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As baseball emerges from its winter hibernation, one of the game's greatest and most controversial figures, Pete Rose, is back in the news.

The all-time hits leader has been banned from baseball since 1989 for gambling on the game.

It appears fallout continues: A new batch of Topps baseball cards lists some of his many records, but not his name. It's a reminder of Rose's singular status as a Major League Baseball pariah. It also raises the question, with so much bad behavior by top athletes, is it time to re-evaluate Rose's status?

The Art Of Pete

NASCAR Crash Sends Car Debris Into The Stands At Daytona

Feb 25, 2013

More than two dozen NASCAR spectators were injured Saturday when a car crashed into the fence and sent car parts hurtling into the stands at Daytona International Speedway, officials said in a news conference. The multi-car accident hit on the last lap of the Nationwide Series opener, a day before the Daytona 500.

The Associated Press reports:

"Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood says, 'We'll be ready to go racing' and is confident the track will be repaired in time Sunday for the Daytona 500."

A big first for Danica Patrick, but an even bigger second for Jimmie Johnson.

Patrick made history out front at the Daytona 500, only to see five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson reclaim his spot at the top in the end.

Johnson won his second Daytona 500 with a late push on Sunday, grabbing the spotlight from Patrick as she faded on the final lap. Patrick became the first woman in history to lead laps in "The Great American Race" and was running third on the last lap, but slipped to eighth in the late push for position.

Tim Tebow has bowed out of a promise to appear at the opening of a new megachurch in downtown Dallas whose pastor has been criticized for making derogatory remarks about non-Christians and homosexuals.

These have certainly been dispiriting times for those who admire athletes, who proclaim that sports build character. The horrendous shooting by Oscar Pistorius is of course, in a category mercifully unapproached since the O.J. Simpson case, but the Whole Earth Catalog of recent examples of athletic character-building is certainly noteworthy.

"South African 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius broke down in tears on Friday after he was charged in court with shooting dead his girlfriend in his Pretoria house," Reuters reports from Pretoria.

According to the wire service: "The 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic superstar stood with head bowed in front of magistrate Desmond Nair to hear the murder charge read out, then started sobbing, covering his face with his hands."

Our most recent update was added at 1:45 p.m. ET.

South African Paralympic and Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius "has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend," The Associated Press reports from Pretoria.

Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed inside Pistorius' home early Thursday, police say.

The AP adds that:

A day after firing general manager Scott Howson, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made history by hiring Jarmo Kekalainen of Finland. He'll become the National Hockey League's first European general manager.

Ohio State University continues its week-long recognition of the 100th anniversary of Woody Hayes' birth.

Gentlemen of a certain age might make a nostalgic note that today, Valentine's eve, is the 80th birthday of Kim Novak.

One of Miss Novak's most famous movie roles was in Picnic, where she played the gorgeous ingenue who could've married the son of the richest man in town but instead fell for a hunk of a bum who was an old football star.

Picnic is being revived on Broadway, as is Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, where — guess what? — Maggie, played by the beautiful Scarlett Johansson, is married to a hunk of a bum who is a former football star.

Chinese 'Pingpong Diplomacy' Player Dies

Feb 10, 2013

The Chinese table tennis player who was instrumental in the pingpong diplomacy that paved the way for President Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China has died. Zhuang Zedong was 73.

Here's more from the BBC about the 1971 incident that led to pingpong diplomacy:

Native American groups have pushed the Washington Redskins to change its name for more than 20 years, arguing that the moniker is offensive and culturally insensitive.

Today, that push got a little wind when the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian held a day-long academic symposium on "racist" stereotypes in American sports.

There are more troubles for disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

A Texas-based promotions company sued the former cycling champion Thursday for more than $12 million, which was paid to Armstrong for several of his record seven Tour de France wins. Armstrong publicly admitted last month that those herculean victories were aided by doping.

The lawsuit is part of a flurry of activity: Armstrong still is in talks with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and there is now word that he is under federal investigation, a year after another federal criminal inquiry ended abruptly.

Update at 8:06 p.m. ET. Card Sells For $80,000

The nearly 150-year-old Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card that was was discovered late last year in a photo album bought at a yard sale has sold for $80,000 — $92,000 if you count the auction house's buyer's premium.

Since that devilish little morality saga with Linda Evans and Joan Collins left television in 1989, there have been no dynasties in our world outside of sports.

Today, nobody says that William and Kate are continuing a dynasty or the Kennedys are a dynasty, or the Rockefellers, or even that dreadful ugly chubby family in North Korea.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association says that American skier Lindsey Vonn crashed during the women's world Super-G competition in Austria today and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. Reports indicate she may have a serious knee injury.

The gold-winning Olympian was trailing the race leader by 0.12 seconds, according to the USSA, when she crashed. She was taken for medical treatment by helicopter, which the organization says is 'standard protocol'.

The Columbus Crew has acquired forward Dominic Oduro from the Chicago Fire in exchange for midfielder Dilly Duka - and the right of first refusal to former Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers.

There was a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

A last-minute drive that could have won the game for San Francisco.

An MVP performance by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

The traditional American shooting range is extending its range.

In Summerville, S.C., for example, the ATP Gunshop & Range stages community-minded blood drives and Toys for Tots collections. Twice a week there are ladies' nights, where women can learn to fire pistols and receive free T-shirts.

When Secretariat won what was certified to be his last race, I went down onto the track at Woodbine, and gauging where he had crossed the finish line, snatched up the last grass that perhaps the greatest thoroughbred ever had laid hooves to in his career.

LeBron James is arguably the best player in the NBA. His salary is $17.5 million a year. He's worth much, much more.

"He's getting hosed," says Kevin Grier, an economist from the University of Oklahoma.

James used to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. When he left, the value of the team fell by tens of millions of dollars — and the value of his new team, the Miami Heat, rose by tens of millions. The economists I talked to said James should be making closer to $40 million a year.

Te'o Drama Is Telling In More Ways Than One

Jan 24, 2013

Finally, I have a word about Manti Te'o, the star Notre Dame linebacker, Heisman trophy runner up, who says he was the victim of an ugly hoax where someone — probably a male friend of his — created an online identity of a young women, with whom Te'o says he fell in love, although he never met her.

Sports fans are jealous of sportswriters, because it's a dream job where you get to watch games free, which is, above all, what sports fans want.

Once upon a time this was true. The sportswriters watched games, keeping score, me. . .tic. . . u. . . lous. . . ly, and then wrote it all up, so that the poor devils who had real jobs could read about the games.

Well, that's the way it was.

The big "get" goes to Katie Couric.

While Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o has spoken to ESPN — and said he did not participate in the hoax about a "dead" girlfriend who turned out to be neither real nor dead — that wasn't on camera or recorded.

Rob Chudzinski returns for his third tour with the Cleveland Browns, but this time he's calling the shots.

Major League Baseball will expand its effort to fight performance enhancing drugs to include random blood tests for human growth hormone and other substances during the regular season, under the terms of an agreement with the players union that was first reported by

The Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2013 will not have any new inductees from the ranks of the recently retired, despite a list of candidates that includes Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Those players, whose careers left their names at or near the top in the record books in multiple categories, are suffering from the lingering stigma of steroid use.

It is only the second time since 1971 that no players were sent to Cooperstown. A press release from the Hall of Fame, which announced the results today at 2 p.m. ET, called it "a shutout."

The news that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong might be willing to confess to the doping charges he spent years denying has reopened interest in his case — and in the question of whether his lifetime ban from competitive sports could be eased in exchange for Armstrong's cooperation.

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