Sat, 01 Nov 2014 03:32:00 +0000

CHICAGO (AP) Right after Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay, the Chicago Cubs were mentioned as a possible landing spot for one of baseball's best managers.

Flush with prospects and ready to make a splash in free agency, the Cubs already had a manager in Rick Renteria. But they just couldn't resist the lure of Maddon's sudden availability.

Looking for a turnaround after five consecutive losing seasons, the Cubs announced Friday that they had hired Maddon to replace Renteria after just one year on the job. The move pairs the respected Maddon with a promising roster and a franchise with far more resources than he ever enjoyed with the small-market Rays.

Renteria was fired after leading Chicago to a 73-89 record in his only season as a major league manager. It was a seven-win improvement from 2013, the last of Dale Sveum's two years in charge, but not close to reaching the playoffs or putting the Cubs in position to win their first World Series title since 1908.

"Maddon - who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us - had become a free agent," Cubs President Theo Epstein said in a statement.

"We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe."

Epstein said the Cubs were "transparent" at all times with Renteria once Maddon became available two weeks ago.

"Rick often said he was the beneficiary of the hard work of others who came before him," he said. "Now, in the young players he helped, we reap the benefits of his hard work as we move forward. He deserved better and we wish him nothing but the best."

Renteria's agent, Ken Solomon, declined comment. He also said Renteria will not comment.

With Renteria in the dugout, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro each had a rebound season, and young sluggers Javier Baez and Jorge Soler were among a group of prospects who showed considerable promise in their first major league action.

Now it's up to Maddon to help that core group of young players to continue to improve, while paving the way for another wave of heralded prospects that includes third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Addison Russell.

It's a familiar situation for the 60-year-old Hazleton, Pennsylvania native, who deftly guided several young Rays rosters into contention in the rugged AL East.

Maddon opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay after Andrew Friedman left the Rays' front office to take over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 14.

Maddon's free agency created a buzz during the World Series, with the talk centering on where he might go and all the possibilities for his new job.

The answer became public just two days after San Francisco's Game 7 win over the Royals, with Maddon becoming Chicago's fifth manager since the start of the 2010 season and the 54th in the history of the woebegone franchise.

Maddon had a 754-705 record in nine seasons in Tampa Bay, leading the club to four playoff appearances, two AL East titles and a five-game loss to Philadelphia in the 2008 World Series.

The two-time AL Manager of the Year was the bench coach for six seasons under Angels manager Mike Scioscia before he was hired by Tampa Bay in November 2005.

While the addition of Maddon is a coup for president of baseball operations Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, the quick hook for Renteria could turn into a problem for the front office down the road.

Renteria had two years left on the contract he signed with the Cubs last November, and the inevitable turnover on the major league staff could affect Chicago's ability to attract quality coaches.

Renteria, who was the bench coach in San Diego before he got his first opportunity to be a big league manager, already was looking at a different staff for his second year.

Hitting coach Bill Mueller resigned after Epstein announced that Mike Brumley would not return as assistant hitting coach. John Mallee, a Chicago native, was hired to replace Mueller, Eric Hinske shifted to assistant hitting coach and former Cubs outfielder Doug Dascenzo was hired as first base and outfield coach.

Now their fate is unclear. Same for pitching coach Chris Bosio, who has drawn praise for his work with Jake Arrieta and a couple other pitchers who were traded away by the Cubs after they rebounded until the tutelage of the former major leaguer.

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 22:08:00 +0000

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Dave Brandon took over Michigan's athletic department four years ago with so many of the right qualifications: success as a businessman, experience as a university regent - and he'd played football for Bo Schembechler, too.

That football program is the barometer of sporting success at Michigan, but the Wolverines have fallen on hard times recently.

Those struggles - and the handful of other problems they helped magnify - led to the end of Brandon's tenure as athletic director.

"Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department and the university community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department and the university to continue without daily distractions," school President Mark Schlissel said. "I agree with this decision."

Schlissel announced Brandon's resignation at a news conference Friday, and although the tone was respectful and appreciative, the president acknowledged that the athletic department has gone through a rough stretch recently.

Brandon's departure comes amid another disappointing football season - and concerns over everything from the school's concussions protocol to student attendance at games.

Football coach Brady Hoke's future has been in doubt for a while because of his team's lack of progress, but Brandon also became a target of disgruntled fans and students.

Schlissel was asked if he was prepared to fire Brandon if the athletic director hadn't resigned.

"I'm not at all prepared to deal in a hypothetical," Schlissel said. "But he and I had been working closely, as you might imagine, through the controversial events of recent weeks.

"We discussed iteratively the best way to set the athletic program in a stronger and positive direction, and we've been working closely together on that. It was Dave that mentioned and raised the prospect of his decision to resign."

Will Hoke be the next to go?

The timing of Brandon's departure gives Michigan a chance to find a replacement athletic director before the end of the football season, when a decision on Hoke's status could come. But Schlissel indicated he would take as long as necessary to find a new AD.

Jim Hackett, who graduated from the university in 1977 and like Brandon played football for Michigan, will serve as interim athletic director. Schlissel indicated Hackett could potentially be empowered to make the decision on Hoke's status.

"Football, like all of our programs, are evaluated by the athletic department through the season, but particularly at the end of the season, so I would imagine that the interim athletic director will be intimately involved in charge of the evaluation of football," Schlissel said.

"The interim AD is the athletic director until we hire a permanent AD. I feel comfortable hiring deans and provosts. I feel a little bit less comfortable - I'm not the guy to make a decision about a particular coach. We have an athletic program that I delegate that authority to."

Brandon did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. His resignation becomes official Saturday, and the university has agreed to pay him a total of $3 million through 2018.

"I'd like to thank Dave Brandon for his commitment to Michigan," Hackett said. "The athletic department is in great financial condition. We have new varsity sports that will continue to make Michigan a destination for aspiring student-athletes, and Dave worked extremely hard to modernize Michigan's athletic facilities."

But those successes have a hard time registering when the football team is playing poorly. Michigan for years was a power both in the Big Ten and nationally, but not anymore. The Wolverines are 3-5 heading into Saturday's homecoming game against Indiana.

