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Yahoo Sports AM: A break in the silence

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says the team has met with Shohei Ohtani. Whoops.

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🚨 HEADLINES

⚾️ Cleveland picks first: The Guardians won Tuesday's MLB draft lottery with the ninth-best odds (2%) and will pick first for the first time ever. The Reds, Rockies, A's and White Sox round out the top five.

🏀 Four teams left: The Bucks blew out the Knicks and the Lakers beat the Suns (controversial ending!) to advance to the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals, where the Pacers and Pelicans await.

⚾️ Yanks-Sox swap: In a rare trade between rivals, the Yankees acquired OF Alex Verdugo from the Red Sox in exchange for three pitchers.

🏈 DeSantis wants to sue: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking the state legislature to set aside $1 million for Florida State to sue the CFP committee.

🏒 Sphere draft: The NHL is set to host the 2024 draft at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

⚾️ OHTANI WATCH: A BREAK IN THE SILENCE

Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts during a game this past July. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts during a game this past July. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says the team has met with Shohei Ohtani — which may hurt their chances of landing him.

What's happening: Ohtani's free agency is shrouded in secrecy, but one thing is known in baseball circles: He doesn't want his meetings with teams made public.

"Officials with interested teams say his agent, Nez Balelo, has warned them that leaking any details of the process would be held against them." — Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic ($)

Cue Roberts: "Yeah, we met with him," the Dodgers manager said Tuesday, blatantly ignoring the one "rule" that other teams have been careful to follow.

"I would like to be honest, and so we met with Shohei. … For me, it's hard to get a pointed question and then to just give a false answer knowingly."

"So, I don't think it's disrespect to anybody in Shohei's party or on our side. I think that the details are going to be withheld, which I think they should be, but it's pretty clear he's a priority for us."

The blowback: "Roberts spoke freely and relaxed for 20 minutes, but the moment his media session ended, a stern text message on his cellphone awaited him," per USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

  • "He immediately huddled with Dodgers' public relations officials to make sure he was no longer so candid."

  • Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes later said he was "surprised" Roberts revealed the meeting and declined to comment.

The other contenders: Ohtani is believed to have met with the Blue Jays and Giants in recent days, but neither team has confirmed (nor denied) the reports. The Angels and Cubs are also viewed as contenders.

My take…

The "no leaks" approach seems like a negotiation tactic — not some ploy to keep us from knowing that (gasp!) Ohtani met with an obvious suitor. So I have a hard time seeing him factoring this 'leak' into his decision. That said, if Sho-Time asked me to keep our meeting private, I'd probably keep our meeting private.

Overall, it's kind of a bummer that "Ohtani Watch" is playing out like this. "Roberts said they met with him! Even though Ohtani's camp said not to! Then the GM seemed kinda mad and said 'no comment.' Omg!!!" Really? That's the story of the day?

Look, maybe Ohtani truly desires extreme privacy, and he's entitled to that. Or maybe this is mostly coming from his agent, who thinks leaks could hurt them in negotiations as they seek a historic contract expected to be in the $500-600 million range.

Either way, Ohtani's much-hyped decision feels unnecessarily paranoid. "This really should all be fun," writes ESPN's Buster Olney. "Instead, his decision is being handled like delicate negotiations over a secret spy swap."

🏒 DEVILS WIN "HUGHES BOWL"

Luke (L), Quinn and Jack. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Luke (L), Quinn and Jack. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Hughes brothers played in the same NHL game for the first time on Tuesday, with all three recording points in the Devils' 6-5 win over the Canucks.

  • Devils: Jack, the No. 1 pick in 2019, had a goal and two assists. Luke, the No. 4 pick in 2021, had a goal.

  • Canucks: Quinn, the No. 7 pick in 2018, had two assists.

Have three brothers ever appeared in an NHL game before? Yes, nine times actually. The most recent occurrence was in April when Eric and Marc Staal of the Panthers faced Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes.

🎟️ FIRST LOOK: STUBHUB'S BIGGEST EVENTS OF THE YEAR

Lance Stroll drives past the Sphere during a practice session ahead of last month's Las Vegas Grand Prix. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)
Lance Stroll drives past the Sphere during a practice session ahead of last month's Las Vegas Grand Prix. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

The 10 most in-demand sporting events on StubHub in 2023 included the "Big Four" championships, the CFP title game, four F1 races, and the U.S. Open's final weekend, according to data provided to Yahoo Sports.

  1. ⚾️ World Series (Rangers-Diamondbacks) *cumulative

  2. 🏈 Super Bowl LVII (Eagles-Chiefs)

  3. 🏀 NBA Finals (Nuggets-Heat)*

  4. 🏈 CFP National Championship (Georgia-TCU)

  5. 🏁 F1 Miami GP (Second year)

  6. 🏁 F1 Las Vegas GP (First year)

  7. 🏁 F1 Canada GP (in Montreal)

  8. 🏁 F1 U.S. GP (in Austin, Texas)

  9. 🎾 U.S. Open (Finals and Semifinals)*

  10. 🏒 Stanley Cup Finals (Panthers-Golden Knights)*

More takeaways:

  • Women's sports on the rise: Sales on StubHub for the WNBA and NWSL doubled in 2023 compared to 2022, and the women's Final Four commanded a higher price than the men's.

  • F1's on fire: Four Formula 1 races made the top 10 compared to two last year, thanks in part to Las Vegas' debut.

  • The Messi effect: The top six games of the MLS season were all Inter Miami away games.

