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ISU President Anticipates Fall Sports Going on As Planned

ISU President Larry Dietz says as of today (Thursday) all athletics will go on as planned. However, Dietz says things can change at any moment...

 

 

Dietz added that he is still waiting on the official word from the NCAA on if fans will be allowed to attend athletic events. Thursday, the Big Ten announced they would be limited fall sports competitions to conference-events only.

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Big Ten Scraps Non-Conference Fall Sports Events

The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will not play non-conference games in football and several other sports this fall, the most dramatic move yet by a power conference because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The conference cited medical advice in making its decision and added ominously that the plan would be applied only “if the conference is able to participate in fall sports.”

 

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said it was “much easier if we’re just working with our Big Ten institutions” in terms of things like scheduling and traveling.

 

Warren told the Big Ten Network, quote “We may not have sports in the fall. We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten.

 

“So we just wanted to make sure that this was the next logical step to always rely on our medical experts to keep our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions and make sure that they are as healthy as they possibly can be from a mental, a physical, and emotional health and wellness standpoint.”

 

There has been deep unease that the pandemic will deal a blow to fall sports after wiping out hundreds of games, including March Madness, this past spring. More than a dozen schools have reported positive tests for the virus among athletes in the past month but the bad news picked up this week as the Ivy League canceled all fall sports and Stanford announced it was cutting 11 varsity sports.

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Morikawa Surges Late, Leads Day 1 of Workday Charity Open

Colin Morikawa finally had a forced weekend off two weeks ago after 22 consecutive cuts to start his PGA Tour career, three short of the standard set by Tiger Woods. He bounced back Thursday in the Workday Charity Open with a 7-under 65 for a one-shot lead over Adam Hadwin.

 

It was a quiet day of work, typical for the PGA Tour with no spectators allowed in the return from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. It was never more evident at Muirfield Village, which typically has enough fans to frame just about every hole.

 

His shot into the par-5 fifth settled 3 feet away for eagle. All but one of his birdie putts was inside 12 feet. The only setback was a bogey from the fairway on the 18th.

 

For the first time in 63 years, the PGA Tour will have tournaments on the same course in consecutive weeks. The Workday Charity Open fills a void this year for the John Deere Classic, which decided to cancel without being able to have spectators, a pro-am or corporate hospitality.

Phil Mickelson made plenty of noise, at least for nine holes. Lefty was 4 under at the turn and narrowly missed a 10-foot birdie chance on the 11th. He made bogey from the bunker. He missed a 5-foot par. He needed two chips from 25 feet to get on the 14th green. He hit in the water for double bogey on the 16th. He shot 41 on the back for a 73.

 

Brooks Koepka played for the first time since withdrawing from the Travelers Championship two weeks ago after his caddie tested positive for the coronavirus. He used PGA Tour winner Marc Turnesa as a caddie for this week, which might be a short week. Koepka opened with a 74.

 

Most of the good scoring came in the morning. Hadwin had five birdies over his last eight holes for a 66. Nick Taylor, a new father who chose to stay home in Canada for an extra month after the tour resumed, had an eagle at No. 11 and kept bogeys off his card for a 67. He was joined by past Muirfield Village winner Hideki Matsuyama.

 

Keegan Bradley had a 69 and was among 35 players who shot in the 60s. One shot summed up the environment at PGA Tour events at the moment. He hit a 6-iron on the par-3 fourth hole for an ace.

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IHSA Executive Director Weighs in On Possibly Flipping Sports Seasons

Some state high school associations are contemplating “flipping seasons”, where football would be moved to the spring due to ongoing concerns from the coronavirus pandemic. The IHSA’s Craig Anderson was asked about that issue.

 

 

Currently, the first day of high school football practice in Illinois is set for Aug 10.

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Jimmy Johnson Cleared to Return to Racing

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has twice tested negative for the coronavirus and will race Sunday at Kentucky Speedway.

 

Johnson missed the first race of his Cup career when he tested positive last Friday. He was tested after his wife received a positive result.

 

Hendrick Motorsports said Johnson tested negative on Monday and Tuesday and will return to the No. 48 Chevrolet at Kentucky. NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that Johnson has been cleared to return.

