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Manny Machado agrees to record $300M deal with Padres, reports say

Manny Machado, one of major league baseball’s most coveted free agents this offseason, has agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres, multiple sources reported Tuesday.

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Machado's deal is the biggest free-agent contract in baseball history, surpassing the the 10-year, $275 million deal Alex Rodriguez signed with the New York Yankees after the 2007 season, KNSD reported.

While Ron Fowler, the Padres’ executive chairman, told The San Diego Union-Tribune Tuesday morning that “we do not have a deal with any free agent,” two sources who did not want to be identified confirmed the agreement to the newspaper. The deal will allow the third baseman to opt out of the agreement after five years.

Machado is a four-time All-Star and has won two Gold Glove Awards. He made $16 million last season, ESPN reported, splitting time between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Baltimore Orioles,

Machado, 26, batted .297 in 2018 with 37 home runs and 107 RBI. In his seven-year career, Machado has a lifetime .282 average with 175 homers and 513 RBI. He has hit 30 or more home runs in each of the last four seasons.

Pro golfer Matt Kuchar apologizes after caddie-tipping furor

PGA Tour pro Matt Kuchar, criticized by golf fans for not paying his fill-in caddie an industry-standard 10 percent after winning a tournament in November, apologized Friday and said he wanted to make amends, Golf.com reported.

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After play was suspended in the second round at the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club, Kuchar said in an official statement Friday that his earlier comments in a Golf.com interview were “out of touch” and “insensitive.” Kuchar apologized and said he plans to immediately resolve his issue with the caddie, ESPN reported.

Earlier this week, Kuchar defended the $5,000 he paid David Giral Ortiz after winning $1,296,000 at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico. After Kuchar won the event, Ortiz had requested $50,000, ESPN reported. By industry standards, Ortiz could have expected to be paid approximately $130,000.

In an interview with Golf.com on Wednesday, Kuchar, 40, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, said he thought “Someone got in (Ortiz’s) ear.”

“I was very clear and very upfront on Tuesday (of the tournament week in Mexico),” Kuchar told the website. “And he said, ‘OK.’ He had the ability, with bonuses, to make up to $4,000.”

Kuchar confirmed reports he told Ortiz he would pay him $1,000 if he missed the cut, $2,000 if he made the cut, $3,000 if he had a top-20 finish and $4,000 if he finished in the top 10, ESPN reported. 

“The extra $1,000 was, ‘Thank you — it was a great week.’ Those were the terms. He was in agreement with those terms,” Kuchar told Golf.com. “That’s where I struggle. I don’t know what happened. Someone must have said, ‘You need much more.’”

Kuchar struck a much more conciliatory tone in his Friday statement.

“I plan to call David tonight, something that is long overdue, to apologize for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested,” Kuchar said. “My entire Tour career, I have tried to show respect and positivity,” he continued. “In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or the expectations I’ve set for myself.”

Ortiz, 40, is a regular caddie at the Mayakoba Resort near Cancun, ESPN reported.

"Matt is a good person and a great player,'' Ortiz told Golf.com through a translator. "He treated me very well. I am only disappointed by how it all finished.''

Gordon Banks, 1966 World Cup hero for England, dead at 81

Gordon Banks, the goalkeeper for England’s 1966 World Cup soccer championship team, died Tuesday, the BBC reported. He was 81.

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"It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight," Banks’ family said in a statement. "We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him."

Banks was named FIFA goalkeeper of the year six times. He was in the net when England defeated West Germany 4-2 at Wembley Stadium in the 1966 World Cup final on July, 30, 1966.

>> Photos: Notable deaths 2019

His signature moment came during the 1970 World Cup, when he made a “wonder save” against Brazil soccer great Pele, the BBC reported.

Born Dec. 30, 1937, in Sheffield, England, Banks won the League Cup with Stoke and Leicester before retiring in 1973, the network reported.

"Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper, without doubt one of the best England has ever had. I was proud to call him a teammate,” Sir Bobby Charlton told the BBC. “Obviously, we shared that great day in 1966 but it was more than that.

"Even though I was on the pitch and have seen it many times since, I still don't know how he saved that header from Pele."

