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Retired players being hurt by baseball’s coronavirus hiatus

The dominoes moved swiftly — instantaneously, really — upon the shutdown’s execution.

“When Major League Baseball postponed the start of its season on Thursday, March 12, my phone rang like the ‘Sell!’ scene in the movie ‘Trading Places,’ ” Andrew Levy wrote in a text message, “with just about every client either postponing or canceling the player appearances that had been scheduled.”

Without games or group get-togethers, there sure as heck wasn’t a need for your favorite retired ballplayer to liven up an event. Hence this contingent of guys who make a living off their name long after their final appearance in uniform has, like so many others, taken a hit from the coronavirus.

“My living is baseball camps, clinics, appearances at the ballpark. Everything is baseball,” Dwight Gooden said. “Everything’s on hold. I’ve got seven kids, six grandkids and two ex-wives. They don’t want to hear that. They just want to know where their check is.”

Gooden, to be clear, laughed heartily as he said this.

“There’s no self-pity,” he declared, a sentiment echoed by everyone interviewed on this topic. Yet the ex-players’ wide-open calendars illustrate just how deep this pandemic drills into so many different walks of life.

“Do I enjoy my appearances? Absolutely. It keeps my head above water,” Hall of Famer Goose Gossage said. “Being with the fans and doing some things, it allows my baseball life to keep giving.”

Levy owns Wish You Were Here Productions, a sports marketing agency based in Manhattan that arranges personal appearances for athletes — some active, some retired like Gossage and Gooden — broadcasters and sports personalities like front-office executives. The company also offers a luxury suite at Yankee Stadium for Yankees games and other events, another sidelined revenue stream. To date, all booked appearances through June 1 for the people he represents have been either postponed or canceled, Levy said.

For retired baseball players, the majority of Levy’s group, the timing of this shutdown couldn’t have been much worse.

“October to March are the lean months to tighten the belt,” Levy wrote. “So when that annual routine is broken and that time frame is extended, it becomes very difficult to manage.”

Many retired players possess the earning power to pull down six figures annually, and only the imagination — and, now, the pandemic — can limit the range of activities. For instance, before the world changed, Gossage had committed to an appearance with Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation in Tampa, corporate executive breakfasts and golf outings in South Carolina and California, a 75th birthday party in New Jersey, a corporate dinner in Denver and an autograph show in Virginia.

“I’ve got a nice pension,” Gossage said. “I just think of the poor people that this is affecting day to day, like the restaurant people. … Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, that doesn’t last very long.”

Gossage’s long-ago Yankees teammate Mickey Rivers, also represented by Levy, spoke more about his loss of social life than his loss of income. In good times, he goes out in Florida with former ballplayers like Lou Piniella, Mike Torrez, Joe Rudi and Rennie Stennett, or plays cards with them.

“Now, we’re just talking,” said Rivers, whose legendary talking makes him a popular guest at in-season parties.

In this new environment, Levy has booked a handful of virtual appearances for some folks. Yet he and those he represents largely find themselves on an unwanted break, waiting and hoping for the dominoes to be rearranged and stabilized.

“We control what we can control in baseball, just like life,” Gossage said. “… We control what we can in our lives, and we deal with the crap that comes at us like this coronavirus.”

“I’m confident when this ‘reset’ is over, individuals and companies will go back to incorporating a sports celebrity or suite into their marketing plans,” Levy said. “It will once again add a feel-good” element to their events, and when we get past this national crisis, everyone is going to need to feel good … more than ever before!”

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UFC ‘Fight Island’ being built ‘right now’ says Dana White and will be ready to stage events in just a month – The Sun

THE UFC will have a "fight island" ready to stage events ready within a month, says president Dana White.

Originally set for Tachi Palace Hotel in California on April 18, UFC 249 became the most high-profile MMA event to be cancelled because of the coronavirus, when White finally axed it earlier this week.


The 50-year-old did so despite having bullishly insisted that it would take place in spite of the global pandemic – with Justin Gaethje fighting Tony Ferguson in Khabib Nurmagomedov's place.

