Players Association sets no strike date
ROSEMONT, Ill., July 8 (UPI) -- The Players Association held off on a strike date at its meeting Monday, but the possibility that baseball will face a work stoppage sometime this season looms over Tuesday night's All-Star Game in Milwaukee.
Without a collective bargaining agreement since last November, owners have promised not to lock the players out through the World Series, but the union is fearful management will impose economic changes after the postseason. The union's most likely defense is a strike in August, repeating what happened in 1994.
However, the union's executive board did not set a strike date at Monday's meeting.
"We never discussed a strike date and that was never the purpose of this meeting," said union head Donald Fehr. "We basically gave the players a comprehensive study of where we're at."
In 1994, players convened in Pittsburgh the day before the All-Star Game and did not set a strike date but met later in the month and called for an August 12 walkout. The strike wiped out the World Series for the first time since 1904 and lasted 232 days.
The All-Star Game this time is at the hometown and headquarters of commissioner Bud Selig, who has led the owners in labor negotiations. Selig is concerned with the economic imbalance that exists between large market and small market teams and has proposed clubs increase the percentage of locally generated revenue they share from 20 percent to 50 percent. Selig also has proposed a 50 percent luxury tax on the portions of payrolls above $98 million.
. Fehr painted a pessimistic picture over the gap that exists between the parties regarding revenue sharing and a luxury tax and also said the owners want concessions in salary arbitration.
"They have been adamant with their 50 percent figure on the luxury tax and walked away from us in negotiations on that issue," Fehr said. "They also want to see the structure of arbitration changed in how it is instituted and to the years of service for when players should be eligible."
The New York Yankees are the primary target of the management plan to share half of each team's local revenue and impose a luxury tax on payrolls above $98 million. After the recent acquisitions of outfielder Raul Mondesi and pitcher Jeff Weaver, the Yankees have a payroll exceeding $130 million.
Warriors sign Mike Dunleavy
OAKLAND, Calif., July 8 (UPI) -- Forward Mike Dunleavy Jr., the third overall pick in the NBA draft, wasted little time by signing with the Golden State Warriors on Monday.
The signing of Dunleavy to a multi-year contract was announced by Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean and will allow him to play on the summer league team.
Under the bargaining agreement, rookie first-round contracts are for three years with a team option for a fourth season. The Warriors retain right of first refusal for a fifth season. As the third overall pick, Dunleavy will receive at least $8.24 million for the first three years.
Dunleavy will start immediately with the Warriors summer league team, which begins a stretch of six games in eight days on July 10 in Long Beach.
The 6-9 Dunleavy left Duke after his junior season to enter the draft and appears to be a good fit at small forward for the Warriors. The son of former NBA player and coach Mike Dunleavy, he averaged 17.3 points as a junior and connected on 38 percent of his 3-pointers.
Dunleavy's best moment in his college career came as a sophomore, when he nailed three 3-pointers in a 45-second span in the national championship game victory over Arizona. He also proved that he can play inside as he was second on the team in rebounding at 7.2 per game.
Also, The New York Knicks signed first-round pick Frank Williams on Monday, making him available to participate on the team's summer league team.
Williams was originally selected by the Denver Nuggets and sent to the Knicks along with star forward Antonio McDyess for Brazilian forward Nene Hilario, the seventh overall pick, center Marcus Camby and guard Mark Jackson on draft night.
The 6-3 Williams left Illinois after his junior season and will compete against Charlie Ward and Howard Eisley for time at point guard.
He rebounded from a slow start to finish with a solid junior season for Illinois, leading them to the "Sweet 16" for the second straight season. He averaged 16.2 points and 4.4 assists.
Williams was the sixth first-round pick to sign, joining Dunleavy, Amare Stoudemire and Casey Jacobsen of Phoenix, Caron Butler of Miami and Freddy Jones of Indiana.
All-Star game starting pitchers named
MILWAUKEE, July 8 (UPI) -- Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday was named the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team for the third time in four years. This time, the honor was given by his own manager Bob Brenly.
Lowe made the All-Star team as a closer two years ago and has excelled as a starter this season, tying for the league lead in wins with 11, and leading the league with a 2.18 ERA.
