<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usWed, 24 May 2017 12:52:45 -0700Wed, 24 May 2017 12:52:45 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Why Soccer City Will Win Mission Valley]]> Wed, 24 May 2017 12:33:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/new+MLS+stadium+4.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson looks at the feud brewing over “Soccer City” in this commentary

How did we get here?

I mean how did we end up at this particular moment in San Diego’s sports history? The late, great Jack Murphy must be rolling over in his grave looking at what’s going on with the sports in his town.

The NFL team left because the cowardly and idiotic Dean Spanos and local politicians couldn’t figure out how to do … well, ANYTHING right for about two decades. The MLB team is on the right track but will very likely go about 15 years between playoff appearances. The most successful team in San Diego is the pro hockey franchise. And a group trying to bring to town Major League Soccer is feuding with the largest university in San Diego like they’re Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.

What in the world is going on around here?

San Diego State University and the FS Investors group that put together a proposal to redevelop the Mission Valley land where the stadium that should still be named after Mr. Murphy sits are in a verbal battle royale. Instead of working together on a mutually beneficial future they’re mired in a war of words that is really doing nobody any good.

A couple of times a week now SDSU or the SDSU Alumni Past Presidents Council or an alumni group of some kind officially says it opposes the Soccer City plan. They believe it’s not enough to grow the university in the future.

To that the FS Investors group will counter with a statement of their own outlining the concessions they have made (such as offering larger seating capacity for the football team and extra acreage for the school to develop research facilities) to the school and playing the card that Mayor Kevin Faluconer is on board with their idea.

Back and forth, tit for tat, lots of talk moving nowhere. It certainly is not helping achieve a resolution to this issue.

I understand the concerns of SDSU and agree with their assertion that the school is an important part of the future of San Diego. All universities are. But this petty infighting is not doing anything for anyone except causing angst and creating more and increasingly stressful questions about the future of our sporting landscape.

Right now there is exactly one real proposal for redeveloping the Mission Valley site and it’s Soccer City. The professional football team has been gone for nearly half a year and the rumors that they were leaving were around for two years before that. If anyone else was going to put together a legitimate plan for those 200-plus acres don’t you think they would have done it by now?

Or don’t you think they would have had the foresight to start planning for that contingency? We hear rumors about a Moores plan or a Manchester plan or another mysterious man behind the curtain plan. But so far nothing concrete. Zero.

That is the essence of San Diego’s business and political leaders and it’s a big reason the NFL is not here anymore. The traditional developers and the decision makers in this town have been incestuous for far too long. The powers-that-be have become so entrenched in the way things have always been that they have not just slowed the wheels of progress … they will fight against anything outside their little comfortable bubble of control.

I never thought I would say it but on this point Mark Fabiani was right. He said the way things are run in this town made it nearly impossible to get anything done and to an extent he nailed that one. But what he and the Chargers and the hoteliers and the politicians do not have, have never had, and will never have is the one thing that is pushing Soccer City over the top:


FS Investors have a vision and they started planning it long ago. They have business partners and friends and support from multiple fronts. They planned for this and now that they’ve caught everyone else off-guard we see all the traditional big players in San Diego scurrying to come up with a counter-proposal but so far they don’t have the creativity to find one.

Personally, I tend to lean towards the people who had the ability to think ahead and be prepared. This town has been reactionary for far too long, both from political and business leaders.

Wouldn’t it be nice to start getting more people on the same page and building something for the future instead of trying to do things the same way they’ve always been done? That way we might actually get something done.

<![CDATA[NBA All-Star Game Will Head to Charlotte in 2019]]> Wed, 24 May 2017 11:39:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_SPO_NC_ALLSTAR_GAME_NBA2_052417-149564954829900001.jpg

The NBA announced the 2019 All-Star Game will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 2017 All-Star Game was relocated from Charlotte to New Orleans, Louisiana, because of North Carolina's controversial "Bathroom Bill."

<![CDATA[Another Padres Starter Struggles in First Inning ]]> Tue, 23 May 2017 22:53:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-687474830.jpg

This is a trend I hope does not catch on. In their first inning against the Padres at Citi Field, the NY Mets scored seven runs. That’s the biggest first inning for the Metropolitans in 13 years. In the first contest of this three game set, the Friars fell to the Mets 9-3.

New York took an early 1-0 lead after left fielder Michael Conforto hit a home run to right field in the first inning. The snowball just grew from there. In two-thirds of an inning, Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin allowed eight hits and seven runs. Righty Craig Stammen replaced Chacin at the end of the inning, but the Friars entered the second inning trailing 7-0.

The Padres got on the board in the second. Cory Spangenberg grounded out to first and Ryan Schimpf scored. In a moment of déjà vu, Austin Hedges grounded out to third and Hunter Renfroe scored. San Diego cut the deficit a bit but still trailed 7-2.

The Mets added another (not that they needed it) in the fourth inning when Conforto homered again, this time sending a solo shot 435 feet into the center field seats. The outfielder had a career high four RBI on the night.

Schimpf responded with his own solo homer in the sixth inning, but that obviously wasn’t enough to dig the Padres out of the hole.

The second game of the set is Wednesday May 24 at 4:10 p.m. PST at Citi Field.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aaron Rodgers Helps Students Get Out of Final Exam]]> Tue, 23 May 2017 12:08:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/arod_test.jpg

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers helped a group of students in Janesville, Iowa, get out of their sports literature final.

