<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usSat, 01 Oct 2016 13:39:41 -0700Sat, 01 Oct 2016 13:39:41 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Schimpf's Big Blast Not Enough for Padres]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 23:04:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Ryan+Schimpf+HR+in+AZ.JPG

I suppose we can call it the Battle for the Basement.

The Padres started their final series of the year against the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Friday night. If the Friars can win just one of their last three games they will guarantee they do not finish in last place in the National League West. They will have two more chances to do that.

San Diego lost 5-3 at Chase Field. Padres starter Edwin Jackson was tagged for a pair of home runs, one by Paul Goldschmidt and another by Chris Owings, in his 6.0 innings of work. The positive for the Padres came off the bat of 2nd baseman Ryan Schimpf.

The rookie smashed his 20th home run of the year, a 469-foot bomb off Braden Shipley in the 4th inning. Schimpf is only the third Padres rookie to hit 20 homers. Jedd Gyorko had 23 in 2013 and Nate Colbert ripped 24 in 1969.

In his first big league call-up Schimpf has gone deep every 13.6 at-bats. If he was able to get enough at-bats to qualify (and he kept up that pace) that would be enough to lead the National League.

San Diego’s next shot at avoiding the cellar comes on Saturday when Clayton Richard takes the mound against Archie Bradley.

<![CDATA[Measure C Gets Another Endorsement]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:24:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Chargers+Stadium+Video+GIF.gif

Measure C, the Chargers ballot initiative for a Downtown San Diego stadium/convention center hybrid, got a strong endorsement on Friday. The Downtown San Diego Partnership announced it has thrown its support behind the plan.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership is a group of more than 350 organizations. According to its website the Partnership has the stated goal of “creating a world-class urban destination that captures the essence of San Diego at work and play.” After six months of research in to Measure C the Partnerships’ Board of Directors voted in favor of supporting the Chargers proposal.

“Vibrant downtowns attract young, talented entrepreneurs, international visitors, and business professionals alike,” said Downtown Partnership President and CEO Kris Mitchell. “A joint-use football stadium and convention center facility will put San Diego on the world stage and contribute to the year-round vibrancy enjoyed by world-class urban centers.”

There are still several questions about Measure C that the Chargers have not answered publicly but they seem to have shared some pertinent information behind the scenes with members of the Partnership.

“This is no rush to judgment,” said Downtown Partnership Board Chairman Frank Urtasun. “The Partnership held three public forums, 13 meetings and met with 26 individuals representing 14 organizations. From those meetings, we came up with a considered set of conditions that the Chargers have agreed to resolve. That’s why over 75 percent of our board supported this position.”

It is unclear what conditions the team agreed to address or when it agreed it would address them. This development is especially interesting when you look at who is on the Board of Directors. The one name that sticks out above all others is Steve Cushman.

For several years the Chargers have identified Cushman as one of the biggest obstacles to them getting a new stadium built. Cushman, a veteran in the San Diego travel and car industries, has served as a consultant for multiple businesses who were interested in large development projects in America’s Finest City. He has also offered advice to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. It should be noted the specific votes were not made public and we don’t know how Cushman leaned in the balloting.

Mayor Faulconer has not publicly announced his position on Measure C but there is a growing belief among people close to the situation that he will make his opinion known soon. If the Mayor was to surprise people and lend support to the Measure it would likely help increase the number of positive votes it receives in November’s election.

<![CDATA[Rainbows Shine Before, After Arnold Palmer's Funeral]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:05:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/IMG_0997-rainbow.jpg

Arnold Palmer’s family spread his ashes at his country club in Pennsylvania on Thursday and locals took solace in several rainbows, which they said reminded them of the golf great. 

Palmer died on Sept. 25 due to heart complications. His former assistant Doc Giffin said that a rainbow appeared at 9:55 a.m. at Latrobe Country Club, one hour before his intimate funeral.  

Steelers Radio Network host Gerry Dulac tweeted a photo snapped by a friend to commemorate the moment.

“When Arnold Palmer wants to play through, you let him,” Dulac said in the caption. 

That wasn't the only rainbow connection on that day. At 3:50 p.m., Duane Stein captured another image of a rainbow, this time framing Palmer’s statue where he works at Laurel Valley Golf Club, in Ligonier, about 11 miles southeast of Latrobe.

The photo he shared on social media was unfiltered and unedited, as Stein isn’t especially tech-savvy, he said.

"It’s a moment you’ll never forget," Stein said. "Kind of like he was looking down on us."

He was one of many to pull out a phone and flash a pic there.

Chris Mcknight, head golf professional at Laurel Valley, took a nearly identical image to Stein's that was shared on Twitter by the Tri-State PGA as an homage to Palmer. 

Photo Credit: Duane Stein]]>
<![CDATA[Americans Sweep Europe to Start Ryder Cup ]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:48:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-611641990.jpg

The United States had the lead. Rory McIlroy made sure that was all it had Friday in the Ryder Cup.

The American sweep of the opening session of matches at Hazeltine was all but forgotten when McIlroy rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt, took a bow on the 16th green and delivered a defiant message to the crowd and to the U.S. team desperate to win back the cup.

Europe isn't going anywhere.

"I'm not fazed by anything that is said by the crowd," McIlroy said. "And I'm not fazed by anything that the U.S. team throws at us."

