Major League All-Stars take center stage
MILWAUKEE, July 9 (UPI) -- The 2002 Major League All-Star Game will be played Tuesday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The best in the sport have gathered in the hometown of Commissioner Bud Selig to stage the first All-Star Game in Milwaukee since the National League won, 6-3, in 1975 at County Stadium.
The contest will unfold under a cloud.
While the Players Association did not set a strike date on Monday, the possibility of another work stoppage looms later this summer as the union and the owners seem far apart on any new labor agreement.
Many of the questions asked of the All-Stars Monday dealt with either labor issues or steroid use, putting a damper on what is supposed to be a time of celebration. The players will try to put the focus back on the field when the American League goes after its sixth straight win in the Mid-Summer Classic.
Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been named as starting pitcher for the National League for the third time in four years. This time, the honor was given by his own manager, Bob Brenly.
American League Manager Joe Torre of the New York Yankees gave the starting nod to Derek Lowe of the Boston Red Sox. 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 12 and leading the league with a 2.36 ERA.
Schilling was named 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 14-3 with a 3.08 ERA, started the All-Star Game in 1999 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
In his first season at the helm of the NL squad, Brenly named six players from his defending world champions. Torre, as has become his trademark over the last couple of seasons, opted to take six Yankees, including his entire starting infield. Catcher Jorge Posada, first baseman Jason Giambi and second baseman Alfonso Soriano were elected to start and Torre added shortstop Derek Jeter, third baseman Robin Ventura and closer Mariano Rivera.
Giambi was the winner of the Home Run Derby contest on Monday night.
Brenly chose Johnson, Schilling and closer Byung-Hyum Kim, but Johnson asked out of the game on Sunday. Outfielder Luis Gonzalez, backup catcher Damian Miller and reserve infielder Junior Spivey are the other Diamondbacks on the NL squad.
Johnson heads an impressive list of All-Star pitchers who will not participate, among them Atlanta's Tom Glavine and Matt Morris of St. Louis, who also were late scratches. Robb Nen of San Francisco, Vicente Padilla of Philadelphia and Mike Remlinger of Atlanta were the late NL replacements.
Meanwhile, Boston ace Pedro Martinez turned down an invitation last week.
Joining the trio from the defending AL champions in the starting lineup are shortstop Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers and third baseman Shea Hillenbrand of the Red Sox.
The Phillies, among the most disappointing teams in baseball this season, will have half of the NL's starting infield, with Scott Rolen, the object of fans' ire this season, starting at third base and Jimmy Rollins getting the nod at shortstop.
Joining Rolen and Rollins in the infield will be Jose Vidro of the Montreal Expos, who edged Roberto Alomar of the New York Mets in the final week, and Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton. Mets superstar Mike Piazza will be behind the plate for the NL, with San Francisco's Barry Bonds, Vladimir Guerrero of Montreal and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs comprising the starting outfield.
MLB to select baseball's greatest moments
MILWAUKEE, July 9 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball and MasterCard Tuesday unveiled a program that will determine the greatest single moment in history of America's pastime.
With Tuesday night's All-Star Game as a backdrop, Commissioner Bud Selig revealed the 30 finalists for the Memorable Moments program. To kick off the campaign, which will encompass voting around the globe, the league convened many of the players involved in the moments.
Among the nominees were Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941, Bobby Thompson's dramatic home run 10 years later, Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run, and Reggie Jackson's three home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series.
"It's nice to be part of the history of the game," said Carlton Fisk, who was nominated for his game-winning homer in Game Six of the 1975 World Series. "I love the game, so to be recognized like this is nice."
"It's great," said Kirk Gibson, who was nominated for his game-winning homer in Game One of the 1988 World Series. "I hadn't thought about it a lot, but with the passing of Jack Buck, I began to think about the call and realized that what he was saying was what I was thinking. When you play baseball, those memorable moments make all the frustrating ones worth it."
Other events include Lou Gehrig's tearful farewell speech in 1939, Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947 and Satchel Paige being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
Among the more recent moments are Mark McGwire's 70-home run season in 1998, Barry Bonds breaking that record last season, and the game-winning hit by Luis Gonzalez in Game Seven of the 2001 World Series.
"It's very exciting when you think of all the great things that have happened in baseball and to have this chosen as one of the top 30," Gonzalez said. "I'm an historian of the game and watch a lot of things that have happened in the past and to have this chosen is pretty eerie. At the same time, I am very excited to be in a room with so many great players."
Balloting for the event begins July 9 and runs through October 7. Fans will vote for the top five moments and the top 10 moments will be revealed in a ceremony prior to Game Four of the
Royals GM gets contract extension
KANSAS CITY, July 9 (UPI) -- Despite being well on the way to an eighth straight losing season, the Kansas City Royals Tuesday signed General Manager Allard Baird to a two-year contract extension through 2004, which coincides with the length of the contract of new Manager Tony Pena.
Baird fired manager Tony Muser on April 29 and replaced him with Pena ahead of such candidates as Buck Showalter and Bucky Dent. Kansas City is 33-52 and just two games ahead of last place Detroit in the American League Central at the All-Star break.
Baird succeeded in signing All-Star first baseman Mike Sweeney to a five-year, $55 million contract before the season, but will be hard pressed to make improvements since team owner David Glass plans to cut the $50 million payroll.
"The payroll is going to decrease. Mr. Glass has said that," Baird said. "How much it will decrease will depend on what happens with the collective bargaining agreement. My job will be to make those decreases and win games."
Baird, 40, may regret two moves in the offseason: signing free agent second baseman Chuck Knoblauch to a one-year, $2 million contract, and acquiring outfielder Michael Tucker, who is making $2.25 million.
