<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News, Photos, and Scores for the Padres, Chargers and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:40:40 -0700 Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:40:40 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Walk Away Winners]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:05:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-482585386.jpg

The Padres did not blow up their roster at the trade deadline. In fact, instead of a fire sale they added a player, getting left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski (pronounced zep-chin-ski) from the Indians for reserve outfielder Abraham Almonte. What would possess General Manager A.J. Preller to keep his club in one piece?

“We have a lot of players who are attractive to other clubs,” Preller told a group of media members in the dugout of Marlins Park in Miami on Friday night. “Ultimately we didn’t get the value we wanted to get to. We like our team.”

Yeah, but that team has a losing record and is a long way out of the playoff hunt.  Assuming they can even get to .500, they still have a lot of ground to make up. Preller says it’s not out of the question.

“We’ve got a big challenge in front of us. I feel like we have the pitching and players here to start making up some ground.”

With the way the Padres have been playing lately, Preller might be on to something. The Friars won again in a unique way, this time beating the Marlins 8-3 in 11 innings. San Diego has now won 11 of their last 15 games.

It could have been a lot easier than it was. Closer Craig Kimbrel, the subject of intense trade speculation, blew his second save of the season when he left a fastball up and Miami infielder Derek Dietrich ripped it in to the upper deck to tie the game 3-3. Interesting stat on Dietrich: he has six home runs but only eight runs batted in this year. All but one of those RBI has come via the home run.

It also gave starting pitcher Ian Kennedy a no-decision. Kennedy was the subject of trade rumors but was not going to be on the mound for a different reason. He wife went in to labor with the couple's fourth child so Ian booked a flight back to San Diego to be there for it. Bad weather delayed the flight and when it was clear Kennedy would not make it home in time he called pitching coach Darren Balsley to see if he could come back to the ballpark and pitch.

Ian watched the birth using FaceTime (Evelyn Nicole Kennedy was born at 2:03 p.m. San Diego time) then took the mound two hours later and made one of his best starts of the season, throwing 7.0 innings and giving up just two runs. Kennedy will try to fly home again Saturday morning and re-join the team next week in Milwaukee.

But, he stuck around to see one heck of a finish. In the 11th inning, the Padres came up with a way to win a game. It was not as dramatic as Thursday’s rain-delayed comeback over the Mets, but it was just as unique. After a Will Venable single Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos, who had only walked 14 hitters in 46 innings this season, walked Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Yonder Alonso one after another to force home the game-winning run.

After a pitching change Derek Norris drew another walk to inflate the Padres lead to 5-3. Then Jedd Gyorko looped a 2-run single to left and Venable singled to score another run and erase any thoughts of a Marlins comeback.

Since the San Francisco Giants also lost on Friday the Padres, at 50-53, are a mere 6.5 games out of the second NL Wild Card spot. Their next 18 games are against teams that have records worse than they do. Maybe Preller was right in holding his ground. This thing just might work out after all.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[GM A.J. Preller Keeps Padres Together]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:30:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/preller+1.jpg

There are MLB expert analysts who thought this week would turn the Padres into ancient Rome: All trade roads would lead to San Diego. Given the off-season spree that General Manager A.J. Preller went on, that thinking was certainly not unfounded.

But all the speculation fizzled in to a giant "meh." The Major League Baseball trade deadline passes at 1 p.m. Pacific time on Friday and, despite having multiple pieces to deal, the only move Preller pulled the trigger on was sending reserve outfielder Abraham Almonte to the Indians for left-handed relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, who has a lot of strikeouts in a small sample size this season.

At times over the last seven days, the Friars were rumored to be in talks to trade OF Justin Upton, RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Tyson Ross, RHP James Shields, RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Joaquin Benoit, RHP Ian Kennedy, 2B Jedd Gyorko and OF Will Venable. The only guy on that list to leave the team is Kennedy, but that's so he can be with his wife as she delivers their fourth child. On a related note, Odrisamer Despaigne will make Kennedy's scheduled start on Friday night in Miami.

Of course, the lack of a blockbuster deal does not mean the Padres will not make a deal. They have the month of August to swing a waiver-wire deal, which is more complicated but not at all uncommon.

So, for the time-being at least, the Padres are who the Padres are. Perhaps Preller has seen enough during their recent hot streak (10 wins in 14 games) to think the season is not lost and they can make up the 7.5 games between themselves and a Wild Card spot. Or maybe he just did not think any of the offers made would get enough of a return on his investments.

Whatever the reasoning, the rookie GM is once again the talk of baseball. This time, though, it's for what he did NOT do instead of what he did.

Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Pre-Civil War Baseball Card Goes for Over $100K at Auction]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:53:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/baseballcard.jpg

An heirloom of a baseball player that is over 150 years old was sold at an auction in Chicago Thursday. 

The baseball card was passed down in the family for generations, until being sold for $179,250, according to NBC News. The Brooklyn Atlantics card was from roughly 1860. It was sold at a sports collector's auction.

The card had remained in the family of Archibald McMahon, an outfielder for the Atlantic Baseball Club of Brooklyn. The team was one of the first of baseball's first organized league. 

Among other things sold at the auction included shoes worn by Muhammad Ali and a Yankees jersey worn by Mickey Mantle. 

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Training Camp Will Test Speedy Receivers]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:34:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*124/jayhsimpp.jpg

When the 49ers open training camp this weekend, wide receivers promise to be a focus of media and fan attention.

San Francisco hopes to have a more explosive, deep-threat passing game in 2015, so the addition of former Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith – one of the best long-ball receivers in the NFL – could have a huge impact.

But the 49ers also are hoping other wideouts will bring some home-run capability, too, including veteran Jerome Simpson, formerly of the Vikings, and undrafted free-agent rookie DeAndrew White of Alabama.

Throughout spring workouts, Simpson and White provided highlight catches and big plays.

Simpson, who sat out the 2014 season, has elite speed and consistently was able to get separation on 49ers defensive backs in spring workouts.

“That’s Jerome,” said Niners co-wide receivers coach Ronald Curry in June, during the team’s minicamp. “We mess with him and tell him that he only has one speed, and that’s full speed. He can’t even jog slow.”

White, too, was impressive. Overshadowed by All-America teammate Amari Cooper at Alabama, White was one of the most exciting playmakers on the offense this spring. The 49ers believe he could make an impact as a receiver and kick returner. The 6-foot, 192-pounder also has the necessary speed to get deep.

In addition, White wants to prove to everyone that he was unjustly overlooked in the draft.

“He motivates himself,” co-wide receivers coach Adam Henry told a writer for the team website recently. “He has a little chip on his shoulder, and he brings it to the building each and every day.”

But with training camp now set to begin, both Simpson and White will be tested far more than they were in spring drills.

As noted in a preview to the opening of training camp on 49ers.com Wednesday, wide receivers now will have to go against defensive backs in full-contact drills and scrimmages, where it will be far more difficult to get separation. Pure speed won’t be enough. Guile, strength and smarts will come into play.

Simpson, of course, has shown that he can make catches in the NFL. The 6-foot-1, 193-pounder, who’s 29, has played six seasons with the Bengals and Vikings and has 145 catches for 2,004 yards and eight TDs, with a 13.8-yard average per catch – but hasn’t played since 2013.

White, meanwhile, is a rookie who will have to learn to get free from more experienced cornerbacks. It will be a whole new experience.

Said Curry, of the impending tests for both: “We don’t crown anyone when we’re in shorts.”

If Simpson and White prove they're up to the task, the 49ers' receiving corps in 2015 could be a much more dangerous group than it was a year ago.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rain Men: Padres Complete Wet and Wild Comeback]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:24:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482395478.jpg

The Padres were faced with a deficit, a deluge and a delay on Thursday in New York. They overcame them all to take a series from a playoff contender and, perhaps, buy themselves a little more time as the trade deadline nears.

The Friars beat the Mets 8-7 to take two of three games at Citi Field. After six innings San Diego trailed 7-1. Starter Andrew Cashner, who has been the subject of trade talks with his home town Houston Astros, gave up seven runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings. It looked like the Padres were going to turn in another uninspired offensive performance.

Then the 7th inning happened.

The Padres loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, setting up catcher Derek Norris for some drama. Norris, who had not driven in a run since June 28, hammered a Hansel Robles pitch to left field for a grand slam that cut the Mets lead to 7-5. Norris went 5-for-5 on the day.

In the 9th inning Mets closer Jeurys Familia got the first two outs when a the skies unleashed a downpour that forced the officiating crew to stop play. After a 44 minute delay Familia went back out to try and finish what he started.

He was not the same pitcher. Norris and outfielder Matt Kemp both hit two-out singles, setting up outfielder Justin Upton to play the hero. Upton ripped a 3-run home run to right-center field, his team-leading 18th of the season, to put the Padres on top 8-7.

After another rain delay, this one nearly three hours long, Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect 9th inning to earn his 30th save of the season. Having won 10 of their last 14 games, the Padres are suddenly just four games under .500 and moving back in to playoff contention. It may be too late, however, to give General Manager A.J. Preller enough of a reason not to make a few deals before Friday's MLB trade deadline.

<![CDATA[Chargers Open Training Camp 2015]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:36:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/2015+Chargers+Training+Camp.jpg

The crowd at Chargers Park for the opening of Training Camp 2015 was one of the largest in recent memory. It might be the last first practice this team ever has in San Diego. So while the team’s caustic stadium situation throws a bit of a dark cloud over an otherwise lovely day, the opinion of the people who were in Murphy Canyon was simple … we don’t know what the future holds, so enjoy the heck out of the team while it’s here.

“We come here every year and this is probably the largest crowd (we’ve seen)” said long-time Chargers fan Oscar Davila. “Hopefully it helps make the decision to have the San Diego Chargers stay in San Diego.”

The biggest cheers of the day were for three players on offense. One was quarterback Philip Rivers, who was the subject of immense off-season trade speculation and enters camp with only one year left on his contract. Two was tight end Antonio Gates, who will miss the first four games of the season after testing positive for a banned substance. Three was running back Melvin Gordon, the first round draft pick from Wisconsin who is expected to instantaneously improve what was one of the worst running games in the NFL in 2014.

Safety Eric Weddle was also received warmly by the home crowd. After an off-season where he was vocal about his displeasure with the team and his contract (which also expires at the end of the 2015 season) the All-Pro said he’s not going to let that affect his play, or his attitude this season.

“I’ve moved forward and moved on,” said Weddle. “It’s all about playing my best and leading the team. The emotional side is pretty much done with. When I’m out on the field it’s at ease for me. I’m ready to have the best year of my career.”

Gates discussed his 4-game drug suspension with a mix of honesty and humor. Antonio said he’s been tested, “100,000 times and that’s the only one that’s tested positive.” As he did in his statement when the suspension was announced Gates took responsibility for not being thorough in checking what he put in to his body.

“I was thinking April was over with so I was thinking it was more of an April Fool’s joke,” said Gates. “I’ve actually used it as a mechanism to teach my kids and other players around that nobody’s perfect and you can make mistakes.”

Rivers acknowledged his agent and the Chargers front office have had conversations about a longer-term deal but made his intentions for the immediate future clear once again, re-iterating he is, like the fans who watched him on Thursday, all-in for 2015 with the San Diego Chargers regardless of what the future may hold.

“You know where we’re playing this year, and that’s in our stadium,” said Rivers. “Honestly I’m totally thinking about this football season.”

After a pair of 9-7 seasons head coach Mike McCoy is expecting an improvement. Of course, a team that goes 19-0 with a 55-0 shutout win in the Super Bowl is expecting an improvement. That’s the nature of the beast in professional football. But for now, after one day of guys running around in shorts, things looked promising.

How long will that last? We’ll know soon.

“In a few days here we’ll be in full pads,” said McCoy, “and that’s really when you start evaluating your football team.”

<![CDATA[Jets Fans Fly 'Cheaters' Banner Over Patriots Practice]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:45:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jets-Fans-Patriots.jpg

The Jets fans behind last year's campaign to get the team's general manager fired have a new target: The New England Patriots.

The group that runs the website NYJetsFans.com flew a banner over the Patriots' training camp in Foxborough, Massachussets, that said “CHEATERS LOOK UP!” on Thursday. The sign includes the Twitter handle “@JetsFanMedia.”

A spokesman for the group, Jason Koeppel, told Metro.us before the flight Thursday that they were going to fly the banner because “the time has come for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft to start dealing with reality.”

“Sports fans are not stupid. We have seen this act before from disgraced former superstar athletes. People like Lance Armstrong and Ryan Braun who challenged the system after they got caught red handed. Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, A-Rod, Roger Clemens -- the list of people who lied after they got caught cheating is sadly endless,” Koeppel said.

Koeppel’s group was also responsible for the “Fire John Izdik” billboard that was placed near MetLife Stadium last season. The group is also trying to have the Jets bring back Fireman Ed, the team’s unofficial mascot who stopped going to games after the 2012 season.

The flight of the banner comes two days after the NFL upheld a four-game suspension for Brady in connection with the team’s use of under-inflated footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Brady has maintained that he had no role in the alleged football-deflating conspiracy, and the NFL Player’s Association has filed suit against the league in federal court over the suspension.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[From Big League Dreams to Skid Row]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:48:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/knbc-javier-rivas.jpg

A gifted athlete who found himself living in Los Angeles' Skid Row after suffering a career-ending injury is back on his feet with the help of a homeless shelter.

When Javier Rivas was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1991, it appeared he was on his way to a promising career in the majors.

"I could not believe it, it was incredible. I was going to go play professional baseball," he said.

But those big league dreams turned into a nightmare after he blew out an elbow.

"Just like that, in one day," he said with a snap of his fingers. "Everything is gone."

Rivas grew up playing baseball in Puerto Rico. He later moved to Southern California and played baseball at Los Angeles City College.

"They said I was a five-tool player. So once the word gets around, the scouts start showing up," he said.

His stellar play drew offers from four-year colleges, but Rivas opted for the lure of pro baseball.

