SBJ/July 29 - August 4, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

BOSTON

All-Star Game to be aired on TV
For the first time in the league's 117-year history, the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game will be televised on Fox Sports Net New England to some 3.8 million homes in New England. Last Saturday's game will air twice in prime time on Fox Sports Net New England, including Tuesday from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and again Saturday from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

BROOKLYN, N.Y.

Cyclones honor Kramden
The Brooklyn Cyclones, the New York Mets' Class A affiliate, celebrated one of the most recognizable characters ever to emerge from the borough by hosting Honeymooners Night at KeySpan Park on July 18. The sold-out crowd at KeySpan Park in Coney Island paid tribute to a Brooklyn institution — bus driver Ralph Kramden from Bensonhurst, and the television show that made him famous. The promotion was sponsored by TV Land, and clips from classic "Honeymooners" episodes were shown throughout the game. The team also held a Ralph Kramden sound-alike contest.

CINCINNATI

Busy weekend in Queen City
The Sept. 21 weekend will be one of the busiest in recent memory for events. In addition to Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati and its crowd of a half-million, the University of Cincinnati will play Ohio State on Sept. 21. It's the first football game between the two teams held in Cincinnati since 1911. UC expects a sellout crowd at Paul Brown Stadium, which holds more than 65,000. Also the Cincinnati Reds play Philadelphia in the team's last regular-season weekend homestand at Cinergy Field. The games on Sept. 21 and 22 already are sold out, with 40,000 fans expected at each game. Tickets are still available for the Sept. 20 game.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Lone Star will likely host Breeders' Cup
Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie says it will probably host the 2004 edition of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. The limited board of directors of the Breeders' Cup has voted to award the 2004 race to Lone Star Park, assuming that the two sides reach a "final agreement," the track said in a release. Lone Star Park, located in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, originally was slated on a conditional basis to host the 2005 cup, but later was moved up in a rotation of racetracks that want to host the event. As part of its bid, Lone Star Park recently lined up around $8 million in funding to upgrade its facilities, including adding capacity for 10,000 more people. That will enable the track to accommodate a total of 50,000.

Rangers, A's wear retro uniforms
In keeping with a decadelong nostalgia push by Major League Baseball,

Rangers pitcher Dave Burba (left) and the A's Olmedo Saenz wear retro uniforms.
the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics wore throwback uniforms during a pair of two-game series between the clubs. The Rangers were decked out as the 1961 Washington Senators, the expansion club that moved to Arlington 30 years ago, while the A's wore replicas of their uniforms from 1972, the first year of the team's three-year World Series run. The two series took place July 20-21 in Oakland and July 27-28 in Arlington.

DENVER

Kroenke buys historic theater
Denver-based Kroenke Sports Enterprises continues to make deals in the Mile High City. The company has purchased for an undisclosed sum the historic Paramount Theatre. The theater seats 1,920 people and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Kroenke Sports owns the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets, the Pepsi Center and a new lacrosse team. The company also is a partner in the Arena Football League's Colorado Crush team.

Rockies airing on different TV station
The Colorado Rockies are changing television stations. The games have aired on KWGN since the Rockies began playing 10 years ago. The Rockies will be seen on KTVD next year. The deal with KTVD, an affiliate of UPN, is for five years. The station will air 75 games a year; that's the same number now being broadcast on KWGN, an affiliate of the WB. KWGN officials said "discussions regarding future games on WB2 did not match with our strategic plans," vice president and general manager Derek Dalton said in a statement.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

Orioles extend lease for spring training
The Baltimore Orioles signed a two-year lease extension at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, according to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel report. The team will work with the city to determine whether a permanent spring training complex can be established at the stadium site. It also agreed to chip in up to $150,000 to help repair the stadium's 40-year-old roof. A company will be hired to do schematic drawings of the 50 acres that include the stadium while the team pursues other options for a permanent complex, including talking with officials in West Palm Beach.

HOUSTON

Texans pair with Popeyes for tailgating deal
Under controlling owner Bob McNair, the soon-to-debut Houston Texans have struck a tailgate-friendly deal with Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits. The three-year partnership kicks off with a promotion for the Popeyes 30th Anniversary "Texans Tailgater" cooler, which is free to any customer willing to spend about $11 for a 14-piece chicken meal. And Kroger has been hyping Texans tailgating in Houston grocery stores. Earlier this month, the Texans were the first NFL team to begin training camp. The newest NFL team's preseason officially kicks in after only 18 practices, when the Texans jet to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame Game against the New York Giants on Aug. 5.

