Taiwan baseball fans allowed inside stadium but must sit apart — AP

There are fans in the stands for baseball in Taiwan even though they are spaced far apart as a safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus

Taiwan baseball fans allowed inside stadium but must sit apart —


NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan (AP) — There were fans in the stands for baseball in Taiwan on Friday, albeit spaced far apart as a safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus.

Up to 1,000 spectators are now allowed at each ballpark in Taiwan, but they are still barred from bringing in food and concession stands are still closed.

“This means our government’s disease control measures are quite rigorous,” said 34-year-old fan Frank Cheng, an electronics industry worker from New Taipei City.

Cheng went to see his hometown Fubon Guardians play the UniLions with four of his friends. Their body temperature was checked at the entrance and they all sat at least three seats apart.

Before the game started, Taiwan health and welfare minister Chen Shih-chung appeared at home plate wearing jersey No. 0, an emblem of the government’s hope for zero coronavirus cases.

When the season opened on April 11 after a three-week delay, only players, team personnel and cheerleaders were allowed in the stadium. The league later proposed allowing 200 fans per game and the Centers for Disease Control gave clearance for 1,000, league spokesman Tai Si-song said.

But instead of dancing together in support of their teams, Guardian fans stood on their own moving to the cues of cheerleaders and mascots. Friends leaned across seats to talk to one another while security guards told people wandering around the aisles to find a place to sit.

When the Guardians scored, fans still shouted through the team’s signature blue bullhorns to the drum rhythms coming from behind first base. Cheerleaders, the only people in the stands without facemasks, led the usual chants.

“There’s plenty of social distance here,” said Guardians fan Sun Ming, a 29-year-old finance sector worker from New Taipei City. “I think the disease prevention is quite effective and therefore we can have this chance to attend the game.”

The Taiwan league has five teams and started its season ahead of professional baseball in Japan, South Korea and the United States.

As of Friday, stadiums will leave three seats between spectators, even if they come in groups. Every second row will be left empty, ensuring no one coughs on someone else from behind. The league’s smallest stadium at 11,000 seats can accommodate 1,000 people with that spacing plan and without opening the bleachers, Tai said.

“If we were to add people, that would impinge on the safe space,” Tai said.

In New Taipei City, about 900 people bought tickets to watch the Fubon Guardians at the 12,500-seat venue, the club said. Tickets were still selling into the second inning.

A second league game was taking place at the same time in Taiwan’s largest stadium, which has 19,000 seats.

Games in previous years averaged 6,000 fans each.

The government in Taiwan reported 440 coronavirus cases on Friday among a population of 23 million. Many Taiwanese still stay indoors after work in case the coronavirus outbreak suddenly worsens.

NHL Caps release Leipsic after woman-bashing chat goes public — Winnipeg Sun

The Winnipeg NHLer at the centre of a social media group chat that degraded women has been released by his team. Read More

NHL Caps release Leipsic after woman-bashing chat goes public — Winnipeg Sun

The Winnipeg NHLer at the centre of a social media group chat that degraded women has been released by his team.

Brendan Leipsic played 61 games for the Washington Capitals this past season, but this week became embroiled in a firestorm of controversy which came to a head on Friday morning.

“The Washington Capitals have placed Brendan Leipsic on unconditional waivers for purposes of terminating his contract,” the NHL team said in a statement.

The move comes after the Capitals and NHL on Wednesday denounced the actions of players involved in an Instagram group chat that defiled and mocked women, referred to their conquests as “kills,” made fun of their shapes and boasted of Leipsic’s use of cocaine.

“There is no place in our league for such statements, attitudes and behaviour, no matter the forum,” the NHL had said.

The chat, which dated back several months and was intended to be private, was made public by an anonymous Instagram user who wanted the women made aware of the misogynists involved in it.

The chat included several products of the Winnipeg minor hockey system, including Jack Rodewald, who played for Florida’s AHL team this past season, and Leipsic’s brother, Jeremey.

Jeremey Leipsic, 23, was released from the University of Manitoba Bisons hockey team on Thursday.

Two of the women targetted in the chat told the Winnipeg Sun of the humiliation they faced when it became public.

“It’s very heartbreaking to see,” Winnipeg’s Chloe Giesbrecht, 24, said. “You see hockey on TV… (players) signing hockey sticks and taking photos, but what are they doing behind all of that? They’re supposed to be role models, and this is the exact opposite. The exact opposite of what you would want your son to be like.

“If people keep practising that, this is just going to be a continuous cycle of these group chats and this misogynistic hockey culture.”

Another woman who didn’t want her name used said even if the players lost their jobs, it wouldn’t make her feel any better.