 

Johnson’s streak of 663 consecutive starts — most among active drivers — was snapped when he didn’t race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Justin Allgaier replaced him at the Brickyard 400 and finished 37th after an early multi-car crash on pit road.

 

Johnson is the only NASCAR driver to test positive for the coronavirus since the series resumed racing on May 17. He is scheduled to retire from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of this season.

 

Johnson never experienced any symptoms; his wife, Chani, was tested after suffering from what she thought was routine seasonal allergies. When she received her positive result, Johnson and their two young daughters were tested. Their daughters were negative.

 

Hendrick Motorsports had four crew members tested for COVID-19 after Johnson’s diagnosis and all four received negative results. The No. 48 team will have its regular personnel roster for Sunday’s race.

 

Missing the Brickyard 400 dropped Johnson to 15th in the driver standings, 46 points above the cutoff for playoffs.

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White Sox Fans Able to Purchase Cardboard Cutouts to Be Set Up in Stadium During Games

The Chicago White Sox are giving fans the opportunity to purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves that will be displayed at Guaranteed Rate Field during the team’s season-opening homestand.

 

The cutouts cost $49 and will be available while supplies last. Proceeds will benefit the team’s charitable arm.

 

The White Sox open with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins starting on July 24.

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Golf's Ryder Cup, President's Cup Bumped

Ryder Cup officials postponed the September matches of the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it increasingly unlikely the loudest event in golf could have spectators.

 

The Ryder Cup was scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits along the Lake Michigan shore. Because of a reconfigured schedule created by golf being shut down for three months, the matches would have been held one week after the U.S. Open.

 

Now, the Ryder Cup will move to Sept. 24-26, 2021, the second time in the last two decades it was postponed. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks led the 2001 matches to be postponed two weeks before they were set to be played.

 

The decision mean Europe’s next home Ryder Cup set for Italy has been pushed back until 2023. The European Tour thrives on Ryder Cup revenue.

 

And it affects the PGA Tour, which already has lost millions this year while trying to keep canceled tournaments solvent. The Presidents Cup in 2021 at Quail Hollow in North Carolina was a sellout in corporate hospitality, and it now gets pushed back a year.

 

Quail Hollow instead will host the Wells Fargo Championship next spring, and that event will move to the TPC Potomac in 2022 during the Presidents Cup year.

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Solid Field Highlights First of Two Events in Ohio for PGA Tour

The Workday Charity Open this week is loaded with a great field and some premium featured groups. Throw in what should be a lush Muirfield Village, and the first, and perhaps only, version of this tournament should be tremendous.

 

The most intriguing of those featured groups is the trio of Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm and Gary Woodland.

 

The most volatile group is Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Cantlay.

 

Regardless, a great field that includes three of the top five players in the world, as well as some of the other biggest names in the sport, is set for yet another strong week of PGA Tour play.

 

Groups of interest starting at hole 1 Thursday:

 

7:56 a.m. -- Andrew Landry, J.B. Holmes, Bubba Watson
12:59 p.m. -- Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff

 

Starting from hole 10 Thursday

 

7:45 a.m. -- Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day
7:56 a.m. -- Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Billy Horschel

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Blackhawks Say They Will Continue to Use Team Name

The Chicago Blackhawks say they will continue to use their team name because it honors a Native American leader who has been an inspiration to generations.

 

“The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the NHL team said in a statement Tuesday.

 

“We celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups. As the team’s popularity grew over the past decade, so did that platform and our work with these important organizations.

 

“We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation. Moving forward, we are committed to raising the bar even higher to expand awareness of Black Hawk and the important contributions of all Native American people. ”

 

The Athletic first reported on the team’s statement.

 

Under renewed pressure to change their name, the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced a “thorough review” of the issue. In baseball, the Cleveland Indians are also looking into it while the Atlanta Braves declined.

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More MLB Workouts Canceled; Cubs Workout Delayed

As baseball nears the two-week countdown to the start of its delayed season, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep more players, including Boston Red Sox projected opening day starter Eduardo Rodriguez, off the field.

 

On Tuesday, one day after Major League Baseball released its 60-game schedule, there was continued evidence of the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

 

The San Francisco Giants suspended workouts at Oracle Park as they awaited the results of weekend tests for the coronavirus. The Chicago Cubs’ workout was delayed.

