Mike Scioscia named U.S. baseball manager ahead of Olympic qualifying

Mike Scioscia
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Mike Scioscia will manage the U.S. baseball team in Olympic qualifying in June and, if it qualifies, at the Tokyo Games as the sport returns to the Olympic program.

“I am looking forward to the privilege of wearing the USA jersey,” Scioscia, the Los Angeles Angels manager from 2000-2018, said in a release. “It is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Scioscia, 62, is the third different U.S. manager in the last two years ahead of baseball’s first Olympic appearance since 2008.

Baseball will not be in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. It hasn’t been announced whether it will be part of the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Joe Girardi was named U.S. manager in August 2019, three months before the first Olympic qualifying tournament. Girardi then took the Philadelphia Phillies job, and was replaced by Scott Brosius in October 2019.

Brosius managed the U.S. team that lost to Mexico in its first Olympic qualifying opportunity in November 2019, using a roster of mostly double-A and triple-A caliber players.

The Olympics, which always take place during the MLB season, have never included active MLB players. Scioscia doesn’t expect that to change. He predicted a blended roster of young players for qualifying, perhaps as low as single-A to triple-A pitchers and veterans with pennant-race experience.

He described MLB general managers’ response as “tremendous” regarding minor leaguers being made available for Olympic qualifying.

“They see the opportunity to move some players ahead with this type of an intense situation. These are playoff games,” he said. “There’s naturally guys close to the [active MLB] roster they’re going to hold tight for common sense reasons.”

The U.S.’ last two qualifying tournaments were postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The winner of a North and South America tournament in early June in Florida earns one spot in Tokyo. The second- and third-place nations advance to the last-chance global qualifier from June 16-20 in Taichung, also a winner-to-Tokyo event.

The U.S., ranked second in the world, is to compete with seven other nations for one Olympic spot in the Americas qualifier — Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Canada and Nicaragua.

Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea earned the first four spots in the six-team Olympic tournament.

Scioscia, who led the Angels to the 2002 World Series title, has no experience with USA Baseball as a manager or player.

He won the 1981 and 1988 World Series as a catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers under Tommy Lasorda, the man most associated with Olympic baseball in the U.S. for managing the gold-medal team in Sydney in 2000. Lasorda died in January at 93.

Scioscia said he never saw Lasorda cry with the Dodgers. But tears cascaded down his cheeks as his American players received gold medals 21 years ago.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz set French Open semifinal showdown


Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play in the French Open semifinals on Friday in the most anticipated match of the tournament.

Each man advanced with a quarterfinal win on Tuesday.

Djokovic, eyeing a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam men’s singles title, rallied past 11th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-4. The Serb reached his 45th career major semifinal, one shy of Roger Federer‘s men’s record.

Later Tuesday, top seed Alcaraz crushed fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (5) to consolidate his status as the favorite in Friday’s showdown.

Alcaraz, who at last year’s U.S. Open became the first male teen to win a major since Rafael Nadal in 2005, is at this event the youngest man to be the top seed at a major since Boris Becker at 1987 Wimbledon.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

The Djokovic-Alcaraz semifinal will produce the clear favorite for Sunday’s final given left-handed 14-time French Open champion Nadal is out this year with a hip injury and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev lost in the first round. Djokovic and Nadal share the record 22 men’s major titles.

Djokovic and Alcaraz met once, with Alcaraz winning last year on clay in Madrid 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).

“[Alcaraz] brings a lot of intensity on the court,” Djokovic said, before breaking into a smile. “Reminds me of someone from his country that plays with a left hand.”

Alcaraz and Djokovic were set to be on opposite halves of the draw — and thus not able to meet until the final — until Medvedev won the last top-level clay event before the French Open to move ahead of Djokovic in the rankings. That meant Djokovic had a 50 percent chance to wind up in Alcaraz’s half, and that’s what the random draw spit out two weeks ago.

Earlier Tuesday in the first two women’s quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova advanced to face off in Thursday’s semifinals.

Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, swept Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 to complete her set of semifinals in all four Grand Slams. Sabalenka will take the No. 1 ranking from Iga Swiatek if Swiatek loses before the final, or if Sabalenka makes the final and Swiatek does not win the title.

Svitolina, a former world No. 3, returned to competition in April from childbirth.

Muchova took out 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-2, to make her second major semifinal after the 2021 Australian Open.

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