FanFare 12/19/02

Friday, November 1, 2002


  • The two fans who claimed ownership of Barry Bonds' record 73rd home run ball were ordered by a judge Wednesday to sell the ball and split the money, worth perhaps more than $1 million. Bonds' homer came on the last day of the regular season in October 2001, setting off a long court battle. Since then, the ball has been locked in legal limbo and a safe-deposit box. Judge Kevin McCarthy said that Alex Popov, who gloved the ball for an instant, and Patrick Hayashi, who ended up with the ball, have a legitimate claim and neither should get the ball outright.

    Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras can start contract talks with all major league teams after being declared a free agent Wednesday by the commissioner's office. Contreras has established residency in Nicaragua, and the commissioner's office notified all teams that they could negotiate with the right-hander.


  • The Nuggets, Rockets and 76ers agreed to a three-way trade Wednesday that sends James Posey to Houston, Kenny Thomas to Philadelphia and Mark Bryant and Art Long to Denver. Denver also gets a future first-round draft choice from Philadelphia and a second-round pick from the Rockets. Posey was second on the Nuggets in scoring, averaging 14.1 points. He will give the Rockets another offensive player to complement Steve Francis, Cuttino Motley and Yao Ming. The 76ers upgraded their talent at power forward, where Bryant and Long were receiving little playing time behind Keith Van Horn and Brian Skinner.

    Miami Heat coach Pat Riley was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for saying game officials are being unfair to his team because of a "dislike of me over the years." Riley made the comments after a 97-92 loss to the New York Knicks last week.


  • St. Louis is on the short list for upcoming versions of basketball nirvana -- the NCAA Final Fours for both men and women, NCAA officials said Wednesday. The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee chose six finalists for Final Fours in 2008-2011. The Division I Women's Basketball Committee chose seven finalists for Final Fours for an unspecified number of years beginning in 2008. In both cases, the committees will evaluate the finalists this winter and spring. Winning sites will be announced in late June.

    Alabama hired Washington State's Mike Price as its new football coach, ending a two-week search for someone to guide the Crimson Tide through NCAA sanctions. "I feel we have hired an outstanding person as well as an excellent football coach," athletic director Mal Moore said in a statement posted on Alabama's Web site Wednesday.

    Tulsa hired Buffalo Bills assistant Steve Kragthorpe as its head coach. Kragthorpe will replace Keith Burns, who resigned under pressure Dec. 2 after winning just two games in the last two seasons, university spokesman Don Tomkalski said Wednesday. Kragthorpe has coached Buffalo's quarterbacks for two seasons.

    Longtime defensive coordinator Bill Doba was hired Wednesday as football coach at Washington State following Mike Price's departure for Alabama. The 62-year-old Doba has never been a college head coach. He was the last remaining member of the original staff Price hired when he arrived at Washington State in 1989.

    Louisville's John L. Smith will talk with Michigan State about its football coaching vacancy today. Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said Wednesday night that he granted permission for Spartans officials to talk with Smith.


  • Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick was suspended for two games by the NHL on Wednesday for his hit on Dallas Stars center Mike Modano. Roenick checked Modano hard in the first period, knocking him out of Tuesday night's game. Modano had scored in the first minute.


  • Pete Sampras plans to play in 2003, after skipping the Australian Open. The 31-year-old Sampras had left open the possibility that he might quit tennis after winning his record 14th Grand Slam tournament title at the U.S. Open in September. "I'm just going to see how it goes, just kind of ride the wave and see how far it takes me," Sampras told the Los Angeles Times for a story published Tuesday.

    Tennis players must take random blood tests to check for the banned endurance-enhancing substance EPO starting next month. The plan to test for EPO -- short for erythropoieten, which raises the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood -- was presented to players at Wimbledon last summer.

    -- From wire reports

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