The Americans threw a haymaker with the first opening-session sweep in four decades. Europe battled back from that 4-0 deficit behind its best tandem, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, and its best player. McIlroy buried the eagle putt, calmly bowed twice to the crowd and then punched the chilly Minnesota air with his fist.

U.S. captain Davis Love III at least could take consolation in a 5-3 lead, though the Americans wasted a chance to put Europe in a big hole.

"It's frustrating not to come out a little bit more ahead," Love said.

McIlroy had heard enough after some 10 hours before what he described as a hostile crowd. He and Thomas Pieters never trailed against the previously undefeated tandem of Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar. McIlroy finished it with his eagle putt, and he a chance to give something back to the fans.

"Even before I hit that putt, I wanted to put an exclamation point on that session for us," he said. "I actually thought about the celebration before I hit the putt. I knew it had a good chance of going in. ... I just wanted everyone that's watching out there to know how much this means to us, how much it means to me personally and obviously, us as a team. We've pulled it back a good bit. And we plan to pull it back even further going into tomorrow."

Love could not have scripted a better start — a symbolic one, too.

To honor Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday, Ryder Cup officials placed on the first tee Palmer's golf bag from when he was captain of the 1975 Ryder Cup team. Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed then set the tone with a 3-and-2 foursomes victory over Stenson and Rose, and the Americans delivered the first sweep of the opening session since that 1975 team at Laurel Valley.

Phil Mickelson, feeling more pressure than usual because of his influence on changes and on this team, also produced big shots. His wedge into 5 feet that Rickie Fowler converted was key in the Americans winning three straight holes for a 1-up victory over McIlroy and Andy Sullivan.

It just didn't last.

The Americans still had the lead. Europe headed into the second day loaded with momentum.

"It would definitely say it's better to have a small deficit with some momentum," European captain Darren Clarke said. "Because we didn't have much at lunchtime."

Beaten for the first time, Rose and Stenson went right back out against Spieth and Reed and handed the American duo its first Ryder Cup loss. The Europeans made nine birdies in 13 holes for a 5-and-4 victory in an afternoon session in which the board was filled with European blue.

Sergio Garcia teamed with fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello to dismantle J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore. McIlroy and Pieters never trailed against Johnson and Kuchar, handing them their first loss in four Ryder Cup matches.

The lone American point in the afternoon came from Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka, who had no trouble against Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett.

Willett had a little trouble with the crowd, especially when they lampooned him around Hazeltine with references to hot dogs and his brother, Pete, who had written a column in a British publication disparaging American galleries.

"It was anticipated," Willett said. "Coming to America is a tough one, just like when the Americans come to Europe. They gave me a little bit more. I think it was exactly what we thought it was going to be."

It wasn't just directed at Willett, however.

The crowd was loud and boisterous from the opening tee shot in misty conditions. There were a few rude comments, not unusual in America for a Ryder Cup. Most striking was how quickly the crowd cheered bad shots for Europe. Typically, there is the slightest delay. Not on Friday. Sullivan, one of six rookies for Europe, hit his tee shot into the water on the 17th that put Europe 1 down and effectively ended the match. The crowd cheered before there was a ripple.

That's what inspired McIlroy in the final match of the day.

The question for Saturday and another round of foursomes and fourballs matches is how the Americans respond.

"They had some fun this afternoon," Love said. "We had some fun this morning. And we have two more fun days coming up. I'm sure we'll see some more of that."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Put a Ring On It: Cavs' Arena Staff Get Championship Rings]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:32:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dan-gilbert1.jpg

Like the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” the same could be said about the staff that supported the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert has announced that the entire staff of Quicken Loans Arena will receive a championship ring, along with the team.

Typically, the rings are only for the winning team’s players and coaching staff, but the franchise wants to acknowledge "The Q" staff. From vendors to seat ushers and security guards, those behind the scenes of the team for every home game of the season are getting to partake in the glory.

The arena has over 1,000 full and part-time employees. The conservative estimate for distributing the rings to all employees is over $1 million. 

The report was confirmed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier this week. The paper reported that the rings received by the arena staff will not be the same diamond-covered rings that are given to the Cavs team, but they will nonetheless be tokens for the staff who can say they worked for the 2016 champions.

This idea follows the Lake Erie Monsters' announcement to award all employees rings after they clinched the American Hockey League's Calder Cup in June. The Monsters also play at Quicken Loans Arena. 

The Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors to win the series in June. They were the first team to ever come back from a three-game deficit to win in seven. It was the first championship win for the franchise and the first win for a Cleveland-based team since 1964.

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Petco Park Honors Hall of Fame Broadcaster]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:24:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dick-Enberg.jpg

The lights have been turned off at Petco Park until next season. The Padres were unable to sweep the Dodgers, losing 9-4 in this evening’s game. However they still walked away on top winning two out of the three game series to end their 2016 season at home.

While many of the players who were out there this evening will be returning to Petco Park come next April one man who some may consider part of the team, hung up his head set and put away his play book for the final time at Petco Park.

Dick Enberg, a hall of fame broadcaster, primary play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres, or as many fans may recall, the voice behind the famous "Oh My."

Enberg called his final game in a place where he has grown all too familiar with over the past seven years, Petco Park.

