Lia Assimakopoulos

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Dwight Smith Jr. hosts virtual auction to support high school graduates

Dwight Smith Jr. hosts virtual auction to support high school graduates

Orioles’ left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. is using his new video game skills to give back to his hometown community.

Like many other schools around the country, his alma mater McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, Ga. was unable to host a typical graduation ceremony this year for its 400 graduates – one of whom is Smith Jr.’s younger sister. To help support the students during this frustrating time, Smith Jr. decided to host a virtual auction where all the proceeds will go toward funding gifts for each graduate. 

After developing some gaming skills during quarantine, Smith Jr. decided he would auction off the opportunity for fans to play against him in MLB The Show or Call of Duty. For $150, fans can play five innings of the MLB simulation against the Orioles' representative for the game's player league that ended in May. For $250, a group of three can challenge him in Call of Duty.


In addition to the video game experiences, the auction also includes autographed Orioles memorabilia like an Alex Cobb signed baseball and Austin Hayes signed jersey. 

Smith Jr. hopes to raise $20,000 to support the graduating class. The auction started Wednesday morning and will run through July 30. For more information, visit

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Nationals return to D.C. for summer camp

Nationals return to D.C. for summer camp

Baseball is finally back, and the Nationals are returning home to the nation’s capital.

With MLB’s summer camp workouts scheduled to begin Friday, the Nationals spent this week returning to the market, and a few documented their journeys along the way.

Max Scherzer’s wife Erica shared an adorable photo of her husband and daughter Brooklyn looking out the plane window on their way back to D.C.

Adam Eaton shared a photo from outside Nationals Park with the caption “Hello old friend…” to document his homecoming. 

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Hello old friend... #nationals #mlb

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Aaron Barrett greeted his teammates by posting a selfie while wearing his stylish bear mask.

The rest of the team is set to return as well as MLB’s spring training 2.0 begins Wednesday with intense coronavirus testing protocol before workouts resume in a matter of days. Fifty-eight players will report to the Nats’ camp, although Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross announced they will sit out the season.

In this second iteration of spring training, players and personnel will return to the ballpark on a staggered schedule due to social distancing protocols as well as the limited field space, bullpens and batting cages at Nats Park. First, essential clubhouse personnel will make their way to the park, then managers and coaches. For the players, pitchers and catchers will arrive first, followed by position players. 


The training period lasts roughly three weeks until Opening Day on July 23. MLB outlined a three-phase plan for its summer camp. During Phase 1, teams can hold individual and small group workouts. During Phase 2, larger or full-team workouts can begin. Finally, in Phase 3, teams are allowed to compete in three exhibition games.

Throughout this period, players will be tested every other day unless their temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees. In that case, they will be automatically tested and sent home. All players must take their own temperatures before coming to the ballpark.

After receiving approval on Tuesday from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to use Nationals Park for the 2020 season with no fans, the Nats will prepare for their 60-game regular season that begins with a home matchup against the New York Yankees on July 23. 


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Denver Nuggets close facilities after multiple positive coronavirus tests

Denver Nuggets close facilities after multiple positive coronavirus tests

The Denver Nuggets closed their team facilities Saturday after multiple personnel tested positive for coronavirus, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Two members of the team’s 35-person group traveling to Orlando –– a party that encompasses players, coaches and staff –– tested positive on Saturday, warranting the organization’s abrupt shutdown over the weekend. There has been at least one additional positive test since, bringing the organization’s total to six since the season’s suspension in March, according to the Denver Post.

All three of the recent cases were asymptomatic.

The Denver facilities are expected to remain closed through at least Thursday with a possible re-opening on Friday based on ongoing test results, according to Wojnarowski. It is also possible they do not open before the team leaves for Orlando in a week.


Among members of the Nuggets franchise who have tested positive, All-Star center Nikola Jokic contracted the virus in Serbia and head coach Michael Malone recently announced he tested positive during the league’s hiatus.

A number of these positive tests took place during Phase 2 of the NBA’s return, which began June 23, when players were required to return to their respective markets for mandatory testing. Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan is scheduled to begin Wednesday where mandatory individual workouts commence, and teams will travel to Orlando on July 7.

The news came soon after multiple Brooklyn Nets players tested positive for the virus including DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie. The Nets reopened their practice facilities Tuesday after they were closed for several days due to these positive tests. 

The Wizards have not announced if any players or staff have tested positive for the virus yet as the team is set to travel to Orlando in a matter of days.

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