Sports

Paris F.C. Set Tickets To $0. Should Others Do the Same?
Sports

Paris F.C. Set Tickets To $0. Should Others Do the Same?

Neither Paris F.C. nor St.-Étienne will have much reason to remember the game fondly. There was, really, precious little to remember at all: no goals, few shots, little drama — a drab, rain-sodden stalemate between the French capital’s third-most successful soccer team and the country’s sleepiest giant.That was on the field. Off it, the 17,000 or so fans in attendance can consider themselves part of a philosophical exercise that might play a role in shaping the future of the world’s most popular sport.Last November, Paris F.C. became home to an unlikely revolution by announcing that it was doing away with ticket prices for the rest of the season. There were a couple of exceptions: a nominal fee for fans supporting the visiting team, and market rates for those using hospitality suites.Every...
Pat Zachry, Pitcher Known for a Lopsided Trade, Dies at 71
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Pat Zachry, Pitcher Known for a Lopsided Trade, Dies at 71

Pat Zachry, who was a co-winner of the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1976, but who is probably best known for being one of the players traded to the New York Mets a year later for Tom Seaver, died on Thursday at the home of his son, Josh, in Austin, Texas. He was 71.Jay Horwitz, a spokesman for the Mets, announced the death. He did not specify the cause, saying only that Zachry died after a long illness.Zachry, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, began his career with the Reds in 1976 and got off to a promising start. He went 14-7 with a 2.74 earned run average in his first season and tied the San Diego Padres pitcher Butch Metzger for Rookie of the Year. He beat the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series and the Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series,...
MLB insiders “pretty worried” by rise in arm injuries to top young starting pitchers
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MLB insiders “pretty worried” by rise in arm injuries to top young starting pitchers

Matt Blake texted Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber a conciliatory message over the weekend. As a member of the Cleveland player-development system in the 2010s, Blake aided Bieber’s rise from college walk-on to unanimous American League Cy Young Award winner in 2020. For a time, Bieber represented the modern model for the manufacturing of a big-league ace, a player who added strength to his frame, velocity to his fastball and spin to his offspeed pitches as he ascended the ranks.By the time Blake sent his text, though, Bieber had become part of a growing, more troubling demographic: talented young pitchers who will spend this season as spectators. Two days after the Miami Marlins announced 20-year-old phenom Eury Pérez would undergo Tommy John surgery, the Guardians disclosed Biebe...
How Soccer Learned to Embrace Ramadan: From Faked Injuries to Bespoke Diets
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How Soccer Learned to Embrace Ramadan: From Faked Injuries to Bespoke Diets

Youseff Chippo had a secret.A few months into his life as a soccer pro in Europe, Chippo, a Moroccan midfielder, was pushing to prove himself and didn’t want to do anything that might hurt his chances of success. That included revealing he was fasting for Ramadan, a normal practice for the world’s billion Muslims but not in the locker room of Portugal’s F.C. Porto in the winter of 1997.The team’s double practice sessions — morning and afternoon — were arduous. Taking part while going without food and water from sunup to sundown made things harder. Eventually, after enduring days of dizziness and headaches in silence, Chippo came clean, and the club quickly put together a plan to preserve his energy and his health.For decades, though, other Muslim players found teams to be less accommodatin...
For Mets Fans, Opening Day Was All About Shopping
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For Mets Fans, Opening Day Was All About Shopping

On Friday morning, at 11:40 on the dot, hundreds of Mets fans flooded into the new team store at Citi Field in Queens. It was the opening day of baseball season, and they were the first ones into the new space, located in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the grand entryway to the ballpark.Susan Wiedeman, 65, from Riverdale, N.J., who has attended Mets opening day with her husband for the last 40 years, was giddy with the experience. “We were just about the first ones in,” she said. “That was really cool.”At 10,000 square feet, the store is twice the size of its previous iteration and filled with new technology, art and merchandise. There are vastly higher ceilings — “Last year I could adjust a lightbulb myself if I needed,” said James Benesh, the executive director of consumer products for the...
NFL executives unfiltered on 2024 free agency: The best and worst from all 32 teams
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NFL executives unfiltered on 2024 free agency: The best and worst from all 32 teams

