With focus no longer on Derek Jeter, Yankees need to get back to business

When the Yankees last left the Bronx, they were basking in the glow of Derek Jeter’s final memorable moment at Yankee Stadium, a walk-off hit that served as the feel-good highlight of an otherwise ordinary 2014 season. When they return Monday, it’s back to business. There will be no retirement tours this season to divert anybody’s attention if the Yankees find themselves on the outside of the postseason picture for a third straight season. It all starts Monday when they host the Blue Jays on Opening Day, with Alex Rodriguez back in uniform after his year-long PED suspension. “You look forward to it every year,” Joe Girardi said. “You look forward to trying to get after what we really want. The competition we’re going to experience in the next 180 days, it’s what we love to do.” While the end of last season centered on the Captain’s final days in pinstripes, this season’s opener is as much about the return of some familiar faces as it is the arrival of some new ones. Rodriguez hasn’t played at the Stadium in more than 18 months, but after a successful spring that saw him emerge as one of the most productive hitters in the lineup, the controversial slugger will be back in the lineup after serving the longest PED-related suspension in the game’s history. RELATED: TANAKA'S ARM ISSUES ONE REASON NOT TO BELIEVE IN YANKEES THIS SEASON “I’m excited about this team; I think this team has a good workman-like mentality and DNA,” Rodriguez said. “Kind of a quiet, under-the-radar team. It has a good feel to it. I like that a lot of people are not expecting much from us; that’s kind of a different place for us to be. For me, personally, I’m very excited about the regular season. What’s better than Opening Day at Yankee Stadium?” Masahiro Tanaka, who created a Continue Reading

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell suspended three games following DUI, pot arrest: AP source

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is facing a three-game suspension following his arrest on DUI and marijuana charges last August. A person with direct knowledge of the suspension told The Associated Press Bell is expected to appeal the suspension. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the disciplinary action had not been announced by the league. The suspension was first reported by ESPN. Bell was arrested last August following a traffic stop along with then-teammate LeGarrette Blount. The 23-year-old All-Pro ended up pleading no contest and was sentenced to 15 months of probation and entered into a diversion program. Blount, now a running back with New England, received a one-game suspension from the league last week. Bell and Blount were arrested Aug. 20, 2014 after a motorcycle officer in Ross Township, a suburb just north of Pittsburgh, smelled marijuana coming from a vehicle Bell was driving hours before a team flight to a preseason game in Philadelphia. Blount was released from the Steelers after complaining about insufficient playing time and walking off the field early in a loss to Tennessee in November. He signed with the Patriots days later and won a Super Bowl ring in February. As part of Bell’s plea deal he agreed to have a drug and alcohol evaluation, follow any recommended treatment and spend 12 hours one weekend at a safety school for those charged with drunken driving. Bell flourished in his second season with the Steelers in 2014. His 2,115 yards from scrimmage were a team record. His 83 receptions were the most ever by a Pittsburgh running back and his versatility keyed the team’s run to an AFC North title. The Steelers signed free agent DeAngelo Williams to a two-year contract in March as a backup to Bell. Williams is Carolina’s all-time leader in yards rushing (6,846) and career rushing touchdowns (46). Continue Reading

UK traffic cops pull over man in DeLorean from ‘Back to the Future’; no word if car was trying to hit 88 mph

Maybe cops thought there was something wrong with the flux capacitor? A driver in a "Back to the Future" DeLorean sports car was stopped by traffic police in the UK, reports the Mirror. The car was pulled over during a traffic crackdown in Cheshire, in northwestern England. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. The cops — from the Central Motorway Police Group — were quick to take to Twitter to reveal they had just stopped the model of a car that was famously used by Christopher Lloyd's character Doc in the 1985 classic. One officer tweeted: "Look what I've just stopped on the A500 (road). There is no escaping us no matter where you are in space time! @UKTimeMachine." The owner of the car said he had done nothing wrong and had merely been asking for directions. The DeLorean used to be displayed in Universal Studios, Florida. Continue Reading

Vatican backs use of force against ISIS after group’s attacks on Christians

Holy orders! The Vatican has backed the use of force against ISIS, reports the BBC. Rome's top diplomat at the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, said force may be necessary to stop attacks on Christians and other minorities if no political solution could be found. The Vatican traditionally opposes military force. However, Tomasi, speaking to US catholic website, Crux, said: "What's needed is a coordinated and well-though-out coalition to do everything possible to achieve a political settlement without violence. "But if that's not possible, then the use of force will be necessary." He added that Christians were the main targets of attacks by the Islamic State and said everybody had the right "to be protected." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Billionaire who canceled purchase of $27.5M Fifth Ave. penthouse because he’d have to share roof might get his deposit back

