Cubs

One man shot during Kentucky fans' celebration

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One man shot during Kentucky fans' celebration

From Comcast SportsNet
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- One man was wounded by gunfire early Tuesday in Lexington, numerous small fires were set and dozens were arrested as thousands celebrated Kentucky's win over Kansas to claim another NCAA title, authorities reported. Battalion Chief Ed Davis of the Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services said he saw the shooting as he was filling out paperwork on a wreck involving a fire engine. Davis said he heard yelling about 25 feet away, and one man started shooting at another. He said the gun was fired "quite a few times." Police Lt. Clayton Roberts said no arrests had been made in the shooting, which happened shortly after 2 a.m. EDT. The gunman disappeared into the crowd and behind some buildings and police could not locate him, Roberts said. The wounded man, who is in his 30s, was taken to University of Kentucky Medical Center with serious injuries that weren't believed to be life-threatening, Roberts said. The shooting happened after some people inside a vehicle had words with others who were standing on a sidewalk, Roberts said. He said the people in the car got out, and a person on the sidewalk opened fire with a handgun, hitting a man from the vehicle. Fans filled the streets near the Lexington campus within minutes of the championship game's conclusion late Monday. They jumped up and down, screamed, sprayed beer and waved Kentucky flags. Lexington police had arrested several dozen people by the time the game had been over only a few minutes, police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said late Monday. "We're seeing fires being lit and things of that nature," Roberts said, adding that people had set couches and at least one car on fire. A car crashed into the patio area at a bar and grill where some people were dining, but the metal-and-brick wall kept the vehicle from getting onto the patio, she said. She didn't have information about injuries. Police had also handed out numerous citations, many for alcohol-related offenses, Roberts said. "I think that we're taking a more zero-tolerance approach," she said. "That has a part to play in it, but also people started celebrating much earlier than they did on Saturday. The amount of time to become intoxicated and the amount of time for us to be in contact with these intoxicated people has increased." About two hours after the game, Roberts said police had arrested people for charges such as criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, alcohol intoxication and setting fires. She said officers were still making arrests but didn't have a precise estimate. She said police had used some pepper spray to break up fights. The fire division's Davis said about 56 fire runs had been made in the area where fans had gathered. One was a garage fire, but the rest were smaller nuisance fires involving couches or bedding, he said. Davis knew of no fire-related injuries. Emergency medical workers transported about 25 people to hospitals for treatment, mostly minor, he said. A lot of them were people who were intoxicated, while some had been hit by thrown objects or been involved in fights, Davis said. The situation was similar to Saturday's celebrations that resulted in several small fires, Davis said, although the area was more widespread Monday. "There are literally thousands of people downtown everywhere," he said a couple hours after the game was over. "Ninety-nine percent are doing what they're supposed to." For their part, revelers said the post-game celebration was a far cry from the weekend mayhem. They credited heavy security. "It was much worse Saturday," said 20-year-old Miranda Snow, who recalled seeing couch fires and other blazes two nights earlier. UK sophomore Cameron Chaney, 20, agreed. "It seems like they have more authorities tonight." Police had said they would be prepared following the disturbance that accompanied the Wildcats' win over cross-state rival Louisville on Saturday night. Rowdy fans torched couches and turned over cars that night. After Kentucky sealed its win Monday night in New Orleans, fans back home streamed out of bars to fill the intersection of Euclid