 

The Cubs’ workout was delayed a few hours as the team awaited test results. On Monday, Cubs slugger Kris Bryant criticized the lack of frequency of the tests and delays in getting results.

 

Manager David Ross said Tuesday’s delay “isn’t a huge deal” and seemed bigger ”with what’s been going on with some teams the last day or so.”

 

Ross said quote “We can’t just crush MLB because this is new to them, too, and the testing facility.”

The two teams from last year’s World Series, the champion Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, resumed workouts after canceling practices on Monday because of testing delays.

 

Oakland left-hander Jake Diekman, who has ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune condition, said teams having to call off workouts because of delays in test results “just can’t happen.”

 

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said one missed day wouldn’t put his club behind. He said he expects the testing process to improve.

 

The Giants already have had prospect Hunter Bishop and pitcher Luis Madero test positive.

 

Rodriguez, who broke out in 2019 as a star, and Red Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec tested positive for the virus.

 

Rodriguez had not reported to camp after informing the team that he had been around relatives who had been ill. Dalbec, a third baseman, also is home and is asymptomatic.

 

Manager Ron Roenicke said it is “just unfortunate” the positive test could jeopardize Rodriguez’s chances to start on opening day. Rodriguez had career-best numbers with 19 wins and a 3.81 ERA in 2019.

 

Also, the Kansas City Royals announced right-hander Brad Keller and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn had positive tests and gave the team permission to announce the results.

 

Keller, 24, said he has “minor symptoms that remind me more of an allergy attack.”

 

The threat of an infection was enough for the Cleveland Indians to keep outfielder Franmil Reyes away from camp. Reyes was told to stay home after he was seen on social media attending a weekend holiday party without wearing a mask.

 

It was an example that off-field activities can affect a player’s status.

 

Manager Terry Francona said Reyes would be re-tested “when it’s appropriate.”

 

Francona said Reyes could have exposed himself and his teammates to the virus by not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask. Francona said he has used the incident as a teaching point for other players. He said Reyes has apologized.

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Mets to Host Yankees on 20th Anniversary of 9/11

The New York Mets will host the crosstown Yankees on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 next season, according to a person familiar with the decision.

 

The clubs will play at Citi Field in a game sure to be full of emotions for the city that’s also reported over 18,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths this year. 

 

The decision was first reported by Newsday.

 

The 20th anniversary game will be played not far from the site of demolished Shea Stadium, where Hall of Famer Mike Piazza hit a memorable home run for the Mets against the Braves on Sept. 21, 2001 in the first major sporting event in the city following the attacks. New York wore hats honoring the city’s first responders for the game.

 

Mets slugger Pete Alonso is sure to have a hand in the planning.

 

The 25-year-old reigning NL Rookie of the Year sidestepped MLB rules to create customized cleats for all of his teammates honoring 9/11 victims and first responders for New York’s home game last Sept. 11. Alonso later donated his spikes to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

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Monticello Cross Country Coach Discusses Return to Play Guidelines

The IHSA last week announced approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health to move into Phase 4 of the return to play guidelines for Illinois schools, coaches and athletes.

 

Dave Remmert is the Cross Country coach at Monticello High School. Many may also know Remmert as the Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department. He says the fact the CDC is saying youth are not only at low risk of the coronavirus but are also not deemed 'super-spreaders' leaves him optimistic a fall sports season should take place.

 

 

Case numbers locally and across the country have spiked but Remmert is not very concerned about the latest trends. He says young, healthy people are the ones mostly getting the virus right now and their quick recoveries are a good sign and will help establish herd immunity.

 

 

Last year, Remmert's boys cross country squad won the Class 1A state title for the second time under his leadership. Luke Sokolowski finished 11th and Josh Baysore finished 28th. Monticello boys finished third in 2013 in Remmert's first year with their first state title coming in 2014 and the boys' team has never finished lower than 6th. 

 

Additionally, last year the girls finished second in the state. Mabry Bruhn finished 10th and Rachel Koon finished 12ths. The girls finished 3rd in 2017 under Remmert. 

