<![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 Tue, 13 Oct 2015 05:13:06 -0700 Tue, 13 Oct 2015 05:13:06 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Twitter Suspends Deadspin, SBNation Accounts Over Copyright]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 22:42:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-180483176.jpg

Several sports organizations have accused two popular sports publications of violating copyright protections on their Twitter accounts, NBC News reported.

The social media site provided NBC News and CNBC almost two dozen “takedown notices” filed against Deadspin and SBNation by the NFL, the Big 12, the SEC and UFC. The notices accuse Twitter of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by hosting specific tweets by the two publications.

Twitter declined to comment on Monday, NBC News said.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Knock Down Cardinals]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 20:32:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/226*120/GettyImages-4923815821.jpg

Behind a barrage of home runs, the Chicago Cubs knocked off the St. Louis Cardinals 8-6 in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. 

The win moves the Cubs to within one victory of advancing to their first NLCS since the 2003 season. The six home runs that the Cubs hit in the game set a new MLB record for long balls in a postseason game. 

The Cubs managed to get two runners on base in the first inning, with Jorge Soler drawing a walk and Kris Bryant getting his first career postseason hit, but that was all they could muster. Anthony Rizzo scalded a line drive toward shortstop, but Jhonny Peralta snared it and doubled off Soler to end the inning. 

The Cardinals threatened in the top of the second after Jason Heyward lofted a double over Kyle Schwarber's head, but Jake Arrieta was able to work his way out of the situation. He induced three consecutive groundouts, including a final one from Yadier Molina, to keep the game scoreless. 

That proved to be important, as Schwarber uncorked a home run. Going opposite field, Schwarber took a Michael Wacha pitch over the left field wall to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. 

The Cubs held that lead until the top of the fourth inning, when control issues from Arrieta allowed the Cardinals to seize the advantage. Peralta landed the big blow of the inning when he lined a double off the left field wall to score Stephen Piscotty, and then Matt Holliday scored as Tommy Pham grounded out to third base.

Arrieta was able to get out of the inning without further damage however as he induced a groundout from Molina to keep the Cubs' deficit at 2-1. 

The Cardinals' lead was short-lived however, as Starlin Castro blasted a home run deep into the left field bleachers to tie things up at 2-2. The Cubs looked to have an opportunity to seize the lead when Addison Russell lined a triple to left field, but he was removed from the game with an apparent injury, and Arrieta struck out to strand his replacement Javier Baez at third base.  

Arrieta managed to hold the Cardinals in check in the top of the fifth, and his teammates rewarded him with a barrage of offense. After Soler lined a single, Kris Bryant came up and blasted a home run into the left field bleachers to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead. When Wacha was lifted for Kevin Siegrist, the narrative stayed the same, as Rizzo blasted a home run over the right field wall to make it a 5-2 game. 

The Cubs had an opportunity to tack on more runs, but Miguel Montero went down swinging to end the frame with Schwarber at third base. 

Arrieta ended up having to come out of the game in the top of the sixth inning after surrendering a long home run to Jason Heyward. The Cubs did manage to get out of the situation as Clayton Richard induced a groundout from Kolten Wong to end the frame. 

To express their appreciation, the Cubs gave their pitching staff two more runs to widen the lead. After Chris Coghlan pinch-hit and led off the inning with a single, Soler crushed a home run to left field to give the Cubs a 7-4 lead. 

After Pedro Strop worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, the Cubs gave their pitchers yet another bit of support. With Jonathan Broxton pitching, Dexter Fowler launched the team's sixth home of the game just under the right field video board to make it an 8-4 game with three outs to go. 

The Cubs didn't make it easy in the bottom of the ninth, allowing a two-run home run to Piscotty, but Hector Rondon finally recorded the final out of the game to put the Cubs within one win of advancing to the NLCS. 

The Cubs will look to accomplish that feat on Tuesday afternoon when they play the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS. Jason Hammel will take the hill for the Cubs, and Lance Lynn will pitch for the Cardinals. 

<![CDATA[Chargers Suffer Last-Second Loss]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 21:09:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-492406138.jpg

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates had a fabulous of a return to the NFL. His team overall, however, was less-than-stellar on Monday Night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Gates caught his 100th career touchdown and moved past Hall of Famer Shanon Sharpe for 3rd place on the all-time tight ends receiving yards list (after the week those two had it seems rather timely) but the Steelers scored a TD on the final play of the game to pull off a comeback 24-20 win at Qualcomm Stadium.

After grabbing three passes, including the history-making 12 yard score, on their opening drive Gates and the Chargers offense sputtered against the always tough Pittsburgh defense.

Quarterback Philip Rivers dealt with more injuries on the offensive line. Left tackle Chris Hairston, who was in for starter King Dunlap, had to leave. Behind the stitched up line Rivers found a way to make just enough plays to win but there were a few hiccups along the way.

In the 3rd quarter Rivers tried to hit Malcom Floyd but Antwon Blake stepped. In front and took it 70 yards for a Steelers touchdown that put Pittsburgh up 10-7. Josh Lambo tied it with a field goal and in the 4th quarter things got nutty.

Rivers hit Gates for another score to put the Bolts up 17-10 but on the very next play Steelers quarterback Mike Vick, who had 87 yards passing to that point, dropped one in to Markus Wheaton's hands for a 72-yard score to tie it at 17.

San Diego's next drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 36 yard line. That's when rookie kicker Josh Lambo came up huge, drilling a 54-yard field goal to put the Bolts up 20-17.

Vick then led a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended when running back Le'Veon Bell took a handoff and scored from the one yard line with three zeroes in the clock to give the Steelers a victory.

The Chargers fall to 2-3 on the year with a trip to Lambeau Field in Green Bay looming next Sunday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Probe Ordered Over Alleged Video of Cubs Fan's Arrest]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 15:26:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-491758724.jpg

WARNING: The video contains graphic language and content.

The mayor of Pittsburgh has ordered an internal investigation over a video that appears to show a police officer body-slamming a Chicago Cubs fan to the floor at the team's Oct. 7 post-season baseball game against the Pirates at PNC Park.

The video, uploaded to YouTube Sunday, appears to show an officer telling a Cubs fan in a goat costume to leave. The Cubs fan asks "Can I talk to you," and the officer puts an arm around him and begins to walk him away. The fan yells "Stop it," and attempts to push the officer's arm away.

Someone appears to grab at the device recording the incident, and someone yells "Put the phone down." Then, the video shifts to another angle and an officer is seen picking up the Cubs fan and body-slamming him to the ground.

It is unclear what prompted the confrontation on the video, which was spread widely online.

Pittsburgh Police Spokesperson Sonya Toler told NBC Chicago by email that Mayor Bill Peduto asked the city's Office of Municipal Investigations to look into the video.

Toler added that the video was still being reviewed.

"I was made aware of this last evening," Toler said. "Additional details will be released upon the completion of the investigation."

