The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on April 27, 1995 · 25
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The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa · 25

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Issue Date:
Thursday, April 27, 1995
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INSIDE Motoring, SC Classified ads. 5-1 3C Weather, 14C Sports C National Mitch Albom 4. You gotta love this great game "I believe in the church of baseball " From the movie "Bull Durham." ANAHEIM, Calif. We have a problem. We've had a fight. We have fallen out of love with the sport that used to define us, and now baseball has come back, holding flowers, asking for forgiveness. This will not come quickly. For some, it may not come at all. I begin to make my peace the way I knew I would once I arrived here, at the hotel, for Wednesday's Detroit Tigers opener. I call John Doherty's room. At 9 a.m. Sleeping. I call at 10. Still sleeping. I call at 11. Already, I'm weakening. "Hel . . .. lo?" says the groggy voice. "Nice of you to get up." "Huh? . . . Ummmzzmt. ... I'm up, I'm up." You look for reasons to give baseball another chance? John Doherty is my reason. Here, under the covers of another road-trip hotel room, is a major league pitcher who still acts like a kid. He still looks like a kid. He still talks like a kid. Lord knows, he still sleeps like a kid. Sometimes I think John Doherty is part of a Disney movie that wandered off the set. "Something to drink?" the waitress asks when he finally plops down at the table, just after noon. "Chocolate milk," he says. Chocolate milk? John Doherty is 27 years old, he pitches major league baseball has a fastball that moves better than most and this is how much he cares about money: He has never seen his bi-weekly paycheck. It gets sent home to his mother and father on Long Island, and he trusts they will take care of it. He has no expensive habits, no house, no fleet of cars. He doesn't even have a bank card for cash. He lives pretty much off the envelopes they give him for per diem $62.50 a day and even that, he has left over. "Look at me, I mean, whadda I need?" he says, in a Long Island accent as thick as the Hershey's syrup in his milk. "I wear sweatpants every day of my life. I don't own any $2,000 suits. If I'm running out of money, I tell my fiancee to bring some when she comes to visit me. "I just wanna play baseball, you know?" We thought we knew. We kidded ourselves into believing the game was the thing, that players were just happy to be there. We found out otherwise. We learned of unions, free agency, revenue sharing, lockouts. Baseball became a board room, contracts replaced the bat and ball, and in the most recent confrontation, the players walked out and took away the World Series. John Doherty went home to Long Island, to his bedroom in his parents' house. And he slowly went nuts. At night he would go out with his old friends and play darts at a bar, and all the competitive juices would flow. "Take it easy." they would say, "it's just darts." During the day he would drive his uncle, who lives upstairs, back and forth to work, or do some shopping for his mom. Day after day, he would go to his high school gym and throw pitches to his old coach, a former minor leaguer named Dom Cecere. It was Cecere who used to parade among his players howling, "You gotta love this great American game of baseball!" Now Doherty would throw to him, a major leaguer just looking to break a sweat. One time he began to zone out, imagining himself back in The Show, ninth inning, fhree-and-two count ... The ball began to hum. Then zip. Then hurt. "Yeoowch!" Cecere yelled, shaking his glove. "What are you try in' to do? Kill me?" "Sorry," Doherty said. "For a second Turn to 2C: Albom Drake Relays bring out the best in UNI 's Woody By J.R. Ogden Gazette assistant sports editor Joey Woody is getting pumped. His heart is beating a little faster, his palms are starting to sweat and his legs are shaking. The University of Northern Iowa junior track star is not in his blocks yet. He's just excited about what's ahead. This is Drake Relays week, a.k.a. Woody's World. "Drake Relays is always special for me," said Woody, a former Iowa City High prep standout. "It's just real exciting." Woody has good reason to enjoy Drake so much. As a senior at City High, Woody won the TRACK AND FIELD 400-meter low hurdles and helped the Little Hawks win the 1,600 relay at Drake. He also