Baseball transactions have often seen some unexpected people breaking news, whether that’s wetbutt23 and KatyPerrysBootyHole or Brendon Kuhn and Joey Vendetta. But Wednesday provided a remarkable reversal there, with TV host Hazel Mae and multiple U.S. baseball insiders (including Ken Rosenthal of Fox and The Athletic and Jon Heyman of MLB Network) reporting that outfielder Michael Brantley was headed to the Toronto Blue Jays before the eventual confirmation that he was instead returning to the Houston Astros (where he played last year, as shown above). Here are those initial reports:
Michael Brantley in agreement on a 3 year deal with #BlueJays per source.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) January 20, 2021
Source confirms: Free-agent Michael Brantley in agreement with Blue Jays on a three-year contract, pending physical. First: @thehazelmae.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 20, 2021
Jays agree to Michael Brantley deal @thehazelmae 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2021
And here are some of the later corrections and rebuttals from those who didn’t initially report that:
There is not an agreement in place between outfielder Michael Brantley and the Toronto Blue Jays, according to a source. The Blue Jays are among the teams still in on Brantley, and a deal may eventually get done, but it is not finished.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 20, 2021
Blue Jays official refutes my earlier tweet on source re: 3 yr deal. “The team remains interested in Michael Brantley but there is no deal currently in place.”
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) January 20, 2021
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 20, 2021
There is no deal for Michael Brantley. The sides continue to talk. Sorry for jumping the gun. https://t.co/2SBHAXJmNE
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2021
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 20, 2021
As noted Tuesday, baseball is a sport where local sources can sometimes break national news before the national insiders get it. But in this case, the initial reports appear to have been premature. And that led to some awkward tweets Wednesday for those who reported that the Brantley deal was done in Toronto before the actual news of that deal being done in Houston emerged.
[Photo from Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports]
Naomi Osaka beats Zheng Saisai in Tokyo Olympics debut – Sportsnet.ca
TOKYO (AP) — Naomi Osaka is back playing, still winning, and also talking to the media again.
The Japanese superstar who lit the Olympic cauldron defeated 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai of China 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in her first match in nearly two months.
Osaka hadn’t played since she withdrew from the French Open in May to take a mental health break, revealing that she has dealt with depression. She then sat out Wimbledon.
Osaka stopped to talk with reporters afterward, having said in Paris that she experiences “huge waves of anxiety” before meeting with the media and that she would be skipping news conferences.
“More than anything else I’m just focused on playing tennis,” Osaka said. “The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid so I feel like the break that I took was very needed. I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and I’m happy again.”
She added that she was “happy” that reporters were asking her questions, then added: “I feel a little bit out of my body right now.”
“There’s nothing wrong with my body, I just felt really nervous,” Osaka said. “I haven’t played since France so there were definitely some things that I did a bit wrong but I think I can improve in the matches that I continue playing.”
The second-ranked Osaka was sharp from the start, serving an ace down the T on the opening point of the match and and racing out to a 5-0 lead.
Wearing a bright red dress and a red visor and with her hair styled in red-and-white braids to match the colors of the Japanese flag stitched onto the left side of her chest, Osaka served six aces in all and produced 25 winners to Zheng’s 10.
Osaka’s match was originally scheduled to open the tournament on Saturday but then was pushed back a day before her starring role in Friday’s opening ceremony.
“I feel very very proud,” Osaka said, revealing that Olympic organizers asked her to handle the cauldron honors back in March.
“When I lit the flame I was super honored,” she added. “I think that’s a position that you dream about and not anyone can do it so for me when they asked me if I wanted to I was very surprised but very honored and I’m just very happy to be here and very happy to play — especially in Tokyo.”
Osaka will next face 50th-ranked Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.
For other top players in the tennis tournament at the Tokyo Games, it wasn’t so straightforward.
Top-ranked Ash Barty was upset by 48th-ranked Spanish opponent Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 6-3 and two-time defending gold medalist Andy Murray withdrew from singles because of a right quad strain.
Both still remain in the doubles competition.
Barty won with Australian partner Storm Sanders on Saturday while Murray and British partner Joe Salisbury beat the second-seeded French team of Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Barty’s singles defeat came 15 days after she won Wimbledon for her second Grand Slam title.
She struggled with a whopping 55 unforced errors to Sorribes Tormo’s 13 and got in only 54% of her first serves compared to her opponent’s 83%.
Murray pulled out shortly ahead of his scheduled opener against ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada on Center Court.
“I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events, so I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe,” Murray said.
