Wednesday Morning Sports Report

 

Martha Firestone Ford is stepping down as principal owner of the Detroit Lions. The Lions announced that Ford’s daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp, is taking over as the team’s principal owner and chairman. The 94-year-old Ford had been in charge of the Lions since 2014, when her husband, William Clay Ford, died. The 68-year-old Hamp has been one of the team’s vice chairmen during her mother’s ownership.

 

It was made official late yesterday, Major League Baseball will play a 60-game regular season schedule beginning July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks. Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league, according to details obtained by The Associated Press. The sides expanded the designated hitter to games involving National League teams and will start extra innings with a runner on second base.
The union committed its members to start reporting July 1 — those who decide to report. High-risk individuals would be allowed to opt out and still receive salary and service time, but others who sit out would get neither money nor the service credit needed for eligibility for free agency and salary arbitration.
Playoff teams remain at 10 for now — there is still talk of a possible expansion. The rejected deal had called for 16 teams.

 

The Canadian government is open to Major League Baseball playing in Toronto this summer, but the league has not submitted the required plan to Canadian authorities. A senior federal government official says if MLB were to submit an acceptable restart plan to the government, an exemption letter similar to the one provided to the NHL could be provided. Ontario’s chief medical officer also says Major League Baseball hasn’t submitted a plan to local health authorities that is needed for the Blue Jays to play in Toronto amid the pandemic.

 

The Philadelphia Phillies say two more players and two additional staff numbers have tested positive for COVID-19. That raises the number of total members in the organization who have the virus to 12. The Phillies say all other tests within the organization have come back negative. Philadelphia became the first big league team known to be struck by the outbreak.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says two unidentified players have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered. Tomlin says the players tested positive at some point earlier this year. Both players went through what Tomlin called “the appropriate protocol” and have since returned to work. Neither player visited the team facility at any point during the offseason.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond plans to exercise his $28.7 million player option for the 2020-21 season and stay with Cleveland. Drummond was acquired in a February trade with the Detroit Pistons. He said on an ESPN podcast that he intends to pick up the option. Drummond’s decision had been expected, but this is the first time he’s publicly stated his intentions. Drummond must notify the Cavs in writing about the option by Oct. 17. The NBA’s offseason calendar has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

A person with knowledge of the situation says All-Star forward Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets has tested positive for the coronavirus and is quarantining in his native Serbia. Jokic is expected to be back in Denver long before the team leaves for the Disney complex for the restart of the NBA season next month.

 

Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley has decided to sit out the NBA’s upcoming resumption of the season in Florida. He tells ESPN that he wants to remain with his wife and three children, including a 6-year-old son with a history of respiratory illnesses. By sitting out, Bradley figures to lose a projected $650,000 in salary. He averaged 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds while starting 44 games before the season was shut down in March due to the coronavirus. The Lakers are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference heading into the 22-team restart.

 

Pittsburgh is out of the running to be one of the two hubs for the NHL when the league resumes its season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Penguins submitted what the club called an “aggressive” bid to be a hub city and was among the 10 finalists announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse says simply being a finalist reflected the city’s support of the team and the NHL.