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Cardinals Among Teams to Cancel Workouts Amid Coronavirus Testing Delay

Baseball’s two World Series teams canceled workouts Monday because of coronavirus testing delays that one executive worried could endanger the season.

 

The defending champion Washington Nationals and reigning American League champion Houston Astros called off training camp practices after not receiving test results from Friday. The St. Louis Cardinals also scrubbed their scheduled workout for similar reasons.

 

The cancellations come amid delays around Major League Baseball, with some players opting out, and in the aftermath of Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle criticizing slow test results and a lack of some personal protective equipment.

 

MLB said in a statement that 95% of its intake testing had been completed and the Utah laboratory it’s using had reported 98% of results, a majority of those a day after samples were collected. MLB said it addressed delays caused by the holiday weekend, doesn’t expect them to continue and commended teams for canceling workouts.

 

But frustration is building around the majors over testing delays.

 

The Los Angeles Angels were forced to collect their own saliva samples Sunday when testers didn’t show up at their training complexes in Anaheim or Long Beach. They also delayed their workouts Monday to accommodate the testers, eventually turning their usual morning drills into an optional afternoon session.

 

Angels manager Joe Maddon believes “this will be a short-lived situation” and pinned the problem on the holiday weekend.

 

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who voiced concern that some teammates haven’t been tested in a week, said quote - “I think if we really want this to succeed, we’re going to have to figure that out. If you can’t really nail the easy part, which is right now ... we’ve got a big hill to climb.”

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Chicago White Sox Announce Two Players Test Positive for Coronavirus

The Chicago White Sox say two players have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation.

 

The team said Sunday that the two unidentified players are asymptomatic, and contact tracing for both was conducted. They are being monitored by team medical staff and will receive follow-up testing in the coming days.

 

They will be allowed to return to baseball activities after they test negative twice and pass other appropriate COVID-19 protocols.

 

The White Sox say both players requested privacy, meaning the team isn’t able to comment further.

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IHSA Releases Phase 4 Guidelines

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on Friday the Stage 2 Return To Play Guidelines have been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The IHSA also announced that they will also now refer to the guidelines as the Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines to match the Restore Illinois plan verbiage and the Phase 1 Return To Play Guidelines that were implemented on June 5th will also now be referred to as the Phase 3 Return To Play Guidelines.

 

These guidelines go into effect as of July 5th, 2020. 

 

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said, quote -  “Safety remains at the forefront of everything that the IHSA is doing as we move into Phase 4 and beyond. We appreciate the collaborative efforts of the SMAC and IDPH in recognizing the physical, mental, and emotional benefits for our student-athletes and coaches as they progress into training in a more traditional practice setting. Our focus now shifts to continuing to work with state leadership to determine how to provide the safest environment possible for fall sports.”

 

Previously only groups of 10 were allowed in Phase 3 and now groups of up to 50 will be allowed. There were other significant changes with Phase 4 including allowing the use of sport-specific equipment and competitions. 

 

Games are allowed to take place either inside or outside, but there are certain restrictions that will be in place. Multiple groups of 50 are permissible for contests held outside, but only if they’re spaced at least 30 feet apart. Indoor games, the group limit for everyone remains at 50 except for fans. 

 

Spectators are allowed, but there will be a 20 percent capacity limit for the venue that must be enforced.

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DeChambeau Surges to Win at Rocket Mortgage Classic

With jaw-dropping drives and some clutch putts, Bryson DeChambeau won the Rocket Mortgage Classic by three strokes Sunday for his first victory of the season and sixth overall. He became the first PGA Tour player since 2004 to lead a tournament in driving distance, along with shots gained off the tee and putting.

 

DeChambeau shot a 7-under 65 at Detroit Golf Club, birdieing four of the first seven holes and closing with three straight. He finished at a career-best 23-under 265.

 

Matthew Wolff (71) was second. He started the day with a three-shot lead and hurt his chances with five bogeys over his first 10 holes. Kevin Kisner (66) finished another stroke back as part of a relatively weak field that continued to trend of exceptional play since the PGA Tour restarted.

 

DeChambeau made a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 16, which he said was his shot of the day. He also had a short putt for birdie on the next hole. And finally, he uncorked a 367-yard drive to set up another short putt at 18.

