Headlines from around the world in sports
Milwaukee Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker looks at his statue Friday, April 25, 2014, at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The statue of the Hall of Fame broadcaster was unveiled before the Brewer's game against the Chicago Cubs. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Milwaukee Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker laughs with Rolly Fingers, right, as Robin Yount speaks at an event Friday, April 25, 2014, at Miller Park in Milwaukee. A statue of the Hall of Fame broadcaster will debut the Brewer's game against the Chicago Cubs. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Historic day as Northwestern players decide union
EVANSTON, Ill. – In a historic vote, Northwestern University football players cast secret ballots yesterday on whether to form the nation’s first union for college athletes – a decision that could change the landscape of American amateur sports.
The results of the closely watched vote will not be known for some time. After two rounds of voting on this 19,000-student campus, the ballot boxes were sealed and will remain so for weeks, months, perhaps even years as the university challenges the effort to unionize the team.
Still, some of those behind the push were already celebrating, saying that even if a union is voted down, the campaign has the power to change things.
The full National Labor Relations Board has agreed to hear the Northwestern’s appeal of a regional director’s March ruling that the players are university employees and thus can unionize. Ballots will remain impounded until that process is finished, and perhaps until after any court fight that might follow a decision.
Frieri loses Angels closer job; Smith takes over
NEW YORK – Ernesto Frieri lost his job as Los Angeles Angels closer – at least for a while.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said setup man Joe Smith will step into the stopper role until Frieri works out his problems.
The move comes two days after Frieri allowed four runs and three hits while failing to protect a lead for the Angels in a loss at Washington.
Frieri is 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA in 10 appearances this year. He’s allowed five home runs, a problem that plagued him last season when he was tagged for 11 homers and briefly lost the closer job.
Brewers honor Uecker with statue – in the last row
MILWAUKEE – There’s no mistaking what row Bob Uecker is in now – all the way in the back of the upper deck.
Yesterday, the Brewers unveiled a new statue of the longtime radio broadcaster in the last row of the upper deck behind home plate at Miller Park. It’s a nod to the popular 1980s Lite beer “All Stars” campaign that featured a cast of sports celebrities, including Uecker, who has served as the Brewers radio voice since 1971.
One of the classic ads features Uecker anticipating a move to front-row seats only to wind up in the upper reaches of the ballpark.
Former QB Morrall, member of ’72 Dolphins, dies at 79
MIAMI – Earl Morrall, an NFL quarterback for 21 years who started nine games during the Dolphins’ perfect season in 1972, died at age 79.
The Dolphins confirmed Morrall’s death yesterday. Former teammate Charlie Babb said Morrall had been in failing health for some time.
When Bob Griese broke his ankle in 1972, Morrall came off the bench and started the final nine games of the regular season for the Dolphins. Morrall won praise from Coach Don Shula for his willingness to step aside when Griese returned for the AFC championship game.
League will consider giving refs more replay rights
NEW YORK – After further review, the play stands as called.
Not because it was right, but because referees weren’t allowed to determine it was wrong.
NBA officials were already considering expanding referees’ instant replay options. Discussions will surely heat up this summer after two key plays in this postseason couldn’t be changed even after refs saw them on the monitor.
For now, the rules are clear about what referees can look at. But Commissioner Adam Silver said the league will “inevitably” reach a point where they can do more.
Silver’s comments yesterday came hours before Atlanta’s Jeff Teague made a 3-pointer that replays showed came after he had stepped out of bounds. Officials, however, could review only whether he shot from behind the arc.
Aaron and Andrew Harrison staying at Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky twin freshman guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison will return for a second season to a stocked Wildcats squad coming off an NCAA championship game appearance.
Both had been mentioned as possible NBA first-round draft picks after leading Kentucky’s remarkable march through the NCAA tournament. Aaron Harrison’s clutch 3-pointers that beat Michigan and Wisconsin and put the Wildcats in the final were set up on feeds from Andrew, the point guard.
However, the twins said in a statement through the school that were returning in pursuit of another shot at the title; Aaron Harrison said, “last year’s run was special, but we still have unfinished business.”
McGary tests positive for marijuana, heads to NBA
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan sophomore Mitch McGary said he tested positive for marijuana during the NCAA tournament and plans to forgo his final two years of college eligibility.
Coach John Beilein announced McGary’s decision yesterday, saying the 6-foot-10 forward would enter the NBA draft.
McGary said in a statement issued by the school he made a “poor decision” and was notified of the marijuana test result after the Final Four. He said he regrets disappointing family, coaches and the administration, but all have been “understanding and helpful.”
McGary turned down a chance to enter the draft last year as a likely first-round pick and ended up having back surgery last season, putting his standing as an NBA prospect in doubt.
Charges filed against ex-Missouri player Price
COLUMBIA, Mo. – A former Missouri basketball player who was recently kicked off the team after he was accused of ramming a teammate’s car was charged with first-degree tampering.
Boone County prosecutors told the Columbia Daily Tribune that the felony charge against Zach Price stems from two incidents with teammate Earnest Ross in early April. Ross had sought a restraining order against Price, a 6-foot-10 Louisville transfer who was accused of hitting Ross in the face and then pushing a woman to the ground.
Price was initially suspended indefinitely by Missouri Coach Frank Haith, who has since left for Tulsa. Haith dismissed Price one week later, ending his Missouri basketball career before he played in a game.
Martin shows composure, keeps Zurich Classic lead
AVONDALE, La. – Ben Martin shot a 5-under 67 yesterday to maintain a course-record pace at TPC Louisiana, keeping him atop the leaderboard through two rounds of the Zurich Classic.
After breaking the course record with a 62 on Thursday, Martin opened the second round with two birdies and an eagle on his first four holes. He shook off a bogey and double bogey on successive holes in the middle of the round and birdied four of his last nine to move to 15 under – the best 36-hole total at the course. No one has had a four-round score better than 20 under.
Andrew Svoboda shot a 68 to remain second at 12 under, but closed his round on the par-3 ninth with his first bogey of the tournament.
Nadal’s struggles continue with loss in Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain – Top-ranked Rafael Nadal’s clay-court struggles worsened yesterday as his 41-match winning streak at the Barcelona Open ended with a three-set loss to Nicolas Almagro in the quarterfinals.
Nadal was looking for his ninth title in Barcelona but lost 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, a week after going out in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters to David Ferrer. Nadal, widely considered the greatest clay-court player of all time, hadn’t lost in Barcelona since his debut as a 15-year-old in 2003, although he missed the tournament in 2010. He had not dropped a set here since the 2008 final.
Almagro will face Santiago Giraldo in today’s semifinals after Philipp Kohlschreiber retired with an injury while trailing 6-4, 4-3.
Earlier, Kei Nishikori of Japan and Ernests Gulbis of Latvia overpowered opponents to set up a semifinal meeting.
Sharapova moves within two wins of Stuttgart title
STUTTGART, Germany – Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova needed eight match points to put away top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 6-3, yesterday for a place in the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals.
Sharapova has won 11 consecutive matches on Stuttgart’s indoor clay. Her semifinal opponent will be eighth-seeded Sara Errani, who was leading, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 3-0, when Carla Suarez Navarro retired with a hand injury.
Ana Ivanovic outlasted 2009 Stuttgart champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, in a battle between two former French Open winners.
Muguruza, Hantuchova reach Morocco semis
MARRAKESH, Morocco – Garbine Muguruza of Spain beat Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-3, 6-1, to reach the Grand Prix SAR semifinals yesterday.
Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, Romina Oprandi of Switzerland and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain also moved into the last four. The top-seeded Hantuchova received a walkover from Peng Shuai of China, who had a left thigh injury, Oprandi defeated third-seeded Yvonne Meusburger of Austria, 6-4, 6-4, and Torro-Flor edged Polona Hercog of Slovenia, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5).