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Yankee's civic duty

The Yankees' World Series celebrations have barely subsided, but for starting pitcher CC Sabathia the off-season is set to begin in earnest with some community service: delivering good friend and impending NBA free agent LeBron James to New York City to play for the Knicks. "I'm trying, I'm trying hard," the one-time Indians star said of persuading his former Cleveland sports running mate to play in Gotham. Of course, that's easier said than done when you're selling the NBA equivalent of the Washington Nationals.

A level playing field

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Supposed Swiss neutrality gets tossed out the window this weekend, as the Switzerland-born FIFA president Sepp Blatter will be reduced to powerless bystander when the first legs of the European playoffs for the World Cup get under way. Having already made the 11th-hour decision to change the rules and seed the likes of France and Portugal, Blatter will be hoping the players can return the favour so stars such as Franck Ribéry and world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo make it to South Africa. So much for FIFA's Fair Play campaign.

Spirit squad in good cheer

The Toronto Maple Leafs may need to rethink their advertising campaign. A victory tomorrow night against the Minnesota Wild will give them a three-game win streak, meaning they can ditch that "Spirit is everything" motto they've been clinging to throughout their bumbling start to the season in favour of the "Winning is everything" mantra employed by every other professional sports outfit, and a large majority of amateur ones, too.

West Coast welcome

The last time Mike Singletary featured prominently in a San Francisco 49ers-Chicago Bears contest, both teams were NFL powerhouses and Thursday night football might actually have involved some physical exercise rather than just another excuse to sit in front of a TV. Still, while both franchises have fallen on harder times, football fans in both cities will be eager to watch the return of Thursday night football this year, with Singletary hosting his former Bears squad as head coach of the Niners for the first time, eager to show that he learned a thing or two from his time under Da Coach, Mike Ditka.

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