Sports

Sports broadcaster Jerry Howath won’t mouth ‘Indians’ as Blue Jays take on Cleveland in ALCS

TORONTO – Blue Jays broadcaster Jerry Howarth won’t be using the word “Indians” when he calls the American League Championship Series between Toronto and Cleveland, and he says he hasn’t uttered the team nickname on the air for nearly 25 years.

Howarth told The Fan 590 on Tuesday that he stopped using team names like Indians and Braves and terms such as tomahawk chop and powwow on the mound after receiving a letter from an aboriginal fan after Toronto defeated Atlanta in the 1992 World Series.

He called it “one of the best fan letters I’ve ever received.”

“He said ‘Jerry, I appreciate your work but in the World Series, it was so offensive to have the tomahawk chop and to have people talk about the powwows on the mound and then the Cleveland Indians logo and the Washington Redskins.’ He just wrote it in such a loving, kind way. He said ‘I would really appreciate it if you would think about what you say with those teams.”‘

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Sidney Crosby cementing place as 'best player of his generation'

Sidney Crosby has been surrounded by the best hockey players on the planet at the World Cup of Hockey, and still seems as if he is in a class by himself.

"He's probably the best player of our generation," Canada goaltender Carey Price said.

The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar has a World Cup-high nine points — two more than anyone else — and is within a win of adding another accomplishment to his Hockey Hall of Fame-ready resume. Canada will play Team Europe in Game 2 Thursday night, leading the best-of-three series 1-0.

The eight-nation European team has been led lately by Tomas Tatar, who scored his team's only goal in a 3-1 loss Tuesday night. The Slovakian forward scored twice, including the game-winner, in a 3-2 overtime victory over Sweden in the semifinals on Sunday.

Tatar, who plays for the Detroit Red Wings, acknowledged he is inspired by Crosby's greatness. And he knows slowing Crosby down is a key to forcing a Game 3 on Saturday night.

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Blue Jays blow late lead as Orioles tighten AL playoff race

Significant cracks are forming in the Toronto Blue Jays' bullpen and the timing couldn't be worse.

Reliever Jason Grilli gave up a solo shot to Mark Trumbo in the eighth inning and closer Roberto Osuna allowed a two-run homer to Hyun Soo Kim in the ninth as Baltimore came back to edge Toronto 3-2 on Wednesday night.

The loss left the Blue Jays (87-71) clinging to a one-game lead over the Orioles (86-72) for the first wild-card spot and makes Thursday's series finale even more important. The Detroit Tigers also won on Wednesday, beating Cleveland 6-3 in a five-inning rain-shortened game, moving them two games back of Toronto. 

"It was two good teams battling," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "It came down to the end. They got the big home run there. Two teams with a lot at stake and they came up with the big blow."

With reliever Joaquin Benoit out for at least two weeks with a torn calf, Grilli and Osuna (3-3) are under even more pressure late in games. But Grilli was touched up in a loss to New York on Monday, a day after Osuna's blown save nearly resulted in another defeat.

Gibbons used his bullpen frequently earlier this month when the team was struggling. Fatigue may be becoming a significant issue.

"There is a lot that goes into this and this is the time when it's the hardest," Grilli said. "You dig down deep and you go on pure adrenalin and pure guts. You try to make pitches, you try to give your all and that's what's happening.

"We're doing that. The effort hasn't changed."

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Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers of all time, dies at 87

Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers ever to pick up a club and the object of a massive fan base that called itself “Arnie’s Army” as he recorded seven major victories, died Sunday at 87 in Pittsburgh, according to the United States Golf Association.

Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, told the Associated Press that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems. Johnson said Palmer was admitted to the hospital Thursday for some cardiovascular work and weakened over the last few days.

Born in Latrobe, Pa., Palmer’s endearing personality and skill on the links earned him the nickname “The King,” during a career whose beginning coincided with the birth of television sports. Along the way, he became one of the wealthiest celebrity endorsers, a philanthropist, golf course designer and pilot.

Palmer’s long string of victories on the PGA tour began in 1955, and he became one of the sport’s most recognizable personalities, along with Jack Nicklaus. Palmer’s charismatic personality also made him a sought after pitchman, for several products, perhaps most famously Quaker State motor oil.

"Arnold Palmer was the everyday man's hero," Nicklaus said. "From the modest upbringing, Arnold embodied the hard-working strength of America."

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Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks dead after Calgary nightclub shooting

Mylan Hicks, a player for the Calgary Stampeders, was killed in a shooting at theMarquee Beer Market early Sunday morning.

Police said they were called to the southeast nightclub just after 2:30 a.m. MT on Sunday following reports someone had been shot.

Investigators said the victim was rushed to the Foothills hospital with critical injuries where he later died.

Calgary Police Insp. Don Coleman said at a news conference that the altercation began in the bar before moving outside where it escalated and ultimately led to Hicks’ death.

He also said police already have three suspects in custody.

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Canada doubles up U.S. to eliminate Americans from World Cup of Hockey

TORONTO – The United States has been eliminated from contention at the World Cup of Hockey after a 4-2 loss to Canada on Tuesday night that featured a clinical, dominant performance by the tournament favourite.

The U.S. (0-2) couldn’t keep up with Canada’s talent, depth or speed in a game it needed to win to stay alive. Canada and Team Europe clinched spots in the semifinals, while the Americans are left to analyze what went wrong on the international stage yet again.

Matt Duchene scored twice and Corey Perry and Patrice Bergeron each had a goal for Canada, which got 34 saves from Carey Price. U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 30 shots, keeping the game from becoming even more of a blowout.

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Happ gets 20th win, Blue Jays take over 1st AL wild-card spot

J.A. Happ had a long wait between innings, and it was totally worth it for him and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Happ became the major leagues’ second 20-game winner and Russell Martin and Michael Saunders each hit a two-run homer, lifting Toronto over the Seattle Mariners 10-2 on Tuesday night to move into first in the AL wild-card race.

Toronto moved a game ahead of Baltimore and remained 2 1/2 games ahead of Detroit. Seattle lost for the fourth time in five games and trails Toronto by four games.

Happ was the patient beneficiary when the Jays took the lead with an eight-run fourth inning.

“I actually came back up in the tunnel here and threw a little bit with Josh Thole trying to keep my arm loose,” Happ said. “But, when we’re scoring eight an inning, or six an inning, not sure which one it was, but I’ll definitely take that any day.”

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Durant runs in overtime winner, Roughriders beat Eskimos to snap losing skid

Darian Durant’s six-yard touchdown run in overtime gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders an improbable 26-23 comeback victory over the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday afternoon.

Saskatchewan’s victory snapped a seven-game losing skid and improved the team’s record to 2-10. It was Durant’s first win as a starter since mid-way through the 2014 season.

The Eskimos have lost three straight and sit at 5-7.

The Riders trailed by seven with less than five minutes remaining the game. Armanti Edwards, playing in his first game for Saskatchewan, took the ball around the left end on a sweep for a five-yard touchdown. Tyler Crapigna’s convert tied the game at 20-20 with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter.

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Sidney Crosby dominates in Canada’s 6-0 win in Hockey World Cup

TORONTO – Sidney Crosby couldn’t be stopped in Team Canada’s World Cup of Hockey opener.

The Canadian captain was on the ice for four goals against the Czech Republic, finishing with one goal and two assists in a 6-0 win on Saturday evening.

It was the same kind of dominant performance Crosby offered at the end of the last NHL season, in which the now-29-year-old won the Conn Smythe Trophy in helping the Pittsburgh Penguins to a second Stanley Cup.

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews and Alex Pietrangelo also scored for the Canadians, while Carey Price pitched a 27-save shutout.

Michal Neuvirth made 44 saves in defeat, with Canada outshooting the Czechs 50-27.

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Miami Dolphins’ players should ‘give up’ freedom of speech on the field: police union

Three members of Miami Dolphins continued to kneel in protest during the American national anthem before Sunday’s game, despite criticism from their local police.

Safety Michael Thomas, wide receiver Kenny Stills and running back Arian Foster also knelt last week, during the first game of the season, following 49er’s Colin Kaepernick’s lead in protest of racial inequality in the United Sates.

But the local union for the Broward County sheriff’s office, which provides team-sponsored police protection during home games, took issue with the protest. Officials with the union want its officers to stop escorting members until all players stand during the anthem.

