Blue Jays close to receiving approval to play in Toronto, Ontario’s premier says

Major League Baseball is close to winning approval to play in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic, the premier of Ontario said Monday.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said city, provincial and federal authorities “kind of gave their approval,” but the Toronto Blue Jays are waiting for a letter of support from the federal government.

He also said Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer, requires a few tweaks to MLB’s submitted plan to play, which health authorities have been nfl jerseys for cheap

Ford said he has been in conversation with Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro all weekend.4

He said the Blue Jays will arrive July 1 for nike nfl jerseys china

MLB requires an exemption, as anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days, and the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel until at least July 21.

A senior Canadian government official said last week that if MLB submitted an acceptable restart plan to the government, an exemption letter similar to the one provided to the National Hockey League could be provided. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

MLB announced last week that it will have a 60-game regular season that will start July 23 or 24 in ballparks without fans.

There has been talk the Blue Jays could play at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but several players and staff members of the Blue Jays tested positive for the coronavirus and the facility was shuttered.

The rise in cases of the virus in Florida upended plans of many clubs to resume training at their spring facilities. Most teams intend to work out in their regular-season ballparks.

Federal and local health authorities in Canada have approved a plan for the NHL to play in either Toronto or Edmonton, Alberta, but the plan does not involve travel back and forth between the U.S. and Canada. That decision last week comes as the NHL enters the advanced stages of selecting its hub cities — most likely two — from an original list of seven in the U.S. and three in Canada. Vancouver, British Columbia has been dropped from consideration.

The Timberwolves’ cool new uniforms, featuring Prince

When Tyus Jones first heard that the Minnesota Timberwolves were designing an alternate jersey in honor of Prince, he knew how important it was that the team and Nike get it nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Jones is 22, too young for Prince’s heyday, but he grew up about half an hour from Minneapolis — Prince’s hometown — and understands the musical superstar’s connection to the region and its basketball teams.

“Being from here, you know,” Jones says. “He’s obviously an icon, but he’s even more of an icon and a legend here.”

Prince and other local music legends, including Jimmy Jam, Prince’s longtime friend and occasional touring partner, often sat courtside during the early years of the Timberwolves and the high points of the Kevin Garnett era. As the franchise receded into lottery contention, Prince the fan receded into the background. He rarely attended games. When he did, he preferred to do so in such a private fashion, most fans would not even know he was there, says Ted Johnson, the team’s chief strategy officer.

When Prince’s camp sent word he might attend a game, several staffers would drop everything to plan for his appearance. There were many false alarms. I was in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2015, when Prince’s people alerted the Wolves he might come that night to their game against the Warriors. A thrilled panic ensued. Staffers arranged private entrance and exit pathways for Prince, and a method of whisking him into a suite without attracting attention.2

He didn’t show. But Prince was always watching Minnesota hoops. He played basketball in junior high and high school, and in pickup games both on tour and at his home in Paisley Park — as memorialized in perhaps the most famous “Chappelle’s Show” skit ever. When the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx won the 2015 championship, Prince invited the team to Paisley Park for a private three-hour concert.

When Prince died in April 2016, Nike pitched the Wolves an alternate “city edition” jersey for the 2017-18 season that would honor him. The Wolves concluded it was too soon. They were already finalizing their 2017-18 jerseys, which would kick off a full-on rebrand — new jerseys, new logo, new court, tweaked color nike jersey cheap

But they decided then to prioritize a Prince jersey for this season. They set aside some of Nike’s other proposed Minnesota-centric motifs: jerseys paying homage to Bob Dylan, the Mississippi River (which runs through Minneapolis), and the original Minneapolis Lakers, Johnson says. (You might see some of those ideas down the road.)

In the spring of 2017, Cyrus Coleman, a product designer for Nike’s basketball division, pitched the Wolves a mockup that looked very much like the final Prince jersey the team will unveil later today:

Kyle Schwarber could be Cubs’ X factor this postseason

Talk about giving your manager something to think about for October: Chicago Cubs lefty slugger Kyle Schwarber hit his first home run off a left-hander this season on Sunday, after hitting 25 against righties in 409 previous at-bats.