“It’s not banter. It’s not funny. It’s harmful,” she said. “And there are people who won’t take this well and it will have lasting psychological consequences. Some women got really attacked in there.”

Brendan Leipsic, 25, was in his third full season in the NHL. He’d already been traded twice, put on waivers and left unprotected in the Las Vegas expansion draft.

Drafted by Nashville in the third round in 2012, he was traded to Toronto in 2015, claimed by the Golden Knights in 2017, traded to Vancouver in 2018 and claimed off waivers by the L.A. Kings the same year.

Washington signed him last summer to a one-year deal worth $700,000.0 

Toronto FC hoping players can hit the BMO Training Ground by Monday — Toronto Sun

Toronto FC GM Ali Curtis said on Friday that he is hoping that TFC players can begin individual training at the BMO Training Ground as early as Monday. Read More

Toronto FC hoping players can hit the BMO Training Ground by Monday — Toronto Sun

oronto FC GM Ali Curtis said on Friday that he is hoping that TFC players can begin individual training at the BMO Training Ground as early as Monday.

“Should we have approval from appropriate government authorities and MLS, we’ll be ready to go,” Curtis told the Toronto Sun on Friday.

On Wednesday, Major League Soccer opened the door to individual player workouts outdoors at team training fields but only under strict guidelines, including social distancing. TFC officials first have to gain clearance from all three levels of government before they can give the players the green light to begin individual training at the Downsview training site. All three levels of government in Canada have posted lock downs because of the current COVID 19 crisis. The City of Toronto declared a state of emergency on March 23. A number of MLS clubs have already begun training at their respective training grounds including: Atlanta, Colorado, Inter Miami, Los Angeles FC, Nashville, Orlando City, Portland, Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC.

This week, MLS commissioner Don Garber told Nashville SC television that the league’s thinking regarding how to return to the field this year has evolved in the last month, making him more hopeful that the league will come up with a way for the 2020 season to be played.

“We’re more optimistic about what a return to play plan could look like,” Garber said. “I think a month ago we were very pessimistic. I think our country has done a pretty good job of flattening the curve, which is what the objective was. We need to be mindful of and focused on continuing to follow local guidelines because flattening the curve requires us all to be very focused and committed to all the guidelines local health authorities set out. So I would say we’re cautiously optimistic.”

MLS suspended the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12, closing all team facilities. A league-wide moratorium on team training remains in effect May 15 and it’s unclear when the season might resume. TFC played two regular season games before the 2020 season was suspended, opening the schedule with a 2-2 draw at San Jose on Feb. 29 and defeating New York City FC 1-0 in their home opener last Saturday at BMO Field.

A number of the world’s top soccer leagues are getting ready to return to action as various lock downs are being eased. The Bundesliga will return on May 16 and the German Football Association (DFL) hope to complete the season by June 30.

SBuffery@postmedia.com

Twitter @Beezersun

Report: NBA Personnel with Temperatures of 99.1 or Higher Can’t Enter Facilities — Darnell’s Notebook

The NBA is taking a number of precautions as teams gradually shift toward allowing personnel in practice facilities, and one of those precautions will reportedly involve keeping those with high temperatures out of the buildings… from Bleacher Report – NBA https://ift.tt/3cjlkKQ via IFTTT

Report: NBA Personnel with Temperatures of 99.1 or Higher Can’t Enter Facilities — Darnell’s Notebook

The NBA is taking a number of precautions as teams gradually shift toward allowing personnel in practice facilities, and one of those precautions will reportedly involve keeping those with high temperatures out of the buildings.  

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the league told its teams that anyone with a temperature equal to or greater than 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit will not be allowed inside on that day. 

That comes after Charania noted Wednesday the NBA told teams they can open their practice facilities starting Friday if they are in states with more lenient stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

The temperature readings are far from the only restrictions in place.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted teams can choose up to six assistant coaches or player development personnel to supervise players on the court, but head coaches are not allowed to be included or observe the workouts.

According to Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina of USA Today, only the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets plan on opening their facilities Friday, although the Sacramento Kings will do so Monday and the Atlanta Hawks will do so at some point next week.

The Houston Rockets were going to open Friday but will have to wait until May 18 after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pushed back the day on which gyms can once again open their doors.

Zillgitt and Medina noted a previous memo from the league stated no more than four players can be inside the practice facility at once. That means there will be largely individual work done as scrimmages and other group activities cannot happen for the time being.

The NBA has been suspended since March 11 with no set plans in place to return or finish the 2019-20 season. 

Despite that reality, Wojnarowski reported “an overwhelming majority of high-level officials remain encouraged and optimistic that basketball will return this season” last Thursday.