May 18, 2020 11:01 AM

Monday Sports Headlines

Posted May 18, 2020 11:01 AM

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick was the winner as NASCAR resumed its Cup schedule following a 10-week layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Harvick took the lead from Alex Bowman on a late restart and pulled away over the final 30 laps in front of empty stands at Darlington Raceway. Bowman finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin. The event was run without fans and with an emphasis on masks and social distancing.

JUNO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Rory McIlroy delivered the money shot in the TaylorMade Driving Relief exhibition that raised $5 million for COVID-19 relief funds. With the match down to a closest-to-the-pin contest after regulation, McIlroy barely stayed on the shelf left of the pin, measured at 13 feet to beat Matthew Wolff’s attempt by five feet. The final carryover gave McIlroy and Dustin Johnson $1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation.

HOUSTON (AP) — A 5-year-old boy and a woman drowned in the backyard pool of former major league outfielder Carl Crawford's Houston home Saturday afternoon. That’s according to reports from The Houston Chronicle. The paper says Houston police were called for a reported drowning at a north Houston home that property and business records list as belonging to Crawford. A police spokeswoman told the Chronicle that the boy was swimming in the pool when he began to have trouble breathing, and the woman jumped in to save him.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker and Seattle corner Quinton Dunbar have been released from Broward County Jail after surrendering Saturday on felony charges stemming from a cookout at a Miramar home. Baker posted a $200,000 bond and is charged with four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. Dunbar posted a $100,000 bond and is charged with four felony counts of armed robbery.

HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver was arrested during a traffic stop in the Houston area and charged with drunken driving and illegally carrying a handgun. Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies pulled Oliver over Saturday night after receiving reports of someone driving recklessly in a construction area. The Montgomery County Constables say that Oliver failed a sobriety test and deputies found a small caliber pistol in his truck.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTS

Cal. State teams could play football as scheduled

UNDATED (AP) — The California State University system’s plan for a mostly virtual fall semester due to the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t necessarily close the door on football at its three schools that play in the far-flung Mountain West Conference.

San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker says the school is looking at having football players return to campus no earlier than July 7 and is making plans to play the season as scheduled. SDSU is proceeding because it envisions a fall schedule that includes a hybrid model of classes, in which some students will be on campus for in-person instruction such as labs while other classes will be held online.

The Mountain West also includes Cal. State schools Fresno State and San Jose State. Fresno State AD Terry Tumey says it’s too early to determine when athletes could return to campus, adding that the safety of the community, the players and support staff is paramount. San Jose State said in a statement that it continues to work on timelines.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said recently that campuses must be open “in one fashion or another” in order to have sports this fall.

In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:

— Former major league manager and infielder Art Howe has been released from a Houston hospital after a stay in intensive care because of the pandemic. The 73-year-old Howe will be isolated at home for another week or two.

— English Premier League clubs will try on Monday to agree on protocols to allow a return to training during the pandemic. Teams already have started checking players and coaches for COVID-19, with a total of 1,600 weekly tests anticipated across the 20 clubs in England's top division. Monday’s meeting comes two days after the German league resumed its schedule.

— All Spanish league clubs can begin group training sessions this week despite stricter lockdown restrictions remaining in place in parts of Spain because of the pandemic. Cities like Madrid and Barcelona have not been allowed to loosen confinement measures like most of the country, but teams such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have been given the go-ahead to move into the second phase of training. The league has told clubs that on Monday all players can start small group sessions regardless of the lockdown phase in their regions. Players had only been allowed to train individually across Spain until now.

— Park Hyun-kung shot a final-round 67 to win the Korean Ladies Professional Golf tournament by one stroke. Park had a four-round total of 17-under 271 on the Lakewood Country Club course. Lim Hee-jeong carried a three-stroke lead into the final round before falling into a second-place tie with Bae Seon-woo. The tournament was played without fans and with players using hand sanitizers and following social-distancing rules. Caddies wore masks but players were allowed to play without them.

— Russia has relaxed border restrictions for athletes and coaches in a move that will help soccer to restart in the country next month. Russia has barred most foreign arrivals since March in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Now the government says athletes and coaches will be allowed in if they have a contract with a Russian sports team or organization. They will have to spend 14 days in isolation on arrival and will be observed by doctors.

MLB-CRAWFORD-POOL DROWNING

Two drown at property owned by ex-outfielder Carl Crawford

HOUSTON (AP) — A 5-year-old boy and a woman drowned in the backyard pool of former LA Dodger player Carl Crawford's Houston home Saturday afternoon. That’s according to reports from The Houston Chronicle.

