IndyCar Season To Open At St. Petersburg This Weekend

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season will open with a live telecast of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, FL on Sunday, March 11 on ABC. The 110-lap race will be contested on a 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary racing circuit that includes St. Petersburg city streets as well as part of an adjacent airport.  Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will carry onboard cameras in his car during the race as will Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Ed Jones, Will Power, Zach Veach and Graham Rahal.  The race will be the first of five Verizon IndyCar Series races airing this season. Included will be the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 and two days of Indy 500 qualifications May 19-20. 

Several rookies set for IndyCar debuts at St. Petersburg


Editorial credit: HodagMedia /

Miami Heat Guard Dwyane Wade Makes Surprise Visit To Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Dwyane Wade went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in the hopes of bringing some much-needed smiles to faces of students and teachers. Speaking Thursday about his surprise visit to the school in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were shot and killed last month, the Miami Heat guard said he was impressed with the students he spoke with. “They are well-prepared and well-aware of what they need to do and what they want to do and the change they want to see,” Wade said. “It’s great. It’s great to hear. It’s great to see that, because I come from a community in Chicago where our youth are getting killed daily and don’t have the same voice, don’t have the same light on them that Parkland has. These kids understand what they have.”  The shooting in Parkland affected Wade because one of the victims was buried in a Wade jersey. Wade has also met with the family of that teen, Joaquin Oliver , and promised them that he would keep using his voice to help facilitate change.

Dwyane Wade surprises students at Stoneman Douglas High School


Editorial credit: lev radin /

South African Triathlete Mhlengi Gwala Attacked With Chainsaw While Training

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala is recovering in a hospital after a roadside attack left him seriously injured.  According to reports, Gwala was on a training ride on his bicycle before dawn in the coastal city of Durban when he was dragged off the road by three attackers, who attempted to cut off his legs with a dull blade. He was found by a local security company and taken to a hospital. Dennis Jackson, director of the Elite Athlete Development program for KwaZulu-Natal province, told The Associated Press that Gwala told him that the attackers sawed into his right calf, damaging muscle, nerves and bone. They missed a main artery, and surgeons are confident they can save the leg, Jackson said. Gwala became an excellent athlete after overcoming drug and alcohol addictions, and he represented South Africa at international competitions in Chicago in 2015 and in the Netherlands last year, Jackson said. The athlete’s long-term goals were to compete in half or full ironman triathlons. 

Report: South African Triathlete Victim Of A Chainsaw Attack


Philadelphia Eagles Acquire Michael Bennett From The Seattle Seahawks

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles have acquired three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday. The deal won’t be officially announced until the NFL’s league year opens next Wednesday. Sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the trade information.  Seattle gets wide receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick, while Philadelphia also receives a seventh-round pick. The 32-year-old Bennett has three years remaining on his contract, with a base salary of just $1.65 million in 2018. That number jumps to $6 million in 2019 and $7.5 million in 2020. Bennett had 8 sacks last season and 54 in his nine-year career.

Sources: Seahawks trading Bennett to Eagles


Editorial credit: dean bertoncelj /

Steelers Place Franchise Tag On Le’Veon Bell For Second Year In A Row

The Steelers officially placed the exclusive franchise tag on running back Le’Veon Bell for the second consecutive year on Tuesday, the last day for teams to use the designation. The exclusive designation means that Bell is only permitted to negotiate with the Steelers. The tag for Bell is worth $14.544 million for the 2018 season, and the Steelers and Bell have until July 16 to agree to a multiyear contract or he will have to play the season on the franchise tag. Bell adjusted his contractual floor to $14.5 million per year to align with his tag salary. He won’t play for a contract that averages less annually, and also said he wasn’t bluffing when he told ESPN back in January that he would consider retirement if asked to play on the tag another year. 