Thirty-six games into his minor league career, he suffered the injury. Without a "Plan B," as Rivas calls it, his sales career in the real world was halted by drugs and he ended up losing everything.

On Skid Row, Rivas found a way out: the Weingart Center. He became one of the thousand or so people per year the Weingart Center sends back into the workforce.

"We are not just trying to provide basic needs like food and housing, but we're also trying to move you from the streets to actual self-sufficiency," said Kevin Murray, the Weingart president and CEO.

Rivas has come full circle as a Weingart counselor showing others a way out of homelessness.

"This is the moment I've been looking for," Rivas said. "I finally get a chance to start over again and do what I want to do with my life."

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[US Olympic Committee Exploring LA-SF Joint Bid: Sources]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 23:40:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/196*120/01-08-2015-olympics-los-angeles-coliseum-flag.jpg

With Boston now out of the 2024 Olympics race, Los Angeles is exploring a new bid that could include Bay Area cooperation.

The United States Olympics Committee has reached out to San Francisco’s Olympics bid committee regarding a joint bid with Los Angeles, multiple sources within the San Francisco 2024 Olympic Bid and the USOC told NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai.

“Discussions are taking place,” one of the sources said, but "a lot will have to happen in the next six weeks." 

According to the Chronicle, Giants CEO Larry Baer, who led San Francisco's bid to host the games, got a call from LA sports agent Casey Wasserman on Tuesday to ask about the possibility of submitting a joint proposal to the U.S. Olympic Committee in September.

"I'm not saying we are going to do it, but we are certainly open to discussing it," Baer told the publication.

Tony Winnicker, who has worked with the office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Olympics efforts, acknowledged that the city might also be open to the possibility.

Sources say the USOC plans to vet the unique proposal at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur from July 31 to Aug. 3.

Boston's bid to host the games had been selected to move forward in January over those by San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

The U.S. Olympic Commitee ended Boston's bid after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday that he was not ready to sign a host city document that would force taxpayers to cover any cost overruns. 

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Steve Powell/Allsport
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<![CDATA[Patriots Owner on Brady Decision]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:50:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-461747308.jpg

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media Wednesday morning as the team officially kicked off training camp. 

The media availability came a day after the NFL's decision to uphold Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game.

"The decision handed down by the league is unfathomable," Kraft said. He added: "I was wrong to put my faith in the league." 

Belichick dodged questions about the Deflategate controversy, saying there's "nothing really to talk about there." He said the team will continue to get ready for the 2015 season. 

Kraft said that "Tom Brady is a person of great integrity and a great ambassador of the game." 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday the New England quarterback told an assistant to destroy Brady's cellphone on or just before March 6. Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells on that day.

Brady released a counter-statement Wednesday morning saying, "I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January."

Calling the appeal process "a sham," Brady's agent, Don Yee, said Goodell "failed to ensure a fair process" in upholding the quarterback's four-game suspension.

The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks. 

Kraft said he regrets not appealing the NFL penalties against the team. 

Devin McCourty says Robert Kraft speaks for the Patriots. They all support Tom Brady. Wide receiver Matthew Slater says the Patriots are a family and stand behind each other, including Tom Brady.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said "I think the NFL needs to get their priorities straight."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Who Destroys Cell Phones?']]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 07:17:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jim-laslavic-072915.jpg NBC 7's Sports Director Jim Laslavic shares his thoughts on Patriots QB Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. ]]> <![CDATA[Social Media Reacts to Tom Brady's Suspension]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:49:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_258466475816.jpg

Patriots fans are steamed after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension Tuesday for his role in the Deflategate controversy.

The league, in a 20-page ruling, said the four-time Super Bowl champion “willingly obstructed the investigation” and also “participated in a scheme to tamper with evidence by destroying his cell phone.” The text messages were critical to Wells' investigation because they may have shown key information and communication between Brady and the equipment managers blamed for deflating footballs.

New England fans took to social media to defend their team and its star quarterback, while others hailed Goodell's decision.

The players' union has said it expects to challenge the decision in court. The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks after the team used underinflated footballs during their romp over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game in January. The have yet to appeal that penalty.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Fishermen Reel in Huge Bluefin Tuna Close to Shore]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:12:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/huge+bluefin+tuna.JPG

A fishing boat captain said fishermen aboard his boat reeled in a sight he's never seen in his entire career.

Tuesday afternoon, a Point Loma Sportfishing boat called the New Lo-an came in with six huge bluefin tuna, each weighing between 120 and 175 pounds a piece. 

Throughout the captain's time on the sea, he said he has never seen fish this size come so close to San Diego.

Don Kuroye, who caught the largest, 175-pound tuna, credits the warm waters caused by El Nino with helping to draw big catches closer to shore.

He said when he got the fish on his line, he didn't realize how large it was until it started surfacing.

"Well without using any terrible words, it was like, 'Oh my god,'" said Kuroye. "And then my adrenaline was pumping. It was great."

He fought the fish for close to an hour to pull it into the boat, and he's still feeling the soreness -- a good soreness, he said. The fish is about three times the size of his typical catch this time of year.

Kuroye plans to make some delicious sushi and sashimi from his fish.

Scientists at the Pacific Southwest Fisheries agree that what's happening off the coast is unprecedented. Larger fish and bigger schools of fish are staying around later in the year.

"These adult fish are usually back in their nursery grounds in the western Pacific by now," said NOAA's Toby Garfield, "so the fact that they're still here is most probably related to the warm water."

Garfield told NBC 7 the above normal temperatures in the Pacific started in the winter of 2013-2014.

The water is about three degrees warmer than normal at the moment, he said, which is enough to change were the marine food supply is going.

Garfield connected that change to why they've seen a record number of malnourished seals and sea lions showing up on California beaches in the past couple of years.

Photo Credit: Tam Ngo]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Needs 'Willing Partner' in NFL: Mayor]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:57:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/stadium+scramble+generic+2015.jpg

San Diego is ready and needs a “willing partner” to develop a financial package for a proposed NFL stadium that can be presented to the public, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Tuesday.

The City of San Diego will make a formal presentation at the NFL owners' meetings in Chicago on August 10.

Mayor Faulconer also said the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Mission Valley site is on schedule to be released for public comment on Aug. 10. It will be presented to the City Council in October.

Faulconer, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith updated the status of negotiations after a meeting with NFL officials.

NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman was one of several league officials to visit San Diego this week for more meetings involving the future of a franchise in San Diego.

Supervisor Roberts said the meeting with the NFL spent time reviewing environmental issues, the city's timeline and the negotiation process.

Faulconer mentioned several times how it's necessary to get the Chargers back to the negotiating table to find a financial package both sides accept.

“Time is ticking to reach that deal,” the mayor said. “But the clock has not run out yet.”

State Assembly Speaker, and former San Diego City Councilmember, Toni Atkins joined the session. Faulconer described her support as a "shot in the arm."

In February, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders announced plans to build a joint-use 72,000-seat stadium in Carson if talks with their respective cities are unsuccessful.

The mayor’s Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) has recommended using the current Mission Valley stadium site, while the team has said it prefers a hybrid stadium/sports arena complex on 12 acres in East Village encompassing Tailgate Park and the Metro Transit bus yard.

