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Leading Off: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals seek franchise-best 15th straight win

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Leading Off: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals seek franchise-best 15th straight win

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

RED-HOT REDBIRDS

The soaring Cardinals will try for a franchise-record 15th consecutive victory when they play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. St. Louis swept a doubleheader from Chicago on Friday, equaling a 14-game run by the team in July 1935. The winning streak has rocketed the Cardinals into control of the second NL wild card, leading Philadelphia by five games.

Left-hander Jon Lester (7-6, 4.59 ERA) is slated to pitch for St. Louis against Chicago right-hander Adrian Sampson (3-3, 2.84).

WHAT’S THE SCENARIO?

With a little help, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee can both clinch division crowns.

The defending AL champion Rays, who secured a postseason spot Wednesday, need a victory at home over Miami and a Boston loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park to win their second consecutive AL East title.

Corbin Burnes and the Brewers, already assured their fourth straight playoff berth, would wrap up their first NL Central championship since 2018 with a victory at home against the Mets and a loss by St. Louis to the Cubs in Chicago.

WILD CHASE

The Yankees and Red Sox continue a three-game set at Fenway Park with huge postseason implications. New York beat Boston 8-3 on Friday night to pull within a game of the Red Sox for the top AL wild card. Toronto and Seattle are two games behind the Yankees.

Left-hander Nestor Cortes (2-2, 2.79 ERA) has been on a bat-missing roll this month for New York, striking out 30 and walking six over 22 1/3 innings spanning four starts. He’ll oppose Red Sox righty Nick Pivetta, who is winless in his past five starts and allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Aug. 18.

TUNING UP

Clayton Kershaw (10-7, 3.27 ERA) makes his third start since returning from the injured list when the Los Angeles Dodgers play at last-place Arizona. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has allowed two runs and struck out 13 over 9 1/3 innings since missing more than two months with inflammation in his left elbow.

The defending World Series champions are a game behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West, though both teams have clinched a playoff berth. Anthony DeSclafani (12-7, 3.23) pitches for the Giants in Colorado.

RANGER DANGER

The Phillies put their NL East hopes on emerging left-hander Ranger Suarez (6-5, 1.60), who is 1-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 10 starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation in August. The 26-year-old will face the Pirates in a matinee as Philadelphia tries to gain ground on first-place Atlanta.

Right-hander Wil Crow (4-7, 5.77) is slated to start for Pittsburgh.

CEASE DESISTS

The AL Central champion White Sox were dealt a potential blow to their playoff prep when starter Dylan Cease was struck in his pitching arm by a comebacker Friday night. The club said Cease has a bruised right triceps and X-rays were negative after he was hit by a one-hopper from Cleveland’s Bradley Zimmer in the sixth inning.

Cease attempted a few practice pitches before leaving the field, interrupting a shutout performance. He exited with nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 3.95.

BANNED BLUE JAY

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Nuggets’ Michael Malone: Team more concerned with refs than running offense

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Nuggets’ Michael Malone: Team more concerned with refs than running offense

For the better part of five minutes, Nuggets coach Michael Malone paced the baseline of the team’s practice court contemplating the practice he’d just watched.

Trapped with his thoughts, Malone’s walk came after Saturday’s session had already extended 45 minutes longer than initially scheduled.

Once he sat down with reporters, his frustration bubbled to the surface.

Asked what needed to be cleaned up between practice and Wednesday’s opening night in Phoenix, Malone rattled off a laundry list of issues that their five-game preseason didn’t sort out.

“It’s everything,” he said. “We’re just not a very good team right now. No organization, too many blown sets, too many blown coverages, lack of communication, too many turnovers, sloppy, throwing the ball all over the place, starters got beat today because they had 15 turnovers and the other team only had five.”

Perhaps that’s as good a place as any to start. The Nuggets’ starting five – Monte Morris, Will Barton, Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic – got beat by Denver’s second unit, which had been inconsistent at best over the past two weeks. Outside of moments from P.J. Dozier, JaMychal Green, Jeff Green and rookie Bones Hyland, that unit had hardly gelled.

If some combination of Denver’s reserves took it to the Nuggets’ typical starters, what will the reigning Western Conference champion Suns do?

Unsolicited, Malone offered his opinion.

“If we walk into Phoenix playing the way we played today, it’s gonna be really ugly, really early,” he said.

Malone couldn’t boil it down to one problem. The second unit has been in flux all camp, owing to ankle injuries to both Will Barton and JaMychal Green, Hyland’s emergence and the lackluster play of both Facu Campazzo and Austin Rivers. The reserve backcourt appears to be the most fluid.

Malone, who mentioned complacency regarding his reserves earlier in training camp, used the word again, although this time in reference to his entire team. Did they think their previous triumphs over the last three years guaranteed them anything about this season, he wondered aloud.

But the core of his frustration stemmed from his team’s inability – or unwillingness – to talk.

