A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.
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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, deputy sports editor for presentation and storytelling, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.
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All times are Eastern.
NEW YORK – Spain, your asymmetry is showing. Nigeria, you’re so bright I need shades! Croatia, Russia’s fresh out of Big Boy restaurants. Those three countries and a few more are among the more festive standouts in jerseys this time around, with loads of sentimental touches in the designs of the 32 shirts rolled out over the last few months. By Leanne Italie. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
After raising the World Cup eight miles from Copacabana Beach four years ago, Germany hopes to lift the trophy four miles from the Kremlin on July 15 and become the first repeat champion in more than a half-century. The soccer world gathers at 12 stadiums in 11 cities across the European portion of Russia starting June 14 for a 32-day, 64-match championship. Much has changed since Die Mannschaft humiliated the host Selecao 7-1 in the 2014 semifinals, then left Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium with a 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina on Mario Goetze’s 113th-minute goal. By Ronald Blum. SENT: 860 words, photos.
WEDNESDAY, June 13
PHILADELPHIA – Carson Wentz was having an MVP season before a torn ACL forced him to the sideline where he watched Nick Foles lead the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory. Wentz has a mission to return for Week 1 but his return comes with interesting circumstances: He’s got no pressure to return right away because the Eagles can lean on the Super Bowl MVP to start the season. And that’s not necessarily a threat to Wentz, whose friendship with Foles appears without the strain seen in other famed NFL tandems like Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers or Joe Montana and Steve Young. That has allowed Wentz to pursue other interests while rehabbing, like building a sports complex during a mission trip to Haiti, with the comfort of knowing his job is reasonably safe if he plays well once he comes back. By Rob Maaddi. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m. Wednesday.
OKLAHOMA CITY – U.S. softball officials say the sport needs to thrive outside the mainland United States and Japan to remain an Olympic sport long term. Softball was in the Summer Olympics from 1996 to 2008 but was left off the program in 2012 and 2016. It will return in Tokyo in 2020, and U.S. officials hope to convince Paris officials it needs to be a part of the 2024 Games. They say evidence of progress for other national teams will help their argument. By Cliff Brunt. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 12 p.m. Wednesday.
THURSDAY, June 14
OMAHA, Neb. – If the College World Series plays out like the season up to this point, there’ll be lots of strikeouts. Mirroring what’s happening in the major leagues, strikeouts are on the upswing in the college game. Strikeouts are at an all-time high, and the number of pitching staffs averaging nine or more per nine innings has tripled in the last two years. By Eric Olson. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 3 a.m. Thursday.
FRIDAY, June 15
FBC–COLLEGE FOOTBALL FATHERS
It is not uncommon to find major college football players all over the country who are fathers, many of them unmarried. Coaches say they want to know as much as possible when a child is in the picture. Information and understanding are vital to helping players who are fathers manage the responsibilities of school, football and parenthood. For some coaches it is not just about accommodating players who have kids, it is about helping to teach the young men in their programs to be good dads. By AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday.
MOSCOW – The United States is missing from the World Cup for the first time since 1986 but is the only nation with two referees in Russia: Mark Geiger and Jair Marrufo. By Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 4 p.m. Friday.
SATURDAY, June 16
SOC–WORLD CUP-VIEWING PARTIES
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Start times before the sun rises and the lack of the U.S. team in the World Cup might seem to put a damper on excitement for the tournament. But the San Jose Earthquakes hope to make it a month-long party by showing every game on the video board at Avaya Stadium, even those starting as early as 3 a.m. local time. By Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 a.m. Saturday.
Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia(at)ap.org.