Today in sports: Meet Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban baseball star who's about to get very rich as an MLB free agent; also meet Bill Bordley, the MLB vice president for security and a former Secret Service agent who once tried to stop Monica Lewinsky from visiting Bill Clinton.
- The big sports headline of the day is New Orleans' Saints' Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino's 27-year-old single-season passing record of 5,084 yards. The Associated Press has the full details outside the 307-yard game: "Brees’s four touchdown passes gave him 276 for his career, moving him ahead of Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (275) for ninth all time. He is the first quarterback in N.F.L. history to pass for more than 5,000 yards twice; he had 5,069 in 2008, falling 15 short of Marino’s mark." Sports Illustrated's Peter King argues, the dream team of Brees and coach Sean Payton will turn the Saints into a modern-day powerhouse: "The marriage of Payton's scheme and Brees' talent will make the Saints Super Bowl contenders every year they're both still in their prime." Mostly it just sounds like a great little Christmas present for Brees, who Payton says wanted to nab the record so that it would stop being a distraction for the team. [AP / SI]
- In basketball, the NBA's first Asian-American player since 1947 has been traded just a couple days after the start of an already delayed season. Jeremy Lin will join the New York Knicks as a backup point guard after getting released by the Rockets "to make roster room for Houston's signing of Samuel Dalembert," ESPN wrote. "Thankful to God for the opportunity to be a New York Knick!! Time to find my winter coats from college lol," Lin tweeted on Tuesday. Interestingly for an NBA player, the college he refers to here is his alma mater, Harvard, which is not exactly a feeder school to the league. But the pedigree's working for him. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni told CNN Lin "might be the smartest guy we have." [ESPN]
- However excited Lin might be to join the Knicks or Rees might be to surpass Marino, that's how un-stoked the Mets are about pitcher R.A. Dickey's plan to scale Kilimanjaro in the off-season. Reports the Wall Street Journal: "On a team perpetually beset by injuries, Dickey's planned expedition has also caused some consternation in the front office. A few months ago, the Mets sent a letter to Dickey's agent warning him that they reserve the right to void the remaining year on his contract if he is injured on the mountain. They can't stop him from going, but they clearly would prefer he did not." But Dickey's quip that "it's not like it's Everest" is not as ridiculous as it first seems. As the Journal points out, "Dickey won't be scaling any icy cliffs. He won't be dangling from a rope and harness. The climb is essentially a long, steep hike, and the majority of people who attempt it do so without incident." The risk for Dickey seems less like one of life and death and more financial: If he turns his ankle while hiking Kilimanjaro, the Mets could fire him. [WSJ via Deadspin]
- In a story with just the right mix of international and Oval Office intrigue, the Washington Post has a fascinating profile of Bill Bordley, a former San Francisco Giants pitcher and Secret Service agent who's now the MLB vice-president for security. The two takeaways: Bordley used his "embassy contacts" to help secure Wilson Ramos's release when he was kidnapped in Venezuela last month. Also: As a Secret Service agent in the 1990s, he once stopped Monica Lewinsky from visiting Bill Clinton. She did anyway. "When that incident happened, I was relatively new to the detail,” Bordley told the Post. “They tell you anyone who gets anywhere near the Oval Office obviously has to be credentialed and have a pass. And this person, she did not have it on. I thought someone was playing a joke on me, trying to test me — the new guy. I stopped her." Clinton told him to let her in, and she left about an hour later, the Post reports matter-of-factly. [Washington Post via Deadspin]
- Get ready to hear a lot about a guy named Yoenis Cespedes. He's a Cuban outfielder "with a running back’s body whom scouts have been following for years," The New York Times reports. And he's about to become a free agent. In just a few days, Darvish is expected to declare his residency in the Dominican Republic, at which point anybody can hire him. And he'll become the belle of the major league ball. "At least a dozen teams fancy the 26-year-old Cespedes, who is built like Bo Jackson and has Vladimir Guerrero’s swing. Some people in baseball believe he will command a contract worth over $50 million," The Times reports. He's obviously smart, too. If he had defected straight to the United States he'd have been subject to the baseball draft, so he rode a speedboat to Dominican Republic and hired a Wasserman agent first things first. [New York Times]