Reds boss Rodgers in a rush

first_img Press Association The Northern Irishman, usually so expansive in detailing his thoughts, provided only short responses to questions at his weekly press conference. His briefing routinely lasts at least 15 minutes but Friday’s session in the press room at the club’s Melwood training ground took all of four-and-a-half minutes – and that included 11 questions. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was in an uncharacteristically abrupt mood ahead of Sunday’s visit of Arsenal. He had hoped to secure the Chile international as part of the deal which took Luis Suarez to Barcelona, but when that was not possible he lost a straight fight with Arsenal, with the striker preferring London over Merseyside. “All I know is that he’s a world-class player. He was identified as someone who could come in and be perfect for us,” Rodgers said. “He’s a brilliant player with outstanding quality and even bigger work-rate. We know he will be a threat.” While Sanchez has scored 14 goals this season, Liverpool have struggled up front in the continued absence of injured Daniel Sturridge, with both Balotelli and Rickie Lambert failing to offer a significant contribution. In a change of tactics Rodgers has played Raheem Sterling in the central striking role in the last two matches, and while the 20-year-old fluffed his lines at Old Trafford he looked sharp in scoring twice against Bournemouth. “The kid has been fantastic wherever he’s played this season. He was outstanding the other night,” Rodgers said. “It’s been incredible the stick the kid has received, with people trying to criticise him and put the focus on to him. “He’s been outstanding for us and it was another great performance from him the other night in a difficult game.” In terms of where he will play Sterling on Sunday, Rodgers added: “We’ll see what’s in the best interests of the team.” Rodgers should have been in an upbeat mood after a morale-boosting Capital One Cup quarter-final victory over Bournemouth in midweek, not only because of the result but aspects of the performance, but it seemed far from it. Criticism of Liverpool and their manager has grown over the course of the season, which has so far failed to ignite for a variety of reasons after the fireworks of the previous campaign saw them finished second. Most of it has made little difference to Rodgers’ demeanour but the Reds boss is known to be unhappy about recent media coverage suggesting there is unrest in the dressing room. He has denied there is a problem. He was reluctant to provide anything other than cursory answers but did confirm Liverpool have accepted Mario Balotelli’s one-match ban, imposed on Thursday for his controversial social media posting, that Brad Jones would continue in goal and that they missed out on Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez in the summer. Balotelli indicated on Thursday evening his intention was to comply with the judgment of the independent panel and Rodgers confirmed that was the course of action Liverpool were taking. “We accept the ban so that’s fairly clear,” he said. Asked about the goalkeeping situation, whether he would consider signing a replacement in the January transfer window and whether he had money to spend, Rodgers said: “There’s no change. It’s not something I’m thinking about at the moment.” Rodgers faces the prospect of his primary summer target Sanchez returning to haunt him at Anfield on Sunday. last_img read more

2nd test: Australia nose ahead on 3rd day

first_imgHosts 132/4 at stumps, lead by 175 runs : Kohli hits 25th Test tonPerth: Australia clinched a slight advantage after posting 132/4 in their second innings at stumps on the third day of the second cricket Test against India here on Sunday.Usman Khawaja and skipper Tim Paine were batting on 41 and eight runs respectively when the umpires decided to call it a day. The hosts now have a 175-run lead against India.Earlier in the day, India resumed from their overnight score of 172/3 and India skipper Virat Kohli’s classic centurion knock helped the visitors post a total of 283 runs on the board before being bowled out.Australia had posted 33/0 at tea, with Aaron Finch, who was batting on 25, forced to retire hurt just before the break after being hit on his hand by a Mohammed Shami delivery.The Indian fast bowlers hit back with four wickets in the final session. Shami ended the day with figures of 2/23 while fellow pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma bagged a wicket each.Earlier, off-spinner Nathan Lyon was the most successful of the Australian bowlers with figures of 5/67 as India were dismissed a short while after lunch.The visitors were boosted by a sublime century by skipper Kohli who scored 123 runs off 257 balls with 13 boundaries and a six over third man. It was a crucial knock in difficult circumstances and contained bucket loads of grit and determination as well as pure class.India had lost Kohli’s fellow overnight batsman Ajinkya Rahane right at the start of the day. Rahane could not add to his overnight score of 51.But Kohli and the rookie Hanuma Vihari got together to add 50 runs between them before the latter was caught behind off a sublime delivery by Josh Hazlewood.The visitors suffered a big blow just before lunch when Kohli was caught in the slips off a Pat Cummings delivery.Rishabh Pant played an entertaining, hard hitting knock of 36 before his dismissal virtually ended the visitors’ fight with the bat.The Indian tailenders could not do much with the Australian bowlers dominating the show on a pitch which was giving them plenty of assistance.Brief scores: Australia: 326 and 132/4 (Usman Khawaja 41 batting, Aaron Finch 25; Mohammed Shami 2/23) vs India (First innings): 283 (Virat Kohli 123, Ajinkya Rahane 51; Nathan Lyon 5/67). IANS Also Read: Green Top will Aid India More Than Australia: Vaughanlast_img read more