It’s the latest setback for the 34-year-old Murray after only recently returning to the tour from a three-month absence because of a groin problem. He has also had serious issues with a bad hip that wound up requiring two operations.
Murray has a total of three Olympic medals. He also won a silver in mixed doubles at the 2012 London Games with Laura Robson.
Max Purcell of Australia was to play Auger-Aliassime instead.
Heat and humidity were issues again with the temperature rising to 91 degrees F (33 degrees C) and the sun baking the hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park.
Also advancing was Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who beat Alize Cornet of France 6-1, 6-3, while third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus eliminated Magda Linette of Poland 6-2, 6-1.
Carla Suarez Navarro, the Spaniard who plans to retire this year, beat Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-4, 6-1 for her first victory since recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Camila Giorgi of Italy eliminated Jennifer Brady, the American who was this year’s Australian Open finalist, 6-3, 6-2.
Among the men advancing were fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany, seventh-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland and 12th-seeded Karen Khachanov of ROC.
In Maple Leafs' talks with Oilers about Hyman, Dubas isn't bending the knee – Sportsnet.ca
Kyle Dubas is in no mood to be doing favours.
Still smarting after a difficult first-round loss by his Toronto Maple Leafs, and limited in the ways he can reshape the roster by cap space and a lack of draft capital, the generally affable general manager took a firm stance when approached over the weekend about facilitating a sign-and-trade agreement involving Zach Hyman.
The benefits of the arrangement were clear for two of the parties at the table — it would have allowed Hyman to add an eighth year to his rich free-agent contract while giving the Edmonton Oilers a chance to lower the winger’s annual cap hit by more than $400,000 per season.
As for the Leafs?
Well, Dubas didn’t view the late-round pick Edmonton was offering as being worth the trouble. Cap space is king in this league. And there’s a cost to wriggling free of cap obligations even if it’s part of a sign-and-trade scenario rather than a more common contract dump.
“We’ve been in that situation before at the trade deadline and when you’re in that spot the other GM’s aren’t helping you out. They’re pulling the pin from the grenade and they’re throwing it to you,” Dubas said Saturday. “I know that there’s a narrative that we should just get something, but when you’re saving a team significant dollars on the salary cap that comes with a cost and we’re not going to bend on that.”
We’re starting to see a hardened public edge forming around a man who has watched his organization take a lot of bullets since squandering a 3-1 series lead against Montreal in May. The Leafs were even roundly mocked during Wednesday’s Seattle Kraken expansion draft, the brunt of jokes about the long gaps since they’ve last won a playoff series and Stanley Cup.
Dubas is meeting the criticism head-on.
He’s started speaking openly about attaching his own job security to the core of players he refuses to break up and even acknowledged that those players are guilty of being too passive in elimination games: “We’ve been in those moments now the last five seasons and we’ve fallen short in those moments.”
It had been his hope to keep Hyman in Toronto, extending a max term eight-year offer after the season. But he couldn’t get close to the kind of money on the table in Edmonton. That prompted Dubas to grant Hyman’s agent, Todd Reynolds, permission to speak to other teams and set the table for the possibility of the NHL’s first ever sign-and-trade agreement.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.
The Leafs understand the value of cap flexibility as well as anyone — having surrendered the 13th overall pick in the 2020 draft to Carolina to rid themselves of the final year of Patrick Marleau’s $6.25-million annual contract and sent fourth-round picks to both San Jose and Columbus for double salary retention on Nick Foligno at the trade deadline.
They also added a 2020 fifth-round selection as a go-between in the Robin Lehner deadline day trade with Chicago and Vegas, absorbing $1.1-million of the goalie’s cap commitment.
What Edmonton stood to gain in a potential Hyman sign-and-trade eclipsed each of those precedent-setting trades in total value. The pending unrestricted free agent is believed to be in line to receive $5.075-million annually on an eight-year deal or $5.5-million per on a seven-year contract from Edmonton should he get to the open market.
“In terms of compensation, I think it’s fairly simple,” said Dubas. “There’s a big benefit to me of adding the eighth year on in terms of the cap savings to the team that’s going to sign him. … So we know what the value is of that retention, of going to the eighth year, the cap savings, and so if there’s a fair deal to be made to do that we’ll do that.”
The challenges of the cap system are one of the main reasons why Dubas had only three selections to make during the NHL Draft — taking forward Matthew Knies at No. 57, forward Ty Voit at No. 153 and goaltender Vyacheslav Peksa at No. 185.
