Tribune News Service

Sports Budget for Monday, June 29, 2020

Updated at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 UTC)

This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^The Rocket Mortgage Classic will be different this year. Here's how<

GLF-ROCKETMORTGAGECLASSIC-SPORTSPLUS:DE — When the Rocket Mortgage Classic tees off Thursday, it will do so as the first major sports event in Michigan since the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation or postponement of sports in the United States.

And it will have a unique look and feel to it without fans in attendance.

1200 by Carlos Monarrez in Detroit. MOVED


^Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross are first MLB players to opt out of season<

BBO-CORONAVIRUS-SITTINGOUT:LA — Ryan Zimmerman has been a fixture in the Washington Nationals lineup and clubhouse since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005, and he was a key reserve on a team that beat the Houston Astros in a thrilling seven-game World Series last October.

Zimmerman and Nationals pitcher Joe Ross, 27, have opted out of the abbreviated 2020 season "for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones," the team announced Monday. Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake, 32, also opted out of 2020, forfeiting about $5.2 million in prorated salary.

1050 by Mike Digiovanna and Arash Markazi. MOVED



Also moving as:



^MLB releases new rules and guidelines for shortened season, including extra-inning change and a National League DH<

BBO-SEASON-RULES:SE — With players now reporting to their teams' home cities in preparation for resuming spring training and preparing for the season, Major League Baseball has released rule changes along with on-field and off-field health and safety protocols as it tries to operate during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The official report date for the three-week spring training, which MLB is calling "Summer Camp," with Camping World paying a sponsorship fee, is Wednesday. Teams will begin regular workouts Friday in preparation for the season opening on July 23-24.

1100 by Ryan Divish. MOVED


^Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State basketball in ESPN: 'Their love is genuine'<

BKC-MSU-BATES:DE — Ypsilanti Lincoln basketball phenom Emoni Bates, the No. 1 prospect in the country for the 2022 class, committed to Michigan State basketball during a live interview on ESPN on Monday.

"I'm not sure what the future may hold," the 16-year-old said, "but as I do know right now, I will be committing to Michigan State University."

550 by Evan Petzold in Detroit. MOVED


^2 players test positive for COVID-19 as teams arrive in Orlando for MLS tournament<

SOC-MLS-ORLANDO-CORONAVIRUS:MI — Major League Soccer is officially back, with five teams already in Orlando, Florida, and sequestered in the league bubble at the Swan and Dolphin Resort and Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The rest of the teams will arrive this week in advance of the MLS is Back Tournament, which kicks off July 8 with Inter Miami vs. Orlando City.

After a three-month stoppage, the league resumes under a COVID cloud, intensified by the recent surge in cases in Florida.

800 (with trims) by Michelle Kaufman. MOVED


^Mike Anthony: Dustin Johnson's victory on an empty course stands among the proudest Travelers Championship moments<

GLF-ANTHONY-COLUMN:HC — This year's Travelers Championship will be remembered simply as the time Dustin Johnson won without spectators on hand in the midst of a pandemic. That's OK because it becomes easy over time to sum up a number of these wonderful, and wonderfully complicated, events with a single sentence.

1100 by Mike Anthony in Cromwell, Conn. MOVED


^Gwen Berry gets apology from US Olympic committee but wants change<

OLY-BERRY:SL — Gwen Berry was looking for a little support last year after she raised a fist in protest on the podium at the Pan American Games during the playing of the national anthem.

Instead she was placed on probation by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Some of the support she was seeking came nearly a year later when the USOPC, reacting to protests of the killing of George Floyd, made a public statement backing its athletes who might be feeling "anger, frustration and uncertainty."

950 by Stu Durando in St. Louis. MOVED



^Report: A's sign 2020 first-round pick for $3.3 million<

^BBA-AS-SODERSTROM:CC—<Tyler Soderstrom — a Turlock, California, native — signed a $3.3 million deal with the Oakland A's on Monday, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The A's selected Soderstrom, an 18-year-old catcher out of Turlock High School, in the first round, 26th overall of the 2020 MLB Draft. Soderstrom is the son of former San Francisco Giants pitcher Steve Soderstrom.

Soderstrom will join the A's in California as part of the 60-man roster, according to Passan.

