Sports news

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.

The NHL and the players' association have announced a tentative labor agreement that will save at least part of the hockey season in Columbus and other NHL cities.

The NFL has four wild-card playoff games this weekend, and millions of people will settle back in sofas to scream at their televisions in joy or frustration on Saturday and Sunday.

Burry Stander, one of the world's elite mountain bikers, was killed Thursday as he rode his bike in his native South Africa. Stander, 25, a two-time Olympian who placed fifth in his event at the London 2012 Olympics, was reportedly struck by a taxi van as he trained near his home in Shelley Beach, on South Africa's southeastern coast.

The close proximity of the accident to his childhood home apparently allowed Stander's family members, reportedly including his wife, mother and father, to arrive at the scene quickly.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' announcement of his retirement Wednesday was cause for reflection, celebration, some sadness — and not a single mention by two of the largest purveyors of NFL information of his role in a murder trial.

Baseball: The San Francisco Giants, in winning the 2012 World Series, participated in 16 playoff games — and they'd have had more, had they not swept Detroit 4-0 in the World Series itself.

Football: The San Francisco 49ers played 16 games in their entire regular season. Three more wins would make them Super Bowl champions.

Throughout most of its 86 years, Los Angeles' premier tennis tournament attracted the biggest names in the game. But over the years, stars stopped coming, and so did fans.

Now the Farmers Classic, which has been in L.A. since 1927, is headed to Bogota after it was bought by a Colombian sports marketing and entertainment company.

"There's a big hole in my heart. And believe me, this is something we didn't see coming, I'll be honest," says Bob Kramer, longtime tournament director of the Farmers Classic.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), says the NCAA badly overreached itself when it imposed punitive financial sanctions on Penn State over the handling of sexual predator and former Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky. Corbett is filing a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the collegiate athletic association, saying it ignored its own disciplinary rules in its rush to castigate the Pennsylvania university.

They're calling it "Black Monday" over at

It's the Monday morning after the end of the National Football League's regular season, and some teams that didn't make the playoffs are wasting no time in parting ways with their coaches.

So far, no huge surprises in who's being fired:

-- Lovie Smith, from the Chicago Bears.

-- Chan Gailey, from the Buffalo Bills.

-- Pat Shurmur, from the Cleveland Browns.

For those dearly devoted of you who paid attention to me in September, I noted that the best bet in the NFL had proven to be whenever a West Coast team played an East Coast team at night, because the Pacific players had their body clocks better set.

An Arizona ski resort is making snow for the first time this year, ending more than seven years' worth of legal battles over its snowmaking system, which relies entirely upon treated wastewater to coat its slopes when the snowfall has been uneven.

The resort, Arizona Snowbowl, has long been a target of American Indian tribes, who say it defiles sacred land. Critics have also said the snowmaking system might threaten an endangered plant. The resort sits on more than 700 acres of land that it leases from the U.S. Forest Service.

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on April 10, 2012.

Most pitchers in the majors stick to fastballs, curveballs, sliders and change-ups when facing batters at the plate.

At Christmastime, it's long been the fashion for sports columnists to write an annual column about what various people in sports want to find under their tree — a new quarterback for this coach, a starting pitcher for this general manager and so on.

But, of course, the Christmas of Santa Claus isn't the only one. There's also the message that is found in the Gospel Of Luke, which we can all of us, of all faiths, support — as the angels sing: And on earth, peace, goodwill among people.

Ohio State's 2013 spring game will be played on the road. Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati will host the April 13 scrimmage because of renovations at Ohio Stadium.

In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers chose Sam Bowie, a 7-foot-1 center from the University of Kentucky, with the second pick in the college draft. The Chicago Bulls then took Michael Jordan.

The words "Bowie over Jordan" are part of pro basketball lore, and are still a source of pain for many fans of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Bowie's tenure in Portland was marred by leg injuries; Jordan became a legend. ESPN recounts it all in a documentary about Bowie on Thursday night.

I've never had any interest in hunting. Among other things, I'm a terrible shot, but I have friends who hunt, and it appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable sports hobby — certainly every bit as honorable as fantasy football. Moreover, shooting a deer or a duck with a bullet seems to me no more inhuman than catching a trout or a marlin with a hook.

Oh, sometimes I get a little piqued that those who hunt and fish are ennobled as "sportsmen," while people who play golf are just golfers and people who bowl are just bowlers. But then, that's just me being picayune.

Stop anyone on the street in Europe, Latin America, Africa and even Asia, and chances are they'll know the name Lionel Messi — and they'll probably know what he did this week. The soccer phenom scored his 88th goal of the year, which is widely thought to be a world record.

And the year's not over yet.

On Sunday, Messi, 25, scored his 86th goal of the calendar year in a Spanish league game against Real Betis, in Seville. The goal, Messi's second of the game, gave Barcelona a 2-1 win over Betis, with the announcer booming, "A new goal king!"