Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.
As the new season begins, there has been a power shift from the East Coast, with TV deals, star names and big bucks going to LA
A group spear-headed by former basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson agreed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team for a record $2bn, team owner Frank McCourt announced yesterday, capping a two-year drama that started with McCourt's divorce and wound its way through bankruptcy court.
Albert Pujols, widely regarded as the best player in baseball, has joined the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on a 10-year contract reported to be worth $250m (around £160m).
The tragicomedy that is the Los Angeles Dodgers intensified yesterday as one of US sport's most famous franchises filed for bankruptcy – a last ploy by its heavily indebted owner to keep the team from being taken over entirely by Major League Baseball.
When the Boston Red Sox' newly-signed outfielder Carl Crawford was presented to the media last December, he realised that he was without appropriately-coloured neckwear. Executive vice-president Sam Kennedy gave him a Liverpool tie, "thus merging Major League Baseball and Premier League", according to Peter Gammons, the respected baseball broadcaster.
Forget all the fines, bans and campaigns: football's big boys should sit down and talk like grown-ups
"There is," declared one notable Liverpool supporter yesterday, "only one reason why people like this buy football clubs – to make money." That he was standing outside Stamford Bridge, possibly the biggest sporting plaything we will ever see, did not add weight to his argument. But the suspicion that prickles among the club's fans is readily understandable, and matches that troubling the minds of the Red Sox Nation when John W Henry and his partners first arrived in Boston in 2002.
In a marathon lasting five hours and 41 minutes, the Sox disposed of the Houston Astros 7-5, decided by a pinch hit solo homer by the hitherto unknown utility player Geoff Blum at the top of the 14th inning. The Astros pitcher Ezequiel Astacio handed them another run by issuing a bases-loaded walk later in the innings, before Chicago's Mark Buerhle struck out the last Houston hitter to wrap up the game.
Wednesday's deciding game was a sad and anticlimactic finale for home fans at the 40-year-old Busch Stadium, now due for instant demolition to make way for a retro-style ballpark that will be up and running in 2006.
La Russa, by common consent, is the smartest manager in baseball - and certainly the only one with a law degree. With the Chicago White Sox, Oakland and now St Louis, he has won more regular season games than all but two managers in the history of the game. His scowling yet cerebral presence in the Cardinals' dug-out, as he pores over arcane statistical charts, is as much a part of the team's image as the red birds on its uniforms.