Galaxy fan favorite Juninho closed the book on his professional career Tuesday, announcing his retirement. Juninho, 31, helped the club to a pair of MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010-11) and three MLS Cups (2011-12, 2014). He was also a three-time MLS All-Star. His 189 appearances are second most by any Galaxy midfielder, just behind Mauricio Cienfuegos…Galaxy fan favorite Juninho retires at 31 — Daily News
Having run his troops through mostly individual workouts the past week at Florida Gulf Coast University, Nick Nurse says he is pleasantly surprised by both their approach and their conditioning. The Raptors head coach admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect from his team after a near four-month layoff. “I think I would say I […]Raptors settling in nicely with Orlando NBA return around corner — Toronto Sun
Raptors settling in nicely with Orlando NBA return around corner
Published:June 30, 2020
Updated:June 30, 2020 2:57 PM EDT
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Having run his troops through mostly individual workouts the past week at Florida Gulf Coast University, Nick Nurse says he is pleasantly surprised by both their approach and their conditioning.
The Raptors head coach admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect from his team after a near four-month layoff.
“I think I would say I kind of came in here open-minded,” Nurse told reporters on a conference call from the team hotel in Naples, Florida where the team convened and will remain until the NBA campus opens in Walt Disney World just over a week from now.
“I didn’t know if we were going to be not really in the right frame of mind or whatever and whatever it was I was going to kind of deal with it, but I would say I am pleasantly surprised with the frame of mind, I am pleasantly surprised with the conditioning and I just think you have a bunch of guys who have a high care factor,” Nurse said. “They love to play, they are guys that are concerned about getting better individually, about their own careers, and it just seems like they are doing a really professional job. I just think there is a strong love of the game there for a lot of these guys.”
And in a season that was going along rather nicely for the Raptors before the world was stopped in its tracks by the Coronavirus pandemic, that should bode well for the team going forward.
In fact Nurse sounded very much like a guy still waiting to see the best from his team, and for obvious reasons.
“We went into this last season obviously missing a couple of really key pieces to our team (Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green), so you were kind of selling an opportunity to a few guys, there’s some opportunities for some growth and even usage and chances and stuff like that, but you’re not sure how that’s going to turn out,” Nurse said. “Could this guy go to there and this guy go to there? Fortunately Pascal (Siakam) took a jump, Fred (VanVleet), Norm (Powell), Serge (Ibaka) is playing amazing, OG (Anunoby) has been fabulous, so that opportunity there in the middle, the 3-4 spot, there’s a lot of guys that have taken it. I expect to kind of come back into this and see what we are going to look like coming back here but we have a little cheat sheet to know there is a place we’ve been with this group. So I think if it isn’t all holding hands and skipping rope at the beginning we just have to stick with it and see if we can get back to that level. I think there’s another level this group can go.”
Health will certainly be a factor and that’s before anyone even begins to consider the possibility of the Coronavirus overcoming all the precautionary steps the league has taken inside the Disney bubble.
For starters the Raptors were on pace for 60 wins this season pre-pandemic and that was with just about every regular missing a month or more save for Anunoby.
The near four month break has brought everyone back fully healthy, including Marc Gasol, who looks like he went back to Spain and lived in his gym eating nothing but the healthiest of foods.
Powell confirmed on Tuesday during his call that Gasol, in fact, is the envy of all his teammates these days.
“He looks great, man, he’s moving great. He’s feeling great, in talking to him,” Powell said. “I’m supposed to be playing tennis with him either tomorrow or the next day, so hopefully I’ll still be able to give him a run for his money.”
Now granted these are still early days in the re-start. The Raptors haven’t had and won’t have a full team workout until they get to Disney but all indications point to the defending champs having weathered this pandemic rather well and sit in a nice position to make a real run at repeating.
It’s only been a week but Nurse doesn’t sense or feel any angst within the team that could be at the beginning of a four and a half month road trip, albeit one minus any real travel.
“The days go by pretty quickly,” Nurse said of his initial assessment of this elongated road trip. “We’re trying to mix in some days off. We’re trying to mix in a lot of different activities, as much as we can do under the conditions. We had a barbecue the other day. It was kind of nice. It takes an evening. It was good. There’s ping-pong. There’s pool. There are a few other things we’re trying to mix in, too. I don’t really sense much anxiety or people worrying about, ‘Man, this is going to be a long time. The language has been positive.”