A Peruvian billionaire who cancelled his purchase of a Fifth Avenue penthouse rather than share his roof with other residents won a significant court battle Tuesday when the Appellate Division in Manhattan said he might yet get a full refund of the $2.75 million deposit that he put on the triplex in 2012. Carlos Rodriguez Pastor cancelled his purchase in 2013 after the coop board of the building at 1107 Fifth Ave. refused to guarantee that he and his family would have exclusive use of the 4,780-square-foot terrace, which wraps around the lavish pad. The terrace offers sweeping views of the skyline and Central Park from E. 92nd St. After Pastor put a 10% downpayment on the $27.5 million deal, the coop board disclosed that they planned to put a common roof recreation area on top of his penthouse and to give residents access via a staircase that would puncture his terrace. “Neither the estate nor I expected or intended that the penthouse roof would be or could be decreed a common area or that the Terrace would be accessible by anyone other than the owner of the penthouse. That was not the way the penthouse was marketed,” Pastor said in a court affidavit. After a year of legal wrangling, the coop board backed off its demand that their own rooftop plan be tied to their approval of the sale. But the board would not guarantee Pastor exclusivity in the future, so Pastor refused to close on the deal. He demanded his deposit back. When the estate refused to do that, he sued. The board's refusal to give Pastor "unequivocable" assurances that he would have exclusive rights to the terrace would make "any reasonable purchaser uneasy," the judges said in the decision. The panel overturned a March 2014 decision by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing to deny Pastor his deposit. The judges essentially said that decision was premature and perhaps unfounded. Even though the estate got the coop board Continue Reading

Hitched to gay marriage: It’s too late for the Supreme Court to turn back the clock on Adam and Steve

The nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court — or at least the eight who speak during oral argument — posed downright philosophical questions Tuesday as they sought to understand why the right to marry should extend to same-sex couples across the United States. Referring to heterosexual unions, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “This definition has been with us for millennia. And it — it’s very difficult for the court to say, oh, well, we — we know better.” The view that marriage is between a man and a woman, continued liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, “has been the law everywhere for thousands of years. Suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states to change [that].” Chimed in conservative Justice Antonin Scalia: “Do you know of any society, prior to the Netherlands in 2001, that permitted same-sex marriage?” The point: While confronting deep questions of equal justice, some or all of the court is approaching with caution the issuance of a broadly transformative order that alienates a significant segment of the country. For years, fear of imposing a divisive constitutional mandate of the kind that legalized abortion has properly pushed the court to delay a full reckoning over gay marriage. But in that time, by letting stand lower-court rulings that overruled state laws against same-sex unions, the justices permitted them to proliferate across the U.S. Gay marriage has become legal in 36 American states — up from just one in 2004 — covering 70% of the population. De facto legalization has taken place, enabling thousands to marry here, there and almost everywhere. Surely the court will conclude that there’s no going back. Continue Reading

Kris Jenner hits back at ABC’s claim she didn’t want to comment on Bruce Jenner special

A fired up Kris Jenner shot back at critics after ABC aired statements from Bruce Jenner’s two other ex-wives, but said she wouldn’t comment on her ex-husband Bruce Jenner coming out as transgender. When celebrity blogger Perez Hilton tweeted that Kris Jenner offered no comment, the Kardashian matriarch lashed back. “f*** you Perez no one asked me to comment ....and I'm sitting with Bruce now watching this show so let's keep it real...LOL....” Kris Jenner wrote. She later offered a sweet, supportive statement after the special aired. "Not only was I able to call him my husband for 25 years and father of my children, I am now able to call him my hero," she tweeted.   BRUCE JENNER DECLARES 'I AM A WOMAN' DURING DIANE SAWYER INTERVIEW Host Diane Sawyer read statements from Jenner’s two other exes during the two-hour special Friday. “Someone who has lived 65 years of his life as the wrong gender has every right to live the last quarter of his life as his authentic self,” Jenner’s first wife, Chrystie Scott, told ABC. “I support him and so hope the world can too. I pray for his happiness for the rest of his journey.” BRUCE JENNER SEEN IN DRESS OUTSIDE MALIBU HOME Linda Thompson, Jenner’s second wife, told ABC she too was supportive. “I support his courage and commitment to this new chapter of his life,” Thompson said in a statement. “My hope is that his transition will inspire others who struggle with their identities, and my prayer is that humanity has evolved and been educated enough to exercise kindness toward those we may perceive as ‘different.’” Sawyer then said that Kris Jenner offered the show a curt "no comment" when asked to weigh in. Bruce and Kris Jenner married in 1991, had two daughters together, and divorced in December. Bruce and Kris Continue Reading

Woman’s marathon victory tainted after cops drive her — twice — back to North Carolina course