<![CDATA[Padres Offer Unique Ticket Deal]]> Tue, 23 May 2017 10:02:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/Petco+Park+Home+Opener+2017.JPG

The Padres are having a little trouble winning games these days but that’s not stopping them from keeping hope alive. In fact they’re willing to gamble on having plenty of success at home soon.

The Friars have a new ticket offer on the table called the Padres Five-Win Pass. For $99 fans can see the first five wins in June. Not the first five games in June; the first five WINS in June.

The Padres play 16 games at Petco Park in June. That means if they hit the last one, on June 30 against the Dodgers, at 4-11 you will get to see all 16 games for $99. This offer is good for left field sections 226, 228 and 230 right underneath the giant scoreboard and will be on sale until June 9.

But what if they go nuts and win five straight to start the month? Is it still a good deal then?

As an example, a seat in Section 228 for the Saturday, June 3 game against the Rockies is up for sale on the Padres website for $24.50. Quick math tells us $24.50 x 5 = $122.50. So even if the Padres miraculously sweep Colorado to start the month then win two straight against the Royals the following weekend the $99 deal would be less than buying tickets to five separate games.

The Padres are 9-14 at Petco Park this season. The 16 games they play there in June are against the Rockies (3), Royals (3), Reds (3), Tigers (3), Braves (3) and Dodgers (1).

If you purchase the Padres Five-Win Pass the tickets will be delivered to your smartphone via the MLB BallPark app. You can purchase up to eight seats and each pass includes a $20 credit towards a seat upgrade.

For more information on the promotion visit www.padres.com.

<![CDATA[Padres Prospects Winning Awards]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 14:11:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fernando+Tatis+Jr..jpg

With a 16-30 record, sitting 12.5 games out of first place, we know the 2017 season is not the best version of the San Diego Padres. ALTHOUGH it is worthy to note that on this day in the 2003 the then-Florida Marlins were 13.5 games out of first and ended up winning the World Series so stranger things have happened.

But, back to reality. The Padres have given us no illusions that they are in building mode. I can’t call it a rebuilding mode because “rebuilding” implies there was something good that existed and needs to be resurrected. A franchise that has won exactly one playoff game in the last 19 years is NOT rebuilding.

They’re laying the foundation for what should be a bright future. On Monday a pair of Padres prospects earned awards. One of them could very well be their starting shortstop for a decade. The other is a guy most of you probably didn’t even know was in the system.

Fort Wayne Tincaps shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was named the Midwest League Player of the Week. All Tatis did was hit .462 with a 1.533 OPS, hit three doubles, a triple, three home runs, drive in six runs and score nine more. That’s a pretty nice week, especially when you consider he’s only 18 years old.

Tatis, as you may recall, is the son of former big league slugger Fernando Tatis, the only man to ever hit two grand slams in one inning. He did it with the Cardinals in 1999, hitting both bombs off then-Dodgers starter Chan Ho Park. (Don’t ask me why Park was still in the game for the second one, that’s a question for Davey Johnson).

He was part of the 2016 trade that sent James Shields to the White Sox. At the time not much was known about Tatis because he was a 17-year-old who had not entered affiliated baseball in the United States yet. Now he’s one of San Diego’s top-10 prospects.

At 6’3” and 185 pounds Tatis Jr. is not a small kid so scouts have long projected him to develop power. Most of them just didn’t see it developing quite this early. It was a little advice from his pop that helped unlock the … well, pop.

"I tried to get stronger and bigger and did a lot to work on that [in the offseason]," said Tatis in an interview with www.milb.com. "Now, I'm just trying to put the ball on the barrel. I was talking with my dad, and he told me that I'm big enough to hit for power and average, so he told me to try to do both. Just swing hard."

Tatis is already on the MLB radar. That’s a place Christian Villanueva is trying to come back to.

Villanueva was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for his performance with El Paso. The 3rd baseman hit .480 with a 1.399 OPS, three home runs, seven runs batted in and eight runs scored. While everyone was waiting for Tatis to show up some folks were waiting to see if Villanueva would return.

In 2013 the 3rd baseman was a top-10 prospect in the Chicago Cubs system. Yes, the system that had guys like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora in it. He was always regarded as a very good defender but his bat was a little slow to develop. After missing the entire 2016 season with a broken leg the Padres signed Villanueva to a minor league contract.

In El Paso he seems to have found his swing. At the age of 25 and after eight years in the minor leagues the Jalisco, Mexico native may be putting it all together, giving the Padres even more organizational depth than they probably knew they had.

One more Monday note, the Padres are expected to recall infielder Carlos Asuaje from El Paso and option a relief pitcher TBD back to Triple-A. Asuaje should join the club in New York for a three-game series with the Mets starting Tuesday.

<![CDATA[Problems at Petco for the Padres ]]> Sat, 20 May 2017 23:43:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*122/GettyImages-684320418.jpg

The Padres reached a season high in Saturday’s game, but it wasn’t the good kind. The Friars fell to the second place National League West Diamondbacks 9-1. This marked a season high five-game losing streak for the Padres.