Cleveland Browns sign controversial RB Kareem Hunt

The Cleveland Browns on Monday signed controversial running back Kareem Hunt, WOIO reported.

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Hunt, a Cleveland native, was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 30 when he was caught on video kicking and shoving a woman at a Cleveland hotel in February 2018, the Plain Dealer reported.

>> Chiefs release RB Kareem Hunt after violent video surfaces

Browns general manager John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt in the third round of the 2017 draft out of Toledo when Dorsey was the Chiefs’ GM, signed the running back to a one-year deal worth approximately $1 million, the newspaper reported. That figure will depend on how long his suspension from the NFL will be.

Hunt will be a restricted free agent after the 2019 season, the Plain Dealer reported.

Hunt will enter the new season on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt list, which means he cannot play or practice with the Browns and cannot attend their games until his suspension is over, WOIO reported.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to announce a punishment for Hunt, who was not criminally charged after the incident, the television station reported. 

In 2017, Hunt led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards as a rookie and was voted to the Pro Bowl, the Plain Dealer reported.

Hunt rushed for 824 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games before he was cut, the newspaper reported.

Ex-Colts punter Pat McAfee's marriage proposal includes waterfall, helicopter

Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee pulled out all the stops when he proposed to his girlfriend over the weekend.

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McAfee, who tweeted Thursday he was joining World Wrestling Entertainment, took Samantha Lundy to Hawaii, WXIN reported. The couple took a helicopter to a waterfall, where McAfee popped the question, the television station reported.

McAfree, known as “The Boomstick” during his eight-season NFL career with the Colts (2009-2016), tweeted that the couple “smiled, laughed and cried a bit” before they sat down to sandwiches at a table in front of the waterfall. 

“Yesterday was awesome,” McAfee wrote. “I’m the luckiest dude on this here planet.”

Garth Brooks attending spring training with Pittsburgh Pirates

Country music legend Garth Brooks is joining the Pittsburgh Pirates -- for spring training, anyway.

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Brooks reported to training camp Monday in Bradenton, Florida, and will work out from Thursday through Feb. 21, DK Pittsburgh Sports reported.

In the past, Brooks has taken part in training camps with the San Diego Padres and New York Mets, according to DK Pittsburgh Sports’ John Perrotto.

Brooks went 1-for-22 with San Diego in 1998 and 1999, and 0-for-17 with four walks in 2002, according to MLB.com. He also had a stint with the Kansas City Royals in 2004 and had two hits.

Golfer's unorthodox swing captivates crowds at Pebble Beach

He is ranked 194th in the world, but South Korean golfer Choi Ho-sung drew big crowds Thursday for his PGA Tour debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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And it wasn’t because he was paired with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It was Choi’s golf swing that fascinated crowds during the first round of the tournament. 

Choi’s swing is “a cross between Chi Chi Rodriguez and Fred Astaire,” The New York Times reported.

Choi, 45, a veteran of the Japan Tour who is playing at Pebble Beach on a sponsor’s exemption, spins around on his follow-through as if his club is his dance partner, the newspaper reported. His pre-swing routine consists of swiveling to the left while locking his eyes on his left shoulder, the Times reported. He holds his club high and exhales loudly before addressing the ball.

Choi started slowly at Pebble Beach in his first visit to the United States, but made three birdies over the final eight holes to finish a 1-over-par 72.

“I definitely felt the love from my fans,” Choi said at his post-round news conference. “I felt like that pushed me more to focus on the back nine.”

“He’s not a sideshow,” Rodgers told the Times. “He can play, and I think it’s really good for golf.”

Police: Body found in plane wreck was soccer star Emiliano Sala

A body found in the wreckage of a plane that crashed into the English Channel was identified as soccer player Emiliano Sala, the BBC reported Thursday.

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Sala, 28, an Argentine striker who had just been transferred to the Cardiff City squad, was traveling to Wales in a plane piloted by 59-year-old David Ibbotson when it went missing Jan. 21, ESPN reported. Sala’s body was recovered Wednesday night, and his identity was confirmed by Dorset police Thursday night, the BBC reported.

In a tweet Thursday, Dorset police officials said, "Our thoughts remain with the (families)” of Sala and Ibbotson.

