Sports Shorts

FILE - In this Thursday Nov. 11, 2010 file photo Paul McGinley of Ireland plays a shot off the first tee at the Tanjong Golf Course during round 1 of the Singapore Barclays Open golf tournament, in Singapore. Paul McGinley appears to be the front runner to become Europe's Ryder Cup captain for 2014 after Darren Clarke raised doubts about taking on the prestigious role. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair, File)

The Associated Press


Today In Sports History

2003 MLB owners approve of the plan that will have the winner of the All-Star game as the league with home field advantage in the World Series

2001 Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett elected to Hall of Fame – Winfield: .283 average, 465 HRs, 1,833 RBI, 12 time All-Star – Puckett: .318 average, 207 HRs, 1,085 RBI in 12 years, 10 time All-Star, 5 times over 200 hits in a season

1993 Michael Jordan scores 64 points, but loses to Orlando 128-124 – Shaq had 29 points and 24 rebounds

1974 Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford elected to Hall of Fame – Mantle: .298 average, 536 HRs, 1,509 RBI, 3 time MVP, 16 time All-Star – Ford: 236 wins, 2.75 ERA, 156 complete games, Cy Young winner in 1961 (25-4)

1972 Super Bowl VI is won by Dallas as they beat Miami 24-3 – Roger Staubach named MVP – Miami had no penalties and Dallas only 3 for 15 yards

1966 Chicago granted NBA franchise

1962 Wilt Chamberlain scores 42 points and gets 24 rebounds in All-Star game

1936 The first photo finish camera was installed at Hialeah Race Track in Florida

Mo. court reinstates suit against Royals mascot

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sluggerrr, the Kansas City Royals mascot, is going back to court. A Missouri appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court decision in a lawsuit filed by John Coomer of Overland Park, Kan., against the Royals and their mascot.

Coomer alleges he suffered a detached retina and other injuries when he was hit by a hot dog Sluggerrr threw into the stands during a Royals game in 2009. In 2011, a Jackson County jury found for the Royals, saying fans accept a risk of being hit by flying promotions when they attend games. The Kansas City Star reports the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals overturned that decision Tuesday. The court ruled that being hit by a hot dog is not a well-known risk of attending a baseball game.

Wild expect sellout crowd Saturday as NHL returns

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Wild officials say they expect a sellout Saturday when the team opens at home after the lockout that wiped away half the season. Chief operating officer Matt Majka (MAY’-kuh) says strong ticket sales suggest a full house for the 8 p.m. game against the Colorado Avalanche. Teams across the National Hockey League are working to win back fans after the 119-day lockout. The Wild are hosting “Wild Wednesday,” featuring a free intrasquad scrimmage at 7 p.m. Fans will get $10 concession vouchers and discounts on Wild jerseys and apparel during the event. Tickets for that scrimmage are already gone.

Penn St. attacks claims by ex-assistant McQueary

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Penn State’s lawyers asked a judge Tuesday to throw out a whistleblower and defamation lawsuit filed by a former assistant football coach who testified he saw Jerry Sandusky attack a boy in a school shower more than a decade ago. Mike McQueary’s lawsuit is too vague and does not meet legal standards to support claims of defamation and misrepresentation, the university wrote in a court filing. McQueary has sued the university for millions of dollars, claiming in an October complaint that then-president Graham Spanier made him a scapegoat in 2011 after Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, was arrested on child molestation charges.

“It is not enough that the alleged victim of a statement be embarrassed or annoyed, he must have suffered the kind of harm which has grievously fractured his standing in the community of a respectable society,” wrote Penn State attorney Nancy Conrad.

A phone message seeking comment from McQueary’s lawyer, Elliot Strokoff, was not immediately returned.

Sandusky, who spent decades at Penn State under longtime coach Joe Paterno, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a lengthy state prison sentence. He maintains his innocence. Single-game tickets go on sale Wednesday morning.

Gov’t likely to join Armstrong case

WASHINGTON — An attorney familiar with cyclist Lance Armstrong’s legal problems said Tuesday that the Justice Department is highly likely to join a whistleblower lawsuit filed against Armstrong by former teammate Floyd Landis. The False Claims Act lawsuit could result in Armstrong paying a substantial amount of money to the U.S. government. The deadline for the department to join the case is Thursday, though the department could seek an extension if necessary. According to the attorney, who works outside the government, the lawsuit alleges that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government based on his years of denying use of performance-enhancing drugs. The U.S. Postal Service was a longtime sponsor of Armstrong’s racing career.