It all has to sound almost too good to the Raptors fan at home anxiously awaiting that first game on Aug. 1. But then who among us doesn’t deserve a little good news given how these past four months have unfolded?
Frederik Andersen wants to be back in his crease this summer. Read MoreLeafs’ Andersen seeks more info, but says “I want to play” this summer — Toronto Sun
Leafs’ Andersen seeks more info, but says “I want to play” this summer
Published:June 30, 2020
Updated:June 30, 2020 4:51 PM EDT
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Frederik Andersen wants to be back in his crease this summer.
The Maple Leafs goaltender would love nothing more than to try to help Toronto eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets in the qualifying round of Phase 4 of the National Hockey League’s Return to Play plan.
Before that potentially happens, however, Andersen is willing to wait.
“I don’t think we have enough information yet,” Andersen said on Tuesday during a Zoom call with media, referring to which way he might vote on a return to play given the health issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that must be taken into account.
“The PA (NHL Players’ Association) and the league are still ironing that out and then we will see. It seems like it’s the 11th hour here, so hopefully things will progress in the next week or so because the July 10th goal (to open training camp) is coming up soon. I’ll make that decision once I get more info.
“The whole thing in general has to make sense. Safety is very important and probably the most important.
“I want to play. I don’t want to just sit and waste a summer and a season.”
The NHL announced on Monday that 26 players in total have tested positive for COVID-19 since June 8, including 15 who have reported to training facilities for optional workouts as part of Phase 2.
Andersen, who has been back in Toronto “for quite a bit now,” was asked what gives him confidence that it will be safe for the NHL to return to play games this summer.
“I’m not quite 100% confident yet,” Andersen said. “The league is very adamant in working toward that.
“I think once we get to the hub cities, everyone will have to be confident and the league will have a good setup. It’s a matter of getting there first.”
The announcement of the NHL’s two hub cities is expected relatively soon. Las Vegas, Toronto, Edmonton, Chicago and Los Angeles were the last cities to be in the running.
“If it is a bubble and it’s done the right way, I don’t think it really should matter (which cities are chosen),” Andersen said. “It could be anywhere. Whatever is the best setup, once we figure that out, I hope we should be good to go.”
And if the Leafs play in Toronto? Andersen doesn’t see that as an advantage.
“Once everyone is there, I think people will be familiar with the hotel, the rink, all that stuff,” Andersen said. “There won’t be fans, obviously, so I think all that stuff will be a pretty even playing field for everyone.”
Andersen had been staying with Leafs centre Auston Matthews initially during the NHL pause at Matthews’ home in Scottsdale, Ariz., but said he was in California working out with his personal trainer when the state of Arizona recently saw a spike in coronavirus cases. Andersen wouldn’t comment on Matthews’ positive COVID-19 test result, reported by the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons on June 19.
“Regarding everyone else and other people’s medical, I don’t want to comment on that,” Andersen said. “I don’t think it’s the right thing for me to do that.”
Andersen has been taking part in on-ice sessions at the Ford Performance Centre in the voluntary workouts, but otherwise must quarantine in his downtown condo until his two-week period is done. It will conclude before July 10, Andersen said.
“The Leafs have done an amazing job of cleaning the facility out there and I think they have done a really good job of setting us up for a safe environment,” Andersen said.
“I feel like I have been able to keep my good shape and work on things I could off the ice, but the on-ice timing is going to be key.”
And then, if the NHL has been able to properly move to Phase 4, a Leafs date with the Blue Jackets.
“They’re a deep team, a team we have to be ready for,” Andersen said. “It will be a tough task, but something we have to work on and getting confident we can win.”
Three New Orleans Pelicans players have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Pelicans Executive Vice President David Griffin.3 New Orleans Pelicans players test positive for COVID-19 — KLFY
The Ontario government says the necessity of frequent travel between the U.S. and Canada is the complicating factor holding up approval for Major League Baseball to play in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading →Travel complicating MLB Toronto approval — Global News
Kemp was left off the Marlins’ 60-man roster but Ian Desmond’s 2020 opt-out opened a job in DenverRockies sign Matt Kemp to a minor league deal — HardballTalk | NBC Sports
The Colorado Rockies have signed OF/DH Matt Kemp to a minor league contract.
