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Cuba on Deck?
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m., ESPN; 10 a.m., ESPN2)
Cuban-born rookies will be among MLB’s top prospects when the 2015 season begins Sunday. They could join the more than two dozen Cuban players already on MLB rosters, growing a talent pool that could further expand following President Obama’s announcement that the United States will re-establish relations with Cuba. Tom Farrey reports on what this means for the future of Cuban baseball and the major leagues.
“Well, that’s something big, isn’t it? It’s a dream come true, because we – all Cubans – want to play with the best, and the highest levels of the world, right? Which is the Major Leagues.” – Hector Mendoza, pitcher for Cuban national team, on the U.S. re-establishing relations with Cuba
“For all of Cuba’s faults, it clearly has the most structured amateur baseball system in Latin America. If the relations between the U.S. and Cuba were normalized, clearly there would be a huge, huge impact on Major League Baseball.” – Joe Kehoskie, former agent to Cuban players
No. 7-seed Michigan State has made a surprising run in this year’s Final Four, drawing attention to Tom Izzo’s program which last won the national title in 2000. The road to that championship began locally when those who lived in Flint, a city once synonymous with auto-industry success, needed a reason to cheer. And a group of four young men who called Flint home gave them that reason. ESPN’s Jemele Hill, as a beat writer for the Detroit Free Press, chronicled that journey of the “Flint-stones” and now reports for SC Featured.
“We were four guys from the same city with the same goal of winning a national championship.” – Charlie Bell, a member of Michigan State’s “Flint-stones”
“I grew up in what you would call a ghetto, it’s as simple as that, and it was drug selling going on, prostitution rings, it was murders, a lot of murders going on in my community and my neighborhood.” – Mateen Cleaves, a member of Michigan State’s “Flint-stones”
“Brings tears to my eyes. That’s why I’m still sitting here. It’s not from what I did, it’s from what those guys did for me.” – Tom Izzo, Michigan State head coach, on his 2000 NCAA championship team.
As she blossoms into adulthood and her image evolves, Lexi Thompson is close to cracking the next stratosphere in marketing and golf. Melissa Isaacson reports.
Aerobics world champion Ivan Veloz, a Mexican athlete, does not allow his economic shortcomings hinder his drive. He and his coach create their own makeshift equipment and travel long distances to train, yet manage to reach the top level of their competition.
ESPN launches a new ESPN.com
ESPN.com (Wednesday, April 1)
On Wednesday, ESPN launched a new ESPN.com and ESPN.co.uk, a site that has been re-engineered to deliver a more global, personal, elegant and lively sports experience to fans – anytime, anywhere. The launch marks the first day of a new era for ESPN digitally.
*Subject to change
Outside the Lines: “Sasha’s Story” and “Victims of Inaction” received first prize in the Education Writers Association’s Broadcast-Investigative Reporting category this week when the EWA announced the recipients for its 2014 National Awards for Education Reporting. Crediting Dwayne Bray, Chris Buckle, Tom Farrey, Tim Hays, Paula Lavigne, and Nicole Noren, the judges observed:
“This piece handled delicate problems (sexual assault, mental health) very well. It raised important questions and took school administrators to task. The reporter stood his ground when interviewing university officials, refusing to accept the classic bureaucratic answers. The victims weren’t pitied, but were the centerpiece of a compelling story about how at least one university handles uncomfortable issues involving students, especially when those students are athletes. The piece also drew a surprising distinction between how female and male athletes are treated differently. Well done.”