The Leader-Post from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada on July 28, 1997 · 11
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The Leader-Post from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada · 11

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Location:
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Issue Date:
Monday, July 28, 1997
Page:
11
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The Leader-Post Regina Monday, July 28, 1997 Sports B 3 ejj tali wofilhQ si wGnnnrQo! By GREGG DRINNAN L-P Sports Editor The Moose Jaw Diamond Dogs, born in January of 1995, died peacefully on Sunday afternoon under the glare of a hot prairie sun. Its the end of a long journey, said Don Anderson, the Prairie League teams general manager. Were just in the process of letting everyone know. Well make sure all the players know, that the booster club knows . . A last-ditch attempt by the booster club fell through yesterday afternoon, leaving the league with seven teams. We just couldnt keep it alive, Anderson said. Shortstop Bobby Holley, who with his teammates was to have opened a series in Austin, Minn., tonight, said the bus wouldn't be leaving Moose Jaw. The bus is dead, he said. Its over. Next up is an expected dispersal draft, which is scheduled to be held to day. The Diamond Dogs completed a six-player trade with the Grand Forks Varmints on Saturday night That trade, however, was later killed by PL president Dave Ferguson, a co-owner of the Regina Cyclones. Dan Kopriva, the PLs only .400 hitter (.446), infielder Mack Steele and pitcher Darren Spiller were dealt to the Varmints for infielders Tristan Paul (.304) and Scott Whetter (.187), and pitcher Chad Weisner (0-3, 8.38 ERA in 48 13 innings). Paul has a sprained left ankle and wasnt with the Varmints in Regina over the weekend. Its not going to happen," Ferguson said of the deal. Thats the thing were trying to avoid one team stacking up. Later Sunday, Anderson said the league had ruled that the Moose Jaw roster was frozen and the trade was voided. Spiller, Steele and Kopriva were at Currie Field yesterday for the Varmints game with the Cyclones. While their names were on the Varmints lineup card, they watched from the stands. As well, Moose Jaw pitcher Lee Langley announced his retirement on Saturday night. Its sad, Regina pitcher Rod Tafoya said of the death of the Dogs. Its too bad. A lot of players will lose their jobs. The Cyclones had six games left with the Diamond Dogs, including three in Regina on Aug. 12-14. Grand Forks first baseman James Wambach said: Its kind of shocking. It kind of makes you wonder about the status of the rest of the league. The Diamond Dogs, whose owners Dick Richards and Pete Coss signed the franchise over to the league on July 17, are believed to owe in the neighborhood of $200,000 to various creditors. In the end, however, Anderson said money wasnt an issue. Several influential and important creditors were willing to step up, Anderson said. The question was the long-term future of the league and the viability of a franchise in that league . . n There are rumors throughout the PL that franchise owners in Aberdeen, Grand Forks and Minot are working on abandoning the PL and forming another circuit. Im not involved in that, Anderson said. But Ive heard the rumors. Despite what has transpired in Moose Jaw over the past week, Anderson doesnt think professional baseball is necessarily dead there. In the last five or six days, he said, we've seen tremendous community support behind professional baseball. Even after all thats happened, they want pro baseball here. "The community will support a community group in the league that has a solid reputation and stability. The end for the Diamond Dogs came following a 10-5 loss to the visiting Minot Mallards on Saturday night. We had a players meeting after the game and shut it down, Holley said. Asked why that decision was made, Holley replied: They didnt have solid ownership backing. We didnt know if theyd fold while we were on the road. And the guys have had enough. Holley said money that was collected through donations and at the concessions was divided among some of the players. I didnt get anything, Holley said. They owe me too much . . . probably about two grand. Holley said he expected to be traded on Saturday but it fell through. He and Langley planned on heading home, to California and Oregon respectively, this morning. The -Diamond Dogs, who went 16-20 in the seasons first half, opened the second half by losing their first five games. Those would also be their last five games. R.I.P. Cyclones Griffith responded to pressure By GREGG DRINNAN L-P Sports Editor Yes, Tommy Griffith has felt the pressure. How could he not feel it, what with the spectres of Jason Felice and Mitch Zwolensky looking over his shoulders? Despite it all, Griffith guided the Prairie Leagues Regina Cyclones to the North Divisions first-half pennant and now he has his club in first place in the second half s early days. After two weekend games a 10-9 victory over Grand Forks on Sunday at Currie Field and a 9-6 loss to the Varmints on Saturday the Cyclones are 4-1. Overall, they have put together a PL-best 27-14 record. It took four hours 15 minutes for the Cyclones to beat the Varmints yesterday, the winning run scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Kiko Garcia with two out in the bottom of the ninth. The Cyclones led 7-2 after three innings but trailed 9-8 going into the ninth. Jarrod Patterson led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and was sacrificed to second by Alberto Quintano. Reed Olmstead singled to score Patterson and went to second on the throw to the plate. Jim