<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usFri, 23 Jun 2017 17:11:04 -0700Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:11:04 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Boston Red Sox Retire David Ortiz's Number]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:46:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/David+Ortiz+Retired+Number.JPG

The Boston Red Sox officially retired No. 34 in honor of David Ortiz in a special ceremony at Fenway Park on Friday night.

"I love you, Boston," Big Papi told Red Sox Nation. "Thank you."

Red Sox legends like Carl Yastrzemski, and relatives of others, like Johnny Pesky, were on hand to congratulate the slugging designated hitter.

Some of his former teammates, including Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, catcher Jason Varitek, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, also honored Ortiz. Martinez and Pedroia both paid tribute in speeches.

Friday morning, JetBlue unveiled a new Big Papi and Red Sox themed gate at Logan Airport. The gate, appropriately C34, is adorned with photos of Ortiz's top 10 Red Sox moments and his jersey. Ortiz was on hand for the dedication.

"I have been around for a long time and it's been a blessing being part of Boston," Ortiz said.

Big Papi played for the Red Sox for 14 consecutive seasons, helping the team win a total of three World Seriess Championships.

On Thursday afternoon, the Red Sox and the City of Boston renamed the Yawkee Way extension near Fenway Park "David Ortiz Drive" in honor of the player.

Later in the day, Big Papi was roasted by friends and fellow heavy hitters in major league sports.

Tonight's game against the Los Angeles Angels is set to begin at 7:10 but fans are encouraged to arrive earlier for the ceremony.



Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
<![CDATA[SD Pilot Will Fly to Edge of Space in Glider ]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:44:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/217*120/2244.PNG

Chief Pilot Jim Payne of San Diego will soar through the stratosphere next month in a glider, meaning, no engine.

"At least I don't have to worry about the engines going out," Payne joked at a press conference in Washington D.C. Thursday.

Payne will fly in the Perlan 2 as part of the Perlan Project to gather data about climate change from the levels of the atmosphere closest to space.

The glider will be lifted by a tow plane 10,000 feet up and then, hopefully, catch a mountain wave, or a current that will lift the craft and make it fly.

“We’re not 1,000 percent sure the mountain wave will go that high, but we’re going to find out," said Payne.

The Payne Project said some of the biggest weather waves are actually above the stratosphere, making research from there invaluable.

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<![CDATA[Jeter Meets With Marlins, Remains Short on Funds: Report]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:19:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-683113516.jpg

Derek Jeter met with the Miami Marlins on Thursday and remains short on funds, according to a report by the Miami Herald.

Jeter is part of one of three reported groups that is vying for ownership of the Marlins. Thus far, no group has been able to come up with the reported $1.3 billion asking price. After meeting with Marlins' president David Samson and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Thursday, Jeter still is trying to find investors.

Along with Jeter, Samson and Manfred, Greg Fleming sat in on the meeting. Fleming may be one of the most important aspects of the meeting, as he is the former chief of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Fleming is said to be one of the investors in Jeter's group and it could be a sizable stake.

While Jeter will only contribute a relatively small amount to the team, he would be in complete control of the club. This requirement by Jeter was the reported reason for Jeb Bush exiting the group. Jeter would handle both the baseball and business sides of the organization, if a deal comes to fruition.

While there are three groups reported to be in the running, Jeter remains the front-runner. A group including Tagg Romney and Tom Glavine is considered to be the runner-up. The third group has unknown members in it and would be looked at as a dark horse candidate.

In addition to coming up with the funds to buy the team, MLB wants the new owner to have enough equity to run the team properly. Miami is expected to take losses in the near future and would need to be able to cover those. The Marlins have a losing record this season, but will host a valuable All-Star Game in July.

With the ownership talks hanging in the balance, Miami will look to continue a turnaround on the field. The Marlins are currently hosting the World Series champion Chicago Cubs for four games at Marlins Park.



Photo Credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[New Deal Makes Raider's Derek Carr NFL's Highest Paid QB]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:51:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/kahrpayydayye.jpg

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wanted to get his contract extension done before training camp next month.

He got his wish.

Carr and the team have reached what is reported to be a five-year, $125 million deal, according to a story by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com Thursday morning.

An excited Carr confirmed that report on social media.

“Now it’s done!” he wrote on Twitter. “From the jump I’ve wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let’s just play now!!!”

The deal is expected to pay Carr about $25 million per season, which will make him the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback. He’s heading into the final year of his first deal, signed after he was taken in the second round of the 2014 draft. That deal will pay him about $5.4 million this season, with the new terms kicking in starting in 2018.

The Raiders have been built with salary-cap flexibility under general manager Reggie McKenzie and are a reported $31 million under the salary cap.

Earlier this offseason, the Raiders signed defensive end-linebacker Khalil Mack to a long-term extension. Still to be done is a deal for starting guard Gabe Jackson.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2017 Belmont Stakes: How to Watch ]]> Fri, 09 Jun 2017 15:01:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17160526171268.jpg

The 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown, is on Saturday, beginning at 3:37 p.m. PT on NBC (your station's name here).

Coverage of the race kicks off at 2 p.m. PT and you can watch it all live at home or on the go via NBC Live.

You can live stream the Preakness on NBC7.com on your desktop or laptop computer or your mobile device by clicking on this link. You can also watch the coverage on our app available via the Apple store here or Google Play here. All you need is your TV service provider’s username and password.

What is a TV service provider?
A TV service provider is a company you pay to get your television services, such as a cable, satellite or a telecommunications company.

Why am I being asked to sign in?

TV service providers play a key role in delivering our content through emerging technology platforms, like the web and mobile devices. It's through the support of pay TV service providers that we're able to bring live as well as on-demand entertainment and news shows to subscribers at no additional cost.

Do I have to create a new account?

If you already have a username and password from your TV service provider, you do not need to create a new account — just verify your account information. If you have not previously set up an account with your provider, you'll need to create a new account. Please contact your TV service provider to learn more. If you're not currently a customer with a TV service provider, you'll need to become one to access the full range of NBC programming.

How do I verify my TV service provider account? 
Select your TV service provider from the list. When asked, enter your account username and password; it's most likely the same information you use to log on to your account to pay your bill online. Don't forget to check "remember me" to avoid having to sign in each time you come back. 

What if I've forgotten my username or password?

Most TV service providers offer a simple way to retrieve or reset your password online. Please contact your provider to learn more.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tearful Tribute: NHL Honors Bickell With Emotional Video]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:59:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-699489368.jpg

In a night filled with honors for some of the best hockey players in the country, one emotional moment stood above the rest.

The moment the NHL honored Bryan Bickell.

The former Blackhawk’s career was cut short after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November. He ended his hockey run with the Carolina Hurricanes, playing in less than a dozen games with the team.

But his journey back from rehab to playing his final game in the NHL was an extraordinary moment that earned him praise during the league’s national awards ceremony.

“I didn’t know if I was going to play hockey again,” Bickell said in a heartfelt video showed during the ceremony.

After rehabbing for weeks, Bickell returned to play with the Hurricanes, revealing the team’s season finale against the Flyers would be his last.

“Those people were there for me,” Bickell said in the video as footage showed each Hurricanes player shaking his hand and hugging him before the game.

