Tag Archives: sports

2017 Milwaukee Brewers Schedule

Here’s a look at the Milwaukee Brewers schedule, with the first game played April 3 against the Colorado Rockies.

April 3 Colorado, 2:10 p.m.

April 4 Colorado, 7:40 p.m.

April 5 Colorado, 8:10 p.m.

April 6 Colorado, 1:40 p.m.

April 7 Chicago Cubs, 8:10 p.m.

April 8 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

April 9 Chicago Cubs, 2:10 p.m.

April 11 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

April 12 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

April 13 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.

April 14 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.

April 15 at Cincinnati, 1:10 p.m.

April 16 at Cincinnati, 1:10 p.m.

April 17 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

April 18 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

April 19 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

April 20 St. Louis, 8:10 p.m.

April 21 St. Louis, 8:10 p.m.

April 22 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

April 23 St. Louis, 2:10 p.m.

April 24 Cincinnati, 7:40 p.m.

April 25 Cincinnati, 7:40 p.m.

April 26 Cincinnati, 1:40 p.m.

April 28 Atlanta, 8:10 p.m.

April 29 Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.

April 30 Atlanta, 2:10 p.m.

May 1 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

May 2 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

May 3 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

May 4 at St. Louis, 1:45 p.m.

May 5 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

May 6 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

May 7 at Pittsburgh, 1:35 p.m.

May 9 Boston, 7:40 p.m.

May 10 Boston, 8:10 p.m.

May 11 Boston, 1:10 p.m.

May 12 N.Y. Mets, 8:10 p.m.

May 13 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

May 14 N.Y. Mets, 2:10 p.m.

May 15 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

May 16 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

May 17 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

May 18 at San Diego, 3:40 p.m.

May 19 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

May 20 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

May 21 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

May 23 Toronto, 7:40 p.m.

May 24 Toronto, 1:10 p.m.

May 25 Arizona, 8:10 p.m.

May 26 Arizona, 8:10 p.m.

May 27 Arizona, 4:10 p.m.

May 28 Arizona, 2:10 p.m.

May 29 at N.Y. Mets, 4:10 p.m.

May 30 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

May 31 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

June 1 at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.

June 2 L.A. Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.

June 3 L.A. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.

June 4 L.A. Dodgers, 2:10 p.m.

June 5 San Francisco, 7:40 p.m.

June 6 San Francisco, 7:40 p.m.

June 7 San Francisco, 8:10 p.m.

June 8 San Francisco, 2:10 p.m.

June 9 at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.

June 10 at Arizona, 10:10 p.m.

June 11 at Arizona, 4:10 p.m.

June 13 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

June 14 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

June 15 at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m.

June 16 San Diego, 8:10 p.m.

June 17 San Diego, 4:10 p.m.

June 18 San Diego, 2:10 p.m.

June 19 Pittsburgh, 7:40 p.m.

June 20 Pittsburgh, 7:40 p.m.

June 21 Pittsburgh, 8:10 p.m.

June 22 Pittsburgh, 2:10 p.m.

June 23 at Atlanta, 7:35 p.m.

June 24 at Atlanta, 4:10 p.m.

June 25 at Atlanta, 1:35 p.m.

June 27 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.

June 28 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.

June 29 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.

June 30 Miami, 8:10 p.m.

July 1 Miami, 4:10 p.m.

July 2 Miami, 2:10 p.m.

July 3 Baltimore, 2:10 p.m.

July 4 Baltimore, 4:10 p.m.

July 5 Baltimore, 8:10 p.m.

July 7 at N.Y. Yankees, 7:05 p.m.

July 8 at N.Y. Yankees, 1:05 p.m.

July 9 at N.Y. Yankees, 1:05 p.m.

July 14 Philadelphia, 8:10 p.m.

July 15 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.

July 16 Philadelphia, 2:10 p.m.

July 17 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

July 18 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

July 19 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

July 20 at Pittsburgh, 12:35 p.m.

July 21 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

July 22 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

July 23 at Philadelphia, 1:35 p.m.

July 25 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.

July 26 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.

July 27 at Washington, 12:05 p.m.

July 28 Chicago Cubs, 8:10 p.m.

July 29 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

July 30 Chicago Cubs, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 1 St. Louis, 7:40 p.m.

Aug. 2 St. Louis, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 3 St. Louis, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 4 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 5 at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m.

Aug. 6 at Tampa Bay, 1:10 p.m.

Aug. 7 at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 8 at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 9 Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 10 Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 11 Cincinnati, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 12 Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 13 Cincinnati, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 15 Pittsburgh, 7:40 p.m.

Aug. 16 Pittsburgh, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 18 at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.

Aug. 19 at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 20 at Colorado, 3:10 p.m.

Aug. 21 at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.

Aug. 22 at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.

Aug. 23 at San Francisco, 3:45 p.m.

Aug. 25 at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.

Aug. 26 at L.A. Dodgers, 9:10 p.m.

Aug. 27 at L.A. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.

Aug. 29 St. Louis, 7:40 p.m.

Aug. 30 St. Louis, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 31 Washington, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 1 Washington, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 2 Washington, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 3 Washington, 2:10 p.m.

Sept. 4 at Cincinnati, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 5 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 6 at Cincinnati, 12:35 p.m.

Sept. 8 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

Sept. 9 at Chicago Cubs, 4:05 p.m.

Sept. 10 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

Sept. 11 Pittsburgh, 7:40 p.m.

Sept. 12 Pittsburgh, 7:40 p.m.

Sept. 13 Pittsburgh, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 15 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 16 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Miami, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 18 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 19 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 21 Chicago Cubs, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 22 Chicago Cubs, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 23 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 24 Chicago Cubs, 2:10 p.m.

Sept. 26 Cincinnati, 7:40 p.m.

Sept. 27 Cincinnati, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 28 Cincinnati, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 29 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 30 at St. Louis, 4:15 p.m.

Oct. 1 at St. Louis, 3:15 p.m.

Think you knew sports in 2016? So why is Putin pictured?

The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years and LeBron James brought an NBA title to long suffering Cleveland. You know that, but how much do you really know about the year in sports? Here’s a quiz to find out:

Who was happiest that the Cubs broke their 108-year drought and won the World Series?

A. Steve Bartman, who can finally show his face in the windy city.

B. Co-workers of Cubs fans, who no longer have to listen to their long suffering tales of woe.

C. Owner Tom Ricketts, who celebrated by raising ticket prices by almost 20 percent.

How did the Russians get the idea to switch doping samples in the Sochi Olympics?

A. Got tired of seeing Norwegians win all the medals.

B. Figured hacking urine bottles was just as easy as hacking emails.

C. Vladimir Putin knew someone in doping control.

Why did Ryan Lochte appear on Dancing with the Stars.

A. Thought a win would get him the respectability his Olympic gold medals didn’t.

B. Heard the show was big in Rio.

C. Knew that dancing around the cameras was easier than dancing around the truth.

What did they do with the golf course built for the Olympics in Rio?

A. Now the home of the swankiest favela in the city.

B. New practice ground for the Brazilian polo team.

C. Home course for the annual Brazil/Ecuador matches.

Why was the NFL so eager to get a team back in Los Angeles?

A . Jack Nicholson needed something to do after finally giving up on the Lakers.

B. Thought the nation’s second largest metropolitan area deserved the NFL’s second worst team.

C. Roger Goodell thought it might help him break into acting.

Why did Peyton Manning retire?

A. Said Omaha so many times he decided to move there.

B. Decided future better served by singing annoying jingles in TV commercials.

C. Knew he would never again be able to throw for 141 yards in a Super Bowl.

Penn State and Michigan were left out of college football playoffs, causing much consternation among their fans. Why?

A. School administrators mistakenly thought graduation rates were the main criteria for deciding who plays.

B. The Magic 8 ball came up “No” when playoff committee members asked about including them.

C. Both schools wanted their students out partying New Year’s Eve instead of watching football games.

Why do Oakland fans secretly want the Raiders to move to Las Vegas?

A. Because the losses that happen there will stay there.

B. They won’t feel out of place walking around Vegas dressed in studded leather and masks.

C. Heard Siegfried and Roy could come up with some magic for the team.

What did Ronda Rousey do after her shocking knockout loss?

A. Threatened to beat up any reporter who asked her a question.

B. Became co-host of the Ellen Show.

What did Tiger Woods bring as an assistant captain to the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team?