But following pressure from Disney and ESPN executives, White finally conceded and pulled the plug on the much-anticipated event.

The American remains desperate for the UFC to remain ahead of the curve in combating the effects of Covid-19, however, and has come up with an innovative idea to get fights going again within "a month".

Plus, I can ship guys over there earlier, and they can start training over there, on the island.

He told ESPN: "That’s why I’m telling all my guys not to worry because ‘Fight Island’ is gonna happen.

"All the infrastructure is being built right now and getting put in place. As we get closer to that, then I’ll start figuring out booking fights, getting guys ready.

"Plus, I can ship guys over there earlier, and they can start training over there, on the island.

“So, once that’s all in place – we’re looking at like a month – I’ll have that all put together, and guys can start training and can go there.

"I’m sure people are gonna be ready to get out of their houses in another month and go to an island somewhere and train.”

No one knows the location of the 'Fight Island', but fans have speculated that it could be off the coast of California.

White, who it is fair to say has had a torrid week, was eager to praise what would have been his venue for UFC 249.

He continued: "One thing I need to point out is that Tachi Palace in California, the Indian reservation, has had our back this whole time and has stood their ground and was willing to do this fight.

“Let me tell you this, when the world gets back to normal, the California event will be at Tachi Palace.

"I’m doing a fight there. I’m going to bring them a big fight, and I appreciate them standing with me in this thing."

He then went on to deliver a rallying cry, assuring fans that his promotion would be returning to TV screens as soon as possible.

"We will be the first sport back," he insisted.

"Fight Island is real. It’s a real thing. The infrastructure is being built right now and that’s really going to happen. It will be on ESPN."

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World News

Single mum’s fury at being ‘told to leave kids aged 4 & 7 OUTSIDE Iceland because kids aren’t allowed’ on lockdown shop – The Sun

A SINGLE mum has accused Iceland of discriminating against one-parent families after she was told she wasn't allowed to do an essential shop with her two young children.

Elena Sotiriou, 46, who lives in Upminster, Essex, claims she was told by the manager of her local branch that she'd have to leave the store as 'kids aren't allowed in' during the coronavirus lockdown.

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Miss Sotiriou said she was left shocked and angry after the incident, which happened when she was shopping with her children Georgia, seven, and Ioannis Marino, four.

The mum says she would use online shopping – but the next available slot isn't until the end of April.

She has now taken to Facebook to slam the company, writing: "I am a regular customer and had no bread or milk and some other stuff I needed.

"I queued outside Iceland until it was our turn to go inside.

"Obviously I had my two young kids with me as they're both too young to stay at home.

"I'm a single mum – we have no relatives here at all in the UK.

"Their grandparents, aunties and dad are all back in Cyprus."

Miss Sotiriou, a charity shop volunteer, kept her children as close as she could when she walked in and began to do her food shopping.

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But she was quickly approached by a member of staff who told her children aren't allowed in.

"I tried to explain to her, first kindly, that I have no one else to help me as I'm a single mum and can't leave my kids home on their own.

"Her reply was that she doesn't make the rules and there's a clear sign at the front of the shop saying children are not allowed.

"I was angry and told her I wouldn't be shopping there again and she replied that it's 'my problem'."

Miss Sotiriou went to the tills and asked to speak to the manager.

"To my disbelief, the lady I had the argument with was actually the manager," she said.

She has not yet received a response after complaining to Iceland.

"I think it's unfair and discriminatory. How are all the single parents with no help and kids under age able to survive if they can't enter the shops?" she said.

Supermarkets across the UK have introduced strict rules to deal with the outbreak of panic-buying during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Iceland's opening times have changed and some items have been rationed.

The chain has also limited its delivery service to those over state pension age.

A spokesperson for the supermarket said: "We are well aware that many of our customers are single parents and there is certainly no ban on bringing children into stores where parents have no alternative."




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World News

Heart attack victims being ‘left in homes to die if paramedics can’t get pulse’ at scene due to coronavirus pandemic – The Sun

HEART attack victims are reportedly being left to die in their homes if paramedics can’t get a pulse at scene as the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on hospitals.

The Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City (NYC REMAC) has apparently advised Emergency Medical Technicians not to bring cardiac arrest patients to the hospital if revival attempts at the scene are unsuccessful.


According to the REMSC memo, sent to NYC EMTs on Tuesday and obtained by the New York Post, states: “Artificial ventilation and/or compressions must not be delayed.

"[Chest] compressions must begin as soon as it is determined the patient does not have a pulse.”

In the case patient's pulse does not start back up, EMTs will call a time of death on scene.

The guidelines add: “No adult non-traumatic or blunt traumatic cardiac arrest is to be transported to a hospital with manual or mechanical compression in progress without either return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC)…

"Or a direct order from a medical control physician unless there is imminent physical danger to the EMS provider on the scene.

“In the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of the NYPD.”

Despite these guidelines being sent out to NYC EMTs this week, some EMT workers in other areas of the state are saying this protocol was implemented prior to the rise in coronavirus cases.

An anonymous source told The Sun: "We already had that implemented in Suffolk County, NY.

"If we work them up fully on scene and they are still in asystole [cardiac arrest] after 20 minutes we can call a time of death."

Before coronavirus swept the city and overloaded hospitals, heart attack victims would be normally transported to hospitals regardless of being revived at the scene.

Emergency Room Dr. Darien Sutton told New York's ABC7 the new protocol is "terrifying."

He said: "It almost seems like it's never stopping, people keep coming and coming and coming and there's just no space to put them.

"As a doctor in New York and as a New Yorker, I have family that live here, and when I hear things like that I obviously get afraid, fearful for the livelihood of my family.

"It is terrifying, it is really terrifying."

The US now as at least 215,000 people infected with the deadly virus, and over 85,000 of those are in New York state.

More than 2,219 people have died from coronavirus in New York York city alone.

The Regional Emergency Medical Services Council didn't respond to The Sun's request for comment.

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase and social distancing guidelines remain in place, US unemployment claims hit another record high at 6.6 million.


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Celebrities

Andy Cohen: Being Away From My Son Is the ‘Worst’ Part of Coronavirus

Getting through it. Andy Cohen revealed the hardest part of his coronavirus journey after testing positive for the virus earlier this month.

“I’ll tell you what I know from the nanny cam and from video,” Cohen, 51, said during an episode of Sirius XM’s Jeff Lewis Live on Tuesday, March 24. “I can’t see him, which is the very worst part.”

The Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen host cannot be near his son, Benjamin, 13 months, due to his positive coronavirus diagnosis, but he knows he’s in good hands.

“He’s great and his nanny [tested] negative,” the Bravo host explained.

As for his current health, the Missouri native admitted that he’s been battling through his recovery as the virus is “working its way through my body.”

According to Cohen, he has gone through periods of having “horrible” symptoms during the illness, which include a lack of appetite.

“Two days ago, before I went to bed, I took a shower and I was walking into the shower and I looked at myself and said, ‘Holy s—t, you look great,’” Cohen told Lewis, joking that his aversion to food right now has helped him slim down. “I saw a picture of a pizza yesterday [and] I thought, ‘I can’t wait to eat pizza.’”

The talk show host added: “When I get better, I’m going to gain so much weight. It’s bound to happen.”

Cohen announced on Friday, March 20, that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“After a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great, I have tested positive for Coronavirus,” he wrote on Instagram, explaining that WWHL would no longer be filmed from his home as originally planned.

Before his COVID-19 diagnosis, the New York City resident revealed that he would work from home in order to keep his show going during the pandemic.

The first episode, which was set to air on Sunday, March 22, was supposed to include interviews with Jerry O’Connell, NeNe Leakes and Ramona Singer.

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Lifestyle

Yankees are being hampered by loitering 2019 injuries

Aaron Judge has become the third key Yankee to be shut down with an injury that initially was suffered last season.

Following a battery of medical tests to determine the source of the mysterious pain that has hampered the pinstriped slugger throughout spring training, Judge finally was diagnosed with a stress fracture of his first right rib, with Aaron Boone adding that he “wouldn’t say that (surgery is) off the table.”