Brandon, a former university regent, became Michigan's athletic director in 2010, stepping down as CEO of Domino's Pizza Inc. and returning to his alma mater to take over the sports program.

He made a major change after less than a year on the job, firing Rich Rodriguez after three tumultuous seasons as football coach.

Hoke was hired to replace Rodriguez and took Michigan to the Sugar Bowl in his first season, but the program has declined steadily since then.

Hoke and Brandon faced sharp criticism for the coaching staff's handling of quarterback Shane Morris' head injury in a game this September against Minnesota. Morris was allowed to play briefly after a hard hit. He was later diagnosed with a probable concussion.

Brandon said communication was a problem - both during the game when Morris was hit, and over the next couple of days. The school announced a change in protocol soon after.

The team's lackluster performance has been accompanied by a growing sense of malaise among fans. Empty seats in the area at Michigan Stadium where students sit have become common.

Brandon has acknowledged that the decision to replace assigned seating for students with general admission in 2013 did not go over well. That policy was quickly changed, and the school recently announced that it was cutting student ticket prices next year.

Brandon was not without his supporters. John Beilein - the school's successful basketball coach who was hired before Brandon took over - called the AD a "great leader" recently. Under Brandon, Michigan began playing night football games at the Big House, a move that proved fairly popular.

"I've spoken regularly with Dave over the last few weeks, and we both want what's best for Michigan athletics, which is to be able to pursue the highest levels of excellence in all aspects of our programs," Schlissel said. "I believe Dave has always had the best interests of the University of Michigan in his mind and in his heart."

Sat, 01 Nov 2014 03:10:00 +0000

CHICAGO (AP) LeBron James scored 36 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls 114-108 in overtime on Friday night.

James was at his best after struggling the previous night, scoring eight points in the extra period, and the Cavaliers picked up the win the after opening with a loss at home to New York.

Derrick Rose scored 20 points for Chicago, but his first meaningful home game in about a year was spoiled by a sprained left ankle and a dominant performance by the Cavaliers' megastar. Rose, sidelined for most of the past two seasons by knee injuries, came up hobbling in the first half and headed to the locker room in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland rallied from five down in the closing minute of regulation after blowing a nine-point lead to start the fourth quarter.

James took over in OT, flipping in a wild reverse layup and scoring Cleveland's first eight points in the extra period.

The Cavaliers were still clinging to a 106-104 lead after Kirk Hinrich hit two free throws with 46.8 seconds left. But Tristan Thompson iced it moments later with a hard dunk after rebounding James' jumper to make it a four-point game with 24 seconds left. Thompson tied franchise record with 12 offensive rebounds.

Sat, 01 Nov 2014 02:44:00 +0000

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Golden State Warriors saw no reason to wait on securing Klay Thompson's future with the franchise.

The Warriors signed Thompson to a four-year maximum contract extension worth about $70 million on Friday, a person with knowledge of the deal said.

The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not disclose terms, also said there is no opt-out clause for either side. The contract will keep Thompson with the team through the 2018-19 season.

The Warriors confirmed a multiyear deal with Thompson. It was the final day for Thompson and the team to get a deal done or the shooting guard could become a restricted free agent next summer, when the Warriors would have had an opportunity to match any offer sheet he signed.

Golden State decided not to risk the relationship turning sour in restricted free agency or another team putting a clause in an offer sheet that might've made it difficult to match. And Thompson and his agent, Bill Duffy, got what they wanted all along: a maximum deal and financial security now.

"It's hard for me to express how excited and happy I am to know that I will be playing in front of the best fans in the NBA for a long time," Thompson said in a statement. "This team, under this ownership group and with this collection of players, has an incredibly bright future. I could not ask for a better situation and am extremely thankful."

Warriors general manager Bob Myers and Thompson will hold a news conference to formally announce the deal before Saturday night's home opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. In a statement, Myers also praised ownership's commitment to winning and said the team is "excited to have one of the top young players in the NBA under contract for the next several years."

Golden State drafted Thompson out of Washington State with the 11th overall pick in 2011. He has become one of the NBA's top two-way guards and teamed with fellow "Splash Brothers" star Stephen Curry to form one of the league's best backcourts.

Thompson averaged 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists last season, helping the Warriors reach the playoffs for the second straight year. He shot 44.4 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from 3-point range.

Curry congratulated Thompson for the extension on Twitter, writing: "Splash bros continue."

The Warriors decided to build around the tandem when they refused to include Thompson in any trade talks with Minnesota for Kevin Love this offseason, believing all along that he and Curry could carry them to a title on their streaky shooting strokes. Thompson began to validate the decision over the summer, dazzling during the FIBA World Cup in Spain to help the U.S. win gold.

The payday will put more expectations on Thompson, especially with fans still split about losing Love to Cleveland, but he appears ready for the challenge.

Thompson led the Warriors with 21.7 points per game in the preseason, shooting 50.9 percent from the floor, including 50 percent from beyond the arc. He also scored 19 points in Golden State's season-opening 95-77 win at Sacramento on Wednesday night.

First-year coach Steve Kerr, a former NBA player and general manager with the Phoenix Suns, said before the extension was announced that Thompson never looked affected by the negotiations.

"It can definitely affect a player to think about all that stuff, worry about injury, whatever. I'm pretty confident in Klay that he's just going to play," Kerr said.

Thompson's contributions go beyond shooting and scoring.

At 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, the lengthy Thompson often defends the other team's best guard. That includes covering everybody from the Clippers' Chris Paul to Lakers star Kobe Bryant, taking pressure off teammates on the perimeter, most notably the undersized Curry.

Myers made extending Thompson's contract one of his top offseason priorities, and he predicted from the get-go that it could go right up to the deadline.

The Warriors were also trying to balance Thompson's needs with their own payroll concerns. After all, the team will be facing similar scenarios with Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli next year and has increasingly less room to wiggle under the salary cap with its current roster.

Thompson's deal eclipses the contract Curry signed prior to the 2012-13 season when he was due for an extension.

Golden State signed Curry to a $44 million, four-year extension on Oct. 31, 2012. Curry, who started his first All-Star Game for the Western Conference last season, was coming off a second surgery on his right ankle in as many years that summer, and questions persisted about his durability.

