Nationals

Syracuse holds Orange Madness

Syracuse holds Orange Madness

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) A familiar face kicked off the 2012-13 Syracuse basketball season when former point guard Scoop Jardine, who helped lead the Orange to 34 wins and the Elite Eight a year ago, co-hosted the team's Orange Madness event.

The men's and women's teams started their seasons with the event held Friday night in the Carrier Dome. The night featured player introductions, scrimmages, a dunk contest and performances by rapper Wale. Tickets for the event were sold out.

Earlier Friday, the teams hosted their annual media days.

Syracuse lost four key contributors in Jardine, small forward Kris Joseph, guard Dion Waiters and center Fab Melo and several players will have to step into bigger roles this season.

Coach Jim Boeheim said his team is well prepared coming off a strong preseason.

``I think these guys have worked as hard as they can and are as ready individually as they can be,'' Boeheim said. ``As far as what kind of team they can be, there's no way of knowing that at this stage.''

Boeheim said he expects veteran guard Brandon Triche to have a big season, and he's looking forward to seeing the continued development of sophomore Michael Carter-Williams.

Carter-Williams will step into the backcourt to replace Jardine, who co-hosted the event with Syracuse student Jasmine Jordan, daughter of legendary Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan. Jardine received a warm welcome from the crowd, hearing chants of his name as he did during his playing days.

After the players were introduced, the fans got a glimpse of what to expect in the upcoming season in a scrimmage. It featured several highlight-reel dunks and some sharpshooting by guard Trevor Cooney, who hit three 3-pointers.

``I'm excited. It's the same every year,'' Boeheim said. ``It's the same level of excitement, anticipation.

``We have to get through this day and then the fun starts tomorrow. We get to practice and get to work with these guys.''

Boeheim entered the court in a U.S. army vehicle and was joined by soldiers from Fort Drum military base. Boeheim showed the crowd his gold medal from this past summer at London Olympics, where he served as an assistant coach for the U.S. team, and thanked the soldiers for their service before the scrimmage began.

The anticipation from the crowd reached one of its high points during the dunk contest. The final event of the night included Cooney, Triche, James Southerland, Duke transfer Michael Gbinije and women's team freshman Brittney Sykes.

Sykes was the last to go, generating excitement from her teammates and the fans. The 5-foot-9 Sykes, a McDonald's All-America, attempted to dunk multiple times, but she struggled to get to the rim and fell short on each attempt.

The men's team opens its season on Nov. 9 against San Diego State in the Battle on the Midway in San Diego, Calif.

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Cubs drop protest, but not stance about Sean Doolittle's delivery

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Cubs drop protest, but not stance about Sean Doolittle's delivery

WASHINGTON -- Sunday afternoon’s discussions still revolved around Saturday night’s close, which Washington manager Davey Martinez referred to as a “fiasco” on Sunday.

Chicago manager Joe Maddon started a chaotic situation when he popped out of the dugout following Sean Doolittle’s first pitch in the ninth inning Saturday. Maddon contended Doolittle’s “toe-tap” was an illegal delivery, akin to when Chicago reliever Carl Edwards Jr. tried to add a pause in spring training, but was told the move was illegal.

The umpires told him, and Doolittle, the delivery was legal. Chicago filed a protest with the league. After consulting with Major League Baseball and MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, Joe Torre, the Cubs dropped their protest Sunday morning.

A point of differentiation is whether the pitcher is taking a second step. Umpires previously determined Edwards was taking a second step. They determined Doolittle was not. This is a judgment call for the umpires and is not reviewable.

Official Baseball Rule 5.07(a) states in part: “The pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk under Rule 6.02(a); if the bases are unoccupied it is an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b).”

The league, according to Maddon, said there is a difference between Edwards placing his full foot on the ground and Doolittle grazing the mound with a cleat when he delivered. Maddon continued to not agree with the interpretation.

“We went through the whole process,” Maddon said. “Our guys in the office spoke to MLB and I talked to Mr. Torre. The whole thing I wanted to really get done was protect Carl. I really didn’t anticipate a whole lot to be done with it. Even though I still don’t agree with the conclusion, because I think it’s exactly what Carl did, only a different version of it. But the point was, I would not be a good parent if I had not spoken up for my guy. And that’s what I was doing last night and, again, it’s just to eliminate any gray area there just for future because it’s going to happen again down the road somewhere and you’re just trying to delineate what is right and what is wrong. In my mind, it wasn’t a judgment call, I thought it was black-and-white. It wasn’t gray.”

Maddon said multiple times that Doolittle tapped with his toe in addition to grazing the mound, both of which, he contended, were not legal or different than Edwards' attempt at deception.

The congenial Doolittle was steamed postgame Saturday and remained irritated Sunday. Saturday, he took multiple shots at Maddon during his postgame commentary. He also taunted the idea when throwing warmup pitches while Maddon argued with umpires by making exaggerated kicks with his leg and multiple stops with his foot. Doolittle switched to a delivery without any stops -- one he often uses -- after the protest as a way to show Maddon he didn’t need the tweak to be successful.

“In that moment, he's not trying to do anything other than rattle me and it was kind of tired,” Doolittle said Saturday. “I don't know. Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game and stuff like that. He put his stamp on it for sure.

"I actually have to thank him. After they came out the second, the [Kyle] Schwarber at-bat, I threw two fastballs and a slider and a fastball to [Kris] Bryant and those were probably the best ones I've thrown in a while. I don't do the tap when there's somebody on base so I can keep my pickoff move available if I need it. I've had a lot of traffic recently, so I've had practice doing it, so it wasn't like a huge adjustment to me. I don't know. In a way, I kind of need to thank him."

Asked Sunday if Doolittle’s comments were relayed to him, Maddon smiled and said yes.

“Listen, I have no issue with that whatsoever,” Maddon said. “We’re all emotional. I’ve said a lot of things I didn’t want to say years ago -- even in this ballpark. I think if he understood the entire context, he might have had a different opinion. Even if he was the manager himself -- if he was me -- or if he was being protected by his manager under similar circumstances, I think his stance may be different.”

No one -- the league, Maddon or Doolittle -- changed their perspective a day later.

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.

The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.

St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game. 

Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.

Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.

Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.

Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.

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