CSAG proposed a a 65,000-seat stadium with a $1.1 billion price tag and a financing plan that has the Chargers paying for $300 million of it.

Two weeks ago, the San Diego City Council voted to spend $2.1 million on an EIR,  which assesses the environmental cost of destroying the current Qualcomm Stadium and building a new one. The process usually takes a year to complete.

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani has said that even if the EIR is complete in a few weeks for under $3 million, the issue will still get tied up in the courts and eventually invalidated, just like the convention center.

When city leaders met with NFL officials in June, the message was clear - fast tracking an EIR is key to the project moving forward.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Junior Seau's Greatness Shows in Career Stats]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:07:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Seau3.jpg

When linebacker Junior Seau is inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, you’ll hear a lot of people using the term, “the late, great Junior Seau.” But just how great was Junior as a football player?

According to “NFL Career Approximate Value” stat, Seau ranks 23rd on the list of the all-time most valuable NFL players.

One of the most difficult things to do in sports analysis is to compare players from different eras. This is especially troublesome in the NFL. The game of professional football has changed more than any other major North American professional sport, from the strategy to the speed and size of the players on the field.

NFL Career Approximate Value is one stat that does a pretty good job of approximating the value players have across generations. In a nutshell, it measures the impact a player had on his team each season dating back to 1950 and weighs them for an entire career.

The top player on the list is Peyton Manning. Number two is Jerry Rice. So, it would appear to be fairly accurate, or at least not completely off-the-rails.

The guys just ahead of Seau on the list are Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson and Walter Payton. The guys right behind him on the list are Marvin Harrison, Mike Singletary and … Joe Montana.

Yes, Seau was (statistically, at least) better than Joe Montana. I’ll bet most people knew he was good but had no idea he was THAT good. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[City Urged to Take Stadium EIR Seriously]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:56:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Aerial+Shot+Qualcomm+Statdium.jpg

Government agencies and environmental groups are reminding city planners to thoroughly study all possible impacts of a proposed new stadium for the San Diego Chargers in Mission Valley.

NBC 7 Investigates obtained copies of the more than 30 responses sent to the City of San Diego’s Development Services Department, which last month requested comments about the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) now being prepared on the Qualcomm stadium site.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) stressed the need for an in-depth “traffic impact study” of the Mission Valley site. The study, according to the letter from Caltrans, should include an analysis of every state-owned intersection controlled by a signal light and all “regionally significant “ road systems, including all state highways impacted by a stadium project.

The city should pay closer attention to state highways in Mission Valley (which include the 8, 15, 163 and 805 freeways) that already have “significant” traffic delays or “an increased risk of a potential traffic accident,” according to the letter. Caltrans also told the city its EIR should include information about every freeway entrance and exit ramp that would be impacted by the proposed stadium project.

Click here to read all of the comments submitted to the city.

An eight-page letter from the California Department of Fish and Game takes issue with the city’s apparent decision not to study the impact of a new stadium on “Biological Resources” in and around the Qualcomm site.

“The Department is concerned about potential direct and indirect effects on the San Diego River and Murphy Canyon Creek, the sensitive habitats they support… and the sensitive species…” that live along the river, said Gail Sevens, Environmental Program Manager for the Department of Fish and Game.

Seven’s letter reminds city planners they must consider including adequate “buffers” of up to 650 feet between any new development and the San Diego River. The department also wants the city to consider restoring the River and Murphy Canyon Creek to “nearer their historic conditions,” which would greatly increase their width and possibly shrink the acreage available for a new stadium, parking structure and new development, according to the letter it submitted.

In another letter, SANDAG, a regional transportation planning agency, reminded the city that any analysis of traffic generated by a new stadium should “consider the needs of motorists, transit riders, pedestrians and bicyclists…”

According to SANDAG, the EIR should consider the benefits of building a bike and pedestrian bridge linking Qualcomm (at Fenton Parkway) with Mission City Parkway, along with extensive, and possibly expensive, “dynamic message signs” along Friars Road that would alert drivers of slowdowns during stadium events. The SANDAG letter stresses the potential benefit of offering discount transit passes and ticket prices for fans who take mass transit, rideshare or who ride their bike to events at a potential new stadium.

Former San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye urged the city to study of the benefits of building a River Park on the Qualcomm site as an alternative to a new stadium. “A San Diego River Park will help address park deficiencies in Mission Valley, while providing recreational and economic value as a regional asset to our existing park, recreation and open-space system,” Frye wrote. “Examples include… an amphitheater for concerts, festivals and entertainment events… soccer fields, ball fields, running tracks, hiking trails (and) open space.”

As previously reported by NBC 7 Investigates, the law firm of Chatten-Brown & Carstens submitted the most detailed and critical comments about the proposed EIR. The law firm’s 34-page letter, backed up with dozens of pages of exhibits, objects an EIR “process that appears to be taking shape for hasty approval of a football stadium and mixed-use development.”

More than a dozen San Diegans used the public comment process to simply express their opinions about the wisdom, or folly, of a new stadium.

“Please do not waste any more tax dollars on this project,” said Ross Christie. “Please do not waste any more city employee time on this project. Please do not hire any contractors for this project at city expense.”

K.K. Desai disagreed. “We should go ahead with or without Chargers,” he wrote. “San Diego needs modern facilities built. Yes, it will give the City a leg up. Let us not give up because of Chargers dilly willy.”

Ken Faucher opined that a new stadium is ”… a waste of money needed to fix infrastructure (and) a supremo example of getting ‘the cart before the horse’. I don’t know anybody who is in favor of the plan.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Shark Bites Kayak; Kayaker Bites Back]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 07:17:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mako-shark-bites-kayak.jpg

Fisherman love catching big fish. But when the catch is almost as long as the vessel you’re in and has extremely sharp teeth the day makes for one heck of a story.

On Thursday, July 23, just before 7 a.m., Austin Lorber and his fishing partner David Le were on kayaks about a mile and a half off of La Jolla. David threw out a mackerel and felt something take the bait.

“As soon as he hooked up we noticed a fish jump way out of the water, probably five or six feet,” said Lorber. “I looked back thinking it was a dorado because those are typically what will jump like that that we get around here. And then … I saw a shark. Makos around here are the only ones that will jump like that.”

The mako, typically an open-water swimmer, likely followed the abundance of bait and game fish in San Diego waters close to shore. Once David saw what it was he thought about just letting it go.

“He was kind of hesitant to bring it in but then I let him know that they’re great eating,” Lorber said. “Yes, they’re dangerous, but I was going to take care of the gaffing, which is really the dangerous part.”

Austin had his GoPro camera rolling to capture what happened next.

“It was already going for the kayak and I was lucky enough to sink the gaff right as it was about to bite the kayak," he said. "I just had to hold on to it for about 45 minutes as it dragged me around. I didn’t want to get my hand anywhere near that head until it had been tired for at least a half hour.”

After fishing for a few more hours for the yellowtail they had originally targeted, the shark eventually tired itself enough for Lorber, with the help of another kayak angler, to get it in to his fish hold and paddle it back to shore.

