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LONDRES, 24 jul (Reuters) – La Fórmula Uno eliminó el viernes las cuatro carreras de esta temporada que iban a correrse en el continente americano debido a la pandemia de COVID-19, mientras que sumó tres pruebas en Europa.

Si bien se cancelaron los grandes premios de Canadá, Texas, México y Brasil, la F1 dijo en un comunicado que decidió organizar carreras en los circuitos de Imola, Nürburgring y Portimao, en Portugal, que albergará una prueba por primera vez en la historia.

“Debido a la naturaleza de la actual pandemia de COVID-19, las restricciones locales y la importancia de mantener seguras a las comunidades y a nuestros colegas, esta temporada no será posible competir en Brasil, Estados Unidos, México y Canadá”, dijo la F1.

Con esta medida, las cancelaciones del calendario original 2020 suman 11. Las otras víctimas habían sido Australia, Francia, Mónaco, Países Bajos, Azerbaiyán, Singapur y Japón.

Reporte de Alan Baldwin. Editado en español por Javier Leira

TORONTO (AP) — The Blue Jays won’t play their home games in Toronto this year because Canada’s government doesn’t think it’s safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States, one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Saturday the federal government had denied the Blue Jays’ request to play at Rogers Centre, confirming what an official familiar with the matter had told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.

The Blue Jays were informed via a phone call. The team’s alternate sites for home games include its training facility in Dunedin, Florida, which is among the states that are virus hotspots, as well as Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, which is home to Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate and just across the Niagara River from Canada.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start the season July 24 at Tampa Bay. Their home opener was set for five days later against Washington.

Mendicino told the AP frequent travel to the U.S., where COVID-19 cases are surging, was the biggest issue.

“There were serious risks if we proceeded with the regular-season proposal of the MLB and the Jays and therefore we concluded it was not in the national interest,” Mendicino said.

The team had been given clearance by city and provincial governments to play in its home stadium and was awaiting approval from Canada’s federal government. The other 29 Major League Baseball teams plan to play in their home ballparks, without spectators, when the pandemic-shortened 60-game season begins on July 23.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz have pushed for the team to relocate to the city.

“Let’s find a way to make them the ‘Buffalo Blue Jays’ this year,” Poloncarz wrote in a text to the AP.

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said player health is a concern in Florida. He said the team has spent more time examining Buffalo in recent days but said the stadium has infrastructure challenges. A lack of space in the clubhouse makes social distancing difficult, but Shapiro said some players could have their lockers set up in suites.

Sahlen Field also needs upgrades to its field lights and its training facilities, he said.

“Dunedin is the only one that is 100% seamless right now and ready to go. That from a player-health standpoint has some challenges,” Shapiro said. “Buffalo is certainly one that we’ve spent an increasing amount of time on in the past few weeks. That is not done. There are some infrastructure and player-facility challenges to get that up to major league standards. And then we have other alternatives that are real that we continue to work through that may be better for us.”

He declined to say what other sites they are considering. He said they would look to improve batting cages, weight rooms and training rooms in Buffalo if it is picked.

“Buffalo is the place we’ve spent the most time on in the last 10 days,” Shapiro said. “There is a lot we have to do. Some of it might get done after we start playing but I’m confident Buffalo is a viable alternative. With the amount of resources that we would marshal if we focused solely on Buffalo we can make it what it needs to be for us in time to play games.”

No affiliated minor league teams are playing this year, so the Bisons’ stadium is empty.

“We are continuing to explore the best ways to adapt the available spaces in our ballpark to meet the needs of the Blue Jays,” said Mike Buczkowski, the president of Rich Baseball Operations, which oversees the team.

Washington pitcher Max Scherzer said the Blue Jays’ situation is the latest wrinkle in the virus-delayed season.

“Whatever the challenge is, wherever you’ve got to play, wherever you’ve got to go, just keep a smile on your face,” Scherzer said. “Who knows where we’re going to play them — but we’re going to play baseball. We’re going to find a way to play them and get the games going. And when we do play them, it’s going to be fun, so just keep a smile on your face and try not to get too down about all the hoops we’re going to have to jump through.”

Shapiro called Canada’s decision disappointing but gave health officials credit for mitigating the spread of the virus.

“Without any hesitation we respect the decision. It’s not hard to think about how well managed and well led the virus has been throughout Toronto and Canada by public health and political leaders,” Shapiro said.

Mendicino said the government is open to considering future restart plans for the postseason should the risk of virus transmission diminish.

“We’ve committed to maintaining an open line of communication with both MLB and the Toronto Blue Jays and we will reassess in due course,” he said.

MLB needed an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days. The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel until at least Aug. 21.

“In Canada you’ve seen us flatten the curve. You’ve seen that cases have decreased significantly and that is largely attributable to the sacrifices Canadians have made. We can ill afford a step back,” Mendicino said.

“We think this is the right call and it is backed by the evidence and advice of our health experts. And fans who still would like to see baseball will still be able to watch the broadcast, just from a different location.”

The NHL has received an exemption for its restart to the season, but that was a far simpler case because the games are restricted to two hubs — Edmonton and Toronto.

The Blue Jays received an exemption for summer camp, during which the players agreed to isolate in the hotel attached to Rogers Centre and create a quarantine environment. Players are not allowed to leave the stadium or hotel and violators face fines of up to $750,000 Canadian ($551,000 U.S.) and up to six months in jail.

