fanfare 12/18

Friday, November 1, 2002


  • Paul Byrd, who managed to win 17 games for a Kansas City Royals team that lost 100 in 2002, is latest good player to escape Kauffman Stadium. Byrd signed a two-year, $10 million deal with Atlanta on Tuesday, a move that's certain to further demoralize long-suffering Royals fans. Byrd was 17-11 last season with a 3.90 ERA for Kansas City.

    Newly acquired Jeremy Giambi agreed to a one-year contract with Boston on Tuesday as the Red Sox pursued their strategy of signing players to short-term deals.


  • Michael Jordan contends in court papers that the woman seeking $5 million from him agreed to take $250,000 to keep their relationship quiet once tests determined he did not father her child. The basketball star is suing Karla Knafel to keep her from collecting on an alleged extortion attempt. Knafel and her lawyer have countered that Jordan agreed to pay $5 million for her silence so he could protect his image.

    Robert Johnson, the billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television, has been chosen as owner of the NBA's new Charlotte expansion franchise, The Associated Press learned Tuesday night.


  • Nate Burleson will give up a chance to again lead the nation in receiving and will leave Nevada to enter the NFL draft. The 6-foot-2, 187-pound senior led the nation in receptions (11.5) and was second in yardage (135.8). Burleson said Tuesday that he made the "very tough decision" over the last few weeks with the help of family and friends.

    Oklahoma State coach Les Miles has agreed to a contract extension, ending rumors that he was in the running for the Alabama job. The university would not provide details of the agreement, but spokesman Steve Buzzard said it was a long-term contract that Miles "is comfortable with, and that is competitive within the Big 12 Conference."

    Carson Palmer had quite an audience for his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech. Saturday night's award ceremony drew a 3.09 cable rating on ESPN, a 67 percent increase from last year. It's the highest rating for the event since ESPN began televising it in 1994. More than 2.6 million households tuned in.


  • Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington was released from the hospital after undergoing a procedure to repair an abnormal heart rhythm. Dr. Claudio Schuger, director of clinical cardiac electrophysiology at Henry Ford Hospital, said Harrington's heart is structurally sound.


  • A judge ruled Tuesday against a media company that sued the PGA Tour for the right to sell the tour's real-time scoring to other media outlets. Morris Communications, which owns The Florida Times-Union and The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, said it would appeal the 34-page summary judgment.


  • Henry "Hank" Arft, a first baseman for the old St. Louis Browns under owner and celebrated maverick huckster Bill Veeck, has died. Arft, who after his playing days joined his wife's family funeral home business, died Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 80. Arft played for the old Browns American League club, one of two St. Louis baseball teams that shared Sportsman's Park. He played from 1948-52 as a "routine, nondescript major leaguer," said Bob Broeg, retired St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports editor and Baseball Hall of Fame sportswriter.

    Edmonton Oilers founder Bill Hunter died Monday at 82. Born in Saskatchewan, he spent 65 years as a coach, owner and promoter. Hunter, known in Canada as "Wild Bill," also fought for Britain in World War II, flying in the RAF's International Squadron.


    Franchione sure bobbled this move

    It sounded like such a good idea at the time, but Dennis Franchione bobblehead dolls in Alabama are now about as practical as ice-cube trays on the Titanic.

    "We thought it'd make the perfect Christmas gift for people," said Daniel Hopper, Crimson Tide marketing director for athletics, explaining why he ordered up 5,000 replicas of the football coach.

    Unfortunately for bobblehead sales, Franchione, who wowed Alabamans by going 10-3 this season, quickly angered the masses by bolting for Texas A&M.

    "Chalk it up to bad luck," Hopper told the Birmingham Post-Herald. "They were very hot when they came out. It's kind of gone by the wayside now."

    Hopper says he can recoup his production costs if he can sell 1,000 of his remaining 4,500 for $15 each.

    Maybe, to get sales going again, Bobblehead Dennis should make like Barbie and accessorize -- adding something like, say, voodoo pins.

    -- From wire reports

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