Mays gets military send-off

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Willie Mays received final military honors for his time served in the U.S. Army during a special presentation of an American flag to son Michael and taps was sounded at a public memorial service Monday for the late Hall of Famer.

Baseball dignitaries past and present, including godson and home run king Barry Bonds, sat on the field for remembrances and video highlights going back to Mays’ stickball days in the streets outside New York’s Polo Grounds.

The Hall of Fame “Say Hey Kid,” among the early Negro League stars who hit 660 career home runs despite spending 1952-54 in the Army during the Korean War, died June 18 at 93. The Army honored Mays in front of his family, friends, former teammates and executives and thousands of fans.

With a large 24 cutout representing his jersey number elevated on the infield dirt between first and second base in the San Francisco Giants’ waterfront ballpark, Bonds sat in the front row down the third-base line.

Some others in attendance were former President Bill Clinton — a dear friend of Mays — Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, executive and former manager and player Joe Torre, Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson and Juan Marichal and retired managers Dusty Baker and Felipe Alou. Former Giants owner Bob Lurie, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and former Mayor Willie Brown, and retired longtime National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson also attended the memorial.

Broadcaster Jon Miller, who was the master of ceremonies, also took a moment to mention a remembrance of late Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, who died 10 days after Mays on June 28, among other Hall of Famers who are gone.

Clinton, who was born in Arkansas and loved the Cardinals growing up, recalled his joy listening to games on the radio as a kid.

“I lived for the games I could hear on the radio,” Clinton said. “I never got to see ‘The Catch,’ I just heard it on the radio. We didn’t get a television until I was 10 but I can still remember just sitting there soaking up the Dodgers, soaking up the Yankees and living for the Giants so I could watch Willie Mays.”

The Rev. Bill Greason, a former teammate and longtime friend of Mays, offered a recorded prayer shown on the main center field scoreboard.

Manfred credited Mays for transforming San Francisco into a baseball town, “and it stays a baseball town today.”

“There’s never been a better representative of baseball’s magic than Willie Mays. He dominated the game in every way,” Manfred said. “He didn’t merely play, he captured imaginations. He never allowed his meticulous preparation to prevent him from showing the joy that the game brought him. He inspired generations of players and fans.”

Approximately 3,400 fans were in the stands and 4,500 people total, the Giants said.

Messi to start against Canada

NEW YORK (AP) — Lionel Messi won’t be stopped by a leg injury and will play in Argentina’s Copa America semifinal against Canada on Tuesday night.

Messi has been dealing with a right leg problem since the group stage win over Chile on June 25. He missed the first-round finale four days later but played the entire match in the quarterfinal victory over Ecuador last Thursday.

“Leo is good. He will be playing tomorrow,” Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni said Monday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

At 37, Messi has 13 Copa America goals and is four behind the record shared by Argentina’s Norberto Méndez and Brazil’s Zizinho but hasn’t scored in this year’s tournament.

“It’s an easy decision for me,” Scaloni said. “It’s a fairly honest decision: I ask him how he feels. If he says ‘I’m not good,’ then he will play the last 30 minutes. When he’s available, he will play.”

Seeking a record 16th Copa America title, Argentina beat Canada 2-0 in the June 20 tournament opener when Messi set up second-half goals by Julián Álvarez and Lautaro Martínez.

“We didn’t do well enough with Messi last match. He was able to run free at our goalkeeper too much,” said Jesse Marsch, the American hired as Canada’s coach in May. “We all know he’s the greatest player to ever play the game.”

Argentina outshot Canada 19-10, including 9-2 on target, and had 64% possession.

Hurley gets big contract

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn and men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley have agreed to a six-year, $50 million contract through the 2029-30 season that makes him one of the nation’s highest paid college coaches nearly a month after he turned down a lucrative offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hurley, who passed on guiding the storied NBA club to return to the two-time defending NCAA champions, can also earn more through performance-based incentives, a Monday release from the school stated. He will receive $6.375 million next season in addition to his $400,000 base annual salary, which includes compensation from speaking, consulting and media obligations.

The agreement, which includes a $1 million annual retention bonus, will be covered by increased ticket sales revenue and donations from the Husky Athletic Fund, the release added. It replaces the six-year, $32.1 million agreement reached in June 2023 after Hurley won his first national championship with UConn.

Hurley — 141-58 in six seasons with the Huskies and 292-163 overall entering his 15th as a Division I head coach — acknowledged that the Lakers’ six-year, $70 million offer was “obviously tempting.” He was also mentioned as a candidate for the Kentucky coaching vacancy after John Calipari left for Arkansas. But Hurley reiterated last month that he belongs at UConn and stated in the release that “it’s an honor” to coach and represent the school and is proud of what the program has rebuilt for supporters and fans.


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