Wizards

Monday's Sports in Brief

Monday's Sports in Brief

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) In what must be an increasingly frustrating scene for the rest of college football, another season ended with Alabama coach Nick Saban and his players frolicking in the middle of a confetti-strewn field. Eddie Lacy ran all over Notre Dame, AJ McCarron turned in another dazzling performance through the air, and the Tide defense shut down the Fighting Irish until it was no longer in doubt.

The result was a 42-14 blowout in the BCS title game Monday night, not only making Alabama a back-to-back champion, but a full-fledged dynasty with three crowns in four years.

Despite the dazzling numbers by McCarron - 20 of 28 for 264 yards - he was denied a second straight offensive MVP award in the title game. That went to Lacy, who finished with 140 yards rushing on 20 carries and scored two TDs. Not a bad finish for the junior, who surely helped his status in the NFL draft should he decide to turn pro.

The Crimson Tide wrapped up its ninth Associated Press national title, breaking a tie with Notre Dame for the most by any school and gaining a measure of redemption for a bitter loss to the Irish almost four decades ago: the epic 1973 Sugar Bowl in which Ara Parseghian's team edged Bear Bryant's powerhouse 24-23.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Alabama is No. 1 at being No. 1.

The Crimson Tide (13-1) was voted national champion by The Associated Press for the ninth time, more than any other program in college football, after routing Notre Dame 42-14 on Monday night.

Notre Dame, No. 1 coming into the BCS championship, dropped to No. 4.

The Tide received all 59 of the first-place votes in the final media poll of the season and will be a candidate to start next season No. 1

Oregon (12-1) finished second, matching its best final ranking from 2001. Ohio State (12-0), the only undefeated team in major college football but banned from the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, was third. Georgia and Texas A&M tied for fifth to cap another banner season for the Southeastern Conference.

PRO FOOTBALL

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - It doesn't sound good for Robert Griffin III.

An injury that sidelines RG3 well into next season is a very real possibility - or at least it seemed that way after coach Mike Shanahan described the results of tests on the rookie's right knee.

Shanahan said the results prompted the team to send Griffin to Florida on Tuesday to see renowned orthopedist James Andrews for more examinations, essentially a second opinion that will decide the team's fate for the 2013 season.

``There is a concern,'' Shanahan said. ``That's why he's going to see him.''

Griffin tore his ACL while playing for Baylor in 2009, and Shanahan said that old injury caused Griffin's latest MRI to prove inconclusive and produce ``differences of opinion'' in those who have looked at it.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Pete Carroll says the ``field'' in FedEx Field is ``horrible.''

Mike Shanahan doesn't go that far, but he agrees the grass isn't always greener at the Washington Redskins stadium.

The playing surface was a mess when Seattle Seahawks beat the Redskins on Sunday in the NFC wild card playoffs. There were plenty of bare sports, and dirt was flying with many of the steps taken between the hash marks. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons left the game with knee injuries.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Andy Reid was introduced as the new coach of the Kansas City Chiefs one week after he was fired following 14 mostly successful seasons in Philadelphia.

The 54-year-old Reid was joined by Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, team president Mark Donovan and several other executives at a packed news conference at Arrowhead Stadium.

He takes over for Romeo Crennel, who went 2-14 in his first full season as coach. Crennel was fired last Monday, the same day that Reid was dismissed following his tenure in Philadelphia that included 130 wins, six division titles and an appearance in the Super Bowl.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians returned to Indianapolis on Monday night after being released from a Baltimore hospital following a 36-hour stay for an undisclosed illness.

Team owner Jim Irsay told The Associated Press in a text message that Arians was accompanied by two team doctors, had been medicated and appeared to be on the mend.

``He was in good spirits (and) is trending (in) right direction,'' Irsay wrote.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Eagles received permission to interview Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden for their coaching vacancy.

Gruden, the younger brother of Jon Gruden, just finished his second season with the Bengals.

NEW YORK (AP) - Matt Cavanaugh will not return as the New York Jets' quarterbacks coach after four seasons with the team.

Cavanaugh's contract was due to expire in a few weeks and he was told he would not be part of Rex Ryan's staff next season. Cavanaugh was responsible for the development of Mark Sanchez, who took a step back in his fourth season and was benched late in the year.

PRO HOCKEY

The NHL appears headed toward a 48-game season for the second time in two decades.

``I think 48 is most likely at this point, unless the players can expedite their ratification process,'' NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email Monday to The Associated Press.

The NHL shortened its 82-game slate to 48 games for the 1994-95 season after a 103-day lockout. A 301-day lockout in 2004-05 made the NHL the first major North American professional sports league to lose an entire season.

When the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement was agreed to Sunday morning - after 16 hours of negotiations - there was some talk of having a 50-game season start later this month.

The NHL and the players' association are working on a memorandum of understanding, which could be completed soon, then voted on by owners and players. The league has circulated a memo to teams telling them to be ready to play by Jan. 19, the date the shortened season is expected to start.

PRO BASKETBALL

Head coach Scott Skiles and the Milwaukee Bucks have decided to part ways after just over four seasons together, ending a working relationship that seemed to have been teetering on the brink for quite some time.

