Cubs

Runner DQ'd from race for using public transit

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Runner DQ'd from race for using public transit

From Comcast SportsNet

LONDON (AP)Rob Sloan boasted hed completed an unbelievably tough marathon near Newcastle after crossing the finish line in third place with a personal-best time.

Apparently, he didnt count the bus ride.

Sloan dropped out 20 miles into the race, hitched a ride on a spectator shuttle bus and emerged from the woods near the finish line to make the podium.

After initially describing as laughable claims he cheated in the Kielder Marathon on Sunday, Sloan admitted his transgression following an investigation by organizers.

People in cars following the bus saw him get on and off. People saw him run through the busheswe had him hook, line and sinker, Dave Roberts, one of the marathon organizers, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Rob was distraught at having to come clean.

Sloan was stripped of his third-place medal. His time was listed as 2 hours, 51 minutes21 minutes faster than his previous best in the race.

Competitors criticized the runner for tainting an event labeled by organizers as Britains most beautiful marathon. Sloans running club is the Sunderland Harriers.

Steven Cairns, who moved from fourth to third following Sloans disqualification, accused his rival of stealing my glory.

I was third the whole way but somehow I crossed the line and was given fourth! Cairns said on his Facebook page. I started to doubt myself as he was adamant he had gone past me. I could understand him taking the goody bag and the T-shirt but to do the press interview claiming he was third

A day after winning a 10-kilometer race at the same location, Sloan ran out of stamina with 6 miles left in the 26.2-mile marathon. Then came the bus ride and shortcut through the woods to the finish line.

Im convinced it was not premeditated, Roberts said. But he felt rough, pulled out and flagged down a bus. Its as bad as drug-taking in my book because its attempting to improve your performance by cheating. Ive never known anything like it.

Sloan will go before a district committee this month and faces the possibility of being banned from marathons.

We are pleased this matter has been cleared up, said event director Steve Cram, a former world record holder and world champion in the 1,500 meters. Mr. Sloan made a mistake and has apologized to us for the confusion it has caused.

Cram will travel next week to Edinburgh, Scotland, to give Cairns his third-place medal.

One of the most famous cases of cheating in a marathon came at the Boston Marathon in 1980. Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line but was disqualified when officials discovered she jumped into the race about a mile from the end.

Albert Almora's strong connection to Team USA baseball

Albert Almora's strong connection to Team USA baseball

Who was Theo Epstein’s first draft pick with the Cubs?

The answer to that trivia question will always and forever be Albert Almora Jr. picked sixth overall in the 2012 amateur draft.

In some ways, the young outfielder from Florida became the forgotten man in the stable of can’t-miss prospects that Epstein and top lieutenants Jed Hoyer and Jason MacLeod amassed since their arrival over six years ago. While players such as Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ zoomed through the minor leagues on their way to the majors, Almora took a different path – one that included seven different stops over parts of five developmental seasons before he broke into the big leagues during the 2016 season.

But Almora’s road to the majors began years before he was selected by the Cubs, when he began playing for Team USA as a 13-year-old. Over the next several years, Almora played for the Red, White & Blue seven times, his final appearance coming in 2015. The seven appearances are the most in the history of USA Baseball, and Almora recognizes the impact his time with the national squad had on his playing career.

“[It was] one of the best experiences of my life," he said. "Every year I had something special to play with, unbelievable guys, went to crazy places, and out of those six years, five of them came with a gold medal so that was pretty special as well. Also, that helped me in my baseball life, how to experience things and learn from those type of experiences.

“I’m a Cubbie and that’s what’s on my chest right now, but Team USA will always have a special place in my heart.”

While Almora carries those national team experiences with him every day, his main focus coming into the 2018 season is becoming a consistent difference-maker. Almora made only 65 starts during the 2017 campaign, and 63 percent of his at-bats last year came against left-handed pitching, against which he hit a robust .342. That led to a platoon role in a crowded outfield, with Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Jay, Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist all taking turns on the merry-go-round. But with the departure of Jay, Almora believes his time is near.

“I have the most confidence in myself that I can play every day, but I try not to think about that kind of stuff because it’s out of my control," Almora said. "All I control is like last year what I did; whenever I was given an opportunity, I tried to do my best and help the team win.”

Almora’s ultimate role on the 2018 Cubs remains to be seen, but there’s no question that Theo’s first Cubs pick will earn whatever role he ends up with, and the foundation of Almora’s journey to Clark and Addison was laid many summers ago during his time with Team USA.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: