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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • 29

Publication:
Chicago Tribunei
Location:
Chicago, Illinois
Issue Date:
Page:
29
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

Sunday, March 4, 2001 Section 3 1 71 SZ. E. Illinois wins at buzzer, gets NCAA bid. Page 4. Bears lose Perry (right) to Dolphins.

Page 11, Penwick girls top Neuqua for state title. Back Page. UCLA: Skip Bayless In the wake of the news Almost. I-ih Mi it rtiTwr imri tt I.WU.B,,.WXUJ..IL....UI 1,1.1. ...1...

UL.UI.J. rrw but not quite No. 1 Stanford clinches title Ok -r 1 I Baylor determined to teach Cubs pain-gain formula He's there every morning, for the entire hour, in the second or third row of Cubs. He does every excruciating contortion his players are pushed to do. For a 51-year-old bear of a man, all neck and chest and biceps, this is seam-ripping torture.

At times it almost looks as if Don Baylor is trying to give birth. In a way, he is. He is trying to summon all his war-horse will, all his playoff and World Series history in Baltimore, California, Boston, Minnesota, Oakland, Colorado and Atlanta, and give birth to a belief no manager ever has been able to instill at Wrigley Field. Baylor is trying to convince the Chicago Cubs, baseball's poison ivy, they can become lovable winners. Imagine Baylor about to grapple with an opponent that outweighs him by 93 years.

For once you don't like his chances. It's as if every Cub fan was born in i908, the last time the team won a World Series. Ever since, a nationwide cult has grown by the blown lead. To join, one need only expect the worst and revel in losing, the more excruciating, the better. There will be joy in Dudville if mighty Baylor strikes out.

1 Baylor seethes at this tradition. Baylor knows it seeps into the psyches of players who come to the Cubs believing in ghosts and curses and ivy-strangled history that tightens around their throats every time they pick up a paper or flip on a sports-cast. Baylor has been part of winning nearly everywhere he played, coached or managed. Just lucky? No, his intimidating presence and feel for winning also contributed to his amazing resume. So Don Edward Baylor figured, by sheer force of 250-pound will, he could stare down Cub history last year, his first as manager.

He had no idea what he was up against. Baylor admits he "got fooled" by his bullpen through a rose-colored spring. Baylor, one of only 12 players to hit 250 or more homers and steal 250 or more bases, By Sam Farmer Los Angeles Times LOS ANGELES UCLA's basketball team lost Saturday for the first time in nine games, and as the players shuffled out of Pauley Pavilion, the 85-79 defeat by No. 1 Stanford still Stanford 85 fresh in their minds, it was UCLA 79 clear they were missing something. Anger, frustration and self-doubt.

Fans who might normally be calling for coach Steve Lavin's head were lining up to get a snapshot with him after the game. Those tears Earl Watson wiped away stemmed from sentiment, nothing more. He played in his last game at Pauley and is a week away from becoming the first UCLA player to start every game for four years. In the locker room there was more hope than heartache. "That was probably like a Final Four game," guard Billy Knight said.

"It's good we got to play the No. 1 team twice. That's going to make us more prepared for when we get to the NCAA tournament." The Bruins might be better pre- See Stanford, Page 5 Tribune photos by Stacey Wescott Rudy Cisneros, 19, works out at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. 0 wilt Making the 2004 oi their live Olympic team is a goal, but 3 Chicago boxers training on a college campus are also striving for a brighter future.

By Michael Hirsley Tribune Staff Writer they came to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to escape, images as frozen as the paths beneath their feet. For Cisneros, 19, whose father and mother work different shifts at the same toolmaking company, it is the many days of "never seeing my parents home at the same time." His fa-, ther leaves for his job only a few hours after his mother gets home from hers at 2 a.m., he said. For Tafoya, 18, who wears a gleaming chain and cross around his neck in memory of the man who gave it to him, it is the day he went along when his uncle, Armando Garcia, picked up his last paycheck from a Chicago plant he left to return to North Carolina. "We were standing by a window looking down at his co- MARQUETTE, Mich. On the snow-gripped campus of Northern Michigan University, three Chicago boxers train long hours in the gym and weight room and run with teammates in predawn darkness at the frigid brink of Lake Superior.

Rudy Cisneros, Anthony Stewart and Francisco Tafoya are chasing their dreams of becoming Olympians. But there is much more at stake. They struggle with the absence of comforting family and friends from their old neighborhoods. But those neighborhoods have also fueled them with harsh memories of what Tribune photo by Charles Cherney Baseball America ranks Sox rookie Joe Borchard No. 23 in its latest list of top prospects.

