AP Sports SummaryBrief at 6:54 p.m. EST
Aaron Judge is AP male athlete of year after setting HR mark
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has been voted The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. He hit 62 home runs to break an American League record that lasted six decades. The outfielder edged Los Angeles Angels pitching and hitting star Shohei Ohtani in balloting. Ohtani won the award last year. Judge joins an esteemed list that includes Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan. Among the former Yankees to win was Roger Maris, who set the previous AL mark of 61 homers in 1961.
Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr signs Cristiano Ronaldo
LONDON (AP) — Saudi Arabian soccer club Al Nassr has announced the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, ending speculation about the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future. Al Nassr posted a picture on social media of Ronaldo holding up the team’s jersey, with the club hailing the deal as “history in the making.” Ronaldo had been a free agent has his contract was terminated by Manchester United following an explosive TV interview in which he criticized manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners. He is coming off a disappointing World Cup where he was benched in the knockout rounds and Portugal lost in the quarterfinals to Morocco.
Brazil mourns Pelé, who made every part of the country proud
Bocaina de Minas, BRAZIL (AP) — With Pelé’s death, Brazilians have lost a piece of their hearts. Down a dirt road in the mountains of Minas Gerais, Pelé’s home state, Jorge Tavares received the news of the soccer star’s death from a 4 a.m. newscast. As a boy, Tavares and his cousins listened to Pelé’s World Cup games on the radio. His dazzling performance inspired them to play a game they had never seen, first using a ball made of socks and string. “We feel this a lot. He leaves a legacy, a person of color who was crowned king of soccer, and he also brought a lot of peace outside Brazil,” Tavares, a 67-year-old school-van driver, said in an interview at the barbed-wire fence outside his home. “He represented Brazil to everyone abroad.”
Pelé invigorated US soccer, paved way for ’94 World Cup, MLS
NEW YORK (AP) — Clive Toye started his pursuit of Pelé with a trip to Jamaica and a cold call in 1971. Pelé signed with the New York Cosmos four years later. It put U.S. soccer on a path to hosting the World Cup in 1994 and launching Major League Soccer two years later. The Cosmos averaged 3,578 fans in 1974. Pelé joined in June 1975 and that season’s average nearly tripled to 10,450. Pelé was 34 when he joined the Cosmos and scored 37 goals in 64 matches. He agreed to countless interviews and promotional appearances as part of a mission to make soccer mainstream.
Georgia, Ohio St are perennial powerhouses, met just once
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia and Ohio State have met once, three decades ago, before playoffs and NIL. The Bulldogs won the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day in 1993. The teams will be playing for a whole lot more on New Year’s Eve in the College Football Playoff semifinal Peach Bowl — a berth in the national title game. The top-ranked Bulldogs are looking to take the penultimate step toward their second straight national championship. No. 4 Ohio State slipped into the final playoff spot without winning its division in the Big Ten.
TCU brings ‘fight for credibility’ to CFP against Michigan
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU meet for the first time Saturday at the Fiesta Bowl. It is a matchup of one of college football’s bluest blue bloods and the most unlikely team ever to reach the College Football Playoff. The Horned Frogs became just the second team to reach the final four after starting the season unranked. The first was Michigan last year. Michigan is the winningest program in college football history. TCU played in three conferences over 16 years before landing in the Big 12 11 years ago. It was picked to finish seventh in the league this year.
Maryland holds off No. 25 NC State in Duke’s Mayo Bowl
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Taulia Tagovailoa threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Octavian Smith, Chad Ryland kicked three field goals and Maryland outlasted No. 25 North Carolina State 16-12 to win the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Tagovailoa finished 19 of 37 for 221 yards with two interceptions. Roman Hemby ran for 65 yards rushing on 24 carries for Maryland. The Terrapins won their second straight bowl game. Jakorian Bennett was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Ben Finley completed 22 of 48 passes for 269 yards with two interceptions and couldn’t find the end zone. Maryland finished 8-5. So did N.C. State.
Enmanuel, college player with 1 arm, becomes an inspiration
Hansel Enmanuel became an internet sensation with videos showing the one-armed basketball star dunking with ease in high school. It helped him earn a spot on the Northwestern State team. Basketball wasn’t always this effortless for Enmanuel. Just months after the accident where he lost his left arm inches below the shoulder at age 6, he started the sport. He struggled and fell a lot because he lacked balance. Years later, he’s settling into his first year of college and has endorsement deals with adidas and Gatorade.
Rosburg: Jeudy is my hero for sticking up for Russell Wilson
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Denver Broncos interim head coach Jerry Rosburg called wide receiver Jerry Jeudy his hero for standing up for embattled quarterback Russell Wilson this week. Wilson has been criticized far and wide for his poor play this season but his teammates took exception to articles that focused on the perks he enjoys in Denver. Those include his own office at team headquarters and an entourage of support staff including chefs and his own personal QB coach. His teammates rallied around him just days after his O-linemen were criticized for not helping Wilson to his feet after sacks.
Twins Taylor, Tyler Rogers relish chance pitch in same ‘pen
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Taylor and Tyler Rogers are determined to help San Francisco’s bullpen return to one of the best in baseball. The twins will be pitching for the Giants and playing together for the first time at age 32. They insist they’re not pranksters but Tyler Rogers came on to Taylor’s introductory video call and posed as someone else to ask a question. Taylor, the lefty, will be pitching alongside Tyler, the righty, after Taylor Rogers signed a $33 million, three-year contract this week.
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