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Bills C Wood calls Toronto home games 'a joke'

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Bills C Wood calls Toronto home games 'a joke'

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Center Eric Wood wasn't laughing when referring to the Buffalo Bills playing so-called home games in Toronto as being ``a joke.''

That was the opinion Wood expressed during his weekly show on Buffalo's WGRF-Radio on Monday, a day after a 50-17 loss to Seattle at Toronto. And he stuck by his comments Wednesday, saying he believes the Bills are giving away their home-field edge by playing under a dome and in front of ambivalent crowds north of the border.

``Yeah, I did call it a joke,'' Wood said. ``It stunk that we were up there. And I was heated when I said it was a joke. And I'm not going to sit here and retract all my statements because that's what I meant and what I felt.''

Wood expressed his complaints despite not making the trip to Toronto. He stayed home because he's recovering from a sprained right knee. And yet, he saw enough on TV and also heard from teammates to appreciate how familiar the atmosphere was to the two games he's played in Toronto.

Wood was unhappy the Seahawks got the chance to play inside the Rogers Centre, as opposed to outdoors at Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the elements usually play a factor in December.

Wood cited the mixed support the Bills get in Toronto, noting there are sometimes as many fans cheering for the visiting team as for Buffalo. And he added, there are times when fans don't know when to cheer.

``Those non-Bills fans that go to the game are just cheering for plays as opposed to cheering for a team,'' he said. ``And that kills you.''

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams was in Toronto, and expressed similar sentiments.

``It's very similar to a road game, but also I understand the business side of things,'' Williams said. ``I don't think you'd find a guy in here that wouldn't agree that they would much rather be in Ralph Wilson Stadium.''

Wood understands how playing in Canada's financial capital and largest city benefits a small-market team such as the Bills by generating additional revenue and luring fans to attend the team's games at Orchard Park.

He emphasized he wasn't criticizing Toronto as a community, because he enjoys makes numerous trips there.

``I love the city of Toronto for eating and for pleasure,'' Wood said. ``But the game just has a different feel. And it's not a whole lot of fun to play in at this point.''

The Bills are 1-4 in regular season games at Toronto since the series began in 2008.

The five-year deal, in which Rogers Communications agreed to pay the Bills $78 million to play in Toronto, has now expired. The two sides have been in negotiations and are close to extending the series for what's expected to be another five years.

``I don't blame Russ for this,'' Wood said, referring to Bills CEO Russ Brandon. ``I respect the decisions that he makes to keep us in this market and provide a good business plan. But from a playing standpoint, unless it improves, it's not a whole lot of fun to play there.''

The latest complaints echoed those made by Bills veteran safety George Wilson last year.

Saying it's not a home game, Wilson described fan support in Toronto as being ``a night-and-day difference'' to Buffalo.

Last year, in a 23-0 win over Washington, the crowd was doing the wave, which led to the Bills offense jumping the snap on third down. On Sunday, there was little crowd noise drowning out Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson calling plays at the line on several third-down situations.

Customarily, home crowds remain quiet when their team's offense is on the field, and they grow louder to disrupt the opposing team's offense.

``That just doesn't happen at Ralph Wilson Stadium,'' Wood said. ``There have been times when there's been 40,000 people in there, and they're still not doing a regular cadence on third down in the first quarter.''

The announced crowd of 40,770 was well below the downtown stadium's capacity of 54,000. Many who stuck around for the second half started rooting for the Seahawks. By the fourth quarter, the fans who were left began chanting, ``Let's Go Blue Jays!''

Organizers went so far in a bid to drum up support by having Korean pop star PSY perform his hit ``Gangnam Style'' at halftime.

Wood was so worked up that he was preparing to share his frustrations on his Twitter account, before remembering the NFL rule barring players from using social media while their team is playing.

``I wrote and deleted about three tweets during the game,'' Wood said. ``That was probably best. Yeah, it kind of ticked me off.''

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When is the 2019 French Open? Date, Time, Field, Bracket, TV Channel

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When is the 2019 French Open? Date, Time, Field, Bracket, TV Channel

The break between the Australian Open and the French Open is far too long. But, like always the 2019 French Open is a dynamic tournament on the calendar, and besides Rafael Nadal winning the men's singles bracket, there is nothing for certain at Roland-Garros.

Hosted in Paris, France, Roland-Garros is the second stop of the Grand Slams from May 26 to June 9. The tournament will be broadcast on Tennis Channel and NBC. 

