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In Sports from United Press International

By United Press International   |   Nov. 5, 2001 at 7:54 PM
Victory parade set for Wednesday

PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks and the city of Phoenix announced today a parade would be held Wednesday to honor the newly crowned World Series champions.

Arizona rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera Sunday night to win the seventh and deciding game of the Series, 3-2.

The Diamondbacks reached the championship quicker than any other franchise, doing so in their fourth year. In the process, they ended the three-year run of the Yankees and denied baseball's most storied franchise its 27th championship.

"I really don't think it has sunk in yet. It was overwhelming," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said Monday. "We talk in baseball about playing for the feeling or the money. You can't reproduce that feeling chemically. That's the most unbelievable feeling you can ever experience."

The euphoria in Phoenix, however, masked the problems that baseball must face now that one of the most riveting World Series in history is over.

As early as this week, the commissioner could announce that two teams will be disbanded with Minnesota and Montreal being mentioned the most. In addition, the threat of an impasse with the players has led to concerns about next season.

Those worries were at least temporarily put aside while the sport celebrated an amazing conclusion to the 2001 season.

The seventh game of the World Series saw baseball reach its highest popularity in a decade.

The Fox network reported Game 7 was seen by approximately 72.9 million television viewers and drew the highest rating since the seventh game of the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves.

Two out of every three viewers in Phoenix watched the game.


Raiders host Broncos

OAKLAND, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Oakland Raiders host their first Monday game since 1997 tonight, but they would rather not put out the welcome mat for coach Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos.

Fired by Raiders owner Al Davis 12 years ago, Shanahan is 11-1 against his former team, including seven straight wins in the series between the AFC West rivals.

Coach Jon Gruden has suffered six of those losses, including a 27-24 defeat last November in a Monday night game at Denver.

Oakland (5-1) enters the contest a four-game winning streak, one game ahead of the San Diego Chargers and 1 1/2 games in front of the Broncos (4-3) in the AFC West.


Bonds leads free-agent class

NEW YORK, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Home run king Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics were among a whopping 104 players to file for free agency today.

Eligible free agents were able to officially file following the conclusion of the World Series, which ended Sunday night when the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees.

Those players will have 15 days to formally file for free agency, at which point they can sign with new teams.

Bonds hit 73 homers to break Mark McGwire's single-season record of 70 and is among the candidates for the National League Cy Young Award. The superstar left fielder also hit .328 and drove in 137 runs.

Giambi, a strong contender to win his snd straight Most Valuable Player Award, hit .342 with 38 homers and 120 RBI to help the Athletics to a wild card berth. The first baseman was joined on Monday by outfielder Johnny Damon, who hit just .256 with 49 RBI in his first season in Oakland.

Other free agents expected to receive lucrative deals include Houston Astros outfielder Moises Alou and Cleveland Indians outfielder Juan Gonzalez, both of whom filed Monday.

The only members of the Diamondbacks to file on the first day were pitchers Mike Mohler and Bobby Witt, but several prominent members of the Yankees joined the list.

First baseman Tino Martinez and third baseman Scott Brosius, who hit game-tying ninth-inning homers in Games 4 and 5 of the World Series, filed along with outfielder Chuck Knoblauch, infielder Randy Velarde and pitcher Mark Wohlers.


White Sox release David Wells

CHICAGO, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Chicago White Sox announced today they have declined to exercise a 2002 contract option on lefthander David Wells, who never lived up to expectations after being acquired in a January trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Chicago also declined 2002 options on righthander Cal Eldred and southpaw Alan Embree.

Acquired in the deal that sent injured lefthander Mike Sirotka to Toronto, Wells was just 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 16 starts for Chicago. His season was cut short by a back injury that required surgery. The vocal Wells compounded his problems by being a distraction in the clubhouse.

Wells posted his first career 20-win season for the Blue Jays in 2000, but wore out his welcome and was shipped to Chicago. The deal was reviewed by the commissioner's office after allegations the White Sox knew of Sirotka's elbow problems at the time of the trade. Sirotka missed the entire 2001 season.

The 38-year-old Wells has a 166-114 record with a 4.08 ERA in 15 seasons with the Blue Jays, Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore and the New York Yankees. Wells pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in 1998.


Indians re-sign closer Bob Wickman

CLEVELAND, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Realizing a failed gamble with controversial closer John Rocker, the Cleveland Indians have made a commitment to closer Bob Wickman.

New Indians general manager Mark Shapiro made re-signing Wickman his top priority and acted quickly, reaching agreement with the closer on a three-year contract with a club option for the 2005 season on Monday -- the first day players are eligible to file for free agency.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Former Indians general manager John Hart acquired Rocker from the Atlanta Braves in June for relievers Steve Karsay and Steve Reed. Manager Charlie Manuel promptly bumped Wickman from the closer's role, handing it to Rocker. Annoyed by the demotion to setup man, Wickman vowed to leave the team as a free agent at the end of the season.


Dombrowski becomes president of Tigers

DETROIT, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Dave Dombrowski, who helped the Florida Marlins win a World Series in just the fifth year of their existence, was named president of the Detroit Tigers today.

Widely regarded as one of baseball's top executives, Dombrowski will try to reverse the fortunes of a franchise that went 66-96 last season for an unprecedented eighth straight losing season.

The Detroit Free Press reported today that "all indications" point to the Tigers retaining general manager Randy Smith, who has two years left on his deal.

According to the Free Press, Dombrowski chose the Tigers over two other options -- becoming general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays or remaining president and GM of the cost-conscious Marlins, with whom he had two years and more than $2 million left on his contract.

Dombrowski became general manager of the Marlins in 1991, 18 months before the franchise played its first game, and built a team that won a World Series in 1997, a feat unmatched until the Arizona Diamondbacks won the title Sunday night in just their fourth year.


Hurricanes move up in BCS

MIAMI, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Miami Hurricanes can stop complaining -- at least for now. If the college football regular season had ended today, the Hurricanes would be playing in the national title game.

Miami rose one spot to second in the Bowl Championship Series ratings released today, swapping places with defending national champion Oklahoma.

As expected, Nebraska (10-0) remained first in the ratings for the second straight week with a mark of 2.62 points. Miami (7-0) is second with a 6.61 mark with the Sooners (8-1) 1.22 points behind.

The top two teams in the final BCS poll, released Dec. 9, will play for the national title in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.

The system was a source of controversy last season when Miami was left out of the title game in favor of Florida State, which lost to the Hurricanes earlier in the year.

A similar scenario appeared ready to unfold this season for the Hurricanes, who now have the nation's longest winning streak at 17 games but were fourth in the first BCS poll released two weeks ago.

Miami's schedule ranks 72nd out of 117 Division I-A teams, but that component could improve with late-season games against Syracuse and Washington.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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