150 by Shayna Rubin. MOVED


^Giants' outfield prospect Hunter Bishop tests positive for COVID-19<

BBN-GIANTS-BISHOP-CORONAVIRUS:SA — Giants outfield prospect and Bay Area native Hunter Bishop was expected to report to Oracle Park for workouts this week, but those plans have been put on hold.

The Giants announced Monday that Bishop has tested positive for COVID-19.

Giants' president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Bishop tested positive in Arizona on Friday and that his symptoms are mild. Manager Gabe Kapler added that Bishop is recovering well and will continue to quarantine.

300 by Kerry Crowley. MOVED


^Bradford William Davis: MLB's response to Rangers' COVID outbreak puts dollars over people<

BBO-DAVIS-COLUMN:NY — Inaugurating a brand new ballpark with a viral outbreak instead of a baseball game is either a grim forecast for the 2020 season or a killer logline for a straight-to-Syfy zombie movie. But what it is not, is a surprise.

The Texas Rangers' string of Globe Life Field staffers testing positive for the coronavirus should have been an obvious, inevitable conclusion of arrogant and aggressive statewide plan to reopen the economy against CDC guidelines, which the franchise embraced by instructing staffers to return to the office. Somehow, Major League Baseball thought otherwise.

850 by Bradford William Davis. MOVED


^Twins coaches Bob McClure, 68, and Bill Evers, 66, sidelined for season<

BBA-TWINS-COACHES:MS — Citing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Twins will not allow bullpen coach Bob McClure and major league coach Bill Evers to work games this year, according to a source with knowledge of the decisions.

Pete Maki, the minor league pitching coordinator, is in line to step in as the new bullpen coach, while Evers' role is expected to be filled in the near future.

The decision came after the Twins examined the health histories of their staff members, taking age and any existing conditions into account.

500 by La Velle E. Neal Iii in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Depth, discipline crucial to Phillies' success in coronavirus-shortened MLB season<

BBN-PHILLIES-SEASON:PH — Put away the asterisks.

If, somehow, Major League Baseball crosses the finish line of a 60-game season and playoffs, there need not be a question about the legitimacy of the eventual champion. Because that last team standing, no matter how unlikely, would have overcome more challenges and in less time than any World Series winner that came before.

1050 by Scott Lauber in Philaelphia. MOVED


^Mariners sign right-hander Connor Phillips — the last of their 2020 draft picks<

BBA-MARINERS-PHILLIPS:SE — The last of the Mariners' six draft picks from the 2020 Major League Baseball amateur draft signed his professional contract on Monday.

Right-handed pitcher Connor Phillips, Seattle's competitive balance round B pick (No. 64 overall) signed for a $1,050,300 bonus, which was the full slot value of the pick.

350 by Ryan Divish in Seattle. MOVED


^Matt Calkins: Dare to dream? MLB's 60-game season could give Mariners the puncher's chance they need to end playoff drought<

BBA-CALKINS-COLUMN:SE — We'll start with the bad news: The stat geeks don't think the Mariners have much of a chance.

Even with the proposed 60-game season, which would preclude mass separation between the elites and the cellar-dwellers, the folks at FanGraphs gave the M's just a 0.9% chance of making the playoffs. Only the Orioles, who were listed at 0.1%, were given less of a shot.

Basically, the writers at that site think Seattle is the second-worst team in the league, and, well, there's not a lot of evidence to contradict that.

But here's the good news: When the season is just 60 games, truly anything can happen.

650 by Matt Calkins in Seattle. MOVED



^A limited series based on Colin Kaepernick's high school years is coming to Netflix<

^VID-NETFLIX-KAEPERNICK:LA—<A scripted drama about Colin Kaepernick's formative years is in the works, Netflix announced Monday.

"Colin in Black & White," a six-episode scripted drama series, will explore the high school years of the former quarterback and activist, with the goal of providing insight into the experiences that led to his activism today.

250 by Sonaiya Kelley. (Moved as an entertainment story.)


^Omar Kelly: These players will be the foundational pieces for the 2020 Miami Dolphins<

FBN-KELLY-COLUMN:FL — The Miami Dolphins are poised to enter the second phase of the franchise's full-scale renovation a month from now when training camp is scheduled to open. Of course, every successful rebuild requires a solid foundation.

Here is a look at 10 of the relatively young and mostly proven talents that South Florida's NFL franchise should view as integral pieces in the coming seasons, because their impact will determine how successful coach Brian Flores and General Manager Chris Grier's rebuild will be.