and Woodland streets, some throwing beer cans into the air. Police in riot gear looked on but kept their distance at that corner. Some revelers even stopped officers and asked to get photos taken with them and to shake hands. Officers happily obliged. Students weren't the only ones celebrating. The revelers included Marie Allison, a 1968 UK graduate who was wearing a blue Final Four shirt. She recalled the last championship in 1998 and said, "This night is terrific. It's even better than back then." Meanwhile, Kansas fans in downtown Lawrence took their team's loss to Kentucky in stride Monday night as they poured onto Massachusetts Street amid random cries of "Rock Chalk Jayhawk," with many proclaiming their pride in a team that wasn't picked to finish in the top three in the Big 12 Conference. Storekeepers said basketball fans -- students and older residents alike -- began crowding the entertainment strip of bars, restaurants and specialty shops near the Kansas campus, well before 5 p.m. in anticipation of the game against the heavily favored Wildcats. "It's OK, because look how far they made it," Jobi Pierson, 51, from McLouth, about 20 minutes from Lawrence, said as the final seconds ticked away from Kansas' national title hopes. "No matter what, they did well. I feel proud of them and I'm happy with what they've done." A heavy police presence -- one police officer estimated about 250, but told a reporter "that's not enough" -- emerged at halftime and set up in groups of six along street corners to deter troublemakers. That included 70 Kansas Highway Patrol troopers brought in from across the state. A mass of red and blue-clad basketball fans spilled into the street afterward, bringing traffic to a standstill. In Kentucky, police earlier Monday had forcefully warned Wildcat fans that a repeat of the dangerous weekend celebrations around the Lexington campus wouldn't be tolerated. Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said some revelers Saturday night acted in a "dangerous and criminal" way by setting fires, overturning cars and hurling bottles into the air. Police used pepper spray in small amounts for crowd control after thousands of rowdy fans swarmed into the streets. Officers made more than 30 arrests near the UK campus Saturday night for arson, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, and authorities were expecting more arrests from that night's revelry. Police showed the media photos of people in Saturday night's crowds who have been targeted for arson and assault charges once they are identified. Bastin had said patrols would be beefed up for Monday's game. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto also issued a warning Monday ahead of the game, saying the rowdy behavior detracted from the success of the players "who have worked tirelessly to represent UK at a national level." University officials warned students that aside from criminal charges, students could face suspension or expulsion for bad behavior. UK's campus was peaceful Monday afternoon, but excitement was in the air as blue-clad fans and students eagerly anticipated Kentucky's first trip to the title game in 14 years. Shouts of "Go Cats!" and honking horns were already audible near the campus' main library in the early afternoon. Across the street, sophomore Colby Myers and a friend were constructing a humorous tribute to Kentucky star forward and AP Player of the Year Anthony Davis. In the front yard of the Farmhouse Fraternity on Hilltop Avenue, they were sticking black plastic forks in the ground in the shape of Davis's bushy eyebrows -- which Myers and other fans endearingly call Davis's "unibrow." In Louisville, home of the University of Louisville Cardinals, Kentucky Wildcats fans out filled bars and celebrated as the game neared an end Monday night. "This is huge, this is unbelievable," UK fan Jeff Douglas told WAVE-TV. "I can't believe we got past Louisville and I just want to beat Kansas so bad." Things were going so well for Kentucky that one Wildcats fan even looked on one of the team's chief rivals with fondness. "I'm not a Cardinal fan, but I'm glad that they were there with us. It made it magical, and frankly if they would have won, I would have been rooting for them, so it's about bringing it back to the state where basketball is king," Billy Wade told the station.

