Play opens May 21
Concern about the swine flu has caused a Golden Baseball League team from Mexico to cancel its season, forcing the new Tucson Toros to try to fill six home dates and six road games.
The Tijuana Potros, also an expansion team in the independent league, were scheduled to visit Hi Corbett Field on June 23-25 and July 7-9. The Toros were set to visit Tijuana on May 26-28 and June 5-7.
Toros owner Jay Zucker said he would look for other opportunities to fill the lost dates, such as exhibitions or fantasy camps.
Mexican soccer teams have banned fans from attending recent games because of the flu epidemic, which has killed 44 people in the country and two in the United States.
As a result, the Tijuana team couldn’t risk launching its season with uncertainty about sponsors, ticket sales and stadium availability.
“We weren’t worried about our players being infected,” Zucker said. “The league just felt it couldn’t wait any longer” for the concerns to subside with the season only two weeks away.
The Toros, who now have 38 home games set, begin their season May 21 against the Chico Outlaws at Hi Corbett.
With Tijuana out, the league is down to nine teams.
Tucson will be in the South Division with Yuma, St. George (Utah) and Orange County (Calif.).
The North Division will feature Edmonton, Calgary and Victoria from Canada and Chico and Long Beach from California.
Tijuana plans to return to the league next season, team president Jose Manuel Peña said in a statement.
“We know this will pass and the Potros will be ready for next year,” he said, “but realize the timing of this natural disaster has left us with no other choice.”
Ex-Sun Devil suing NCAA
Former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller is suing the NCAA and its video-game partner, EA Sports, claiming they’ve gone too far in using the likenesses of college players who are prohibited from sharing in the games’ profits.
The class-action suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in California, claims the games make illegal use of football and basketball players’ names – through the download of team rosters – and unidentified but scarcely hidden likenesses and that the NCAA condones the practice in violation of its own rules.
EA Sports, the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Co., the Georgia-based marketing firm that represents the NCAA, “deliberately and systematically misappropriate players’ likenesses to increase revenues and royalties at the expense of student athletes,” says the suit, filed on behalf of every football and basketball player on an opening-game roster whose jersey number appeared in an EA game.
It asks for a jury trial. No damages are specified.
BoSox titles tainted?
BOSTON – Manny Ramirez hit cleanup on the Red Sox’s two championship teams this decade. Some of his teammates on those clubs say his suspension for using a banned substance won’t tarnish those titles.
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I don’t feel like our ’07 season was tainted,” Mike Lowell said Thursday night. “This is still a 25-man team.”
Ramirez was MVP of Boston’s World Series sweep of St. Louis that gave the Red Sox their first championship in 86 years in 2004. He also had one of his best seasons that year, hitting .308 with 43 homers and 130 RBIs.
“It’s not like we wouldn’t be the world champions if, whatever this is that’s going on,” 2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia said. “I don’t think it tarnishes any of that stuff.”
Thursday, Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Several Red Sox players said they didn’t know if he used such substances when he played for Boston from 2001 until he was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trading deadline last July.
“I have no idea,” said Lowell, the MVP of the 2007 World Series against Colorado.
“He’s a phenomenal hitter and I never saw anything, so I defer to asking Manny that question.”
The Associated Press
Dophins renaming stadium
MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins are renaming their home Landshark Stadium as part of a partnership with singer Jimmy Buffett.
The name change from Dolphin Stadium is the fifth since the stadium opened in 1987. Buffett’s Margaritaville enterprise includes Landshark Lager, brewed by Anheuser-Busch.
Buffett and new Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are friends. They plan to unveil a new logo for the stadium at a private event Friday, where Buffett will perform a song inspired by the Dolphins.
The Associated Press
Bike race coming to Colo.?
DENVER – Lance Armstrong wants to bring bicycle racing back to Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter said Thursday.
Ritter said Armstrong, who has a home in Aspen and has trained in the area, called him to discuss the proposal.
“He has this idea and he’s working on it from his end. There is some possibility we could bring it back,” Ritter said.
Armstrong is in Italy for the Giro d’Italia race.
A posting on his Twitter page on Wednesday said, “Had a great conversation with Governor Ritter from Colorado. Working on something. Stay tuned . . .”
Colorado had a stage race in the 1970s and ’80s known first as the Red Zinger Classic and later the Coors Classic, which grew to include two weeks of racing in California, Nevada and Colorado – with stages some years in Hawaii and Wyoming – and was considered one of the biggest stage races in the world.
It last ran in 1988.
The Associated Press
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Runs scored by the Diamondbacks, the No. 31 mark of 32 teams this year. How Arizona ranks in other offensive categories.
Batting average .222 (32)
Hits .207 (32)
RBIs 97 (31)
Doubles 54 (11)
Home runs 30 (12)
On base percentage .297 (32)
Slugging percentage .385 (27)
> Chico (Calif.) at Tucson, 7 p.m. May 21, Hi Corbett Field
> Tickets: 325-1010
ON THIS DATE
1968: Jim “Catfish” Hunter of the Oakland A’s pitches a perfect game, beating the Minnesota Twins 4-0. It is the first perfect game in the American League regular season in 46 seasons.
1970: Walt Frazier scores 36 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 113-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA championship in seven games.
1984: On the day the Olympic torch relay begins, the Soviet Union announces it will not take part in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
The Associated Press
Ramirez couldn’t dodge drug test
Re: Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez suspended
• Major League Baseball was once a great sport. In recent years it has become a sad shadow of the past. OCOTILLOSUNSET
• Whatever happened to sports for the sake of the game? This is why people are not into sports anymore. The players are spoiled doper brats that play for the paycheck and not for the fans and just the pureness of having fun playing a game. JETMECH
• It’s high time, these “pretty boys” and pseudo “hip-hoppers” step up and really pay attention to any substance they take or are given, and play the game as it is a true sport of ability and ethics. Cheating sucks and those who engage in it are suckers! POPS
• As a Dodger fan this is not good, but . . . Manny is not the smartest person out there but he should have checked it out with a team doctor. DJQ32
By USA Today, Mike Chesnick