Home run apple will follow Mets

The huge fiberglass apple that pops up when the New York Mets hit home runs will follow them to their new ballpark when it opens next year.

"The big home run apple is coming," the team's chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, said Tuesday during a media tour of Citi Field, the new stadium.

An apple is coming, at any rate. Mets officials said they did not know whether it would be the same fiberglass apple that has popped up like a champagne cork following Mets homers since 1980.

But a well to house the apple was visible beyond center field at the new stadium, which Wilpon said is on schedule and on budget — about $800 million.

Greeks race to replant Ancient Olympia

White and purple flowers grow among toppled temples at the site where the ancient Olympic Games were born 2,800 years ago.

But in the fire-blackened hills and river banks just beyond, a race is on to replant large swathes of forest wiped out by massive summer wildfires that killed 66 people and ravaged southern Greece.

At stake is images broadcast worldwide during the March 24 flame-lighting ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Greek officials say the effort will pay off, and some 30,000 young plants will be in place for the elaborate ceremony, held in Ancient Olympia since the 1936 Berlin Games.

Goodell to meet to discuss Spygate

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Sen. Arlen Specter are to meet Wednesday to discuss the Spygate case involving the New England Patriots.

The NFL said Tuesday the afternoon meeting will take place in Specter's office in Washington. The Pennsylvania Republican has asked Goodell to explain his decision to destroy the tapes and notes from the case, which go back to 2002.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team was fined $250,000. The Patriots also forfeited a first-round draft pick.

Specter's challenge to Goodell came two days before the Super Bowl, lost by the Patriots to the New York Giants on Feb. 3.

Dakar Rally moving to S. America

Argentina and Chile will host the 2009 edition of the Dakar Rally, which was canceled this year because of fears of terrorism in Africa.

The race will start in Buenos Aires on Jan. 3 and finish in the Argentine capital Jan. 18, organizers said Monday. The full route will be announced Tuesday in Argentina by Patrice Clerc, who runs the company that organizes the rally.

This year marked the first time that the 30-year-old rally, one of the biggest competitions in automobile racing, was called off. The threat of terrorist attacks pushed the element of risk to levels organizers deemed unacceptable.

Pro Bowl draws highest ratings since 2000

The NFL's Pro Bowl drew its best ratings in eight years.

Sunday's game on Fox earned a 6.3 rating and a 12 share. That's up 37 percent from last year's 4.6. It's the highest Pro Bowl rating since the game attracted an 8.6 in 2000.

The rating is the percentage of homes with televisions watching a broadcast, and the share is the percentage watching among those with the TV on at the time.

Committee wants more time to pick teams

NCAA tournament selection committee chairman Tom O'Connor understands how chaotic those last few minutes before the 65-team field is finalized can be on Selection Sunday.

So when he became chairman of the NCAA's highest-profile committee this year, O'Connor wanted to give his colleagues a break.

The 10 committee members who will select the tournament teams are scheduled to arrive one day earlier than usual during selection week, a move intended to provide more time for debate and less tension in the frantic finish leading up to the announcement in Indianapolis.