NEW YORK (AP) — The minor leagues are prepared to agree to Major League Baseball’s proposal to cut guaranteed affiliations from 160 to 120 next year, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, a plan that would impact hundreds of prospects and cut player development expenses.
The person spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because no announcements were authorized. The development was first reported by Baseball America.
An electronic negotiating session is scheduled for Wednesday.
In informal talks, parties have discussed the possibility of a radical overhaul in which MLB would take over all of many of the duties of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body, another person familiar with the negotiations said.
Instead of franchise affiliations, there would be licensing agreements similar to those of hotel chains, that person said. MLB would then sell sponsorship, licensing and media rights, a switch that may lead to decreased overhead and increased revenue.
—By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum.
NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez and fiancee Jennifer Lopez have retained J.P. Morgan to represent them in raising capital for a possible bid for the New York Mets. The move was first reported by Variety and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was not announced.
A three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez retired in August 2016 with 698 home runs, a .295 average and 2,086 RBIs in 22 years. He was suspended for the 2014 season for violations of Major League Baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.
A-Rod, now 44 years old, earned about $448 million as a player. The 14-time All-Star started his career with Seattle, signed a record contract with Texas in December 2000, and then moved from shortstop to third base when he was traded from the Rangers to the New York Yankees ahead of the 2004 season.
—By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Four-time All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski has agreed to a reunion with Tom Brady.
The agent for the retired New England star confirmed Tuesday that pending completion of a physical Gronkowski has agreed to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are acquiring his rights from the Patriots.
A proposed trade that needs to be finalized before this week’s NFL draft reportedly would bring Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round selection.
The deal would reunite the 30-year-old Gronkowski with Brady, who signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs last month.
Gronkowski retired in March 2019 after nine seasons with the Patriots, who drafted him in the second round in 2010. He has one year left on his contract at $10 million.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers are going back to their past as they prepare to move into their new home at SoFi Stadium.
The Chargers unveiled their new uniforms Tuesday, which include numbers on the helmet and gold pants.
The Chargers wore gold pants from 1966-84 before replacing them with white. Los Angeles will have the choice of wearing either gold or white pants with its powder blue home jersey or white road jersey.
The team also unveiled two color rush jerseys in royal blue and navy.
The new look includes some modern touches with the franchise’s lightning bolt logo bigger on the shoulders and the italicized, sleeker numbers.
DENVER (AP) — The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is bracing for cuts of up to 20% because of the coronavirus pandemic and warning that a cancellation of the Tokyo Games would be “devastating” to athletes and the organization.
The Associated Press received a copy of a letter CEO Sarah Hirshland sent to leaders across the U.S. Olympic world Tuesday, in which she said cuts of 10 to 20% are “necessary to balance both the current delay in revenue and anticipated decline” that’s expected over coming years.
The letter was accompanied by a Q&A that dealt with the possibility that the Olympics, now scheduled to start a year late, in July 2021, could be canceled altogether if the coronavirus isn’t curtailed by then.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The South Korean baseball league announced it will start its delayed season on May 5, and wasted no time getting preseason games going.
It was a distinctly quiet start on Tuesday to two weeks of exhibition games and training for the 10 teams of the top-flight Korean Baseball Organization, with no fans allowed in the stadiums.
In one of the five games on Tuesday, the LG Twins beat defending Korean Series champion Doosan Bears 5-2 in an echoing stadium in Seoul, with more than 20,000 empty seats.
Umpires wore masks and gloves, and some coaches and team staff wore masks in the dugouts. Some of the players and a coach wore messages on their caps that read “Corona 19 Out.”
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Players ejected from football games for targeting will be allowed to remain on the sidelines, the NCAA announced Tuesday.
The Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the rules change no longer requiring players to head to the locker room after targeting is confirmed. All other aspects of the rule discouraging above-the-shoulders contact remain the same.
The panel also approved a pace-of-play guideline for instant replay officials to complete video reviews in less than two minutes. Reviews that are exceptionally complicated or involve end-of-game issues should be completed as efficiently as possible without a stated time limit.
