Today in the sports set: Jim Thome is welcomed into an exclusive club, Rex Ryan laughs off Mark Sanchez's GQ anger, and ESPN and Conference USA settle a lawsuit.
- Last night, in the seventh inning of the 9-6 win over the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins designated hitter Jim T Home became the eighth player in baseball history to reach the 600-home-run milestone. At 40, Thome's the oldest player to enter the 600 home run club, who's members include Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Ken Griffey Jr. Aaron and Mays congratulated Thome in pretaped interviews that ran on the Twins' cable network. [The New York Times]
- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is laughing off quarterback Mark Sanchez's comments to GQ about how he "wanted to fight" Ryan after the coach told the media he was considering benching Sanchez following a bad performance against the Dolphins last December. "That would be like De La Hoya and George Foreman -- way out of my weight class," the hefty Jets coach told reporters after the Jets preseason loss Monday night. "He'd probably kick my butt." Any lingering tension is probably alleviated by the fact Ryan didn't bench Sanchez, and the Jets made it to a second straight conference championship game before losing to the Steelers. [ESPN]
- As the San Jose Mercury-News points out, Sports Illustrated turns 57 today. The magazine's first cover, from August 16, 1954 featured a Mark Kauffman photograph of Milwaukee Braves third baseman Eddie Matthews swinging for the downs. [San Jose Mercury-News and Sports Illustrated]
- "Several" security guards at Washington D.C.'s federal courthouse are in trouble for accepting free baseballs from pitcher Roger Clemens, after a mistrial was declared last month in his perjury case. The U.S. Marshal Service confirmed Tuesday an investigation was underway into "why and how six signed balls were sent to a guard by someone on Clemens’ defense team," which then were apparently passed on to "four or five other officers." Clemens' legal team declined to comment. [The Washington Post]
- Conference USA's football championship games will air on ESPN. The conference and network have settled a lawsuit ESPN filed in January, when the conference announced it was moving the rights to the conference championship game to Fox. ESPN claimed that violated a provision in the original broadcast deal from 2005 that gave them "exclusive rights to try to re-negotiate the package." The new contract gives the network broadcast rights to the game through 2015. [Associated Press]
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