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DENVER (AP) -- Colorado Rockies fans probably aren't all that familiar
with Texas slugger Juan Gonzalez, except that he hit 47 homers last
season en route to winning the American League's MVP award.
Gonzalez gave them something to remember, however painfully, Tuesday
night. In his first visit to Coors Field in the ballpark's first
interleague game, Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning and
drove in five runs in the Rangers' 10-8 victory.
Gonzalez connected off Steve Reed (1-3) for his 14th home run after
Rusty Greer singled with one out, spoiling a determined Colorado
``He (Reed) throws a tough sinker and a good slider, and I was looking
for something I could hit hard,'' Gonzalez said. ``In (AL) ballparks
like Camden Yards or Jacobs Field, the ball jumps, but here it's
``I thought I threw him a pretty good pitch,'' Reed said. ``He even let
out a little moan. I don't think he thought he got it, either. It was a
fastball in. I was trying to go in. It was elevated, that's the only
problem. He muscled it out there. It just kept going and going.''
Dan Patterson (5-3) pitched the final two innings, working out of a
two-on, one-out jam in the 10th for Texas' fourth straight victory - all
against NL West opponents.
Colorado, meanwhile, slumped to 1-4 in interleague play. It was the
Rockies' first loss in an extra-inning game at Coors Field in 10 tries.
Greer drove in three runs for the Rangers, and John Burkett pitched
seven strong innings.
Greer went 4-for-6 and has now reached base safely in 21 of his last 26
``Rusty has been as hot as any player I've ever seen,'' Rangers manager
Johnny Oates said. ``Rusty started the inning, and Juan was able to get
a pitch to drive out.''
Rockies manager Don Baylor said Gonzalez ``is so strong, he was able to
hit the ball out the other way (to right-center). I thought it was going
to be one of our biggest comebacks, but when you dig yourself a 6-1
hole, it makes it difficult.''
Colorado rallied from an 8-3 deficit with two runs in the eighth on
Vinny Castilla's two-run homer, and three more in the ninth, including
Ellis Burks' two-run shot off ace closer John Wetteland. With two outs,
Dante Bichette doubled and scored on Castilla's RBI single, making it
The top four batters in the Rangers' lineup - Mark McLemore, Ivan
Rodriguez, Greer and Gonzalez - had four, three, four and two hits,
respectively. They had a combined eight RBIs and scored nine runs.
Castilla and Burks each had three RBIs. Burks had a career-high five
Larry Walker, the leading hitter in the majors, went 1-for-5, his
average slipping to .413.
Castilla's no-out homer in the eighth chased Burkett, who gave up five
runs on 12 hits, with no walks and four strikeouts.
Each team finished with 17 hits.
Texas reached John Thomson for three runs in each of the first two
innings en route to a 6-1 lead.
Gonzalez's two-run double was the big blow in the second, but the
Rangers ran themselves out of a bigger inning when Rodriguez was caught
in a rundown between second and third on Greer's RBI single.
Greer had a run-scoring single in the sixth despite another baserunning
mistake by Rodriguez, who was caught taking too wide a turn past first
base on a single.
``I'm an aggressive baserunner and I love to run the bases hard,''
Rodriguez said, ``but I made two mistakes today. I'll learn from that.''
Colorado had a baserunning blunder of its own in the seventh. With Burks
on first, Walker lined a ball off first baseman Clark's glove. Burks,
apparently thinking the ball had been caught, momentarily headed back to
first, then was thrown out at second.
Notes: The Rockies on Tuesday activated reliever Bruce Ruffin off the
disabled list and optioned pitcher Jeff McCurry to Triple-A Colorado
Springs. Ruffin had been on the DL since May 25 because of a stiff back
and control problems. ... Burkett was the first Texas pitcher to start a
game in the batting order since Ferguson Jenkins on Oct. 2, 1974. Texas
did not use a designated hitter in that game for the only time since the
AL adopted the rule at the start of 1973. ... Burkett's single in the
second inning was the first hit by a Texas pitcher since Mike Jeffcoat
had an RBI double on Aug. 2, 1991, at Milwaukee. ... Gonzalez's two
extra-base hits gave him 422 for his career, tying Ruben Sierra for the
most in Rangers history. ... Rockies right-hander Bill Swift, on the DL
since May 13 with a torn right pectoral muscle, threw for eight minutes
off a mound Tuesday and reported the session was pain-free. He is
scheduled to throw again on the side in San Diego this weekend. ...