 

DeChambeau came into the week with six straight top-eight finishes and was the only player with top 10s in the first three events after the restart from the coronavirus pandemic. He won for the first time since the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November 2018.

 

DeChambeau has dramatically altered his body, packing about 240 pounds on his 6-foot-1 body, and took advantage of the extra time he had to work on his physique during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

DeChambeau’s power was on full display in the Motor City with drives that went 351 yards on average after looking like he might swing out of his spikes.

 

When DeChambeau was on the tee box at the 399-yard, par-4 13th, he waited for the next group to leave the green before hitting his drive so that he didn’t hit any fellow competitors.


His drive on the 621-yard, par-5 fourth went way left and landed in greenside rough on an adjacent hole. He cleared towering trees and landed just short of the green, sending his approach 276 yards and he two-putted from 37 feet.

 

On Saturday, DeChambeau had a testy exchange with a TV cameraman after a bogey on the sixth hole. After the third round, he bristled that it isn’t right showing a potential vulnerability and hurting someone’s image.

 

DeChambeau, though, tried to soften his stance on the issue Sunday by saying the cameraman was just trying to do his job.

 

During the final round, he was also briefly distracted by a commotion outside the course.

 

While a Black Lives Matter protests was gathering outside the Detroit Golf Club, breaking the silence of the fan-free event with chants and air horns, DeChambeau took some time to reset before hitting a 366-yard drive.

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Harvick Outlasts Field for Brickyard Win

As the sunset Sunday over Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Denny Hamlin seven laps from one of the few victories that has eluded him, he went careening into the first turn wall with a flat right front-side tire, and Kevin Harvick beat Matt Kenseth off the final restart to win his second straight Brickyard.

 

Not only did Harvick race to his 53rd victory to move within one of tying Lee Petty for 11th on NASCAR’s career list, teammates Aric Almirola and Cole Custer, a rookie, finished third and fifth Sunday. Fellow Stewart-Haas driver Chase Briscoe won the Xfinity Series race Saturday or the road course.

 

Harvick tied Hamlin with a season-high fourth victory and lead in the points. The California driver has four straight top-10 finishes.

 

And for the third straight race, it looked as if it would be another one-two finish for Harvick and Hamlin.

 

But until the late, stunning twist, Hamlin looked as though he would take his first Brickyard.

 

After trading victories and runner-up finishes at Pocono last week and Sunday’s result, they’ve combined for seven of 12 victories since the season restarted at Darlington in mid-May and it’s only the second time in seven races Hamlin and his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing entry hasn’t finished in the top seven.

 

One person was noticeably absent: Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports car. Johnson watched the race from his Colorado home as the series’ longest active streak of consecutive and fifth-longest in series history ended at 663. Johnson was hoping to become the third driver to win five races on the 2.5-mile oval.

 

Instead, Justin Allgaier replaced him in the car and he didn’t stick around long.

 

Allgaier was involved in a six-car pileup near the entrance to pit road that brought out a red flag on Lap 16 when one of Ryan Blaney’s crew members was pinned between two cars. Track workers put Zachary Price on a stretcher. He was eventually transported to a nearby hospital but there was no immediate post-race update.

 

Two laps later, Allgaier’s day was over.

 

Kurt Busch also had a rough day after making his 700th career start. After starting second, his hopes for winning one of the Cup’s crown jewels faded with an early pit stop mistake. A plane flew over the track during pre-race activities to celebrate the milestone, which broke a tie with Hall of Famer Buddy Baker for No. 16 on the series career list.

 

NASCAR’s weather problems also continued, this time with the start delayed 55 minutes for lightning.

 

But once the race started, it was clean sailing for Harvick. He led for most of the first stage before giving way to William Byron, who chose not to pit with nine laps to go, and then won the second stage before earning the big prize.

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NHL, NHLPA Agree on Protocols to Resume Play

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association agreed Sunday on protocols to resume the season, a major step toward the return of hockey this summer.

 

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press there was an agreement on protocols for training camps and games and the sides are still negotiating an extension of the collective bargaining agreement, which is crucial to the process.

 

A person with knowledge of the situation said the return-to-play protocols would only go into effect if each side votes to approve the full package of the CBA extension and return-to-play agreement. 