That risk worked out well for the Warriors. Curry's contract has become one of the league's best bargains, and Golden State is banking on Thompson's talents to evolve in much the same way now, especially with the league's next television deal widely expected to increase player salaries.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Sat, 01 Nov 2014 04:26:00 +0000

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The clock was ticking down toward the deadline for reaching agreement on an extension of his rookie contract, and just like he does on the court for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio took charge.

"I was talking with my agents and I told them I really wanted to stay here," Rubio told The Associated Press in a phone interview late Friday night. "I told them to make something work. At the end of the day it did happen and I'm happy about it."

About two hours before the midnight Eastern deadline, Rubio signed a four-year contract extension worth $55 million that includes another $1 million in incentives, bringing an end to a long and sometimes tense negotiation between the flashy Spanish point guard and the team that drafted him in 2009.

Rubio averaged 10.1 points, 8.1 assists and 2.3 steals but shot just 37 percent in his first three seasons. The shooting numbers led some to say the Timberwolves would have been better off waiting to see how Rubio performs this season before extending him an offer given that they would have had the ability to match any offer that he received on the open market next summer.

But owner Glen Taylor has long been big on loyalty, and he reached out directly to Rubio earlier this week to make one last push.

"I want to call Minnesota home for a long time," Rubio said. "That's why I signed the contract. My mom's going to get mad at me, but I don't leave home when I'm here. This is my second home. I really feel very welcome here."

As salaries stand right now, Rubio's $13.75 million average annual salary starting next season will be more than high profile point guards like Tony Parker, Steph Curry, Kyle Lowry and Ty Lawson. Rubio's representatives targeted Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe's five-year, $70 million deal to eclipse, and ended up coming very close despite not having the leverage that Bledsoe had as a restricted free agent.

In Rubio, Taylor and Flip Saunders, the team's president of basketball operations, head coach and minority owner, see a dynamic 24-year-old point guard who is only starting to scratch the surface of his potential.

Rubio made an immediate impact as a rookie on a long-suffering team, helping them climb to the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff picture in early March before he tore two ligaments in his left knee in a game against the Lakers.

He played all 82 games last season and said he feels as healthy this year has he has been since the injury. Rather than wade through the potentially tricky waters of restricted free agency next summer, the Wolves engaged agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana of Relativity Sports to get a deal done.

"Ricky is only in his fourth season and because of his work ethic and determination, we are confident that he will continue to grow as a player and a team leader," Saunders said in a statement. "We look forward to many great years ahead of Ricky in a Timberwolves uniform."

And after trading Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer, Rubio also became the player that will lead youngsters Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Anthony Bennett into the post-Love era.

"He came to us with such high expectations and he immediately proved why we were so high on him," Taylor said. "Unfortunately he got hurt at the end of his rookie season, but he has worked so hard to come back and we believe he has a long and successful career ahead of him. He's a great foundation for our franchise and we're very happy to keep Ricky here long term to work and grow with the young nucleus that we have."

One of the league's best passers, Rubio got quite an assist from the NBA's new television deal. The league signed new agreements with ESPN and Turner totaling $24 billion earlier this month. It remains unclear just how soon the massive extensions will flood the league with cash and send the salary cap soaring, but the inevitability helped the Timberwolves feel more comfortable writing a bigger check to lock Rubio in.

With Kemba Walker signing a four-year, $48 million deal with Charlotte and Goran Dragic and Rajon Rondo figuring to cash in next summer, Rubio's deal may not look quite so large when the salary cap starts to rise.

"You're getting paid more, you have to earn it," Rubio said. "You have to show why you're getting paid this money. Of course there's going to be extra pressure. I wanted to be more of a leader and take this team to another level."

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

Sat, 01 Nov 2014 00:32:00 +0000

The story seems to be the same every season at Kentucky: Lose star players to the NBA, replace them with another group of one-and-doners, compete for a national championship.

The Wildcats changed the script this season: This year, the fabulous freshmen will be surrounded by other former McDonald's All-Americans who played for the NCAA title just seven months ago - a team so deep and talented that coach John Calipari is considering a platoon system.

Kentucky was the runaway No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 released Friday, becoming the fourth program to earn the honor in consecutive seasons.

"It's something for our kids to live up to," Calipari said. "At the end of the day, you've got to play the games and figure it out."

Kentucky earned 52 first-place votes from the 65-member panel in landing its fourth preseason No. 1. The Wildcats also were No. 1 in 1995-96, when they won the national championship, and in 1980-81.

Kentucky joins UCLA (1966-69, 1971-74), UNLV (1990-91) and North Carolina (2008-09) to be named No. 1 consecutive seasons since the AP preseason poll started in 1961-62.

Arizona is ranked No. 2 and received five first-place votes after adding a strong recruiting class to a team that came within seconds of reaching the Final Four last season.

Wisconsin, which returns most of last season's Final Four team, has its highest preseason ranking ever at No. 3. The Badgers received eight first-place votes, but are 35 points behind Arizona in the poll.

No. 4 Duke added a strong recruiting class headed by Jahlil Okafor and is ranked for the 137th straight week. Reloaded Kansas is No. 5, with North Carolina, Florida, Louisville, Virginia and Texas rounding out the top 10. Virginia is in the preseason top 10 for the first time since Ralph Sampson's senior season in 1982-83, when it was No. 1.

"I think there are probably seven teams that all could be No. 1 in the country," Calipari said.

Wichita State, a Final Four team two seasons ago, is No. 11, followed by Villanova, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Virginia Commonwealth, San Diego State, defending national champion Connecticut, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

Rounding out the Top 25 are Nebraska, SMU, Syracuse, Michigan, Harvard and Utah.

They'll all be chasing Kentucky, at least at the start.

The Wildcats were No. 1 heading into last season after Coach Cal pulled the strings on another best-in-the-nation recruiting class. They lived up to expectations, too, overcoming a midseason slump to reach the national championship game, where they lost 60-54 to UConn.

But a funny thing happened during the offseason: Instead of all those freshman packing up for the NBA after one season, most decided to stick around.

Kentucky lost forward Julius Randle and guard James Young to the NBA. In a bit of a surprise, twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison decided to return after their freshman seasons and junior 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein decided to stick around, too.

With forwards Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee, along with 7-footer Dakari Johnson also coming back, the Wildcats were going to be in good shape regardless of what the recruiting class looked like.

But, of course, this is Kentucky and more star recruits made their way to Lexington: forwards Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles, guards Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis.

The Wildcats are 12 deep, talented and confident.

"We are far ahead of last year," Andrew Harrison said.

But they're far from the only team with a shot at the title.

Arizona was a last-second shot away from reaching the Final Four last season, an impressive run considering versatile forward Brandon Ashley sat out the final 16 games with a foot injury. He's healthy and leads a solid core of returning players that includes point guard T.J. McConnell and 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski.

Coach Sean Miller also brought in another stellar class, headed by athletic forward Stanley Johnson.

"We have the makings of a team that can go on and do some great things," Miller said.

So do the third-ranked Badgers. Actually, they already have. Wisconsin made a somewhat-unexpected run to the Final Four last season and will have one of the most experienced teams in the country.

Leading them will be no-nonsense coach Bo Ryan and Frank Kaminsky, the 6-foot-10 senior who skipped a shot at the NBA for another chance at an NCAA title.

"I don't see our guys talking any differently or acting any differently on the practice floor simply because other people are mentioning that we might be pretty good," Ryan said.

The same thing is being said about the Kentucky Wildcats - just like last season.

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AP Sports Writers Genaro Armas and Gary Graves contributed to this story.

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:57:00 +0000

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Untapable won the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff by 1 1/4 lengths, making Rosie Napravnik the first female rider to win the race in its 31-year history.

The 3-year-old filly ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68 on Friday at Santa Anita and paid $5.20, $3.40 and $2.60 as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 11.

Don't Tell Sophia returned $4.60 and $3.40, while Iotapa was another nose back in third and paid $4 to show.

Napravnik pumped her right hand after crossing the finish line, having secured her second career Breeders' Cup victory. It was the fifth Cup win for trainer Steve Asmussen, and his biggest since winning the $5 million Classic with Curlin in 2007.

Untapable lugged in on Iotapa on the rail in the stretch, but the stewards did not post the inquiry sign.

It was Untapable's fourth Grade 1 win of the year, including the Kentucky Oaks in May.

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:27:00 +0000

ATLANTA (AP) The NCAA upheld its four-game suspension of Georgia tailback Todd Gurley on Thursday night, ending the school's final hope of having its biggest star in uniform for Saturday's game against Florida.

In a statement released Thursday night, the NCAA's student-athlete reinstatement committee denied Georgia's appeal of Gurley's four-game suspension. The NCAA announced the suspension on Wednesday, when it said Gurley accepted more than $3,000 for autographed memorabilia and other items over a two-year period.

Gurley, who already has been held out of two games, will be eligible to return on Nov. 15 against Auburn.

Georgia said Thursday night it was "very disappointed" its appeal for Gurley's immediate reinstatement was denied.

"We believe our case to the NCAA for Todd's immediate reinstatement was strong and compelling," Georgia said in a statement. "However, we now have exhausted all available options and look forward to Todd's return to competition on Nov. 15. The full attention of the Bulldog Nation now needs to be focused on our team and Saturday's important game against Florida."

Gurley will also miss No. 9 Georgia's game at Kentucky on Nov. 8.

When announcing the four-game suspension, the NCAA said it "strongly considered" a harsher punishment. Gurley, a junior, was found to have taken cash from multiple individuals, even though the NCAA said he received "extensive rules education about the prohibition of receiving payment for autographs."

The NCAA said Wednesday Georgia's "due diligence in its investigation" and Gurley's "full disclosure of his involvement in the violations" were factors in not imposing a longer suspension.

The NCAA said Wednesday Gurley must repay a portion of the money to a charity of his choice. He also must perform 40 hours of community service. The organization did not specify how much of the money he would have to repay or a deadline to comply with the rest of his sanctions.

Gurley was considered a leading Heisman Trophy candidate before the suspension. He leads Georgia with 773 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. He has returned a kickoff for a 100-yard TD. He even threw a 50-yard pass - Georgia's longest of the season.

In two games without Gurley, freshman Nick Chubb has 346 yards rushing and three touchdowns in road wins over Missouri and Arkansas.

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:15:00 +0000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Bruce Bochy is crazy superstitious. It's a little-known fact about the unflappable San Francisco Giants manager.

Mere mention of anything about a dynasty during the World Series made him uncomfortable. He felt equally uneasy when his name got linked to the best skippers of all-time - those Hall of Famers he well could join someday.

Bochy doesn't have to worry about a jinx now. After winning its third championship in five seasons, the new label for his team looks as if it will stick.

"Dynasty" blared the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday.

The Giants closed it out with a 3-2 win in Game 7 at Kansas City on Wednesday night, sealed by Series MVP Madison Bumgarner's five shutout innings as a reliever this time.

"A lot has to go right. First off, it starts with the talent," Bochy said. "I mean, you need that, which we have. Then you have to deal with a lot of things maybe during the season. Every manager says, `Hey, we're fine, we have a good chance to get there if we stay healthy.' But that doesn't always happen."

In a remarkable every-other-year pattern, San Francisco somehow finds its best form in even years. With new faces and old ones, with castoffs and misfits and some key midseason acquisitions.

Few clubs have captured three championships in a five-year span. The last National League team to do it was the St. Louis Cardinals with Stan Musial from 1942-46, so the Giants are the first of the free-agency era.

The Oakland Athletics won three straight crowns in the early 1970s, and the New York Yankees captured four in five years from 1996-2000.

Still, San Francisco was never considered a favorite or the best team in the regular season any of these times. Twice in this stretch, the Giants missed the playoffs altogether.

After a runner-up finish in the NL West to the Dodgers at 88-74, they took the wild-card card route this time.

On Wednesday night, Tim Hudson became a champion after a 16-year wait and Michael Morse got there following 10 major league seasons.

"It's the greatest group of guys I ever played with," Morse said. "It's a group of guys who believe in each other and the outcome was a World Series victory."

This city has had a football dynasty. So now the storied baseball franchise is doing its best to catch up with the NFL team in town. The Niners ruled in the late `80s and `90s, winning five Super Bowls.

A unique element for Bochy's latest winning roster is the talented crop of homegrown players who made it happen.

There are the big names - Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval. And the emerging ones - Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik.

"You look at most of our team - like Joe, me, Buster, Pablo, Belt, Bum. It's loaded with a lot of good players and a lot of players who are pretty similar in kind of their approach to the game and they're pretty even-keel," said Crawford, the shortstop.

"Pablo's a little bit different but me, Joe, Belt, Bum, Buster, we're all pretty levelheaded at any point in the game whatever part of the season it is, whether it's playoffs or midway through the regular season. We don't really change. That says a lot with how well we've done in the playoffs and the postseason in recent years," he said.

"Nothing's really too big for us," he added.

Eight players have been on all three winning World Series teams: Bumgarner, slugging third baseman Sandoval, Posey and relievers Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Tim Lincecum. Matt Cain, too, but he was hurt this year.

General manager Brian Sabean, longest-tenured in baseball, can't put a finger on why the mix keeps working. He is proud of the core of players who were drafted and came through the system and played such a huge part this time.

"It's a testament to player development and scouting. That's what we all hope for, that you can plug your holes from within and build your team from within," Sabean said. "That's a surefire way to kind of keep things moving forward. It prevents you from having to go into the market, whether it's free agency or more so the trade market."

The Giants survived skids in June and September before winning the wild-card game at Pittsburgh. They then beat Washington in the Division Series and St. Louis in the NL Championship series.

It has started with Bochy and his spot-on decision making, from resting the relievers regularly early in the season so he'd have every one of them for the October run, to going with Bumgarner at every chance.

"But you have to play good baseball for six months, whatever, to get there," Bochy said. "Once you get there, you've heard guys say, `Well, it's a crap shoot,' but you have to play your best ball. You have to have the pitching. That's obvious. But you've got to execute."

For the Giants, it's about every player doing his part and serving a role, because, as Sabean puts it, "We don't have a star system here."

"It's everybody's got to pull on the same chain and everybody's got to be ready to play," he said. "They understand the culture."

Dynasty or not, Affeldt has solved a potential problem at home.

The lefty reliever and Game 7 winner has three young sons - and, now, three championships.

"My three boys now all get to have rings on their finger," he said, "And I'm very happy about that."

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:53:00 +0000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Madison Bumgarner was limbering up at Kauffman Stadium this week, getting loose with his San Francisco teammates near the dugout, when Tim Hudson and Michael Morse sneaked up from behind and ruffled the pitcher's long, scraggly locks.

That was way too hairy for Bumgarner. He quickly spun and playfully sparred with the mischief makers.

They were about the only ones who could touch Bumgarner in this World Series.

"Yeah, it was hopeless," Kansas City manager Ned Yost acknowledged.

The 25-year-old Bumgarner capped off a most splendid October and earned MVP honors Wednesday night, pitching five scoreless innings of relief in Game 7 as the Giants held off the Kansas City Royals 3-2.

Moments after he retired Salvador Perez on a foul pop with a runner on third base for the final out, Bumgarner insisted he wasn't worn down. About a half-hour later, he felt a bit differently.

"You know what? I can't lie to you anymore," he said. "I'm a little tired now."

Bumgarner earned a sensational save to go along with two sparkling wins as a starter in the Series. That on top of being MVP of the NL Championship Series and pitching a record 52 2-3 innings in this postseason.

Put it this way: Bumgarner threw two shutouts in October, starting with a win at Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card game. Washington's Jordan Zimmermann was the only other starter to reach the ninth inning this postseason, and he got pulled.

All tremendous accomplishments, but hard to tell from observing or listening to the 6-foot-5 Bumgarner. He shows virtually no emotion on the mound, blowing his nose as if no one is watching, and seems to be the only person unimpressed by what he's done.

Funny thing, the slow-moving lefty was carrying an energy bar with him when he kidded around with Hudson and Morse before Game 6.

"He's such a humble guy, and we rode him pretty good," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

"It's historic what this kid has done," he said. "Really, truly amazing."

After winning the opener with seven impressive innings, Bumgarner threw a shutout in Game 5. And when the Royals forced a Game 7, there was little doubt that the guy called MadBum would be called on to pitch again on two days' rest.

But five innings? Who would've believed that?

"Innings, I wasn't thinking about innings or pitch count. I was just thinking about getting outs, getting outs until I couldn't get them anymore and we needed someone else," Bumgarner said. "Fortunately, was able to get some quick innings and I was able to stay in there."

He gave up two hits, retired 14 in a row, and got 15 outs - that matched how many outs opposing starters Tim Hudson and Jeremy Guthrie combined to get.

Bumgarner boosted his World Series stats to numbers never seen before: 4-0 with a save and an 0.25 ERA, along with three championship rings. In 36 innings, he's allowed just one run and 14 hits, striking out 31 and walking five.

Bumgarner wound up slinging 68 pitches, and finished with 270 innings this season. He went 4-1 with a 1.03 ERA in the postseason - .

Last weekend, former broadcaster and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver paid tribute to the Giants ace.

"It's Gibson-esque, if you will. I know Bob could do that and I saw that from a 60-feet, 6-inch view of him every outing he threw in the World Series. I see the same thing in Bumgarner. I really admire that," McCarver said.

Before Game 7, Jack Morris also praised Bumgarner. Morris knows well about Game 7 - always intense on the mound, he threw a 10-inning shutout in 1991 to lift Minnesota over Atlanta.

"I want to hug him," Morris said near the backstop, a couple hours before game time. "He's my kind of guy."

"He's got the same emotions, he just doesn't show them. He's got a big furnace burning right now," he said.

A lot of stamina, too.

But in this era when pitch counts are so precious, Bumgarner wasn't worried about his arm in Game 7. And if he was OK, so was Bochy.

"In fact, I was staying away from him every inning," Bochy said, "because I was hoping he wouldn't go, `I'm starting to get a little tired,' because there's no way I would have taken him out unless he would have told me that."

Giants catcher Buster Posey said there wasn't much conversation on the bench with Bochy, Bumgarner and pitching coach Dave Righetti, either.

"Not much of anything. I think everybody could see how good he was," Posey said. "They weren't putting great swings on him."

No, they weren't.

"We probably would have won if they didn't have him," Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain said. "But they do have him."

