NEW YORK (AP) The most polarizing Hall of Fame debate since Pete Rose will now be decided by the baseball shrine's voters: Do Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa belong in Cooperstown despite drug allegations that tainted their huge numbers?
In a monthlong election sure to become a referendum on the Steroids Era, the Hall ballot was released Wednesday, and Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are on it for the first time.
Bonds is the all-time home run champion with 762 and won a record seven MVP awards. Clemens took home a record seven Cy Young trophies and is ninth with 354 victories. Sosa ranks eighth on the homer chart with 609.
Yet for all their HRs, RBIs and Ws, the shadow of PEDs looms large.
``You could see for years that this particular ballot was going to be controversial and divisive to an unprecedented extent,'' Larry Stone of The Seattle Times wrote in an email. ``My hope is that some clarity begins to emerge over the Hall of Fame status of those linked to performance-enhancing drugs. But I doubt it.''
More than 600 longtime members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America will vote on the 37-player ballot. Candidates require 75 percent for induction, and the results will be announced Jan. 9.
B.J. Upton is on his way to Atlanta, while Andy Pettitte is staying in pinstripes.
With the winter meetings only days away, baseball's offseason began to heat up with a pair of moves involving potential closers: Ryan Madson joined the Angels and Jonathan Broxton remained with the Reds.
Hours later, the Braves made big news.
Looking for a new center fielder and some right-handed pop, Atlanta found both in Upton, who had 28 homers and 31 steals for Tampa Bay last season. The fleet-footed free agent agreed to a $75.25 million, five-year contract, a person familiar with the deal said Wednesday night.
Pettitte, meanwhile, will return for another season with the New York Yankees.
Feeling strong at age 40, the veteran lefty completed a one-year deal worth $12 million, putting baseball's biggest postseason winner back in the Bronx.
NEW YORK (AP) - The head of the baseball players' union says there have been talks with Major League Baseball about increasing the sport's drug testing program.
Michael Weiner spoke Wednesday after a meeting of the union's executive board. He said he expected announcements about the drug program ``before too long.''
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) - In a proposal that would affect golf's major champions as well as amateurs at local clubs, the guardians of the 600-year-old sport want to write a new rule that would outlaw a putting stroke they fear is taking too much skill out of the game.
The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club said they are not banning the belly putter or the longer ``broom-handle'' putters - only the way they are used. The proposed rule would prohibit golfers at all levels from anchoring a club against their bodies while making a stroke.
The rule would not take effect until 2016.
BOSTON (AP) - Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was ejected in the second quarter of Boston's game against Brooklyn when he shoved Kris Humphries after the Nets forward knocked Kevin Garnett to the ground with a hard foul.
Humphries was given two technical fouls and ejected. Nets forward Gerald Wallace, who joined the fray under the Boston basket, was given one technical, but since it was his second of the game he was also sent off. Garnett was given one technical foul and remained in the game.
Rondo finished the night with three assists, ending his streak of 37 consecutive games with at least 10 that dated to March 11 of last season.
MIAMI (AP) - LeBron James is No. 1 again - this time, in jersey sales.
The NBA says its reigning MVP has the league's best-selling jersey over the last eight months. It's the third time the Miami Heat star has been atop the list, based on sales at the NBA Store in New York and NBAStore.com.
The Knicks were the top-selling team for the first time since December 2004, one spot ahead of the Heat.
CHICAGO (AP) - The short-handed Dallas Mavericks will sign 16-year veteran point guard Derek Fisher on Thursday, coach Rick Carlisle said after team's 101-78 loss to Chicago.
The move is contingent on Fisher passing a physical.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Colin Kaepernick has earned himself a third straight start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
Coach Jim Harbaugh made the announcement that Kaepernick would go Sunday at St. Louis over Alex Smith after the second-year pro led the NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1) to victories in the past two games, his first two NFL starts.
Harbaugh is still leaving open every possibility, saying it could be a week-to-week decision.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined $30,000 by the NFL, but says he didn't kick Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub on purpose.
Suh spoke to reporters for the first time since his left cleat connected with Schaub's groin area in Detroit's loss to Houston last Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) - More NFL players are testing positive for amphetamines, a class of substances that includes the ADHD drug Adderall.
Since the start of last season, more than 10 players suspended for failing drug tests have publicly blamed it on taking the stimulant. And while the league doesn't identify the substance when a player is penalized, senior vice president Adolpho Birch acknowledges that the number of positives for amphetamines has increased.
Because the type of drug isn't disclosed under the NFL's agreement with the union, nothing prevents a player from claiming he took Adderall when, in fact, he tested positive for a steroid or another stimulant. The tests don't differentiate between Adderall and other amphetamines, Birch said, but he does believe Adderall abuse is on the rise in the league.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens was arrested for a parole violation in Florida.
According to booking records, Stevens was arrested in Hillsborough County, Fla..
Two weeks ago, Stevens was arrested in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, Wash., for investigation of assault following what police said was an argument with U.S. women's soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo. A Kirkland Municipal Court judge released Stevens after a court appearance, saying there was no evidence connecting Stevens to any assault. Stevens and Solo were married that night.
Les Miles has a new seven-year contract at LSU that also will result in a pay raise for one of the most successful coaches in the history of the Tigers' football program.
The new contract runs through 2019, which amounts to a two-year extension. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said financial details were still being worked out and will be released after LSU plays in a still-undecided bowl game to close out this season.
A person familiar with the contract said that Miles' new annual pay would be in the range of $4.3 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial details of Miles' deal were not released.
Miles' previous contract paid about $3.75 million annually through 2017.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A study of the racial and gender makeup of leadership and coaching positions among the Football Bowl Subdivision membership showed it remains largely white and male.
The report released by the Institute for the Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida said that 100 percent of FBS conference commissioners, 76 percent of school president positions and 84 percent of all athletic director positions were held by white men at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o are among the five finalists for the Walter Camp player of the year award.
Oregon running back Kenjon Barner and Southern California receiver Marqise Lee are the other finalists. The award will be presented Thursday Dec. 6.
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that its presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said Louisville was the best fit for the league following Maryland's announcement last week that it would join the Big Ten in 2014.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Alex Morgan scored three first-half goals and the Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. women's national team beat Ireland 5-0 in the latest match of an exhibition tour for fans following the London Games.
LONDON (AP) - Robin van Persie preserved Manchester United's narrow lead in the Premier League with the quickest goal of the season, scoring after 32 seconds in a 1-0 victory over West Ham.
Defending champion Manchester City remained a point behind its neighbor with a 2-0 victory at Wigan on goals by Mario Balotelli and James Milner, but Rafa Benitez's tough start as interim Chelsea manager continued with a 0-0 home draw against Fulham.
Whether federal mediators will provide enough help to end the NHL lockout in time to save the hockey season is still unknown.
At least they had a good first day.
Negotiators from the NHL and the players' association returned to the bargaining table for the first time in a week and the first time with outside voices contributing to the talks.
The location was secret, and so was what was discussed, but the talks went well enough that the sides will be back at the negotiating table Thursday.