Tuesday’s Sports in Brief – News & Observer

BASEBALL

MIAMI (AP) — The new All-Star Game rules were picture-perfect for Nelson Cruz.

Yadier Molina didn’t mind them, either.

And come Game 1 of the World Series in October, no one will be harkening back to how a play here or there at the Midsummer Classic might have ultimately played a role in deciding baseball’s champion for 2017.

World Series home-field advantage is now decided by winning percentage and no longer by the result of the All-Star Game — and not coincidentally there were no shortage of hijinks at Marlins Park on Tuesday night. Cruz got a photo with plate umpire Joe West before an at-bat, Molina was high-fiving opponents after a home run and someone stuck a used piece of chewing gum on the hat of unsuspecting American League manager Brad Mills.

MIAMI (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says the Miami Marlins are soon expected to choose a winning bid from among three investment groups seeking to buy the team, and all have offered about the same amount of money.

The three groups are working on financial structuring, legal issues and due diligence in preparation for a purchase, Manfred said Tuesday.

“When that process is complete, the Marlins will pick a winning bidder,” Manfred said, “and I’m pretty confident that that will happen in the relatively near future.”

His comments came hours before the Marlins hosted the first All-Star Game in Florida.

One investment group includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Massachusetts businessman Tagg Romney. A second group is led by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, a 14-time All-Star, and includes NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. The third group is led by South Florida businessman Jorge Mas.

MIAMI (AP) — Aaron Judge’s victory in the All-Star Home Run Derby drew the event’s most viewers in nearly a decade.

The slugfest Monday night was seen by 8.69 million viewers on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and the company’s livesteams. That was up 55 percent from last year’s 5.62 million, the most since 2008’s 9.12 million and the second-most since 1999’s 8.91 million.

The derby got a 10.8 rating in New York, the highest since market records began in 1998. With Mike Moustakas of the Royals among the eight sluggers in the contest, it drew a 13.6 rating in Kansas City, the largest among metered markets.

BOXING

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Floyd Mayweather Jr. reached into a backpack and held out a $100 million check for the crowd of 11,000 fight fans to see.

“Let me show you what a $100 million fighter looks like,” he said.

Conor McGregor interrupted from his stool behind the podium: “That’s to the tax man.”

Mayweather replied: “You’re right. I’m the IRS, and I’m going to tax your ass.”

The undefeated boxer and the Irish UFC champion have thrown their first jabs in a summer of verbal sparring before the fighting spectacle of the year.

Mayweather and McGregor kicked off a four-city promotional tour at Staples Center, facing off in front of a raucous crowd that thoroughly enjoyed this circus’ first stop in Hollywood. Both fighters promised a knockout, and they had a prolonged shouting match during their second faceoff, with UFC President Dana White stepping between them.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The IRS says it’s still waiting for its cut from Floyd Mayweather Jr. from his nine-figure payday against Manny Pacquiao.

The undefeated boxer nicknamed “Money” owes $22.2 million in taxes from 2015, according to a notice of a federal tax lien filed by the IRS.

The notice shows the balance unpaid as of March 6. The lien was filed with county officials in Las Vegas in April, and the boxing champ last week filed for a temporary reprieve with the U.S. Tax Court.

Still, the boxer who regularly flaunts his wealth defended himself on Facebook on Monday, saying his “empire is rock solid” and the IRS “just wants to be part of the ‘Money May’ show.”

SOCCER

HOUSTON (AP) — Florent Malouda, a veteran of 80 international matches for France, played for French Guiana in CONCACAF Gold Cup despite being ruled ineligible for the tournament.

The 37-year-old midfielder captained French Guiana and played the entire match in a 0-0 tie against Honduras. But the game is likely to be ruled a 3-0 victory by forfeit for Honduras because Malouda was on the field.

Malouda was born in French Guiana, played for France from 2004-12 and scored nine international goals. Under FIFA’s rules, he would be ineligible to play for another national team.

PARALYMPICS

LONDON (AP) — The International Paralympic Committee says an athlete died after being injured during a practice session in London, where the World Para Athletics Championships start this week.

The IPC gave no details of the cause of death of the 36-year-old Abdullah Hayayei, a thrower from the United Arab Emirates who was entered in the shot put, discus and javelin throw events in the F34 class.

In a statement, the IPC said “emergency services were called shortly after 17:00 to reports of a seriously injured man. At 17:20 the athlete was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Police, London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance attended the scene at the Newham Leisure Centre.

GYMNASTICS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography, admitting he tried to get rid of the evidence last fall while police were investigating allegations that he had sexually assaulted young female athletes.

Dr. Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to three charges in federal court in Grand Rapids in western Michigan. Each could land him in prison for up to 20 years.

He is awaiting trial on charges in three separate cases alleging that he sexually molested a total of nine girls, including eight who were gymnasts seeking treatment for injuries. He has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney, Shannon Smith, said Nassar intends to proceed to trial in those cases.

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