Update on the latest sports

BASEBALL

Baseball’s minor leagues cancel 2020 seasons

NEW YORK (AP) — “We are a fans-in-the-stands business.” That’s the explanation from the president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, in announcing baseball’s minor leagues have canceled their seasons.

National Association president Pat O’Conner estimates 85-90% of revenue is related to ticket money, concessions, parking and ballpark advertising, so playing without fans “doesn’t make any sense.”

The minors drew 41.5 million fans last year for 176 teams in 15 leagues, averaging 4,044 fans per game.

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

Major League Baseball has told clubs to retain expanded 60-player pools, of which 30 players can be active during the first two weeks of the season starting in late July.

MLB-NEWS

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich says he supports outfielder Ian Desmond’s decision to sit out the 2020 major league baseball season over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and other issues in society.

Bridich says Desmond’s decision won’t affect his future in Denver nor will it spoil the special relationship the men have developed while working together in Denver.

The Rockies have found a replacement for Desmond in veteran Matt Kemp. The slugger as agreed to a minor league deal with the Rockies and could get the DH job.

The 34-year-old outfielder announced his decision in a lengthy and heartfelt Instagram post Monday night. Desmond wrote that the “COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.” The biracial slugger also mentioned a myriad of issues within baseball, including sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns, as well as the racial reckoning that emerged after George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis sparked protests around the world.

BASKETBALL

Coach Dawn Staley awaits Olympics, focuses on South Carolina

NEW YORK (AP) — Coach Dawn Staley would be prepping the U.S. women’s basketball team for the Tokyo Olympics this week if not for the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, she’ll hold a Zoom conference call with players who are vying for a spot on the roster in 2021, if the postponed Olympics are held next year. Staley says they’ll say hello and get a virtual hug.

Staley’s focus these days involves getting her South Carolina women’s team back on campus in a safe environment. Her team finished No. 1 in the last AP poll and won the SEC Tournament before the NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus.

Some players will return in mid-July, but they won’t get on the basketball court until August.

ENGLAND-LESLIE STATUE

Campaign for Black soccer player denied by England in 1925

LONDON (AP) — A fundraising campaign has been launched to raise money for a statue to honor a man who was denied the chance to play for England’s national soccer team in 1925 because he was Black.

Jack Leslie was an attacking player who scored 137 goals in 401 matches with Plymouth Argyle. He was named in England’s team for an international match against Ireland 95 years ago. But the campaign website says his name disappeared from the team sheet because Football Association officials discovered he was Black.

Viv Anderson eventually became the first Black player to represent England’s national team in November 1978.

SOCCER-ENGLAND

2013 FA Cup winner Wigan enters bankruptcy protection

WIGAN, England (AP) — English soccer team Wigan has entered bankruptcy protection due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The northwest club was taken over by a Hong Kong-based consortium only a month ago. Wigan is 14th in the second-tier League Championship with six games remaining of the season that restarted after a three-month break because of the pandemic.

The club was relegated from the Premier League in 2013 — the same year it shocked Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

Wigan dropped into third-tier League One in 2015 but made an immediate return to the Championship. It reported losses of 9.2 million pounds ($11 million) last year.

RUSSIAN DOPING

Russia says it can’t afford to pay fine to World Athletics

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is expected to miss the deadline to pay a $5 million fine to the governing body of track and field. Russian track federation president Yevgeny Yurchenko tells the Tass state news agency that the money “has not been found.” World Athletics could suspend the “authorized neutral athlete” program as a result. That program allows Russians to enter international competitions even though their federation is suspended. Yurchenko says World Athletics should take into account the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Categories: National Sports

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