BC-AP Sports Digest
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Former U.S. women’s national team player Aly Wagner says the World Cup will captivate American audiences even without the home team there. Wagner, an analyst for Fox Sports during the tournament, appears on the AP’s “PodcastOne Sports Now” with co-hosts Tim Dahlberg and Jim Litke. Also, trainer Bob Baffert discusses his second Triple Crown, and the AP’s Tom Withers weighs in on LeBron James’ future.
MOSCOW — North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament. The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow. By Rob Harris and Graham Dunbar. SENT: 850 words, photos.
MOSCOW — How bad is Russia’s national soccer team? Even the ruthless leader of Chechnya couldn’t coach it to victory — or so goes a satirical song buzzing around Russian social networks ahead of the World Cup. By Angela Charlton. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— SOC--WCUP-2026 HOST-REACTION. By Charles Odum. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— SOC--WCUP-2026 HOST-ANALYSIS.
— SOC--WCUP-THE LATEST — Real-time updates.
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Trying to create the ultimate test at the U.S. Open requires getting close to the edge of trick questions, followed by a shift too far in the other direction to make sure it doesn’t happen the next time. Will the USGA lean toward going easy on players because of what happened last time at Shinnecock Hills? Or go harder on them because of record scoring last year? By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— GLF--US OPEN-THE LATEST — Real-time updates.
SOC--WCUP-JOHN LEICESTER-SPAIN SACKING
MOSCOW — As completely and utterly crazy as it looks for Spain to cut off its own head on the eve of the World Cup, there is a logical explanation for the out-of-the-blue, “Are you frigging kidding me?” decision to sack Julen Lopetegui as coach just two days before he was to lead the Spanish team out against Portugal: A leader can’t lead effectively if he is beholden to two masters at once. By John Leicester. SENT: 750 words, photos.
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Rickie Fowler admits he knows he can win major championships. He says everyone in golf knows that. So, Rickie, how about this week in the U.S. Open? By Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.
SOUTHAMPTION, N.Y. — The world’s best golfers are crossing their fingers and hoping for luck as they head to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open this week. It’s not the pin placements or green speeds they’re worried about. It’s the Long Island traffic that has snarled their commutes to the course, stranding them on two- and four-lane roads while they stare at brake lights for hours on trips that would otherwise be as short as 15 minutes. By Jimmy Golen. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— GLF--US OPEN-NOTEBOOK — By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 8 p.m.
— GLF--US OPEN-GLANCE.
AP Sports Extra: US Open: A paginated preview of the U.S. Open, which starts Thursday, is available in AP Newsroom by searching for “Sports Extra” under the Graphics tab. The page looks at the top storylines, including Phil Mickelson’s pursuit of a U.S. Open title after finishing runner-up six times. The page also looks at other players to watch and facts & figures. For questions, contact Barry Bedlan at email@example.com
With only two days to go before Spain’s opening match at the World Cup, Julen Lopetegui was fired as national team coach because he accepted a job to lead Real Madrid next season. Fernando Hierro would replace Lopetegui as coach for Spain’s match against Portugal in Sochi on Friday. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— SOC--WCUP-SPAIN-COACH CHAOS —Some people in Spain agree that national team coach Julen Lopetegui had to go. Others believe the chaos on the eve of the World Cup just made a bad situation worse. By Joseph Wilson. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— SOC--WCUP-ROMANCE. A senior Russian lawmaker advised Russian women to be vigilant during any romantic encounters with foreign fans flocking to Russia for the World Cup so as not to end up raising their children alone. By Maria Danilova. SENT: 300 words.
ZELENOGORSK, Russia — England plays Tunisia in Volgograd in its first group game on Monday. For the country which invented the game and which is without an international title in 52 years, the expectation is usually nearly intolerable. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— SOC--WCup-Moments-Brazil’s Humiliation — Hoping to exorcise the ghosts of the Maracanazo at its home World Cup, Brazil instead was subjected to a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the 2014 semifinals. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 350 words, photos.
