SBJ/May 28 - June 3, 2001/Coast To Coast



 AAA team may not play until 2003
The city's planned new Class AAA team might not begin play until 2003 rather than next year, as was previously expected, according to an Albuquerque Tribune report. Local residents are scheduled to vote Wednesday on committing $15 million in bonds to building a new ballpark or renovating the existing Albuquerque Sports Stadium, if either. The city is expected to become the new home of the Class AAA Calgary Cannons, but a team representative said the club might postpone the relocation until 2003 rather than play in the existing venue in 2002 while either the renovation work or the new ballpark construction is being done.


  Smoltz return bumps up attendance
  Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz did not lead his team to a victory in his comeback on May 17, but he did help drive somewhat of a charge through Turner Field's turnstiles. The Braves had averaged 29,650 fans for home games Monday through Thursday prior to the game that featured the first start of the year for Smoltz, who missed all of last season recovering from elbow surgery. Attendance for Smoltz's return game against Colorado: 31,221.

  Thrashers drop season-ticket prices
  The Atlanta Thrashers cut their season-ticket prices for the 2001-02 season. Season-ticket packages will run $18 a game (down from $24 a game this year), $36 a game (down from $40) and $63 a game (down from $65). Ticket prices for individual games will range from $10 to $75, a slight increase from last season.


  Ad features baseball stars
Locally based FleetBoston Financial Corp. has launched a new television ad featuring Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. The ad was launched in the Boston and New York markets during the season finales of "The West Wing," "Law and Order" and "NYPD Blue," and will continue to run during broadcasts of every Red Sox-Yankees series this season. The ad shows Garciaparra and Jeter in a cafe using laptop computers to perform online banking and brokerage transactions. The $20 million campaign was created by Boston-based Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulos.


  Bisons to retire Manto's No. 30 jersey
The Class AAA Buffalo Bisons are poised to retire a jersey for just the third time in franchise history. Jeff Manto, who wore No. 30 for the Bisons from 1997 to 2000, will have his jersey retired during a ceremony Aug. 17 when the Bisons host Syracuse at Dunn Tire Park. Manto, now a coach with the Class A Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws, retired as the active leader in career home runs in Minor League Baseball with 243.


  N. Kentucky may move up to Division I
Northern Kentucky University — located in Highland Heights, Ky., just south of Cincinnati — is considering a move to Division I from its current Division II standing. NKU President James Votruba said the move likely would require spending an extra $2 million annually on athletics. The school currently spends about $700,000 a year. The move is pending state approval of a planned $43 million, on-campus arena.


  Bonds OK'd for Missouri arena
The Missouri Senate approved a resolution authorizing the state to issue $35 million in bonds for a new basketball arena at the University of Missouri. The matter was pending approval of Gov. Bob Holden last week. The 16,000-seat arena's estimated cost is $75 million. An anonymous donor has pledged $25 million; school officials would raise the remaining $15 million. The arena would replace the 13,500-seat Hearnes Center, built in 1972, which would continue to be used for other events.


  New rink plans put on ice for now
The ownership group of the Dallas Stars reportedly has tabled plans to build ice rinks in the Dallas suburbs of Garland and Rockwall. According to a Dallas Morning News report, Southwest Sports Group has seen a slowing of use at its four existing StarCenter facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The group would, however, possibly push forward with more rinks if there were an uptick in youth hockey participation this fall.


  Ben Hogan brand clothes planned
Locally based Sport-Haley Inc. signed a deal with Spalding Sports Worldwide to produce a line of men's golf apparel under the Ben Hogan brand name. The clothes, selling for between $75 and $300, are expected to hit stores next year.


  Center makes Print My Own ticket deal
National Car Rental Center officials reached a deal with Ticketmaster Corp. to use the company's Print My Own technology for all events at the arena. The facility, in nearby Sunrise, Fla., is home to the Florida Panthers. The program lets customers use to order and then print their tickets to desired events.


  Women's ACC tourney stays through 2004
The Atlantic Coast Conference awarded a contract extension to Greensboro Coliseum to host the conference's annual women's basketball tournament. The contract will keep the event at the venue through 2004.


  Aeros make deal with Minnesota Wild
  The Houston Aeros of the International Hockey League agreed to a multiyear deal that makes the team the primary development affiliate of the NHL Minnesota Wild. It marks the first NHL affiliation for the Aeros in the team's seven-year history.

  Quarter horse meeting longer by 2 days
  This year's American Quarter Horse meeting at Sam Houston Race Park will be two days longer than last year's meeting. The 47-day meeting, scheduled for June 29 to Sept. 16, will have a total of 29 stakes races with purses of more than $1 million. The average daily purse for all races will be $61,500, up from $58,000 last year.


  Ice GM leaves for Colts job
Brad Beery is leaving the Indianapolis Ice after 12 seasons to take a position in sales and marketing with the Indianapolis Colts. Beery, 35, will now be working for his predecessor as Ice general manager, Ray Compton, who left the team three years ago to become the Colts' senior vice president for sales and marketing. Ice coach Rod Davidson is assuming the team's general manager duties.


  TD Waterhouse eyes new course for event
A suburban Kansas City golf course designed by golfer Tom Watson is the likely new home of the Senior PGA Tour's TD Waterhouse Championship. Tournament director Jeff Keiber said the move for the local event to The National, a private club in Parkville, Mo., could come in 2003. The tournament's current home is Tiffany Greens Golf Club in Kansas City.


  ESPN Regional gets Las Vegas Bowl
ESPN Regional Television reached a deal recently in which it assumes ownership of the annual Las Vegas Bowl from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report. This year's game is scheduled for Dec. 20, with an ESPN2 telecast.


  Galaxy stadium in Carson city plans
Carson City Council approved a development proposal that calls for a reported $112 million, 30,000-seat stadium for the Los Angeles Galaxy. According to an Orange County Register report, the facility would be built on the California State University, Dominguez Hills campus. Construction, pending approval of the project by school officials, could begin in July. The Galaxy now plays in the Rose Bowl.


  Miami Fanatic takes job search to streets
Richard Molinary, the costumed Miami Fanatic who's been entertaining fans at Miami Dolphins and University of Miami football games for 18 years, has been standing on Hollywood Boulevard locally every morning for more than two weeks announcing to the world he's looking for work. Molinary said he wants to work in public relations or customer service, but the few jobs motorists have stopped to offer him have been in sales or in fields he said he doesn't feel are suitable. Molinary said he has suffered a back injury in the past, and his history of workers' compensation claims has discouraged potential employers.


 Small version of luge weights planned
  Locally based Vulcan Lead Inc. recently began producing a commemorative version of the small lead weights used by members of the U.S. Olympic luge team. The company also makes the actual lead weights that will be used by luge racers in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. The decorative versions will be made of pewter. One side features the image of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking, pouring molten metal from a ladle. The opposite side features a USA luge team logo. In competition, the lead weights provide balance for the athletes, fitting in special vest pockets to increase weight, thereby adding speed. Vulcan CEO Charles Yanke is hopeful the commemorative weights will find a niche among Olympic memorabilia collectors. Vulcan's main business consists of designing lead components for the automotive, aerospace, X-ray and electronics industries.

  Cities in running for women's volleyball teams
  United States Professional Volleyball officials are considering Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., for franchises for the inaugural season of the women's indoor volleyball league, scheduled to start in January. League officials are planning on eight teams for the start of play. Other markets being considered include Chicago; Cincinnati; Columbus; Detroit; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Indianapolis; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Minneapolis; Rochester, Minn.; Omaha and Lincoln, Neb.; and St. Louis.


  E-mail mix-up results in free tickets
  The Minnesota Timberwolves are offering free tickets to people who were affected by a mailing list malfunction this spring that sent as many as 200 messages, some filled with expletives, to those on the list. The team mailed postcards that apologize for the inconvenience and offer two free upper-level tickets to a game in November or December.

  Dollar Dog limit: 2 per person
  The Minnesota Twins have placed a two-dog-per-person limit on hot dogs that can be purchased as part of the team's recurring Dollar Dog Night promotions at games this year. Team officials said the change was necessitated by a higher-than-expected demand that caused the hot dogs to sell out too early at games. Separately, the Twins, as part of a promotion sponsored by Lavender magazine, plan to host as many as 2,000 gay and lesbian fans at their game on July 21.


