ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hot Button is a 'round-the-clock feature that covers anything across the scope of sports. We're here to bring you everything hot: news items, highlights, takes — everything but hot meals — whether local, national or international. Better yet, it’s interactive. Share your thoughts in comments, and even post your own links to interesting, safe-for-work, sports stories.
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RICKETTS: OWNERS DON'T 'HOARD' CASH
Tuesday, 6/2: Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told ESPN on Tuesday that MLB teams don't "hoard" cash and that most revenue is invested right back into the franchises:
Exclusive to ESPN: Cubs owner disputes idea MLB teams 'hoard' cash https://t.co/KiSW4fjrwi
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) June 2, 2020
He then went on to say, "The league itself does not make a lot of cash."
Mmhmm. Just reporting what he said, folks. — Bob
LINDBLOM DOING WELL AFTER TREATMENT
Tuesday, 6/2: Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom has completed his cancer treatment according to a cancer survivors website:
— Natalie Egenolf (@NatalieEgenolf) June 2, 2020
Lindblom 23. was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in December, 2019, and left the team to begin treatment immediately. According to Flyers assistant general manager Brett Flahr in an April interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lindblom's prognosis is as good as cold be expected, stating "it couldn’t have gone any better for him."
Terrific news. All the best to him on his continued recovery. — Bob
NOTRE DAME-NAVY IN ANNAPOLIS
Tuesday, 6/2: The Notre Dame-Navy football game schedule for August 29 in Dublin, Ireland has been moved to Annapolis, Md. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic. The specific date of the reschedule was not announced, but it will be sometime Labor Day weekend.
Notre Dame and Navy will no longer open the season in Ireland but instead will play in Annapolis for the first time in their 94-year rivalry https://t.co/t1zvmpPzSN
— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) June 2, 2020
It's the first time Navy will have a true home game against Notre Dame in the 94 meetings between to the two legendary schools. All previous Navy "home" games were played at neutral sites. — Bob
UNSELD DIES FROM PNEUMONIA
Tuesday, 6/2: Basketball Hall of Famer Wes Unseld died Tuesday from complications due to pneumonia, according to a family statement. He was 74.
Baltimore and Washington Bullets legend Wes Unseld died Tuesday morning after a lengthy battle with health issues and most recently pneumonia https://t.co/qXFfqPAlE6
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 2, 2020
Unseld played his entire 13-season career for the Bullets franchise after being drafted in 1968 out of Louisville. He burst onto the scene in his rookie season with the Baltimore Bullets, averaging 13.8 points and 18.2 rebounds per game to earn league MVP honors. He was also named MVP of the 1978 NBA Finals as he helped lead the Washington Bullets past the Seattle SuperSonics, four game to three.
Unseld, a five-time All-Star center, averaged 10.8 points and 14 rebounds over 984 career games. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. — Bob
BILLS ZOOM TO PEYTON'S PLACE
Monday, 6/1: Peyton Manning had a virtual meeting with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills quarterback room Monday, as the Bills players are organizing voluntary workouts in Florida.
What Peyton Manning said to Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills quarterbacks in Zoom meeting https://t.co/q9SO2BX5OG
— Miss Deb (@deb_lang_redlin) June 2, 2020
Manning likes Allen's potential and spoke with him extensively about offseason leadership during the Zoom meeting. Time will tell — Allen has all the tools, but it's time he puts a more complete season together as he enters his third year. Having receiver Stefon Diggs now in the mix won't hurt. Is Allen ready to be an elite NFL quarterback or will he forever be a one-read-and-run guy? — Bob.
DOOLITTLE, OTHER NATS PRESSURE OWNERS
Monday, 6/1: The Nationals announced Monday that they were going to cut the stipend of their minor league players by $100 per week. However the Nationals' players weren't having it and pledged to make up the difference, led by ironically named closer Sean Doolittle:
Nationals players stepped up for their minor league players when the team owners wouldn't.https://t.co/sOnpaIlpKN
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) June 1, 2020
After getting pressure from the players' reactions, ownership reversed themselves and announced they would pay the full stipend through June:
Nationals ownership cut weekly stipends for minor leaguers by $100. The major league players stepped in to cover the difference. Nationals ownership was pressured into reversing their initial decision.
The results are in: https://t.co/Da13xRjVrU
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) June 1, 2020
Major League Baseball stopped paying minor league player stipends on May 31, so it is up to the individual teams to support, or not, their affiliate players moving forward. — Bob
JACKSON WANTS MIC'D UP PLAYERS
Monday, 6/1: Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson went to bat for fans on Monday, stating that it would be good if players were mic'd up on the field in 2020 if there are empty stadiums for games:
— ESPN (@espn) June 1, 2020
Terrific idea. And if there's any league that can make technology work in its favor, it's the NFL. — Bob
IOWA HIGH SCHOOLS TAKE THE FIELD
Monday, 6/1: No, it's not heaven, it's Iowa ... which right now is the next best thing. At midnight on Monday, the Iowa High School Athletic Association officially allowed summer high school baseball and softball to resume play under safety guidelines:
It is high school baseball season in Iowa. Please be safe and ensure you're following all health and sport guidelines. Good luck to all teams starting practice today! #iahsbbhttps://t.co/uq4Opynt5u pic.twitter.com/IwGoHocdqi
— IHSAA (@IHSAA) June 1, 2020
Many schools throughout the state celebrated Midnight Madness-style, holding practices right as the clock struck 12.
