A-Rod interested in buying MetsNEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets were very interested in acquiring Alex Rodriguez through free agency almost 20 years. The situation is now reversed.A-Rod and fiancee Jennifer Lopez have retained J.P. Morgan to represent them in raising capital for a possible bid for the Mets. The move was first reported by Variety and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the decision.The three-time AL MVP 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.BASEBALL-MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACTION April 21, 2020 Gronkowski’s agent says the tight end is about to come out of retirement and has accepted a trade to the Buccaneers. The Patriots also would send a seventh-round pick to the Bucs for a fourth-rounder.The deal is pending a physical and would give Brady one of his most dependable pass-catchers. Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs last month.Gronkowski has caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in 115 regular-season games. The five-time Pro Bowl selection has another 81 catches for 1,163 yards and 12 TDs in 16 playoff games.The tight end position already was considered one of Tampa Bay’s biggest strengths, with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate teaming with Pro Bowl receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. They form the best collection of targets Brady has had to work with in more than a decade.MLB-A-ROD-METS The Playing Rules Oversight Panel also approved the rules change no longer requiring players to head to the locker room after being penalized for targeting. All other aspects of the rule discouraging above-the-shoulders contact remain the same.SOUTH KOREA-BASEBALLSouth Korean season to begin in May without fansSEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s professional baseball league has decided to begin its season on May 5.The games will be played without fans until the risk of infection from the coronavirus is gone. Update on the latest in sports: Curtis helped the Colts win a Super Bowl during a 14-year career spent predominantly in Baltimore. He earned the nickname “Mad Dog” because of his fierce play in the middle of a strong Baltimore defense. His interception in the waning minutes of the 1970 Super Bowl set up the winning field goal in the Colts’ win over Dallas.Mike Curtis was 77 years old.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 In other college basketball news:— Ball State guard K.J. Walton will return for his sixth college season after receiving a waiver from the NCAA and the approval of the Mid-American Conference. The former Missouri player sat out the 2017-18 because of college basketball’s transfer rule and played just 10 games last season because of an ankle injury that required surgery. He has started 35 games of the 42 he’s appeared in with the Cardinals and averages 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds.COLLEGE FOOTBALL-NCAA RULESNCAA alters video reviews, targeting rulesINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA has announced a pace-of-play guideline for instant replay officials to complete video reviews in less than two minutes of a college football game. The Spanish club’s executive board says it will donate the entire fee raised by selling the title rights to the Camp Nou to fighting the global pandemic. The Camp Nou has never had a sponsor since it opened in 1957.In other virus-related developments:— Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson admits it was “bad timing.” The Baltimore Ravens quarterback threw footballs to teammate Marquise Brown and former NFL star Antonio Brown during an informal workout in Florida on April 1, without regard to social distancing. Jackson told reporters today that he’s now working out alone.— The deputy head of Germany’s national disease control center has cautioned against coronavirus testing for soccer players in order to restart the league. Regular testing of players and team staff is a key element of a plan to resume German soccer in empty stadiums next month. Robert Koch Institute vice president Lars Schaade says he doesn’t “see why certain sections of the population … should be routinely screened.” Schaade says he would prefer testing to be focused on people who show symptoms or who are linked to an outbreak of the virus.— The men’s and women’s professional tennis tours plan to create a player relief fund to help those in the sport dealing with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP and WTA say they are in discussions with the International Tennis Federation and the four Grand Slam tournaments. Neither tour provided any specifics about how much money they are pooling or how it will be distributed. No tournaments will be played before mid-July at the earliest. Associated Press Conflict over who will pay for the Olympic delayTOKYO (AP) — An open conflict has broken out between Tokyo Olympic organizers and the IOC over who will be paying for the unprecedented year-long postponement.Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya says the organizing committee asked the Switzerland-based IOC to remove a comment from its website suggesting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that Japan would pay most of the postponement costs.Media reports in Japan estimate the year-long delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic will cost $2 billion to $6 billion.Takaya says it was not appropriate for Abe’s name to be linked. The IOC removed the reference. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNFL-BUCCANEERS-GRONKOWSKIBucs acquiring GronkTAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Rob Gronkowski spent nine seasons catching passes from Tom Brady in New England. The two are about to reunite in Tampa Bay. The league plans to maintain a 144-game regular-season schedule but has decided scrap its all-star game and shorten the first round of the playoffs from a best-of-five to best-of-three series.The KBO says it could shorten the regular season if infections erupt. The league will advise players to wear face masks in locker rooms and require them to download smartphone apps to report their daily health status to league officials.SOCCER-BARCELONA STADIUMNaming rights to be sold to iconic Barcelona stadium to benefit virus fightBARCELONA (AP) — Barcelona’s soccer team will sell the title rights to its famed stadium for one year in an effort to raise money for the fight against the coronavirus. COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NEWSBulls punished for recruiting issuesUNDATED (AP) — The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team has been placed on one-year probation after a former assistant coach was found to have forged recruiting documents.