FOXSPORTS.com's Ken Rosenthal cited sources as saying MLB has expressed "no interest" to the MLBPA for a proposed two-tiered PED penalty system. Rosenthal noted in the proposed system, "players who intentionally violate the program could receive harsher punishment than players who unintentionally test positive." Sources said that MLB "views different sets of punishments as impractical ... believing it would be difficult to establish which players used intentionally and which did not" (FOXSPORTS.com, 3/13).
CALLING TIMEOUT: ESPNW.com's Mechelle Voepel reported WNBA Storm G Sue Bird "will join" Seattle F Lauren Jackson "on the sidelines for the 2013 WNBA season." The need for a Bird's break is "simply a health-based reality that most longtime WNBA players face at one time or another." It has been "this way since the WNBA began in 1997." The league is more "high-profile, especially for American players, but fall-winter leagues overseas typically pay better." With the "limited window that all pro athletes have to make money, the majority of WNBA players have competed overseas." Voepel: "Maybe one day the WNBA salaries will be large enough that players won't feel the need to do both. But that's not the case yet" (ESPNW.com, 3/12).
SHIFTING INTO GEAR: IndyCar drivers Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball appeared on NBC’s “Today” this morning to promote the start of the IndyCar season, which begins March 24 in St. Petersburg. NBC's Matt Lauer asked, “What do you think people don’t understand about your sport?” Franchitti said the “physical aspect of it” and how “difficult” it is to drive the car. Franchitti: "'Are drivers athletes' is a question we get asked all the time.” Lauer asked, “Are you?” Franchitti replied, “Five days a week in the gym, twice a day, I think that answers the question.” Franchitti was asked whether drivers feel the speed at which they are racing. He said, “You only feel the speed when something goes wrong, really" (“Today,” NBC, 3/14).
READY FOR RE-LAUNCH? F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that the sport's postponed IPO "could be re-launched later this year." Ecclestone: "Last year I thought that the markets were not ready, but now it is getting more likely that there is an opportunity" (REUTERS, 3/13).