<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usFri, 29 Apr 2016 20:30:31 -0700Fri, 29 Apr 2016 20:30:31 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Walton Named Lakers New Head Coach]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 20:23:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-505049344.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers have a new head coach and he happens to be a San Diego native. University of San Diego High School alum Luke Walton will become the 26th coach in franchise history after agreeing to a multi-year deal Friday.

Walton, 36, was drafted by the Lakers in the second round of the 2003 draft with the 32nd overall pick and played for 10 years in the NBA with the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Walton was part of two Lakers championship clubs in 2009 and 2010. After his playing career ended he joined the Lakers as a player development coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders for the 2013-14 season.

For the last two seasons Walton’s been the Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach and led the team to a 24-0 start as interim head coach while Steve Kerr was out recovering from back surgery. Under Walton the Warriors were 39-4.

Walton replaces Byron Scott, who the Lakers fired Sunday after two seasons. Under Scott the Lakers had the second-worst record at 17-65 this year.

Walton will join the Lakers at the conclusion of the Golden State season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bolts Bolster Offensive Line]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:57:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-180011358.jpg

Since losing Nick Hardwick to injury the Chargers have had a revolving door at the center position. The two guys they have on the roster, Chris Watt and Trevor Robinson, were unimpressive during the last two years.

So in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft the Bolts addressed the interior of their offensive line, selecting USC center Max Tuerk, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound technician.

Scouts love Tuerk's patience and ability to block on both running and passing plays. He's a high-effort guy who is often downfield in the second level on run plays. He also has the ability to see where a defender is coming from and use the proper leverage to contain him on passing plays, using what one talent evaluator called "huge, strong hands" that can latch on to rushers and delay their progress.

Believe it or not, Tuerk is considered "undersized" by many scouts, who say he has a bit of a lean frame. The concern is he could get pushed around by NFL-sized defensive tackles.

The Chargers need all the help they can get to unlock the running game that has ranked 32nd and 31st the last two seasons. Protecting quarterback Philip Rivers, who was sacked 40 times in 2015, is also of the utmost importance.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Philly's 'Steph Curry'-Brand Heroin]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:25:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/steph+curry+heroin+cp.jpg

Basketball superstar Steph Curry seems to be everywhere these days. At the White House with President Obama, on the cover of a parenting magazine and now on a brand of heroin.

SEPTA police confiscated a set of heroin-filled dime bags emblazoned with Curry's name and face in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood on Tuesday.

The stamp, as the branding is called, is like a logo drug dealers use to market the potent opioid to drug-addicted people. They can be named after companies (like Facebook), objects, feelings, or in Curry's case, people. These stamps come and go quickly, with dozens being sold at a time across the area, narcotics officers say.


NBC10 explored the tragic world of heroin and opioid addiction in the Philadelphia area and beyond in the in-depth investigation, Generation Addicted. Learn more about the issues people face and the new strategies being employed to help people get treatment here.


A SEPTA police officer came across the Curry stamp after stopping an 18-year-old man at Kensington Avenue and Somerset Street around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said.

The officer stopped the Hammonton, New Jersey, man after seeing blood on his hands, Nestel said. He was arrested and the drugs were taken as evidence.

Nestel tagged the Golden State Warriors point guard when tweeting a photo of the drugs saying: "Thinking Steph Curry wouldn't be happy that he is this week's brand for heroin in Philly."

That's probably an understatement.

NBC10 reached out to Curry's reps to get his thoughts about the stamp, but we haven't heard back. A spokeswoman for the Golden State Warriors had no comment.



Photo Credit: SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel]]>
<![CDATA[US Synchro Swimmers]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:21:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0427-2016-SynchroSwimmers.jpg

Synchronized swimming, or synchro for short, has been called the most difficult sport in the Olympic Games.

This year, Anita Alvarez and Mariya Koroleva will be the only swimmers representing the United States in synchronized swimming during the summer games in Rio.

At 9 years old, Koroleva emigrated to the United States from Russia, took up synchro and became so good she swam for Stanford University and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

"You have to show up every day and you have to be on your best game every day, even if you're not feeling well," she said. "You have to push through it."

Alvarez, 19, has synchronized swimming in her blood. Her mother is a former synchro athlete and a current coach. Both athletes said they gave up traditional upbringings to become fierce competitors.

The duo's coach, Lolli Montico, said the athletes are training from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. This will be Montico's third Olympics coaching synchro swimmers.

Montico said the Olympic-caliber swimmers must have two things: legs and attitude.

"Beautiful shapes of the legs — it's so important in synchro," Montico said. "It's the attitude. Attitude is everything."

Koroleva cannot wait for Rio, when all of the hard work is rewarded.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Draft A Tight End]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:07:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Hunter+Henry+Razorbacks.jpg

The Chargers had bigger needs in the NFL Draft than another tight end but when the top-rated player at a position falls to you in the 2nd round it's hard to pass him up.

The Chargers selected Hunter Henry, a tight end from Arkansas, with the 35th overall pick. Henry caught 51 passes for 739 yards and three touchdowns his junior year with the Razorbacks.

Future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates signed a new 2-year contract in the off-season but at the age of 35 that will be his final NFL deal. The Bolts also added Jeff Cumberland from the Jets on a free agent contract but they lost Ladarius Green when he signed as a free agent with the Steelers.

Henry is regarded as the best tight end prospect of the 2016 Draft class. He earned a reputation as a guy who can make big catches in traffic (Henry has no drops last year) and is committed to blocking in the run game, meaning he does not have to be substituted for and can stay on the field regardless of the down and distance.

The Chargers fan base was excited about the prospect of grabbing UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, a top-5 talent who fell to the 2nd round after questions about his knee surfaced. Jack was selected by the Jaguars with the next pick. San Diego still needs to add help on the offensive line at some point in the Draft.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mocking the 2nd Round of the NFL Draft]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:26:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-525682662.jpg

The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft was ... eventful. It was also surprising. All 32 teams had a chance to sit on the developments overnight and re-calibrate their boards. Here's a guess at how the 2nd round might go down, barring any more trades, of course:

32) Browns: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St.

Cleveland needs a QB in a bad, bad way. They could do a lot worse than grabbing a proven winner from Big 10 country on Day 2.

33) Titans: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio St.

Marcus Mariota gets some help on the outside.

34) Cowboys: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

Dallas needs pass rush help. Dodd could be a demon in their scheme.

35) Chargers: Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame

The last time the Chargers were in the playoffs was also the last year Nick Hardwick was on the field. The need for a man in the middle is obvious, Martin can start Week 1, and it's been a an entire round and Tom Telesco had not added a Fightin' Irish player yet. He's due.

36) Ravens: Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA

Perhaps the most shocking free fall I've ever seen finally ends. Baltimore's defense is getting a little long in the tooth so they get a coups with a top-10 talent.

37) Chiefs: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

KC likes big guys in the middle of the defensive line. This guy is that and more.

38) Jaguars: Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky

Jacksonville uses Spence as a linebacker and finds itself another playmaker on an aging unit.

39) Buccaneers: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

Tampa Bay gets a run-stuffing machine to put next to Gerald McCoy.

40) Giants: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

New York needs another thumper in the middle of the defense. This kid hits like Mike Tyson in his prime.

41) Bears: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas St.

The Bears offensive line has needed help for a while now. They can finally address it with a guy who does just about everything well.

42) Dolphins: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Miami needs corner hell and Fuller has first round talent. Injury concerns knocked him to Day 2.

43) Titans: Vonn Bell, DB, Ohio St.

Tennessee needs help at safety and corner. Bell can play both.