INDIANAPOLIS

8 Legends ex-players sue ABA's co-founder
Eight former Indiana Legends basketball players, claiming they are owed $160,000 in wages, per diems and housing allowances in addition to benefits, have filed a lawsuit against Joe Newman, co-founder of the now defunct Legends and the league in which the professional basketball team played the last two seasons, ABA 2000. Ryan Hoover, Jeff Norgaard, Michael Hart, Daimon Bethea, Coleco Buie, Deron Hayes, Michael Robinson and Tremaine Wingfield are listed as plaintiffs in the two-count complaint filed in Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis on July 1. The suit claims the players were to be part of a central incorporated entity, ABA Leasing, which was never formed. Newman acknowledges he still has debt involving his operation of the Legends. He said he lost $1 million operating the team the last two years.

JACKSONVILLE

NFL helps town prep for Super Bowl
NFL executives visited Jacksonville last week to discuss logistics for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. Jim Steeg, NFL executive vice president of special events, and several operations officials were expected to meet with the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee to discuss options for locating the NFL Experience, media compounds and other Super Bowl events and facilities.

Chamber pushes season-ticket sales
Chamber of Commerce leaders are asking corporate Jaguars fans to snatch up season tickets. The chamber launched a "Get in the Game" sports promotion that seeks out businesses to help avoid empty stadium seats and a potential television blackout. The first home exhibition game is Aug. 16. If 14,000 tickets are not purchased by the day before, the city faces a blackout. The NFL requires at least 58,000 of the stadium's seats be sold in order for the game to be televised in Jacksonville.

KANSAS CITY

Stadium tax proposal postponed 2 years
Backers of a bistate tax proposal that was to have been considered by metropolitan Kansas City voters in November decided to wait at least two years. The postponement came after a poll showed public support lagging for the one-eighth-cent sales tax. Half of the tax proceeds, $368 million, would have gone to sports facilities. The Truman Sports Complex, home to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, would have received $150 million of improvements. A $57 million, soccer-only stadium would have been built for the MLS Wizards in suburban Johnson County, Kan.

2 groups vie for indy baseball team
Two groups want to bring a Northern League baseball franchise to the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kan., said Mike Stone, commissioner of the independent league's Central Division. Stone wouldn't identify the groups. For plans to proceed, a stadium must be built. Construction would probably need to be privately financed.

MIAMI

Radio Unica subject to delisting by Nasdaq
Radio Unica Communications Corp. said Nasdaq has indicated it fails to comply with two requirements for continued listing and is now subject to delisting from the Nasdaq National Market. Radio Unica has requested a hearing on the matter. Nasdaq said Miami-based Radio Unica does not meet requirements for minimum net tangible assets or minimum stockholders equity. Radio Unica has extensive sports programming with its exclusive U.S. Spanish-language radio broadcast rights to the 2004 Summer Olympics, Gold Cup 2003 and 2005, and Copa America 2004. Radio Unica also owns exclusive U.S. Spanish-language radio broadcast rights to Mexican National League soccer matches.

Colombian Festival promotes NASCAR
Homestead-Miami Speedway led an interactive exhibit showing the sights and sounds of NASCAR at the annual Colombian Festival in Miami on July 21. Fans were able to view NASCAR's championship trophies, change a tire on a NASCAR Winston Cup race car, meet a Colombian race car driver, Jaime Guerrero, and win the opportunity to be on the pit crew with a NASCAR race team.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Vikings set season-ticket sales record
The Minnesota Vikings sold a record 60,280 season tickets, which included a 96 percent renewal rate. Single-game tickets went on sale July 18, and the team sold out all but a handful of single seats for all but two preseason games.

OAKLAND

Poll: No tax money for A's stadium
Most Alameda County residents do not want taxpayer money spent on a new Oakland A's ballpark downtown, according to a poll commissioned by the Oakland Tribune. The poll of 500 county residents found that 38.2 percent said they would support spending public funds for a ballpark if it was part of downtown redevelopment; 60.7 percent said no. Nearly 37 percent of those in favor of using tax money said taxpayers should pay up to half of the estimated $385 million ballpark price, if the A's or other sources pick up the other half.

ORLANDO

Florida Citrus Sports gets new logo
After seven months of restructuring, Florida Citrus Sports has unveiled a new logo, marking the end of the citrus tree logo that has been synonymous with the organization and its bowl game since 1983. The change solidifies the organization's cutting its ties with the Florida Department of Citrus. The new logo emphasizes central Florida's green landscape, sunshine and blue sky, and it incorporates the architectural style of the stadium by focusing on the light standards that rise above the stadium's upper deck. The logo was designed by Winter Park, Fla.-based public relations firm Wordwise.