Schwarber wasn’t supposed to play Sunday, but Kris Bryant got the day off due to a fatigued shoulder, allowing Schwarber to mash against White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon. Coming into the game, Schwarber was hitting .208 against lefties with just two extra-base hits. By the third inning, he had doubled that season total, as he followed his second-inning 444-foot shot with a double off Rodon, helping the Cubs to a 6-1 nike jerseys cheap china

“It’s not a big deal,” Schwarber said after the game. “I’ll take a homer and a double if it’s off a side-arm right-hander or switch-handed pitcher.”11

Having said that, there’s little doubt that Schwarber wants to play against all types come next month. He has been mostly a platoon player in his career, though he hit everyone during the playoff run in 2015 as well as in his famous World Series appearance in 2016. Since then, it has been a long road back to stardom.

Schwarber had an awful 2017 campaign, eventually finding his way to the minors, but after committing himself to losing weight and becoming more agile, he has returned with a vengeance. However, it has been an under-the-radar season for him in a lot of ways. He can blame a teammate for that.

“Javy [Baez] doing what he does has taken a lot of the attention away,” said Kyle Hendricks, Sunday’s winning pitcher. “But that’s a good thing. It helps a lot of us around here. A lot of guys feast on being under the radar. I think Schwarbs is one of those guys.”

After Sunday, even die-hard Cubs fans would probably be surprised to learn that Schwarber moved ahead of Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist for second on the team in OPS. He now ranks 17th (.845) in the National League, behind only Baez on the Cubs.

“Last year was a little different, but he put in the work this offseason,” Bryant said. “Got his body right, his mind right. It’s nice to see someone turn it around and feel good about that. I’m super happy for him.”

Hendricks agreed. “He’s had a helluva year, especially bouncing back from what he’s gone through,” he nfl nike jerseys from china

Could Schwarber start to get noticed come October? After all, he is already a fall folk hero in Chicago due to a whopping 1.031 postseason OPS. If that continues after the Cubs (likely) clinch the NL Central this week, Schwarber no longer will be in Baez’s shadow.

Manu Ginobili says farewell, shuts door on Spurs’ Big Three era

In typical lighthearted fashion, Ginobili addressed San Antonio media for the first time Saturday since announcing his retirement Aug. 27 on Twitter and explained the terror he felt in actually typing out his decision to close the book on a storybook professional career.

“After the announcement, I didn’t have the chance to see you guys, to talk to you,” Ginobili said. “I didn’t want to announce it with this type of environment and with all the things that were going on in my head. Even though I am very sure about the decision, it’s still awkward. It’s still tough. You are convinced. You’ve talked to your wife, and you know what you’ve got to do. But my fingers shook a lot before hitting that enter [button].nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“I’m telling you, it wasn’t an easy decision in the sense that after so many years, 23 seasons of doing this, it was kind of hard to put the last nail in that coffin. It was an intense situation that was a little bit sensitive. So I wanted to wait a couple weeks before facing you and responding to your questions.”

Ginobili competed in a total of 23 professional basketball seasons, winning four NBA titles, an Olympic gold medal for Argentina and a EuroLeague MVP award.2

He turned 41 on July 28 and explained taking careful consideration in arriving at his decision, despite playing last season believing that it would likely be his last. Before heading off on vacation with his wife, Marianela, and their three sons in Canada and the Pacific Northwest over the summer, Ginobili told Popovich that he was more likely to retire than to continue playing.

Once Ginobili returned to San Antonio, he headed back to the team facilities for workouts, which would ultimately cement his decision.

“I took last season mentally as my last season,” Ginobili said. “So every place I went, every situation, I kind of knew it was going to be the last one. But I left the door open, just in case. Slowly, the door started to close more. I couldn’t see my body going through that kind of grind again. I felt that I had a good season, that I left everything I had in that previous season both physically and nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“When I came back here and I came to work out a little bit, to lift, bike or whatever, I saw Bryn [Forbes], I saw Dejounte [Murray], I saw some of the guys working out and preparing for the season. And I was so far from that. That’s when I said, ‘For sure, this is it.’ There was a little bit of that door opened, but it closed pretty quick. I couldn’t see me getting ready for another 82-game season, 65 in my case.”