The Cubs won their wild card game against the Pirates.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Steelers vs. Chargers: Who To Watch]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 14:21:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/168*120/GettyImages-457511308.jpg

Antonio Gates is now officially a member of the San Diego Chargers again. The Bolts made the roster move on Monday afternoon, waiving safety Adrian Phillips to make room for the future Hall of Fame tight end.

San Diego does not plan on limiting the snaps for Gates in their Monday night meeting with the Steelers, so he seems like a decent guy to target in our weekly list of three guys to watch.

Antonio Gates, TE

Usually I try to stay away from the obvious contributors but Gates could have a monster night against Pittsburgh. The Steelers will not have their most talented linebacker, Ryan Shazier, due to injury and their defense is vulnerable to good tight end-quarterback tandems. In Week 1 Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady shredded the Steelers with 94 yards and three touchdowns. Pittsburgh was hurt by Vernon Davis and Colin Kaepernick in Week 2 and has not really played a decent tight end since. Now that they get Gates and Philip Rivers, the most prolific TE-QB combo in NFL history, the Steelers defense could be in for a long night.

Dontrelle Inman, WR

Stevie Johnson is likely not going to play with a hamstring injury. Malcom Floyd is a question mark with a concussion. Inman has a nasty habit of stepping in to the Chargers lineup and making big plays. He did it a year ago in San Francisco. He did it a week ago against Cleveland. He’ll very likely see the field again on MNF and now that he has Gates for defenses to focus on Inman could be in for a big game as well, especially because the Steelers have had trouble with second and third wide receivers this season. According to the statistical website FootballOutsiders Pittsburgh has the league’s 5th-worst defense against WR2 in 2015.

Kyle Emanuel, OLB

After making a splash in his first NFL game Emanuel has been quiet. A shoulder injury is part of the reason. The return of Jerry Attaochu is another reason. Emanuel is back to full strength and against a Pittsburgh offense led by Mike Vick he’ll have chances to make plays. Priority one is making sure Le’Veon Bell does not get a head of steam. If Bell is not tackled immediately he’s going to make things miserable for the Chargers. Priority two is bringing Vick down before he can get out of the pocket and make plays. Vick has never been tremendously accurate on short to intermediate passes and the last year or so he’s been prone to holding the ball too long. Emanuel and company should be able to get to him. When they do they’d better get him down because if they let him loose Vick will run a long, long way.

Derek’s Prediction

The Chargers are favored by three points. That means the odds makers think the game is pretty much a toss-up (typically a team gets three points simply by being at home). The return of Gates and the history of Rivers playing well in prime time games should be enough to get the Chargers a win in what I think will be a surprisingly high-scoring affair.

Final score: Chargers 38, Steelers 34

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Coach Seeks Treatment]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 13:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/199*120/USC+Head+Coach+Steve+Sarkisian.png

The University of Southern California has announced that Trojans football coach Steve Sarkisian has been asked to take an indefinite leave of absence and reportedly will seek treatment for alcohol addiction.

"He is not healthy," USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said. "I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence."

Haden spoke to the media after Sarkisian was not at practice on Sunday, just five days before the Trojans take on No. 14 Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday.

According to Haden, he was watching the USC Men's basketball team practice at the Galen Center when he received a call that Sarkisian "was not well," and in no condition to work. Haden then called Sarkisian to see for himself.

"It was clear to me that he was unhealthy," Haden said matter of factly. "This has all happened very quickly."

The call ended with Haden asking Sarkisian to take an indefinite leave of absence from the program.

Sarkisian came under fire in August after he delivered a profanity-laced speech at a team-sponsored event. Sarkisian appeared to be visibly intoxicated and apologized for his "inappropriate" behavior.

At the time, Sarkisian said he would seek treatment and avoid alcohol for the remainder of the college football season – apparently, he was unable to do so.

"We all have a great deal of concern for coach Sarkisian and his health," Haden continued. "Clay Helton will take over as head coach."

Helton then addressed the media, issuing a statement.

"Thank you for the opportunity to be the interim head coach of USC," he said. "Fortunately, or unfortunately, I've been in this situation before."

This marks Haden's second stint as head coach of the Trojans, as he took over for coach Ed Orgeron in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl Game against Fresno State. USC won that game 45-20, and Sarkisian was hired to replace Orgeron right away.

Helton is 1-0 as a head coach, and has been calling the plays for the Trojans on offense for most of the season. Despite the "temporary leave of absence" tag placed on Sarkisian's departure from the program, we imagine this will be permanent by the end of the season.

Photo Credit: 2015 Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Breaking Down President Obama's Golf Game]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 21:23:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama+in+san+diego+1011+2015.gif

President Barack Obama got in a round of golf at Torrey Pines on Sunday. According to the website www.obamagolfcounter.com it was the 249th day of golf for the President during his term in the Oval Office.

That got us wondering a couple of things:

1) Which president has played the most golf?
2) Just how good is the Commander-In-Chief's swing, anyway?

The first answer is almost shocking. Woodrow Wilson played nearly 1200 rounds of golf during his two terms (1913-1921). Not far behind him is Dwight Eisenhower, who logged almost 800 rounds on the links.

To find the second answer we employed the assistance of Coronado golf pro Brian Smock, who analyzed President Obama's swing to tell us just how effective he can be on the links:

Photo Credit: NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Weekly San Diego Sports Preview]]> Sun, 11 Oct 2015 21:49:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Antonio+Gates+Salutes+Fans.jpg

CHARGERS: It’s a double dose of the Bolts this week. Monday they host the Pittsburgh Steelers at 5:30 p.m. Sunday they’re at Green Bay 1:25 p.m.
GULLS: Friday they host Bakersfield at 7:05 p.m.

MEN’S SOCCER: Monday at UCLA 7 p.m., Friday vs. California 4 p.m. at SDSU Sports Deck, Sunday vs. Stanford 11:30 a.m. at SDSU Sports Deck.
MEN’S GOLF: Monday-Tuesday at Allister MacKenzie Invitational all day in Fairfax, CA.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING: Thursday vs. Oregon State and Vanderbilt 12 p.m. at the Aztec Aquaplex.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Thursday vs. Utah State 6 p.m. at Aztec Court, Saturday vs. Boise State 1 p.m. at Aztec Court.
MEN’S TENNIS: Thursday-Sunday at 2015 USTA/ITA Regional Championships all day in Malibu, CA.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: Thursday-Sunday vs. ITA Regionals all day at the Barnes Tennis Center.
FOOTBALL: Saturday at San Jose State 7:30 p.m.

