SBJ/June 24 - 30, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

Thrashers on 2003 trading cards
Thrashers player Ilya Kovalchuk will be among those leading the pack when the 2003 Pacific Hockey trading cards hit the market. Kovalchuk cards will include 500 with his autograph and a piece of one of his game-worn jerseys and a game-used hockey stick on it. Thrasher Dany Heatley will be featured on cards that include pieces of his game-worn jersey. The cards, which carry a suggested retail price of $2.99 a pack, are scheduled for release July 31.

Braves jerseys go to 15 fans
Atlanta-based Russell Athletic

Braves pitcher John Smoltz presents Tammy Nicole Peterson of Knoxville, Tenn., with his jersey.
sponsored "Jerseys off Their Backs" at the June 15 Braves-Boston Red Sox game. Fifteen fans were awarded the Braves' Russell Athletic game-worn jerseys immediately following the game. Entries, costing $1, were on sale until the fifth inning, with the proceeds going to charity. Nearly $45,000 was raised for the Braves Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Russell Athletic manufactures and supplies game uniforms for 15 Major League Baseball teams.

BALTIMORE

Orioles' ticket sales down
The Baltimore Orioles are in jeopardy of missing their magic number this season — a number that has nothing to do with making the playoffs. Rather, the Orioles likely will not sell 3 million game tickets for the first time since the strike-shortened season of 1994. Through the first 33 of the team's 81 home games, the Orioles were averaging 32,491 fans a game — down 8.7 percent from last year when the team attracted about 3.1 million spectators. Across the league, attendance is down about 6 percent.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y.

AHL's Senators have new logo
The Binghamton Senators unveiled their new logo. The Senators will begin play in the AHL in October as the top affiliate of the NHL's Ottawa Senators. The primary logo, created in association with SP Apparel of Granby, Quebec, features antique gold, red and black that reflects the colors of the parent Ottawa club. Binghamton's home jersey will be white with black numerals, red border and gold, red and black piping on the sleeves and base of the jersey.

BOSTON

'Tradition' marks museum's 25th
The Sports Museum celebrated its 25th anniversary June 13 with an event called "The Tradition," presented by New Balance, at the FleetCenter. The event was chaired by the owners of the four major New England sports teams — Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins, Paul Gaston (who could not attend) of the Boston Celtics, John Henry of the Boston Red Sox and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots. More than 1,000 people attended the reception and award ceremony. Others attending included New England Patriot Troy Brown, Lou Merloni of the Red Sox, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, ex-Bruins Ray Bourque and Cam Neely, ex-Celtics Tommy Heinsohn, Jo Jo White and M.L. Carr, former Red Sox chief John Harrington, and Bruins President Harry Sinden and GM Mike O'Connell.

BUFFALO

City to host Empire State Games
Buffalo has been selected to host the 2002 Empire State Summer Games. The city hosted the annual intrastate athletic competition most recently in 1996 and three times overall. The Empire State Games are celebrating their 25th year and bring together more than 6,000 athletes and coaches for 28 Olympic-style events.

CINCINNATI

Speedway breaks attendance record
Kentucky Speedway broke its own attendance record as 71,299 fans came out for a NASCAR Busch race on June 15. Rain postponed the race after 86 of 200 scheduled laps, and the event resumed the next day. The crowd was the largest to attend a sports event within an hour's drive of Cincinnati; Kentucky Speedway, in Fort Mitchell, Ky., is about 35 miles southwest of downtown Cincinnati. The record-setting attendance topped the 70,338 who attended the speedway's inaugural Busch race in June 2001.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Ribbon cutting was one for the books
The American Airlines Center says the ribbon-cutting ceremony it held in July 2001 has made the Guinness Book of Records. The arena, home to the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars, says the ceremony established two records: Longest ribbon used in such a ceremony (10,856 feet) and the most people participating (2,435).

DETROIT

Motor City Bowl has 4-year deals
The 5-year-old Motor City Bowl announced a series of four-year contracts that will match a Big Ten team against one of the top two Mid-American Conference teams in 2002, and the MAC champion in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Games will be played at the new Ford Field in downtown Detroit and will be televised by ESPN. This year's game will be played Dec. 26 at 5 p.m.

ESTERO, FLA.

