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In Sports from United Press International

By United Press International   |   Nov. 7, 2001 at 7:54 PM   |   Comments

Diamondbacks celebrate with parade

PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks paraded around downtown Phoenix today, then thanked fans at Bank One Ballpark and made a bold prediction.

The Diamondbacks celebrated the first World Series championship in franchise history with a modest parade that started and ended at Bank One Ballpark, where a banner was raised to the rafters in the domed stadium.

In a tribute to those fighting the effects of terrorist attacks in New York, players and family members rode firetrucks through the streets of Phoenix, which attracted thousands of fans.

Once returning to their home ballpark, the Diamondbacks, adorned in black World Series champion T-shirts and purple hats, stood on a stage constructed near second base and thanked fans.

"We're all proud of you for the way you came out in the World Series, stood up to those Yankee fans and showed them what you're made of," said manager Bob Brenly, whose team won the series in seven games.

The loudest ovation was reserved for Randy Johnson, partly because ace righthander Curt Schilling had left town to join his family on a cruise. Johnson won the final two games of the series, the second in relief.

"Before you can have destiny, you have to have a dream," said Johnson, who shared series Most Valuable Player honors with Schilling.

Arizona Gov. Jane Hull, who rode with the team in the parade, told the crowd, "it doesn't get any better than this."

Veteran third baseman Matt Williams thought differently.

"With all respect to the governor, it does get better than this, especially if we win another one," said Williams, whose team became the quickest to a World Series, needing only four years.


Galarraga files for free agency

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- San Francisco Giants first baseman Andres Galarraga and Chicago Cubs second baseman Eric Young were among 12 players to file for free agency today.

It was the lightest day of the free agency period, which began with 104 players filing Monday. Another 22 filed Tuesday.

Galarraga started the 2001 season in Texas and ended it in San Francisco, where he hit .288 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in just 156 at bats.

Galarraga totaled 17 homers and 69 RBI in 399 at bats during the entire season, his 16th.

Young hit .279 with six homers, 42 RBI and a team-best 31 stolen bases in his second season as the Cubs' leadoff man. He has 377 steals in parts of 10 major league seasons.

Also filing Wednesday was veteran righthander Kevin Tapani, a teammate of Young's the past two seasons. He lost his last four starts and 13 of his final 14 decisions in 2001, going 9-14 with a 4.49 ERA for the year.

Seattle Mariners third baseman David Bell also filed. He helped his team match a major league record with 116 wins, hitting .260 with 15 homers and 64 RBI.

Others to file Wednesday were pitchers Kent Bottenfield of the Houston Astros and Cal Eldred of the Chicago White Sox; catchers Benito Santiago of the Giants, Pat Borders of the Mariners and Carlos Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals; and infielders Ron Coomer of the Cubs and Bill Spiers of the Astros.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who celebrated their World Series title with a parade Wednesday, had one player file, little-used righthander Russ Springer.


Belgium wins in Fed Cup

MADRID, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters set the tone with straight-set victories today as top seed Belgium blanked Germany, 3-0, in the opening match of the 2001 Fed Cup.

Henin coasted to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Martina Mueller. Clijsters also enjoyed a 6-3, 6-1 rout of Bianka Lamade. In the doubles match, Els Callens and Laurence Courtois of Belgium outlasted Lamade and Barbara Rittner, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1.

In Wednesday's other matchups, fourth seed Russia rallied past the Czech Republic and host and third seed Spain outbattled Australia at the Institute Ferial Madrid.

With the two-time champion United States having withdrawn, Belgium is the favorite heading into the finals because it has the event's top players in Clijsters and Henin.

The seventh-ranked player in the world, Henin earned three titles, reached the final of Wimbledon and was a semifinalist at the French Open.

Clijsters, ranked fifth, also won three tournaments and was within two points of claiming the French Open crown from American Jennifer Capriati.


Basketball player charged with terrorist threat

MURRAY, Ky., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Murray State forward Jamar Avant faces a felony count of first-degree terroristic threatening after allegedly sending e-mailed bomb threats Monday.

The school made the announcement today, a day after Avant was arrested and placed in Calloway County Jail following an investigation by Murray State University Public Safety.

Avant, a sophomore from Murphysboro, Ill., allegedly sent bomb threats to two individuals on campus via e-mail Monday and was subsequently suspended from the team.

"The university has a zero-tolerance policy regarding this type of action and we regard this as a serious offense, particularly after the events of Sept. 11," athletic director E.W. Dennison said.

Dennison added that Avant will be suspended "from all team activities" until the matter is resolved in court.


NFL fines Damien Robinson $20,000

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- New York Jets safety Damien Robinson was fined $20,000 today for "violently and unnecessarily" grabbing the facemask of New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks last Sunday.

The hit provoked a tantrum from Saints tackle Kyle Turley, who responded by grabbing Robinson's facemask. After a scrum at the Superdome, Turley jumped to his feet, tossed Robinson's helmet and used an obscene gesture before being ejected.

The incident occured with the Saints driving for a possible game-tying touchdown in the final two minutes, when Brooks scrambled for a short gain and was on the ground when he met Robinson.

Robinson proceeded to drive Brooks backward by grabbing and twisting his facemask -- something that did not go unnoticed by NFL director of football operations Gene Washington.

"On a run play, after the New Orleans quarterback had been tackled by your teammates, you grabbed him by the facemask and repeatedly pulled and twisted it violently and unnecessarily," Washington wrote in a letter to Robinson.


Astros decline options on two players

HOUSTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The Houston Astros today declined the 2002 contract options on righthanders Pedro Astacio and Doug Brocail but did not rule out bringing them back.

Astacio, 31, was acquired from Colorado at the trade deadline to help Houston make a playoff push but suffered a torn labrum shortly after his arrival and made just four starts for the Astros.

Brocail, 33, did not pitch in 2001. The veteran reliever began the year on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and underwent season-ending elbow surgery on April 27.

Both players can explore free agency, although general manager Gerry Hunsicker showed interest in having both return.

"We certainly want to leave the door open to explore the return of both players in 2002," Hunsicker said.


Ericsson to withdraw tennis sponsorship

CORAL GABLES, Fla., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Telecommunications giant Ericsson announced today it will pull out as the title-sponsor of the world's fifth largest tennis tournament.

Citing a slow economy and an effort to refocus on its core business, the Swedish-based company will exercise its right under the five-year agreement signed in 1999 to shift into a reduced sponsorship position following the 2002 Ericsson Open.

The world's fifth largest tennis tournament in terms of attendance, prize money and player participation -- trailing only the four Grand Slam events -- the Ericsson Open will be played under that name for the final time in March.

No announcement has been made regarding a new title sponsor.

© 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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