Though he may be setting aside the play book, he has made a permanent mark at Petco Park. This evening prior to the game Enberg was honored with the “Dick Enberg Broadcast Booth”, as well as a standing ovation from both Padres and Dodgers fans.

The impact Enberg has made on baseball fans and sports fans for that matter could be seen though the faces of the players, fans in the crowd, and fellow announcers. Needless to say the legendary announcer will always be able to call Petco Park a home away from home

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Saints Come Marching In!]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:15:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/John_Pagano_Chargers_Todd_1200x675_775984195937.jpg The San Diego Chargers host the New Orleans Saints Sunday in week 4 of the NFL season. For more on the match-up, NBC 7's Todd Strain talked with Chargers Defensive Coordinator John Pagano]]> <![CDATA[Ryder Cup: Heckler Sinks Putt McIlroy Missed]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 06:43:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-611393266.jpg

The Ryder Cup is known for rowdy galleries. A vocal heckler walked the walk after talking the talk during the practice round on Thursday.

Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan took multiple cracks at a 12-foot putt on No. 8 and missed every time. David Johnson, of Mayville, North Dakota, let them know about it, saying he could make the putt. Henrik Stenson pulled Johnson from the gallery and Justin Rose laid a $100 bill right next to the ball, daring Johnson to make it.

After wisecracking that the putter he was handed was too short, Johnson muttered, "home soil, right?" Then he drilled the putt, eliciting a roar from the crowd. Johnson pumped his arms wildly and earned high fives from the entire Euro foursome as they exited the green.

"Has the Ryder Cup started already?" McIlroy tweeted while linking the video.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[SDSU Ordered to Pay $3M to Ex-Coach Beth Burns]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:23:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Beth-Burns-SDSU-85431540.jpg

San Diego State University was ordered Wednesday to pay more than $3 million to a former women’s basketball coach who claimed she was fired in retaliation for demanding equal treatment of women’s athletics programs.

Beth Burns, who is currently an assistant coach at USC, left SDSU abruptly in April 2013 after a 27-win season and with more wins than any coach in the history of SDSU women’s basketball.

She claims she was told she must either resign, retire or be fired due to an alleged workplace violence incident caught on videotape. Burns, who has said she did not strike anyone intentionally, opted to retire to save her pension.

She sued, claiming her termination was retaliation for complaining about unfair treatment between men’s and women’s athletics at the Division I school.

The alleged incident was captured on video in February 2013 during a game against Colorado State. Burns can be seen twice making contact with assistant coach Adam Barrett. The first time, she appears to hit a clipboard Barrett was holding. Later, she appears to hit the coach in the shoulder.

Burns would often complain about the differences in support for housing, facilities, staffing and equipment between the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

She helped the Aztecs make seven NCAA appearances during her career, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010. She also led her team to six regular-season conference championships and four league tournament titles.

<![CDATA[Renfroe's 2-Run Homer Hits Top of Building]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:02:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Hunter-Renfroe.jpg

We’ve been saying his name a lot since his call up from triple A El Paso. Padres rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe has barely finished unpacking but already has four home runs and a club-record 12 R-B-I in his first 7 games as a Friar.

One of those came in the third inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park, when Renfroe launched a two-run shot to the top of the Western Metal Supply building to put the Padres up 5-3. The total distance on the shot was 435 feet according to MLB.com.

The Friars held that lead until the fourth inning when Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson sent a two run homer to left field to tie it up 5-5. In San Diego’s half of the inning, fellow rookie Manny Margot reached on a double and just barely stole third base (his second career stolen base).

Margot's steal allowed Padres first baseman Wil Myers to put the ball in play. The All-Star grounded out to shortstop and plated Margot. His RBI groundout put the Padres ahead 6-5. San Diego held on to their one run lead and beat the Dodgers 6-5. Renfroe and Margot each had two hits and two runs in Wednesday’s victory.

Thursday the Friars will go for the sweep against the Dodgers in their final home game of the year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Brees & Rivers Reflect On Their Career Paths]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:19:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BreesRiversForWEB_1200x675_775473731532.jpg Chargers QB Philip Rivers and former Chargers QB Drew Brees reflect on their time together as teammates and how their careers have progressed since Brees joined the Saints over a decade ago.]]> <![CDATA[Saying Goodbye to Cuban Pitcher Jose Fernandez]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 20:39:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-182712333.jpg

It’s taken three days, several rewrites and a phone call to my mother, but I’m finally publishing this article.

I’ve been covering Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez since he emerged as a top baseball prospect out of Tampa, FL. The young pitcher was extraordinary even before he hit his stride. His charisma was even more impressive than his 96 mph fast ball. I knew then he would leave a mark on the game of baseball. What I didn’t know was the tremendous impact he’d have on the Latino community, especially his fans in South Florida.

Miami sports fans get a bad reputation for being fair weather fans. I grew up in South Florida and was blessed to start my career as a journalist in the same place where I spent most of my life. As a Miami sports fan and broadcaster I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty: we take care of our own. Fernandez was one of us. I woke up to a dozen or so text messages Sunday morning, all with the same heart breaking news; Fernandez had died in a boating accident near Miami Beach along with two other men. He was 24 years old. I read each message several times but still couldn’t believe it. I had a brief conversation with Fernandez just a few months ago when he was in San Diego for the MLB All-Star Game. The Cuban-born player was exactly that, an All-Star.