Leroy Sane’s Man City benching a warning to teammates – Gabriel Jesus

Leroy Sane’s omission from the squad for Manchester City’s victory over Newcastle United on Saturday is a warning to the rest of the players, according to Gabriel Jesus.

Sane, the PFA Young Player of the Year last season, has not started any of City’s four matches and was not on the bench for the 2-1 victory at the Etihad nfl jerseys china nike

Pep Guardiola said it was a tactical decision despite reports that the manager has been unhappy with Sane’s attitude in training, but Guardiola is determined that his players maintain the desire that took them to a record-setting title victory last season — and Jesus said every player knows their place is under threat.2

“It’s normal with this amazing squad,” Jesus said. “Today it was Sane, but in the future, it’s going to be me or other players, too. I’m going to work hard to avoid that from happening to me, though.

“We all know the quality Sane has and his importance in the club. But it’s the beginning of the season. It’s normal that some players have started stronger or are more fit than others. I just hope when he comes back to the team, he’s at 100 percent and he’s able to help us as he’s always done.”

Sane will join up with Germany this week after being recalled following his omission from the World Cup nfl jerseys cheap china

Jesus, 21, will have some time off after being left out of Brazil’s squad for their international friendlies with El Salvador and the United Sates after he failed to score in the World Cup.

“Those things happen,” he said. “The last few years I have always been called. This time, I’m not. It’s normal. I understand.

“They rang me, they explained it to me and I understood. I hope the national team keeps growing and keeps winning the games. I’m always going to support them no matter if I’m in or out of the squad.”

Antonio Gates, others help Devin Funchess leave his past behind

Devin Funchess put himself on a monthly allowance of $8,000 in 2015 when the Carolina Panthers signed him to a four-year, $5.5 million contract as a second-round pick out of Michigan.

If you’re doing the math, that’s $96,000 a year and $384,000 over the course of the deal, meaning the 24-year-old wide receiver has put a large sum of money aside for the future.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

If you’re wondering why he would save so much in a world where football players sometimes spend more than $96,000 on a new car and in general spend like they’re going to play forever, let Funchess explain.

“Have you ever been poor? Have you ever been through rough times? Financially unstable, had to move here and there?” Funchess said almost defiantly as he prepared for Tuesday’s start to the Panthers’ three-day mandatory minicamp. “You don’t want to go back to none of that bull crap, right?37

“This is why I do that. Once you’re in a bad situation, you don’t want to get in a bad situation [again]. That’s why I put myself on an allowance. It’s common sense.”

Funchess found himself in many bad situations growing up in what he calls the “hood” in Detroit. He was evicted three times and remembers when he was fortunate to have a meal of Spam and Vienna sausages. His mother had a gambling problem that created financial difficulty, and he’s had more than his fair share of people around him die, something he won’t elaborate on.

Funchess also was fortunate to have good influences, starting with a grandfather who practically raised him and continuing with his cousin Antonio nfl authentic jerseys

In preparation for that future deal, Funchess has spent most of the offseason in Miami rehabbing a shoulder injury that slowed him during the second half of the 2017 season, instead of splitting time between Detroit and Miami as he normally does.

He also talked to Gates, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, who at 37 is considering a 16th season.

“I look at him,” Funchess said of Gates. “I pay attention to everything he does. I’m a quiet guy, and I made sure every time I watched him I see what he does. He’s the greatest tight end to ever play this game, and that’s what I strive for at the wide receiver position.”

Olney: My new MLB rule — four pitchers per nine innings, max

Over the past 18 months, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been all but begging major league players for ideas and input on ways to make the product better. He seems ready to discuss even radical ideas, whether it’s some restrictions on defensive shifts, a pitch clock or maybe — eventually — an electronic strike zone.