44) Raiders: Le'Raven Clark, OL, Texas Tech

They'll toy with RB Derrick Henry here but protecting emerging QB Derek Carr is the priority.

45) Titans: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

They probably have more pressing needs but this guy is awfully good to pass up at this spot.

46) Lions: Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi St.

Detroit gets a really good player at a position of need.

47) Saints: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

They probably need more help at guard but Drew Brees needs protecting and Spriggs is one of the best pass blockers on the board.

48) Colts: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Another guy who could have gone on Day 1, and Indy could use assistance in the secondary.

49) Bills: Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn

They'll grab a QB in the 3rd round to groom under Tyrod Taylor but for now they need o-line improvement.

50) Falcons: Kamalei Correa, LB, Boise St.

One of the underrated defensive players in the class, Correa has a motor that does not stop.

51) Jets: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma St.

New York gets another pass rusher because they love them there.

52) Texans: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

I thought Houston would take a look at the highest-rated tight end in the Draft in the 1st round. They're ecstatic to get him here.

53) Redskins: Jihad Ward, DL, Illinois

Washington needs bodies up front. Ward can play all along the d-line.

54) Vikings: Su'a Cravens, S/LB, USC

After getting Bridgewater a weapon on Thursday Minnesota adds a physical presence on defense. He'll play strong safety for them.

55) Bengals: Austin Johnson, DT, Penn St.

Cincinnati would like a nose tackle. They find one in Johnson.

56) Seahawks: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor

Seattle needs secondary depth. Howard is physical and can make plays on the ball.

57) Packers: Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma

After the WR injuries that derailed their 2015 season Green Bay adds some protection from it happening again.

58) Steelers: Darian Thompson, S, Boise St.

Pittsburgh doubles up in the secondary with a safety who has good ball skills.

59) Chiefs: Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio St.

He has the ability to play inside or out and KC's core linebackers are getting up there in age.

60) Patriots: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech

The Pats love versatile backs and Dixon can help in plenty of different ways.

61) Patriots: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh

The Pats live versatile wideout and Boyd actually played some in the backfield at Pitt.

62) Panthers: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

Carolina pounds the football. Henry is a monster. It's a perfect match.

63) Broncos: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

John Elway proves again he sold his soul to Satan to end up with a Top-10 talent. Smith suffered a knee injury in Notre Dame's bowl game or he would be a first round lock. Add another piece to the NFL's best defense from 2015.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What Makes a Triple Crown-Winning Horse?]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:23:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-480966886.jpg

"The 37-year wait is over! American Pharaoh is finally the one! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!"

Those words from famed horse racing announcer Larry Collmus at last year's Belmont Stakes marked the end of a nearly four-decade drought, and thrust horse racing into the national spotlight.

American Pharaoh's gallop into the history books has left many wondering if there could be another Triple Crown winner this year. It's certainly possible, but experts say it will take a horse with the right combination of pedigree, training and versatility - and a little luck wouldn't hurt.

The Triple Crown of horse racing — winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes — is the pinnacle for 3-year-old thoroughbreds.

A mere 12 colts have achieved the feat since Sir Barton swept the series in 1919, and only once in all of American racing history has the trifecta occurred in consecutive years.

Of course, there have been some near-misses.

Between 1979 — after Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978 — and 2015, 13 horses managed to clinch the Derby and Preakness races, only to be stopped on their quest at the Belmont Stakes.

At 1 and 1/2 miles (12 furlong), the third jewel of the Triple Crown is the longest race track in the United States. Richard Migliore, a former jockey and racing analyst for the New York Racing Association, notes race horses that compete at Belmont “probably have never, and will never, run that distance again."

"Thoroughbreds today are bred for speed, not stamina, so they are too fatigued to keep up the pace required to win the Belmont," Migliore said, adding that many of the contenders at Belmont don't compete in the previous two races and are well-rested.

Over the years, many have called on a change in the racing schedule, while others, including the owner of California Chrome, said the pool for the three races should be limited to the horses that enter the Kentucky Derby.

"Because it had been so long since Affirmed won the Triple Crown, most people thought that this was getting close to impossible to do, it was too much to ask a horse to do," said NBC horse racing reporter Kenny Rice.

The Triple Crown schedule is grueling. It is difficult for a horse shipped around the country to endure the rigor of the journey after a strenuous race and not become ornery.

But then came American Pharoah. As Collmus so aptly put it in the final yards of the Belmont on June 6, he was "finally the one" – the one who could indeed win three races, at three tracks, in three different states, at three different distances, in the span of five weeks.

"That's why it separates the great ones. I think that's why I like the Triple Crown as is, because when you win it, you're a great horse," Rice says. "You may have a little bit of racing luck along the way, but it's not a fluke. That's why I think all the horses that have won the triple crown are special horses."

There are many factors, tangible and intangible, that combine in the making of a great racehorse, and experts have varying opinions on what those attributes are.

Some point to pedigree. Many champion horses carry elite genes.

American Pharaoh, for example, carries the bloodlines of three Triple Crown champions: Count Fleet, War Admiral and Secretariat. On the other hand, Affirmed came from modest genes that didn't trace back to a Triple Crown winner. Its sire didn't produce anything of exceptional merit after Affirmed, and his 1978 Triple Crown rival Alydar was considered a superior breeding source, according to BloodHorse's Avalyn Hunter.

"When Affirmed went to stud in 1980, he was competing with fellow Triple Crown winners Secretariat and Seattle Slew, but many horsemen considered his rival Alydar much likelier to make a top sire given his deep female family," Hunter said.

Others attribute a race horse's success to premiere training. Owners seek elite stakes-winning trainers to get their 2-year-old thoroughbreds in peak 3-year-old Derby shape.

Much like March Madness, each stop on the road to the Kentucky Derby will determine who will earn enough points and prove worthy of a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs. Purse leaders like trainers Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, Kiaran McLaughlin, Doug O'Neill and Bob Baffert have a track record of starting horses at the Derby.

But whether it's genes, quality training, mental constitution or just pure luck, one characteristic they all seem to agree upon is versatility.

"All the triple crown winners standout because they rose above any obstacles, avoided anything in their way — in this case other horses — and that's what we saw last year. That's how good American Pharaoh was. He could run at the front, he could run near the front. He had different gears that, when he needed to shift, he could. I think that's what the next horse that wins the Triple Crown is going to have to do."

There are no certainties in horse racing, but Migliore believes at least one horse competing in the 142nd Kentucky Derby is showing that ability.

"Nyquist has shown he is not a one dimensional horse. As a 2-year-old and in his Derby prep races, he's been forced ridiculously wide and has demonstrated that he can shift and win," Migliore said.

The champion thoroughbred will enter the starting gate at Churchill on May 7 as a favorite with an undefeated record. Rice says Nyquist's Florida Derby victory over rival Mohaymen was "the most impressive of the Triple Crown prep races."

Another front-runner, ranking second on the Associated Press' Run for the Roses Top 10 list, is Gun Runner. The colt, trained by Steve Asmussem, is an odds favorite having established a points lead over the field.

Santa Anita Derby winner Exxagerator is also a top contender. Exaggerator was one of the most accomplished 2-year-olds in 2015 and a close runner-up to champion Nyquist in the San Vicente S. at Santa Anita in his seasonal debut. He won the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby race by a widening 6 1/4 lengths, placing himself squarely in the middle of the Kentucky Derby picture. 