This season brings in a plethora of storylines, but most importantly it features the return of Roger Federer to clay. The 20-time major champion has missed the previous three French Opens to try and preserve his body instead of playing on one of the hardest court surfaces. And when Nadal, an 11-time Franch Open winner, has laid his claim to this major who can blame Federer. 

Federer has only won at Roland-Garros once (2009). He has won at all other majors at least five times. 

On the women's side this marks the first repeat major for Serena Williams since the birth of her daughter, Olympia. In the 2018 French Open, Williams made it to the Round of 16. 

That year Simona Halep broke threw her first ever major title on clay as being ranked No. 1 for several month. Since she has struggled at the Grand Slams, not advancing back the Round of 16 in the three following majors. As the defending champ this could be where Halep returns to form. 

    When is the 2019 French Open?

    The 2019 French Open runs from Sunday, May 26 to Sunday, June 9.

    Matches start at 5:00 a.m. ET for First Round through the Round of 16. Quarterfinal matches start at 7:00 a.m. ET on June 4 and 5. The women's semifinals are on June 6 at 8:00 a.m. ET. The men's semifinals are June 7 at 6:00 a.m. ET. Both the women's final (June 8) and the men's final (June 9) are at 9:00 a.m. ET.

    Qualifying for the tournament is from May 20-24. The qualifying tournament will determine the final 16 men's singles spots and the final 12 spots for the women's. 

    2019 French Open Men's Singles Field (128 slots):

    Player, country (ATP world ranking as of April, 15)

    -Novak Djokovic, Serbia (1)
    -Rafael Nadal, Spain (2)
    -Alexander Zverev, Germany (3)
    -Roger Federer, Switzerland (4)
    -Dominic Thiem, Austria (5)
    -Kei Nishikori, Japan (6)
    -Kevin Anderson, South Africa (7)
    -Stefanos Tsitsipas, Greece (8)
    -Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina (9)
    -John Isner, USA (10) - Withdrew due to injury
    -Marin Cilic, Croatia (11)
    -Karen Khachanov, Russia (12)
    -Borna Coric, Croatia (13)
    -Daniil Medvedev, Russia (14)
    -Milos Raonic, Canada (15)
    -Marco Cecchinato, Italy (16)
    -Nikoloz Basilashvili, Georgia (17)
    -Fabio Fognini, Italy (18)
    -Gael Monfils, France (19)
    -Denis Shapovalov, Canada (20)
    -David Goffin, Belgium (21)
    -Roberto Bautista Agut (22)
    -Kyle Edmund, Great Britain (23)
    -Diego Schwartzman, Argentina (24)
    -Alex de Minaur, Australia (25)
    -Giles Simon, France (26)
    -Pablo Carreno Busta, Spain (27)
    -Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria (28)
    -Frances Tiafoe, USA (29)
    -Richard Gasquet, France (30)
    -Lucas Pouille, France (31)
    -Laslo Djere, Serbia (32)
    -Felix Auger-Aliassimie, Canada (33)
    -Nick Kyrgios, Australia (34)
    -Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France (34)
    -Guido Pella, Argentina (35)
    -Stan Wawrinka, Switzerland (36)
    -Marton Fucsovics, Hungary (37)
    -Fernando Verdasco, Spain (38)
    -John Millman, Australia (39)
    -Phillipp Kohlschreiber, Germany (40)
    -Jeremy Chardy, France (41)
    -Mikhail Kukushkin, Kazakhstan (42)
    -Benoit Paire, France (43)
    -Jan-Lennard Struff, Germany (44)
    -Radu Albot, Moldova (45)
    -Andreas Seppi, Italy (46)
    -Christian Garin, Chile (47)
    -Dusan Lajovic, Serbia (48)
    -Pierre-Hugues Herbert, France (49)
    -Martin Klizan, Slovakia (50)
    -Joao Sousa, Portugal (51)
    -Hubert Hurkacz, Poland (52)
    -Matteo Ebden, Australia (53)
    -Damir Dzumhur, Bosnia and Herzegvina (54)
    -Matteo Berrettini, Italy (55)
    -Cameron Norrie, Great Britain (56)
    -Reilly Opelka, USA (57)
    -Adrian Mannarino, France (58)
    -Steve Johnson, USA (59)
    -Mackenzie McDonald, USA (60)
    -Jaume, Munar, Spain (61)
    -Leonardo Mayer, Argentina (62)
    -Robin Haase, Netherlands (63)
    -Ugo Humbert, France (64)
    -Taylor Fritz, USA (65)
    -Sam Querrey, USA (66)
    -Jordan Thompson, Australia (67)
    -Casper Ruud, Norway (68)
    -Yoshihito Nishioka, Japan (69)
    -Aljaz Bedene, Slovenia (70)
    -Malek Jaziri, Tunisia (71)
    -Taro Daniel, Japan (72)
    -Bernard Tomic, Australia (73)
    -Federico Delbonis, Argentina (74)
    -Hugo Dellin, Bolivia (75)
    -Ernests Gulbis, Lativa (76)
    -Mischa Zverev, Germany (77)
    -Marius Copil, Romania (78)
    -Juan Ignacio Londero, Argentina (79)
    -Prajnesh Gunneswaran, India (80)
    -Pablo Cuevas, Uruguay (81)
    -Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Spain (82)
    -Nicolas Jarry, Chile (83)
    -Guido Andreozzi, Argentina (84)
    -Denis Kudla, USA (85)
    -Jozef Kovalik, Slovakia (85)
    -Pablo Anujar, Spain (86)
    -Peter Gojowczyk, Germany (87)
    -Feliciano Lopez, Spain (88)
    -Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia (88)
    -Daniel Evans, Great Britian (89)
    -Andrey Rublev, Russia (90)
    -Miomir Kecmanovic, Serbia (91)
    -Bradley Klahn, USA (92)
    -Thomas Fabbiano, Italy (93)
    -Lloyd Harris, South Africa (94)
    -Jiri Vesely, Czech Republic (95)
    -Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Germany (95)
    -Lorenzo Sonego, Italy (96)
    -Ivo Karlovic, Croatia (97)
    -Tomas Berdeych, Czech Republic (98)
    -Ricardas Berankis, Lithuania (99)
    -Alexander Bublik, Kazakhstan (100)