A. Excellent cart driving skills.

B. Great tales to tell about the old days when he actually played in the event.

C. His Gulfstream jet to get out of town quickly.

What did Joey “Jaws” Chestnut do after regaining his title by eating 70 hot dogs and buns in the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest?

A. Took a victory lap around Coney Island in the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.

B. Put some mustard on a hot dog.

C. Quickly excused himself.

Las Vegas got a new hockey team, the city’s first pro franchise. Why did they name it the Vegas Golden Knights instead of the Las Vegas Golden Knights?

A. Afraid city’s image of being full of drunken carousers would offend NHL fans.

B. Didn’t want Canadians to be confused and travel to Las Vegas, New Mexico, to watch their teams play.

C. Actually thought locals called it Vegas.

Why did Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey decide not to play in the Sun Bowl

A. Needed the extra time to bone up for the NFL’s Wonderlic test.

B. Thought team should have been picked for TaxSlayer Bowl instead.

C. Was upset that player’s gift bag didn’t include the souvenir game ball given out by the Dollar General Bowl.

Milwaukee alderman proposes ban on smokeless tobacco at sports venues

Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy has proposed an ordinance that would eliminate the use of smokeless tobacco products at Miller Park and other sports venues in the city.

An announcement from Murphy’s office said public health advocates would  join him at a Milwaukee Common Council hearing on the ordinance Nov. 10.

His proposal applies to all sports facilities at all levels — professional, collegiate, high school and amateur — within city limits and would cover everyone in the venues, including on the playing field, benches, vendor areas, spectator stands, parking lots and tailgating locations.

Murphy said Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco have enacted similar prohibitions. And a measure awaits the  mayor’s signature in Washington, D.C.

Also, next year, a law in California will take effect that would make 11 of the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums will be tobacco-free.

Public health experts, including at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. National Cancer Institute and World Health Organization, have concluded smokeless tobacco use is dangerous, containing at least 28 known carcinogens and causes oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer.

The product also causes nicotine addiction and other serious health problems like gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions. 

“For too long tobacco has been a stain on the great game of baseball and it’s time to get tobacco out of baseball once and for all to set the right example for the millions of kids who watch the sport and emulate their favorite players,” Murphy said in a statement. “When they are on the job, major league players have a responsibility to set the right example. Let’s make Milwaukee a shining example for the rest of the game.”

The CDC has reported that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at nearly twice the rate of non-athletes and smokeless tobacco use among athletes increased more than 11 percent from 2001 to 2013, even as smoking rates dropped significantly.

Among male high school athletes, smokeless tobacco use is at 17.4 percent in 2013.

“Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Milwaukee is sending the right message that baseball players are role models for our nation’s youth and that chewing tobacco is dangerous and should not be an accepted part of sports culture.”

In 2013, manufacturers of smokeless tobacco spent more than $500 million on marketing.

On the Web

For information on the Knock Tobacco Out of the Park campaign go to tobaccofreebaseball.org.

Big changes in baseball since Cubs last World Series

One way to realize just how long it’s been since the Chicago Cubs last reached the World Series is to look at how much the game has changed since then, on and off the field.

The Cubs are making their first appearance since 1945 and chasing their first title since 1908.

Some of the ways the game has changed since the Cubs lost Game 7 to the Detroit Tigers some 71 years ago:

INTEGRATION: Jackie Robinson became the first black player to reach the major leagues in 1947, two years after the Cubs’ last World Series appearance. Baseball has turned into a virtual melting pot in the seven decades since. The Cubs’ roster includes players from Cuba (reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Jorge Soler), along with Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as the continental United States.

EXPANSION: There were 16 teams in the majors in 1945, including two in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and three in New York. The total is up to 30 now.

GO WEST: There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in 1945. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants headed to San Francisco in 1958. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots showed up — they went 64-98 in their first year, then became the Milwaukee Brewers.

DIVISIONAL PLAY: There were no divisions in 1945, just eight teams in both the American League and National League. They split into East and West divisions in 1969. Then a Central was created in 1994, with the Cubs shifting from the NL East to the NL Central.