He said he’s challenged all of the team’s guards to be more vocal and more assertive.

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Kickin’ It with Kiz: After Broncos honor Mike Shanahan, what’s next stop for coach? Canton, Ohio

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Kickin’ It with Kiz: After Broncos honor Mike Shanahan, what’s next stop for coach? Canton, Ohio

Mike Shanahan belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No question. Why? From back-to-back Super Bowl championships to an average of 10 victories per season, not to mention all the current young, successful coaches who have come from the Shanny tree.

G.J., Lakewood

Kiz: While Shanahan the general manager eventually got Shanahan the coach fired in Denver, taking a chance on a running back named Terrell Davis in the sixth round ranks alongside the Nuggets’ selection of Nikola Jokic as the greatest (and luckiest) draft pick in the history of this dusty old cowtown. If T.D. is in the Hall, the Mastermind belongs in there, as well..

I’m a longtime Kansas City Chiefs fan and there’s zero reason why Shanahan isn’t in Canton.

Brad, Chiefs Kingdom

Kiz: When a hated rival gives Shanny love, you can be assured that being fitted with a gold jacket is only a matter of time.

Kiz, I thought all the Broncos’ offensive issues were Drew Lock’s fault? That was all you had to say during the offseason. It was all going to be fixed once Teddy Bridgewater was named the starting quarterback, based on your columns heralding his veteran leadership. Now you think the issue is offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Who is the next scapegoat? I’m sure you will continue to find someone convenient to bury.

D.D., has Pat’s back

Kiz: I appreciate you reading my stuff. When I called for his ouster after the loss in Pittsburgh, Shurmur claimed to local media wretches that he never reads our stuff. “I’d love to read all your stuff, but I just can’t do it,” Shurmur said. “I won’t do it, and I really have never done it.” I have no reason to doubt the man. Shurmur doesn’t have to read my stuff. In my experience, somebody the coach knows well, whether it’s a public-relations director or a spouse, often reads my stuff to him.

The same Avalanche fans saying “no big deal” about Gabe Landeskog’s hit on Blackhawks center Kirby Dach in the season-opener would be screaming bloody murder and demanding a 20-game suspension if the same hit was on one of their favorite players.

Ron, fair and balanced

Kiz: I love Landy. In nearly 40 years of covering sports in Colorado, he’s among my favorite people. But boarding Dach was precisely the type of dumb penalty that can get a team beat in the playoffs.

I guess this is a love letter. Your writing is the highlight of my morning newspaper. I laughed out loud at the “Hamburger Helper” analogy used to describe the Broncos’ offensive game plan, and appreciated your excellent perspective on Jon Gruden. You are good people, Kiz.

Polly, gentle soul

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Howie Carr: Massachusetts vaccine mandate debacle is another Charlie Baker special

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Howie Carr: Massachusetts vaccine mandate debacle is another Charlie Baker special

This epic mishandling of the vaccine mandate for state workers is classic Gov. Charlie Baker — a toxic combination of overweening arrogance and breathtaking incompetence.

First, state employees had to get jabbed by the end of this weekend or they were gone, or at least had to start using vacation/sick time if they wanted to keep getting paid. That’s what the “COVID-19 Response Team” told the State Police anyway.

“Employees who … have not received a response by Oct. 17 will be required to use accrued leave time until a response is rendered.”

In other words, you’re suspended.

But Friday morning, the State Police did a 180 and issued a “CORRECTION” for everyone seeking an exemption.

“You may continue to work until a decision has been rendered.”

In other words, never mind!

Naturally, confusion ensued — it goes with the territory if you work for the bust-out governor Dementia Joe Biden calls “Charlie Parker.”

So by mid-afternoon, another missive was sent out, this time by a $177,760-a-year hack from “Human Resources Division” named Jeffrey McCue, who got his job after a nationwide search — and his two $500 checks to Charlie Parker cleared the bank.

To make sure everyone got the message that the dithering idiot in the Corner Office had flip-flopped yet again, payroll patriot McCue put his message in boldface:

“Unless expressly directed not to report to work by your manager or Agency Head, all Executive Branch employees should report for work on their regularly scheduled shift on Oct. 18, 2021.”

In other words, bluff called. At least for the time being, Charlie Parker has folded.

Like everything else in Charlie Parker-world, this has been a total bleep show from the beginning.

Next, let’s visit the Department of Correction — specifically, the prison guards, whose union has in the past endorsed Parker and his lieutenant governor, Karyn “Pay to Play” Polito.

Initially the guards seeking a medical or religious exemption from the jab had to apply to a female manager, who had sole discretion to grant them. Apparently she was handing them out routinely until she suddenly vanished from DOC headquarters in Milford.

After her disappearance, all her exemptions were suddenly rescinded — “disgraceful,” the union said in a memo to its members Friday night, “nothing short of a scandal.”

