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MLB rejects players’ 114-game return proposal

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NEW YORK — Major League Baseball rejected the players’ proposal for a 114-game schedule in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts, telling the union that teams have no reason to think 82 games is possible and now will discuss even fewer.

Players made their proposal Sunday, five days after management’s initial economic plan. Opening day would be June 30 and the regular season would end Oct. 31, nearly five weeks after the Sept. 27 conclusion that MLB’s proposal stuck to from the season’s original schedule.

Management has said it will discuss a schedule of about 50 games, which would result in players receiving about 30% of their full salaries under the deal for prorated pay the union agreed to in March.

“You confirmed for us on Sunday that players are unified in their view that they will not accept less than 100% of their prorated salaries, and we have no choice but to accept that representation,” Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter Wednesday to chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer that was obtained by The Associated Press.

“Based on that position, the positions espoused in your counter-proposal, the significant health risk of extending the regular season past September, and the fact that we have missed our June 1 deadline for resuming spring training by June 10, we do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible,” Halem wrote.

“Nonetheless, the commissioner is committed to playing baseball in 2020,” Halem added. “He has started discussions with ownership about staging a shorter season without fans.”

He ended his letter by telling Meyer “we stand ready to discuss any ideas you may have that might lead to an agreement on resuming play without regular fan access in our stadiums.”

MLB does not want to play past October because it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the post-season and jeopardize $787 million in broadcast revenue. Halem cited MLB’s infectious disease consultant, Dr. Ali Khan, Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska.

“It is not in the collective interest of clubs or players to begin a 2020 season and subsequently be forced to suspend or cancel it before the completion of the post-season,” Halem wrote. “Dr. Khan and his team have advised us that to minimize the risk of a subsequent delay or cancellation of the 2020 season we should endeavour to complete the season and post-season as early in the fall as possible. … In addition, your proposal ignores the realities of the weather in many parts of the country during the second half of October. If we schedule a full slate of games in late October, we will be plagued by cancellations.”

Teams and players hope to start the season in ballparks with no fans, and teams claim they would sustain huge losses if salaries are not cut more. The sides agreed to a deal March 26 in which players accepted prorated salaries in exchange for $170 million in advances and a guarantee that if the season is scrapped each player would get 2020 service time matching what the player accrued in 2019.

That deal called for “good faith” negotiations over playing in empty stadiums or at neutral sites. The union has said no additional cuts are acceptable.

MLB’s proposal on May 26 would lower 2020 salaries from about $4 billion to approximately $1.2 billion, not including signing bonuses, termination pay or option buyouts. There would be a $200 million bonus if the post-season is completed.

The plan would establish a sliding scale of reductions. Players at the $563,500 minimum would get about 47% of their original salary and those at the top — led by Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at $36 million — would receive less than 23%.

The union’s offer would have salaries total about $2.8 billion, leaving each player with about 70% of his original salary.

Source:- Sportsnet.ca

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Nashville SC withdrawn from MLS is Back Tournament: Here's how the groups and schedule change – MLSsoccer.com

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Major League Soccer announced an updated format and schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament on Thursday and that Nashville SC have been withdrawn from the competition.

Since arriving in Orlando, nine players on Nashville have had confirmed positive test results for COVID-19. The decision was made in the best interest of the health of all players and staff participating in the tournament, and in line with protocols created in conjunction with local and national health authorities and infectious disease experts, the league said.

“We have withdrawn Nashville SC from the MLS is Back Tournament. Due to the number of positive tests, the club has been unable to train since arriving in Orlando and would not be able to play matches,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “For every decision we make in our return to play, the wellbeing of our players, staff, officials and all participants is our top priority.”

As a result of the withdrawal of Dallas and Nashville, MLS has reconfigured the groups into six groups, each consisting of four teams, as well as an update to the qualification for the Knockout Stage presented by Audi.

Group Alignment

Chicago Fire FC have moved from Group A to Group B in the MLS is Back Tournament to join San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Chicago and Nashville will remain in the Eastern Conference for the rest of the 2020 regular season.

The new match schedule for Chicago Fire FC in Group B is as follows

  • July 14: Chicago Fire FC vs. Seattle Sounders, 9 am (ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada)
  • July 19: Chicago Fire FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8 pm (FS1, TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
  • July 23: Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9 am (ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada)

Additionally, the schedule for one other Group B match has been updated:

  • July 19: Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. (FS1, TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)

The revised Group A schedule has been created to replace those Group A matches which previously included Nashville SC and Chicago Fire FC:

  • July 14: Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF, 10:30 pm (TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
  • July 14: New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC, 8 pm (TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
  • July 20: Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 8 pm (TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
  • July 20 Inter Miami CF vs. New York City FC, 9 am (ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada)

Qualification for the Knockout Stage presented by Audi

After 16 consecutive days of group stage matches, the top two teams from each group along with the four best third-place finishers will move on to the knockout stage, which begins July 25.



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Dec. 1 tentative start date for next NHL season – TSN

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December 1 is the tentative start date for the 2020-21 NHL season, according to TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli.

Seravalli and TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie tweeted out a string of details and updates regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday night.

Some of the new information included tentative dates for the off-season and next season.

The last possible date for this year’s Stanley Cup Final is Oct. 2 with free agency starting seven days after the championship is handed out.

Seravalli notes that the free agency interview period has been eliminated with the new CBA.

The tentative date for the 2020 NHL Draft is Oct. 6, but it must follow the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and precede the free agency period.

