VOL. 132 | NO. 37 | Tuesday, February 21, 2017
American Harrison Captures Memphis Open Title
Ryan Harrison became the first American to win the Memphis Open singles title since Andy Roddick in 2011. Harrison captured the 41st Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster by defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was also looking for his first career title, 6-1, 6-4, on Sunday, Feb. 19, at The Racquet Club.
Harrison, 24, now has won 10 consecutive sets at the tour level, and if his previous Challenger victory in Dallas is added in, he has won 20 consecutive sets. He will re-enter the world’s top 50 at No. 43. It has been nearly five years since he was in the top 50; the last time he was there, in 2012, he was also ranked 43, his career high. A year ago he was ranked 168, and in late 2015 he had dropped to 197.
“I played great in the first (set) and was able to be pretty aggressive,” Harrison said. “In the second set he came out and was really playing good tennis. Honestly, he outplayed me for most of the second set. I just happened to save a lot of break points and convert on the only one I had. It happens like that in tennis sometimes – I was just fortunate to be the one saving the opportunities I had.”
The doubles title was claimed by American Brian Baker and Croat Nikola Mektic. It was a first-time title for both men. They defeated Harrison and Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-4.
– Don Wade
Redbirds, MLB Donate To Memphis Schools
The Memphis Redbirds Community Fund, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, has made a $25,0000 donation to Pitch In For Baseball to benefit Memphis public schools.
The donation, which was part of MLB’s biennial RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Institute held last week in Memphis, will provide baseball and softball equipment to help 460 students get on the field, benefiting 24 baseball and softball teams at 16 schools in the Memphis area.
The week culminated with a free Play Ball event at AutoZone Park, where area children were able to play on the field while learning skills and celebrating the love of the game. Participants also received a Play Ball T-shirt and a bat and ball set to continue the play at home.
The RBI Institute covers topics such as league operations, players’ health on and off the field (e.g., Pitch Smart, anti-bullying and drug-free lifestyles), educational programs, best practices, coaches training, league finances, equipment procurement and more.
The Redbirds have hosted an RBI site since 1998, where boys and girls ages 6 through 16 join with children from their own community to form teams that travel throughout the city to play each other. Memphis RBI began with six locations and has grown to serve 12 communities and more than 1,000 participants.
The mission of the Memphis RBI program is to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth through instructional and competitive play, while encouraging youth to achieve academically, demonstrate good sportsmanship, and contribute positively to the community.
Pitch In For Baseball provides new and gently used baseball and softball equipment to boys and girls in the United States and around the world who want to play ball but lack the equipment to do so. Over the past decade, the program has donated more than $5 million worth of equipment to 500,000 under-resourced kids in nearly every state and 80 countries.
– Don Wade
Crosstown Concourse Sees Tenants Trickle In
Another Crosstown Concourse tenant is preparing to build out its space.
A nearly $400,000 building permit application for tenant infill has been filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement on behalf of Tanenbaum Dermatology Center’s new Crosstown Concourse location.
Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. is listed as the contractor for the 1350 Concourse Ave. site, and CS Studio is listed as the architect.
Tanenbaum Dermatology now joins a growing list of Crosstown Concourse tenants that have filed permits for tenant infill in February; others include Crosstown High School, Curb Market, nexAir and Crosswood LLC.
Crosstown Concourse will hold its grand opening ceremony May 13.
– Patrick Lantrip
Collierville Replaces Backstops on Baseball Fields
Collierville Parks maintenance crews finished replacing backstops at the town’s four baseball diamonds last week, just in time for the start of baseball season.
The town replaced the 30-foot-high backstops itself rather than hiring a private company to undertake the weeklong process for each one. The 25-year-old backstops were changed out using lift trucks from the Collierville Public Services Department’s Fleet Services Division.
– Bill Dries
Mississippi Casino Revenues Tumble in January
Mississippi casinos stumbled in 2017’s first month, winning almost 7 percent less from gamblers.
State Revenue Department figures show gamblers statewide lost $166 million in January, compared to $178 million in the same month in 2016.
Receipts tumbled more than 13 percent at the 16 Mississippi River casinos, to $67 million in January compared to $77 million a year ago. That’s a bad result in a region where business decreases had shown signs of bottoming out in 2016 after years of declines.
The 12 coastal casinos posted revenue of $99 million, down from $101 million in January 2016. Revenue on the Gulf Coast has been generally rising since mid-2014.
Numbers exclude Choctaw Indian casinos, which don’t report winnings to the state.
– The Associated Press