The attorney spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.

The attorney said Armstrong’s lawyers have met with the Justice Department to discuss what damages would be paid. However, the attorney said, the two sides have very divergent views of the amount. After a decade of denial, Armstrong said he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. The disgraced cyclist made the confession to Oprah Winfrey during an interview taped Monday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. That person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey’s network.

WADA: Lance Armstrong needs to confess under oath

MONTREAL — The World Anti-Doping Agency says Lance Armstrong must confess under oath to seek a reduction in his lifetime ban from sports for doping during seven Tour de France victories.

WADA says it “read with interest media reports suggesting a television ‘confession’ made by Lance Armstrong” to talk show host Oprah Winfrey on Monday.

Armstrong reportedly hopes to return to competition in recognized triathlon events.

However, WADA says “only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath — and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities — can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence.”

Paul McGinley is Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup captain

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Paul McGinley is Europe’s captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup.

The Northern Irishman defeated Colin Montgomerie in a vote of the European Tour’s tournament committee in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

McGinley had received the backing of some of the continent’s biggest names, including top-ranked Rory McIlroy and third-ranked Luke Donald.

Darren Clarke pulled out of the running for the position, preferring to concentrate on his own game. That left Montgomerie to provide a late challenge to McGinley.

Montgomerie was captain for the 2010 match against the United States at Celtic Manor, Wales.

Europe will defend the trophy at Gleneagles, Scotland, after rallying past the U.S. in October at Medinah, near Chicago.

The agency says athletes must pass on details of performance-enhancing drug use “to the relevant anti-doping authorities.”

Deschamps steadily making France competitive again

PARIS — France coach Didier Deschamps has been successful wherever he’s played and coached. In attempting to turn the national team back into the force it once was, his work so far can be described as encouraging.

A draw in a World Cup qualifier at world champion Spain in October was followed by a win at Italy in November. The spirit showed in those games boosted French hopes that Deschamps has instilled the belief sorely missing in recent years, when the team was haunted by its past glories and plagued by off-field problems.

Under Deschamps, France is looking like a competitive, disciplined force again.

“It’s about being competitive. What I say to the players is ‘Give yourselves the means to go as far as possible,’” Deschamps told The AP in an interview at the French Federation’s Paris headquarters on Tuesday.

“Understanding it is one thing but it’s about making it happen. On the pitch, off (the pitch). When you do everything you can, there are no regrets,” he added. “(But) when things go well, human nature means people have a tendency to let themselves go. But, no, you have to keep improving.”

His predecessor, Laurent Blanc, was also credited for transforming the team following the 2010 World Cup debacle, where France crashed out in the first round and the players embarrassed the country by going on strike at training. The team had improved enough when it entered last year’s European Championship to be tagged as a dangerous outsider.

But France fell apart on the field and in the dressing room in the final group game against Sweden, missing an opportunity to avoid Spain in the quarterfinals, and went down without a fight in a 2-0 loss to the defending champions that exposed Blanc’s tactical limitations. The negative manner in which France approached that game, and the expletive-laced rant midfielder Samir Nasri aimed at a journalist afterward, exposed a team lacking confidence and composure.

As soon as Deschamps took over he made a statement of intent with a pledge to be uncompromising in his management, regardless of the talent of the player.

Nasri has not played for France under Deschamps, and neither has winger Hatem Ben Arfa or midfielder Yann M’Vila, who snubbed Blanc and striker Olivier Giroud by refusing to shake their hands when he was substituted against Spain. M’Vila is banned from the national team until July 2014 for leading a party of players to a nightclub while on international duty for the under-21 team shortly before a crucial playoff. Deschamps felt let down as he had sent M’Vila down to the under-21s to help him learn about responsibility by setting an example to others.

“It’s not always about picking the best players in each position, it’s about building a group to help you reach your objectives,” Deschamps said, which is where he differs from Blanc’s insistence of picking the most talented and trying to instill discipline in them.


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