The final lineup of the 20 Kenutcky Derby contenders has yet to be announced and only time will tell if a Triple Crown winner is among them. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MJ's Minute- All About The Bosa]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 00:24:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MJsMinuteJoeyBosa_1200x675_676071491582.jpg In this edition of MJ's Minute we introduce you to the Chargers third overall NFL Draft pick, Joey Bosa. The All-American defensive end out of Ohio State University was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. ]]> <![CDATA[Meet the Chargers Third Overall Pick: Joey Bosa]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 06:58:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-504136470+%281%29.jpg

The San Diego Chargers selected Joey Bosa, the defensive end out of Ohio State University, as their third overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. At 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 270 pounds, Bosa is an aggressive pass rusher. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and captured unanimous All-American honors. Bosa played a key role on the Ohio State defense helping his school win the 2014 National Championship.

Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy says the coaching staff has been following Bosa for a long time and they were most impressed with his dedication saying, “We just love his passion for the game. When he walked out of the room at the combine he was fired up and said ‘I can't wait to wear that Chargers helmet one day.’ I mentioned it to him tonight and he's got a lot of energy and excitement. The fans are going to love him."

Bosa attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which houses a football program known for building future NFL players. Bosa was an early starter for the Ohio State University Buckeyes in his freshman year. The defensive end is extremely competitive, loves rushing around the outside to get to the quarterback and is solid against the rush. Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco was enticed by Bosa’s versatility saying, "For us he's really balanced. To find a player who can help us on both sides, which we need, you know he's not just strictly a pass rusher; he plays the running game extremely well. So to have those factors all add up, it's nice in your third pick of the draft."

What does this selection mean for the Chargers defense? The Bolts potentially have a defensive line that includes Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget and perhaps even Sean Lissemore; and that’s a step in the right direction. San Diego holds the fourth pick on Friday in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, which is the 35th overall selection. The final day of the NFL Draft is Saturday April 30th.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gulls Win 1st Home Playoff Game]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:57:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Todd_Elsten_Gulls_Playoff_1200x675_668141635678.jpg

The San Diego Gulls snatched a 2-1 series lead in the 1st round of the AHL playoffs by dismantling the Texas Stars 6-1 in front of more than 6,500 fans.

All-Star Brandon Montour got the scoring started in the 1st period. 

The Gulls expanded that lead to 4-0 before the second intermission thanks to goals by Nick Ritchie, Mike Sgarbossa and Joseph Cramarossa.

Stefan Noesen and Mike Wagner also lit the lamp to the delight of the home crowd. 

Shea Theodore was fantastic and credited with 3 assists in the blowout.

The Gulls will attempt to win their first-ever AHL Calder Cup playoff series Friday evening when they play Game 4 against the Stars, the puck drops at 7:05 p.m. at Valley View Casino Center.

If Texas avoids elimination, a deciding game 5 will be played Monday night in San Diego.

]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Make 1st Round Choice in NFL Draft]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:27:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/joey-bosa2.29.16.jpg

The San Diego Chargers have chosen Joey Bosa in the First Round of the NFL Draft.

Bosa, a defensive end from Ohio State University, joins new acquisition Brandon Mebane, a former Seahawks nose tackle who signed with the Chargers last month, in bolstering the defensive line.

At 6’5” and 270 pounds, Bosa is an aggressive pass rusher. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and captured unanimous All-American honors.

Coming out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in South Florida, a breeding ground for future NFL players, Bosa was an early starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes in his freshman year.  The defensive end is extremely competitive, loves rushing around the outside to get to the quarterback and is solid against the rush. Bosa played a key role on the Ohio State defense helping his school win the 2014 National Championship.

What does this mean for the Chargers defense? The Bolts potentially have a Defensive line that includes Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget and perhaps even Sean Lissemore.

The Chargers have needed a force on the defensive line since Jamal Williams left after the 2009 season.

Many people had expected the Chargers to take either a left tackle or to pick Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey.

Bosa's career ended on a down note when he was ejected in the first quarter in the Fiesta Bowl for targeting Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.

Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco said in a tweet the team has had its eye on Bosa since September.

Bosa was effusive in his excitement on Twitter after he was picked No. 3 overall.

The Chargers are coming off a 4-12 season in which they went winless in the AFC West. They're also trying to get a citizens' initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot to help fund a new stadium.

Picking Bosa in the first round was not a surprise move for the Chargers. Much speculation surrounded what the Bolts would do with the fortunate No.3 pick. Would they trade to acquire more picks or keep the third slot and pick a formidable defensive player, like Bosa?

Several staffers with the NBC 7 sports department predicted the Bolts would look to either beef up their offensive line or defensive line.

Bosa has earned All-America honors twice and also garnered the Big Ten defensive player of the year award and two Big Ten defensive linemen of the year awards in three seasons.

The draft is taking place in Chicago and continues through Saturday with rounds 1-7.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Best Style Moves from the NFL Draft Red Carpet]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 06:07:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-525682684-elliott.jpg See all the best shots from the 2016 NFL Draft red carpet in Chicago, Illinois, on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Olympic Athlete Paralyzed in Freak Accident]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 13:16:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/JamieNietoOlympicVill2.jpg

An Olympic high jumper who has lived and trained in San Diego County is recovering after suffering a spinal injury in a freak accident.

Two-time Olympian and four-time USA Champion Jamie Nieto has trained at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and hosted a number of track and field clinics for aspiring athletes.

Nieto was involved in a such an activity on Saturday at Azusa Pacific University when he tried to demonstrate his signature back flip to the students, according to NBC Olympics.

Nieto's foot slipped and he landed on his head, causing paralysis from the neck down.

An MRI showed the C3 and C4 vertebrae had been compressed and the disc between them had been forced forward into the spinal cord, NBC Olympics reported.

As of Tuesday, Nieto was recovering from surgery to remove the disc and fuse the spine at C3-C4.

Feeling is slowly returning to part of his body.

"The outlook remains positive that Jamie can still make a full recovery," his manager Paul Doyle told NBC Olympics.

An online fundraising campaign is asking for donations to help with medical expenses.

"He will have months of rehab just to fight just to be able to step again and this is someone who was one of the elite athletes in the world,” said Nieto’s friend, Olympic athlete Lolo Jones.

[[377481561,C]]



Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Chula Vista Shot Putter: World's Most Explosive Athlete? ]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 13:07:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Joe+Kovacs+Rio+2016.jpg

There’s no way to know for sure, but Joe Kovacs could be the world’s most explosive athlete. It’s a vague title with subjective criteria, and certainly not one he’d ever give himself, but all things considered, the Chula Vista shot putter has my vote.

Kovacs stands 6 feet tall, far from short by the world’s standards. But in a field dominated by large competitors, he often finds himself looking up at the competition.

This almost always changes, however, when the scores, standings and rankings come out.

Kovacs, the reigning world champion in shot put, can consistantly throw the 16-pound metal ball farther than anyone on the planet right now. His personal best of 74.25 feet is the 8th best throw of all time.

Ask anyone who watches him train and they will tell you he still has not reached his full potential.

Kovacs admits winning a gold medal in Rio De Janeiro this August remains the ultimate goal, but you won’t catch him snoozing on the daily steps to get there. He knows all too well what it feels like to make it to the doorstep of the Summer Games, only to watch the doors close in his face.

Kovacs finished in 4th place at the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials in 2012, just behind the three throwers who went on to represent their country in London. He stayed home.

“At the time, I thought I was going to be done with Track and Field and I was just one spot off of making the team and it kind of gave me the realization that I can take this a step further. I should be on this team,” said Kovacs.

Shortly after missing the 2012 Olympic cut, the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native packed his bags and headed west for the Southern California sunshine and a new home at Chula Vista’s Olympic Training Center.

