MLB To Aid Minor Leaguers During COVID-19 Pandemic

On Tuesday Major League Baseball announced that they would be extending their financial support of minor league players through May 31st or the start of the minor league season. This is a league-wide plan that is an extension of one they had announced back on March 19th which was scheduled to expire on April 8th which was the original MiLB start date.

All minor league players will continue to receive medical benefits and can use any balance they may have in the College Scholarship Plan or Continuing Education Program.

This does not include players who are signed to Major League contracts since they are already receiving services from clubs. In addition, players who are on restricted, voluntary retired, disqualified, or ineligible lists will not be eligible.

On top of this plan, the clubs will be providing support on their own for players who are on Dominican Summer League rosters. DSL players on certain teams could be left out in the cold given the lack of league-wide push on this one.

As with many things during the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a very fluid situation that could change rapidly. Baseball for their part has done their best to navigate these uncharted waters with a $1 million MLB-MLBPA fund for food assistance, 30-clubs have raised $30 million to help support ballpark workers, and Fanatics will stop making uniforms and instead use the material to make masks and gowns at their factory located in Pennslyvania.

The Boston Red Sox for their part has put in place a $1.5 million ballpark workers fund. It was originally $1 million but had excluded the Aramark workers who operate the concessions at Fenway Park. The new total of $1.5M will include all ballpark workers in both Jet Blue Park and Fenway Park.
The post MLB To Aid Minor Leaguers During COVID-19 Pandemic appeared first on Trifecta Sports.

2020 NFL Mock Draft Simulators: How To Build Your Own Mock Draft Online

We’re all cooped up, and we know the NFL draft will go on as scheduled in late April, so we might as well spend the next four weeks pretending we’re draft experts.
The NFL confirmed earlier this week that while the draft obviously won’t go on as planned in Las Vegas, the league is not rescheduling, and the event will be held April 23-25. That means we have about a month to consume everything we can about the prospects and where they might land.
Obviously, you can go ahead and consume all the mock drafts you can take from the likes of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, but you can also create your own mock drafts.
NFL mock draft simulators are all the rage these days within the football internet community. The tools allow you to choose a team and simulate a draft, making the picks for your chosen team. Some simulators even let you trade up, meaning you could take control of the New England Patriots and try to trade every first-round pick for the foreseeable future to move up and take Tom Brady’s successor.
Here are some of the best online draft simulators:
FanSpeak.com — On The Clock
The Draft Network — Mock Draft Machine
First-Pick.com
Good luck and happy mocking.
More NFL: How Would Patriots’ Depth Chart Change Under Different Draft Scenarios?

NHL Player Poll: Bruins’ Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron Appear Often In 2019-20 Results

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are pretty well-regarded around the NHL.
Just ask their peers.
The NHL Players’ Association on Tuesday released the results of its annual player poll. In the survey of over 500 NHLers that asks questions about both on- and off-ice matters, the Boston Bruins’ top-line forwards were featured prominently throughout. David Pastrnak and Bobby Orr also made appearances in the results, as well.
Here’s how Bruins finished in a variety of categories, and you can click here to see full results.
— If you need to win one game, who is the one player (any position) you would want on your team?
Bergeron finished in fourth place with 3.33 percent of the vote, with Sidney Crosby (44.03 percent), Connor McDavid (30.53) and Nathan MacKinnon (4.11) ahead of him.

