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It’s showtime again in LA as the world’s highest-priced sports team are closing in on their first appearance in the World Series for 25 years

BASEBALL: McGwire barrage edges towards record

MARK McGWIRE slugged his way to the brink of immortality on Wednesday night, striking two home runs to move within two of Roger Maris' 37- year-old Major League record.

Baseball: Home run history for McGwire

MARK McGWIRE became the first National League player in 49 years to hit 54 home runs in a season when he sent a pitch from Justin Speier over the centre-field wall in the eighth inning of the St Louis Cardinals' 7-6 home defeat by the Floria Marlins on Wednesday night.

Baseball: McGwire's gain eclipsed by Mets

MARK McGWIRE, of St Louis, regained pole position in the major league home run standings but the New York Mets took over the lead in the National League wild-card race with an 8-3 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Baseball: Money game turns surreal

Major League baseball starts in style today. Rupert Cornwell on a new comfort zone

Rupert strikes out Ted

Murdoch wanted one of baseball's mightiest teams. His media - and sporting - rival Ted Turner said: `I'll squish him like a bug.' He didn't, of course. By Rupert Cornwell

Baseball team owners allow Murdoch to join their club

WHAT does the man who has everything buy? A baseball team. Rupert Murdoch will purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for a reported $311m (pounds 195m) to $350m after overcoming one of those annoying obstacles that the seriously wealthy despise - getting permission.

Turner moves to keep Murdoch off the Dodgers' pitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The media magnate Ted Turner, owner of the Atlanta Braves team, planned to make a rare appearance at a baseball owners' meeting today in an effort to block his media rival Rupert Murdoch from buying the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Times reported yesterday.

Football: No more jokes if United move to Wembley

FAN'S EYE VIEW NO 241

Books: A BIG HIT STRIKES IT LUCKY

Don DeLillo's latest epic, Underworld, brilliantly interweaves voices, incidents and telling details into a moving, empowering people's history. Blake Morrison hails a great American novelist

How 'The Fish' came to mend racial bridges

Phil Davison reports on the baseball triumph that has managed to heal the rifts of a divided state - for now

Baseball: World Series - Cuban upstarts pitch for world domination

Tonight in Miami's Pro Player Stadium, a Cuban defector and rookie pitching star called Livan Hernandez will open hostilities in one of the most intriguing World Series in years.

Baseball: Marlins quick to join big fish in ball pond

Kevin Brown pitched a complete game as the Florida Marlins became the quickest expansion team to reach the World Series by beating the defending champions, the Atlanta Braves, to win the National League Championship Series.

Baseball: Red faces for the Indians

The Baltimore Orioles started well in their attempt to reach a World Series since 1983, taming the Cleveland Indians 3-0 in the first game of the American League Championship Series.

Baseball: Atlanta's pitching can prevail in the year of big hitters

It's October, which in America means the baseball play-offs, and the annual question of the 1990s: who can stop Ted Turner's Atlanta Braves winning the World Series? Rupert Cornwell weighs up the form, and also considers how the sport's most famous record improbably survived another year.

Murdoch's empire scores a media double

In LA the Dodgers fall, while in New York a rival editor is sacked
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Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
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'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
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Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story