FanFare 3/19/03

Wednesday, March 19, 2003



  • Ichiro Suzuki insists there would have been no trouble once the Mariners and Athletics actually arrived in Japan. Getting there might have been the risky part. Major league baseball took no chances, deciding Tuesday to cancel next week's season-opening series in Tokyo between Seattle and Oakland because of the threat of war in Iraq.

    Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca will undergo further tests today after slipping and straining his hamstring. Alfonseca will have an MRI on today, with results expected Thursday. The right-hander was fielding a grounder by Seattle's Randy Winn in the fourth inning when he slipped and fell. He had to be taken off the field on a cart.

    Luis Gonzalez and the Diamondbacks agreed to a $30 million, three-year contract extension. It's a substantial raise for Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star and .316 hitter in his four years with the team. He will get $4 million for this year under his current contract.

    Tug McGraw underwent six hours of surgery to remove a brain tumor, but doctors don't expect to know until Friday whether it was cancerous. Dr. Steven Brem, who directs the neuro-oncology program at the Moffitt Cancer Center, described the 58-year-old former pitcher as alert and in good spirits. Brem said the tumor extended to both sides of the brain.


  • Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich has a cancerous tumor on his bladder lining that the team said will be treated without surgery. The 54-year-old coach was released from the hospital and was resting at home, the Rockets said. Team physician Dr. James Muntz said Tomjanovich has "transitional cell cancer of the bladder." The coach will begin weekly treatments in two weeks, but Muntz did not specify the nature of the treatments.

    Scottie Pippen had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss the next three weeks as the Trail Blazers try to catch Sacramento in the Pacific Division. Pippen, 37, has missed the last four games with swelling in his left knee. It was unclear how Pippen originally injured it.

    Grant Hill had surgery on his left ankle for the fourth time. Doctors are confident he will play again but there is no timetable for his return. The Magic star's heel was reshaped to realign his left leg during the operation at Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C.


  • Texas guard T.J. Ford, who averaged 15 points and seven assists per game in leading the Longhorns to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has been named player of the year by The Sporting News. The St. Louis-based publication also announced that Kentucky's Tubby Smith was selected coach of the year.

    Illinois State women's basketball coach Jenny Yopp resigned after posting a 25-83 record in four years. A national search has been launched to replace Yopp, athletic director Perk Weisenburger said. Illinois State also is seeking a replacement for men's basketball coach Tom Richardson, who was fired last week.


  • Punter Sean Landeta agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Rams, returning to the team after a six-year absence. Landeta, 41, previously played for the Rams from 1993 to 1996. He averaged 44.3 yards in 1995 and 44.8 in 1996, but left when Dick Vermeil brought in new special teams coach Frank Gansz in 1997.

    Morten Andersen, one of the most prolific place kickers in NFL history, agreed to a four-year contract with the Chiefs. A 22-year veteran, Andersen converted 22-of-26 field goals and all 51 of his extra points last year in his first season with the Chiefs. He went on injured reserve on Dec. 17 with a right knee injury, ending his streak of 248 consecutive games played.


  • The Blues relieved their goalie logjam by releasing Fred Brathwaite before their game against the Canucks. Brathwaite and the Blues mutually agreed to the release. He is subject to waivers, meaning he can be claimed by another NHL team.

    The Sharks fired general manager Dean Lombardi, capping their disappointing campaign with a complete overhaul of an organization that won the Pacific Division last season. Lombardi, who transformed the Sharks from NHL laughingstocks to Stanley Cup contenders during seven seasons in charge, was abruptly fired by owner Greg Jamison. Assistant general manager Wayne Thomas will run the club's day-to-day operations until a successor is named.


  • Sarah Hughes accomplished everything she wanted to at the Sullivan Awards. The 2002 Olympic figure skating champion finally met wrestler Cael Sanderson. She got to see Dick Button again, and -- oh, yeah -- she went home with the Sullivan trophy, presented annually by the AAU to the nation's top amateur athlete.

    On the air

    College men's basketballOhio State at Georgia Tech, 6 p.m., ESPN2

    Nevada at Texas Tech, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

    Hawaii at UNLV, 11 p.m., ESPN2


    Boston at Indiana, 6 p.m., ESPN


    San Jose at Colorado, 8 p.m., ESPN2

  • CHARTER CABLE KEY:CNBC (ch. 53), ESPN (42), ESPN2 (43), Lifetime (49)Fox-Midwest (45), Fox-Central (352), Fox-Pacific (353), Fox-Sunshine (351), Fox-World (350), FX(50), Golf Channel (46), KBSI (9), KFVS (7), MSNBC (55), Outdoors (38), Outdoor Life Network (74), Oxygen (75), Speed Channel (44), TNT (48), WDKA (17), WPSD (6), WQWQ (33), WSIL (3). Listings and times are provided by the networks and individual stations and are subject to change.

    Area events

    College women's tennisSoutheast vs. Trinity, Hilton Head, S.C., 8 a.m.

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