Cafferty was walked intentionally, Hirohide Hoshikawa grounded to first and Griffith was walked intentionally. That set the stage for Garcia, who had replaced an injured Gordon Powell (muscle pull) at second base in the fourth inning. Regina reliever Tommy Taylor (7-1) got the victory, with Craig Baumann (0-1) taking the loss. Patterson had three singles and scored three runs in four at-bats, while Quintana doubled and singled in two official trips. Hoshikawa drove in three runs, while Cafferty and Jayson Zanardi makes his move BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP-CP) -Penalties seem to bring out the best in Alex Zanardi. As he did earlier this month on the temporary road course in Cleveland, the Italian driver charged back from an early penalty to win Sundays U.S. 500 Indy-car race at Michigan Speedway. This time he did it in the smothering heat and humidity of Michigan Speedway, a track that took a heavy toll Sunday on the 28 starters. The victory was Zanardis third of the season. More importantly, the win boosted Zanardi into the series points lead, six points ahead of previous leader Paul Tracy of Toronto, who finished fourth. Patrick Carpentier of Joliette, Que., and Greg Moore of Maple Ridge, B.C. both left the race with engine problems. Carpentier finished 15th, while Moore was 27th. Zanardi was penalized for running over an air hose in the pits on Lap 36 and had to drive through the pit lane at the speed limit of 80 m.p.h. under the green flag. That dropped Zanardi from sixth to 18th, just ahead of Tracy, who also was penalized for running over an air hose on the same lap. Gerhard Berger made a spectacular Formula One comeback Sunday when he cruised to victory in the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, winning his first race in three years. The Austrian veteran gave Benetton-Renault its first win since 1995, when Michael Schumacher had won the Grand Prix of Japan. Berger had missed the previous three Grand Prix races because of sinus surgery. Schumacher finished second in a Ferrari, while Mika Hakkinen was third in a McLaren-Mercedes. Schumacher extended his lead to 10 points over Jacques Villeneuve in drivers standings. Villeneuve, from Iberville, Que., went off the course on the 34th of 45 laps, on another disappointing day for Williams-Renault. Grevengoed had two RBI each. Grevengoed hit his 10th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third. On Saturday, the Varmints broke open a 4-4 tie with five sixth-inning runs, all of them coming with two out. The big blow was a three-run homer by James Wambach off reliever Todd Schmieding, one of only two hits the Varmints had in the big inning. Jamie Hoffner had four hits in five trips for Grand Forks. The Cyclones got a three-run homer from Randy Kapano, his league-leading 14th round-tripper. It hasnt been easy for Griffith, a first-year manager but a veteran player. Murray Brace, the Cyclones general manager, makes no bones about the fact that he kept a finger pointed at Griffith through the first half. He was under the gun. He had to win the first half, Brace said after the first-half pennant was secured. I told Tommy, You win the first half or were making a change. That change would have had Felice returning as manager of the franchise he guided to the 1995 championship. Tommy has kept the team together, Brace said. He has done a great job. There was pressure applied, too, by co-owner Dave Ferguson. After the Minot Mallards fired manager Zwolensky on July 3, there were persistent rumors that he would be joining the Cyclones. According to the Minot Daily News, Ferguson told CBS Sportsline, a radio show, that he would overturn Zwolenskys one-year suspension if commissioner Bill Remenda wouldnt. I told them, Mitch has been an asset to the league. Hes been good for the league, Ferguson told the Daily News. Mitch has done a lot of good as opposed to some of the clowns in the league. There was intense speculation then that Zwolensky would be the Cyclones manager, speculation Ferguson now says didnt have any foundation. No matter, because Griffith knew the heat had been turned up. Mentally, it was tough, Griffith said. Speaking in general terms, I think that people who dont really know the game and want to know the game should ask more questions as opposed to trying to dictate a statement. From the beginning of the season, my philosophy was to get a good rapport ... a good bunch of guys . . . were finding ways to win yet were ridiculed by those who . . . have no clue as to whats going on. JUST NOTES: The Cyclones arent scheduled to play at Currie Field again until Aug. 7 when the Saskatoon Stallions visit . . . Regina opens a three-game set in Minot tonight and also plays in Austin and Grand Forks before returning home . . . Varmints centre fielder Ty Griffin led the PL with 37 walks going into Saturdays game, when he drew four free passes. He added one more on Sunday before being ejected in the fifth inning for arguing a called third strike by umpire Brad Hungerford . . . Grand Forks second baseman Brian Sosa left in the eighth inning after being stung by a wasp ... An unidentified female fan from Toronto, who said she wasnt even a baseball fan, was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure after being struck on top of the head by a foul ball in yesterdays fourth inning. D 97 TERCEL CE Per Month 48 Month Lease Leasing is a breeze. Finance or Lease Extra Value Package Fold-down Rear Seats 97 COROLLA SD Ready to load for the road. Automatic Transmission Air Conditioning Michelin All-Season Radials PLUS p, LOW CAMRYLE i 4RUNNER LIMITED FINANCING ON CAMRY, COROUA, mgpg 4RUNNER, RAV4 AND MORE! 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