Update on the latest sports
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Gonzaga plays Baylor for men’s NCAA Championship
UNDATED (AP) — No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga plays second-seeded Baylor tonight for the NCAA men’s title.
The Bulldogs are the first team to bring an undefeated record into the championship game since Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979. Bird lost that game to Magic Johnson and Michigan State. It means Gonzaga could become the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to go undefeated.
Gonzaga and Baylor have been 1-2 in The Associated Press Top 25 most of the season.
Nationals, Braves to make up Monday game
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves will play a doubleheader Wednesday to make up a game that was postponed because of Washington’s coronavirus outbreak. Major League Baseball announced the change Monday while Washington’s players were working out at Nationals Park.
Four players on the Nationals have tested positive for COVID-19 and seven more have been placed under quarantine after contact tracing determined they potentially were exposed.
The 2019 World Series champions have yet to play a game this season. Their opening three-game series against the New York Mets was postponed entirely. Washington will begin play Tuesday against Atlanta.
In other virus-related developments in baseball:
— Some New York Mets players have hesitated to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, causing the team to set up education efforts. Major League Baseball and the players’ association said in a March 29 memorandum to players that COVID-19 protocols such as mask use and restrictions on movement and gathering would be relaxed once 85% of major league players and primary field staff on a team are vaccinated against the coronavirus. Players on several teams started to get the vaccine last week during the final week of spring training, when they became eligible. Mets president Sandy Alderson says the team wants to get as many players vaccinated as possible.
— The Milwaukee Brewers say the team received the COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend but wouldn’t disclose what percentage of players and staffers participated. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns declined to say whether the Brewers had reached the 85% threshold. He did say the Brewers who participated received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Texas governor declines to throw out first ball
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has decided not to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener.
The Republican governor said he made his decision after Major League Baseball moved the MLB All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s sweeping new voting laws. It’s the latest jab in an ongoing fight that’s pushing corporate America into the political battle over voting rights.
Abbott’s decision Monday came hours before the team was set to take the field against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Dallas suburb of Arlington.
Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers have not responded to requests for comment.
Reds’ Castellanos suspended 2 games
NEW YORK (AP) — Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos has been suspended for two games and fined for his role in an on-field brawl during the season’s opening weekend.
It was the first discipline given by Michael Hill in his new role as Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations. Castellanos appealed the penalty to Major League Baseball special assistant John McHale Jr. and won’t serve the suspension while the appeal is pending.
Castellanos was disciplined for his actions in the fourth inning of Saturday’s game against St. Louis. He was cited for “his aggressive actions and for instigating a benches-clearing incident.”
NHL official says league expects Canucks to finish season
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — National Hockey League deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the COVID-19 outbreak on the Vancouver Canucks is concerning from a health standpoint, but he says in an email to The Canadian Press the league believes the Canucks will return and conclude their 56-game schedule. He also says the league will not change its COVID protocols in the aftermath of the Canucks’ situation.
Sixteen of the 22 players on the team’s active roster were on the NHL’s protocol list as of Sunday.
So far, the Canucks have had four games postponed because of the virus. Their next scheduled game is Thursday in Calgary against the Flames.
In other NHL news:
—The NHL trade deadline is less than a week away and teams willing to make a deal have some potentially intriguing options. Most franchises might be idle or severely limited because 18 teams have $1 million or less of salary cap space available and the ceiling for what they can spend will not go up next season. Some familiar faces will likely change places by the afternoon of April 12. The traded players in most cases will leave teams with little hope of hoisting the Stanley Cup to franchises with a shot to contend for the coveted prize.
MIRACLE ON ICE-PAVELICH DEATH
Death of ‘Miracle on Ice’ standout Pavelich ruled suicide
ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota medical examiner says last month’s death of “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey player Mark Pavelich was ruled a suicide.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka County says the 63-year-old Pavelich died of asphyxia. His body was found March 3 at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Pavelich was undergoing treatment there as part of a civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor in August 2019. He was charged with felony assault but Judge Michael Cuzzo found he was incompetent to stand trial because he was mentally ill and dangerous.
Pavelich assisted on Mike Eruzione’s winning goal against the heavily favored Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics. That U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.