But as the game went into overtime, it was Bickell who was first up in the shootout – a shot that would ultimately become his last. And it went in.

The stadium erupted as fans, players and his family roared for the goal. 

“There’s hockey life and there’s life after hockey,” Bickell said in the video as he talked about his future with his family and seeing his daughters grow up.

Bickell went on to give a speech during the ceremony, thanking the Blackhawks and the Hurricanes and his fans.  

But it was his thank you to his wife that had tears streaming down the faces of many in the audience.

“When I said no, she said yes. She picked me up when I was down,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Amanda, for everything… Thank you Amanda.”

The moment ended with the league making a $20,000 donation to the Bryan & Amanda Bickell Foundation.




Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Padres 'Pen Preserves Win in Chicago]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:48:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/Maurer+Save+in+Chicago.JPG

After sweeping the Cubs at Petco Park in May the Padres avoided getting swept by the defending World Series champs at Wrigley Field.

San Diego topped Chicago 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon despite an abbreviated start and getting just two extra-base hits, one of them by a relief pitcher.

Miguel Diaz got the start for the Padres and threw just 43 pitches when he was lifted in the 3rd inning with what was called a right (pitching arm) forearm strain. His prognosis was not immediately known after the game but his exit meant the Padres bullpen was going to have a long day.

Up first was Craig Stammen, who allowed a 2-run home run to Ian Happ in the 4th inning to put the Cubs up 2-0. It was the 2nd hit the Chicago offense had and turned out to be its final hit of the game. After that Ryan Buchter, Phil Maton, Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer combined for 4.0 perfect innings.

Meanwhile the San Diego offense started chipping away. In the 5th inning Stammen doubled and scored on a single by Jose Pirela to cut the lead to 2-1. In the 6th Erick Aybar rode one out off of Cubs reliever Brian Duensing to tie it 2-2.

Their final run came in the 8th inning in quite the improbable fashion. San Diego loaded the bases on a pair of singles and an intentional walk and with two outs, in stepped Rule 5 draftee Luis Torrens. The kid who just turned 21 in May was facing All-Star reliever Koji Uehara and he worked a walk to bring in Wil Myers with what turned out to be the winning run.

The timing gave another rookie, Phil Maton, his first MLB win. Maton has not been scored on in his first six big league appearances. Maton is expected to someday take over as the Padres closer. Maurer, the current closer, got the final two outs to notch his 13th save of the season.

The Padres take Thursday off then start a 3-game set against the Tigers at Petco Park on Friday night. Rookie Dinelson Lamet gets the start against Michael Fulmer.

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<![CDATA[June 20: Steve Fisher Day, in Honor of Legendary Coach]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:00:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SteveFisherMarch2017GettyImages-651992422.jpg

A special day has been chosen to honor Steve Fisher, the legendary Aztecs coach celebrated for his salvation of basketball in San Diego County.

Fisher turned San Diego State University (SDSU) into a nationally-ranked basketball program and annual NCAA Tournament participant.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors announced Wednesday that June 20 will be declared 'Steve Fisher Day' throughout San Diego County.

Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors commended the coach for his 50-year career as a basketball coach and 18 incredible years of victories at San Diego State University (SDSU).

When he arrived on campus at SDSU before the 1992 season, Fisher walked around handing out free tickets trying to get anyone he could to the arena to see his team.

"Speaking of packed houses, Coach Fisher's winning ways resulted in 85 straight regular-season crowds of at least 11,000 fans, and even last season had the Aztecs leading the state of California in average home attendance," stated county officials.

In his 18 years at SDSU, Coach Fisher turned a program that suffered through 13 losing seasons into one that featured a string of star teams, said county officials. The teams became known on the national stage for their tenacious and gritty techniques.

Regardless of where the games were played, his players displayed pressing athletic style and unrelenting confidence, said county officials.

In San Diego, Fisher-led teams enjoyed 386 victories. That compelled the Aztecs to make 13 trips to the postseason, including the 2011 and 2014 teams that made memorable runs to the Sweet 16, said county officials.

He was named the National Coach of the Year in April 2011, the highest honor a college basketball coach can earn.

A few years later in 2014, the team took basketball experts by surprise, when they captured the league championship by coming back from 16 points behind in the second half to defeat New Mexico, said county officials.

Fisher also won the Legend of Coaching Award in 2015.

After 18 years of launching San Diego into the most thrilling basketball program ever known to the region, Coach Steve Fisher chose to retire as a coach, although he agreed to remain at SDSU as a university ambassador.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Retaliation on Rizzo; Padres Silenced By Cubs]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:20:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RizzoNoRetaliation.jpg

Well that was deflating.

Rarely does a Tuesday regular season game in June between a fourth place team (the Padres) and a club barely over .500 (the Cubs) garner so much attention.

But one day after Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo barreled into Austin Hedges and injured the Padres catcher in a controversial collision at the plate, many fans expected San Diego to retaliate.

On Monday, Padres manager Andy Green called Rizzo’s decision to “deviate from the pathway” to home plate and hit his catcher “egregious” and “a cheap shot."

Cubs manager Jim Maddon defended his player’s decision and sounded convinced that Rizzo had done nothing wrong.

San Diego sports talk radio and social media was a buzz all day leading up to the first pitch with many fans wondering if Jhoulys Chacin would plunk Rizzo right out the gate.

It was clear there was a “to bean, or not to bean,” question lingering over the rematch with the potential for a baseball brawl after what transpired in the series opener.

Especially once word leaked out that Major League Baseball informed both clubs that Rizzo did violate the home-plate collision rule but that he would not be suspended.

The first pitch by Chacin to Rizzo (the Cubs new leadoff hitter) in the bottom of the first inning was taken low for a ball.

The second one made contact.

Contact with Rizzo’s bat.

The baseball landed over the centerfield ivy and the Cubs took an immediate 1-0 lead as Rizzo trotted around the bases after slugging his 17th homer of the season.

A fan base looking for a response – or at least something to get excited about other than which high draft pick could be multiple years away from the show – instead had to stomach a disheartening, 4-0 loss in which the Padres managed just four measly singles and a double.

Before the rematch Tuesday, Green went on San Diego’s 1090 AM radio station and stated the Padres would not seek retaliation for the Rizzo-Hedges crash.

"What do you accomplish by hitting somebody? You accomplish nothing," Green said. "You put a man on first base, and you give them an opportunity to win a baseball game. ... I think it's absolutely asinine to even take that approach."

After Tuesday’s defeat, Chacin admitted that Green “asked me to give my word I wouldn’t hit (Rizzo) on purpose.”

Green and Chacin stayed true to their word, but a number of Padres fans were pretty outspoken on social media that the Padres missed a giant opportunity to make a statement and standup for their catcher.

On top of that, Hedges did not play Tuesday as a precaution after suffering that thigh bruise during Monday’s collision.

Luis Torrens served as the starting backstop and collected two of the team’s base hits.

Chacin finished with just two earned runs allowed on five hits in six innings but with no run support he saw his record fall to 6-6 with the loss.

In other injury news, Yangervis Solarte was pulled from the starting lineup after hurting his left oblique taking a swing before the game.

Chase D’Arnaud started in Solarte’s place and batted cleanup.

Green implied that Solarte is headed to the disabled list and that the club has multiple options to pick his replacement from Triple-A El Paso.

