Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jerseys tracked to Mexico: police

Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey found in Mexico (The Associated Press)

It wasn’t the only piece of memorabilia recovered: Authorities found a Brady jersey that had gone missing after the Patriots’ 2015 Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks. He described the theft as the only blemish on an otherwise successful Super Bowl.“You don’t come to Texas and embarrass us here on our home turf,” Acevedo said.A Patriots spokeswoman said the team had no comment.The jerseys are in the possession of the NFL and FBI in Boston, and law enforcement was working to authenticate them, the chief said.“We are highly confident that these are the jerseys,” Acevedo said. … Hopefully when I get the jerseys back I can make something very positive come from this experience.”Houston police Chief Art Acevedo proudly congratulated his team, but was equally quick to say finding the jersey wasn’t a top priority in a city with violent crime. “They were not even aware that (he) had gone to the Super Bowl.”The former director handed over his company phone when he resigned last Tuesday, the person said.No arrests had been made. The AP is not identifying the director because he has not been charged.Brady, in a statement from his agent, Don Yee, expressed gratitude to investigators but said he hadn’t yet been reunited with the jerseys.“I am happy my jerseys from SB 49 and SB 51 have been recovered, and I want to thank all of the law enforcement agencies involved,” Brady said. “I know they worked hard on this case — and it is very much appreciated. A helmet belonging to a Denver Broncos player was also discovered, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.The stolen jersey — and the investigation that stretched from Texas to Boston — captivated Patriots fans and social media for several days after the Patriots’ 34-28 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons.“If it shows up on eBay or something, somebody let me know,” Brady said after the game.Houston police investigators relied on a tip from an informant to trace the jersey, estimated to be worth about $500,000, to Mexico.U.S. and Mexican officials have not identified the suspect, but the name of a former newspaper director circulated widely in Mexican news media and on social networks.A Mexican federal government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the attorney general’s office participated in the investigation and obtained a search warrant. The jersey and other objects were found March 12, the official said.The newspaper’s owner, Organizacion Editorial Mexicana, issued a statement saying the director resigned two days later for “personal reasons.”The paper said that if the accusations are true, it “strongly condemns” that the employee used his position “to obtain a media accreditation to be able to access the field of play, news conferences and probably other areas of NRG Stadium.” The paper said it had not been contacted by investigators.A company official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the former director was not part of the media outlet’s Super Bowl coverage.“He got accredited on behalf of La Prensa, but he took vacations. Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jersey has been found in Mexico six weeks after it vanished from the Patriots’ locker room — but the mystery isn’t over.The NFL said the jersey was found in “possession of a credentialed member of the international media,” and authorities were investigating Monday whether a former Mexican tabloid newspaper executive played a role in the theft. He was not sent by us,” the person said.

Josh Donaldson returns from calf injury to make spring training debut

17 while running sprints. He could rejoin the Blue Jays for Friday’s game with Boston.“I get to be a real baseball player,” Travis said.Donaldson and Travis were both designated hitters in minor league games last week.Travis ran the bases at full speed Sunday and could be ready for the start of the regular season.CARRERA’S COLLISIONOutfielder Ezequiel Carrera was injured in the seventh during a collision with second baseman Darwin Barney on Quintin Berry’s double into shallow right field.“Barney’s knee hit him in the thigh,” Gibbons said. “As far as how my calf is feeling right now, it feels normal. It’s a big step forward.”“It’s huge for the team that he’s on the field,” Gibbons said.Donaldson hit .284 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs last season. That’s what we want.”Donaldson faced Tyler Duffey twice, striking out in the first inning and then walking on a 3-2 pitch. In his final at-bat against Adalberto Mejia in the sixth, Donaldson reached when his pop fly to shallow centre was misplayed for a an error.“A really big day for him and the ballclub,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson made his spring training debut Monday, going 0 for 2 with a walk in his first game since injuring his right calf more than a month ago.The 2015 AL MVP hurt himself Feb. “I don’t think it will be a big deal.”Carrera walked gingerly off the field after being examined by team trainers. “We’ve been waiting for this day. “It was nice to get on the field and run a little bit,” Donaldson said. He was the designated hitter in an 8-2 loss to Minnesota, and is scheduled to play at his normal third base spot Wednesday. He has been an All-Star in three straight seasons.Second baseman Devon Travis, who had surgery on his right knee in the off-season and is slowed by a bone bruise, played defence for the first time in a minor league game.