Wed, 29 Oct 2014 01:02:00 +0000

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) The College Football Playoff selection committee has spoken - and it likes the SEC.

At least for now.

Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn and Mississippi are the top four teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings.

The first of seven Top 25 rankings compiled by a 12-member selection committee was released Tuesday night. The selection committee will ultimately pick the four teams to play in the national semifinals and set the matchups for the other four big New Year's Day bowls that are part of the playoff rotation.

"It was extremely difficult, more difficult than any of us had expected having gone through our mock selections before," Arkansas athletic director and committee chairman Jeff Long said. "There are 18 one-loss teams in FBS at this point in time, and the difference between many of them is very slim."

Oregon was fifth and Alabama was sixth, giving the Southeastern Conference's West Division four of the top six teams. There are still four games remaining matching those SEC West rivals, starting with Saturday's matchup of Auburn and Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.

The final rankings will be released Dec. 7, the day after the most of the conference championships are decided.

"Everyone on the selection committee recognized that our rankings will change over the next six weeks," Long said. "I think that's important for us to emphasize. We expect our rankings to change over the next six weeks. One week's rankings won't influence the next week's rankings."

TCU was seventh, Michigan State was eighth, Kansas State ninth and Notre Dame was 10th.

Mississippi State and defending national champion Florida State are the only undefeated teams left among the Big Five conferences.

"It's cool," Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott said. "That's something you can never take away from the university or this program. First-ever ranking, first team to be No. 1, so that's pretty cool for the university."

The Bulldogs and Seminoles also hold the first two spots in the AP Top 25. No. 3 was where the differences started between the playoff rankings and the media poll.

The AP voters had Alabama at No. 3 and Auburn at No. 4. Oregon was fifth, Notre Dame was sixth and Ole Miss was seventh after losing for the first time this season at LSU on Saturday. Ole Miss beat Alabama at home earlier this month.

This is the first year for the playoff format in college football, and the list is the first indication of how the committee is evaluating teams' playoff potential.

While Ole Miss received a better ranking than Alabama, head-to-head victories weren't always the deciding factor for the committee.

Arizona, which won at Oregon, is 12th. Baylor, which beat TCU, is 13th.

Long said in both cases the head-to-head loser had the better overall resume. Long said Oregon's victories against Michigan State and UCLA stood out. And Baylor's lack of quality opposition so far held back the Bears.

"They have not had a strong schedule outside of their win against TCU," Long said.

The committee creates small groups of teams, debates their merits and ranks the teams using as many votes as needed to come up with a consensus. Members are given reams of data on each FBS team and each member is allowed to judge those numbers however they determine is best.

The committee members gathered Monday at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, just outside of Dallas, and did most of their work on Day 1.

Long said the committee worked for about 10 hours total on the rankings. By the time the rankings were released on ESPN at 7:30 EDT, most of the committee members were already on their way home.

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:05:00 +0000

CHICAGO (AP) Beth E. Richie is a professor and a college administrator. She has written articles and books about feminism, battered women and the prison system, and provided training for police, judges and other groups.

So when the NFL called to ask for help with its domestic conduct policy, Richie wanted to make sure it was more serious than window dressing.

"The players and the teams are one thing that almost could be easily managed," said Richie, the director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at Illinois-Chicago. "I wanted to know are they interested in the fan base, the sponsoring organizations, the other corporate interests?

"We almost haven't had a moment like this in the work to end violence when such power, such attention, such resources could go to prevention, changing culture, bystander education, those kinds of things."

Intrigued by the possibilities, Richie joined a high-profile effort that is hoping to have an impact on domestic violence beyond the sports world. Richie is one of five senior advisers recently hired by the NFL to help shape the league's policy on abuse.

Any action by the league after the Ray Rice scandal will be closely watched by the other sports. But the NFL's new group of advisers believes the process also could have a more far-reaching impact.

"I think that they have the opportunity to model some cutting-edge policies and protocols or guidelines, and I'm excited at the opportunity for that reach to go beyond just the NFL, but into all of corporate America," said Jane Randel, a co-founder of No More, a campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault.

Randel and the other advisers had a hand in a 40-minute educational presentation at last week's NFL meetings in New York. The presentation focused on the dangers of spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual assault and other domestic violence topics.

Richie praised the NFL owners for their attentiveness, and Randel said it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Richie and Randel said the owners seemed serious.

"You can see what people in the room are doing, and they were watching and engaged and taking notes and doing all the things that you would want them to do," she said, "because these things really only work if they start from the top."

Randel's background is in cause marketing and corporate communications. She helped start No More in 2009 in an effort to raise awareness and money for organizations working to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Lisa Friel, another senior adviser, was the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office for more than a decade, and Rita Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Tony Porter is a co-founder of A Call to Men, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women.

"The first thing that we're going to look at is the league's personal conduct policy and how we can educate people about that," Friel said at the owners' meetings. "In a perfect world, the hope is you never have to use the disciplinary end of that policy, right? That you have your standards of behavior, you educate people about them and they don't violate your policy. That's what we're hoping to do."

Sports have been a part of Richie's family life for a long time. She learned more about the business and organizational side of sports when her sister Laurel became president of the WNBA in 2011.

Laurel Richie said in an email to The Associated Press that the NFL made a smart choice in asking Beth for help.

"As a researcher, service provider, and advocate, my sister is one of the nation's leading experts on domestic violence and sexual assault in the African-American community," she wrote.

Beth E. Richie was the last addition to the NFL panel, and her appointment was announced after the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a leading black women's group criticized the league for not including any African-American women in the group of consultants.

It was clear the NFL was "looking for someone to fill that particular niche of race and community accountability," Richie said.

The league is mulling over when to act in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, particularly when criminal cases drag on.

"I emphasize really, when possible, alternatives to only relying on the criminal legal system because in black communities that's been such a difficult tension," Richie said.

"My instinct has always been to try to find ways that communities can hold people accountable, and only rely on the criminal justice system when communities can't hold people accountable."

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AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg and AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.

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Online:

No More: http://nomore.org

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: www.ncadv.org

A Call to Men: www.acalltomen.org

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:08:00 +0000

The attorney leading the NFL players' union investigation into the Ray Rice domestic violence case told The Associated Press the league and the Baltimore Ravens have not been cooperating.