    2019 French Open Women's Singles Field (128 slots):

    Player, country (WTA world ranking as of April, 15)

    -Naomi Osaka, Japan (1)
    -Simona Halep, Romania (2)
    -Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic (3)
    -Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic (4)
    -Angelique Kerber, Germany (5)
    -Elina Svitolina, Ukraine (6)
    -Kiki Bertens, Netherlands (7)
    -Sloane Stephens, USA (8)
    -Asleigh Barty, Australia (9)
    -Aryna Sabalenka, Bulgaria (10)
    -Serena Williams, USA (11)
    -Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark (12)
    -Anastasija Sevastova, Latvia (13)
    -Madison Keys, USA (14)
    -Anett Kontaveit, Estonia (15)
    -Qiang Wang, China (16)
    -Julia Goerges, Germany (17)
    -Elise Mertens, Belgium (18)
    -Garbine Muguruza, Spain (19)
    -Belinda Bencic, Switzerland (20)
    -Caroline Garcia, France (21)
    -Daria Kasatkina, Russia (22)
    -Bianca Andreescu, Canada (23)
    -Su-Wei Hsieh, Chinese Taipei (24)
    -Donna Vekic, Croatia (25)
    -Lesia Tsurenko, Ukraine (26)
    -Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain (27)
    -Maria Sharapova, Russia (28)
    -Jelena Ostapenko, Lativa (29)
    -Mihaela Buzarnescu, Romainia (30)
    -Camila Giorgi, Italy (31)
    -Danielle Collins, USA (32)
    -Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia (33)
    -Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia (34)
    -Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Bulgaria (35)
    -Sofia Kenin, USA (36)
    -Dayana Yastremska, Ukraine (37)
    -Yulia Putintseva, Kahzakstan (38)
    -Ajla Tomljanovic, Australia (39)
    -Petra Martic, Croatia (40)
    -Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic (41)
    -Shuai Zhang, China (42)
    -Sasai Zheng, China (43)
    -Maria Sakkari, Greece (44)
    -Viktoria Kuzmova, Slovakia (45)
    -Johanna Konta, Great Britian (46)
    -Marketa Vondrousova, Czech Republic (47)
    -Barbora Strycova, Czech Republic (48)
    -Venus Williams, USA (49)
    -Alison Riske, USA (50)
    -Yafan Wang, China (51)
    -Alison van Uytvanck, Belgium (52)
    -Pauline Parmentier, France (53)
    -Amanda Anisimova, USA (54)
    -Alize Cornet, France (55)
    -Ons Jabeur, Tunsinia (56)
    -Ekaterina Alexandrova, Russia (57)
    -Daria Gavrilova, Australia (58)
    -Jristen Flipkens, Belgium (59)
    -Tatjana Maria, Germany (60)
    -Victoria Azarenka, Bulgaria (61)
    -Monica Puig, Puerto Rico (62)
    -Aleksandra Krunic, Serbia (63)
    -Polona Hercog, Slovenia (64)
    -Rebecca Peterson, Sweeden (65)
    -Kristina Mladenovic, France (66)
    -Tamara Zidansek, Slovenia (67)
    -Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia (68)
    -Evgeniya Rodina, Russia (69)
    -Vera Lapko, Bulgaria (70)
    -Andrea Petkovic, Germany (71)
    -Margarita Gasparyan, Russia (72)
    -Vitalia Diatchenko, Russia (73)
    -Anastasia Potapova, Russia (74)
    -Sara Sorribes Tormo, Spain (75)
    -Veronika Kudermetova, Russia (76)
    -Samantha Stosur, Australia (77)
    -Jessica Pegula, USA (78)
    -Kaia Kanepi, Estonia (79)
    -Viktorija Golubic, Switzerland (80)
    -Eugenie Bouchard, Canada (81)
    -Shelby Rogers, USA (81)
    -Jennifer Brady, USA (82)
    -Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania (83)
    -Taylor Townsend, USA (84)
    -Vera Zvonareva, Russia (85)
    -Katie Boulter, Great Britian (86)
    -Kristyna Pliskova, Czech Republic (87)
    -Iga Swiatek, Poland (88)
    -Magda Linette, Poland (89)
    -Mona Barthel, Germany (90)
    -Ekaterina Makarova, Russia (91)
    -Fiona Ferro, France (92)
    -Kateryna Kozlova, Ukraine (93)
    -Lin Zhu, China (94)
    -Johanna Larsson, Sweeden (95)
    -Ivana Jorovic, Serbia (96)
    -Madison Brengle, USA (97)
    -Luksika Kumkhm, Thailand (98)
    -Sorana Cirsta, Romania (99)
    -Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia (100)
    -Laura Siegemund, Germany (101)
    -Astra Sharma, Australia (102)
    -Dalila Jakupovic, Slovenia (103)
    -Misaki Doi, Japan (104)
    -Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Slovakia (105)
    -Karolina Muchova, Czech Repubilc (106)
    -Zarina Diya, Kazakhstan (107)