After successful weekend, Raptors in good shape to finally beat the Bulls

He and Serge both – they think defensively, they talk defence, they help guys get in the right spots. “It should be high on our radar,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said Monday after the team’s practice, referring to Chicago’s spate of good luck against the Raptors.The last time Toronto managed to beat Chicago was Dec. 18, 2002, and ran through Dec. 31, 2013, at the United Center, when Toronto came out on top, 85-79, in a defensive battle.Since then, the Bulls have won their past 11 encounters, including two this season in Chicago – a 123-118 overtime victory on Jan. So it’s time for us to really get that to stop.“This game has a little bit more significance for us, a sense of urgency for us, than normal.”Casey said he was feeling more optimistic about Toronto’s chances to end the streak on Tuesday based on his team’s past two outings – a victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday and Friday’s win over the Detroit Pistons.The Raptors’ defence tightened significantly in those games, holding opponents to a combined field goal percentage of 38.In limiting both the Pistons and the Pacers to fewer than 100 points in each game, Toronto’s record climbed to 20-4 when opponents fail to reach the century mark in scoring.Casey said newcomer P.J. The good news for the Toronto Raptors is they have been playing better of late – in the two games since being embarrassed by the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.The bad news is Toronto’s next opponents are the Chicago Bulls, who have dominated the Raptors like no other team over the past several years. The Phoenix Suns recorded 14 wins in a row over Toronto from 2004 through 2011 (the Raptors only play Western Conference teams twice a year), while the Indiana Pacers managed 13 straight from 1995 to 1998. Tucker, the rugged forward who joined the Raptors lineup along with Serge Ibaka at the NBA trade deadline, has proven his worth defensively coming off the bench.“He shows up well in all of our scenarios, and it starts on the defensive end,” Casey said. And the Utah Jazz (2005-11) and the Atlanta Hawks (1995-98) have each clocked 12 consecutive wins.Curiously enough, Chicago’s success against Toronto is not the Bulls’ longest active winning streak; that distinction belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers, who have lost their past 12 to Chicago.And the longest active winning steak in the NBA against a particular opponent is the 16 wins the Cleveland Cavaliers have piled up against the Orlando Magic.Although the Raptors are a lock for the playoffs – with a record of 41-29 heading into the final 12 games of the regular season – and the Bulls (33-37) are battling for their postseason lives, Casey is hard-pressed to explain Chicago’s continued dominance of Toronto.“You tell me and we’ll both know,” he said, noting that both teams have undergone a lot of roster changes over the course of the streak but Toronto continues to find ways to lose during head-to-head confrontations.“There’s been games where we’ve had leads, there’s been games where they’ve spanked us,” Casey said. 7 and a 105-94 decision on Feb. “There’s been close games, middle range – all kinds of games we’ve played against them. 2, 2015.Toronto also dropped 15 straight games, again against the Bulls, in a slide that began on Dec. They turn up the heat on their teammates.“You’ve got to have that if you want to be a good defensive team.”Tucker’s plus-minus rating over the past two games is a plus-22 when he has been on he floor. “He just sets the tone. 29, 2006. When the two teams meet at Air Canada Centre Tuesday night, the Bulls will be looking to rack up their 12th consecutive victory over the Raptors, a streak that dates back to the 2013-14 season. We’ve tried different schemes, different things. 14.Although Chicago’s dominance has caught Casey’s attention, the streak of 11 straight losses only ranks No. 7 on the Toronto futility list.The team’s longest such streak is 16 consecutive setbacks to the Miami Heat that unfolded between March 28, 2010, and Nov.