In 2014 Fernandez suffered an elbow injury and needed Tommy John surgery. Throughout his recovery he spent a generous amount of time helping the community. I caught up with Fernandez at a charity gala honoring the life a little girl who died after a long and valiant fight against cancer. He was dressed in a black tux and his lapel was burgundy to match the gala colors. We took a quick photo and he joked that we looked like we were attending the prom. Fernandez had that way about him. Whether you met him five years or five minutes ago, he made you feel like family.

His ties to South Florida run much deeper than his charity work. The Hispanic community, especially the Cuban-American community related directly to the ace. Fernandez defected from Cuba with his mother at the age of 15. On their fourth and final attempt to escape the communist country on a raft, Fernandez jumped in the water to save his mother from drowning. Like many Cubans, they left their homeland and most of their family members for a chance at a better life in the United States.

My parents left the Dominican Republic when I was three years old to give me a chance at a better life. Our journey to the United States was nowhere near as dangerous as Fernandez’s, but we knew what his struggle, his sacrifice and what his success meant for Latinos everywhere.

In 2013, during his first year in the MLB, Fernandez was named the National League Rookie of the Year. It came as no surprise to those of us watching him, but he still turned to his mother with his signature smile and said “Can you believe this is happening?” Yes, Jose, we could. What we can’t believe is that at 24 years old, with your entire future ahead of you and a baby on the way, your time here on Earth came to an end.

The pitcher credited his success to the support and sacrifice of his family, especially his abuela (grandmother). Every fan at Marlins Park shared in his joy the day his grandmother finally made it to Miami to watch him pitch in the major leagues for the very first time. For so many, it was more than just a touching moment; it was a symbol that if you work hard and stay humble, you can make it. When Fernandez made it, we ALL made it.

Watching Fernandez pitch was like attending a family gathering. If you’ve ever been to a Hispanic household on any holiday (or even just on a Tuesday for that matter), you know the joy of being “en familia” or part of the family. Even if you’re not a blood relative, the moment you step through the door you’re greeted with a smile, a huge hug and usually a full plate of food. When Fernandez took the mound it felt like he was welcoming you into his home. The bright colors of Marlins Park seemed more vibrant when he was on the hill. His infectious smile lit up the entire park.

The Miami Marlins canceled their Sunday afternoon game against the Atlanta Braves. MLB teams from across the league, including the San Diego Padres, paid tribute to Fernandez on Sunday. Many players, especially those with Hispanic roots, were overcome with emotion.

The Marlins played the New York Mets on Monday night. The ballpark wasn’t the same. There was no game day entertainment, there was little to no music; but worst of all, there was no Jose Fernandez. The Marlins put together a beautiful yet gut wrenching tribute for Fernandez before the game. I wondered how the players would make it through nine innings. Dee Gordon was the first player at bat for the Marlins that night. He took the first pitch from Bartolo Colon batting right handed as a tribute to Fernandez. He then switched to his usual left handed stance and what happened next can be called many things, perhaps even divine intervention. Gordon hit the leadoff homerun to put the Marlins up 1-0. It was his first homerun of the year. The entire ballpark erupted with cheers and tears. Gordon was overcome with emotion as his teammates hugged him in the dugout. Gordon says his homerun was not a coincidence.

“I ain’t ever hit a ball that far, even in BP. I told the boys, ‘If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help.”

Wednesday afternoon a hearse holding Fernandez’s body left Marlins Park. His teammates, friends and fans joined his mother and grandmother as Fernandez left the ballpark for the final time. Those who loved Fernandez lined the streets of Miami to say their goodbyes during the processional. The city was at a standstill.

This isn’t just Miami’s loss, although South Florida certainly feels it a little more. The fans have literally watched him grow from a young prospect to an All-Star player. Fernandez was a direct representation of what I’ve been striving for my entire life, of what my parents sacrificed everything for, of what it means to be young a Latino growing up in America. He made me believe that every struggle, every setback and every risk is absolutely worth it when it’s in the pursuit of what makes you truly and profoundly happy. I’ll never forget the extraordinary athlete Fernandez was and what he brought to the game of baseball in his short career. But I will always remember how he made me feel. Athletes like Fernandez are the reason why I have dedicated my life to sharing my love of sports. Rest in peace, Jose. We’ll never forget you.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Chargers Get More Bad Injury News]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:09:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/170*120/King+Dunlap+vs+Chiefs.JPG

Although we knew on Sunday that Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon the Bolts finally put him on Injured Reserve on Wednesday. To take his place on the roster San Diego added inside linebacker Korey Toomer, who was signed off the Raiders practice squad.

Toomer has played 18 career NFL games dating back to 2010, mostly on special teams. The Bolts will likely be leaning on some combination of Jatavis Brown, Nick Dzubnar and Josh Perry to fill Te’o’s spot next to Denzel Perryman.

Brown was among the players limited in practice on Wednesday. He has a hamstring ailment, just like defensive end Joey Bosa. Right tackle Joe Barksdale has a foot injury and also missed part of the practice session.

Safety Jahleel Addae, tight end Antonio Gates, cornerback Brandon Flowers and left tackle King Dunlap all missed practice on Wednesday. Dunlap is the one that really catches your attention.

