Oil Futures Rise Again, Settle At Over 2-year High

First-quarter MLB takeaways: Tanking fades, Vlad Guerrero rises, 2020 was a mirage

They’re back to playing 162 games across Major League Baseball and thank goodness for that.

Larger sample sizes are back and so, too, is our ability to assess the state of the game at arbitrary points in time.

That brings us to 2021’s one-quarter mark, as 25 teams have played at least 40 games, some as many as 42, and the trend lines are quickly emerging.

What’s in: Earnest competition, post-hype superstars, post-pandemic season bounceback narratives.  

What’s out: Offense (still!), masks (almost), half-baked attempts at competing (for the most part).

Sure, plenty can change between now and Oct. 3. Yet it’s surely not too soon for USA TODAY Sports to explore both the signal and the noise this season has already provided:

Target, Walmart, Disney and others are relaxing their mask policies.

By Lauren Hirsch and Gillian Friedman

Target on Monday joined a growing list of retailers, restaurants and theme parks that will allow fully vaccinated customers to go mask free, following new coronavirus safety guidance from the federal government last week that said vaccinated people rarely transmit the virus.

Lunch Special: Denver sports live chat with Mark Kiszla – The Denver Post

Got a question about Colorado sports? The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla is discussing all things Denver sports in a live Lunch Special chat, scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, May 17, 2021.

Mobile users, if you can’t see the live chat, tap here.

NY to adopt CDC mask guidance starting Wednesday, Cuomo says

CDC ‘fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line’ on new mask guidance: Former surgeon general

Former Trump surgeon general Jerome Adams slams the CDC’s ‘abysmal communication’ on COVID-19 mask guidance on ‘America’s Newsroom.’

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that his state will adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on masks starting Wednesday.

During a COVID-19 briefing at Radio City Music Hall, Cuomo said vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks indoors or outdoors except in nursing homes, homeless shelters, on public transportation, correctional facilities, schools, and health care facilities.

“All the arrows are now pointed in the right direction, so let’s get back to life,” Cuomo said.

“What we do today is really going to define what tomorrow is all about,” Cuomo said Monday. “We are managing COVID. We haven’t defeated COVID. More work needs to be done on the vaccination front. We’re going to find more creative ways for people to take vaccines.”

NBA play-in games: What you need to know about new NBA playoff format

The NBA postseason is here. 

The playoffs are not just yet.

It’s a distinction with a difference.

The teams participating in the play-in games are not considered playoff teams. Only the teams who fill the No. 7 and 8 seeds in both conferences after the play-in games will be able say they made the playoffs.

The league implemented the play-in game to give more teams a chance to make the playoffs, create late-season excitement, make more games meaningful and curb tanking.

Four teams from the Eastern Conference (Boston, Washington, Indiana, Charlotte) and four teams from the Western Conference (Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State, Memphis, San Antonio) will participate in the play-in game format.

The Wizards needed an unexpected 17-6 finish to the season to make the play-in scenario, and the Lakers couldn’t avoid it.

Join The Daily to Celebrate Graduation

After a year like no other for schools across the country, Michael Barbaro and “The Daily” team celebrate commencement with the students and faculty of “Odessa.”

By The New York Times

Oil Futures Rise Again, Settle At Over 2-year High

Crude oil prices rose fairly sharply on Monday on hopes energy demand will pick up soon as the U.S. and European economies are showing signs of a quick recovery from the pandemic.

Reports that the U.K. will be relaxing some social restrictions supported oil prices. With climbing vaccinations and dwindling virus cases in the U.S., investors expect increased demand for gasoline in the world’s largest economy in the coming weeks.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended up by $0.90 or about 1.4% at $66.27 a barrel, the highest close since April 23, 2019. WTI futures ended up by $1.55 or about 2.4% at $65.37 a barrel on Friday.

Brent crude futures were up $0.79 or 1.15% at 69.50 a barrel a little while ago.

France and Spain have reportedly relaxed COVID-related restrictions. Travel restrictions have been relaxed in Netherlands and Portugal as well.

However, the surge in coronavirus cases in Asian countries weighed a bit and limited oil’s uptick. India, Japan and Singapore are extending restrictions at several places to curb the spread of the infection.

Traders were also tracking news from the Middle East, where Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group faced mounting international calls for a ceasefire in hostilities that entered their second week with no end in sight.