Source: Steelers Place Franchise Tag On Le’Veon Bell for Second Consecutive Season


Editorial credit: Ken Durden /

Cleveland Cavaliers Forward Kevin Love Opens Up About His Experience With Panic Attacks And Therapy

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said he had a panic attack during a Nov. 5 game against the Atlanta Hawks, and opened up about how the experience has changed his view on mental health. In an essay published Tuesday for The Players’ Tribune, Love detailed what happened Nov. 5: “When I got to the bench, I felt my heart racing faster than usual. Then I was having trouble catching my breath. It’s hard to describe, but everything was spinning, like my brain was trying to climb out of my head. The air felt thick and heavy. My mouth was like chalk.”  Love made his way back to the locker room as he experienced the attack.  Accompanied by a member of the Cavaliers staff, Love was checked out at the Cleveland Clinic, where test results showed no physical injuries. The team later helped Love set up an appointment with a therapist. Love said that it was difficult for him to open up about his situation, but he now realizes that talking about his emotions is not a sign of weakness and hopes it helps raise awareness to the importance of mental health issues.

Love opens up on panic attack, mental health


Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins /

Atlanta Braves Acquire Infielder Ryan Schimpf From Rays

The Braves have acquired infielder Ryan Schimpf from the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to an announcement on Monday. Schimpf was acquired by the Rays in mid-December and looked to be a potential starting option at either second or third base, but after the team made some other acquisitions he no longer figured into Tampa’s plans. He was designated for assignment on March 3 when the Rays officially added Carlos Gomez to their roster.  Schimpf, 29,  consistently gets on base and hits home runs, but he rarely puts the ball in play and frequently strikes out. Over parts of two seasons with the Padres, he has more home runs (34) than doubles and triples combined (24) over 527 plate appearances. He also has more than six times as many strikeouts (175) as he has singles (28) over the course of his major-league career.

Braves add power-hitting infielder Ryan Schmipf in trade with Rays


Editorial credit: Keeton Gale /

Boston Celtics Star Kyrie Irving Out With Sore Knee

Celtics star Kyrie Irving missed Monday’s game against the Bulls because of left knee soreness, the team has announced. Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters at the team’s morning shoot around that Irving experienced soreness throughout Saturday’s loss in Houston and woke up sore on Monday. This will be the seventh game that Irving has missed this season. Boston is 5-2 without him. Irving had been spectacular since the All-Star break but was held to 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting during Saturday’s loss to the Rockets. Stevens told reporters that he was uncertain whether Irving would be available Thursday when the Celtics wrap up a three-game road trip by visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving (knee) ruled out for Monday


Editorial credit: Jamie Lamor Thompson /

Sir Roger Bannister, First Person To Break The Four-Minute Mile, Passes Away At 88

Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, has died aged 88. The Bannister family released a statement confirming the news on Sunday morning.  In it, they noted the legendary runner “died peacefully” and “surrounded by his family who were as loved by him as he was loved by them.”  Bannister made history on May 6, 1954, when he completed the mile distance in a time of three minutes, 59.4 seconds in Oxford, England. Additionally, in the same race Bannister also won gold at the 1954 Commonwealth Games over the same distance.  Bannister went on to become a neurologist after his athletics career came to an end in 1954.  He was then knighted in 1975. Bannister was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011, but kept his spirits high, saying: “I do not want to make a fuss,” he said of the disease in 2014. “I make as light of it as I can.”

Sir Roger Bannister: First person to run a mile in under four minutes dies at 88


Editorial credit: chrisdorney /

Cleveland Indians’ Michael Brantley Progressing In Recovery From Ankle Surgery

Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley is making progress in his recovery from ankle surgery. The 30-year-old Brantley has progressed to lateral agility drills as he works his way back from right ankle surgery in October with an eye toward playing as much as possible this season. It is unsure if this means he will be ready for Cleveland’s opener at Seattle, however.  The two-time All-Star needed two surgeries to fix his shoulder and played in just 11 games in 2016, missing Cleveland’s run to the World Series. He appeared to be back on track last year before he injured his ankle while chasing a fly ball to left during a game on Aug. 8. 

Indians’ Michael Brantley: Begins defensive drills


Editorial credit: Henryk Sadura /