PLAYOFFS PLUS: Extra teams and divisions resulted in expanded playoffs. The League Championship Series began in 1969, the Division Series started in 1995 and a one-game wild-card playoff came in 2012. A longer postseason pushed the World Series deep into October and beyond. If the Cubs and Cleveland go the distance this year, Game 7 would be on Nov. 2.

FREE AGENCY: When Phil Cavarretta and Peanuts Lowrey helped lead the Cubs to the 1945 Series, they were bound to the team until they were traded or released. Curt Flood tested baseball’s reserve clause in the early 1970s and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, helping pave the way for players to move around as free agents. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist are among the players the Cubs acquired this way.

DESIGNATED HITTER: The designated hitter joined the American League lineup in 1973. The DH debate is still hot, with the leagues playing by different rules. When this year’s World Series opens at the AL park, both teams will use the DH; when the Cubs host, the pitchers will hit.

LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY: The Cubs were the last team in the majors to play only day games. That changed when lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The games there have always been played outdoors on green grass, never under a dome or on artificial turf, trends that became popular starting with the Astrodome in the mid-1960s.

Bucks president softens criticism of Milwaukee as ‘racist’

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he’s eager to work with Bucks president Peter Feigin to improve the city’s race relations after the NBA executive last week called the city the “most segregated, racist place” he has seen.

However, Feigin said this week in a statement that he didn’t intend to characterize the city as “overtly racist,” that it’s “a terrific community with wonderful people” and he is “proud to be a part of it.” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Barrett and Feigin, who is from New York City, had a “good conversation” on Monday, the mayor said.

“I hope we can change his feelings, but to do that, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Barrett said.

Last week, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that Feigin called Milwaukee the “most segregated, racist place I’ve ever experienced in my life” during a speech in Madison.

“It just is a place that is antiquated. It is in desperate need of repair and has happened for a long, long time. One of our messages and one of our goals is to lead by example,” Feigin was quoted as saying.

In his statement on Tuesday, Feigin said the comment came as he was “addressing a question about the social, economic and geographic divides that exist and how we can help address them.”

Barrett said that Feigin and the Bucks’ ownership team “seem to be a willing partner” to address the racial disparities in the city of 600,000 along Lake Michigan, which a 2012 Manhattan Institute analysis of census data found is the country’s most segregated metropolitan area, surpassing Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit.

Feigin has said the team is committed to helping Milwaukee. In May, the Bucks’ owners agreed to pay workers at the new $500 million downtown arena at least $12 per hour by next year, and at least $15 per hour by 2023. The agreement also includes provisions to protect workers’ ability to unionize and ensure that the team hires workers from Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods.

The deal is expected to apply to about 1,000 employees, including full- and part-time workers at the arena and the team’s practice facility and parking garage.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed bipartisan legislation in August 2015 that committed taxpayers to paying half the cost of the arena over the next 20 years in exchange for the team remaining in Milwaukee. The new arena is expected to open in 2018.

From Copa To Korea: Winter Games in Pyeongchang next up

Organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, set up a virtual-reality ski simulator — complete with fake, blowing snow — on Copacabana Beach.

“Having sun and sand is normal here, but not snow,” said local Danieli Evangelista, stepping off the make-believe ski slope after waiting in line for 30 minutes for a taste of winter during the Summer Olympics held earlier this month in Rio. “Hardly anyone here ever sees snow. It’s very cool, a very real effect.”

It’s also about to get very real for the next hosts of the Olympic Games.

“We’re not ready to go today, but we’re getting ready,” Kim Jaeyoul, vice president of the Pyeongchang organizing committee, told The Associated Press.

South Korea’s games will be the first of three straight in Asia, joining the Tokyo Summer Games in 2020 and the Beijing Winter Games in 2022. These come after a run of difficult games in Sochi, Russia, and now Rio de Janeiro, with the International Olympic Committee looking for “a safe pair of hands,” as Japan labeled its winning bid three years ago.

Yet organizers in Pyeongchang have struggled with construction delays, local conflicts over venues and a slow pace in attracting domestic sponsorship. This contrasts with the smoother run-ups to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 2002 World Cup that South Korea co-hosted with Japan.

