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Morning briefing

Times Staff Writer

A developing friendship between Alex Rodriguez and Madonna has sent the tabloids into a tizzy.

Both superstars are married, but both marriages are reportedly on the rocks.

Little is known about the nature of the A-Rod-Madonna relationship, and US Weekly is calling it a “hot new friendship” rather than a developing romance, even though there seems to be evidence of the latter.

They’re comparing their hits

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“The facts are that he comes to her apartment late at night, that they have a friendship, that she had never been photographed at a Yankees game until she was photographed in A-Rod’s seats,” said Janice Min, US Weekly’s editor in chief. “I think from those facts we put forth, a lot of people would infer that something more is going on.”

Trivia time

Madonna is no stranger to baseball, having previously been romantically linked to Jose Canseco. She also had a supporting role in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” starring Tom Hanks. What character did she play?

Raising the bar

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The latest in performance-enhancing drugs for athletes: Viagra.

The drug causes blood vessels to expand, which theoretically allows blood cells to get more oxygen from the lungs and studies have shown that would be a benefit to athletes, especially those competing in endurance sports.

“If you have more oxygen going to your muscles, that’s more energy and that makes you a better athlete,” said Dr. Andrew McCullough, a sexual health expert at the New York University School of Medicine.

There are doubters about improving results on the field, but most agree that performance will be enhanced one way or another.

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Maternal instinct

JaVale McGee was selected by the Washington Wizards last week in the NBA draft, becoming the first son of a former WNBA player drafted by an NBA team.

His mother, Pamela, who went to USC, played for the Sparks and Sacramento Monarchs before becoming an assistant coach for the Detroit Shock.

She said it was no surprise that JaVale made it to the NBA because he has been around the game his whole life.

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“Regular mothers say, ‘Brush your teeth,’ ” Pamela told the Associated Press. “I’d say, ‘Did you shoot your free throws?’ ”

Easy being green

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James teamed up with Nickelodeon and the network’s cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants on a public service announcement to promote the importance of exercise for children and also raise awareness about the environment.

“We’re trying to get kids out of the house,” James said. “Get outside, ride bikes, play hoops. And in this, we’re trying to save water and do other things that can help the environment. . . . It doesn’t take much to recycle a can or turn the faucet off.”

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So, James is going green. Does that mean a Celtics jersey is in his future?

Sleeps with fishes

A 6 1/2 -foot catfish was found dead, floating on the surface of a Berlin canal Monday, a day after Germany lost in the final of Euro 2008.

Cause of death? It choked to death trying to eat a soccer ball.

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Police could not determine if the Euro 2008 final had anything to do with it.

“Whether the fish was caught up in football fever in the aftermath of the European championship and hence snapped at the ball can unfortunately not be determined,” police said in a statement.

Trivia answer

Outfielder Mae Mordabito, also known as “All the Way” Mae.

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And finally

Warren Sapp, who retired after last season, was asked by the St. Petersburg Times to describe his experience with the Oakland Raiders.

“As dark as a black hole,” Sapp said. “Stuff went on in that organization that shouldn’t go on in sports. I don’t think there’s one person who knows who or what is making the call.”

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peter.yoon@latimes.com


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