James Brown, the host of CBS' NFL pregame show "The NFL Today" since 2006 and special correspondent for CBS News, is the winner of the second-annual Sam Lacy-Wendell Smith Award. Given to a sports journalist who has made significant contributions to racial and gender equality in sports, the award is presented by the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. "James Brown's accomplishments, starting when he was a very young man at DeMatha Catholic High School, have been exemplary in every sense of the word," said Povich Center director George Solomon. "If you are going to honor and tell a story about someone who made it to the top and kept his head and balance all the way, while giving back to his community, you are not going to find a better person than James Brown. He honors the two men whom the award is named for, as well as himself, his family and everyone he's ever come in contact with." The award was created to honor Lacy and Smith — the late African-American sportswriters who battled against prejudice and injustice their entire careers. Brown, who attended DeMatha, will receive the award at a luncheon April 2 at the Samuel Riggs Alumni Center on the Maryland campus. For ticket information, contact Beth Mechum at email@example.com.
Manfred predicts end soon to MASN dispute
Baseball's new commissioner said he believes the dispute between the Orioles and the Washington Nationals over television rights fees can be resolved in "reasonably short order" and he thinks both franchises could host the All-Star Game in the not-too-distant future. Rob Manfred, who took over as commissioner from Bud Selig on Jan. 25, made the comments while talking to reporters at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. "I'm not going to say a lot about MASN because it is in litigation," Manfred said. "I will say this much. I think in reasonably short order, there will be a resolution of MASN, either by the litigation being done or some other mechanism." The ongoing legal entanglement might have been one reason that Selig chose not to award the 2016 All Star Game to Baltimore, which hasn't hosted the event since 1993. Instead, Selig chose San Diego, a National League club, despite its being the American League's turn in the rotation. Washington, which hasn't hosted one since 1969, when the club in the nation's capital was called the Senators, would like to be considered for the 2017 All-Star Game. Manfred said awarding the game to one of the neighboring cities would not prevent the other from receiving it thereafter. "We think of Baltimore and Washington as separate franchises, separate cities," Manfred told reporters. "And I don't think having an All-Star Game in one would be a disqualifying or hindering factor for the other."
Britton avoids arbitration, agrees to $3.2 million deal
Orioles closer Zach Britton agreed to a $3.2 million deal to avoid arbitration, according to an industry source. The deal also includes up to $500,000 in performance and award bonuses. Britton, who turned 27 last month, converted 37 of 41 save opportunities in his first season as closer, posting a 3-2 record and 1.65 ERA. He entered last spring fighting for a roster spot, made the club as a reliever and took over the closer role in May. Britton made just $521,500 last season. He is in his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super 2 qualifier. The sides agreed to a deal exactly midway between the figures they exchanged. Britton filed at $4.2 million while the Orioles filed at $2.2 million. Britton can make $50,000 for finishing 40 games and another $50,000 for 45 games. He can make an additional $75,000 for 50 games, then another $50,000 for 55 games and an additional $75,000 for 60 games. The deal also includes up to $200,000 in award bonuses. Britton's settlement leaves outfielder Alejandro De Aza as the only unsigned arbitration-eligible player. De Aza and the Orioles are just $650,000 apart. He filed at $5.65 million with the Orioles countering at $5 million). MASNSports.com first reported Britton's agreeing to terms and the base salary and performance bonuses were first reported by CBSSports.com.
—Eduardo A. Encina
Pro soccer: The Bohemians, a Premier Development League team, announced their 14-game 2015 schedule, which will start with a match at Westchester on May 16 followed by a home game against Reading United on May 23. The Bohemians' home matches will be at Bonvegna Field in Canton, which is in the midst of a $1.5 million renovation that will add new turf and lights. The field is on Boston Street, within walking distance from O'Donnell Square. Two new teams, Lehigh Valley and New York, will join the Mid-Atlantic Division, which also includes Jersey Express, Long Island and Ocean City.
Youth soccer: The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States, has awarded a $25,000 grant to the Parks & People Foundation to support soccer programs for underserved youth in Baltimore. This comes as part of an announcement of over 31 grants totaling nearly $1.3 million nationwide. The foundation strives to help the sport grow and improve the well-being of children in under-resourced communities by awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that provide children with the opportunity to play soccer and live a healthy lifestyle.