The Latest: USA Gymnastics cancels all top-tier 2020 events

first_imgThe Mystics originally planned to take to the streets of the nation’s capital on Tuesday, but that was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.Also set aside was a banner-raising ceremony scheduled for the home opener against the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday.It’s not known when the season will begin.So Saturday will feature online festivities.Those will include messages from Mayor Muriel Bowser, Mystics owner Ted Leonsis and coach Mike Thibault, an appearance by player Natasha Cloud, and the first episode of a documentary about the championship run. May 12, 2020 British Athletics says “the decision has been made in light of the ongoing global pandemic.”___World Cup winner Giuseppe Bergomi says he had COVID-19.The former Italy defender says that for 20-25 days beginning in early March his back was in so much pain that he couldn’t sit down.He adds in an Instagram chat that he felt constantly weak. Swedish society hasn’t completely shut down during the coronavirus outbreak because the government and medical authorities have chosen not to impose as many restrictions as other countries.___The club that hosts the Wimbledon tennis tournament says it has made donations worth about $1.5 million to emergency services and charities amid the coronavirus pandemic.The All England Club says it has also made contributions to a relief program to support players whose income is particularly affected by the virus outbreak.All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt says “Wimbledon has the responsibility and the capacity to act as a force for good.” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski can finally call Cleveland home.After delaying his family’s move from Minnesota because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stefanski, his wife and his young kids made the trip to Ohio over the weekend.“We did an 11-hour drive on Friday and powered through that,” he told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt late Monday night. “I was proud of myself. It was interesting. The license plate game is hard right now because there’s not a lot of cars on the road. But the kids were pretty good. Thank God for the iPads, and now happy to be in Cleveland.”Stefanski spent 14 seasons as an assistant with the Vikings before he was hired by the Browns in January.During his introductory news conference, Stefanski said he knew about Cleveland’s east side-west side divide and wasn’t sure where to live. He wound up settling in a western suburb. The Latest: USA Gymnastics cancels all top-tier 2020 events The organization announced Tuesday it is scrapping the U.S. Classic and the national championships because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization had initially hoped to reschedule the events for later in 2020 after Tokyo Olympics were pushed back to the summer of 2021.USA Gymnastics president Li Li Leung called the decision “in the best interest” of the gymnastics community after receiving guidance from health experts and consulting with coaches and athletes. The 2021 U.S. Classic will be held in Hartford, Conn., on May 21. The 2021 national championships will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, from June 3-6. A new date for the Olympic trials, initially scheduled for June in St. Louis, has not yet been set.The organization’s national congress and trade show, which typically runs simultaneously with the national championships, will be held virtually this year. USA Gymnastics said tickets already purchased for the 2020 events will be valid for the new dates, though it will offer refunds for a limited time.___ The Prefontaine meet in Eugene, Oregon, is set for Oct. 4. The season-ending meet is Oct. 17 in China at a city to be decided.World Athletics says Zurich will now have the finals in 2021 and 2022 and Eugene has agreed to push back its finals back by one year to 2023.___London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he believes it is too early for the Premier League to be planning a resumption of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham and West Ham all play in the capital. The league says games will take place at various times during the daytime and evening “so that as many matches as possible are made available to football fans” while stadiums are closed.FC Midtjylland leads FC Copenhagen by 12 points at the top of the standings.___The Diamond League event in London is the latest track meet to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.The meet had been scheduled for July 4-5 at the Olympic Stadium. This year’s grass-court Grand Slam event was canceled on April 1. It is the first time Wimbledon has been shelved since World War II.___The Austrian soccer league is set to resume next month in empty stadiums following clearance from the government.Soccer federation president Leo Windtner met with vice chancellor Werner Kogler and says the path is clear to restart. Training could resume this week.The league is expected to set a date for games at a meeting of clubs Wednesday. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinReddit The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___USA Gymnastics will not hold any top-tier events the rest of this year. No Austrian league games have been played since early March. LASK Linz leads Salzburg by three points at the top of the standings.___The Diamond League circuit of track meets has a new, shorter schedule from mid-August through mid-October because of the coronavirus pandemic.World Athletics says the adapted program can “give athletes time to prepare mentally, stay motivated and adjust training for competition.”The series is now set to start in Monaco on Aug. 14 with two more European meets scheduled for later that month. Four more European meets in September will be followed by Shanghai on Sept. 19. The mayor’s office says the league should resume only “when it is safe to do so.”British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that sports events in the country could resume in June if there is not a new spike in COVID-19 infections.Liverpool led the league by 25 points with nine games remaining when the league was suspended in March.___FIFA has rescheduled two women’s events for next year and will hold its 2020 annual meeting online. Associated Press ___Swedish soccer players will not be required to take a test for COVID-19 before practice sessions or matches.Players will instead have to fill in a self-assessment form each morning before arriving at training or a match. The club doctor will then assess whether the player is healthy enough to take part. Players must stay at home if they have any symptoms.The Swedish league says the principle in the country is that only people who are feeling so ill that they must visit the hospital get a ”full-scale corona test.”The return-to-play protocols have been presented to Sweden’s public health authority. A decision is expected this week on whether the Swedish league can start next month. German soccer clubs will decide whether to adopt a rule change to increase the number of substitutions when they meet by video conference on Thursday.The International Football Association Board agreed last week to let teams use two extra substitutes per match in 2020. That should help leagues clear a backlog of games created by the coronavirus pandemic.Leagues can choose whether or not to adopt the rule change.The German league is scheduled to restart on Saturday.The German league also says it will stop publishing centralized statistics for its coronavirus testing program and will leave that up to the clubs. ___The Danish soccer league will resume on May 28 with games in empty stadiums.The league has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus outbreak.The first game will be between AGF and Randers to complete the 24th round. The 25th round will start on May 29.All games in the 26th and final round will be held on June 7. The playoffs will follow with the season scheduled to end on July 29. FIFA says the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama will start on Jan. 20 and the Under-17 Women’s World Cup will be in India from Feb. 17.Both 2020 tournaments were postponed in April because of the coronavirus pandemic.FIFA says both tournaments will retain their eligibility rules. The same players can be selected even if they have a birthday early in 2021.The FIFA Congress was due to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sept. 18 but will now be an online event.___ Stefanski and his staff have been holding daily Zoom calls during the team’s offseason program, which has been forced to be virtual because of the virus. On Monday, Cleveland’s rookies joined the meetings.Stefanski believes the sessions have worked well.“Players, young people, are a resilient bunch, and I think they learn under these unique circumstances,” he said.___On the day they were supposed to hold a parade to mark their 2019 WNBA championship, the Washington Mystics have revealed plans for what the team is billing as a “virtual celebration.” The 56-year-old Bergomi says he has recovered.Bergomi played for Inter Milan and is now an analyst for soccer matches on Italy’s Sky TV. He helped Italy to the 1982 World Cup title.___The qualifying tournament for the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.Bangladesh, Ireland, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States, the West Indies and Zimbabwe were to play in the tournament in Sri Lanka from July 3-19 and three were to qualify. The International Cricket Council has not set new dates.The Women’s World Cup is in New Zealand in February and March.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more