950 by Omar Kelly in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^Kyle Shanahan on 49ers' Super Bowl loss to Chiefs: 'It's been hard to sit with'<

FBN-49ERS-SUPERBOWL-SHANAHAN:KC — When Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes asked offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy if there was time to run Wasp in Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers had allowed 40 points in 11 postseason quarters.

But during a five-minute span, the Chiefs scored 21 points and rallied to win the Super Bowl 31-20.

"We had as good of an opportunity as you can ever have to be a champion, and we came up just short," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "So that's by all means exactly what we're going for this year."

350 by Pete Grathoff in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED


^Mike Sielski: He signs Cam Newton. He gets punished for manipulating the NFL's system. Bill Belichick is the sports villain we need right now<

FBN-SIELSKI-COLUMN:PH — Thank God for Bill Belichick. Thank God for his brilliance and his deviousness and his ruthlessness and his power. Thank God that, as the sociopolitical and cultural ground shifts beneath our feet every day, as our major institutions try to adapt to and survive a pandemic and an economic crisis, as our sports leagues accommodate players who might not want to play and fans who might not want to show up to stadiums, as the coronavirus changes how we interact with each other and whether we interact with each other and how we live our lives, Bill Belichick does not change.

1050 by Mike Sielski. MOVED


^Ryan Kalil says he 'couldn't be more thrilled' to see Cam Newton on Patriots<

FBN-PATRIOTS-NEWTON-KALIL:LA — Quarterback Cam Newton is headed to the New England Patriots, and that puts his longtime center in an unusual — and somewhat uncomfortable — position.

"I never thought I'd be excited to watch the Patriots and root for them in this way," said Ryan Kalil, who snapped the ball to Newton for eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers. "But I couldn't be more thrilled."

The Patriots haven't officially announced the signing, but on their team website Sunday night they posted a story on how he'll fit into the offense, citing ESPN's report that the former No. 1 overall pick had signed a one-year deal.

650 by Sam Farmer. MOVED


^Bucs' Shaquil Barrett says he will sign tag if no long-term deal<

FBN-BUCCANEERS-BARRETT:PT — Shaquil Barrett says he's still hopeful of reaching a long-term deal with the Bucs but indicated he will sign the franchise player tag.

A week ago, Barrett said on NFL Total Access that he was "50-50? on whether to sign the tag by the July 15 deadline.

But appearing on Sirius XM NFL Radio Monday, Barrett provided an update, saying he continues to be hopeful a contract extension will be reached but will play under the tag in 2020.

400 by Rick Stroud in Tampa, Fla. MOVED



^Why is Troy Weaver ready to be Pistons GM? Just look at the players he has uncovered<

BKN-PISTONS-WEAVER:DE — After leaving Syracuse to join the Utah Jazz as a scout in 2004, Troy Weaver began his meticulous rise through the NBA ranks, which culminated with him being named the Detroit Pistons' general manager earlier this month.

It's not a path some expected he would pursue. He once appeared set to become a Division I head coach. Instead, he chased his original dream — the NBA.

"If I had to look at his career trajectory, I would've thought he would be a high major Division 1 coach by now," Damon Handon, a longtime friend of Weaver, told the Free Press. "You say his path is different, it is. If he had to coach an NBA team, he could coach an NBA team. That was his passion. His passion was coaching."

Weaver is a rarity among NBA executives.

1150 by Omari Sankofa II in Detroit. MOVED


^Lakers set to sign guard JR Smith for the rest of NBA season<

BKN-LAKERS-SMITH:LA — The Lakers are working to sign guard JR Smith for the rest of the season, according to people familiar with the situation, which would reunite LeBron James with his former Cleveland teammate as the Lakers head to Florida for the resumption of the NBA season.

Smith, 34, will be added to replace Avery Bradley, who decided to not join the team in Florida because of family reasons. Once Bradley is officially listed as a player who opted out of the league's resumption, the team can add Smith as a replacement player — no earlier than 9 a.m. on July 1.

650 by Tania Ganguli in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Heat roster locked in for NBA resumption, playoffs (unless COVID replacement needed)<

BKN-HEAT-ROSTER:FL — The 2019-20 window for discretionary change has closed for the Miami Heat.

With the passing of Sunday's final waiver deadline of the season, the Heat remain at the NBA maximum of 17 players, effectively eliminating them from another move before Tuesday's 11:59 p.m. close of the league's transaction window.