“COVID-19 still exists and there are hardworking people on the front line trying to battle the virus. You have to respect the Canadian government’s decision to keep the nation safe,” Blue Jays pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu said through a translator.

“We don’t even know where we are going to end up playing the regular-season games but as players we are all just trying to rally together,” he said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory had lobbied the federal government to approve the plan but said Saturday he understands the decision given the situation in the U.S.

Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network, said the city and province were wrong to push for games to be played in Canada.

“Having people coming from the U.S. repeatedly is not the right thing to do,” Morris said. “This should have been by a decision made in Toronto or by the province. It’s a bit disappointing it had to be made in Ottawa.”

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Sean McDermott didn’t mind being put on the spot when asked whether the Buffalo Bills have a roster that’s built to win now.

“You’re beautiful, man,” McDermott said, referring to a reporter during a video conference call Thursday. “Throw the fastball high and inside. Chin music.”

And yet, he wasn’t ready to swing away in addressing the media for the first time since the Bills upgraded their roster in free agency and acquired receiver Stefon Diggs in a trade with Minnesota in March, before shoring up secondary needs in the NFL draft last weekend.

McDermott would only go so far in acknowledging the Bills’ current roster is the deepest it’s been since taking over the job three years ago.

“Listen, we’re definitely further along than where we were when I got here,” he said. “And that’s part of the goal, you want to be able to say that.”

The proof, however, is still months away given the challenges he and the rest of the NFL faces in wondering when teams will be allowed to begin practicing because of the coronavirus pandemic. And there are still games to be played.

What’s not in question, on paper at least, is the Bills finally resembling a contender based on a variety of factors for a team coming off its second playoff appearance in three years.

Buffalo’s roster features continuity, with all but four regulars returning from last season. And whatever holes there might have been, were shored up through a series of offseason additions, including defensive end Mario Addison, defensive tackle Vernon Butler, linebacker A.J. Klein and cornerback Josh Norman.

It’s enough for some to regard the Bills as the chic pick to supplant the New England Patriots atop the AFC East standings following Tom Brady’s departure.

Diggs’ acquisition alone was important because it has the potential of improving a Josh Allen-led offense that had difficulty scoring. Buffalo failed to top 21 points 11 times last season, including a 21-18 overtime wild-card playoff loss to Houston, in which the Bills squandered a 16-0 third-quarter lead.

“We need to score points, and that’s been an emphasis and a theme that we’ve talked about since the end of the season,” he said of a team which had 10 games decided by seven points or fewer.

“I would love to take a seat on the bench in the fourth quarter of one of these games and maybe eat an orange slice or drink a Gatorade instead of having my heart go a million miles an hour,” McDermott added.

Concerns still abound, with one of his biggest involving the lack of practice time to develop Buffalo’s passing game.

McDermott said the offense spends about 70% of their spring practices working on passes, with the focus turning to the running attack once players are allowed to wear pads. He also wondered how long it might take for Allen to build chemistry with Diggs.

“I am concerned about it, but I guess not worried at this point,” McDermott said, noting every team faces its share of challenges. “What you do is try to adjust and adapt, and like we said before, our theme this offseason has been: `Find a way.’”

McDermott has a track record of overcoming adversity in Buffalo.

During his first season, the Bills overcame a patchwork roster in transition — Buffalo traded three starters, receiver Sammy Watkins, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and cornerback Ronald Darby — to finish 9-7 and end a 17-year playoff drought. Last season, the Bills made the playoffs despite an offense that featured eight new starters.

Though players are working out remotely on their own, McDermott is reintroducing his annual offseason team-bonding sessions by once again having newcomers introduce themselves by sharing their backgrounds during team sessions.

Año mágico de Dodgers termina con otra decepción
LOS ÁNGELES (AP) — Inevitablemente, se cumplirán 30 años desde la última coronación de los Dodgers en una Serie Mundial. Y la ciudad que los adora se sentirá triste por un tiempo.

Listos para celebrar algo no conquistado desde 1988, los fanáticos de Los Ángeles acudieron vestidos de azul al parque. Terminaron entristecidos ante la derrota por 5-1 que los Dodgers sufrieron el miércoles ante los Astros de Houston en el séptimo juego del Clásico de Otoño.

El público local hizo su mejor esfuerzo para mantenerse optimista. Pero una pésima actuación de Yu Darvish se los dificultó. Los Dodgers quedaron en desventaja por 5-0 después de apenas dos innings, y nunca estuvieron cerca de reaccionar.

 

“¡Huele a remontada!”, gritó un aficionado durante la quinta entrada en Tom’s Urban, uno de los bares en el centro de Los Ángeles.

Lo engañó el sentido del olfato.

Joanne López Rojas, de 71 años, confesó que iba a “llorar en el camino de vuelta a casa, con una parada para beber algo”.

Junto con su marido Delfino, de 71 años, López Rojas fue dueña de un restaurante, y miró el juego en Tom’s Urban.

La mujer llevaba la cara pintada: De blanco en un lado, con flores coloridas por el Día de los Muertos, a la usanza en México. En la mejilla derecha tenía el logo de los Dodgers.

Pero la pintura en ambas mejillas comenzó a desteñirse por las lágrimas.

La escena contrastó con la vivida el miércoles por la tarde, en una urbe que hervía de entusiasmo y alegría tras la victoria de los Dodgers en el sexto juego.

Ahora, la ciudad sólo espera que una nueva oportunidad llegue pronto.

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