As Tropical Storm Isaias nears the Treasure Coast Sunday morning, the curious visit Waveland Beach in St. Lucie County – TCPalm

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David Comstozk, 72, of Port St. Lucie, walks toward an empty Waveland Beach as Tropical Storm Isaias nears the Treasure Coast.(Photo: MAX CHESNES / TCPALM)

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Just before 9 a.m., David Comstozk walked slowly toward an empty Waveland Beach in St. Lucie County, not far over the Martin County line.

The 72-year-old took his time reaching the shore as a steady wind, likely somewhere around 40 mph, blew directly at him.

I was curious to see what the beach looked like, Comstozk said, raising his voice to match the rushing wind. I usually leave town for these, but this one didnt seem too bad.

The Port St. Lucie man clutched his camera phone close to his chest, snapping photographs intermittently.

While he took photos of thebending palm trees and crashing waves, there was one thing thecamera didnt capture: Abeaming smile on his face.

David Comstozk, 72, stands at Waveland Beach as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches the Treasure Coast.(Photo: MAX CHESNES / TCPALM)

Comstozk was just one of a handful of people out and about in Jensen Beach the portion in St.Lucie CountySunday morning as Tropical Storm Isaias neared the Treasure Coast.

The storm was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricaneto a Tropical Storm Saturday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Treasure Coast remains under a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning.

The storm is not expected to grow to hurricane strength as wind sheer from the west continues to work away at the storm, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

Maximum sustained winds are expected to be 65 mph, and the storm is about 60 miles south-southeast of Stuartmoving north-northwest at 9 mph.

Gallery: The Weather Channel reports from Vero Beach as Hurricane Isaias approaches Florida

Latest weather report:: Winds picking up in Martin County

For more news, follow Max Chesnes on Twitter by clicking here.

Max Chesnes is a TCPalm reporter covering health, welfare and social justice on the Treasure Coast.You can keep up with Max on Twitter @MaxChesnes, email him at and give him a call at 772-978-2224.

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As Tropical Storm Isaias nears the Treasure Coast Sunday morning, the curious visit Waveland Beach in St. Lucie County - TCPalm

How Yu Darvish Began to Recreate His Success From the Second Half of Last Year – NBC Chicago

Yu Darvish shuffled across Waveland Avenue in sweat pants and slides. A family of Cubs fans snapped photos from in front of the fire station before Friday's game.

Darvish acknowledged them but kept beelining toward the Wrigley Field gate. Even off the field he had his own unique flare and focus.

On the mound later that day, that was even more apparent.

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In the Cubs' 6-3 win over the Pirates Friday, Darvish threw six shutout innings and resembled the lights-out starter he was in the second of last season.

"Today I felt the same as the second half," he said. "But still I need to work on my mechanics and normal cutter and command. But I feel like it's really close or almost the same."

The first time through the rotation, Darvish was the only starter who didn't have his best stuff. Kyle Hendricks threw a complete game shutout. Jon Lester threw five no-hit innings. Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills each pitched six innings and allowed fewer than three runs.

Then there was Darvish, who gave up three runs in four innings. Not terrible under the circumstances of a pandemic and a three-week summer camp. But not up his standard.

Darvish said he wanted to work on his splitter, changeup and hard cutter before his next start.

On Saturday, he took a different approach.

"I tried to throw fewer hard cutters," Darvish said. "I used the normal cutter, knuckle curveball and four-seam. And that worked tonight."

After walking the first batter he faced, Adam Frazier, Darvish picked off Frazier at first and retired the next two in order. He gave up just two hits, both singles with no one on base. Both pitches were at the edge of or out of the zone.

"Yu was great tonight," Cubs manager David Ross said. "Had it all working. Just spinning the breaking ball really well in the zone, out of the zone. Looked like the splitty showed up tonight and then a couple times there, late fastballs just blowing guys' doors off."

The 18 whiffs he generated were a testament to just how good all those pitches were.

"I didn't know that," Darvish said when that statistic came up in his postgame interview. "But that's enough."


How Yu Darvish began to recreate his success from the second half of last year originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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How Yu Darvish Began to Recreate His Success From the Second Half of Last Year - NBC Chicago

Heyward sets the tone for Cubs – Chicago Daily Herald

Jason Heyward likes to pick his spots.

He admitted not being the most vocal guy when it comes to speaking out against injustice. But he figured with baseball season on hold and the country in turmoil earlier this summer, there was no better time.

"I felt like it was time to no longer make an excuse that I'm playing baseball and I have a job, I'm just going to watch these things go by," Heyward said Friday before the Cubs' season opener against Milwaukee at Wrigley Field.

Heyward was one of the leaders of the Cubs' clubhouse discussions about the current climate in America. Black Lives Matter was a very visible part of baseball's Opening Day.

During pregame introductions, as has been the case around the league, all players held a long black ribbon as they stood on the foul lines. The Cubs painted Black Lives Matter on the back of the pitchers mound at Wrigley Field, and the players released a unified statement on social media. Both teams wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts during batting practice.

Before the first pitch, Heyward channeled Sammy Sosa and ran to his spot in right field while carrying a city of Chicago flag.

"I think JayHey is one of the more powerful leaders we have on this team because when he does speak, it speaks volumes," said manager David Ross, who was a teammate of Heyward with both the Cubs and Atlanta Braves. "He's not a guy that likes to go around and say a whole lot.

"When he speaks, it carries a lot of weight because he doesn't always speak. We can talk about 2016 or we can talk about five minutes ago. It's real and it comes from the heart and it's genuine and you feel it when he speaks."

Ross and Heyward talked about several team meetings during which everyone on the roster got a chance to relate their feelings and personal experience about race in America.

"We all felt it was important to be on the same page, to be supportive and understand and respect everyone's struggles," Heyward said.

One highlight of Friday's pregame was 13-year-old gospel singer Keedron Bryant performing his original song, "I Just Wanna Live" from a rooftop across Waveland Avenue.

No player from either team took a knee during the national anthem that followed, and Heyward gave his reason for making that choice.

"I don't see today as a situation where I feel like I need to kneel, and I say that because this is what progress looks like," Heyward said. "You have acknowledgement, you have unity, you have people of multiple races, people from different areas, different struggles standing together and acknowledging the Black struggle in this country.

"It's been acknowledged and it's also been held up on a pedestal that has not been held up before in baseball and also in sports and this world.

"So for me, no I don't see today as a necessary situation for me to kneel, but I also do support the ones that are, because I do understand that they're not kneeling for anything bad, they're kneeling for good. They're kneeling for people who have gone through the struggle. They're also kneeling for, just like myself, in a situation where I feel like I haven't spoken up before.

