1 million Olympic tickets to go on sale Friday

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1 million Olympic tickets to go on sale Friday

From Comcast SportsNetLONDON (AP) -- Olympic fans who missed out on tickets for the London Games will get another opportunity this week, including a chance of securing high-demand seats for the opening ceremony or 100-meter final.Olympic organizers said Tuesday they are putting nearly 1 million tickets on sale, with priority given to those people who were unsuccessful in previous rounds.The 900,000 tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to the nearly 1 million people in Britain who applied previously but came up empty handed."We know thousands of sports fans were disappointed when they missed out in the initial sales period because of the massive demand for tickets," organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said. "We promised we would prioritize these fans when we released the contingency tickets, which is exactly what we are doing."The tickets will go on sale online -- at the official website www.tickets.london2012.com -- starting at 11 a.m. local time on Friday.The sale includes "limited tickets" for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as about 5,000 tickets for the men's 100-meter final on the evening of Aug. 5 that is expected to feature reigning Olympic champion and world record-holder Usain Bolt.First priority will be given to the 20,000 people who failed to secure tickets in the initial ballot last year and missed out again in a second sale.Those customers will be given 31 hours exclusive access before the 1 million people who applied unsuccessfully in the initial ballot will then have their own exclusive 5-day sales period.All customers will be limited to applying to one session and a maximum of four tickets.Any tickets that remain unsold will go back on general sale May 23.The sale of 8.8 million total Olympic tickets began last year, with most snatched up in the early rounds.Organizers are trying to raise about 500 million pounds (704 million) from ticket sales, a quarter of their operating budget.Coe said 75 percent of the tickets go to the British public, with 25 percent to foreign fans, national Olympic committees, sponsors and other groups.Organizing committee LOCOG is on target to meet its ticket revenue target and ensure that "all our venues are packed to the rafters with passionate fans," Coe said.Being sold separately are 1.4 million football tickets. So far, 1.1 million have been sold for the football tournament, which kicks off two days before the opening ceremony with a women's match between Britain and New Zealand in Cardiff, Wales, on Aug. 25. Only 11,000 tickets have been sold so far for that game.LOCOG has faced considerable criticism in Britain for its ticket policy, with buyers and watchdog groups complaining of a lack of transparency over the sales and the computer system dogged by glitches and huge demand.Also Monday, organizers announced that 70,000 tickets will be sold allowing access to the Olympic Park to watch the events on big screens, mainly in the first week before the track and field starts. Those tickets -- which do not offer entry to the competition venues -- will sell for 10 pounds (16) and 5 pounds (8) for those under 16 or over 60.Also on sale will be tickets to the "Orbit," the 114.5-meter (375-foot) tower in the center of the Olympic Park designed by London-based artist Anish Kapoor. The full-price 15 pound (24) tickets are only for those who have tickets for the park or competitions in the park.Going on sale May 29 will be tickets for the start of the cycling road race at Box Hill in Surrey and the individual time trial start at Hampton Court Palace. Full priced tickets will run 15 pounds (24). Tickets to the grassy hill at Wimbledon to watch Olympic tennis matches on the big screen will cost 10 pounds (16).LOCOG also relaxed a policy on bringing babies into the venues that had caused an uproar among parents groups.Previously, parents had complained they would have to buy full price tickets for their infants. Pregnant women who bought tickets for themselves -- but not for their unborn children -- wondered what they could do with babies who were breast-feeding.Under the new policy, babies 12 months and under will be permitted without a ticket at most events as long as they are "securely strapped to their parent or carer by way of a baby carrier, sling, papoose or similar."The exception is at the football venues at Wembley, St. James Park and Old Trafford and the North Greenwich venue for gymnastics and the basketball finals. Organizers said those venue have existing licensing agreements that require tickets of all spectators regardless of age.

Cubs: The next steps for Kyle Schwarber

Cubs: The next steps for Kyle Schwarber

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Kyle Schwarber might have been the most dangerous hitter in a World Series lineup that featured the National League MVP plus four more All-Stars. After spending more than six months recovering from major knee surgery. Against Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and a dominant Cleveland Indians bullpen.

“He’s not going to play winter ball,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said with a perfect deadpan delivery. “We felt like he proved he can hit major-league pitching.”

