The Sports Report: Big Ten jump protected UCLA Olympic sports

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Hello, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s go straight to the news.

From Jack Harris: They were two of baseball’s biggest All-Star snubs.

Now Freddie Freeman and Will Smith are the Dodgers’ top two hitters.

Chance?

“I don’t think either player will admit it,” manager Dave Roberts said, “but whatever a player can use to motivate him, to get through the grind of a season, I think it’s an advantage.”

It certainly benefited the Dodgers on Thursday, when Freeman and Smith both continued their streak form with two-hit games in the Dodgers’ 4-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

As Roberts suspected, each player dismissed the idea that missing the All-Star Game had motivated them this week.

“Even going into it…I was starting to feel better and better,” said Freeman, who has been on a breakneck pace since the All-Star teams were announced on Sunday. “It just happens to have clicked the same day.”

Smith echoed, “No, I don’t think that’s it. I try to go there every day, same attitude, same state of mind.

Still, their recent tears are helping the Dodgers (58-30) reach the midseason break in a flurry, with the team now having won four straight series and 13 of its last 15 games.

“These guys use it, maybe, as a little fuel,” Roberts said. “And we are the beneficiaries.”

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Their shining moment quickly faded. The history of the 1980 All-Star Game starting pitchers

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ANGELS

From Sarah Valenzuela: The Home Run Derby bracket was announced on Thursday. Notably missing from that final list was Shohei Ohtani, who fans were hoping would make another appearance at the All-Star Week event.

Last spot went to Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager, who will make just his second Derby appearance since 2016, when he won National League Rookie of the Year as a Dodger.

Ohtani on Wednesday said he still hasn’t made a decision whether or not to take part in this year’s Derby as he doesn’t know how long he will play in the All-Star Game the next day.

With the Derby now settled, fans can continue to wait to find out when Ohtani will pitch and DH in the All-Star Game.

On Thursday, before the Angels’ 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros, American League All-Star Game manager Dusty Baker said Ohtani was ready to do whatever Baker wanted him to do.

“I’m just glad he’s on my side for at least a day against the other side because, man, he can throw,” Baker said.

SOCCER

From Kevin Baxter: Think of the CONCACAF W Championship as a game of musical chairs. It started last week with eight teams around four seats, each representing a spot in next summer’s World Cup.

These have all been claimed.

Now the music picks up a bit and the pace picks up a bit, because with wins in Thursday’s semifinals, the United States and Canada are the only teams still in contention. And the chair they surround represents the region’s only automatic spot at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Who gets that seat will be decided in Monday’s tournament final.

The top-seeded USA, which like Canada have already clinched a World Cup berth, advanced with a 3-0 victory over Costa Rica in front of a small crowd at the massive Estadio Universitario. Canada, ranked sixth in the world, followed with their own win over Jamaica.

The last time the teams met was in last summer’s Olympic semi-finals, a match Canada won en route to a gold medal. But for striker Alex Morgan, Monday’s rematch isn’t so much about settling the last Olympics as it is about qualifying for the next one.

“The rivalry has definitely intensified over the past two years. But it’s not really about looking back, it’s about looking forward,” she said. “Look at this team. There are a lot of girls who weren’t even there last year.

“This will be an opportunity for us to get our ticket to the Olympics. [and] prove to ourselves and the world why we have this #1 ranking.”

BRITISH OPEN

From Sam Farmer: Tiger Woods likes the Old Course.

He doesn’t always love her back.

Thursday was one of those tough days – far more tumultuous than the mild weather – as Woods straight away took a bad break and then struggled to find his touch on the surprisingly slow greens, shooting a 78 at six over par which puts him in danger of missing the cut at the British Open.

“Well, probably the highest score I could have shot,” he said after a round that included two bogeys and two double bogeys in the first seven holes. “I didn’t get off to a good start. Hit a good tee shot 1, found himself right in the middle of a new divot.

The combination of an imperfect shot off that divot and a wall of wind caused him to one-shot his next shot into the Swilcan Burn that crosses the course.

It was ominous for a player who won two of his three Claret pitchers at St. Andrews. He is one of only two players to have won several Opens there, along with Jack Nicklaus.

Woods had several putts and often missed the holeshot.

“I struggled to hit putts hard enough,” he said. “They looked faster than they put on, and I struggled with that.”

American Cameron Young had a day the opposite of Woods, shooting a 64. Quite a start. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that -8 was the lowest British Open first-round score by a player since 1934.

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ATHLETICS

From Andrew Greif: The acting president of the Ukrainian athletics federation tuned into the Zoom meeting from his olive green tent near the front lines, the country’s yellow and blue flag in the background.

Since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, in deadly areas such as Bucha and Irpin, Yevhen Pronin has spent his nights flying drones to carry out reconnaissance on Russian positions, and his days are devoted to his other tasks. . At 9 a.m., he checks in remotely with his law firm. Next, the 31-year-old turns to the leadership of his country’s biggest sports federation.

Since February, Pronin has helped organize evacuations across Europe for 320 track and field athletes, a number that did not include families or coaches. In March, he addressed a council of European athletics leaders in Munich. Then he was back on the battlefront, this time in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, following Russian troops who had gathered and fortified their positions.

“I’m staying here because I know we’ll win this war and everything will be fine,” Pronin said. “The question is the price of this victory.”

It is a victory that Pronin and his compatriots seek on two fronts, both militarily and symbolically. In a wounded country, he and other Ukrainian officials and athletes believe it is possible to claim territory, whether around battered towns or atop an athletics podium.

“If we win, if our athletes can do the interview, can raise a flag, that’s a good position,” he said. “…I understand that this will be a great emotional signal to the whole world.”

It’s a Pronin and Ukrainian athletes hope to send again this week when the World Outdoor Championships in Athletics take place in the United States for the first time. Elite international competitions often attempt to present themselves as safe spaces from politics, but what track and field fans around the world will see inside Oregon’s Hayward Field will unequivocally reflect the events unfolding. still on the other side of the world.

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and finally

Some creative plays in MLB. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

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