Schilling was named as the starter for last year's All-Star Game, but had problems loosening up before the game and was replaced by Arizona teammate Randy Johnson. Schilling, who is 13-3 with a 3.22 ERA, started the All-Star Game in 1999 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Monday's festivities come the same day that union leaders and player representatives were scheduled to meet in Chicago to discuss the possibility of setting a strike date. Baseball has been operating without a collective bargaining agreement for the entire season.
Bonds leads All-Star Home Run Derby
MILWAUKEE, July 8 (UPI) -- This year's Home Run Derby competition, the highlight of Monday's All-Star Workout Day in Milwaukee, promises to provide more than a few interesting stories.
With the baseball season at its unofficial midway point, All-Star festivities get underway at Miller Park as the two teams have a workout planned before eight individuals compete in the annual long ball contest.
Chosen to compete for the National League Monday night were San Francisco's Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs, Houston's Lance Berkman and Richie Sexson of Milwaukee. The American League quartet includes Alex Rodriguez of Texas, New York's Jason Giambi, Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota's Torii Hunter.
Last year's champion, Luis Gonzalez of Arizona, a surprise winner at Safeco Field in Seattle, would need someone to pull out for a chance at defending his title.
Sosa won the Home Run Derby in Atlanta in 2000, but lost to Gonzalez in the finals last year. Bonds, whose 73 home runs last year were three more than Mark McGwire hit with St. Louis in 1998 to break the mark that Roger Maris held, made it to the second round in Seattle, and won in Philadelphia in 1996. Rodriguez is the AL home run leader while Sexson, who should have a significant hometown edge, is known for his towering home runs.
Giambi will have a chance to avenge a disappointing second round last year. He hit 14 homers in his opening round, including a majestic blast off a window well above the right field stands, but managed just six in the second round and was eliminated by Sosa.
All-Star MVP Award to be named after Ted
MILWAUKEE, July 8 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball will honor Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who died last Friday at age 83, by naming the All-Star MVP Award after him, it was announced Monday.
The first recipient of the Ted Williams Award will be selected after Tuesday night's game at Miller Park in Milwaukee, according to MLB spokesman Matt Gould.
Baseball will also pay tribute to Williams during the game with a special ceremony. The last player to hit .400 in a season holds all-time All-Star records for RBIs (12) and walks (11), and single-game All-Star records for hits (4) and home runs (2).
In 18 All-Star appearances, he hit .304 with four home runs. He thrilled fans with many memorable All-Star moments, but it was a non-playing Midsummer Classic appearance that brought him back to the game.
After ending his military service in 1953, Williams did not plan to return to baseball. But he was asked to throw out the first pitch at that year's All-Star Game at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, and the thunderous ovation he received convinced him to change his mind.
An official All-Star Game MVP was not selected until 1962, two seasons after Williams retired. He likely would have earned the honor in 1941, when his two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off the Cubs' Claude Passeau propelled the American League to a 7-5 victory.
Defending champ Godwin ousted at Newport
NEWPORT, R.I., July 8 (UPI) -- Defending champion Neville Godwin had a short stay at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships after a first round loss Monday to American Jeff Morrison.
Morrison, who made a run to the third round at Wimbledon and is seeded fourth this week, beat Godwin, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7). Morrison is playing at Newport for the second time in his career.
No. 5 Alexander Popp of Germany made an impressive debut at Newport with a solid 6-2, 6-2 win against countryman Alex Pretzsch, who lost in the first round here for the third time (1999, 2000).
One minor surprise of the day was Robby Ginepri's 6-4, 6-4 triumph over sixth seeded Cecil Mamiit in a matchup of Americans. Ginepri also made his first appearance at Newport. Ginepri won the Rocky Mount, North Carolina challenger event in May.
Another American to advance Monday was Taylor Dent who beat Croatian wild card Mario Ancic, 6-3, 6-4. Dent also got the best of Ancic on grass this year at Surbiton, England.
Also, Michael Llodra of France prevailed over Jamie Delgado of Great Britain, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3; American wild card entry Brian Vahaly also needed three sets to advance, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, over Dick Norman of Belgium; and Ota Fukarek of the Czech Republic topped Edgardo Massa of Argentina, 6-4, 6-4.