The recently demoted Ryan Schimpf and rookie Carlos Asuaje would be prime candidates to be recalled to take Solarte’s active roster spot.

Wednesday’s getaway game at Wrigley Field begins at 11:10 a.m.

San Diego sends Miguel Diaz to the mound while the Cubs will hand the ball to Eddie Butler.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Longtime La Mesa Golf Course Closing Thursday ]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:49:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/golfing8962.PNG

On June 22nd, the Sun Valley Golf Course in La Mesa will close all golf operations permanently. It will instead be converted into a public park by the city.

The City of La Mesa first entered into a fifteen year lease agreement with Sun Valley Golf, LLC in 1997, to operate a nine-hole golf course in MacArthur Park.

Later on, disc golf was added to the facility and most recently foot golf, in an effort to expand participation and increase revenue at Sun Valley.  

"They've been struggling financially and golf is a difficult venture right now," said Susan Richardson, community services director for the City of La Mesa.

Richardson added the course has been struggling financially since 2011.

In October 2016, the operators of the golf course requested early termination of the lease and have been on a month to month agreement since March 2017. Golf operations will end Thursday.

Richardson said the new park will have jogging and walking trails. It will open towards the end of July.

The city has $50,000 from a general fund that will go towards filling the golf course holes, landscaping and making the park ready for the public, according to Richardson.

She added after that, the city will hold public meetings in August to ask citizens what amenities they will want at the park, such as outdoor fitness equipment, gardens or an area for a dog park.

Golfers who have been going to the course for decades are upset it is closing.

"Yeah, it will be sad. It will be. I've been feeling it for the last three weeks coming here to play every day," said Robert Reid, who has been golfing at the course for over 33 years.

Richardson said they are hoping that making the land a park will attract more people to it. 

"We are short on park land in La Mesa for the citizens, so it was the perfect opportunity," said Richardson.


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<![CDATA["Breaking with Bones" Mickelson & Longtime Caddy 'Bones' MacKay Part Ways]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 16:25:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-678707282-mickelson.jpg

A shocker in the golf world, after 25 years together Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson and caddy Jim “Bones” MacKay announced they are parting ways.

MacKay first started caddying for Mickelson in 1992, together the pair captured 5 major championships and 41 PGA Tour victories.

Mickelson and the veteran caddie announced their mutual split Tuesday with joint statements.

"Player-caddie relationships don't often last that long," Mackay said. "I will always be grateful that I was around to witness so much of Phil's career. When Phil hired me in 1992, I had one dream: to caddie in a Ryder Cup. Last year, at Hazeltine, Phil played in his 11th straight Ryder Cup. It was cool to have a front-row seat."

Tim Mickelson, Phil's younger brother, will take over caddie duties. Tim Mickelson, the former golf coach at University of San Diego and now an agent for Jon Rahm, has previously filled in as his brother’s caddy.

Phil Mickelson, who was unable to play at Erin Hills last week because of his daughter Amanda's high school graduation, began working with Mackay  just before the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

"After 25 very rewarding and memorable years, Bones and I have mutually decided to end our player-caddie relationship." Mickelson said. "Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it's the right time for a change.

"Bones is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated caddies in the world. He is always prepared and has the ability to make decisions in pressure packed situations. Bones is without a doubt one of the most thoughtful people that I have ever known. The next player to work with him will obviously be very lucky.

"My relationship and history with Bones far exceeds golf. He has been one of the most important and special people in my life since the day we met and I will always be grateful for everything he has done for me. Amy and I, and our children, will always think of Bones, Jen, Oliver, and Emma as family. We are looking forward to sharing life and friendship with them forever."



Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coronado’s Smock One Step Closer To PGA Championship]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:04:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BrianSmockWEB.jpg

Coronado golf pro Brian Smock moved closer to qualifying for the upcoming PGA Championship after carding a stellar 64 in the second round of the PGA Club Pro Championships in Oregon.

Smock was leading the tournament at one point and was tied for third place as of 8 p.m. PT Monday evening.

The top 20 finishers qualify for golf’s 4th major later this year.

Smock was perfect on the front nine Monday picking up four birdies and five pars.

His only blemish came on the 14th hole, where he settled for his lone bogey of the day.

He finished (-7) for the round and moved to (-5) overall after opening up with a 74 on Sunday.

This tournament features more than 300 of the best club pros from around the nation and concludes on Wednesday.

Smock works as the head professional at the Coronado golf course and has joined NBC 7 Sports Wrap on multiple occasions as a guest golf analyst.

We will update his progress throughout the week.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Muscle A Win Away From Padres]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 16:48:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RizzoHedgesWEB.jpg

The Chicago Cubs added insult to injury Monday evening as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Padres 3-2.

Jose Pirela led off the contest with a solo shot on the third pitch of the game thrown by Cubs starter Jon Lester.

Padres infielder Yangervis Solarte then crushed his tenth homer of the season in the third frame to push San Diego’s lead to 2-0.

The Friars looked like they had the ingredients for a victory thanks to those two hits until San Diego catcher Austin Hedges was injured on a controversial play at the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo tried to tag from third base when former USD Torero Kris Bryant lined out to centerfield.

Padres outfielder Matt Szczur made the catch and unleashed a bullet towards home that bounced a couple times right on the money to Hedges.

Replays showed the catcher out in front of the plate allowing ample room for the Cubs first baseman to attempt a slide but Rizzo made no attempt to touch home plate and instead barreled right into Hedges with his knees and upper body.

Hedges held on for the catch and Rizzo was out at home, momentarily preserving the Cubs 2-1 lead at that point in the game.

But the Padres – and many fans on social media – believed it was a dirty play.

The fact that Hedges left the game afterwards with what was later determined to be a right thigh bruise only fuels that fire. Luis Torrens wound up finishing the game behind the plate, and an inning later, the Cubs rallied against reliever Kirby Yates thanks to a home run by Jose Contreras and a double by Albert Almora Jr.

Hedges deflected questions after the game, saying he thought he gave Rizzo a lane to the plate but was just thankful to be able to walk away after the collision.

“I just got the wind knocked out of me,” said Hedges in the clubhouse, while admitting he would have to “take another look” at the collision.

Padres manager Andy Green did not hold back at expressing his disdain for the collision.

“From my perspective,” said a fired up Green, “when a guy hits a guy – that clearly gave him not just gave him half of the plate, he gave him the entire lane to the plate - and he’s probably safe if he slides to the back corner.

That’s where the frustration is. The frustration is that you expect the rule to protect you when you’re out there giving the guy the plate.”

“There needs to be something stronger after that transpires where the commissioner, baseball in general has to do something to be where you actually protect my catcher,” continued Green. “Because right now, it’s open season on him, if all it is - is out at the plate.”

The controversial crash overshadowed another solid outing by Clayton Richard.

The Padres lefty went 6.1 innings and was only charged with two earned runs and five hits.

Richard wound up with a no-decision.

Rookie reliever Phil Maton entered in the 8th inning and once again looked impressive.

The rookie right-hander blew away Cubs rookie Ian Happ with a 94 mile per hour fastball on a full count and finished with two strikeouts in a scoreless inning of work.

Be on the lookout for emotions to erupt the next two days especially when Rizzo steps into the batter’s box against a Friars pitcher.

