Tampa turns out for Super Bowl champs
TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans lined downtown streets Tuesday to get a glimpse of their heroes.
The parade was followed by a rally celebrating the Bucs' upset victory over the Oakland Raiders in Sunday's Super Bowl.
The parade began at the Davis Island Bridge and wound through the downtown area to Lykes Gaslight Park where the rally was held.
"We've been talking four or five years about what it would be like to win the Super Bowl, but we couldn't imagine anything like we just saw out there," said defensive tackle Warren Sapp of the parade crowd.
After getting the key to the city from Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, Coach Jon Gruden promised more of the same in coming seasons.
"There's a storm warning out there," Gruden said. "We got a heck of a football team. We're just getting started."
The 48-21 victory brought the Tampa Bay area its first national championship, so city and county officials didn't quite know how to plan. They turned to cities like Boston, home of last year's NFL champion New England Patriots.
Boxer Tony Ayala cleared of charge
SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Boxer Tony Ayala was released from jail Tuesday after a judge dismissed charges that he violated his probation by having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
The teenager had claimed she and Ayala, 39, had sex twice last November, once in the backseat of his car and once in the bedroom of his father's San Antonio home. But the girl admitted under cross examination by defense attorney Jimmy Parks that she made up the story, and State District Judge Maria Teresa Herr went so far as to appoint an attorney for the youngster to represent her in a possible perjury prosecution.
"He's absolutely ecstatic," Parks said of Ayala. "To be sitting there in court hearing this stuff and realizing that you could go to prison for 10 years and have your life ruined if anybody believes this, and then to suddenly be told that you're free to go, it's just an amazing feeling."
If true, Ayala could have been immediately sent to prison for up to 10 years for violating his probation for burglary. He could also have been prosecuted for statutory rape.
The one-time middleweight contender spent 16 years in prison in New Jersey for raping a woman in 1983. After his release in 1999, Ayala attempted to restart his boxing career and won several fights, until he was arrested in December of 2000 after he was shot in the shoulder by the resident of a San Antonio home. She claimed Ayala had broken into her home intending to rape her, and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge as his trial was beginning.
The credibility of the 14-year-old witness was strained from the start of Ayala's hearing. She had previously told a Child Protective Services worker that she had made up the story. Finally, charge in December. Ayala Junior has been in jail without bond pending Tuesday's hearing.
Sonics place Radmanovic on injured list
SEATTLE, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Seattle SuperSonics forward Vladimir Radmanovic, who sprained his left ankle in practice Monday, has been placed on the injured list.
The SuperSonics made the move Tuesday, hours before their home game against the Golden State Warriors. They also activated forward Reggie Evans from the injured list.
The 6-10 Radmanovic was averaging 10.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 39 games, this season, his second in the NBA. The native of Yugoslavia is shooting 37 percent (55-of-148) from 3-point range, the best of any player 6-10 or taller.
Evans missed 10 games with a sprained right shoulder. The 6-8 rookie from Iowa is averaging 2.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28 games while shooting 41 percent from the field.
PGA to establish new regulations for women
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- With Suzy Whaley qualifying for a PGA Tour event, the PGA of America Tuesday announced it will establish new tee regulations for women.
Whaley won her PGA sectional last year in Connecticut while playing from tees 10 yards shorter than her male counterparts. The win enabled her to qualify for this year's Hartford Open.
The new rule will force women to compete from the same set of tees in order to qualify for special exemptions into other events such as PGA Tour competitions.
There already is an exisiting regulation that requires all PGA professionals to play from the same set of tees to qualify for the PGA Championship and all other PGA of America events in which exemptions to major tournaments are earned by participation.
The PGA of America will continue to provide women members the option to select tees from which they prefer to compete. Since 1994, they have been able to play from tees that could be a maximum of 90 percent of the distance of those for the men.
Last September, Whaley became the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event, earning an exemption by winning the Connecticut PGA Section Championship.
LPGA Tour star Annika Sorenstam recently has expressed interest in playing in a PGA Tour event. She won 13 women's events worldwide last year.
Jordan, O'Neal are All-Star reserves
The two all-time greats were nudged out of starting spots in the fan voting.
Jordan, the second-leading scorer for the Washington Wizards and a 14-time All-Star, has said he would not play unless voted in as a starter. The 39-year-old guard has declared that this will be his last season, and NBA officials may ask the most popular player of all time to reconsider.
O'Neal, the fourth-leading scorer in the league and a 10-time All-Star, has been somewhat hobbled this season after undergoing toe surgery in September. He, too, may opt to take the four days off.