The Cubs spent Monday at the winter meetings inside the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, continuing their search for pitching on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. The Cubs are so stacked with hitters that manager Joe Maddon could write out a 2017 Opening Day lineup tomorrow and Theo Epstein’s front office would still have Jorge Soler left over as trade bait.

Schwarber could hit second for the defending World Series champs, and his presence would mean more than any player the Cubs could sign as a free agent. The Cubs expect him to be at full strength by spring training, though it’s unclear how much work, if any, he’ll get as a catcher.

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“That’s the hurdle we haven’t really gone over yet,” Hoyer said. “Can he do it? There’s no question he’s going to want to do it. I think he can do it. I think that we have to have discussions about how heavy a workload we put on him in that regard.

“One of the things we talked about even last year before he got hurt was (how) he’s doing full catching drills, running around the outfield, doing stuff hitting. That’s a lot to put on a guy, sort of like playing two ways in football.”

Schwarber, an all-Ohio linebacker in high school, has a run-through-a-brick-wall mentality and doesn’t like to hear about what he can’t do. He wrecked his left knee in an outfield collision in early April and needed a procedure that reconstructed his ACL and repaired his LCL.

It took only two warm-up games in the Arizona Fall League before Schwarber made his dramatic return as the designated hitter at Progressive Field, batting .412 (7-for-17) with a .971 OPS during the World Series. 

The Cubs appear to be set with Willson Contreras and Miguel Montero behind the plate, but Schwarber is the type of baseball gym rat who enjoys breaking down video, giving input for scouting reports and being involved in every pitch.  

“We have to talk through all that stuff,” Hoyer said. “We know what his position’s going to be, so we have to figure out what our position’s going to be. I know he’s going to want to catch.

“But he knows he’s coming in as a left fielder next year. And we have to decide how much of the catching drills (he does).”

Slow start to fourth dooms Bulls in loss to Blazers

Slow start to fourth dooms Bulls in loss to Blazers

With his old teammate Robin Lopez in front of him and his feet at the United Center sign on the floor, Damian Lillard threw caution to the wind as he sensed the end was near.

With redemption on his mind and the Bulls on the ropes, Lillard unleashed a long triple that took the air out of the building with five minutes and pushed the Portland Trailblazers lead to 10.

The Bulls got closer but a few disastrous minutes spelled doom in their 112-110 loss Monday at the United Center, their third defeat in four games as they were without Rajon Rondo, who was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team earlier in the day.

Dwyane Wade scored 34 points with four rebounds and four assists in his return from a one-game rest while Jimmy Butler scored 26 with seven rebounds and five assists but the Bulls shot just 42 percent and committed 15 turnovers, many of them unforced against a defense that isn’t known for stopping opponents.

Lillard hit free throws in the final minute after the Bulls pulled to within three with 18.2 seconds left but his triple was a backbreaker.

It gave the visitors the push they needed after trailing to start the fourth, going on a 13-3 run while the Bulls missed 11 of their 13 shots to start the period, halting a relatively smooth offensive game to that point.

And when their offense abandoned them, they couldn’t get enough stops against a potent Trailblazers team that loves playing fast and loose. Chicago native Evan Turner hit two big baskets during the run, as he hit five of six on the night to score 11.

The Bulls harassed Lillard into one of his worst shooting nights of the season in a blowout win a few weeks ago and he made amends with a 26-point, seven-assist night

He looked to start off on the right foot from the jump, taking advantage of Jerian Grant off the dribble.

The Bulls’ defense was confused on rotations, allowing Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe to feast early on. McCollum ran around screens and read a slow-reacting Bulls defense, nailing jumpers over flat-footed defenders.

Crabbe scored 17 off the bench while McCollum hit 10 of 19 to score 24, as the Blazers hit nine triples at 39-percent accuracy.

The trio of guards combined for 45 in the first half and the Bulls needed to make an adjustment.

So Butler started the third quarter defending Lillard and it seemed to throw off the Blazers’ rhythm. The Bulls took a 67-66 lead minutes into the second half and held off the duo until McCollum’s 25-foot triple right at the end of the third.

He dropped in another two minutes into the fourth to give the Blazers a 90-89 lead.

By then, they were in a dogfight and unable to slow down the hot shooting Blazers.