Jhoulys Chacin takes the mound Tuesday against the Cubs starting at 5:50 p.m. Chicago counters with Mike Montgomery.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Native Has Big NFL Goals]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 14:49:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/186*120/Cory+Littleton.JPG

NFL teams are done with mini-camps so players are off until training camps start at the end of July. When the Los Angeles Rams report they might have one a surprising new weapon on their hands:

Outside linebacker Cory Littleton.

A year ago the Mount Miguel High School alum made the Rams roster as an undrafted free agent from Washington. He ended up playing in every game, starting one, and at the end of the season won L.A.'s rookie of the year award.

But this season should be even better for Littleton. In fact he thinks it could be Von Miller-good.

The Rams are moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips so Littleton is going to be able to play the same spot as Miller, who is the reason the San Diego native wears number 58 in the NFL.

“I’ve idolized him all the way since high school,” said Littleton about the Broncos sackmaster. “I’m hoping I can have a career just as successful as he’s had.”

That is a lofty expectation. Miller is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most disruptive forces in the game. Miller is about 20 pounds heavier than Littleton but Cory is working out at EXOS in Carlsbad, one of the top football training facilities in the country, to put on some extra size and strength.

Cory believes he already has the instincts to thrive in his new role.

“Outside linebacker is the thing I came in to this league to play,” said Littleton, a two-time winner of the Grossmont Valley League Defensive MVP Award at Mount Miguel. “It’s something that I know. I’m familiar with it. It’s something I feel very comfortable with. Wade Phillips coming to this team and running his defense? That made he have a little enjoyment.”

Phillips is a master at utilizing a player’s skill set to attack defenses. In his senior year at Washington, Littleton had 6.0 sacks as a 3-4 edge rusher so he knows how to get to the quarterback. If he does it even half as much as this idol does he’ll stick in the NFL for a long time.

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<![CDATA[Maton Proving MLB Draft Can Yield Hidden Gems]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:07:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/Phil+Maton+Padres+Dugout.JPG

In 2015 the Padres grabbed Phil Maton in the 20th round of the MLB Draft. Exactly two years and one day later Maton was on the mound in Milwaukee recording his first career big league save, looking like he is about to become one of the best young closers in baseball.

The Padres ended up with Maton because an area scout saw something and set off a series of events that led to the guy taken in the 20th round being the first one from the class to reach the Major Leagues.

“We had two guys that were helping split the area,” said Padres Director of Scouting Mark Conner about the trek to find Maton. “Those two guys where covering north Texas.”

Louisiana Tech is in northern Louisiana so one of the scouts made a trip to the city of Ruston to see Maton pitch. He came away impressed.

“Good body, arm action, delivery, starter at a Division-1 university,” said Conner of the scouting report. “He liked the components.”

Once the Padres were intrigued with the physical tools they started the next stage of the scouting process by diving in to Maton’s personal history.

“Who he was; good athlete,” said Conner. After those boxes were checked they looked at the analytics.

“TrackMan data and things of that nature and you find out there are some really interesting components to what he does to be successful,” said Conner.

One of those components … in fact the one that really put Maton on the map … is the vicious spin rate of his fastball. Maton’s heater spins at more than 2500 RPM, allowing it to ride higher in the strike zone and look a lot faster than its 94 MPH velocity. Maton’s spin rate is slightly better than Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and even Aroldis Chapman.

In college Maton was a starting pitcher where he had decent strikeout numbers. The Padres put him in the bullpen and in pro ball he became a punchout machine, whiffing 58 hitters in 32.2 innings at Tri-City in the Northwest League. He has not stopped striking guys out since, giving San Diego one of those proverbial draft day diamonds in the rough.

“I think it was a group effort getting him, definitely led by the area scouts in that situation,” said Conner.

If Maton keeps this up then pretty soon he’ll have to pick out his entrance music as the next San Diego Padres closer.

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<![CDATA[Homers Hurt Padres in Series Loss]]> Sun, 18 Jun 2017 16:34:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Cordoba+Watches+HR+in+Milwaukee.JPG

If the Padres are not hitting home runs odds are they are not scoring many runs. On Father’s Day the Friars had trouble manufacturing offense without the long ball in a 2-1 loss to the Brewers.

San Diego put eight runners on base against Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson on six singles and two walks but could only bring one of them home. In the 5th inning Erick Aybar singled to left-centerfield to bring in Cory Spangenberg and put the Padres on top 1-0.

Other than that the Friars only got a runner past 1st base two other times, in the 2nd and 7th innings, and failed to score on both occasions. It was a stark difference from Saturday’s game where the Padres hit five home runs in hitter-friendly Miller Park.

This time it was the home run ball that cost them. Padres right-hander Luis Perdomo, who made the first start of his big league career a year ago in Wisconsin, was good enough to get a win this time. Perdomo went 6.0 innings and only allowed two runs, both on solo homers in the 6th inning. First Hernan Perez lofted a fly ball that is an out in most other parks just over the left field wall and two batters later Manny Pina hit a no-doubter to left-center for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Nelson finished off his complete game effort by striking out Aybar, the 10th punchout of the game for the Brewers righty.

The Padres continue their road trip on Monday at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Clayton Richard gets the start against Jon Lester.

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<![CDATA[Solarte Leads Padres to Victory]]> Sat, 17 Jun 2017 21:36:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/Solarte+HR+in+Milwaukee.JPG

Yangervis Solarte is not a guy who will put up All-Star numbers … but he is every bit as valuable as any team’s most prolific offensive threat.

Solarte is the unquestioned emotional leader of the Padres and he came up huge for them again in a 7-5, 11-inning win over the Brewers in Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon.

Solarte started the scoring with a solo home run in the 2nd inning, touching off a bit of a home run derby between the Padres and Brewers. By the time the game ended the teams had combined for eight dingers, five of them hit by the Padres.

Milwaukee took the lead back in the 3rd inning with a pair of homers, one an inside-the-park job by Orlando Arcia and the other a 2-run traditional blast by Eric Thames, his 20th of the season to put the Brewers on top 3-1.

The Padres got one back on an RBI double by Hunter Renfroe (the only run they did not score via home run) then Wil Myers unloaded on a 3-0 pitch from Chase Anderson to tie it 3-3.

Padres rookie starter Dinelson Lamet helped keep it tied with 12 strikeouts in 6.0 innings so it went to the 10th inning knotted 3-3. That’s where Solarte thought he won the game. Yangervis demolished a 2-run home run to right field that gave the Padres a 5-3 lead with closer Brandon Maurer on the mound.

The lead lasted two batters.

Maurer hit one guy then served up a 2-run bomb to Keon Broxton that re-tied things 5-5 and sent it to the 11th. It would not go to the 12th.

Cory Spangenberg and Chase d’Arnaud both hit solo home runs to put the Padres up 7-5 and rookie closer-in-training Phil Maton did not allow another comeback. Maton came on with one out and a runner on and struck out both hitters he faced to get his first MLB save.

San Diego can win the series on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.

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<![CDATA[Brewery Raises Glass to Gwynn With '5.5K' Run]]> Sat, 17 Jun 2017 20:56:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padre-bat-AP95090201086.jpg

AleSmith Brewing Company held its annual "5.5 K" run Saturday to honor late San Diego Padres icon Tony Gwynn and raise money for his foundation.

