- Associated Press - Friday, October 23, 2020

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) - Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been voted Marvin Miller Man of the Year and Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has been picked as Player of the Year in annual Players Choice award voting by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Freeman was voted the National League’s outstanding player, Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer outstanding pitcher, San Diego infielder Jake Cronenworth outstanding rookie and Colorado pitcher Daniel Bard comeback player.

Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu was voted the American League’s outstanding player, Cleveland’s Shane Bieber outstanding pitcher, Seattle outfielder Kyle Lewis outstanding rookie and Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco comeback player.

NFL



The NFL has shifted the Las Vegas game against Tampa Bay out of prime time after several Raiders players have been unable to practice this week because of contact tracing from the coronavirus.

The game in Las Vegas was originally scheduled to be played at 5:20 p.m. PDT Sunday night in the national television window on NBC but now has been moved to 1:05 p.m. PDT in a regional window on Fox.

The game between the Seahawks and Cardinals in Arizona has been moved into the prime-time window.

NHL

The NHL on Thursday canceled the Winter Classic scheduled for Jan. 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis and All-Star Weekend that was set for late January in Sunrise, Florida.

The league said those moves don’t change the league and players’ target date to begin on or around Jan. 1 in the hopes of each team playing a full 82-game season.

No guarantee of being able to host fans led to the cancellation of the two signature events. The league hopes to bring them back to those cities in future years.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Picking the car number for Michael Jordan’s new NASCAR team was a slam dunk: Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 23 car when the team makes its debut next season.

Jordan named his team 23XI Racing - that’s pronounced twenty-three eleven - in honor of both his retired uniform number with the Chicago Bulls and the car number of his partner and three-time Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin.

Jordan and Hamlin announced last month they had formed a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University is dropping swimming and diving teams for men and women after the 2020-21 season, officials said Thursday.

“MSU athletics is facing a financial crisis unlike any we’ve ever seen in college athletics,” athletic director Bill Beekman and President Samuel Stanley Jr. said, citing the impact of COVID-19.

No one will lose a scholarship if they remain as students, the university said. Counseling and mental health services will also be available.

The swimming/diving teams cost $2.07 million in 2018-19. Dropping the teams will improve the athletic department’s long-term finances, MSU said.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Holiday Bowl has become the fourth bowl game to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Holiday Bowl officials announced Thursday that the board of directors voted unanimously to cancel what would have been the 43rd straight edition of the game. It would have been the first year of a six-year deal to match teams from the Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference.

Bowl officials had been seeking a suitable place to play after San Diego State announced it was closing SDCCU Stadium, formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium, two seasons earlier than planned to expedite construction of its new 35,000 seat stadium as part of a campus expansion in Mission Valley.

MMA

SINGAPORE (AP) - One Championship is ready to welcome back fans, with 250 ‘Superfan’ tickets going on sale for its Inside the Matrix promotion next week.

The return of spectators for the Oct. 30 event follows a production on Oct. 9 that was held without an audience at the indoor stadium, and the Singapore Government’s decision to pilot the use of pre-event COVID-19 testing including the use of antigen rapid tests.

Paying spectators have been locked out of events in Singapore since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered sports in March.

SAILING

LONDON (AP) - The SailGP global league plans to have at least one woman on every crew during the 2021 season.

It is the first major diversity, equity and inclusion initiative for SailGP, which staged its first championship in 2019 before postponing its second season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coutts, a five-time winner of the America’s Cup, said high-performance racing such as SailGP, which is contested in foiling, 50-foot catamarans, has been predominantly dominated by men, resulting in an experience gap among genders.

“All genders can, and should, be equal in this sport, and we must therefore provide the opportunity necessary to close that gap,” Coutts said. “It is imperative that we break existing boundaries in the sport to create a more inclusive environment overall.”

Beginning in early November, SailGP will host the first in a series of women’s invitational camps that will eventually be conducted in each team market - Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.

SPORTS TELEVISION

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - The World Series drew a record-low audience of television viewers for the second straight night.

Tampa Bay’s 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 on Wednesday night was seen by an average of 8,950,000 viewers on Fox, receiving a 5.0 rating and 11 share, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Still, Fox won the prime-time evening with its best performance on a Wednesday night since May.

The two-game average is 9,070,000 viewers.

Los Angeles’ opening 8-3 victory on Tuesday was seen by an average of 9,195,000 viewers on Fox from 8:06 p.m. to 11:41 p.m. EDT, receiving a 5.1 rating and 11 share.

SPORTS BUSINESS

DENVER (AP) - The home of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche is being renamed Ball Arena as part of a global partnership with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

The arena has been known as the Pepsi Center since it opened on Oct. 1, 1999. It also holds concerts and family entertainment events and houses indoor lacrosse team Colorado Mammoth.

Ball Corporation and KSE announced the naming rights deal Thursday. In addition, the partnership includes aluminum beverage packaging deals with Arsenal of soccer’s Premier League, which plays in London’s Emirates Stadium, and with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams in their new home, SoFi Stadium.

COURTS

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Former San Francisco 49er Dana Stubblefield was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Thursday for raping a developmentally disabled woman who prosecutors said he lured to his home with the promise of a babysitting job.

The sentence was issued by a judge in San Jose after denying a defense motion for a new trial, the Mercury News reported. Last week, the Sixth District Court of Appeal denied a related petition filed on behalf of Stubblefield by his attorneys.

A jury in July found Stubblefield, 49, guilty of raping the woman with the threat of a gun. He was also convicted of forcible oral copulation and false imprisonment.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former NASCAR driver Eric McClure pleaded no contest this week to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge and was sentenced to probation, according to a Virginia prosecutor, in a court hearing that was long delayed by McClure’s state lawmaker attorney.

The Associated Press has previously reported that McClure’s appeals trial after his conviction in a lower court for assault and battery against his now-estranged wife was pushed back over and over again. His attorney, state Del. Jeff Campbell, repeatedly invoked a privilege of his office that grants legislator-lawyers broad discretion to obtain continuances in their cases.

OBITUARY

NEW YORK (AP) - Bill Mathis, a versatile running back and an original member of the New York Jets franchise, has died. He was 81.

The team announced Mathis’ death Tuesday on Wednesday night. There was no cause of death given, but the team said Mathis had long been dealing with several health issues.

Mathis played his entire career in New York, joining the then-Titans in 1960 and helping the Jets win the Super Bowl in 1969 before retiring after the following season. He was the franchise’s first team MVP in 1961 and was selected an AFL All-Star in 1961 and ’63.

Mathis rushed for 3,589 yards and 37 touchdowns in 10 seasons, and caught 149 passes for 1,775 yards and nine scores.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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