Flames’ Tkachuk suspended two games for elbowing Doughty

Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk was suspended for two games by the NHLfor elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty.Tkachuk will miss Calgary’s upcoming games Tuesday at the Washington Capitals and Thursday at the Nashville Predators. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. The NHL’s department of player safety announced the suspension Monday night. Doughty moved from in front of the net to try and get to the puck before Tkachuk, but the Calgary forward pre-emptively threw his elbow up and into the jaw of the Kings’ defenceman.In a video posted to the NHL’s website, the league pointed out that players who possess the puck may initiate contact with their opponents, including with their elbow, but hitting a player the face is never allowed.The 19-year-old Tkachuk will forfeit US$10,277.78 under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, based on his average annual salary. The play occurred late in the first period of Sunday’s game between the Flames and Kings.Tkachuk was behind L.A.’s net when the puck rimmed around the boards toward him.

USA Hockey, women’s team work to avoid world championship boycott

“But we’re hopeful, so that’s a step in the right direction, for sure.” We’re hopeful, I think, on both sides.”Players are pushing to be paid outside the six-month Olympic period, saying USA Hockey pays them nothing for the other 3 1/2 years.USA Hockey said it is not in the business of employing athletes and put out a list of players’ financial demands that players referred to as “patently false.”Despite trading barbs last week, the sides agreed to meet in downtown Philadelphia the morning after the National Women’s Hockey League final in Boston, which several players took part in. Their lengthy meeting didn’t produce an agreement, but at least the agreement that talks would continue.“It’s better than walking out saying, ‘This isn’t going to happen,“’ Lamoureux-Davidson said. to 7:30 p.m., was positive in that the sides were in the same room talking on the verge of training camp, which was scheduled to begin Wednesday.“We’re hopeful, I guess,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. President Jim Smith, executive director Dave Ogrean, treasurer Donna Guariglia and director of women’s hockey Reagan Carey were among those representing USA Hockey.In its statement, USA Hockey said its goal remains to have the team it selected for the world championships go on to represent the United States later this month.Players said negotiations with USA Hockey had been going on for 14 months over fair wages and equitable support. The meeting Monday, which Lamoureux-Davidson said lasted from 9 a.m. “They were productive, and we are hopeful that we can come to a timely agreement that would get us to Plymouth in time to prepare as a team so that we could compete in worlds.”Lamoureux-Davidson, twin sister Monique Lamoureux-Morando, captain Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Kacey Bellamy and Kendal Coyne were among the players who took part in the meeting on the players’ side. “This morning [we thought], ‘Wait and see how this goes,’ and after today we’re all hopeful that we can make something work with USA Hockey. USA Hockey and players released statements Monday night saying they hoped a deal would be reached in time for the tournament, which begins March 31.Players said they were hopeful to get an agreement in time to have a training camp and prepare to defend their world championship gold medal on home ice.“We feel like we made progress today,” star forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said by phone. Players announced last week they’d boycott the upcoming world championships in Plymouth, Mich., unless significant progress was made toward a labour agreement. USA Hockey and the women’s national team say their marathon meeting Monday was productive and they hope to have an agreement this week that will end their continuing wage dispute and avoid a boycott of the upcoming world championships.The sides met for more than 10 hours Monday in Philadelphia and will continue discussions later this week.