The Friars were coming off of Friday night’s far from perfect pitching performance by Jered Weaver, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday afternoon. Right handed pitcher, Luis Perdomo started on the mound for the Padres in game two of their three game series, and his pitching performance wasn’t much prettier.

The right handed pitcher recorded his first loss of the 2017 season, and he did so by allowing a career-high 8 runs and 11 hits in just 3 innings. This was the 24 year olds shortest start of the season.

While the pitching on the Padres end wasn’t ideal, it didn’t help the situation that the D-backs offense is just explosive. They drove in 5 runs in the first inning alone, to take an early 5-0 lead against the Friars. This marked the first time in franchise history that Arizona has scored five or more runs in the first frame of consecutive games.

Yasmany Tomas extend Arizona’s lead in the second inning when he powered a two-run single to make it a seven run ball game.

In the mist of all the madness, Jose Vladez of the Padres Triple-A El Paso team was called up on Saturday; he made his debut and managed to lock down 3 scoreless innings for the Padres, and only allowed two hits off the D-backs.

The “diamond in the rough” came for the Padres in the 9th inning when Allen Cordoba reached on an infield single to shortstop, this scored youngster Hunter Renfro, and prevented a Friars shut out.

The Padres will look to redeem themselves on Sunday when they face Arizona for the Final game of the 3 game series.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose 10-1 in Series Opener Against Diamondbacks]]> Sat, 20 May 2017 10:29:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-685579350.jpg

Jered Weaver was looking for his first win of the season when he took the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night. Instead, the righty was pulled out of the game in the top of the first inning. Weaver allowed seven runs including a three run homer by Jake Lamb and a two run bomb by Brandon Drury, all earned in two-thirds of an inning. Weaver has given up two or more home runs in seven of his last nine starts this season. 

By the end of the first inning the Diamondbacks had a strong 8-0 lead over the Friars. But why stop there? In the sixth inning the hole got even deeper for San Diego.

Craig Stammen was on the hill for the Padres when David Peralta hit a solo shot to left field. A few batters later, Jake Lamb sent his second home run of the night to center field. Still, Stammen finished with seven strikeouts before Kevin Quackenbush came in to relieve him.

In the ninth inning Padres third baseman Ryan Schimpf stepped up to avoid the shut out. His RBI single to center scored Allen Cordoba, but that’s the only offense we saw from the Padres. The Diamondbacks won the first game of the series 10-1.

The NL West showdown continues Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. at Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekly San Diego Sports Preview]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 22:59:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RenfroeWalkoff.jpg

Here’s a look at what is going on in San Diego sports for the week of May 22nd-28th.

PADRES: The Friars are on the East Coast this week. After a travel day Monday they’re in New York to face the Mets Tuesday-Thursday. After that the Padres head to our nations’ capital for a three game weekend series against the Nationals.


-MEN’S TENNIS: Wednesday at the NCAA Singles Championships in Athens, Georgia.

-BASEBALL: Thursday-Saturday TBD.

-WOMEN’S ROWING: Friday-Sunday at the NCAA Championships in Lake Mercer, New Jersey.


-BASEBALL: Monday at the NCAA West Regional in Azusa and Friday-Sunday at the NCAA Championships in Grand Prairie, Texas.

-TRACK & FIELD: Thursday- Saturday at the NCAA Championships in Tampa, Florida.

-WOMEN’S ROWING: Friday-Sunday at the NCAA Championships in West Windsor, New Jersey.


-BASEBALL: Thursday and Friday TBD.

-WOMEN’S TRACK: Thursday-Saturday at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas.


-TRACK: Thursday-Saturday at the NCAA Championships in Bradenton, Florida.

-BASEBALL: Friday-Sunday TBD.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SoccerCity Details Proposal for Qualcomm Stadium]]> Sat, 20 May 2017 09:10:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SoccerCity.JPG

Members from SoccerCity SD and Goal SD announced details Friday of their privately-funded proposal to transform Qualcomm Stadium into a new home for Major League Soccer (MLS).

SoccerCity is the investment group behind the proposal. They have support for the project from Goal SD, a committee that supports a tax-free stadium and bringing MLS to San Diego.

SoccerCity’s proposal states that building the new stadium would not cost tax payers any money. The proposal claims that the venue would create a $2.8 billion economic impact, adding over 25,000 permanent jobs and 40,000 construction jobs. It also claims the presence of a MLS team at the Qualcomm site would generate tens of millions in tax revenue for the city, schools and county.

The new renovations would include 55 acres of parkland with six additional community recreation fields and an expanded San Diego River Park.

A youth soccer academy at the former Charger’s training facility in Murphy Canyon will also be developed to give the best young players across San Diego a place to perfect their skills. In SoccerCity's original plan, the new site would also be an overflow space to accommodate future growth at San Diego State University (SDSU).

However, on Friday, SDSU officals released a statement that the university is no longer in discussions with investors.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer still emphasized the opportunity San Diegans could have with this new proposal and the importance of SDSU's partnerhsip.

“There’s no doubt that the University is in transition with the new administration coming in, but I have said that there needs to be a seat at the table for San Diego State," Faulconer said. "It’s not only an opportunity for the Aztecs, but for the whole community.”

“I think the most important part of this project is the sum of all its parts. We have an opportunity to create a special place that’s in a parking lot now – let’s try to seize that,” the mayor added.


