<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News, Photos, and Scores for the Padres, Chargers and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Sat, 28 Mar 2015 07:30:04 -0700 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 07:30:04 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Brady Aiken Has Tommy John Surgery]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 23:38:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/aiken+2.jpg

Cathedral Catholic High School star Brady Aiken was the number one overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. But, the left-handed pitcher never signed with the Astros.

Houston tried to pull back a large chunk of their proposed signing bonus due to what they say was a problem with Aiken's left (pitching) elbow.

Aiken ended up at Florida's IMG Academy and was working out, throwing well, expecting to be a top-10 pick again in 2015.

Now, he doesn't know where, or even when, he'll be pitching.

This week Aiken had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left elbow. He says it happened during a game and is not the result of whatever problem the Astros claimed they saw (read Aiken's full explanation here).

With Tommy John procedures being as common and effective as they are these days, Aiken should make a full recovery in 12 to 18 months. It might not even impact his Draft status by much.

Aiken's body of work and substantial upside could still be enough to persuade a team to take him with a first round pick. The Diamondbacks have the first overall selection. The Astros pick 5th and can not take Aiken again without his consent.

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<![CDATA[What If James Bond Was a Pro Athlete?]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:54:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/spectre-FIRST-LOOK-1_rgb.jpg

James Bond is the greatest spy the world (of cinema) has ever seen. On Friday the first full-blown trailer of "SPECTRE," the 24th installment of the 007 movie franchise, was online.

It hints at unraveling some of the myestery surrounding Bond's past, answering questions that were presented in "Skyfall." Now, we know Bond has always been a physically imposing man so he must have a background in athletics.

But was he good enough to have gone pro in a sport instead of saving the world every few years or so?

Not much is known about Bond's formative years aside from schools he attended after the loss of his parents. But, a man who has been as successful in sports as he has been must have played something at some time, and played it well.

Perhaps the most obvious sporting pursuit of 007 is skiing. James has taken to the slopes in multiple films (and the picture accompanying this story suggests he does it again in "SPECTRE") with great success.

Bond briefly attending the University of Geneva (as did the character’s creator, Sir Ian Fleming) before being taught to ski in Kitzbühel, a world-renowned ski resort in Austria. Between 1950 and 1960, the peak of Fleming’s Bond works, Toni Sailer, Ernst Hinterseer, Hias Leitner, Anderl Molterer, Fritz Huber and Christian Pravda dominated skiing, winning 27 medals in the Winter Olympic Games and World Skiing Championships.

All of them were from Kitzbühel. So, for Bond to have held his own on those slopes at that time, he must have been pretty good. Focusing on that sport instead of joining British intelligence could have put 007 on the cover of a Wheaties box.

Perhaps the only things Bond has been on as often as skis are horses. Bond has raced on horseback in “Quantum Of Solace,” “The Living Daylights,” and “A View To A Kill.”

But, those are far from his only sporting endeavors. A brief look at the games he’s participated in over the years (and none of this includes any of the countless car and boat races or card games like poker or blackjack he’s become famous for):

Goldfinger

Bond has to play golf against Dr. Auric Goldfinger for a bar of Nazi gold. He holds his own but only wins when he switches balls and DQ’s the evil doctor. The ball, however, does not enjoy the ruse when Oddjob crushes it in his fist.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Going back to his winter sport roots, Bond tries his hand at bobsled racing. James and Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Telly Savalas) are in a battle when they find the starting line of a bobsled track. Blofeld takes off first but Bond proves to be the superior pilot, catching up to Blofeld, climbing in to his sled for a fistfight, and sticking the villain on a low-hanging tree branch. A lesser athlete would have never been able to pull that off.

A View To A Kill

Before it became cool and Shaun White took it global, James Bond was snowboarding for survival. When his skis are shot off trying to escape from a Siberian mountain, Bond takes the metal runner from a blown-up snowmobile, straps it to his feet, and boards away (fittingly, with 'California Girls' by the Beach Boys playing in the background).

Die Another Day

Once again, Bond’s version of sports usually involves trying to avoid mortal wounding. He engages in a fencing match against Gustav Graves, a North Korean warlord who had his look and voice changed to pass as a well-do-to Brit (surprisingly NOT the most far-fetched aspect of this regrettable Bond film). Bond draws Graves in to a, “first blood drawn from the torso!” duel, taking the fight through a lovely home before Miranda Frost (in the film debut of one Rosamund Pike), an Olympic fencing gold medalist, breaks it up and declares Bond the victor.

That’s a fairly impressive resume, and one would have to assume Bond also played soccer while attending school. A man of his obvious athletic ability and mental toughness would have been a natural on the pitch.

Plus, it’s kind of interesting that when David Beckham, one of the most well-known figures in England’s football history, played for Manchester United, one of the world’s most well-known teams, he wore #7. Put a couple of 00’s in front of it and Bond would have delivered the United Kingdom a World Cup title years ago.

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<![CDATA[City, County to Partner in Chargers' Stadium Plans]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:27:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/107639414.jpg

The City of San Diego will partner with San Diego County to seek stadium options to keep the Chargers in town, officials announced on Thursday.

Faulconer has already developed a stadium advisory group to explore options for a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers. Thursday’s announcement of a partnership between the city and county entails that the costs in finding a new stadium will be split between city and county government.

“Clearly, having our own experts on board to evaluate a potential new stadium is critical to protecting the interests of county taxpayers,” County Supervisor Ron Roberts said in a joint city-county news release.

