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California, New York, Texas give the all-clear for pro sports to resume next month


While the re-opening of the country remains something of a patchwork affair, there is the beginning of a consensus about one thing: the resumption of professional sports.

Yesterday California Governor Gavin Newsom said that if the current rates of progress in fighting COVID-19 continue, pro sports could return in the “first week or so of June without spectators and modifications and very prescriptive conditions.”

Meanwhile, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday that he has asked major league sports teams to start planning to play their seasons without fans as well. What’s more, he said “New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that,” saying, “whoever can reopen we’re a ready, willing and able partner.” This despite the fact that New York City has not yet approached the benchmarks the state has set with respect to the state’s phased reopening program.

Finally, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order allowing professional golf, auto racing, baseball, softball, tennis, and football to resume as of May 31 if they wish.

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA, as you know, are in negotiations about starting the season in early July, with spring training to resume either at a team’s ballpark or in Florida or Arizona. Teams whose states do not allow the resumption of sports by Opening Day will find neutral sites.

Now that the three largest states in the country — containing nine of baseball’s 30 teams — have given the green light, expect most others to follow suit.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.