Let’s let the guards explain what Parker and Polito did after reversing all the exemptions:

“Not holding interviews at all for previous approvals and subsequent denials, not having a process for appeal, not even a signature indicating who ultimately made such important decisions and so on are appalling.”

How appalling is it? Well, here’s the (unsigned) letter one guard received Wednesday telling him his exemption had been “issued in error,” and that a “Secretariat-level panel” had decided to rescind his exemption after “a careful examination of the reasons you provided.”

The following is a direct quote:

“You represented that your objection was based on fetal cells being used in the production of the vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did not use fetal cells in their production and are therefore their use would not be consistent with your stated religious belief.”

Huh? First of all, what’s that word “are” doing in that sentence? I guess the person who forgot to sign the letter also forgot to proof-read it.

But more significantly, if the use would not be “consistent” with the guard’s religion, then shouldn’t he be approved for the exemption? Are the DOC hacks so stupid they don’t know the difference between “consistent” and “inconsistent?”

Finally, didn’t the anonymous Parker-Polito DOC hack say fetal cells weren’t used, before he said they were used?

Remember, this illiterate screed is not some silly invitation to Polito’s annual summer hackfest at the Scandinavian AC in Shrewsbury. This is a formal notice to a CO essentially telling him he’s fired if he doesn’t do what he’s told.

So much for their “careful examination?”

As the union said in the Friday night message to the guards:

“You may be asking how a public safety crisis has been created in order to solve a problem that does not exist in the state prison system.”

Or pretty much anywhere else, for that matter. But let’s stick to the prisons. On Friday the union asked the administration how many inmates (who by the way are not required to get the shot) are sick.

“ZERO inmates in the state prison system have Covid or are symptomatic for Covid.”

The union added: “Firing you is no way to thank vital first responders once hailed as heroes by this same administration.”

One final point: the guards’ union was turned down in their request for a preliminary injunction by federal judge Timothy Hillman. Would you care to guess if Judge Hillman, in addition to his $175,000-a-year federal salary, also collects a state pension from Charlie Parker?

Only one guess. The answer is: Judge Hillman has 88,952 reasons every year to adore the worst governor in state history, and all of them have George Washington’s picture on them.

As always, in the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls.

(If you know anything more about these state mandates, please email us at [email protected] Anonymity guaranteed.)

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Red Sox Notebook: Alex Cora reacts to play that may have cost Sox a pivotal run in Game 1 loss: ‘Nothing we can do’

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Red Sox Notebook: Alex Cora reacts to play that may have cost Sox a pivotal run in Game 1 loss: ‘Nothing we can do’

HOUSTON — Did the Red Sox get robbed of what could have been a crucial run in their Game 1 loss to the Astros?

The Red Sox rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the third inning and were threatening for more Friday night when Hunter Renfroe roped a ball down the left-field line. The double easily scored Rafael Devers from second to make it a 3-1 game, but as the ball rolled toward the indented wall next to the foul line, it ricocheted off a leg of the stool that a ball boy was sitting in, and bounced off the wall and back out to left instead of rolling to the corner, where it could have scored J.D. Martinez from first.

The left field umpire was standing right in front of the play and didn’t rule any interference. Martinez stopped at third, and the Red Sox didn’t score again in the inning as they eventually lost, 5-4.

The play was pointed out by WEEI’s Lou Merloni on Saturday morning.

“I didn’t notice it until this morning,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Somebody sent me a video. And I don’t know. If that ball goes down the line, maybe we score. J.D., he’s not the fastest guy, but, you know, (Yordan) Alvarez is not the fastest guy either.

“When I saw it today I was like, ‘Wow, unreal.’ Yeah, it just happens, you know, things happen in games but that ball goes down the line, maybe we have a chance to score.”

The potential run could have made a difference, but it was certainly no excuse for the loss. The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, failing to score with the bases loaded in the first inning and not adding on in the third inning despite having runners on second and third with one out after Renfroe’s double.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Cora said on the play. “The ball is live and in play. They are part of the field. The ball boys or the ball like in San Francisco. But yeah, the ball is live and in play. Unfortunately for us, to be honest with you.”

Baker endorses Venable

Astros manager Dusty Baker has known Will Venable and his family for a long time. He said he grew up with Venable’s father, Max, in Sacramento, and he has great respect for the Red Sox bench coach, who has aspirations to be a major league manager one day. He’s already interviewed for several jobs in recent years.

It seems that Baker thinks it will eventually happen.

“Will is a bright young man. Very conscientious young man,” Baker said. “He checks all the boxes. Not only did he play, but he is African-American. Everybody is going to Ivy League as a criteria for something, and he is an Ivy League guy too, so it’s hard to say that he doesn’t fit everything. I’m pulling for Will.”

Ottavino delivers

Making his first appearance in a week, Adam Ottavino recorded four big outs in Game 1 after Cora pulled Chris Sale in the third inning. Though Ottavino is normally a late-inning reliever, Cora targeted a pocket of right-handed Astros hitters for him and it paid off. He got through them in 14 pitches.

