MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
MESA, Ariz. (AP) When Yu Darvish met with Theo Epstein and other Chicago Cubs officials last December in the Dallas area, the Japanese pitcher liked what he heard.
''The Cubs really stood out, and everyone was sincere at the meeting,'' Darvish said Tuesday through a translator after finalizing a $126 million, six-year contract.
Darvish gets $25 million this year, $20 million in 2019, $22 million in each of the following two seasons, $19 million in 2022 and $18 million in 2023. He can opt out of the deal after the 2019 season and become a free agent again.
His approval is needed for any trade through 2019. After that, he can list 12 teams he cannot be dealt to without his consent.
Darvish joins a rotation that includes Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood, who agreed to a $38 million, three-year contract in December.
''Yu was our primary target,'' said Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations. ''It's a great day for the Cubs organization to welcome a pitcher of this caliber. He is probably the pre-eminent strikeout pitcher of our generation. We are getting him at a wonderful point in his career where he has matured and is ready to go out and do some special things, with the World Series being his top priority.''
A four-time All-Star, Darvish finished last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping them knock out the defending champion Cubs in the playoffs to reach the World Series. The 31-year-old Japanese right-hander is expected to take the rotation spot of Jake Arrieta, who became a free agent.
Notre Dame's president ripped the NCAA's decision to deny the school's appeal to restore 21 vacated football victories from an academic misconduct violation, saying the association ''perverted'' the notion that universities determine how they police academics.
The NCAA denied Notre Dame's appeal Tuesday, wiping off the books all 12 wins from the Fighting Irish's 2012 national championship game run under coach Brian Kelly.
In a letter to Notre Dame alumni, University President Fr. John Jenkins says the penalty was unprecedented considering who was involved in the misconduct, and the school was being punished for rigorously enforcing its honor code. He called the ruling unfair, referencing the recent North Carolina case in which the NCAA did not punish the school after an investigation of athletes taking irregular courses.
The appeals committee was not swayed and upheld the penalty passed down in November 2016 by the committee on infractions.
Notre Dame agreed to accept certain NCAA findings and acknowledged cheating involving several football players and a student athletic trainer, but appealed only the penalty that vacated victories.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Frank Reich did some of his most memorable work in relief.
He engineered the biggest comeback in NFL playoff history while pinch-hitting for Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. He orchestrated the second-largest comeback in college football history after spending three years as Boomer Esiason's understudy. Heck, he even won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback.
So when the Indianapolis Colts offered Reich a chance to be their second choice as head coach, the super sub figured it was the perfect it.
''The backup role has suited me well in my career,'' Reich joked at his introductory news conference at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Reich inherits a team that went 4-12 in 2017, missed the playoffs for the third straight year and was desperately trying to remove an embarrassing stain following last week's announcement that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would not take the Colts' job.
This time, team owner Jim Irsay made sure the Colts weren't caught off-guard again. Shortly after team officials confirmed the deal, the team posted a photo on Twitter of Reich signing a five-year deal at Irsay's house.
WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW
NEW YORK (AP) - Flynn the bichon frise won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club, a choice that seemed to surprise almost everyone in the crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Fans who had been loudly shouting for their favorites fell into stunned silence when judge Betty-Anne Stenmark announced her decision.
No matter, the white powder puff was picked and walked off as America's top dog.
Guided by expert handler Bill McFadden, Flynn beat out Ty the giant schnauzer, Biggie the pug, Bean the Sussex spaniel, Lucy the borzoi, Slick the border collie and Winston the Norfolk terrier.
''It feels a little unreal,'' McFadden said. ''I came in expecting nothing except hoping for a good performance, and I think I got it.''
Underdogs and upsets are way more than norm on the green carpet of the Garden - inside dog fanciers indeed fancied Flynn, but the people sitting in the stands were obviously pulling for other dogs.
Ty came into this competition as the nation's No. 1 show dog last year and finished as the runner-up. He endeared himself to the crowd by jumping up and putting his front paws around handler Katie Bernardin after winning the working group earlier in the evening. Slick and Lucy also drew applause.