The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 2, 1998 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, April 2, 1998
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Page 21
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THURSDAY APRIL.fi, 10&6 THE SAL!NA JOURNAL Sports PRO FOOTBALL / D2 BASEBALL / D3 AUTO RACING / D4 D COMMENT T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL JIM LITKE The Associated Press Baseball is becoming super-sized • . The outline of what baseball will -look like in the next century is just coming into focus. Like everything else, some will like what they see, and some will be offended. • , Americans like their games big, and judging from opening day, the game is in the process of being super-sized. Baseball has expanded, again, adding two new teams. Payrolls are bloated, the hitters are more muscular, the new ballparks more lavish and so the price of everything inside them — from ^ouvenirs to nuts — is being inflated accordingly. But the entertainment value, at least on this day, was super-sized, too. „ In St. Louis, Mark McGwire set off in pursuit of Roger Maris' home run record in grand style, with a grand slam off Dodgers pitcher Ramon Martinez in front of a sellout crowd. The Cardinals won 6-0. ; In Seattle, Ken Griffey picked up Where he left off, too, clocking Indians starter Charles Nagy for a solo shot into the third deck in the ;fifth. So did the Mariners, who set a major league record last .season .'with 264 home runs. Unfortunately for the home team, the Mariners bullpen picked ; up where it left off, blowing anoth- ; "er save opportunity in a 10-9 loss. ;' - ( .! Things didn't go swimmingly for the new kids on the block, either. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, beaten 11-6 by the Tigers, needed a furious plinth-inning rally just to avoid setting the all-time record for the .worst loss by an expansion team on opening day. The Arizona Diamondbacks lost 9-2 to the Rockies, the seven-run deficit tying the Aforementioned mark. But at least the expansion teams have a future. Because of the economics that go along with a new stadium — sellouts and public funding — the Diamondbacks took the field Tuesday as the fifth-highest revenue-producing team in baseball, despite never having played a game. That makes them a contender, if not this year, then as . soon as enough free agents are . available for purchase. And there' in lies the problem. • Baseball, and perhaps all pro sports, are increasingly becoming a collection of haves and have- nots. Ballplayers cost money, and big ballplayers cost big money. Of the eight slots available in the postseason last year, five were 'claimed by the biggest spenders. : The last team standing, the Florida 'Marlins, had a payroll of nearly $54 million. Even before it was over, owner H. Wayne Huizenga decided that winning wasn't everything, or the only thing; more likely, he decided it was ego thing. But Huizenga had plenty of con- filiation — about $20 million ';5vorth. That was the amount he '-•Slashed from the payroll between the beginning of this season and ..last. His roster now features as many rookies as both of the expansion teams —14, including jiine of Florida's 12-man pitching t-|faff. But while the Marlins can Sgfobably compete with the new-comers on the field, without the .publicly funded ballpark Huizenga shamelessly lobbied for, he won't even try to compete at the bottom line. So it goes in plenty of other places. The loss of a big national TV contract means less shared revenue. Some teams can fill the void with income derived from new stadiums, or with local TV money or personal fortunes. 1' .Just as Ted Turner's wealth fi- • nally shored up the formerly hapless Braves, it's hard to imagine new Los Angeles owner Rupert Murdoch standing idly by while . fjie Dodgers' fortunes drift south. . But less than half the teams in the game seem ready, willing or able jiqr make the kind of commitment it ;$H11 require to remain competitive. * Those that can't will become toma- »$ cans or be forced to move. •V Worse still, the smarts that once ~4»$abled teams like Montreal and ^Jjjttsburgh to compete by finding Bargains are in even shorter sup- *jifr- .