Tagged in: July

MLB targets 60-game season starting July season

Major League Baseball plans to hold a 60-game campaign that will start around July 24 but first needs players to sign off on a health-and-safety protocol and to pledge to arrive at home stadiums by July 1 to prepare for the season, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

Owners voted to implement a 60-game season on Monday, hours after the MLB Players Association rejected a 60-game proposal that would have included an expanded postseason and other ancillary salary bumps.

After nearly three months of fruitless negotiations, MLB opted to use the right given to it in the parties’ March 26 agreement to impose a calendar of its desired length. By choosing a season of 60 games, the league will pack in about as many games as it can through Sept. 27, the league’s self-imposed cutoff for the regular season.

Additionally, the 60-game season could serve as a buffer against a grievance by the MLBPA, which in the case of a potential implementation has been expected to charge that the league did not fulfill its duty to complete as full a season as possible.

The league could file a grievance against the union as well.

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After commissioner Rob Manfred flew to the Phoenix area to meet with union executive director Tony Clark last Tuesday, the league considered it had the framework of a deal in place. But union members balked at the 60-game framework and proposed 70 games plus a larger chunk of postseason bonus money than the $25 million the league was offering, as well as a cut of TV revenue from playoff expansion in 2021.

Owners were livid. They rejected the proposal and asked players to consider the original 60-game framework. On Monday evening, the players rejected it by a 33-5 vote, setting the stage for the implementation. With implementation, that is all moot. What isn’t is that after all this time, Major League Baseball finally looks like it will try to have a season.

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Ortiz not Garcia, to headline Golden Boy return

Ryan Garcia and Oscar De La Hoya are at odds again, so Vergil Ortiz will headline Golden Boy Promotions’ first boxing card of the summer since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Now that Top Rank has brought boxing back to television, it appears Golden Boy Promotions will follow suit, with plans to return in July.

It was once thought that the initial GBP event would be a Fourth of July card headlined by Ryan Garcia, but now it will be a card arranged for later in the month and with Vergil Ortiz in the main event. 

Oscar De La Hoya made the announcement Monday on Twitter, and the framing ruffled Garcia’s feathers. Garcia took exception to Ortiz being called the “future of boxing” and fired back in a now-deleted tweet. 

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You do realize you’re supposed to be my promoter (and) not (a) hater right?” Garcia responded. 

Golden Boy president Eric Gomez confirmed to ESPN that Ortiz will headline the first GBP card of the summer and explained why Garcia is no longer fighting on July 4.

“An offer was made to him and his team passed,” Gomez stated.

This comes not too long after Garcia said in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he felt the offer to return to the ring wasn’t to his liking.

Now, a relationship between Garcia and GBP that was once thought to be smoothed over after being frayed has again hit a snag.

The undefeated Ortiz was initially slated to face Samuel Vargas on March 28 in Los Angeles before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the card to be canceled. He will now be the first to return, versus an opponent to be decided. The location has yet to be confirmed, too, but it has been reported that the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., is the likely landing spot for the fight. 

As for Garcia, it’s anyone’s guess when he will return to the ring. 

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Patriots RB Sony Michel recovering from foot surgery

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel underwent a minor foot surgery in May, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Michel’s surgery was “maintenance-based” and focused on minor discomforts he’s been having, according to Reiss. The Patriots will start training camp in late July and Michel’s recovery time is still up in the air. His progress will determine if he has to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list or not.

He’s heading into his third NFL season and the first two have been extremely successful. Michel had a storybook start to his career — breaking playoff records and winning a Super Bowl in his first season. Although his production slipped slightly in 2019, he still produced 912 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns. Michel only missed three matches with the Patriots, but he has dealt with multiple knee injuries throughout his short-lived NFL career. He had fluid drained from his knee ahead of his rookie season and twisted his knee again later that year.

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New England’s running back depth consists Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris and Brandon Bolden. Harris was drafted in the third round last season and barely saw the field, but this could be his chance to step up.

The Patriots’ running back corps is extremely deep and will help navigate the offense without Tom Brady on the field. Michel’s health will be crucial to the success of this season, so it’s something to closely monitor.

When the Patriots chose Michel in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, there was palpable worry about his history of knee injuries coming out of Georgia.

These fears weren’t unmerited. He had fluid drained from his knee before his first game, and he underwent a knee scope in the summer of 2019.

This is the third consecutive offseason where he may not play all of training camp due to a medical issue, and the first time it isn’t his knee. On the bright side, he’s only ever missed three games due to the injury bug, and this surgery doesn’t look to risk any more.

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Owners approve MLB season proposal, plan for July start

Major League Baseball owners accepted a proposal that commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present to players Tuesday on a return-to-play scenario that aims to have baseball back in home stadiums by early July, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The meeting between MLB and the MLB Players Association on Tuesday will set the stage for what both parties expect to be a contentious negotiation.

Although MLB could benefit long-term from being the first American team sport to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, the logistics of beginning the season remain convoluted and require player support. Money is at the heart of the return, sources said.

Owners, fearful of deep financial losses with fan-free stadiums, agreed in a conference call Monday afternoon to a plan that includes a 50-50 revenue split with the players, sources told ESPN.

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Concerns about the league’s handling of testing and ensuring as safe a working environment as possible will be an issue broached by players on Tuesday and in the coming days, sources told ESPN.

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle took to social media Monday to set that table.

As the sides are negotiating, the league will continue to seek consent from governmental entities and support from the medical community for a potential return.

The season could begin Fourth of July weekend, with games around the country in home stadiums. The intra-division-heavy schedule would be to limit travel, with teams possibly traveling by bus to nearby cities.

If any ballpark is not available because state or local officials have not approved the resumption of play, Manfred has told owners that he is prepared to move that team to another city to play home games, a team owner and a team president told ESPN.

Spring training likely would not include any matches, and teams could get ready for the season at their home stadiums. The 50 players available would be a mixture of major leaguers and top minor league players, with the minor league season in jeopardy.

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