The proposal states that the Joint Use Stadium would accommodate 33,500 people. Without SDSU's support, the stadium will instead be designed to fit at least 23,500.

Peter Seidler, a Managing Partner of the Padres and SoccerCity investor, told NBC 7 that he also sees the opportunities for San Diegans with this new plan.

“Here it won’t be just Major League Soccer — it’ll be clubs from all over the world playing games that they are invited to play, whether that’s teams from Mexico, Barcelona, England France or Brazil,” he said. “So, there’s going to be year-round, high-level soccer. I can envision sold out stadiums and tons of enthusiasm from kids or parents — great diverse family entertainment.”

However, veteran Patrick Liva said San Diegans should be aware of the safety and environmental impacts the new stadium can cause. Kinder Morgan, a fuel tank farm operator, is located just north of Qualcomm Stadium.

“My concern with this project is, that is it more about money or is this about the safety of our citizens here in San Diego?” Liva said.

According to SoccerCity, the new developments in the proposal will stay consistent with the San Diego River Park Foundation, and also use input from members of the Mission Valley community.

According to Landon Donovan, former LA Galaxy soccer player and partner with Goal SD, San Diegans’ support for a MLS team is huge.

“Those in the soccer community, those of us intimately in the soccer community, we're supportive, but we weren’t aware of how intense it was,” Donovan told NBC 7. “We got 100,000 plus signatures in San Diego, which is a record. We know that people are in support of this and now we want to make sure they vote on it in a meaningful way.”


The next step for the proposal is to get the San Diego City Council to approve to it in order for it to be on the ballot this year. By law, City Council has to put the intiave on a ballot at some point, but the next scheduled election is next year.

"We need it on the ballot this year, so people’s votes can be counted," Donovan said. "If City Council puts the proposal on the ballot for next year, it would kill our project."

The proposal says support, right now, from San Diegans is crucial because MLS requires a new stadium to be built in time for the start of the soccer season in 2020.

If SoccerCity is not awarded a MLS franchise, the lease for the Qualcomm Space would terminate and stop all development of the site. The space would still remain part of the City of San Diego, according to the proposal.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Is the Preakness' Trophy the Most Expensive in US Sports?]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 11:50:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/preakness-trophy.jpg

The owner of the horse that wins this weekend’s Preakness Stakes will get an oversized floral garland, 15 minutes of fame and a copy of a storied trophy that's said to be the most valuable in American sports.

The Woodlawn Vase, an ornate, Tiffany-designed solid sterling silver piece dating back to 1860 is touted as “the most expensive trophy in American sports” by Preakness officials. A 1983 insurance appraisal valued the vase, which stands 34 inches tall and weighs 29 pounds, at $1 million. Today it is estimated to be worth $4 million.

What makes the vase so valuable?

It was designed by luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co., but so were many major American sports trophies: the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy, the World Series trophy, the U.S. Open trophy.

But the Woodlawn Vase was the first sports trophy designed by Tiffany. 

It’s also arguably the most ornate of the major American sports trophies. The vase is covered in inscriptions and emblems and topped with four winged victories and, finally, with a jockey mounted on a stallion.

The vase "may be the most spectacular example in sports for its great craftsmanship by Tiffany. It also may have the best back story," said longtime sports memorabilia appraiser Leila Dunbar in an email.

The Woodlawn Vase carries a great deal of history. During the Civil War, when competitive racing was put on hold, the Woodlawn Vase was buried to keep it from being discovered and melted into shot. It was disinterred when the race resumed in 1866.

Four million dollars is a lot of money — you could buy four million-dollar yachts with that. But is the Woodlawn Vase really the most expensive trophy in American sports?

The FIFA World Cup Trophy, created in 1974, is said to be worth as much as $20 million — its outer layer is 18-carat gold and it weighs 13 pounds. But Dunbar is skeptical of the $20 million estimate.

"While it weighs more than 13 pounds of 18K gold, which today is about $270,000, it is difficult, given the market and past sale of the FA Cup, to see it valued more than several million dollars."

Regardless, FIFA isn’t strictly an American sport, so its golden trophy can’t steal the Woodlawn’s thunder anyway.

Other American sports trophies have rough estimated values hovering in the tens of thousands, but none are reported to be worth as much as a million dollars.

"The folks at Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Club, the USGA (U.S. Golf Association) and the R&A (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews) might also claim that their trophies, for the tournaments that they represent, are in that range," Dunbar says. "However, the Preakness trophy does have greater artistic value and therefore may win by a nose."

Maj. Michael Singletary, the vice president of security operations for the Maryland Jockey Club at Pimlico Park, confirmed that the vase is insured for $4 million. Singletary is in charge of overseeing the careful transport of the vase five miles from its permanent home, the Baltimore Museum of Art, to the racetrack on the week of the Preakness.

Two armed police officers pick up the vase, he said. “They have to wear white gloves to handle it — no one is allowed to touch the vase.”

As the vase is moved around the park for various pre-race events throughout the week, the two armed and gloved officers carry it and stand guard over it.

Even the owners of the winning horses aren’t allowed to touch it. Because the vase is so valuable, winners have not been able to take the prize home since 1953. They each receive replicas, which stand 14 inches tall and are worth around $30,000. Jockeys and trainers get replicas as well — though theirs stand 12 inches tall. 