Representatives from the Department of Fish and Wildlife were at the landing. The 5-foot-long mako easily outran the 60-pound scale that was available so they estimated the fish to weigh around 100 pounds. Lorber, 31, has been fishing since he was a child, but this experience was something he’ll never forget.

“That was a bucket list moment, for sure. That’s number one for me easily,” he said.

The catch has certainly not gone to waste. As of Monday night he said he only had about 10 pounds of mako steaks left.

“Those are the best steaks in the ocean,” said Lorber, “those and thresher shark; beautiful, beautiful steaks.”

Lorber knows a thing or two about food. He and his brothers own Fratelli’s Italian Kitchen in San Marcos and Oceanside. Austin says he’s looking in to obtaining a commercial fishing license so he can serve his fresh catch at the restaurant.

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<![CDATA[Remembering Junior Seau]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:22:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/seauGettyImages-76204871_master.jpg

Photo Credit: NFL]]>
<![CDATA[In Memoriam]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:58:59 -0700 ]]> <![CDATA[More Tax Money Could Fund Stadium Negotiations]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:41:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Collinsworth_Talks_Chargers_Stadium_NBC_RSH-MCDS_1200x675_389884483609.jpg

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts wants taxpayers to contribute another $500,000 for costs associated with negotiating a new San Diego Chargers football stadium in Mission Valley.

Roberts made the request Monday in a memo sent to fellow county supervisors and obtained by NBC 7 Investigates.

The money would come from “Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Funds,” a portion of which is controlled by each supervisor and allocated for use by a majority vote by the board.

Roberts’ request for the $500,000 will be discussed at the board’s Aug. 4 meeting.

According to the memo, the money would be used to pay lawyers and consultants who are working for the city and county on plans for a new stadium.

If approved, this new infusion of $500,000 in county taxpayer money will be in addition to the $250,000 already allocated by the county. The city of San Diego has allocated an equal amount, for a total of $750,000.

In addition, the city will spend $2.1 million in taxpayer funds to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the proposed new stadium.

The Chargers have criticized that EIR, calling it a waste of money because, according to them, it will not withstand an expected legal challenge from opponents of the Mission Valley stadium plan.

The Chargers have also walked away from the negotiating table, after criticizing the city’s plan for a new stadium at the Qualcomm site.

The team’s refusal to negotiate has not made a big impact on Supervisor Roberts.

In a July 15 statement released to NBC 7 Investigates, Roberts’ office specifically said the supervisor would ask his colleagues to approve the additional $500,000 “if the Chargers return to active negotiations.”

So far the team has not done so, and it shows no sign of rejoining the stadium negotiations.

Despite that, Roberts is still supporting the expenditure of another $500,000.

"Ron remains optimistic that after the Aug. 10 meeting in Chicago, both the Chargers and NFL will be negotiation table bound," said the supervisor's spokesman.

<![CDATA[Lawsuit Filed Against MLB Commissioner]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:58:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/GettyImages-481500928.jpg

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has only been in office for seven months. He’s already being sued.

A nationwide class action lawsuit against Manfred and the office of the commissioner was filed in mid-July. The complaint alleges baseball games have become unsafe for fans and Major League Baseball has not done enough to protect the people in the stands.

According to the lawsuit, filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, tens of millions of people attend MLB games every year and several of them suffer preventable injuries such as concussions and skull fractures when objects leave the playing field.

Hagens Berman claims 1,750 spectators are hurt each year by baseballs that fly in to the stands, a number that comes from a late 2014 study performed by Bloomberg News.

We saw a potentially dangerous situation at Petco Park recently. In a July 22 game between the Padres and Giants, Melvin Upton Jr.’s bat was shattered and the barrel flew in to the protective netting directly behind home plate (video was captured by a pair of fans who were kind enough to share video with NBC 7 SportsWrap):

The safety netting worked wonderfully, and that is one of the main focuses of the lawsuit. The plaintiffs in the case (MLB season ticket holders) are asking Commissioner Manfred to require the netting that is seen directly behind home plate be extended from foul pole to foul pole in every MLB and minor league baseball facility by the start of the 2016 season. The suit also calls for the league to establish a program to study foul ball injuries.

“Despite the commissioner’s statements about MLB’s duty to spectator safety, despite his responsibility, and despite his awareness of the pattern and severity of spectator injuries, the commissioner has failed to act and failed to follow the path of other professional sports in the U.S. that have taken readily available and relatively inexpensive steps to protect spectators,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.

The suit alleges that the commissioner has actively increased distractions and entertainment in the parks to appeal to younger fans, including enhanced larger video screens and displays, creating the potential for even more catastrophic injuries.

In early June a woman attending a Red Sox game was hit in the head by a broken bat at Fenway Park. She was taken to the hospital with what were considered at the time life-threatening injuries. Manfred spoke after that incident at the studios of MLB Network.

"When you have an issue like this, an incident like this, you have to go back and re-evaluate where you are on all of your safety issues, and trust me, we will do that," Manfred said.

There has been only one recorded fatality from an object flying to stands at a Major League Baseball game, in 1970 when a 14-year-old boy was killed after being hit by a foul ball.

There is one ballpark in the United States that already has safety netting from foul pole to foul pole: Dick Howser Stadium at Florida State University.

MLB has what it refers to as “minimal standards” to guide teams in putting up safety netting and it’s up to each individual franchise to decide how much area they want to cover.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Workouts Open To the Public]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:10:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/GettyImages-491456493.jpg

This is the week football fans in San Diego have been waiting all summer for. The Chargers open training camp on Thursday at their Murphy Canyon training complex.

As always, fans have a chance to view several practices in person, starting with that first workout on Thursday morning. Here’s the full list of open sessions for public viewing:

Thursday, July 30              Practice 9:20-11:15 a.m.
Friday, July 31                   Practice 2:50-4:45 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 1               Practice 9:20-11:15 a.m.
Sunday, Aug. 2                  Practice 2:50-4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 5          Practice 2:50-4:45 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 8               FanFest 10:30-12:30 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium
Monday, Aug. 10              Practice 2:50-4:45 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 15             Practice 9:20-11:15 a.m.
Monday, Aug. 17              Practice 2:50-4:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 18              Practice 9:20-11:15 a.m.

Keep in mind sometimes practice times do change so before you go check for updates at http://www.chargers.com/schedule/training-camp-schedule.

It seems that we can’t mention a Chargers story this year without adding the almost gratuitous, “This could be the last time the Bolts hold a training camp in San Diego” caveat. It will be interesting to see how many Chargers supporters show up for workouts when the specter of a move up to Los Angeles looms.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Primer: Who Will Stay, Who Will Go]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 15:19:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-480685990.jpg

Padres General Manager A.J. Preller is going to have an awfully busy week. The MLB trade deadline looms on Friday, July 31, and he has some personnel decisions to make.

On Sunday afternoon at Petco Park I heard a couple of scouts from opposing teams having a discussion in the Press Box. One said his team needs an 8th-inning guy and of all the ones he’s seen Joaquin Benoit is the best available so they (I’ll keep the team a secret) will likely make a play for the Padres setup man. But Benoit is far from the only player who could be pried out of San Diego.