MEN’S GOLF: Monday-Tuesday at the Allister MacKenzie Invitational in Fairfax, CA
WOMEN’S TENNIS: Thursday-Sunday ITA Regional Champsionships in San Diego all day.
MEN’S TENNIS: Thursday-Sunday ITA Regional Championships in Malibu all day.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Thursday vs. Portland 7 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavillion, Saturday vs. Gonzaga 12 p.m. at Jenny Craig Pavillion.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING: Friday vs. Oregon State and Vanderbilt in San Diego all day, Saturday vs. UCLA in San Diego.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Friday vs. Saint Mary’s 5 p.m. at Torero Stadium.
MEN’S SOCCER: Friday vs. Portland 7:30 p.m. at Torero Stadium, Sunday vs. Gonzaga 2 p.m. at Torero Stadium.
SOFTBALL: Saturday vs. Cal State Fullerton 11 a.m. in San Diego.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Saturday at the Bronco Invite in Sunnyvale, CA.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: Saturday at the Bronco Invite in Sunnyvale, CA.
FOOTBALL: Saturday vs. Drake University 2 p.m. in San Diego.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Monday vs. Chaminade 1 p.m. at PLNU, Saturday at Concordia 11 a.m.
MEN’S SOCCER: Monday vs. Chaminade 3:30 p.m. at PLNU, Saturday at Concordia 1:30 p.m.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Wednesday vs. Academy of Art 7 p.m. at PLNU, Thursday vs. Dominican 7 p.m. at PLNU, Saturday vs. Holy Names 5 p.m. at PLNU.
CROSS COUNTRY: Saturday at Highlander Invitational 8 a.m. in Riverside, CA.
MEN’S GOLF: Monday-Tuesday at Rohnert Park all day.
MEN’S WATER POLO: Thursday at Long Beach State 6 p.m.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Thursday at Cal State Monterey Bay 7 p.m., Sunday at Cal Poly Pomona 5 p.m.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Friday at Humboldt State 12:30 p.m., Sunday at Sonoma State 2 p.m.
MEN’S SOCCER: Friday at Humboldt State 3 p.m., Sunday at Sonoma State 11:30 a.m.
SWIMMING & DIVING: Saturday Blue vs. Gold exhibition 11 a.m. UCSD.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chase Utley Suspended From 2 Games]]> Sun, 11 Oct 2015 20:11:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/Chase+Utlley+Hard+Slide.png

On Sunday, Major League Baseball announced that Utley would be suspended for NLDS Games 3 and 4 as a result of his illegal slide in the 7th inning Saturday aganist the Mets.

"The Dodgers stand behind Chase Utley and his decision to appeal the suspension issued tonight by Major League Baseball," The Dodgers said in a statement released following the decision.

"I sure hope as hell that Chase Utley wasn't trying to hurt somebody," said Major League Baseball's Chief Officer Joe Torre in a postgame press conference. "He's been a great player for a long time, and he's played hard. I think it was a little late. I'm looking at it just to see if there's anything we feel should be done."

With one out in the seventh inning, Utley ran head first into the legs of Ruben Tejada at second base in order to break up a double play. Instead, he broke Tejada's leg.

"When I got out there and grabbed it, he said there was no feeling in his foot," Mets' manager Terry Collins said of the moment he reached Tejada. "Ray stood him up, and he said 'I can't move my foot.' Ray said, 'I think he broke his ankle.' So we said we need the cart and that was it."

Tejada was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured right fibula, an injury that will have him miss the remainder of the postseason.

The Dodgers ended up scoring the tying run on the play, and after a replay overturned the call and awarded Utley second base without having ever touched the bag (a rule we're still not clear on), he scored the go-ahead run, as Los Angeles would take advantage of the Mets emotional state, and tie the best-of-five series at one game apiece.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Philip Rivers: No-Huddle Ninja]]> Sun, 11 Oct 2015 17:17:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-491327850.jpg

Chargers Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich has long been a big fan of quarterback Philip Rivers. Almost immediately after arriving in San Diego in 2013 as the team’s QB coach Reich called Rivers one of the top-10 smartest football guys in the NFL.

It’s no coincidence that year is the one where Rivers started getting the authority to run the no-huddle, getting his offense in place for one play and freelancing at the line of scrimmage when necessary. When it works it can be unstoppable. When it doesn’t it can be a disaster.

What’s the difference in the two extremes? Like a lot of things in life the answer is simple: Timing.

“The quicker we can get it communicated and get it snapped and leave ourselves some time the calmer we all are,” said Rivers after last week’s 30-27 win over the Browns. “We’re not rushing to snap it at the last second. We all know what our job is on the play and what we’re trying to do so, obviously, that’s ideal.”

Rivers knows what defenses are going to do before almost every play. That’s not just me saying it, multiple opponents have said Philip out-witted them. Sometimes the play can change a couple of times as defenses make last-minute shifts. Rivers is going to see that, and he’s going to try and do something about it.

“There’s no way around it,” said Rivers, “there are going to be those times when it’s a last-second adjustment … bam, bam, bam, set hut. And we’ve got to be able to do it.”

Now, here’s where the problems can start mounting. When Rivers changes the play the backs, tight ends and receivers all need to get the change and adjust. So does the offensive line, which gets the new blocking assignment from either the center or Rivers himself.

With all the changes the Chargers have had to make on the line due to injuries that communication has not always been as good as it needs to be. When the line isn’t blocking as well as it should, things fall apart awfully fast.

“There’s a fine line between always trying to get in to the perfect play and sometimes saying, hey, we just have to let this roll and get three yards,” said Rivers. “Or let it roll and throw the checkdown. Maybe the primary reads don’t look good based on the coverage they’re playing.”

Two plays from the 3rd quarter of the Browns game provide evidence. On first down from the Cleveland 19, Rivers saw pressure and moved to change the play with 11 seconds left on the play clock. Everything was communicated and although he took a shot, Philip completed a touchdown pass to tight end Ladarius Green.

But in the same quarter Rivers tried to make a change with 9 seconds on the clock. It’s only a 2-second difference but things went haywire with a defender coming clean and nobody open in time to get the ball off to. So it appears 10 seconds on the play clock is the cutoff line for getting a play changed cleanly. After that, it’s a crapshoot.

“There has to be a balance there of not always trying to get in to the perfect check because it’s unrealistic and sometimes it’s just like no, we’re going to run this play,” said Rivers. “Really I have to balance that because you always want, Oh I think they’re doing this so let’s get to the play that you love versus that coverage but you’ve got to understand that you can’t always do that. That’s why you have reads, that’s why you have plays and you work on them against everything so everybody will know what to do when it’s not the perfect defense for that play.”

Rivers is usually going to get the Bolts into the right play. If he does it at the right time, the Chargers offense has the potential to be special.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top NFL Photos: Week 5]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 21:04:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_895164943673.jpg See the best of the NFL's matchups during week 5.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Marathon Finish Line: Kiplagat Wins Women's Race]]> Sun, 11 Oct 2015 08:27:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/223*120/florence+finish+line.jpg

Florence Kiplagat dropped to the ground while giving the crowd a thumbs up after crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon Sunday.  

Kiplagat, of Kenya, won the women's race, finishing with an unofficial time of 2:23:33.

"The course for me was very nice," she said. "It was a flat course, sometimes it's windy, but that is part of competition."

