The sports story most read online in the year in which Japan won the bid for the 2020 Olympics should come as no surprise. Baseball fans had plenty to celebrate, and figure-skating followers had no shortage of drama. Let’s hope to see some Sochi gold medals in this round-up next year.

10. Uehara fans final batter as Red Sox win the World Series

Boston Strong: Koji Uehara (left) jumps into the arms of catcher David Ross as the Red Sox celebrate after winning the 2013 World Series on Wednesday at Fenway Park.

The 38-year-old right-hander pitched a perfect ninth inning to finish off a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 on Wednesday night and secure Boston’s third championship in 10 years.

9. Balentien sets new single season home run record

Mission accomplished: Tokyo Yakult

“I feel so relieved right now. Lot of emotions. Just to get this is something unbelievable. This is (something) that nobody was able to do for 49 years.”

8. What others are saying about Tokyo’s winning Olympic bid

The finalists: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is congratulated by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after IOC President Jacques Rogge announced on Saturday in Buenos Aires that Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Whenever it rolls around, the Olympic bid story travels to the front pages of the world’s newspapers. Here are a few highlights from the streams of stories that were devoted to the winner of the 2020 Games.

7. Eagles blank Giants in Game 7, capture first Japan series title

As good as it gets: Eagles catcher Motohiro Shima embraces pitcher Masahiro Tanaka after the final out in Game 7 of the Japan Series on Sunday at Kleenex Stadium in Sendai. Tohoku Rakuten defeated the defending champion Yomiuri Giants 3-0 to capture its first title

One day after throwing 160 pitches in a complete-game loss, Tanaka recorded the final three outs of the Japan Series, and Tohoku finally got a chance to celebrate as their Eagles held off the defending champion Yomiuri Giants 3-0 in Game 7 on Sunday in Kleenex Stadium.

6. Time to salute Ichiro’s amazing feat, leave debate aside

Phenomenal achievement: Ichiro Suzuki, along with Pete Rose and Ty Cobb, is one of just three men in pro baseball history to amass 4,000 hits in their career.

Those what ifs can be debated, but not answered. What we do know is that Ichiro has reached one of the biggest round numbers in a game that loves to measure achievements in nice round numbers. If that’s not something to celebrate, then what is?

5. Report: Honda seals Milan deal

Top class: Japan playmaker Keisuke Honda has reportedly signed a formal agreement to join Italian side AC Milan in January.

Milan vice president and chief executive Adriano Galliani recently told associates that the Serie A club had “formally contracted with Honda and had already submitted documents,” the Japanese daily said, quoting well-informed sources.

4. Mao has much at stake in Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka

Pretty in pink: Mao Asada is heavily favored to win this weekend

Mao has won both her Grand Prix assignments this season (Skate America, NHK Trophy), but was unable to cleanly land a triple axel or the triple flip/triple toe loop combination in either. So while victory in her last international competition before Sochi would be nice, Mao has to keep the bigger picture in mind.

3. Tellem’s take: Matsui a special person

Special pairing: Agent Arn Tellem (right) appears at a news conference with Hideki Matsui in 2005 after the slugger agreed to a new contract with the New York Yankees.

Matsui retired from baseball last December. Throughout 20 professional seasons — 10 in the majors — he was a model of consistency. All told, he amassed Hall of Fame numbers: 2,643 hits, 507 home runs, a .293 batting average.

2. Ando warns media to back off

Miki Ando

Two-time former world figure skating champion Miki Ando, who gave birth to a baby girl in April, has asked the media to respect her privacy as she continues her preparations to return to competition for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

1. Tokyo wins bid to host 2020 Olympics

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge shows a card displaying Tokyo, the city  chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Buenos Aires, Saturday.

Tokyo overcame fears of the dangers of radiation-contaminated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, crippled by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster, about 250 km northeast of the city to win the vote. It also pressed home the message of using the Olympics as a force in its reconstruction efforts from the disaster.

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