“He’s been there, done that, and there’s certain matchups that give us trouble with him but there’s others that we really like,” Cora said. “When he’s throwing strikes and he’s aggressive and he’s ahead in the count, he’s very tough to hit, and he’s rested too, and we know when that happens, his stuff ticks up a little bit. That was really good.”

Ottavino wasn’t caught off guard when he was asked to warm up in the third. He and everyone in the bullpen are well aware of Cora’s aggressiveness and willing to go to anyone at any time.

“I think everybody knows that anything can happen,” Ottavino said. Most of the relief guys have been kind of used to it all year. … It’s just trying to get the guys who are starters, get their minds into what could be coming and doing a lot of coaching some guys through it, just what A.C. might be thinking and that way, nobody is caught off guard.”

Odds & ends

Garrett Richards, who was removed from the ALDS roster after suffering a hamstring strain, is not throwing yet and his recovery is taking longer than anticipated, Cora said. He would be eligible to return if the Red Sox make the World Series.

“He’s running on a treadmill and doing that,” Cora said. “I believe it was the right decision to put him on the IL. Like right now, he’s not ready to pitch, so the hope is for him to keep progressing and then hopefully, he’s healthy by the end of the series and if we win four, then we’ll make a decision for the next round.” …

Cora has yet to name a starter for Game 3 on Monday as he was waiting to see how Game 2 unfolded. Nick Pivetta or Eduardo Rodriguez would be the most likely options.

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Patriots activate LT Isaiah Wynn off COVID-19 reserve, elevate practice-squad OG James Ferentz

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Patriots activate LT Isaiah Wynn off COVID-19 reserve, elevate practice-squad OG James Ferentz

After 12 days away, the Patriots activated left tackle Isaiah Wynn off COVID-19 reserve and elevated practice-squad offensive lineman James Ferentz on Saturday, according to ESPN reports.

Wynn was originally placed on COVID-19 reserve with left guard Mike Onwenu on Oct. 4. He has not practiced or played since. Onwenu returned to practice on Thursday and could play Sunday against the Cowboys.

If Onwenu is unavailable, Ferentz should start for a second straight week. Ferentz and interior backup Ted Karras manned both guard spots during every snap of the Patriots’ 25-22 win at Houston. The Pats will be down starting right guard Shaq Mason for a second straight game. Mason was ruled out Friday with an abdomen injury, indicating Karras will start again.

An abdomen injury might also sideline backup offensive tackle Justin Herron, who missed practice Thursday and was limited Friday. Herron started in Wynn’s place against the Texans. If he and Wynn are both out versus Dallas, third-string tackle Yodny Cajuste could be tasked with protecting Mac Jones’ blind side in a critical game.

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St. Paul Art Crawl makes a stop at Union Depot Oct. 23

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St. Paul Art Crawl makes a stop at Union Depot Oct. 23

The 30th St. Paul Art Crawl keeps chugging along, making a stop at Union Depot on Oct. 22-24.

The Art Crawl is stretching over 12 weeks in 2021 at various locations throughout St. Paul. It started in mid-September.

More than 25 artists will showcase pottery, paintings, photography, sculpture and more at the Union Depot event. Art Crawlers are invited to take the Green Line and include at stop to check out the art at Dow Art Gallery, 2242 W. University.

Union Depot art crawl hours are 6-10 p.m. Oct. 22, noon-8 p.m. Oct. 23 and noon-6 p.m. Octo. 24. The exhibits will be in the Head House on the first level of Union Depot. Station 81 Drink & Eatery, the Head House restaurant located in the center of the Art Crawl exhibit, will be open.

The Crawl is wrapping up three days at the Schmidt Artist Lofts on Oct. 17.

For info on the Union Depot event, go to uniondepot.org/event/saint-paul-art-crawl. For information on the St. Paul Art Crawl, go to St. Paul Art Collective’s Facebook page.

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HS football: BB&N serves notice to ISL with 34-0 win over Belmont Hill

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Lawrence air game the difference in 37-26 win at Andover

CAMBRIDGE — The Independent School League is only four games into this season, but one thing is pretty clear: if BB&N is not the best team right now, the Knights are pretty close.

On Saturday, BB&N rolled to a 34-0 whitewashing of Belmont Hill where the Knights made big plays on offense, defense, and special teams. It was an impressive all-around showing, and senior linebacker and fullback Tyler Martin did not mince words when asked about the legitimacy of his squad.

“Absolutely (it feels like a special season). I think not only not having last year makes it a little special,” said Martin, a verbal commit to the University of Arizona. “But obviously these seniors, we’ve been here for a while. A lot of us have been here four, five years. I’m real excited for it. I’m excited. The ISL should be, I think, a little worried. I think we’re the team to beat right now. But we’ve got to just keep coming to work every day and doing it.”