Kovacs credits much of his success to legendary University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) throwing coach Art Venegas, who drives to Chula Vista every other week to meet with many of the resident throwers.

“It has been a game changer for me. Since working with him, everything has been completely broken down and its completely changed the way I thought about throwing,” said Kovacs. “Everything we do is so detail-oriented and our biggest joke between each other is just being boring, breaking down the little details, being on balance, being explosive, and having fun with what we do."

While most people expect throwers to be powerful and explosive, rarely do fans describe them as graceful or coordinated. Kovacs is all of the above. He would jump of the charts at an NFL combine.

“That’s what we're meant for. We're meant for lifting weights, being explosive in the 40, and just showing how far we can jump." said Kovacs.

But he would also surprise people with his ability to do giants over the high bar in off-season gymnastics training.

“It’s really fun, but the bar bends a lot,” joked the 275-pound Kovacs.

He is a race car trapped inside a bulldozer, and if all goes as planned, the gas pedal will hit the floor this August in Rio De Janeiro.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Kentucky Derby: Test Your Horse Race Knowledge]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:33:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_522153153543.jpg

The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby will be held May 7 at Churchill Downs, featuring spectacular hats, plenty of bourbon and some of the fastest thoroughbreds in the world. 

Known as the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports," the Derby is steeped in tradition and style. Grab a mint julep and a Derby hat and test your knowledge of the race with the quiz below.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[49ers to Change Noise Levels at Practice After Complaints]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:39:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/49ers27.JPG

There’s a whistle followed by a series of heavy bass beats emanating from the San Francisco 49ers practice facility on Wednesday morning in Santa Clara.

However, after neighbors voiced concerns about the decibel levels, the team says it will turn the speakers inward during practice to help with neighborhood noise.

49ers representatives told NBC Bay Area players are currently taking part in a 10-week session of workouts, which occur Monday through Thursday during late morning. It’s common in the NFL to crank up the music during practice to simulate stadium noise, but the tunes are out of sync with some of Levi’s Stadium’s neighbors.

“My actual home actually shakes. The appliances shake. If I happen to have a glass sitting on my counter when the 49ers are practicing and it gets really loud, the glass actually shakes,” said Rita Miller, who has lived in the Primavera neighborhood since the early 1990s.

From Miller’s house, roughly three football fields away from the practice facility, the music peaks at about 80 decibels, according smartphone app Decibel 10th. That’s about as loud as a diesel truck passing by, which is inconvenient for people who work from home like Miller.

“I’ve actually had to go into a bathroom and shut the door so that I could actually hear,” Millers said, explaining she is often on the phone with elderly clients.

Across the street on Calle de Primavera, her neighbor Antonino Vergel de Dios also took steps to gain some peace.

“I had been planning to put in new windows, but I made it earlier because it’s really bothering me. It’s too much, you know?” Vergel de Dios said, explaining stadium noise during games does not bother him.

Neighbors say they had given up on making formal complaints because it rarely leads to change, but comments online caught the attention of newly-appointed Santa Clara City Council member Kathy Watanabe.

“The fact that people felt like they weren’t being heard – I thought this is not good. The community needs to know their concerns are not falling on deaf ears,” Watanabe said. She says she is meeting with the Santa Clara City Manager to measure decibel levels in the neighborhood if the noise becomes a long term issue.

Meanwhile, 49ers representatives say Thursday morning the speakers will be turned toward the stadium and neighbors should sense some relief. And say, if they don’t, call the team.



Photo Credit: LiLi Tan/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 7 SportsWrap Predicts The Chargers 1st Pick]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:19:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/sethyketchy.jpg

Members of our NBC7 sports department share their predictions for who they think the Chargers will draft with the 3rd overall pick. 

We also tackled the possibility of the Chargers trading down from the 3rd spot.

So who do you think the Chargers will choose in the 1st round?

Sports Anchor Jim Laslavic: Jalen Ramsey because he is the best athlete available. Having lost Eric Weddle, the Chargers can pair a good talent like Ramsey with Jason Verrett.

They've already invested money into the five starting positions on the O-Line and they just need everyone to be healthy. The Chargers can add offensive and defensive linemen in the 2nd and 3rd rounds because there are lots of depth in this year's draft at those positions.

Sports Anchor MJ Acosta: Laremy Tunsil. Because protecting Rivers needs to be the top priority.

If it winds up being a later pick, expect them to take Ohio State DE Joey Bosa. Why? Two words: Pass Rush.

Sports anchor/reporter Derek Togerson: DeForest Buckner. The bottom line is the Bolts are desperate for defensive line help. A line of Buckner, Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane suddenly makes the San Diego front look formidable.

If they trade, it will be with Jacksonville who will take Tunsil. The Bolts would move back to 5 and after the Cowboys take Ezekiel Elliott, and selec Buckner there.

Sports anchor/reporter Todd Strain: Jalen Ramsey. He’s a solid pro and should play for 10 years. Other players projected in the Top 10 have more “All-Pro” or “All-Bust” potential.

If the Chargers trade back to the middle of the first round, look for them to go offensive line because many of the impact defensive players might be gone by then and they can go D-Line with 2nd and 3rd round picks. Keep an eye on Michigan State offensive lineman Jack Conklin.

Sports producer Ben Rosehart: DeForest Buckner. The 4.8 yards they allowed per carry last year remains the elephant in the room that needs to go away.

If they trade down they might still be able to grab Buckner or perhaps another defensive lineman. Alabama center Ryan Kelly is probably underrated but don’t think he’s that high on their draft board.

Sports producer Becki Schildhouse: If they keep it I think they go with Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil. He takes care of two big issues – protects Philip Rivers and makes holes for Melvin Gordon. They were the worst pass-blocking team last year.

If they trade the pick, I can see Baltimore making a deal to move up from 6 and the Chargers are going to go with Joey Bosa.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MJ's Minute-Padres Drop Series against the Giants & Top Offensive Draft Picks]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 20:59:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MJsMinutePadresDraftGulls_1200x675_675200579527.jpg In this edition of MJ's Minute the Padres fall short and drop the series against the San Francisco Giants, we break down the top offensive NFL Draft prospects for the Chargers, and check in with San Diego Gulls ahead of their first home playoff game. ]]> <![CDATA[Top Offensive Draft Picks for the Chargers]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 22:57:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-503126982.jpg

After months of mock drafts and playing the trading game, the 2016 NFL Draft is less than 24 hours away. Right now, the San Diego Chargers hold the third overall pick. I still think their priority should be to address the holes in the offensive line and make sure Quarterback Philip Rivers is protected. My top pick to get the job done is Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. He's been projected as a top first round pick since the NFL Combine.

Tunsil’s stellar performance at Ole Miss Pro Day put him on the top of the list for many pro scouts. Not only does he have tremendous footwork but this guy is a tank. He can put up 34 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. I would definitely want him protecting me. Even with his size, he's still one of the most agile and athletic offensive prospects out of the combine. Even if the Chargers pass on Tunsil, he's likely to be selected early on.

Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley is slated as the number two tackle available after Tunsil. Tunsil may play a little meaner, but Stanley is battle tested. He’s a three year starter with 13 starts at right tackle in 2013 and 27 starts at left tackle in the last two seasons. Stanley has tremendous footwork and pass protection. Initially, scouts thought he would come into the draft after his third year with the fighting Irish, but he decided to go back to try and help his team win a national championship. His heart was in the right place, but now he’s focused on taking his career to the next level.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose 5th Straight]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 17:35:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WilMyersAdamRosales.jpg

The Padres offense exploded with 3 homers and 9 runs during Wednesday’s matinee in San Francisco.