^.But maybe that's what opening JTgjjy is for — optimism. Unbridled, ,- unchallenged, and the bigger baseball grows, unlimited optimism. Ripken's grand slam sinks KG Royals denied first 2-0 start since 1979 as O's score five runs in first By DAVID GINSBURG Tlte Associated Press BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles bounced back from a rocky opening-day performance by reaching several milestones in a rout of the Kansas City Royals. Cal Ripken hit his eighth career grand slam, Scott Erickson earned his 100th career win and Lenny Webster enjoyed his first two-homer game in the majors Wednesday night as Baltimore coasted to a 10-1 victory. Ray Miller's first win as man- 1 ager of the Orioles was particularly sweet because it followed a 4-1 loss to the Royals in the season opener Tuesday. "Lenny's two home runs, Scotty's 100th and my first. That's real nice," Miller said. "Joe Carter told me before the game, 'Why don't you sit back and relax tonight? We'll make it easy for you.'" The Orioles did just that. Ripken's grand slam capped a five- run first inning that enabled Baltimore to blow past a Kansas City team looking to go 2-0 for the first time since 1979. "They came out with a little kill in their eyes today. They sent a message," Royals manager Tony Muser said. Baltimore also got a solo homer from Jeffrey Hammonds, but all that offense wasn't really needed because Erickson was extremely sharp in his 31st career complete game. The right-hander allowed four hits, struck out five and walked one to improve his major league record to 100-83. The sinkerballer got 18 groundball outs and the only run against him came on a homer by Dean Palmer in the second. Erickson didn't know about win No. 100 until after the game. "I forgot all about it," he said. "I guess it means you've been around a while and established yourself as halfway decent. It's nice, but it wasn't a goal tonight." Webster, his batterymate, wasn't looking to hit two home runs, either. Webster has been struggling with an inflamed right elbow and was concerned about whether he could get the ball out of the infield. Baltimore wasted little time against Royals left-hander Glendon Rusch. Singles by Roberto Alomar, Eric Davis and Rafael Palmeiro produced a run before Carter beat out a dribbler to load the bases for Ripken, who drove a 1-1 changeup into the left-field seats. The homer pushed Ripken ahead of Boog Powell into sole V COLLEGE FOOTBALL KU coach Terry Allen welcomes back 14 starters from last year's team that finished 5-6 in his first season. The difference between this spring and last spring for second-year Kansas coach ferry Allen is... File photo By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal AWRENCE — When Kansas football coach Terry Allen stepped on I the practice field Wednesday afternoon, he was on a first-name basis with nearly all of the 80-some Jay hawks in attendance. That may not seem like such a big deal, but it was to Allen, who didn't know Jamie from Justin or Chad from Charles a year ago when he entered his first spring as the Jayhawk head coach. Allen was just three months into his new job in April 1997, and had spent much of that on the road recruiting and naming his coaching staff. Allen welcomes back 14 returning starters and 44 lettermen from last year's 5-6 team that tied for fourth in the Big 12 North and has a much better idea of what his players can and can't do as the 3V»-week spring session began Wednesday. "The difference between this spring and last spring is like night and day," Allen said. "Last year, when we went into spring football practice, I'm N sure there were quite a few guys whose names I didn't know. And there were some players who didn't know all the names of the coaches. "The playbook was Greek to KANSAS JAYHAWKSAT-A-GLANCE HEAD COACH-Terry Allen (2nd year, 5-6). , 1997 RECORD - 5-6 overall; 3-5 Big 12 North (tie 4th), SPRING SCHEDULE—April 1,2, 4, e, e,», 11,13, K 15,18,20, •£2,23,25. ' ' ', ' -•- -,,-",".'„ SPRING SCRIMMAGES-April 11,18. ; SPRING GAME - April 25 in Lawrence (Memorial Stadium). RETURNING LETTERMEN (44) - Offense (27), defense (16), specialists (1), •'.,>:',>, ••>,:•> RETURNING STARTERS (14) - Offense (10), defense (3), special- Wo-PEEP DEPWCHART -^ 15 emigre, 13 juniors, 18 sophomores, 6 redsWrt freshmen. TEAM CAPTAINS^* — Quarterback Zac Wegner, free safety Michael Alle.0, Mwo others selected In fall, , We didn't get a lot accomplished last spring other than getting an opportunity to get to know each other. — Terry Allen KU coach all the players, and to be honest with you, we really didn't get a heckuva lot accomplished last spring other than getting an opportunity to get to know each other." Allen has two major goals heading into his second spring as the KU head coach: establishing a legitimate two-deep depth chart and do some experimenting. The depth chart given to the media before Wednesday's press conference was already outdated. "You can take it and kind of throw it out the window," Allen said, smiling. "We basically took