1 million Olympic tickets to go on sale Friday


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.

In Game 1, Jon Lester doesn't quite live up to his World Series reputation: 'We got a long ways to go'

In Game 1, Jon Lester doesn't quite live up to his World Series reputation: 'We got a long ways to go'

CLEVELAND – While the Cubs came into this World Series as the heavy favorites, the team with the global following and baseball’s best roster on paper, Jon Lester understood the challenge ahead. The Cleveland Indians would counter with their own Game 1 ace, a dynamic reliever changing the way we think about bullpens and a future Hall of Fame manager.

That’s how it played out in a 6-0 game that felt a lot closer, Corey Kluber pitching like a Cy Young Award winner, Andrew Miller handling the seventh and eighth innings and Terry Francona improving his record to 9-0 in World Series games.     

Welcome to “Believeland,” where the Fourth Street bars on Tuesday were buzzing more than seven hours before first pitch. That night, LeBron James and the Cavaliers would get their championship rings and watch the banner-raising ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena, just up the street from Progressive Field.

By the first inning – when pitching coach Chris Bosio had to walk out to the mound to talk to Lester – the red video ribbons lining the stadium said: “CLEVELAND AGAINST THE WORLD.” With the bases loaded, Lester had just drilled Brandon Guyer with a pitch, forcing in a second run, a sequence set in motion by walks to Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez’s soft infield single up the third-base line.

It didn’t matter that Lester would eventually settle down and pretty much control this Cleveland lineup. (Except for that rocket Roberto Perez launched off the left-field railing for a solo homer and a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.) Or that the Indians didn’t run all over the bases, with Francisco Lindor going 1-for-2 in stolen bases. (“Whatever, it’s happened all year," Lester said.)

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This is Cleveland’s blueprint for October, maybe its only chance to win its first World Series since 1948.

“It’s always important (to get a lead), no matter what time of year it is,” Lester said. “It makes a manager’s job a lot easier. It makes your job a lot easier. When you give a guy like Kluber – who’s locked in from pitch one – two runs in the first, it makes his job a lot easier. I know the feeling on the other side. You’re just able to attack differently.

“With the bullpens and all that stuff that they’re setting up nowadays, all you got to do is get through six.”

Lester kept it a 3-0 game, but didn’t finish the sixth inning, a rare October night where he didn’t seem to be automatic. Until Tuesday night, he had gone 3-0 in three World Series starts, allowing only one earned run in 21 innings.

Lester won his two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox, overlapping with Francona and Miller at different points. This is why the Cubs gave Lester a $155 million contract, to set the tone on the mound and within the clubhouse.

Near the end of a 103-win regular season – and even after winning the franchise’s first pennant in 71 years – Lester has offered colorful versions of: We haven’t done anything yet.

But Lester – the National League Championship Series co-MVP after putting up a 1.38 ERA against the Los Angeles Dodgers and watching the Cubs win both of those starts – also doesn’t do overreactions to losses.

“We got a long ways to go,” Lester said. “If we win tomorrow, we’re right back in it. Just like LA – everybody counted us out after Game 3. They said we were the worst best team in baseball. We’re here. We’re not giving up.

“I know my guys. I know my team. And I know that nobody in this clubhouse is giving anything up.”

Andrew Miller's outstanding postseason continues with escape to beat Cubs

Andrew Miller's outstanding postseason continues with escape to beat Cubs

CLEVELAND — Andrew Miller added another impressive chapter to an already legendary postseason performance on Tuesday night.

The Cleveland Indians reliever pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh inning to preserve a three-run lead and help his team achieve a 6-0 victory over the Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series in front of 38,091 at Progressive Field.

Despite putting four men on base, Miller added two more scoreless innings to his 2016 playoff résumé. Miller also struck out more three batters, giving him 24 in 13 2/3 innings this postseason, the second most by any reliever in playoff history. Critical to the effort was the strikeout of Cubs veteran David Ross with a checked swing on a 3-2 slider to strand the bases loaded in the seventh.

“You’re just trying to see the ball as long as you can and stay up the middle,” Ross said. “The 3-1, that’s the one that kinda messed me up. It didn’t break as much, so now you’re like ‘OK, let’s protect and just battle.’ ... Looking back at it, I wish I just stood there and not swung at all. If I could rewind. If it were that easy. I wish it was. And then he’d throw one right down the middle and America hates me.”

Ross has had his share of success against Miller before, though it all came when the left-hander was still a struggling starting pitcher. The veteran catcher is 3-for-5 with a walk against Miller in his career. But that wasn’t the reason Cubs manager Joe Maddon opted to stay with Ross instead of pinch hit for him with either Jorge Soler or Albert Almora Jr. with two outs in the seventh inning and Miller struggling for the first time all postseason.

With a man on and nobody out, Miller took over for Corey Kluber and walked Kyle Schwarber — only Miller’s third free pass of the postseason. Javy Baez followed with a single to load the bases.

But Miller rebounded quickly and retired Willson Contreras on a fly out to shallow center before he struck out Addison Russell. Based on his experience, Maddon thought Ross was the right man for the spot.

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“I thought David could hit him or David would accept his walk more than the other guys,” Maddon said. “David works good at-bats in that moment. So I felt good about him, actually. I felt better about him.

“I think with Soler coming off the bench or Albert they had less of a chance than David because I thought there was a two-fold opportunity to either get the hit or draw the walk.”

Ross worked the count to his favor quickly as he took a fastball for a ball, and after swinging and missing a slider, took two more balls to get ahead 3-1. But Miller dropped a slider in for a called strike and then turned to it once again, getting Ross to commit just enough for the third strike. The strikeout improved the Indians’ chances of winning by 26.5 percent, up to 94.7, according to fangraphs.com.

“I was trying to throw a really good one because if he hits it, it goes a long way,” Miller said. “That’s David Ross. I think even he would say, you can pitch to him, but if you throw something in his wheelhouse it’s going to go a long way and do some damage. Fortunate that it worked out. I threw a good one that was in a spot that he went after in the situation.”

Miller struggled again in the eighth inning as he walked Kris Bryant and allowed a Ben Zobrist single with two outs. But Miller — who allowed two hits and two walks for the first time all season in 77 appearances — struck out Kyle Schwarber to strand the pair.

The Indians’ key acquisition before the July 31 trade deadline threw 46 pitches, the most he’s thrown in a game since Sept. 8, 2011, when he was still a starter.

Indians manager Terry Francona wouldn’t commit to whether or not he’d use Miller in Game 2 on Wednesday. Francona cited how Miller bounced back after throwing 40 pitches in a Game 1 victory over Boston in the American League Division Series and would have been ready if needed. But any number of factors could keep Miller from pitching, and Francona is happy to have a 1-0 series lead in his pocket.

“I don’t know,” Francona said. “He was ready to come back and pitch the next night. I just think there’s a lot that can happen.

“But we won tonight. I think when you have a lead, you try to win.”