The news release said the city and county will each pay half the costs to retain consultants, attorneys and other experts to develop a stadium plan. Both the city and county won’t contribute more than $250,000 in these efforts.

The board of supervisors and city councilors are expected to vote to pass the agreement early next month.

The mayor’s advisory group has already chosen the current Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley as the best location for a new stadium. The group will release a financing plan in May.

Meanwhile, the group Carson2gether delivered a petition with thousands of signatures to Carson City Hall in its attempt to get an NFL stadium built in that area.

Local political leaders have emphasized they want to see the Chargers stay in San Diego.

“The San Diego Chargers are an important asset for the entire county, not just the city,” City Councilor Scott Sherman said in a news release. “In order to keep our team in the region, it is important that the city and county come together to find the best deal for taxpayers and the NFL.”

The city also is expected to select a financing option next month from an investment banker. Five firms have responded to the city’s request for financing proposals.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Autistic Boy Forced to Remove His Letter Jacket]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:40:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/LetterJacket.jpg A mother is outraged after her son's school forces him to remove a varsity letter jacket because special-needs athletes aren't allowed to wear the letters.]]> <![CDATA[Ultimate Padres Fan Experience Sweepstakes]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:02:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres-2015-Ult-Exp.jpg

Are you excited to see the new San Diego Padres take the field this season?

If your answer is a resounding “heck yes!” then you will want to get in on NBC 7’s Ultimate Padres Fan Experience Sweepstakes.

Here is the list of all that is included in the exciting prize package:

  • 4 tickets to Opening Day game vs. San Francisco Giants at Petco Park on April 9
  • 4 tickets to May 15 vs. Washington Nationals, includes admission to Party in the Park on May 15
  • Ian Kennedy autographed, authenticated baseball
  • Andrew Cashner Camouflage Jersey
  • Padres Swag: Hat, T-shirt, tote bag, lapel pin, wristbands, squishy balls, license plate cover, pens, cups, collapsible water bottle, floppy beach hat, Petco Park 10-year celebration canvas, holiday ornament, temporary tattoos and last but certainly not least - collar stays!

Click HERE to enter to win the Ultimate Padres Fan Experience. Enter daily to increase your chances of winning and be sure to share with friends so they can take you to Opening Day if they win! Good luck!
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Bowl Games Branch Out to Basketball, Golf for Spring Events]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:41:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Golf+Ball+Generic.jpg

The Bowl Games bring football-mania to San Diego every winter, but spring activities to raise money for the annual events are celebrating other sports.

The San Diego Bowl Games Association is putting together a basketball tournament and a golf classic, both open to the public – for an entry fee.

On May 2 and 3, the Jack in the Box “Hoops at the Beach” will pit teams of three against each other at Bonita Cove Park in Mission Bay. The tournament will include a slam dunk contest, 3-point shootout, free throw challenge and elite division play.

Players of all ages and abilities can enter. Entry fees are $50 for a youth team, $75 for a high school team and $100 for an adult team, and registration closes on May 1 at 5 p.m. Sunday is Family Day, so kids 3 to 8 years old can play too.

Then, on June 22, the Holiday Bowl Golf Classic takes over the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo starting at 8:30 a.m. Early bird entries start at $250 a person and $1,000 for a foursome.

All proceeds from both events go to the San Diego Bowl Game Association, a nonprofit.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[County Becomes Impact Player in Stadium Scramble]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:52:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chargers-Bolt-Generic.jpg

NBC 7's Gene Cubbison offers this analysis on the latest moves behind the Chargers stadium scramble.

After eight weeks of political shadow-boxing and misdirection plays, there's been a sudden, upward-momentum swing in the city's quest for a new stadium.

The county of San Diego has just checked into a lineup of civic interests dedicated to keeping the Chargers local, pledging help to move the long-awaited project forward.

"We're going to roll up our sleeves and we're going to do some work,” County Supervisor Ron Roberts told a scrum of journalists and TV camera crews at a noon-hour news conference Thursday outside the County Administration Center. “We’re going to join with the city in sharing some expenses so we can start to move forward on the first steps that are needed."

Setting aside frustrations and passive-aggressive hostility involving the Chargers' objections to rebuilding in Mission Valley, it would seem that confidence in San Diego’s big-ticket financing power has improved substantially.

Given the county’s credit ratings -- far superior to the city's – and newfound skin in the game, it’s clear the county could wind up being a game-changer.

Roberts has spoken of up-front “bridge loans” to bankroll construction efforts – but for modest starters, the county will split a half-million dollar tab for outside lawyers and investment bankers.

That alone could send a market signal to the NFL, and other cities hoping to land league franchises, that the entire region means business.

Said Mayor Kevin Faulconer: "For the first time, you're seeing the political will come together. I'm only interested in success. The people behind me are only interested in success. That is a powerful statement of where I think we need to go."

However, one of Roberts’ colleagues sounded a cautionary note – because observers including the Chargers warn of devils in the details such as downside investment risks.

"I love the Chargers, but I have to look at this as a business decision first," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "If county government puts skin into the game, we must make sure any agreement with the Chargers is a good deal for taxpayers … I will not support a deal that compromises essential public services and resources. We also will not put the county's financial health at risk."

It's been 50 years almost to the day that construction began on what later became Qualcomm Stadium, under a city-county "joint powers" authority that got the place built for $27 million.