Maple Leafs crank up the pressure with huge win over Boston

Adding to the off-beat game was the failure of the game clock at Air Canada Centre, which resulted in periodic announcements of how much time remained and the referees whistling the conclusion to the periods instead of the horn.The clock finally showed up for action at the start of the third period, but there weren’t many shots or goals to chart. Centre Tyler Bozak got the Leafs off the tightrope with a power-play goal with one minute, 57 seconds left in regulation time to put them ahead 2-1. It felt good.“We’ve found a way to get points on a lot of nights and tonight was another night against a good team with really high-end players with good experience who can hurt you and have been in a lot of situations. But he went into deadpan mode when asked for details. When you come down the stretch and play these important games late in the season you learn a lot. We’re made for each other,” Komarov said of his discussions with Marchand. Both made lots of big saves, especially Rask, whose work kept the score tied 1-1 going into the third period as the Leafs put on the heat in the first period and still managed some good chances in the second as the Bruins came back.Among the skaters, the most important Leafs players were the line of Kadri and wingers Leo Komarov and Connor Brown. “We’ve gotten better as the year’s gone on. As a result, the Leafs now trail the Bruins by just one point in the race for third place in the Atlantic Division with one game in hand and 11 games left in their regular season.Defenceman Morgan Rielly, who picked up his third goal in his last five games, gave a nod to those blown third-period leads when he was asked about the Leafs showing they can grind out a big win.“We’ve had moments where we haven’t exactly done that, but I think we’ve learned from them,” he said. This is where you learn how to win.“When you look at the chances we were able to generate in October, November, we were getting a lot of goals, winning games [by] high scoring. Even better, for a team that was known for blowing third-period leads not long ago, it came in regulation time so no loser point for the Bruins to keep a gap in the playoff race. They hung in against a veteran team – one that knows how to smother hot offensive games as well as any NHL team – and took an important step forward in both their development and the playoff race. It is a mug’s game to point to one moment or one event as a team comes of age, but this sure feels like one.This was a 4-2 win by the rebuilt Toronto Maple Leafs over the Boston Bruins Monday night in as big a game as this group of youngsters has ever played. “I thought we played better and better. He’s a great guy.”After Backes’ scored, Rielly tied the score seven minutes later at 14:05 of the first period. “It’s just like how his day is going, It’s nothing brutal. That is the way it stayed until the Leafs broke things open in the last two minutes of the third.Leafs head coach Mike Babcock wasn’t keen on how his team started the game but he was much happier about how it ended.“I thought we got more and more competitive as the game went on,” he said. Now it’s not as back-and-forth and we’re still able to win games because we learned a lot.”The first two periods were an odd mix of some exciting offensive action and smothering defensive hockey, the latter mostly from the Bruins. Then William Nylander and Nazem Kadri scored empty-net goals, which gave the Leafs the necessary cushion to withstand Dominic Moore’s goal for Boston with 9.8 seconds left.The win gave the Leafs a season sweep over the Bruins, 4-0, for the first time since the 1924-25 season. As the shutdown line, they had to check the Bruins’ high-powered unit of centre Patrice Bergeron and wingers Brad Marchand and David Backes, who powered Boston to a 7-3 record going into Monday’s game.The Bergeron line did produce the Bruins’ first goal by Backes but it was with Kadri’s line on the bench and the Leafs on the ice snoozing defensively. But the Leafs refused to wilt, even when the Bruins cranked up the scoring pressure as time grew short.The one constant was sparkling goaltending from Toronto’s Frederik Andersen and Tuukka Rask of the Bruins. I didn’t like to give up the last goal, but a good win for our team. Otherwise, Kadri’s line shut down the Bruins trio in a matchup that grew more intense as the game went on, with lots of yakking between noted trash-talkers Komarov and Marchand.“He loves to talk and I love to talk. The intensity was cranked up and the checking grew even closer. A real good win for our team, obviously. We haven’t been in a lot of them and I thought we still did a good job and found a way to win.” It’s a hockey game.