Although his coach, Mike Willey, winced a little at the “worried” comment, he is in line with his players in terms of Martin’s last sentence about working hard to achieve their goals.

“I like where we are because our guys practice hard,” said Willey of his 4-0 group. “Our guys go to practice every day hard. We’ve got Nobles coming up this week, which is a good challenge. They’re a 3-1 football team. They’re going to be a good challenge. I think our guys will come on Monday and start working hard. So that’s the reason I like where we’re at.”

Against a Belmont Hill team that usually plays BB&N very tough, the Knights took control in the second quarter and never let up. Leading the way was running back Bo MacCormack, a freshman who finished with 151 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Ty Harding did not score but took five handoffs on jet sweeps and end-arounds for 91 yards. Quarterback Shane Hanafin completed 7 of 15 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Martin was the leader on defense with an interception and some big hits. He also caught a 5-yard touchdown pass.

After a 40-yard Harding run, MacCormack cashed in with a 12-touchdown run over right tackle late in the first quarter. Belmont Hill went three and out and MacCormack added a 4-yard score.

On the ensuing kickoff, Harding recovered a BB&N squib, and Hanafin hit Brett Elliott wide open over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown to help make it 19-0 Knights with 8:33 to play in the half.

The teams traded interceptions, and Martin got his to set up MacCormack’s 1-yard score. Martin punctuated the win with his 5-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.

Belmont Hill made four trips inside the BB&N 30-yard line but never scored. That made the win extra sweet for Martin.

“It’s probably the best feeling ever (to get the shutout),” Martin said. “Out of five years now playing for BB&N, I’ve never shut them out. Speaking to coach WIlley, I don’t know if BB&N’s ever shut them out. It’s awesome. It was such a team win. They were down in close a few times, but we work on that stuff in practice, bending and not breaking. I think we’ve got one of the best defenses in New England.”

BB&N 34, Belmont Hill 0

Belmont Hill (1-3) 0 0 0 0 — 0
BB&N (4-0) 7 20 7 0 — 34

BB — Bo MacCormack 12 run (Vince Snoonian kick)
BB — MacCormack 4 run (kick failed)
BB — Brett Elliott 20 pass from Shane Hanafin (pass failed)
BB — MacCormack 1 run (Ronan Hanafin from S. Hanafin)
BB — Tyler Martin 5 pass from S. Hanafin (Snoonian kick)

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Jack Johnson joins Nathan MacKinnon in Avalanche COVID-protocol absence

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Jack Johnson joins Nathan MacKinnon in Avalanche COVID-protocol absence

The Avalanche will be without six players in Saturday night’s game against the visiting St. Louis Blues.

Defenseman Jack Johnson became the fourth loss in the opening week of the season when the team announced he has joined star center Nathan MacKinnon in COVID protocol. Forwards Gabe Landeskog (suspension) and Valeri Nichushkin (upper-body injury) are also unavailable against the Blues.

Defenseman Devon Toews and goalie Pavel Francouz began the season on injured reserve.

Colorado had just 17 skaters and two goalies participate in Saturday’s morning skate at Ball Arena, and the club might only have a 19-player lineup to be salary-cap compliant.

“Put it this way, it’s going to be a blender,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of his lineup after the morning skate. “You can go through the roster of the guys we got here and some of our top guys will get extra ice. It may be a blender from the start. There’s a lot of question marks.”

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Backlog in federal safety rules amid US car crash ‘epidemic’

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Backlog in federal safety rules amid US car crash ‘epidemic’

WASHINGTON — After their 16-year-old daughter died in a car crash, David and Wendy Mills wondered whether she would be alive if federal rules on rear seat belt warnings had been issued on time.

Four years later, with no rule and traffic fatalities spiking, they’re still at a loss over the inaction.

The teenager was riding in the back seat of a car to a Halloween party in 2017 just a mile from her house in Spring, Texas, when she unfastened her seat belt to slide next to her friend and take a selfie. Moments later, the driver veered off the road and the car flipped, ejecting her.

Kailee died instantly. Her three friends who remained buckled walked away with minor scrapes.

A 2012 law had directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency of the Department of Transportation, to implement safety rules requiring car manufacturers to install a warning to drivers if an unbuckled passenger is sitting in a rear seat. The agency had three years to act.

But the regulation wasn’t done when Kailee climbed into her friend’s car. It’s one of more than a dozen car safety rules now years overdue, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

The ever-growing docket has become one of the biggest tests for the federal agency since its founding in 1970, when public pressure led by safety activist Ralph Nader spurred NHTSA’s mission to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes.”

Advocates worry that the agency has lost focus and risks getting bogged down under President Joe Biden, at a time of increasing road accidents and reckless driving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need a call to action,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. He called the pandemic surge in accidents a “car crash epidemic.”

The rules backlog would only increase with the sweeping technological requirements included in a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill pending in Congress, from new breathalyzer devices that would disable a car if a driver is drunk to stiffer standards for reporting safety recalls.