Syracuse hits 3 homers in doubleheader split with Fordham

first_img Published on April 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm Contact Liam: lpsull01@syr.edu Syracuse (13-18, 0-6 Atlantic Coast) split a doubleheader Wednesday, defeating Fordham (16-14, 3-2 Atlantic 10), 4-2, before losing 7-3 in the second game to the Rams.The Orange began the scoring in the first game when Sydney O’Hara hit a three-run home run in the third inning. Maddi Doane hit a solo homerun in the following inning to cap off the team’s scoring.Fordham rallied for one run in the fourth inning and one run in the sixth, but Jocelyn Cater finished the game strong, pitching her eleventh complete game of the season. She allowed only one earned run on five hits, surrendering two walks and striking out six.SU kicked off the scoring in the second game in the top of the first with a two-run home run from Corinne Ozanne. Fordham answered back in the bottom half of the second when Lindsey Larkin gave up three runs and the lead on three hits, including a two-run home run.Syracuse recorded its third and final run of the second game on an RBI single to right field from Rachel Burkhardt.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLarkin lasted four innings, giving up four runs on five hits, before AnnaMarie Gatti came on in relief to pitch the final two innings. Gatti gave up two runs on four hits, recording a strikeout and walking two in her first action of the season.SU was unable to muster more than three hits the entire game and fell 7-3. Syracuse will next play North Carolina (24-9, 9-2 ACC) in a Saturday doubleheader at SU Softball Stadium, SU’s first home games of the year, starting at 1 p.m. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Men’s and women’s tennis compete away from home