placed second in the high jump and the 110 high hurdles and was named the meet's outstanding prep athlete. Last year, he won the 400 intermediate hurdles and the 800 earning the outstanding athlete award once again. Woody is the only person to win the award as a prep and collegian. "It doesn't matter if I win or lose (at Drake), it's competing against those guys," Woody said. "As long as 1 get a chance to go there; the atmosphere is amazing." That atmosphere makes the Iowan run that much harder in Des Moines. "That just inspires me and gets the heart pumping that much more," he said. But the Drake Relays isn't Woody's only playground. An ail-American last year in the 400 hurdles, Woody ranks among the. top five all-time in six events at UNI. He owns school records in the 600 meters (1:18.57) indoors and the 400 hurdles (50.40) outdoors. He ranks second in the 800 (1:48.41), third in the 400 (47.09) and 110 high hurdles (14.09). He has lost just one 400 hurdle race this spring, and that was to the defending nation- Turn to 3C: Woody 11 Joey Woody UNI track standout JEf 1 1 I Photo by John Pendygraft, Gazette intern This scene at Tuesday's rain-shortened Prairie Relays illustrates well the difficulties spring sports have faced this year in Eastern Iowa. Above average rain and below normal temperatures have disrupted many a schedule this spring. April showers . . . . . . bring plenty of scheduling headaches By Bob Hilton Gazette sportswriter Unless the weather takes an immediate turn for the better, area high schools stand to lose some spring sports events. Postponements have been so numerous, Prairie Athletic Director Jeff Wessel told The Gazette last night, "we're at a point where we have to have the next two days and the weekend, or we are going to lose some events. "So far we'd been able to reschedule everything. Wednesday we were rained out of a tennis date we won't be able to reschedule. You run out of dates." "It looks like about half the season will be played in the next week and a half if we get good drying weather," said Kennedy AD Mark Stewart. "Where the weather has really hurt is in the loss of training and practice time," added Washington AD Dennis Goettel. "Sophomores and junior varsity players take the hit when we have to reschedule." "We have to have things dry out, or we'll lose some events. We need sun. We need warm weather," said Jefferson AD Jim Taylor. "We're about scheduled to the limit. Because of postponements, the next couple of weeks are packed in boys' and girls' tennis, golf and soccer. "We've lost two major track meets, and the kids have had no opportunity to perform under favorable conditions. In other sports, you are where you are, but in track you're concerned with (state) qualifying times. Turn to 3C: Weather Marsh, Gray out of Relays DES MOINES (AP) A star studded field for the Drake Relays lost some of its luster Wednesday with the withdrawal of Olympic medalists Mike Marsh and Johnny Gray. Marsh, who was to have headlined the invitational 200 meters Saturday, dropped out because of a death in the family, said Relays Director Bob Ehrhart. Ehrhart said Gray, who was to have anchored the Santa Monica Track Club's 3.200 relay team, is sick and "not healthy enough to compete at the level he wants." Marsh, also a member of the Santa Monica Track Club, was the 1992 Olympic gold medalist in the 200. Gray was the bronze medalist in the 800 in 1992. He'll be replaced on the relay team Friday by Sean Kelly. Not all fans in forgiving mood Associated Press Despite all the hitting by Jose Canseco and pitching by Greg Maddux, something was missing Wednesday during the first big day of the baseball season fans. Even with free tickets in some places, crowds were much smaller than usual for opening day, just as many teams feared, following the 232-day strike. Only 24,091 fans showed up in Atlanta, where the Braves sold out most of their games last season, and there were Photo and roundups, 2C just 24,170 in Kansas City, where grandstand seats were free. Milwaukee drew its worst opening-day crowd since 1973, and though the New York. Yankees had 50,000, that was about 6,500 fewer than last year. Many fans were booing and carrying protest signs and worse. In Pittsburgh, the game between the Pirates and Montreal was delayed about 15 minutes after fans littered the field with sticks that had been connected to skull-and-cross-bones flags given away as souvenirs. The angry outburst, which prompted an announcement BASEBALL