^Wednesday's games<

(TNS)

Tribune News Service

Sports Budget for Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Updated at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC)

This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.

^TOP STORIES<

^Will Smith fits as the 'Fresh Prince' in Dodger Stadium despite recent struggles<

^BBN-DODGERS-SMITH-SPORTSPLUS:LA—<A song by Will Smith, the performer, echoed around the ballpark as a pitch from Will Smith, the closer, spun into the dirt. Will Smith, the batter, swung hard.

His hack, however, waved harmlessly through the air.

If ever there was a time for the latter Smith, the Dodgers' rookie sensation and new primary catcher, to experience an identity crisis, this was it. Two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the tying run on base, a full count and an awkward off-balance swing that sealed the team's loss Friday to the San Francisco Giants and extended his first slump.

It's still unclear exactly what kind of hitter Smith is going to be.

1400 by Jack Harris. MOVED

PHOTO

^BASEBALL<

Wednesday's games

TNS expects coverage from the following games:

NY Yankees at Detroit, 6:40 p.m. EDT

Atlanta at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

LA Dodgers at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Boston at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

Arizona at NY Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Milwaukee at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

Washington at Minnesota, 7:40 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Texas, 8:05 p.m.

Cleveland at LA Angels, 8:07 p.m.

Kansas City at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m.

St. Louis at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.

Pittsburgh at San Francisco, 9:45 p.m.

Chicago Cubs at San Diego, 10 p.m.

Cincinnati at Seattle, 10:10 p.m.

^NFL<

^Dave Hyde: Me, my buddy, Bill Belichick, and our nine hours of chatting<

^FBN-HYDE-COLUMN:FL—<The column idea was a common one: Listen to Patriots coach Bill Belichick talk via teleconference before Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins and glean it for any football pearls or (ha-ha!) crusty minimalism.

As Belichick stayed in character, saying nothing in that voice of dry leaves for 13 minutes and 37 seconds Tuesday morning, an odd feeling of conversational d j vu came with his non-answers.

850 by Dave Hyde. MOVED

PHOTO

^Tim Cowlishaw: With upcoming games against teams in shambles, the Cowboys find themselves (believe it or not) drama-free<

FBN-COWLISHAW-COLUMN:DA — Lost in the glow of a glorious 35-17 victory over the New York Giants was the fact that Jason Garrett collected his 78th win as a head coach and continued an impressive climb up the all-time rankings that many Cowboys fans would prefer to dismiss.

800 by Tim Cowlishaw in Dallas. MOVED

^COLLEGE FOOTBALL<

^Mike Bianchi: Why UCF should stick with Dillon Gabriel as starting QB against Stanford<

FBC-BIANCHI-COLUMN:OS — Since UCF coach Josh Heupel hasn't yet named a quarterback for Saturday's huge home game against Stanford, I'm going to go ahead and name true freshman Dillon Gabriel as the starter.

That's right. I'm starting Gabriel ahead of Notre Dame senior transfer Brandon Wimbush, who mysteriously missed last week's game against FAU because Heupel said Wimbush "wasn't 100%" — whatever that means.

700 by Mike Bianchi in Orlando, Fla. MOVED

PHOTO

^Shannon Ryan: Notre Dame's mascots are breaking barriers. They should be celebrated — not trolled.<

^FBC-RYAN-COLUMN:TB—<I know this will come as a shock. Please brace yourself to absorb this earth-shattering news.

Leprechauns are not real.

Trolls are though.

800 by Shannon Ryan. MOVED

PHOTO

^HIGH SCHOOLS<

^As high school football participation numbers decline, many programs in Connecticut have looked to form co-ops<

FBH-CONNECTICUT-PARTICIPATION:HC — As high school football participation numbers continue to decline in Connecticut and individual school districts struggle to field teams on their own, more schools are choosing to join forces with others in the form of cooperative teams, or co-ops.

Football has seen participation decline steadily since peaking in the last 20 years at 10,815 players in the 2009-10 school year, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Last year, 9,059 students participated in Connecticut, the lowest point in the last 20 years.

1350 by Shawn McFarland in Hartford, Conn. MOVED

PHOTO

^FANTASY SPORTS<

^Fantasy football Week 2 lineups: Start, sit and sleepers<

^FBN-FANTASY-START-SIT-SLEEPERS:TB—<How about that Lamar Jackson?

Few foresaw the Ravens quarterback having such a strong Week 1 with five touchdown passes. But that's what the first weeks of the season are about: surprises.

(And in case you're wondering, Jackson is a fair bet again this week against the Cardinals, though you may have better options. See below.)

Such unexpected gifts are hard to predict. There are, however, some Week 2 matchups where it's hard to go wrong.

1550 by Phil Thompson. MOVED

PHOTO

^OUTDOORS<

^Brad Dokken: Ignoring cruddy weather forecast pays off with great fishing and cool eagle-pike encounter<

OTD-DOKKEN-COLUMN:GF — If we'd listened to the weather forecast, two friends and I might have canceled what turned out to be a fantastic fishing trip last weekend on the Red River near Selkirk, Man.

Rain, thunder, lightning and wind, the forecast predicted — sometimes all at once.

Ugh.

Sometimes, though, you have to play the cards you're dealt and make the best of it when it comes to outdoors excursions. Whether it's hunting, fishing or any other outdoor activity, Mother Nature calls the shots.

850 by Brad Dokken in Grand Forks, N. D. MOVED

^Minnesota boy gets much-needed day with his fishing hero<

OTD-10YEAROLD-FISHINGHERO:MS — When 10-year-old Colby awoke last Wednesday morning, he was in a fishing kind of mood. He and his parents were vacationing near Park Rapids, Minn., and Colby had climbed out of bed early, grabbed his rod and reel and headed with his mom, Kaia, and dad, Seth, for Mantrap Lake.

A skilled angler, particularly for his age, Colby developed his pitching, skipping and generalized well-honed casting techniques in part by watching pro angler Scott Martin's YouTube channel. Called Scott Martin's Challenge, the regularly updated videos feature the Lake Okeechobee-based Martin chasing all manner of fish, including Minnesota walleyes, bass, northern pike and muskies.

800 by Dennis Anderson in Minneapolis. MOVED

^Dennis Anderson: Dwindling membership, and money, mark end of Minnesota Waterfowl Association<

OTD-ANDERSON-COLUMN:MS — In 1967, Aretha Franklin recorded her signature rocker, "Respect." The same year, United Auto Workers kingpin Jimmy Hoffa began serving an eight-year sentence for attempting to bribe a jury. And Muhammad Ali politely declined the government's offer for employment with the U.S. Army.

Also in 1967, Ray Hangge and Dick Lindell, both of Albert Lea, as well as Tom Tubbs and Bob Head, cooked up a harebrained idea: They'd start a duck group called the Southern Minnesota Waterfowl Lake Improvement Association, with a goal of restoring a shallow-lake habitat corridor.

900 by Dennis Anderson in Minneapolis. MOVED

^Minnesota pheasant count is down 17% from a year ago<

OTD-MINNESOTA-PHEASANT:MS — Minnesota pheasant numbers fell 17% from a year ago, according to roadside counts completed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Throughout the state's pheasant range, an average of 37.4 pheasants were observed per 100 miles during the survey conducted July 30 to Aug. 18. The pheasant count this year was slightly lower than the state's 10-year average and about 60% down from the long-term average.

Late-season snowstorms, spring rains that often were monsoon-like and flooding likely contributed to the decline, the DNR said.

350 by Dennis Anderson in Minneapolis. MOVED

^Best times for anglers<

^OTD-LUNAR:MCT—<100. MOVED

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