first_img“We are not quitters,” head coach Brett Masi said after the match. “It just shows the amount of heart and desire that these guys have, and [our] never — say — done mentality.”  Later, during an intense semifinal against then-No. 13 Michigan, USC fell into a 3-1 hole with its only point coming from Smith. Once again, the Trojans did not back down, as Dostanic, Jackson and Cukierman won their matches to deliver the Trojans a 4-3 victory.  “Winning the national indoors definitely is something that’s a goal, and they are going to look at it and [say], ‘This is a super special moment,’” Masi said. “The way we won it and how we did it, that just builds us and gives us more and more confidence.” After defeating Michigan, USC faced then-No. 5 North Carolina in the tournament’s finals. The Tar Heels were coming off an impressive victory against Ohio State, sweeping the Buckeyes 4-0. The men’s team will now look ahead to weekend matches against Army and Air Force at Marks Stadium while the women’s team will prepare to face San Diego State and UCSD Friday and Saturday on the road. In the quarterfinals, the Trojans faced a familiar foe in the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal, who the Trojans easily handled 6-1 earlier this season. USC repeated the performance Saturday, winning 4-0.  USC took its top players to the competition: then-No. 1 junior Daniel Cukierman, No. 15 sophomore Mor Bulis, No. 24 senior Brandon Holt, No. 33 senior Riley Smith, No. 65 freshman Stefan Dostanic, No. 69 freshman Ryder Jackson and sophomore Bradley Frye all traveled to Madison.  Masi said he thinks the win will provide a confidence boost for the squad. In the Round of 16 Friday, USC had a minor scare during a match against then-No. 11 TCU. The Trojans dug themselves into a 2-1 deficit early, with their lone point coming from Dostanic. Fortunately for USC, Smith, Bulis and Cukierman all fought back, winning the match 4-2.   Up 3-2, the Trojans only needed one more win to take the matchup; however, the team failed to cement the victory. Van Alphen lost to No. 122 junior Ally Bojczuk, 6-4, 3-6, 1-6, and Jaeger lost in a tight match against redshirt sophomore Julia Lilien, losing a tiebreaker in the final set, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (3). In singles, the Trojans started off slow as Holt retired in his match against Blumberg because of illness, which tied up the score 1-1. This didn’t faze the Trojans. Cukierman, Dostanic and Bulis all proceeded to win in straight sets against their opponents, winning the final 4-1. In doubles play against UNC, it came down to the wire as the two teams were tied 1-1. The No. 58 partnership of Cukierman and Smith was able to seal the deal against UNC senior William Blumberg and sophomore Brian Cernoch in a tiebreaker 7-6 (5). The USC men’s tennis team traveled to Madison, Wis., this past weekend and triumphed over some of the toughest competition in the country to take home the ITA National Team Indoor title. Over 1,300 miles away, the then-No. 19 USC women’s team fell to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the USTA College MatchDay event in Orlando, Fla.  Senior Riley Smith paired with junior Daniel Cukierman to help deliver the Trojans the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. (Daily Trojan File Photo) While the men’s team competed in Madison, the women’s team faced off against Notre Dame as part of the USTA’s College MatchDay event. USC freshmen Eryn Cayetano and Payton Saca; sophomores Estella Jaeger and No. 119 Danielle Willson; and seniors No. 108 Sydney Van Alphen and No. 15 Angela Kulikov represented USC at the event. In a hard-fought match, USC fell 4-3 to the Irish. The Trojans went up early, winning the doubles point thanks to the partnerships of Jaeger and Willson and Cayetano and Kulikov. However, in singles play, the Irish came back, quickly winning two points in a row as Saca and Willson both fell. Still, the Trojans were relentless, as Cayetano beat junior Cameron Corse in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, and Kulikov won in similar fashion against senior Zoe Spence, 6-4, 6-2.  “Inspirational, one-of-a-kind, never seen anything like it,” Masi said. “We were very sick, we have injuries, we have everything, [but] every guy on the team stepped up and did their part, and if it wasn’t for that courageous effort, we don’t get it done [today].” Last week the men’s team experienced its fair share of ups and downs. After ranking No. 1 in the nation, the Trojans lost to the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes. USC bounced back during its next match against Wisconsin and presumably hoped to carry the momentum from that win into the ITA National Team Indoor Tournament, an event the Trojans hadn’t won since 2012.last_img read more