Judge, who has been limited by injuries to 214 games the past two seasons following his breakout rookie campaign in 2017, will rest for two weeks before a determination will be made on surgery. Boone added the Yankees and the team’s new medical staff believe the injury first occurred when Judge made a diving catch in right field in September.

“It’s a tough diagnosis to find. So that’s what we’re dealing with. It’s probably an injury that dates back to September when he dove,” Boone told reporters Friday in Tampa. “Signs are that it shows signs of healing. So we’re going to give it the next couple of weeks and then we’ll retest to see how much healing is going on with that rib.”

Starting pitchers James Paxton and Luis Severino also were shut down in February with injuries they first reported in 2019.

Paxton underwent a microscopic lumbar surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst and repair a herniated disc in his back on Feb. 5. The surgery comes with a recovery period of three to four months, meaning the lefty could be sidelined through the end of May.

Severino will miss the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27; he also had an existing bone chip remove from his right elbow. The two-time All-Star reported discomfort in his right forearm following a Game 3 start during the ALCS last October against Houston. He would have been on the mound if the Yankees had forced a seventh game against the Astros, but he continued to experience discomfort during the offseason and at the start of spring training, particularly when throwing his changeup.

Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton also is expected to miss Opening Day with a strained right calf after appearing in just 18 games in 2019 due to a litany of injuries, while center fielder Aaron Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 31 and is not expected back until some point this summer.

The Yankees overhauled their training and conditioning staff over the winter after 30 players (over 39 stints) spent time on the injured list. Eric Cressey was installed as the Director of Player Health and Performance, while longtime athletic trainer Steve Donohue was transitioned to an emeritus role.

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Anita Rani says being Asian, female & northern made career a struggle

It was a triple whammy: BBC presenter Anita Rani says being Asian, female and northern made her early career a struggle

  • Countryfile presenter Anita Rani says she faced a tougher struggle than most 
  • Miss Rani, 42, says she is ‘triple whammy’ of being Asian, northern and a woman
  • Last year the presenter criticised ‘posh white men’ being the ‘default’ on TV

Countryfile presenter Anita Rani said she suffered a ‘triple whammy’ in her TV career by being Asian, a woman and a northerner.

The 42-year-old has taken on various presenting roles and has fronted numerous BBC documentaries. 

She also reached the semi-finals of Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 and walked the runway at London Fashion Week last month.

Countryfile presenter Anita Rani said she suffered a ‘triple whammy’ in her TV career by being Asian, a woman and a northerner. The 42-year-old has taken on various presenting roles and has fronted numerous BBC documentaries [File photo]

But despite a varied career, Miss Rani said she has faced a tougher struggle than most.

‘I’m a woman but I’m also an Asian woman and I’m a northerner – that’s a triple whammy,’ she told The Sun’s Fabulous magazine.

‘I’ve got three things that are different from most people who work in TV. People make a judgment about you the minute they see you.’

Miss Rani grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, with her brother and parents – who moved to the UK 40 years ago.

She also reached the semi-finals of Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 and walked the runway at London Fashion Week (above) last month

But the presenter revealed that she feels as if she has to justify why she should present TV shows that aren’t about Asians.

The One Show presenter fronted a BBC series about Bollywood but executives were less keen when she pitched a follow-up about Hollywood.

She added: ‘You feel you just have to suck it up and get on with it because you don’t want to rock the boat and women around the world will understand what I’m talking about.

‘Racism p***** me off and sexism p***** me off. There are quite a few people in TV I’d take down. I’m like Arya Stark from Game Of Thrones, I’ve got my list of people!’

And last year Miss Rani criticised ‘posh white men’ being the ‘default’ on TV. 

She feels more positive about the future of the industry but said the ‘power structures need to change’.

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Lady Gaga Stops Being an '*sshole' to Create New Song 'Stupid Love'

Self-criticism is part of the work of many great artists. Musicians from Elvis Presley to Eminem have released tracks where they reflected on their personal flaws. In contrast, Lady Gaga went for a direct approach by criticizing herself in an interview.