While Singletary did concede that the vase is insured for $4 million, his initial and persistent response regarding the value of the Woodlawn Vase was that it’s “priceless.”

Photo Credit: The Baltimore Museum of Art/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2017 Preakness Stakes: How to Watch]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 11:33:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17137818364144.jpg

The 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes is on Saturday, beginning at 3:48 p.m. PT on NBC 7 San Diego.

Coverage of the race kicks off at 2 p.m. PT and you can watch it all live at home or on the go via NBC Live. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is the favorite to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.

You can live stream the Preakness on NBC7.com on your desktop or laptop computer or your mobile device by clicking on this link. You can also watch the coverage on our app (download the NBC 7 app on iTunes here or via Google Play here). All you need is your TV service provider’s username and password.

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Why am I being asked to sign in?

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

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

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

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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Beach Volleyball Hopes National TV Coverage Draws Olympic Fans]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 08:43:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/LaurenFendrickGettyImages-586903520-1.jpg

Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN.

The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics.

"The fact that ESPN is partnering with us is just a game-changer," said five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings, who has committed to the event. "That's something that beach volleyball has never had. I think the average sports fan takes the sport more seriously when they're on ESPN."

Like the Iowa caucuses or Feb. 29 of leap years, beach volleyball has its moment in the sun every quadrennium but then largely disappears for another four years. One of the most popular events at the Olympics, the sport has struggled to translate that success into a full-time audience.

ESPN thinks it can change that.

"Like so many other people, I watched the Olympics in Rio; volleyball -- the indoor and the beach -- was a primetime staple many nights," said Burke Magnus, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and scheduling. "There's great enthusiasm around the sport, and it just kind of disappears into the ether."

Magnus said beach volleyball is attractive to the network because it's popular among both men and women, domestically and globally, and still has a lot of room for growth. ESPN already broadcasts the men's and women's NCAA (indoor) championships, giving it familiarity with the sport.

"We'd like to put our shoulder behind it," Magnus said. "Maybe acquire other volleyball content, give it a good try and see what happens. We've never put a concerted effort behind the sport at all."

This year's broadcast from will include 30 hours of play spread across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, and streamed on ESPN3 -- "our full array of networks and platforms," Magnus said. Although some will be condensed or otherwise on tape, the women's final will be live on ESPN on Saturday night, Armato said; it will be the first primetime beach volleyball broadcast other than the Olympics.

The ESPN deal calls for three North American events next year, which Armato is hoping to promote as a Triple Crown.

"We both bring our areas of expertise to the table," Magnus said. "Ours is our megaphone. And he has the relationships in the industry. And, certainly, he has the experience with putting on an event like this."

A former agent who represented Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar de la Hoya, Armato also served as the commissioner of the AVP domestic tour and is married to three-time beach volleyball Olympian Holly McPeak. He started the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach in 2013, envisioning a festival with the kinds of attractions that will bring in the young, active spectators that advertisers covet.

The centerpiece of the Long Beach event from July 13-16 is an FIVB-sanctioned pro tournament, called the President's Cup, that is expected to draw the world's top players. But there will be open, junior and co-ed tournaments, four- and six-person competitions and a "big electronic music artist," whose name Armato wasn't ready to announce.

"These big, festival events are resonating in a significant way. Not a traveling circus, but the kinds of events that people are flocking to in today's world," Armato said. "We think we have a really good formula for success."

This year he has an added attraction: Walsh Jennings, who is sitting out from the AVP tour this year.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist felt so strongly about beach volleyball's growth potential that she refused to sign on to the biggest domestic tour because it would have limited her options. The decision forced a split with April Ross, with whom she won the bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

But Walsh Jennings is committed to the Long Beach event -- even though she doesn't have a partner yet. She said bringing the pros together with amateur and younger athletes is part of what makes it appealing to her.

"Connecting the dots of the sport is a really powerful thing for me, because I feel like once you make the connection, you're a lifer," Walsh Jennings said.

"I was that little girl," she said. "And I still feel like I am that little girl."

Photo Credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Friars Come Up Short against Brewers]]> Thu, 18 May 2017 19:25:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-684670816.jpg

The series between the San Diego Padres and the Milwaukee Brewers came to a close Thursday afternoon with a matinee game at Petco Park. The Friars dropped the game and the series with a 4-2 loss against the Brewers.

Early on it looked like San Diego could make a series split happen when Hunter Renfroe sent a 389 foot home run to left center field. The outfielder’s eighth homer of the season and third in just five days gave the Padres an early 1-0 lead.

The Brewers tied things up in the top of the fifth inning thanks to Eric Sogard’s RBI single to right field.

The Padres fired back in their half of the inning when Luis Torrens grounded into a double play. Cory Spangenberg made it home and the Friars took a 2-1 lead.

In the seventh inning Sogard was at it again. He doubled to center and brought in Keon Braxton, and Orlando Arcia. It’s been a great series for the former Padres farmhand who finished with a career tying four hits again on Thursday. Milwaukee added one more run in the ninth to seal the victory.

Next up the Padres host the Arizona Diamond backs for a three game series. The first game of the set is on Friday May 19 at 7:10 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook to Stream MLB Game Each Friday ]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 04:09:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-591634668.jpg

Baseball fans can like their team's games with a click starting Friday.