Unfortunately that still wasn’t enough to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Giants.

San Francisco led by as many as 8 runs on two different occasions and handed the struggling Padres their 5th straight loss, 13-9.

Matt Kemp loves facing the Giants. He belted a 2-run home run in the 3rd to give San Diego a brief 4-3 lead. But it evaporated quickly later that inning.

Andrew Cashner could not make it out of the 3rd and was pulled after surrendering 6 runs (3 earned), 4 hits and 4 walks after just 2.2 innings. He was saddled with the loss and fell to 1-2.

Wil Myers stretched his hitting streak to a dozen games after going yard in the 8th inning. His 3-run bomb cut the deficit to 13-8. Myers is now hitting .303 on the year.

Adam Rosales also smashed a solo shot in the 9th and hustled around the bases to make it 13-9 but the Friars could not get any closer.

San Diego gets a much-needed day off to regroup on Thursday before facing the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Friday. 

The Padres next home game is Monday, May 2nd against Colorado which will open up a 7-game homestand against the Rockies and Mets.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[US Women's Hoop Team Named]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:16:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2016++Olympic+sue+bird.jpg

The 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team will have a strong connection to the University of Connecticut.

UConn head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is the head coach of the U.S. Olympic team and several of its members have played for him at Storrs.

UConn alums Sue Bird, of the Seattle Storm, and Diana Taurasi, of the Phoenix Mercury, are two of the three captains leading the team. Tamika Catchings, of Indiana Fever, is the other captain.

Former UConn players and 2012 Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles, of the New York Liberty, and Maya Moore, of the Minnesota Lynx, will be back, and UConn star Breanna Stewart is joining the team for the first time.

Another first-time member of the team is Elena Delle Donne, of the Chicago Sky, who was briefly a UConn Husky.

The 2016 U.S. Olympic Team also includes two-time Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles, both of the Minnesota Lynx, as well as 2012 Olympic gold medalists Angel McCoughtry, of the Atlanta Dream, and Lindsay Whalen, of the Minnesota Lynx.

Brittney Griner, of the Phoenix Mercury, is another first-time Olympian.

USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee has chosen the team, which is pending approval by the USOC.

“Obviously it’s always incredibly difficult to try to identify 12 players from a group of so many great players,” Auriemma said in a statement posted on the USA Basketball Web site.

He has led the USA National Team to a 23-0 record and gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships.

“The committee had a really difficult job this year, because it's the first time in a long time that a lot more than 12 players could easily have been named to that team. But the 12 that were named are a great combination of Olympic gold-medal experience, multiple gold medal winners and great leaders,” Auriemma said in a statement.

He said an influx of young players will be a great benefit this year and will set the stage going forward.

“They will be the future of the USA Basketball Women's National Team,” he said.

DePaul University’s Doug Bruno, the Minnesota Lynx’ Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley will assist Auriemma during the 2016 Olympic Games.

The 2016 Olympic Games will be held from Aug. 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro.



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Image]]>
<![CDATA[Cueto Silences The Padres]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 23:01:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/JohnnyCueto.jpg

James Shields was fantastic Tuesday night. 

He only allowed 3 hits and one run in 7 innings of work against the San Francisco Giants.

That was the good news for the Padres. 

The bad news? Giants starter Johnny Cueto was even better.

Cueto tossed a complete shutout and racked up 11 strikeouts in a masterful performance to hand the last place Padres a frustrating 1-0 loss.

San Diego dropped its 4th straight contest and fell to 3-8 against NL West teams.

Both right-handers on the mound were locked in from the start. 

Cueto scattered 7 hits over 9 innings while the Padres left 6 runners on base. 

Travis Jankowski and Melvin Upton, Jr. were also caught stealing when Andy Green tried to jump start the offense by getting aggressive.

The Padres backed up Shields with some great defensive plays. 

Infielders Alexei Ramirez & Jemile Weeks made good grabs with their glove and Upton reeled in a tough catch in left field.

Wil Myers also extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the 4th inning.

But San Diego falls to 7-14 with the loss and now sits 5 games behind the first-place Dodgers as of Tuesday night.

Andrew Cashner will try to snap the skid in the Wednesday matinee against Jeff Samardzija in the final game of the series at AT&T Park. First pitch is slated for 12:45 pm.

]]>
<![CDATA[MJ's Minute-NFL Draft Prospects & Bad News for the Clippers]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:18:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-491177228.jpg In this edition of MJ's Minute we're breaking down a few NFL Draft prospects from our wish list, the Padres struggle to get out of last place and the LA Clippers deal with two major injuries.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Defensive Prospects for the Chargers]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:45:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-503063122.jpg

In the Rubix’s cube that is the NFL draft there are several scenarios for the Chargers with the 3rd overall pick. Assuming they don't trade down, it looks likes like the Bolts may be leaning towards a defensive guy. We're breaking down a few prospects from our wish list and we'll start with a young man out of Florida State who in my opinion is one of, if not the strongest DB's in this deep defensive draft.

 While I still believe the priority should be the offensive line, the Chargers still have needs to address on defense as well. With Eric Weddle now out of the Chargers' picture, the Bolts have a unique hole to fill. Jalen Ramsey out of FSU is similar to Weddle in terms of style of play but is a much bigger guy who can still run around and make plays while adding that competitive grit. Plus he can easily play cornerback or safety. Ramsey is a player who can add value on field in year one and is a good investment in the long term.

Another prospect that could help improve the Bolts defense is DeForest Buckner. The defensive end out of Oregon is a force to be reckoned with. I mean just look at the guy! At 6’7” and 281lbs he can move offensive lineman around like it’s no big deal. With his wingspan and the biggest hands in NFL Combine history (11 ¾ inches), he has defensive coordinators around the league salivating. When you couple his strength and natural athletic ability, it’s enough to give his opponents many sleepless nights.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Visualizing the Olympics: Medal Counts & More]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 08:05:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-149332217-edited.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images, file
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Road to Rio: Join in Olympic Fever 100 Days Out]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 08:00:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/simone-GettyImages-456842584.jpg

The Rio Olympics are only 100 days away, and the buzz is all about who will represent Team USA.

While many athletes have earned their spots and a chance to bring home the gold, others will be vying for a place on the team over the coming weeks when swimming, gymnastics and other sports hold trials.

Golf returns to the Olympics after an absence of more than a century, and the sports world is full of predictions about who will be teeing off for the United States. But with each team limited to four players, many favorites will be staying home.

Then there is the Zika virus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just concluded is causing microcephaly and other birth defects. Brazil’s health ministry has been working to ease visitors’ fears, but some athletes are weighing whether to give the Rio Games a pass.

As 10,500 athletes from across the globe prepare to compete in the first Olympics to be held in South America, here are some ways to follow along now:

Watch America's best earn a trip to Rio

[[377003831, C]]

Many spots on Team USA won't be finalized until just before the Opening Ceremony. Trials for some of the most popular events — including swimming and diving, track and field and gymnastics — have yet to be held. 

That means you can watch your favorite athletes battle for a trip to Rio de Janeiro. On the calendar in June: diving in Indianapolis from June 18-26, men’s gymnastics in St. Louis from June 24-26, and swimming in Omaha, Nebraska, from June 26 to July 3.

On the calendar in July: track and field in Eugene, Oregon, from July 1-10, and women’s gymnastics in San Jose, California, from July 8-10.

Who will represent the USA?

[[377004071, C]]

So far, about 100 athletes have qualified in sports from boxing to wrestling. By the time August arrives, more than 500 athletes will have made the team. NBC Olympics is keeping track of the competitors here.