The 5.5 distance pays tribute to the location on a baseball field where Gwynn often hit the ball, between third base and shortstop, also known as the "5.5 hole."

Hundreds of runners gathered at the brewery along Miramar Road to set out on a course through the industrial neighborhood's streets before returning to a cold beer.

The brewery, which started 22 years ago, is now often linked to Gwynn because of its best-selling beer which he helped create: the .394 Pale Ale, which pays homage to his 1984 season when "Mr. Padre" achieved a career-high .394 batting average.

The brewery also released its latest rendition of the .394 Saturday, an IPA with 9% alcohol.

Members of the Gwynn family, including his wife Alicia and the newest family member, their 4-month old granddaughter, were in attendance.

Proceeds from the event go to the Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation, which according to its online mission statement, provides financial and educational resources to underserved members of the San Diego community and around the world.

Gwynn played for the San Diego Padres for 20 seasons, from 1982 to 2001. The 15-time All-Star’s legacy includes the league’s 18th best batting average of all time, plus 3,141 career hits, eight batting titles, five Gold Glove Awards and induction into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2007. Gwynn died on June 16, 2014, after a long battle with cancer.





Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Lovemark Among Local Trio In Contention At U.S. Open]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 20:58:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/LovemarkUSOpenForWEB.jpg

Aside from Murrieta’s Rickie Fowler, the crowded leaderboard at the U.S. Open lacks much name recognition.

Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka and lefty Brian Harman all finished Friday at (-7) after 36 holes.  

It’s the first time four golfers have shared the lead at the halfway point since the 1974 edition of the tournament.

Meanwhile, a handful of golfers with ties to San Diego are nipping on their heels with a legitimate chance to win their first major.

Torrey Pines high school graduate Jamie Lovemark (-6) carded a 69 to move up three strokes and within a shot of the lead.

The former USC Trojan who hails from Rancho Sante Fe was stronger on the back nine where he picked up four birdies.

Fowler (-6) started Friday with a one stroke lead and continued bogey-free on the front nine. 

He settled for three straight bogeys on the 11th, 12th and 13th holes before steadying the ship and saving par on his last five holes.

SDSU product Xander Schauffele gave one stroke back in the second round but still sits pretty at (-5).  

The 23-year-old is tied with four other golfers for 8th place.

Poway’s Charley Hoffman also had a good day at the office.  

Hoffman improved to (-4) after turning in a 70 for the second straight day.  

He is within striking distance – just three shots behind the leading quartet.

Torey Pines graduate Pat Perez however did not fare as well at Erin Hills. 

Perez missed the cut as did former SDSU golfer Scott Piercy. 

Even more surprising, the top three ranked golfers in the world – defending U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day – all failed to make it to the weekend after subpar showings in the first two rounds.

It’s the first time the top trio in the world rankings all missed the cut in a major.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Show Muscle at the Plate but fall to Brewers]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 21:05:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-696732346.jpg

Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe and Yangervis Solarte all homered in Friday night’s series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. Their power at the plate took them into extra innings but the Brewers literally walked away with a 6-5 victory in the first of three games from Miller Park.

Myers set the bar high with a three run blast in the first inning and gave San Diego an early 3-0 lead. Keeping pace with the Padres 2016 all-star was Renfroe. The stand out rookie’s solo shot in the first inning was good for his 15th home run of the season.

The Brewers caught up with home runs of their own. A solo shot by Travis Shaw followed by a three run bomb by Keon Broxton had the score tied at four runs apiece after four innings.

Solarte did his part in the eighth inning with a home run to right field, his seventh of the year. But the Brewers were determined to continue this game of home run ping pong. Manny Piña went yard in Milwaukee’s half of the inning to tie the game again 5-5.

At this point every run scored from both teams was a result of a home run swing. This one would go into extra innings. In the tenth Eric Thames hit the walk off home run for Milwaukee.

Game two is set for Saturday at 1:10 p.m. PST at Miller Park.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Five Times Athletes Have Challenged Animals]]> Sat, 17 Jun 2017 03:36:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_SPO_5_TIMES_ATHLETES_VS_ANIMALS_061617-149765207316100001.jpg

With the announcement that Michael Phelps will race a shark for Discovery Channel's "Shark Week," we take a look back at five times athletes competed against animals.

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<![CDATA[McDonald's, Olympics Ending Partnership After 40 Years]]> Sat, 17 Jun 2017 03:38:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Untitled203.jpg

After 40 years, the relationship between McDonald’s and the International Olympic Committee has come to an end.

McDonald’s, which began sponsoring the United States Olympic Committee in 1976 and been a partner with the IOC since 1996, terminated the relationships with both entities on Friday afternoon.

"As part of our global growth plan, we are reconsidering all aspects of our business and have made this decision in cooperation with the IOC to focus on different priorities," McDonald's Global Chief Marketing Officer Silvia Lagnado said in a statement. "We have been proud to support the Olympic Movement, and we thank our customers and staff, the spectators, athletes and officials, as well as the IOC and local Olympics Games organizing committees, for all of their support over the years."

McDonald’s will continue on as a partner with the Olympics with domestic marketing rights for the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, but their deal, which was set to run through the Tokyo 2020 games, will be terminated with immediate effect, according to CNBC.

"In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, we understand that McDonald’s is looking to focus on different business priorities," Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, said in a statement to AdAge. "For these reasons, we have mutually agreed with McDonald’s to part ways."

According to AdAge, McDonald’s is just the latest business to cut ties with the IOC, following the lead of other companies like AT&T, Budweiser and Hilton Hotels.

McDonald’s and the Olympic Games have a long history that dates back all the way to 1968. According to the company’s Olympic page, they airlifted hamburgers to athletes during the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, to help athletes deal with homesickness.

The company officially became a sponsor of the USOC in 1976, and became one of the Games’ TOP partners before the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then, McDonald’s has served food in the Olympic Village at each competition, and has served up specially branded advertisements, cups and other items in the years since. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Olympians Reveal the Most ‘Dad’ Thing Their Dads Do]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 11:39:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/celskijr.jpg

Winter Olympians talk about the most embarrassing “Dad” things their dads do.

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<![CDATA[Olympians Tell Their Favorite ‘Dad Jokes’]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:56:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_SPO_OLYMPIC_DAD_JOKES_061617-149763326114600001.jpg

In honor of Father’s Day, we asked Team USA Olympic athletes to share some of their favorite and cheesiest “Dad Jokes.”

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<![CDATA[Murrieta’s Fowler & SDSU’s Schauffele Lead U.S. Open]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 20:03:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/XanderSchauffeleWEB.jpg

Even without Phil Mickelson in the field on Thursday, the first round of the U.S. Open featured a number of golfers with San Diego ties that fared extremely well.

Former San Diego State golfer Xander Schauffele was the surprise of the day.

The 23-year-old turned pro in 2015 but looked as comfortable as a long-time PGA veteran on the Erin Hills course.

Schauffele became the first golfer in three decades to shoot a bogey-free 66 or better in his U.S. Open debut.

He ended the first round tied for second place with Paul Casey at (-6) and just one shot off the pace.

Schauffele had two chances to tie Murrieta’s Rickie Fowler atop the leaderboard during his last two holes, but settled for par on both occasions.