Training camps are slated to open Nov. 17 for the 2020-21 season with opening night happening Dec. 1.

Here are some other tentative dates for the Return-to-Play tournament.

July 24: Travel to hubs
July 25: Exhibition games
July 30: Qualification round begins
Aug. 9: First round of playoffs begins
Aug. 23: Second round begins
Sept. 6: Conference Finals begin
Sept. 20: SCF begins
Oct. 2: Last poss. game of SCF

All dates are subject to change.

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Montoyo urges Blue Jays to be among teams pulled together by pandemic

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TORONTO – Before the Toronto Blue Jays gathered for their training camp reboot, the team connected via Zoom and manager Charlie Montoyo ran through a list of things his players should expect once they were all together.

Under the circumstances, he told them, their preparations would obviously be far different than usual, with workouts tailored more to individual needs in order to get everyone into the best baseball shape possible. Communication with the coaching staff would be essential in ensuring they get extra groundballs, more throws in the outfield, a few more rips in the cage – whatever they felt was necessary.

Montoyo also dropped some knowledge on them, too.

“There are going to be two types of teams,” he recalled telling the group. “There are going to be the teams that work together. They’re going to follow the guidelines. They’re going to work as a group. They’re going to stay healthy. And that’s going to help them win more games. And then there are going to be the teams that are going to complain about everything, lose focus, get sick, not be healthy, and they’re not going to do very well. It’s going to be a long 60 games.”

The Blue Jays, the only team of the 30 in the majors completing a mandatory quarantine in a hotel attached to their home field, are intent on becoming the former, rather than the latter, which is crucial given their situation.

Separated from family and friends, sequestered within the Rogers Centre and Toronto Marriott City Centre footprint, mandated to not leave their rooms – even for a coffee – unless they’re headed to work, the mind can easily veer into the negative.

Total commitment, a prerequisite to success in the best of times, must be a foundational pillar to thrive in this pandemic-altered reality, when the extraordinary challenges of trying to avoid COVID-19 will, at times, make even the looming 60-game sprint feel like a marathon.

The Blue Jays have already experienced some of the risks inherent to the times, after a handful of players and staff contracted the coronavirus in Dunedin, Fla., late last month, and with 12 of the 58 players in their player pool still at the facility there after another positive test at intake.

Those hits helped reinforce the need for strict adherence to the health and safety protocols in place, ones all the more critical given how the Canadian government provided an exemption allowing the Blue Jays to train in Toronto now, while it considers whether to allow 30 regular-season home games in the city, as well.

“I remember it, for sure, it’s exactly right,” catcher Danny Jansen said of Montoyo’s message. “This season, with everything that’s going on, you’ve got to stay healthy. I mean, it’s a shame if you do test positive, then you’ve got to sit out for two weeks, or more. So really, the teams that are taking the precautions extra seriously, which you hope is everybody, is at the advantage.”

Another advantage, in Jansen’s eyes, is being away from the rampant spread of COVID-19 happening in so many spots across the United States. With far less virus circulating in the community, the chances of an infection are drastically reduced, and with everyone in their travel party testing negative twice, they can feel secure in their bubble as they get to work.

“We all pretty much agree that we have an advantage being in Canada,” said Jansen.

Their work at Rogers Centre is due to pick up Thursday night, when the club plays its first intrasquad game, a regular occurrence from then on in preparation for the July 24 opener at the Tampa Bay Rays.

Through the Blue Jays’ first three days in Toronto, they had side sessions, live batting practice and lots of the usual drill-work. As they transition to some game-action, not having to play an actual opponent will allow them to control flow and ensure everyone gets what they need out of the day.

“They can play every day and if they’re having a long inning, we can stop it and we can switch the inning,” said Montoyo. “That’s the good thing about having control of what you do. I see my guys playing every day and building up to play nine innings and really be in baseball shape.”

For Jansen, who has 2½ weeks to get ready for 2½ months of squatting for nine innings, that means getting as many reps as he can. On Wednesday, he caught five or six innings during live batting practice, took several at-bats and caught some bullpens “when I can.”

“You don’t want to go zero to 100 right away and you want to ease into it,” he explained, “but you kind of have to do it quick.”

That’s a fine line to walk, especially for pitchers, but really for anyone suddenly thrown into the daily grind from differing degrees of lockdown. Pulled hamstrings, strained obliques and sore elbows are among the types of soft-tissue ailments everyone must guard against.

“We’re all professionals. We all know what we need to do,” said Jansen. “We all have our own routines on, if this was the regular season now, what we’d be doing after and before games. Obviously, you’ve got to be aware of it, you’ve got to to take care of it early and it’s not a lot of time right now. But we’re pros, we know what we need to do to get our body right and keep it healthy. Got to do the best you can.”

Doing the best you can certainly sounds like mantra for the times.

Montoyo said the group of Blue Jays back in Florida are with coaches who are helping them run through workouts, keeping them at pace with the majority of the group based in Toronto. Asked if the team was at risk of being without some starters come opening day, he replied, “No, no, no.”

Their absence underlines the fragility of this entire venture for the Blue Jays, and for baseball as a whole. A single lapse in judgment can have far-reaching consequences, which is why on top of talent, and desire, and all the usual stuff teams need to win, a respect for the protocol is essential, too.

“That’s the message that I gave them,” said Montoyo, “and to tell you the truth, I love how our guys are happy to be here, and hungry to play this game.”

Source:-sportsnet-ca

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