Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 49 of 55

50 AUGUST 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH IN THE PROS BY ANDREW MENTOCK A merica went without major pro- fessional sports for four months, but between July 23 and Aug. 1 four different leagues — MLB, NBA, WNBA and NHL — were scheduled to return to action. MLB The typical 162-game MLB sched- ule was set to begin March 26 before opening day was pushed back indefi- nitely. After months of negotiations between the players and owners, a revised 60-game schedule was finally agreed upon for all 30 teams. The season was scheduled to open July 23 and will conclude Sept. 27, followed by a traditional playoff slate with 10 teams that will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 28. Seven former Notre Dame players — including Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini, who is on the 60-day disabled list while he endures ongoing chemotherapy to treat stage 3 colon cancer — were invited to MLB summer camps. Additionally, Fighting Irish alum Craig Counsell and former head baseball coach Pat Murphy are the manager and bench coach, respec- tively, for the Milwaukee Brewers. NBA The NBA was set for a July 30 re- start to its 2019-20 season, which includes a "bubble" with stringent health and safety protocols for 22 teams at a single-site campus at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The 22 teams will each play eight seeding games. Then the No. 8 seed in each conference could potentially come down to a play-in tournament, if the No. 9 seed is within four games of the No. 8 seed. The No. 9 seed would then have to win two games to claim the No. 8 spot. The first round of the playoffs will begin Aug. 17, fol- lowed by the conference semifinals Aug. 31, the conference finals Sept. 15 and the NBA Finals Sept. 30. Players were allowed to opt-out of the bubble without losing pay, which made room for recent Irish alum Jer- ian Grant to be signed by his home- town Washington Wizards (the team that drafted him in 2015 before traing him to the New York Knicks). His addition gives the Irish two former players in action at Orlando. "I've been around the Wizards, been around this area my entire life," Grant told "Being a fan, having my dad play for them, being a ball boy, seeing all those play- ers come through. Juwan Howard, Rod Strickland, Chris Webber — those guys are people I looked up to, people I wanted to be like. To finally be able to put on that jersey means a lot." WNBA The WNBA will play a shortened 22-game regular season that will be- gin July 25 and end Sept. 12, followed by a traditional playoff and Finals for- mat. All 12 teams will compete in the league's own version of a "bubble" at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Nine Notre Dame alums are on ac- tive rosters, while Jessica Shepard con- tinues her rehab from a torn ACL. Ad- ditionally, former Notre Dame men's basketball standout Bill Laimbeer is the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces. NHL Sixteen different former Notre Dame hockey players appeared in the NHL this season, but at least a couple will be stuck at home when the league returns to action. The NHL officially returns Aug. 1 with 24 playoff teams playing in one of the two host cities: Edmonton (West- ern Conference) and Toronto (Eastern Conference). It will actually start with the Stanley Cup Qualifier, which will include the Nos. 5-12 seeds in each conference playing in four best-of-five series. The winners of those series will then face the top four teams in each conference, which earned a bye. The actual 16-team playoff will then begin with first-round series Aug. 11, followed by the conference semifinals Aug. 25, the conference finals Sept. 8 and the Stanley Cup Finals Sept. 22. Seven teams were left out, includ- ing Cal Petersen's Los Angeles Kings and Kyle Palmieri's New Jersey Dev- ils. This still leaves 14 Notre Dame alums that were on one of the re- maining 24 playoff teams. ✦ Professional Sports Leagues Return To Action Jerian Grant joined his hometown Washington Wizards for the NBA restart in July, marking his fourth different team since entering the league in 2015. PHOTO BY BILL SMITH/COURTESY CHICAGO BULLS NOTRE DAME ALUMS RETURNING TO ACTION MLB • Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays • Brandon Bielak, Houston Astros • Joe Hudson, Seattle Mariners • Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles • David Phelps, Milwaukee Brewers • A.J. Pollock, Los Angeles Dodgers • Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants NBA • Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks • Jerian Grant, Washington Wizards WNBA • Natalie Achonwa, Indiana Fever • Lindsay Allen, Las Vegas Aces • Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix Mercury • Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm • Marina Mabrey, Dallas Wings • Kayla McBride, Las Vegas Aces • Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas Wings • Brianna Turner, Phoenix Mercury • Jackie Young, Las Vegas Aces NHL • Ander Bjork, Boston Bruins • Ian Cole, Colorado Avalanche • Thomas Di Pauli, Pittsburgh Penguins • Jake Evans, Montreal Canadians • Steven Fogarty, New York Rangers • Dennis Gilbert, Chicago Blackhawks • Jordan Gross, Arizona Coyotes • Vinnie Hinostroza, Arizona Coyotes • Stephen Johns, Dallas Stars • Anders Lee, New York Islanders • Andrew Peeke, Columbus Blue Jackets • Bryan Rust, Pittsburgh Penguins • Riley Sheahan, Edmonton Oilers • T.J. Tynan, Colorado Avalanche

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - August 2020