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World Series to be played entirely in Arlington as MLB moves to bubbles for post-season

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The World Series will be played entirely at the Texas Rangers’ new ballpark in Arlington, Texas, as part of a bubble agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association, the first time the sport’s championship will be played entirely at one site since 1944.

As part of an agreement finalized Tuesday, the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series will be part of a bubble designed to minimize exposure to the coronavirus, which decimated the regular season and limited it to a 60-game schedule for each club. The best-of-three first round of the post-season — expanded from 10 to 16 teams this year — will be at the top-seeded teams.

The World Series will be at Globe Life Park in Arlington, a retractable roof stadium with artificial turf that opened this year adjacent to the Rangers’ old ballpark. The American League Championship Series will be at San Diego’s Petco Park, and the National League at Globe Life Park.

The AL Division Series will be at San Diego and Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, and the NL Division Series at Globe Life and Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

Off days were eliminated for the Division Series and League Championship Series, which will stress pitching and put emphasis on deeper rotations and bullpens. The two traditional off days were retained for the World Series.

Scheduled to start Oct. 20

Game 1 of the best-of-seven World Series is set for Oct. 20.

Texas is last in the AL West at 17-30 entering Tuesday, with little chance of advancing to the post-season.

“In the view of our infectious disease experts, the biggest risk of exposure for players and staff is contact with family members and friends who have been exposed to COVID-19 in their communities,” deputy commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a memo sent to teams Monday night.

“Nearly all of the positive test results that have been reported for players and staff in the last month can be traced back to contact with an infected family member, domestic partner or friend outside of club facilities.”

Halem said MLB and the players’ association were in the process of finalizing details of the agreement, which provides for players to be tested daily during the post-season.

While the NFL plays the Super Bowl at a neutral site selected in advanced, baseball has resisted the idea, which has been long advocated by prominent agent Scott Boras.

The World Series was last played at one site in 1944 at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, where the Cardinals beat the Browns 4 games to 2. New York’s Polo Grounds hosted all the games in 1921 and 1922, the last two seasons it was the home of both the New York Giants and Yankees. The Giants won both titles.

AL teams in mathematical contention are to start a transition period on Sept. 22 and NL teams the following day in which up to 28 active roster players, 12 taxi-squad players and 50 additional personnel ranging from bullpen catchers to front-office staff must remain at the team’s transitional hotel or travel with the team on the road.

Provisions for family

Under an exception wanted by the players’ association, any player who either lives by himself, lives with a spouse or domestic partner who is pregnant or has special medical needs documented by a physician or is living with children may quarantine at home during the transition period, with a provision that MLB will not approve a large number of requests to quarantine at home.

Only spouses, domestic partners, children and child-care providers can stay with players during the transition period, and people other than players may not bring family to the transition hotel or on the road. Family members will not be allowed into the bubble hotels at the four sites unless they complete a supervised seven-day quarantine.

A player also may have up to six family members and guests stay at separate family hotels at the four sites. MLB said it will use best efforts to arrange visits in supervised, outdoor places.

Source: – CBC.ca

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Matthew Wolff, 21, set to make golfing history as he seizes the lead at the US Open – CNN International