Canada maintains perfect record with two wins at world women’s curling

“Luckily, we left Rachel with a couple savers and she made them, so we were happy about that.“We’re throwing really well, and its always tough when you’re throwing well and not getting results. Canada is on the verge of clinching a playoff spot at the world women’s curling championship after a pair of victories on Tuesday.Ottawa’s Rachel Homan defeated South Korea’s EunJung Kim 9-8 before dumping Scotland’s Eve Muirhead 8-2 in evening play at the Capital Gymnasium. It suits our play, so that’s OK.”Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic, Russia’s Anna Sidorova and American Nina Roth were tied with the Swiss rink after 11 draws.In other games Tuesday night, Roth scored three in the eighth end en route to a 7-5 win over China’s Bingyu Wang and Germany’s Daniela Jentsch scored three in the 10th end for a 7-5 win over Italy’s Diana Gaspari.Earlier, South Korea gave the Canadians a scare, leading 5-4 through six ends. China and Italy followed at 2-5 and Denmark’s Lene Nielsen remained winless at 0-7.This is Homan’s third career appearance at the women’s world championship. There’s lots of parts of the game that we’re looking at and trying to improve.”Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg was alone in second place at 6-1 after a 9-4 victory over Switzerland’s Alina Paetz. “We’re happy with that performance,” Courtney said after beating Scotland. Muirhead was heavy with her draw in the fifth end to give Canada a steal of two.Scotland scored a pair in the sixth, but Homan ended it in the seventh with a come-around tap to score four points.“They’re a great team and they have all the shots, so you know you have to be careful with what shots you’re leaving them and you have to show up and play well,” said Courtney. She won bronze in 2013 and took silver in 2014. “I think we got a good handle on the ice early and it was nice to play a couple open ends to get to feel comfortable and when we had our opportunities, we were able to capitalize.”Homan threw at 96 per cent while Muirhead finished at just 71 per cent. “It makes you focus that much harder. Scotland conceded the game after seven ends.After two blank ends to open the game, Homan scored a pair in the third with a short raise takeout. The Page playoffs begin Friday night and the medal games are scheduled for Sunday.“It’s easy to maintain the focus because there are so many good teams here and you have to be on your ‘A’ game no matter who you’re playing,” Homan said. “The ice is really good. But Homan made a precision tap to score four in the seventh and she held her opponents to a single in the 10th for the victory.“We were struggling with our rocks for a lot of the game and we weren’t putting our rocks in good spots,” Miskew said. “So we’re quite happy with our performance.”Round-robin play continues through Thursday night. The Canadian team of Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle improved to 7-0 in round-robin play. Switzerland is the three-time defending champion but Paetz is in danger of missing the playoffs after falling to 4-3.“That was a great team effort and we played really well from lead to skip, so it was a good one,” Hasselborg said. You just have to kind of let that (go) and move on to the next one.”Germany, South Korea and Scotland were tied at 3-4.

Ex-MMA fighter convicted of kidnapping, sexually assaulting ex-girlfriend

He stood there and took the verdicts,” Leiderman said. Mackinday was that the jury believed her in regards to previous conduct that she never reported,” Bluth said. The jury saw photos of Mack with a broken nose, missing teeth, fractured eye socket and leg injuries. “What that says to domestic violence victims is that even if you don’t report it right away, a jury can still believe you.”In closing arguments, Leiderman characterized Koppenhaver as a “raging bull” with brain injuries from his fighting career and emotions inflamed by the use of steroids and non-prescription stimulant and antidepressant drugs that combined could have caused mood swings and violence that the defence attorney termed “roid rage.”Koppenhaver didn’t testify.Mack, 24, spent eight hours on the witness stand, crying as she said she was beaten and raped by Koppenhaver several times in the months before the August 2014 attack on her and Thomas.Thomas, a digital media company owner, testified that he dated Mack for two months before Koppenhaver arrived at her home unexpectedly, flipped on the bedroom lights and set upon him on the bed with rapid-fire punches and choking.Thomas testified that he suffered a broken nose, dislocated shoulder, scrapes, bruises and bite marks. He has been serving a 1 1/2– to four-year sentence for violating his probation on a 2009 conviction for attempted battery involving a 21-year-old woman.Koppenhaver made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2007. He folded his arms across his chest as the verdicts were read.Koppenhaver shook his head a little as he heard “guilty” to the two most serious counts – kidnapping and sexual assault with a weapon. He had a 14-5 record as a welterweight and legally changed his name to War Machine. His final fight was in 2013.He was dropped by his fight promoter and his clothing line after Mack’s accusations became public. Each could get him up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.Sentencing was scheduled for June 5. Bluth referred to Mack by her legal name, Christine Mackinday.“I think what was important to Ms. “But it’s obviously the worst day of his life.”Koppenhaver was acquitted on three lesser counts – battery with intent to commit sexual assault, burglary with a weapon and sexually motivated coercion.The jury of six women and six men left the courthouse without speaking with reporters or attorneys.Prosecutors Jacqueline Bluth and Robert Stephens said they were happy with the verdict. The beating stopped, he said, when he asked Koppenhaver if his “end game” was going to be to kill him or let him go.Mack testified that Koppenhaver attacked her after Thomas left. The Associated Press normally does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Mack gave AP permission to use her name.Neither she nor Thomas was in the courtroom while Koppenhaver, 35, stood flanked by his lawyers. Defence attorney Jay Leiderman said he’ll appeal the convictions.“He’s a tough guy. The former mixed martial arts fighter known as War Machine was found guilty Monday of kidnapping, beating and sexually assaulting his porn actress ex-girlfriend over several months in 2014, and of beating her male friend when he found them together in her bedroom.Nevada jurors deadlocked on two attempted-murder counts against Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver but convicted him of 29 felonies stemming from attacks on Christy Mack and Corey Thomas. She also suffered a lacerated liver.Mack said she fled her home and ran bleeding to neighbours’ homes when Koppenhaver went to the kitchen to fetch a knife.Koppenhaver was arrested a week later in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley, and was returned to Nevada.