that a further delay could cause a forfeit, came after a series of Pittsburgh misplays. Chicago White Sox outfielder Mike Devereaux had a beer dumped on him late in the game at Milwaukee. In Kansas City, a fan caught a foul ball and threw it back on the field, and was cheered. "That was just my way of saying, 'Hey, here's one back at you,' " Bryan Kuhn after the toss. "I figured with all the money both sides whine about losing during the strike, they probably needed it more than I do." In Atlanta, star pitcher Tom Glavine, active in the player-owner negotiations, was jeered. Overall, attendance at nine Of the 10 openers was down compared with last year. "After months, it's something that's going to happen," said Brewers owner Bud Selig, the acting commissioner who called off last season's World Series. "We got a lot of work ahead of us. It'll take some time and we're not underestimating that." Players' union head Donald Fehr, meanwhile, was booed at Yankee Stadium. Business world awaits hard-working Hawkeye By Jim Ecker Gazette sportswriter IOWA CITY Matt Austin is not exactly Einstein with a curveball, but he's close. He carries a perfect 4.00 grade point average in his classes at the University of Iowa, which is nothing new, but this spring he also leads the Big Ten with a 2.03 ERA. That's a neat trick, having a GPA almost twice as big as your ERA, especially for an economics major. Austin's timing is good, too. As a college junior, he's eligible for the amateur baseball draft this summer. With pitching in great demand, he could attract a feeler from a major league team. If he's interested, that is. "I've had ideas of what I want to do with my life, and baseball is not in that picture," he said Wednesday. Austin will work this summer as an intern for Smith Barney Shearson Inc. in Hyan-nis, Mass., learning the financial game. He'd like to get an MBA from Northwestern or the University of Chicago after graduating from Iowa and pur sue a career in financial plan ning. Baseball is just a diversion. "Right now I'm playing for the fun of it and for the challenge of it," he said. "If I Matt Austin Top ERA, top GPA could get paid for the fun and challenge of it, substantially enough at least. I think I would go for that, but we'll see." Austin has a 5-1 record, keeping Iowa in contention for the Big Ten playoffs heading into a big weekend series at Northwestern. He's become the ace of the staff, beating Michigan, Purdue, Illinois and Michigan State. "He's really dominated the last three or four ballgames and has been outstanding," said Scott Broghamer, the U of I pitching coach. Austin had modest success at Iowa his first two years on campus, compiling a 4-0 mark, but he never cracked the starting rotation on a regular basis Turn to 3C Austin TELEVISION Baseball Cubs at Reds, 1 1 :30 a.m., WGN; Brewers at White Sox, 6 p.m.. WGN NBA Conference Quarterfinal. 6:30 p.m.. TBS: Conference Quarterfinal. 7 p.m., TNT NHL Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m., ESPN Complete listing In Fine Print QUOTE OF THE DAY "I'm amazed at how quick they've made me feel welcome. I mean, there's a lot of guys on this ballclub I've probably hit." Todd Stottlemyre, former Toronto Blue Jay pitcher, about his new team, the Oakland A's EVENTS IN THE AREA Girls' golf Prairie. Linn-Mar, Kennedy, Regis in Prairie Invitational at Jones2 p.m. Girls' track Marion, Linn-Mar. Regis. LaSalle. Prairie at Marion Invitational, 5 p.m. College Softball Monmouth at Coe, 4 p.m. Complete listing In Fine Print TODAY IN YOUTH PLUS Spotlight on Solon's Scott Glasgow, 6Y LaSalle s Braynard changing pace, 7Y i 1 TRIVIA QUESTION Who holds the decathlon record at the Drake Relays? Answer In Fine Print VandeHoef leads Janvrin DES MOINES (AP) - Darwin VandeHoef knew better than to celebrate his first-day lead in the Drake Relays decathlon Wednesday, especially with five-time champion Kip Janvrin right behind him. A strong effort in the high jump, his longtime specialty, put VandeHoef in first place with 4,073 points. Janvrin finished first in the four other events and had 3,985 points. That's off the pace Janvrin had hoped for but puts him in good position to win because of his strength in the second-day events. "He scores better than me the second day. so I'm not really in there yet," said VandeHoef, a former Iowa State athlete. Twio-time winner Denise Steenstra leads the heptathlon competition with 3,181 points.

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