Major League Baseball announced Facebook will carry a live game nationally each Friday starting with Colorado at Cincinnati this week. The Facebook package of 20 games will use the broadcast feed of one of the involved teams.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement Thursday. He calls it "really important for us in terms of experimenting with a new partner in this area."

The Twitter feed of a game each Friday, which started April 7, will be moved to Tuesdays.

Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global sports partnerships, says in a statement "baseball games are uniquely engaging community experiences, as the chatter and rituals in the stands are often as meaningful to fans as the action on the diamond."

"By distributing a live game per week on Facebook, Major League Baseball can re-imagine this social experience on a national scale," he adds.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Derby Winner Always Dreaming Ready for Preakness]]> Thu, 18 May 2017 10:19:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_SPO_PLETCHER_ALWAYS_051817-149512750985600001.jpg

Todd Pletcher, trainer for Always Dreaming, talks about the Kentucky Derby winner's mechanics and how he expects the three-year-old to bounce back for Saturday's Preakness Stakes.

<![CDATA[George W. Bush Photobombs Reporter During Baseball Game]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 03:22:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-489196572.jpg

Former President George W. Bush took in a Texas Rangers game in Arlington Wednesday night.

And he had a little fun with a TV camera during the game.

Fox Sports reporter Emily Jones was reporting on Mike Napoli during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies when Bush — once a part owner of the Rangers — slid onscreen behind her to say "Hey."

"My most favorite photo bomb ever!" Jones tweeted afterward.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Padres Trail in Brewers Series 2-1]]> Wed, 17 May 2017 22:33:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*122/GettyImages-684320418.jpg

There have certainly been far more exciting games at Petco Park. Wednesday night the Padres dropped game three against the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1. The Brewers lead the four game set 2-1.

There were some bright spots for the Friars. Jhoulys Chacin got the start on the mound for the Padres and had solid game. The righty allowed only two hits and one run in seven innings of work. He finished the night with eight strikeouts. In the fifth inning left fielder Allen Cordoba hit his first career triple.

Milwaukee got on the board early off an RBI single to center field by third baseman Travis Shaw which scored Eric Sogard. San Diego tied it up in the sixth inning when infielder Yangervis Solarte double to center and brought in Wil Myers. That concludes the Padres scoring for the evening.

The Brewers scored twice in the ninth to secure the victory. The final game in this series set is Thursday May 18 at 12:40 p.m. at Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gisele Bundchen: Brady Played With a Concussion Last Year]]> Wed, 17 May 2017 11:23:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bradygiselle.jpg

Gisele Bundchen said her husband, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, has had concussions, including one in 2016.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Special Treatment to Combat CTE in San Diego]]> Wed, 17 May 2017 08:28:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/derek-togerson-may-2017.jpg

According to the CDC, there are 3.8 million sports concussions each year. NBC 7's Derek Togerson reports on why former NFL players who suffered concussions are coming to San Diego
for help they can't find through pro football.

<![CDATA[SDSU Distances Itself From Soccer City]]> Wed, 17 May 2017 08:15:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Soccer-SD-City-rendering-031716.jpg

The Soccer City redevelopment plan will move forward without the involvement of San Diego State University.

SDSU officials released a statement Tuesday saying the school is no longer in discussions with FS investors to partner on the project.

The site would include condos, apartments, retail and a river park plus a 30,000-seat stadium that had been proposed as a home to a Major League Soccer team and Aztec Football.

The university said that after more than a year of discussions for a fair, equitable, and transparent deal, one could not be reached.

Soccer City spokesperson Nick Stone was quick to respond.

"It's another sad chapter in the saga of departing university leadership moving the goal posts,” Stone said.

"Despite this announcement, we stand ready to work with new leaders at SDSU to support the long term goals of an institution we care about deeply," he said.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman is leaving in June for another position.

FS intends to submit the plan to the City Council to be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot. From there, Major League Soccer (MLS) will decide whether to bring a team to San Diego.

Proponents have gathered enough signatures to get the Soccer City proposal in front of the San Diego City Council for consideration. The City of San Diego requires signatures from at least 5 percent of registered voters to get to this step. The registrar must also validate those signatures for it to get to the City Council.

The proposal, which is privately funded, is likely to face challenges from other developers and environmental groups.

Photo Credit: FS Investors]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Fall to Brewers in Lopsided Outing ]]> Tue, 16 May 2017 23:40:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-683976088.jpg

It seemed as if the San Diego Padres would never get out of the first inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers put up five runs in the first inning to give themselves a healthy lead on the way to a 6-2 victory over San Diego.

It was a rough start for Clayton Richard. The lefty gave up a season high-tying six runs; five of those were the aforementioned set in the first inning. He was able to shake off that early slump and recorded seven strikeouts in six innings pitched, but the damage was already done.

In the sixth innings Friars first baseman Wil Myers hit his 11th home run of the season and put San Diego on the board. Matt Szczur has been on a roll since he joined the team earlier this month and it looks like he’s just getting started. The Padres left fielder hit his third double of the season with San Diego, a deep one that bounced off the left center field wall and scored Hunter Renfroe. His RBI cut the Brewers lead to 6-2 but it just wasn’t enough to get the win.

