Athletics sign Matsui
The Oakland Athletics and free agent slugger Hideki Matsui finalized a US$4.25 million, one-year contract on Tuesday after he passed a physical. The sides had agreed to terms during the weekend. Oakland formally introduced Matsui on Tuesday afternoon in a news conference attended by more than 100 media members — mostly Japanese — and featuring 17 television cameras. The 36-year-old Matsui batted .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs last season with the Los Angeles Angels, the Athletics’ American League West rival.
Vikings go ‘alfresco’
The Minnesota Vikings said they would host the Chicago Bears on Monday in the great outdoors after finding their indoor Metrodome home would not be ready after a snowstorm caused a rip in the inflatable roof. An inspection on Tuesday ruled out the Metrodome and the NFL team announced their Monday night game next week would be shifted to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. “We are committed to playing Monday night’s game in Minnesota in front of our fans,” the Vikings said in a statement posted on their Web site. “We appreciate the tremendous cooperation of the University of Minnesota and look forward to completing preparations for the game and turning this into a memorable experience for the State of Minnesota and Vikings fans.”
Parents duke it out
One man was arrested and paramedics were called after a dispute over a line call in a junior tennis match sparked a fight between parents in Melbourne, Australia. Tennis Australia condemned the incident, which left one man needing hospital treatment for cuts and grazes. Police spokeswoman Sharna Roberts said officers responded to a call to Melbourne Park — home of the Australian Open — on Tuesday after a fight involving a 48-year-old and a 51-year-old man. One man was charged with assault.
Lochte goes Phelpsian
Having surpassed Michael Phelps as the top all-around swimmer this year, Ryan Lochte hopes to punctuate the fact with a Phelpsian performance this week. Lochte wants to swim eight events over five days at the short-course world championships which began yesterday in Dubai. If he wins them all, he’ll match the record eight golds Phelps won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lochte is listed to swim five individual events — the 100m, 200m and 400m individual medleys, plus the 200m freestyle and 200m backstroke. He’ll also take part in the 400m and 800m free relays. The only question in his program is whether he’ll race in the 400m medley relay.
2010 going record-less
The clock is ticking very slowly in swimming these days. For the first time in more than a century, the sport risks ending the year without a single world record established in the pool. By outlawing the rubberized suits that rewrote the record book in 2008 and last year, swimming governing body FINA has turned back the clock so far that most swimmers are no longer anywhere close to their best times. This year’s record book has already been closed on long-course events without a single entry and this week’s short-course world championships in Dubai present the final chance to make some history.
Miners inspired United win
Watching soccer while trapped underground gave the trapped miners in Chile hope during their 69-day ordeal this year and their experience helped inspire Manchester United to beat Arsenal on Monday. Some of the 33 miners rescued in October were at Old Trafford to watch Alex Ferguson’s team go top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over one of their main title rivals. “You played a part in that great win over Arsenal last night because Alex referred to your story in his team talk before the game and used the motivation from that to galvanize the players,” club chief executive David Gill told them on Tuesday. Wearing United scarves and clutching bulging bags of souvenirs from the club shop, the miners were attending a champagne and canapes reception for them at Old Trafford. Some brushed away tears as a video of their rescue was shown, while others cheered and laughed as they saw themselves sharing passionate kisses with their loved ones.