Weekend Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — Just 0.7% of Major League Baseball employees tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
The small number of positive tests, announced Sunday, was positive news for a sport pushing ahead with plans to start its delayed season.
Researchers received 6,237 completed surveys from employees of 26 clubs. That led to 5,754 samples obtained in the U.S. on April 14 and 15 and 5,603 records that were used. The survey kit had a 0.5% false positive rate.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, one of the study’s leaders, said the prevalence of the antibodies among MLB employees was lower than for the general population during testing in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco area and Miami.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Kicks, punches and grunts echoed through the empty arena. Coaches, commentators and camera clicks resonated like never before. Blood, sweat, swollen eyelids and face masks signaled the return of UFC, the first major sporting event to resume since the coronavirus shuttered much of the country for nearly two months.
UFC 249 ushered in a new look for sports, too. One without fans and amid several safety precautions.
It was definitely different — two fighters adjusted their approaches because of what they heard announcers say — and a welcome reprieve for a sports-craved country that went nearly eight weeks with few live events.
“We did this for you, to bring sports back,” fighter Tony Ferguson told fans following his loss in the main event.
Five hours after President Trump congratulated UFC for restarting the sports world, Justin Gaethje stunned heavily favored Ferguson (26-4) in the finale. Gaethje earned a TKO in the fifth and final round of the headliner that was deemed an interim lightweight title bout.
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says sports can resume — if only members of your own household are playing. How the Premier League can restart should become clearer in the coming days.
Any restart during the coronavirus pandemic is not just reliant on the government, which is planning Tuesday to outline the path to group training by sports teams being allowed again.
The 20 Premier League clubs head into their latest conference call on Monday split over a plan to use neutral stadiums to complete the season that was halted in March.
As clubs try to create safe conditions for training and games, the risks of players gathering again have been underscored by a Brighton player testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said the case was “a concern,” with players still only training individually at the south-coast club.
If games can resume as the league hopes by mid-June, there will not be any fans allowed inside stadiums, with forms of social distancing maintained.
MADRID (AP) — The Spanish league is not changing its plan to resume competing after five players from clubs in the first and second divisions tested positive for COVID-19, with president Javier Tebas saying Sunday he hopes it can restart on June 12.
Tebas said if everything continues to go according to plan in Spain, he expects the league to resume a month from now – depending on decisions by local authorities regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
The league confirmed the positive tests on Sunday but said it was not going to alter the practice protocol that got underway last week. Players from most clubs began individual training sessions on Friday after nearly two months of confinement because of the pandemic.
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. national soccer team star Alex Morgan has become a mom just in time for Mother’s Day.
Morgan announced Saturday on social media that she gave birth to daughter Charlie Elena Carrasco at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Charlie weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces.
Morgan and husband Servando Carrasco, who is a midfielder for the LA Galaxy, announced in October that they were expecting their first child in April.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (AP) — College basketball victory leader Gene Bess of Three Rivers College has retired.
The 85-year-old coach announced the decision Saturday. Son Brian, a longtime assistant, took over the top job at the junior college.
He fought health problems the last few seasons.
Bess was 1,300-416 in 50 seasons at Three Rivers — 143 more victories than NCAA Division I leader Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. Bess led the Raiders to national titles in 1979 and 1992.
America’s Cup teams are returning to the water in varying degrees nearly two months after the coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of what would have been an impressive global road show.
After a mandatory five-week lockdown was lifted recently, defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand returned to training on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbor with its half-size test boat, Te Kahu (The Hawk). The Kiwis don’t have access to their 75-foot race boat, Te Aihe (The Dolphin), because it’s still being shipped back from Italy after a preliminary regatta scheduled for late April was canceled.
By Monday or Tuesday, the New York Yacht Club’s yacht Defiant and the accompanying containers and chase boats will be headed from Pensacola, Florida, to Auckland on a 500-foot ship. American Magic will be the first of the three challengers to arrive in Auckland, sometime in early to mid-June. The other two challengers, INEOS Team UK, headed by Sir Ben Ainslie, and Italy’s Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, are expected to train at their home bases through the summer, operating within safety protocols.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Former U.S. Olympic bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic has died. He was 43.
USA Bobsled/Skeleton said in a release Saturday that Jovanovic took his own life May 3.
A native of Toms River, New Jersey, Jovanovic started in the sport in 1997. A push athlete for driver Todd Hays, he won a bronze medal at the 2004 world championships and finished seventh in both the two- and four-man events at the 2006 Winter Olympics after also pushing for the late Steven Holcomb.
BRAINTREE, Mass. (AP) — Mary Pratt, who played for the Rockford Peaches and Kenosha Comets in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, has died. She was 101.
Pratt died on Wednesday. Her nephew, Walter Pratt, told The Patriot Ledger she passed away peacefully at a nursing home.
Pratt pitched in the women’s league from 1943-47. The league was profiled in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own.”
She was believed to be the last surviving member of the original 1943 Peaches. The league said in a tweet that Pratt’s “stories, her energy will be missed for a long time.”