Michael Jordan in town, unseen at Infineon AMA race

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Michael Jordan in town, unseen at Infineon AMA race

May 14, 2011MOTORSPORTS PAGEJohn Crowley
CSNBayArea.com

SONOMA -- In addition to the hum of high-horsepower motorcycles, the buzz in the Infineon Raceway paddock is that NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is visiting.

The odds, however, of seeing his 6-foot-6 frame hanging around the grassy hillsides that flank the 2.32 mile, 12 turn road course are decidedly low.

Make no mistake, his presence at the AMA Pro Road Racing weekend and ownership of the Michael Jordan Motorsports operation is not a hobby.

But unless events require him to pay a visit to Victory Lane, Jordanprefers the comfort of a suite, where he was ensconced Saturday,according to an AMA spokesman.

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Said John Cardinale, the track's vice president of communications: "I know he's here this weekend but I haven't seen him," adding, "we've tried to get him to do some media stuff in the past but he always declined."

Founded in 2004 as an outgrowth of his passion for motorcycles and myriad business interests, Jordan's outfit is partnered with Suzuki and sponsor National Guard in the premiere AMA Superbike class. The team broke through in 2010 with a win in the high-profile Daytona 200.

In a press box conversation about the six-time NBA champion, a reporter from a prominent motorcycle magazine said he's heard that Jordan is friends with members of the Chicago police force, and the group takes to the Windy City on two wheels late at night, flouting the posted speed limits on spacious and fast Lakeshore Drive.

Saturday, he was distinctly off the radar.

A Bay Area newspaper photographer who was shooting a scenic from an adjacent suite did confirm Jordan was at the track, estimating the basketball legend's group at "15-to-20" people.

"He looked at me, he definitely saw my camera," said the photographer, who said the superstar was casually attired in a brown sportcoat. "But I knew better than to point it at him. That wasn't my assignment."

Jordan doesn't meet with the media on race weekends, nor does he spend any time in the garage area, which is typically a magnet for celebrities on race day.

A stop by the team's hauler only served to prove the point.

Riders Ben Bostrom (who carries the No. 23 on his motorcycle) and Roger Hayden (No. 45) were seen there earlier in the day signing autographs, working with engineers and having lunch with family and business associates.

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But the man who Forbes Magazine ranked in 2010 as the 20th most powerful celebrity in the world was nowhere to be found.

"Is the boss around?"a bystander asked a Michael Jordan Motorsports cook, cleaning up the team's hospitality lounge.

"He's upstairs," was the response, with a nod to the luxury suites above the front straightaway.

And that's apparently, where he's going to stay.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.

TURNING POINT

The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.

INJURY UPDATE 

Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.