He shows up on the injury report with an “illness,” something that kept him out of Sunday’s game in Indianapolis. But head coach Mike McCoy offered clarification on what exactly Dunlap is dealing with.

“King is being treated for migraines,” said McCoy.

Dunlap has a history of concussions so McCoy was asked if the migraines were related to the traumatic brain injury. Now keep in mind McCoy has often used the phrase “I’m not a doctor” when asked about his players and their injuries, most famously in 2014 when it was revealed that Philip Rivers was playing with a severe rib injury.

But this time McCoy went ahead and offered a medical opinion: “This is not linked to concussions,” said McCoy. “It’s migraines.”

Concussions and migraines are two very different things and treated differently but it’s interesting McCoy would choose this medical topic to address specifically because his assertion that Dunlap’s migraines are not linked to concussions might be wrong.

A study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (the same facility that assisted Dr. Bennett Omalu in his discovery of CTE) published earlier this year tested this very thing. Researchers were looking for ways to determine if there is a diagnostic test to determine whether or not patients who suffer a concussion will develop post-traumatic migraines.

The study looked at 74 concussion patients, including 57 with post-traumatic migraines, with the goal of adding another kind of brain scan to common MRI tests. It may be a way to help prevent those predisposed to post-traumatic migraines from enduring them, or at least lessening the severity and frequency.

So while we don’t know if Dunlap’s migraines are tied to his concussions we don’t know if they’re not, either. Of course the bottom line here is Dunlap is one of the best linemen on the roster and a positive locker room influence so we wish him a quick and speedy recovery.

<![CDATA[Emotional Scenes at Jose Fernandez Funeral Procession]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:15:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/092816+jose+fernandez+memorial+3.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Tim Tebow Homers in First Instructional League At-Bat]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 12:45:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tebow-home-run-0928.jpg

Tim Tebow didn't waste time making an impact in his first professional baseball game Wednesday.

USA Today reports that the former Jets backup and current Mets instructional league player hit a home run during his first at-bat against minor leaguers for the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Video tweeted by a reporter for WPTV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, shows Tebow smacking the ball over the center field wall as fans erupt in cheers.

Tebow, who has also been working as an analyst for ESPN's SEC Network, signed an instructional league contract with the Mets after working out for several MLB teams earlier this summer. 

The former quarterback, who won the Heisman Trophy while playing at the University of Florida in 2007 and played a central role in national title-winning seasons in 2006 and 2008, failed to find lasting success under center in the NFL.

But he decided to take up baseball, a sport he hadn't played since high school, earlier this summer in a final attempt to play professional sports. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Hunter Renfroe Hits First Career Grand Slam in Victory Over Dodgers]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:14:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-610818286.jpg

This may be the final home series of the year for the Padres, but rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe was out to prove he’s just getting started. The recent AAA call up was two for four in San Diego’s victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers with seven RBI. Let me break this down for you.

In the bottom of the first inning, Kenta Maeda was on the mound for the Dodgers but the Friars already had two men on base. Renfroe was up next and hit a homerun to left field. Jon Jay and Yangervis Solarte scored and the Padres took an early 3-0 lead.

Righty Paul Clemens was on the hill for the Padres. In five innings of work he only allowed three hits and one earned run off of a Chase Utley home run in the third inning. Jose Torres stepped in to relieve Clemens in the sixth inning. Torres got himself out of a bases loaded situation later in that inning. Kevin Quackenbush, Brad Hand and Jose Dominguez came in to finish the game.

Clemens was done after six but Renfroe had to finish his offensive performance. In the eighth inning, the rookie hit his first career grand slam to put the Padres over the top 7-1. In case you lost count that means Renfroe was responsible for every run in Tuesday night’s game. I have a feeling we’ll get to see a lot more of him in the 2017 season. The Padres host the Dodgers in the second of three games on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MJ's Minute-Rocky Long Says Aztecs are Ready After Bye Week]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:01:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MJsMinuteAztecsRockyLong_1200x675_774513219690.jpg The Aztecs are back after their off week and getting ready to face South Alabama this Saturday. SDSU moved up to number 19 in the AP rankings this week and looks to continue their 13-game win streak.]]> <![CDATA[Commentary: Arnie and Me]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:29:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Arnold-Palmer-GettyImages-480787636.jpg

This commentary was written by Mike O’Connor, an NBC 7 sports producer and proud Wake Forest University alum.

When I heard the news of Arnold Palmer’s passing, I was at work preparing for our Sunday evening sports show here at NBC 7.

Although I only spent five minutes with Mr. Palmer over three decades ago, his passing hit me hard. Here’s why.

I was a senior at Coronado High School. Like many kids at that time in their life I was anxious about my future, specifically where I would go to college.

My first choice was Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. It was a long way from Coronado but I wanted to go there in the worst way so I applied. To my disappointment, I was not accepted but placed on their waiting list. The enrollment counselor said my prospects were bleak and that it might be best to go ahead and accept other offers.

As luck would have it Mr. Palmer, probably the most famous person ever to attend Wake Forest, was going to be at the Hotel Del Coronado to speak at the national Pennzoil convention.

That Saturday I went up to the hotel and camped out by the restroom near the room where the Pennzoil bigwigs were enjoying their evening. I figured everyone would have to go to the bathroom at one point, so I waited. And I waited.

Sure enough, a few hours later Mr. Palmer walked past me into the restroom. This was my chance. As he was washing up, I approached him.