Meanwhile, Fowler turned in an impressive bogey-free round of 65.

He collected seven birdies and 11 pars as he positioned himself extremely well out the gate.

The 65 he carded is the lowest opening score for par in the first round of the tournament's history.

Fowler owns 4 PGA Tour wins but is still chasing his first major victory.

The Murrieta Valley high school graduate came very close in 2014 with a top five showing in all four major events that season.

Fowler settled for a second place finish at both the U.S. Open and British Open that year.

Poway’s Charley Hoffman started the first round strong. Hoffman birdied the second hole and finished Thursday with a 70 (-2).

Jamie Lovemark is three-under-par after one round while fellow Torrey Pines high school grad Pat Perez struggled all day and settled for plus-four.

Former SDSU Scott Piercy is in the middle of the pack and was even par.

Mickelson withdrew from the U.S. Open once he realized there was no way he could be two places at once.

Mickelson attended his daughter’s high school graduation Thursday in Carlsbad and would have needed approximately a four-hour weather delay in Wisconsin to quickly fly across the country to make his tee time.

Once Lefty realized that was impossible and officially notified officials of his decision, Roberto Diaz of Mexico took his place as the first alternate.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Hold Final San Diego Practice]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:54:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rivers_After_Final_San_Diego_Practice_1200x675_968467011720.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson takes a look at the final practice the Chargers will hold in San Diego in this commentary

The Chargers held their final practice in San Diego on Thursday, the conclusion of their mandatory mini-camp. The next time they take the field will be in Orange County when training camp starts at the end of July. Tell me if the following resonates with any of you Chargers fans past or present.

Driving to the facility and walking around with a camera for the final time I was wondering what emotions would bubble up. Nostalgia? Sadness? Anger?

It’s hard to predict how the human heart will respond to a situation. However I was completely unprepared for what I felt on Thursday:

Nothing.

There was no frustration causing the bile to rise in the back of the throat. There was no wistful recollection like a high school graduation. It was just work. Business as usual.

Maybe it’s because we’ll still be around the team and watching L.T. enter the Hall of Fame and covering games for the coming season. Maybe it’s because all the emotions have been flushed out over six months of dealing with the move (a lot longer if you go back to Houston in January of 2016).

Perhaps I simply don’t have enough energy left to care. Or maybe I’ve followed the emotional timeline that Nick Hardwick followed where there was a pure, raw, visceral response that wore off over time. I know I will always root for the guys on the field. 17, 85, 25 … those guys I will always wish to have success.

But that ownership group. Ew, that icky disgusting Spanos family. That group of clowns having good things happen and making money I will never, ever, ever root for.

If there’s a way for Philip Rivers to throw for 500 yards and 5 touchdowns every game but still have the Chargers lose 48-45 and go 0-16 that would be the best-case scenario. Yet none of that emotion entered the thought process on the field or came out on the final day of the final mini-camp that was the final workout in San Diego.

What does it mean? Who knows? I don’t have the capacity right now to try and diagnose that section of my psyche. Perhaps many of you feel the same way, like this is just another step in the process that we are all still trying to figure out. I’m sure this will continue to evolve as training camp starts and the regular season nears. Until then, football is out of sight and out of mind. Plus we have other things to think about.

Did you see that home run Hunter Renfroe hit???

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<![CDATA[Dems Win Ballgame of Unity, Give Trophy to Scalise]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:13:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Congressional+Baseball+Game.jpg

Republicans and Democrats put aside their differences to root for "Team Scalise" during the Congressional Baseball Game this year.

Many lawmakers wore purple and gold hats and shirts emblazoned with the LSU logo in a show of support for Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot one day earlier during the Republican team's practice for the annual event.

Scalise graduated from LSU in 1989. He is regularly decked out “from head to toe” in team gear, a representative for Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, said Thursday morning. 

Scalise’s alma mater reportedly helped make the tribute at the game possible.

In an interview with NOLA.com, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said he responded to a request for gear by sending hats, towels and shirts for both the Democratic and Republican teams to wear.

Scalise remains in critical condition, but has improved, MedStar Washington Hospital said in an update Thursday night. He had a second surgery related to his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg, the hospital said.


David Bailey, one of the Capitol Police officers injured in the shooting at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, threw out the first pitch at the game.

Bailey walked to the pitcher's mound in crutches and former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre handed him the game ball. Bailey then threw a pitch that bounced before reaching the catcher, Roberto Clemente Jr. He gave a good-natured shrug as the stadium applauded.

Three others were shot Wednesday, including Matt Mika, director of government relations for Tysons Foods, who was in critical condition after being shot twice in the chest; Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner, who was shot in the ankle; and Zack Barth, an aide to Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), who was shot in the calf.

The Nationals said nearly 25,000 people attended -- a record number for the Congressional Baseball Game. More than $1 million was raised for Congressional Sports for Charity. The Capitol Police Memorial Fund was added as a beneficiary on Wednesday.

The Democrats beat the Republicans 11-2 in the friendly, but competitive, game. In a final flourish of bipartisan camaraderie for the night, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, his team's manager, accepted the trophy, then gave it to his GOP counterpart, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, to put in Scalise's office on behalf of the Democrats. After accepting it gracefully, Barton cracked, "Next year we won't be so nice."

Scalise has previously played in the congressional game, and in previous years wore a variety of Louisiana jerseys.

The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity dates back to 1909, and became popular enough by 1928 to be broadcast on the radio, according to a history of the game listed on a dedicated website. The Great Depression, World War II and some speakers of the House have intervened to cancel some games.

It is one of the most anticipated events of summer at the Capitol, with Democrats and Republicans splitting the 79 games that have been played over the years 39-39, with one tie. Democrats were on a winning streak for several years before the Republicans won the last game in a squeaker, 8-7.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Will the NHL Expansion Draft Nab One of Your Favorite Players?]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 10:36:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/goldenknights.jpg

The NHL is expanding next season as it adds a new team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. To fill out their roster, the league is holding an expansion draft that entitles the Golden Knights to select one player from each of the 30 current NHL teams. Find out how this could impact your favorite team

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<![CDATA[Video Shows Blimp Crashing at Golf’s US Open]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_BLIMP_AT_US_OPEN_061517_1-149754558828200001.jpg

People posted video on social media of a blimp crashing near Erin Hills Golf Course in Hartford, Wisconsin, where the U.S. Open of golf is being held.

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<![CDATA['The Fight Is On': McGregor to Meet Mayweather in Las Vegas]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 04:38:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mayweather_McGregor.jpg

MMA fighter Conor McGregor tweeted Wednesday afternoon that "the fight is on" between himself and renowned boxer Floyd Mayweather.

The spectacle is expected to take place on Aug. 26, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

The Nevada commission approved the date of the fight earlier Wednesday, according to reports.

McGregor tweeted the photo of himself next to Floyd Mayweather Sr., but he will be fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. It is unclear whether it was a mistake or whether McGregor did it on purpose, as he is known to provoke his opponents.

Mayweather also posted on Instagram about the fight, writing "It's official!"