This season other MLB teams are looking at the Padres like they’re Costco; you can probably find anything you need there, and you might walk in looking for one thing but leave with a whole lot more.

There are very few, if any, players who Preller will not at least entertain offers for. So let’s take a look at the ENTIRE San Diego Padres 25-man roster and see who’s likely to go and who’s likely to stay (this is the MLB roster as of Sunday, July 26):

RHP James Shields

He’s an intriguing dilemma. Shields wants to stay in San Diego and the club controls his salary through 2019. However, he jumps from making $10 million this year to pulling in $21 million in 2016. That’s a hefty increase and one the Padres might like to get out of. Shields is proving to be as durable as ever and could be that last missing piece for a team making a post-season push, so if someone wants him badly enough they could make an offer the Padres cannot refuse.

Trade Likelihood
: 40%. Preller would move Shields, but the return is going to have to be awfully big.

RHP Tyson Ross

One of the guys Preller considers the core of the team, Ross is getting a lot of attention. However, he’s been one of the most consistent starters on the club and has two years of arbitration left so there’s certainly no rush to let him leave.

Trade Likelihood
: 2%. It would take a prospect haul of Jeff Bagwellian proportions to get Preller to give up Ross.

RHP Andrew Cashner

Cash is a bit of an enigma. He has the stuff of a front-of-the-rotation starter but this year has not consistently pitched like one. Off-the-field issues like worrying about his mother’s health could very well be contributing to it, and it’s easy to understand why. Cashner has one year of arbitration left so if a team in need of a 4th starter offers up a decent return he could be playing elsewhere by August.

Trade Likelihood: 50-50. The chance to add an electric arm like this might be too much for a contender to pass up.

RHP Ian Kennedy

Kennedy has fought inconsistency as well but of late. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last eight starts and only coughed up one earned run in five of those outings. Kennedy is a free agent at the end of the year and that typically (with the Padres, at least) increases the desire to trade a man and get something more than a draft pick in return.

Trade Likelihood
: 75%. Kennedy is a veteran arm who can help a team looking for a 4th starter for the stretch run.

RHP Odrisamer Despaigne

He’s durable with the potential for brilliant starts but suffers from fits of inconsistency. You really never know which OD you’re going to get and a team in a pennant race can’t rely on that.

Trade Likelihood: 1%. Unless it’s one of those seemingly insignificant deals between teams out of contention who just like someone else’s guy because, Despaigne is not going anywhere.

RHP Craig Kimbrel

Everybody needs a closer, or at least thinks they do. But the Blue Jays REALLY need a closer. Toronto’s bullpen has blown 16 of 31 save chances this year. They have one of the top five lineups in baseball but can’t hold a lead. Kimbrel changes all that. Plus, it’s being reported that the Padres have been scouting the Blue Jays system awfully hard lately, so if Toronto is willing to give up what Preller wants (and he NEEDS to get at the very least what he gave up to get Kimbrel out of Atlanta) the hard-throwing right-hander will need to keep his passport handy.

Trade Likelihood
: 98%. The Jays are three games out of a Wild Card spot. Solving their bullpen issues puts them in the playoffs so you have a motivated buyer here.

RHP Joaquin Benoit

Another veteran who will get an awful lot of attention, likely from the Blue Jays as well. Benoit has been effective for his entire career and offers the flexibility to setup or close. As previously mentioned there is certainly a market for Benoit so Preller will have to see what he can get. Kimbrel’s situation will also have an impact here.

Trade Likelihood: 50-50. There’s no rush to move Benoit but if he can bring in some prospects it’s worth looking in to.

RHP Brandon Maurer

He’s been arguably the Padres best reliever in 2015. Maurer has the stuff to handle the 7th, 8th or 9th innings and he’s under team control for another year. He’s the kind of guy you simply do not let go of at this stage of his career.

Trade Likelihood
: Don’t even bother asking.

RHP Shawn Kelley

The start of his season was a Hindenburg-level disaster. However, in his last 25.1 innings Kelley has allowed just three runs with 30 strikeouts. He’s throwing the ball extremely well and could add bullpen depth to a team looking for help in the middle innings.

Trade Likelihood: 35%. If a team calls asking about him, the pending free agent could be had. The question is how many teams will call about him instead of the variety of other bullpen arms on the market?

RHPs Dale Thayer, Marcos Mateo, Kevin Quackenbush

I put all of these guys in one line because they’re all basically in the same situation. No teams are going to target them but they could all be throw-ins with a deal for another guy.

Trade Likelihood: 25%. Don’t count on it but don’t rule it out either.

OF Justin Upton

Upton is an All-Star hitter who has a history of heating up down the stretch and provides a dangerous power option in the middle of a lineup. He’s a free agent at the end of the year that could very well get a $200 million deal, which prices him out of San Diego. If the Padres don’t trade Upton they’ll get a draft pick. Plenty of teams need a guy like Upton and they know the situation the Padres are in, which will make trade talks very interesting.

Trade Likelihood: I hope his lease is month-to-month. At the last-minute some team will panic and pull the trigger to add a guy who might help them win a World Series title this year.

OF Matt Kemp

1)    Leader of the Padres clubhouse.
2)    Big contract.
3)    With another big 2nd half he’s proving he can still hit and build around.

Trade Likelihood: 0%. This is just not a possibility.

OF Will Venable

Will has quietly had a very nice season. He provides high-quality defense at all three outfield spots and has become a reliable left-handed bat from either the starting lineup or off the bench. There will be discussions about Venable and a team that needs a solid veteran as a 4th outfielder could do a whole lot worse than this guy.

Trade Likelihood: 65%. That number goes up is someone on a contending team gets hurt. Basically, think of Venable as Maverick being ready to launch on Alert-5.

OF Melvin Upton

It’s a miracle the Padres were able to take his contract off the Braves’ hands. Nobody else is going to do the same thing.

Trade Likelihood: -100%. There’s a better chance Pete Rose is inducted to the Hall of Fame next year than there is of Upton getting traded this week.

OF Abraham Almonte

I had honestly forgotten he was with the big club. Odds are most other teams around baseball had forgotten that, too. If he moves it would be another throw-in situation.

Trade Likelihood: 3%.

1B Yonder Alonso

At the age of 28 and six years in to a big league career it’s safe to say Alonso is not going to develop the kind of power people thought he would when he was a younger prospect. Yonder is still able to get on base and will drive in the occasional run but when (if) Wil Myers gets healthy he will likely be a better option at first base. At this stage of the season teams are not looking for light-hitting corner infielders.

Trade Likelihood: 0%. Alonso is not the kind of difference maker you swing a deal for in a pennant race.

2B Jedd Gyorko

Jedd has a big contract that’s not being lived up to. Preller might be looking to move Gyorko but nobody is looking to add him.

Trade Likelihood: Not a snowball’s chance in ……

SS Alexi Amarista

Alexi has been out of his natural position at short and done as good a job as he’s capable of. However, if he can go back to his role of utility infielder his value jumps dramatically. It’s not likely but a team looking for infield depth could kick the tires on Amarista in one of those “under the radar” kind of moves.