To complete a return, two-thirds of the league’s board of governors and majorities of the players’ executive committee and full membership must vote in favor.

 

If everything is ratified, it will end a pandemic-forced shutdown that began in mid-March. Games would resume in late July or early August with 24 teams taking part in an expanded playoffs, finishing with the Stanley Cup being awarded in October.

 

The agreement was first reported by TSN.

 

The 47 pages of protocols outline the health and safety measures the league and players agreed to after several weeks of negotiations. Any player has until 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday to notify his team if he’s choosing to opt out of participating in training camp and games, with an additional deadline expected after ratification of the agreement.

 

For those playing, each team is limited to 30 skaters and an unlimited amount of goaltenders for camp and total roster of up to 31 players for games. Each team is limited to 52 personnel in its game city, a group that must include two trainers, a doctor and compliance officer in addition players, coaches and management.

 

They are expected to be quarantined from the general public during play at least for the qualifying and first two traditional playoff rounds. Family members will be permitted to join when play is moved to one city for the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.

 

All team and league employees plus hotel, restaurant and arena staff coming in contact with players will be tested daily in the two “hub” cities.

 

One player’s positive coronavirus test result is not expected to shut down play entirely. The league has said it would isolate any player or staff member who tests positive, acknowledging an outbreak would threaten the remainder of the season.

 

The protocols include a provision for Commissioner Gary Bettman in consultation with NHLPA executive director Don Fehr to postpone, delay or cancel games in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

 

If the protocols and an CBA extension cover those scenarios for enough owners and players, there will be a path forward to hand out the Stanley Cup. Only twice since 1893 has the Cup not been awarded: in 1919, when the final couldn’t be completed because of the Spanish flu pandemic, and 2005 when the season was wiped out by a lockout.

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Decades Old Tradition Coming to An End for Packers

The Green Bay Packers will have a six-decade NFL training camp tradition end as they won’t be staying at nearby St. Norbert College because of coronavirus concerns.

 

The Packers instead will have their entire training camp operations at Lambeau Field. Housing arrangements are still being finalized.

 

Packers officials said they made the switch due to NFL protocols asking clubs to maximize use of their own facilities to mitigate exposure to the virus.

 

St. Norbert had hosted the Packers for training camp since 1958

 

The Packers have traditionally eaten dinner at St. Norbert and stayed in a residence hall on campus while commuting to their training-camp workouts at Lambeau Field.

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IHSA Hoping for 'Return to Play' Phase 2 Guidelines to Be Approved Next Week

The IHSA is waiting on final approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health on Stage 2 “Return to Play” guidelines. 

 

IHSA executive director Craig Anderson says it would allow for outdoor and indoor gatherings of 50 or fewer players, coaches and officials. It would also allow for athletic contests and practices. 

 

 

IHSA Stage 1 “Return to Play” started last month and the policy allows for strength, conditioning and speed workouts for groups of ten or less.

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Cubs Pitching Coach Recovering from Coronavirus

Chicago Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy is recovering from a severe case of COVID-19 that had him quarantined for 30 days.

 

The 38-year-old Hottovy broke down Wednesday as he detailed a harrowing ordeal during a conference call. The Cubs resume workouts Friday for the first time since Major League Baseball shut down camps on March 12.

 

Hottovy is in his second season as the Cubs’ pitching coach. The former major leaguer said he experienced fevers, breathing trouble and an increased heart rate. The symptoms worsened at night, making it difficult to sleep.

 

Because he didn’t want his wife and young children to catch the virus, Hottovy isolated himself in a spare bedroom at home. He struggled during one Zoom meeting with pitchers, and manager David Ross took over for him.

 

Things got so bad that Hottovy spent eight hours at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on the 12th day he was sick. He finally tested negative about two weeks ago.

 

Hottovy said he’s still weakened from the illness. He considered opting out of the season while he was sick but decided against that.

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Kings Forward, Former Chicago Standout Jabarri Parker Returns to Practice Following Positive Coronavirus Test

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton says forward Jabari Parker has been cleared to end his self-isolation following a positive test for the coronavirus. Walton also spoke to Parker about handling himself in public after photos surfaced last week of the forward playing tennis without a mask following his positive test.

