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NHL and NHLPA reach tentative agreement to start 56-game season in January – CBS Sports

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The National Hockey League has taken another step closer to returning for a new season. The NHL has confirmed that there is a tentative agreement between the league and the NHLPA to officially start a 56-game regular season on Jan. 13.

Frank Seravalli of TSN Sports reports that the seven teams that did not qualify for the 24-team postseason bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton will be allowed to start training camp on Dec. 30. Those that did make the journey to the bubbles, regardless of when they were eliminated from playoff contention, can start their training camps on Jan. 3, with the regular season starting a mere 10 days later.

This, of course, is dependent on an official approval of this schedule by the board of governors and the players association. As Seravalli notes in a follow-up, the dates could still be pushed back

Here are a couple other tidbits that have been tentatively agreed upon with regards to this upcoming NHL season.

One thing clearly missing from this is the issue regarding what to do with Canadian NHL teams if the country decides to not sign off on protocols allowing play, regardless of whether it’s through an all-Canada division.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has been discussing the idea of the season starting in January since his state of the league press conference during the Stanley Cup Final. 

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Schilling: Take me off HOF ballot – TSN

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Curt Schilling is asking for his name to be removed from the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for his 10th and final year of Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting eligibility.

“I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player,” he wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

“I’m now somehow in a conversation with two men who cheated, and instead of being accountable they chose to destroy others lives to protect their lie. I will always have one thing they will forever chase. A legacy,” he wrote of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, who will also enter their final year of Hall of Fame eligibility in 2022.

Click here to read Schilling’s full Facebook post.

Schilling missed being elected to Cooperstown this year by 16 votes. No players were elected to the class of 2021 as Bonds, Clemens and every other player on the ballot came up short of the required 75 per cent threshold.

Over 20 big league seasons, he compiled a record of 216-146, a 3.46 ERA, led the league in wins twice, was elected to six All-Star Teams, won three World Series titles and was named World Series MVP in 2001 after allowing a total of four earned runs in three separate starts. Schilling also owns a career bWAR of 79.5, which is higher than Brooks Robinson, Derek Jeter, Tony Gwynn and John Smoltz.

But then there’s the other side of Schilling, the side that has pushed voters away in recent years with inflammatory political commentary and accusations of Islamophobia, racism and transphobia. Schilling was first suspended from his job at ESPN for an anti-Muslim tweet and later fired for transphobic comments made on Facebook. He also defended the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Twitter on Jan. 6, however that came after ballots were due from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. According to Forbes, numerous BBWAA members asked to amend their ballots following the tweet.

The Hall of Fame has yet to publicly responded to Schilling’s request.

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Blue Jays Rumors: Infielder Marcus Semien signs with Toronto – Bluebird Banter

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According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and confirmed by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slussler, and others, free agent shortstop Marcus Semien has signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Semien, 29, was drafted by the White Sox in the 6th round of the 2011 amateur draft and made his major league debut with Chicago in September 2013. After the 2014 season he was shipped to the Oakland Athletics in the Jeff Samardzija deal. While he mostly played at third base for the White Sox, Semien has been the A’s starting shortstop. He finished third in the AL MVP race in 2019, batting .285/.369/.522 with 33 homers and 92 RBI and playing in every single game. He doesn’t just bring an average-to-compelling bat—Semien was also named as a “finalist” for the 2019 Gold Glove award for American League shortstops.

His numbers in the shortened 2020 season were more in line with his career numbers, but the optimist in me believes that the numbers from later in the season is closer to who he is now than his numbers he put up during his slow start last year. If Semien thinks it’s worth betting on himself in signing this one-year deal, I think it’s worth betting on him.

According to both TSN’s Scott Mitchell and retired infielder Carlos Baerga, the Jays expect to station Semien at second base, which may just be what they are saying now while they give Vladimir Guerrero Jr. another try at the hot corner at spring training. This move does not necessarily affect Biggio’s place in the lineup, as he can rotate around the diamond to spell other players.

Although the one-year deal obviously means that the Semien would qualify for free agency after this season, the Blue Jays can opt to extend a qualifying offer to him as the Athletics failed to do so before his declaration of free agency this offseason.

Before this signing can become official, Semien will need to pass a physical and the Blue Jays will need to open up a spot on the 40-man roster.