— Who is the most complete player?
Bergeron finished second with 25.44 percent of the vote, trailing only Crosby at 45.56 percent.
— Best trash talker
Marchand finished first with 25.87 percent of the vote.
— Worst trash talker
Marchand finished first with 10.59 percent of the vote, marking the second straight year he finished first in both the best and worst trash-talker categories.
More Bruins: Goalie Prospect Jeremy Swayman Ready To Chase NHL Dream After NCAA Stardom
— Of all players past or present, who would you pay to see play?
Orr finished second with 14.99 percent of the vote, trailing Wayne Gretzky at 31.83 percent.
— Who is the funniest player in the NHL? –
Marchand came in third with 5.68 percent of the vote, trailing Keith Yandle (17.98 percent) and Drew Doughty (6.94).
— Which players have the best bromance in the league?
Marchand and Bergeron came in at a share of fourth (3.67 percent) with Matthew Tkachuk/Drew Doughty (ha) and Jamie Benn/Tyler Seguin. David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly came in first at 6.42 percent, followed by Joe Thornton/Brent Burns (5.05) and Auston Matthews/Mitch Marner (4.59).
— Which player is the best follow on social media?
Marchand came in third at 4.37 percent, behind P. K. Subban (13.59) and Alex Ovechkin (6.31).
— Who has the best nickname?
Pastrnak came in second at 7.31 percent, narrowly behind Tomas “Tuna” Tatar’s 8.08 percent.
Yeah, not too bad of a showing from the B’s.
More Bruins: Tuukka Rask Clarifies Comments About Considering Retirement Once Contract Is Up

Ex-Red Sox Shane Victorino Has Great Reaction To Reliving ALCS Grand Slam

Like so many Red Sox fans, Shane Victorino can’t help but get caught up in reliving the 2013 World Series run.
NESN on Monday re-aired Game 6 of the 2013 American League Championship Series, a game Boston won on the strength of Victorino’s seventh-inning grand slam. The victory sent the Red Sox to the World Series, which they eventually won after six games hard-fought games with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Moments after Victorino’s grand slam returned to TVs across New England, the Red Sox fan-favorite took to Twitter to offer a fitting reaction.
Take a look:

I DO…so blessed!!! Hope everyone is staying safe & healthy in these times#BOSTONSTRONG https://t.co/PoHRNMQueQ
— Shane Victorino (@ShaneVictorino) March 31, 2020

There really is nothing like hearing the Fenway Park crowd go absolutely nuts during October.
NESN’s re-airing of the 2013 World Series run continues Tuesday night with Game 1 against the Cardinals.
More Baseball: Relive Sox-Cardinals 2013 World Series Game 1 Ahead Of NESN Broadcast

Should Patriots Consider Making This Hypothetical Draft-Day Trade?

Bill Belichick never has shied away from wheeling and dealing during the first round of the NFL draft.
Perhaps he’ll continue this trend next month.
Draft analyst Chad Reuter recently laid out eight hypothetical trades teams should make come late April. For the New England Patriots, he suggests sending the 23rd overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for the 37th overall selection and a 2021 second-rounder. Reuter believes the Patriots could benefit from the Chargers’ need for a quarterback.
“Former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love is a polarizing prospect in this draft,” Reuter wrote for NFL.com. “Some believe he has the same type of potential that made Josh Allen a top-10 pick in 2018, while others believe he’s a developmental prospect who offers value in Round 2. But often teams looking for a future starter at QB will move from the second to first round to beat others to the punch — and get the fifth-year option that is tied to contracts for all first-round picks. Tyrod Taylor can serve as a bridge QB for the Bolts, but Love’s playmaking abilities could push them to give up the 37th pick and a 2021 second-round selection to gain 14 rungs on the draft ladder. The Patriots are always looking to add picks, so if they don’t have interest in Love and do not see any other first-round-caliber players remaining on their board, they’ll likely jump at this deal.”
It’s easy to understand both sides of this argument. It obviously never hurts to stockpile future assets, but New England needs high-end talent now more than ever. And considering the roster holes the Patriots currently have — wide receiver, tight end, linebacker, offensive line, to name a few — they might not be very inclined to fork over a first-round selection.
But as we’ve grown to learn with Bill Belichick, there’s no sense in even trying to project what the Patriots coach might do.
More Patriots: Why Todd McShay Has New England Taking In First Round