Canadian Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane retires from swimming

Being part of the Olympic movement was something I underestimated when I started swimming and that I can’t say enough about now.”He kept Canada’s swimmers on the international radar during lean times the first decade of this century.Canada was shut out of swimming medals at the 2004 Olympic Games for the first time in four decades. He ends his decorated career with two Olympic medals in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle — a silver and a bronze — and eight world championship medals, the most by a Canadian swimmer. “Thinking of stepping away is the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make because it’s reinventing yourself, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time,” Cochrane said Tuesday on a conference call.Going from someone who is in the top percentile in the world at something to someone who isn’t can be a difficult transition for athletes as they re-define themselves.Cochrane, who has started a job working for a software company in Victoria, is tackling that transformation.“I won’t miss the constant exhaustion and the days you can’t even function you’re so tired all the time,” Cochrane said“I’m going to miss focusing on something that seemed a bit bigger than myself. The 28-year-old from Victoria, a consistent medal producer during a thin time for Canada’s swim program, announced his retirement from competition Tuesday. Training for, and competing in, the longest race in the pool is physically punishing.Cochrane says he was “a terrible athlete as a kid”, but his late coach Randy Bennett recognized in the swimmer a talent for pushing himself into the red.The majority of Olympic athletes retire without a gold medal around their neck.But Cochrane still can’t pinpoint why, after four years of some of the hardest training he’s ever done, he was unable to go under 14:40 again last summer in Rio, where he finished sixth.“In the middle of my race in Rio, I had the realization things were just not going well and that I would not be able to accomplish what I’d set my last 20 years towards,” Cochrane said.“There’s been a lot of moments in the past six months where I’ve been absolutely heartbroken on how my sport ended for me, but I try not to let that dictate how my entire 20 years is summed up.”Canada’s women had a breakout performance in the Rio pool with six medals, led by Penny Oleksiak and her 100-metre freestyle gold.“I didn’t get the hardware I was looking for, but one of my favourite experiences was being part of that team and seeing the success and the normalization of Olympic medals,” Cochrane said.“I think the future is very bright.” Cochrane’s bronze on the last day of swimming four years later in Beijing prevented another drought.He’s one of a handful of men to swim under 14 minutes 40 seconds in the 1.5k with a time of 14:39.63 to take silver in London.With China’s Sun Yang controlling the race by the 500-metre mark, Cochrane waged a duel for silver.He overtook South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan by the midway point and held off a charging Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, the 2008 gold medallist, over the final 100 metres.“I was going to fight, probably to the death, to make sure he didn’t get his hand on the wall first,” Cochrane said after that race.His parents John and Donna were among a dozen supporters cheering him on in London.“Sharing that with them, winning the medal and seeing them in the front row, was something that makes me so happy to think about,” Cochrane says now.He won a total of four silver and four bronze between 2009 and 2015 in world championship distance freestyle races.The 1.5k was his forte.

