AP-Sports Right Now
Update on the latest in sports:
COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
Virginia moves closer to top ranking
UNDATED (AP) – No. 2 Virginia has pulled closer to its first No. 1 ranking in 35 years.
The Cavaliers received 17 of 65 first-place votes from a media panel in the AP Top 25 released on Monday. Villanova remained No. 1 for the fourth straight week, receiving 47 first-place votes.
Virginia (20-1, 9-0 ACC) shut down one of the nation’s top offenses in a 65-63 win over Duke last week and held No. 18 Clemson to 36 points.
Purdue remained at No. 3 and No. 4 Duke held its spot despite the loss to Virginia. Michigan State moved up a spot to round out the top 10.
Kentucky returned to the poll at No. 21 after dropping out for the first time in four years.
WOMENS COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
UConn again on top
NEW YORK (AP) – UConn continues to lead the way in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll.
The Huskies (20-0) are once again the unanimous No. 1 team, receiving all 32 votes from the national media panel Monday. UConn cruised to easy wins over Memphis and Tulane. Next up is a trip to South Carolina on Thursday to face the No. 7 Gamecocks.
The top five remained unchanged this week with Mississippi State, Baylor, Louisville and Notre Dame following UConn.
Stanford moved back into the Top 25 at No. 24 and replaced Arizona State, which fell out of the poll.
GOLF-FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN
Day beats Noren on 6th playoff hole
SAN DIEGO (AP) – Jason Day sank an 18-inch birdie putt on the sixth playoff hole to beat Alex Noren and win the Farmers Insurance Open in front of empty grandstands on No. 18 at Torrey Pines.
Day and Noren had to return Monday morning after grinding through five playoff holes Sunday before it got too dark to continue.
Day teed off at 8:04 a.m. and sank the winning putt 13 minutes later, his fourth birdie on the par-5 hole in the playoff.
His victory was accompanied only by the sounds of camera shutters and cheers from Day’s family members.
Spectators weren’t allowed in because organizers said they didn’t have time to arrange for security.
Noren tried an aggressive second shot from the first cut, but his ball landed short of the green and rolled into a pond.
Day, meanwhile, hit his second shot out of the rough and over some trees onto the fairway before hitting a beautiful approach shot that set up the winning putt.
MLB-INDIANS-CHIEF WAHOO DROPPED
Indians removing Chief wahoo logo from uniforms
CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cleveland Indians are removing the divisive Chief Wahoo logo from their jerseys and caps starting in the 2019 season.
Following numerous discussions with Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Indians will no longer wear the big-toothed, smiling, red-faced caricature during games. The iconic logo, which has been used in various expressions by the team since 1947, has been deemed racist and offensive by some.
Manfred said the team conveyed to him that some fans have a “long-standing attachment” to the logo, but the Indians agreed that it’s “no longer appropriate for on-field use.”
The Indians will wear the Wahoo logo this season and continue to sell merchandise featuring it.
Under growing pressure, the team has been transitioning away from Chief Wahoo in recent years. The Indians introduced a block “C” insignia on their caps and have removed stadium signs with the Wahoo logo.
Royals sign SS Escobar to 1-year deal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Royals have signed Alcides Escobar to a $2.5 million contract for next season, keeping their longtime shortstop on the roster after reaching free agency this offseason.
The sides agreed to the framework of a deal last week, but it wasn’t announced until Monday.
Escobar, who has spent the past seven seasons with Kansas City, also can earn up to $1.5 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. He is expected to start the season at shortstop but will be pushed by touted prospect Raul Mondesi Jr. throughout the spring.
Escobar hit .250 with six homers, 54 RBIs and a career-high 102 strikeouts last season. He won a gold glove and was voted an All-Star in 2015, when he helped the Royals win the World Series.
Brady cuts off radio interview over remark about daughter
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he’s reconsidering whether to continue a long-running weekly radio appearance after a host at the station called his daughter “an annoying little pissant.”
Brady cut short an appearance on Monday morning and said, “I’ll obviously evaluate whether I want to come on this show again.”
WEEI host Alex Reimer made the remarks about Brady’s 5-year-old daughter after watching the first episode of a Brady documentary called “Tom vs. Time” that is airing on Facebook. Reimer’s show aired Thursday, four days before Brady’s weekly morning radio segment with different hosts.
The station says Reimer has been suspended indefinitely.
AP source: Wood retirement on hold over bonus issue
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Center Eric Wood’s retirement is on hold over questions about whether the Buffalo Bills can ask him to return a portion of the contract bonus he received for signing a two-year extension in August. That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.
According to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, teams can ask for a portion of bonus money to be returned if a player retires before his contract expires. There is, however, a gray area if a player retires because of a career-ending injury.
The person said the discrepancy is the reason Wood did not announce his retirement as anticipated during a news conference on Monday. Wood was scheduled to announce his retirement after revealing on Friday that he would no longer be cleared to play after being diagnosed with a severe neck injury.
Beckham’s MLS team in Miami is born
MIAMI (AP) – David Beckham finally has his Major League Soccer team in Miami.
Beckham and MLS announced Monday that the long-awaited franchise is now born. It took Beckham nearly four years to bring the team to Miami.
The Miami area had an MLS team from 1998 through 2001. It folded because of poor attendance.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber says “great things come to those that wait.” He says Miami fans have been emailing him for 10 years with hopes of MLS coming back to South Florida.
It has been a long road just to get to this point. In the beginning of his Beckham-Miami plan, some people involved in the talks predicted that the team would begin play in 2017.
Russian team banned from Paralympics, but some will compete
BONN, Germany (AP) – Russia’s team has been banned from the upcoming Pyeongchang Paralympics because of its doping past.
The International Paralympic Committee says about 35 Russians will be allowed to compete in five sports as neutral athletes at the games, which run from March 8-18.
That mirrors the situation for next month’s Olympics. The Russian team has been barred, but 169 Russians have been invited to compete.
It will be the second Paralympics without a Russian team. The country was also excluded from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016.
The IPC had demanded that Russian officials must accept or disprove the findings of investigations which detailed widespread doping in multiple sports and the covering up of failed doping tests.
The Russian government denies ever supporting any doping programs.
SUPER BOWL ADS
Super Bowl ads aim for the heart – and sometimes lower
NEW YORK (AP) – Bring on the parade of celebrities, heartwarming tales and silly humor: it’s almost Super Bowl advertising time.
Tiffany Haddish, Cindy Crawford, Morgan Freeman and many others will star in ads while NBC will showcase the journeys of Olympic athletes in several different ads.
A 30-second spot costs more than $5 million for airtime alone. The goal is to capture the attention of the more than 110 million viewers expected to tune in to the big game on Feb. 4 – ideally by striking an emotional chord with the game audience that will rub off on brands.
Amazon, Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, Verizon and several automakers and are among the advertisers this year.