Richard Craig Smith told the AP on Friday night that the NFL has not provided documents and witnesses requested by the NFLPA's investigators, while the Ravens have refused any cooperation with similar requests.

"I am interested in the facts, and if we get cooperation from all the parties that were involved, we will have an understanding of what happened," Smith said. "We cannot accept public statements that call for transparency, candor and openness and then not allow the investigators to do their jobs."

The union's investigation, like a similar probe organized by the NFL, isn't a law enforcement inquiry and the parties involved aren't under any legal obligation to comply with requests. The league and the union, however, have each said separately that they wanted answers in the case.

A spokesman for the NFL couldn't comment immediately when reached Friday night while a spokesman for the Ravens didn't immediately return a phone message.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the league's personal conduct policy, once video of Rice hitting his then-fiancee was released publicly.

The players' union hired Smith, a former federal prosecutor, one month ago to oversee its investigation into how the Ravens and the league handled themselves during the events that led to the suspension, as well as how the team handled issues like due process. Separately, the NFL hired former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to conduct a probe into how the league handled evidence as it investigated the claims against Rice. NFL owners plan to make the findings of Mueller's report public.

Smith said the union's investigation is important to ensuring the process was fair, and that requires transparency.

"If the NFL is genuinely concerned about fixing the issues that led to an admitted mistake, then they should be honest and forthright about what they knew and when they knew it," Smith said. "We want both our team and Bob Mueller's team each to be able to conduct a thorough review of all the relevant facts."

Smith, the head of regulatory and governmental investigation for the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, represented the union during the Saints bounty scandal that resulted in four players being reinstated from suspension through an appeal in 2012.

Goodell originally suspended Rice for two games. Once the video became public, the Ravens cut Rice, and the league banned him indefinitely. The league considered the video to be new evidence, giving Goodell the authority to further suspend Rice.

The players' union appealed Rice's suspension, saying he should not be punished twice. Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones was selected by the commissioner and the players' union to hear the appeal. A person familiar with the case told the AP that Judge Jones told Goodell on Wednesday that he should testify at the hearing, which will be held Nov. 5-6.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because details haven't been made public, said Adolpho Birch, the NFL's vice president for labor policy, league attorney Kevin Manara and security chief Jeffery Miller also are expected to testify along with Ravens President Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome. Rice plans to testify and his wife, Janay, might testify, the person said.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:28:00 +0000

NEW YORK (AP) The players' union has questioned why the NFL's domestic violence training and education program "treats all players as perpetrators."

In a memo sent to NFL Players Association members on Thursday by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and obtained Friday by The Associated Press, the union also said the plan "doesn't build a positive consensus to warning signs."

Smith and union special counsel Teri Patterson described two meetings this month with the league in which an NFLPA commission was briefed on the league's approach to educating players, coaches, executives, owners and NFL personnel about domestic violence. He wrote that a "good overview of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse" was presented. But "it did not address larger issues of violence in and outside of the home."

The NFL said of the "perpetrators" claim: "Nothing could be further from the truth. The presentation expressly recognizes that people in the NFL are often falsely portrayed and that the actions of a few damage the reputations of many."

"What the program teaches is that everyone can and should be part of the solution," the league statement said.

The union memo also said the "NFL's presentation doesn't focus on follow-ups and providing continuous resources at the clubs to address potentially violent situations as well as preventing them."

The NFL's educational program was shown to the AP on Oct. 7, and it included information from a memo sent to the 32 clubs on Sept. 18 that pointed out local resources available to all team personnel and their families. That document indicated a plan was in place to provide those resources and follow-ups for those who need it.

The union memo to the players also said the NFL presentation "doesn't include any psychological information about the type of behavior that could lead to acts of violence or warning signs of negative behavior, but instead seemed to focus almost entirely on what happens after a violent incident has been committed."

The league's plan calls for experts who work in the psychological space to offer a research perspective of societal issues, recognizing that these are intimate crimes that impact people in many ways. The program calls for each club to have such experts available to the teams, or what the NFL calls "the entire club family."

That can include a clinician, human resource workers, player engagement executives, security personnel and a mental health professional who works with the club.

The union added that although the league indicated that the trainers for this educational program will be experts, the NFL did not list any specific names, titles or relevant backgrounds of the people they intend to utilize for the training.

Previously, the NFL announced an advisory group that includes authorities in the domestic violence area such as Tony Porter, Beth E. Richie, Rita Smith, Jane Randel and Lisa Friel.

Another NFLPA observation was: "Too much reliance was placed on using former players to participate in the training. While some former players possess the right qualifications and experience to train personnel on these issues, the league's inability to articulate who these players are raises concerns that call into question the effectiveness of the training."

Many of the player ambassadors, as the NFL calls them, have personal testimonies around these issues and might be helpful, but they would not deliver the education program.

The union added: "The league stated that at each presentation, they will distribute information on suggested local (team city/state specific) resources for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention specialists, licensed club mental health clinicians, club human resource directors and Directors of Player Engagement. The NFLPA commission members recommended that a broader net of resources be included, such as faith-based counselors and male-focused community organizations, etc. The NFL did not provide any explanation as to why one resource was chosen over another or how those resources would be specifically integrated into the workplace, if at all."

In response to the union memo, the NFL said: "We were pleased to meet with the union and are working to incorporate their suggestions into the presentations to clubs. As we emphasized to the union, this first set of presentations is the start of a process of education that will continue in future years."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 00:44:00 +0000

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) Ted Bishop was ousted Friday as president of the PGA of America over a sexist tweet and Facebook post directed at Ian Poulter.

Bishop was irritated by remarks Poulter made in his book on the Ryder Cup captaincy of Nick Faldo in 2008 and Tom Watson this year. He referred to Poulter as "Lil Girl" on Twitter when stacking up Poulter's feats next to Faldo. In a Facebook post, he noted that Watson (with eight majors) and Faldo (with six majors and the Ryder Cup record for most points) were getting "bashed" by Poulter.

"Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C'MON MAN!" he wrote.

The PGA of America board voted Friday to remove him, meaning Bishop will not be invited to future PGA Championships and Ryder Cups, or any other courtesies extended to past presidents. He is the first PGA president to be ousted. Bishop had one month left on his two-year term.

