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First pitches: Schweinsteiger, Villa take mounds at Wrigley, Yankee Stadium (video)

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A pair of World Cup winners took the mound at two of baseball’s biggest venues to throw out first pitches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

First up was new Chicago Fire star — he’s still new, right? — Bastian Schweinsteiger, who went with very little leg kick and the “just get it over the plate” idea.

Schweinsteiger’s pitch was quite high.

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A day later, it was David Villa’s turn. Fresh off inking a contract extension with NYCFC, Villa went with more of an actual pitching motion.

Have to say, he gets it there with an awkward arm motion but makes the glove pop.

Advantage: Villa (Although he should be comfortable on that field, shouldn’t he?).

Ex-MLB owner McCourt buys former Champions League winners Marseille

Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has completed the purchase French giants Olympique Marseille for $44 million, assuring fans he wants to restore OM to past glory.

McCourt says he’ll invest up to $220 million in the club in the next four years, according to the BBC.

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Marseille won five French titles in the late 20th century and added the 1992-93 UEFA Champions League crown. However they’ve claimed just one Ligue 1 title since 1995, causing consternation for its fan base as Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco have risen in prominence.

Off to a slow start this season, Marseille has good talent including Lassana Diarra, William Vainqueur, and Bafetimbi Gomis.


“Today opens a new chapter in the great history of Olympique de Marseille. A chapter of which I am proud and honored to be a part.

“It is now my duty to raise ourselves to the highest ranks of European football. It is an obligation and we will. We have a clear vision of success and an ambitious plan to achieve it. We have the resources and courage to invest and take decisions and necessary measures. The strategy that we set ourselves require passion, commitment and tenacity. It will take strong leadership but also, at times, patience.

“I have complete confidence in Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the new CEO of OM, in its ability to implement our plan and to ensure the success of the club. This is a great time for all supporters of OM. I invite you to join us. Together we will put our club on the road to glory.”

Big words, we’ll see if he backs them up.

Report: New York City FC to call Yankee Stadium home for three (!!!) years


One-off soccer and hockey games are one thing, but the New York Times is reporting that Yankee Stadium will serve as host for the first three seasons of New York City FC soccer matches.

There are so many complications to consider here, not the least of which is the near-concurrent schedules of Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball. And certainly there’s little question the Yankees will hold sway over the building.

The report details many of the problems of building a park in New York, and it isn’t the most shining of details for how NYCFC is operating early in its existence:

The question of where the team would play its home games has hovered since it was announced last May that the club would join the league, delaying plans for everything from marketing and advertising to season ticket sales. The team has frequently promised a decision — it told the league in January that it would have a plan in 30 days — but has consistently missed even those self-imposed deadlines, to the frustration of M.L.S. officials and prospective fans.

The report, from NYT’s Andrew Das, David Waldstein and Ken Belson, points out that exhibitions at Yankee Stadium have involved temporary grass being put over the dirt but that’s not a full-time solution.

Here are the only quotes in the report:

“Technology has gotten to the point where I think we can turn it around pretty quickly,” said Yankees’ executive director of nonbaseball events Mark Holtzman.

“Baseball is clearly the No. 1 priority. We wouldn’t do anything to put anyone at any risk; there’s a major investment here in the players. At the end of the day, we look at these opportunities very carefully, and we wouldn’t get into these opportunities unless we were confident in the end result.”

Well, having an executive director nonbaseball events is a good step.

If they’ve got a good solution to sharing the pitch without destroying it, I’m sure myriad minor league clubs would love to hear it (let alone the grounds crew headaches that would come with flipping the field over and over and over again).