Balk in baseball coronavirus talks as negotiations drag on
NEW YORK (AP) — An email from Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to union head Tony Clark led to a balk in the drawn-out talks to start the pandemic-delayed season, which now won't begin by July 19.
The executive committee of the players’ association was set to vote and reject MLB’s latest offer for a 60-game season on Sunday.
Manfred said in an email obtained by The Associated Press that he really believes they are fighting over an impossibility on games. Manfred’s email said that the earliest they’ll be ready for players to report is a week from Monday, given the need to relocate teams from Florida. That leaves 66 days to play 60 games. Manfred added that “Realistically, that is the outside of the envelope now”.
Players want 70 games and $275 million more than teams are offering. They are worried that if a resurgence of the new coronavirus causes the 2020 season to be cut short, the deal being negotiated would lock in innovations for 2021 and lessen the union’s bargaining power.
Simpson celebrates a Father's Day win at Harbour Town
HILTON HEAD IASLAND, S.C. (AP) — Webb Simpson celebrated another victory on Father's Day, this time with a tartan jacket instead of a U.S. Open trophy.
In a wild sprint to the finish after a three-hour storm delay, Simpson ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine at Harbour Town and closed with a 7-under 64 for a one-shot victory over Abraham Ancer.
Simpson won the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in 2012. The U.S. Open has been scheduled to end on Father's Day every year since 1976, but it was moved to September this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RBC Heritage filled the spot on the schedule and Simpson, now a father of five, became a winner for the second time this year with a record score at Harbour Town.
He didn't have much of a choice with so many low scores on a soft course with little wind. He finished at 22-under 262, breaking by two the tournament record set by Brian Gay in 2009.
Weather delays NASCAR race at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Thunderstorms Sunday forced NASCAR to postpone the Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway that was to mark the return of more fans to the track. The race, which was pushed back to 2 p.m. CDT on Monday, is the first amid the coronavirus pandemic in which NASCAR opened the gates for up to 5,000 fans.
The event was stopped several times for more than three hours of total delays.
The race is the ninth for the elite Cup Series since the May 17 resumption, and restrictions are gradually being lifted.
It was hardly an ordinary race day at Talladega Superspeedway, even before the lousy weather. The normal hordes of partying fans were nowhere to be seen.
The Confederate flags were harder to find, too — except for a plane circling above the track with the message “Defund NASCAR” trailing behind the flag. It was a double whammy of change for the Cup series race.
The Confederate flags that once flew openly around the infield and stands are now banned. NASCAR hasn’t disclosed how it will handle fans flying flags.
F1 star Hamilton to set up commission to increase diversity
LONDON (AP) — Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton plans to set up a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.
The Mercedes driver said the aim of the Hamilton Commission would be to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in."
Hamilton is the only Black world champion in F1. He has spoken widely about racism since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
Writing in British newspaper The Sunday Times, Hamilton said it would be a research partnership dedicated to exploring how motorsport can be used as a vehicle to “engage more young people from Black backgrounds with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and, ultimately, employ them on our teams or in other engineering sectors.”
Dynamo Moscow reports coronavirus cases, game postponed
UNDATED (AP) — Tennis player Grigor Dimitrov (GREE'-gohr DIH'-mih-trahv) says he has tested positive for COVID-19.
His announcement led to the cancellation of an exhibition event in Croatia where Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich) was scheduled to play Sunday.
Dimitrov is ranked No. 19 and a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist. He is the highest-profile current player to say he has the virus. His announcement on his Instagram page comes at the end of a week when the U.S. Open said it would go forward. The professional tennis tours have been suspended since March and are planning to resume in August.
In other sports affected by the coronavirus pandemic:
— There’s been a setback in the Russian soccer league’s restart this weekend. Dynamo Moscow postponed its game Sunday after three of its players tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s the second game to be disrupted by the coronavirus since the Russian league restarted Friday after a three-month pause.
— Newcastle beat 10-man Sheffield United 3-0 in the Premier League to virtually guarantee its top-flight status for another year and make the club an even more attractive option for its controversial potential buyers. The win at an empty St. James’ Park lifted Newcastle to 38 points and 11 clear of the relegation zone. The future of Newcastle has been one of the big talking points during soccer’s three-month shutdown. League officials are deciding whether to approve a takeover of the northeast club by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Chelsea rallied to beat Aston Villa 2-1. Chelsea strengthened its hold on fourth place and is five points clear of fifth-place Manchester United.
— Two-time major champion So Yeon Ryu (soh yahn yoo) closed with an even-par 72 to win the Korea Women's Open in her first tournament in four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ryu won for the first time since the Japan Women's Open in 2018, and it was her first victory on the Korea LPGA since 2015. Upon winning, Ryu offered her entire prize money of just over $200,000 for coronavirus relief funds.
TRIPLE CROWN-WHAT’S NEXT
Belmont winner Tiz the Law eyes ambitious summer schedule
UNDATED (AP) — Having secured a victory in the Belmont Stakes, Tiz the Law now faces an 11-week wait until the Kentucky Derby in a reconfigured Triple Crown series. In between, the bay colt who became the first New York-bred to win the Belmont since 1882 is being pointed toward the Travers on Aug. 8 in upstate New York, which is his home turf.
Tiz the Law has five wins in six career starts by an average of 19 1/4 lengths. His only loss came at Churchill Downs last year, and he'll get a chance to avenge it over the same track in the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.
Horse injured, euthanized after race at Santa Anita
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — A horse injured after crossing the finish line of a race at Santa Anita has been euthanized, making it the 15th fatality at the track since late December.
Strictly Biz, a 4-year-old colt, fractured his right knee while galloping past the finish of the sixth race Saturday. The attending veterinarian determined it was an unrecoverable injury.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Strictly Biz finished sixth among eight horses in the $51,000 race on the turf. Trained by Brian Koriner and owned by Jay Em Ess Stable, the colt had one win in four career starts and earnings of $29,000, according to Equibase.
The California track's spring-summer meet ends Sunday.
British superbike rider dies after crash at English track
DERBY, England (AP) — A British superbike rider has died after being involved in a collision with another bike at an event on the Donington Park track in central England Sunday.
Organizers of the No Limits Trackday event say Ben Godfrey died from the injuries he suffered from falling from his bike. Godfrey was 25 and raced in the British Superbike Championship.
The No Limits Trackdays director described Godfrey as “a fantastic young man” and said he was “friends with so many people in the paddock, he was always smiling and had time for everyone.”
Former NFL, USC offensive lineman Max Tuerk dies at 26
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Max Tuerk, an All-America offensive lineman at Southern California who was drafted by the Chargers, has died. He was 26. USC announced his death on Twitter, but did not say when Tuerk died or provide a cause of death. Tuerk played for the Trojans from 2012-15.
He was a freshman All-American and an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2014.
As a three-year starter, he played under three head coaches — Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton. He was taken by the Chargers in the 2016 NFL draft, and played one game for the Arizona Cardinals before being cut in 2018.