“Unlike the 1988 Olympics and the 2002 World Cup, it was not the central government but a province that led the efforts to bring the Olympics,” said Heejoon Chung, who teaches sports science at South Korea’s Dong-A University. “There is a sentiment that the Winter Games are more about Pyeongchang than the nation as a whole.”

The Pyeongchang organizing committee named Lee Hee-beom its new president three months ago. It was the second leadership change in two years, and that’s worried the International Olympic Committee.

Lee bowed to IOC President Thomas Bach, and then to almost 100 IOC members, before addressing the full membership just days before the Rio Olympics opened.

“I’d like to assure you that our preparations are fully on track,” Lee told them.

In introducing him, Bach called Lee a “very dynamic and reliable leader,” and joked that he “promised he will be with us” until the games take place.

Organizers say that after a rocky start, 90 percent of the sponsorship target of $760 million will be met at the end of the year. Sponsorship will provide about one-third of the 2.2 trillion won, or $2 billion, operating budget. Kim said the budget would be adjusted in the next few weeks, compensating for inflation.

Six new competition venues are about 80 percent complete, and a new high-speed rail line will be finished in June of 2017 and in operation the following January. The line will link Incheon airport to Pyeongchang and reduce travel time to 90 minutes from almost twice that much.

Pyeongchang is also building a controversial sliding center for bobsled, luge and skeleton, after rejecting an IOC suggestion that it use a complex previously constructed for the games in Nagano, Japan, to save money. The cost is 124 billion won ($112 million) for a venue that could be a white elephant if not managed properly.

Gunilla Lindberg, the IOC member heading the planning for Pyeongchang, said the sliding center and the International Broadcast Center are “slightly delayed.”

Meantime, competition is heating up between South Korea and China over whose Olympic ski venue might ultimately become a destination for Asian tourists. Beijing planners have picked Zhangjiakou as the ski site for the 2022 games. Pyeongchang has some advantages, as it gets more natural snow than Zhangjiakou.

“A ski resort built for the Beijing Games is not going to be enough, considering the population of China,” Kim said. “We want to attract Chinese, but also Southeast Asians.”

Pyeongchang is in South Korea’s Gangwon Province, and the central and provincial governments have been battling over who should pay the Olympic bills as skepticism grows about the long-term economic benefits of mega-sporting events, said Chung, the sports science professor.

“Pyeongchang mostly got what it wanted,” Chung said, noting the province has pushed off costs to the central government. “It has no choice. It’s still the Olympics, and you don’t want to look bad hosting it.”

Billy Bean teaching MLB teams about inclusion in clubhouse

Billy Bean has come full circle, throwing out the first pitch for the first Mets Pride Night on Saturday against his former San Diego team.

Bean came out as gay after he left the Padres in 1995. Now he’s Major League Baseball’s vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. In the past two years, he’s talked to all 30 MLB ownership groups, various teams and players about struggling with his sexuality during his career and gay and lesbian inclusion in the workplace.

“The message is everyone is welcome that walks through the turnstiles to watch us play baseball,” Bean said. “The LGBT community is part of every community.”

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson approached Bean after he heard him speak to GMs in 2014. Since then, the former outfielder who had a six-year career with Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Padres has participated in spring training, spoken with players and thrown batting practice. He’s helped former teammate and Mets coach Tommy Goodwin with the outfielders.

“(Alderson) wanted them to know about me,” said Bean, who grew up in Santa Ana, California. “My dad is a Marine Corps veteran, like Sandy. I grew up in a big family, very conservative. Lot of things that were explanations of why I chose to leave baseball as opposed to talk about what was going on with me.”

The Mets are among 10 teams hosting Pride Nights this season, and the first among the four New York men’s major pro sports to host the theme night. A portion of ticket sales will go to the LGBT Network, which promotes anti-bullying programs in the New York area.

Here are some things to know about Bean, who also talks to people in the front office, instructional leagues and minor leagues.

LIFE SKILLS: Bean says his job is to help younger players from all backgrounds and cultures understand workplace expectations. “A lot of people forget our players are 19, 20, 21 years old,” he said. “They’re world class baseball players, and they haven’t had time to learn all the ways of the world. We really prioritize messaging on life skills, domestic violence awareness and counseling about relationships. The inclusive conversation is a wonderful part of that comprehensive message.”