Now it'll take that kind of teamwork to produce a billion-dollar plus replacement on the same site, which the Chargers are rejecting in favor of a hybrid stadium and convention facility in downtown's East Village.

Failing those options, and for bargaining leverage, the team is plotting a fallback move to a co-op home with the Raiders in the city of Carson -- efforts that are on a municipal fast track there.

Can San Diego overcome a potential underdog situation?

"We look forward to sitting down with the Chargers to negotiate and work with them in good faith -- as they have said they would do," City Attorney Jan Goldsmith

But there are growing doubts about whether the Bolts are really acting in good faith.

Will the merging of city and county efforts wind up keeping the team from leaving for greener turf in the L.A. market?

"We've had very positive conversations with the Chargers,” Faulconer said, “and will continue (to); very positive conversations with the NFL, for us to be successful."

Pressed on the sincerity of the Bolts’ commitment to a local solution, the mayor responded, dismissively: "I get asked a lot about Los Angeles. But I say, while I cannot control what's happening in Los Angeles, we can control what we're doing right here in San Diego. And this is what this is all about."

Meantime, the mayor's nine-member stadium advisory group is game-planning financial proposals they’ve vowed to submit by a May 20th deadline.

Whatever emerges from negotiations -- if something finally does -- will be subject to a countywide vote.

For their part, The Chargers issued a statement Thursday welcoming the involvement of the city attorney, outside counsel and investment bankers, and “look forward” to working with them.

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<![CDATA[Former UNC Coach, Dean Smith, Leaves $200 to Former Players]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:45:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/80261754.jpg

Every letter winner who played for former North Carolina basketball coach, Dean Smith, was granted with a heart-warming suprise a month after his death: $200 dollars from his estate.

A letter sent to 180 players was sent from Smith's trustee, stating: "Each player was important and special to Coach Smith and when he prepared his estate plan, Coach wanted to reach out to each of his letterman. Accordingly, Coach directed that following his passing each letterman be sent a two hundred dollar ($200.00) check with the message 'enjoy a dinner out, compliments of Coach Dean Smith.'

Smith, who died at age 83 last month, went 879-254 in his years at North Carolina, landing him in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983. However, Smith was also known for the compassion he had for his players.

In 1965, Smith helped a black North Carolina graudation student, Howard Lee, purchase a home in an all-white neighborhood during segregations. A year later, Smith intergrated the Tar Heels, recruiting Charlie Scott, who became the first African-American scholarship player in the school's history.

Serge Zwikker, who played for Smith from 1993-1997, told ESPN: "My wife opened the letter and handed it to me. At first  I didn't know what it was, but when it hit me, it put a tear in my eye. Even after he passed, he was still all about this players."

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<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:07:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/topSports-USA-DEN-467516564.jpg Click to see dramatic sports photos from the NFL, to basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: FrontzoneSport via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wisconsin Basketball Player Accidentally Admits Crush]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:13:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2015-03-26-at-5.37.13-PM.jpg

Cattywampus. Onomatopoeia. Antidisestablishmentarianism. For Nigel Hayes, University of Wisconsin  basketball forward, these are the words of a modern love letter.

Hayes answered reporters covering the NCAA March Madness tournament with these arbitrary words in a press conference a couple days ago, stumping everyone in the room.  Hayes originally joked that he wanted to break up the monotony of the stenographer’s job with some unique words.

A reporter kicked off the latest news conference asking Hayes if he wanted to say anything to the stenographer, Debra Bollman, before they began, in which he responded: “syzygy”.

A hot mic then picked up Hayes whispering to his teammate, “God, she’s beautiful.” His eyes lit up when he heard laughter in the room. He asked Bollman, “Did you hear that?” She responded “yes” before Hayes covered his face with his hands in embarrassment.

While it's not yet known whether Hayes’ “soliloquy” will help him get a date with Bollman, he can at least say he's made her day more interesting.


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<![CDATA[Petition Backing NFL Stadium for Carson Delivered]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:22:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/3-26-2015-PetitionDelivery.JPG

A major step was taken toward getting an NFL stadium built in Carson after a petition was delivered to city hall.

While 8,041 signatures were needed, the group Carson2gether managed to get almost double that number.

More than 40 boxes full of paper were handed over to officials Wednesday calling for the city council to immediately discuss the proposed joint San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders stadium.

It comes after a rally was held last weekend in the city in an attempt to secure the required number of signatures. The council will now be able to approve the proposal outright or make the issue a ballot measure. 

The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders announced in February they are working on a joint proposal to build a 72,000-seat stadium at Del Amo Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway in Carson. However, this is dependent on them being unable to strike deals for new facilities in their respective cities.

Inglewood City Council has already approved a plan by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke to build a stadium at the former Hollywood Park racetrack site.

Members voted unanimously on February 24 to approve the mooted 80,000-seat stadium. Despite this, the Rams have not announced any plans of moving back to the Los Angeles area.

LA has not had an NFL team since 1994.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Monday it is not good enough the city does not have a franchise.

"I don't think it's good that we've let a generation of fans, young kids, grow up without a team," Kraft said. "It's not good for the NFL. I really believe within the next year we'll have two teams in this market. We have some real good options."