Knoblauch has played in just 42 games because of injuries and is batting .167, while Tucker is hitting .234 with four homers and 23 RBI.
Still, the Glass family has confidence in Baird, who replaced Herk Robinson as general manager in June 2000.
"During his two years as the general manager, Allard Baird has demonstrated outstanding leadership in pointing our club for the future," said team President Dan Glass. "He has upgraded our scouting and player development programs and we are confident he is the person to lead our baseball operations department now and in the future."
The Royals finished 65-97 last season, matching a club record for losses. Their last winning season was in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.
Bengals dump veteran WR Darnay Scott
CINCINNATI, July 9 (UPI) -- A week after signing Michael Westbrook, the Cincinnati Bengals Tuesday, in a bit of a surprise, waived wide receiver Darnay Scott, who has spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the Bengals.
Scott ranks fourth in club history with 386 receptions and fifth in yards with 5,975. He missed minicamp with a sore left leg and 14 on-field voluntary workouts, and when the team signed Westbrook, who played the last seven years with the Washington Redskins, his fate was essentially sealed.
By waiving Scott, the Bengals will save $3.2 million in salary cap space. That creates more room for the team to negotiate with linebackers Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons, whose contracts expire after the 2002 season.
The release of Scott comes two days after his 30th birthday, but he will now have the opportunity to shop his services to any team. He had 57 catches for 819 yards and two touchdowns last season after spending the 2000 campaign on injured reserve with a broken leg.
The 1994 second-round pick set career highs with 68 receptions for 1,022 yards and seven touchdowns in 1999.
Westbrook, who also recently turned 30, was released by the 'Skins after seven mostly unfulfilling seasons in Washington. He caught 57 passes for 664 yards and four touchdowns last season, making a complete comeback from a torn left ACL that sidelined him for most of the
UMBC gives men's hoops coach extension
BALTIMORE, July 9 (UPI) -- The University of Maryland-Baltimore County Tuesday signed men's basketball coach Tom Sullivan to a two-year extension through the 2006-07 season.
Entering his eighth season at UMBC, Sullivan previously had signed a six-year contract through the 2004-2005 season.
"Tom Sullivan has brought UMBC a consistent winner," said Director of Athletics Dr. Charles Brown. "I believe that under his leadership, we will reach our goal of being an NCAA (Tournament) participant."
Under Sullivan, the Retrievers put together back-to-back winning records over the last two seasons for the first time in their Division I history. UMBC finished 20-9 in 2001-02 and tied for second in the Northeast Conference.
Sullivan, 52, started off 10-44 at UMBC, but is 82-61 over the last five years.
Caps sign free agent C Kip Miller
WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- Free agent center Kip Miller Tuesday reunited with former coach, Bruce Cassidy, by signing a two-year contract with the Washington Capitals.
Financial terms were not made public.
Miller, 33, played parts of the last two seasons for Cassidy in Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League and International Hockey League before signing with the New York Islanders last January.
In 37 games with the Islanders, Miller recorded seven goals and 17 assists.
Despite playing just 41 games with Grand Rapids last season, Miller finished the season as the club's leading scorer with 21 goals and 35 assists.
Originally a fourth-round pick of Quebec in 1987, Miller has played in 311 games with seven NHL teams, recording 53 goals and 105 assists. Kip joins Kelly ('87-'99) and Kevin ('92) as the third Miller brother to have played for Washington.
He won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player following his senior year at Michigan State.
The Capitals named Cassidy to replace the fired Ron Wilson on June 25.
Al Unser Jr. arrested after domestic spat
INDIANAPOLIS, July 9 (UPI) -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. early Tuesday was charged with domestic battery.
His 38-year-old girlfriend, Jena L. Soto of Albuquerque, N.M., accused the Indy car driver of hitting her and leaving her stranded on the side of Interstate 465. According to Indianapolis Police Department reports, Unser, 40, was arrested at his motor home in the infield at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He was released from the Marion County jail after posting $30,000 bond and skirted away from reporters by using a tunnel to exit the jail.
According to Sheriff's Department Major Vincent Cascella, a court hearing is set for Wednesday.
Soto was found standing next to a guardrail on I-465 at 4:30 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday morning and told police she was Unser's girlfriend for the past four years. Unser is divorced.
According to the police report, Soto said she and Unser had been at a strip club and that she was driving because Unser was intoxicated. The two were arguing and he repeatedly shifted the gears into neutral and reverse while Soto was driving.
In an attempt to make the Indy Racing League driver stop, Soto hit Unser, who in turn struck her in the face. The report continued saying Soto pulled to the side of the highway and got out, and that Unser then drove away.
At first, Unser denied knowing Soto, according to the police report, but after being told of her allegations, Unser told officers Soto hit him first.
Unser, a two-time CART champion, who won the Indy 500 in 1992 and again in '94, now drives for Kelley Racing in the IRL. The team said it was gathering information about the arrest and would not make a comment, according to team spokesperson Nancy Miller.
She said Unser was scheduled to play in a charity golf tournament Thursday at the speedway's course and then drive Saturday in an IROC race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Before the season started, Unser vowed that he had cleaned up his act and gotten in shape in order to revive his auto racing career. In December and January, he began a rigorous workout regimen, scaled back on his vices and lost 20 pounds.
He was hired by Kelley Racing in February and looked forward to a successful term with the IRL team.
On the track, Unser has been more competitive this season. He nearly won the IRL race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8, but was edged by Jeff Ward by just .0111-seconds in the closest finish in Indy car history.
Last Sunday at the Ameristar Casinos Indy 200, Unser led the race three times for 29 laps, but dropped out with just 11 laps remaining because of transmission failure.