Currently, the 600-employee federal agency lacks a permanent leader. Its acting administrator is Steven Cliff, a former deputy executive officer at the California Air Resources Board, which regulates auto emissions, a key component of Biden’s climate agenda.

“Government should not take this long to act on safety,” said David Mills, who started a Houston-area foundation in Kailee’s honor aimed at promoting seat belt safety. The foundation keeps a list, known as “Kailee’s Angels,” of some of the teenagers around the country who died in car crashes after failing to buckle up.

“It’s devastating to families,” he said.

The rear seat belt reminder requirement is now scheduled to start moving through the cumbersome regulatory process in January, but a final rule could be years away. The agency in the past has repeatedly blown past deadlines, including those promised in federal court.

The AP review of NHTSA’s rule-making activities under the last three presidents found at least 13 auto safety rules that are years overdue based on deadlines set in laws passed by Congress.

In most cases, those rules are opposed by powerful industries as expensive, outdated or restrictive. Other pending rules have been slowed by the bureaucracy or taken a back seat to other priorities under Democratic presidents. For example, a 2011 initiative that large commercial vehicles be equipped with devices to limit their speed was recently put on indefinite hold by Biden.

President Donald Trump sidetracked at least four major road safety proposals, including medical evaluations of commercial truck drivers for sleep apnea.

Pending rules include side-impact standards for child car seats, originally due in 2014. Attorneys general of 17 states and the District of Columbia wrote to the Biden administration in July, urging immediate action. Other pending rules would require car manufacturers to maintain records of safety defects for at least 10 years, as required by Congress and originally due in 2017, and anti-ejection protection measures for larger buses, due in 2014.

Standards for “smart” car headlights, begun in 2018, are incomplete despite car industry support. Smart headlights would adjust a high intensity light to oncoming traffic, so drivers don’t have to toggle between high and low beams.

NHTSA declined to make Cliff available for comment. The agency instead released a list of steps it has taken to address auto safety, including recently announced proposed fuel economy standards that Biden has promoted to confront climate change.

The agency points in part to plans to require or set standards for automatic emergency braking systems on new passenger vehicles and heavy trucks, a reversal from the Trump administration, and to move forward on some of the delayed regulations, though it did not offer firm guarantees on timing.

NHTSA has pledged to require what it said are rigorous testing standards for autonomous vehicles and set up a national database to document automated-vehicle crashes. It has prodded electric vehicle maker Tesla to recall dark touch screens and is investigating the company’s Autopilot partially automated driving system’s failure to stop for parked emergency vehicles.

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Charley Walters: On any given Sunday, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer could be out of a job

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John Shipley: Mike Zimmer sees Vikings through rose-colored glasses

It’s a decent bet that had the Vikings lost to the winless Detroit Lions at home last Sunday, coach Mike Zimmer would have been gone by Monday. But the Vikings squeaked by, winning 19-17 in the final seconds, and now it’s another critical Sunday for Zimmer in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers.

It now seems unlikely, barring an embarrassing defeat in Charlotte, that owners Zygi and Mark Wilf would fire Zimmer during the season. But if he is dismissed, co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson would seem an interim replacement.

It seems clear that Zimmer, 65, in his eighth season for a reported $8 million, will be fired at season’s end if the Vikings (2-3) fail to make the playoffs. Minnesota has missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons.

After the bye, the Vikings face a daunting schedule: the Cowboys at home, the Ravens in Baltimore, the Chargers in Los Angeles, the Packers at home, the 49ers in San Francisco before finally getting the woeful Lions again, this time in Detroit.

It’s not too early to consider potential full-time successors to Zimmer. The most sought-after prospect in the NFL probably will be Joe Brady, 32, the offensive coordinator for Carolina who was Bengals QB Joe Burrow’s coach at LSU. But Brady is expected to have several offers more attractive than the Vikings.

If Jacksonville fires Urban Meyer because of misbehavior, the Jags’ job would be attractive because of QB Trevor Lawrence.

The Vikings’ best coaching fit, the way it looks now, might be Doug Pederson, the former Eagles coach who led his team to the 2018 Super Bowl victory over the Patriots in Minneapolis. Pederson, 53, was a backup QB to Brett Favre in Green Bay and an assistant under Andy Reid in Kansas City. He was fired by the Eagles last January.

Pederson is offensive-minded and aggressive. Zimmer’s offensive philosophy is conservative, play it safe, run the football. Pederson is the opposite.

The victory over the Lions reduced the Vikings’ odds of winning the Super Bowl from 60-1 to 50-1, according to BetOnline.ag. The Packers, despite their 25-22 victory over the Bengals, fell from 11-1 to 12-1.

Orlando City, owned by the Wilfs, is 11-8-9 in Major League Soccer. Minnesota United is 10-10-8. Orlando City is averaging 15,168 per match, Minnesota United 13,864.

