FanFare 6/9/03

Monday, June 9, 2003

Briefly

Baseball

  • Hee Seop Choi was resting at home Sunday, a day after a violent collision with Kerry Wood that left the Chicago Cubs first baseman with a concussion.

    Choi still had a headache and his neck was sore, but he was in good spirits, Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. Choi was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Sunday night's game against the New York Yankees and has been ordered to rest for the next week.

    "I was surprised to see how well he looked," said Baker, who went to see Choi before he was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon. "He said his head doesn't hurt as much in the back, and he said to tell everyone he was fine. ... He said he knew he was fine because he was hungry."

    That was a relief to the Cubs, whose excitement after Saturday's electrifying 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees was tempered by their concern for Choi. The rookie was knocked unconscious and lay motionless on the ground for several minutes after the fourth-inning collision, and was taken off the field in an ambulance.

    Boston's Pedro Martinez is slated to come off the disabled list Wednesday and start against the St. Louis Cardinals.

    The three-time Cy Young Award winner, 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA in nine starts for the Red Sox this season, has been sidelined since May 16 by a strained muscle under his right arm. He threw two simulated, 20-pitch innings in the bullpen Sunday at Miller Park and said he was ready to pitch again.

    "I'm just glad I'm going on Wednesday," he said.

    New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens remains on track to make his fourth run at career win No. 300 on Friday, even though he's still bothered by an upper respiratory infection.

    Clemens was still coughing Sunday, one day after failing for a third straight start to get his 300th victory. He told reporters he didn't feel well enough to do interviews.

    "Not great," Clemens said when asked how he felt Sunday. "I'm not feeling well enough to talk. The way my body feels right now, I'll pass on it and we'll do it another time."

    The Rocket threw only 84 pitches Saturday before manager Joe Torre lifted him with a 1-0 lead in the seventh and runners at first and second. Clemens barely had time to get to the dugout before Juan Acevedo served up a three-run homer to Eric Karros.

    The Cubs went on to win 5-2, with Clemens taking the loss.

    Boxing

  • For once, George Foreman wasn't the dope at the end of Muhammad Ali's rope. And he wasn't selling anything, either.

    And it felt so good.

    "It's wonderful. Finally, I'm not the Grillman," Foreman said Sunday with a big smile, holding aloft his new ring signifying his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. "I'm a boxing Hall of Famer, and I love it."

    Foreman, who ruled the ring in reigns separated by two decades and became the oldest heavyweight champion in history during an improbable comeback a decade ago, led this year's induction class in Canastota, N.Y.

    Fifteen other boxers, officials and ring personalities also were enshrined, including: Mike McCallum of Jamaica, a champion in three divisions; Nicolino Locche, a world lightweight champion from Argentina with a reputation as one of the finest defensive boxers in history; welterweight champion Curtis Cokes, one of Foreman's idols; Oscar-winning writer Budd Schulberg; and journalist Jack Fiske. The third fight between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward had it all -- at least one fractured hand, two bloody faces, a stunning knockdown and a screaming sellout crowd of 12,643 roaring its approval.

    In a fitting climax to their personal rivalry, the junior welterweights battled for 10 more grueling rounds Saturday night in Atlantic City, with Gatti winning a unanimous decision in the rubber match.

    "Tonight is as good as it gets. These 30 rounds will live in boxing history," said Lou DiBella, Ward's manager.

    Gatti, who split a pair of fights with Ward last year, outpunched and outmaneuvered the slower, 37-year-old Ward this time around, overcoming a broken right hand and the surprising knockdown just before the bell rang at the end of the sixth round.

    Ward, a hard-hitting former club fighter with the resiliency of a champion, never succumbed despite a bloody nose, two cuts on his face and what a ringside physician said was a possibly fractured right hand.

    Gatti iimproved to 36-6 and Ward fell to 38-13.

    Colleges

  • Tony Piazza's grand slam capped a seven-run rally in the sixth inning as Southwest Missouri State captured its first trip to the College World Series with a 13-7 victory over Ohio State on Sunday night.

    The Bears (40-24), champions of the Missouri Valley Conference, won the first two games of the best-of-three super regional at Ohio State's Bill Davis Stadium. They scored five runs in the eighth inning to win Saturday night's opener, 13-8.

    Piazza drove in five runs, adding an RBI double in the eighth.

    Ohio State (44-21), which won the Big Ten tournament to make the NCAA field, led 6-3 through five innings on the strength of home runs by Brett Garrard and Steve Caravati.

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