Thomas controversy becomes a Chisox distraction
CHICAGO, July 8 (UPI) -- Veteran slugger Frank Thomas, who showed up late for a game on Sunday, says he will waive the no-trade clause in his contract if need be.
Thomas, who has been in a prolonged slump, was benched for a third straight day by Manager Jerry Manuel. His average at the All-Star break is only .239.
Thomas, who was rested for the last two games by Manuel after going 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts over his previous four games, was late for a team meeting at the ballpark and benched by Manuel for the transgression.
Afterwards, Thomas was incensed. "It's absolute crap, that someone thinks that I went AWOL," Thomas said. "I wasn't that late at all, and it's not a big issue. What do I need to talk to Jerry for? He has no reason to keep holding me out of the lineup. I'm not happy that he kept me out of the lineup the last three games. He could've approached me and said, 'I'm going to sit you the next three games,' but he didn't do that. I'm not looking to cause any trouble. I know I've been struggling and I need to make some adjustments."
The White Sox don't need this controversy swirling around them. They were one of baseball's biggest disappointments in the first half, going 42-46. They are in second place in the AL Central, but trail the frontrunning Minnesota Twins by 7 ½ games.
WNBA's Shock trades Palmer to Orlando
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., July 8 (UPI) -- New Detroit Coach Bill Laimbeer, desperate to shake up a 1-15 team, Monday orchestrated his first trade, acquiring guard Elaine Powell from the Orlando Miracle for forward Wendy Palmer.
The Shock also got a first-round pick in the 2003 draft and sent a second-round pick to the Miracle in the deal.
Powell averaged 5.9 points, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals in 15 games, including one start, with Orlando. Last year, she averaged 11.2 points, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals per contest.
Detroit now has two first-round picks in the 2003 draft.
Palmer, a WNBA All-Star in 2000, started in all 16 games this season for the Shock, averaging 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. She recorded a career-high 15 rebounds in a game on June 9 against New York.
Laimbeer moved from the front office to the bench after Greg Williams was fired following an 0-10 start. The team is just 1-5 under his leadership.
Palmer, a 6'2" forward, originally selected by the Utah Starzz in 1997 in the WNBA Elite Draft, and played two-and-a-half seasons with that franchise. The University of Virginia graduate was then traded to the Detroit Shock on July 29, 1999. She represented Detroit in the 2000 WNBA All-Star Game and was named to the 1997 All-WNBA Second Team.
Diaz-Oliva wins at Palermo International
PALERMO, Italy, July 8 (UPI) -- No. 6 MarianaDiaz-Oliva of Argentina advanced while fourth seeded Greta Arn made an early exit in a light opening day in tennis matches Monday at the Palermo International.
Much of the main draw was completed with qualifying round matches, leading the organizers to schedule just four matches to count on the board.
Diaz-Oliva, a quarterfinalist here in 2000, posted a 6-3, 7-5 victory against unheralded Nina Duebbers of Germany.
No. 4 Arn suffered a 6-2, 6-3 loss to fellow German Jana Kandaar. Kandaar reached the final four at this event in 1996 for one of her two career semifinals.
Also, fifth seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia ousted Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5); and Bulgarian Lubomira Bacheva rolled over Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar, 6-1, 6-1, in a matchup of unseeded players.
Top seeded Paola Suarez of Argentina meets Maja Palaversic of Croatia in her opening round match. No. 2 Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia faces Magdalena Grzybowska of Poland.
Mandula, Cervanova advance at Grand Prix
CASABLANCA, Morocco, July 8 (UPI) -- Third-seeded Hungarian Petra Mandula and fourth seed Ludmila Cervanova of Slovakia advanced Monday in the first round of the Grand Prix De SAR La Princesse.
Mandula, who was ousted in the first round at Wimbledon by Francesca Schiavone, got past Czech Alena Vascova, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. The 24-year-old Mandula is seeking her first career title. She reached the semifinals at another claycourt tournament in June, when she lost to Barbara Schett.
Cervanova also is seeking her first title and cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic. The 22-year-old Cervanova has not advanced past the quarterfinals this season.
In other matches Monday, Spain's Ainhoa Goni defeated Italian Roberta Vinci, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, and Lenka Nemeckova of the Czech Republic cruised past Japan's Akiko Morigami, 6-4, 6-0.