 

Center Alex Len and guard Buddy Hield also announced they contracted the coronavirus, and Walton says all three are “doing much better” while being tested every other day. No players have told Walton they don’t want to take part as the Kings (28-36) prepare to play their final eight games in Orlando beginning at the end of this month.

 

Walton said on a call Wednesday, quote “This is a grown men’s league. We talk to our guys but you can’t make them do anything. All we can do is encourage them to follow the guidelines that we’ve all been given: Do your best to social distance, wear a face mask when you’re out, wash your hands as often as possible, stay away from shaking hands, those type of things.”

 

One of Walton’s top priorities now is “making sure everyone’s comfortable” — which will mean players bringing their own workout gear and leaving an extra pair of shoes that stay at the practice facility or arena.

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Cardinals to Replace Yankees in Field of Dreams Game

The St. Louis Cardinals have replaced the New York Yankees as the opponent for the Chicago White Sox in the Field of Dreams game on Aug. 13 at Dyersville, Iowa.

 

According to reports, the schedule change caused by the new coronavirus pandemic meant the White Sox no longer play the Yankees this season. 

 

Major League Baseball hopes to announce its new schedule next week. Each team will play 60 games, 40 against division rivals and 20 against teams in the corresponding regional division in the other league.

 

It remains unclear whether fans would be allowed at the game, which is to be televised nationally by Fox.

 

A temporary 8,000-seat stadium is nearing completion at the site, about 200 miles west of Chicago, adjacent to where the movie was filmed on a diamond in a cornfield. This would be the first major league game played in Iowa.

 

The movie, released in 1989, starred Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster and Ray Liotta.

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NFL Slashing Preseason, Moving Exhibition Start Date Back

The NFL will cut its preseason in half and push back the start of exhibition play so teams have more time to train following a virtual offseason made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.

 

Players are still discussing with their union whether to ask for the cancellation of all preseason games, according to two people familiar with their thinking. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because a decision hasn’t been made.

 

The pandemic forced teams to conduct their entire offseason programs via videoconference. So, teams will be gathering together for the first time when training camps open July 28.

 

Minus the usual minicamps, on-field practices and in-person weight training from April to June, players’ conditioning won’t be what it normally is. So, eliminating the first week of preseason games Aug. 13-16 will give them more time to ratchet up their football fitness.

 

Teams will now play exhibitions Aug. 20-24 and Aug. 27-31 during what were originally the second and third weeks of exhibition play, with all 32 teams playing one home and one road game.

 

Most of those games will remain the same as originally scheduled, although some matchups in that second slate will have to be changed so every team gets a game at home.

 

The exhibition finales on Sept. 3 were also scrapped, giving teams more time to get ready for the regular season, which opens Sept. 10 with Houston at Kansas City.

 

There are no changes to the regular-season schedule.

 

The league continues to draw up protocols, not only for COVID-19 mitigation but for ramping up practices during the first few weeks of training camp.

 

The annual Hall of Fame Game pitting Pittsburgh and Dallas on Aug. 6 was recently scrapped as the induction ceremonies were pushed back to 2021.

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Baseball Cancels Minor League Season

Baseball’s minor leagues canceled their seasons Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the head of their governing body said more than half of the 160 teams were in danger of failing without government assistance or private equity injections.

 

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body founded in September 1901, made the long-expected announcement. The minors had never missed a season.

 

National Association president Pat O’Conner estimated 85-90% of revenue was related to ticket money, concessions, parking, and ballpark advertising. The minors drew 41.5 million fans last year for 176 teams in 15 leagues, averaging 4,044 fans per game.

 

MLB teams are planning for a 60-game regular season and most of their revenue will derive from broadcast money.

 

O’Conner said many minor league teams had received money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act.

 

He hopes for passage of H.R. 7023, which would provide $1 billion in 15-year federal loans from the Federal Reserve to businesses that had 2019 revenue of $35 million or less and “have contractual obligations for making lease, rent, or bond payments for publicly owned sports facilities, museums, and community theaters.”

 

In addition, the Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and minors expires Sept.. 30, and MLB has proposed reducing the minimum affiliates from 160 to 120.

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