Update on the latest sports
Sad, not shocked: MLB fans take gut-punch of canceled games
UNDATED (AP) – Baseball fans reacted with a mix of resignation, dismay, sadness and anger when MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Tuesday that opening day on March 31 has been canceled over a labor dispute.
With owners and players unable to agree on a labor contract to replace the collective bargaining agreement that expired Dec. 1, MLB canceled the first two series for each of the 30 major league teams. That erased a total of 91 games. It’s the first time in 27 years that baseball will lose regular-season games over a labor dispute.
It’s the latest setback for a sport that’s had arguably the worst luck of the biggest U.S. sports leagues when it comes to COVID-19. The pandemic started in mid-March of 2020, immediately shutting down spring training less than three weeks before opening day and causing the season to be shortened by more than 100 games. No other league lost a bigger chunk of its schedule.
There wasn’t much that could be done about a pandemic. Labor squabbles over how to allocate money in a $10 billion industry are a different story.
Some fans are worried the labor dispute could further erode support for a sport that’s fought declining interest for decades.
Tiger Woods beats out Mickelson for $8 million impact bonus
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Tiger Woods still moves the needle in golf even when he barely plays.
The PGA Tour informed players on Wednesday that Woods is the winner of the new $40 million “Player Impact Program” that rewards those who generate the most positive interest in golf measured by five metrics. Woods won the $8 million prize over Phil Mickelson, who claimed on Twitter in December that he was the winner.
The tour had said the program would be measured through the end of the year. Woods captivated golf in December when he returned from a shattered right leg in a February car accident to play the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie. They finished second.
Mickelson finished second in the Player Impact Program and earned $6 million. He was followed by Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas, who each earned $3.5 million. The rest of the top 10, who each made $3 million from the bonus program, were Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Bubba Watson.
Mickelson’s public image has been badly damaged in recent weeks for revealing in an interview with Alan Shipnuck, who is writing an unauthorized biography on him, that he was willing to support a Saudi-funded rival golf league as leverage to get changes he wants on the PGA Tour. In another interview, he accused the tour of “obnoxious greed.” Mickelson is taking time away from the game and has not played since the Saudi International a month ago.
Russians face more sports sanctions, but not at Paralympics
UNDATED (AP) – Russian athletes are being restricted from competing in more sporting events around the world, but the Paralympics made an exception.
Sports including biathlon and table tennis were among those to join more than a dozen other Olympic sports in excluding competitors from Russia and Belarus (BEHL’-uh-roos) because of the invasion of Ukraine. But the International Paralympic Committee says Russians and Belarusians will be able to compete in Beijing as “neutral athletes” without national symbols. The Winter Paralympics open Friday and numerous Russian athletes are already in the Chinese capital. The IPC has said it is working to get the Ukrainian team there, too.
Blanket bans have been imposed in soccer, track, basketball, hockey and other sports, following an appeal from the International Olympic Committee to exclude Russians and Belarusians from international events. The IOC, however, left open the possibility of allowing them to compete as neutral athletes if expulsion was not possible because of short notice.
Other sports bodies which have so far let Russians and Belarusians keep competing as neutral athletes include FINA (FEE’-nuh), which governs swimming and other aquatic sports, and the federations for boxing, gymnastics, fencing and judo. The governing body for British motorsports on Wednesday banned Russians from competing at events in the country, throwing into doubt Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin’s ability to race in the British Grand Prix in July.