fanfare 7/20/02

Saturday, July 20, 2002



  • Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter was suspended for three games and fined Friday for throwing a ball at Cleveland's Danys Baez.

    Hunter decided not to challenge the penalty and will start serving the suspension, imposed by baseball vice president Bob Watson, today.

    Angry that he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning of Minnesota's 8-5 win Wednesday, Hunter pushed past third-base coach Al Newman and catcher Einar Diaz to get to the ball. The All-Star then fired it directly at Baez. The ball deflected off his glove and hit Baez on a leg.


  • Tony Gonzalez's NBA experiment is over -- at least with the Miami Heat.

    Gonzalez, one of the NFL's premier tight ends with the Kansas City Chiefs, left the Heat's summer team in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday after briefly trying to make the team's regular-season roster.

    Officials said Gonzalez will now try to hook up with one of the teams in the Southern California Summer Pro League. In two games with the Heat's summer team, Gonzalez had three points and 11 rebounds.

    Free-agent Devean George elected to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers, signing a three-year, $13.5 million contract. The fourth year, at his option, is worth $4.95 million. The contract could be worth $18.45 million.

    In his third NBA season, George, a small forward, became a regular part of Phil Jackson's rotation and a fairly regular contributor. After making stops in New Jersey, Minnesota, Utah, Washington and Chicago, among others, he opted to remain in Los Angeles, despite his agent's claims of offers of greater money and opportunity.

    Creighton interim women's basketball coach Jim Flanery was given the job permanently Friday. Flanery, a 10-year assistant with the Bluejays, was given the job on an interim basis last month when coach Connie Yori resigned to take over at Nebraska.


  • The St. Louis Blues have resigned defensemen Christian Laflamme and Alexander Khavanov to contracts. Terms of the deals were not disclosed according to club policy, general manager Larry Pleau said.


  • Busch Series driver Andy Kirby was killed when the motorcycle he was driving ran off a road in White House, Tenn., and hit a tree, police said Friday.

    Kirby, 41, lost control of his motorcycle on a curve at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a report filed by Trooper Joseph Agee of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

    Bill Elliott continued his recent stretch of strong qualifying runs by winning his third pole of the season Friday at New Hampshire International Speedway.

    He ran a lap around the flat track at 131.469 mph in a Dodge to take the top starting spot for Sunday's New England 300. It was his sixth top-five effort in the past eight qualifying sessions.

    Mike Skinner qualified second in a Chevrolet with a lap at 131.175. He was followed by the Ford of Rusty Wallace, Bobby Labonte's Pontiac and Dave Blaney's Ford.


    The Richard Petty Museum, one of Randolph County's most popular tourist attractions, is moving from rural Level Cross, N.C. to Randleman.

    Richard and Lynda Petty signed a five-year lease Thursday to move the museum.

    "I feel like it's going to be a good marriage for our town and the museum," said Lynda Petty, explaining that relocating the museum will give it room to grow. It also satisfies the Pettys' goal of keeping the museum in Randolph County.

    "This is home," she said. "The race fans will find us."

    The move will double the museum's space to 10,000 square feet. Richard Petty joked that the first items to go would be those stored in the family's home.

    "I'll be able to see the house again," he said.


  • Good news for Bud Selig: The commissioner's not the biggest bonehead around baseball after all. Miami police arrested three men who tried to use a stolen credit card to buy 180 Tampa Bay Devil Rays tickets, which they planned to scalp outside Tropicana Field.

    Noted Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel: "The mother of one of the mastermind criminals said her son doesn't really know much about baseball.

    "You think?"

    Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle, on new credit cards featuring your choice of NBA teams: "I don't know about you, but to me, nothing says success, prestige and financial security quite like a Golden State Warriors credit card."

    -- From wire reports

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