Former MLB All-Star and executive Bob Watson dies
UNDATED (AP) – Bob Watson, a two-time All-Star as a player who later became the first black general manager to win a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1996, has died. He was 74.
The Houston Astros, for whom Watson played his first 14 major league seasons, announced the death Thursday night.
Watson’s son Keith said he died from kidney disease.
Watson was nicknamed “The Bull” and made the All-Star team in 1973 and ’75, hit over .300 four times and drove in at least 100 runs twice. He also holds the distinction of scoring the 1 millionth run in major league history.
Art Howe battling coronavirus
UNDATED (AP) – Former major league manager and infielder Art Howe is in intensive care in a Houston hospital with the coronavirus.
The 73-year-old Howe confirmed to Houston TV station KPRC 2 Thursday night that he has been dealing with the illness since first feeling symptoms of COVID-19 on May 3. Howe told the station he found out he was positive two days after being tested and tried to recover at home. He went to the hospital by ambulance on Tuesday and remained in ICU.
Howe is best known as the manager of the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics playoff teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s, winning 600 games over seven seasons. He also managed the Astros and Mets before ending his managerial career 1,129-1,137.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
– The Michigan tournament where the LPGA Tour hoped to resume has been canceled. The LPGA says the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will not be played July 15-18. The tour did not offer any other specifics except for Commissioner Mike Whan emphasizing the long-term health of the tour is paramount. This is the only team event on the LPGA schedule. Whan says Dow has extended its title sponsor contract and the LPGA will return to the Great Lakes Bay region next year and beyond. The cancellation means the LPGA now hopes to return July 23-26 with the Marathon LPGA Classic in Ohio.
– The professional tennis tours are extending their suspensions caused by the coronavirus pandemic through at least the end of July. The total number of tournaments scrapped by the ATP and WTA since March now tops 40. Both tours say they will make further scheduling announcements in June. The top tours already had been on hold at least until July 13. That was announced on April 1 on the same day that the All England Club said it would be canceling Wimbedon for the first time in 75 years because of the outbreak.
– The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s 2020 induction ceremony for Goran Ivanisevic and Conchita Martinez has been canceled. So has the annual men’s grass-court Hall of Fame Open tournament. The induction was scheduled at the Hall in Newport, Rhode Island, for July 18. That is the same day the tournament was supposed to finish. But the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the suspension of all sanctioned tennis competition since March and at least until the end of July. Ivanisevic and Martinez now will be honored alongside any Class of 2021 inductees in July 2021.
– The Belgian Grand Prix can go ahead on its original August date, but with no fans. Friday’s announcement by local Belgian authorities came two days after the Belgian government allowed outdoor training at sporting facilities to resume under a coach’s supervision starting next week. The Formula One race scheduled for Aug. 28-30 was under threat after Belgium banned all mass events in the country until Aug. 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The track will reopen for professional practice on May 18.
– Professional soccer resumes in Germany Saturday following a two-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But no fans will be present at any of the matches and players have been warned to desist from spitting, handshakes or hugging. Goal celebrations will be muted with teammates staying apart and substitutes will have to wear protective masks on the sideline. The measures are part of the league’s strict hygiene measures to minimize the risk of infection. Sky TV says it will offer viewers a new audio option with prerecorded fan chants, singing and reactions based on the games to compensate for the lack of atmosphere.
– The German soccer federation has delayed the restart of the men’s third-division because it doesn’t have political approval. The third division was scheduled to resume on May 26 amid the coronavirus pandemic but the federation says that can’t happen without the go-ahead from authorities around the country. Games in the first and second divisions will resume Saturday.
– The Russian soccer league will restart on June 21 after a break of more than three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league intends to pack eight rounds of games into just over one month to finish on July 22. League president Sergei Pryadkin says all games will be held in empty stadiums. The Russian Cup will also continue with the final on July 25. That means some clubs face up to 11 games to finish the season. A planned promotion-relegation playoff has been dropped with only the bottom two clubs in the top division relegated automatically as usual.
– The English Premier League has received government backing to resume next month if games become more accessible to fans and the world’s richest soccer competition provides financial support across the English game. The top division is the most advanced in its planning to restart amid concerns the three other professional football leagues in England could lack the funding to resume without ticket revenue from supporters. Mass gatherings are still banned and fans are not allowed to attend sports events.
– Major League Soccer has extended a league-wide moratorium on group and team training through June 1. Players are permitted to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary individual workouts, in compliance with local health authorities and government orders that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts. Team training facilities remain closed to all players except those requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation.
– The PGA Tour Champions has decided to combine 2020 and 2021 into one season. Tour president Miller Brady says combining two seasons into one is the best solution. The 50-and-older circuit already has canceled eight tournaments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour is scheduled to resume with the Ally Challenge in Michigan on July 31. That would be the first of 13 events remaining this year, barring any delays. The PGA Tour Champions already has lost two majors, the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior PGA Championship, and is waiting to hear the fate of the Senior British Open.
– The CEO of next year’s Tokyo Olympics says the postponed games might not look like what fans are accustomed to. Toshiro Muto says cuts are likely in many areas with the cost of the postponement estimated in Japan at between $2 billion and $6 billion. Muto says one target for saving money was the torch relay. He says “we are looking into every possible area” for cuts.
Bae Seon-woo leads in South Korea; No. 3 Park misses cut
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Bae Seon-woo shot a 7-under 65 on Friday to take a four-stroke lead after the second round of the KLPGA Championship.
Heo Da-been (66) and Kim Char-young2 (69) were four shots behind Bae’s 12-under 132 overall at the Lakewood Country Club.
The Korean women’s tournament joins baseball and soccer as sports back up and running again in South Korea.
Third-ranked Park Sung-hyun (77) missed the cut at 150. No. 6 Kim Sei-young (68) reached the third round.
Defending champion Choi Hye-jin also made the cut after a 73.