it from the board after the end of the (1997) season. Our goals for spring ball is to come out of it with a two-deep that fits our personality, plus we do have some people who will be coming in the fall who we think can come in and compete for positions in the two-deep." As far as experimenting with the offensive and defensive schemes, Allen said there are some "pretty drastic changes" in the works. The KU coach is looking to implement a defense that will use man-to-man coverage in the secondary to get more people at the line of scrimmage to stop the run. "We're just trying to adapt more to the philosophy of this league," Allen said. "Once you go through it, you learn a little bit more about it. We want to try and get additional people to the line of scrimmage to defend against the rush." Coellner grades high Former Salina South High School star Chad Coellner graded extremely high during off- season workouts. The Jayhawk strong safety — now a 6-foot, 205-pound junior — was the only KU player to finish in the top three of four athletic contests. "We're talking about the 10- yard dash, the vertical jump, the change of direction agility drill and the 40-yard dash," See KU, Page D3 possession of second place on the team's career list of grand slams. It was his 371st home run, push' ing him past Gil Hodges into 40th place on baseball's career list. '. "Cal Ripken has been arouiid a long time. It's obvious that he can't turn on a quality major league fastball," Muser said. "Sol don't see the sense in throwing him a changeup and speeding his bat up." i Hammonds led off the fourth by hitting an 0-2 pitch over the wall in center, and Webster followed with a shot to left for a 7-1 lead. Rusch was charged with seven runs and nine hits in four-plus innings. A pair of Kansas City errors 0n- abled the Orioles to score two! unearned runs in the sixth. T COLLEGE BASEBALL Newman takes two fromKWU Walks, four fielding errors cost Wesleyan in home losses to Jets By BOB DAVIDSON ', The Salina Journal ? • Kansas Wesleyan coach Tim Bellew had no problem with.his team's effort against powerful Kansas Newman. The Coyotes' execution was' another matter. : "We made the effort, but you've got to make the plays if you expect ».«•.«*. iV > to beat a team BASEBALL Hke that/ , Newman 13 7 Bellew said Wesleyan 2 4 Wednesday * night following the Coyotes' 13-2 and 7-4 losses to the Jets at Evans Stadium. It was Newman's third and fourth victories of the season over Wesleyan (4-11). "They're a good club and I'm not taking anything away from them. But when you make two wild pick- off throws and drop pop ups, you aren't going to win," Bellew said. "Walks hurt us in the fjrst game. They thrashed us in Wichita and I think we had a little too much respect for their hitters." Newman, which lost to Wichita State 22-3 Tuesday, parlayed nine walks and three home runs, two by designated hitter Will Jarrett, in romping to victory in the opener. Jarrett drove in seven runs, including a grand slam that highlighted a six-run fourth inning.-He hit a three-run shot in the fifth 1 . Mike Taylor had two hits and an RBI for Wesleyan, which had five hits. Starting pitcher Chris Spencer took the loss. '; Jeff Topping's three-run homer in the sixth inning off reliever David Gardner broke a 4-4 tie in the nightcap. Gardner was summoned to face Topping in relief of Aaron Figel. Newman's two base runners reached on an error and walk. Wesleyan committed four errors in the game. ;."; "That was a clutch two-out, two- strike hit," Newman coach Paul Sanagorski said of Topping's blast. Newman starter Ed Ferry walked the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth, but reliever Sean Sweitzer pitched out of the jam. "Sean throws strikes and keeps the ball down," Sanagorski said. "We needed ground balls and-he got three (one a sacrifice bunt);" Sweitzer also retired three consecutive batters in the seventh to get the save. The loss went to Figel, who gave up four runs, three of them unearned. Taylor and Greg Lamkin had two hits each for Wesleyan. "We're 4-11, yet I still think we've got a pretty good club," Bellew said. "We're just waiting to explode. We did a good job against good pitching tonight. It's just a matter of time before it happens." Wesleyan opens Kansas Conference play today with a doubleheader at Ottawa. The games were rained out Tuesday. The Coyotes play Friends at 1 p.m., Saturday at Evans Stadium. IN TOMORROW'S JOURNAL • ALL-COUNTY: The All-Saline County basketball teams/ Page G1 SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavld8on@saljournal.com

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