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

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USA TODAY

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

The Cubs were swept in four games at the hands of the Reds. The news on the All-Star ballot hasn’t been kind as well.

Starting positions for Cubs players at the 2018 MLB All-Star game is looking a little bleak. But catcher Willson Contreras is still in striking distance.

MLB updated its third round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Dating back a week ago, Contreras was behind Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. As of now, that number is quite similar with Posey up 92,000 votes.

For other Cubs players, the margins have continued to grow in the wrong direction as the week has gone along.

The race for first base is a clear cut path for Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman. With nearly 2,200,000 votes to Freeman’s name, he’s ahead of Anthony Rizzo by nearly 1.3 million votes. At this point last week, Rizzo was down 870,000 votes.

The race for second base is a bit closer. Javier Baez has complied 1,186,243 votes, but he still trails Braves’ Ozzie Albies by 222,000 votes.

But Baez shouldn’t be too comfortable. Reds second basemen Scooter Gennett is just 19,000 votes behind him. Gennett could leap frog Baez, with still 10 days left to vote.

If Baez can get his name ahead of Albies, he’d become the second Cub to start at second base in three years, when Ben Zobrist started in 2016.

Kris Bryant, who has struggled this year offensively, is still struggling in the Midsummer Classic standings. Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado leads Bryant by 646,400 votes, compared to 447,000 votes last week.

Rounding out the infield with Addison Russell at shortstop, he still sits in third place, trailing Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Giants Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, it is more of the same for Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist. Heyward sits in seventh place with 750,688 votes. Schwarber in eighth has 706,374 votes, and Zobrist has 694,377 votes in ninth.

Even though the Cubs probably won’t see multiple starters on the field this time around, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to be selected as reserves.

Cub faithful still has time to get their players to the All-Star game. Voting ends July 5 at 11 p.m. CT.

The next wave of Blackhawks defensemen is coming

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USA TODAY

The next wave of Blackhawks defensemen is coming

It seems like yesterday the Blackhawks were scraping for young, impact defensemen prospects. Just one, even.

Oh, how that's changed significantly over the last 12 months.

In 2015 and 2016, the Blackhawks did not own a first-round pick. And before that, they hadn't drafted a defenseman in the first round since Dylan Olsen — 28th overall — in 2009. Luckily, they had already hit on Duncan Keith (second round in 2002) and Brent Seabrook (first round in 2003) in back-to-back drafts, and two years later on Niklas Hjalmarsson (fourth round in 2005).

That was a long time ago. Keith is turning 35 in July and Seabrook turned 33 in April. The Blackhawks have gotten that second wave of talent up front with Alex DeBrincat, Vinnie Hinostroza, Nick Schmaltz and Dylan Sikura. The same can't be said for the defense.

But it's coming.

Since last June, the Blackhawks have added defensemen Henri Jokiharju, Ian Mitchell, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin to their pipeline and used each of their three first-round picks in the past two drafts to do it. Mitchell was the lone second-round pick, and he had an oustanding freshman season at Denver, meaning he could be ready sooner than later — probably after his sophomore campaign.

Despite the need for defensemen, the Blackhawks never wavered on their draft approach and the desire to add instant help didn't impact how they went about this past weekend. Draft the best player available and you can't go wrong.

The good news for the Blackhawks is, the players that were rated highest on their board when their picks rolled around were positional needs. How fitting.

"Coming into the draft, we're just looking for the best value players we have; guys ranked the highest at their spots," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on drafting Boqvist and Beaudin. "It just so happened they're both defensemen, which is great because that's a very important position. I think they're the highest valued assets.

"Calling around this week about potential trades and looking for players and they're the hardest things to find. We didn't draft them just because they're defensemen. We like both of their style of play, their skill set. I think they both play the modern NHL game. Both have bright futures."

There are high hopes for all four of them.

Then you look deeper inside the organization and you'll find Gustav Forsling, who was once considered the Blackhawks' top defensive prospect and currently finds himself in the five-spot. Yet, he's the most NHL ready and could have a full-time role with the Blackhawks next season.

Peel the next layer and you'll see Blake Hillman, who showed promise and great situational defensive awareness in his brief stint last season. Dennis Gilbert, who brings size and physicality, offers a different element and will continue his developement with the Rockford IceHogs. And then there's Lucas Carlsson and Carl Dahlstrom, both of whom could make things interesting in training camp.

Suddenly, the Blackhawks are faced with having, what you would call, a good problem to have by putting together one of the best young defensive farm systems in the league.

Now, that's not to say that each of these guys are going to pan out the way the Blackhawks are hoping they will. But you're increasing your chances by collecting a number of players with high-end talent and creating competition.

The real question is when they'll all be ready.

While there may be temptation to push them along to help the Blackhawks in the short term, it's important to resist that because the future on the back end looks promising if they each grow at their own pace.

Boqvist has the potential to be Erik Karlsson as a best-case scenario. Even if he can be half of that, that's a win. Jokiharju's ceiling is whatever he wants it to be, and throwing Boqvist into the mix perhaps alleviates some pressure off his shoulders. Beaudin and Mitchell each have top-four potential and should develop as such.

Knowing what they could be capable of with proper development, there shouldn't be any reason to rush it. Just be excited they're on the way.