  Cyber-Care makes deal for medical monitoring
Cyber-Care Inc. of Boynton Beach, Fla., reached a deal with BellSouth Corp. to participate in a medical telemonitoring program for players at the BellSouth Senior Classic at Opryland this week in Nashville. The company plans to use the Senior PGA Tour event to demonstrate its Electronic HouseCall System and BellSouth's high-speed ISDN service, while providing Senior PGA Tour players and their families with on-site health screening evaluations.


  Fred's Team gets title sponsor
UBS PaineWebber signed a deal with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to be the title sponsor of the 2001 Fred's Team, the fund-raising program that benefits the center's pediatric cancer research. Fred's Team is named in honor of Fred Lebow, the late founder of the New York City Marathon who was treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering before his death in 1994.


  36 NFL rookies make Premiere
  Several of the NFL's recently drafted rookies were in Orlando recently for the annual Reebok NFL Players Rookie Premiere. In all, 36 of the NFL's newest draftees, including the five top picks of this year's draft, took part in the event's festivities. The weekend activities included the players taking their first pictures in their NFL jerseys for trading card companies. Tucson, Ariz., resident Roslyn Drake, grand prize winner of the Players Inc. Pepperidge Farm "Vote Goldfish for MVP" promotion, also spent the weekend at the event with her guest, Carol Merfeld.

  3 events coming to central Florida
  The Central Florida Sports Commission has attracted three sporting events to the area that carry a total projected economic impact of $3.25 million. The events are the Amateur Athletic Union's 13 & Under National Baseball Championships in July; the 2002 NCAA Division II National Swimming and Diving Championship; and the 2003 U.S. Weightlifting Junior National Championships and World Team Trials.


  Army-Navy won't play in Philly in 2002
  Philadelphia will not host the 2002 Army-Navy football game as scheduled because of a conflict with a national medical convention that created hotel space problems. The American Society of Hematology is holding its annual meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the same December weekend that the game was scheduled to be played. Convention organizers have reserved 8,000 of the city's 10,000 hotel rooms for their event, leaving the city well short of the 5,000 rooms needed to host the game and its attendees. City officials estimated the economic impact of hosting the Army-Navy game at $10 million. The convention is expected to generate $11 million to $12 million.

  Senior PGA to be played at Aronimink
  Aronimink Golf Club in nearby Newtown Square, Pa., was selected by the PGA of America to host the 2003 Senior PGA Championship. The course previously hosted the PGA Championship in 1962 and the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1977.


 Action sets sights on mass market
  Locally based motorsports product marketer and developer Action Performance Cos. agreed to a deal to acquire Hasbro Inc.'s "Winner's Circle" brand name and related die-cast inventory. The deal gives Action an entry for marketing licensed die-cast race car toy replicas to the mass retail market, rather than only to specialty retailers.

  Antigua Group expands sales operation
  The Antigua Group of nearby Scottsdale, Ariz., is expanding its sales operations to include specialty retail markets. The sports apparel retailer's clothing will now be sold in casinos, resorts, parks and recreation facilities, and gift shops in addition to department stores and sporting goods stores.

  Spring training facility breaks ground
  Construction began last week on a new spring training facility in suburban Surprise, Ariz. MLB hall of famers Nolan Ryan and George Brett participated in groundbreaking ceremonies. The complex will be used by the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, the teams for which Ryan and Brett starred.


  Donors sought for Clemente tribute
Rick Winter, dean of University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School of Business, is lining up donors for a project that would rename the school's cafeteria Club 21 in honor of the late Pittsburgh Pirates great Roberto Clemente. The school is built largely on the site of Forbes Field, with the cafeteria on what was the ballpark's right-field area, roamed by Clemente. The facelift project is expected to cost $40,000.


  Ticket sales drive hits the roof
Morning disc jockey Chopper Harrison agreed to spend at least three days on the roof of the Carolina Hurricanes' Entertainment and Sports Arena home as part of the team's ongoing ticket sales push. Hurricanes officials are trying to sell 12,000 season tickets by the end of the month. Harrison, of local rock station WBBB-FM, was scheduled to start his rooftop stint on Tuesday and planned to broadcast his 6-10 a.m. show from the roof through Thursday, the team's self-imposed sales deadline. Harrison planned, however, to remain on the roof until the desired tickets are sold. The Hurricanes had nearly 3,000 tickets left to sell with five weeks remaining in the drive.


