The Sports Report: Problems for the Angel Stadium land sale

The Sports Report: Problems for the Angel Stadium land sale

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Bill Shaikin: Harry Sidhu made it his business and his campaign promise in 2018: I’m the mayor that is going to keep the Angels in Anaheim for decades to come.

In 2022, Sidhu is campaigning for re-election as mayor. The city had agreed to sell Angel Stadium and the surrounding parking lots to the team owner in 2019, but the state housing agency had found the deal in violation of California affordable housing law.

Anaheim could have redone the deal. Instead, the city remained liable for a $96-million fine.

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That, according to an FBI affidavit filed Monday in Orange County Superior Court, was because Sidhu wanted to see the deal through to solicit a campaign contribution from the Angels.

“We’ll push them at least [to] have a million dollars,” Sidhu said, unaware the FBI had arranged for the conversation to be recorded. “You know, for [an Angels official] to say ‘no’ is bad.”

The Angels official was not identified.

On Monday, the state attorney general asked a court to put the $320 million sale on hold. The court filing explained why: a detailed FBI affidavit showing Sidhu is under investigation for public corruption, and the attorney general said he does not yet know whether the facts uncovered in the investigation could make the sale illegal.

“We will determine what this means for the stadium plan in the days ahead,” Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said in a statement.

Marie Garvey, the spokeswoman for Angels owner Arte Moreno’s company, declined to comment on Monday’s developments. She also declined to say whether Moreno wished to continue to pursue the project.

“It would be inappropriate to comment at this time,” Garvey said.

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DODGERS

From Luca Evans: The crescendo rose, the familiar wall of noise building amid the nighttime horde, fans in the outfield bleachers at Dodger Stadium standing and waiting with open arms.

Then, nothing. Nada. Zilch. A disappointing quiet and a return to their seats.

The swell-turned-silence in the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory Monday night came first with Freddie Freeman, bombing a first-inning curveball from Madison Bumgarner deep to center field — only for the drive to float harmlessly into the glove of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Alek Thomas.

Ahhhhh — ohhhhhh.

Then with Mookie Betts in the third inning, crushing a pitch so high it seemed to touch the stadium lights protruding above left field — only for the ball to die at the track.

Ahhhhh — ohhhhhh.

Through four innings in Monday night’s series opener against the Diamondbacks, the home fans had no runs on the board to show for multiple balls that looked like home runs off the bat.

ANGELS

Eli White had the first and last of five Texas hits during a six-run first inning off Noah Syndergaard, and the Rangers beat the Angels 7-4 on Monday night.

Jon Gray won his home debut despite allowing Shohei Ohtani’s RBI double off the base of the center-field wall in a three-run first. The Rangers’ immediate response knocked out Syndergaard, a local high school standout, after two-thirds of an inning.

Syndergaard (3-2) yielded six runs — four earned — four hits, two walks and two steals. He grew up 17 miles south of Globe Life Field in Mansfield.

“When it rains, it pours,” said Syndergaard, who missed most of the last two seasons with the New York Mets because of injuries. “I’ve got to have a short-term memory, but I also [must] learn from mistakes, learn from this outing and make sure it never happens again.”

BASEBALL

From David Wharton: The umpire calls ball four and all hell breaks loose.

Rather than trotting to first base, the batter breaks into a sprint and doesn’t stop, rounding the bag at full speed. The catcher jumps up and throws to the shortstop, who tosses to the second baseman.

The crowd is roaring now as fielders keep flinging the ball from one to another. Amid this chaos, the runner digs hard and slides into second. Safe.

Wait, didn’t this all start with a walk?

Baseball gets flipped on its head when the Savannah Bananas hit town. The Georgia team, which normally plays in a collegiate summer league, spent the past three months barnstorming the country for a series of exhibition games, testing a radical new version of the sport.

“Banana Ball” moves at breakneck pace. There are no bunts, no visits to the mound and a two-hour time limit. If someone in the stands catches a foul ball, the batter is out. And walks? The otherwise mundane play continues until every fielder — even outfielders — touches the ball.

“A lot of moving parts,” Bananas first baseman Dan Oberst says. “You can’t blink or you’ll miss what happens.”

PREAKNESS

From John Cherwa: The draw for Saturday’s 147th Preakness Stakes lacked the drama of a Kentucky Derby draw because the field is half its size.

The draw was held at a lakeside restaurant in Baltimore on Monday if for no other reason than Pimlico Race Course is very old and shows every bit of its age. In fact, there were more mentions of the post-draw private event concert by the rock band Chicago than any individual horse. The track opened in 1870, and the band started under its current name in 1969. Both have undergone many renovations.