Pentathlete Nathan Schrimsher became the first official member of the U.S. Olympic team last July when he finished third in the 2015 Pan American Games. The 23-year-old will compete in the Olympics for the first time. The modern Olympic pentathlon consists of swimming, fencing, riding and a combination of running and shooting.

In the qualifying marathon in Los Angeles in February, Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward won the top three places for the men, and Amy Cragg, Desi Linden and Shalane Flanagan for the women.

Triathletes Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True have snagged spots, as have Yue Jennifer Wu, a table tennis competitor, and Jordan Wilimovsky, Sean Ryan and Haley Anderson, all open water swimmers.

[[377337091, C]]

At the London 2012 Games, American women outnumbered American men in total medals and gold medals, and they are expected to dominate again in Rio. The U.S. women’s teams are world champions in basketball, gymnastics, soccer, volleyball and water polo, and all eyes are on Claressa Shields; the first American woman to win Olympic gold in boxing at the London Games; gymnast Simone Biles, three-time world all-around champion; swimmer Katie Ledecky, a Olympic gold medalist at 15; and tennis star Serena Williams. 

In basketball, the final names for men’s and women’s teams will be announced by July 18. Among the finalists are LeBron James — though he says he is undecided about Rio — and Carmelo Anthony for the men’s team, and Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, both three-time gold medalists, for the women’s.

The U.S. women’s soccer team qualified for the Games, though the men’s team failed to, and its roster also must be announced by July 18.

And U.S. women’s water polo team goes to the Games as the reigning Olympic gold medalists. The team qualified by finishing in the top four in a tournament in March in the Netherlands, where it went undefeated and outscored opponents 123-35.

Who won’t be going?

[[377004371, C]]

Some of the country’s top stars will not be making the trip, sidelined by injuries and for other reasons.

Kobe Bryant announced he would not play in Rio after retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers because he thought it was a younger man’s turn to play. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers also withdrew from consideration, while New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis was forced out by knee and shoulder injuries.

In soccer, Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe were both on the U.S. women’s World Cup team, but they will not be in Rio. Leroux is pregnant and Rapinoe is injured. Goalkeeper Hope Solo said in February that she would skip Rio if the games were being held then because of her fears of Zika.

Zika virus continues to be a worry

[[377004621, C]]

The CDC released travel guidelines that urge talking to your health provider about recommended vaccines and medicines, packing a health kit and monitoring travel warnings from the U.S. Department of State. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should take special precautions.

Much is still being learned about the virus, which has been linked to birth defects and which researchers have discovered can be transmitted sexually, not just through mosquito bites.

In February, the head of the World Health Organization praised the Brazilian government for its handling of the outbreak, but warned the situation could get worse before it gets better. Brazil has stressed that the mosquito population is much lower in August, the country’s winter.

Golf's Olympic comeback

[[377004791, C]]

Golf returns for the first time since 1904, when only the United States and Canada competed — and a Canadian won the individual gold.

Among the United States’ best prospects: Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

But some of the world's top players have said they will be giving the Games a pass. Vijay Singh, from Fiji, was the first to say he would not play. South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have pulled out, citing family and scheduling issues, and Adam Scott of Australia also pointed to a busy schedule when he said he would skip Rio.

Golf’s crowded schedule of championships has been a concern for players, but golf legend Jack Nicklaus is worried about the message they send by withdrawing.

“If the guys don't want to participate, then we might not be in the Olympics after this,” he told Golf Digest. “They vote next year. And if they vote to keep golf in, then that's great, but if not then we lose that momentum with growing the game.”

Before the vote to reinstate golf — 72 holes of stroke play for 60 men and 60 women — superstar Michelle Wie and champion Padraig Harrington urged their sport’s inclusion before the International Olympic Committee. But the vote covered only 2016 and 2020; another vote will be held next year to decide if it will be back in 2024.

Rugby also makes a comeback

[[377005051, C]]

The last time rugby was played at the Olympics, in 1924, the United States took the title. It won the gold four years earlier too.

Both the U.S. men’s and women’s teams have qualified for Rio.

The teams will play Rugby Sevens, a variant of Rugby Union, in which each team is made up of seven players instead of the usual 15. The rugby last featured at the Olympics was the 15-side version.

Michael Phelps will swim for the USA for the last time

[[377005211, C]]

In his final Games, Phelps would become the first U.S. male swimmer to compete in five Olympics. The most decorated Olympic competitor ever, he has won 18 gold medals, plus two silver and two bronze.

His return follows his second drunk driving arrest two years ago and a stint in rehab. He was suspended for six months from USA Swimming but returned to the pool last spring.

Jillian Macdonald and Nick Zaccardi contributed information to this article.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Kept At Bay By Giants]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:09:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WilMyers1.jpg

Drew Pomeranz did not make it out of the 5th inning Monday but the Padres still had a chance to win their series opener in San Francisco.

With the tying run on 3rd base and Travis Jankowski representing the go-ahead run on 2nd, San Francisco’s Josh Osich and Santiago Casilla maneuvered the Giants out of a dicey 8th inning and back into the win column.

Jemile Weeks and Jose Pirela both struck out and with the exception of a Matt Kemp single in the 9th, the Friars never threatened again, losing 5-4 against their division rivals.

Early on it was Madison Bumgarner and the 3 P’s (Pagan, Pence & Posey). That may sound like a bad band name but those 4 Giants were difference-makers.

Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, and Buster Posey backed their left-handed starting pitcher and helped the Giants jump out in front.

Pagan batted in the 9-hole but collected 3 hits to raise his average to .356.

Pence and Posey each blasted solo homers to the delight of the home crowd.

Pence went yard against Pomeranz while Posey hit his homer off Carlos Villanueva (the 3rd long ball he’s allowed in his last 2 appearances).

Pomeranz was tagged with 3 earned runs and 7 hits in 4.2 innings of work. The lefty has been the team's best starting pitcher so far this year but Monday he did not have his best outing.

Wil Myers extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the 3rd. The base knock came shortly after Jon Jay got the Padres on the board by smacking a RBI single up the middle. That plated starting second baseman Jemile Weeks to make it 1-1.

Kemp narrowly missed a 3-run home run in the 3rd inning by about a foot but was robbed by centerfielder Denard Span along the centerfield wall. The clutch defensive play prevented the Padres from taking a 4-1 lead and easily would have changed the entire complexion of the game.

James Shields opposes Johnny Cueto on Tuesday evening. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MJ's Minute- Boxing Great Oscar De La Hoya Weighs in on Canelo Alvarez's Next Fight]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 22:44:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MJsMinuteCaneloNew_1200x675_673688643924.jpg In this edition of MJ’s Minute Lineal Middleweight Champion Saul Canelo Alvarez trains for his upcoming fight against Amir Khan and former champ Oscar de la Hoya shares his insight into the new generation of fighters. Three days before the N-F-L Draft and all eyes are on the Chargers.]]> <![CDATA[NFL Team Wants Supreme Court to Take Trademark Case]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 01:42:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-453831984.jpg

The Washington Redskins want the Supreme Court to take up their trademark battle with the government over whether their name is offensive, which could jeopardize whether the team can make money from the name.

The case, in which the U.S. Patent Office found the name was derogatory to Native Americans, is supposed to be heard by a Richmond appeals court. But according to court documents reviewed by NBC News, lawyers for the team want the Supreme Court to intervene.

Attorneys said the high court may take up a similar case from a rock band fighting a battle over their name, The Slants, which the founder says reclaims a slur against Asians; the attorneys want the two cases heard together, since they may hinge on the same 1946 law.