“I can only imagine the public outcry if a group of police officers refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or if we turned our back for the American flag for the national anthem. There would be a public outcry and internal affairs complaints a mile long on that,” Jeffery Bell, president of the local police union, told the Miami Herald on Friday.

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Why Does the NFL Test Players for Drugs After Games?

Washington's Josh Norman has a right to be upset

"It's crazy. Don't have anything left in the tank and they want you drug tested? I don't understand it. I don't get it, I really don't. What's a day gonna do? It's stupid," the corner said after his team's 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The league informed him he had to submit to a random drug test after the game, and according to Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Norman had more to say than what he said on record to reporters. 

Every NFL player gets randomly tested at least once a year. And while they shouldn't be able to anticipate exactly when the league is going to pop up and say it's time to let them check for illegal substances, there must be about a thousand better times throughout the season when the test can take place. For instance: any single day that isn't game day, not before or after the player takes the field. As I'm sure the NFL is aware of, there are six other days in the week when players aren't getting battered and bruised, so they should maybe considering then. And while some football fans could use the old, "They're millionaires. They can take a stupid drug test," there is something to be said about giving anybody – rich athletes or not – a little room to breathe.

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Nevada committee approves $750M Vegas stadium plan for Raiders

A plan to build an NFL stadium in Las Vegas and lure the Raiders from Oakland crossed a major hurdle Thursday when a Nevada oversight committee voted unanimously to recommend $750 million in public funding for the project.

The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee recommended raising the hotel tax in the Las Vegas area to help pay for a 65,000-seat domed venue that was promoted and would be partially financed by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Proponents still need to win over the governor, the Legislature and three-quarters of NFL owners to make the project a reality, but it's a significant milestone for a city that's never had a professional football team and has been hammering out the particulars of the Raiders deal for months.

"We get an NFL team, and that is a significant step forward for Las Vegas and the community," committee chairman Steve Hill said about the project's potential. "Those teams bring the community together. We're going to have people wearing Raiders jerseys and high-fiving each other ... That's not something you can put a number on."

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The 'inevitable' crown: Clinching just the beginning for Cubs

CHICAGO -- There was no rush to celebrate on the mound. No dramatic walk-off moment to send the Wrigley faithful into a clinching frenzy. The players didn't even stick around to see if they would end the night as division champions or have to come back to cut that final '1' off the magic number themselves Friday afternoon.

Sure, it's anticlimactic to back into the playoffs, but when you do it on Sept. 15 -- or is it 16 -- it hardly takes away from the sentiment. The Chicago Cubs lost their "clinching" game to the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Thursday night, but when the St. Louis Cardinals fell in San Francisco later in the evening the Cubs could still call themselves NL Central champions.

It was only a couple of days ago, while the Cubs were in the midst of taking two of three from those Cardinals, that outfielder Dexter Fowler declared it was "inevitable" his team would clinch soon enough.

It was an easy statement to make considering it's September and the Cubs held a 17-game lead at the time, but he could have made the same declaration on Aug. 15, July 7 or even all the way back on June 1. The Cubs' first division title since 2008 was months in the making and has felt "inevitable" since their incredible 25-6 start.

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Rams finally return to LA for daunting matchup with Seahawks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation's second-largest city has waited nearly 22 years for Sunday.

When the Rams take the field in a sold-out Coliseum for their first regular-season home game of the season, the NFL will truly, officially return to Los Angeles.

A football-loving town had both of its teams simultaneously taken away by two owners with wanderlust after the 1994 season. ButStan Kroenke has brought the game back to a sprawling town that seems eager to unite behind the Rams.

"We all know it's going to be a great moment to run down that tunnel," said Rams defensive back T.J. McDonald, who went to college in LA. "It's going to be history."

And after all of that cathartic excitement and a pregame concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Rams (0-1) need to make sure they don't get trampled by the Seattle Seahawks.

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NFL announces $100 million concussion initiative

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday an initiative intended to increase the safety of the game, specifically by preventing, diagnosing and treating head injuries.

As part of the initiative, Goodell said, the league and its 32 club owners will provide $100 million in support of engineering advancements and medical research -- in addition to the $100 million previously pledged by the league to medical and neuroscience research.

