Orioles

Weekend Sports In Brief

Weekend Sports In Brief

BASEBALL

ST. LOUIS (AP) No last name necessary. He was simply Stan the Man.

Stanley Frank Musial, the St. Louis Cardinals star who was one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, died Saturday. He was 92.

Musial died at his home in Ladue, a St. Louis suburb, surrounded by family. The team said Musial's son-in-law, Dave Edmonds, informed the club of the slugger's death.

Musial won seven National League batting crowns, was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals capture three World Series championships in the 1940s. He spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals and made the All-Star team 24 times, hitting .331 with 475 homers before retiring in 1963.

BALTIMORE (AP) - Earl Weaver, the notoriously feisty Hall of Fame manager, died at age 82 on a Caribbean cruise associated with the Orioles, his marketing agent said Saturday.

Weaver took the Orioles to four World Series over 17 seasons but won only one title, in 1970.

Dick Gordon said Weaver's wife told him that Weaver went back to his cabin after dinner and began choking between 10:30 and 11 Friday night. Gordon said a cause of death has not been determined.

Weaver's 91 career ejections were overshadowed by his five 100-win seasons, six AL East titles and four pennants. Weaver was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996, 10 years after he managed his final game with Baltimore at the end of an ill-advised comeback.

Weaver finished with a 1,480-1,060 record and won Manager of the Year three times.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Mark Helfrich is Oregon's next man in.

As usual, the Ducks wasted little time finding a replacement for Chip Kelly, promoting their affable offensive coordinator to head coach Sunday. Kelly left to become coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday.

Helfrich is the third straight offensive coordinator at Oregon to be promoted to the top job, following Kelly and his predecessor, Mike Bellotti.

The 39-year-old Oregon native signed a five-year deal with the Ducks for a reported $9 million. His promotion does not come as a surprise: Even before Oregon defeated Kanas State in the Fiesta Bowl, the Ducks' quarterbacks guru was considered the front-runner as Kelly's successor.

NEW YORK (AP) - Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o will be interviewed by Katie Couric, the first on-camera interview given by the All-American since news broke about the dead girlfriend hoax.

Te'o and his parents will appear on Couric's syndicated talk show Thursday. ABC News announced the interview Sunday, but gave no details as to when it will take place and where.

Te'o gave an off-camera interview with ESPN on Friday night. He insists he was the victim of the hoax, not a participant. The Heisman Trophy runner-up said he had an online romance with a woman he never met and in September was informed that the woman died from leukemia.

Te'o told ESPN that the person suspected of being the mastermind of the hoax has contacted him and apologized.

NBA

Two people familiar with the decision say the Maloof family has agreed to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Sunday night because the deal is still pending approval from the NBA Board of Governors.

One person said the Maloofs are selling the entirety of their 65 percent share for $525 million to Hansen, who will move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name.

The Maloofs will still be allowed to look at other bids until the league approves the sale.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said last week he had received permission from NBA Commissioner David Stern to present a counteroffer from buyers who would keep the Kings in Sacramento.

CYCLING

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Alberto Contador, a two-time winner of the Tour de France who was stripped of a third title for using a banned substance, says cycling needs to take something positive from the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Contador spoke to reporters Sunday on the eve of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

The Spaniard said Armstrong's admission that he took performance-enhancing drugs to win his seven Tour titles was ``hard on the image of cycling,'' but he said he wanted to ``find the good in it.''

Contador won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009 but was stripped of his 2010 title for testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.

Armstrong acknowledged in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used banned substances.

COLLEGE BASEBALL

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Ron Fraser, the longtime Miami baseball coach who won two national championships with the Hurricanes and whose innovative marketing ideas helped spark a surge in the college game's popularity, has died.

Fraser died Sunday morning, family spokesman Tony Segreto said. Fraser, known as ``the wizard of college baseball,'' had battled Alzheimer's disease for many years. It was believed that Fraser was 79, though his family's statement did not release his age nor a cause of death.

Fraser led Miami to national titles in 1982 and 1985, taking the Hurricanes to the College World Series 12 times over his 30 years at the school. He retired in 1992 with 1,271 wins, never having a losing season in his three decades overseeing the program.