In an interview with Zane Lowe on Feb. 28, 2020, Gaga called herself an “*sshole” for making a surprising career decision. Her words don’t really fit with her public image as a humanitarian. Here’s how Gaga’s latest single “Stupid Love” and a superstar producer fit into all of this.

The biggest producer of the past 20 years

Max Martin is one of the most famous producers who’s ever lived. According to Official Charts, he’s given us numerous massive hits over the past twenty years. His biggest hits include “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears and “Roar” by Katy Perry. He’s worked with almost every popular contemporary singer. In contrast, Gaga never worked with him – until now.

Gaga is known for writing and producing her own music. Consequently, when her career first began, many critics took her more seriously than many other pop stars. Due to her commitment to writing her own music, Gaga was hesitant to work with Martin.

According to MTV News, Gaga told Lowe “I’ve never worked with him, I’ve always sort of gone, ‘I write my own music, I produce myself, I don’t need to work with Max, right?’” She added, “I decided to stop being an *sshole, meet him at least, you know?” Together, the two crafted Gaga’s new single “Stupid Love.”

Why Lady Gaga previously criticized superstar producers

An old interview might give fans more insight into why Gaga previously wouldn’t work with Martin. Gaga previously made critical comments about superstar producers in a 2011 interview. Vulture says these comments reflect on the likes of Martin, even if Gaga didn’t specifically name him.

In that interview, Gaga said superstar producers are harmful to the music industry. In Gaga’s view, too many people erroneously believe producers create hits, not artists. She finds this development “the most dangerous thing that has happened to this business.” 

In Gaga’s view, the idea producers are the key to an artist’s success destroys an artist’s credibility. Gaga dislikes when producers prevent an artist from controlling their own career. In Gaga’s words, “the key to the success of the music industry [is] allowing the artist to creatively run the ship.”

Has Lady Gaga lost her autonomy?

Gaga’s concerns are certainly valid as artists are generally more compelling when they are allowed to authentically express themselves. However, she’s obviously allowed herself to work with Martin despite any earlier misgivings about major producers. Maybe this shows there’s a balance to be found between artistic autonomy and collaborating with others. Working with Martin doesn’t mean Gaga’s autonomy is lost.

Gaga knows how to make her fans think. She’s raised interesting questions about artistic integrity, all while writing “Stupid Love,” a great pop song. What an achievement!

Also see: Lady Gaga Has a Boyfriend & His Ex Has Lots of Thoughts About That

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Celebrities

Finn Wolfhard recalls being stalked by adult ‘Stranger Things’ fans

Turns out creeps aren’t limited to the Upside Down.

“Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard recalled being stalked by adults after the Netflix show premiered in the new issue of Mastermind.

“When I was 13, some adults followed me back to my condo when I was shooting ‘It,’ Wolfhard, now 17, explained. “‘Stranger Things’ had just come out, and I was by myself. As I walked faster, they walked faster, and I was getting a bit antsy by the time I got to the door. Suddenly, they were like, ‘Hey, dude, can we get a selfie?’ And I was like, ‘No you can’t have a selfie! How about don’t follow children?’”

Apparently hiding in cars doesn’t dissuade his fans, either: “I also had my taxi followed and, out of the taxi, the person continued to be pretty relentless.”

Wolfhard’s brushes with borderline-stalker behavior sadly haven’t been confined to the sunny Canadian provinces where ‘It’ was filmed — they’ve spilled over into his music career as well. (Previously the singer for Calpurnia, Wolfhard’s new band as of November 2019 is The Aubreys.)

“I’ve had to stop shows because people were getting crushed, and Ryan Reynolds almost got injured in Brazil when he went to the barricade,” he added. “It was lucky that the hundred people who fell over it weren’t hurt.” Reynolds, 43, and Wolfhard both hail from Vancouver and are offscreen pals.

Wolfhard can currently be seen in “The Turning,” an adaptation of Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw,” now in theaters.

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