"Well, now it's my time."

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Heyward sets the tone for Cubs - Chicago Daily Herald

Life on the road will be the next difficult test for the Cubs – The Athletic

Vijay Tekchandani, the director of team travel and clubhouse operations for the Cubs, has a job that essentially requires him to be on call 24/7, whether or not a pandemic is raging across the country.

Tekchandanis energy and attention to detail over the years has helped create what Cubs players and their families view as a first-class experience. As the team continually adapts to COVID-19 realities, Tekchandani has run multiple meetings, preparing for road trips that will come with waves of anxiety. Travel represents an entire section of Major League Baseballs 101-page operations manual for the 2020 season.

Vijays been on top of everything, Cubs manager David Ross said. I dont know how the guy does it. Hes asking me if Im all right. Im telling him every day, Im fine, how are you doing? Hes getting it from every angle. Even when the guys leave the ballpark, he does so...

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Life on the road will be the next difficult test for the Cubs - The Athletic

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Adam Engel – Sox Machine

I know that you dont want to talk about this player, I cant believe Im even having thoughts in this mans defense. We all wanted so desperately to only hear his name while talking about the terrible players that started during the rebuild years, but hes still here. His name is Adam Engel.

Im talking about him because Nomar Mazara has been placed on the 10-day IL and were trying to figure out who will start in right field on opening day. Consider yourself lucky; of all the players that we could be missing when the season starts Mazara was never your superstar or X-factor. He was just the best option in a place where the White Sox werent completely lacking depth. He may not be one of those hard-to-watch defenders in the outfield, but hes yet to put up a positive dWAR in a season and his offense has always been more enticing based on his upside and handedness than his actual production.

Without him we are left with three choices: Leury Garcia, Adam Engel, and Nicky Delmonico.

Nicky Delmonico sounds nice: his swing looks sexy on highlight videos, hes left-handed, and he looks like a ballplayer. Examine your biases though- would you give him a second thought if he swung from the other side of the plate? Arent you more interested in him because he has that classic smiley kid-having-fun baseball face? I know Chuck Garfien has been going on about how his down years may have been plagued by injury, but it has now been three years since Delmonico being at the plate was exciting. The home run against the Brewers was thrilling, but it came against opposite handed pitching. If you are taking summer camp home runs as evidence how is that better than Engels home run against Hendricks- a same-sided pitcher with a better history than Grimm- that nearly hit Waveland? Its not- it just looked awesome. Thats Nicky- looks so great when he succeeds that it seems right even though the results disagree.

Leury Garcia feels like hes earned it. Among all the rebuild-era players he was never one of the embarrassing ones. The batting average was there when he was healthy and he got to be the example of skills an outfielder had when Outfielder Jump was revealed as a statistic by baseball savant. His versatility is also valuable to an organization, he fills a lot of holes when it comes to outfield or infield depth. But like Adam Engel, his career rWAR is mostly made up from his 2019 season. He may be a switch hitter, but his platoon splits are very much like those of a typical right-handed batter.

For a while, this offense was enough to best Adam Engel offensively, but its gotten harder and harder. Adam Engel, while not exciting against right-handed pitching by any means, has made steady improvement each year that hes been in the bigs.

Obviously it wasnt hard to best his disastrous 2017 offensive output, but a glove-first center fielder can hold his own with last years offensive production. Probably not as a starter, but as your fourth outfielder? Im actually very OK with it. Its hard to say even now for me, I dreaded those Engel at-bats the past few years. I just have more faith in a player whos made steady improvement as opposed to ones with random flashes of potential. I know hes going to see more right-handed starters against Minnesota and Cleveland these first 10 days, but the production against lefties has actually been worth watching

Even if I cant convince you that Adam Engel is the best offensive choice among the three, you cant say that theres one that stands clearly atop the rest. And while offense is the most valuable aspect of the game, defense and baserunning are still important. I dont need any numbers here, even if they all tell the same story. If you think that Leury or Nicky are more valuable in those categories, then your Engel fatigue is just too strong for rationale.

Its only a 10-day IL stint, a sample size so small that well never fully have the results to justify what the best choice for playing time should have been.

What I can tell you is this: as much as you hate or hated Adam Engel, hes actually a decent fourth outfielder to have. Thats the guy you want giving your regulars days off and being first off the bench when theres an injury gap to fill.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Adam Engel - Sox Machine

A Way to Safeguard Biodiversity, Bolster Fisheries, and Protect Ocean Habitat – The Pew Charitable Trusts


Ocean health is critical to all life on this planet. Phytoplankton, the microscopic plants found in the sunlit area of almost all oceans, generate about half of the Earths oxygen, and the complex interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere sustains our climate.1 Yet the oceans are in decline, largely because of human activities that are driving the collapse of fisheries, the loss of biodiversity, and the acidification of seawater. The evidence suggests that to halt this downward slide, more of the worlds ocean must be protected.2

In 2016, members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a global authority on the status of the natural world, adopted a motion recommending that nations protect 30 percent of their waters from all extractive activities by 2030. Safeguarding ocean space in marine protected areas (MPAs) has been proved to help conserve marine life and associated habitats. Creation of MPAs can improve ocean health and provide multiple benefits to the people whose lives and traditions are linked to these waters.

An MPA is a defined geographical area of water that is managed to achieve the long-term conservation of nature.3 In these areas, fishing and other human activity is restricted, which allows depleted populations to recover while protecting key species and vulnerable habitats. MPAs that share these five characteristics have been shown to have the greatest impact: fully protected with no extractive activities permitted, well-enforced, older than 10 years, larger than 100 square kilometers (38 square miles), and in isolated locations.4

Over time, fully protected areas result in more and bigger fish and greater biodiversity.5 These benefits accrue in different climates and have been observed in tropical and temperate regions.6

Fisheries benefit from the creation of MPAs. Thriving populations of fish within fully or strongly protected areas are more likely to supply adult and larval fish to outside areas. The spillover of animal life from the MPA then sustains or increases the catch of nearby fisheries.7 One study in Ecuadors Galapagos Islands found that waters surrounding an MPA supported higher catches and greater fishing effort.8 Effectively placed MPAs have been shown to increase fish biomass and offer a path to recovery for predatory species such as tunas and sharks.9 Protecting key spawning or nursery areas used by vulnerable species can also be highly effective.10