Kiplagat, the top woman in the Chicago Marathon elite field this year, holds the world record for the half marathon and returned to compete in Chicago after a third place finish in 2014. Kiplagat was awarded second place that year after Rita Jeptoo was stripped of her marathon title because of doping.

Her personal best marathon time, 2:19:44, dates from the 2011 Berlin Marathon.

American Deena Kastor, who won the Chicago Marathon 10 years ago, earned an American women's master's record with an unofficial time of 2:27:47.

<![CDATA[Chicago Marathon Finish Line: Chumba Wins Men's Race]]> Sun, 11 Oct 2015 09:33:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/222*120/chumba+finish+line.jpg

Dickson Chumba of Kenya has won the men's race at the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

He finished the race with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 25 seconds, unofficially.

"The race was good," he said. 

Chumba was a relative unknown until he burst onto the scene in 2014 with a win and course record at the Tokyo Marathon.

He followed that performance with a third-place showing at the 2014 Chicago Marathon in a new personal best, 2:04:32. He did not beat that time Sunday. 

Chumba said he hopes to come back next year to run a faster time.

"Maybe next year to win," he said. "I need to run maybe a faster time."

Fellow Kenyans Sammy Kitwara and Sammy Ndungu finished in second and third places, respectively. 

<![CDATA[What the Chicago Marathon Means for Olympic Hopefuls]]> Sun, 11 Oct 2015 06:12:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sara+Hall+edited.jpg

For some runners, there may be more on the [finish] line in this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

That’s because American marathoners can use the race to achieve a qualifying time for the US Olympic Trials. 

In order to secure an "A" standard qualifying time, men need to run the marathon in at least 2 hours and 15 minutes and women need to run it in 2 hours and 37 minutes. For a "B" standard qualifying time, male runners need to finish in 2 hours and 18 minutes and female runners need to finish in 2 hours and 43 minutes. 

Runners must meet the "B" standard to enter the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but athletes meeting the "A" standard can receive funding support.

Among those using the marathon as a stepping stone to the Olympics are elite U.S. runners Sara Hall and Tera Moody.

“It will be the perfect place to take another shot at the marathon distance and build confidence and refine my focus going into the Olympic year,” Hall said.

Moody, who is returning from a long break due to an injury, said that she isn’t aiming for a personal record in this year’s event, but hopes to cross the finish line with a qualifying time.

“I may not quite be in PR shape but hoping for an A standard qualifier for the Olympic trials,” she said. “I can’t wait to compete in front of my hometown crowd in the best city in the world. It may not be the fastest I have run here but I doubt it will be the slowest and probably the most fun. I know that after what I’ve been through I won’t take one step for granted.”

Also hoping for a qualifying time is U.S. marathoner Danelle Beeson, who ran cross country and track at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Beeson said she has puts hours of training and focused all her passion on this race over the last year.

"I am taking running seriously and feel really passionate about it, and so I am excited for what that means for me — endless opportunities," she said. "Once I cross the line, nothing but a smile across my face and ready to move on to the next chapter."

Several elite international runners are also competing with Rio in their sights. Among them, is Mitch Goose, who will make his debut in marathon running.

“With this being my debut marathon, I am venturing into the unknown and hope to learn a lot about the marathon distance to put me in good stead for attempting to represent Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics,” said Goose.

Jessica Draskau Petersson, Mulu Seboka, Fionnuala Britton, Susan Patridge and Rob Watson have also said they're running with Rio in mind.

“Every athlete’s dream is to represent their country at the Olympics and therefore the Rio Qualification standard is my aim in what will be my only marathon race this year,” Patridge said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gulls Triumphant In San Diego Return]]> Sat, 10 Oct 2015 23:51:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gulls+Win.PNG

This one was worth the wait.

The San Diego Gulls are back, this time as members of the American Hockey League, and much like their previous incarnations they won, beating the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-2 in front of a sellout crowd at Valley View Casino Center on Saturday night.

Left winger Nick Ritchie, one of the jewels of the Anaheim Ducks system and one of the top goal scoring prospects in the entire NHL, got the first Gulls goal since 2006 on a power play in the first period. Ritchie scored twice in his San Diego debut.

San Diego has a little time to relish its 1-0-0 record. They don't play again until Friday the 16 when Bakersfield comes to town.

<![CDATA[San Diego Gulls Play First Game Since 2006]]> Sat, 10 Oct 2015 18:19:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/198*120/Gulls+Return+Picture.JPG

It’s been a decade since we’ve been able to say this so let’s relish in it:

Saturday night is Hockey Night in San Diego!

The Gulls returned to the ice at the Valley View Casino Center (formerly known as the Sports Arena) to play a hockey game for the first time since 2006. This time, they’re not part of an independent league. The Gulls are the top affiliate for the Anaheim Ducks playing in the American Hockey League.

It’s a commitment to hockey in San Diego that was not taken lightly, and it’s expected to last a long, long time. Owners Henry and Susan Samueli could have been in San Jose to watch the Ducks open their NHL season against the Sharks. Instead they chose to see a hockey game in San Diego.

“Opening night, sellout crowd, this is very significant. That’s why Susan and I chose to be here instead of San Jose,” said Henry with Susan nodding approvingly. “Tonight’s sellout shows the nation that San Diegans are passionate sports fans.”

The old facility just off Interstate 8 has been dressed up with new ice, a new massive video board over the playing surface and new food options for fans.

“This facility is in fantastic shape,” said Samueli. “Our players and organization are lucky to call the Valley View Casino Center home.”

AHL Commissioner David Edwards is also attending the game. He was instrumental in trying to bring minor league hockey back to San Diego because he sees it helping the NHL. The Ducks used to have their top talent playing in Virginia, which was not exactly conducive to building a strong organization (please pronounce that “OR-GAN-EYE-ZAY-SHUN” to honor our Canadian friends).

“For NHL teams it has become incredibly important to invest in their development system,” said Edwards. “To be able to monitor the progress of their players first-hand, that’s what’s driving this and it’s going to be tremendous for our league.”

And the league should, in turn, be tremendous. This is where the top prospects come to learn. Last season 88% of the guys who skated on NHL ice had spent time in the AHL.

There are still folks who don’t think minor league hockey is going to work this deep in Southern California. The hockey experts would like to respectfully disagree.

“I don’t think there’s any question it’s going to work,” said Edwards.

The American Hockey League now spans from San Diego to Newfoundland. As Edwards joked, if they meet in the Calder Cup Championship it’s going to be a very interesting season, indeed.

The first puck drops on Saturday night at 7:05.

<![CDATA[Chargers Injury Report Improves (A Little)]]> Sat, 10 Oct 2015 16:03:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/Chargers+Dontrelle+Inman+Browns.jpg

It’s still not great but for the first time in a long time the Chargers injury situation is at least encouraging. Kind of.