He mentioned that his lack of draft capital and cap space also kept him out of the rampant trade discussions during a wild weekend of activity across the league.
The impending Hyman departure only adds to the challenge of getting his group over the hump, but Dubas trudges forward: “It’s a loss, but we have to pick up and move on and do all that we can to put the team in the best position possible for next season.”
They will be looking for a depth defenceman or two that can play with snarl and won’t break the bank when free agency opens Wednesday. They also need a goaltender to play alongside Jack Campbell and another left-winger to fill out their lineup.
Ideally, those needs will be addressed on the open market but Dubas isn’t boxing himself in if it doesn’t happen. He remains open to trades.
“We’ve got our high picks next year and our prospect pool, plus players on our roster that teams are always circling around and asking about,” said Dubas. “We’ll get to work here on Wednesday or prior to Wednesday and see what’s available. We’ll try to use every avenue we can to improve the team.”
That could still involve a sign-and-trade for Hyman if the Oilers come around to his way of viewing the situation. But there doesn’t appear to be a compromise.
Right now Dubas isn’t bending the knee for anyone.
Canadian divers Abel, Citrini-Beaulieu win silver in women's 3m synchro – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, July 25, 2021 6:59AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 25, 2021 7:06AM EDT
TOKYO — Jennifer Abel did everything she could to ensure the Tokyo Olympics were not a repeat of Rio.
The 29-year-old from Laval, Que., spent a lot of time over the past five years going over her two fourth-place finishes at those 2016 Summer Games.
Sunday’s Olympic silver medal in the women’s three-metre synchronized springboard, alongside teammate Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu, was like a weight off her shoulders.
“Actually, I think I may have added a weight, because this thing is really heavy,” said a laughing Abel, holding up her silver medal moments after the medal ceremony.
“Today we accomplished everything we wanted. We thought about the present moment, not the future or the past. We lived the moment together. I find it beautiful what we have achieved together.”
Added Citrini-Beaulieu: “It’s been a dream since I was young. I kept believing I could do it and now I’m by Jenn’s side and we won a silver medal at the Olympics. I am proud of what we achieved.”
Abel had saidthat she had experienced a certain “identity crisis” after Rio. Because she set the bar so high for herself, she says she left Brazil with a sense of failure. And while she’s since made peace with that moment in her life, the pressure was still high Sunday.
“In Rio, my biggest mistake was focusing on the medal,” said Abel. “But it was not easy to come here and not think about the medal. Especially since Melissa and I have finished second at all the world championships and World Cups since 2017.”
The Canadians started the competition with some difficulty, sitting sixth out of eight teams after two dives. But they quickly climbed the leaderboard by executing higher-difficulty dives.
“We both knew that our first two dives weren’t necessarily the best,” said Abel. “We knew we had to get more points from our last three.
“At the same time, in synchronized springboard, things become very important as of the third dive. That’s when anything can happen. We didn’t get sidetracked with the little mistakes we made at the start because we knew we still had a lot left.”
Abel and Citrini-Beaulieu, from of Saint-Constant, Que., finished the competition with a total score of 300.78.
The Chinese pair of Shi Tingmao and Wang Han finished first with 326.4 points — a fifth straight Olympic title for China in the event. Germany’s Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel were third with 284.97 points.
“Before our last dive, I knew we were in a good position for a podium finish,” said Abel. “When I entered the water, I knew I had had a good dive. My first reaction then was to look at Melissa and she looked at me with big eyes and she said, ‘I got it’. I turned around and watched the reaction of the coaches and immediately knew that we had won the silver medal.”
On the podium, an emotional Abel wiped away a few tears.
“It’s not easy to come here,” she said. “Everyone talking about the potential of getting the medal. I’m already putting enough pressure on myself and I’m putting some on Melissa too.
“I was really emotional because I couldn’t have had a better partner than Melissa, a person who supports me. I am not always easy to manage. I am very picky. Melissa has always been there for me. It was just doing this together that made me really emotional.”
For Abel, this is a second Olympic medal. She won bronze with Emilie Heymans in London in 2012.
“In 2012, I was young,” said Abel. “With Emilie, she was the one with all the experience and the opportunity to do something huge for her career and for the Canadian team.
“I was in the position where I didn’t want to be the one preventing her from having that title. Here, I wanted to do it for Melissa, it was for our team. We are two very demanding girls, we work hard, we are always ready to do more to reach our goals and that is what we did today.”
Abel will try to apply the same recipe next Sunday in the individual three-metre springboard final.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 25, 2021.
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