NFL free agency continues, but with the major signings and trades complete, it’s time to check in with executives around the league for thoughts on all 32 teams’ moves to this point.There is so much to discuss, from Kirk Cousins’ Minnesota exit to the New York Jets’ desperation, the Green Bay Packers’ big additions and even what’s next for the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys as potentially tricky contract situations percolate.For each team, I’ve noted the average per-year salary (APY) of players who were added from other teams and players who left to sign with other teams, along with the differential between the two. Contract information was gathered from a variety of sources, including Over the Cap, Spotrac, media reports and league sources. Information for a few smaller contracts ...
North Korea’s Han Kwang-song Returns to International Soccer
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North Korea’s Han Kwang-song Returns to International Soccer

When the North Korean men’s soccer team took the field for two 2026 World Cup qualifying matches this month, close observers noticed an important roster change.Han Kwang-song, a high-profile striker, was back, more than three years after vanishing from public view for reasons beyond his control: United Nations-imposed sanctions on North Korean nationals over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.Mr. Han’s story is a rare case of North Korea sanctions reverberating through professional soccer. It also shows how enforcement of U.N. sanctions against individuals varies by country.The government in Italy did not deport Mr. Han, now 25, while he was playing professional soccer there. But once he moved to Qatar, the Qatari government did.“The basic story makes sense; the surprising part is that Qatar comp...
The Japanese Sensei Bringing Baseball to Brazil
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The Japanese Sensei Bringing Baseball to Brazil

Yukihiro Shimura always arrives first. He quietly puts on his baseball uniform. He rakes the dirt field meditatively. He picks up the coconut husks and dog poop. And, finally, when he finishes, he bows to Rio de Janeiro’s only baseball field.Then his misfit team — including a geologist, graphic designer, English teacher, film student, voice actor and motorcycle delivery man — starts to form. Most are in their 20s and 30s, and some are still learning the basics of throwing, catching and swinging a bat.It was not what Mr. Shimura envisioned when he signed up for this gig. “In my mind, the age range would be 15 to 18,” he said. “I should have asked.”For the past two decades, Mr. Shimura, 53, was one of Japan’s top high-school baseball coaches. Now he is more than 10,000 miles from home, on a ...
Ukraine qualify for Euro 2024: ‘The world is going to watch and see we never give up’
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Ukraine qualify for Euro 2024: ‘The world is going to watch and see we never give up’

More than 40 members of Ukraine’s national-team party were spread around the centre circle of Wroclaw’s Tarczynski Arena.Players, coaches and backroom staff locked their gaze on the 30,000 spectators sporting blue and yellow as they revved up their version of the Viking thunderclap. Iceland, the architects of that celebration during the 2016 European Championship, could only listen in despair having lost this Euro 2024 play-off final to a late strike from Chelsea forward Mykhailo Mudryk.Strangers embraced. Families posed for photographs draped in Ukraine flags. Others video-called, possibly home to war-torn Ukraine, sharing the moment with others unable to experience first-hand this release of emotion around 600 miles (1,000km) away in south-west Poland.Ukraine had done it. Uk...
The Premier League Needs a Commissioner
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The Premier League Needs a Commissioner

Pete Rozelle’s immediate reaction could not accurately be described as unbridled enthusiasm. He was 33. He had, for the last three years, been the general manager of the Los Angeles Rams. He was suave, charming and well liked. But he was nevertheless starting to wonder whether running an N.F.L. football team was really the job for him.And then, outside the Kenilworth Hotel in Miami in January 1960, he was cornered by a cadre of the league’s most fearsome power brokers: the Mara brothers, Jack and Wellington, owners of the Giants; Dan Reeves, the Rams’ benefactor; and Paul Brown, the coach and founder and all-purpose potentate of the team in Cleveland that still bears his name.They had an offer to make Rozelle. They did not want him to run a franchise. They wanted to put him in charge of th...