The Redskins' legal battle started last year when the U.S. Patent and Trademark office rejected the Redskins trademark, agreeing with five Native American people who said the name is offensive. 

The patent ruling, if upheld, would not mean the team must change its name, only that it could not protect its trademark from others using it.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers To Host NFL Draft Party at SeaWorld]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:10:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/LT-Chargers-Rally-0423-2.jpg

The San Diego Chargers will host an exclusive draft party for season ticket holders Thursday. 

The draft party will take place Thursday, April 28 at SeaWorld San Diego from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fans can watch the Chargers make their first selection in the opening round.

Fans will be able to watch the entire first round unfold on the giant video screen in Shamu Stadium. The event will feature live NFL Draft coverage, appearances by current and former Chargers as well as Charger Girls. 

During the event, Chargers officials say guests also will have the opportunity to sign the Citizens’ Initiative, a ballot initiative to build a multi-use stadium and convention facility in the East Village. 

The Chargers stadium initiative needs 67,000 signatures to get on the November ballot, and signature gatherers started heading out across San Diego - outside supermarkets, Walmarts and others stores - trying to get people to sign starting Sunday.

The Bolts currently own the third overall pick. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Boxing Champ Canelo Alvarez Hosts Media Workout in National City]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 15:48:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/GettyImages-513073174.jpg

With a full mariachi band playing, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the Lineal Middleweight World Champion out of Guadalajara walked into his training session.

Canelo is set for a headlining fight in Las Vegas against Amir Khan in just over a week. Monday afternoon the defending champ greeted fans and international press at House of Boxing training center in National City.

Canelo is the favorite coming into this fight, but Khan is known for his footwork and being an elusive fighter. It’s a classic speed vs power matchup. Former boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya is promoting the fight through his company, Golden Boy Promotions and was on hand to offer his perspective. “Boxing has evolved in such a way where you have these fighters who are incredible athletes. Back when I was fighting we were chopping wood,” says De La Hoya. “It’s incredible the evolution has been amazing. It’s really fun to watch with Canelo Alvarez when I watch him train here in San Diego where he calls home now, what he’s doing is just amazing.”

Khan is known as a fighter who surprises his opponents with his speed but Canelo says he isn’t worried saying, “My preparation never changes. I always train at 100% because sometimes the one you think will do the least is the one who does the most. So I’m always training at 100 percent and I’m ready to get into the ring and give the best of myself no matter who it is.”

As Canelo left the training center he stopped to take pictures and sign a few autographs. But even through his grin you can see his focus. This fight will be challenge on both sides. Not even De La Hoya can call it but says, “Those two guys have to fight the perfect fight and I just don’t know who’s going to win.”

Canelo vs Khan will take place Saturday, May 7 at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Split With Byron Scott]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 04:05:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lakers-fire-coach-Byron-Scott.jpg

Los Angeles Lakers had fired head coach Byron Scott after his two seasons in charge of the team led to the two worst seasons in the history of the franchise, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports was first to report on Sunday. 

Later in the evening, the team confirmed that it had opted not to pick up the option of Scott's contract, effectively vacating to position.

In his first season in charge, Scott led Los Angeles to the franchise's first 60-loss season: 21-61. In his second season in charge of the purple and gold, the 55-year-old finished worse: 17-65. Scott will not get a third season in charge.

The Inglewood native and former player with the Lakers earned a great deal of criticism in his tough approach with rookie guard D'Angelo Russell and second year forward Julius Randle. Though both players improved over the course of the season, Scott's decision to remove both players from the starting lineup early in the season did not appear to sit well with a loud segment of fans and national basketball writers.

In truth, the poor display of basketball over two seasons had a segment of fans marveling at how Scott retained his position for two full seasons. Scott’s 38-126 (.227) record over two seasons was largely overshadowed by Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Scott's relationship with Bryant likely helped the coach keep his job in the face of the worst season in franchise history and a consistently horrific product on the court.

After the season, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak stated that Lakers executive vice-president of basketball operations Jim Buss would join him and take time to meet with Scott over the coming weeks. Just shy of 10 days after Kupchak commented on the season review process, the Lakers made the change.

Over those 10 days, however, the Lakers' front office drew a great deal of criticism for not announcing the separation sooner. Two prominent coaches linked with the Lakers, Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks, accepted positions in Minnesota and Washington, respectively. With Scott's departure, however, LA should be linked with nearly every top assistant and out of work coach, including Jeff Van Gundy and Ettore Messina, the latter of whom is currently an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. 

Yahoo! Sports first reported Scott's firing on Sunday night. Shortly thereafter, the team confirmed the report by stating that the "Lakers have decided not to pick up the option for the 2016-17 season on the contract of Head Coach Byron Scott."

Kupchak said in a statement, "We would like to thank Byron for his hard work, dedication and loyalty over the last two years, but have decided it is in the best interest of the organization to make a change at this time."

Though technically not "fired," Scott had previously shared his desire to return to coach the team for a third season. The decision not to retain his services is effectively the equivalent of firing the coach.

Also in their statement, the Lakers stated that the search for a new coach would begin "immediately."



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers, Fans Flock to Signature Rally for Stadium]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 00:06:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Philip-Rivers-Chargers-Rally-0423.jpg

The Chargers – including quarterback Philip Rivers and alum LaDainian Tomlinson – made a big push Saturday to gather signatures in support of the team’s campaign for a new stadium.

The Bolts held a lively rally to collect signatures in the parking lot at 13th and K streets in downtown San Diego’s East Village, the potential site of the new stadium.

In addition to Rivers and Tomlinson, another huge name was on hand at the event: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was there supporting the team well before the event kicked off.

Chargers fans flooded the parking lot, decked out in Bolts gear, cheering for the team and the plans to build a new stadium.

Speaker after speaker, the fans went wild.

Among the podium lineup was Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos.

"Once we win this – I assure you, there’s going to be a stadium right where we’re standing here," Spanos told the screaming crowd. "It’s going to be something San Diego will be proud of for years to come.”

The fact that Goodell is attending the event speaks volumes about how seriously the league wants to be in America’s Finest City. During the last year, Goodell has said multiple times the NFL does not see Qualcomm Stadium as an acceptable venue for a professional football facility, calling it “unsatisfactory and inadequate.”

In the aftermath of the NFL owners voting to allow the Rams to move to the Los Angeles market and build a new stadium in Inglewood, Goodell released a statement encouraging Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos to try and work out a new stadium deal in San Diego:

“We are very supportive of the decision by Dean Spanos to continue his efforts in San Diego and work with local leaders to develop a permanent stadium solution. NFL ownership has committed $300 million to assist in the cost of building a new stadium in San Diego. I have pledged the league's full support in helping Dean to fulfill his goal.”

Goodell traveling here to make good on that promise shows the NFL is committed to being in San Diego for the long haul, even if the Chargers are not and end up moving the L.A. to join the Rams in their new facility.

After Spanos, Goodell took the podium and voiced his feelings on keeping the Chargers in San Diego.

"This is just the beginning. We all salute Dean Spanos’ decision to stay with and make it work with the Chargers in San Diego," Goodell told the fans. "The Chargers do belong here in San Diego."

Goodell said the new stadium would be "the perfect place for the Super Bowl."

"Super Bowl! Super Bowl! Super Bowl!" the crowd chanted.

Goodell then introduced Tomlinson to the stage, who traveled from Texas to San Diego to help the team with the rally.