I introduced myself, explained my situation and my desire to go to Wake Forest.

Mr. Palmer looked me in the eye the whole time, then shook my hand and said, “Michael, you seem like a fine young man…I’ll see what I can do.”

A couple of months passed, I hadn’t heard anything from Wake. I accepted admission to another school and that would be that. It just wasn’t in the cards, or so I thought.

Fast forward to late July, a day I will never forget. The phone rings, I pick up and it is the enrollment counselor from Wake Forest offering me a spot, probably the last spot, in the upcoming freshman class. I was in shock. I asked her how this was possible.

She said someone called Wake Forest on my behalf and asked to speak to the Dean of Admissions. I found out a few years later that person was Mr. Palmer.

A random act of kindness from a stranger changed my life. But in actuality, it wasn’t random at all—that’s how Mr. Palmer lived every day of his life.

Photo Credit: Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Te’o Out For Rest Of The Season]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:48:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Manti+Teo.jpg

In just three regular season games, the Chargers have already lost three key players for the rest of the 2016 campaign.

The latest casualty is middle linebacker Manti Te’o. The Chargers captain tore his Achillies on a non-contact play in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss in Indianapolis.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Te’o said following San Diego’s 26-22 loss to the Colts. “I live by a quote that says, ‘God puts mountains in front of you to show other people that it can be moved,’ and my faith is strong. I know that I will be alright."

Te'o is the Chargers' leading tackler and is in the final year of his rookie contract. He has rounded into form the past couple of years as the defensive play caller.

“It was a big year for me, and I worked extremely hard and there is nothing that you can do now," said Te'o. "Just look forward, move forward and keep going.”

In week one, top receiver Keenan Allen tore his ACL in a heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs.

And in week two against Jacksonville, running back Danny Woodhead also tore his ACL and was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Slot receiver Stevie Johnson was lost for the year during the team’s first weekend of training camp and safety Jahleel Addae broke his collarbone on a late play against the Jaguars.

That’s five projected starters that are not suiting up for the Bolts and Addae is the only one that has a chance to play again later this year.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy was visibly disappointed when acknowledging Te’o would be out for the rest of the 2016 campaign.

“It’s another one of those guys that you feel for,” said McCoy. “The way he’s worked, what he’s done, what he means to our organization. It’s a shame.”

Te’o was a decorated college athlete at Notre Dame and finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up to Johnny Manziel in 2012.

The Chargers drafted him with the 38th overall pick that year, moving up in the second round to select Te’o.

Hopefully this eerie string of injuries ends now and does not continue into week four.

Former Chargers starting quarterback Drew Brees makes his return to Qualcomm Stadium with the Saints this week for the first time since switching franchises in 2006.

New Orleans and San Diego will kick-off at 1:25 p.m. this Sunday.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Greg Hardy Arrested on Drug Charges]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:27:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Greg-Hardy-mug-shot.jpg

Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy faces a felony drug charge after he was arrested Sunday night in Richardson, police say.

Hardy, who is an NFL free agent after playing for the Cowboys in 2015, allegedly had 0.7 grams of cocaine in a wallet in his car. It was discovered after a traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal, a police affidavit states.

Hardy was stopped about 11:22 p.m. after turning onto Midway Drive from the 300 block of North Glenville Drive. The officer gave Hardy a verbal warning for the traffic violation but asked for his consent to search his 2010 white Dodge Challenger, the police report says.

He told the officer that he didn't know what the substance was and said he believed he got it while he was at a party Saturday night, according to police. Hardy said he passed his wallet around at the party because he was paying for everybody, and he said that must have been when someone put the substance in his wallet.

Hardy was booked into the Richardson City Jail, where he remained Monday afternoon. Bond was set at $5,000.

Hardy spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers, before joining the Cowboys in 2015.

Hardy hasn't garnered much attention in free agency since he and the Cowboys parted ways after the 2015 season. He recorded six sacks in 12 games while playing for Dallas.

The defensive end made news stemming from a 2014 arrest for assaulting an ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. The charges were eventually expunged from Hardy's record.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Richardson Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Wear No. 16 for Jose]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 02:31:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_16270851118909.jpg

No one on the Miami Marlins will ever wear Jose Fernandez’s No. 16 again, owner Jeffrey Loria announced Monday, a day after the star pitcher was killed in a boating accident.

But that will only take effect after Monday night, when Marlins players honored Fernandez by each wearing his jersey number during their game against the Mets, in which he had been scheduled to start.

And second baseman Dee Gordon started the game with an almost unbelievable tribute to his teammate, slamming the third pitch out of the park for a lead-off home run. 

Gordon was overcome as he touched home, hugging his teammates as he walked back to the dugout.

Fernandez and two others were found dead on Sunday morning when the boat they were on, which authorities have said appeared to be traveling very fast, crashed on a jetty off Miami Beach.

That day, the Marlins held an emotional press conference where the players and coaching staff fought back tears remembering the 24-year-old ace. The team also painted his No. 16 on the pitcher's mound and placed flowers alongside the rubber.

Fernandez dazzled on the mound for Miami in his brief career and the team will recognize his achievements in Monday's game.

The Marlins canceled Sunday's game against the Braves following Fernandez's death. Barring a need for that contest in the playoff race, Miami will only play 161 games this season.