Epicenter was the first name drawn and assigned the No. 8 post in the nine-horse field and made the 6-5 morning-line favorite. The field dropped one Monday morning when Un Ojo pulled out because of a foot bruise.

Post time: Saturday, 4:01 p.m. PDT. TV: NBC

Post position, horse, trainer, jockey, odds

1. Simplification, Antonio Sano, John Velazquez, 6-1

2. Creative Minister, Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr., 10-1

3. Fenwick, Kevin McKathan, Florent Geroux , 50-1

4. Secret Oath, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez, 9-2

5. Early Voting, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 7-2

6. Happy Jack, Doug O’Neill, Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1

7. Armagnac, Tim Yakteen, Irad Oritz Jr., 12-1

8. Epicenter, Steve Asmussen, Joel Rosario, 6-5

9. Skippylongstocking, Saffie Joseph Jr., Junior Alvarado, 20-1

COLLEGE SPORTS

From J. Brady McCollough: Three years after California took the lead in the battle for college athlete rights as the first state to legalize name, image and likeness payments to players, another potentially game-changing bill is on the move through the state legislature in Sacramento.

Senate Bill 206, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the fall of 2019, made it illegal for the NCAA universities to prohibit third parties from paying college athletes for use of their NILs in endorsements, sponsorships and other appearances. But it did not ask school athletic departments to alter their budgets, which allowed for an easy passageway.

In contrast, Senate Bill 1401, named the “College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act,” cuts right to the heart of the collegiate model and the ideals of amateurism. SB 1401 would require California schools to share 50% of annual revenues in football and men’s and women’s basketball with the athletes, initiating a new era of “pay for play” — and what college sports leaders fear would be a doomsday scenario for athletic departments that currently use profits from revenue sports to fund their non-revenue sports programs.

SPARKS

From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: As if a come-from-behind overtime win over the defending champions on the road wasn’t a good enough way for Jordin Canada to start her Sparks career, the former Windward School and UCLA star got an extra warm welcome back to L.A. on social media the next day.

And it came in the form of a Magic Johnson tweet.

“Yo this is crazy!” Canada wrote in response after the Lakers legend praised Canada’s addition to the Sparks following the team’s season-opening win over the Chicago Sky. “From Showtime himself!”

Taking inspiration from another point guard, Canada hopes to usher in the next exciting era of professional basketball in her hometown. The speedy, 5-foot-6 point guard is averaging a career-high 15.5 points with 4.5 assists, leading the Sparks (2-2) to a solid start on the road before their home opener Tuesday against the Minnesota Lynx at Crypto.com Arena.

Canada can reprise her role as a go-to player after four years of being Sue Bird’s understudy with the Seattle Storm. Her performance on opening night — a career high-tying 21 points that included three late free throws to send the game to overtime — showed Canada is more than ready to own the limelight again.

————

How does new Sparks president Vanessa Shay plan to get more fans to games?

CHARGERS

From Jeff Miller: He produced a highlight reel of a rookie season that ended with his selection to the Pro Bowl. Even more encouraging for the Chargers, though, is how Rashawn Slater feels now when he re-watches his 2021 performance.

“I look at the tape and a lot of it kinda makes me cringe because I know there’s detail and technique and sometimes I’ll be like this close,” the young offensive tackle said. “There’s always that little room for improvement that can make a big difference.”

Who knows what, exactly, a better Rashawn Slater might look like, but the Chargers would love to find out.

He was impressive as a rookie, grading out as the sixth-best left tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Slater gave up only four sacks and six quarterback hits in 752 pass-blocking snaps. His run blocking ranked fourth among left tackles who played at least 800 snaps, according to PFF.

This effort came after Slater sat out his final season at Northwestern amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHL PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Second round
Western Conference

Colorado (C1) vs. St. Louis (C3)
Tonight at Colorado, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Thursday, May 19 at Colorado, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Saturday, May 21 at St. Louis, 5 p.m., TNT
Monday, May 23 at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m., TNT
*Wed., May 25 at Colorado, TBD
*Friday, May 27 at St. Louis, TBD
*Sunday, May 29 at Colorado, TBD

Calgary (P1) vs. Edmonton (P2)
Wednesday at Calgary, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Friday at Calgary, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Sunday at Edmonton, 5 p.m., ESPN2
Tuesday, May 24 at Edmonton, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
*Thursday, May 26 at Calgary, TBD
*Saturday, May 28 at Edmonton, TBD
*Monday, May 30 at Calgary, TBD