All 👀 on Iowa. Didn’t know they even played high school sports in the summer. https://t.co/uEc7auakFT
— WCHS Softball (@WCHS__Softball) June 1, 2020
Tremendous seeing some return to normalcy. — Bob
'60 BUCS EDGE '97 MARLINS TO ADVANCE
Sunday, 5/31: Roberto Clemente hit a three-run walkoff home run in the tenth inning of Game 7 to defeat the 1997 Marlins four games to three, advancing the Bucs to the Elite 8 of MLB.com's Dream Seasons bracket challenge, a tournament of best-of-seven simulations. Clemente's Pirates now face a severe test as they battle the 1975 Reds. That simulation will be run at 4 p.m. Monday. The other remaining historic matchups are: The 2004 Red Sox against the 1954 Indians; the 1942 Monarchs vs. the 2001 Mariners; and the 1986 Mets vs. the 1995 Braves.
MLB selected 64 historic seasons from their history and including Negro League teams. The '60 Pirates defeated the 1980 Phillies and 1969 Cubs en route to their Sweet 16 victory over the Marlins.
The City of Pittsburgh was well represented in the bracket as the 1979 Pirates and 1935 Crawfords competed in the tournament. The Fam-a-lee defeated the 2003 Marlins before losing to the 1994 Expos. The Crawfords lost to the 2012 Nationals in the first round. — Bob
UPDATE: The Reds topped the Pirates four games to two to advance. They will face the '86 Mets in the semis, while the AL is down to the '04 Red Sox and '01 Mariners. — Bob
KESELOWSKI WINS FOOD CITY 500
Sunday, 5/31: Brad Keselowski won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. on Sunday, his second Cup series victory in as many weeks, and in much the same manner:
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 31, 2020
Chase Elliott and Joey Lagano were battling for the lead with just three laps remaining when Elliott took Logano into the wall, allowing Keselowski to win. Logano and Elliott finished 21st and 22nd, respectively. Last week in Charlotte, Elliott was involved in another late accident near the front that forced a caution and Keselowski took first after the new race leader pitted. The race finished under caution. It appears Elliott is quickly becoming Keselowski's rabbit's foot. — Bob
KITTLE, NINERS AT ODDS ON EXTENSION
Saturday, 5/30: 49ers tight end George Kittle is reportedly far apart with the club on a contract extension as he enters the last year of his rookie contract.
"I don’t care about the tight end market. I’m being paid to do a George Kittle deal." — Kittle's agent Jack Bechta, per Mike Silver
More on the Kittle-49ers extension talks: https://t.co/Gtd8szL4CZ
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 30, 2020
Kittle is scheduled to make just over $2.2 million in 2020. He is coming off consecutive seasons with over 80 catches and 1,000 yards. With that, his agent, Jack Bechta, is focused on Kittle making more than where the current tight end market is set.
Kittle was fourth among tight ends in receptions in 2019 behind the Chiefs' Travis Kelce, the Raiders' Darren Waller and the Eagles' Zach Ertz. They each will make between $6 million and $9.5 million in 2020. The Chargers' Hunter Henry and the Browns' Austin Hooper are the top paid tight ends in the league as they're set to make $10.6 million and $10.5 million in 2020, respectively.
Should top tight ends be making wide receiver money if they produce at that level? — Bob
TOP RANK BOXING IN JUNE
Saturday, 5/30: Top Rank Boxing announced fight cards for June boxing matches that will take place in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. The bouts will be in empty venues and will be broadcast on ESPN networks.
— Boxing Insider.com (@BoxingInsider) May 31, 2020
The Nevada Boxing Commission has approved the return of boxing throughout the state. Expect more cards to be set in the near future. — Bob
NBA AIMING FOR JULY RESTART
Friday, 5/29: Reports emerged Friday that the NBA Board of Governors are seeking to restart the season in July:
The NBA has been examining several plans on a return-to-play, but numerous members of the Board of Governors say there's growing support for a plan to bring 22 teams to Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in July.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 29, 2020
Any plan will require a three-fourths majority vote by owners to pass. That vote is scheduled for next Thursday, June 4.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver's proposal is believed to be the front-runner and would allegedly involve 22 of the 30 teams to complete some regular season games then have playoffs. While a slim majority of owners polled would prefer to begin immediately with playoffs, the NBA Players Association is insisting on some regular season games, mainly because it would involve more teams in a push for the playoffs.
All games would take place at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., with the players and team staffs quarantined in Disney resort hotels. — Bob
PRICE PONIES UP FOR AFFILIATE PLAYERS
Friday, 5/29: Reports began surfacing Thursday that Dodgers hurler David Price will personally pay each Dodgers minor-leaguer $1,000 for the month of June:
Dodgers pitcher David Price is stepping up in a major way during the COVID-19 crisis https://t.co/VWd1waCa72
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 29, 2020
Major League Baseball announced they are no longer paying stipends to minor league players after May 31. Super classy move by Price, though not unusual for him. — Bob
N.J. BREWERY PANS ASTROS WITH NEW BEER
Friday, 5/29: Hate cheaters? Ease your anger by cracking open an ice cold "Trash Can Banger" beer from Jersey City, N.J. brewery Departed Soles.
Baseball fans will still get to mock the Astros this summer with the 'Trash Can Banger' beer from a New Jersey brewery https://t.co/16tFOqZ1W7
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 28, 2020
The session IPA has a 5.4% ABV, so I can't wait to hear a review from Hunter and Carter on a future "Sports on Tap" once they can get back to site sponsor Mike's Beer Bar. — Bob
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