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A clock rule regarding instant replay also was approved. If the game clock expires at the end of a half and replay determines there was time remaining and the clock should start on the referee’s signal, there must be at least 3 seconds left, when the ball should have been declared dead, to restore time. If less than 3 seconds remain on the game clock, the half is over.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team has been placed on one-year probation and agreed to other NCAA sanctions after a former assistant coach was found to have forged recruiting documents.
The decision was announced by the NCAA and the Mid-American Conference school as part of a negotiated resolution reached Tuesday. The school said it self-reported the infractions in October and cooperated with the NCAA investigation.
Buffalo also was fined $5,000, agreed to a two-week ban on communicating with potential recruits and reduced its recruiting days by five for the 2020-21 season.
The NCAA credited Buffalo for acting quickly and found no evidence of a lack of institutional control or failure to monitor the situation. The governing body said it would not reveal the coaches or athlete involved.
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA draft drew its second-highest television audience.
The draft, held virtually last Friday because of the coronavirus, averaged 387,000 viewers on ESPN, up 123% from last year’s draft. It was also up 33% from the last time it aired on the network in 2011.
Only the 2004 draft had more viewers.
Soccer’s international governing body says it will maintain funding for women’s soccer despite concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the Women’s World Cup last year, FIFA President Gianni Infantino pledged to invest $1 billion in the women’s game over the next four years.
“In line with the FIFA Women’s Football Strategy and FIFA’s long-term vision for the development of women’s football, this funding will be invested into a range of areas in the women’s game including competitions, capacity building, development programs, governance and leadership, professionalization and technical programs,” FIFA said in a statement provided Tuesday to The Associated Press.
TRACK AND FIELD
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Track and Field has rescheduled its Olympic trials for June 18-27, 2021, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
The national governing body for track announced the new dates Tuesday in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic postponing the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.
USATF worked with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and TrackTown USA to secure the new dates for trials originally scheduled for this June. The competition schedule remains the same, but the timing windows could be tweaked.
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Bob Lazier, the 1981 CART rookie of the year and father of 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier, died Saturday from COVID-19. He was 81.
Lazier’s wife, Diane, confirmed the death in an interview with the Vail (Colorado) Daily, telling the newspaper her husband had spent 22 days in a hospital in Lakewood, Colorado, fighting the illness. They had been married for 58 years.
Lazier spent only full-time season on the CART circuit. He finished ninth in the standings that season, was the series top rookie and qualified 13th in his only Indianapolis 500 start. An engine failure forced Lazier to drop out of the race after 154 laps, dropping him to 19th.
He returned to Indy in 1982 but didn’t even attempt to qualify because of his family’s safety concerns following the death of Gordon Smiley in a crash during practice. Instead, Lazier focused on his successful career as a building contractor in Vail.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Mike Curtis, a hard-hitting, no-nonsense linebacker who helped the Colts win a Super Bowl during a 14-year NFL career spent predominantly in Baltimore, has died. He was 77.
Curtis died Monday in St. Petersburg, Florida. Son Clay said on Twitter his father died of “complications from CTE,” a degenerative brain disease.
Curtis earned the nickname “Mad Dog” because of his fierce play in the middle of a strong Baltimore defense.
Curtis was selected 14th overall in the 1965 draft by the Colts after starring as a fullback at Duke University. He started out with Baltimore as a fullback but rose to stardom in his second season when he played linebacker on full time.
Curtis was a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
LONDON (AP) — Neil Black, a British track and field official who worked closely with many of the country’s best athletes over the past three decades, including Mo Farah, has died. He was 60.
Black died suddenly over the weekend, British Athletics said Tuesday without disclosing any details.
Black was performance director of British Athletics from 2012 until last year, when he stepped down after coming under pressure because of the organization’s handling of a controversy involving Alberto Salazar, who was banned for four years for doping violations. Black stood by Salazar and the coach’s work as a consultant to the British team after a BBC investigation of the tainted Nike Oregon Project run by Salazar.
Since last year, Black has been working with Farah — whose Olympic gold medals came under the coaching of Salazar — and other athletes and coaches as an advisor.
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