Trade Likelihood: 5%. If Preller is able to get a shortstop in another deal he could move Amarista but it’s more likely he stays on to be the swing infielder again.

3B Yangervis Solarte

Similar to Alonso, Yan is a nice player but not a guy who pushes a team over the top. Unlike Alonso, Solarte is only in his second MLB season so there is still upside to consider (even though they’re the same age).

Trade Likelihood: 10%. Again, not likely but not altogether out of the question.

SS Clint Barmes

Here’s a veteran who has played very well when given a chance this year. Barmes is the kind of guy teams covet in the stretch run because he’s solid, good in the clubhouse and has been around the block a few times. Expect a few teams to come calling about him.

Trade Likelihood: 70%. I have no idea why but my gut tells me Barmes is going to be that final piece to the puzzle for a team trying to make the playoffs.

1B Brett Wallace

Left-handed pinch-hit specialist. Everybody needs one of those at some point. But, odds are this is not the one they’ll go after.

Trade Likelihood: 0.5%. This would be a head-scratcher unless he’s added to a deal as a bonus.

C Derek Norris

What a drop-off Norris has had in 2015. He has not driven in a run since June 28, a span of 62 at-bats. Norris has gone from the All-Star conversation to being the guy who’s blocking Austin Hedges’ development. Still, when he’s good Norris is really good and he could very well be playing through an undisclosed injury.

Trade Likelihood: 1%. Preller would have to be blown away by an offer to part with Norris.

C Austin Hedges

He has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt he can handle himself in the majors defensively. He’s also hit for more power than expected and he’s done it with sporadic playing time. Hedges is still one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He’s the kind of guy a team gets in a trade when that team is looking to the future. Since the Padres are looking to the future they’re not going to deal Hedges now.

Trade Likelihood: Nope, no way, nah-uh. Not gonna happen.

OK, I think that’s it. Which players do you want to keep? Which do you want to see go? Let us know in the comments.

<![CDATA[WATCH: Half-Court Shot Wins $10K]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:58:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/219*120/willie+cole+shot.jpg

A recent high school graduate from Chicago made an epic half-court shot during a youth basketball tournament over the weekend to win a $10,000 prize.

Willie Cole, 18, sunk the shot with ease during Nike’s Chi League All-Star at Whitney Young High School on Sunday.

Despite having a $10,000 prize on the line, Cole appears calm as he steps toward the line and shoots, as seen in video provided by Nike. A swoosh is heard as the ball falls through the net and the crowd erupts with excitement. Players rush the court to congratulate Cole.

The Chi League All-Star event spotlighted some of the best youth, pro-am and high school basketball players in Chicago.

It’s not clear what Cole, a graduate from TF South High School, will do with his winnings.

Photo Credit: Nike, Inc. ]]>
<![CDATA[Tom Brady, NFL in Deflategate Settlement Talks: Source]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:32:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/461977230.jpg

Tom Brady is engaged in settlement talks with the NFL, a source familiar with the talks tells NBC News' Peter Alexander.

Last week, there were reports that the NFL Players' Union had pitched to Commissioner Roger Goodell a possible settlement between Brady and the League.

All of this is playing out as the NFL mulls Brady's four-game suspension, which the quarterback appealed. The NFL determined he was aware of team staffers deflating footballs in the AFC Championship game.

Goodell and Brady last met on June 23 during a suspension appeal hearing.

The Patriots paid a record $1 million fine and were stripped of two draft picks, including a No. 1 selection next year.

The Patriots did not challenge their punishments.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston's Olympic Loss Could Spell Win for L.A.]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:21:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TLMD-boston-olympics-2024-render.jpg

Now that the U.S. Olympic Committee has dropped Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games, Los Angeles is emerging as the back-up city.

“Los Angeles could bid with a couple of years notice,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and the author of “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.” “They don’t need seven years notice. They have almost all their venues already intact.”

In a statement Monday the committee's CEO, Scott Blackmun, said the federation was still interested in mounting a bid for the Summer Games. He did not mention a specific city.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that his office had not had recent conversations with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"I continue to believe that Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city and we have always supported the USOC in their effort to return the Games to the United States," he said in a statement. "I would be happy to engage in discussions with the USOC about how to present the strongest and most fiscally responsible bid on behalf of our city and nation."

The U.S. Olympic Commitee ended Boston's bid after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a Monday morning press conference that he was not ready to sign a host city document that would force taxpayers to cover any cost overruns. The U.S. Olympic Committee had wanted him to sign the contract as soon as possible, he said. But he said he would not without more financial information about the Games and was willing to let the committee choose another city over Boston.

The host city contract, which does not need to be signed until 2017, guarantees that the International Olympic Committee will not be held responsible for any cost overruns.

The U.S. Olympic Committee’s board members had also wanted to know whether Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker supported Boston’s bid. Baker spoke to committee officials on Monday but said beforehand that he would have no answer for them because he was waiting to see a full report from a consultant commissioned to analyze the bid.

The deadline to officially submit bids to the International Olympic Committee is Sept. 15. San Francisco and Washington D.C. also competed to be the U.S. selection. A source told NBC Bay Area that it was now too late for San Francisco to submit a bid that could win. Jack Evans, a D.C. council member, said that the city was still vying to be chosen.

“We in the District would still be very interested," Evans said.

Officials from the U.S. Olympic Committee could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier Alan Abrahamson, a sportswriter, said that the U.S. Olympic Committee ought to kill Boston’s bid, Abrahamson, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, called it the most dismal effort he had seen in 16 years of covering the Olympics.

“Los Angeles is America’s Olympic city,” said Abrahamson, who wrote a column on the topic on his website, 3 Wire Sports. “It hosted the Games twice in 1932 and 1984. The Games are a part of the fabric of civic life in Los Angeles.”

Politicians, businesses and the people of California are behind the Olympics, he said. And like Zimbalist, he said Los Angeles could be ready with little notice.

“Los Angeles could host the Games on maybe two years notice and do a fantastic job,” he said.

Before Boston's bid derailed, Zimbalist said that Baker’s position was key because the state not Boston would have to be the Games’ guarantor.

“Nobody ever expected Boston to actually provide a guarantee,” he said. “They don’t have the resources to do it. Their budget is much too small.”

Zimbalist said that he thought Walsh, who had been closely affiliated with the pro-Olympics group, was trying to cover himself should the U.S. Olympic Committee reject Boston.

“I think that he’s trying to step out in front of that train and say, ‘I was first, I never wanted to put the Boston’s taxpayers at risk,’” Zimbalist said.

Boston’s bid had been expected to go to a statewide referendum next year. The organizers had said that if the majority of voters in Massachusetts and Boston did not vote in favor of it they would pull the bid. A group, No Boston Olympics, had formed in opposition to hosting the Games.

Photo Credit: Boston2024.org]]>
<![CDATA[Teen With Cerebral Palsy Encourages Kids With Disabilities]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:54:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Teen_Helps_Others_Cope_With_Disabilities_1200x675_491677251553.jpg

Lucy Meyer isn't your average eighth-grader: She's spoken with President Barack Obama and members of Congress, won a gold medal for athletics and raised money for charities.

