Sports briefs 8/21/04

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Baseball

  • The city of Chicago has hired an independent company to inspect Wrigley Field after threatening to cancel Monday night's home game if the Cubs can't prove the 90-year-old ballpark is safe.

    Construction Technology Laboratories will evaluate the ballpark this weekend and verify that repairs made in 2001 were completed correctly, Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbek announced Friday in a news release.

    The Skokie-based company is expected to submit its report to the city by noon Monday. At that point, Kaderbek said he will decide whether the ballpark is safe for fans.

  • Pete Rose owes almost $1 million in back federal taxes, but he is making monthly payments on the debt, his representative said Friday.

    The Internal Revenue Service filed a federal tax lien in Broward County on Tuesday alleging that baseball's career hits leader owes $973,693.28 in back taxes from 1997 to 2002.

    Ross Tannenbaum, president of Dreams Inc., the marketing firm that handles Rose's business affairs, said Friday that the lien is against a home Rose owns in California. He said the filing is not an indication that the former Cincinnati Reds star and manager is in danger of returning to prison over his taxes.

    Football

  • The Miami Dolphins have asked Ricky Williams to return $8.6 million they say the running back owes the team because he has decided to retire. The request and the amount were confirmed Friday by a league source, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. It was first reported in Friday's editions of The Miami Herald.

    Motorsports

  • Contenders for NASCAR's new championship showdown will be bunched at the front of the field for the second week in a row to start the Nextel Cup race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

    Rain Friday washed out qualifying for the GFS Marketplace 400, and the field was filled mostly by car-owner points. Series leader Jimmie Johnson and runner-up Jeff Gordon will start side-by-side in the front row of the 43-car field, just as they did a week earlier at Watkins Glen International.

    Tennis

  • Andre Agassi continues to make quick work of the field at the Legg Mason tournament, winning 6-4, 6-4 Friday over Paul-Henri Mathieu to reach the tournament's semifinals for the seventh straight year.

    The top seed and five-time champion had a far easier time than No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt, who advanced to his sixth semifinal of the season with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) victory over seventh-seeded Cyril Saulnier.

    Hewitt will face fourth-seeded Robby Ginepri, a 6-3, 7-6 (3) winner over Raemon Sluiter. Agassi will play the winner of Friday's late final quarterfinal match between Gilles Muller and qualifier Michel Kratochvil.

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