The Bolts will be missing a few starters on Monday Night Football against the Steelers. Left guard Orlando Franklin (ankle), wide receiver Stevie Johnson (hamstring), cornerback Craig Mager (hamstring) and linebacker Tourek Williams (foot) are all out. Left tackle King Dunlap is doubtful with a concussion so it’s unlikely he’ll be able to play.

Then we have a really long list of guys who are a 50-50 shot to be available for the game:

-    Safety Jahleel Addae (ankle)
-    Cornerback Brandon Flowers (concussion)
-    Wide receiver Malcom Floyd (concussion)
-    Right guard D.J. Fluker (ankle)
-    Kick returner Jacoby Jones (ankle)
-    Cornerback Jason Verrett (foot)
-    Center Chris Watt (groin)

The tough part is every single one of those guys is a starter. Verrett and Addae were able to practice in full on Friday so they could be ready to go. Fluker has been questionable for the last couple of weeks and started so odds are he’ll be active. Flowers and Floyd are complete question marks because of the unpredictable nature of concussions. Jones finally returned to practice on Friday but has been limited the last two days so he’s probably not ready to go yet. Watt was limited all week and is another “your guess is as good as mine.”

Offensive lineman Chris Hairston, who has played guard but last week started at left tackle and played well, is probable with an ankle injury.

The Chargers could conceivably enter the game with only two healthy wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Dontrelle Inman. The good news is they get Antonio Gates back and fellow tight end Ladarius Green has the speed to split wide and run those routes if necessary.

The Steelers will only have two players out but they are arguably in a worse spot than the Bolts because one of those guys is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He’s going to miss a bunch of time with a knee injury so Pittsburgh has handed the keys to the offense over to Mike Vick. While he’s still a dangerous playmaker he’s nowhere near the kind of headache he was earlier in his career.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit Dropped Against Pippen Over Alleged Assault]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 20:52:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_scottie_pippen_altercado.jpg

A man who accused former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen of assaulting him at a sushi restaurant in 2013 has dropped a civil lawsuit against the basketball star.

Camran Shafighi filed a $4 million lawsuit against Pippen in 2013, alleging that the retired forward had attacked him outside Nobu in Malibu when he asked for an autograph and photo.

Shafighi said Pippen spit in his face, shoved and punched him.

Prosecutors declined to press charges against Pippen, citing insufficient evidence.

In 2014, Pippen filed a countersuit, alleging Shafighi was aggressive and intoxicated at the time of the incident and asked for unspecified damages.

Witnesses told investigators that the two men had been in an altercation, but it was unclear who had been the aggressor.

"This man was a complete fraud from the get-go. We are delighted that fact has now been demonstrably proven and Scottie and Larsa have been vindicated," attorney Mark Geragos said, on behalf of Pippen and his wife.

The case had been slated to go to trial next month.

Nicknamed "Pip", the seven-time All-Star — along with Michael Jordan — was a vital component of the Chicago Bulls' six NBA championships in the 1990s and their record 1995–96 season of 72 wins.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[The Padres Should Vote No on Nevin]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 22:53:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-50919308.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson offers some advice to the Padres as they look for a new manager in this commentary

The Padres are piecing together their list of managerial candidates. General Manager A.J. Preller hinted that he was going to look in a lot of different places and not rule anybody out based on background or experience level.

So let me do that for him.

One name that keeps on coming up is Phil Nevin. It has not come up from the Padres front office but it sure as heck has been a popular go-to suggestion for the Friar Faithful.

Nevin was an All-Star for the Padres as a player in 2001 when he hit 41 home runs. He played seven of his 12 MLB seasons in San Diego (Nevin also had stops in Detroit, Texas, Minnesota, Anaheim, Houston and the north side of Chicago) with manager Bruce Bochy so he saw first-hand what a great manager does.

Two years after retiring Nevin started managing in the independent Golden Baseball League with the Orange County Flyers. It only took him one year to join the Tigers organization, managing their Class AA and AAA affiliates. Nevin spent the last two years at the helm of the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Diamondbacks.

Nevin only has one winning record in his seven years as a manager (2014) but he has a pretty good guy in his corner.

“He’s drawing a lot of attention because he’s rock solid,” Hall of Famer manager Tony LaRussa, the Diamondbacks’ Chief Baseball Officer, told the Arizona Republic. “He’s got a great background as a player, manager, infield, hitter and a leader. Triple-A is a tough place to manage. He was understanding and nurturing of the young guys but also had the respect of the veterans. He’s smart and has a good out-going personality that attracts people. And he runs a hell of a game.”

If Tony LaRussa vouches for you, people will listen. Nevin has already interviewed for the Marlins managerial job and he’s on the Nationals wish list. If Phil does get a MLB manager’s spot, more power to him. I’m rooting for him to do it.

I just hope it’s not in San Diego.

Maybe it’s because I saw how irascible he could be as a player and that’s poisoning my opinion. Maybe it’s because of that combined 54 games under .500 as a minor league manager, something that can be more a product of an organization’s lack of depth than a manager’s ability. Maybe it’s because I still don’t trust Tony LaRussa as far as I can spit a sunflower seed.

But the most likely reason is … it just doesn’t feel right.

Nevin could be the next Casey Stengel, I have no idea. I’m sure there are a lot of Padres fans who would love to get a guy in who might serve as a bridge to Bochy and his success. But for an organization that has veteran players entrenched for a few years a rookie MLB manager with a spotty minor league record and a nondescript playing career seems like an awfully big gamble.

Matt Kemp, James Shields, Melvin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Derek Norris … these are all guys who have established themselves in the game and probably aren’t going to listen to just anybody. If you’re going to go with a first time manager a guy like Jason Varitek makes a whole lot more sense. Varitek was the glue for a pair of World Series champions and one of the most respected players in the game. Just about anybody will bend to his will.

Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire won six division titles in a nine year span with Minnesota. He would be a guy who commands respect in the clubhouse.

The Padres need somebody with name recognition. Phil Nevin certainly has name recognition … with the fan base. The Friars need someone the guys in the clubhouse will get excited about before they ever even meet him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Predictions: Chargers vs. Steelers]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:37:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/165*120/GettyImages-491692238.jpg

We love animals and sports here at NBC 7 SportsWrap so we decided to steal an idea that is in no way new, but always fun and combine the two.

I put the two tortoises I’m watching to work and Derek Togerson put his cat and dog on the case and had them predict who was going to win, the Chargers or the Steelers Monday night?

If you want to get your pets involved it doesn’t take a fancy camera; I used my iPhone to film the tortoises. Just tape your pets predicting next Sunday’s game between the Chargers and the Green Bay Packers. Keep it short so you can send it without a problem and we can feature as many videos as possible.

Email them to me at Becki.Schildhouse@nbcuni.com by the Friday before the game. Include your name, pets name and where you’re from.

*NBC 7 will not use any videos where the animals appear to be forced to do something they don’t want to do.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UCLA Football Player Accused of Rape]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 19:12:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/knbc-ucla-football-adam-searl.jpg

CORRECTION: An earlier image associated with this article misidentified a member of the UCLA football team. The image has been removed.