Among the 90 San Francisco 49ers players who were given iPads in training camp to study the playbook and practices on a daily basis (each login was recorded), Marshall High School grad Tre Lance’s iPad registered the most minutes, NBC’s Peter King points out.

Lance made his first NFL start in a 17-10 loss to unbeaten Arizona last Sunday, completing 15 of 29 passes with one interception, and rushed for a team-high 89 yards.

Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck told a Dunkers club gathering this summer that he considers last year’s 24-17 victory at Nebraska — while missing 17 starters due to COVID-19 — the greatest win since he took over the program five years ago.

J.D. Spielman, the former Eden Prairie star who transferred from Nebraska to TCU this season, has eight catches for 125 yards and two TDs entering Saturday night’s game against No. 4 Oklahoma.

Happy birthday: Former Gophers and Packers star Jim “Hurricane” Carter turns 73 on Monday.

Jeff Wright, 72, the former Gophers captain and Vikings defensive back from Edina, is doing fine after recent heart and back issues. He resides in suburban Phoenix, Ariz.

Simley grad Michael Busch, 23, after hitting .267 with 20 home runs, 27 doubles and 67 RBIs in 107 games for the Dodgers’ Class AA club in Tulsa, has made the Double-A Central all-star team at second base.

Youngest player on the USA Hockey Under-18 women’s juniors national team is 15-year-old forward Josie St. Martin of Stillwater. The team will compete in the world championship in Sweden in January.

Former Gophers rebounding star Jordan Murphy, 24, is back on the Timberwolves’ Iowa G-League roster.

The Chicago Bulls last week released former Cretin-Derham Hall and Gophers center Daniel Oturu, who has the option of playing for the team’s G-League Windy City Bulls. Oturu, 22, made $898,310 as a rookie last season with the L.A. Clippers and is guaranteed $1.5 million this season.

Rochester’s Matthew Hurt, who left Duke after his sophomore season, was released by the Houston Rockets and last week signed with the Memphis Grizzlies, who will have him play for their G-League Memphis Hustle this season. Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman is a Duke law school grad.

Also, the Toronto Raptors waived forward Freddie Gillespie, the former East Ridge, Carleton and Baylor star.

Tubby Smith, 70, the ex-Gophers basketball coach who is 34-53 in three seasons at alma mater High Point (N.C.), on Dec. 31 will take his team to Kentucky, where he coached the Wildcats to the 1998 NCAA championship.

Former Gopher Tom Lehman’s hole-in-one during last week’s PGA Champions Tour tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., was the 15th of his career.

By the way, Lehman’s father Jim, Sr., a two-time All-American football player at St. John’s, last week was posthumously inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Honor.

Gophers women’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen speaks at a Capital Club breakfast on Thursday at Mendakota Country Club.

New Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Steve Hutchinson, the former Vikings offensive lineman, speaks at a Twin Cities Dunkers breakfast on Oct. 29 at the Minneapolis Club, introduced by media whiz Bob Hagan of the Vikings.

Seeking a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) will be spotlighted at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Women’s Face-Off game between the Gophers and St. Cloud State on Nov. 20 at Ridder Arena. Several people with ALS, including state senator David Tomassoni, the former Olympian from Chisholm and current chairman of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth; former Gopher and NBA center Chris Engler from Stillwater, and former Gophers baseball standout Mike Bruss from Richfield, are scheduled to attend. Engler’s former Gophers coach Jim Dutcher will present a gift to Engler, as will the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame to Tomassoni.

Condolences to the families of good guys Larry Kohout and Al Crocker, superb sports cameramen for WCCO-TV. Both died days apart. Kohout went on to become the Vikings’ first film director.

Also, sympathy to the family of Bob Morehead, 82, the tireless longtime booster of the Forest Lake community baseball program.

St. Paul Diehard’s Mr. Golf is Rob Wight, the esteemed retired accountant executive and Henry Sibley, Macalester College and Minnesota grad.

St. Paul’s Mark Nelson on Saturday will referee the World Boxing Organization junior lightweight title fight in Atlanta between Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson. Each fighter reportedly will earn $1.5 million.

Cannon Falls 2002 grad Cory Johnson, who sent six years in the Timberwolves organization as assistant equipment manager, has been named director of team operations for the San Antonio Spurs. His father, Rod, was the Wolves’ PA announcer for 21 years./l

DON’T PRINT THAT

If football coach P.J. Fleck is to leave the Gophers ($4.5 million buyout), this would be the year considering he’ll be losing 10 starters on offense and 10 on defense after this season. As peerless Gophers reporter Andy Greder pointed out last week, Minnesota has 14 fifth-year players and seven playing in their sixth seasons.

Even a high-ranking Bowling Green official admitted privately that he was shocked with his school’s 14-10 football victory over the Gophers several weeks ago.

