Brazilian soccer fan declared brain dead

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Brazilian soccer fan declared brain dead

From Comcast SportsNet
SAO PAULO (AP) -- A Palmeiras fan was declared brain dead on Tuesday, the second casualty from a confrontation involving nearly 500 people from rival groups last weekend. The Sao Camilo hospital said the 19-year-old fan remains on a ventilator but will not recover after receiving head injuries in the fighting on Sunday. His name was not immediately released by the hospital. On Sunday, 21-year-old Palmeiras supporter Andre Alves died after being shot in the head in the confrontation. Two other fans remain hospitalized, a 17-year-old with head injuries and a 23-year-old who was shot in the hip and needed surgery. The announcement that the fan was brain dead came as authorities decided to close the headquarters of the rival fan groups involved in the fighting -- Palmeiras' Mancha Verde and Corinthians' Gavioes da Fiel. The Sao Paulo state football federation indefinitely banned them on Monday from entering stadiums. Authorities seized computers and other material that could bring more information about those involved in the fight, and detained several members suspected of participating in the confrontation. Iron bars and other possible weapons used in the brawl were also seized. Police said one of Alves' brother, a vice president at the Mancha Verde, was shot in the leg during another fight last year. The confrontation on Sunday raised concerns about escalating fan violence in Brazil, and authorities said they will have to take action to keep the fighting from spreading with the country staging the 2014 World Cup. Corinthians' stadium will host the World Cup opener in 2014. "We are against this type of violence because everybody loses," said former Palmeiras player and current club director Cesar Sampaio, who attended Alves' funeral on Monday. "We have to take a stance to try to put an end to this right now." There hadn't been a death linked to fan violence in Brazil since early last year, when a Corinthians supporter was killed after reportedly being ambushed by Palmeiras fans. Police believe Sunday's fight came in retaliation for that death, and Palmeiras supporters are already using social media networks to say they will avenge this weekend's killing. Police were investigating reports that Sunday's fight was set up on the Internet. The Mancha Verde released a note saying the group was ambushed by the Corinthians supporters, but the Gavioes da Fiel denied the allegations. The fans used iron bars, pieces of wood and rocks in the confrontation which lasted several minutes until riot police arrived to intervene. It happened several hours before the match between Corinthians and Palmeiras, several kilometers from the stadium. There had been few incidents involving fan groups in the past few years, but several have been reported in recent months, including some between Corinthians and Palmeiras fans. About a week ago, a 28-year-old fan of small club Guarani died from head injuries after fighting with Ponte Preta supporters in the city of Campinas, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Sao Paulo. The death prompted authorities to ban the teams' fan groups from stadiums. The same measure was taken by authorities in the northeastern city of Salvador because of recent incidents involving Bahia fans. There were also fights in Goias state and in Rio de Janeiro recently. Other South American nations have had to deal with fan violence. One man was killed and dozens were injured in two separate incidents in Colombia earlier this month.

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt made an unexpected appearance in left field Wednesday night, and his performance got approval from a pretty good outfield authority.

Former A’s teammate Josh Reddick was watching from the Houston Astros’ dugout and thought the catcher-by-trade handled himself very well.

“I was talking to (Houston manager) A.J. (Hinch) and I said, ‘It’s gonna be interesting because you know at least one ball’s gonna get to him,’” Reddick said. “You start laughing because four of the five that were hit that inning were hit to him.”

With the A’s bench short-handed, manager Bob Melvin sent Vogt to left after he pinch-hit for Rajai Davis, and indeed Vogt got a workout throughout the top of the eighth. That added a bit of levity to a 5-1 loss that otherwise provided the A’s very little to cheer about.

They were bottled up by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers and four relievers as the Astros won their ninth in a row at the Coliseum and their third straight in this four-game series. A’s starter Sean Manaea was rolling through five scoreless innings before Houston blitzed him for three runs in the sixth. The Astros tacked on a couple more late runs against Oakland’s bullpen and that was enough on a night the A’s mustered just four hits total.

After Vogt delivered an RBI groundout that scored the A’s only run in the seventh, Melvin wanted to keep Vogt’s left-handed bat in the lineup, so he asked the veteran catcher if he could handle left.

“I said yeah, absolutely,” Vogt said.

It’s easy to forget that Vogt came up through the Tampa Bay Rays’ system playing a lot of outfield, and he played more than a dozen games in the outfield in 2014 for the A’s, mostly in right.

He sure got tested. The Astros’ first four hitters of the eighth all hit balls in Vogt’s direction. He got a routine fly from Brian McCann, a difficult low liner off the bat of Yuli Gurriel that he smothered for a single, a double from Alex Bregman that he did a good job cutting off and a sacrifice fly to the warning track from Jake Marisnick.

“I had the adrenaline shot run up and I was loose and ready to go,” Vogt said. “Obviously I was a little more focused than probably your average outfielder out there. I’m glad the first one came to me, otherwise I would have been sweatin’ it for a while.”

Vogt has lost time recently behind the plate against right-handers to Josh Phegley, who has done an effective job controlling the running game. And though you shouldn’t by any means expect to see Melvin running Vogt to the outfield often, you also shouldn’t assume it won’t happen at all.

At some point, the A’s figure to call up catcher Bruce Maxwell as part of the crop of young players they’re trying to give more time too. If the left-handed hitting Maxwell were to share catching duties with Phegley, and if the A’s were to trade Yonder Alonso (again, we’re talking ‘ifs’ here), it’s conceivable Vogt’s left-handed bat could be put to use at spots other than catcher, perhaps at first base or, in a pinch, even the outfield.

His old teammate thinks he could pull it off.

“I remember him playing in right in ’14 when I was (injured),” Reddick said. “He did a pretty good job out there, it’s not like he’s foreign to it. He knows what he’s doing.”

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

There is no need for the Warriors fan to grow anxious with the news Wednesday night that the NBA salary cap and luxury tax threshold will be roughly two percent lower than initially projected.

For one, those players committed to returning are not likely to change their minds.

For two, the cap/tax figures also will influence other teams that might target members of the Warriors, such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Even with the lower numbers, reported by multiple outlets, Kevin Durant remains in line for a raise from the $26.5 million he made last season, and he already has made clear his intentions to accept less than the $31.8 million the Warriors could’ve paid him.

With the cap expected to be about $99 million instead of the roughly $101 million originally forecast, that figure falls between $30 million and $31 million.

Durant’s willingness to be flexible -- designed to help the team in its attempts to retain Iguodala and maybe Livingston -- remains the most significant factor for the Warriors as they proceed. Even if Durant takes 10 percent less than, say, $31 million, he still would get a modest increase.

Stephen Curry, who also has announced his intention to re-sign with the Warriors, still could receive about $35 million in Year 1 of a five-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million.

When the numbers are that astronomical, losing a small percentage is not such a crucial factor.

The Warriors surely knew the cap/tax figures would take a hit. Both figures are impacted by revenue generated through the playoffs, which featured only 79 of a possible 105 games.

Only two series -- Jazz-Clippers and Celtics-Wizards -- went the full seven games and eight of the 15 series ended in five or fewer games, including five sweeps.

The Warriors accounted for three of those sweeps.