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 decision was announced by the NCAA and the Mid-American Conference school as part of a negotiated resolution reached today. The school said it self-reported the infractions in October and cooperated with the NCAA investigation. — The Associated Press has learned the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is bracing for cuts of 10% to 20% because of the coronavirus pandemic that has pushed the Olympics back one year and triggered losses across the nation’s sports organizations. The AP received a copy of a letter CEO Sarah Hirshland sent to leaders across the U.S. Olympic world in which she said the exact nature of the cuts would be determined by the end of May.NFL-OBIT-CURTISFormer Colts linebacker Mike Curtis dead at 77ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The hard-hitting, no-nonsense linebacker Mike Curtis has died. He died Monday in St. Petersburg, Florida.Son Clay says on Twitter his father died of “complications from CTE,” a degenerative brain disease. Djokovic says he may reconsider stance on vaccinationBELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Novak Djokovic has reiterated he is against taking an anti-coronavirus vaccination if it becomes mandatory to travel, but says he’s open to changing his mind.The top-ranked Djokovic caused a stir when he suggested in a live Facebook chat over the weekend that if a vaccination becomes compulsory on the world tennis tour then he “wouldn’t want to be forced by someone” to take it.Djokovic says in a statement emailed to the AP that despite his personal objection to a vaccine, “if it becomes compulsory, I will have to make a decision whether to do it or not.”OLYMPICS-POSTPONEMENT COSTS Minor leagues prepared to accept contraction planNEW YORK (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the minor leagues are prepared to agree to Major League Baseball’s proposal to cut guaranteed affiliations from 160 to 120 next year.The plan would impact hundreds of prospects and cut player development expenses. An electronic negotiating session is scheduled for Wednesday.MLB last year proposed cutting 42 affiliates. The minors have fought the plan, but the new coronavirus pandemic has changed the dynamic and sapped minor league teams of revenue and willingness to fight.VIRUS OUTBREAK-DJOKOVIC
Even after extending its application deadline, the Viterbi Student Council’s Executive Board received only one application, causing the council to become inactive for this school year.The VSC is an umbrella organization that coordinates monthly meetings between the presidents and board members of various Viterbi organizations and the Viterbi administration.Paul Ledesma, associate director of undergraduate admissions for Viterbi and last year’s VSC faculty adviser, said he was not sure why there was so little interest in the VSC Executive Board this year.It is the responsibility of the outgoing Executive Board to organize and publicize elections, Ledesma said.“It’s possible that it wasn’t advertised adequately by last year’s leadership, but it’s also possible that students who may have run for the position found it more important to hold leadership positions within their specific engineering student organizations,” Ledesma wrote in an email.William Wu, last year’s VSC vice chair, said the organization had slowly moved away from its original role as a resource for students.“I think [VSC] is becoming obsolete because [organizations] were just going to it for money instead of using it as a resource and building a relationship with the administration,” Wu said. “It could have a big impact and could really make engineering present at USC. Right now, I don’t think there’s a need for it. Maybe there’s not a want for it.”Internal issues might also have played a role in this year’s suspension of the Executive Board, according to Wu.“The Board had its own separate communication issues to deal with [and] VSC also had to learn how to adapt to the regulations set by the administration, which previous Board members thought was always challenging,” Wu said.Wu noted that he doesn’t think an overarching committee is necessary.Traditionally, the VSC treasurer oversees the VSC Funding Board, which is responsible for allocating funds to various Viterbi clubs. This year, the Funding Board will continue to function as a separate entity despite the lack of a VSC Executive Board.“The Funding Board is operating as it always did,” Ledesma wrote. “With the exception of a few procedural changes and an updated, streamlined application, there are no changes to the Funding Board’s operation.”In fact, some club presidents feel that a separate funding board is more efficient than the funding board that was part of VSC in previous years.“The only change that has been made is pretty positive. They streamlined the [funding application] procedure,” said Lynn Ho, president of the Society of Women Engineers. “There’s only one form to actually get the money. Before, you would apply and it was harder.”The new funding board is also functioning well without a VSC Executive Board, according to those involved.“I’m kind of the person who is communicating between the [administration] and the student organizations right now, since there’s no VSC,” said Ken Diedrich, director of the Funding Board.Ledesma said the transition to a separate funding board has been a smooth one.“Ken made sure to inform student organization leadership of the change and reassure them the funding sources would remain unchanged at our first event of the year,” Ledesma wrote.After speaking with the leaders of various Viterbi organizations, Ledesma said he believes these groups will be unaffected by the lack of a VSC Executive Board.It has yet to be determined whether or not VSC will be active next year, but it will largely be based on student interest, Ledesma added.He wrote, “If students want to get VSC back up and running, I look forward to working with them,” he wrote.