    The Play Smart Play Safe initiative also requires hiring a physician to serve as the league's chief medical officer. The physician will work with each team's medical staff and establish an independent scientific advisory board to consider head injury research proposals.

    Since 2002, the NFL has made 42 rule changes to protect players, in addition to staffing each game with 29 medical professionals, Goodell noted in his statement.

    Is this new initiative another Hail Mary to assuage critics? The NFL's history suggests that some hard lessons may have been learned.

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    Defending Paralympic basketball gold won't be easy for Canada

    The Canadian men's wheelchair basketball team will be out to defend their gold medal at the Rio Paralympics. Their first round-robin game at the 12-nation tournament is Thursday against No. 4 Spain. Here are five things to know about the Canadian team:

    High turnover

    Canada captured its third gold in four Paralympics in 2012, but much has changed since then for the program, including half of its 12-man roster. After London, the majority of the veterans retired, leaving six players to make their Paralympic debut at Rio. Veterans Adam Lancia and David Eng, who was named Canada's flag-bearer on Tuesday, will be expected to carry much of the offensive workload while rookie Nik Goncin could be a key contributor off the bench. Canada has also slipped out of the top-16 world rankings.

    Tough group

    Canada is in Group A along with Spain, No. 3 Turkey, No. 9 Japan, No. 15 Netherlands and reigning world champion Australia. The No. 1 Aussies and Canada have a deep history at the Paralympics, having met in each of the past three finals, with Canada taking gold in 2004 and 2012 and Australia winning it all in 2008. From Group B, the second-ranked Americans and No. 7 Britain could be Canada's stiffest competition in crossover play. No. 8 Iran, No. 11 Germany, No. 16 Algeria and unranked Brazil round out the second group.

    Coaching change

    Steve Bialowas will be serving as head coach in his first Games after spending time in other numerous roles for Wheelchair Basketball Canada since 2001. Bialowas, from Richmond Hill, Ont., took over for Jerry Tonello in May of 2015 after the long-time coach stepped away because of a brain tumour. The Canadian squad went on to earn silver at last summer's Parapan Am Games under Bialowas and the team dedicated the tournament to Tonello, who died in January.

    Rebuilding

    Repeating as champions or reaching the podium for a fifth straight Games will be a challenge for Canada because of its inexperience. The Canadian squad went into rebuild mode after London and missed out on qualifying for the 2014 world championships, which dropped them out of the top-16 just two years after Paralympic gold. It was the first time the Canadians failed to appear at a world championship since its inception in 1975. Canada eventually qualifed for Rio with its second-place finish at the 2015 Parapan Ams.

    Swan songs

    This could be the last Games for some of Canada's veterans. Lancia, 36, who will be playing in his fourth Games, will no longer have his main focus on training as he will be taking on the head coaching position with the University of Alabama's women's team in the fall. Eng, also entering his fourth Games, will be 43 in 2020, while Abdi Dini, 35, has his sights set on returning to school to complete his education.

    Stampeders beat Eskimos to extend unbeaten streak

    The Calgary Stampeders extended their unbeaten streak to nine in a row with a 45-24 win over the Edmonton Eskimos in Monday's Labour Day game.

    The Stampeders (8-1-1) haven't lost a game since their season-opener against the B.C. Lions. A three-game winning streak ended for the Eskimos (5-5).

    The Stampeders have won seven of the last eight Labour Day games against Edmonton, including five in a row.

    Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell compiled 380 passing yards to join Edmonton counterpart Mike Reilly with over 3,000 passing yards this season.

    Mitchell improved to 36-7-1 as a CFL starter and 17-3 at McMahon Stadium. He threw touchdown passes to Anthony Parker and Bakari Grant in front of an announced 31,440 for an afternoon kickoff.

    Jerome Messam rumbled for a pair of rushing touchdowns late in the fourth quarter and Roy Finch returned a punt to score for the Stampeders.

    Rene Paredes booted field goals from 21, 33 and 24 to get to 31 successful attempts in a row. The Calgary kicker is pursuing his own record of 39 consecutive set over the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

    Reilly ran 19 yards to score with just over three minutes remaining in the game and threw a touchdown pass to Derel Walker.

    Kenny Ladler ran an interception back for an Edmonton touchdown. Reilly totalled 217 passing yards.