    2019 French Open Singles Brackets

    French Open Men's Singles Bracket:

    The 2019 French Open Bracket will be revealed May 20-23.

    French Open Women's Singles Bracket:

    The 2019 French Open Bracket will be revealed May 20-23.

    What is the 2019 French Open Tournament Schedule?

    The 2019 French Open will havethree weeks of on the court action. The generic schedule is as follows:

    -Monday, May 20: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Tuesday, May 21: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Wednesday, May 22: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Thursday, May 23: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Friday, May 24: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Sunday, May 26: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's First Round
    -Monday, May 27: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's First Round
    -Tuesday, May 28: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's First Round
    -Wednesday, May 29: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Second Round
    -Thursday, May 30: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Second Round
    -Friday, May 31: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Third Round
    -Saturday, June 1: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Third Round
    -Sunday, June 2: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Round of 16
    -Monday, June 3: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Round of 16
    -Tuesday, June 4: 8:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Quarterfinals
    -Wednesday, June 5: 8:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Quarterfinals
    -Thursday, June 6: 9:00 a.m. ET: Women's Semifinals
    -Friday, June 7: 6:45 a.m. ET: Men's Semifinals
    -Saturday, June 8: 9:00 a.m. ET: Women's Final
    -Sunday, June 9: 9:00 a.m. ET: Men's Final

    The schedule of play for each day will be announced on RolandGarros.com

    How to Watch the 2019 French Open Tournament?

    The 2019 French Open will be broadcast on Tennis Channel and NBC. 

    First Round coverage on Day 1 and 2 of the main tournament will be on NBC and Tennis Channel. Tennis Channel will also broadcast the remainder of the tournament up until Friday, June 7 and the final day of the singles semifinals round. 

    NBC will also provide coverage on June 1 and 2 (Third Round and Round of 16 matches) and on June 6 and 7 (women's and men's semifinals). The women's and men's singles championship matches will be exclusively on NBC on June 8 and 9. 