The decision came two days after the Bucks lost their fourth straight game to fall to 16-16 on the season, a person with knowledge of the move told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the move has not been announced. USA Today first reported the parting.

SOCCER

ZURICH (AP) - Lionel Messi became the first four-time winner of the FIFA Player of the Year award after shattering the world record with 91 goals last year for Barcelona and Argentina.

The 25-year-old won for the fourth straight time, beating Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta in voting announced Monday. His 91 goals topped Gerd Mueller's mark of 85 for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972.

Abby Wambach became the first American to win FIFA Women's Player of the Year since Mia Hamm in 2001 and 2002. Pia Sundhage was voted top women's coach after leading Wambach and the U.S. team to the gold medal at last summer's London Olympics.

TEN

SYDNEY (AP) - Former champion Li Na advanced to the second round of the Sydney International with a 7-6 (2), 7-5 win over Christina McHale on Monday, and Sam Stosur extended her miserable start to 2013 with another first-round loss.

HOBART, Australia (AP) - Top-seeded Hsieh Su-wei lost to former doubles partner Peng Shuai of China 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4) in the first round of the Hobart International on Monday.

AUTO RACING

NAZCA, Peru (AP) - Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel was back in front of the Dakar Rally in the Peruvian dunes a day after officials rubbed out his stage two win and overall lead.

Peterhansel finished third on the third stage from Pisco to Nazca and it was good enough to lead overall from stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. The Qatari started the day seventh and rose to second by cutting four minutes off Peterhansel's lead to trail by 6 minutes, 33 seconds.

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Emma Meesseman posts an incredibly efficient game in the Euroleague, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes

Emma Meesseman posts an incredibly efficient game in the Euroleague, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes

Emma Meesseman is a walking bucket. She proved it in the WNBA Finals and is continuing to score in bunches in the EuroLeague. 

Playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg, Meesseman went off again. Shooting an incredible 9-for-11 from the field (82%), she posted 20 points in 21 minutes during their win over ZVVZ USK Praha.

Just take a glimpse of Meesseman's highlights from that game. She got her shot to go from every corner of the court. 

The win moved UMMC Ekaterinburg (10-1) to the top of Pool A of the EuroLeague and Meesseman has been a huge part of it. Throughout the season, she's averaged 15 points, shooting 67% from the field and 64% from 3-point range. 

Meesseman just recently won the WNBA Finals MVP award for the Washington Mystics last season. In the WNBA Finals, she posted nearly 18 points a game coming off the bench to lead the team. 

Other WNBA stars Courtney Vandersloot, Brittney Griner and Jonquel Jones also play with Meesseman on the same team. 

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Davey Martinez on electronic sign stealing: 'This just didn't happen overnight'

Davey Martinez on electronic sign stealing: 'This just didn't happen overnight'

When the Nationals faced the Houston Astros last World Series, they took extra precautions to ensure their opponents couldn’t steal their signs even if they were using illegal means to do it.

Less than two weeks later, news broke that the Astros were being investigated by MLB for using electronic devices to steal signs during the 2017 season—a season in which they went on to win their first World Series in franchise history.

The investigation, which concluded last week and resulted in severe penalties for the Astros and the firings of both manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow, didn’t find any evidence that Houston used such means against Washington.

But that didn’t stop Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart from taking precautions, instructing each of his pitchers to have their own sets of signs and laminating cards for them to keep in their caps. Washington also reportedly used some nontraditional signs that were harder to decipher even with the help of technology.

Speaking with MLB Network Radio’s Chuck Todd, Nationals manager Davey Martinez admitted that he’s fine with sign stealing being a part of the game. It’s once outside devices get involved where he thinks teams begin to cross a line.

The league has “been doing this for years,” Martinez said. “A guy on second base steals signs. They try to relay it to the hitters. They’re looking for an edge. You’re at first base and you’re taking a lead and then you’re picking up the signs of the catcher ’cause you want to steal the base and you’re hoping that you could see a breaking ball—whatever. I get it.

“For me, I blame—if that’s happening—I blame us for not controlling that…the things that are controllable, we should be able to control. The other things that we can’t see—I think that’s the issue.”

The game of stealing signs is as old as the sport itself. While some critics have said it hurts the integrity of the game, the implementation of cameras and electronic devices gives one side a much more significant advantage than the level playing ground that teams have operated on for decades.

“This goes back a while,” Martinez said. “I remember in 2017 [when I was with the Chicago Cubs], we were in the playoffs and got a memo about Fitbit watches and all that stuff and not being able to wear them—”

“So people were worried about this for a while?” Todd asked.

“Yeah. I mean, this just didn’t happen overnight. There are rules and the game has changed. There’s so many different wats now that you can do things. But you’ve gotta understand there are rules and that’s the bottom line.”

The Nationals and Astros will continue to be intertwined, not only as reigning pennant winners but as co-hosts of their Spring Training Facility in West Palm Beach as well. While Martinez wasn’t willing to comment on the findings of the investigation into the Astros, he left a frank assessment for whether Houston should’ve expected such significant penalties.

“MLB has made it known that they were going to intervene if they thought there was any foul play, and they did,” Martinez said.

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