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SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2001/Other NewsPrint All
Major League Baseball owners have awarded the 2004 All-Star Game to Enron Field, making Houston the second city that will have hosted the baseball showcase and the Super Bowl in the same calendar year.
Houston, which hosted the MLB All-Star Game in 1968 and 1986 at the Astrodome, will join Atlanta as the only dual host. Last year's Super Bowl was played at the Georgia Dome, while the All-Star Game was held at Turner Field.
The selection of Enron continues Major League Baseball's trend of rewarding cities that supported new ballparks. Enron opened last season; Turner debuted in 1997. Next year's All-Star Game will be at Milwaukee's Miller Park, which opened this season.
The 2004 Super Bowl will be played at Reliant Stadium, which debuts with the NFL expansion Houston Texans in 2002.
"It's amazing to think how far Houston has come in five short years since we narrowly passed ... to build both a ballpark and a football field," Astros owner Drayton McLane said.
McLane said the new venues have revitalized the city's downtown area and the two marquee events should provide an economic stimulus. Past Super Bowls have generated about $250 million in local spending, while recent All-Star Games have averaged about $50 million.
The All-Star Game is usually played on the second Tuesday in July and is preceded by two days of games and events. On the field, MLB stages a home run contest and a game between baseball's top prospects. Off the field, thousands of fans attend FanFest, a showcase of the game's traditions.
Longtime IMG hockey agent Jiri Chra has left the firm and set up his own business, taking with him as many as 25 clients who include NHL players, minor leaguers and players yet to be drafted, sources said.
Chra is believed to have taken with him many of the clients who hail from the Czech and Slovakian republics, but he did not take Pittsburgh Penguins star Jaromir Jagr or New York Rangers center Petr Nedved, sources said.
It is not clear how many NHL, minor league and amateur players were in the group that left with Chra, but sources said he now represents the Ottawa Senators' Marian Hossa, Colorado Avalanche's Milan Hejduk and Martin Skoula, New York Islanders' Roman Hamrlik and Columbus Blue Jackets' Rostislav Klesla.
Chra, when reached for comment, said he was busy and would call back, but didn't. He did not return repeated phone calls. IMG officials had no comment.
— Liz Mullen