Just over half of Americans surveyed plan to watch or follow the Winter Olympics, according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll, and one-third of respondents say they have only a little or no confidence about Russia’s ability to safeguard safety at the Sochi Games that start this week.
The likely audience for the Olympics is on the older side, with 65 percent age 50 or over planning to follow the quadrennial event compared with 47 percent among younger adults, according to the survey, conducted from Jan. 17-21.
Few are deeply confident Russia can keep the games safe: 19 percent are extremely or very confident Russia will protect the Olympics from terrorist attacks, 46 percent are somewhat confident and 33 percent just a little or not at all confident.
ATLANTA (AP) – The Atlanta Braves agreed to eight-year contract with first baseman Freddie Freeman that is worth about $125 million on Tuesday.
The deal was confirmed by the team on Tuesday night.
Earlier in the day, outfielder Jason Heyward and the Braves agreed to a $13.3 million, two-year contract. Heyward and Freeman had filed for salary arbitration last month.
The 24-year-old Freeman was an All-Star last year when he hit .319 with 23 homers and 109 RBIs. He matched his career high in home runs and set highs in batting average and RBIs which finishing fifth in NL MVP voting. He has topped 20 home runs in three straight seasons.
Closer Craig Kimbrel is the Braves’ only player left in arbitration.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is being honored on the team’s Wall of Fame.
The winningest manager in team history will be celebrated on Aug. 9 before Philadelphia plays the Mets. Manuel will become the 36th member of the club.
Manuel led Philadelphia to five straight NL East titles and the franchise’s second World Series crown in 2008. He was fired last August, and last month accepted a job as a senior adviser to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
”I am honored to be enshrined on the Wall of Fame with Phillies greats such as Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and, of course, my good friend, Dallas Green,” Manuel said in a statement. ”The years I spent in Philadelphia were some of the best of my professional career and I owe a lot of that to the fans. I have said this before, but they are the best in the game.”
HOUSTON (AP) – Retired seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.
A statement from the team says that it is a ”lifelong dream” of McGrady’s to play baseball. It also says that the 6-foot-8 McGrady has ”demonstrated skill, determination and diligence during his training program.” The team says it looks forward to monitoring his progress in a new sport.
The 34-year-old McGrady played for several NBA teams, including the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. He last played in the 2011-12 season.
The Skeeters last made national headlines when Roger Clemens pitched two games for them in 2012 at age 50.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Keith Allen, the first coach of the Philadelphia Flyers who became the general manager that built the organization’s Stanley Cup championship teams of 1974 and 1975, died Tuesday. He was 90.
Allen joined the Flyers in 1966, before the franchise’s inaugural season. He was behind the bench for its inception in 1967 and won the West Division title that season. He coached the team through the 1969-70 season.
Allen became the general manager of the Flyers on Dec. 22, 1969, and held that position until May 27, 1983. During his tenure as GM, the Flyers won two Stanley Cups (1973-74 and 1974-75) and reached the NHL final four times.
The team announced his death in a release. It provided no other details.