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<![CDATA[Shawne Merriman Gives Update on Chargers Stadium Talks]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:24:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/shawne+merriman.JPG Former Charger linebacker Shawne Merriman has been involved in talks between the city and his old team in their efforts to build a new stadium. He gives NBC 7's Jim Laslavic the latest update on where the negotiations stand, as well as new information about a career move. ]]> <![CDATA[Bengals' Devon Still: My Daughter Kicked Cancer's Butt ]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 08:00:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Devon+and+Leah+New.jpg

After months of treatment, constant updates on social media and nationwide support, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still shared the news he hoped to hear for over a year. His daughter, Leah's cancer is officially in remission.

"Today we received news from Leah's oncologist that her cancer, stage four neuroblastoma, is officially in REMISSION! After 296 days of day dreaming about what it would feel like to hear the doctors say my daughter is in remission, I finally know the feeling," Still said in an announcement Wednesday on his Instagram page.

Still and his daughter have captured the hearts of millions of people nationwide since she began to receive treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in June. Leah, who had a tumor removed from her abdomen back in September, completed her latest course of chemotherapy last month.

"It was not easy but every day, and every treatment Leah fought like hell and kicked cancers butt!" he said in his post.

Devon Still, a Delaware native and former Penn State Nittany Lion, was cut from the Cincinnati Bengals in August of last year. But the Bengals re-signed Still to their practice squad in order to help him pay for his daughter’s medical treatment after she was diagnosed with cancer.

The Bengals have said Still is considering a one-year deal to play next year. 

Still’s No. 75 jersey quickly became the team’s top seller after the Bengals decided to donate proceeds from his jersey sales to the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati and pediatric cancer care and research. More than $1 million have been raised from sales of the $100 jersey, according to the AP. 

Still has kept his followers updated on his daughter’s progress through social media.

 

 


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<![CDATA[Carlsbad to Host World-Class Tennis Tournament]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:58:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carlsbad+Park+Hyatt.jpg

Carlsbad has been named one of the cities to host a Women’s Tennis Association 125K Series tournament in November.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced on Monday that Carlsbad will host the Carlsbad Classic Tennis Tournament Nov. 21-29 at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.

The WTA 125K Series, a secondary professional tennis circuit, has tournaments all over the world. The event offers a total prize money of $125,000, with matches include a 32-player singles draw, an eight-player qualifying draw and an eight-team doubles draw.

The singles champion will win $20,000 in prize money.

“California has a rich history when it comes to women’s tennis, and the WTA is delighted to add another tournament on the West Coast,” WTA chairman Stacey Allaster said in a news release.

In addition to Carlsbad, the series will also have tournaments in China, France and Thailand.



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[2015 Charger Girls Auditions Kick Off Next Month]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:56:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+test+cheerleaders.jpg

Get your pompoms ready, the San Diego Charger Girls are searching for new dancers to fill 28 spots on the team.

On April 4, over 400 dancers from all across the country – as well as some from overseas – are expected to audition for the squad. Judges are looking for bright, young dancers age 18 and up who can please a crowd all while keeping their legs straight and pointing their toes during the halftime performance.

This is an exciting time of the year for hopefuls since the Charger Girls are known as one of the most talented and respected cheer and dance teams in professional sports.

Hopefuls should note there is a $20 registration fee due no later than April 1. After that date, registration increases to $25. Applicants are encouraged to include a 5x7 headshot or body shot with their application.

So, what does one wear to this audition? Judges ask dancers to sport a two-piece and flesh colored tights with jazz, dance or athletic shoes.

Dancers should arrive no later than 9 a.m. for registration at University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. Auditions begin at 10 a.m.

Those who make it to the final round will also go through an interview process and a final dance audition during the week following this first audition.

Applications for the team can be found on the Chargers website.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carson Stadium Supporters to Turn in Signatures]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:20:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/carson-stadium-rendering.jpg

Supporters of the proposed Chargers-Raiders stadium in Carson, California, plan to present the signatures collected in their petition at city hall Wednesday.

Carson2gether proponents will march to Carson City Hall at 2:30 p.m. in what they have dubbed the “Petition Mission Accomplished Parade” to submit the signatures supporting the construction of the new football stadium.

The parade begins at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel and ends in the Carson City Clerk’s office about six minutes away.

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani told NBC 7 the group has “41 boxes, 482 petitions and 15,373 signatures to submit.”

A total of 8,041 verified voter signatures are needed to qualify the Carson stadium petition for the ballot, and proponents have collected nearly double the amount of signatures since the petition began on March 13.

If the proposal is approved, the green light will be given to start construction on the $1.7 billion stadium, financed by Goldman Sachs.

In San Diego earlier this month, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Citizens Stadium Advisory Committee (CSAG) announced recommendations for a new Mission Valley stadium to be used by the Chargers and for other large-scale events.

The CSAG said the stadium would replace the aging Qualcomm Stadium site, which makes the most sense because the area is already zoned for that purpose.

The Chargers have made it no secret that they prefer a hybrid stadium-convention center in downtown San Diego, not the Mission Valley site – if the team stays in San Diego at all.
 

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<![CDATA[New York Yankees Pay Homage to "The Sandlot" in New Ad]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 05:10:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Brett-Gardner-Yankees-Rangers-0729.jpg

The New York Yankees are paying homage to classic baseball movie “The Sandlot” with a recreation of its famous Babe Ruth scene.

The ad, which stars Brett Gardner as the innocent Smalls who unknowingly plays with a ball signed by the legendary Ruth, was posted to MLB.com Tuesday.

C.C. Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Didi Gregorius also make appearances in the spot.