PHILADELPHIA

Phanatic costume goes to Hall of Fame
The costume of the Phillie Phanatic, the Philadelphia baseball team's mascot

The Phillie Phanatic's costume has been donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
for the past 25 years, was donated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday. The Phillie Phanatic became the third mascot costume from a major league franchise to be donated to the museum, joining the Chicken, originally of the San Diego Padres, and Youppi, the mascot of the Montreal Expos. Longtime Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Riversharks hold 'Break the Tie' day
In a not-too-subtle swipe at Major League Baseball's All-Star Game fiasco, the Camden (N.J.) Riversharks made July 17 "Break the Tie" day at Campbell's Field. The Riversharks, a member of the independent Atlantic League, invited two Little League teams from Cherry Hill to play out the tie in a contest held after the Riversharks' afternoon game against the Long Island Ducks. The Little League teams agreed to start the game with the score 7-7, use position players as pitchers and keep playing until one side won. As an added bonus, anybody at the ballpark whose name was "Bud" or "Ty" received a free Riversharks tie.

PITTSBURGH

Penguins plan 4 giveaways
The Pittsburgh Penguins plan to have four bobblehead giveaway nights for the upcoming hockey season. Bobblehead dolls of current Penguins star Martin Straka will be given away Dec. 23, and an Alexei Kovalev doll will be given away on March 6. Bobbleheads of former Penguin Ulf Samuelsson will be handed out Nov. 23, and bobbleheads of Joe Mullen are scheduled to be given away on Feb. 12.

SACRAMENTO

Kings to have 24 games on national TV
In their 2002-03 regular season, 24 of the Sacramento Kings' 82 games will be broadcast on national television. That's more than any other NBA team except the Los Angeles Lakers, who also will go before the camera 24 times. Sacramento will be featured four times on ABC, 11 times on ESPN and nine times on the Turner Sports Network. The Kings open their regular season against the Cleveland Cavaliers Oct. 29 in Arco Arena.

AAU tournament comes to Roseville
The Placer County city of Roseville hosted the AAU National Invitational Championships basketball tournament, marking the first time the tourney has come to California. The tournament last week featured 45 teams with members ages 10 through 13 from across the Western United States.

SAN DIEGO

Padres turn ‘Ballpark Cam’ back on

Fans can keep an eye on the Padres' ballpark construction with the “Ballpark Cam.”

The Padres recently reinstated their "Ballpark Cam," allowing Internet surfers a view of construction work on the downtown ballpark. The live camera can be controlled online for varying views of the construction work, which is more than 30 percent complete. The park is set to open in April 2004. The Web site address is padresinsider.com/ballpark/cam.

Sockers first to offer free parking
The San Diego Sockers of the Major Indoor Soccer League will become the first professional sports team in the city to offer free parking when their 2002-03 season opens Sept. 28 at the San Diego Sports Arena. While all fans can park free at any of the team's 18 home games, season-ticket holders will be offered reserved parking near the arena's entrances.

SAN FRANCISCO

East-West game gets early start|
An early kickoff by organizers of the 78th annual East-West Shrine Game has landed commitments from two head coaches and 32 players. Plus, the game has simplified its ticket pricing. Tickets still will range from $15 to $50, but instead of nine price points, the game will have six, executive director Jack Hart told the San Francisco Business Times. The Shrine Game already has landed Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham and Washington State coach Mike Price and top players such as Heisman Trophy candidates Jason Gesser (Washington State), Dwone Hicks (Middle Tennessee State), Carson Palmer (USC) and Byron Leftwich (Marshall). The game, scheduled for Jan. 11 at Pacific Bell Park, will be televised on ESPN.

49ers install new telecom system
American Telesource Inc. of Emeryville installed an Internet protocol telecommunications system for the San Francisco 49ers, linking the team's Santa Clara headquarters and the ticket office at San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point. With the new system, each 49ers employee can access voice, fax and e-mail from a telephone, cell phone, computer or the Internet. Cost of the new system was not disclosed.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Post office may be named in Williams' honor
A Florida congresswoman has recommended renaming the Hernando, Fla., post office in memory of baseball legend Ted Williams. The Boston Red Sox slugger and Texas Rangers inaugural manager died July 5 at a hospital near his home in Hernando, north of Tampa. Democratic Rep. Karen Thurman proposed naming the federal building after the Splendid Splinter.

TORONTO

Skateboarder Hawk to appear at Argos game
The Toronto Argonauts are dipping into the world of extreme sports to spice up their image. The Argos recruited skateboard star Tony Hawk to appear at a home game Aug. 23 against the Edmonton Eskimos. Hawk will give skateboard demonstrations before the game and at halftime. Under the direction of marketing consultant Garth Drabinsky, the Argos are using appearances from musical performers and other entertainers to try to boost flagging attendance. About 21,000 fans attended the Argos' home opener to see Toronto singer Amanda Marshall.

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