Creation of MPAs as a fisheries management tool is garnering support and interest, specifically because of its contributions to ecosystem-based management approaches. Data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization shows a tripling of the percentage of stocks fished at unsustainable levels from 1974 to 2015.11 New evidence indicates that fisheries regulations on their own may be insufficient in creating sustainability, and a combination of management steps and fully protected areas may be necessary.12

The sustainability of marine life can depend on how well populations and critical ocean ecosystems are connected. As individuals within a species move to other areas and reproduce, they maintain what is known as population connectivity. MPAs that are contiguous or incorporate different ecosystemsfor example, an area that protects essential fish habitat such as sea grass as well as open oceancan maintain the interaction among marine communities. Large MPAs that encompass multiple habitats, or networks of MPAs that protect migratory pathways and key habitats, can better ensure the connectivity of populations, which can then help build resilience in a changing environment.13

A lack of good data about the movement of highly migratory species can make it more difficult to determine the role and benefit of MPAs in safeguarding highly mobile animals, some of the oceans key predators. Although complete habitat range is still being documented for many of these species, research suggests that their movement can be predictable. For example, tagging studies of leatherback turtles, northern elephant seals, salmon sharks, and white sharks have found that these species repeatedly return to specific areas.14

Protecting areas used by these animals for spawning or as nurseries could prove highly effective.15 Species can exhibit increased vulnerability when they form groups to spawn, feed, or migrate.16 Protecting these habitats for migratory fishes through MPAs can reduce threats linked to specific areas in the same way that small protected areas are used to protect key foraging habitats for migratory birds or nesting beaches for marine turtles.17

Protected areas can lead to economic growth through tourism. For example, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a fully protected area on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, has about 3,000 visitors a day, making it one of the most visited beaches in the state.18 The educational awareness created by the visitor center at the bay is expected to generate about 100 million USD in value added to the community over the next 50 years.19

Protecting habitats such as coral reefs can generate considerable benefits for communities. For example, the net benefit from coral reefs to Hawaiis economy has been estimated at $360 million a year, and that can lead to scientific investments.20 Since 2005, over 10 million USD has been invested in research in the Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument, another protected area in Hawaii.21

Mounting scientific research indicates that fully protected marine areas can help build resilience against the effects of climate change.22 The alterations are far-reaching and include rising sea surface temperatures, the loss of coral reefs as waters acidify, decreased ocean productivity, shifts in species distribution, and impacts on fisheries.23

MPAs help build biodiversity and genetic diversity, improve carbon sequestration, and even enhance the absorption of carbon dioxide. Safeguarding mangroves and coral reefs in coastal areas can provide buffers against storms while protected wetlands aid in long-term storage and carbon sequestration.24 MPAs can lead to more resilient ecosystems and in turn help secure the well-being of societies that depend on healthy oceans.

MPAs can play a significant role in addressing the threats facing the ocean. These areas can help boost ocean biodiversity, fisheries, and the economies that depend on them. The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project is working with governments, local communities, indigenous groups, and other partners to support creation of MPAs around the world to aid in restoring ocean health for the benefit of all.

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A Way to Safeguard Biodiversity, Bolster Fisheries, and Protect Ocean Habitat - The Pew Charitable Trusts

Column: Opening day is finally here and the Cubs already are making a lot of news – Yahoo News

Opening day is finally here, and the Chicago Cubs already have made some big news.

No, its not the signing of outfielder Derek Dietrich to a minor-league deal, though Dietrich did announce on his Instagram page that hell play on the Cubs taxi squad in South Bend, Ind.

The real news was the announcement of the long-awaited carriage agreement between Comcast Xfinity and Marquee Sports Network, which will provide the majority of TV-watching Cubs fans in the Chicago-area with a chance to watch their team play.

Crane Kenney, the business operations president for the Cubs, told WSCR-AM670 the multi-year deal was almost done before the originally-scheduled opener on March 26. The coronarivus outbreak paused the season on March 12.

So it took us a little longer, he said, admitting it was unnerving to watch for Xfinity subscribers and calling negotiations multi-dimensional chess.

Kenney said the Cubs also expanded their reach to Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne, which was important to the organization because of the number of Cubs fans in Indiana, where many former Illinois residents have fled in recent years.

It was a long and winding road for the Cubs, but alls well that ends well. Marquee is now on Ch. 202 in high-def on Comcast and was already broadcasting Friday morning.

Kenney also told The Mully and Haugh Show the Cubs hope to have a limited number of fans inside Wrigley Field by Sept. 1 and believes there is a path to do that with a plan in place to seat fans while still being socially distant.

Currently the league and the city do not allow fans inside stadiums. Concessions would be brought to fans instead of having them wait in line, Kenney said.

Were looking down the road at 2021, and were not sure life will be that different next year, he said. So anything we can do to have a little bit of a glimpse of how well have to operate the stadium next year, this year would give us one year to plan for it.

The Cubs season opener against the Brewers is scheduled for 6:10 p.m., with Kyle Hendricks facing Brandon Woodruff. The rooftops will be open and the ballhawks will be out on Waveland Ave., but otherwise, the usual Wrigleyville scene will be muted. The Cubs will pipe in fake crowd noise to try and create a more normal environment for players and fans watching on TV or listening to the radio.

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The Cubs added more advertising to the ballpark Thursday to help make up for the revenue losses from the lack of gate receipts, and also set up cardboard signs in center field written by children in support of the players.

There are no cardboard cutouts of fans, as several other teams are doing. Chairman Tom Ricketts told broadcaster Len Kasper on Kaspers podcast he wasnt sure the cutouts would be a fit in the unique settings of Wrigley Field.

As we saw on opening night Thursday in Washington, both teams are likely to make a visual statement on the Black Lives Matter movement, either through taking a knee during the national anthem, displaying support on shoulder patches or both.

Cubs manager David Ross said the team is supportive of the movement, but declined to say what they plan to do.

I think youll see our groups message (Friday), he said. And then we can address that then.

Baseball is behind the NBA and NFL when it comes to speaking out against systemic racism, but baseball operations president Theo Epstein, along with White Sox vice president Ken Williams, have been instrumental in ensuring the game becomes more vocal in its support of the movement.

Epstein said he was proud of the way Cubs players have openly discussed social injustices, noting the unity it has created inside the clubhouse.

I dont want to get ahead of things, but youll see (Friday) how unified they are, how thoughtful theyve been in engaging in this extremely important issue, Epstein said. And I think theyre poised to be part of the solution.

Ross said baseball has a lot of strides to make and theres a lot of listening we all can do to be supportive. Continue to grow as human beings and listen to our hearts and whats right.

As for the last-minute decision by MLB to expand the postseason from 10 to 16 teams, Ross said he had mixed thoughts on the subject.