A UCLA football player was arrested Thursday on suspicion of raping a female student last year, police said.

On Oct. 19, 2014, the student reported to police that she had met a man at an off-campus house party in Westwood earlier that day. They left to a nearby residence, where she fell asleep and awoke to find him sexually assaulting her, the Los Angeles Police Department said. The alleged victim told police she did not know her attacker.

Investigators used DNA and photos to identify Adam Searl as the suspect, said Officer Jack Richter of the LAPD.

Searl, 20, was taken into custody on campus without incident. He was booked on three counts of rape and was released on $300,000 bail.

Searl, of Irvine, is a sophomore punter for the Bruins, according to the team’s website.

"We have been informed of the situation involving Adam Searl, and we take these accusations very seriously," UCLA head football coach Jim Mora said in a statement. "Adam has been suspended from the team indefinitely while the legal process runs its course. Due to the ongoing police investigation, we are unable to discuss this matter further at this time."

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

<![CDATA[Colbert Condemns Cubs-Cursing Goats]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 08:26:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP763373860260.jpg

Stephen Colbert isn’t afraid of billy goats anymore – not after the Chicago Cubs' wild card win on Wednesday.

In fact, the “Late Show” host, who lived in Chicago for 11 years, is so inspired by the Cubs, he went on a rant against goats Thursday night, even going as far as kicking one out of his studio.

“I’m not scared of you knuckle-kneed sheep wannabees anymore,” he said. “Oh, that feels good. So many things I’ve wanted to say about your kind for years, but I’ve been too afraid because of the curse. Not anymore.”

He then went on to insult goat cheese and soul patch beards.

“What are you going to do about it goats? Curse the Cubs again? I dare you,” he said. “The Cubs are unstoppable.”

The infamous Billy Goat curse dates back to Oct. 6, 1945, when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis claimed to place a curse on the Cubs to prevent them from ever hosting another World Series at Wrigley Field.

But as far as Colbert is concerned, the curse is gone.

“Now it looks like the days of the curse are behind my Cubs,” he said. “I think I can safely say without any fear of jinxing it they’re going all the way. The Cubs are going to win the World Series.”

He even made a 2015 Cubs World Series Championship T-shirt, featuring a goat.

But when one four-legged member of the audience didn’t cheer on his beloved team, Colbert decided to kick it out.

“There is no possible way this decision can come back to haunt me, or the Cubs. After all the Cubs are clearly the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T.),” he said.

He then led the audience in a G.O.A.T. chant.

Whether Colbert’s daring messages will ring true this season remains to be seen. The Chicago Cubs begin their battle against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium Friday for the National League Division Series.  

Photo Credit: File - Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Lawsuit Filed Against DraftKings, FanDuel]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:42:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/FanDuel.jpg

Fantasy sports betting sites DraftKings and FanDuel have been hit with a federal class action lawsuit.

The suit, which lists the plaintiff as Adam Johnson, alleges DraftKings and FanDuel fraudulently misrepresent contestants’ chances of making money and the fairness of the games, don’t disclose the possibility of employees using inside information to improve their odds of winning jackpots and violate Massachusetts, New York and Kentucky consumer protection laws.

The suit seeks to order the daily fantasy sports sites to reimburse players for “all monies wrongfully obtained” and cease any deceptive advertising.

DraftKings and FanDuel told customers its employees weren't allowed to play on their sites; however, they "omitted the material fact that they were allowed to play on other sites and that other sites' employees were allowed to play on their site," according to the suit, which was filed in New York Thursday.

Wednesday, FanDuel announced it was banning all of its employees from participating on other daily fantasy sports operators' sites for money and the launch of an internal investigation following reports that a DraftKings employee may have had access to valuable data that gave the employee an unfair advantage before winning a $350,000 contest on FanDuel.

Necn’s parent company, Comcast, and sister company NBC Sports Group are among investors in FanDuel. 

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Vin Scully to Miss 2015 Postseason]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:42:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/208*120/Vin+Scully+Out+for+Postseason.png

Just 24 hours away from Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that a key member of their team would miss the entire postseason.

Don't worry, fans, it's not Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke. Instead, Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will miss the postseason after undergoing a medical procedure on Thursday morning.

Scully missed the team's four-game series in San Francisco last week and the team's final three games at Dodger Stadium over the weekend due to an undisclosed illness. We're still not sure what the illness was or the severity of it, but apparently it did require minor surgery.

The team announced that Scully is resting comfortably at this time, and has been advised by his doctors to miss the entire 2015 postseason.

"Everyone in the Dodgers organization wishes Vin the speediest of recoveries," the team said.

Scully will return for his 67th season in 2016, and is looking forward to returning next year said the team.

In Scully's absence, Charley Steiner and Rick Monday will call the games throughout the postseason until the Dodgers are either eliminated, or win their first World Series title in 27 years.

We wish Vin a speedy recovery.

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Ward Playing a Big Role on Defense]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:52:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/191*120/wardjymy.jpg

San Francisco 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward knows he’ll be tested to his fullest this Sunday against the New York Giants.

More often than not, when Ward is lined up as the 49ers’ nickel cornerback he’ll be paired against Giants standout wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

He knows all about him.

“Oh yes. He’s a very talented wide receiver. He’s on the face of Madden, man,” he said of the popular NFL video game. “It’s going to be fun. Matchups like that are just fun, playing against the superstars.”

Through four games in 2015, Beckham has 24 catches for 307 yards and two touchdowns. As a rookie in 2014, Beckham had 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs.

Ward, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2014, has become a big part of the 49ers’ defense. A safety in college, Ward gets most of his work now as a defender of slot receivers in the nickel defense, against three-receiver sets.

And, to date, he’s been steadily improving. In last Sunday’s 17-3 loss to the Packers, Ward played 62 of the team’s 73 defensive snaps and did a nice job covering Randall Cobb, perhaps the Packers’ most dangerous receiver, out of the slot. Cobb had five catches, but for just 44 yards – only 8.8 yards per catch.

Ward, known as a hard-hitting safety as a college standout, said he took a physical approach against Cobb early in the game to counteract Cobb’s quickness and speed. Ward said his performance against Cobb and the Packers was perhaps the best of his young career.

Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, noted earlier this week that Ward got better as the game progressed.

“Aaron Rodgers picked on him during the opening drive, but Ward recovered from that point,” Barrows wrote. “He was credited with two tackles and one pass defensed.”

Ward says he’s still not 100 percent healthy after missing much of offseason workouts with a foot injury. But, he says he’s good enough now, and finally able to play a key role in his second NFL season. For now, the hybrid safety-cornerback role he’s playing in the nickel defense is fine with him – though someday he’d like to be a full-time safety because he likes to hit.

“The reason why I like nickel so much is because not everyone can do it,” Ward told reporters this week. “You have some cornerbacks who can cover but can’t hit. You have some safeties who can hit but can’t cover. I feel like I can do it all.”