Joining Jordan as Eastern Conference reserves are Boston's Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker, Jason Kidd of New Jersey, and first-time All-Stars Zydrunas Ilgauskas of Cleveland, Brad Miller of Indiana, and Jamal Mashburn of New Orleans.
Roddick will not play Davis Cup
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Andy Roddick, who advanced to the semifinals at the Australian Open, will not lead the United States against Croatia in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Team captain Patrick McEnroe made that announcement on Tuesday.
With Roddick sidelined with tendinitis in his mid-forearm, McEnroe named James Blake, Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri, and Taylor Dent to the team he will bring to Zagreb for the Feb. 7-9 competition.
Roddick was coming off his best showing at a Grand Slam last week at Melbourne. He outlasted Younes El Aynaoui in an epic quarterfinal that lasted one minute shy of five hours, and featured the longest fifth set in Grand Slam history.
However, Roddick, 20, who lost to Rainer Schuettler in his first career major semifinal, aggravated a recurring arm ailment, partially caused by playing so many matches at Melbourne, and aggravated following a fall in his quarterfinal matchup.
Roddick underwent an MRI in Los Angeles this week and was advised not to play for several weeks.
With the sixth-ranked player in the world out, and Australian Open champion Andre Agassi not making himself available, Blake will anchor the team. He also is coming off his best career Grand Slam appearance, having lost to Schuettler in the quarterfinals.
This is the second time Blake will represent his country this year. He teamed with women's world No. 1 Serena Williams to lead the United States to a Hopman Cup crown.
Blake, 23, a member of the 2002 Davis Cup team which lost to France in the semifinals, is 4-1 lifetime in singles matches at the international team event.
Baron Davis goes to IL
NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Baron Davis, the second-leading scorer for the New Orleans Hornets, underwent knee surgery Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined six weeks.
It was reported Monday he would be out at least a month. The six-week assessment was made after the surgery.
Davis, 23, tore cartilage in his left knee during Friday's 97-96 overtime loss to Portland. He is averaging 16.8 points and 6.9 assists in 36 games this season, but missed eight with back spasms.
He was officially placed on the injured list Monday.
To shore up the guard position the Hornets have signed Randy Livingston to a 10-day contract. The New Orleans native has played with five different NBA teams over the past six years, averaging 4.1 points and 2.1 assists in 171 contests.
Livingston had been with Sioux Falls Skyforce of the CBA, where he was averaging 14.0 points, 8.2 assists, and 5.3 rebounds in 12 games this season.
New Orleans also waived forward Matt Bullard, who had spent the entire season on the injured list because of a degenerative disc disease.
Giants sign Jose Cruz
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The San Francisco Giants added another bat to their potent lineup Tuesday by signing slugging outfielder Jose Cruz Jr.
He got a one-year contract with a mutual option for the 2004 season.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Cruz earned $3.95 million with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002. The 28-year-old outfielder is eligible for arbitration.
The Blue Jays did not tender him a contract at the Dec. 20 deadline, and he became a free agent.
The seven-year veteran hit .245 with 18 homers and 70 RBI in 124 games for the Blue Jays last season, and has 134 homers and 389 RBI in 747 career games. The runnerup in the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year voting can play any of the three outfield positions.
"It's been no secret that we've admired Jose's ability for the last few years," said Giants General Manager Brian Sabean. "We're extremely excited to add a player of his caliber, who can hit for power and steal a base while playing outstanding defense."
Three opt out of NHL All-Star Game
NEW YORK, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour, suffering from back spasms, is one of three players to withdraw from the All-Star NHL Game on Sunday in Sunrise, Fl.
Belfour, in his first season with Toronto, missed three games last week before returning for losses on Friday and Saturday.
According to team officials, it was more important for Belfour to get the five days rest instead of "displaying his skill" next weekend.
Belfour is 21-14-3 with five shutouts, a 2.15 goals-against average, and .925 save percentage. He signed over the summer after Curtis Joseph left for Detroit.
Jokinen, who leads all Eastern Conference centers in goals, joins teammate Sandis Ozolinsh on the Eastern Conference squad. He has 25 goals and 17 assists in 49 games this season.
Koivu, who overcame non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2001-02, has 13 goals and 33 assists in 51 games this season.
Leetch, who has not played since Dec. 3, is out with an ankle injury. Prior to the injury, he had 15 points in 28 games.
Poti, 25, making the first All-Star appearance of his career, has seven goals and 31 assists in 51 games. The points and assists already are career highs.
Pittsburgh superstar Mario Lemieux also is contemplating skipping the contest. The league's leading scorer is battling a groin pull.