The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on April 16, 1992 · Page 25
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 25

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Des Moines, Iowa
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Thursday, April 16, 1992
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Page 25
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w Eljc Hcfl Jflotncs Be qistcr DAVID WITKE, Executive Sports Editor, 515-284-8130 Fred Brown Times Two Both Iowa, Iowa State sign Fred Brown Jr. to basketball letters of intent Page 3$ Thursday, April 16, 1992 Pto appsars on O-Cutos' new hou -v r s t i ' Marc Hansen Sec Taylor's new identity ,', mti or those planning to attend the , fif first ballgame in the new and ; B vastly improved Sec Taylor Stadium, a word of warning. ; If it looks like wet paint it probably is. Steer clear. You don't want to ruin ' that new opening night outfit. In realitv. when thev throw out the in at uaii buiiigiii.) nit pan Ik oiivsiiiu - dry. But you never know. This has been the great rush job, the frantic sixth-month race to renovate the old ballpark at the fork in the "rivers. fl DannifotA? JJmrct wrtrA TViat'o Vira liuiuvawi lung nuiu inuta hiw ''rallinfl Dnn I. arson's nprfppt Wnrlrt J Series game a shutout. This wasn't a mere face lift or turn- ''mii fusilr Tl-iio urao a urhnla now iHanfi- 1 1 1 j vutiVi i ilia nwn itiivi nvn iuv,iiu ty. This was a transformation out of '"'the witness protection program. I " And all in six months. It took work ers 16 months to complete the new -v. 10,000-seat park in Birmingham. r. The Des Moines construction crew double-shifted its way through New Sec in almost a third the time. l Twentv-four hours before opening ; day, the crew was still double-shifting :' its way toward the deadline. 1 1 ' Finally, the job is a wrap. Almost. i' Tonight at 7. the sparkling new Daii- :;park will be ready for baseball; but it This wasn't a mere face lift or tummy tuck. This was out of the witness protection program. might be a few more weeks before the 'place is ready for a huge photo spread in Better Homes and Ballparks. ' Let's put it this way. If this were a new $11.5 million family home, the owners wouldn't be throwing a house-warming party quite yet. They'd still be unpacking boxes and , trying to find the bath towels. j i. Twenty-four hours before opening - night, men in white hard hats were "scurrying to and fro like worker ants. They were carrying light fixtures, cleaning windows, laying sod, moving earth, hoisting picnic tables, doing , every odd job known to human. As of Wednesday night, New Sec was Loose Ends Stadium. A week ago, however, the loose ; ends were a lot looser and a lot more 1 plentiful. A week ago, the parking lot ( jooked more like a lagoon and the job . looked 10 weeks from completion. ,, who spent the better part of the past i two seasons enduring tne oia lire irap . from third base. 1 . . . i tit j i i - l ,,, unvmgto worK weanesaay, neaiiu pitcher Laaaie itemroe neany swerved off the road when New Sec tame into view. "I friM I nAAia tarhrta " Crrantfp eniH This can't be the place. Wow. This ' isn't anything like I expected." Even the newcomers were impressed. Turk Wendell, the I-Cubs' 1 resident free spirit, said it reminded him of the new park in Charlotte. "It's really nice," he said. "I'm going to like playing here." ' How often have you heard that confession from a triple-A player with major-league ambitions? All the players who endured the dim arc lights, ' the cramped dressing rooms and the flooded dugouts of old, old Sec should see the place now. Even the temporary bleachers in the right-field corner, a point of contention, look as if they belong. , On close inspection, the outfield wall is a disgrace. An $1 1 million ballpark with an 11 -cent wall. Holes, warped boards. The big bad wolf wouldn't need to huff and puff to blow it down. A swift swing and miss could knock it over. The Cub Club restaurant, once an architectural high point, looks like a nondescript little hamburger stand in its bright new surroundings. Other than that, who could complain? Wendell likes the place so much he's talking about moving in next door in the little historical log cabin on First Street. .. "Don't laugh," said a teammate. "He's serious." Of course he is. Fort Des Moines No. 2, billed as the "Birthplace of Des Moines," has some great features. The perfect starter home for the starting pitcher. Fireplace, loft, a 5-minute walk to the mound. A roof over his head. On Wednesday, workers could have used a dome. When a pounding rain storm slashed through the grounds, they hurried for cover. " "At least we'll find out whether the roof leaks," said one of the workers. And not a moment too soon. Iowa catcher Pedre will miss tonight's game at new Sec Taylor Stadium because he has the chicken pox. By RANDY PETERSON Rkuistkk Staff Wkitkk Not all of the Iowa Cubs will stand along the third-base line tonight for the ceremony that goes along with every home opening baseball game, new stadium or not. Catcher Jorge Pedre will have to experience the first game at new Sec Taylor Stadium from bed at his 4 DOUG WELUSTlIK RFX5ISTF.R Brad Mills suits up as the new manager for the league managerial record is 332-294. The Iowa Cubs during spring training. His minor- Cubs play their home opener tomght. FromUNLVtoNBA