Left-handed pitcher RYU HYUN-JIN signed a six-year deal with the L.A. Dodgers, becoming the first Korean baseball player "to move directly from the Korea Baseball Organization to MLB," according to Moon Gwang-lip of the KOREA JOONGANG DAILY. The "deal for the seven-year veteran of the Hanhwa Eagles is worth $36M including a $5M signing bonus, making him the third-highest paid foreign pitcher in MLB acquired through the posting system, behind YU DARVISH and DAISUKE MATSUZAKA." The signing "was finalized with less than one minute before the deadline" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 12/11). In Seoul, Kang Seung-woo wrote under his contract, if Ryu "pitches 750 or more innings over the first five years of the contract, he can opt out of the sixth year." He can also "make up to $1M a year in performance bonuses relating to innings pitched." During negotiations, Ryu’s agent SCOTT BORAS "projected his client as a No. 3 starter, but the pitcher is likely to fill the fourth spot on the rotation behind two Cy Young Award winners CLAYTON KERSHAW and ZACK GREINKE and JOSH BECKETT" (KOREA TIMES, 12/10). YONHAP reported "with this signing, the Eagles will take the $25.7M bid as a transfer fee for Ryu." Had Ryu "failed to sign a deal by the deadline, he would have been forced to return to the Eagles for '13 and would not have been eligible for posting until November next year." The contract talks between the Dodgers and Ryu "appeared to have hit a snag last week." The Dodgers had said that "Ryu once rejected their offer of a long-term contract." Boras "pressured the Dodgers that Ryu could play in Japan in '13 and test free agency later without going through posting" (YONHAP, 12/10).
People and Pop Culture
The date Dec. 9, 2012 "will go down in history" as the day LIONEL MESSI tied, then surpassed the historic record of goals in a calendar year, according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. Messi scored his 85th and 86th goals in Barcelona's 2-1 win vs. Real Betis on Sunday. Messi surpassed GERD MÜLLER's record of 85 goals in '72 (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 12/9). The London TELEGRAPH wrote that Müller's mark "stood for 40 years" until Sunday when Messi netted his 85th and 86th goals "of an incredible 2012" (TELEGRAPH, 12/10). SPORT1 reported that Müller was one of the first to congratulate Messi. Müller said, "My record stood for 40 years -- 85 goals in 60 games -- and now the best player in the world has broken it, and I'm delighted for him. He is an incredible player, gigantic." He added, He's such a nice and modest professional, and I hope he gets one or two more goals in 2012 and that he can then hold onto the record for the next 40 years. He's fantastic. He only has one defect and that is that he doesn't play for Bayern Munich!" (SPORT1, 12/10).
Octagon has hired JIMMY QIN as its Greater China VP, and he will be based in Shanghai. Qin joins the company with more than 16 years of sports marketing experience. Prior to joining Octagon, Qin was senior sports marketing director for Li Ning. He also held positions at Coca-Cola and Nike (Octagon). ... Action sports brand Madd Gear named BRIAN ANDERSON to the newly created role of president and CEO of Madd Gear Americas. Anderson will lead the Madd Gear team, build its infrastructure and distribution, and continue to grow the company's presence in the industry. Anderson previously served seven years as president of EB Sport Group (Madd Gear). ... The French Rugby Federation (FFR) has re-elected PIERRE CAMOU as its president for another four years. The 67-year-old received 89.76% of the votes (SUD OUEST, 12/9).
COACHES/MANAGERS: German Hockey League (DEL) club Nuremberg Ice Tigers "appointed BENGT-AKE GUSTAFSSON as head coach." The Swedish native succeeds JEFF TOMLINSON "who was fired after three consecutive losses" (DPA, 12/9).
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Procter & Gamble introduced Brazilian football legend PELÉ as a brand ambassador. In addition, P&G brand Gillette not only brought ROGER FEDERER to Brazil where he participates in the Gillette Federer Tour, but it also set up a meeting between Federer and Pelé. The meeting took place over the weekend at Pelé's residence (P&G). ... Pro cycling Team Sky has "signed Movistar's VASIL KIRYIENKA on a three-year contract." The Belarusian, 31, "won bronze at the World Time Trial Championships" in Limburg, Netherlands this year and "has made nine Grand Tour appearances" (BBC, 12/10). ... The Pakistan Cricket Board "has succeeded in convincing" former Int'l Cricket Council CEO HAROON LORGAT to become a consultant for its Twenty20 Pakistan Premier League scheduled for next year. A source on the board said, "Although nothing has been signed or sealed as yet but the PCB has roped in Lorgat and want to use his expertise in not only organising the PPL but also convincing international teams to resume playing in Pakistan" (PTI, 12/10).
FINISHING ATOP: World No. 1 RORY MCILROY "won the 2012 European Golf Writers Trophy." the 23-year-old Northern Irishman "finished ahead of Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup team in the voting" (REUTERS, 12/10). ... Former President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany CHARLOTTE KNOBLOCH has been awarded the honor medal of the German Olympic Sport Association (DOSB) for her services in the reconciliation between Jews and Germans (DOSB). ... Energy and chemical company Sasol revealed "another initiative of the Definitely Able campaign." The "run like the wind" race will feature South African Paralympian OSCAR PISTORIUS "racing against an Arabian horse at the Aspire Zone outdoor circuit" on Wednesday. Organized in collaboration with the Doha GOALS Forum, the race "is aimed at raising awareness and highlighting the positive contribution of people with disabilities in building the local community" (THE PENINSULA, 12/10).
Tennis' World No. 4 RAFA NADAL: "This year Messi has achieved something amazing. Back left the Muller's record!"
MLB L.A. Dodgers' MATT KEMP: "Hahahaha! RT @BrandonLeague31: Can't wait to go Gangnam Style with Ryu Hyun-Jin this spring!! #RyuReady"
MLSsoccer.com Managing Editor JONAH FREEDMAN: "Hyun-Jin Ryu has taken Manny Ramirez's old No. 99. We can officially erase Mannywood memories if Ryu always takes mound to "Gangnam Style.""
BBC F1 presenter LEE MCKENZIE: "Freezing in Maranello. Much drama with our hire car breaking down en route. I wonder if Ferrari have one I could borrow?"
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