Italy’s spectacular Mugello circuit will host a Grand Prix for the very first time in September, as Formula 1 announced the Tuscan Grand Prix and the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi have been added to the revised 2020 race calendar.Mugello is owned by Ferrari, and the circuit’s first F1 event – set for September 11-13, the weekend after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza – is set to be a celebration in more ways than one, given it will mark the Scuderia’s 1000th race in the world championship.A regular on the MotoGP calendar, Mugello will be the fourth Italian circuit, after Monza, Imola and the fabled road course at Pescara, used just once in 1957, to host a world championship race. F1 cars have tested at the circuit many times, however, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc doing so prior to the season opener and raving about its fast and flowing nature.New race datesRoundDateRace9September 11-13FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DELLA TOSCANA FERRARI 1000 2020 Mugello (Italy)10September 25 – 27FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX 2020 (Sochi)The addition of Mugello and Sochi, which will take place September 25-27, brings the current number of confirmed races in 2020 to ten, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. As stated previously, Formula 1 expects the revised 2020 season to have between 15 and 18 races.“We want to thank the promoters, national authorities, the teams and the FIA for their hard work and support in making these Grands Prix possible,” said Formula 1 in a statement, “and know our fans will be delighted to see Russia host its seventh race at the Sochi Autodrom and see Formula 1 cars race for the first time at exciting Mugello circuit in Italy.” “We are delighted to announce Mugello and Sochi will be part of the 2020 calendar and want to thank all our partners for their support in recent weeks,” added Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO of Formula 1.“We had great start to our season in Austria last weekend and we are increasingly confident in our plans to race throughout the remainder of 2020.“The Russian Grand Prix is a major moment in our season and we are looking forward to being back in Sochi in September. We are equally excited to see Formula 1 race for the first time at Mugello, an occasion that will mark Ferrari’s 1000 Grand Prix. Both races will be a huge boost for fans with more announcements on the next races in our calendar coming in the weeks ahead.”
Eye-popping, unpopular opinion: It’s not on Adam Gase. At least, not entirely.The Jets’ 2019 season has been a nightmare. For fans, it’s been like waking up late on a Monday morning, discovering someone stole your car, turning on the news and then finding out it was wrecked when it went through the front of a 7-11, destroying the Slurpee machine in the process. It’s been bitter, and it gets worse. Look at the recent Cowboys run, or the Rams in 2018, or any other team that had a hope of winning a Lombardi Trophy. No line, no time, no dimes. That’s just the way football works and has always worked. What good is having a downfield threat in Robby Anderson if there’s no time for Darnold to get him the ball?There are injuries at key positions elsewhere: Big-ticket free agent C.J. Mosley has only played in two games this season, dealing with groin injuries. Avery Williamson, Mosley’s linebacker runningmate, was injured during the preseason. Rookie Blake Cashman is on IR with a shoulder injury. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was benched and is now out for the season, as well. The list goes on.It’s easy to point to Gase’s 23-25 record with the Dolphins and say history is repeating itself, but the 2019 season requires context. You can’t tell Gase’s Jets story until you tell all of it: The injuries. The roster. The lack of depth. The mono. The ghosts.This is not Gase’s team; it’s not even Joe Douglas’ team yet. The new GM has barely figured out how to work the thermostat in his new office. If Douglas was brought in to helm the operation alongside Gase, then he and Gase should be allowed at least one offseason together to figure out how to mold and shape the roster in their image. If 2020 rolls around and the results aren’t there, then heads will roll, and rightfully so. But some amount of time should be afforded to new coaches in situations as bad as that of the Jets.There’s also the reminder that Douglas’ monstrous, six-year contract, which outlasts Gase’s deal, means that if things don’t work out with the coach in the immediate, he’ll