Watch the video below:



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[NFL Owners Assess Status of Team Stadium Searches]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 20:06:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+10.jpg

NBC 7's Gene Cubbison offers this analysis on the latest developments in the scramble for a new Chargers stadium.

The challenge of keeping the Chargers in San Diego appears to be growing bigger, with stadium boosters in Los Angeles and Carson gaining momentum and the attention of NFL owners at their spring meeting in Phoenix.

That’s where the Chargers are understood to be seeking other teams’ support in blocking Stan Kroenke, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, from moving his team to Inglewood.

The 24 votes of the National Football League’s 32 team owners are needed to authorize franchise relocations, and a briefing on the status of current site-shopping ventures is among the league meeting’s agenda items as they gather in Arizona this week.

Meantime, efforts to lure the Bolts and Raiders to Carson show signs of having gone over-the-top.

Signature gatherers there have filled so many ballot petitions that a “March on City Hall” media event scheduled for Monday was postponed until further notice, so that the 14,000-plus names listed could be validated as those of registered voters.

Just over 8,000 is the statutory minimum for placement on the citywide ballot.

But in San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s stadium advisers — and backers of the publicly owned Mission Valley site, which the group has endorsed over the Chargers’ preferred East Village turf — are hanging tough.

“Really, I think the Carson and L.A. issues — a lot of that is just posturing,” said San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman, in whose 7th District Qualcomm Stadium is located.

"So I really don't think going to L.A. is that serious,” Sherman added in an interview Monday. “Yes, it could be a possibility. But I think more, it's to put pressure on the city."

Nonetheless, the Chargers seem heavily invested in the Carson effort, even as they continue to hammer on the theme of a downtown hybrid stadium and convention facility just east of Petco Park.

Could they yield more 'pay dirt' from Carson in the long run, given the huge financial incentives that Goldman Sachs, the team’s investment bankers, are offering?

Jim Steeg, a longtime former NFL and Chargers executive who produced 26 Super Bowls, said money most certainly is an object in the Bolts’ calculations — but not unduly so.

"I bet you they're probably $150 million behind the top-grossing teams, and in the middle of the fourth quartile as far as (annual) revenues,” Steeg told NBC 7. “And they need to get themselves at least up to the top of the third quartile in order to be competitive. And that's part of what this has got to be all about."

It’s been estimated that the Chargers have been turning profits in the $40 million range on yearly revenues of around $250 million in recent years.

Despite the NFL’S announced goal of having two teams in the L.A. region  and there are two pending proposals for joint-use stadiums — heavily populating that market could risk its usefulness as leverage against cities whose league franchises are looking for bigger and better deals.

"I think the league is going to be very careful about how they go through this process, and where they go,” Steeg, a member of the mayor’s stadium group, observed. “And they know, potentially — dating all the way back into the 80s-- this could be (legally) challenged."

Steeg said business concerns also will be key considerations: "I know it's a big market and it's got a lot of Fortune 500 companies than we've got here. But I think they'll take it cautiously and do the right thing, because it's been 20 years (since the NFL was there) and they don't want to go in and fail."

And as fiscally inviting as having a home in the Los Angeles market now seems, Sherman warns that it could be illusory: “L.A., on paper, it makes you look like you have a lot more value. But if I'm the Chargers and thinking of moving to LA, well I'm going to lose 75 percent of my fan base overnight."

Moreover, the league’s two-decade absence from Los Angeles also sounds a cautionary note.

“Half of the NFL has said they’re going to move to L.A. over the last 20 years,” Sherman noted. “I mean, two teams have tried there (Rams and Raiders) and not been able to make it — they left. If you look at all that, when it comes down to it, San Diego makes the best choice once you get done with all the posturing and keep our eye on the ball."

The farther things progress in Carson, the closer Carson gets to being sued by the Anschutz Entertainment Group over environmental issues.

AEG owns the Stub Hub Center there and has been high-profile in bashing the Inglewood project after shelving its own Farmers Field project in downtown Los Angeles

Carson’s city planning commission is expected to have some stadium site and recommendations for the council by Tuesday evening.

Assuming the number of petition signatures tops the required minimum, council members could approve the project themselves and dispense with taking it to the voters.



Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Suspends Local TV Blackout Policy for 2015]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:02:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chargers-Bolt-Generic.jpg

The NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix got off to an interesting start on Monday. The 32 teams voted to suspend the league's local TV blackout policy for the 2015 season.

The blackout policy has been in place since 1973, when the NFL mandated any game not sold out at least 72 hours before kickoff would not be seen in that team's local TV market. It was conceived in an attempt to sell more tickets but the rise in costs to attend a game (and the proliferation of high definition televisions) rendered it obsolete.

The timing of the vote is curious because one of the teams most affected by the blackout policy is the San Diego Chargers, a franchise mired in a great stadium debate. The Bolts did not have any game blacked out in 2014, but between 2010 and 2013 were responsible for for 10 of the 59 local television blackouts across the league.

It will be interesting to see if the ability to see games at home without an 11th-hour ticket push will affect attendance at one of the oldest facilities in North American professional sports.

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<![CDATA[Xolos Send 3 To US National Teams]]> Sun, 22 Mar 2015 19:44:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Arriola+Xolos.jpg

FIFA, soccer's governing body, is about to take its scheduled international break. This is the time when national teams get together for training and a few friendlies

Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles will be well-represented at the international level. Xolos forward (and Chula Vista native) Paul Arriola, fullback Gregory Garza, and defender John Requejo have been called to their respective United States National Team squads.