Mayweather, who retired in September 2015 after going undefeated in all 49 of his pro fights, will face a mixed martial arts fighter who has never been in a scheduled 12-round fight at the MGM Grand arena. The fight will take place in a boxing ring and be governed by boxing rules.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finalize 2017 Draft Class]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:36:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/MLB+Draft+Board+2017.JPG

The Padres finished their 2017 MLB Draft class with 30 more selections on Wednesday. Once again the theme was strength up the middle of the diamond.

Between the 9th and 16th rounds the Friars took eight straight pitchers, three of them left-handers and one of them a local product. In the 13th round San Diego took Fresno State left-hander Fred Schlichtholz, a native of Coronado.

The Padres grabbed another local hurler in the 35th round when they took Madison High School right-hander Kevin Abel, who was ranked as one of the top-200 prospects in the class but is going to be tough to sign due to his commitment to play at Oregon State.

Overall the Padres had a clear emphasis on players who patrol the middle of the diamond. Of their 41 selections, nearly 75% are pitchers, catchers, shortstops or centerfielders and several others have the potential to convert into catchers.

The full 2017 Padres draft class looks like this:

RD.     PLAYER                  POS.     HT    WT     B/T   SCHOOL      
1.      MacKenzie Gore          LHP      6-2   185    L/L   Whiteville High School (NC)
2.      Luis Campusano-Bracero  C        6-0   215    R/R   Cross Creek High School (GA)
CBB.    Blake Hunt              C        6-3   205    R/R   Mater Dei High School (CA)
3.      Mason House             OF       6-3   200    L/L   Whitehouse High School (TX)
4.      Sam Keating             RHP      6-3   195    R/R   Caterbury High School (FL)
5.      Jonny Homza             3B       6-1   190    R/R   South Anchorage High School (AK)
6.      Aaron Leasher           LHP      6-3   195    L/L   Morehead State University (KY)
7.      Nick Margevicius        LHP      6-5   220    L/L   Rider University (NJ)
8.      Olivier Basabe          SS       5-11  190    R/R   Faulkner University (AL)
9.      Alex Cunningham         RHP      6-0   210    R/R   Coastal Carolina University (SC)
10.     Dominic Taccolini       RHP      6-3   230    R/R   University of Arkansas (AR)
11.     Chandler Newman         RHP      6-2   175    R/R   Chattahoochee Valley Community College (AL)
12.     Thomas Cosgrove         LHP      6-2   190    L/L   Manhattan College (NY)
13.     Fred Schlichtholz       LHP      6-3   220    L/L   Fresno State University (CA)
14.     Vijay Miller            RHP      6-2   180    R/R   East Mississippi Community College (MS)
15.     Cole Bellinger          RHP      6-1   175    R/R   Hamilton High School (AZ)
16.     Joey Cantillo           LHP      6-4   235    L/L   Kailua High School (HI)
17.     Jason Pineda            1B       6-1   220    R/R   James Monroe High School (NY)
18.     Cam Sanders             RHP      6-2   170    R/R   Northwest Florida State College (FL)
19.     Nicholas Feight         1B       5-11  200    R/R   University of North Carolina Wilmington (NC)
20.     Duke Ellis              OF       6-3   160    L/L   Panola College (TX)
21.     Greg Lambert            OF       6-1   195    R/R   Southern Illinois University (IL)
22.     Jake Lyons              RHP      6-5   271    R/R   Weatherford College (TX)
23.     Luis Roman              3B       6-0   220    L/R   Texas Wesleyan University (TX)
24.     Harrison Simon          RHP      6-4   210    R/R   Loyola Marymount University (CA)
25.     Robbie Podorsky         OF       5-8   170    R/R   McNeese State University (LA)
26.     Daniel Cabrera          OF       6-1   185    L/L   Parkview Baptist School (LA)
27.     Christian Robinson      OF       6-2   205    L/L   Viera High School (FL)
28.     Noel Vela               LHP      6-0   150    L/L   Veterans Memorial High School (TX)
29.     Jalen Washington        C        6-1   195    R/R   Ohio State University (OH)
30.     Chandler Seagle         C        6-0   185    R/R   Appalachian State University (NC)
31.     Tyler Benson            OF       6-0   175    L/R   Bloomsburg University (PA)
32.     Matthew Batten          SS       6-0   170    R/R   Quinnipiac University (CT)
33.     Caleb Boushley          RHP      6-3   180    R/R   University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (WI)
34.     Henry Marchese          OF       6-3   185    L/R   Adlai E. Stevenson High School (IL)
35.     Kevin Abel              RHP      6-2   180    R/R   Madison High School (CA)
36.     Shane Muntz             C        6-4   240    R/R   Malvern Preparatory School (PA)
37.     Logan Browning          LHP      5-7   165    L/L   Florida Southern College (FL)
38.     Jeremy Smith            RHP      6-1   195    R/R   Southwestern Oklahoma State University (OK)
39.     Justin Paulsen          1B       6-0   215    L/R   Missouri State University (MO)
40.     Chad Stevens            3B       6-3   190    R/R   Gig Harbor High School (WA)

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<![CDATA[Philip Rivers: Dual Threat QB?]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:06:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*127/Philip+Rivers+Pro+Bowl.JPG

The Chargers continued mini-camp in Murphy Canyon on Wednesday. You are probably aware of the fact Philip Rivers makes his living throwing the football.

I say that not because, yes, he’s the quarterback, but because he's not one of those dual-threat quarterbacks like a Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. Rivers himself will tell you he’s not exactly the fastest cat on the field and when he runs it is by necessity only.

But during the team drills portion of practice (when cameras are not allowed to be on or we would be showing you this constantly) Rivers shocked pretty much everyone when he ran the read-option.

Take a moment to allow that to sink in.

In a nutshell the read-option is a simple play where the offensive line zone blocks in one direction. The QB then reads the opposite defensive end, sees what that guy does, and decides to either hand the ball to the running back or keep it himself and run around the vacated end. Key word here is “run.”

Yes, the Chargers did that with Philip Rivers. And offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said it might not have been a novelty.

“I think it’s always fun to do those things in OTA’s,” said Whisenhunt. “Probably you’ll see less of that in-season but you never know. If (Philip) is feeling frisky one day we might take a shot at it.”

I asked Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco about the play and, smiling, he said you have to keep opposing defensive ends honest. But with Rivers? How much honesty are they expecting to get?

New Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley saw the play and was not all that concerned about his defense getting beat by Rivers’ feet.

“We didn’t pay any attention to it,” said Bradley chuckling. “We just let him go. I knew it wasn’t going to happen again, I’ll put it that way.”

If the Chargers do, in fact, end up running that play during the regular season one of two things will happen:

A)    Rivers shocks everyone and runs for a TD.
B)    Rivers realizes he’s about to get demolished and throws the ball out of bounds.

So hey, why not give it a shot?

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<![CDATA[Padres Complete Sweep of Reds]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 15:09:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/197*120/Renfroe+HR+Reds.JPG

When Hunter Renfroe hits a baseball hard he hits it REALLY REALLY hard.

The Padres rookie demolished his 14th homer of the season in a 4-2 win over the Reds on Wednesday at Petco Park. Renfroe’s shot came in the 6th inning against Cincinnati starter Amir Garrett. Renfroe’s 14 homers before the All-Star break matches the San Diego franchise record for pre-break homers by a rookie, set by Nate Colbert all the way back in 1969.