have an opportunity to build with someone else; a coach of his choosing. But we are still far from that point.UPDATED NFL DRAFT ORDER:Giants jump ahead of victorious Jets, DolphinsThis isn’t to absolve Gase or make excuses for him — his offense has looked beyond poor during his tenure. A lot of that, though, is due to the horrific offensive line play and a lack of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Tight end Chris Herndon played just 16 snaps this season between suspension and injuries and has landed on IR. Quincy Enunwa, who figured to be one of Darnold’s biggest receiving threats prior to the season, was injured in Week 1. The offensive line can’t get to the second level and give Le’Veon Bell even a little more room to breathe. But if team owner Christopher Johnson’s vote of confidence Tuesday to keep Gase through 2019 and 2020 means anything, it’s that this is not Gase’s fault.WEEK 11 NFL PICKS:Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsJohnson pointed to the working relationship between Gase and new general manager Joe Douglas; Gase and Sam Darnold and the rest of the players on the roster. Johnson also pointed to the fact that players in the locker room were open to the idea of Gase sticking around for this year and potentially next.There are likely other reasons that Gase is staying. One is probably so the Johnsons would have to avoid paying three head coaches at once — Todd Bowles and staff from his firing, Gase and whoever the new coach would be. Another would be to offer some level of stability and not make knee-jerk reactions to appease a vocal minority of fans.Obviously, some modicum of blame falls on Gase for a 2-7 record and a downward spiral of a season. But to use Gase a scapegoat, nine games into his Jets career, is wholly unfair.Jets CEO Christopher Johnson on why he’s bringing back Adam Gase …pic.twitter.com/RzT2ByF7cQ— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 13, 2019True: Darnold has had an up-and-down season. He didn’t look himself in the opener vs. the Bills, and he was potentially dealing with mononucleosis in that start. In his return game, he and the Jets walloped the Cowboys. Then, a Murphy’s law start vs. the Patriots (the infamous “Ghosts” game) and a few bad losses vs. the Jaguars and the hapless Dolphins cast some doubt on whether Darnold was the QB of the future. Fingers pointed at Gase, eyes rolled, and Jets fans flew “Fire Gase” banners over New York.While Darnold’s candid “seeing ghosts” moment was a horror to Gang Green fans, the true scary story here is how poor this roster is, top to bottom. There is a lack of depth everywhere that isn’t defensive line, and among the three most important position groups for 2019 football — offensive line, pass rusher and cornerback — the Jets are almost completely devoid of talent. Darnold’s numbers, while not comforting (especially in the turnover department), aren’t all that bad, either: 6 games, 63.2 percent completion rate, 7 touchdowns to 9 interceptions and a 2-4 record.But there is a fundamental flaw for the Jets: It starts and ends with the offensive line.A trade gamble on Kelechi Osemele, a move by now-fired GM Mike Maccagnan, backfired and cost the Jets a fifth-round pick in 2019. Osemele is now off the team after he was expected to be a key cog of a “re-worked” offensive line. Third-round pick Chuma Edoga hasn’t played well in his rookie campaign. Ryan Kalil looks like he should have stayed on his couch this offseason. Brian Winters was having a poor year and is now on IR.Good football teams are built through the trenches, in case we want to gloss over that tried-and-true fact en route to damning Gase. Darnold’s top receiving targets have been Jamison Crowder — who has been worth the money paid by Maccagnan — Anderson and what’s left of Demariyus Thomas. It’s hardly a who’s-who of receiving threats.Part of the reason Gase was hired was his ability to get the most out of a barren roster as coach of the Dolphins, which, through 10 weeks, hasn’t been the case with the Jets. There’s plenty of season left — we are just nine games into the Gase tenure, after all — to get things moving in the right direction. It’s easy to point to “Same Old Jets” and “loljets” and all the meme-atic things you’d find on Twitter, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of the 2019 New York Jets.Context matters, and whether Adam bombs or not, he deserves some time to get it figured out. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/16/d8/adam-gase-110319-getty-ftrjpg_npkq3dzwwjj41w0etal9sgoj1.jpg?t=857317454&w=500&quality=80