SKIING

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) - Lindsey Vonn won a World Cup downhill Saturday for her first victory in more than five weeks, beating overall leader Tina Maze by nearly half a second.

And most importantly, she's back to being fully healthy after a nasty bacterial ailment that ate away the muscles in her powerful legs and sapped her energy the last few months.

Vonn clocked 1 minute, 38.25 seconds down the sun-drenched Olympia delle Tofane course.

After failing to finish two consecutive races in France in mid-December - including an uncharacteristic fall in downhill, the discipline she's Olympic champion in - Vonn left the circuit for 27 days and missed six races. Having been hospitalized with an intestinal illness in November, she wondered whether she would win again this season.

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Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

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Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is dedicated to altering the direction of the organization and that was reciprocated Friday with the firing of 11 members of the scouting and front office departments.  

"We're in a period of change right now with the industry and we're in a period of change right now with the Orioles," Elias said. "Sometimes to make changes you've got to make changes."

Among those relieved were baseball operations director Tripp Norton, scouts Dean Albany, Jim Howard, John Gillette, Nathan Showalter, and Buck Showalter. 

Elias acknowledged the uphill battle ahead of filling numerous voids but insists it's just a part of the job 

"We're going to be very busy bringing people into this organization," he said. "This is just the organization moving along and adapting to the sport today."

Just one day removed from a judge confirming that the Orioles owe the Nationals nearly $300 million, Elias insisted this move isn't to save money.

"There are changes going on in the scouting business in terms of greater availability of information in general, video and data," Elias said. "There are instances where we will replace people's roles kind of man for man, head for head, spot for spot, but there's other instances where we're reconfiguring the way the scouts go about their business."

The O's will look completely different from this point out and players won't be the only changes.

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Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

The clubhouse wears have never been packed so quickly. Washington was sprinting as a group to get out of Pittsburgh on Thursday night following another three-hour-plus game with a 1:20 p.m. local start looming in Wrigley Field on Friday.

Max Scherzer finished his postgame comments in less than four minutes, then quickly moved to get cleaned up and join the others. Most lockers were vacant by the time media members reached the clubhouse, which wasn’t long after the game ended. 

Despite the scramble for minutes saved, Friday was supposed to be a loss. Las Vegas knew. The players and management knew. It was a bad spot. Night game, onto a plane, then a day game against a team which played at home the previous afternoon, and was 44-19 there -- the second-best home record in the National League. 

And yet, Nationals 9, Cubs 3, and it wasn’t that close.

Some bloops fell, some situations turned out lucky. Though, Aníbal Sánchez dominated. No voodoo or charms were involved.

He went through 8 ⅓ innings before being removed after 112 pitches. He was provided a shot to finish the game -- just 15 National League pitchers have a complete game this season -- but couldn’t. A rare Anthony Rendon throwing error cost him an out, then his opportunity for a solo close to the afternoon in Chicago.

Sánchez threw 31 four-seam fastballs, 31 cutters and 28 “splitters” among his 112 pitches. He worked as a marionettist, pulling strings to change positions and outcomes throughout the day. Matt Grace finished the game. No high-end reliever was used, resetting a bullpen which had to cover five innings in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The offense beat up Jon Lester. He didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. Everyone in the lineup -- including Sánchez -- picked up a hit. Trea Turner’s single extended his on-base streak to 30 games.

Sánchez’s work piggybacked on what the other starters did against woeful Pittsburgh. Nationals starters have allowed two earned runs in the first five games of this seven-game road trip. The offense has averaged 8.2 runs in that span. It’s hard to fathom they lost once with both sides operating in such fashion.

All of this is just a continuation of a massive turnaround. Washington is 52-26 since its nadir May 24. Only the Dodgers -- who host the Yankees on Friday night -- have a better record in that span, and by just a half-game. They have won 10 of 12 and 13 of 17. Fivethirtyeight.com now gives the Nationals a 90 percent chance to make the postseason (this includes the wild-card game).

Wins like Friday emphatically move that needle. The Cubs are trying to wind their way into the postseason. They were also set up for a clear advantage thanks to the schedule. Instead, Sánchez, throwing as slow as 68 mph and as fast as 91, controlled the day, the offense rolled through the afternoon and everyone was ready for bed after a surprise win.

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