Bonus baby takes 1st steps with Sox -l. Featherweight Francisco Tafoya, 18, takes an art class at NMU but is a full-time student at Marquette High School. Al Mitchell (above) supervises their boxing instruction. Sef, Boxing, Page 10 took another beating when he spoke openly about helping turn Sammy Sosa into the complete player Sosa's idol, Roberto Clemente, was. Sosa sulked.

Through a hopeless second half of the season Sosa gave fans what they crave: photo-album homers in a losing cause. Sosa won. Baylor lost. Through September, as Baylor's Cubs fell toward 65-97, his constant thought while mumbling through post-loss interviews was: "It's expected for the Cubs to lose. But that will change." Forty-one major-and minor-leaguers who opened camp with Baylor a year ago are gone.

Forty-one, including Mark Grace, who taught so many young Cubs how to lose gracefully Baylor wanted to "change the face" of the Cubs. Second baseman Eric Young is moving into Grace's locker and leadership role. Young, who played college football at Rutgers, plays baseball the way Baylor manages it. "E.Y." attacks. Now Baylor is trying to insulate high-strikeout Sosa with contact hitters and base-stealers.

This way Sammy can do his thing while Baylor does his, starting runners, pressuring the defense, making things happen instead of letting them. But Baylor's most risky and perhaps desperate move was giving old friend Mack Newton the first hour and 15 minutes of every spring-training day. Newton is one of the most impressive men Baylor knows, a tall, powerful seventh-degree martial artist who began his first-day presentation by "breaking a couple of bricks" just to show big-leaguers he won't take any guff, even at 52. Newton is a fitness evangelist who stretches the mind as he does the body. His remarkably grueling yoga-like session, usually done to gentle music, is followed by a 15-minute talk on some aspect of why teams win.

Participant Baylor believes this shared pain promotes "mental toughness and team ty." He's especially pleased Sosa has enthusiastically joined in such a lengthy and rigorous program, at least so far. Newton preaches Baylor's "mission statement" worst to first. "People probably snicker," Baylor said. "But Kevin Tapani was on a team that did it the '91 Twins, so it makes sense to him." People definitely snicker at Baylor's bullpen, which is only slightly improved. "A piece of the puzzle yet lo be completed," he said.

But the biggest piece the culture of losing Baylor has tackled chest-first. He might find he needs to change the Cubs' uniforms, nickname and even address before he can overcome 93 years. But he beats on, a tugboat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. I L- Troy Murphy is the central reason Notre Dame is in line for its first NCAA bid in 11 years. Getting his Irish up By Paul Sullivan Tribune Staff Writer TUCSON, Ariz.

When Harold Baines became the No. 1 pick in the 1977 draft, he was signed, sealed and delivered by the time he went to sleep. White Sox owner Bill Veeck had offered Baines a $75,000 bonus, which was just too much money for an 18-year-old to turn down. When Joe Borchard became the No. 12 pick of the 2000 draft, he took almost two months before making up his mind.

But when White Sox Chairman Jerry Rein-sdorf offered him a cool $5.3 million, the decision was fairly simple. "That's the market today-Barnes said of Borchard's bonus. "It's outrageous, but good for him. If you can get it, why not go for it?" Borchard had the good fortune See Borchard, Page 7 per game. As a freshman in 1998-99, Murphy was Big East rookie of the year.

As a sophomore he was Big East player of the year, the only player in league history win those awards in consecutive seasons. He's likely to repeat as player of the year and as a first-team All-American this season his 22.7 scoring average is fifth among Division I playersand Saturday he was named as a finalist for the Wooden Award as national player of the year. By Avani Patel Tribune Staff Writer MORRISTOWN, N.J. There was a time when Troy Murphy was considered only a middling college prospect. There was a time when Murphy, far from being the star, was routinely snubbed, the one left off the all-star teams.

There was even a time when Christine and Jim Murphy's highest aspiration for their only son was to have him earn an Ivy League degree and play a little college ball if it suited him. Those times have long passed. When Troy Murphy dons his Notre Dame uniform Sunday and takes the Joyce Center floor to face Georgetown, he will do so as one of the most celebrated and accomplished players in the country. When he makes the jump to the NBA, he'll be an almost certain lottery pick. At the college level he routinely makes short work of tall orders, not just surviving but flourishing against double and triple teams, hitting from inside and out and swooping in to grab his customary nine-plus rebounds Tribune photo by John Smlerciak Troy Murphy mixes a 22.7 scoring average with strong rebounding.

See Murphy, Page 5 4.

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