The Marlins' gesture to have every player don Fernandez's number is reminiscent of the league's annual remembrance of Jackie Robinson. Every season, every player on every team wears his No. 42 for one day in April.

Fernandez will likely go down in history as the last Marlins player to wear No. 16, besides the players wearing it in his memory. While the team has not announced the plan officially, Monday's gesture points in that direction.

The game Monday night also included a moment of silence.

It's the first time in Marlins history that an active player has died. It is a rare event in sports and one that has no playbook. Miami could opt to hold more tributes for Fernandez next season as well, including at the 2017 All-Star Game.

Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky/AP
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<![CDATA[Elena Delle Donne Opens Up in Video]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 08:11:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-514542562.jpg

Chicago Sky superstar Elena Delle Donne is well-known for her exploits on the court and her status as the defending WNBA MVP, but what you may not know is the story of how her bond with her sister resurrected her basketball career.

In a new video released by Gatorade, Delle Donne recounts the story of how she walked away from the UConn women’s basketball team to take care of her sister Lizzie, who has cerebral palsy and is blind and deaf.

"Lizzie has always been my strength, but going away to play college basketball meant that I had to say goodbye, and I just wasn't ready," she said. "Everybody thinks I came home to take care of her, but she was the one helping me."

She took a year off from basketball, but ultimately decided to come back to the sport and became a star at the University of Delaware. In the video, she describes how her sister’s love of the wind helped give her a new perspective on life.

"If you close your eyes, and you can't hear anything, and the wind comes across your face and blows your hair, it makes you feel a certain joy. To her, it's just pure joy and it's incredible to watch something that simple make her so happy," Delle Donne shared.

"I'll step outside after a rough practice, feel the wind, and it's like, 'Oh. There you are Liz,'" she added. "Liz has taught me so much. You don't focus on what you don't have - you celebrate what you do." 

Delle Donne has gone through other obstacles in her career as well, including contracting Lyme disease during her sophomore season. Eventually she overcame those challenges and was drafted by the Sky with the second overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft.

Unfortunately for Delle Donne, she has more adversity to go through now, as she’s dealing with recovery following thumb surgery earlier this month. The star forward is hoping to return to the court during the WNBA playoffs, but her timetable for recovery is unknown at this point.

Even with that latest setback, Delle Donne proves in the video that she is willing to take on any challenge, and going through adversity is something she’s become very adept at in her career.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[British Open Organizers Pay Tribute to Arnold Palmer]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 07:58:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Arnold-Palmer.jpg

Organizers of the British Open paid tribute to Arnold Palmer on Monday for his "immeasurable" contribution to golf's oldest major, a tournament that he won twice in the early 1960s and helped bring to international prominence. 

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, called Palmer "a true gentleman, one of the greatest ever to play the game and a truly iconic figure in sport." 

Palmer, who died Sunday in Pittsburgh at the age of 87, won seven majors, including the British Open in 1961 and '62. He last played the Open in 1995, 35 years after his first appearance. 

"His contribution to The Open Championship was, and remains, immeasurable," Slumbers said in a statement. "He will be missed and forever remembered by all at The R&A and throughout the world of golf as a charismatic and global champion of our game." 

Palmer first played the British Open in 1960, finishing runner-up in what he later called one of the biggest disappointments of his career. But his appearance invigorated the British Open, which Americans had been ignoring for years. 

"Without question Arnold's participation in The Open Championship in the early 1960s was the catalyst to truly internationalize golf," European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. "The fact he was loved and recognized by everyone across the globe, whether they be fans of golf or not, is testament to his charismatic legacy that will live on." 

Palmer was made an honorary member of The European Tour in 1995. 

"In this week of the playing of the 41st Ryder Cup in particular, we remember fondly his time as a six-time Ryder Cup player and two-time captain," Pelley said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."

<![CDATA[Jose Fernandez Remembered by MLB Teams]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 08:49:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/187*120/GettyImages-610389982.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["A Devastating Loss"]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:08:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Andy_Green_on_Fernandez_1200x675_773048387786.jpg San Diego Padres Manager Andy Green shares his feelings on the death of Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez.]]> <![CDATA[Rookie Shines in Padres Win]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:57:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/175*120/gs-padres4.jpg

It is that time of year again, as the baseball regular season comes to an end. It is a fight for a shot to clinch the playoffs for many teams.

Even though the Padres chances are over for the season, their win over the Giants today not only allowed them to split the 4 game series, but jeopardized the Giants chances of clinching a playoff spot in the NL Wildcard.

Coming off of Saturday’s loss, it was a different game for the Padres today. They came in swinging early in the bottom of the second, one player in particular would have a game for the books.

Padres September call up Manuel Margot who has played less than handful of games for the Padres thus far helped to put the first run on the board.

He singled on a ground ball up the middle allowing Austin Hedges to score for the Padres.

This made it a one nothing game with the Padres ahead, but the early lead wouldn’t last long if the Giants had a say in it, and they did.

Three was the Giants lucky number going into the top of third inning. They looked to be on the road to a third win against the Padres, putting up three consecutive runs.

The runs started for the Giants when Kelby Thomlinson’s trip up to bat resulted in a line drive out to pitcher Clayton Richard, this allowed Trevor Brown to score and made it a tied ball game.