Here’s a fundamental change that would improve the game on many levels: Limit managers to the use of four pitchers per nine innings, with exceptions built in for injuries and nfl jerseys from china

Major league baseball desperately needs to get off the growing front-office addiction to relief pitchers, which is helping to destroy important components of the game.

Among those: the essential pre-eminence of starting pitchers, who need to be marquee-worthy not only for the teams and their marketing departments but also for the players’ union; the scoring of runs by means other than a home run; and batters making contact and putting the ball in play.20

None of this is meant to challenge the analytical wisdom behind the parade of relievers overrunning the sport. It’s been demonstrated beyond any doubt that there are statistical advantages in the growing number of reliever/batter matchups and in the strategy of yanking the starting pitcher before he’s exposed to the opposing lineup a third time. Smart people are making smart decisions to create effective seven- and eight-man bullpens.

But this trend is affecting the game in ways that will never attract the young fans baseball wants and could also alienate longtime nfl jerseys for cheap

Few starting pitchers concern themselves with getting through five or six innings these days. Rather, they’re increasingly trained to throw as hard as they can, and when their work is finished, they’re followed by relay teams of relievers who also throw really, really hard. The number of pitches of 96-plus mph has more than tripled in a span of just four years, and quite frankly, a lot of hitters — especially older hitters — are getting crushed.

Cousins connection: Vikings building chemistry with new QB

Quarterback Kirk Cousins’ relationship with his Minnesota Vikings playmakers and how quickly they get on the same page while learning a new offense is being looked at under a microscope this offseason. Three months from the start of the 2018 season, people want to know how up to speed Cousins is with the talent around him and vice versa. Maybe someday he, too, will trust a teammate enough for a Minneapolis Miracle-type moment — much like the trust former quarterback Case Keenum spoke about having with Stefon nfl jerseys from china

We often hear stories about QBs buying dinner and gifts for the offensive linemen who keep them protected and upright in games. The relationships between a quarterback and those he’ll be throwing to or handing the ball off to is equally important.

These connections don’t just happen. It takes months — sometimes even longer — for both sides to get to a level where things feel seamless.2

Cousins took it upon himself to jump-start that process in early April. He invited Diggs and Adam Thielen down to Atlanta for an informal throwing session before he was able to work with them in an official capacity. It was a chance for the Vikings’ top wideouts to learn what Cousins likes to do on the field, how he wants certain routes run and, most important, who their quarterback is underneath the helmet.

“He’s definitely a blessing to be around as far as the energy that he brings,” Diggs said. “As far as being our general and the guy that’s going to lead us, I put 100 percent faith in him and I trust him.”

Cousins didn’t wait long to break out the energy. He was fist-pumping and yelling during organized team activities as things started to click with his receivers.

“The big thing for him is when you emphasize something and you finally get it done and you finally get on the same page with the quarterback-receiver, it’s kind of exciting,” Thielen jerseys cheap china

But even with OTAs wrapping up and mandatory minicamp next week, it’s difficult to quantify those connections.

“It’s hard to figure that out if it’s paying off or not,” Thielen said. “I know that it doesn’t hurt. I think something like that is just a jump-start to a long journey of getting on the same page. I think people underestimate how much time, how much effort and how much repetition it takes to get on the same page with a quarterback.”

Sergio Ramos is Real Madrid’s ultimate big-game player in Europe

I’m not being cheeky or doubting you, but you do know Sergio Ramos’ red-card record, don’t you? The infamous story about Real Madrid’s captain and how many times he gets sent off, yes?

No. Wait! Not the one about how another expulsion would land him squarely on a quarter-century of orderings-off for Los Blancos. That’s an entirely different side to Madrid’s belligerent captain. I mean, instead, the one where this combative, all-or-nothing, hell-for-leather centre-half/hero/hooligan has actually scored twice as many goals in European club semifinals and finals as he has seen red cards in his entire UEFA career?cheap nfl authentic jerseys

That’s right. This bull of a man, who some people probably believe has a hyphenated surname (Sergio Ramos-SentOff) has only been red-carded three times in over 120 UEFA matches for Sevilla and Real Madrid. It’s almost angelic and sits in truly stark comparison to his all-time record for Los Blancos, which shows that nobody in the history of top-level Spanish club football has been sent off more often.