The Gophers men’s basketball team has made offers to five Minnesota underclass players: Lakeville’s North’s 6-9 Nolan Winter, son of ex-Gopher Trevor Winter; Taison Chatman, 6-4, of Totino Grace; 6-11 Boden Kapke of Holy Family; 6-5 Jack Robison of Lakeville North, and 6-1 Daniel Freitag of Bloomington Jefferson.

This season, the Gophers have one of the nation’s oldest roster of players with seven grad transfers.

Wisconsin’s entire football offensive line has a name, image and likeness (NIL) deal that provides free restaurant food, gift cards or merchandise for promoting a local BBQ company. At Michigan State, where Cretin-Derham Hall’s Tre Holloman has committed for basketball, 133 football and men’s basketball players each receive a stipend of $500 a month over 12 months for marketing a local mortgage company, USA Today points out.

Meanwhile, after Saturday’s game against the Gophers, rather than profit for himself, Nebraska star linebacker JoJo Domann pledged to use his NIL benefits to partner with several companies to donate to charities that provide food and medical care to impoverished children and families via the fillthestadium.com initiative.

Bob Naegele paid $80 million for the NHL expansion Wild in 1997, then sold the franchise to Craig Leipold for about $200 million in 2008. New value of the Wild is $785 million, according to Sportico.

Ray Fosse, the former all-star catcher and longtime Oakland A’s broadcast analyst who died from cancer last week at age 74, always wondered when he came to Target Field why the Twins when the ballpark was built didn’t make the left-field fences more accommodating for catcher Joe Mauer the way they were at the Metrodome when Mauer hit 28 home runs en route to becoming the American League’s MVP in 2009.

Austin Martin, 22, the shortstop the Twins acquired in the trade with Toronto for starting pitcher Jose Berrios, hit .254 with three home runs in 37 games for Double-A Wichita. Before the trade this season, Martin hit .281 with two homers for Double-A New Hampshire.

The pitcher the Twins got in the Berrios trade, Simeon Woods Richardson, 20, was 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA at Wichita. Before the trade, he was 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA at New Hampshire.

Berrios, 27, is 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA for Toronto. For the Twins this season, he was 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA.

The Twins will pick No. 8 overall in next June’s major league draft.

In reference to the Twins choosing 18-year-old pitcher Chase Petty with their first-round draft pick (No. 26 overall) for $2.5 million in June, major league scouts will tell you that the kid does indeed have a fastball clocked at 100 mph.

That’s because the new-technology radar guns used by teams are more accurate than the models used years ago, picking up the speed of pitches coming out of the hand rather than when they reach home plate.

In two appearances for Fort Myers this season, Petty stuck out six in five innings with an ERA of 5.40.

The Twins, who had attendance of 1.3 million this season, say they will have a “very significant” financial loss in 2021.

It looks like Jamie Spencer is leaving his business development position with the Wild for the Chicago Blackhawks.

A 1974 Vikings size 11 NFC championship ring of starting guard Charles Goodrum sold for $16,000 via VSA Auction.

Former Gophers women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese of Maryland has a base salary of $1.4 million on a contract that runs through 2027-28. Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen’s contract, through 2023-24, is worth nearly $600,000 a year.

Upper-level Target Center tickets for the NCAA Women’s Final Four basketball tournament April 1-3 that could feature UConn’s Paige Bueckers of Hopkins, the reigning national player of the year, begin at $394 apiece on vividseats.com.

Because she’s an amateur, Gophers-bound Isabella McCauley, who won the recent Minnesota Golf Champions tournament at Minneapolis GC, received $500 in pro shop credit. Runner-up Trey Fessler, a professional, received $1,650 in cash.

Minikahda teaching pro Jeff Sorenson, who is the Minnesota PGA Player of the Year and finished third to McCauley at Minneapolis GC, earned $1,250, bringing his total winnings to nearly $25,000 this year. Sorenson also earns a berth in next July’s 3M Open at the TPC in Blaine. Besides playing, Sorenson, who is headed to his winter home in Deltona, Fla., to compete in the PGA Winter Series, logged more than 1,000 hours teaching this year. Brother Matt, who is Jeff’s caddie, has been hired at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill club in Orlando, where this winter he’ll be a premier caddie.

There are lots of worthy candidates — DeMarcus Ware, Torry Holt, Devin Hester, Tony Boselli and Richard Seymore among them — but ex-Viking Jared Allen has a decent chance for election to the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Some fans were turned away from the St. Thomas-Valparaiso football game a week ago at O’Shaughnessy Stadium that was a 7,433-ticket sellout.

Ex-Twin Jim Kaat, baseball’s best broadcast analyst, inexplicably isn’t among eight Hall of Fame finalists for this year’s Ford Frick Award.

The Wild rank No. 5 among NHL teams that have a losing percentage in games during which they are penalized for fighting, according to a 20-year study by OnlineGambling.ca.

OVERHEARD

From a NFL pundit on Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, in his eighth season in Minnesota: “He’s like a carton of milk that’s hit its expiration date.”

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