  • International interest: The number of tickets purchased by U.S. fans for events outside the country was up 80%, with the Ryder Cup, NFL international games and Wimbledon among the biggest drivers.

Methodology: Rankings are based on cumulative, global ticket sales on StubHub North America and Viagogo international marketplaces, as of November 28, 2023.

🏈 NFL POWER RANKINGS: NINERS ON TOP

(Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)
(Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)

As the NFL season enters the home stretch, our eyes and this week's power rankings are telling us the same thing: everyone's chasing the 49ers, Jeff writes.

Top 10: San Francisco regained the top spot after thumping the Eagles in Philly, the Cowboys jumped three spots after beating Seattle and the Chiefs fell four spots after losing to Green Bay.

  1. 49ers: 9-3 (up 1)

  2. Eagles: 10-2 (down 1)

  3. Ravens: 9-3 (up 1)

  4. Cowboys: 9-3 (up 3)

  5. Dolphins: 9-3 (up 1)

  6. Lions: 9-3 (down 1)

  7. Chiefs: 8-4 (down 4)

  8. Bills: 6-6 (up 2)

  9. Jaguars: 8-4 (down 1)

  10. Texans: 7-5 (up 2)

Elsewhere: The Packers (up four), Colts (up four) and Bengals (up six) all climbed into the top 13 after victories over the Chiefs, Titans and Jaguars. The Steelers (down four), Browns (down four) and Broncos (down five) all fell after losses to the Cardinals, Rams and Texans.

This week's primetime slate: The Steelers host the Patriots on Thursday night, the Cowboys host the Eagles on Sunday night, and Monday night features two simultaneous games: Packers at Giants and Titans at Dolphins.

📸 IN PHOTOS: TEQBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

(Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)
(Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)

The sixth annual Teqball World Championships were held last week in Bangkok, where a record 211 players from 61 countries competed in the soccer-table tennis hybrid sport, Jeff writes.

(Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)
(Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)

Invented in 2012, the sport combines elements of ping pong and sepak takraw, a Southeast Asian game that can best be described as "volleyball with your feet."

(Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)
(Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)

Teqball has become popular among pro soccer teams, with European and American clubs using it as a training tool.

Thailand's Phakpong Dejaroen celebrates after winning mixed doubles gold. (Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)
Thailand's Phakpong Dejaroen celebrates after winning mixed doubles gold. (Albert Perez/Getty Images for Teqball World Championship)

Champions were crowned in five events, with host nation Thailand capturing two gold medals (women's and mixed doubles), one silver (women's singles) and a bronze (men's doubles). Brazil came closest to matching the hosts with one gold, two silvers and a bronze.

📆 DEC. 6, 2009: FAVRE BECOMES NFL'S IRON MAN

(Chris Keane/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
(Chris Keane/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

14 years ago today, Brett Favre set an NFL record by playing in his 283rd consecutive regular-season game, Jeff writes.

Iron Men: Favre ultimately pushed his total to 299, which remains the NFL record* among non-kickers/punters.

  • ⚾️ MLB: Cal Ripken Jr. (2,632)

  • 🏀 NBA: A.C. Green (1,192)

  • 🏒 NHL: Phil Kessel (1,064)

  • 🏈 NFL: Favre (299)

More on this day:

*Active leader: Falcons LT Jake Matthews played in his 156th consecutive game on Sunday, the NFL's longest active streak.

📺 WATCHLIST: NHL DOUBLEHEADER

The Oilers seek, and could really use, a fifth straight win. (Lawrence Scott/Getty Images)
The Oilers seek, and could really use, a fifth straight win. (Lawrence Scott/Getty Images)

Tonight's NHL doubleheader on TNT/Max features three of the league's best teams and a fourth trying to claw its way back from a brutal start, Jeff writes.

  • Stars at Panthers (7pm ET): Dallas (14-6-3) is second in the Central and Florida (14-8-2) is third in the Atlantic.

  • Hurricanes at Oilers (9:30pm): Carolina (14-9-1) is second in the Metropolitan, while Edmonton (9-12-1) has won four straight as it tries to climb out of the Pacific Division cellar.

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NBA: Spurs at Timberwolves (7:30pm, ESPN); Nuggets at Clippers (10pm, ESPN)

  • 🏀 NCAAM: No. 12 Texas at No. 8 Marquette (8pm, FS1); South Carolina at No. 24 Clemson* (8pm, ACC)

  • 🏀 NCAAW: No. 4 Iowa at Iowa State (7pm, ESPN2) … Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark leads the nation in scoring (29 ppg).

  • ⚽️ Premier League: Aston Villa vs. Man City (3:15pm, Peacock); Man United vs. Chelsea (3:15pm, Peacock)

*Battle of unbeatens: These are two of the remaining 14 undefeated teams in men's college basketball.

🏒 NHL TRIVIA

(Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)
(Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)

The surging Coyotes have won five straight games, with those victories coming against the five most recent Stanley Cup champions.

Question: Which of the following teams is NOT one of the five most recent champions?

  • Golden Knights

  • Blackhawks

  • Lightning

  • Avalanche

  • Blues

  • Capitals

Answer at the bottom.

🪂 WAKESKATING OFF A SKYSCRAPER

(Red Bull)
(Red Bull)

Brian Grubb, a base jumper and wakeskater (think: wakeboarding without bindings), combined the two from the top of a Dubai skyscraper.

Watch the full video.

___

Trivia answer: Blackhawks (last won in 2015)

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