OHL Commissioner David Branch discusses upcoming season
October 30 2020
— Toronto Blue Jays – x (@BlueJays) September 29, 2020
Pint-sized slugger Alejandro Kirk draws into the club’s lineup and will get the start at designated hitter, while trade-deadline acquisition Jonathan Villar will play second base. The Blue Jays are trotting out eight right-handed hitters after lead-off man Cavan Biggio against Rays ace Blake Snell.
The full starting lineup is as follows:
Third base: Cavan Biggio
Shortstop: Bo Bichette
Centre field: Randal Grichuk
First base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Left field: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Right field: Teoscar Hernandez
Second base: Jonathan Villar
Designated hitter: Alejandro Kirk
Catcher: Danny Jansen
Pitcher: Matt Shoemaker
Catch Game 1 of the Blue Jays’ series vs. the Rays on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and SN Now.
A.J. Hinch might be getting another chance.
The Detroit Tigers and the former Houston Astros bench-boss have made progress in finalizing a deal, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The Tigers have made progress in finalizing a deal with A.J. Hinch to be their next manager, although the agreement is not yet completed.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 30, 2020
The report comes just a few days after Hinch’s season-long suspension stemming from the Astros sign-stealing scandal concluded when the World Series ended on Tuesday night.
Hinch spent five years as manager in Houston, going 481-329 in the regular-season and claimed a pair of American League pennants.
The Astros captured the 2017 World Series under Hinch, and registered three straight 100-or-more-win seasons.
At the age of 35, Hinch was named the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks and spent parts of two season there in 2009 and 2010.
He was fired after losing 123 of his 212 games.
Hinch had a seven-year playing career as a catcher in the MLB and suited up 27 times for the Tigers in 2003.
His career also had stops in Oakland, Kansas City and Philadelphia.
“This guy is pretty damn good for an old guy,” said Taylor, who shot an 81, one of nine players who shot in the 80s on the windswept day in Bermuda.
“He fought back and he made the cut, and not many 64-year-olds can do that in the world,” he said. “It was fun to watch him play.”
Funk is the oldest player to make the cut on the PGA TOUR since 65-year-old Tom Watson five years ago in the RBC Heritage at Hilton. The only other players 64 or older to make the cut since 1970 were Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead.
“And then Funk. You throw that in there, it doesn’t sound right, does it?” Fred Funk said. “I don’t know whether I compete, but making the cut was big.”
It wasn’t easy on a day like this, where the wind was so strong it was difficult to stand up, especially on some of the holes along the ocean.
“Today was really hard,” Armour said. “We didn’t know whether to say get up, get down, what to tell it. We couldn’t judge the distance very well and we had some balls going sideways out there and my ball doesn’t usually go sideways. And it would just get up in the wind and it would go 20 yards further left or right than you wanted it to.”
That made the performance by Clark even more remarkable, although the wind finally caught up with him when he took bogeys on the par-5 seventh and the par-3 eighth to fall back into a tie with Armour.
Clark wasn’t caught up in the late bogeys, especially the last one.
“We all were hitting 6- and 5-irons into a par 3 from 160, and I missed about a 5-footer,” Clark said. “It’s bound to happen. If I didn’t bogey those, it would be one of the best rounds of my career. But it’s pretty hard to play a round with 30 mph wind and not make any bogeys.
“I’m not looking at those last two bogeys,” he said. “I’m up there in contention, and that’s all that matters.”
The best round of the day belonged to Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who not only shot 66, he played bogey-free. He was three shots behind, while Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington used all his Irish experience in the wind for a 71 — two birdies, two bogeys, 14 pars — and was four shots behind.
The Ontario Hockey League intends to make its return on Feb. 4, but how that return will look in practice may need to be different from what fans and players are accustomed to.
On Friday, shortly after the Ontario provincial government reaffirmed its stance that bodychecking and deliberate physical contact would not take place during sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, OHL commissioner David Branch said the league will follow the results of scientific studies in crafting its return-to-play plan, but did not align his position fully with the province’s mandate.
“If there’s studies that really, clearly state that body contact is a contributor to the spread of the virus, then obviously we’ll have to look at it,” Branch said during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 THE FAN’s Writers Bloc. “But we’ve not looked at it yet.”
Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of sport, made clear in her Friday announcement solidifying the bodychecking ban, and in subsequent follow-up Tweets on the topic, that the mandate was an important part of playing sport during the COVID-19 era — and was not negotiable.
“Not just in the OHL, not just in hockey in general, but in all sports,” MacLeod said during a speech delivered to the Empire Club of Canada. “We’re in a very serious game right now and the reality is we have to take those public health precautions.”
According to Ontario’s “Framework For Reopening Our Province Stage 3,” a publicly available document released by the province that outlines best-practices for individuals and organizations during this stage of Ontario’s pandemic response, “prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports” is not permitted.
“Our public health officials have been clear,” MacLeod wrote on Twitter. “Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not permitted. We will continue to work with [the OHL] on a safe return to play.”
OHL Commissioner David Branch discusses upcoming season
October 30 2020
The document goes on to say that in team sports where body contact between players is an integral component of the sport, or commonly occurs while engaged in the sport, those sports will not be permitted unless the way they’re played can be modified to prevent prolonged or deliberate physical contact.
“I suspect [the OHL] will have to modify their play until there is a vaccine or at the very least public health clearance that we have contained the spread of COVID-19,” MacLeod said on Friday.
In the summer, Ontario hosted the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, using Toronto as one of its hub cities, and did not require rule changes that would prevent prolonged or deliberate physical contact. The success of the NHL’s model — a sequestered bubble to limit exposure and remove travel risks, rigorous testing and contact tracing — would be challenging, if not impossible, for a league like the OHL to afford.
Ontario’s confirmation that bodychecking in the OHL would be subject to its reopening mandates comes as daily, reported COVID-19 cases hover near all-time highs.
Over the past seven days, the province has seen a daily average of nearly 900 new cases, according to publicly available tracking data.
“This isn’t politics and hockey,” MacLeod tweeted. “It is a global pandemic and we are guided by healthcare policy to mitigate against the spread of a deadly virus.”
It is not clear at this time how the policy banning “prolonged or deliberate physical contact” would impact other, non-bodychecking elements of hockey games such as battles for the puck along the boards.
Earlier this month, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League resumed play without any modifications to its rules. Its schedule has been disrupted by several COVID-19 outbreaks among teams, as well as provincial restrictions on travel.
The challenge the league experienced, in part, helped solidify Ontario’s decision that bodychecking cannot take place, MacLeod said. According to Branch, that policy decision has not factored into the OHL’s return-to-play planning to this point.
“We haven’t even contemplated that, quite frankly,” Branch said. “At the end of the day, so much of what we’re attempting to do is provide the opportunity for our players to get back on the ice. We have to take them into consideration here and what’s best for their development, their ongoing development.”
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