Apology Not Accepted

02/14/2020

QUOTE OF THE DAY
MLB Reporter Jeff Passan

“It was a clown show from start to finish.”

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Good Morning,

We’ve got a new-look letter. Share it with that special someone and enjoy date night with a conversation about sports. Not you, Houston. Not you…

Letter Rip!

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MLB

Apology Not Accepted

Photo: Michael Reaves / Getty Images

Inside the Astros’ Latest Apology Fail

The Houston Astros were caught stealing signs and punished on January 13. One month later, at a press conference in Florida to open spring training, they stood in front of cameras and became the butt of internet jokes once more. I’ve seen a lot of public relations nightmares in sports, but this was epic.

As Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein put it: “The Astros knew what was coming, and they still swung and missed.” And yes, you’re remembering correctly. Apstein was the victim of Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman’s profanity-laced taunt back in October.

At Thursday’s press conference, owner Jim Crane, new manager Dusty Baker, and players Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve read from notecards. They were robotic monologues of unenthusiastic apologies. Then the Q&A began, and it got worse.

“Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that.” — Astros Owner Jim Crane

“Today was about us apologizing. We as a team are trying to show remorse and move forward.” — Astros 3B Alex Bregman

Bregman’s unconvincing 30-second guilty plea was a train wreck, and the internet nearly shattered with memes and jokes throughout the afternoon. I have a lot of opinions about the Astros right now, and I’m sure you do, too. I guess we’ll just “leave it at that…”

Additional Reads
SI: Astros Fumble Another Apology (Apstein)
B/R: Astros Crank Up the Volume on Backlash With Shockingly Tone-Deaf Apologies

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NASCAR

Daytona Duels: Let’s Go Racing

Photo: Brian Lawdermilk / Getty Images

The Green Flag of NASCAR’s 2020 Season

There was early excitement last night from one of racing’s historic venues as drivers dueled to set the starting grid for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman locked up the top two spots last weekend, but last night’s Duel Races determined the rest of the field. Joey Logano will join Stenhouse Jr. and Bowman on the outside in Row 1.

Starting Grid
R1: R. Stenhouse Jr. / A. Bowman / J. Logano
R2: W. Byron / A. Almirola / J. Johnson
R3: R. Newman / K. Larson / B. Keselowski
Full Starting Grid (NASCAR)

Daytona 500 Facts

– The Daytona 500 marks the first of 36 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2020

– The 2.5-mile tri-oval speedway is one of the racing world’s most iconic venues

– 40 total drivers race 500 miles at 190+ mph on the 40-foot wide track

– Sunday’s race is a sellout with grandstands seating 101,500 people, plus spectators in the infield

Race: Sunday (2:30 pm ET, FOX)

Additional Reads
NASCAR: Predicting Every 2020 Race Winner
NBC Sports: President Trump to Attend Daytona 500

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NBA

The All-Star Weekend Tip-Off

Photo: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

NBA All-Star Weekend Begins Tonight

The 69th annual NBA All-Star Weekend hits Chicago’s United Center for a three-day celebration that begins tonight. On Sunday, it’s a fourth quarter dedicated to the late Kobe Bryant — an untimed, commercial free period with a target score of 24. The ASG will mark three weeks since Bryant’s death. Expect Sunday night to be a tear-filled NBA celebration.

Team LeBron (No. 2) and Team Giannis (No. 24) will wear the jersey numbers of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

NBA All-Star Schedule
Celebrity Game & Rising Stars (Fri. 7:00 pm ET)
Skills, 3-Pt, Dunk Contest (Sat. 8:00 pm ET)
69th NBA All-Star Game (Sun. 8:00 pm ET)

All-Star Weekend Participants
Full All-Star Game Rosters
3-Point Contestants
Slam Dunk Contestants

Video: Every 50-Point Dunk in NBA Dunk Contest History (15 minutes)
*All links to NBA.com

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PGA

Kuchar Rolls Round 1 at Riviera

Photo: Chris Trotman / Getty Images

Genesis Invitational: Round 2 Continues Today on Golf Channel

Nine of the Top-10 golfers in the world hit the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club yesterday, and all nine are sitting pretty after Round 1. Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, and Tiger Woods had spectacular opening rounds, but Matt Kuchar lit up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64. He leads the field by three strokes.

