McCutchen dances as MVP
Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen and Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera both coasted to Most Valuable Player awards in New York on Thursday. McCutchen won the National League honor by a wide margin after leading a baseball revival in Pittsburgh. He drew 28 of the 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Seated in a sweater and tie, a smiling McCutchen juked a sort of stationary shimmy when his name was announced on MLB Network. “If I could get up and dance right now I would, but I don’t have much room to do that,” he said. “When I get off camera, I probably will.” Cabrera took the American League prize for the second straight year, once again winning by a comfortable gap over Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Spain will not explain trip
Spain will travel to Equatorial Guinea for a friendly, and the country’s soccer federation will not say why. The decision to play in the former Spanish colony today has drawn the ire of Equatorial Guinea’s opposition in exile group in Madrid, and raised questions about what benefit the World Cup champions expect to get from playing a team ranked 119th in the world. The federation said it will not be paid any extra fees to play. When directly asked why the game is being played, federation president Angel Maria Villar refused to answer. “I won’t answer this question,” Villar said on Thursday. Spain will become the first team from outside Africa to play in Malabo since Obiang took power in 1979.
Phelps signals return
Michael Phelps has rejoined the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) drug testing program in a signal the most decorated Olympian could be considering a return to the swimming pool in time for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. Phelps retired after winning four gold and two silver medals at the London Olympics last year to take his career tally to 22, 18 of which were gold. The 28-year-old was tested twice in the quarter ended Sept. 30, according to data released by USADA. World swimming governing body FINA requires athletes to be tested for a minimum of nine months before competing in sanctioned events. Phelps had said before the London Games he would not contemplate a comeback after he retired and his coach Bob Bowman downplayed any suggestions he was considering a return to what would be his fifth Olympics. “It’s premature to say that,” Bowman said on Thursday. “What we’re doing is kind of letting him have his options.”
MLB to extend replays
Another Major League Baseball (MLB) tradition is about to largely disappear: A manager, with a crazed look in his eyes, charging the field and getting into a face-to-face shouting match with an umpire. Instead, most calls next season will be subject to video review by umpires in New York. MLB took the first vote in a two-step process on Thursday, unanimously approving funding for expanded instant replay next year. They plan to approve the new rules when they meet again on Jan. 16 after agreements with the unions for umpires and players. “We made a gigantic move today,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said. “This is quite historic.” Selig long opposed replay and watched from afar as it was first used by the NFL in 1986, the NHL in 1991, the NBA in 2002 and Wimbledon in 2006. MLB allowed it starting in August 2008, but in a limited manner. Now, virtually every decision likely will be subject to review.