Im a believer (that) baseball is a game about overcoming adversity, and this is as big of an adversity as you can put yourself in, he said. The team that did the best job (during) the downtime of being prepared and staying ready should be rewarded.

Whether thats the big market team or a team that wasnt even on the radar to make the playoffs if they play well in these two months they deserve to get in and fight for a championship.

Im probably a little bit against expanding it. Lets make it mean something. Lets get after it from day one. I think everyone is into the sprint mentality, and Im into it and every game matters. Lets not water anything down.

Epstein seemingly was more open to the playoff expansion. The existing format was fine, he said, but if they want to expand it before the first pitch of the first game, well certainly be on board.

Either way, opening day is here, and its a good time to count your blessings and enjoy a brief respite from the numbing news of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We all have an awareness of what the country and the world, what were all going through, Epstein said. That concern never goes away, but through all the crises weve faced as a nation and all the tragedies, theres always been a place for baseball as a helping hand of sort to assist people in getting back to normal and helping the country as a whole get back through it.

Its always been about our ability as an industry to pull this off safely, but if we can continue to do that, what a great feeling that will be to provide some much-needed entertainment and joy to people who have been through so much already this year in a number of areas.

2020 the Chicago Tribune

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Column: Opening day is finally here and the Cubs already are making a lot of news - Yahoo News

Cubs Convention has been canceled for 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns – msnNOW

John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS David Bote attends a reception.

The Cubs Convention, the longest running fan fest in pro sports, is the latest event to be canceled because of COVID-19.

The 2021 convention was scheduled for Jan. 15-17 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, where it has been held for the last eight years.

When we thought about producing an event of this size and magnitude in a pandemic environment, it was just not practical given the constraints of unknown hotel constrictions, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said. We still dont know whats possible in a hotel environment and given an unknown capacity for mass gatherings and events in the future, and other circumstances beyond our control, we felt the practical decision was to cancel it for next January.

The Cubs Convention began in 1986, spawning an offseason marketing event that has since been emulated by dozens of other pro teams.

Green said the Cubs could hold some virtual events for fans, as theyve done with season ticket holders in the last few months, featuring Cubs President Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and Chairman Tom Ricketts.

There is no other choice for organizations than to be creative in this environment, Green said.

MLBs season begins July 23 in empty stadiums, and the Cubs open on July 24 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. The games will be televised on Marquee Sports Network, which still doesnt have a carriage agreement with Comcast, the biggest cable provider in Chicago.

Green said the Cubs are still hopeful a deal gets done but had no update.

Green said the Cubs hope to welcome a portion of fans back into the ballpark at some point in 2020, but admitted it would be challenging in this environment. The 2021 schedule has been released, but the Cubs havent announced when ticket packages would need to be renewed.

We would love to be able to preserve some value for season-ticket holders this season before we start talking about renewals for next season, he said.

The Cubs have either refunded or credited season ticket holders for games that already have been canceled, and offered a 5% credit for those who put their payment toward 2021 season tickets.

Tickets for the team-owned rooftops went on sale Friday, and Green said the Cubs already sold a couple hundred tickets. The Cubs are one of the only teams with a view inside the ballpark, making Cubs fans among the few who can actually watch a game. One rooftop was selling tickets for $379 for the opener, while most games are between $199 and $339.

The Cubs gained approval from the city for night games on Friday and Saturday, which they said would allow visiting teams to avoid spending an extra day in hotel rooms.

Were very thankful to Ald. (Tom) Tunney and Mayor (Lori) Lightfoot, Green said. That is going to allow our team and the visiting team to limit nights in a hotel. Being able to fly in the day of the game will help limit that exposure (to COVID-19).

The Cubs are also working with the city to try to shut down Clark Street from Addison Street to Waveland Avenue for nine non-gameday weekends to allow street dining for the restaurants on the block that partner with the Cubs.

We think we can responsibly operate this, Green said, adding its clear we wont be welcoming fans in the distant future, so welcoming fans across the street from the ballpark is an alternative option.

Other parts of the North Side have closed streets, but that plan has met resistance from the Chicago Police Department because Clark Street is one of the busier streets in Wrigleyville.

The Cubs also would like to open Gallagher Way for a limited number of fans, though the city might be concerned about drawing crowds to the area.

Every decision we make will be driven by science and medicine, Green said. But at the same time, we have to find a way to keep our fans connected to this brand.

2020 the Chicago Tribune

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Cubs Convention has been canceled for 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns - msnNOW

Picking up the financial pieces after a loss: ‘We planned life but we didn’t plan death’ – CNBC

Brenda Pickens and her late husband, Howard.

Source: Brenda Pickens

It wasn't supposed to happen this way.

When 63-year-old Howard Pickens died suddenly of complications from Covid-19 in March, his wife Brenda was stunned. Not only had she lost her companion of almost three decades, she now had to figure out how to get by on her own.

"We planned life but we didn't plan death," said 62-year-old Brenda Pickens, who lives in Waveland, Mississippi.

"I don't know where our heads were at," she added. "He was never going to die and life would just go on."

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Howard owned a barbershop, Fade 1, in nearby Bay St. Louis, and the couple owns an RV. Brenda, who was also out of commission for two months fighting the virus, is now trying to sell both in order to come up with some cash. A retired nurse, she is currently on furlough from her job at a barbershop on a nearby naval base. She's getting a paycheck, but it was the tips she really relied on.

"Now I'm stuck with having to revamp plans, just for survival," she said. "Just to be able to survive."

The couple had only a small life insurance policy and some retirement savings, according to Pickens.

Luckily, she has gotten a mortgage forbearance for a few months and is using the money she's saving on that to pay the bills.

"I'm very concerned," she said. "It is all of the 'what ifs.'

"What if I get pink-slipped and no longer have a job?" Pickens continued. "I would have to sell my house, plus look for another job of some kind. There are so many unknowns."

However financially prepared, or unprepared, you may be, losing a loved one is overwhelming. Not only are you dealing with grief, but there are financial decisions that must also be made.

"It might be tempting to make a lot of decisions all at once," said certified financial planner Stacy Francis, president and CEO of Francis Financial in New York and a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

That may mean moving to a new place, selling a house, going right back to work and taking a new job.

Her advice: Don't do it.

"Give yourself a little bit of a pause so that you have time to allow yourself to start the grief process and that you give yourself time to navigate this new normal for yourself," she said.

"When you have been through trauma, it is very hard to think clearly."

