CINCINNATI – Nick Castellanos hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning hours after deciding to appeal a two-game suspension for his part in a brawl, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 on Monday night.
Jose De Leon tied a career high with nine strikeouts and allowed two runs, three hits and two walks over five innings to help the Reds secure a third straight win.
Mike Moustakas tied it at 2 in the fifth with his first home run of the season, a solo shot to right field off Luis Oviedo. Moustakas also doubled and scored in the eighth. Sean Doolittle (1-0) struck out two in a perfect seventh, and Amir Garrett allowed a run but completed his first save.
Phillip Evans and Colin Moran both homered off De Leon in the first inning.
Castellanos connected off Sam Howard (0-1) for his third homer of the season. He admired the shot as he walked out of the box, whipped his bat toward the home dugout and yelled toward teammates as he shuffled toward first.
Castellanos was disciplined by Major League Baseball on Monday afternoon for sparking an incident with the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday – the right fielder flexed while standing over pitcher Jake Woodford moments after sliding into home. Woodford had hit Castellanos with a pitch moments before. His suspension is being held in abeyance until the appeal is heard.
The Reds’ offense has produced 30 runs over the first four games of the season, after scoring 27 in the first three games for the first time since 1976.
Reds pitchers held the Pirates to just one hit over the middle seven innings until Bryan Reynolds homered in the ninth.
De Leon’s first major league hit and RBI in his first at-bat since 2016 got the Reds on the board in the second.
De Leon fanned three batters in the third and fifth innings as Reds pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.
Pirates starter JT Brubaker, who grew up in nearby Springfield, Ohio, allowed a run through four innings in his second career start against the Reds.
Reds: Sonny Gray, who began the season on the 10-day injured list with a muscle strain in his back, threw 60 pitches over 4 2/3 innings at the Reds’ alternate training site in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday. “I felt really, really good,” Gray said. “I wanted to treat it like a normal start as much as I could. I was very pleased.”
Outfielder Jesse Winker has not played since leaving Saturday’s game with flu-like symptoms. He has not tested positive for COVID-19, according to manager David Bell.
Reds left-hander Wade Miley makes his season debut after injuries limited him to 14 1/3 innings last year, while right-hander Trevor Cahill debuts for the Pirates after signing a one-year deal in March.
Nearly everyone involved in the men’s college basketball tournament, it seems, cherishes a “One Shining Moment” memory.
Rutgers swingman Ron Harper Jr. recalls “just stalking YouTube” looking for that set-to-song montage. Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin can croon the tune’s opening line.
For Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert, what sticks out is watching the three-minute reel on TV as a high schooler after seeing a buzzer-beater lift Villanova to the 2016 NCAA title.
“The dream,” he says, “took off from there.”
Usually filled with big 3-pointers – like the one Kispert’s teammate Jalen Suggs banked in at the end of overtime to beat UCLA in the Final Four – and rim-rattling dunks, hugs and hand slaps, celebrations on court and in locker rooms, tears on the sidelines and in the stands, the video was set to make its return to March Madness on Monday night after unbeaten Gonzaga vs. Baylor for the championship.
Twelve months ago, there was no “One Shining Moment,” or tournament at all, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Associated Press asked players and coaches participating in this tournament – along with the man responsible for the famous ditty – about a phenomenon that’s been around for more than 30 years.
Baylor coach Scott Drew calls the video “one of the things you grow up on.”
“You want to be on that,” Drew said. “You want to be in the song.”
His younger brother, Grand Canyon coach Bryce Drew, talks about sneaking out of his room to check out past-bedtime title games and the highlights that followed.
Scott Drew was an assistant to his father with Valparaiso in 1998 when Bryce earned a couple of cameos in that year’s tournament-closing video by hitting “The Shot” for the Crusaders against Ole Miss.
Now that they’re both head coaches themselves, they use the edited-to-match-the-lyrics recaps to motivate their players.
Iona guard Asante Gist says “some people got emotional” when his team’s coach, Rick Pitino, played the well-known music “every single day before practice.”
Villanova coach Jay Wright says the videos showing his team’s two trophy-winning performances come in handy as a recruiting tool.
Does Bryce Drew show his team his own claim to “Shining” fame?
“No,” he said with a smile. “If it didn’t happen five minutes ago on Twitter, they could care less.”
Try asking the man who authored the title song, David Barrett, which version – he sang the first; Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross, Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo performed others – is the best, and you’ll hear a hearty laugh.
“I don’t know if you have children,” Barrett says over the phone. “Do you have a favorite child?”
Barrett’s happy to share some of the history: He wrote it after explaining the poetry of basketball to a waitress at a Michigan bar; it was part of an eight-song recording entitled “Around 2 a.m.” that he describes as “arguably one of the most depressing records ever made”; the opening line was almost “The gun goes off ...”; CBS originally intended to play the song after a Super Bowl.
Instead, it’s become a fixture at the end of the men’s basketball tourney (ESPN plays a video, with other music, after airing the women’s college hoops championship). While millions watch at home, the winners see their “One Shining Moment” at the arena.
West Virginia guard Miles McBride knows Barrett’s tune well. He’s heard it countless times – not just with his ears, but between his ears.
“Every kid in the backyard,” McBride says, “dreams of that last shot at the buzzer ... and just hearing that song play over and over in your head.”
CBS executive producer Harold Bryant acknowledges the song, written in 1986, “is not the most modern song,” but thinks the key to its appeal is “it elicits these memories and emotions.”
The video is mainly compiled by three people at the network, with snippet suggestions from others, making for a work-in-progress.
“You build it up over the course of the tournament,” Bryant says. “If you tried to wait until the last week, you’d be scrambling.”
His favorite moment?
“The piccolo player crying the stands (in 2015). That was a shot that sticks out at me,” he says. “Or there’s always a little kid.”
With fewer fans and zero student bands or cheerleaders, he says this year is “a little more of a challenge.”
Still, this sentiment from Shaka Smart, the coach who took VCU to the 2011 Final Four and recently left Texas for Marquette, holds true: “You don’t want the song to end, because when the song ends, the season is over.”
AUGUSTA, Ga. – There’s a bronze medal that Tyler Strafaci’s father has kept in his office for years. It’s strictly off-limits, not to be played with.
Strafaci hasn’t always adhered to that policy.
“I’ve gone there and touched it a few times,” he said.
The medal is a prized family artifact. It’s Frank Strafaci Sr.’s contestant badge from the 1950 Masters. And this week, Tyler Strafaci will tee it up on the same Augusta National grounds where his grandfather played three generations ago.
Strafaci is the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and one of three amateurs in this year’s Masters. He’ll play the first two rounds with defending champion Dustin Johnson, and he’ll do so with his late grandfather – whom he never met – in mind.
“The whole Strafaci family is an American dream,” he said.
He explained it like this: The family arrived in the U.S. from Italy, settled in New York and started from nothing. Frank Strafaci became an elite amateur golfer, winning the U.S. Public Links title in 1935, finishing ninth in the 1937 U.S. Open and qualifying for two Masters.
The first of those was in 1938, when he withdrew during the tournament because he felt compelled to defend his title in the North and South Amateur. He thought that would enhance his chances of fulfilling one of his dreams by playing in the Walker Cup.
“It just shows how different the tournament has changed over the years where my grandfather actually withdrew from the Masters to play in a tournament other than the Masters,” Tyler Strafaci said. “If I did that, I don’t think I would ever be invited back.”
Frank Strafaci eventually became director of golf at Doral. He played Arnold Palmer in the U.S. Amateur, Palmer’s final event before turning pro. He was good friends with Babe Zaharias. He rubbed elbows with Jack Nicklaus, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
And now, 71 years after the elder Strafaci last played the Masters, his grandson gets a turn. Tyler Strafaci has played the course several times already, after backing off his plan to never come to Augusta National until he qualified for the Masters. Turns out, when one plays college golf at Georgia Tech – the school where Bobby Jones, the founder and one of the designers of Augusta National, went – one plays the course.
Strafaci figured that out right away when he told Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler during Masters week that he was committing to the Yellow Jackets.
“Are you going to the Masters?” Heppler asked.
“No, I’m going to wait till I play in the golf tournament,” Strafaci said.
“That’s probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Heppler replied.
Strafaci went, and now, he’s playing for real. His Georgia Tech roommate, Andy Ogletree, played it last year – he was the reigning U.S. Amateur champion – and won low amateur honors. Strafaci is savoring this chance and said he was planning to stay Tuesday night in the Crow’s Nest, the part of the clubhouse devoted to housing amateur players during the tournament.
“This will be my only time playing the Masters as an amateur, so I’m going to use every bit of it,” Strafaci said. “I’m just going to be 22 years old and just have a good time.”
As an amateur, he’s not playing this week for money. The low amateur player each year at the Masters gets a sterling silver cup as his prize, provided that he makes the cut after 36 holes. Tiger Woods has gotten that award. So have Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar.
Strafaci won’t have to overcome huge odds or a big field to be low amateur, since he’s one of only three in the Masters this year; Joe Long got in by winning the British Amateur and Ollie Osborne made it because he was the runner-up to Strafaci at the U.S. Amateur.
There has never been a Masters with fewer amateurs than in this year’s edition. There have been other years with three, most recently 2008. In every year since, until now, there’s been between five and seven amateurs invited.
“It’s just cool to be here,” Strafaci said. “Again, I’m going to have fun. And all that stuff about my grandfather and Andy playing, it just makes the experience way cooler, and I’m glad they did. It’s probably going to make my experience way easier here because I’ve learned so much about it through Andy and people that played in the past.”
Strafaci is about to turn pro and will do so after the Walker Cup. His grandfather never got to represent the U.S. in that competition, so Strafaci making that team finally fulfilled that part of the legacy.