Leaderboard (Notable Players)

– Matt Kuchar (-7)

– Rory McIlroy (-3)

– Patrick Cantlay (-3)

– Jason Day (-3)

– Bryson DeChambeau (-3)

– Patrick Reed (-3)

– Tiger Woods (-2)

– Brooks Koepka (-2)

– Justin Rose (-2)

– Jon Rahm (-1)

Full Leaderboard (Live Updates)

Rd. 1 Highlights | Rd. 2 Tee Times (PGA)
SI: Tiger Channels Kobe With 24-Foot, 8-Inch Eagle

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THE HIGHLIGHTS

🏀 NBA: Celtics Win Double OT Thriller
Double overtime in T.D. Garden! The Celtics outlasted the Clippers in a wild double overtime game (141-133, 2OT). Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart combined for 80 points while Kemba Walker hit some big shots late. (B/R)

🏒 NHL: Lightning Extend Streak to 9
Another night, another Lightning victory. Tampa Bay defeated Edmonton (3-1) thanks to another Andrei Vasilevskiy point. That’s 20 straight for the goaltender. The Lightning also won No. 9 without Nikita Kucherov. The streak continues… (NHL)

⚽️ SOCCER: Ronaldo PK Saves Juve
The first Italian stand-off between Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought a lot of eyeballs to Thursday’s Juventus—AC Milan matchup. After Milan’s Theo Hernandez exited with a red-card, a Ronaldo PK in stoppage time saved a draw for Juve (1-1). (ESPN)

🏀 NCAAW: D.J. Williams Goes for 51
Coastal Carolina’s D.J. Williams tallied the season-high in college basketball (men’s or women’s) with 51 points. Her Coast Carolina squad put up 124 to beat Troy (124-103), and Williams broke a 34-year school record. (Yahoo!)

🏀 Bonus Highlight: Steven Adams Buries One-Hander From Half Court! (CBS Sports)

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📰 THE HEADLINES

Devin Booker to Replace Damian Lillard in All-Star Game, 3-Point Contest
(ESPN)

Harrison Barnes Refuses to Shave or Cut His Hair Until Kings Get Back to .500
(CBS Sports)

NHL Commentator Jeremy Roenick Dismissed by NBC for Inappropriate Comments
(Yahoo! Sports)

Celtics to Retire Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 Jersey
(Bleacher Report)

MLS Avoids Nightmare Scenario as Nashville SC Resolves Stadium Issue
(Sports Illustrated)

Myles Garrett Reiterates That Mason Rudolph Used Racial Slur in Helmet Suspension
(NBC Sports)

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🗓️ WEEKEND SCHEDULE

The Must-Watch List

Buckle up for a serious sports Sunday. The Daytona 500 waves the green flag on NASCAR’s 2020 season before the NBA All-Star Game hits the United Center in Chicago. We’ll catch up Monday morning to rewind another winter weekend in sports.

NBA All-Star Weekend
Celebrity Game & Rising Stars (Fri. 7:00 pm ET)
Skills, 3-pt, Dunk Contest (Sat. 8:00 pm ET)
69th NBA All-Star Game (Sun. 8:00 pm ET)

NASCAR: Daytona 500
Sunday (2:30 pm ET, FOX)

PGA Tour
Genesis Invitational (Friday—Sunday)

NHL
Sat: Flyers at Lightning (4:00 pm ET)
Sat: Islanders at Golden Knights (10:30 pm ET)
Sun: Bruins at Rangers (3:30 pm ET)

NCAAB
Sat: Oklahoma at #3 Kansas (Noon ET)
Sat: #14 W. Virginia at #1 Baylor (4:00 pm ET)
Sat: #9 Maryland at Michigan State (6:00 pm ET)

NCAAW
Fri: #3 Oregon vs. #7 UCLA (11:00 pm ET)
Sun: #16 Texas A&M at #25 Tennessee (3:00 pm ET)

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