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The American can become the first player to win the US Open on his debut in the major since amateur Francis Ouimet in 1913 and the first professional to achieve the feat.
He would also be the youngest US Open champion since the legendary Bobby Jones in 1923 and match the achievement of Jordan Spieth, who claimed the coveted crown as a 21-year-old in 2015.
Matthew Wolff of the United States reacts on the 18th green after completing a superb five-under 65 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York to take the lead at the US Open.
Wolff finished in a share of fourth in last month’s PGA Championship behind Collin Morikawa and is confident he can make the step up to claim his national Open after taking a two-shot lead on 205 – five-under-par overall.
“It’s really early in my career, but I feel like I have the game to win,” Wolff said. “I feel like I’m ready to win out here and win a major.”
Wolff, already a winner on the PGA Tour last year in his first season, started the day four shots adrift of the leader Patrick Reed but by reaching the halfway point of his round in just 30 shots — five-under-par — he was making a major statement of intent.
He shared the lead at that point with Reed, who went to his turn in 34, but the 2018 Masters champion fell away disastrously on the back nine, ending with a 77 after a string of bogeys and a double bogey to finish the day at three-over-par.
Reed’s playing partner Bryson DeChambeau emerged as the biggest threat to Wolff’s lead, with birdies at the 16th and 17th leaving him just one adrift of Wolff, only to undo that good work with a finishing bogey for a level-par 70.
Big-hitting DeChambeau is also seeking his first major and like Wolff finished tied for fourth at Harding Park in San Francisco in the opening major of a truncated season.
“The past two majors I’ve played in I’ve been right in contention,” he said after his round.
“It’s definitely validating, albeit there’s a lot more to go. I’ve got to figure out a lot more. I am excited to be in this position for sure. There’s no better place to be,” he added.
Bryson DeChambeau powers away his tee shot on his way to a level-par round of 70 to stay firmly in the hunt at the 120th U.S. Open Championship.Bryson DeChambeau powers away his tee shot on his way to a level-par round of 70 to stay firmly in the hunt at the 120th U.S. Open Championship.
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa is two shots further back with Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and two Americans, Xander Schauffele and Harris English, in the group at level par, five adrift of the lead.
A strong challenge could also come from Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, one of only six players to break par in another difficult day on the famed Winged Foot course.
His two-under 68 left him on 211 — one-over-par — and with he believes a realistic chance of adding to his tally of four majors.
“If I’m within six going into tomorrow that’s not a lot on this golf course. I feel like I’m right in it,” he said.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the second tee during the third round at Winged Foot Golf Club on his way to a two-under 68.Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the second tee during the third round at Winged Foot Golf Club on his way to a two-under 68.
Other big names slipped still further off the pace, with first round leader Justin Thomas carding a 76 to stand four-over-par, one better than world number one Dustin Johnson, who shot 72.
Best round of the day came from Sweden’s Alex Noren, a three-under 67, while England’s Paul Casey, runner-up to Morikawa in the PGA Championship, showed good form in the majors again by coming home in just 30 shots for an unlikely 69.

Added incentive

They will all be shooting for Wolff, like Morikawa a product of the Southern Californian golf scene, but who has an added incentive to lift the trophy.
Wolff revealed after this round that his agent was battling stomach cancer, having been recently diagnosed.
“I’ve been thinking about him a lot out there. He doesn’t want anyone to feel bad for him, but like I said, it just puts things in perspective,” said Wolff.
“And I’m going to go out there, try to make him proud and go have a good time,” he added.

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Wolff takes lead into final round at U.S. Open – pgatour.com

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The final tee time will feature two of the most iconoclastic talents in the game. DeChambeau is trying to win his first major and his second title (Rocket Mortgage Classic) since bulking up to add driving distance.

“The past two majors I’ve played in I’ve been right in contention,” he said, noting his T4 finish at the PGA Championship last month. “It’s definitely validating, albeit there’s a lot more to go. I’ve got to figure out a lot more. I am excited to be in this position for sure. There’s no better place to be.”

Should Wolff hang on, he would be the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923, and the first 21-year-old U.S. Open winner since Jordan Spieth in 2015. Wolff would also be the first player to win the tournament in his debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

He would also stamp an exclamation point on an up and down 2020.

Wolff, who edged Morikawa and DeChambeau for his first PGA TOUR victory at the 3M Open just over a year ago, finished 35th in the recently concluded FedExCup. That wasn’t great, but he began playing better over the summer. The 54-hole leader at the Rocket Mortgage, he shot 71 to finish second to DeChambeau (65), and they each tied for fourth at the PGA.

His mistake in Detroit, Wolff said, was looking ahead and getting “antsy” to start the final round, a gaffe he is hoping to avoid Sunday. He said he has played this week while thinking about his agent, who was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, putting the golf into perspective.

Those behind Wolff and DeChambeau include Louis Oosthuizen (68, 1 under, four back), plus the threesome of Harris English (72), Hideki Matsuyama (70) and Xander Schauffele (70).

“You know, it doesn’t take much around here,” said Rory McIlroy, whose 68 got him to 1 over for the tournament, six back. “Someone gets off to a decent start, maybe 1- or 2-under through 5 and then the leader goes the other way, 1- or 2-over through 5, and all of a sudden you’re right in the thick of things.”