Tuukka Rask Explains Why He Doesn’t Think 2019-20 NHL Season Will Resume

In the context of everything going on in the world, sports really don’t matter right now.
But while fully acknowledging that, many can’t help but wonder if/when the NHL season will resume, as it, of course, currently is paused amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The league’s remarks about the pause seem to make clear its desire is for the campaign to resume at some point and for the Stanley Cup to eventually be awarded.
However, the spread of the coronavirus is unpredictable, and if the league has to wait well into the summer to begin again, it obviously would impact the 2020-21 season.
Tuukka Rask, for one, is not optimistic that the season will start back up.
More Bruins: Goalie Prospect Jeremy Swayman Ready To Chase NHL Dream After NCAA Stardom
The Boston Bruins netminder explained why he doesn’t think so in an interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”
“I can’t say what (the NHL) should do or shouldn’t do, but if they cancelled the Olympics, I just can’t see any way of playing in July and August,” Rask said. “But it’s not up to me, and I just play whenever they tell us to show up, and that’s just the reality of it. Obviously, the league is losing and the players are losing so much money when we’re not playing if we cancel the season it’s going to leave a mark for the next upcoming years. So I’m sure they’re going to do everything they can to squeeze the games in. If it’s only the playoffs then that’s what it is and go from there. But personal opinion is that it’s going to be super tough to start playing hockey in July, August, the ice conditions might be pretty bad and whatnot, so we’ll see.”
From a pure hockey perspective, the Bruins have the most to lose here. After being just 60 minutes away from the Cup in 2019, they were the top team in the league when the season paused. But again, the importance of hockey really pales in comparison to getting the coronavirus under control.
More Rask: Bruins Goalie Clarifies Comments About Considering Retirement Once Contract Is Up

NBA Reportedly Planning Players-Only ‘NBA 2K’ Tournament To Air On ESPN

As soon as Friday, NBA fans reportedly will be able to watch their favorite players compete against their peers on TV.
The NBA is planning 16-player “NBA 2K20” tournament that will are on ESPN, Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reported Monday night, citing sources. The tournament, scheduled to launch Friday, will feature some of the NBA’s best gamers — including Donovan Mitchell and and DeMarcus Cousins — and last 10 days.
Details of the tournament reportedly still are being finalized. It remains to be seen whether competitors will represent their respective teams.

Sources: Clarity, it will be a 16-player NBA 2K tournament lasting 10 days. 4-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins among the participants. https://t.co/0V1LfU9pnI
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 31, 2020

With the status of the 2019-20 season up in the air amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it only makes sense for the NBA to put together a gaming-related broadcast. Over the past two weeks, NASCAR has proven there is a significant audience for esports broadcasts, particularly those featuring professional athletes currently unable to compete in non-virtual settings.
More Basketball: ESPN Moves Up Michael Jordan Documentary Release Date To April Per Fans’ Requests

Jay Glazer Evaluates Likelihood Of Patriots Signing Cam Newton

We probably shouldn’t expect Cam Newton to join the Patriots, at least not any time soon.
Newton remains a free agent after being released by the Carolina Panthers last week, but the 2015 NFL MVP himself might not be to blame for his availability. Much like in other leagues across the sports landscape, the NFL currently has restrictions in place amid the coronavirus crisis, including a pause on free-agent physicals.
This comes as particularly tough to Newton, who missed nearly all of the 2019 season due to a foot injury. As Jay Glazer explained in his weekly mailbag for The Athletic, New England currently being unable to properly evaluate Newton likely will have an impact on the team’s interest.
“Guys like Newton are in a precarious position with the measures that have to be taken due to the coronavirus,” Newton wrote. “A guy like that, if I was a head coach, I’d want to make sure I see him with my own eyes. I’d want to make sure I do a full medical and that my doctors get to see him. But that can’t be done right now, and that makes his future a bit murkier.”
This makes plenty of sense, as all NFL teams currently are being forced to play the hand they’ve been dealt. But purely from a football perspective, some pundits would argue Foxboro is the best landing spot for Newton.
More NFL: Is Tom Brady Worst QB In NFC South? Nick Wright Thinks So

Bruins Encore: Relive Bruins-Canadiens 2011 Playoffs Game 7 Ahead Of NESN Broadcast