Garza will be part of U.S. National coach Jurguen Klinsmann’s team that will play in friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland. Arriola and Requejo are also headed to Europe to be part of the U.S. Under-20 camp in England, preparing for the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

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<![CDATA[NCAA 2015: Best Moments of the Women's Basketball Tournament]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 05:06:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/AP384406691239_3_NCAA.jpg See the highlights, upsets, and dramatic finishes of the 2015 NCAA Women's Basketball tournament here.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Aztecs Come Up Short Against Duke]]> Sun, 22 Mar 2015 14:09:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Aztecs+Duke+Tipoff.jpg

The Aztecs have been plagued by slow starts and missed shots all season. Many times their superior defense was enough to keep them in the game.

But it was not going to work against Duke.

The Blue Devils ended the Aztecs season with a 68-49 win in the Round of 32. Duke scored the first eight points of the game. After six and a half minutes, the lead was already in double digits and the Aztecs, although they threatened to make it close a few different times, simply don't have the offensive firepower to overcome that kind of deficit against one of the best offenses in the nation.

Freshman forward Jahlil Okafor, possibly the NCAA Player of the Year, had 26 points. The Aztecs entire starting five (Winston Shepard, Aqeel Quinn, J.J. O'Brien, Dwayne Polee, Skylar Spencer) combined to score 33 points.

San Diego State finishes the season with a 27-9 record, but they lose O'Brien, Polee, Aqeel and fellow senior Ryan Staten to graduation. There is also speculation that junior Winston Shepard and even freshman Malik Pope could leave early for the NBA, so this SDSU team could look dramatically different when they start the 2015-2016 season in November.

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<![CDATA[Carson Is Getting Arrogant]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 22:22:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+67.jpg

The city of Carson, CA, has gathered enough signatures on its stadium petition to get the proposal in front of the Carson city council. Of course, it was not going to be too terribly difficult to get 8,041 registered voters to sign on the dotted line in support of a National Football League facility.

I mean, right now more than 6.500 people have signed a petition urging the federal government to, "Take Burmese pythons, Reticulated pythons and anacondas off of the Lacey Act.

If you can get 6,500 people to sign up to earn the right to keep an anaconda as a pet, you can get 8,041 people to do pretty much anything.

However, the folks up in Carson are treating this little "victory" like they just won the Super Bowl. Carson2gether, the entity that's driving support with help from the Chargers and Raiders, have organized ... I kid you not ... a parade.

It's called the, "Petition Victory Parade," and it's scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. on Monday. Leaving from the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Carson (2 Civic Plaza Drive, Carson, CA 90745) and ending at the Carson City Clerk’s office at City Hall (701 E. Carson Street, Carson, CA 90745), the 6-minute walking parade will be led by a marching band.

Yes, a marching band.

When you add this little development to that display from a few weeks back when Carson first revealed itself to be a contender for the Chargers and Raiders, it sure seems like the good folks of that city are going out of their way to get under the skin of San Diego.

I know, if I lived in a place that was best known for the fact Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker used to be a resident, I'd get excited about the prospect of the NFL coming, too. But a parade to prove you have 14,000 people who have heard of professional football and are capable of signing their own name?

I'm all for civic pride, but this has gotten a little bit out of hand. Can you imagine what kind of celebration Carson will plan if they do get a stadium built and a team (or more than one team) moves in? I don't know about you, but that's a spectacle I do not want to see.



Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture]]>
<![CDATA[Aztecs vs. Blue Devils: A Rivalry Renewed]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 20:25:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Fisher+Coach+K.jpg

It was 23 years ago that Duke beat Michigan 71-51 to win the NCAA Basketball national championship. That was the one and only time that Mike Krzyzewski and Steve Fisher coached against one another in the NCAA Tournament.

But they certainly have not been strangers in the interim.

“We’re both old coaches who got in it for the right reasons and we’re still in it for the right reasons,” said Krzyzewski on Saturday, the day before his Blue Devils meet Fisher’s Aztecs for a spot in the Sweet 16. “He’s just been really good for basketball. I’ve enjoyed my friendship with him.”

Coach Fisher, the elder by almost two years, says he has great respect for Coach K, as well, and not just because he’s the winningest coach in NCAA history.

“Mike has always been a guy,” said Fisher. “The way he interacts with people is something that everyone should take a look at and say that's how it's supposed to be. So often you get a head coach that walks right by the assistants and up to sit either by himself or with other head coaches. Mike has always gone out of his way to shake hands, to sit and talk long before I became a head coach.”

In fact, when Fisher took the job at San Diego State, Krzyzewski sent him a telegram (yes, people still used telegrams in 1999) saying “Welcome back.”

However, this little love-fest does not mean the head coaches will not try to get their teams to beat the tar out of each other when they tip off Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, NC (just 140 miles from Duke’s campus in Durham, NC).

This will not be the first time these programs have met. In 2001, Fisher took his Aztecs to Cameron Indoor and played well, losing 92-79. But, that game was instrumental in laying the foundation for what San Diego State basketball has become.

"It was a great experience for us, for our kids, for the program, a nationally televised game that was helpful in starting the growth of the program," said Fisher.

This meeting, as it seems every Aztecs game has been this year, will be a tale of great offense versus great defense. Duke has the second-most efficient offense in the nation (meaning they take fewer shots to score more points). San Diego State has the 4th-most efficient defense in the nation (meaning they make teams take more shots and score fewer points).