ECHL All-Star logo unveiled
The Florida Everblades, Compuware and the East Coast Hockey League unveiled the official logo for the 2003 Compuware ECHL All-Star Game. The 11th annual ECHL All-Star Game will be played Jan. 21 at the 7,082-seat TECO Arena in Estero. Compuware is the title sponsor. The Joe Bosack Graphic Design Co. designed the logo in collaboration with the Everblades, the ECHL and Compuware.

HOUSTON

6 Comets games to air on KNWS
The Houston Comets have reached an agreement with KNWS Channel 51 in Houston to broadcast six Comets games this season. The new broadcasting relationship begins Tuesday when the Comets go on the road to play the Minnesota Lynx. The Comets will sell all the commercial time during the six broadcasts.

INDIANAPOLIS

Track to keep SAFER walls for Brickyard 400
Despite warnings from NASCAR officials that the use of the SAFER walls technology used during the Indianapolis 500 needs more study before being used during stock car races, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced June 12 that the walls would be used during the Brickyard 400 at IMS in August. Earlier that day, NASCAR officials had warned owners of the track in Loudon, N.H., not to rush into the use of the SAFER wall barriers developed by IMS and the University of Nebraska. One concern is that stock cars weigh 3,400 pounds, compared to Indy cars, which weigh about 2,000 pounds. The only major change that will be needed to the SAFER wall system for the Brickyard 400 is that about twice as many pads will be needed between the SAFER wall barrier and the permanent wall.

JACKSONVILLE

Fines net cash for charities
Five local organizations cashed in on donations from fines incurred by Jacksonville Jaguars players during the 2001 season. Ronald McDonald House, Hubbard House, the Police Athletic League, Clara White Mission and the Jaguars Foundation received a combined $25,000. Head coach Tom Coughlin implemented the program in the team's first season to benefit community organizations. Players' votes determine which organizations will receive donations.

KANSAS CITY

Royals not up for contraction, Glass says
Kansas City Royals owner David Glass said his team is not among six candidates being discussed for contraction next season with the Montreal Expos. Glass also said he expects the Royals to lose $20 million this season, reflecting a payroll increase to $49 million from $34 million last season.

Team draws largest crowd in years
The Royals-St. Louis Cardinals game on June 8 drew 40,016 fans, the Royals' largest non-Opening Day crowd since July 4, 1993, against the Toronto Blue Jays.

MIAMI

Clear Channel fires Latzman
Clear Channel in Miami fired on-air talent Phil Latzman of WIOD-AM after he criticized programming on Clear Channel-owned WIOD and WINZ-AM. It wasn't the first time, according to a Miami Herald report. Several months ago Latzman referred to WINZ's pre-NASCAR program, "The Racing Nuts," as "the illiteracy hour" and advised listeners "to go down to the nearest trailer park for a translation."

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Lucy stationed outside Wild office
"Lucy Lemaire," one of several Lucy

Lucy Van Pelt stands guard outside the Minnesota Wild's downtown office.
Van Pelt statues stationed throughout St. Paul, has been placed outside the Minnesota Wild's downtown office. Looking For Lucy is a public art project hosted by the city of St. Paul and the Capital City Partnership. The Lucys will be on display through September. In the past two years, statues of Snoopy and Charlie Brown have been put on display, then auctioned to raise money for permanent bronze structures of Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" gang and for scholarships to local art schools. Schulz, who grew up in St. Paul, died in 2000.

Lynx introduces family pack
The Minnesota Lynx has introduced the Lynx Family Pack, which will entitle fans to four general admission tickets, four slices of pizza, four sodas and four boxes of Hot Tamales. The ticket packages will cost $39 and will be available for all the team's remaining home games.

OAKLAND

Raiders' case judge disqualified
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Joe Gray, who presided over the ongoing case between the Oakland Raiders and Oakland city and Alameda County, was disqualified after recent rulings in favor of the team. The city and county complained in court papers in May that Gray was prejudiced against them, according to the Oakland Tribune. A six-page decision issued by Sacramento County Presiding Judge Michael Garcia on June 7 barred Gray from the case permanently. Garcia said the city and county were within their legal rights to ask for a new judge — despite Gray's nearly three years overseeing the case — before it goes to trial. Judge Loren McMaster will take Gray's place temporarily. A new judge may be assigned when the case goes to trial next spring.

South Bay city makes A's overture
Leaders of the South Bay city of Fremont should meet with Oakland A's management and a county supervisor to discuss moving the team there, the Oakland Tribune reported. The A's haven't formally approached the city — about 25 miles south of Oakland and 15 miles north of San Jose — but the 107-acre site is one of the sites looked at by HOK Sport in its study of new stadium locations.