Bean says the comments in the clubhouse that “everybody’s been hearing for the last 500 years” will take time and education to reduce. “It was acceptable to be disparaging. When guys are ragging other guys, they feminize them. The comments were sexist as much as they were homophobic.”

TOUGH LESSONS: Bean says he quit baseball without talking to one person about why. “I had never come out to my family, I was living a very secretive, dark life,” he said. “My partner died of HIV-related causes on the eve of what was my last season.”

Brad Ausmus, the current Detroit Tigers manager, was Bean’s teammate and friend. He says Ausmus and his wife talk about how things “might have changed if I just would have told him. He would have said, ‘Don’t stop playing or just tell your parents or don’t tell your parents, just talk to us.’

“I didn’t realize there was a place for me in this world, and I didn’t even trust the people that loved me the most — my own family.”

Alderson was part of the Oakland organization when Glenn Burke, the first MLB player to publicly acknowledge he was gay, played for the Dodgers (1976-78) and Athletics (1978-79). Burke left the majors after receiving little playing time with the A’s. He died at 42 of complications from AIDS in 1995.

PROGRESS: Milwaukee Brewers minor league first baseman David Denson became the first active player in affiliated professional baseball to come out in August 2015. Bean says Denson called him for advice six months beforehand. “We made sure his parents were in the loop. I was surprised the day he did it. He texted me and said ‘You won’t believe what I just did.”

Bean says it’s not the goal for baseball players to reveal their sexuality, but it’s important to provide a respectful workplace. Currently, there are no out active players in the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB. “It’s a personal decision. That’s not going to be how I judge the work we’re doing.”

Former Met Daniel Murphy, a self-described Christian, said he disagreed with the “lifestyle” of people who are gay after Bean spoke to the team in March 2015.

Bean says racism didn’t end the day Jackie Robinson ran across the field. He noted progress on LGBT issues moved forward with Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality and backward with some states passing laws prohibiting protections in housing and employment for LGBT people.

PRIDE NIGHTS: Philadelphia has hosted Pride Night since 2001, and the Washington Nationals celebrated their 12th. Others with the theme night are the Chicago Cubs, Boston, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa Bay.

Lou DePaoli, the Mets’ executive vice president and chief revenue officer, calls New York a “diverse and inclusive city” and says “we are particularly proud to welcome the LGBT community.”

Community organizations can propose theme nights to the marketing departments of MLB teams.

Bean says the Mets are sending “a great message not only to their fans, but for all of baseball.”

Ready for Rio? Memorable moments from opening ceremonies

It’s almost game time in Rio, but first there’s the pageantry of the Olympic opening ceremony. Always splashy affairs, the parade of athletes this time around will take place Friday night at Maracana Stadium with a country-by-country show of fashion, along with speeches, flag-raising and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

For now, enjoy these moments from opening ceremonies of Olympics past:

LONDON 2012

First there was the green of the English countryside, then along came the queen.

Queen Elizabeth II “parachuted” into the stadium with James Bond, the one that’s Daniel Craig. Craig played himself after a fictional trip from Buckingham Palace to the stadium. The queen did not actually take flight, FYI.

More slapstick ensued when “Mr. Bean” actor Rowan Atkinson performed the theme from “Chariots of Fire” with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Oh, and who lit the cauldron? Not David Beckham. He bowed out after failing to make the soccer squad.

BEIJING 2008

Dazzling doesn’t begin to cover it.

First, more than 2,000 drummers played the Fou, a traditional Chinese instrument. They were followed by 10,000 highly rehearsed performers after giant Olympic rings sprang from the floor of the stadium. In all, there were more than 18,000 performers.

There were fireworks, and more fireworks, and still more fireworks, including some that were computer simulated. Lots of openers have fireworks, but they were invented in China some 2,000 years ago, so there’s that.

Everything from the silk road to chanting disciples of Confucius was represented in this ceremony.

OK, that was more than one moment, but this was a BIG opening ceremony.

SYDNEY 2000

Well, the Man from Snowy River scared his horse with the crack of a whip to open this opening ceremony, followed by a little girl who conked out in the middle of the stadium to introduce a dream sequence featuring huge jellyfish and other sea life.