Duke’s biggest weapon is 6’11” freshman forward Jahlil Okafor, who averaged a team-high 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds this season. But, he has not faced a disruptive shot blocker like Skylar Spencer yet. The Aztecs 6’10” junior already owns the program’s all-time record for blocks. He knows he’ll have his hands full with Okafor.

“You have to always be aware, stay connected because when you playing against a good big man, you rest for one second they can catch you slipping,” said Spencer. “That's an automatic 2 points, so I just have to be on my toes and stay aware the whole time.”

While Duke has the superior skill set, SDSU is bigger and better on the boards. If the Aztecs can do to the Blue Devils what they do to pretty much everyone else and force missed shots, their rebounding ability can slow down the frenetic pace at which Duke likes to play.

““I think the key is rebounding. Those guys are humungous,” said senior guard Quinn Cook, Duke’s second-leading scorer. “I think if we can control the boards, and make those guys work, I think we will be fine.”

The Blue Devils are favored by 9.5 points. The Aztecs have only lost by 10 or more points three times in the last two seasons (twice to Boise St. this year and at New Mexico a year ago) so a blowout is highly unlikely. In fact, this season alone the Blue Devils had more double-digit losses (3) than the Aztecs did.

If SDSU is able to shoot the ball as well as they did against St. John’s in their Tournament opener on Friday night, when they made 47% of their shots from the floor and nearly 41% from 3-point range, the Aztecs absolutely have a chance to knock off the top seed.

“We have a great opportunity,” said Fisher. “We're here, we think we can win, and probably most people in the country will not think that could happen but we're coming in to play, and play as hard as we can. If we make shots … underline if ... we're as good as most people in the country.”

Of course, it’s the NCAA Tournament. Anybody can knock off anybody else.

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<![CDATA[Utah to Sweet 16 After Georgetown Defeat]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 20:35:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP867223623593.jpg

Utah is headed back to the Sweet 16 for the first time in a decade.

Brandon Taylor scored 14 points and Delon Wright added 12 and the fifth-seeded Utes beat No. 4 Georgetown 75-64 on Saturday night.

The Utes (26-8) will travel to Houston to play the winner of Sunday's game in Charlotte, North Carolina, between top-seeded Duke (30-4) and No. 8 San Diego State (27-8).

Utah hasn't advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2005, when the Utes fell as the No. 6 seed to No. 2 Kentucky. The Utes are making their first tournament appearance since 2009.

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<![CDATA[Padres Spring Training: Get To Know Cory Luebke (Again)]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 17:35:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/187*120/143233764.jpg

In 2012, Cory Luebke was one becoming of the best young left-handed pitchers in the National League. Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley, not a man prone to hyperbole, even said as much.

Luebke had just signed a 4-year, $12 million contract. Then he needed Tommy John surgery. Then he needed another elbow reconstruction. He last threw off a big league mound on April 27th, 2012.

Now Luebke is trying to come back again. He could return some time this season. NBC 7's Derek Togerson talked with Luebke about the new clubhouse dynamic, and his long road to recovery.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rally to Get Carson NFL Stadium Plan Past "Red Zone"]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 18:37:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+5.jpg

A rally is being held in Carson Saturday in an attempt to fast track a proposal for a new NFL stadum to be built in the city.

In total, 8,041 petition signatures are needed to get the joint San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders plan before the City Council. Organizers said on Saturday they had collected more than 14,000 signatures from registered voters in Carson since March 13. 

If they are successful, the council will then be able to approve the proposal outright or make the issue a ballot measure. Carson2gether supporters said they plan to march to Carson City Hall on Monday to deliver the 30-some boxes to the city clerk. 

The "Red Zone Rally," named after the area between the 20 yard line and the goal in football, is scheduled to be held at noon in the Sun Court at SouthBay Pavilion on the 20700 block of Avalon Boulevard.

"There has been widespread enthusiasm for the stadium proposal in the Carson community as evidenced by the reception our signature-gatherers have been getting as they've been engaging the city's registered voters,"  Fred MacFarlane of stadium group Carson2gether said, "We're not done gathering signatures, but it's safe to say, we're pleased with our progress."

The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders announced in February they are working on a joint proposal to build a 72,000-seat stadium at Del Amo Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway in Carson. However, this is dependent on them being unable to strike deals for new facilities in their respective cities.

Inglewood City Council have already approved a plan by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke to build a stadium at the former Hollywood Park racetrack site.

Members voted unanimously on February 24 to approve the mooted 80,000-seat stadium. Despite this, the Rams have not announced any plans of moving back to the Los Angeles area.

LA has not had an NFL team since 1994.

City News Service contributed to this report



Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Suffer Loss To Starting Rotation]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 21:23:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/466035456.jpg

Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are the unquestioned aces of the Dodgers pitching staff. But, they have a pretty good 3rd amigo in the rotation.

Hyun-jin Ryu has won 14 games each of the last two seasons. He was the Opening Night starter for Los Angeles last year when Kershaw and Greinke were out with injuries. But, the Dodgers are shutting him down because of tightness in his left (pitching) shoulder.

