Fanfare 7/17/02

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Baseball

*** Jim Warfield, a popular trainer for more than 30 years with the Cleveland Indians, died Tuesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage a day earlier at Jacobs Field. He was 60.

Warfield, who started with the Indians in 1969, became ill shortly after arriving at the ballpark on Monday morning. He was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, where he underwent surgery.

Team spokesman Bart Swain said Warfield died at 5:15 p.m.

The Indians canceled batting practice before the game, and the clubhouse was closed to reporters.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said the players considered not playing out of respect for Warfield.

Several Indians players fought back tears after learning that Warfield had collapsed. Many of them paid tribute to him by writing "JW" on their caps for Monday night's 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Hockey

*** Forward Keith Tkachuk has accepted the St. Louis Blues' $8.3 million qualifying offer for next season, satisfying the Blues' priority of re-signing the restricted free agent.

Tkachuk, 30, accepted the Blues' offer late Monday night for the same salary he made last year, ending prospects that he might filed for arbitration, general manager Larry Pleau said Tuesday.

Pleau said talks continue about a long-term contract for the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Tkachuk, acquired from Phoenix in March 2001 and who after next season would become eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Re-signing Tkachuk, Pleau said, "was our No. 1 priority. When we traded for him, we wanted to do something on a long-term basis. We feel the exactly the same way, and the talks as far as he and his agent are moving along." Tkachuk was a physical presence for the Blues last season, leading the team with 38 goals and second only to Pavol Demitra in points with 75 points.

Blues goaltender Fred Brathwaite, 29, also signed a qualifying offer late Monday of $1.155 million, a 10-percent raise from last year.

People

ESPN has suspended radio and television host Tony Kornheiser for one week without pay for making remarks that were critical of management during his radio program, sources familiar with the situation said.

Kornheiser, a Washington Post reporter and columnist for more than 20 years, said Monday he did not know the reason for the suspension.

"You should ask them as to why this happened," Kornheiser said Monday. "I was notified by my agent on Friday afternoon. He said, 'You have been suspended by ESPN and don't go to work.' " The suspension started Monday.

Kornheiser, whose annual financial package with ESPN is worth more than $500,000, has criticized the network's personnel decisions on his radio show. Sources said ESPN management was unhappy with comments Kornheiser made during commercial breaks that aren't heard on the radio but are broadcast on the Internet.

ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn declined to comment, saying the company does not discuss personnel matters.

Kornheiser is the host of an ESPN sports-talk radio show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each weekday that is broadcast on 243 stations and reaches 1.35 million listeners each week, according to Quinn. The show has been on ESPN since January 1998.

He also co-hosts a nightly half-hour, television sports show on ESPN called "Pardon the Interruption" with Michael Wilbon. Wilbon also writes a column for The Post. Both are on a month-long vacation from the newspaper.

"Pardon the Interruption" first aired last October and has a Neilson rating of .43, which means it reaches about 370,000 homes, Quinn said.

Chris Moore of ESPN radio is filling in for Kornheiser's radio spot, while Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard is Kornheiser's temporary replacement on the television show.

LeBatard has hosted "Pardon the Interruption" previously. Max Kellerman of ESPN worked with LeBatard Monday.

Wilbon is on vacation from the show this month.

At least six ESPN radio employees have been disciplined in recent weeks, including two firings for what the network believed was unacceptable conduct in dealing with staff personnel, according to sources.

Verbatim

From Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "How silly it is to get worked up about some pitiful little man stalking Serena Williams. "If he actually tried to approach her, by the time Serena and the rest of the family got through with the guy, there wouldn't be enough left of him to mail to jail."

*** Professional golfer Ernie Els on Tiger Woods: "It seems now when you play a major tournament, you really play the golf course and you play Tiger. It seems like he's there every time and he just knows that even if he's not playing very well, he's still going to be there. I think this guy is just a totally different talent than the world has ever seen."

-- From wire reports

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