But the best part was the last torchbearer, who waded into water and seemingly lit a soggy, spaceship-like cauldron on fire as she stood in the center. It was then airlifted up and up on a set of tracks amid waterfalls and fireworks.

Did I mention there were people on horses? Lots of them, including some who galloped into circles to form the Olympic rings.

LOS ANGELES 1984

A dude arrived by jet pack. ‘nuf said. The Jetsons generation had been patient.

MOSCOW 1980

This was the year of the U.S.-led Olympic boycott, reducing the number of participating countries to 80.

It was also the year of the stackable human. Pyramids of gymnasts and dancers constructed towers, including one with participants all in white surrounded by a circle of other participants on the ground in pink.

Another human construction came in yellow, with mad respect for the performers in the middle who had to lean out and hang upside down as the shape of the bodies fanned out.

A “children’s show” featured legions of other humans dressed as brown bears dancing and prancing before even more legions of humans in white shorts danced and pranced on white-headed hobbyhorses.

It wasn’t real, kids, but you might want to NOT look at it on YouTube.

Mighty ducks play ball in Madison

In the bottom of the third, the Madison Mallards were locked in a heated battle with the St. Cloud Rox.

The Minnesota team scored four runs off starter Mike Reitcheck, and they led the Ducks 4-1 as they went into the bottom half of the inning.

The Mallards were ready to try to take back the July 3 game — but not before the Ping-Pong Twerk Off. In this mid-inning competition, two contestants on opposite sides of the infield wear a bag of Ping-Pong balls strapped to their, um, twerker. The first one to booty-shake fast enough to empty all the balls from the bag wins.

This is part of the show outside of The Show.

Mid-Inning entertainment

Mallards general manager Tyler Isham explains, “Some baseball games are long and not always a lot of fun. Even when we lose, these activities provide entertainment and keep the fans coming back.”

“We have 17 inning breaks in every game and 17 chances to provide fans with entertainment during the game,” Isham says.

Each activity bears the stamp of a local business.

There’s the Pony Hop — four guys bouncing across the field on what appear to be large stuffed Hobby Horses — presented by Jet’s Car Care Clinic in Madison.

There’s the Beef Jerky Toss sponsored by the Beef Jerky Outlet in Sun Prairie.

Crowd-pleasing activities on the electronic scoreboard include the Nitty Gritty Burger Shuffle — a Three Card Monte video game in which fans have to guess which animated hamburger contains the pickle slices. The shuffle is sponsored by Madison’s Nitty Gritty Birthday Bar and Restaurant.

Friendly venue

Games are played at Warner Park on Madison’s north side. There’s a county-fair ambience mixed with those goofy mid-inning antics welcoming the roughly 6,500 fans to each home game.

The ballpark is modest in size. The grounds contain a gift shop, food vendors and beer stands offering local craft beers.

There’s also a play area, with a bounce castle and kiddie zip line, as well as other activities.

Seats run $10–$15 and there are a variety of group ticket options that include food and beverages.

Isham says the Mallards’ aim is to provide an affordable evening of fun for fans of all ages.

Northwoods League

The Mallards are part of the Northwoods League, which provides a summer internship for some of the country’s leading college players while offering ball fans semi-professional baseball plus some sideline entertainment.

The team, established in 2001, is owned by entrepreneur Steve Schmitt, who owns The Shoe Box shoe store and Rookies Sports Bar in Black Earth just west of Madison.

Schmitt also owns Northwoods League member teams the Green Bay Bullfrogs, the Kenosha Kingfish and the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Other Northwoods League teams in Wisconsin include the Lakeshore Chinooks in Mequon, Wisconsin Woodchucks in Wausau, La Crosse Loggers and Eau Claire Express.

The off-field antics entertain, but baseball makes the Northwoods League parks summer destinations for sports fans.

There are 18 teams in five states, with the league boasting north and south divisions.

By agreement with the league, headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota, the Mallards’ roster can include 30 active full-time players, as well as 10 limited-term players who may sub during the first few weeks of the season — before the colleges have ended the spring semester.

A summer with the Mallards constitutes an unpaid internship for the college athletes, Isham says.

“We work with colleges all over the country to attract the best players we can,” he says. “Over time you establish good working relationships with the coaches and schools and it’s beneficial for everyone.”