    Messam scored rushing touchdowns of 47 and nine yards in the final six minutes and has at least one in each of his last five games.

    Jamar Wall picked off a Reilly pass intended for Adarius Bowman in the end zone in the first minute of the quarter.

    Mitchell faked a hand-off to Messam before throwing to a wide-open Grant for a 21-yard score and a 30-17 lead at 11:34 of the third quarter.

    Rough day for Edmonton

    Little went right for the visitors until late in the first half, when Reilly connected with Walker for a 36-yard pass and Ladler ran an interception back 65 yards in the final three minutes.

    Shaw added an 84-yard punt single to pull the Esks within a converted touchdown, but Calgary led 24-17 at the half.

    Reilly was sacked on back-to-back plays during Edmonton's opening drive and intercepted by Wall again in the second quarter. The Eskimos lost a coach's challenge and thus a timeout in the first quarter.

    Shaw's short punt gave Calgary the ball on Edmonton's 52-yard line. The Stampeders capitalized with their first offensive touchdown of the game.

    Calgary's Finch recovered his own fumble on a punt return and ran for an 85-yard score to end the opening quarter. Mitchell was stopped running for an attempted two-point convert, but his team led 18-0 after the first quarter.

    With Eskimos defensive end Odell Willis on his heels, Mitchell got a 17-yard touchdown pass away to a sliding Parker in the end zone at 13:35.

    The hosts converted a two-point convert on Mitchell's subsequent three-yard toss to Grant. Calgary immediately picked up another single point on a 93-yard kickoff by Paredes.

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    Eagles Rookie Linebacker Myke Tavarres Rescinds Pledge to Sit for National Anthem

    After planning to follow Colin Kaepernick's lead and sit out the national anthem before Thursday's NFL preseason game against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field, an Eagles rookie rescinded his pledge.

    Hours after Myke Tavarres told ESPN on Monday that he planned to sit during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before the Eagles' fourth and final preseason game, his agent, Corey Williams, told a national NFL reporter that his client changed his mind.

    Tavarres, an undrafted linebacker out of the University of the Incarnate Word, was persuaded by his agent as well as former college coaches to reverse his stance, according to NFL.com reporter Mike Garafolo.

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    New Denver Broncos starting QB Trevor Siemian: Who is this guy?

    For Trevor Siemian, this almost never happened. A few times.

    But here he is, the player who is replacing Peyton Manning as starting quarterback for the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

    But who is Siemian and how did he get here?

    “He was pretty darn freaking consistent,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told USA TODAY Sports in a phone conversation. “I mean, really, from the day he showed up until the day that he left. He just approached everything very systematically.”

    At first, Siemian’s laid-back, easy-going nature turned some heads when he first arrived in Evanston, Ill. The folks at Northwestern got used to it. They shrugged their shoulders and repeated a phrase: Trevor being Trevor.

    They used it when Siemian entered a season-opening game in the fourth quarter during his redshirt sophomore season and orchestrated a last-minute victory against Syracuse. When he went up to a tee box to open a round of golf and “piped one down the fairway, three hundred bills, only to go shankapotomus on the next one and instead of cussing, saying: ‘All right, let’s find where that one landed.’ ” When he played pranks on coaches and teammates. When he returned to his high school gym this offseason to work out and throw passes to teenagers.

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    Speed racer: Winnipegger makes history on NASCAR track

    Whether it's the tracks in Manitoba or a NASCAR race, Amber Balcaen has a need for speed.

    The 24-year-old dirt racer from Winnipeg made history this weekend becoming the first Canadian-born woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race in the United States.

    "It has sunk in and it hasn't. I've been smiling for the last two days and I'll be smiling all week," Balcaen said on Sunday.

    "This is something I dreamed of, and I believed that I could achieve it and make it happen. For it to actually become a reality and for me to pull off the win was really a dream come true."

    Balcaen took the title on Saturday in the seven-car Limited Sportsman Field during the NASACR Whelen All-American Series. This means Balcaen is in the first level of NASCAR, and she said her plans are to make it to the top of the five tiers.

    Racing is in Balcaen's blood. Her grandfather and father raced cars and she grew up in a racing family. She started on dirt tracks in go carts and moved onto the speedway in Winnipeg. She made her way into the races down south and transitioned to NASCAR earlier this year.

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