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No players elected to Baseball Hall of Fame for first time since 2013 – Sportsnet.ca

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NEW YORK — The baseball Hall of Fame won’t have any new players in the class of 2021 after voters decided no one had the merits — on-the-field or off — for enshrinement in Cooperstown on this year’s ballot.

Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were among the closest in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America released Tuesday, and the trio will have one more chance at election next year. It’s the first time the BBWAA didn’t choose anyone since 2013.

Schilling, a right-handed ace who won three World Series titles, finished 16 votes short of the 75% threshold necessary for enshrinement. He got 71.1% per cent this time after coming up 20 votes shy at 70% last year.

Schilling’s on-field accomplishments face little dispute, but Schilling has ostracized himself in retirement by directing hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others.

“It’s all right, the game doesn’t owe me anything,” Schilling said during a live video stream on his Twitter account.

Bonds (61.8 joined Schilling in falling short on their ninth tries on the ballot. Both face strong PED suspicions, but Bonds has also been accused of domestic violence and Clemens of maintaining a decade-long relationship with a singer who was 15 when they met.

Schilling, Clemens and Bonds will be joined on next year’s ballot by sluggers Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Rodriguez was suspended for all of the 2014 season for violating MLB’s PED policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz’s name allegedly appeared on a list of players who tested positive in 2003.

Omar Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner, dropped from 52.6% last year to 49.1% after his wife accused him of repeated domestic abuses in December. Braves star Andruw Jones, arrested in 2012 on a domestic violence charge, got 33.9% in his fourth year. Rockies slugger Todd Helton, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to two days in jail last year, got 44.9% in his third time on the ballot.

Some players missed out over old-fashioned baseball disagreements, too. Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen moved from 35.3% to 52.9% and hard-throwing closer Billy Wagner from 31.7% to 46.4%.

It’s the 19th time the BBWAA has failed to elect a Hall member and just the third time since 1971. With the Hall of Fame’s Era Committees postponing their scheduled elections until next off-season because of the pandemic, there won’t be a 2021 Hall class.

Cooperstown won’t be without celebration next summer, though. After the 2020 ceremony in the upstate New York village was cancelled due to the pandemic, Yankees great Derek Jeter and five-tool star Larry Walker will take centre stage on July 25, a year later than planned. They’ll be honoured alongside catcher Ted Simmons and late players’ association chief Marvin Miller.

BBWAA members are instructed to elect Hall members “based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

At a time when social justice movements are pushing for a broader reckoning on sexual misconduct and racial inequality, character evaluation took on an outsized role in this election cycle. While the Hall’s inductees already include racists, cheaters, philanderers and criminals, the current voting bloc has — narrowly, in many cases — taken a stand against candidates they think have insufficient integrity.

Schilling — a six-time All-Star over 20 seasons with Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona and Boston — has been embroiled in controversy throughout his retirement.

He launched a video game company, 38 Studios, that went bankrupt shortly after receiving a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island, then was fired as an ESPN analyst after he sent tweets comparing Muslim extremists to Nazi-era Germans and posted derogatory Facebook comments about transgender people.

Months later, Schilling was again criticized after using social media to applaud a T-shirt calling for journalists to be lynched.

On Jan. 6, the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, he said the following in a message on his Twitter account:

“You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for air Jordan’s and big screens, sit back …. and watch folks start a confrontation for (expletive) that matters like rights, democracy and the end of govt corruption.”

That tweet was sent a few days after Hall of Fame ballots were due.

Bonds’ ex-wife testified in 1995 during divorce proceedings that he beat and kicked her. Bonds said he never physically abused her but once kicked her after she kicked him.

In 2008, the New York Daily News reported that Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country singer Mindy McCready that began when she was 15 and he was a star for the Boston Red Sox. Clemens apologized for unspecified mistakes in his personal life and denied having an affair with a 15-year-old. McCready later told “Inside Edition” she met Clemens when she was 16 and that the relationship didn’t turn sexual until several years later.

The BBWAA recently voted overwhelmingly to remove the name and imprint of former Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis from MVP plaques. Landis became commissioner in 1920, and there were no Black players in the majors during his more than two decades in charge.

Further down the ballot, outfielder Gary Sheffield jumped from 30.5% to 40.6% on his seventh time on the ballot and Jeff Kent improved from 27.5% to 32.4 narrowly surpassed the 5 and Mark Buehrle (11%) in their initial turns.

Aramis Ramirez, LaTroy Hawkins and Barry Zito drew votes but were eliminated from future consideration.

The 2022 ballot also will include Phillies stars Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

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