Renfroe was not the only rookie that made an impact. Franchy Cordero continued to show he can be an impact big leaguer.

In the 7th inning Cordero snapped a 2-2 tie with an RBI single to right-center then took 2nd base on the throw, showing off impressive speed. Renfroe followed with an RBI groundout to put San Diego up 4-2.

That was enough to get Jhoulys Chacin another win at home. Chacin allowed two runs, both on solo homers, in 7.0 innings to get the win.

The Padres swept Cincinnati, their second sweep in the last three series at Petco Park, to finish a 4-2 homestand. The Friars get a day off then hit the road to start a weekend set in Milwaukee against the Brewers on Friday.

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<![CDATA[Padres Lock in Series Victory against Reds ]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 23:13:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/GettyImages-695762462.jpg

The stars were shining over Petco Park and I’m not just talking about the view. Franchy Cordero hit two home runs on the way to a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday Night. On the mound, Clayton Richard pitched an almost complete game.

Before facing the Reds, Richard’s career high was 116 pitches. Tuesday night the righty threw 127. In eight and two-thirds innings of work the lefty allowed only eight hits and two runs (which came in the 9th inning). He finished the night with six strike outs.

Meantime, Cordero was busy at the plate notching his first multi-homer game of his major league career. In his last eight at-bats the Padres rookie has hit three home runs.

The Padres will look to sweep the Reds in the series finale on Wednesday at 12:40 p.m. at Petco Park.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USD’s Adams and SDSU’s Seeburger Among Local MLB Draft Picks]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:08:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/224*120/WebRileyAdams.png

There was lots of local flavor during day two of the major league baseball draft.

The Toronto Blue Jays selected University of San Diego catcher Riley Adams late in the third round Tuesday.

Adams was the 99th overall pick and the fourth catcher selected.

This marks the fifth straight year that at least one Torero has been drafted in the first three rounds of the MLB draft.

Adams just finished an outstanding season where he earned WCC Player of the Year honors after batting .380 against conference opponents.

The Encinitas native attended Canyon Crest high school and was also a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award this past season which is given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.

San Diego State pitcher Brett Seeburger was selected in the 10th round by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Seeburger went 10-3 on the mound during his senior campaign with a 4.53 earned run average.

The lefty from Oceanside helped SDSU win the Mountain West tourney and advance to the NCAA tournament just a couple weeks ago.

The World Series champion Chicago Cubs liked what they saw in Mira Mesa high school product Ricky Tyler Thomas. The Cubs picked up the Fresno State southpaw in the seventh round.

Jayson Rose went to the Brewers in the eighth round. Rose went to Granite Hills high school before pitching at Utah.

Cathedral Catholic high school graduate Sean Bouchard will get his opportunity with the Rockies.

Colorado tabbed Bouchard in the 9th round.

Beau Sulser of Ramona high school was also selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 10th round.

Sulser pitched for Dartmouth University after graduating high school.



Photo Credit: usdtoreros.com]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Draft 8 More Tuesday]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 16:17:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/248*120/Aaron+Leasher.jpg

On day one of the MLB Draft the Padres took an arm and two catchers, all out of high school. Their emphasis on day two was still on youth in the middle of the diamond.

With their 3rd round selection the Friars took another high schooler, centerfielder Mason House from Whiteville High School in Texas. House is 6'2" tall and weighs 190 pounds but he chose not to play heavily on the travel ball showcase circuit so he is a bit of an unknown commodity. Scouts like his size and power potential from the left side of the plate.

In the 4th round the Padres nabbed right-handed pitcher Sam Keating from Canterbury High School in Fort Myers, FL. As a senior Keating went 11-1 with a 0.96 ERA and 93 strikeouts.

With their 5th round selection the Padres took yes another high schooler and the only one who plays a corner spot, 3B Jonny Homza from South Anchorage High School in that baseball hotbed of Alaska. Homza is an intriguing prospect because he can play 3B, SS or catcher. The two-time Alaska Player of the Year also tossed a no-hitter on the mound.

With their next four picks the Padres went to the college ranks, grabbing three pitchers and another shortstop. Lefty-handed pitcher Aaron Leasher from Morehead St. went in the 6th round, followed by fellow lefty Nick Margevicius out of Rider University in the 7th round. Leasher has recorded back-to-back 100 strikeout seasons and Margevicius led the Broncos in strikeouts, wins, innings pitched, ERA, WHIP and complete games.

Faulkner University shortstop Olivier Basabe (a native of Venezuela) was scooped up in the 8th round. San Diego finished the second day of picks with two more right-handed pitchers, Alex Cunningham from Coastal Carolina and Dominic Taccolini from Arkansas. Basabe has a plus arm at short, recording throws over 90 MPH from the position. Cunningham was one of the big reasons the Chanticleers won the 2016 College World Series and Taccolini has a power sinker that scouts love.

The MLB Draft concludes on Wednesday with rounds 11-40. The Padres will have the 3rd pick of every round. Here's another look at the picks they made on Tuesday:

ROUND  NAME                    SCHOOL                   POSITION
3           Mason House         Whitehouse HS         CF
4           Sam Keating          Canterbury School     RHP
5           Jonny Homza         South Anchorage HS  3B
6           Aaron Leasher       Morehead State          LHP
7           Nick Margevicius     Rider                        LHP
8           Olivier Basabe        Faulkner                    SS
9           Alex Cunningham   Coastal Carolina         RHP
10         Dominic Taccolini    Arkansas                   RHP

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<![CDATA[Chargers Mini-Camp Off to Rocky Start]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 15:02:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/2017+Chargers+Mini+Camp.jpg

The Chargers opened their last mini-camp of 2017 with everyone on the field. That includes freshly-signed linebacker Melvin Ingram and veteran tight end Antonio Gates, who had been working out of their own during most of the voluntary practices.

Even the presence of those veterans did not help what turned in to an ugly practice.

“They didn’t look very good today,” said Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “I wasn’t very pleased with the standard today.”

The coach had a few different reasons for this.

“They just looked sluggish,” said Lynn. “Committed some fouls and things that will get you beat, things that we haven’t done all off-season.”

Specifically, he was upset about things that have become hallmarks of the Chargers’ on-field performance in recent years.

“Too many mistakes, too many penalties, not enough energy,” said Lynn. “You know we had a long weekend but that’s no reason. Come back fresher, don’t come back sluggish.”

That is the kind of thing you typically would not hear from the previous regime but it’s not entirely surprising. Since he arrived Lynn has not minced words with the media or the players in the locker room.

“I think one thing we found out early on from Coach Lynn is he’s matter-of-fact and to-the-point,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, one of the few players Lynn singled out as NOT having had issues on Tuesday. “So we’ve gotta bounce back this afternoon and have a good walkthrough and have a better day tomorrow.”

I bring all this up because it became a running joke in 2016 when former head coach Mike McCoy would tell us all about how great a week of practice they had before losing to the Chiefs 33-3. Perhaps this kind of reversal will mean a few more wins.

Or maybe this was just an aberration.

“Practices have been outstanding this off-season. They set that standard. They set the expectations,” said Lynn. “They just didn’t do it today.”

The Bolts have two more practices in San Diego before moving permanently up to Los Angeles, an emotional topic we’ll deal with later in the week.

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