The paper says Houston police were called for a reported drowning at a north Houston home that property and business records list as belonging to Crawford. A police spokeswoman told the Chronicle that the boy was swimming in the pool when he began to have trouble breathing, and the woman jumped in to save him. Both were unresponsive when police arrived and later declared dead at a hospital, according to the spokeswoman.

No further details were immediately available.

The police department did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment from The Associated Press. Contact information for Crawford could not be immediately found.

NFL-ROBBERY

Baker, Dunbar released after posting bond

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — NFL cornerbacks DeAndre Baker and Quinton Dunbar were released from Broward County Jail on Sunday, a day after surrendering on felony charges stemming from a cookout at a Miramar home.

Baker posted a $200,000 bond after a Zoom hearing with Broward Circuit Judge Michael Davis. The New York Giants defender is charged with four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.

Dunbar is charged with four felony counts of armed robbery. The Seattle Seahawks player posted a $100,000 bond.

The warrant said Baker and Dunbar were attending the cookout Wednesday night when a fight broke out and Baker pulled out a handgun. Witnesses told investigators that Baker, Dunbar and two other men began robbing people of thousands of dollars, watches and other valuables.

The players’ lawyers say they have witnesses who will clear them.

NFL-BILLS PLAYER ARRESTED

Buffalo Bills player charged with drunken driving in Texas

HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver was arrested during a traffic stop in the Houston area and charged with drunken driving and illegally carrying a handgun.

Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies pulled Oliver over Saturday night after receiving reports of someone driving recklessly in a construction area. Oliver failed a sobriety test and deputies found a small caliber pistol in his truck, according to a statement from the Montgomery County Constables.

The Houston Chronicle reports that he was released from jail after posting bond.

Oliver was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2019 draft.

SOUTH KOREA-SEX DOLLS

Korean soccer club apologizes for putting sex dolls in seats

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean professional soccer club has apologized after being accused of putting sex dolls in empty stands during a match in Seoul.

In a statement, FC Seoul expresses “sincere remorse” over the controversy. It insists that it used mannequins, not sex dolls, to mimic a crowd at the Seoul World Cup stadium.

The country’s top-flight K-League returned to action on May 8 without spectators following weeks-long postponements because of the coronavirus.

Professional baseball has resumed under similar conditions. The leagues plan to ban fans until the risks of infections are meaningfully lowered.

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May 18, 2020 11:01 AM
New MLB rules: shower at home, don't spit, Mr Met stay away

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball will look somewhat like high school ball this year under protocols to deal with the new coronavirus, with showers at ballparks discouraged and players possibly arriving in uniform, like they did when they were teenagers.

Team personnel will be banned from eating at restaurants on road trips.

Even the Phillie Phantic and Mr. Met will be missing, banned from the field along with all other team mascots.

The traditional exchange of lineup cards would be eliminated, along with high-fives, fist bumps, and bat boys and girls, according to a 67-page draft of Major League Baseball’s proposed 2020 Operations Manual. A copy was sent to teams Friday and obtained by The Associated Press. The guidelines, first reported by The Athletic, are subject to negotiation with the players’ association.

Teams will be allowed to have 50 players each under the plan, with the number active for each game still be negotiated.

Spitting is prohibited along with water jugs and the use of saunas, steam rooms, pools and cryotherapy chambers. Hitting in indoor cages is discouraged, batting gloves encouraged.

Batting practice pitchers are to wear masks, dugout telephones disinfected after each use. Players may not touch their face to give signs, and they’re not allowed to lick their fingers. Teams are encouraged to hold meetings outdoors, players spread apart.

Teams were asked to respond with their suggested input by May 22. The protocols were written by MLB senior vice presidents Patrick Houlihan, Bryan Seeley and Chris Young, and vice president Jon Coyles. Young is a former pitcher who retired after the 2017 season.

Protocols include details on testing for team staff, who are divided into three tiers. All others may not enter clubhouses, dugouts and the field.

Seats in the empty stands near the dugout should be used to maintain distance, according to diagrams in the manual, and the next day’s starting pitcher can’t sit in the dugout. Everyone must keep their distance during “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America,”

Fielders are “encouraged to retreat several steps away from the baserunner” between pitches. First and third base coaches are not to approach baserunners or umpires, and players should not socialize with opponents.

