NFL plans London game
The New England Patriots will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season at Wembley Stadium, the third straight year the NFL will stage a regular-season game in the British capital. The NFL said on Monday the game would be played on Oct. 25. The Bucs will be listed as the home team, giving up a game in Tampa. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says “we have seen first-hand the excitement that exists for our sport in the UK.”
Comets fail to find buyer
The Houston Comets, four-time winners of the Women’s National Basketball Association crown, will suspend operations after the league was unable to find a buyer for the team. “We are, unfortunately, at a place we hoped that we wouldn’t have to be at — the Comets will cease operations in this coming week,” WNBA president Donna Orender told television station KRIV on Monday. One of the league’s original teams founded in 1997, the Comets claimed the WNBA’s first four championships from 1997-2000. “All of our energies were focused on finding a viable ownership group in the city of Houston,” Orender said. “As such, going really to the wire with a group that expressed an interest and desire to keep it there, at some point you can’t start in another city.”
Schoolgirl signs with pros
Japanese schoolgirl Eri Yoshida became the country’s first woman to sign a professional contract with a men’s baseball team yesterday. The pint-sized 16-year-old pitcher, whose favorite pitch is a knuckleball, was drafted by Kobe 9 Cruise, a team from the newly formed Kansai independent league, earlier this month. “My hope is to be able to contribute to the team,” a nervous-looking Yoshida told a packed news conference. “I just want to be able to play at the same level as my teammates. It is a big stage for me. I can’t believe there are so many people here — my hands and legs are shaking.” The country’s Nippon Professional Baseball body only lifted its ban on female players in 1991 while “little league” junior teams began accepting girls only 10 years ago.
Red Sox sign Tazawa
The Boston Red Sox and Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa have agreed to a major league contract, two newspapers reported. The 22-year-old right-hander, who has never played professional baseball, agreed to a deal worth about US$3 million, the Boston Globe reported on Monday. The Boston Herald reported Tazawa likely would sign a three-year contract by yesterday. Boston’s general manager and owner did not return e-mails seeking comment. The Red Sox would put Tazawa on the 40-man roster, but he likely would begin next season in the minors.
Court fines Karalahti
A Finnish court fined former NHL player Jere Karalahti 1,490 euros (US$1,900) on Monday for using cocaine last year. The Helsinki City Court found Karalahti guilty of using cocaine in March last year, based on a photograph found on a friend’s laptop that shows a white, powdery substance in Karalahti’s nose. Last month, Karalahti told the court that it might have been cocaine, but that he could not remember because he was drunk at the time. He later retracted the statement saying he does not use drugs. In January, Karalahti — who plays for German team Hamburg Freezers — was given a 20-month suspended sentence for helping finance the smuggling of amphetamines and cocaine from Estonia into Finland last year.