The weather for Sunday’s final round is expected to be more of the same, which is to say cold in the morning, followed by crisp sunshine in the afternoon. Autumn in New York.

“It feels like I should be tailgating right now,” said Zach Johnson (68, 2 over total).

Much like Morikawa in San Francisco last month, Wolff will play the final round not in front of boisterous New York galleries, or any type of galleries, but amid the quiet of his own thoughts.

That’s not insignificant.

Said McIlroy, “Just makes it a touch easier for the guys at the top.”

Wolff, sometimes described as fearless, admits he will almost certainly be nervous for the final round but doesn’t argue with that adjective. Sunday might be his greatest test yet.

“I go out there and I play my game,” he said. “There’s a lot of holes out there that maybe people would try to hit it in the fairway or maybe take the safe play because it is a U.S. Open and they know that pars are a good score, but I don’t really like to think of it that way.

“I like to go out there and do what I feel comfortable with,” he added, “rip dog and see how it goes from there. I feel comfortable with every part of my game so I don’t like to shy away from things when I’m feeling confident, and I’m probably going to do the same tomorrow.”

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Lightning not reaching for easy excuses after Game 1 letdown – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — The evidence that the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to make this an interesting Stanley Cup Final can’t be found as much in what they did as what they didn’t do.

Namely, they didn’t seize on any of the excuses easily on offer after a 4-1 loss here to the Dallas Stars in Game 1.

The most clear example came on the Jamie Oleksiak goal that stood up as the winner. The puck was clearly fired into the Tampa zone from the wrong side of centre ice by Miro Heiskanen, which was accompanied by an animated response from the Lightning bench in real time.

Yet, by the time everyone had a chance to double-check the receipts, a collective set of amnesia had taken hold.

“I didn’t really see it,” said Tyler Johnson.

“I didn’t look at the play,” said Yanni Gourde. “I don’t know.”

“To be honest, I can’t really remember the play,” said Kevin Shattenkirk. “Sorry, me either.”

As dull as those quotes might read in print, that’s exactly the response a team needs following an emotional loss. The Lightning had a built-in explanation for why this game might not have turned out in their favour, but the true reason for a 1-0 series deficit was found more in the slow start and a strong goaltending performance by Anton Khudobin than anything else.

Tampa didn’t respond particularly well to the 48-hour turnaround after winning the Eastern Conference Final and couldn’t reverse a 3-1 deficit even while outshooting Dallas 22-2 in the third period.

The Oleksiak goal was a back-breaker. The lineseman didn’t raise his arm for icing when Heiskanen fired the puck in from the wrong side of centre, which is almost certainly why Victor Hedman never got below the faceoff dot to get the puck there.

“Well you wouldn’t be asking the question if you didn’t think the same that we may have thought. But it’s a moot point now. So you can’t go back and change the call,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

They also couldn’t go back and find more purpose in the opening minutes. Dallas dictated the pace, grabbed an early lead and parked the bus.

That raised some questions about a Lightning team that has given up the first goal in six straight games. However, they’ve responded with the 1-1 goal each time, and lost their grip here in a second period where Dallas regained the lead.

“I’m just disappointed in the fact that we got away from our strengths,” said Lightning defenceman Ryan McDonagh. “They’re a great skating, great structured team, but I think we could have played to our strengths a little bit better. Simplified our game and get going north a little bit more early on and allow ourselves to so-called find our game with our forechecking and our offensive zone play.”

Those will be key talking points before Monday’s Game 2 at Rogers Place.

When the Lightning look at this Cup opener with clearer eyes, they’ll focus on creating more chaos in front of Khudobin. The power play will be a natural focus after going 0-for-3 in the third period and seeing it fall quiet late in the Islanders series.

“He’s a very good goalie,” said Johnson. “When he’s on, he’s on. I thought we generated some pretty good chances and he made some really big saves. Did we do enough? No, because we lost the game. I mean we’ve got to do more. We’ve got to do more than score one goal.”

Still, deep down, there were no excuses in this loss. Tampa didn’t play with nearly the same verve it had in the previous rounds.

But the Lightning have been buckling in for a real series.

“I think we probably dipped our toes in the water a little bit and watched them skate around for a bit,” said Cooper. “It’s too bad, but you’ve heard me say it a million times: Turn the page and move on.

“Short memory in the playoffs.”

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