Just as a trial was to begin, Major League Baseball and its fans reached agreement Tuesday to expand the menu of online packages for televised games.
The deal came weeks after baseball's lawyers told a judge that for the first time the league was going to let fans buy single-team online TV packages. In the past, viewers who didn't live in their favored teams' home markets had to buy access to every single televised MLB game.
According to lawyers for fans who filed the class-action lawsuit in 2012, MLB will offer unbundled Internet packages for the next five years, including single-team packages for $84.99 next season. They said that's a 23 percent drop from the cheapest version previously available.
Rose to enter hall of fame — Reds' hall
Pete Rose is getting a hall of fame induction — in the Cincinnati Reds' team hall during a weekend of honors this summer in his hometown — that will include retiring his No. 14.
Reds' chief executive Bob Castellini said Manfred approved the plans to honor the 74-year-old Rose. The June 24-26 events also will feature a 40-year reunion of the 1976 world champion Reds, on-field ceremonies and a team hall of fame banquet in which Rose will be awarded the red sports coat its members wear.
... Righthander Joe Blanton agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract with the Dodgers to be a long reliever.
... Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish said he has never been involved in gambling activities amid a Major League Baseball investigation after the arrest of his younger brother in Japan. Sho Darvish was arrested in October in Japan for allegedly running an illegal gambling ring that reportedly took about 1,850 bets on MLB games.
NASCAR expands Chase format
NASCAR is expanding its Chase format to include its feeder series, meaning the champions from the Xfinity and Truck Series will now be crowned in a four-driver shootout at the season finale.
The format announced mostly mirrors the playoff-style setup used to determine the Sprint Cup champion the past two years. That system has 16 drivers race through three rounds of eliminations to establish a field of four in which the highest finisher in the finale wins the championship.
The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series will use a seven-race Chase to decide their champions. The Cup series uses a 10-race format.
All three series will crown a champ at Homestead-Miami Speedway. However, all three will begin at different tracks: Chicago (Sprint Cup), Kentucky (Xfinity) and New Hampshire (Trucks).
Big Ten suspends eight
The Big Ten Conference office announced a series of suspensions related to an altercation that occurred at the conclusion of the game between Michigan and Ohio State on Jan. 17.
Michigan's Dexter Dancs and Cutler Martin and Ohio State's Brendon Kearney each received a major penalty for fighting and a game disqualification, while Ohio State's Dakota Joshua received a major penalty for facemasking and a game disqualification. As a result of those penalties, Joshua and Kearney are ineligible to play in Ohio State's Jan. 22 contest against Penn State, while Dancs and Martin are ineligible to play in Michigan's Jan. 28 game at Penn State.
The Big Ten imposed additional suspensions and issued public reprimands of Michigan's Dancs and Martin for violating the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy. Dancs has been suspended for one additional game and will be ineligible to play on Jan. 21 against the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 Team. Martin has been suspended for two additional games and will be ineligible to play on Jan. 21 against the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 Team and Jan. 30 against Penn State.