Managers and coaches must wear masks while in the dugouts. The entire traveling party -- including players -- must wear personal protective equipment while on buses and flights. Restaurants are off limits on the road, including the ones in hotels, as are hotel fitness centers.

“We emphasize that this is a first draft, and will undergo several rounds of changes as we collect comments and suggestions from the clubs, the players’ association, players, and government officials,” deputy commissioner Dan Halem wrote in an email to owners, team presidents and CEOs, and general managers that accompanied the protocols.

“The document is designed to set minimum standards and identify best practices, but we have attempted to provide clubs with enough flexibility to achieve the desired health and safety objectives in a manner that is tailored to their particular circumstances, including ballpark configuration, location, and the nature of any local governmental regulations or restrictions,” Halem wrote.

Scoreboard video is prohibited but music allowed. While there won’t be fans, at least not at the start, it will provide a familiar background audio for the telecasts critical to MLB’s bottom line.

A ball will be thrown away after it is touched by multiple players, and throwing the ball around the infield will be discouraged. Personnel who rub baseballs with mud for the umpires must use gloves.

“Individuals must avoid any physical interactions (such as high-fives, fist bumps, or hugs) while at club facilities,” the manual says.

Tier 1 people in the plan include players, managers and coaches plus two each from among physicians, athletics trainers and bullpen catchers plus one strength and conditioning coach.

Tier 2 includes clubhouse staff, additional coaches, medical and training staff, traveling staff, owners, front office, translators, communications staff, video personnel, the head groundskeeper and security plus players’ union and MLB staff along with contractors.

Tier 3 covers broadcast personnel and other event services.

Players must wear masks while in restricted areas “except while on the field or engaging in other strenuous activities” and lockers must have at least 6 feet between them. If needed, temporary clubhouse space will be added, preferably outdoors or areas with better ventilation.

“Showering in club facilities should be discouraged,” the plan says. “To the extent showering occurs, clubs should explore modifications to facilities to allow for physical distancing and hygiene” such as installing partitions and limiting the number of players using the showers at the same time.

Teams “should consider requiring (on-field staff) to arrive at club facilities dressed for the day’s activities in order to limit time spent in the clubhouse or locker room.”

Only medical personnel allowed near injured players.

There will be staggered reporting dates for the resumption of spring training. When pitchers and catchers arrive, only five players may work out at a time. Then come full team workouts, with small groups encouraged but not required, followed by exhibition games. There will be intake screening upon arrival followed a self-quarantine for 24-48 hours until results are available. Players not assigned to big league team when the season starts will remain at spring training or another separate facility.

All games at spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona, whether exhibition or regular season, must be scheduled for 7-9 p.m. local time unless MLB gives specific consent.

A fifth umpire would be allowed when the temperature reaches a certain level, allowing for rotation, including sharing of plate umpire duties, Teams should take batting practice on back fields.

Among the road trip changes:

—Use of Uber, subways and public buses is banned.

—Private airports encouraged and if not available, teams are to use private aviation facilities to board and exit.

—Transportation Security Administration screen should take place at ballparks if it can be arranged.

—In-flight catering is limited.

—Lower floors are to be used if possible at hotels, so stairs can be used instead of elevators, and private areas arranged for entrances, exits and check-in.

—Six staggered bus trips will be scheduled to and from the ballpark.

Team staff, including players, will be given thermometers for self screening and are to take two tests in quick succession each morning.

At the ballpark, people will be given temperature checks twice a day and multiple fluid swabs each week. Comprehensive Drug Testing will collect samples and Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City is to provide results within 24 hours.

Family members of players, umpires and the households of anyone covered under the plan will be offered access to testing and PPE. The individuals are encouraged to avoid crowd when away from ballpark.

Anyone with a temperature of 100 or higher or who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or has come in contact with someone confirmed to be infected will be subject to rapid testing at a nearby site. A person cannot rejoin the team until testing negative twice in tests taken at least 24 hours apart. The person also must not exhibit symptoms or COVID-19, and the team physician and MLB medical staff must determine the person not at risk.

If an individual is exposed to a person with an infection, that person must show no signs of disease, be tested daily for at least seven consecutive days and undergo more frequent temperature checks. The person also must wear a mask at all times except while on the field.

Each spring training and regular season ballpark must have dedicated testing and isolation areas. MLB also will offer testing of people who live in same household as covered individuals and to health care workers/first responders in big league cities.

Most tests will take saliva but there may be oral or nasal swabs. Blood samples will be collected less frequently for serology testing used to detect antibodies.