Meyer was born with cerebral palsy, but that hasn't stopped her from serving as her school's student council vice president or being the spokeswoman for children with disabilities by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

"I never tell myself I can't do something because I have a disability," Meyer said. "I don't think about it at all. I just do it."

Meyer, a past Special Olympics gold medalist and current Global Messenger for the World Games, represented Southern California at the Special Olympics USA Games last summer in Princeton, New Jersey, and is continuing to encourage athletes to work toward their goals, no matter what obstacles may be in their path.

And Meyer doesn't just inspire the athletes around her. She also inspires adults.

"If I was going to have a kid, it would be Lucy," said Kiyo Kitmitto, Meyer's coach.

Kitmitto said children with disabilities need encouragement, not pity, a sentiment echoed by Meyer.

"I go to many events and speak about how important it is to accept and encourage people with disabilities," Meyer said.

Although she hasn't even completed high school, Meyer said in the future she wants to help children with disabilities and swim.

<![CDATA[Padres Win Again As Trade Deadline Looms]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:55:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-482082646.jpg

The Padres beat the Marlins 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, taking three of four from Miami and, perhaps, giving the team a chance to keep the circling vultures from picking apart their roster.

The Friars are once again the subject of trade rumors and their recent hot streak suggests they might be able to keep the roster intact, something the guys in the clubhouse would really like to do.

"As much as anything," said outfielder Will Venable, one of the names being brought up in trade talks. "Obviously upstairs they're going to make what decisions they need to make. All we can control is going to New York and trying to change their mind with a few good games."

That seems like the view in the clubhouse is the front office is in a selling state of mind. But after a 6-3 home stand there is still hope. At least, the Friars hope there's still hope.

"Whether it's a naive thought or not," said Venable, "that's what the plan is. I know that's what we all want to do."

Although they still have issues scoring runs the Padres have played much better baseball, especially on defense, the last few weeks. They've crept back to withing striking distance of a Wild Card spot, making the decisions on whether or not to allow this team in its current form to stay together a whole lot more difficult.

Sunday's game was more of the same formula they've used recently. Get a good start (this one from Odrisamer Despaigne, who went 6.0 innings allowing one run on two hits), score just enough runs to take a small lead and let the bullpen lock it down.

Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel, two more guys who seem to be on the trade block, both threw for the third straight game. Kimbrel notched his 29th save of the season with help from a fantastic catch by Venable in centerfield.

Outfielder Justin Upton, perhaps the most likely player to be traded by Friday's deadline, hit a laser in to the left-centerfield seats off former Padre Mat Latos to get the scoring started, his team-leading 16th home run. The question on Padres fans minds now is will be be his last home run in a San Diego uniform?

One of the teams rumored to be hot on Upton's trail is the Mets, the team the Padres start a 3-game series with on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:57:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_120669260314.jpg Click to see dramatic game action photos from professional football, hockey, basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson]]>
<![CDATA[Dustin Plunkett: Special Olympics Saved My Life]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:07:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/7-26-15-dustin+plunkett.JPG

Many athletes can attest to the difference sports made in their life, but for former Special Olympics World Games athlete Dustin Plunkett, sports saved his life.

Plunkett, 33, was born with an intellectual disability and cleft palate that affected his speech. Growing up, he was ridiculed for his disabilities.

"It was really tough on top of getting bullied every single day of my life. I was called retard, slow, stupid, dumb," Plunkett told NBC4 on Friday.

But Plunkett now is a far cry from the boy who was bullied by his peers. He's a former athlete at the Special Olympics World Games, member of the Special Olympics of Southern California's board of directors and now an ESPN analyst for the Special Olympics.

As a Global Messenger for the Special Olympics, Plunkett has traveled the world as a public speaker and has stood by Yao Ming at the World Games as well as President Barack Obama at the White House.

"I’m around people that are just like me, I'm around people that were bullied and ridiculed every day of their life growing up," Plunkett told NBC4 in December. "This is our safe place."

Plunkett credits the Special Olympics for not only changing his life, but saving it. When he was going through a pregame medical screening in 2004, a dentist noticed the poor condition of his teeth, and he was later diagnosed with gum cancer.

"If it had gone one more month long, I wouldn't be alive today," Plunkett said last year.

Plunkett has been involved with the Special Olympics since 1996 and has coached athletes in basic sports skills and as the assistant basketball coach for Southern California's Lakewood Special Olympics program, according to the organization.

"I was told I was going to be worth nothing in my life," Plunkett said. "And now look at me."

Photo Credit: Jorge Diaz]]>
<![CDATA[N.J. Teen Wins 1st Gold at Special Olympics]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 08:04:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/150726-noah-dellas-special-olympics.jpg

A 17-year-old from South New Jersey hit the water first at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach and never looked back, winning the triathlon that kicked off the 2015 Special Olympics World Games on Sunday.

Noah Dellas took just under an hour and 13 minutes (1:12:58) to complete the half-mile swim, 20 kilometer bike, and 5k run.

Asked in the finishing chute how he felt, Dellas replied simply, "OK." It was his second thrill of the weekend, after seeing his swimming inspiration, Olympic legend Michael Phelps, at Saturday night's opening ceremonies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Coach Lisa Rumer, who trained all four Team USA members in the international field of 22, recalled Dellas’ shyness during the first few months after he began training.

"As he understand that we cared and wanted him to succeed, and he started to create goals because he knew he could do it, that's when he branched out and really took hold of his passion," Rumer said.

Among the women, New Jersey teammates Amy Noctor, 27, and Courtney Dreyfus, 18, finished second and third, respectively.

The Special Olympics were created for athletes with intellectual disabilities, such as Asperger's and Downs syndrome. There is a broad spectrum among the 6,500 athletes who have come from 165 nations.  The World Games are being held in greater Los Angeles for the first time in four decades.

In a tent cooling off after their race, Noctor and Dreyfus both spoke of how the Special Olympics movement has helped them overcome challenges they face and broadened their daily lives.

"You can just be you. You don't have to hide anything and you can push beyond your boundaries," said Dreyfus.

Amy's parents dedcribed the progress they've seen in her.

"Amy does not make a lot of friends on her own, but when she comes here she meets a lot of people and talks to them," said Mathew Noctor, Amy's father.

"She's become more independent, more sure of herself," said Heidi Noctor, Amy's mother.

"It's given me a life. It's the best part of my life right now," said Amy.

"Amen," added her father.

The first ever World Games triathlon featured another innovation: allowing non-Special Olympic athletes on the course as a "unified" event. Pro Triathlete Heather Jackson said it proved mutually inspirational for both groups of athletes. Jackson also marveled at the enthusiasm of the fans in the finishing chute - "more than for some pro triathlons," she said.

Among team sports, beach volleyball was also unified, enabling some non-Special Olympic athletes to play on the same team. The initial reaction of spectators was positive.

"I just think it's a great idea," said volunteer Tracy Lambert.

Events continue across the Southland through next weekend.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>