Eastern Conference

Florida (A1) vs. Tampa Bay (A3)
Today at Florida, 4 p.m., TNT
Thursday at Florida, 4 p.m., TNT
Sunday at Tampa Bay, 10:30 a.m., TNT
Monday at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., TNT
*Wed., May 25 at Florida, TBD
*Friday, May 27 at Tampa Bay, TBD
*Sunday, May 29 at Florida, TBD

Carolina (M1) vs. New York Rangers (M2)
Wednesday at Carolina, 4 p.m., ESPN
Friday at Carolina, 5 p.m., ESPN
Sunday at New York, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Tuesday, May 24 at New York, 4 p.m., ESPN
*Thursday, May 26 at Carolina, TBD
*Saturday, May 28 at New York, TBD
*Monday, May 30 at Carolina, TBD

*-if necessary

NBA PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Conference finals
Western Conference

No. 3 Golden State vs. No. 4 Dallas

Wednesday at Golden State, 6 p.m., TNT
Friday at Golden State, 6 p.m., TNT
Sunday at Dallas, 6 p.m., TNT
Tuesday, May 24 at Dallas, 6 p.m., TNT
*Thursday, May 26 at Golden State, 6 p.m., TNT
*Saturday, May 28 at Dallas, 6 p.m., TNT
*Monday, May 30 at Golden State, 6 p.m., TNT

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami vs. No. 2 Boston

Today at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Thursday at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Saturday at Boston, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Monday at Boston, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Wed., May 25 at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
*Friday, May 27 at Boston, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday, May 29 at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1875 — Aristides wins the first Kentucky Derby by one-quarter length over Volcano. The day marks the opening of Churchill Downs with an estimated 10,000 spectators witnessing the first Derby. Aristides is ridden and trained by African Americans Oliver Lewis and Ansel Williamson, respectively.

1915 — Rhine Maiden wins the Preakness Stakes, to produce the only Kentucky Derby-Preakness wins by fillies in the same year. The 1915 Derby was won by Regret, who did not compete in the Preakness.

1925 — Tris Speaker of the Cleveland Indians collects his 3,000th career hit off Tom Zachry in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Senators.

1930 — Gallant Fox wins the Kentucky Derby by two lengths over Gallant Knight to give Earl Sande his third Derby win.

1970 — Hank Aaron gets an infield single off Cincinnati’s Wayne Simpson for his 3,000th hit.

1975 — 23-1 long shot Master Derby, ridden by Darrel McHargue, beats favored Foolish Pleasure by a length in the Preakness Stakes.

1979 — Dave Kingman of the Cubs hits three home runs and Mike Schmidt of the Phillies hits two, as Philadelphia beats Chicago 23-22 in 10 innings at Wrigley Field. The game includes 11 home runs, 50 hits and 109 at-bats.

1983 — The New York Islanders beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 to win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup.

1992 — Betsy King captures her first LPGA Championship by a record 11 strokes over JoAnne Carner, Liselotte Neumann and Karen Noble. King’s margin of victory breaks the LGPA championship mark of 10 set by Patty Sheehan in 1984.

1998 — David Wells pitches the 13th perfect game in modern major league history as the New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 4-0.

2000 — Australia’s Susie O’Neill breaks the oldest record in international swimming, winning the 200-meter butterfly and beating the 1981 mark by Mary T. Meagher. O’Neill is timed in 2 minutes, 5.81 seconds, topping the record by 0.15 seconds. Meagher’s time of 2:05.96 was set in Brown Deer, Wis.

2003 — Funny Cide runs away from the field on the turn for home and finishes with a near-record 9¾-length victory in the Preakness. The gelding’s victory is second to Survivor’s 10-length victory in the first Preakness, in 1873.

2008 — Big Brown, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, charges to the lead turning for home and then cruises down the stretch to win the Preakness Stakes. The colt, named for UPS, wins by 5 1/4 lengths over Macho Again.

2012 — Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia becomes the first player in Professional Bowlers Association history to win a national or senior tour title in six decades, beating Ron Mohr 220-204 in the PBA Senior Dayton Classic. The 65-year-old Petraglia won the first of his 14 PBA national tour titles in 1966 in Fort Smith, Ark., at the age of 19. Dick Weber also won PBA titles in six decades, but his mark includes a PBA regional title.

2014 — The Houston Rockets advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 18 years after overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers with a 113-100 victory. It’s the ninth time in NBA history that a team has overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win a playoff series.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

The Phillies beat the Cubs, 23-22. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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