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We're in the final weekend of the regular baseball season and there are still pennant races and wild-card matchups to be set.

Along with sports fans, political consultants are watching as well, and they are keeping an especially close eye on the Detroit Tigers. A fine team, sure, but also one uniquely suited to fill the needs of the people who buy TV time for political campaigns.

All over the country, advertisers love to buy sports spots for the big audiences that are enthusiastic and engaged. And with a live telecast, you can't fast-forward through the ads.

Derek Boogaard didn't make it to the National Hockey League because he was a great hockey player. He wasn't especially fast, and he rarely scored a goal. But in skates, he stood nearly 7 feet tall, and he was close to 300 pounds. Considered by many the toughest guy in the NHL, Boogaard was an enforcer, and his job was to fight.

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Last night, 40-year-old Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter went out in storybook style in his last game at home.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL GAME)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Base hit to right field.

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People who love to watch golf on TV...

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That already sounds like a set-up to a joke.

Derek Jeter Leaves Yankee Stadium A Winner

Sep 26, 2014

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Derek Jeter ended his 20-year career at Yankee Stadium last night in classic fashion.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Bottom of the ninth, score tied, man on second.

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Bill Simmons, the ESPN commentator whose Twitter bio reads in part "Grantland boss + columnist, @30for30 co-creator, NBA Countdown co-host, BS Report host," will not be doing most of those jobs for three weeks after using the last of them — host of the podcast The BS Report — to call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar, and to dare ESPN to discipline him.

A grand jury in Ontario County, N.Y., where driver Tony Stewart struck and killed another driver who walked onto the track during a sprint car race last month, has found no cause for charges against Stewart.

County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said in a statement released Wednesday that in the hearings on the Aug. 9 death of Kevin Ward Jr., jurors heard testimony from about two dozen witnesses and reviewed photos and videos.

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Steve Almond's blistering book Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto is exactly what it advertises itself to be: an exasperated, frustrated, wide-ranging argument that the time has come to abandon football — particularly but not exclusively the NFL — as a sport built on violence, racism, economic exploitation of poor kids, corrupt dealmaking with local governments over stadiums, and a willingness to find it entertaining to watch people suffer brain damage.

There is no doubt that race, ever sensitive in sports, is most sensitive in basketball. Given the history, this is perfectly understandable, for when African-Americans began to appear on the court in larger numbers, there was resentment, even quotas.

To many whites, men of my vintage, men I knew, there was a sense that their game was being stolen. It was a very visceral racism.

NFL sponsors are not just advertisers; they're a select group of companies that together pay more than $1 billion a year to wrap their own brands in the NFL's aura.

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As the National Football League scrambles to defend its actions in amid a series of domestic abuse allegations against players, some of its harshest critics have been women. Female fans are a key part of the league's business strategy — the NFL says that women make up 45 percent of its fan base — but they haven't reacted to the scandal with one voice.

Canadian Surfers Ride Chocolate River's Waves For Miles

Sep 22, 2014

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The NFL just kicked off its 2014 season, and the $9 billion league is currently facing two powerful opponents: its own image and Congress.

Lawmakers have seized on controversies over domestic violence, child abuse and a team name to attack the NFL's tax exemption. While the individual teams generate billions in profits and pay taxes, the league office is considered a nonprofit and does not pay federal income taxes.

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Fans of the Baltimore Ravens, which earlier this month cut star running back Ray Rice over a domestic violence scandal, are lining up today to exchange jerseys featuring the player's name. It reportedly took more than an hour to get through the line around the Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium.

This is the second day of the trade-in, just one of the recent developments in a scandal that started taking shape back in February, when Rice hit his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an elevator at a casino resort in Atlantic City.

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During a news conference on Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised that the league "will get our house in order."

Goodell announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead an investigation of the way the league handled the Ray Rice case, and he said that at the end of the process the league will implement new conduct policies.

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