MIAMI (AP) Derek Jeter sat in the left field plaza at Marlins Park, facing the music with the downtown skyline behind him.
The former New York Yankees shortstop fielded questions from season-ticket holders, many upset about the direction of the team under a new ownership group led by Jeter.
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He told them the Marlins traded major league home run champion Giancarlo Stanton, stolen base champ Dee Gordon and All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna for prospects because an affordable payroll and stronger farm system is the only path to sustained success.
Jeter calmly answered questions until there were no more, and after the 90-minute session, he said he appreciated the fans’ feedback – positive and negative.
Some 200 ticket-holders attended the town hall, the first in a series, and the seats arranged in the outfield plaza were nearly full – a refreshing change for the attendance-challenged franchise. Jeter opened his charm offensive by addressing the recent payroll purge.
”You’ve seen the Marlins make moves like this time and time again,” he said. ”This is not the same old same old. We have a plan. This is not a project to break the team down and build it up just to break it down again. We have a path to be sustainable over time.”
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Mamie ”Peanut” Johnson, one of three women to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, has died at 82.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick said Johnson died Tuesday. In announcing her death, Kendrick said, ”She was truly a pioneer.”
The State of Columbia reports the Ridgeway, South Carolina, native was rejected at age 17 from trying out for the all-white All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was recruited in 1953 by the Indianapolis Clowns, the team which featured Hank Aaron before he went on to Major League Baseball.
In three seasons as a pitcher with the Clowns, Johnson posted a 33-8 record as well as a .270 batting average.
During the offseasons, Johnson attended New York University and received a nursing degree from North Carolina A&T State University. When her career ended, she raised her son and worked in nursing for 30 years.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL in one category this season: most Pro Bowl players.
Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger are among eight Steelers selected for the all-star game. They will be joined on Jan. 28 in Orlando, Florida, by tackle Alejandro Villanueva, guard David DeCastro, center Maurkice Pouncey, kicker Chris Boswell, and linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is injured. Brown, also injured but expected back for the playoffs, was voted a starter, as were Bell and the three offensive linemen.
The Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints each placed six players in the game in balloting announced Tuesday.
Four rookies were chosen in voting by NFL players, coaches and fans: running backs Alvin Kamara of the Saints and Kareem Hunt of the Chiefs, cornerback Marshon Lattimore of the Saints, and safety Budda Baker of the Cardinals as a special teamer.
TULSA, Okla. (AP) – An Oklahoma superintendent resigned amid an investigation of accusations that several school administrators failed to promptly report the sexual assault of a 16-year-old football player by several teammates.
Bixby Schools Superintendent Kyle Wood resigned at a special school board meeting as pressure has mounted from some community members who have previously blasted board members for refusing to take any action on the assault case.
Wood had been superintendent for more than 11 years, overseeing one of the state’s largest school districts with more than 6,000 students and a powerhouse football program that’s captured three state championships in the past four years. The program is big enough to draw numerous sponsors including national fast-food restaurants McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A, and athletic clothing company Under Armour.
Wood’s attorney said his client denies any wrongdoing and is cooperating with an outside criminal investigation.
TRACK AND FIELD
LONDON (AP) – World 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin fired coach Dennis Mitchell following an undercover investigation that appeared to show people linked to the sprinter offering to supply performance-enhancing drugs.
”I was shocked and surprised to learn that my coach would have anything to do with even the appearance of these current accusations,” Gatlin wrote in a post on his Instagram account . ”I fired him as soon as I found out about this.”
The IAAF’s Athletics Integrity Unit said it is investigating the allegations in conjunction with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The report was published in Tuesday’s edition of the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
”These allegations are very serious,” said Brett Clothier, head of the AIU, ”and strike at the heart of the integrity of athletics.”
IAAF President Sebastian Coe said the allegations are ”extremely serious.”