AP Sports Extra: World Cup: A paginated preview of the World Cup is available in AP Newsroom by searching for “Sports Extra” under the Graphics tab. The tournament in Russia starts Thursday. The pages look at the top storylines, including Germany’s bid to repeat as champion and key players to watch. For questions, contact Barry Bedlan at firstname.lastname@example.org
LOS ANGELES — Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Texas Rangers in their series finale against Kenta Maeda and the Los Angeles Dodgers. By Beth Harris. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 10:10 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz has a mission to return for Week 1 and is already ahead of schedule after being cleared for 7-on-7 work last week. Still, he has a way to go before he is cleared for full activity. By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi. SENT: 900 words, photos.
BEREA, Ohio — Baker Mayfield’s learning a new playbook, offense, teammates — and patience. The No. 1 overall draft pick is starting his NFL career as a backup with the Cleveland Browns, who have turned their team over to Tyrod Taylor and plan to keep Mayfield on the sideline for at least one season. It’s different for the Heisman Trophy winner, who is accustomed to being front and center on the field. By Tom Withers. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos.
FBN--CHIEFS-MAHOMES AMONG THE PEOPLE
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes II has embraced Kansas City as few athletes before him, whether it’s throwing out the first pitch for the Royals or giving the command to start the engines at Kansas Speedway. He’s already beloved. Now, he needs to win some games. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 750 words, photos.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Year one under coach Kyle Shanahan was a bit of a whirlwind for the San Francisco 49ers with new systems to install and a midseason quarterback change to Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s far different this year as the Niners wrap up the offseason program. By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans upgraded their secondary by signing cornerback Malcolm Butler, and safety Kevin Byard is coming off an All-Pro season. Mix in veteran Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson going into their second seasons together, it’s a group with high expectations for the season. By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.
FBN--BRONCOS-BELIEVING IN LYNCH
Fans may have given up on former first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch, but the quarterback who has started just four games in two years has two very important people in his corner: John Elway and Vance Joseph. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 600 words by 8 p.m.
FBC--NCAA TRANSFER RULES
College athletes will no longer need permission from their coach or school to transfer and receive financial aid from another school. The NCAA Division I Council approved the change. It takes effect Oct. 15. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 650 words.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas second baseman Kody Clemens had launched another massive postseason home run when he and stared hard into opposing dugout and flashed the “Hook’em Horns” hand signal. Like his father Roger Clemens did more than 30 years ago, Kody Clemens has led the Longhorns back to the College World Series with talent, bravado and the ability to deliver big in the biggest moments. By Jim Vertuno. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos.
SEATTLE — At one point this season, Washington was 18-18 overall after losing at home to Texas-Rio Grande Valley in a nonconference game in late April. On Saturday, they’ll face Mississippi State in the first round of the College World Series. It’s the first trip to Omaha in Washington’s history. By Tim Booth. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— SPORTS BETTING — Atlantic City’s Borgata casino will start taking bets on sporting events Thursday morning. By Wayne Parry. SENT: 135 words.
— SCHOOL SHOOTING-ESPY AWARDS — The ESPYs are breaking tradition for this year’s Best Coach Award, awarding it posthumously to three Florida high school coaches who died shielding their students from gunfire. By Kelli Kennedy. SENT: 150 words.
— BBO--BASEBALL CAPSULES
— BKL--WNBA CAPSULES
— SOC--MLS CAPSULES
Wednesday’s Time Schedule (EDT)
N.Y. Mets at Atlanta, 12:10 p.m.
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 1:10 p.m.
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee, 2:10 p.m.
Boston at Baltimore, 3:05 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Arizona, 3:40 p.m.
L.A. Angels at Seattle, 4:10 p.m.
Washington at N.Y. Yankees, 7:05 p.m.
Colorado at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
San Francisco at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Minnesota at Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
Cleveland at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m.
Cincinnati at Kansas City, 8:15 p.m.
San Diego at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.
Houston at Oakland, 10:05 p.m.
Texas at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
Las Vegas at New York, 7 p.m.
Washington at Connecticut, 7 p.m.
Atlanta United FC at Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Orlando City at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
D.C. United at Toronto FC, 8 p.m.
Seattle at New York, 8 p.m.
Chicago at Colorado, 9 p.m.
New England at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.