Duke's Zion Williamson is about to face the only thing in college hoops bigger than him - An Overview

DIRECCION, Ariz. - Jon Lester hollered a new greeting as he peered through a new bank of television cameras surrounding Chi town Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.



"Hi Tony! " Lester said.



"Hi Jon, " Rizzo said. "Love you. inch



"Love you back, " Lester answered.



It was a brief, bright point in time during a gloomy start to typically the spring at Sloan Park. Remember typically the Cubs? Remember the budding homegrown empire? Remember the cuddly bunch that concluded a 108-year championship drought and danced across the stage on "Saturday Nighttime Live"?



The autumn of 2016 comes across as being like a distant memory in the particular spring of 2019.



After the Cubs lost in the National League wild-card game last fall, president of hockey operations Theo Epstein predicted that 2019 would be a "reckoning. " Hockey Prospectus projects the Cubs to end last in the National League Main. Last week, after a winter associated with austerity, the Cubs welcomed back infielder Addison Russell from his suspension with regard to violating baseball's domestic violence policy. In Monday, chairman Tom Ricketts apologized to be able to the team for the racist, Islamophobic emails of his father.



A future 30-minute news conference overshadowed the team's first official workout. Chairman Ricketts called to Joe Ricketts' emails as "unacceptable, " stressed that his father provides "no direct role or economic attention in the team" and praised him or her for his charity work "in Islamic East Africa. "



When asked so why the team spent so little funds this winter, Ricketts replied, "That's the pretty easy question to answer -- we don't have any more. very well He said the impending launch regarding a regional sports network with Sinclair Broadcasting would not compel the staff to jump into the pool associated with high-priced free agents.



"As much because I would love to have some sort of great, new, exciting player every season, " Ricketts said, "it just aren't happen every year. "



The Cubs made only minimal upgrades to the team that won 95 games throughout 2018 but lost the division name in Game 163 to the Milwaukee, wisconsin Brewers. Manager Joe Maddon entered typically the season without a contract for 2020. The front office awaits contributions by the club's free-agent acquisitions of the particular previous winter, former Los Angeles Dodgers Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow, even though trying to avoid the regression endured last year by its youthful main.



"It's beating a dead horse discussing about last season, " third baseman Kris Bryant said. "I don't seriously care to talk about it. My spouse and i know we won 95 games, in addition to this and that, but it's period to move on. We've got some sort of new season ahead of us. inch



Bryant spoke Monday morning, before Ricketts met with the team. The proprietor outlined three points to the participants, he said: respect the Cubs simply by acting "well on and off typically the field, " respect the fans and even contact the team if interested within doing charity work.



Then he gave a talk about his father's emails.



On February. 4, the website Splinter News printed emails sent by and forwarded in order to Joe Ricketts, founder and former BOSS of TD Ameritrade, whose children obtained the Cubs in 2009. The messages were dated from 2009 to 2013. They included conspiracy theories about Us president Barack Obama. Ricketts laughed at comedies featuring slurs. He spread fear-mongering in the direction of Muslims. "We must all recognize the particular Islam is 안전 놀이터 사이트 a dangerous element throughout our society due to its sweeping aspects, " Joe Ricketts wrote within one email from 2012.



In typically the wake of the story, Tom Ricketts and Cubs vice president of marketing and sales communications Julian Green met with local Islamic leaders in Chicago. Joe Ricketts apologized. His son furthered that message Mon.



"I have to be honest: My spouse and i was surprised to see the e-mail, " Tom Ricketts said. "Our relatives was never raised that way. We've never heard my father say something that was even remotely racist. That just isn't our family values.



Later on, Ricketts added, "I love him. He has my dad. He's a great guy. He's done incredible things. He's aided children all over the world via his charities. He supports 17, 1000 schools in Africa. All over Far east Africa too, or Islamic East Cameras.



"He's done all the right points. I just think he probably may have been more careful about the particular emails he brought in. And a new couple he sent. "



Ricketts explained he encouraged Cubs players to talk up if they felt the group had upset them. He was much less apologetic in his comments about typically the team's spending, after a winter within which the Cubs added infielder Daniel Descalso, reliever Brad Brach and minor else.



The Cubs' opening day salaries projects to $208 million, an boost from their $182 million payroll to be able to start 2018. Ricketts mentioned the lifts accrued by Bryant and infielder Javier Baez in arbitration, plus the team's decision to pick up a 20 dollars million option on pitcher Cole Hamels.



"Those contracts put us well over what we've ever spent before, very well Ricketts said.



The Cubs have proven little interest in either outfielder Bryce Harper or infielder Manny Machado, typically the two unsigned stars on the marketplace. Rather than pursue Machado, the staff elected to bring back Russell, whom will serve a 40-game suspension directly into May.



Major League Baseball suspended Russell last September after allegations from the ex-wife, Melisa Riedy. The Cubs tendered him a $3. 4 million agreement for 2019. Russell apologized for his / her actions Friday.



"On that whole issue, I think I owe a small shoutout to everybody in the Cubs organization, " Ricketts said. "We by the very beginning reached out to be able to Melisa, and tried to figure away what is the best possible reply for all the individuals involved, together with came to the conclusion that the particular better path forward was to assist Addison and give him the very best chance as a Cub. To obtain this behind him, and become a new better person. "



During his statements to the media, Ricketts bundled the particular issues swirling around the team instructions his father's emails, Russell's suspension, typically the lack of spending - into typically the category of "distractions. " He talked as if the joys of 2016 were right around the corner, quite than far away.



"We continue to be able to do everything we can to become the best organization in sports, inches Ricketts said. "The distractions that arise off the field don't deter through that. And we continue to shift forward. I don't see these factors changing us in any way. very well



Visit the Los Angeles Times in www.latimes.com



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