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Sports

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Major League Baseball players are bracing for a 2020 that might not see a single game played.

Another possibility forced by the coronavirus outbreak is that the baseball season will move down the calendar.

On Friday, players and the Major League Baseball owners ratified a deal fairly quickly and with both sides taking concessions on economic issues in the face of the pandemic complicating and possibly axing this year's season.

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Fred "Curly" Neal, the Harlem Globetrotters star who played more than 6,000 games and 22 seasons, has died at 77. The team remembers him as "one of the truly magical dribblers and shooters in basketball history."

The Globetrotters said in a statement that Neal, who played with the team from 1963 to 1985, died at home in Houston on Thursday morning.

Roughly 50,000 Instagram viewers got a taste of what a White House briefing from the coronavirus task force would be like if only the doctor, not President Trump, answered questions.

Takayuki Ueno looks out over an empty field along the coast in Fukushima, Japan, and points toward the ocean.

"There used to be houses here, and trees," he says, and then points in another direction. "And over there, too."

The wind whips across the open space. A small, new graveyard sits in an adjacent plot. Those houses were where his neighbors once lived.

ESPN has gone from gearing up for March Madness to featuring marble racing.

As the coronavirus shuts down Broadway, bars, bowling alleys and more, consider the predicament of cable giant ESPN: The self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in sports" is now operating in a world where there are nearly no live sports.

The head of the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday that it will take much effort to get the Tokyo Olympics back on track after a decision this week to postpone the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to organize the best Games possible," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a conference call with reporters, adding that "this postponement will require sacrifices and compromises from all parties."

"We are confident we can put a beautiful jigsaw puzzle together and in the end have a wonderful Olympic Games," he said.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 6:13 p.m. ET

The Tokyo Summer Olympics will not begin in late July and instead will be held "by the summer of 2021," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday. The delay comes after an increasing number of athletes and sporting federations called for the games to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the first time an Olympics has been postponed, though the games were canceled three times, because of World War I and World War II.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated 8:36 p.m. ET

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has endorsed a delay in the start of the 2020 games in Tokyo because of the spread of deadly coronavirus.

The U.S. committee released a statement saying it had polled athletes and concluded that "the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can't be overcome in a satisfactory manner."

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finally conceded that the COVID-19 epidemic might force the postponement of this summer's Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to start four months from now.

Speaking before Parliament, Abe reacted to a Sunday statement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which said that over the next four weeks it would consider alternative scenarios for the Games, including postponement, but not cancellation.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Japan has admitted the obvious - it must consider postponing this summer's Tokyo Olympics. Any such decision would be painful, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And as long as the world keeps spinning, we can cue up the music of BJ Leiderman, who writes our theme, and say, it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Gene Luen Yang is known as a cartoonist — the author of American Born Chinese and the New Super-Man comics, he's received a MacArthur genius grant for his work, and the Library of Congress named him as its Ambassador for Young People's Literature in 2016.

But for years, Yang was a computer science teacher at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., and his new book Dragon Hoops, chronicles a year he spent observing the school's incredibly talented basketball team as they strove for the state championship.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The head of USA Swimming is calling for the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics to be postponed until next year, citing disruptions the COVID-19 global pandemic has forced onto athletes' lives as well as their training and competition schedules.

As odd as it may seem, it became reality Friday: Tom Brady is a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The man who quarterbacked the New England Patriots for the past 20 seasons and brought the franchise six Super Bowl championships posted to his Instagram on Friday: "I'm starting a new football journey."

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly changing the daily routines of millions of Americans as many settle into their new self-isolation realities.

Some are finding ways to pass the time by streaming television shows, movies and classic sports (and, of course, listening to NPR).

Normally, right now, much of this country would be consumed by March Madness.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And it's time for sports. Well, actually, it's not - right? - because there are no sports to follow at the moment. And sadly, this could last a while. Commentator Mike Pesca has been thinking about what all this means for us, the fans.

Tom Brady Is Leaving The Patriots

Mar 17, 2020

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Updated at 11:02 a.m. ET

It is the end of an era in New England.

Tom Brady, the quarterback who led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins in the past two decades, including one just last year, has announced that he is leaving the franchise. Brady said farewell in a statement tweeted Tuesday, saying, "I don't know what the future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career."

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As Simone Biles celebrated her 23rd birthday on Saturday, she made it clear that she will not stop asking for accountability and answers surrounding the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

Among the many people who wished the gymnast happy birthday was the official USA Gymnastics Twitter account.

Accompanied by a video one of Biles' performance at the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, the organization said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most decorated gymnast of all time, @simonebiles! We know you will only continue to amaze us and make history!"

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now to sports, where coronavirus is also taking a toll.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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