The move to sign Kemp was likely motivated, at least in part, by Ian Desmond opting out of playing this season. Kemp, in turn, became a free agent after the Marlins decided against including him in their 60-man player pool. Which reminds me that the Marlins had signed him to begin with. My God, have I forgotten about every offseason transaction. He signed that deal in December, which may as well have been a million years ago. Guess we’ve all been distracted.
Kemp, 35, batted just .200/.210/.283 with one home run in 62 plate appearances with the Reds last season and missed time with a broken rib after signing a minor league deal with the Mets. He’d likely have no job at all if not for the DH being adopted for the NL this season, but now he gets another, possibly last chance to continue his big league career.
And masks for umps will be optionalUmpires’ assignments will change due to pandemic baseball — HardballTalk | NBC Sports
We’ve spent an awful lot of time talking about how the players will deal with pandemic baseball, but the umpires are affected too. They travel more than the players do, after all. They don’t have a home park. They, also, (a) get people up in their face during arguments; and (b) have to yell and project their voices, which is itself a risky thing to do in the time of COVID-19.
Last night Jesse Rogers of ESPN reported on some of the changes in routine the umps will have to deal with in 2020. Starting with spring training, where groups of three umps each will be embedded with big league camps, will watch bullpen sessions and batting practice and stuff as a means of easing themselves back into game shape, just like the players are.
During the season things will change a good deal too. In normal times umps travel to a new city after every series and are rotated across the league so they are not seeing one team more than others, which could create creeping, unconscious biases or grudges in one direction or another. Now, to limit travel, an umpire crew may stay in a certain city across an entire homestand, for example. And in two-team cities they may just go across town to the other park as opposed to getting on a plane and heading to Cleveland or wherever.
Masks are an issue too. Rogers reports that they will be encouraged for umps but not required. Which seems to be heat/weather driven. The MLB/MLBPA guidelines have already specified that arguments between players and umps should be minimized or eliminated, but human nature may overtake that at times putting players and umps face-to-face in argument. Even if they avoid that, though, I’m wondering how much spit flies from a mask-free ump standing behind a catcher and a batter in the normal course of a game. When you’re bellowing out “strike!” and “out!” scores of times a game, you have to imagine it’s a non-trivial amount.
Just another complicating factor in what will already be a complicated season.
All Headlines 13:33 June 30, 2020
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) — When fans return to baseball stadiums sometime in July, they will be asked to sit apart from one another to maintain a safe distance. And they’ll not be allowed to bring in any outside food.
This will be part of a new normal in fan experience in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) during the coronavirus pandemic.
The KBO released a new health and safety manual for fans Tuesday, as it prepares to swing open gates to baseball enthusiasts.
A Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears takes place without fans at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on June 28, 2020. (Yonhap)hide captionpreviousnext1 of 2
The 2020 season opened on May 5 without fans in the stands amid the pandemic, and the league’s 10 clubs have been struggling financially without zero gate revenue. In a welcome relief, the government announced Sunday that sports stadiums would reopen on a limited basis, as long as teams adhere to stringent quarantine measures.
To that end, the KBO put out the manual to ensure safe environments across the league’s nine stadiums.
Fans must wear masks and keep them on during the course of the game. When they stand in a line at the entrance, bathrooms or concession stands, they must maintain a safe distance from others. Teams will put stickers, set 1 meter apart, on their stadium floors to indicate where fans should stand.
Fans must go through temperature checks at the gate, and those who check in at over 37.5 C will be turned away.
Once inside the stands, they must also sit at least one seat from each other, even when they have company.
Though cheering is a major part of KBO fan experience, it will be missing during the pandemic. The KBO manual says singalongs, chanting and other types of cheering that may include contact will be limited.
Tickets can only be purchased in advance online with credit cards, so that health authorities will be able to trace contact information in case of positive COVID-19 tests. Box offices at stadiums will be closed to minimize person-to-person contact.
The KBO said fans will be strongly discouraged from buying tickets from scalpers because it is illegal, and it poses infection risks through direct contact or droplets.
Concession stands will be open on a limited bases but eating from the seats and bringing food from outside will be prohibited. Fans will have to consume their food in the concession areas.
While in their seats, fans will only be allowed to drink water and non-alcoholic beverages.
Teams will only sell tickets to reserve seats at first, and other ballpark amenities, such as children’s playgrounds, will be closed to prevent a crowd from gathering. Smoking rooms will remain shuttered.
Fans will be discouraged from bringing in preschool children due to safety concerns, and those who come in with young children will be asked to take extra care.
“There will be some inconvenience for our fans following these restrictions during the pandemic,” the KBO said. “However, in order to prevent COVID-19 infections and to ensure a safe viewing experience, we’ll need our fans to follow these rules.”
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Fred VanVleet has been back to work for just over a week and he can sum up the experience in one word. Read MoreVanVleet and Raptors prepare for the long Florida grind — Toronto Sun
Fred VanVleet has been back to work for just over a week and he can sum up the experience in one word.
“Different,” VanVleet said. “I think that is the word I will keep using. It’s just different from the norm, from what we are used to.”
VanVleet was one of the first Raptors to arrive in Florida for a two week stay in Fort Myers before the Raptors head north to Orlando to enter the NBA campus. If all goes well there, that could amount to another 100 days stay.
For now the Raptors have taken over a hotel they were fortunate enough to find that had been closed and was just re-opening. It means they have the entire compound to themselves which is really the only way anyone would want it in the state of Florida right now.
The Coronavirus remains rampant in the sunny state but it’s also home to Disney where the NBA believes it can do the best job of keeping their players and staffs and employees safest within the campus or bubble inside Walt Disney World.
Obviously there are no guarantees how safe anyone will be and each player had to make his own decision.
For VanVleet it was a matter of deciding to trust both the league and his organization that he would be protected. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t still concerned.
“Pretty concerned,” he said following his daily morning workout. “It sounded good a month or two ago, not so much right before we got ready to leave. I think for the most part I just put the trust in the organization and understand that I don’t think they would put us in extreme risk, trust the NBA. That’s where my trust lies right now. Hopefully they prove me right and not wrong … I’m trying to be optimistic about it. It’s not the most ideal situation but it’s kind of the times we are in. It hasn’t been an ideal for anyone.”
VanVleet fully understands those players that have opted out of the opportunity to resume play this summer. Some have done so for health concerns. Others over the concern that the fight against racial injustice needs their attention now. VanVleet sees that battle as a long term one and one he is fighting even now as he awaits the opening of the NBA campus at Disney in the south of Florida.
“I definitely respect guys that took the stand to sit out for whatever reason,” VanVleet said. “But my choice was to come play. I’m not right and they’re not wrong. It’s just a personal choice for everybody.”
VanVleet is very up front about his reasons for playing. He did not make this decision lightly.
“It sucks,” he said of having to choose between focussing on the racial injustice issue and his career. “It’s terrible timing. But that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense. But life goes on. We’re all young, black guys. None of us want to give any money back. I don’t think that we should. I think that money can be used in a number of different ways. This is not going to end this summer regardless, or over the next couple of months. This issue, racial injustice, social injustice, police brutality, all these things are not ending anytime soon. Our fight was long term. That was part of my decision. But if the league, or more of my guys would have come together and said we didn’t want to play, I would have sat out as well. I wouldn’t have even fought it. I think most of us decided to play. It’s something we’ll have to live with. I trust that my heart’s in the right place and I’m doing enough to make change.”
His days right now are pretty regimented. Up early for an early morning workout but not before his COVID test and all his vitals are tested. Then the workout and then back to the hotel to eat, take a nap and get treatment. After that the rest of the day is his to do as he pleases. Video games, FaceTime calls with his family or whatever he chooses as long as he stays in the hotel. Freedom is non-existent he half jokes.
Whatever freedom he does have right now will likely be further curtailed when he enters the NBA campus on July 9t but he anticipates that and is fine with it.
“If you want to find a million different little things to be wrong, they will be there for you,” VanVleet said. “And if you want to get through it I think you will be able to get through it. My first thought was ‘What are we going to do for food?’ If they are trying to keep us all enclosed for that long, the food options will become scarce pretty quick or bland after a while of eating the same thing over and over again. But we’ll see. I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of still unanswered questions that a lot of guys have had so we’re just going to have to show up and see.
“My hope is once we start playing we just get back into the flow of what we are used to and you will play and eat and sleep and hang out and then play again and before you know it, it will be over.”
The Raptors head will head into the bubble the No. 2 seed in the East and facing the toughest eight-game seeding schedule of any team in Orlando. VanVleet, nevertheless, likes his team’s chances.
“Everybody I’ve talked to since I’ve been here is just looking forward to getting to Orlando and start practising and gearing up and trying to win another one,” he said. “I think we have a really, really good chance and we’re going to be a tough team to beat four times, for anybody.”
The Raptors re-open the season Aug. 1 against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
MISSING HIS FAMILY
Fred VanVleet has been away from his kids for less than a week and already he misses them.
The plan right now within the VanVleet family is to have the rest of the fam join dad in Orlando for the second round of the playoffs, the first possible time family members can join the NBA players inside the campus at Disney.
But that decision will be based on what VanVleet experiences over that first month and a half before the NBA opens the campus to family members.
“I will re-evaluate once I’ve been in Orlando for a little while. It it’s something that suits us, then we will do it. If not, then we won’t. But I like having my family around for sure,” he said.0 CommentsShare your thoughtsNBA
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The Nets have a bit of a situation on their hands. Brooklyn stars Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan announced Monday they’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Dinwiddie reported experiencing symptoms, “including fever and chest tightness,” according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Jordan has since opted out of the NBA’s resumed season, and Dinwiddie appears to be considering the…Nets Stars Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan Test Positive For COVID-19 — NESN.com
The Nets have a bit of a situation on their hands.
Brooklyn stars Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan announced Monday they’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Dinwiddie reported experiencing symptoms, “including fever and chest tightness,” according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Jordan has since opted out of the NBA’s resumed season, and Dinwiddie appears to be considering the option as well.
“Found out last night and confirmed again today that I’ve tested positive for Covid while being back in market,” Jordan tweeted Monday night. “As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season.”
Found out last night and confirmed again today that I’ve tested positive for Covid while being back in market. As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season. — DeAndre Jordan (@DeAndre) June 30, 2020
“I was ready and prepared to rejoin my teammates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season,” Dinwiddie said. “I flew private to return to New York, passed multiple COVID-19 tests over my first several days in New York and was able to participate in a couple practices within the first week. “Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive. Given that I have experienced symptoms … it is unclear on whether or not I’ll be able to participate in Orlando.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets plan to sign someone in place of Jordan. Dinwiddie’s situation remains unclear. The Nets currently are seventh in the Eastern Conference. More NBA: Rudy Gobert Hasn’t Fully Regained Se
A longtime LeBron James teammate is expected to join the Lakers for the NBA’s restart in Orlando next month. According to an ESPN report, the Lakers are finalizing a deal for J.R. Smith, the 34-year-old free-wheeling guard who has not played an NBA game since November of 2018. NBA teams have until July 1 to…Lakers expected to sign veteran guard J.R. Smith for NBA’s restart, per report — Press Telegram
Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake is the first player to elect to sit out the 2020 season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.Report: D-Backs’ Mike Leake to opt out of 2020 season — HardballTalk | NBC Sports
MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert is reporting that Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake will opt out of the 2020 season. He is, at the present moment, the only MLB player to have opted out of the season, but it is highly unlikely he will be the only one.
Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Leake’s agent Dan Horwits said, “During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season. They took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family. After thorough consideration, he has chosen to opt out of playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of luck and health for his Diamondback teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.”
Leake, 32, is in the final guaranteed year of his contract. Both sides can agree on a mutual option worth $18 million for the 2021 season, otherwise Leake will be bought out for $5 million. In 2019, between the Mariners and D-Backs, the right-hander posted a 4.29 ERA with 127 strikeouts and 27 walks across 197 innings of work.
On Friday, Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman wrote for the Associated Press that he was “still deciding whether to play” this season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Unless the player opting out is considered “high risk,” he will forfeit both pay and service time in doing so.
Last year, Nationals reliever Daniel Hudson received criticism when he left his team during the NLCS for the birth of his child. There will, no doubt, be critics of players who choose to sit out the season because of COVID-19. It will be completely undeserved, just as Hudson’s criticism was undeserved. Players should receive full support from their teams, from their peers, from the media, and from fans for sitting out the season for any reason.