Bobby Unser, 87, Indy 500 champ in great racing family, dies
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A racing icon has passed. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser has died. He died of natural causes at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sunday.
Unser won the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981. His younger brother, Al, is one of only three four-time Indy 500 winners in race history. The Unser family tradition stretched to Al Unser’s son, Al Unser Jr., who won the Indy 500 in 1992 and 1994.
Bobby Unser was one of just 10 drivers to win the 500 at least three times. Unser and Rick Mears are the only drivers to win the 500 in three different decades. Unser was one of six members of the Unser family to race in the Indianapolis 500. Bobby Unser was 87 years old.
Dodgers, Cubs washed out
UNDATED (AP) — The game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs has been postponed because the forecast called for inclement weather. The teams will now play a split doubleheader at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. The first game is set for 1:20 p.m. and the nightcap will begin at 6:40 p.m. Both games will be seven innings.
Ohtani scratched from start
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani has been scratched from his scheduled start on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels against the defending AL champion Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a four-game series. Left-hander José Quintana will move up from his scheduled start to face the Rays.
The Angels didn’t announce why Ohtani had been scratched, but the two-way star was hit on his elbow by a 93 mph fastball from Seattle’s Justus Sheffield in the first inning of Los Angeles’ 2-0 road loss to the Mariners. The pitch hit Ohtani on his elbow pad, and he stayed in the game.
Rockies name interim GM
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Rockies have appointed Bill Schmidt as their interim general manager after parting ways with Jeff Bridich.
Schmidt has been with the team for nearly 22 years. He’s been in his current role of vice president of scouting since January 2007. Schmidt also was a scout for Cleveland, the New York Yankees, Cincinnati and the Major League Baseball scouting bureau. Schmidt will be in charge of the team’s baseball operations.
Colorado plans to begin a search for a general manager following the postseason.
Elsewhere in the league:
—Miami Marlins rookie right-hander Paul Campbell has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in violation of Major League Baseball’s drug program. The suspension involving the performance-enhancing drug was effective immediately. Campbell said he never knowingly ingested the substance or had even heard of it. The 25-year-old Campbell made his major league debut this season and is 0-2 with an 8.74 ERA in five games and 11 1/3 innings.
—Baseball Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark says the museum has accepted Roberto Alomar’s resignation from its board of directors. Alomar was elected to the board in 2019 and submitted a letter of resignation on Saturday in the wake of an allegation of sexual misconduct. The Hall of Fame second baseman was fired last week as a consultant by Major League Baseball and placed on the league’s ineligible list after an investigation into the allegation.
—The Los Angeles Dodgers have claimed right-hander Phil Bickford off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. Bickford made one appearance for Milwaukee this season. He allowed two runs in one inning during an 8-0 loss to Miami last week. He was designated for assignment on Wednesday. The Dodgers designated lefty Mike Kickham for assignment to create room for Bickford.
BASEBALL-MINOR LEAGUES RETURN
Minor league play to resume Tuesday
UNDATED (AP) — Minor league teams across the country are set to open their seasons Tuesday, returning baseball to communities denied the old national pastime during the coronavirus pandemic.
Capacities will differ by jurisdiction, but for most, it will be the first opportunity to see pro players in person since the entire 2020 season was canceled.
Of course, much has changed since the last affiliated games were played in 2019. There are fewer teams and leagues and Major League Baseball has introduced plans to use the minors as a testing ground for changes that could improve pace of play or reduce player injuries.
Amazon to take over “Thursday Night Football” package in ’22
UNDATED (AP) — Amazon Prime Video will become the exclusive home of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package a year earlier than originally anticipated.
Amazon and the league announced Monday that Prime Video will take over the entire package in 2022, which will make it an 11-season deal through 2032. It was originally supposed to begin in 2023 when the league’s new media rights deals kick in. This is the first time a streaming service has had the full rights to an NFL package. Prime Video will carry 15 regular-season games on Thursday night along with one preseason game.
Bills pick up Allen, Edmunds 5th-year contract options
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds are staying around for at least two more seasons. The Bills exercised the fifth-year options of both players’ contracts and retained the 2018 first-round draft picks through the 2022 season. The move comes at a combined price of about $36 million, with Allen set to make nearly $23 million in his final year.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— The Atlanta Falcons have picked up receiver Calvin Ridley’s fifth-year option, meaning he will make $11.1 million in 2022 and be in line for a long-term deal. The Falcons made the expected move on the deadline for teams to announce their decision on first-round picks from the 2018 draft. Ridley had 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
— Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox has signed his restricted free agent tender. The one-year deal is for $3.384 million. Alie-Cox was signed by the Colts as an undrafted rookie in 2017 following his basketball career at VCU. He spent most of his first season on Indy’s practice squad. But he’s played in 40 games over the past three seasons and posted his best stats in 2020 with 31 receptions and 394 yards.
— The Chicago Bears are parting with veteran left tackle Charles Leno Jr. Leno says on Twitter that his “time in Chicago has officially come to an end” and calls it “a bittersweet day.” He said he will “be rooting for the young guys to succeed” and thanked Bears fans. Drafted by Chicago in the seventh round in 2014, Leno started every game the past five seasons and 93 in a row dating to 2015. He made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2018.
—Tennessee Titans fourth-round draft pick Rashad Weaver has been charged with simple assault following an incident in Pittsburgh last month. The complaint against Weaver was filed a day before the Titans selected Weaver with the 135th overall pick in the draft. The complaint stems from an alleged altercation between Weaver and a woman in a popular entertainment district in the early hours of April 18.
—The Minnesota Vikings have declined the fifth-year contract option for cornerback Mike Hughes. The 2018 first-round pick has missed more than half of the games to injuries since he was drafted. Neck trouble that first occurred in 2019 continued last season and limited him to four games.
Hawks prepare to admit more fans for playoffs
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks are planning to increase capacity at State Farm Arena, including a new section for fully vaccinated fans, as they prepare for their first postseason appearance in four years.
The team has been allowing about 3,000 fans per game in its 17,000-seat arena during the regular season. It plans to increase that total to 7,625 for the playoffs.
A section with about 500 seats will be available behind the existing courtside seating for those who are fully vaccinated. The Hawks are working on several options for fans to provide proof of vaccination.
The Hawks will still require all fans to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
TRANSGENDER SPORTS BAN-IDAHO
US appeals court to consider Idaho transgender athletes ban
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An appeals court will consider the constitutionality of the first law in the nation banning transgender women and girls from playing on women’s sports team.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments Monday in a case that will have far-ranging consequences as more states follow conservative Idaho’s lead. Idaho passed its law last year, and more than 20 states have considered such proposals this year. Bans have been enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. Florida lawmakers passed a bill, and South Dakota’s governor issued an executive order.
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