Baseball to eliminate two teams
CHICAGO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball owners voted today to reduce the number teams in their sport from 30 to 28 before play begins next season.
No immediate announcement was made as to which teams would be eliminated, but various reports indicated the Minnesota and Montreal franchises would be bought out as part of baseball's ongoing financial crisis.
Commissioner Bud Selig, speaking after the owners had agreed to the historic step, said there was even sentiment to cut more than two teams.
"It makes no sense for Major League Baseball to be in markets that generate insufficient local revenues to justify the investment in the franchise," Selig said. "The teams to be contracted have a long record of failing to generate enough revenues to operate a viable major league franchise.
"There are more than two candidates. We haven't picked the final teams. There were people who were in favor of four teams."
In addition to the question as to how many teams would be in the majors next year, baseball must deal with the absence of a contract with its players. The current contract expires Wednesday and there have been concerns that the start of the 2002 season and perhaps the entire season is in jeopardy.
In an attempt to defuse that issue, Selig said the owners had decided not to lock out players and would allow free agents to be signed. Despite that olive branch, however, the union could balk at the jobs with two teams being eliminated.
The sport is still trying to recover from the 1994 strike that wiped out the World Series. Ironically, baseball reached a peak in popularity since that strike when the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees conducted a memorable World Series last week.
NFL fines Kyle Turley
NEW YORK, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The National Football League today fined New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Kyle Turley $25,000 for his actions during the latter stages of last Sunday night's game with the New York Jets.
As the Saints were attempting to rally in the final moments of the game, New York safety Damien Robinson grabbed the face mask of New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks and twisted it.
Turley then went after Robinson, eventually ripping Robinson's helmet off and throwing it down the field. Turley also made an obscene gesture toward Robinson.
The subsequent penalties against the Saints took them out of likely scoring position and they wound up losing the contest, 16-9.
New Orleans coach Jim Haslett said he originally considered cutting Turley from the team, but changed his mind after looking at a tape of the incident.
"The Saints do not condone such actions," New Orleans general manager Randy Mueller said Tuesday. "We believe the amount of the fine is appropriate for the severity of Kyle's conduct on the field."
Pudge wins another Gold Glove
ST. LOUIS, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Despite missing more than 50 games for the second straight season, Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers won his 10th consecutive American League Gold Glove Award today, tying the record for catchers set by Johnny Bench.
Rodriguez was limited to 106 games by a knee injury, but committed just seven errors and boasted a .990 fielding percentage. He is the only catcher to win an AL Gold Glove since Tony Pena of the Boston Red Sox in 1991.
Three sets of teammates were among the other eight winners from the American League. The Cleveland Indians' double play combination of second baseman Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel was joined on the infield by Minnesota Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and Oakland Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez.
Like Rodriguez, Alomar won his 10th Gold Glove, breaking the mark for second basemen he shared with Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs. Alomar led major league second basemen and posted the second-highest fielding percentage of his career at .993.
Vizquel has won the last nine Gold Gloves at shortstop, tying fellow Venezuelan Luis Aparacio for second behind the 13 awarded to Ozzie Smith.
New York Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina was the Gold Glove pitcher.
A four-time Cy Young Award winner, Maddux has received a Gold Glove every year since 1990. It is the longest current streak in the National League, with the next longest belonging to Jones (1998-2001).
Next best is Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen, who received his third straight Gold Glove.
Among the National League's other winners were Houston Astros catcher Brad Ausmus, Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Fernando Vina, Montreal Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera and outfielders Jim Edmonds of the Cardinals and Larry Walker of the Rockies.
Irvin drug charge dropped
DENTON, Tex., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- A felony drug charge against Michael Irvin, the former Dallas wide receiver, has been dismissed after prosecutors learned evidence had been found in an illegal search.
Irvin, indicted in June, had been accused of possessing half a gram of cocaine.
He was arrested at an apartment where police found drugs which Irvin, one of the game's foremost wide receivers before his retirement in 1996, insisted were not his.
The motion to dismiss was made after the prosecution discovered there had been a search of the apartment without a warrant.
Belgium favored in FedCup finals
MADRID, Spain, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- With the two-time champion United States not competing, Belgium is the favorite heading into the Federation Cup Finals beginning Wednesday at the Institute Ferial Madrid.
The Americans, which feature five of the top 10 ranked women in the world, pulled out of the final due to security concerns stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
They have been replaced by Germany, but it is Belgium that has the event's top players in Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.
Clijsters is ranked No. 5, won three tournaments and was two points within winning the French Open crown over Jennifer Capriati. Henin, the seventh-ranked player, also claimed three titles, reached the final of a Grand Slam event (Wimbledon) and was a semifinalist at the French Open.
On Wednesday, the Belgian team faces Germany, which will play without its best player Anke Huber, who retired last week. In the second match, five-time winner Spain plays Australia.