It was Giants Buster Posey who then hit a single line drive to center field, allowing Ty Blach and Eduardo Nunez to score. This put the giants ahead and made it a 3-1 game.

The Padres did not let those 3 runs go unanswered; in the bottom of the 3rd Adam Rosales hit a solo homerun. This was his thirteenth of the season adding to an already career high for the year and helped to close the gap, making it a one run game.

The Giants 1 run lead was brought to a quick halt by the Padres in the bottom of the 5th with the help of Yangervis Solarte.

Solarte was back in the starting lineup after a memorable appearance as a pinch hitter in Saturday night’s game, just a week after the loss of his late wife, Yuliette to her battle with cancer.

Solarte hit a line drive to center field allowing Wil Myers to score and make it a tied game.

The Padres were back in the race, and it was the super star in the making Margot who scored the final run of the game to put the Padres ahead, and finalize the win after Wil Myers singled on a line drive to right field.

Not only did Margot finalize the 4-3 win for the Padres but Margot ended the game a home run shy of accomplishing the second cycle in Padres history behind Matt Kemp.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Ditka on Kaepernick's Protest]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 05:06:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mike+ditka+GettyImages-463267928.jpg

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka has weighed in on the protests sparked by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and he certainly did not hold back. 

"I think it’s a problem, anybody who disrespects this country and the flag," Ditka said in a radio interview Friday. "If they don't like the country, they don't like our flag, get the hell out, that's what I think."

"I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick, he probably has no respect for me," the Hall of Fame coach continued. "That’s his choice. My choice is that I like this country. I respect our flag."

"And I don't see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on," he added. "I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunities. Now, if they don't want to look for them, then you can find problems with anything."

"But this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. Now if you don't work, that's a different problem," he concluded. 

Ditka's disapproval of the protests came just days after three players on the Philadelphia Eagles raised their fists at Soldier Field ahead of the Bears' home opener Monday night. 

That demonstration joined the national conversation ignited by Kaepernick who sat, then kneeled, for the playing of the national anthem beginning in August to call attention to the oppression of minorities across the United States. 

Since then, Kaepernick has been joined by several other NFL players, including four members of the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, and Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall.

While some have expressed support for the message of the demonstrations, the protests have sparked outrage among others, including local police unions in Miami and San Francisco, both of which have threatened some form of boycott. 

A recent poll found Kaepernick to be the most disliked player in the NFL, which was conducted just days before his cover for Time Magazine's October issue was revealed. 

He revealed Tuesday that he has received death threats over his protest, and pledged to donate $100,000 in each of the next 10 months to organizations that work toward goals consistent with his message of fighting racial inequality.

This is not the first time Ditka has spoken out on social or political issues. A well-documented conservative, he has publicly expressed support for Donald Trump and flirted with the idea of speaking at the Republican National Convention in July.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Visting with a Legend]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2016 20:25:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Todd_Rod_Laver_interview_Sunday_25_1200x675_773004355602.jpg All-time tennis great and two time grand slam winner Rod Laver has written a new book. NBC 7's Todd Strain visited with Laver about his book and an upcoming tennis tournament named in his honor.]]> <![CDATA[Chargers Let Another One Get Away ]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2016 17:38:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-610458576-NFL-SD-Ind.jpg

Sunday's game between the Chargers and Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium felt like it should have been a blowout for the home team. San Diego was plagued by penalties, turnovers, bad throws from a great quarterback ... pretty much anything a team can do wrong they did wrong.

It was all too much to overcome in a 26-22 road loss.

In the first half the Bolts only touchdown came when rookie linebacker Jatavis Brown, who was playing because Defensive Captain Manti Te'o injured his Achilles' tendon and is likely out for the year, helped on a sack of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The ball popped out, defensive lineman Caraun Reid picked it up and ran 61 yards for a score to tie the game 13-13.

It was the second turnover of the half. Defensive back Casey Hayward also had an interception, his third pick in two games, that set up the Chargers on the Indy 6-yard-line. San Diego, however, could only kick a field goal. The Bolts only mustered 113 yards of offense in the opening 30 minutes.

The second half started a little better. The Bolts took the opening drive 80 yards in 12 plays and got their first offensive touchdown when Melvin Gordon plowed on for a 1-yard score. But former Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie got a piece of the point-after try so the Bolts were only up 19-13.

Luck led the Colts right back with help from the Chargers defense. Five different times in the game the Bolts were called for a penalty on either 3rd or 4th down that gave Indianapolis a 1st down. This time safety Adrian Phillips was called for a pass interference penalty that set the Colts up on the one yard line. Frank Gore scored to put Indy back on top 20-19.

In the 4th quarter the Chargers got back inside the 10 but again had to settle for three points to go up 22-20. The teams traded punts and the Colts had a shot at a game-winning drive. At the two-minute warning they faced a 4th and 7 from their own 20 yard line and, with two time outs, decided to go for it. Luck hit T.Y.Hilton for an 8-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Luck then hit Hilton again, Jason Verrett missed on the pass defense, Dexter McCoil didn't wrap up, and Hilton went 63 yards for the game-winning score.

San Diego's hopes of a comeback were lost when rookie tight end Hunter Henry fumbled on the open field, the final mistake in a game chalk full of them.

The Chargers fall to 1-2 and return home to face Drew Brees and the Saints next Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>