    Television coverage starts at 5:00 a.m. ET and runs through 3:00 p.m. ET for the First Round through the Round of 16. Afterward, there are varying start times dependent on the weather and any potential delays. The finals are both expected to start at 9:00 a.m. ET on June 8 (women's) and June 9 (men's).

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    Nationals rally, but find themselves treading water again

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    Nationals rally, but find themselves treading water again

    WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals lost to the Chicago Cubs, 6-5, Sunday to drop their record to 19-27. Here are five observations from the game…

    1. A word about Anthony Rendon first.

    His three-run homer dragged the Nationals to within 6-4 on Sunday night. He also walked and a soft liner off his bat was caught by a leaping Addison Russell at shortstop. He was stellar in the field. After an initial rusty patch when returning from the injured list, he is back to his normal self and one of the most dangerous hitters in the National League. He could finally be going to his first All-Star Game.

    Second, a word about Howie Kendrick.

    He homered -- again -- his seventh already this season. Things around the Nationals’ poor start are not great. They would be severely amplified if Kendrick wasn’t walking around with a .317 batting average and an almost 1.000 OPS.

    Their work was not enough Sunday. The Cubs took a 4-0 lead early, then hung on late, spoiling the Nationals chance for a rare second consecutive series win.

    2. “Little things” kicked in again Sunday.

    A fourth-inning passed ball by Kurt Suzuki moved a runner to third with one out. Kyle Schwarber’s sacrifice fly drove him in.

    Juan Soto’s late break from second with two outs in the sixth inning led to third base coach Bob Henley giving a rare stop sign at third base. Albert Almora Jr.’s throw for center field went soaring over bot the catcher and pitcher at home plate. If Soto broke early or Henley took his usual chance, another run would have scored.

    The Nationals’ overall defense was cleaner Sunday. Rendon made multiple quality defensive plays, Brian Dozier also two slick stops. But, two smaller incidents flipped two runs in what became a 6-4 game.

    3. Jeremy Hellickson is going in reverse.

    He lasted just three innings Sunday, and was lucky to make it there. Hellickson opened the game by loading the bases via walks. Despite him laying the groundwork for a devastating first inning, he allowed just a run.

    Runners made it to second and third to start the second inning, but just one scored. A leadoff homer for Anthony Rizzo bumped the Cubs’ lead to 3-0 in the third. Hellickson wiggled away from a double in the inning to finish his evening in arrears, 3-0.

    He threw 64 pitches, just 30 strikes.

    The outing was the second time this season Hellickson lasted just three innings in a start. He gave up five earned runs the last time. Four of his previous five outings delivered a Game Score of 34 or lower (50 is the starting point with potential to go up -- or down). A non-analytical measure of those outings is to simply call them uncompetitive.

    The trouble for Washington is it has no clear option to replace Hellickson and his 6.23 ERA in the rotation, if it decided that was the best course of action going forward. Joe Ross could swap spots wit Hellickson, flipping Ross into the rotation and Hellickson into the bullpen. Kyle McGowin, called up from Triple-A Fresno on Friday, relieved Hellickson on Sunday. He’s not big-league ready.

    Austin Voth is the only minor-league starter on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man roster. Voth has a 3.89 ERA in Fresno this season.

    4. Trevor Rosenthal continues to creep toward a return.

    He threw a bullpen session in Nationals Park on Sunday after a day off Saturday. Rosenthal pitched in back-to-back games Thursday and Friday for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.

    Rosenthal is going to Harrisburg to throw another inning Monday, then be re-evaluated. He had another rough outing Friday for the Senators: ⅓ of an inning, 21 pitches, 11 strikes, a walk and hit allowed.

    Nationals manager Davey Martinez said the misses were up and down in the zone. Rosenthal was previously pulling pitches to his left.

    “I watched video,” Martinez said. “His mechanics are pretty good right now.”

    Is he close to returning?

    “I think he’s really close,” Martinez said. “We’ll see how this next outing goes for him.”

    5. More progress for the injured.

    Matt Adams (left shoulder strain) took 40 swings Sunday, felt good afterward, and is nearing a pre-game stint on the field, possibly Monday with the team in New York.

    Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) continues to swing and play defense. He was expected to run Sunday, the final step in his rehabilitation. He could be ready “very soon” according to Martinez.

    Tony Sipp (oblique) took Sunday off after pitching an inning Saturday for Single-A Potomac.

    Outfielder Andrew Stevenson (back spasms) was sent back to Triple-A Fresno on Sunday. He will begin playing games with the Grizzlies on Monday.

    MORE NATIONALS NEWS: