Nationals

Monday's Sports in Brief

Monday's Sports in Brief

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) With his wife, Juli, looking on at the postgame news conference and his young children close by, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's final remarks were not about his milestone 900th career victory.

Instead, he was thinking about two 6-year-old boys who were buried Monday, victims along with 18 other children and six adults in a shooting massacre last week at an elementary school in Connecticut.

``If we cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society,'' Boeheim said Monday night. ``If one person in this world, the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots - this is our fault if we don't go out there and do something about this. If we can't get this thing done, I don't know what kind of country we have.''

It was a sobering end to what was a memorable evening for Syracuse basketball. The third-ranked Orange's 72-68 victory over Detroit in the Gotham Classic made Boeheim just the third Division I men's coach to reach 900 wins.

Boeheim, 68 and in his 37th year at his alma mater, is 900-304 and joined an elite fraternity. Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902) are the only other men's Division I coaches to win that many games.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Huskies wanted to show that they care about the victims and those affected by the shooting of 20 children and six adults in Connecticut on Friday.

Freshman Omar Calhoun scored a season-high 22 points, sophomore Ryan Boatright had 21 points and UConn shot a season-high 66 percent in an 84-50 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore at the XL Center in the Huskies' first game since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

``We just wanted to make sure we came out here and put on a good show for the crowd and stick together as a team, and play for everybody that was in that tragedy,'' Calhoun said.

A pregame ceremony was held and there was a moment of silence as 26 cheerleaders, members of the dance team and the band held candles and formed a circle with the UConn players at midcourt.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Butler President James Danko is not changing his mind.

Two days after telling The Associated Press he wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of joining a new conference, Danko issued a statement that will likely keep the conference realignment talk buzzing.

``Our administrators, our coaches, our trustees and our team will continue to do what is right for Butler and its students,'' he said.

In other words, the school is keeping its options open.

When word leaked last week that seven Catholic schools in the Big East were looking to leave the conference and form their own league, Butler was one of the first names to pop up as a possible new member. Since then, the parties involved have done nothing to dissuade such talk.

An Atlantic 10 spokesman said the league would not immediately respond to the reports, and Butler athletic director Barry Collier has declined to comment on any potential move.

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Duke advanced one spot to replace Indiana at the top of The Associated Press' Top 25, drawing closer to UCLA's record for most No. 1 rankings.

Indiana (9-1) held the top spot from the preseason poll through the first five weeks of the season. Butler beat the Hoosiers 88-86 in overtime Saturday. The Blue Devils (9-0), who were off last week, received 62 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.

This is the 123rd week Duke has been No. 1, 11 weeks behind UCLA.

Michigan (11-0), which received the other No. 1 votes, and Syracuse moved up one place each to second and third. They were followed in the top 10 by Arizona, Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State, Florida, Kansas and Illinois.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - R.A. Dickey broke the news of his trade even before the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.

A few minutes ahead of the teams announcing the seven-player swap that sent the NL Cy Young Award winner to Toronto, he tweeted his thanks to Mets fans and added he was all set to pitch for the Blue Jays.

``Now that it's official, I want to say that I don't have the words to express how grateful I am to you for the steadfast support,'' Dickey posted on Twitter. ``Thank you for making me feel wanted.''

``Looking forward to a new chapter with the Jays,'' he wrote.

Toronto acquired the 38-year-old knuckleballer and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. The Mets got top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud and veteran catcher John Buck, plus minor league right-hander Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.

PRO FOOTBALL

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Get ready for another week of RG3 guesswork.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that he's still waiting for a thumbs-up from the doctors before declaring that Robert Griffin III can return to game action.

The quarterback sprained the lateral collateral ligament his right knee in last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens and missed Sunday's 38-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

In other RG3 news, the rookie's No. 10 jersey is the top seller on NFLShop.com this season, the website says. The top six spots belong to QBs, with Peyton Manning of the Broncos at No. 2, followed by Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, Eli Manning of the Giants, Tom Brady of the Patriots and Andrew Luck of the Colts.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Washington Redskins tackle Jordan Black was suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances, the team's sixth drugs-related suspension in less than two seasons.