The Summer King: Opera tells story of Negro Leagues star Josh Gibson

It was Josh who demonstrated it was competitive suicide not to integrate.“ But baseball’s integration led to the Negro Leagues’ shutdown, ending careers for dozens of black athletes who were not among the few chosen for white teams. Troy Maxson, the fictional character played by Washington, is a former Negro Leagues star. Renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves plays Gibson’s lover. The August Wilson House hosts a block party April 29, starting at noon, just a few hours before the opera premiere, to mark Wilson’s birthday.The Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit plans to stage “The Summer King” in March 2018.A concert performance of an earlier version of “The Summer King” was staged in 2014 in Portland, Maine, but Pittsburgh’s production is the first staging of the completed opera. in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighbourhood, not far from the August Wilson House, the late playwright’s childhood home. He says that while “Fences” brought some attention to his great-grandfather, the opera will tell a fuller story.“Most people know the story of Josh Gibson as a baseball player, a home run hitter compared to Babe Ruth with outstanding statistics, in the Hall of Fame,” Sean Gibson said. He played for two Pittsburgh teams, the Homestead Grays and the Crawfords.Gibson died at 35, probably from a brain aneurysm, a few months before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball in 1947.Gibson’s story is “the story that came before Jackie Robinson,” says Daniel Sonenberg, composer of “The Summer King.” ”Josh’s career made the advent of Jackie Robinson possible. He was twice named Negro National League batting champ and led the league in home runs three times. “You’re going over to Latin countries, your skin colour is the same colour as theirs.”Nearly all 14 principal roles in “The Summer King” are played by African-Americans, a rarity in operas (“Porgy and Bess” notwithstanding). Gibson’s story also figured in “Fences,” the movie starring Denzel Washington that was originally a play by Pittsburgh native August Wilson. But opera is the perfect medium for telling Gibson’s story because opera allows people “to sing about emotions and aspirations and fears.”Gibson was one of the first three Negro Leagues players to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which lists his career batting average as .350. “But behind the uniform was a great man who lived through tragedy outside of dealing with racism and playing baseball: His wife died giving birth to their twins.”The opera also portrays Gibson’s career playing abroad in Cuba, Mexico and elsewhere. “Over there they didn’t have to deal with racism,” said Sean Gibson. Bass-baritone Alfred Walker, who plays Gibson, told the New Pittsburgh Courier that playing “someone that looks like me” is “an amazing opportunity.”A ballfield named for Gibson is located at 2217 Bedford Ave. It was Josh who played at this high level that caught the attention of white owners. Sonenberg is a music professor at the University of Southern Maine. An opera about Negro Leagues baseball star Josh Gibson, whose power hitting rivaled Babe Ruth’s, will have its world premiere in Pittsburgh in April.“The Summer King,” presented by Pittsburgh Opera , premieres April 29. He tells Gibson’s story, expressing bitterness that he and other ex-players ended up “without a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out.” Maxson’s mistress – like Gibson’s wife – dies in childbirth.Pittsburgh Opera partnered on “The Summer King” with the Josh Gibson Foundation, run by Gibson’s great-grandson Sean. Baseball and opera “don’t usually inhabit the same universe,” said Christopher Hahn, Pittsburgh Opera’s general director. Both “Fences” and “The Summer King” honour “a whole generation of wonderful players whose livelihoods and social structures got up-ended,” Hahn said.Several threads in “Fences” echo Gibson’s story.

Home run king Barry Bonds rejoins Giants as special advisor

He also holds the single-season record with 73 homers in 2001.Bonds’ candidacy for the Baseball Hall of Fame has been hurt by investigations into performance-enhancing drug use.He was convicted in 2011 of obstructing justice during a government probe into steroid use. “I look forward to spending time with the team, young players in the system as well as the Bay Area community.”Bonds, who was fired as hitting coach of the Miami Marlins last October after one season, will report to Giants president and chief executive Larry Baer, who described the former player’s contributions to the team as “legendary”.After seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bonds played for San Francisco from 1993 until he retired in 2007 as MLB’s career home run leader with 762. Major League Baseball home run king Barry Bonds is returning to the San Francisco Giants as a special advisor, the team said on Tuesday.The seven-times National League Most Valuable Player will attend the Giants’ spring training camp in Arizona for a week starting Wednesday and also visit the Giants’ minor league teams to work with the organization’s young players. This was overturned in 2015 and Bonds has denied wrongdoing.He registered 53.8 per cent of the MVP vote in January, up from 44.3 per cent last year, but remains well short of the 75 per cent threshold needed for election. “San Francisco has always been my home and the Giants will always be my family,” Bonds said in a statement.