Editor’s note: Starting Tuesday, March 24, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup run. Up next is Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Montreal Canadiens. Get the full schedule by clicking here.
Ah, Game 7.
In hockey, there’s nothing better. And in terms of the Boston Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens, it was one of the best Game 7s of the decade.
The Bruins advanced to the second round with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Canadiens, capped off with Nathan Horton’s game-winner in OT.
Here are five things you might have forgotten about Game 7, which can be seen at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday night on NESN.
1. Series hero Nathan Horton was playing in his first playoff series
Because Horton had spent the first six seasons of his career with the Florida Panthers, he had never played in the postseason prior to 2011.
As a result, his game-winner was an all the more special end to his first playoff series.
“Just getting to the playoffs is all I was really thinking about. This has been a dream come true,” Horton said after the game, via the AP. “I’m really enjoying it. I’m enjoying it more every day.”
That also prompted a nice joke from Claude Julien.
“He’s been saving it for seven years, right?” Julien said. “So he had a lot of game-winning goals in him.”
2. The Bruins were looking pretty sharp off the opening puck drop
The entire series was highlighted by goals being scored in the early going, and it was the Bruins that benefitted from the trend in the deciding game.
Johnny Boychuk’s absolute rocket for the game’s first goal came at 3:31 in the opening frame, then Mark Recchi scored at 5:53.
3. The Bruins, again, did not get a power play goal
The Bruins had three chances on the power play in the win, and all three times they came up short.
As a result, they finished the seven-game series without a single goal on the man advantage in 21 attempts. And in Game 7, the power play almost sank them, as Tomas Plekanec’s tying goal in the second period was a shorthanded tally off a gift of a giveaway from Mark Recchi in the neutral zone.
4. Horton had to get his game-winner through a wild amount of traffic
Yes, we all remember Horton’s game-winner against the Habs.
But the moment moved so quickly that it’s easy to forget the nuances of the goal. Like the fact that it was a busted clearing attempt from PK Subban that allowed the Bruins to stay in their zone.
And after a closer look at Horton’s clincher, it really is incredible that there were three Canadiens skaters right in the high slot.
Look at this!

Ultimately, that traffic is what sank Carey Price in that moment, as the three Canadiens did a better job screening their goalie than getting in the way of their shot.
5. The win resulted in this downright electric wrap from Jack Edwards
The fun didn’t stop after Horton’s goal.
Jack Edwards’ postgame wrap following the victory remains a wildly entertaining couple of minutes.

MORE: NESN To Air 2013 Red Sox World Series, 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup Final Runs To Glory

Who Todd McShay Has Patriots Picking In First Round Of Mock Draft

The New England Patriots don’t have a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, so assuming they don’t trade down, they’re really going to have to make sure they hit on their first-round pick.
Bill Belichick and Co. are set to select at No. 23 overall in this April’s draft. With multiple departures in free agency, specifically on defense, the Patriots have some holes to fill and areas that could use upgrades.
So, which way will they go?
In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay had the Patriots taking Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa.
“These aren’t the Patriots we are accustomed to seeing. They could use upgrades in a bunch of areas, including quarterback, wide receiver and a handful of spots on defense. I don’t expect coach Bill Belichick to reach for a QB here, and while wide receiver is in play, it seems unlikely two years in a row on Day 1. So how about an edge rusher? LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson is the better player, but Belichick has a strong relationship with Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, and Epenesa fits nicely with the Patriots’ 3-4 system as a 5-technique.”
The Patriots’ front seven has dealt with a handful of key departures, with Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton and Elandon Roberts all bolting. As such, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if the Patriots add an edge rusher, and, like McShay points out, Belichick’s relationship with Ferentz could help sell him on Epenesa.
Epenesa is 6-foot-5, 275 pounds and just finished his junior season with the Hawkeyes. He had 49 totals tackles last season, with 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.
More Patriots: NESN’s Latest New England Mock Draft (With Trades)