ORLANDO

USTA chooses Winter Park
In September and October, Winter Park Tennis Center will be the site of the United States Tennis Association Professional Circuit's women's $10,000 satellite tournament. Although the tournament has no sponsor to date, event organizers are looking forward to hosting the tournament and growing its following in central Florida.

PHOENIX

TV ratings reach new high
The Arizona Diamondbacks' television ratings reached a season high, thanks in part to a series against 2001 World Series opponent New York. According to Nielsen Media Research, the Diamondbacks-Yankees games broadcast on June 10 and 11 scored an 18.7 and a 16.6 rating, respectively, in the Phoenix market, setting a record for telecasts this season.

RALEIGH-DURHAM

Asking price for arena name may jump
Carolina Hurricanes owner Pete Karmanos says he will increase the asking price for the Entertainment and Sports Arena name if current talks end without a deal. Gale Force, the holding company that operates the hockey team and manages the arena, has been shopping for a buyer willing to pay $80 million for a 20-year package. Gale Force is negotiating with a prospect, but Karmanos would not identify the company. While he doesn't feel a deal is close, he said he thinks a buyer can be in place by the 2002-03 season. The Hurricanes have played at the arena since October 1999. The revenue would be shared by the hockey franchise, N.C. State University and the Centennial Authority, the group created by the N.C. General Assembly to oversee the arena.

SAN FRANCISCO

Steroid testing proposed by legislator
Major League Baseball would be required to test players for steroids if they play ball in California under a bill introduced by an Oakland lawmaker, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Democratic state Sen. Don Perata said the legislation would cover all professional athletic associations that compete in the state, the Chronicle reported. Teams would be required to file a steroid-testing plan with the state Athletics Commission, according to the bill, and the leagues could not hold events in California without an approved steroid plan. How that provision would be enforced is still under consideration, the newspaper said.

SAN JOSE

Sharks raise ticket prices
In what has become an annual summer ritual, the San Jose Sharks raised their ticket prices, and the closer you get to the action, the higher the price increase. The premium seats next to the glass are going up $6 and the first rows of the second deck will see prices rise $3. Upper rows in the lower bowl are also rising $3. The "cheap seats" in the upper bowl will remain $18. The overall price increase averaged 4.4 percent. The Sharks have raised prices every year but one since moving into the Compaq Center in 1993.

SEATTLE

Rainiers again up for sale
The Tacoma Rainiers are for sale again. In May, a consortium of local businessmen agreed to pay George Foster, current owner of the Rainiers, $9.5 million for the Seattle Mariners' Class AAA affiliate. But last week the Tacoma Baseball Foundation, as the group is calling itself, failed to come up with a $300,000 deposit and Foster announced he was reopening a nationwide search for a buyer. The Tacoma Baseball Foundation could still buy the team, but it no longer has exclusive rights to the Rainiers. The group has a press conference scheduled for Wednesday to announce plans to raise money to buy the team.

ST. LOUIS

City, Cardinals scramble to save stadium
The city and the Cardinals are working to finish a funding package before Nov. 5, when St. Louis voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the city should have to go to the voters each time there is a proposal to use taxes to build a sports stadium. The Cardinals have said they need to begin building a new stadium by September if the city hopes to land the 2006 All-Star Game.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Storm sale apparently not a done deal
The sale of the Tampa Bay Storm to a Michigan real estate investor apparently has not been completed, the Arena Football League recently disclosed. Thom Hopper announced in March that he bought the franchise from longtime owner Woody Kern for $12 million. An AFL official said Kern remains the owner as far as the league is concerned.

WASHINGTON

Congress members back D.C. Olympics bid
Members of the Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia congressional delegations signed a resolution of support for Washington's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. The signers, outside the U.S. Capitol June 12, resolved to provide full support to the regional bid effort; encourage citizens and leaders to join Washington, D.C., 2012's effort; and promote regionalism between Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

WILKES-BARRE, PA.

Penguins make TV deal, open store
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and WNEP-TV have reached an agreement to have 25 home games broadcast live on Adelphia 63, WNEP-TV's 24-hour news channel, during the 2002-03 season. The Penguins are the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. Also, the team has opened its new Penguins Team Store at the Arena Hub Plaza. The store sells hockey items, including skates, helmets, cages, shields, gloves, protective gear, jerseys, socks, pants, undergarments, bags, sticks, shafts, blades and goalie equipment.

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