Tarkanian hired as coach of Spurs LuNA.tMiEIJWTl.MKN San Antonio, Texas Jerry Tarkanian, 61 years old and ready for another challenge, left 32 years of college basketball behind for the NBA on Wednesday when he became coach of the San Antonio Spurs. Tarkanian, best known for a 19-year stint at Nevada-Las Vegas that resulted in the if Tarkanian 'We'll run" best winning percentage in college basketball and numerous brushes with the NCAA, will take over at the end of the season. That means Bob Bass, the Spurs' vice president of basketball operations, will continue as interim coach through the playoffs, though Tarkanian is expected to help. "We hope to come in and get the running game going and maybe make the Spurs the Runnin' Spurs " Tarkanian said. "We're going to be a running team. "There's tremendous potential here. I know these players (from college), and I like these players." Tarkanian had grown increas I'sAi Des Moines apartment. He has the chicken pox. "What a way to start out the home season," Manager Brad Mills said Wednesday afternoon. "Hopefully he's the only one." Mills said Pedre first noticed spots on his feet before Tuesday's game at Indianapolis. He played, driving in the winning run in a 6-5 victory. "But he was just covered when he woke up (Wednesday) morning," Mills said. "We had to quarantine him right away." It was so bad that pitching coach Rick Kranitz drove Pedre to Des Moines from Indianapolis out of . fear of spreading the illness on the commercial airplane. hut-' '. i:ir"r ingly fond of the NBA in recent weeks since becoming a television commentator for Los Angeles Clippers broadcasts, so his decision to join the pro ranks was not that big of a surprise. That he landed in San Antonio, however, is. Texas Coach Tom Penders, a favorite of Spurs owner Red McCombs, had been mentioned often as a candidate to replace Larry Brown. The decision to go with someone without NBA experience brings questions about the transition to a game with 24-second clocks, 20-second timeouts and a schedule that, including playoffs, is as much as three times longer than college. And that doesn't even get into the difference in players' attitudes. If this was a concern for McCombs, it didn't show. "This is a significant step for our franchise," he said. "Jerry Tarkan-ian's coaching record is unequaled. But to me. equally important, is the fact that Coach Tark really wanted to coach this team." Said Tarkanian: "The rules are different, but not that much different." The Spurs' players were upbeat. "It's a good feeling. I'm happy for Tark," said Sidney Green, a for-mer Rebel. i Tonight's game will be televised by Heritage Cablevision on channel 32 in Des Moines. The Cubs anticipate a record crowd tonight to witness not only the baptismal of the new stadium but one of the hottest teams in the American Association. As of Wednesday night, only 500 general admission tickets remained for the 7:05 p.m. game against Louisville. That means a crowd of at least 10,000, far exceeding the single-game record 9,167 on July 12, -1986. The Cubs enter tonight's game with a 4-2 record, a game behind - : -r:' f Morning Marinovich rebuts report There was no official comment Wednesday concerning an ESPN report a day .. earlier that Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich had flunked an NFL drug test after the Raiders lost to Kansas City in last vear's AFC i Marinovich On drugs? wild-card game. Tom Condon, Marinovich's agent, said, "Todd told me he hasn't tested positive for anything." Tyson has new home Mike Tyson was assigned to serve his rape sentence at the Indiana Youth Center, where he can earn $ 1 .25 a day on work detail. Switch to five-player The Siouxland Conference will switch to five-player girls' basketball next season. Siouxland members are Ok-oboji, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, Sibley-Ocheyedan. Maurice-Orange City-Floyd Valley, Rock Rapids Central Lyon, Inwood West Lyon, Sioux Center, George-Little Rock, Boyden-Hull and Rock Valley. Oklahoma City in the Western Division. Indianapolis leads the Eastern Division at 4-2. Jeff Hartsock will be Iowa's starting pitcher, opposing former Cub Paul Kilgus. "Right now, the key to this team has been pitching and defense," said second baseman Doug Strange. "The pitchers are throwing strikes and we're making the plays behind them." The pitching staff is fourth in the American Association with a team earned-run average of 3.81. Another strength has been the hitting of Strange, who is among the league leaders with a .421 batting average. Mills' return took odd twist As an I-Cubs player in 1986 he injured his knee. The Chicago Cubs offered him a shot at managing. Now he . skippers his old team. By RANDY PETERSON Rroistkr Staff Writkr Brad Mills vowed a return to baseball after severely injuring his right knee in a freak base-running accident early in the 1986 season. In this age of reconstructive surgery, it was hard to envision being washed up. Especially at only 29 years of age. Mills came back, but it wasn't what he had in mind as he was saying farewell to the surgeon who mended his knee. He returned as a manager, his most-recent assignment with the Iowa Cubs, the team for which he played when he had his . playing career-ending injury. When Mills donned his Iowa uniform during spring training for the first time since the injury, he said his