AP Sports

AP Scorecard
March 8, 2023
Thursday, March 9th
March 8, 2023
AP Sports

Update on the latest sports 3/8/2023

Slap fighting: The next big thing, or unsporting stupidity?

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UFC President Dana White is putting his money and the resources of one of the world’s foremost mixed martial arts organizations into making the Power Slap League a success. In Power Slap bouts, fighters take turns hitting each other in the face with an open hand. A fighter has up to 60 seconds to recover and respond after receiving a blow. Some barely flinch, others stumble. Some are knocked out. Critics say the fights are unsafe because fighters can’t defend themselves and risk brain damage. White says the sport is safer than boxing and predicts Power Slap is the next big thing in combat sports. Chris Nowinski of the Concussion Legacy Foundation calls slap fighting “one of the stupidest things you can do.”

All-female ensemble set for broadcast of NBA game on ESPN

An all-female ensemble will produce the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans game that will air Wednesday on ESPN. Beth Mowins and Doris Burke will call the contest. There will be more than 70 women for the pregame and game coverage that takes place on International Women’s Day. They will fill various roles, including analysts, commentators, producers, directors, graphic designers, statisticians and social media operators. They hope to inspire the next generation of females who want to get into the business.

Japan buzzing for Shohei Ohtani’s return in WBC

TOKYO (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar just joined Japan’s national team for the World Baseball Classic but he is already a big fan of Shohei Ohtani. Nootbaar is the first to play for Japan by his ancestry connection. His mother is Japanese. Nootbaar says “I’m just like you guys. I think I’m just like a fan being able to watch him. I’m just fortunate to get a front-row seat to it.” Ohtani is expected to be the starting pitcher in Japan’s opening game against China in Group B. When he leaves as a pitcher he’s expected to be the DH.

Netherlands tops Cuba 4-2; Panama beats Taiwan 12-5 at WBC

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — The 20-team World Baseball Classic got underway after a six-year absence with the Netherlands defeating Cuba 4-2 in a Group A game in Taiwan to open the tournament. Panama defeated Taiwan 12-5 in the other Group A game. Play in Group B begins on Thursday in Tokyo with South Korea playing Australia and host Japan up against China. Japan is led by Angels star Shohei Ohtani. Play in Groups C and D begins Saturday in Phoenix and Miami. The United States won the last tournament in 2017 and is among the favorites with the Dominican Republic and Japan.

Mikaela Shiffrin closes in on World Cup skiing history

History beckons for Mikaela Shiffrin on Friday when the American skier competes in one of her best events. Shiffrin is seeking a record-tying 86th win on the World Cup skiing circuit. That number would equal Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s mark from the 1970s and 80s. Shiffrin earned win No. 85 six weeks ago. She had three chances to match Stenmark’s record last week but those were all speed races. They are not Shiffrin’s specialty. Shiffrin will again try to make history in a giant slalom in Sweden. That will be followed by a slalom on Saturday. Those are her best events.

Morant sidelined as NBA investigates gun, strip club video

Ja Morant is fearless on the basketball court. That aggressive style of play helped skyrocket the 23-year-old guard to a meteoric rise to NBA stardom. But his reckless approach to basketball seemingly has spilled over into his off-court lifestyle putting him on the sidelines. Morant is the target of an NBA investigation into a social media video with him apparently holding a gun. It’s not Morant’s first missteps off the court. Now he is missing his second game Tuesday night when Memphis visits the Los Angeles Lakers. How long he will remain on the sideline is unclear.

LIV Golf effect noticeable as ever at Players Championship

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — There’s no escaping the division caused by LIV Golf, even at The Players Championship. The defending champion is not at TPC Sawgrass for the first time in nearly a decade. That would be Cameron Smith of Australia, who lives down the street. He joined LIV Golf and the PGA Tour suspended him. The runner-up and third-place finisher at the PGA Tour’s premier tournament also are now with LIV Golf. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says it’s a little awkward, but players knew what they were signing up for. The field still is the strongest of the year. And the Stadium Course remains as unpredictable as ever.

Lamar Jackson gets nonexclusive franchise tag from Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens say they are designating Lamar Jackson as their franchise player. That prevents him from becoming an unrestricted free agent this month after the expiration of his rookie contract. The nonexclusive franchise tag means Jackson can negotiate with other teams, but the Ravens would have a chance to match any agreement. If they choose not to match, they’d receive two first-round draft picks in return. If Jackson plays this season on the franchise tag, he’d make $32.4 million. Jackson becoming available could shake up NFL free agency, which opens later this month.

Giants give QB Jones 4-year, $160M deal, tag Barkley

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants have reached a new four-year contract with quarterback Daniel Jones and put a franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants confirmed the deal with Jones on Tuesday night. The team reached an agreement with Jones’ representatives with with the deadline for a franchise tag minutes away. The team announced that Barkley received a nonexclusive franchise tag, which means he’s able to negotiate a contract with other teams. He will earn more than $10 million this season if he does not agree to a long-term deal before training camp.

Sorting out who’s No. 1 will continue after NFL combine

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The process of sorting out this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick began at the NFL’s annual scouting combine. It’s far from over. After seeing Anthony Richardson of Florida wow scouts with an impressive workout and Bryce Young of Alabama measure in shorter than expected, the next step for teams will be attending pro days and even more testing. Richardson and Young were just two examples of players who did well in Indianapolis. Many others weren’t as fortunate.