This Sunday, the Giants and Beckham will test those abilities.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Will be Tested by Broncos' No. 1 Defense]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:52:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Brocosdeeeee.jpg

When the Raiders and Broncos meet Sunday at O.co Coliseum, it will be the Raiders with the higher-ranked offense – a huge turnaround from recent seasons.

The Peyton Manning-led Broncos rank 27th in the NFL in yards per game (304). The Raiders are 17th, at 351.5 yards per game.

For the first time in a long while, it’s the Broncos’ defense that is the catalyst to the team’s 4-0 start.

When the 2-2 Raiders’ potentially explosive offense of Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray looks across the line of scrimmage, it will see the NFL’s No. 1 defensive unit.

The Broncos give up just 275.5 yards per game and just 17.2 points per game. They’re also the best team in the league on third down (giving up a conversion just 25 percent of the time), have 18 sacks and 11 takeaways.

The Broncos pass rush is ferocious, so the Oakland offensive line will need to be at the top of its game to give Carr time to throw. Denver pass rushers DeMarcus Ware (25) and Von Miller (24), outside linebackers in the 3-4 scheme, lead the NFL in quarterback pressures. Ware leads the team with 4½ sacks.

Oakland tight end Lee Smith said this week that the Raiders might have success running the ball toward Ware and Miller to mitigate their effectiveness.

“You always try to run the ball at elite pass rushers, try to beat them up a little bit,” Smith told reporters. “You hope that would slow their pass rush down a little bit. But these guys are going to pin their ears back no matter what.”

The Broncos, however, also have been solid against the run, ranking No. 8 in the league. They’re allowing 90 yards per game on the ground. The Raiders, meanwhile, haven’t been able to pound the ball on the ground as well as they’d hoped. They rank No. 22 in the league, averaging 96.2 yards per game.

One thing the Raiders offense will have to do Sunday is contend with the Broncos’ blitzes, a key part of their success. According to ESPN, Denver blitzes on 37 percent of opponents’ dropbacks. In a victory over the Vikings this past week, the Broncos had seven sacks. So, Carr will have to make his reads quickly and get rid of the ball efficiently against the Broncos’ pressure.

It is, however, an area in which Carr has improved this season. As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com noted,  Carr hasn’t been blitzed much this season, but when he has, he’s been very effective, averaging a league-best 11.2 yards per throw.

One advantage the Raiders may have is head coach Jack Del Rio, who was in charge of the Broncos defense the past three seasons. Carr, in fact, says Del Rio has helped him significantly this season in understanding defenses.

“That’s kind of where he’s been huge in my growth,” Carr said on a conference call with reporters this week. “He’ll show me clips and say, ‘Now this is the situation. This is the personnel they are in. This is why they’re doing it. This is the front. This is the stuff they’re doing and this is why.’ My football knowledge has grown from learning from him.”

He'll need all of that knowledge Sunday in a key AFC West game for the Raiders.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: What Makes Antonio Gates Tick?]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 16:29:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Antonio+Gates+Salutes+Fans.jpg

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates returned to the practice field at Chargers Park on Wednesday. There were hugs and laughs and jokes as he got back in to the rhythm of life in the NFL.

But there was also something else. Something bubbling under the surface as Gates addressed the media for the first time since his four-game PED suspension ended:

Antonio Gates is mad.

I know, he's such an even-keel, likable guy it's hard to imagine him being really upset. He'd never say it outright but he had an edge about him that is not seen very often.

Gates talked about how he kept himself in shape during the suspension (a lot of running) and whether or not he watched the Chargers games on TV (he did but not with the sound up).

He also said he felt like he had to "re-establish" himself. It sounded like the way an undrafted rookie from Kent St. in 2003 would have referred to himself. So I asked him if he has that old motivation back, that desire to re-claim his place among the greats of the game and prove any doubters wrong. Boy, is he ever:

By the way, that former Broncos tight end he was referring to is Shannon Sharpe, who said Gates cheated the game and now his entire career has to be questioned. Don't think that's not driving Gates, too.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Let's Goat Cubs': Pittsburgh Building Owners Respond to Cubs Prank]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:56:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/258*120/cubs+prank+thumb.jpg

Looks like the owners of the Pittsburgh building that was pranked by a Cubs fan Wednesday have a sense of humor.

After Chicago fan Steve Mpistolarides walked into an office building across the street from PNC Park and quietly changed a sign that read “Let’s Go Bucs” to “Let’s Go Cubs,” the sign was changed to “Let's Goat Cubs.”

Smith Brothers Agency, an ad agency headquartered in the building, first posted a photo of their prank response on Twitter with the caption “A good prank deserves a good hex. #CurseOfTheBillyGoat #LetsGoBucs #Buctober.”

The goat was a reference to the infamous Billy Goat curse, which dates back to Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis claimed to place a curse on the Cubs to prevent them from ever hosting another World Series at Wrigley Field.

But that didn’t faze the Mpistolarides family, who were later treated to a rooftop party, courtesy of the building’s owners.

"At first we were like I don't know, they might be setting us up for who knows what, but we said, 'Oh well, let's check it out," said Steve Mpistolarides. "Then we ended up at one of the coolest parties probably in all of Pittsburgh. They were really nice though very cordial. We had a good time."

Smith Brothers Agency shared a photo of the owners and the Mpistolarides family at their rooftop tailgate party with the caption “pregaming with the pranksters.”

“They kept telling us we were going to be bad luck,” said Steve Mpistolarides. “We said, ‘We’re the curse busters and we’re not afraid of no goat.’ We’re Greek and we’re getting rid of this curse.”

The Cubs went on to win their first postseason game in 12 years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0.

The Mpistolarides family said the day’s events were unexpected, to say the least.

“We were doing it as a joke between us to send our friends back in Chicago,” Steve Mpistolarides said. “Next thing I know I got all kinds of I don’t know, Facebook messages, tweets and Twitters.”

Since video of the prank was first posted by Mpistolarides' son Travis, it has been viewed more than 140,000 times, he said. 

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Photo Credit: Travis Mpistolarides
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<![CDATA[USD's Bryant Heads to NLDS]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 20:50:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-491744336.jpg

Chicago Cubs rookie Kris Bryant did not have his best game at the plate Wednesday.

The former San Diego Torero went 0-for-3 with a walk in four plate appearances against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But he still contributed in a key moment of the National League wildcard game.

With the Cubs leading 4-0 in the bottom of the 7th with one out and a runner on 1st, the Pirates were threatening to get back in the contest.

Former Cub Aramis Ramirez belted a shot to the hot corner. Bryant reeled it in sharply off the hop and immediately fired to second base to get Francisco Cervelli. Chicago second baseman Starlin Castro then threw a laser to Rizzo to complete the twin killing.

The Pirates never threatened again.

At the dish, Bryant grounded into a double play in the first inning. He later worked a walk in the 3rd only to get doubled off 1st base when he strayed too far on a fly out to center by former Padre Anthony Rizzo.