Ryu missed time with the same kind of problem last year and says this time the discomfort is not as severe, but L.A. is not taking any chances. They're already considered the possibility of putting him on the disabled list to start the season.

if that happens he would miss the season-opening series against the Padres at Dodger Stadium, leaving manager Don Mattingly options including Erik Bedard, Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias (not exactly the same quality).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aztecs Win NCAA Tournament Opener]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 20:54:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/467092208.jpg

In the finale of the Mountain West Conference Tournament, San Diego State scored a total of 43 points in a loss to Wyoming.

In the first game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Aztecs scored 40 points IN THE FIRST HALF against St. John's.

If this version of SDSU sticks around, they just might have another Sweet 16 run in them.

The Aztecs beat St. John's 76-64 in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State, who came in to the tournament with the worst scoring offense in the entire 68-team field, shot a blistering 47.2% from the field, well above their season average.

The 3-point shooting blitz was led by guards Dwayne Polee and Matt Shrigley, who combined to make 9 of 12 shots from beyond the arc. They were great compliments to forward J.J. O'Brien, who scored a team-high 18 points.

In the Round of 32 on Sunday, the Aztecs get the number one seed in the South Region, the Duke Blue Devils. That's one of those "Blue-Blood" programs coach Steve Fisher sometimes mentions. Duke is good, but not unbeatable. The winner books a trip to Houston for the Sweet 16.

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<![CDATA[NFL Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik Dies at 89]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 18:07:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP050204012830.jpg

Philadelphia Eagles great Chuck Bednarik, a grisly pro football hall of famer and the namesake for one of college football's most prestigious awards, died early Saturday morning at a Pennsylvania assisted living facility at the age of 89, the Eagles announced.

Bednarik died around 4:30 a.m. Saturday following a brief illness, according to a release sent out by the team.

“With the passing of Chuck Bednarik, the Eagles and our fans have lost a legend. Philadelphia fans grow up expecting toughness, all-out effort and a workmanlike attitude from this team and so much of that image has its roots in the way Chuck played the game. He was a Hall of Famer, a champion and an all-time Eagle. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this time," said Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie.

Bednarik was born in Bethlehem and played football for the University of Pennsylvania as well as the Eagles when he was chosen first overall in the 1949 NFL draft.

Bednarik, known as "Concrete Charlie," was one of the NFL's most fearsome tacklers and was one of of the NFL's last great two-way players. He played center and linebacker who's best known for two monumental hits during the 1960 season.

In one, in the 1960 title game, he threw a Green Bay Packers running back to the ground and refused to let him get back up as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

He's also known for his takedown of fellow hall of famer Frank Gifford earlier in the season. Gifford, a New York Giants running back, was hit so hard that he suffered a concussion and didn't play again for nearly two years. Enduring images of the tackle show Bednirak towering over Gifford and pumping his fist.

“So many of the timeless moments in Eagles history are associated with Chuck Bednarik. He played his entire career in Philadelphia, college and pro, and he lived his entire life here and in the Lehigh Valley. He was a proud competitor and a dedicated and devout family man who loved Eagles fans as much as they loved him. He left his mark on this team and will forever be a legend within this organization." said Eagles president Don Smolenski.

College football fans also remember Bednarik for the award that bears his name. The Maxwell Football Club have presented the Bednarik Award each year to the most outstanding defensive player at the collegiate level.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker leaves behind his wife of 67 years, five daughters, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[The Aztecs Will Beat St. John's]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 18:25:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Steve+Fisher+Cuts+Down+Nets.jpg

San Diego State will beat St. John's in their opening game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Why would one say such a thing when we're talking about a match up of #8 and #9 seeds, in a location much closer to St. John's home than SDSU's, and the Aztecs have one of the worst offenses in college basketball (fewest points per game of any of the 68 teams in the field)?

Because www.numberfire.com says so, that's why.

This is a website that says it has a series of mathematical models it applies to sporting events to determine which team is going to win. For San Diego State vs. St. John's, the math says this:

That seems awfully good for the Aztecs to get a Round of 32 shot at Duke. Now, I have no idea how accurate this thing really is, but it's kind of fun to look at.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[2015 Padres FanFest at Capacity]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 20:00:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PFF69.jpg

It’s going to be a full house at Petco Park next month when the San Diego Padres host the 2015 FanFest.

On Friday, the team announced that pre-registration for the free annual event – set for 9 a.m. on April 4 – had reached capacity. In order to enter, fans had to obtain a free FanFest voucher available on the Padres website.

The event includes an exhibition game against the Mexico City Red Devils, which begins at 2 p.m. Each FanFest voucher includes an assigned seat for that game, which is why attendees were asked to pre-register for the free baseball event.

The Padres said that fans who didn’t pre-register may still have a chance to attend because a limited number of passes may be released on site the day of the event.

To that end, a standby line will be in place at the main ticket windows on Park Boulevard on April 4 for that purpose. Due to the overwhelming demand for FanFest passes, organizers said re-entry will not be permitted. As fans leave the ballpark, those in the standby line will be granted entry in their place, organizers said.

As always, FanFest will be the first opportunity for fans to see this season’s Padres squad at Petco Park. Players and coaches will host autograph sessions.

Attendees will also have a chance to play catch in the outfield and check out this season’s ballpark updates.

Fans can park for free in Padres-owned lots around the ballpark, but those are expected to fill up before 9 a.m. Three points of entry into FanFest will be set up at the Home Plate Gate on Park Boulevard, the Gaslamp Gate on 7th Avenue and the East Village Gate on 10th Avenue.
 



Photo Credit: John Audley]]>