Finding professional support through, for example, a grief counselor or therapist can help you navigate the mourning process. A financial expert, meanwhile, can help you through money issues concerning insurance, wills, debt and the like.

"Put yourself on a path of not only recovery, but to eventually be able to rebound," said Francis, who specializes in working with widows and widowers and is a certified grief recovery specialist in The Grief Recovery Method approach.

Once you are ready, you can review your finances and reset.

The first thing to do is to take a look at money coming in and how it may have changed since your loss.

You may be facing lower income without your spouse's salary, or you may have some additional funds through a life insurance payout or inheritance.

It is really important to see where you are and to then, once you have all of that information, start to create that new road map for your family

Stacy Francis

president and CEO of Francis Financial

If you have children under age 18, be sure to apply for spousal survivor benefits from Social Security, Francis said. Also, make sure you are collecting any life insurance money you may be entitled to, so reach out to your loved one's employer to see if there was coverage, as well as any private insurers.

Another potential source of money may come from any unclaimed funds. Do a search on your state's online unclaimed funds site for both you and your loved one.

The coronavirus pandemic has already hit people's expenses. Losing a spouse will add to that.

You may need extra child care or therapy sessions. On the other hand, you may see a decrease in some expenses, like a payment for a second car.

List everything and compare it to what you have coming in and see what needs to be adjusted.

If you have outstanding credit card bills, check with your creditor. Many are already offering programs, like payment deferments or a reduction in interest rate, to help people get through the pandemic.

If you are left with high medical bills in the wake of your loved one's death, talk to a medical billing and health insurance expert, Francis advises.

That can help you truly understand if these are bills you need to pay or if your health insurance wasn't billed properly, with the proper medical coding.

"We've also seen some individuals be able to negotiate with their health insurance," she said. "They just want to get paid. The last thing they want to do is have you declare bankruptcy."

Get an understanding of what your finances look like now.

That includes retirement and brokerage accounts, your home's value, your mortgage and any other loans you may have.

Taken together with your expenses and cash flow, it will help you form a plan for your near-term and long-term future and could impact college, retirement and the rest of your life, Francis said.

If you lost your spouse and have children, appoint guardians as soon as possible, even if you aren't ready to take a look at your overall will and estate plan, said New York-based estate-planning attorney Robert Steele.

When things "settle down," you can then update your will and beneficiaries on any retirement plans or insurance policies.

"Your will, your estate plan is going to most likely need to change, especially if you have younger children," Steele said.

That includes creating a trust for your kids if they are young, so they don't receive the money outright, and naming a trustee to oversee it.

Additionally, if you lost your spouse, he or she was likely your health-care proxy and had power of attorney. You'll have to choose another person "who you trust and value," Francis said.

In the end, coming up with an overall plan will help you move forward both emotionally and financially.

"While it might be frightening and scary to look at all of this, it is really important to see where you are and to then, once you have all of that information, start to create that new road map for your family," Francis said.

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Picking up the financial pieces after a loss: 'We planned life but we didn't plan death' - CNBC

Why Sox are ready to take next step: A ton of pitching potential – NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox are heading into the shortened 2020 season with the same expectations they had back when they thought theyd be playing a 162-game schedule: to leap out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode.

Their ability to do it this year could well hinge on an extraordinarily talented, though plenty unproven, group of young pitchers.

Lucas Giolito broke out in a huge way in 2019, transforming himself from the pitcher with the worst numbers in baseball into an All Star and the no-doubt ace of the South Side starting staff. On Opening Day a year ago, the White Sox were coming off a 100-loss campaign and Giolito was facing legitimate questions about his place in the teams long-term pitching plan. On Opening Day this year, hell be leading the pitching staff on a team with postseason expectations.

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What I see from him is an ability to be an ace, new White Sox starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who has a Cy Young Award and a World Series ring on his resume, said of Giolito. Hes every bit of a horse that youd want at the top of the rotation. Hes got all the intangibles you want in a quality major league pitcher that can do it for years to come.

What I see in him is what I had in myself. Until you get over that mental edge and push through and have that first good year, you cant really say too many things out loud. But its the inside that really counts, because youre pushing yourself every day.

The question now becomes how many additional young arms can join Giolito in emerging as championship-caliber major league pitchers. The White Sox have no shortage of them, and baseballs months-long layoff allowed time for several of them to make recoveries from Tommy John surgery, giving the team a deep pitching staff heading into the 60-game sprint to the postseason.

The biggest questions surround Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lpez, who both finished 2019 with some nasty looking numbers. Ceases results, a 5.79 ERA in 14 starts, can be easily chalked up to him dipping his toes into major league waters for the first time. Lpez, however, seemed to switch places with Giolito, going from the status of the teams best starting pitcher in 2018 to a woefully inconsistent 2019.

But the White Sox are confident one season will not tell the entire story for either young pitcher, both of whom they see as having front-of-the-rotation potential.

Cease is frequently raved about for having remarkable stuff, and he showed it off at times last season. His finest outing was probably also a pretty good encapsulation of his entire rookie year, when he dazzled for much of his 6.2 innings in Cleveland, striking out 11 batters, only to wind up tagged for four runs. But while he had a tendency to have a brief stretch in each outing define his day for the worse, his performances were often solid when looked at as a whole. And considering he was facing big league bats for the first time, there was a lot to like about what the future holds.

RELATED:Yasmani Grandal getting younger White Sox ready for 'playoff mode' all season

Lpez, meanwhile, had even brighter flashes of brilliance, even if they were fewer and farther between. He struck out 14 Detroit Tigers in April and grabbed a complete-game, 11-strikeout win over the Indians in September. After a mostly dismal first half, he vowed hed be a better pitcher after the All-Star break and was just that, with a 2.13 ERA in his first six starts of the second half.

Of course, thats not to paint over the more glaring bad results. He still finished the season with a 5.38 ERA and 35 home runs allowed. The good news? Theres a compelling reason to believe in a Giolito-style turnaround for Lpez in 2020.

Giolito made his transformation, in large part, because of a revamp of his mental approach to pitching. The bad moments that were happening early in his outings would snowball until he had given up a large number of runs, hits, walks or all three. That's not the case anymore. Lpez has spent the last few months, dating back to spring training, talking about his own mental overhaul from the offseason that included talking with the White Sox eam psychologist. Now, he says, hes in a much better place mentally, better able to shed the effects of a bad result. Who knows how much it will do to lower his ERA, but the White Sox saw just last year how big a difference that kind of approach can make.

Sometimes, as players, we are struggling with our thoughts, especially nervous thoughts when something goes wrong. And for players thats one of the bigger challenges, get over it, keep moving forward. Its not always easy, Lpez said through team interpreter Billy Russo. I used to think one of the most important things for us, especially for me, was just the physical part of the game. I was wrong. That was one of the reasons I kept failing. Because I wasnt prepared mentally to face those situations, to face those thoughts.

I realized that, and that was one of the reasons I stayed here in the U.S. during the offseason and why I approached the team psychologist to work with that, to try to enhance my mind and get rid of all that other stuff and to deal with it in a way I could use it as an advantage and not a disadvantage of my game.

How that is going to help me, its already helping a lot and that is going to help me a lot going forward because now I know how to deal with different situations, now I know how to be prepared for different situations, and thats a big difference for me. Im a better player because my mind is stronger and prepared for situations.

While Giolito and Keuchel provide reliability at the top of the rotation, teams need more than just two guys to form a pitching staff capable of winning a championship. And though Michael Kopech is a big part of the teams long-term planning, he decided not to play during the 2020 season. That means the fate of White Sox pitching this season could rest on Cease and Lpez even more than it already did.

Fortunately, theres no need for those two to feel too much pressure, though. As mentioned, the layoff allowed for some full-season reinforcements, three more guys who fall into the category of young pitching that has the White Sox primed to make their leap into the realm of baseballs contenders.

Most notable among that trio is Carlos Rodn, whos been around for a while but is still just 27 years old. Like Lpez, his past few seasons have featured plenty of flashes of brilliance, but consistency has eluded him. The bigger hurdle hes had to climb is health, and numerous injuries have derailed his attempt to settle into the role of the front-of-the-rotation arm his No. 3 draft pick status had the White Sox hoping hed be.

Rodn has looked good in Summer Camp, and hes as realistic about his situation as anyone. Kopechs decision not to play this year might make Rick Renterias decision an easier one when it comes to a six-man rotation, and Rodn could get a chance to make regular starts for the entirety of the shortened 2020 campaign. With just one year after this one before hes scheduled to hit free agency, Rodn knows he needs to show the White Sox that he can still be the huge part of their pitching future they longhoped hed be.

"I feel like there's some stuff I need to prove," Rodn said. "The last few years have not gone the way I wanted them to, obviously. It's kind of unfortunate, injuries and underperforming. This 60-game season, I feel like it will do a lot for guys. Not just me, but other guys around the leagueor on this team wherever, can prove themselves in those 60 games, and I think it will do a lot."

RELATED:Why it's unlikely Garrett Crochet will pitch for the White Sox in 2020

And then there are the two other Tommy John recoverers behind Rodn, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert, who have also shown well during Summer Camp. Whether theyll have their shot at the big leagues depends, probably, more on how the other six starters on the team perform. But unlike last year, when Rodn went down and the White Sox trotted out a parade of ineffective options like Odrisamer Despaigne and Manny Bauelos in an attempt to plug the hole, there is legitimate depth this time around. So at the very least, even if Dunning and Lambert dont end up making big-time contributions to this years club, they provide depth that makes the White Sox stronger.

Dunning, especially, could still emerge as a prime piece of the long-term puzzle on the South Side. Rick Hahn talked about Dunning potentially being in the mix to be a part of last years Opening Day rotation before arm injuries did away with that idea. Should any one of the arms after Giolito and Keuchel falter in a season where every game means something, Dunning could get his shot.

And theres even more on the way, though its unlikely that prospects like Jonathan Stiever and Garrett Crochet who were both named to the White Sox taxi squad Tuesday will reach the majors this season. Still, it shows the White Sox are truly built for the long term. Once the contention window opens, the goal becomes not letting it close too soon. And even if Rodn departs after 2021 or Keuchels time on the South Side ends with his current contract or further augmentation is needed, the White Sox can make that happen from within as well as from outside the organization.

But this year, the potential is there. The White Sox have the young pitching talent to form a menacing staff, but there are a lot of questions to answer first. If the answers are positive ones, then look out. This team could be the AL Centrals most balanced.

I really do love the mix of pitching that we have here, veteran starting pitcher Gio Gonzlez said. I think we have plenty of fire arms. I've been very impressed with Dylan Cease. I think Cease's arm is incredible with how he gets the spin behind the ball.

Then you've got your Lucas Giolito, and then Lopey. I had Lopey and Lucas when I was in Washington, and I got to see that firsthand. This rotation kind of fills in all the blanks for all the ones that you have to question whether he's too young or he's too old for this.

I think the White Sox did a great job with mixing it all together for the young guys and definitely some of the veteran guys that can kind of take the load off with the thinking process.


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Why Sox are ready to take next step: A ton of pitching potential - NBC Sports Chicago

Switching to Hulu Live first voice I heard on the Marquee Network was my own – Kent Sterling

by Kent SterlingJuly 14, 2020

Back in 1988, Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola were on the call from Wrigley Field for the first real night game at Wrigley Field as we heard this afternoon on the Marquee Network.

Sometimes, even during a gloomy summer of masks, half-open restaurants, and social distancing, life works just right.

Today, I switched TV providers from YouTube TV to Hulu Live. The first show I found on the Cubs Marquee Network included on Hulu but not YouTube TV was the first night game game at Wrigley Field from August 9, 1988. I attended that game, and the first voice I heard during the replay broadcast today was my own.

Mets catcher Gary Carter was stuck on 299 career home runs, and I built a significant dislike forCarter during his career with the Expos and Mets (when he wrapped his career with the Dodgers, Giants, and Expos again, I pitied his eroding abilities so my dislike waned). I turned the game on this afternoon while the game was in the top of the sixth with Carter at the plate, and heard 299! 299! 299! I had to turn the TV up, but there was my psychotic chanting faintbut audible.

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I yelled 299! incessantlyfrom our seats in the 10th row behind the Cubs on deck circle every time Carter came to the plate. A fan sitting in front of us asked why I hated Carter so much. I told him, Because he refers to himself in the third person. He calls himself The Kid all the time, and I dont like self-important people. The guy smiled and nodded. I think it pleased him that I had any reason at all besides the empty beer cups that were stacked in front of me.

Carter failed to hit his 300th home run that night, and I walked home believing I may have exerted some kind of a whammy on him. That delusion was proven flawed two dayslater, as I sat in differentbox seats. As I yelled 300! for the last time, Carter stroked a solo shot into the left field bleachersoff Al Nippers first pitchin the top of the second inning.

It was serendipity I was at the first night game. The game the night before against the Phillies was rained out while Iplayed softball at Welles Park. Somehow, we made to the finals of our league tournament, and I would rather play than watch, so I opted for a game we lost just before the rains came.

Every Cubs fan who was anyone was at Wrigley for the pageantry of that first night game on August 8th, but August 9th was more like a real Cubs game with the fans who had all of the heart but none of the cash of the guys from the night before.

The Cubs won that first night game 6-4. Frank DiPino got the win one of the seven he notched in his two-plus seasons as a mediocre lefty out of the bullpen and the Cubs climbed to within 12 games of the top spot in the NL East.

And now we watch that same game on the Marquee Network as the endless summer of Covid-19 continues and continues and continues. Ten days from today, we are promised a shortened seasonof 60 Cubs games, but there wont be fans anywhere but on the rooftops across Waveland and Sheffield Avenues.

Im thinking of driving up for one of the first games. I can sit in the Cubby Bear, feel a little of the atmosphere, laugh with friends (from a distance), and at least hear the crack of the bat as a little bit of normal creeps back into our lives. Then it occurred to me that I dont even know if the Cubby Bear will be open.

We long for that feeling from 1988, 1998, 2008, and 2018. We want to baskin the splendor of a perfect afternoon or night at Wrigley, not live on the memories created 32 years ago on a beautiful night screaming 299! at a hall of fame catcher because he called himself The Kid.

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Switching to Hulu Live first voice I heard on the Marquee Network was my own - Kent Sterling

Chicago Cubs, City Leaders Working To Allow Weekend Night Games – Forbes

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 03: In an aerial view from a drone, Wrigley Field is seen prior to summer ... [+] workouts on July 03, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Whether under the ownership of the Ricketts family or the Tribune Company, the Cubs have a long history of battling the city of Chicago over regulations involving Wrigley Field.

Construction of outfield bleachers and scoreboards led to a long-running battle with the city and owners of rooftops. Day games werent allowed until 1988 and the city has only slowly expanded the number of night games and concerts that are permitted.

But COVID-19 appears to have improved the alliance between the National League team and local politicians, especially Alderman Tom Tunney, who has represented the 44th Ward since 2003. The Cubs are seeking to play all of their Friday and Saturday home games at night, and on Thursday received tentative approval from aldermen on a one-season lifting of bans on Friday and Saturday night games.

Tunney gave the move his blessing in front of the citys License Committee on Thursday.

This is a long story of night games at Wrigley Field and the prohibition on Friday and Saturday nights, Tunney said at a hearing reported by the Chicago Tribune. But ... these are extraordinary circumstances, and I think we need to be working as diligently to get the Cubs schedule and season (completed), that being 30 games in Lakeview, and not to prohibit Friday and Saturday for this year only. This is a one-time exception.

The Cubs have six weekend home series on Major League Baseballs 60-game schedule, so would have six games each on Friday and Saturday nights. Tunney has long cited the crush of crowds in Wrigleyville, along with the interest of neighborhood homeowners, for keeping Friday and Saturday night games off the schedule but MLB is opening the season without fans and it seems unlikely that will change given the citys COVID-19 guidelines.

The city has said that the nearby rooftops can operate at 25-percent capacity. That provides some relief to Chairman Tom Ricketts and the team, which owns 11 of the operations alongside Waveland Avenue and Sheffield Street.

The team is not ruling out the possibility of having crowds in Wrigley Field at some point in 2020. Cubs Vice President Mike Lufrano said the team continues to hope fans will be admitted but said it will heed the direction of city health officials.

The one-year exception to the night game ordinance is expected to be on the agenda for the city council next week.

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Chicago Cubs, City Leaders Working To Allow Weekend Night Games - Forbes

Today in Wrigley Field history: The Cubs host the worst home-run derby ever – Bleed Cubbie Blue

Wrigley Field was chosen to host the 1990 All-Star Game, the first that would be in the Friendly Confines under the lights and first on the North Side since 1962. As part of the festivities, Wrigley was also scheduled to host a Home Run Derby the day before the game.

The Home Run Derby was something fairly new at the ASG. It had been created in 1985, and back then was a shorter event held in conjunction with All-Star Workout Day, the day before the game. It wasnt televised and took place in the afternoon. Before 1991, the Derby was structured as a two-inning event with each player allowed five outs per inning, without tiebreakers. In fact, this resulted in co-winners in 1986 and 1989.

In practice this had allowed previous winners with only a handful of home runs. The Reds Eric Davis had won the previous years Derby in Anaheim with only three homers. But the eight players in that years contest had combined for 14 long balls.

That wouldnt be the case at Wrigley Field on July 9, 1990.

The eight participants were Ryne Sandberg, Matt Williams, Bobby Bonilla and Darryl Strawberry for the National League and Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Cecil Fielder and Ken Griffey Jr. for the American League. Those eight combined to hit 291 home runs during the 1990 regular season. Fielder hit 51, becoming the first player to hit 50 or more since George Foster in 1977.

In the 1990 Home Run Derby, these eight players combined for five home runs, three of them by Sandberg, who became the Derby champion, fun for the hometown crowd. The only other dingers were hit by Williams and McGwire, one each.

Why did this happen? Chicagos notoriously capricious weather. The day before the Derby, Sunday, July 8, had been hot and humid, with temperatures in the 90s and strong southwest winds. Too bad the Derby couldnt have been held that day, Waveland and Sheffield would have been annihilated by baseballs. But overnight Sunday into Monday, a cold front came crashing through. Temperatures dropped into the low 70s, well below average for that time of year, with strong winds blowing from the north.

I was there that afternoon. It felt more like September than July. And the howling winds kept blowing baseballs back into the yard. Sandberg, who was quite familiar with Wrigleys winds, knew how to slash line drives into the bleachers. Here is the only video I could find of Rynos heroics that afternoon:

The results of this Home Run Derby were so bad that the format was changed the following year, expanding to three rounds. From 19912006, 8-10 players were selected and instead of five outs, 10 were allowed for each round, after which the count was re-et, with the top four advancing to the second round, and the top two advancing to the final.

The difference was immediate 27 home runs were hit in the 1991 Derby in Toronto, with Cal Ripken Jr. the winner with 12, and 40 were hit in 1992 in San Diego. Now, of course, players routinely hit a couple dozen per round, and that provides a much better show, especially for ESPN in prime time.

But I, for one, will never forget the 1990 Home Run Derby, when the Wrigley Field wind defeated almost all of the games best home run hitters. It all happened 30 years ago today.

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Today in Wrigley Field history: The Cubs host the worst home-run derby ever - Bleed Cubbie Blue

Cubs Summer Camp Miscellany: Chatwood and Mills Square Off, First Relievers In, Schwarber Gallops, More –

It was Day Three of Cubs Summer Camp today, and day two of intrasquad scrimmaging, with presumptive fourth and fifth starters Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills making their first starts.

Mills had the smoother day, going 2.1 innings and striking out three (no walks), while allowing a run on two hits a Jason Kipnis single and a Steven Souza double.

Chatwood notched five strikeouts over his 3.0 innings of work (one walk), but also gave up four runs on five hits. You should have basically no reaction to that, by the way, because you pretty much want Chatwood filling up the strike zone at this point in the process, and, in so doing at this point in the process the hitters are gonna tee off a bit. The fact that he still got five strikeouts is impressive.

The first four relievers to get intrasquad action for the Cubs in Summer Camp: Duane Underwood, Rex Brothers, Dan Winkler, and James Norwood. Interestingly, back when the roster was to be just 26 on Opening Day, Winkler was looking like a good bet to win a job, but the other three there were gonna be just outside looking in (particularly Underwood, who is out of options). Now, with a 30-man roster to open the season, and with the Cubs seemingly likely to bring along as many as three extra pitchers in those four additional spots, many more relievers are going to have a very legit shot at winning a job.

Some of the knocks on Chatwood included a Kyle Schwarber triple:

And a Javy Bez double, which featured David Ross getting HYPED:

You can keep letting yourself dream on Albert Almora if you like:

Some more visuals:

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Cubs Summer Camp Miscellany: Chatwood and Mills Square Off, First Relievers In, Schwarber Gallops, More -

Watch: Banding the Brown Pelican –

Louisiana Wildlife experts just finished the 2020 banding season at Queen Bess Island north of Grand Isle. The newly restored island a Louisiana Gem and Brown Pelican rookery was dedicated in February. Now, 8000 pelicans call Queen Bess home.

Under the cover of darkness and a slight rain, a small group of wildlife experts arrived at the island to finish this years banding season. Caitlin Glymph of CPRA says, It was amazing when we saw it in February but the amount of birds we saw then as opposed to now is pretty incredible.

Three-hundred-fifty pelicans were banded over three nights. The banding process is simple.

Todd Baker of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries states, You are going to grab the bill, put the body of the bird under your arm, and cradle it like this and have the bill in other hand.

Once secure, a metal band and color banding will be put in place. This will allow researchers to track and monitor these Brown Pelicans. The team took other measurementsbill and wing size, age, and gender.

Paul Link, North American Waterfowl Management Plan Coordinator,Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, We banded birds out here last year pre-restoration and then again this year hoping to see the response to see if the birds are coming back utilizing the same habitat.

A Brown Pelican banded in Waveland, Mississippi in 2010 was recently identified on Queen Bess Island.

If you see a banded bird or pelican, you can send a report You will receive a Certificate of Appreciation for helping out.

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Watch: Banding the Brown Pelican -

Bryant on testing concerns: ‘We’ve got a big hill to climb’ – Comcast SportsNet Chicago

Kris Bryant announced last Tuesday that hed landed in Chicago, holding his infant son in his arms on the flight over. That same day, he went through intake screening. He wasnt scheduled to undergo his second round of COVID-19 testing until Sunday.

Im not trying to be insensitive by any means because theres a lot of people out there struggling who need tests, the Cubs third baseman said. I genuinely want that to come across. But at the same time, MLB created this lab and did all this stuff to be able to run a season. I know theres going to hiccups, but you just cant hiccup with this.

Bryants frustrations were echoed across the league on Monday. The Astros, Nationals and Cardinalsall cancelled workouts Monday while waiting for test results. The Angels and Diamondbacks also navigated delays. The As postponed their first position player workouts on Sunday, also due to testing complications.

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According to a league release, over 95 percent of intake testing had been conducted, analyzed and shared with all 30 Clubs by Monday afternoon. MLB expects the remaining tests to be completed by the end of the day. Those who had finished testing are scheduled to be tested every other day from here on out.

Our plan required extensive delivery and shipping services, including proactive special accommodations to account for the holiday weekend, MLb said in a statement. "The vast majority of those deliveries occurred without incident and allowed the protocols to function as planned. Unfortunately, several situations included unforeseen delays. We have addressed the delays caused by the holiday weekend and do not expect a recurrence. We commend the affected Clubs that responded properly by cancelling workouts.

The Cubs, who had not announced any positive COVID-19 tests as of Monday evening, havent faced the same testing scares as some other teams have. But manager David Ross said he voiced his concerns to the league, advocating for more frequent testing and a quicker return on the results.

Its definitely new for everybody, Ross said, so you want to try to give Major League Baseball a little bit of slack in some areas because were all needing some slack in some areas, but I think the protocols they have in place are for a reason and we need to get these tests done.

MLB converted a lab in Utah, which had previously handled Minor League Baseball drug tests,into a COVID-19 testing facility in preparation for the season.The 2020 Operations Manual that the players signed off on promises that players will be tested every other day during Summer Camp and the season. Albert Almora Jr., like Bryant,said he went through intake testing on Tuesday and had his second round of testing Sunday.

So, it was a big gap in between, he said. A lot of guys werent happy with that. As careful as you may be, (the virus) an invisible thing that you have no control over even if you do all the right things. Its tough. Its something that we have to overcome, and hopefully it gets better. I know theyre all working their kinks out, but hopefully we can get this straight away and get the testing that were promised.

Fixing the testing process, Almora predicted, would ease some players worries about playing this season. Players likeAlmora and Bryant are concerned that they could COVID-19 home to their families. Bryant said hes not considering opting out, but hed thought about it before.

I wanted to play this year, Bryant said, because I felt that it would be safe and I would feel comfortable. But honestly, I dont really feel that way, which is why Im trying to keep my distance from everybody and wear my mask just so we can get this thing going.

If MLB does reach Opening Day -- and the way Bryant sees it, it would be "foolish" to not include that "if" -- the regular season adds a host of new concerns.

"Youre traveling and youre in an airplane, in your hotel, youre getting room service, who knows what people are doing?" Bryant said."Especially on the other teams too; youve got to rely on everybody in this whole thing. I think if we cant nail the easy part, which is right now and just our players, weve got a big hill to climb."

Bryant, a former Cubs MLBPA representative, said he was ashamed of how publicly MLB restart negotiations played out. Now, he thinks so much time was spent on economic talks that health-and-safety discussions were rushed.

It was a mess, Bryant said. And it still kind of is a mess, and hopefully we can find a way to repair that and fix things and get back on track.


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Bryant on testing concerns: 'We've got a big hill to climb' - Comcast SportsNet Chicago