Tom Goldman

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The famed horse racing track, Santa Anita Park, is up and running after being closed for much of last month following a spike in racehorse deaths. Since the end of December 2018, 23 thoroughbreds have died — mostly due to injuries from racing or training. The fatalities have forced the horse racing industry, and the public, to take a hard look at the sport and some of the issues that have been debated for years: Are the economics of horse racing taking priority over the animals' health and welfare? Should racehorses be medicated and, if so, how much?

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Going to take a deep breath because it's time for sports.

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Baseball is back. Thursday is opening day for the major leagues. All 30 teams are in action. And while the cry of "play ball!" sounds throughout the majors, baseball officials hope the game embraces a companion cry of "hurry up!"

Since 2014, the average time of a nine-inning game has hovered at or above three hours, which may be driving away the younger demographic baseball is trying to appeal to.

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And it's time now for sports.

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And now a sober, contemplative look at sports.

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Sunday in Atlanta, Super Bowl LIII matches the New England Patriots against the Los Angeles Rams.

Again.

Well not exactly. Seventeen years ago, it was the St. Louis Rams.

But there are parallels between Super Bowls LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and XXXVI at what is now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, beyond luxury cars.

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The Super Bowl is Sunday of course - the New England Patriots against the Los Angeles Rams. NPR's Tom Goldman follows the NFL for us and is here to give us a preview. Tom, good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

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Time now for sports.

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Bernice Sandler, the "godmother of Title IX" who died Saturday at the age of 90, is being remembered this week for her lifelong fight to reverse decades of institutional bias in U.S. schools and open new paths for women and girls.

It all started in an elementary school in Brooklyn, N.Y., when Sandler was a determined little girl nicknamed Bunny. She was offended by the way the boys got to do all the classroom activities.

"For example, running a slide projector," says Marty Langelan, who was Sandler's friend and colleague for nearly 50 years.

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Now, time for sports.

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And now a couple of chestnuts roasting on an open fire (laughter) or, as we say around here, time for sports.

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Tim Green first noticed the symptoms about five years ago.

The former NFL player, whose strength was a job requirement, suddenly found his hands weren't strong enough to use a nail clipper. His words didn't come out as fast as he was thinking them.

"I'm a strange guy," Tim says. "I get something in my head and I can just run with it. I was really afraid I had ALS. But there was enough doubt that I said, 'Alright, I don't. Let's not talk about it. Let's not do anything.' "

Denying pain and injury had been a survival strategy in football.

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And no matter what else happens in the world, time for sports.

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