The Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators announced Wednesday that the schools have exercised the option to play their annual rivalry game in Jacksonville during the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
The Georgia-Florida game has been played in Jacksonville since 1933, except for the 1994 and 1995 seasons during the construction of TIAA Bank Field. The Bulldogs and Gators are scheduled to meet on Oct. 28 for this year’s matchup.
The extension comes after Georgia head coach Kirby Smart expressed recruiting concerns with playing the game in Jacksonville prior to their most recent matchup last October, because NCAA rules don’t allow schools to host recruits at neutral sites.
“We’re allowed to use tickets, but we can’t host them,” Smart said last October. “We can’t do anything. So I never understood — I never understand — what would we do with them? We can’t legally see them. We can’t talk to them, we can’t host them. Visit with them.
“We can say, ‘There’s a ticket at the gate. Enjoy the game.’ So that’s really all we can do. We’ll do that. We’ll have some kids go to the game.”
Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said in a release, “We are pleased with the decision to exercise the option that will keep the game in Jacksonville for 2024 and 2025. We look forward to discussions that I’m sure will continue over the next couple years exploring all the options for 2026 and beyond. We continue to be appreciative of the working relationship we have with the University of Florida and the City of Jacksonville.”
Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said, “The City of Jacksonville has been an historic host for one of the great rivalry games in all of college football. We are excited to have the game in Jacksonville for another two seasons.”
Georgia has won five of the last six meetings, most recently a 42-20 victory on Oct. 30, 2022, and leads the all-time series 55-44-2 (or 54-44-2, per Florida records).
Top prospect De La Cruz goes 458 feet for 1st HR
CINCINNATI — Reds newcomer Elly De La Cruz hit his first major league homer with a 458-foot, two-run drive off the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Noah Syndergaard and later tripled Wednesday night in an 8-6 win.
With fellow rookie Matt McLain on second base in the first inning, De La Cruz, a 21-year-old switch-hitter, smashed an 0-1 fastball that left the bat at 114.8 mph and landed in the last rows of the right-field stands at Great American Ball Park.
A day after making his big league debut, De La Cruz, who was named baseball’s top prospect by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel in his updated rankings last month, had the second-hardest-hit home run by a player 21 or younger since Statcast started tracking in 2015. A homer by the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on Aug. 21, 2020, had an exit velocity of 115.9 mph.
De La Cruz, who finished 2-for-4, tripled on a curveball in the third, a drive that went to the wall in right-center on four hops
He reached third in 10.83 seconds, the fastest time in the major leagues this season, according to Statcast. It was the second fastest since the start of the 2020 season, behind 10.75 seconds for the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Corbin Carroll last Oct. 3.
De La Cruz was 1-for-3 with two walks in his debut Tuesday night. Wednesday night’s home run came in his sixth plate appearance.
The Dominican Republic shortstop hit .298 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 38 games for Triple-A Louisville this season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Canadian fires force MLB, WNBA postponements
Major League Baseball has announced it is postponing games in New York and Philadelphia on Wednesday night because of poor air quality caused by smoke from Canadian wildfires.
A National Women’s Soccer League game in New Jersey and an indoor WNBA game set for Brooklyn were also called off Wednesday amid hazy conditions that have raised alarms from health authorities.
The New York Yankees‘ game against the Chicago White Sox was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, and the Philadelphia Phillies‘ game against the Detroit Tigers was reset for 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, originally an off day for both teams.
What Yankee Stadium normally looks like vs. what it look like today pic.twitter.com/uutCu4Znqh
— Joon Lee (@joonlee) June 7, 2023
“These postponements were determined following conversations throughout the day with medical and weather experts and all of the impacted clubs regarding clearly hazardous air quality conditions in both cities,” MLB said in a statement.
The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for New York City, saying: “the New York State Department of Health recommends that individuals consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects.” In Philadelphia, the NWS issued a Code Red.
The Yankees and White Sox played through a lesser haze on Tuesday night.
The WNBA said a game between the Minnesota Lynx and New York Liberty would not be played Wednesday, saying the decision was made to “protect the health and safety of our fans, teams and community.” A makeup date wasn’t immediately announced.
The NWSL postponed Orlando’s match at Gotham in Harrison, New Jersey, from Wednesday night to Aug. 9.
“The match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index,” the NWSL said.
At nearby Belmont Park, The New York Racing Association said training went on as planned ahead of Saturday’s Triple Crown horse race.
“NYRA utilizes external weather services and advanced on-site equipment to monitor weather conditions and air quality in and around Belmont Park,” spokesman Patrick McKenna said Wednesday. “Training was conducted normally today, and NYRA will continue to assess the overall environment to ensure the safety of training and racing throughout the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.”
New York’s NFL teams, the Giants and Jets, both had Wednesday off from offseason workouts. The Giants had been planning to practice inside Thursday, and the Jets say they are also likely to work out indoors Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Yankees place Judge on 10-day IL with toe injury
NEW YORK — For the second time this season, the New York Yankees will need to play without Aaron Judge.
New York placed its superstar slugger on the injured list with a contusion and a ligament sprain in his right big toe, it was announced Wednesday.
Judge does not have a fracture or break in his toe, according to team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad.
“The biggest thing now is trying to get the swelling out of there,” manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday. “He had some improvements today, but now we’ll see where he is in the coming days and then week. But the biggest thing is getting the swelling out of there.”
“I think it definitely could have been worse. Hopefully it’s on the shorter side of things.”
Judge was hurt while making a running catch and crashing into the outfield fence Saturday against the Dodgers and hadn’t played since.
He also spent time on the injured list earlier this season because of a right hamstring strain. When he’s been healthy, Judge has put up MVP-type numbers again, hitting .291/.404/.674 with 19 homers and 2.2 bWAR in 49 games.
New York’s pitching depth also is getting tested.
Nestor Cortes will be placed on the injured list due to a left shoulder injury. Boone mentioned Cortes has struggled to bounce back between starts. He’s expected to miss at least two starts.
Cortes has a 5.16 ERA in 11 starts, striking out 59 batters in 59⅓ innings.
To replace Cortes, New York called up Randy Vasquez from Triple-A. The righty made his major league debut on May 26 against the San Diego Padres, allowing two runs in 4⅔ innings pitched.
Also, pitcher Ryan Weber was diagnosed with a UCL strain and has been placed on the 60-day injured list. The 32-year-old righty has pitched in eight games this season, posting a 3.14 ERA in 14⅓ innings.
In a related roster move, the Yankees recalled outfielder Billy McKinney.
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