Heidi Bretscher ran three miles off course and needed two rides in cop cars to get her back on track — but that didn't stop her from winning the top female spot in a controversial victory. The bizarre race happened April 12 at the Rock N' Roll Raleigh Marathon in North Carolina, reports WTVD. RELATED: CAROLINE ROTICH OF KENYA WINS BOSTON MARATHON The 28-year-old was on pace to run her fastest time when she hit the 18-mile mark. That's when the two lead pace bikes, which she was following, then missed a sharp left turn onto a winding wooded path that wasn't clearly marked. She kept running for two miles. When she didn't see the marker for the 19th mile, she realized they were off course. "I didn't know what to do so I kept running as fast as I could, thinking if I got out of the woods I could find the course," she told Runner's World. Bretscher soon found a cop, who after a 15-minute discussion agreed to give her a ride. But he dropped her off back at mile 17, where she saw a throng of runners pounding pavement she'd already earlier completed. "I had already run all these miles so I didn't want to start up again all the way back there," she told Runner's World. Another cop came to her rescue. After getting the green light from race officials, Bretscher hopped into his car and was taken close to the 22.5-mile point. The Duke graduate student jumped out and started running again. She completed the final four miles — and then was stunned to discover she had still won. "There was a lot of confusion about if I could win the race because you're not meant to have gotten a ride with cops," Bretscher admitted. Eventually she was told that she'd been awarded the victory because her lead was so great when she veered off course. "What went into that decision was, she was a half-hour ahead of the next woman, and the distance that she ran off course, combined with her running in place while waiting, was definitely in the 26.2-mile Continue Reading

Martin St. Louis back for Rangers vs. Wild after missing eight games with MCL sprain

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Rangers are the Vegas favorites to win the 2015 Stanley Cup according to Bovada’s Wednesday odds, which listed them at 13-to-2 ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks (7/1), Minnesota Wild (8/1) and Anaheim Ducks (9/1). As the Blueshirts (48-21-7, 103 points) learned last season, though, June is a long way away. So the Eastern Conference’s top team keeps its focus on making daily progress with just six regular season games remaining. That continues Thursday night in Minnesota against the surging Wild (44-25-7, 95 points), when veteran right wing Martin St. Louis will return from an MCL sprain that has sidelined him the past eight games. “I’m not used to not being part of it,” St. Louis, 39, said after Wednesday’s practice at the Wild’s Xcel Energy Center. “My whole life I’ve dedicated myself to being a hockey player. That’s all I know and that’s all I want to be, and I have a chance to be that again tomorrow night.” RELATED: RANGERS' STEPAN RECEIVES GOOD GUY AWARD, STAAL NOMINATED FOR MASTERTON TROPHY Henrik Lundqvist will make his third start in four games, coming off Tuesday night’s first win, 3-2 in Winnipeg, since his injury layoff. The Penguins' loss to the Flyers Wednesday means that the Rangers can clinch the Metropolitan Division crown and home ice for the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a win over the Wild. Lundqvist is in such obvious high spirits due to his health and recent victory that, coupled with St. Louis’ enthusiasm, it’s creating an exciting, light atmosphere around an already successful team. Rookie Kevin Hayes also has reason to look forward to Thursday night: Alain Vigneault said he is “90-percent sure” he will start the right wing St. Louis on a line with Carl Hagelin on the left wing and Hayes at center. The coach thought Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Continue Reading

Three networks pay tribute to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has sent amazing images of space back to Earth

Even after a quarter of a century, it’s still out of this world. The Hubble Telescope hardly closed the book on that question, but it gave us way more information than anything in previous known millennia. So at least three TV specials this week will salute the 25th anniversary of Hubble, the little telescope that at first couldn’t and then could. The Science Channel plans a three-hour space bloc Sunday night. It begins with “Mission Critical: Hubble” at 8, followed by “How the Universe Works: Big Bang” at 9 and “How the Universe Works: Alien Galaxies” at 10. PBS’ “Nova” will broadcast “Invisible Universe Revealed” Wednesday night at 9, and National Geographic airs “Hubble’s Cosmic Journey” Monday night at 10, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. All three shows have the same double focus. First, they recall how long it took to develop the Hubble and how deflating it was when the first images were a big blur of nothing. Then second, they recount the extraordinary way in which the problems were corrected and Hubble began sending back amazing pictures of outer space, pictures that left us breathless and speechless back here in our tiny little corner of the great big old universe. Because so many of the men and women who worked on Hubble are still around, all three shows draw on their narration and recollections. In the National Geographic show, several of the developers and engineers recall how frustrating it was that NASA canceled a final check of the equipment before it was sent into space. That check, they suggest, could have picked up what the Nova special notes was a one-millimeter error that threatened to render the whole billion-dollar project useless. Since at that point the telescope couldn’t just be brought back into the shop, a team of repair workers had to be Continue Reading