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Fauci: MLB should not play into October – TSN

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Baseball’s list of problems just keeps getting bigger.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times​ he would recommend MLB does not run its 2020 season – if there even is one – into late October.

“If the question is time, I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it’s cold,” Fauci said. “I would avoid that.”

Shaikin notes that MLB owners have expressed concern about playing late into the fall and possibly risk losing the postseason, which is one of MLB’s largest revenue streams.

Fauci told The Times that colder weather could lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases while simultaneously noting that many warm weather states are still struggling to contain the pandemic.

“Even in warm weather, like in Arizona and California, we’re starting to see resurgences as we open up,” Fauci said. “But I think the chances of there being less of an issue in the end of July and all of August and September are much, much better than if you go into October.”

Normally, the MLB postseason wraps up in late October but has even gone into November in years past. Shaikin notes the players have advocated for a longer 2020 regular season schedule which would likely push games back into November.

A potential second wave of the coronavirus is just one of the many obstacles MLB has to clear in order to complete a 2020 season. As of Tuesday evening, there is no economic agreement between the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association. This has led to a contentious standoff between the two sides over season length and player salaries.

In fact, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN Monday night that he was “not confident” about being sure there will even be a season at all in 2020 based on how far apart the league and the union are in negotiations. According to multiple reports, each side has submitted several proposals but little headway has been made.

Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 26 before COVID-19 pushed back the start of the season indefinitely.

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Jays handed tough schedule amid much uncertainty – TSN

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays don’t have a home yet, but they’re facing one of the toughest schedules in baseball regardless of the city they reside in.

If they end up playing games at all.

Slated to open their 60-game regular season on July 24 in Tampa against the Rays when the 2020 MLB schedule was officially revealed Monday evening, the Jays organization spent the day working through the logistical challenges that surrounded another positive COVID-19 test in Dunedin, and the subsequent grounding of a number of players who came in contact with that teammate.

While a group of Blue Jays — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are two of the stars in town — were able to get on the field at Rogers Centre on Monday for a private workout that was closed to the media, it meant a portion of the Jays’ 60-man player pool is still stuck in Dunedin.

The team would not confirm who was left behind or the latest COVID-19 case.

On Monday morning, the Jays were also still awaiting test results for team personnel from Friday, as much of baseball experienced testing snafus over the July 4 holiday weekend.

Not a good start.

A week since intake testing officially began on July 1 when players reported to camps, the number of revealed positive COVID-19 cases has been reasonable, according to data released by the league, but it has not been a calming experience for many players across baseball.

In announcing their schedule Monday evening, the Jays left a reminder of just how much is still unsettled, with opening day for the club now officially a little more than two weeks away.

“While no final decision has been made on a site for Blue Jays regular season home games, the club’s preference remains Rogers Centre,” the statement read. “The team continues to pursue this option with the health and safety of the general public and the team at the forefront and will communicate an update as information becomes available.”

You can be sure that the federal government has been watching the MLB testing process closely, and the latest positive case emerging from Dunedin as the team got set to charter north isn’t good for perception.

Despite the uncertainty of where they’ll play home games, the Jays’ schedule won’t change, no matter if they’re playing at Rogers Centre or out of the club’s spring training facility, TD Ballpark, in Dunedin.

Either way, it’s a tough one.

Subjectively, there’s the obvious road through legit World Series contenders in the AL East in the New York Yankees (10 games) and Rays (10 games), while the NL East cross-over format features the defending champion Washington Nationals (four games), the 97-win Atlanta Braves (three games), and potential contenders in the Philadelphia Phillies (six games) and New York Mets (three games).

Objectively, it’s the third-toughest strength of schedule based on 2019 winning percentage at .567, behind only the Mets (.571) and Pirates (.568).

Starting with three games against the Rays and then four against the Nats is a challenge, equalled perhaps by a stretch run that sees the Jays facing the Yankees 10 times in 19 games.

Another wrinkle this year — not that it matters for fans heading to the ballpark because that won’t be happening in 2020 — is first pitch for all Jays home games from Monday through Saturday will be 6:37 p.m. ET, rather than their usual 7:07 p.m. first pitch.

On Sundays, they’ll start at 3:07 p.m.

If they start at all.

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Nashville SC vs. Chicago Fire FC game postponed, two other MLS is Back Tournament games rescheduled – MLSsoccer.com

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Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday that the MLS is Back Tournament game between Nashville SC and Chicago Fire FC, scheduled for July 8, has been postponed.

The timing of two other games in the MLS is Back Tournament have also been rescheduled. The Toronto FC vs. D.C. United Group C game, originally scheduled for July 10, has been moved to July 12 at 9 am ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVAS in Canada) due to Toronto’s delayed arrival in Orlando. As a result, the game between San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders scheduled for July 10 will now be played at 9 pm ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVAS in Canada).

The league confirmed that five Nashville players had tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Orlando on July 3, two at the weekend and three more on Monday night. Four more Nashville players are currently awaiting further testing after receiving inconclusive test results.

In conjunction with the club, MLS said it will continue to evaluate Nashville SC’s participation in the MLS is Back Tournament following the results of additional testing. Further information on when the game between Nashville and Chicago will be rescheduled will be announced at a later date.

In addition to the five Nashville players, the league confirmed on Monday that 10 FC Dallas players and one player from a third club have also received confirmed positive tests. FC Dallas were withdrawn from the tournament on Monday. Testing results from the five clubs that arrived on July 6 will be available later on Tuesday. 



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NASCAR, Wallace respond to Presidents tweet – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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President Trump on Monday asked on Twitter if an apology was forthcoming from NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace for his alleged role in what he termed a “hoax” two weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway, adding that the sanctioning body’s decision to ban the confederate flag has hurt television ratings for its events.

None of these claims are true.

Wallace, the lone Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, embraced a widespread show of support from the stock-car racing industry and his fellow drivers two weeks ago after the discovery of a noose at his team’s assigned stall at Talladega Superspeedway. The rest of the Cup Series driver roster stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with Wallace on Talladega’s pit road after a crew member for his Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 team reported the noose’s presence to NASCAR officials that weekend.

The Birmingham office of the FBI launched an investigation, later determining that no hate crime had been committed against Wallace and that the garage pull had been tied into a noose since last fall’s events at the Alabama track. That prompted conspiracy theories and other allegations of wrongdoing on social media accusing NASCAR and/or Wallace of falsifying the timeline of events.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed those charges at a press conference June 25, stating: “Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this.”

Wallace responded later Monday with his own statement, encouraging his followers to “keep your head held high” and saying in part that “always deal with the hate being thrown at you with LOVE! Love over hate every day. Love should come naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate. Even when it’s HATE from the POTUS. Love wins.”

Trump’s mention of the “Flag decision” refers to NASCAR’s June 10 decision to ban the confederate flag from its events and properties. That resolution came days after Wallace advocated for its removal and days after NASCAR drivers banded together for a video message speaking out for social justice in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others in the Black community.

Trump’s claim of “lowest ratings EVER” is false, unsupported by the facts of recent TV ratings data. NBC Sports on Monday said the NASCAR Cup Series’ Sunday event averaged a total audience of 4.37 million viewers, a 46 percent increase from last year’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway race and a 32 percent rise over the Daytona event held on the same weekend last year. Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports executive vice president in charge of research and Nielsen ratings analysis, said his network’s ratings were up 8 percent since NASCAR racing resumed in May after the coronavirus outbreak.

NASCAR released its own statement Monday afternoon, saying “We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership. NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans.”

A spokesperson also reiterated the stance made by NASCAR President Steve Phelps on June 25: “Bubba has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity and he stood tall for what he believes in.”

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