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Today in sports: the strange habits of super marathoners, new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine comes in from the cold, and Mark Cuban is back in the hunt to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  • The upcoming issue of The New York Times Magazine has a fantastic profile of super marathon swimmer Diana Nyad.  As with most stories about people who feel a compulsion to run or swim or bike for unreasonably long distances, we were mystified why Nyad would want to swim from Miami to Cuba, but completely transfixed by the details of her daily training regimen. After 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, we're usually bored and fussy and hate every single song on our iPod. When Nyad goes on her big swims in the ocean, which can last "8 or 10 or 12 or even 24 hours" she has a 65 song playlist and uses it as a timing mechanism. Says Nyad: "When I complete 2,000 ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe’s, Bob Dylan version, I know I’ve gone 4 hours and 45 minutes exactly." That's right: "It Ain't Me Babe" is on her workout mix. Super marathoners really are different from the rest of us.) [The New York Times Magazine]
  • Bobby Valentine spent nearly a decade out of Major League Baseball after being fired as manager of the New York Mets in 2002. He was seen as too smart, too brash, and too combative for his own good, despite winning more games than he lost. He's getting another shot now with the Boston Red Sox, much to the dismay of some of the team's players. But after watching his introductory press conference yesterday, CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen -- a Sox fan -- couldn't be happier. "Valentine," Cohen writes, "is getting to do what millions of Americans his age (he's 61) would love to do: go back one more time and change the way their industry sees them. The Red Sox are often epic. That's just one of the things I love about them. Now they have a manager with an epic quest." [The Atlantic]
  • A month after saying he wasn't interested in bidding on the Los Angeles Dodgers if the price tag was going to be in the $1 billion range, Dallas Mavericks owner and perpetual possible-buyer-of-things Mark Cuban says, what do you know, he may be interested in jumping in on the Dodgers biding. In an email to the Los Angeles Times, he wrote he "will see a book" of the club's confidential financial records. The price of the franchise is being driven up because the package being auctioned by the bankruptcy court includes the stadium parking lots and prime southern California land surrounding Dodgers Stadium. According to the Times, Cuban is going to explore whether it would be possible for him to just buy the club and the stadium and not take the land. [Los Angeles Times]
  • When the NBA players' union legally reorganizes, there's going to be a strong push from players and agents to oust Billy Hunter, who has served as executive director of the union since 1996. Players are less-than-thrilled about the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement that was agreed to last week, though they're going along with it. What really enraged them was Hunter's refusal to take a pay cut during the 149-day work stoppage like NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith did over the summer when he cut his own pay to $1. Hunter didn't touch his reported $2 million annual salary while the league's players were all out of work, which resulted in angry confrontation with Atlanta Hawks forward Shane Battier. Reportedly, about a dozen agents are pushing for him to only be reinstalled an executive director on an interim basis after the union reforms next week. [SI]

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