for my guys.”

Lynn helps her clients with everything from their efforts in the community to planning a baby shower. These types of things get ramped up to the next level when Lynn reps high-profile athletes like Hurts and Williams. She believes both guys have very bright futures ahead of them.

“Quinnen Williams was my first first round draft pick that I ever represented,” said Lynn. “He gave me a shot and interviewed with agents who represented 50-100 first rounders. He believed in me and really gave me my shot and my first high level draft pick and I’m so grateful today that he felt so comfortable with someone who didn’t have the same level of experience. He’s such a smart young man and did his research about agents. On the field, he is such a hard worker and no one can really know. He gives 150% every day and he is such a dominant player.”

“Jalen Hurts is also a very hard worker, similar to Quinnen, but they couldn’t be more different,” said Lynn. “Jalen is so locked in in a quarterback way. He’s focused on the goal. He doesn’t let any of the outside stuff bother him. He’s been through so many trials and tribulations and he doesn’t care about any of that. He always has his eye on the prize and I love that about him. His level of focus is honestly on a different level. He’s not a guy that wants to take all the interviews and be on the red carpet. He knows his job and shows up every day to do it. He’s so calm. He’s got a swag to him and he’s so cool.”

Lynn’s book is available now wherever books are sold.


Baseball Report: Pete Alonso Repeats In Record-Breaking Home Run Derby

(CBS Denver) — It’s officially the slowest sports day of the year. And while the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game have no bearing on the standings, both make for fun viewing in the absence of real games.

This week’s Baseball Report looks at the Home Run Derby results, Shohei Ohtani getting the All-Star nod as both starting pitcher and lead-off batter, and the top pick in the recent MLB Draft.

Home Run Derby Results

The Home Run Derby may just be the high point of the All-Star break. It certainly provides its fair share of highlights, with many of MLB’s best power hitters facing off in a tournament to determine baseball’s top slugger. New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso prevailed, defending his 2019 rookie-year title by topping Baltimore Orioles right fielder Trey Mancini, a recent cancer survivor who gave an inspiring performance.

Los Angeles Angels two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohtani, who leads the league in home runs with 33 so far this season, earned the top seed. But he couldn’t make it out of the first round, falling to Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto after two tiebreakers. Soto Alonso opened with 35 home runs, a first-round record. Mancini and Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story also advanced.

Mancini knocked off Story, and Alonso knocked off Soto in the second round to set up the finals. The last round went to the wire, with Alonso edging out Mancini, 23-22. His win over the sentimental favorite makes him just the third player to win back-to-back titles.

Coming into the Derby, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge held the Statcast era distance record, thanks to a 2017 blast that sailed 513 feet. This year alone four different players beat or tied that mark in the first round. Soto is the new record holder, after a 520-foot shot that landed in the right field upper deck at Coors Field.

Ohtani To Start And Lead Off All-Star Game

While Ohtani was knocked out early in the Home Run Derby, he’ll have a chance to redeem himself Tuesday night. The first player ever to be voted in as both a pitcher and a hitter will have plenty of attention. The game’s lineups were recently announced, and he will start the game on the mound and leadoff when the American League bats. Ohtani will face Nationals ace Max Scherzer.

Typically, pitchers in the All-Star Game don’t throw more than an inning. Under the current rules, the American League would give up the DH spot if Ohtani pitches and then hits for himself. His removal from the mound would end his night. But thanks to a rule exception for a game that doesn’t affect the standings anyway, he’ll be allowed to stay in at DH. Ohtani is essentially being treated as two players.

In addition to leading the league in home runs, Ohtani is hitting .279, with 70 RBI. In 67 innings on the mound, he has a 3.49 ERA with 87 strikeouts, en route to a 4-1 record.

Here are the All-Star Game lineups:

National League:

Fernando Tatis Jr. – SS, San Diego Padres
Max Muncy – DH, Los Angeles  Dodgers
Nolan Arenado – 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Freddie Freeman – 1B, Atlanta Braves
Nick Castellanos – RF, Cincinnati Reds
Jesse Winker – LF, Cincinnati Reds
J.T. Realmuto – C, Philadelphia Phillies
Bryan Reynolds – CF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Adam Frazier – 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates

American League:

Shohei Ohtani – DH, Los Angeles Angels
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
Xander Bogaerts – SS, Boston Red Sox
Aaron Judge – RF, New York Yankees
Rafael Devers – 3B, Boston Red Sox
Marcus Semien – 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
Salvador Perez – C, Kansas City Royals
Teoscar Hernández – LF, Toronto Blue Jays
Cedric Mullins – CF, Baltimore Orioles

Pirates Draft Catcher Henry Davis First

Aside from the All-Star festivities, MLB is using the break to hold its 2021 amateur draft, held in June in previous years. The first round happened Sunday night, followed by rounds 2-10 on Monday and rounds 11-20 on Tuesday. What used to be 40 rounds was cut to five rounds in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic. That number increases to 20 this year.

The first name off the board Sunday was University of Louisville catcher Henry Davis. The sophomore was a first-team All-American this past season, hitting .370 with 15 home runs, and 48 RBI in 50 games. He was seen as maybe college baseball’s best hitter. Davis was also a Buster Posey Award finalist. The award goes to college baseball’s top catcher. Shortstop Marcelo Mayer, out of Eastlake High School in California was seen to be the team’s other top choice. This Draft didn’t have a clear top pick going in.

Here are the top five selections:

1. Henry Davis, C, Louisville – Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt – Texas Rangers
3. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (OK) – Detroit Tigers
4. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA) – Boston Red Sox
5. Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State – Baltimore Orioles


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