Black's suspension began immediately and will include postseason games if the Redskins advance to the playoffs this season.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher blamed security workers at Cleveland Browns Stadium for a confrontation that led to the arrests of several of his relatives during his first NFL game in his hometown.

A report from the Cleveland Police Department, however, blamed what it called a ``riot'' on the fans who were arrested, saying a security official was punched and knocked to the ground while trying to escort an unruly spectator from the stadium.

Fletcher said four of his family members were arrested and in custody as of Monday afternoon.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) - The University of North Alabama says a walk-on football player is off the team after sending a racist tweet about President Barack Obama.

The university said coaches made the move after Bradley Patterson described Obama with a racial slur while complaining that the president's speech about the Connecticut school massacre pre-empted an NFL game Sunday night.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III and offensive tackle Zack Martin will return to school next year and skip the NFL draft.

Coach Brian Kelly started a news conference by announcing that two of his top players would be back. Kelly also says running back Cierre Wood will wait until he receives an evaluation of his draft stock from an NFL advisory committee before deciding if he will return for another season.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) - Mohamed bin Hammam resigned from all soccer-related posts and received a new lifetime ban from FIFA, perhaps closing one of the most damaging corruption scandals to hit the sport's world governing body.

Bin Hammam, a FIFA executive committee member from Qatar who challenged incumbent Sepp Blatter for the presidency last year, gave up his long-running dispute with the organization after being found guilty by FIFA of ``repeated violations'' of its code of ethics while head of the Asian Football Confederation.

MOSCOW (AP) - Fans of two-time defending Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg are calling for non-white and gay players to be excluded from the team.

Landscrona, the largest Zenit fan club, released a manifesto demanding the club field an all-white, heterosexual team. It added that ``dark-skinned players are all but forced down Zenit's throat now, which only brings out a negative reaction'' and said gay players were ``unworthy of our great city.''

SKIING

ALTA BADIA, Italy (AP) - Lindsey Vonn is heading back to the United States for an unexpected break in the middle of the World Cup ski season and is unlikely to return to Europe until January.

After a weekend of disappointing results at a World Cup meet in France, the four-time overall champion said in a statement on her Facebook page that she needs to get her full strength back before returning to the slopes after New Year's.

Vonn stayed two nights in a hospital in Vail, Colo., in November after suffering from severe intestinal pain.

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If the Nationals’ season isn’t over, it’s close

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USA TODAY Sports Images

If the Nationals’ season isn’t over, it’s close

NEW YORK -- Dealing with tomorrow has often become the only palatable way for the Nationals to forget yesterday.

They lose in eye-gouging fashion, roll in the next day to reset, and, at least in New York, find a topper. That formula has them on a train home from what could have been a series for re-emergence, but instead placed them in a worse place than they started. Washington is 19-31 following a sweep in Flushing. It would have to go 71-41 (a .634 winning percentage) to reach 90 wins. If it’s not already, the season is on the verge of being over.

A slog-filled drive from midtown to Queens delivered the tired team back to its baseball quarters Thursday morning. Sean Doolittle changed then pulled his red hood up, sitting at his locker 10 hours after he stated he was “disgusted” with himself for Wednesday’s crash. Such a devastating night has been common for the 2019 Nationals. It was not for Doolittle. He hit a batter for the first time since May 29, 2018. He allowed four earned runs in an outing for the fifth time in 348 career appearances (1.4 percent of the time he pitches). In keeping with the season, the worst-possible outcome arrived at the worst-possible time, then another terrible one followed.

Martinez remained upbeat, sipping a morning drink concoction common in his native Puerto Rico. He rewatched Wednesday's game -- a masochist’s errand this season -- as he regularly does, went to sleep around 2 a.m., awoke at 7, arrived at Citi Field around 9:45. The leash on his future has been shortened greatly by the four failing days in New York.  