“He had quite the unbelievable career coming from no money,” Strafaci said. “He was very inspirational. So just being in the Masters and playing a tournament that he did, it’s a dream come true. It brings me closer to him. I would have loved to meet him, but as my father says, he would have much rather me play in the Masters than him.”
NEW YORK – Sam Darnold was the face of a hopeful franchise, a promising playmaker who might just be the New York Jets’ quarterback for at least the next decade.
It took only three years for that dream to fizzle and fade into disappointment.
Darnold was traded Monday to the Carolina Panthers, ending months of speculation and a stint in New York that was marked by a few flashes of brilliance, inconsistent play and unfortunate injuries.
And with the rebooting Jets holding the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft, they’re likely moving on to another young signal-caller – perhaps BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields – who they hope will deliver the team back to respectability.
New York acquired a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and second- and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft. That gives them 21 selections over the next two drafts, with seven of them coming in the first two rounds.
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Darnold gets a much-needed change of scenery and a new opportunity in Carolina, where he’ll also be reunited with wide receiver Robby Anderson. The quarterback could also quickly seek some measure of revenge this season when the Panthers host the Jets.
“I like his toughness,” Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said. “He can move in the pocket and make plays down the field with his arm. All of those really stood out about him. I think in this offense with Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, that he can really take that next step.”
Darnold was considered an untouchable player on the Jets’ roster in his second season, but it became clear they could move on when GM Joe Douglas backed off that stance in March. Douglas praised Darnold, but acknowledged he would answer calls from teams interested in acquiring him.
The market for Darnold didn’t appear as robust as the Jets had hoped. But the speculation New York would move on from the young QB only intensified when Douglas, new coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur all traveled to Provo, Utah, to watch quarterback Wilson’s impressive passing display at BYU’s pro day March 26.
With Darnold’s future uncertain, New York had also long been among the teams mentioned as possible suitors for Deshaun Watson, who requested a trade from Houston. But he’s currently dealing with legal issues as he is accused of sexual assault and harassment in lawsuits filed by 21 women.
“I want to publicly acknowledge the commitment, dedication, and professionalism Sam displayed while with the Jets. He is a tough-minded, talented football player whose NFL story has not been written yet,” Douglas said in a statement. “While all these things are true, this move is in the short- and long-term best interests for both this team and him.
“We thank Sam for all of his work on behalf of this organization and wish him well as he continues his career.”
Then-GM Mike Maccagnan traded up to select Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 out of USC. Darnold’s California cool personality played well in New York and he seemed unfazed by the lofty expectations and the Big Apple spotlight.
But a foot injury as a rookie, a bout with mononucleosis in his second year and a shoulder injury last season sidelined him for stints. And when he did play, Darnold’s mistakes overshadowed the positives. That led to serious doubts as to whether he could ever truly lift the franchise. Former coach Adam Gase also acknowledged he didn’t help Darnold enough to thrive in their two seasons together, and the Jets lacked playmaking talent to help him take the next step in his development.
Another likely determining factor was his contract. Darnold was entering the fourth year of his rookie deal and was scheduled to count $9.8 million against the Jets’ salary cap. Instead, they will get $4.8 million in relief and a $5 million “dead” charge for 2021. New York would have had until May 3 to decide whether to exercise Darnold’s fifth-year option – which would have cost the Jets $18.9 million, fully guaranteed.
And that was a price – and a risk – that proved too high.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press the Panthers will discuss picking up the fifth-year option for Darnold with his agent. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced its plans.
Douglas is in his third season as the Jets’ GM, but is overseeing just his second full offseason. With a new coaching staff in place and soon a new quarterback, the entire franchise can fully reset as New York tries to end a 10-season playoff drought – the longest active streak in the NFL.
In 38 games with the Jets – all starts – he threw for 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. Darnold is also coming off his worst statistical season with just nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He’s the first quarterback taken in the top five picks to not make it to a fourth season with the team that drafted him since JaMarcus Russell, who went No. 1 overall to the Raiders in 2007.
For Carolina, the trade further clouds the future of Teddy Bridgewater, who was 4-11 last season as a starter and struggled to win close games down the stretch. Bridgewater completed 69.1% of his passes, throwing for 15 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. The team’s primary backups last season were P.J. Walker and Will Grier.
After the season, Rhule said of Bridgewater: “He’s our quarterback.” But the Panthers attempted to trade for Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, who wound up with the Los Angeles Rams, and also were interested in Watson. Bridgewater has two years remaining on a three-year, $63 million contract that he signed in 2020.
“There are things that we have to work through, obviously,” Fitterer said. “We’re going to talk to Teddy’s agent and find the right place, whether it is here or wherever it may be. We will figure things out, contract-side as well.”
The Panthers have the eighth overall pick in the draft and it was widely suspected they could use the selection on a quarterback. But with Darnold in the fold, the Panthers are likely to target other areas of need including offensive tackle, linebacker, tight end or cornerback.