"San Dieeeegoooooo!" LT yelled at the crowd. "Fifty-five years the Chargers have been in this community, which happens to be the late Junior Seau’s number, 55. If Junior was here, you know where he would be, he would be sitting right here, probably going from each door in the community to get your vote.”

LT talked about how many great football players San Diego has cultivated over the past 55 years.

"What I’m telling you is, let’s build a stadium for the next 55 years, so we can have more great players in this community. You deserve it," he added. "Thank you so much San Diego, I love you!"

Rivers, the final speaker and headliner at the rally, followed LT.

As the crowd chanted "MVP!" Rivers said, "I wish we played this afternoon."

Rivers said he has been proud to call San Diego home for the past 12 years. He said at the Bolts' final game last season, the team thought their run in San Diego "might be over."

Now, he said there's hope again thanks to, in his words, "what the team means to the community and what the community means to the team."

“We’re gonna win a lot of football games – this year and the next,” Rivers said. "I know there’s a lot of work to be done. Let’s get it done! I hope I’m still around to play in it. Let’s get it done together.

"Can’t wait to see ya’ll out there this fall. Go Chargers!" he added.

Other speakers at the signature drive included Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Darrell Issa and Congressman Juan Vargas.

Noticeably absent was San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, as some people in the crowd held up signs that read, "Where's Kevin?" Vargas urged the mayor to get on board with the stadium plan.

Fred Mast, special advisor the the Chargers, also said a few words.

Peters, Issa, Vargas and Mast all encouraged registered San Diego voters to sign the petition for the new stadium plan.

Before the rally began, Spanos shook hands with fans, posed for photos and signed autographs.

Approximately 67,000 valid signatures from registered voters in San Diego are required for the initiative to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot. The initiative would increase San Diego's hotel room tax by 4 percent to help pay for the project.

Despite the fan turnout, not everyone rallies behind the Chargers' plan for the new stadium.

April Boling, a board member of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, released this statement about why she won't support the initiative.

“I want the Chargers to remain in San Diego and I support a reasonable public contribution for a stadium, but I won’t sign the Chargers’ measure because it is not a good deal for taxpayers,” Boling said, part.

"If voters think the Chargers have presented a good deal for San Diego they should sign the team’s measure and vote for it in November, but if they don't they should decline and spare taxpayers the costs of placing it on the ballot," she added.

On Thursday, the Chargers released the first conceptual renderings of their stadium and Convention Center proposal, paid for by Citizens for Sports, Entertainment and Tourism, with major funding by Chargers Football Company, LLC.

NBC 7 spoke with Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco Friday, who said Saturday’s event would be a crucial step in securing public support for a new Chargers stadium amid months and months of controversy over the matter.

"We know what’s at stake here. We know that’s a big part of this, is a winning product on the field that the fans are proud of. That’s our job. That’s going to be key," Telesco told NBC 7.

 “[Saturday's event is] very important but, like I said, our job is the field, hopefully that gets people excited. So I have to handle what we can handle," he added.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Feats of Architecture: 11 Summer Olympic Stadiums]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 11:49:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508730980-nrazil.jpg Cities that host the Olympics spend millions or billions of dollars building stadiums. The Bird's Nest in Beijing is among the most unique, but all of them are impressive. Take a look at venues from the most recent Summer Olympic Games as we gear up for the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Decades After Chernobyl, Another Chance for Paralympian ]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 07:32:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_16113695576026-oksana.jpg

There was no stuffed animal to hug. Constant hunger pains. Hope that a mom would show up and rescue her.

Those were some of the memories that flooded back when Paralympian Oksana Masters recently returned to Ukraine, where she spent her first seven and a half years shuttled among three orphanages. Masters visited with orphaned children that stared at her with an "Are you here to adopt me?" gaze.

Two decades ago, that face was hers.

She was adopted by an American woman who took in a malnourished Masters with birth defects believed to be from the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. On the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl this week, Masters is now in a much different place.

She's become a three-time Paralympic medalist in rowing and cross-country skiing, with her sights now set on making the cycling squad for the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games later this summer. She's appeared in ESPN The Magazine Body Issue.

Above all else: She has a mother.

"My mom literally saved my life," the 26-year-old Masters said recently before a training session at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. "I wasn't supposed to make it out of the orphanage."

Her journey began because of a black-and-white photo that Gay Masters saw through a Ukrainian adoption notebook. That picture of Oksana — circa age 5 — captured the heart of a speech pathologist who was teaching in Buffalo, New York, at the time. Oksana was born with webbed fingers, no thumbs, six toes on each foot, deformed legs, one kidney and only parts of her stomach.

She was perfect. The match was perfect.

Adopting her, though, was quite a saga. With the Ukrainian government placing a moratorium on foreign adoptions, Gay Masters had to wait 2½ years to bring her home. She sent care packages all the time, stuffed with teddy bears and other treats.

The little girl never got them.

She simply thought she was on her own again. That is, until one night at 11:30 p.m., with all the paperwork finally approved, Gay arrived to take her new daughter home.

"The adoption agency kept saying, 'You can go to Russia and get a baby now,'" Gay said in a phone interview from her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where they moved when Oksana was a teenager. 

"But that was my daughter. I couldn't abandon her."

At the time, the child weighed about 35 pounds — healthy for a 3-year-old, not so much for someone who was nearly 8.

"I know friends who didn't make it out and died," she said. "I watched that."

The new mom and daughter didn't speak the same language but found a way to communicate through gestures and by pointing at phrases in a book. It didn't take long for them to get on the same page and settle into their new life.

It was around that time when a dentist discovered the root cause of Oksana's birth defects. She was missing the enamel from her teeth due to radiation. Being from the region near Chernobyl, it wasn't hard to make the connection with the world's worst nuclear accident, which occurred on April 26, 1986. They believe her birth mom either lived in an area that was contaminated or ingested produce that was riddled with radiation, leading to in utero radiation poisoning.

"As a child, I didn't think about (Chernobyl) because I didn't know what it was. Being older and educated more what it was, knowing now how it is still affecting that whole area, it's just jaw dropping," said Oksana, who's from Khmelnytskiy in western Ukraine.

She was born with tibial hemimelia, which resulted in different leg lengths. She got by as a child by fusing her ankles so she walked on tippy toes, but her body could no longer support her weight. She had her left leg amputated near the knee at 9 and the right one at the same spot five years later.

About that time, she discovered rowing. The pull of the oars and the push against the water became a release, a "healing from my past," she said. Oksana became good in no time.

Before the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, Gay gave her a replica Olympic medal that once belonged to Gay's parents. She taped it inside the boat for good luck during races. Oksana and her rowing partner, Rob Jones, who lost both legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan while in the U.S. Marine Corps, wound up with bronze.

"I kept saying: 'Is it really true? Is it really true?'" Gay recalled. "It's just indescribable, how amazing it was."

Two years later in Sochi at the Paralympic Winter Games, Oksana captured silver and bronze in cross-country skiing.

And now onto a new challenge. She's a strong candidate to make the Paralympic cycling squad, with a final opportunity to qualify for the U.S. team in Charlotte, North Carolina, in July.

"I do think about Rio," she said. "I want to be there. But I don't want to get my hopes up."

A coping mechanism from her days in the orphanage: whenever a visitor arrived, they would put her in a dress and place a bow on her head.

"Every child looked at the next person that comes in as, 'Are you going to be my new mom?'" she said. "Every kid wants that."

Going back last October was overwhelming — and therapeutic. She talked with wounded soldiers from the conflict in eastern Ukraine and spent time with children in an orphanage.

"I often look back and just think, 'I can't believe this is my life right now,'" Oksana said.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>