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BC-Sports Showcase Digest

March 13, 2019

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, deputy sports editor for presentation and storytelling, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia@ap.org.

All times are Eastern.

THURSDAY, March 14

BBA--ICHIROMANIA RETURNS

TOKYO _ Ichiro is Japan’s greatest baseball player, and arguably its best athlete. He’s a source of national pride; the first position player to make it in the majors, countering the perception that the country produced only pitchers and players like Ichiro were too small. He’s revered for breaking through, for his fashion sense, and his Zen-like training. He’ll be the first Japanese inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost surely on the first ballot. Now he returns to Japan as the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s open the MLB season. One giant question lingers: will he fully retire, try to play on, or does he have something else in mind? By Stephen Wade. UPCOMING. 1,000 words, photos by 3.a.m.

FRIDAY, March 15

HKN--NHL-GROWING DIVERSITY

PHILADELPHIA _Hockey was a tough sell for April Johnson. Football is the sport of choice in her North Philadelphia neighborhood and she didn’t want to switch her two boys to another sport, even when she found out it could be free. Now she’s a hockey evangelist, though she still runs into plenty of reluctance from fellow African-American friends and families. Johnson is on the front lines of where the National Hockey League hopes to grow the diversity in its game. But the NHL is 95 percent white and has been for a century, and everyone knows it will take time to bridge cultural, socioeconomic and logistical gaps and make the sport feel welcoming and inclusive to people of color. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos, video by 4 a.m.

BBA—BLACK SOX OPERA

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Black Sox agreeing to throw the 1919 World Series, the Minnesota Opera on Saturday presents the premiere of “The Fix” by composer Joel Puckett and librettist Eric Simonson, starting tenor Joshia Dennis as Shoeless Joe Jackson. By Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

SATURDAY, March 16

DAYTON’S GEM

DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton, the only city to host NCAA Tournament play-in games since the concept was introduced in 2001, has taken four rather routine college basketball games and made them crackle with the energy of a marquee event. The First Four gives the medium-sized city a slice of the tournament pie every March and provides the kind of national exposure money can’t buy. By Mitch Stacy. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by noon on Saturday.

SUNDAY, March 17

BKW--NCAA IN LAS VEGAS

LAS VEGAS _ Women’s basketball fans were treated to quite a show this week in Las Vegas with four conference tournaments played there. Could the NCAAs be in the cards down the road? By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 a.m. Sunday.

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Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia@ap.org.

Thanks,

AP Sports