Leading Off

MLB can't stop fans' 'fantasies'

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling Tuesday that lets a fantasy baseball company use players' names and statistics without paying a licensing fee. In a 2-1 decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc. doesn't have to pay the players, even though it profits by using their names and statistics. The Major League Baseball Players Association had argued that companies like CBC are essentially stealing money from players, who charge big fees to endorse things like tennis shoes and soft drinks. The ruling could have a broad impact on the fantasy league industry, which generates more than $1.5 billion annually from millions of participants.

Hope Tiger's thirsty

Tiger Woods will have his own brand of sports drink next year under an endorsement deal announced Tuesday with Gatorade that marks a couple of firsts for the world's No. 1 golfer -- his first U.S. deal with a beverage company and his first licensing agreement. Gatorade said it will introduce "Gatorade Tiger" in March, with more products to follow. Woods even picked out the flavors himself, with the drink available in a cherry blend, citrus blend and grape. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Golfweek magazine reported last month it was for five years and could pay Woods as much as $100 million, moving him closer to the $1 billion mark in career endorsements.

Special delivery

It was a little anticlimactic when Lions wide receiver Roy Williams knocked on Tiffany Marchyok's front door Tuesday evening. Williams was holding a pepperoni pizza. He was wearing a windbreaker with "Pizza Hut" emblazoned on the back. "You're the one who doesn't tip, right?" Marchyok said as she swung open her screen door. He was at her house in Dearborn, Mich., delivering a pizza, trying to make up for being famously cheap. A company executive in Dallas had challenged Williams to deliver pizzas for an afternoon when he got wind of Williams' penchant for stiffing pizza delivery people. When he handed the pepperoni pizza to Marchyok, she asked him what the total was. "The total is on the house," he said.

Section penalizes Franklin football

The Franklin High School football team of Stockton is banned from the playoffs for the next five years in what is believed to be the harshest penalty in state history for recruiting violations.

Bland suing city

Central Catholic running back Louis Bland is suing several law enforcement agencies, alleging officers unjustly injured him when he left a teen-centered dance at a Modesto nightclub a year ago.