The four game set continues on Wednesday May 17 at 7:10 p.m. at Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Peyton Manning to Host ESPY Awards in July ]]> Tue, 16 May 2017 12:31:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/peyton+manning_generic.jpg

Peyton Manning will take the stage to host the ESPY Awards.

The retired, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback will preside over the July 12 show honoring the past year's best athletes and sports moments. The show will air live on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Manning says the show's 25th anniversary will include moments from the past.

He retired from the NFL two years ago, ending a career in which he became the league's winningest quarterback. He won nine ESPYs during his career.

Manning is also known for his humorous commercials and hosting "Saturday Night Live."

<![CDATA[Parent Files Complaint Over Torrey Pines HS 'Donation' ]]> Tue, 16 May 2017 07:11:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Torrey-Pines-High-School-scoreboard.jpg

An investigation has been launched into the request by a San Diego-area high school athletic program for hundreds of dollars of donations in order for students to participate in a sport.

The superintendent of the high school issued a statement saying the donations are voluntary and not mandatory.

Torrey Pines High School parent, Wendy Gumb, has made it her personal mission to look into how the school's athletics department spends its money.

The public school often asks parents for donations to cover some of the costs of sports programs, Gumb said. Even though the donations are not mandatory, she said several parents feel pressured to donate.

"The money that they are asking us to donate into these public school programs, where is the money really going?" asked Gumb. "What I found out is that the district can't answer the questions about where the money is going."

In an e-mail sent to parents in February, a minimum donation of $696 was asked to offset the costs of the school's baseball program. Gumb filed a complaint and spoke to the San Dieguito School Board about the practice months ago.

An investigation is currently underway.

Gumb's son is a junior at Torrey Pines HS. He's not currently on the baseball team, but he did previously play for the Torrey Pines Falcons.

"All I want is accountability. I don't want anyone to lose their job or get in trouble," said Gumb. "All I'm doing is asking questions. It seems like if you ask questions, you might rock the boat or get yourself into trouble. Get deemed the trouble maker. I think it's important to teach our kids to ask questions."

In a statement sent to NBC 7, Superintendent Eric Dill highlighted that donations are just that - donations that are voluntary and not mandatory.

"We appreciate the generous support of our parents for all of our academic, art, and athletic programs," wrote Dill. "A so-called 'pay-to-play' culture would only tarnish and dilute our teams' outstanding records."

The superintendent said he cannot comment on the open investigation, but changes will be made if needed.

"If findings reveal any inappropriate solicitation, said Dill, "We will take all necessary steps to correct behavior and improve our practices."

The school board is scheduled to give details on the investigation on June 15.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Renfroe Bashes First Career Walk-Off Homer]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 23:59:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RenfroeWalkoff.jpg

Padres rookie slugger Hunter Renfroe opened the scoring Monday night against the Brewers with a two-run double in the 2nd inning.

About three hours later, the outfielder ended the game by crushing a two-run homer off of Milwaukee’s Oliver Drake in the bottom of the 10th inning.

It was the first walk-off of Renfroe’s major league career and it gave San Diego a thrilling 6-5 victory.

Renfroe finished with 4 RBI.

Padres starting pitcher Luis Perdomo helped his own cause by smacking his first career triple in the 2nd inning to make it 3-0.

When Renfroe touched home plate on the play, it also gave Perdomo the second RBI of his career.

Perdomo added a double in his next plate appearance and raised his batting average to .250.

Perdomo got in a jam in the top of the 4th inning when the Brewers loaded the bases with nobody out.

After a surprising two-run single by Domingo Santana (it was surprising because he was batting just .125 with the bases loaded for his career), Perdomo was able to escape without further damage.

Perdomo struck out a career-high nine batters over six innings of work.

He allowed just three earned runs over that time and left with a 4-3 lead.

But the bullpen could not keep the Brewers from making a comeback.

The constantly annoying Santana had three hits including the game-tying RBI double in the 8th off of Padres reliever Brad Hand.

That made it 4-4 and helped force extra innings.

Jose Torres made a mistake in the top of the 10th frame when Eric Sogard sent his offering over the wall in right field.

The solo shot put the visitors up 5-4 and it looked like Torres was about to suffer his 3rd loss of the year.

But Renfroe came to the rescue in the bottom half of the inning to save the Padres and hand Torres an unlikely win.

San Diego continues its seven-game homestand Tuesday against the Brewers.

Clayton Richard (2-4) opposes Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson with first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Fan Looks To Embarrass Dean Spanos]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 17:12:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/SD+Sign+Guy.JPG

A whole lot of Chargers fans (former and present) are still mad about the team moving to Los Angeles. And some of them are looking for ways to make sure everyone knows how upset they are.

“I’m not going to just sit here and let the NFL leave my city after being screwed over by a greedy owner,” said Joseph MacRae, who has a particularly large bone to pick with Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos.

The Chargers will be playing their home games in Carson and if MacRae’s plan comes together, when Spanos drives to the StubHub Center he might not like what he sees.

“The goal is to put up billboards in Los Angeles really close to the StubHub Center that will be anti-NFL, anti-Spanos,” said MacRae, who is also known as "S.D. Sign Guy.” He’s the one who heckled Spanos at the Chargers event at The Forum in Los Angeles, visibly rattling Dean.

