IN BRIEF Texas to al­low some fans at pro sports events

Orlando Sentinel - - Weather -

Texas will soon al­low out­door pro sports events to have spec­ta­tors, but the num­bers will be strictly lim­ited, un­der a new or­der Thurs­day from Repub­li­can Gov. Greg Ab­bott.

Ab­bott re­vised a de­ci­sion to let pro sports leagues host events with­out fans start­ing in June as part of the state’s move to re­open amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Ab­bott’s new or­der al­lows out­door sta­di­ums to host fans up to 25% of their nor­mal ca­pac­ity. Leagues will have to ap­ply to state health of­fi­cials to be al­lowed to have fans. In­door events will still be with­out spec­ta­tors.

The change came the same day Texas re­ported a one-day high in new cases with 1,855 re­ported Thurs­day. Texas now has 59,776 con­firmed cases through nearly 990,000 vi­ral and coro­n­avirus an­ti­body tests. It has 1,601 deaths, a one-day in­crease of 39. The actual num­ber of cases is likely far higher be­cause many peo­ple have not been tested, and stud­ies sug­gest peo­ple can be in­fected and not feel sick.

IndyCar is set to open its sea­son at Texas Mo­tor Speed­way in Fort Worth on June 6, but track pres­i­dent Ed­die Gos­sage said that even un­der the new rule, the Ge­nesys 300 race will still not in­clude fans.

“No­body wants to have the stands filled with fans more than me but we’re just not in a po­si­tion to do that yet,” Gos­sage said in a writ­ten state­ment, not­ing the race will be broad­cast live on NBC. “While the state will per­mit us to op­er­ate at 25 per­cent of ca­pac­ity, there are still too many unan­swered ques­tions for an event that is just one week away.”

PGA Tour has pre­vi­ously said it plans to restart its sea­son at Colo­nial in Texas on June 11-14 with­out fans at­tend­ing.

Ma­jor League Base­ball has pro­posed start­ing its sea­son in early July at reg­u­lar-sea­son ball­parks, if nec­es­sary with­out fans. Ab­bott’s or­der, how­ever, may not im­pact the Rangers and the Astros be­cause “sta­di­ums with re­tractable roofs are not con­sid­ered to be out­doors,” health depart­ment spokes­woman Lara An­ton said.

The or­der doesn’t sports events.

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Base­ball: At least nine ma­jor league fran­chises have in­formed minor lea­guers they will con­tinue to pro­vide al­lowances af­ter the May 31 ex­pi­ra­tion of Ma­jor League Base­ball’s pol­icy guar­an­ty­ing those play­ers $400 per week. The

Padres and Mariners are promis­ing pay­ments through Au­gust, and the Dodgers, Mets, White Sox, Rays, Rangers and Orioles have pledged to do so through at least June. The White Sox are even pro­vid­ing those stipends to 25 minor league play­ers re­cently re­leased.

Col­lege foot­ball: Ge­or­gia picked up an­other high-pro­file trans­fer to com­pete for its start­ing QB job, land­ing for­mer South­ern Cal­i­for­nia starter JT Daniels. Daniels started for the Tro­jans as a fresh­man in 2018, but lost his job to Ke­don Slo­vis af­ter go­ing down last sea­son with a knee in­jury. Daniels will bat­tle for play­ing time with grad­u­ate trans­fer Jamie New­man.

Horse rac­ing: Nadal, one of trainer Bob Baf­fert’s early fa­vorites for the resched­uled Triple Crown, in­jured his an­kle af­ter a work­out at Santa Anita and is out of con­tention for the se­ries. The un­de­feated 3-year-old colt suf­fered a left front condy­lar frac­ture, Baf­fert said. He had surgery dur­ing which two screws were in­serted in his an­kle at the track’s equine hos­pi­tal. Baf­fert said Nadal could re­turn to rac­ing af­ter a 90-day re­cov­ery pe­riod. How­ever, he would miss the Bel­mont Stakes on June 20, the Ken­tucky Derby on Sept. 5 and the Preak­ness on Oct. 3.

NFL: NFL Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell an­nounced af­ter an own­ers con­fer­ence call that the league’s vir­tual sea­son will be ex­tended two more weeks but that he’s hope­ful coaches will be able to re­turn to team fa­cil­i­ties next week. In a memo sent to teams, Good­ell out­lined the next phase of re­open­ing of fa­cil­i­ties, which can be­gin Mon­day. Also, own­ers tabled a pro­posal that would have of­fered a fourth-and-15 play as an al­ter­na­tive to the on­side kick. They ap­proved test­ing ex­panded use of re­play in the pre­sea­son to aid in of­fi­ci­at­ing.

NHL: Since the NHL is plan­ning to go straight to the play­offs, it’s hand­ing out a tro­phies for the short­ened reg­u­lar sea­son. The Cap­i­tals’ Alex Ovechkin and Bru­ins’ David Pas­tr­nak share the Mau­rice “Rocket” Richard Tro­phy as the top-goal scorer af­ter ty­ing with 48. The Oil­ers’ Leon Drai­saitl won his first Art Ross Tro­phy for lead­ing the league with 110 points, which he ac­com­plished in 71 games. The Bru­ins won the Pres­i­dents’ Tro­phy for lead­ing the league stand­ings with 100 points and the team’s goal­tenders, Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, earned the Wil­liam M. Jen­nings Tro­phy for al­low­ing the fewest goals.

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