The Nationals wandered out for stretch and light throwing in front of an oddball scene. Thursday was “Weather Day” at Citi Field with the Big Apple-famous Mr. G hosting in his Mets jersey. Mr. G  -- known to his friends as Irv Gikofsy, New York City’s most popular weatherman -- kicked up a “Let’s go Mets!” chant down the third base line while the Nationals relievers ran routes and caught a foam football to get loose in the same part of the park. The recently re-emerged Mrs. Met, who popped back up in 2013 after decades of dormancy, used her giant noggin to nod along.

The game was another compilation of missed opportunities, bullpen disasters and bad luck. Washington left eight runners on base through the first six innings alone. The Mets’ path to runs was aided by slop and basics. Carlos Gomez single in the fifth. He ran to steal second, Yan Gomes’ throw went into center field, Gomez went on to third base. A sacrifice fly scored him.

J.D. Davis singled in the sixth. Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch. Stephen Strasburg’s wild pitch moved them both over. Another sacrifice fly scored one, a Wilson Ramos infield single scored the other. The Mets led, 3-1.

The Nationals didn’t score with runners on first and third and one out in the first. They did not score after Juan Soto’s leadoff triple in the second inning. They did not score after a one-out double in the third. They did not score with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth. They did not score with a runner on second and one out in the fifth. This is not hyperbole for effect. It’s facts. Sigh-worthy ones.

The only effective offseason signings are Kurt Suzuki and Patrick Corbin. The others have not just resided below expectations, they have been among the worst in the league at their position.

Gomes, acquired in a trade, leads the league in passed balls. He’s committed three errors in his 29 starts. Coming into Thursday, he had a 65 OPS-plus (100 is average).

Brian Dozier started the afternoon with a 73 OPS-plus and -0.5 WAR. Those two numbers would be worse if not for a recent uptick both in the field and plate from him.

And, the most egregious failure of the offseason has been Trevor Rosenthal’s saga. Martinez was asked directly Wednesday if Rosenthal simply has the “yips”. He said they still believe Rosenthal’s problems are mechanics, not thoughts, despite him throwing baseballs to the backstop in central Pennsylvania. The luxury-tax averse Nationals are paying him $6 million to do so.

Finally, Thursday was enough for Martinez to shed his tranquility. After Howie Kendrick was ejected in the top of the eighth, Martinez ran to home plate to start an argument of his own. He half-circled home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman, yelled, pointed and carried on in a manner that begged Dreckman to throw him out. He did. Martinez went from rankled to furious. He spiked his hat, kicked the dirt, and yelled some more. The event provided his third career ejection and looked to be among the final moves of a manager on the verge of returning to private life.

A strange thing followed: his team rallied for three runs to take a 4-3 lead. No matter. There’s no goodness Washington’s bullpen can’t undermine. Wander Suero gave up a three-run homer in the eighth to Gomez. New day, different reliever, same ear-bleeding outcome.

Which again made talking about tomorrow the only way to deal with the grotesqueness of today. Trouble now is tomorrow may not matter any more.

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An irate Davey Martinez ejected in 8th inning as Nats swept by Mets

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Twitter/SNY

An irate Davey Martinez ejected in 8th inning as Nats swept by Mets

Perhaps Davey Martinez senses his job security is in serious jeopardy as the team continues to underperform and slip its way down the competitive NL East division. 

The second-year Nationals manager, who's gone 101-111 since accepting the job, reached a boiling point Thursday when he was ejected in the 8th for arguing a called strike three on a Howie Kendrick check swing. 

Martinez, typically mild-mannered in the dugout, tied Matt Williams on the all-time career ejections as a manager list with his third today. 

The Nationals' 6-4 loss to New York marked the team's fifth straight as it falls to 19-31 on the season. 

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