Twenty-four dismissals (and counting) is his slightly embarrassing “landmark.” But the massive disparity between Ramos the “restrained European” and Ramos “Spain is my fiefdom and I’ll act exactly as I wish” is still greater once you examine more closely.277

Of his three Champions League red cards, one was simply for following Jose Mourinho’s streetwise instructions. Ramos and Xabi Alonso deliberately got themselves sent off for time-wasting second bookings in the final moments of a win against Ajax in 2010, so that they’d have a lesser chance of suspension in the knockout rounds. Subtract that ordering off, which admittedly caused one heck of a row at the time, and Ramos actually has three times more goals in UEFA semis and finals than he has European red cards.

These are remarkable stats in so many ways. The most obvious, of course, is that Saturday’s Champions League final will be Ramos’ fourth and he has yet to taste defeat. Yet it presents Real Madrid’s captain with not just a test of football, but the ultimate test of judgement and restraint.

Let’s not beat about the bush here: The prospect of Marcelo suddenly deciding to prioritise defending or positional discipline is as likely as Cristiano Ronaldo voting for Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or. And while Liverpool’s strengths do not begin and end with Mohamed Salah — the Egyptian is far from the only the principal Red menace — he plays down their right. Right where Marcelo should be, but won’ nfl jerseys from china

Now, it’s a nuance missed by many that although Ramos is firmly right-footed (he won Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 at right back) he prefers to play left-sided centre-back for Madrid. This puts him right in the danger zone that will be clearly marked on the Kiev pitch with the words, “Oh bloody hell, where’s Marcelo? Wait… here comes Salah at a hundred miles per hour!”

Even at 32 years old, this athlete from Andalusia, may well be able to match the brilliant Egyptian partly because Ramos is a terrific footballer, partly via his encyclopedia of experience and partly because Madrid’s captain is notably streetwise. However the last thing he wants to see is Salah with the ball at his feet, careering towards him at pace. Because this is the split-second moment when a defender has to commit. The position in which Ramos will undoubtedly find himself, whether to “jockey” the player and try to herd him into a space where he doesn’t want to go, or lunge into a tackle and risk yellow or red — this is the nightmare scenario for most defenders.

Celtics praise injured teammate Kyrie Irving’s text message of support

Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving sent a group text message to his teammates before Game 2, the contents of which resonated with his teammates before they took a commanding 2-0 lead in a first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Irving, who attended Game 1 and sat official nfl football jerseys on the bench during the first half, was not spotted inside TD Garden for Game 2, but his teammates said his words of encouragement helped them before Tuesday’s 120-106 triumph.

“[Irving] sent us a message before the game today, just telling us what to expect,” said Shane Larkin, one of Boston’s ballhandlers thrust into a larger role due to Irving’s season-ending knee surgery.

“We have a lot of guys in here that have never seen a playoff game. So he really gave some words of advice today and we all read it, made some comments back, and he just had an open conversation with us and he’s definitely helping off the court now that he can’t be out there with us fighting.194

“He’s definitely still locked in with us every single game.”

It’s notable that Celtics players have gone out of their way to praise Irving’s leadership, particularly when juxtaposed to a situation like San Antonio and the lingering uncertainty surrounding Kawhi Leonard.

The Celtics have won their first two games of the playoffs in large part because of the contributions of players like Terry Rozier, who hasn’t committed a turnover in 78 minutes of floor time since elevating to a starting role in place of Irving.

For 21-year-old Jaylen Brown and 20-year-old Jayson Tatum, Irving’s leadership and playoff experience is even more valuable.

“Kyrie talked to us before the game, just kind of let us nfl football jerseys for sale know what to expect, a lot of things to expect, and for us to stay locked in, and not worry about if we hit some adversity or whatever, just play through it,” said Celtics All-Star big man Al Horford. “And I thought our guys just did that. [The Bucks] made a run and we stayed poised and moved onto the next thing.”