He also struck out and lined out. But his playoff debut will still be a great memory for the young slugger – especially his defensive gem.

Fellow rookie Kyle Schwarber and outfielder Dexter Fowler were a 2-man wrecking crew at the plate. Fowler finished with 2 singles and a solo shot while Schwarber provided a RBI single in the 1st inning and smashed a moonshot to right for a 2-run homer in the 3rd. They combined for 5 of the Cubs 7 hits.

Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta continued to befuddle the Pirates as he has all season. He brought a mind-boggling 0.75 ERA versus Pittsburgh to the table – and wound up striking out 11 batters during a complete game virtuoso performance.

Bryant and the Cubs visit St. Louis this weekend with game one of the NLDS set for Friday at 3:30 PT.

11 more wins for Chicago and the Back to the Future 2 movie prediction could come true in 2015. But that’s still a long way away.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Win Wild-Card Game]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 22:45:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/202*120/GettyImages-491743510.jpg

For the first time in 12 years, the Chicago Cubs have won a postseason game as they knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0 on Wednesday night. 

Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber both hit home runs, and Jake Arrieta pitched a complete game as the Cubs set up an NLDS showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. 

The Cubs got off to a flying start in the game as Dexter Fowler laced a single to center field, and he promptly stole second base. On a 2-2 count, Kyle Schwarber muscled a ball into left field, driving in Fowler and giving Jake Arrieta a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound.

The Pirates got a two-out single from Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the frame, but Arrieta appeared unfazed as he struck out Starling Marte on an 0-2 pitch to leave the Cubs ahead through the first inning of play.

Both pitchers breezed through the second inning, with Cole only allowing a deep fly ball to Addison Russell and Arrieta conceding a fly ball to Jordy Mercer that Fowler gloved to keep the game at 1-0 in favor of Chicago.

The score remained that way until the third inning, when Schwarber stepped up with Fowler on first base. On an inside pitch, the rookie right fielder turned on the ball and hammered a home run deep over the right field wall to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead through two and a half innings.

Arrieta cruised through the next two innings, and in the top of the fifth inning, he was given another run of support as Fowler went deep. He hammered a home run to right-center field, giving the Cubs a 4-0 cushion as Cole left the game for the Pirates.

Things got interesting in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Pirates loaded the bases with one out, but the Cubs were able to get out of the mess as Marte grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning with the visitors still up four runs.

Things got even more heated in the top of the seventh inning as Tony Watson hit Arrieta with a pitch. The benches cleared as the two teams jawed at one another, but things were eventually settled with only Sean Rodriguez getting ejected after he threw a punch at David Ross in the melee. The inning ended without incident, and the Cubs continued to lead.

The Pirates got a baserunner in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Arrieta continued his dominance as his pitch count exceeded the century mark. He struck out Josh Harrison with two outs and a runner on first to retire the Pirates and put the Cubs three outs away from victory. 

Avoiding all drama, Arrieta cruised through the ninth inning to finish the complete game. He got McCutchen on a slow ground ball back to the mound, and then forced a groundout from Marte for the second out. When Cervelli lined out to second base, the Cubs clinched their first playoff victory in 12 years, and set up a series against the Cardinals beginning on Friday. 

The series begins on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., with Game 1 taking place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[California to Make Cheerleading an Official High School Sport]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 16:43:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pom-poms.gif

Gov. Jerry Brown has approved legislation to make competitive cheerleading an official high school sport in California.

The governor on Wednesday announced signing a bill requiring the California Interscholastic Federation to oversee competitive cheerleading as it does other high school sports.

Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego says at least eight other states treat competitive cheerleading as a sport. She says the formal recognition will give the sport the respect and safety standards that athletes deserve.

Her bill, AB949, requires the change by the 2017-18 school year.

Gonzalez is a former high school and college cheerleader.

The Democratic governor previously signed a bill by Gonzalez requiring minimum wage pay and overtime for cheerleaders of professional sports teams.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Fan Spells Out Playoff Prank]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 06:16:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/258*120/cubs+prank+thumb.jpg

A Chicago Cubs fan may have just pulled off the best prank ever.

Hours before the Cubs were set to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park Wednesday night, a display of hometown pride for the Pirates was transformed into Cubs pride.

Chicago fan Steve Mpistolarides went into an office building across the street from the stadium and changed a sign from “Let’s Go Bucs” to “Let’s Go Cubs," according to the Mpistolarides family. 

For those who didn't know, the Pirates are often referred to as the “Bucs.”

“So we're at a bar right next to PNC and there's an office building that reads lets go bucs,” a Facebook post from Mpistolarides' son Travis read. “My dad goes in the elevator low key to the office and switches it to let's go Cubs. Somehow nobody saw him ‪#‎wearegood‬.” 

The family even sent the photos and video to NBC Chicago to prove it.

The excitement in the air from their hometown fans must have worked for the team, as for the first time in 12 years the Chicago Cubs won a postseason game as they knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0.

Photo Credit: Travis Mpistolarides
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<![CDATA[Fantasy Sports Sites FanDuel, Draft Kings Under Fire]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 06:05:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/FanDuel.jpg

The multi-billion dollar Fantasy Sports industry is taking a hit.

Two of the most popular sites, FanDuel and Draft Kinds, are under fire after an employee tweeted data that could be used to gain an advantage in drafting fantasy teams. That same employee, who works for Draft Kings, won $350,000 on FanDuel last week.

More than 50 million people play fantasy sports by visiting an online site like FanDuel and add money to a weekly pot. Participants are given a budget, select professional players for their personal team and have an opportunity to win money based on how well their team does.

San Jose-resident Mike Bingham plays on Draft Kings and was considering participating on FanDuel, but not anymore after the recent news.

"I'm definitely not going to invest more money into either site until there more transparency going on for an employee of a competitor to win $350,000," Bingham said. "That's a red flag to me."

FanDuel and Draft Kings on Tuesday defended the employee saying he did nothing wrong. The Fantasy Sports sites also released a joint statement saying their employees are barred from participating in any online Fantasy Sports contests until the industry develops a more detailed policy concerning the use of competitive data.

But the scandal has already prompted lawmakers to question whether Congress needs to look into the industry.

"The answer is yes," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. "And it also should be a warning shot to everybody that online gaming is a really scary thing and we better look at all of it."

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Youth Triathlon Team]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:18:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Youth_Triathlon_Team_1200x675_538874947958.jpg Triathlons are not just for adults. The San Diego Youth Triathlon Team is proving that kids can go to great distances for success. NBC 7's Todd Strain has the story.]]> <![CDATA[Timeline: Chargers' Hunt for New Stadium]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 16:56:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/207*120/06-17-2015-chargers-stadium-qualcomm-1.jpg

The wheelings and dealings behind the San Diego Chargers' hunt for a new stadium this year has some heads spinning. This timeline lays out how the Chargers reached this point.

If you are using our NBC 7 app, click here to see the timeline.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>