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BC-Sports Showcase Digest

February 6, 2019

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, deputy sports editor for presentation and storytelling, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia@ap.org.

All times are Eastern.




DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Rick Hendrick worked far too hard building NASCAR’s top organization to tolerate mediocrity, and he might have been able to stomach last season if his teams had been just average. But the cars were bad _ seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson failed to win a race for the first time in his career _ and the Hall of Fame team owner is not going to stand for a repeat in 2019. Hendrick told The Associated Press last season was the worst in his team’s 35-year history. By AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 900 words, photos.



Men’s soccer has been a professional sport in Argentina since 1931, and yet, more than 88 years later, women’s soccer is still amateur. Macarena Sanchez wants to change that. She’s planning to take legal action against her club and the Argentine soccer association for not recognizing her as a professional player. The case could set a precedent in the nation that is home to some of the world’s greatest players, but where soccer is still largely seen as a men’s game. By Luis Andres Henao. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos, video by 5 a.m. Thursday.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. _ Tennessee has ascended to the top of the college basketball world with a group of players not many Power Five schools wanted. Now, without a single player that was a top 100 recruit out of high school, the Volunteers are ranked No. 1. The program had been marked by coaching instability when Rick Barnes took over, but the group of unheralded prospects are outperforming their recruiting rankings. By Steve Megargee. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 5 p.m. Thursday.

FRIDAY, Feb. 8


TEMPE, Ariz. _ The players at the end of the bench watch the score running up and the clock winding down, wondering when it will be their turn to finally get a chance to play. Most of the time, it doesn’t happen until the final minute _ even when a game has long been out of reach. The reasons vary, from coaches fearing a big comeback to wanting their teams to finish off a full 40-minute game. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Chad Knaus got his first big break at Hendrick Motorsports when he was picked to build a team from scratch around a rookie driver who had done very little to prove he belonged at NASCAR’s top level. The pairing with Jimmie Johnson led to a record-tying seven championships and cemented the No. 48 team as the very best in the sport. But the Knaus and Johnson relationship could be fragile despite their 17-year friendship and the strain of underperforming last year took its toll on both driver and crew chief. So Knaus was given a new project and moved to the No. 24 team to lead a rebuild while developing second-year driver William Byron. The winningest crew chief in the garage is essentially starting over. By AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by noon Friday.

MONDAY, Feb. 11


The 2019 Cincinnati Reds will play games in 15 sets of throwback uniforms _ including navy blue and a “Palm Beach” style _ during a season-long celebration of the 1869 Red Stockings who pioneered professional baseball. Historians credit the team that barnstormed from coast-to-coast, beating all opponents, in post-Civil War America with elevating baseball into the nation’s sport. The Red Stockings introduced new levels of training, preparation and strategy _ and flashiness. By Dan Sewell. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11.


Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia@ap.org.


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