UPI NewsTrack Sports

Jan. 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM
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New Orleans Hornets to become Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- New Orleans' NBA franchise is set to announce it is changing its nickname from the Hornets to the Pelicans, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported the team scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m. EST Thursday, at which it was expected to make the announcement.

Yahoo! Sports reported in late 2012 the team had decided on Pelicans, the Louisiana state bird, for its new name. Club owner Tom Benson has owned the rights to the Pelicans nickname, as well as Rougarou, Mosquitos, Swamp Dogs and Bullsharks.

The new nickname, logo and colors -- blue, gold and red -- will be used during the 2013-14 season, Yahoo! Sports said.

The sports website said many Hornets fans and other NBA followers have expressed their displeasure with the choice of Pelicans as the new nickname.

Cowboys' Ratliff arrested for DWI

GRAPEVINE, Texas, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Dallas Cowboys tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested on a DWI charge after his car crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer rig in Grapevine, Texas, police said.

Ratliff, 31, was driving his pickup truck early Wednesday on state Highway 114 when he struck the trailer, then a highway barrier, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

There were no injuries in the accident, Grapevine police senior officer Sam Shemwell said.

His arrest comes a month after Cowboys lineman Josh Brent was indicted on a second-degree felony charge of intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate Jerry Brown Jr. in a motor vehicle accident, the newspaper said.

Santos in front at Qatar Masters

DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Ricardo Santos shot a 7-under-par 65 Wednesday in taking the first-round lead of the European Tour's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Santos, the 2012 European Tour rookie of the year, had five of his eight birdies on the day on the front nine of the Doha Golf Club for a one-stroke lead over Alexandre Kaleka, Anthony Wall and Peter Whiteford. Five more players are at 5-under 67 and 13 others are just three strokes off the lead.

Defending champion Peter Lawrie is at even-par 72 and tied for 70th place.

Kaleka had seven birdies and one bogey while Wall and Whiteford each were bogey-free Wednesday.

Santos opened play on the second nine with a birdie at the 10th hole. His lone bogey came at the par-4 11th hole but he came back with a birdie at 12. He made the turn at 2-under after a birdie at 16.

He piled up five birdies on the front side, capping the round with birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 in taking the lead. He beat par on both par 3s and both par 5s on the side.

Former all-star Lemon opens sports 'mecca'

TAVARES, Fla., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Former MLB all-star Chet Lemon has opened a $6 million sports complex in Central Florida that he says he hopes will be a "mecca" for athletes from every sport.

Although much of the 163,000-squre-foot facility in Tavares won't be done until later this year, a volleyball tournament this month drew 5,000 people and 60 teams, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Wednesday.

"We want to be a sports mecca," said Lemon. "We want people to be able to come here and play all these sports and have everything here."

Lemon -- a three-time all-star who played on the 1984 World Series champion Detroit Tigers -- said he and his wife, Gigi, began planning what they call "The Big House" 15 years ago.

At completion, it will have a major-league sized baseball outfield with extra batting cages and pitching mounds, a world-class fitness center, a running track and outdoor beach volleyball and soccer fields.

It also has a hair and nail salon, a car-detail shop, a smoothie bar and a food court.

Also in the works are a day-care center, classrooms, a 100-seat theater, a VIP lounges for visiting scouts and university recruiters, and an in-house webcasting center.

The Lemons' complex joins other large sports venues already in the Orlando area, including the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

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