Bishop, who has two daughters, apologized to Poulter and "anyone else I might have offended" in a statement.

But the head pro from Indiana went down swinging.

Bishop said his fellow PGA officers asked him to resign Friday and he refused, wanting instead to apologize in person to the board and let the process run its course.

"The board heard me out and then voted to impeach me," he said. "That is the due process and I respect that, as painful as it might be."

In removing Bishop as president, the PGA of America board said the remarks were inconsistent with association's policies.

"The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf," PGA chief executive Pete Bevacqua said in a statement. "We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example."

The PGA of America has 27,000 members, about 1,100 of them women. Bevacqua said in a telephone interview that he received "a lot of negative feedback from all types of sources, internal and external." He declined to specify whether PGA female members were part of that.

Bishop was irritated by comments Poulter made in his book released this week about the Ryder Cup captaincy of Faldo in 2008 and Watson this year at Gleneagles. Bishop was with Faldo at The Greenbrier on Thursday when he tweeted to Poulter, "Faldo's record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl."

The Facebook post was even stronger. Bishop deleted both Thursday evening and said in an email to The Associated Press that "I could have selected some different way to express my thoughts on Poulter's remarks."

Derek Sprague, expected to be voted in as the next president at the Nov. 22 annual meeting, was appointed the interim president. Paul Levy will handle the roles as vice president and secretary until the election.

Bishop has been one of the most outspoken presidents of the PGA of America. But his social media rant got him into trouble.

"This is a classic example of poor use of social media on my part and if I had the chance to hit the delete button on the things that I sent out yesterday, I would without hesitation," Bishop said. "The PGA of America asked me to avoid any interaction with the media in the past 24 hours and that is why I did not issue a formal and public apology, which I have wanted to do since early this morning."

Bishop described the consequences as "drastic," but that he has to live with his mistake.

"Today, all I have left is my PGA membership and that will always mean the world to me," Bishop said. He is president of Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Indiana.

Suzy Whaley, a teaching pro from Connecticut who qualified to play a PGA Tour event in Hartford in 2003, is among three PGA members running for secretary at the Nov. 22 election. If she wins, Whaley would be in line to be PGA president in 2018.

Whaley said she found Bishop's remarks to be "insulting."

"I was extremely disappointed and they were definitely sexist," Whaley said in a telephone interview. "I'm of 100 percent belief that we need to empower young girls." Asked if she complained to the PGA officers, Whaley said, "I didn't have to do that."

"The PGA of America took incredibly swift action and are taking this extremely seriously," Whaley said. "Obviously, it's critical that we are inclusive."

Poulter was on a plane to China when Bishop posted his remarks and wasn't aware of them until he landed and found his phone filled with messages.

"Is being called a `lil girl' meant to be derogatory or a put down?" Poulter said in a statement. "That's pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America."

Bishop's boldest move as president was to pick Watson as the U.S. captain, saying he was tired of the Americans losing. But the move backfired when Watson's heavy-handed style didn't mesh with a younger generation. Watson, 65, was the oldest captain in Ryder Cup history.

Poulter in his book said that Watson's decision-making "completely baffles me." He was referring to benching Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley for both sessions Saturday. He also was critical of Faldo for his commentary on Golf Channel during the Ryder Cup that Sergio Garcia was "useless" in 2008. Faldo was captain of the only European team to lose in the last 15 years, and Poulter wrote, "So who's useless? I think Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror."

Davis Love III described Bishop as a friend and a "great supporter of golf" and said he would not remember his presidency for this incident. Among other things, the PGA joined up with the LPGA Tour to help pay for its oldest major. The Women's PGA Championship will be sponsored by KPMG, which will use the week to host a major conference for women executives.

"I have said things in my passion for the Ryder Cup that I wish came out differently," Love said. "We all make mistakes on social media."

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:38:00 +0000

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been told to testify in Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, the neutral arbiter selected to hear the appeal, informed the parties of her decision Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the appeal have not been made public.

It was uncertain whether Goodell will actually testify. He said this month he would leave the decision to Judge Jones.

"We will continue to respect Judge Jones' confidentiality order regarding this proceeding," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

NFL lawyers have argued that Goodell shouldn't have to testify, and instead were offering testimony from Jeff Pash, the NFL's general counsel, and Adolpho Birch, the NFL's vice president for labor policy. Pash and Birch were with Goodell when he met with Rice's side in June to talk about what happened when the former Pro Bowl running back hit his then-fiancee in an elevator.

Rice described details of the incident at that meeting. Goodell has called Rice's description "ambiguous" while Rice's side has maintained he gave exact details.

The hearing will be held Nov. 5 and 6, two people familiar with the case told the AP on Tuesday.

Rice was suspended indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after a video of the former Pro Bowl running back hitting the woman was released publicly. Goodell originally had suspended the running back for two games.

Once the video became public, the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice, and the league banned him indefinitely. The league considered the video to be new evidence, giving Goodell the authority to further suspend Rice.

The players' union appealed Rice's suspension, saying he should not be punished twice.

Jones was jointly picked by the commissioner and the players' union to hear the appeal. The union said at the time that Goodell's testimony as a witness would be crucial in the proceedings.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Rob Maaddi can be reached on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ap-robmaaddi

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:30:00 +0000

A hearing on Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension will be held Nov. 5 and 6, two people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

The people spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the hearing have not been made public.

Rice was suspended indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after a video of Rice hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator was released publicly. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell originally had suspended Rice for two games.

Once the video became public, the Baltimore Ravens cut the star running back, and the league banned him indefinitely. The league considered the video to be new evidence, giving Goodell the authority to further suspend Rice.

The players' union is appealing Rice's suspension, saying Rice should not be punished twice.

A neutral arbiter is expected to decide whether Goodell should testify. The arbiter had not yet made that decision as of Tuesday afternoon, the sources who informed the AP of the hearing said.

The arbiter, former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, was jointly picked by the commissioner and the players' union. Union officials said when the appeal was announced that Goodell and his staff's testimony are key to the appeal and a central reason to have an outside arbiter.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Rob Maaddi can be reached on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ap-robmaaddi