This week in US sports: MLB playoffs begin, Stefon Diggs wants out of Minnesota

By Sports Desk October 03, 2019

The MLB playoffs have begun as the Washington Nationals won a dramatic wild-card game over the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Oakland Athletics convincingly.

Now the true drama begins.

Meanwhile, the NHL season started and another NFL star appears keen to change teams.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. MLB divisional round set

The best part of the baseball season is upon us as the divisional round matchups are set.

In the National League the Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the Nationals and the Atlanta Braves will face off with the St. Louis Cardinals. In the American League the Houston Astros will deal with the Rays and the New York Yankees will be challenged by the Minnesota Twins.

All of these series have some sort of intrigue as the Yankees and Twins combined for more than 600 home runs, the Astros and Rays have two of the best pitching staffs in MLB, the Dodgers and Nationals match up supremely well and the Braves and Cardinals are two up-and-coming rosters looking to restore past glory.

The NLDS starts with two games on Thursday and will continue with two more on Friday. The ALDS starts on Friday.

 

2. Stefon Diggs wants out of Minnesota

Vikings wide receiver Diggs stirred up some rumours by skipping practice on Wednesday with no explanation given. Some speculated he wanted out, but that was all purely a guess.

That is until Diggs said on Thursday: "There's truth to all rumours. I won't get into that."

The Vikings are a disappointing 2-2 to start the year and Adam Thielen has already publicly criticised quarterback Kirk Cousins for his play. 

Maybe we should have seen this coming.

 

3. NHL regular season kicks off with two historic nights

The NHL kicked off its regular seasonon   Wednesday and one young gun shined again while a veteran just kept on doing what he does.

In the Toronto Maple Leafs' win over the Ottawa Senators, Auston Matthews scored twice, giving him a goal in his fourth straight season opener.

Alex Ovechkin netted in the Washington Capitals' 3-2 defeat of the defending champion St. Louis Blues. Ovechkin now has 11 goals in 15 season openers, which is the most among active NHL players.

Ovechkin is 41 goals away from 700 in his career. He would be just the eighth player to reach that mark.

 

4. California passes Fair Pay to Play Act

This is a big step in amateur sports in the US as California essentially made it legal for college athletes to be paid. As it stands now a player cannot be paid for anything and if they are they lose their amateur status and can be punished by being ruled ineligible for games.

But California's Fair Pay to Play Act made it legal in the state for players to profit off of use of their name, likeness and image. This is step one in college athletes being able to be paid, but it is something that remains illegal in the NCAA, which is the major governing body of college sports.

There is still a long way to go, but this could have a ripple effect that could either force the NCAA to change or result in the expulsion of players in California who do get paid for their likeness. A standoff has begun.

Related items

  • Arrest warrant issued for Antonio Brown Arrest warrant issued for Antonio Brown

    Antonio Brown remained wanted by police in the United States on Thursday on charges of burglary with battery and criminal mischief.

    The former NFL star, who has been without a team since his release by the New England Patriots in September last year, was being sought after allegations made against him late on Tuesday.

    The Florida-based Hollywood Police Department issued a statement that said: "On January 21, 2020 at approximately 9:30pm, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr Antonio Brown who has been charged with one count of burglary with battery, one count burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, and one count of criminal mischief less than $1,000.

    "On January 21, 2020, at approximately 2:00 pm, officers of the Hollywood Police Department received a 911 call for a possible disturbance which occurred at 3600 Estate Oak Circle. When officers arrived on scene they made contact with the alleged victim who stated he was battered by Mr Antonio Brown and Mr Brown’s trainer, Mr Glenn Holt.

    "While on scene, officers made contact with Mr Holt who was subsequently taken into custody without incident. Mr Holt was charged with one count of burglary with battery. Officers attempted to make contact with Mr Brown but were unsuccessful."

    Wide receiver Brown has not yet commented on the allegations. CNN and other media said the property in question is 31-year-old Brown's home in South Florida.

    Police have not detailed the nature of the incident. CNN said it involved a dispute over the delivery of items to Brown's house.

    Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler, left the Patriots amid allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he strenuously denies.

    He was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March 2019 after a tumultuous 2018 campaign; however, Brown did not play a game for the Raiders before moving on to his brief stint with the Patriots.

  • MLB not planning to strip Astros and Red Sox of titles MLB not planning to strip Astros and Red Sox of titles

    MLB does not intend to strip the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox of their World Series titles as a result of the sign-stealing scandal.

    An investigation found the Astros had stolen signs en route to their 2017 championship.

    Houston fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the pair were suspended, while the Red Sox - the 2018 champions - parted ways with manager Alex Cora.

    Cora had been bench coach for the Astros before leading Boston to the title, and an investigation into the Red Sox is ongoing.

    However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, speaking for the first time since the investigation, suggested it would be difficult to alter past World Series results at this stage.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten on both occasions, yet Manfred insists it cannot be assumed they would have otherwise won.

    "Well, we haven't concluded our investigation with the Red Sox," Manfred told FOX Business.

    "So, it's a little hard to take the trophy away from somebody who hasn't yet been found to do something wrong. We don't know what the outcome of that's going to be.

    "The second flaw is whatever the impact of the sign stealing was, it could've changed who was in the World Series. It is absolutely unclear that the Dodgers would've been the World Series champion.

    "I think there's a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened.

    "I think the answer from our prospective is to be transparent about what the investigation showed, and let our fans make their own decision about what happened."

  • Brees delays decision over future as Saints hope for QB's return Brees delays decision over future as Saints hope for QB's return

    The New Orleans Saints want Drew Brees to return for a 20th NFL season but the veteran quarterback insisted he would not rush the decision.

    Brees recently celebrated his 41st birthday and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

    The former Super Bowl champion became the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes in December and threw for 208 yards in the NFC wild-card loss to the Minnesota Vikings earlier this month.

    However, he plans to consult with his family before deciding on whether to continue his illustrious career.

    "I wanted to give it at least a few weeks, months, postseason, just to take a deep breath and decompress a little bit and get some time with the family and then just reassess," Brees told ESPN.

    "The most important thing is time with my family, to be with them, talk to them about it. It will be a shared decision. I know my boys wish Dad could play forever."

    New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis promised there would be space for Brees if he chose to return for the 2020 season.

    "Yeah. I don't think it's any different than it's been for the last few years," Loomis said.

    "It's easy to take him for granted, yet I don't take him for granted.

    "I don't view it any different than I did a year ago or the year before that or the year before that, regardless of whether he has a contract or not.

    "He's a good player. He's been a good player. He continues to be a good player."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.