thoughts immediately returned to that dreaded night in Oklahoma City. At the time, he had hoped to return to the Chicago Cubs as a utility infielder. As the night game began, Mills and Steve Hammond were standing in the on-deck circle watching the opposing pitcher warm up when an idea struck Hammond. "He said if one of us got a hit off the guy, the other one had to buy a steak dinner," Mills said. "I said 'sure.' " Mills figured he had a chance when Hammond struck out, and sure enough, he hit the first pitch off the right-field wall for a double. "I was laughing at (Hammond) by the time I got to second base," Mills said. "He had to buy me a steak dinner." But that was the last laugh Mills had that night. Trey Brooks took a strike, then hit the next pitch to the second baseman. Report Scores I AMERICAN LEAGUE BASEBALL Boston 6 Baltimore 5 Chicago 6 Seattle 0 Detroit 8 Cleveland 1 Milwaukee 7 Minnesota 4 Oakland 10 Kansas City 6 Texas 3 California 2 Toronto 2 New York 0 NATIONAL LEAGUE BASEBALL Cincinnati 3 Atlanta 1 Houston 5 Los Angeles 4 New York 7 Philadelphia 2 Pittsburgh 7 Chicago 2 St Louis 4 Montreal 2 San Diego 5 San Francisco 3 NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Atlanta 95 New York 94 Boston 92 Detroit 89 Charlotte 115 Cleveland 107 Denver HQ L A Lakers 107 Orlando 102 Philadelphia 99 Portland 100 Dallas 94 Utah 130 Houston 98 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Boston 4 Montreal 4 Calgary 4 San Jose 3 Hartford 4 Philadelphia 3 N Y Islanders 7 New Jersey 0 Pittsburgh 4 Washington 1 Quecec 4 Buffalo 3 Toronto 4 NY Rangers 2 Quote of the Day Duke and I hat something in common. Both of us like the word 'repeat'" President Bush, who met the NCAA basketball champs Wednesday. Duke is the first team in 1 9 years to win back-to-ack NCAA men's titles.. "I feel extremely confident at the plate," said Strange, one of 13 Iowa players on the 40-man roster of the parent Chicago Cubs. "I don't feel like I'm in any kind of groove yet, but I'm getting my hits. "But to be hitting this well this early is fairly new to me. I usually start out slow." Another hot hitter is left fielder Derrick May, who has a .364 average and two home runs, two shy of last year's total. He also had one homer after being promoted to the Chicago Cubs. The homestand continues through Tuesday. The I-Cubs open a three-game series against Indianapolis at 2 p.m. Sunday. "The hit was sinking around the guy's knees," said Mills, who stood frozen, 3 feet from second base. "If the ball was going to hit the ground, I was going to take off for third. If he caught it, I was going to get back to second." As the second baseman nonchalantly caught the ball, Mills leisurely began returning to second base. "Then out of nowhere, the shortstop, Dave Owen, came running hard to the bag," he said. "I jumped back to the bag, but my body was going toward center (field) and my foot was going toward right field. When I hit, my weight twisted the knee and sheared everything in it." Mills had become a victim of two of the most-feared words in baseball torn ligaments. "I think I could have come back from it, but I would have wound up missing almost two years and the Cubs didn't want that," Mills said. . "They didn't feel the timing was right for me to miss almost two years out of my career, so they offered me a chance to be a manager." Mills' new career has included stints at Wytheville (Va.) of the Appalachian League, Charleston (S.C.) of the South Atlantic League, Peoria (111.) of the Midwest League and Winston-Salem (N.C.) of the Carolina League. His managerial record is 332-294. Mills, 35, is the second-youngest manager of an Iowa team since triple-A baseball returned to Des Moines in 1969, and the first who has jumped from Class A to the highest level of the minor leagues. Only Tony La Russa, who was 34 when he managed the Iowa Oaks in 1979, was younger. Mills' Class A team at Winston-Salem last season had an 83-57 record. "Brad has had five years of minor-league experience, and he has had success not only from a won-lost standpoint, but also a development standpoint," said Bill Harford, director of minor-league operations for MILLS Please turn to Page 2S Gold medalist Ereng to run Relays' 800 By BUCK TURNBULL RwiLsTRR Staff Writer Olympic gold medalist Paul Er-eng's entry Wednesday added more luster to the special events that will headline next week's Drake Relays. Ereng, a former Virginia runner from Kenya, is starting a last hurrah on the track circuit before defending his Olympic 800-meter championship this summer in Barcelona, Spain. "Ereng called to tell me this will be his last time around and he really wants to go after our record," said Drake Relays Director Bob Ehrhart. "He said if I'll get somebody in the race who will pull him through a fast opening quarter, he'll do the rest," Ehrhart said. "So I'll do my best to come up w ith a good field." Ereng, a two-time NCAA outdoor . champion, has won three consecutive Drake Relays 800 titles, but each time he's been well off the meet mark of 1 minute 45.86 seconds set by Iowan Randy Wilson in 1978. Ereng's best in the Drake Relays was 1 :46.76 last year. He has a personal best of 1:43.16. Ereng still trains with Virginia's runners, and the Cavaliers are planning to bring full men's and women's teams for the first time.

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