Wladimir Klitschko Retires From Boxing, Ends Anthony Joshua Re-match

first_imgFormer WBA, IBF, and WBO world heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, has announced his retirement from boxing.The 41-year-old retirement ends rematch talks with British boxer, Anthony Joshua, who knocked out the Ukrainian in the 11th round at Wembley in April.In his retirement video posted on his official website before it crashed, Klitschko said: “I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports,”“I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career,”In his 21 years illustrious career, Wladimir Klitschko fought in 69 bouts, losing just 5 matches, with 64 wins and 53 Knockouts.The statement continues: “Twenty-seven years ago I started my journey in sport. It was the best choice of a profession I could have made. Because of this choice, I have traveled the world, learned new languages, created business, built intellectual properties, helped people in need.“At some point in our lives we need to switch our careers and get ourselves ready for the next chapter – obviously I am not an exception to this.“I am expecting and hoping my next career, which I have already been planning and working on for some years, will be at least as successful as the previous one, if not more successful.”Klitschko, who also won an Olympic gold medal in Atlanta 1996 before turning professional, went 11 year’s unbeaten en route winning WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles.RelatedWBA Orders Anthony Joshua To Fight Luis Ortiz Following Klitschko’s RetirementAugust 4, 2017In “Sports”Povetkin Bout Ushers In A New Chapter In My Career – Anthony JoshuaJuly 18, 2018In “Boxing”Swansea City vs Manchester UnitedJune 30, 2017Similar postlast_img read more

#AFCONonCiti: Mahrez last gasp winner handles Les Fennecs a place in the final

first_imgIt was a very tough game today especially when we were ahead and they equalized from the penalty. At the end, we had this freekick and we scored. We are very happy to be in the final of the AFCON because is something unbelievable. Djamel Belmadi (Coach, Algeria) It was a great fight until the last minute. Algeria had a better first half than us but we came back in the second half. We thought Algeria could be tired in extra time and we could win it. We are sad that we lost of course, but congratulations to Algeria. We won the last game against South Africa late and today we lost. That is football. What they saidRiyad Mahrez (Total Man of the Match) Gernot Rohr (Coach, Nigeria)center_img A last gasp goal from star Riyad Mahrez led Algeria to reach the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations final match after defeating Nigeria 2-1 at Cairo International Stadium on Sunday night. They will face their group opponents Senegal in the grand final next Friday (19 July 2019) at the same venue with the Holy Grail of African football at stake.Mahrez cross led to William Troost-Ekong putting the ball into his own net after 40 minutes, before VAR gave Nigeria a penalty from which Odion Ighalo found the equalizer at the 70th minute. But Mahrez scored a superb freekick to hand Les Fennecs a place in the final four minutes into stoppage time amidst wild celebrations from Algerian supporters.Possession swung between both sides in the first minutes with players looking cautious. The game’s first real chance came at the quarter hour mark from a free kick that Isamil Bennacer sent to Rami Bensabaini, but the defender’s header went just wide.With possession going towards Les Fennecs side, Baghdad Bounedjah was about to give Algeria the lead after 29 minutes. Youcef Belaili pass found the striker who rounded his marker, but his shot went straight to Nigeria’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi hands.The first real chance for the Super Eagles came after 38 minutes when Alex Iwobi found Odion Ighalo, but the striker’s shot went wide.Les Fennecs broke the deadlock five minutes from the break. Riyad Mahrez sent a calling cross that was deflected from Nigeria’s defender William Troost-Ekong to his own net giving Algeria a deserved lead into the halftime.Nigeria started the second half on attacking note trying to find the equalizer, but found a resolute Algerian defense that stopped all their attempts. Alex Iwobi tried from distance on the hour mark but missed the target widely.Algeria tried depending on the counter attack, but couldn’t make a difference. And after 70 minutes the game took a turnaround. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervened to give Nigeria a penalty for a handball on Aissa Mandi. Odion Ighalo made no mistake from the spot to tie the game at 1-1.Algeria players looked fatigued and tried to keep their opponents at bay, relying on Mahrez and Belaili’s speed in counter attacks.Ismail Bennacer could have given Algeria the lead two minutes into stoppage time but his shot kissed the crossbar.And it was Mahrez who won the match for Les Fennecs four minutes after the full time mark when his free kick was perfectly placed over the wall and into the net to lead Les Fennecs to the final for the second time in their history and the first since 1990.Total Man of the Match: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) The guys made an amazing first half. We deserved to score more. In the second half we had a difficult moment for around 15 minutes where we were under pressure. After the penalty players showed great attitude and mental strength and coming back until the end, fighting to score a goal was great for us. Source: CAFlast_img read more