600 by Ira Winderman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^Wilson Chandler on Kenny Atkinson: 'He brought a system that made everybody a threat'<

BKN-NETS-CHANDLER:NY — Nets veteran forward Wilson Chandler addressed his decision to forgo the remainder of the season while the NBA makes its 22-team return to the regular season in Orlando.

"There's no right or wrong way. Everybody has their own opinions for what they would do. There's no right or wrong answer. I respect anyone who's going or anyone who's not going," Chandler said on the Court Vision Podcast.

450 by Kristian Winfield in New York. MOVED


^Heat return schedule a diabolical result of unique NBA formula<

BKN-HEAT-SCHEDULE:FL — So how did the Miami Heat wind up with, by at least one metric, the most difficult concluding schedule of the 22 teams invited to the NBA's quarantined restart at Disney World?

Largely because they previously had the easiest closing schedule before the league was halted on March 11 by the new coronavirus pandemic.

850 by Ira Winderman in Miami. MOVED



^Storm coach Dan Hughes to miss 2020 season; Gary Kloppenburg elevated to head coach<

BKL-STORM-COACH:SE — Dan Hughes will not coach the Storm during the 2020 WNBA season citing health concerns and the risk of potential severe illness if he were to test positive for COVID-19.

The 65-year-old coach, who led the Storm to a 2018 WNBA title, underwent surgery in May 2019 to remove a cancerous tumor in his digestive tract and missed the first nine games last year.

The decision to sit out the upcoming season followed a league assessment and consultation with Hughes' primary physician, the Storm announced Monday.

400 by Percy Allen in Seattle. MOVED


^Chicago Sky sign rookie Stella Johnson, the NCAA's leading scorer last season<

BKL-SKY-ROOKIE:TB — Stella Johnson, a rookie guard from Rider who led the nation in scoring last season, has signed a free-agent contract with the Chicago Sky, the WNBA team announced Monday.

Johnson, who averaged 24.8 points as a senior in 2019-20, was a third-round draft pick (No. 29 overall) by the Phoenix Mercury in April. But according to Arizona's Cronkite News, the Mercury released Johnson and three other players in late May — without being able to evaluate them in a training camp — when WNBA teams had to trim rosters to 12 so that players could begin receiving paychecks.

200 by Chicago Tribune staff in Chicago.


^NC speedway owner says 'Bubba Rope' ad was a joke that backfired<

CAR-WALLACE-ROPE-AD:RA — The North Carolina racetrack owner that made national news when he advertised the sale of "Bubba Rope" after a noose was found in the garage of NASCAR's only top series Black driver said he has lost sponsors. He also said his family, friends, business associates and others connected with him have been harassed and threatened.

In an interview with The News & Observer on Sunday, Mike Fulp, owner of 311 Speedway in Stokes County, said the Facebook Marketplace advertisement for the rope was meant to be a joke he now regrets.

950 by Virginia Bridges in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED



^Dylan Hernandez: Boxing industry tries to recover from a strong uppercut delivered by COVID-19<


As much as Vergil Ortiz Jr. reminds himself of that, he can't stop wondering about what he's lost over the last three months.

"In my mind," he said, "I have a whole lot of what-ifs."

He's not alone.

1400 by Dylan Hern ndez. MOVED



^Minnesota gymnasts and Tokyo Olympic hopefuls Suni Lee and Grace McCallum are training again<

OLY-GYMNASTICS-LEE-MCCALLUM:MS — The date was once engraved on their memories. For nearly a year, Suni Lee and Grace McCallum knew exactly where they would be on June 5, 2020: opening the two-day women's competition at the U.S. gymnastics championships, with a chance to take a major step toward the Tokyo Olympics.

When the day finally arrived, the world had changed so much they didn't even notice.

950 by Rachel Blount in Minneapolis. MOVED



^Michigan governor cautions about return of pro sports: 'We're going to watch it differently'<

MICH-GOV-PROS-CORONAVIRUS:DTN — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order late last week that allows for the return of professional sports in the state. But she sounded a cautionary note while discussing that decision — one that won't allow fans in attendance at games due to concerns about COVID-19 — during a radio interview Monday on 97.1 The Ticket.

Whitmer has been consistent in her message about the return of sports this spring, making headlines back in May with her comments that there won't be full stadiums again until there's a vaccine.

550 by John Niyo in Detroit. MOVED



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