The Piper Malibu N264DB Sala was traveling in was en route from France to Cardiff after he was transferred from his former club, Nantes, to Cardiff City, the BBC reported. 

Cardiff City issued a statement after Salas’ identity was confirmed, saying, "We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts."

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, MLB's first black manager, dead at 83

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who played 10 of his 21 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and became baseball’s first black manager with the Cleveland Indians, died Thursday, according to Major League Baseball. He was 83.

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Robinson, the first player to win the most valuable player award in both leagues, won the Triple Crown in 1966, his first season with the Baltimore Orioles. He hit 586 home runs during his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

“Frank Robinson is considered one of the greatest players to ever wear a Cincinnati Reds uniform,” said Reds CEO Bob Castellini in a statement. “His talent and success brought dynamic change to the Reds and to our City. His retired No. 20 and statue gracing the gates of Great American Ball Park stand in tribute and appreciation for the immense contribution Frank made to the Reds. We offer our deepest condolences to Frank’s family, friends, and fans.”

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2019

In January, the Baltimore Sun reported Robinson was “in the late stages of a long illness.”

Robinson debuted for the Reds in 1956 and earned the first of 14 All-Star honors as a rookie. He hit .303 with 324 home runs during his time in Cincinnati but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in late 1965 for Jack Baldschun, Milt Pappas and Dick Simpson. 

Robinson played six seasons with the Orioles, leading them to four World Series and two championships, and then finished his career with stints with the Indians, Angels and Dodgers. 

Robinson moved into coaching as a player/manager for the Indians in 1975. He went on to manage for 16 seasons with stints in San Francisco, Baltimore, Montreal and Washington.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement on Robinson: “Frank Robinson’s résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations. He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career. Known for his fierce competitive will, Frank made history as the first MVP of both the National and American Leagues, earned the 1966 AL Triple Crown and World Series MVP honors, and was a centerpiece of two World Championship Baltimore Orioles’ teams.

“With the Cleveland Indians in 1975, Frank turned Jackie Robinson’s hopes into a reality when he became the first African-American manager in baseball history. He represented four franchises as a manager, most recently when baseball returned to Washington, DC with the Nationals in 2005. Since 2000, Frank held a variety of positions with the Commissioner’s Office, overseeing on-field discipline and other areas of baseball operations before transitioning to a senior role in baseball development and youth-focused initiatives. Most recently, he served as a Special Advisor to me as well as Honorary American League President. In 2005, Frank was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for ‘setting a lasting example of character in athletics.’ 

“We are deeply saddened by this loss of our friend, colleague and legend, who worked in our game for more than 60 years. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Frank’s wife Barbara, daughter Nichelle, their entire family and the countless fans who admired this great figure of our National Pastime.”

Super Bowl coverage draws a blank in New Orleans

What if they televised a Super Bowl and nobody watched? That certainly seemed to be the case in New Orleans on Sunday.

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Fans in the Crescent City, already miffed by a non-call in the NFC Championship game two weeks ago they believed cost the Saints a shot at Super Bowl LIII, held a daylong protest party downtown Sunday.

Not to be undone, the front page of Monday’s Times-Picayune was mostly blank, except for the newspaper’s masthead and type in the center of the page that read “Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?” There also was another headline at the bottom of the page that read, “Super Boring,” Sports Illustrated reported.

The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history. The contest at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium had the lowest television ratings in a decade. According to Nielsen, the game averaged a 44.9 rating in the 56 markets it measured, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

>> Super Bowl ratings lowest in 10 years

According to a tweet by Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan, Sunday’s game had a 26.1 rating in New Orleans, the lowest in any of the major markets and the lowest ever in the city.

“By any standard, this was one of the least watchable games in the history of the event,” Duncan wrote in his postgame column for the Times-Picayune. “The game was utterly devoid of drama, excitement or controversy. It made one of Bill Belichick’s press conferences seem thrilling by comparison.”

The Times-Picayune has never been shy about publishing blunt front pages, Sports Illustrated reported. After a stunning upset loss to Minnesota on the final play of a postseason game during the 2018 season, the newspaper’s headline the following day was "Expletive. Expletive. Expletive."

As the Times-Picayune emphasizes with its design, the game came up a blank.

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