Opoku Ware clinch Sprite Ball title

first_imgOpoku Ware School (OWASS) has won the tenth anniversary edition of the Sprite Ball Championship after the Ashanti Region side beat Mfantsipim School 27-25 in the final game of the tournament. Opoku Ware completed revenged the semi final loss to the same side in the last edition.OWASS started off on a good note as the side pummeled Mfantsipim with a flurry of baskets including a pair of three point shots from Shooting Guard Emmanuel Agyapong and running layups from Emmanuel Harris.At the end of the first half, OWASS led 19-9 in what was turning out to be a landslide win for the Kumasi side who kept danger men Kofi Aboagye Acheampong and Phixon Selwyn in check.However, quick reaction from Mfantsipim early in the second half signaled a revival from the record winner of the competition. Midway through the half, Mfantsipim took a 24-23 lead before Harris sank completed a three point play to restore Opoku Ware’s lead and seal victory.St. John’s School won bronze after beating Pope John’s Senior High School 23-16. Fellow Cape-Coast based side Wesley Girls High School had much better fortunes as it beat Kumasi Girls Senior High School 6-4 in the girls division to win the Championship.last_img read more

Fundamentally, why couldn’t Matt Kemp ever get it right?

first_imgThe fundamental flaw in the Dodgers’ dastardly dispersal of Matt Kemp is kinda obvious ‑ how do you simply give him, and a $32 million check, to a division rival that you have to compete against 19 times a year, including on opening day?Most Dodgers fans who aren’t already overwrought by the overwroughtness of this whole thing know there’s a second part to that question: How many of those 19 games will Kemp actually be healthy enough to play in?And the fundamental reason for that reality can’t be overlooked: Kemp never has, and likely never will, understood the fundamentals of the game.Six years after he became the Dodgers’ regular center fielder, he’d continue to misjudge fly balls as if they were Frisbees thrown at him from home plate. Eight years after his big-league call-up, he’d still get picked off first base for no apparent reason other than he was leaning the wrong way.From this day forward, it’s a guarantee that he’ll forget that the simple duty he has at the plate with a runner on third and less than two out is not to over-swing on the first pitch and pop out to the third baseman.Kemp’s gifted athletic ability could often erase some of those mistakes ‑ and when that happened, it was MVP-quality work on his resume. But only for short windows at a time.That gift has been eroded by years of major injuries, some of them caused by his fundamental lack of fundamentals.You remember what put him on the shelf at the midway point of the 2013 season and took him nearly a full year to recover from, right? It was that injury in Washington that was described in an Associated Press account that usually refrains from such editorializing: “Kemp hurt his left ankle sliding into home plate on a force play, a needless injury that came from lack of hustle.” Simply, it was a lack of knowing what he was supposed to do ‑ stand up or slide? He pulled a Pedro Guerrero and tried both.Even as Kemp finally reached the age of 30 last season, it’s not as if he was as reckless on the bases or in the field as Yasiel Puig, but instincts that should have been instilled years ago never kicked in. The learning curve never came around the bend.Kemp, instead, would break and instead of bend.It was the kind of stuff that drove former coach Larry Bowa to eat his cap after trying to break Kemp in with some tough love. Bowa came to figure out that he didn’t have the soft touch that Dodgers management wanted in handling the touch-n-go Kemp, so Bowa wasn’t included on Don Mattingly’s new coaching staff when he took over in 2011.What never changed was Bowa’s assessment of Kemp: “He’s a five-tool player, but he’d bring you five tools on Monday and sometimes one tool on Tuesday. … He’s not a bad kid. It just looked like he had other things on his mind.“I was trying to get him to see what he was doing or not doing. Some people call it ‘old school.’ I just call it playing baseball the right way.”Right or wrong, the Hollywood lights also had Kemp blinded and blindsided. L.A. brought him fame and attention like no other Dodger perhaps since Steve Garvey ‑ cover shots on Sports Illustrated, ESPN magazine or Forbes, along with GQ spreads that made it fashionable to adore him across many demographics. Then there was that whole Rihanna situation that led fans to believe she had become Kemp’s Kryptonite, and perpetuated his undeserved superhero status.Look at it this way: If Magic Johnson had any kind of clout as a Dodgers part owner, why wouldn’t he, of all people, stopped talking about how the Lakers should lose the rest of their games and focused on telling these new Dodger matrix maniacs that losing Kemp would be a huge PR blunder, because here was that rare home-grown star who kept smiling in front of the cameras and hitting home runs to right-center field like no one else in the lineup?Perhaps in a time when sports business supersedes fan loyalty, and pitching and defense are what win games instead of solo homers, someone must have showed Magic a recent FanGraphs chart where Kemp was No. 1 on the list ‑ of the MLB’s worst fielding outfielders from 2013-14, with a UZR/150 number of minus-29. That’s not the chemistry equation they use at the Rawlings factory to dip gold gloves.Know what’ll be poetic? On Opening Day ’15 at Dodger Stadium, the Padres’ new No. 3 hitter Kemp reaches first base on some kind of fielder’s choice, jammed by a Clayton Kershaw fastball inside, somehow able to beat the throw on a double play when Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins take an extra second too long.Before the next batter gets comfortable in the box, Kershaw sidearms the ball over to Adrian Gonzalez and picks Kemp off first.Inning over. Doubts ended.And can we stop with the comparisons of this mirroring that dark time in Dodgers history when non-baseball business men in the post-O’Malley era banished 28-year-old five-time All-Star Mike Piazza and his contract whining to Miami in the middle of the 1998 season for some puka shells and a regional TV deal?This one actually matches up quite nicely to the winter of 2010, when Toronto brilliantly sent 31-year-old All-Star Vernon Wells to the Angels. It’s just that the Angels gave up two in return with some value ‑ Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.Then they took over Wells’ contract that called for some $50 million paid out over the two seasons that he didn’t do much of anything in Anaheim. They finally got the Yankees to take him off their hands, along with a $28 million payment in 2013.All’s well that didn’t end well for Wells in that scenario. Kemp’s red-flagged, high-risk shelf life should be four years, tops, as a potential Dodger tormentor.Even then, it’s not like it’s going to end with him trying to decide if he’ll have his L.A. cap or S.D. cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, right?More questions to be answered on the blog at www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarthcenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

AARP leader says COVID-19 a ‘wake-up call’ for nursing homes

first_imgJOHNSTON — AARP’s state director says it’s time to revisit the model of elder care in Iowa.Brad Anderson says surveys consistently show older Iowans would prefer to stay at home rather than enter a nursing home, yet Anderson says Iowa has among the highest rates of people with low-care needs in nursing homes.“There are a lot of people in nursing homes right now that could get that care or better at home, which is where they want to be,” Anderson says. “COVID-19 is a wake-up call to this industry and the time has come to start having those conversations at the federal level and at the state level.”A spokesman for the industry says federal standards forbid people from being admitted to nursing homes unless they have a need for skilled care. AARP urges policymakers to consider shifting spending to in-home and community-based services. Anderson also says it’s time to ensure the 55,000 Iowans who care for elderly Iowans are properly compensated for their work.“The median age for a direct care worker right now is $13.80,” Anderson says. “$13.80 is not enough money for the type of work these folks are doing.”The state website indicates there are at least COVID-19 outbreaks in 39 Iowa nursing homes. Anderson says the employees and the 23,000 Iowans who live in nursing homes need to be tested regularly for COVID-19, to guard against outbreaks.“It is incredibly sad what is happening in nursing homes today and we have to do better,” Anderson says. “The virus in nursing homes is just like a prairie fire that is blazing across a dry prairie and we need to do everything we can to stop that fire.”Anderson made his comments recently during an appearance on Iowa PBS.last_img read more