MacRae has started a campaign to try and construct three billboards on freeways around the stadium in Carson, two of them calling out Spanos and one taking issue with the NFL for allowing the Bolts to leave America’s Finest City. He wants to have them up by the start of September because after opening the season on the road in Denver the Chargers play three consecutive home games.

“A billboard in Los Angeles has to be up for four weeks so we would be just in time for all three of their home games,” said MacRae.

He's started a Go Fund Me page called "Fight For L-A Billboards” hoping to raise $15,000 dollars for the signs. He’s also asking disgruntled Raiders fans from Oakland to join in. As a lifelong Chargers fan, McCrae's motivation is simple.

“It’s to keep getting at Dean. Dean does not like to be trolled and we all know that. For him to move to this Fight 4 L.A. and all this and then about a couple of miles away you’re getting trolled in your own city by some folks from San Diego and Oakland, I think it would be amazing.”

MacRae raised more than $8,000 in two weeks. If you’d like to donate to the cause, click here.

<![CDATA[San Diego Doctors Using Special Treatment to Combat CTE]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 16:17:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/Brain+Photo.JPG

For the National Football League, concussions are a real problem. The league knows it. The league is just not happy talking about it.

A 2016 congressional report concluded the NFL tried to improperly influence the National Institutes of Health when the NIH was conducting a study about the connection between Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), commonly known as a concussion, and the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is the disease that doctors believe contributed to the death of several former professional football players, among them San Diego native Junior Seau. Former players have tried relentlessly to try and figure out how to combat the symptoms of CTE and now thanks to a treatment being done in San Diego they might have a ray of hope.

First, a bit of background. Doctors believe 30 percent to 40 percent of people who sustain a concussion will experience some level of post-concussion syndrome. Post-concussion syndrome can cause neurological problems such as migraines, headaches and dizzy spells. It also comes with cognitive problems like memory changes, difficulty in planning or focusing and behavioral problems such as depression, mood disorders and sleep issues.

The multitude of symptoms makes TBI extremely difficult to treat.

“One of the big challenges when we do evaluations for traumatic brain injury is identifying which is the main driver in this constellation of symptoms and going after that,” said Dr. Mohammed Ahmed of the Kaizen Brain Center in La Jolla. “Often times we find that if depression comes in the setting of a concussion it’s often difficult to treat with medications.”

Resistance to traditional medications is one of the reasons the depression afflicting former football players is so difficult to deal with. At Kaizen Brain Center in La Jolla another technique is being utilized: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

“It’s a stimulation of your brain using a magnetic field,” said Dr. Ahmed. “It’s one very effective way of treating depression in people who are not responding to medications or who have very severe depression.”

TMS has caught the attention of former athletes and military veterans who are reporting symptoms of CTE. Dr. Ahmed says it is especially effective against depression because TMS sparks electrical activity in the brain cells, targeting and changing the brain function in a very specific area.

“We believe that people with depression have decreased activity in a certain are of the brain, which is the frontal lobe. Using this electrical activity you can change that and make that area more active and the depression symptoms can be improved.”

TMS was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of depression in 2008 and recently approved it for treatment of migraines, as well.

The treatment begins by getting TMS for a half hour every day for 6-8 weeks. After that the patient needs only to undergo “maintenance” treatments once every 4-6 weeks. Doctors say the process can decrease the need for, and in some cases completely eliminate, the need for medications.

“We are just beginning to unfold the connection between a head injury and CTE. But there is good optimism among the community of TBI and CTE researchers that we will understand this connection and understand this process so that we can come up with better treatment targets.”

The research with TMS has been so encouraging that Dr. Ahmed believes TMS can be used to treat other neurological ailments, including Alzheimer’s disease in the future.

“One of the reasons we started Kaizen Brain Center is we wanted to put traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s under one roof and treat it in an interdisciplinary manner,” said Dr. Ahmed. “One of my academic interests has been to understand how a head injury causes Alzheimer’s or CTE.”

It is important to note that this treatment is not a cure for post-concussion syndrome or CTE. But Dr. Ahmed believes it’s a way to deal with the aftermath.

“What happened happened. We can’t go back and treat a concussion. It’s a historical event. There is a brain injury and as a result there are symptoms, so what we do is go after the symptoms so that we can improve the function of that individual.”

That, in turn, improves the quality of life. Dr. Ahmed has spoken to the NFL Alumni Association and has several former football players as patients. He also treats military members who have suffered TBI and says every single one he has treated that displays post-concussive symptoms has reported an improvement, not just in physical and mental health … but in family health.

“Veterans that come back have can have difficulties adjusting to their spouses. Former football players have difficulties with their families. So the whole family is involved; the children are involved. Even if we’re able to make some changes and improvement, I think that’s a big victory.”

Dr. Ahmed believes this treatment could possibly open the door to a true medical miracle: finding a way to prevent CTE or Alzheimer’s.

“We want somebody to sit in the chair outside and feel that there is hope here. That’s the message we want to convey to people.”

For more information on the treatment, which is now being covered by several insurance providers, visit www.kaizenbraincenter.com.

<![CDATA[How to Make a Black-Eyed Susan]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 15:14:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/blackeyedsusan.jpg

The Black-Eyed Susan is the official drink of the Preakness. Find out how you can make one of your own while watching the race.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>