The Mallards’ roster currently consists of players from 27 colleges, including the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The team’s season commenced May 31 and continues through Aug. 14. The regular season consists of 36 home games and 36 away games over 78 days, followed by six days of playoffs. Teams finishing in the top half in their division stand a good chance of being in the playoffs.

Players benefit

What do the players get for all their hard work?

“We have professional MLB scouts in the stands for almost every game,” Isham says. “This is the players’ chance to be seen in action.”

During the first 15 seasons, the Mallards saw five players go on to play in the Majors: Ryan Spilbourghs (Colorado Rockies), Matt Pagnozzi (Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals), Phil Gosselin (Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks), J.R. Graham (Minnesota Twins) and Brock Stewart (Los Angeles Dodgers.)

Based on the outcome of the grudge match between the Mallards and the Rox in the July 3 game, it looked like a few more players might blossom from this season’s roster.

The Rox’s three-run lead at the bottom of the third evaporated. By the fifth inning, Mallards player Bryce Carter, who plays for Stanford during the year, began turning the game in favor of the Ducks.

“I made some adjustments to my swing coming into the summer, and it’s always hard when you make a change like that,” Carter says after the game. “I was feeling good today, got more comfortable in the batter’s box and was able to put some hits together.”

A sixth-inning RBI by Carter stretched the Mallards lead to 5-4, followed an inning later by Carter’s three-run homer over the right-center wall, which boosted the Ducks to 8-5, a lead held to the finish.

Let’s see the twerkers match that performance.

Batter up …

Madison Mallards: Find the Ducks online at mallardsbaseball.com or call 608-246-4277. The team plays home games at Warner Park, 2920 N. Sherman Ave., Madison.

Green Bay Bullfrogs: Find the Frogs online at northwoodsleague.com/green-bay-bullfrogs or call 920-497-7225. The team plays home games at 1450 E. Walnut St., Green Bay.

Kenosha Kingfish: Find the Fish online at northwoodsleague.com/kenosha-kingfish or call 262-653-0900. The team plays home games at Historic Simmons Field, 7817 Sheridan Road, Kenosha.

Wisconsin Rapids Rafters: Find the Rafters online at northwoodsleague.com/wisconsin-rapids-rafters or call 715-424-5400. The team plays home games at Witter Field, 521 Lincoln St. Wisconsin Rapids.

Lakeshore Chinooks: Find the Chinooks online at northwoodsleague.com/lakeshore-chinook or call 262-618-4659. The team plays home games at Kapco Park.

Eau Claire Express: Find the Express online at www.eauclaireexpress.com or call 715-839-7788. The team plays at Carson Park, 702 Carson Park Drive.

La Crosse Loggers: Find the Loggers online at www.lacrosseloggers.com or call 608-796-9553. The team plays at Copeland Park, 800 Copeland Ave.

Wisconsin Woodchucks: Find the Woodchucks online at www.woodchucks.com or call 715-845-5055. The Woodchucks play at Athletic Park.

For more about summer baseball, visit Travel Wisconsin at travelwisconsin.com.          — L.N.

Milwaukee Bucks join Wisconsin LGBT chamber

The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced the Milwaukee Bucks joined the nonprofit as a platinum founding member, bringing the membership to more than 400.

“We couldn’t be prouder to welcome the Milwaukee Bucks as our newest platinum member,” Jason Rae, executive director of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release. “The Milwaukee Bucks are a true hometown team, focused on engaging all members of the community. We cannot wait to work with the team to grow a pro-fairness business community in Wisconsin.”

Bucks president Peter Feigin stated, “We’re thrilled to partner with the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber as their newest platinum founding member. The Milwaukee Bucks are committed to building an inclusive fan experience that truly engages members of the LGBT community. As an organization, inclusion and diversity is a core pillar of who we are. We look forward to a strong partnership with the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber over the years to come.”

Platinum membership with the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber is one of the highest levels available. Membership includes a seat on the Chamber’s Corporate Leadership Advisory Council.

“Reaching 400 current and active members in under four years exceeded our expectations and we are so grateful to do that with the Milwaukee Bucks. We know that this will be a rewarding partnership for all,” Rae said.