Alomar, Blyleven enshrined
Roberto Alomar became the third Puerto Rican player enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, cheered on by compatriots in a crowd dotted with Puerto Rican flags. “I always played for my island,” said Alomar, who spoke first in Spanish and then in English. “It is a true blessing to be able to share this moment with all of you. I have you in my heart.” Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno took a moment to congratulate Alomar as he joined compatriots Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Clemente in the shrine. Alomar, a member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ World Series championship teams in 1992 and 1993, is the first player to enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Blue Jays cap and just the 20th second baseman to be inducted. Also inducted on Sunday was right-hander Bert Blyleven, the first Dutch-born player to be enshrined. He thanked his late father and 85-year-old mother for the drive and determination he needed to succeed. Blyleven’s father, who died of Parkinson’s in 2004, fell in love with baseball and the Dodgers after the family moved to Southern California in the late 1950s. “I wish he was here, but you know mom, I know he’s up there looking down right now,” Blyleven said. Front-office guru Pat Gillick was the other inductee. He was general manager when the Blue Jays won World Series titles in 1992 and 1993, and with the Phillies in 2008.
Hayden to play in Big Bash
Former Australian Test opener Matthew Hayden will come out of retirement to play for the Brisbane Heat in the Twenty20 Big Bash next summer, the team said yesterday. The 39-year-old, who retired from international cricket in 2009 after a 103-Test career, last played in last year’s Indian Premier League with Chennai, but Heat coach Darren Lehmann, a former Test teammate of Hayden, said he was ready to return. “He’s been training for a few months now, so we’re excited to have that knowledge around the place,” Lehmann told reporters. Hayden’s return means he has to relinquish directorships of the Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket boards, as current players are not allowed to have both roles. “We’re just excited to have his playing ability first and foremost, and obviously his entertainment value, what he brings to the table for the Heat,” Lehmann said. Hayden will play alongside former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum in the new-look competition from Dec. 30 to Feb. 5.
Olympic ball named
The ball for next year’s London Olympics soccer tournament will be called The Albert. Sporting goods manufacturer Adidas invited Britons to suggest names and it said the winner was picked because it was inspired by “London’s great heritage and cockney rhyming slang.” Adidas said “Albert Hall,” one of London’s great landmarks, means “ball” in east London’s traditional rhyming slang. The actual design of the ball will be unveiled next year.
Paddlers bag bronze medals
Taiwanese players won two bronze medals on Sunday in the men’s doubles at the Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships in New Delhi. In the 18-year-old division, Hung Tzu-hsiang and Lee Chia-sheng took bronze after they were defeated by Japanese opponents. Hsu Chia-liang and Lai Yi-yao also finished in third place, beaten by a duo from China. At the close of the tournament on Sunday evening, Taiwan had bagged one silver medal and two bronze in the men’s division, and two bronze in the women’s division.