  City lands NBDL franchise
Roanoke was selected as a site for a franchise in the new National Basketball Development League, the NBA's fledgling minor league, scheduled to start play this fall. The team will play in the Roanoke Civic Center. It joins franchises in Fayetteville, N.C.; North Charleston, S.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Mobile, Ala., with plans for eight teams for the league's first season.


  SDSU logo, mascot on the way out
  San Diego State University President Stephen Weber said the school will eliminate its red-faced, spear-throwing mascot, Monty Montezuma, at sporting events while gradually phasing out the school's current Aztecs logo. He added that SDSU will introduce a new Montezuma mascot character for its sporting events, but its identity and appearance is still to be determined. Experts on Aztec culture are expected to have a say in that process.

  Callaway, Ashworth plan apparel line
  Callaway Golf Co. and Ashworth Inc., each based in nearby Carlsbad, Calif., have teamed to create Callaway Golf Apparel. The new line of men's and women's clothing is expected be unveiled in fall 2002.


  KGO, 49ers team for 15th season
KGO-AM signed a one-year extension to broadcast San Francisco 49ers games. The coming season will be the 15th consecutive season of 49ers games on the station.


  M's land Alaska Airlines sponsorship
  Locally based Alaska Airlines signed a multiyear sponsorship with the Seattle Mariners. The deal, the value of which was not available, includes advertising on the center-field scoreboard of the team's Safeco Field home. The Mariners had been without an airline sponsor since they moved into Safeco Field two years ago.

  KJR's Levy staying put
  Mitch Levy has returned to local sports station KJR-AM. Levy had accepted a job with Fox Sports Radio with plans to host a syndicated show from his hometown of Miami, but changed his mind and decided to stay in Seattle.


  Cards whiff on funding appeal
  St. Louis Cardinals owners struck out with Missouri lawmakers on their bid for state money to help build a new $370 million downtown stadium. Cardinals owners had offered $100 million plus land and were asking state and city taxpayers to cover the remaining cost of the project. Illinois politicians, in the wake of the Missouri legislative development, said they are ready to proceed with legislation of their own, backed by Illinois Gov. George Ryan, in hopes of luring the Cardinals out of St. Louis. Cardinals President Mark Lamping has not indicated whether the Cardinals plan to negotiate with the Illinois representatives.

  Youth groups to share $340,000
  Cardinals Care, the St. Louis Cardinals' community foundation, issued a total of $340,000 to several area youth organizations recently. The group also is planning to build three new youth ballfields, each scheduled to open later this year.


  20,000 names on Bucs' wait list
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached the 20,000-fan milestone on their season-ticket waiting list, putting the team third in the NFL behind the Green Bay Packers (56,000) and Washington Redskins (40,000). The Bucs began their waiting list after selling out the last of their season tickets at Raymond James Stadium prior to the 2000 season.


  Jays' promotion recalls inaugural season
  The Toronto Blue Jays wore vintage 1977 powder blue uniforms for a Turn Back the Clock Night promotion against the Chicago White Sox on May 21. The TSN telecast of the game also went for a retro feel, featuring disco music, low-angle behind-the-plate camera shots seldom seen today, and graphics and announcers' wardrobes as they appeared in the 1970s. Toronto played its first game in franchise history against the White Sox in 1977.

  City's Olympic bid gets a boost
  Toronto's pitch for the 2008 Summer Olympics received a spark recently when a prominent International Olympic Committee member called it the best technical candidate among the three finalists. South Korea's Kim Un-Yong, vying to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as IOC president, said on CBC Radio he believed Toronto's package rated higher than that of Beijing or Paris. Olympic observers have suggested it makes sense for Kim to align himself with the Toronto or Paris bid, knowing the IOC is unlikely to give both the 2008 Games and IOC presidency to Asian candidates.


  Olympic bid lawsuit settled
A settlement was reached in a lawsuit brought by Elizabeth Ganzi and her company, the Greater Washington Exploratory Committee, against the Washington/Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition. Ganzi sought compensation for the role she played in initiating the efforts of Washington to be one of the U.S. cities bidding for the 2012 Olympics. When Washington and Baltimore decided to join forces in 1998, WBRC 2012, not Ganzi's group, was selected to organize the bid attempt. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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