Rangers shortstop Bill Ripken left the game in the eighth inning with
lower back spasms. ... A crowd of 48,243 extended the Rockies' major league record for consecutive sellouts to 165.
After Joyner was released Monday in a cost-cutting move by the
Cardinals, one of his agent's first calls was to the Cowboys.
Dallas is thin at outside linebacker after losing Darrin Smith, Jim
Schwantz and Godfrey Myles in free agency. Joyner, 32, is a three-time
Pro Bowl selection.
``We want to see if Joyner's seen his better days or if he can still
play,'' Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday. ``We also
want to know if he would fit with us or not.''
Jones added the price would have to be right for Joyner to be added to
``Even if we decide he could fit in (the scheme), money is a big
factor,'' Jones said. ``It just doesn't look like a doable deal because
of the money.''
Joyner played eight seasons with Philadelphia before joining the
Cardinals in 1994. He's made the playoffs several times, but agent Jim
Solano said Joyner would consider playing for the $275,000 veteran
minimum if it would mean a chance for his first championship.
``We think they've got the best chance of going to the Super Bowl,''
Solano said. ``We just hope the Cowboys have as much interest as we do.''
Announcing his retirement more than a year after catching his final
pass, Monk planned to issue a simple press release and go fishing.
Friends and associates, however, prevailed.
Instead of catching fish Tuesday, the soft-spoken Monk attended an press
conference in a small public relations firm office, where he talked at
length to three members of the Washington media about his 16-year
Monk, who failed to sign with an NFL team last season, played 14 seasons
with the Washington Redskins, and one each with the New York Jets in
1994 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1995.
``I had a good career, a great time and it's time to move on and do
other things,'' the 39-year-old receiver said. ``I felt like I could
have performed (last year). It was just the opportunities weren't there.
Things just weren't the same.''
Monk is such an icon in Redskins history that team president John Kent
Cooke plans to sign the veteran receiver to a one-day contract so he can
officially retire as a member of the team.
``Nothing would delight us more than for Art Monk to officially retire
as a Redskin,'' Cooke said. ``We look forward to signing Art one more
time so he can go into the Hall of Fame as a Washington Redskin.''
Monk said, ``I'll always consider myself a Redskin.''
Monk, who set several NFL records that have since been broken, still has
one - catching at least one pass in 183 consecutive games. His last
reception came on Dec. 12, 1995 - a 36-yarder from Rodney Peete in a
20-14 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
But he'll always be remembered as the player the Redskins went to in
critical situations. Monk helped Washington to three Super Bowl titles
in four appearances and was a three-time Pro Bowl player (1984-86).
``There was never a classier player in this franchise's history, or in
league history, than Art Monk,'' Redskins general manager Charley
Casserly said. ``You always knew the team would be getting Art Monk's
best effort day in and day out.''
Known for his strenous workouts, Monk established NFL records with 106
catches in a single season and also broke Steve Largent's career
reception mark of 819 catches. Monk's total of 940 receptions was
eclipsed by San Francisco's Jerry Rice (1,050).
``I will always consider myself a Redskin,'' Monk said. ``I played this
game since I was 11 years old. It's all I knew. No matter how well you
prepare yourself for leaving football, the adjustment is tough.''
Monk caught 940 passes for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns.
Drafted in the first round out of Syracuse in 1980, Monk set Redskins
records for most career receptions (888) and career yards (12,026). He
also holds the club's top three marks for receptions in a season - 106
in 1984, 91 in 1985 and 86 in 1989.
Only one other player, linebacker Monte Coleman, has been on the field
for the Redskins more than Monk, who played 205 games. Coleman played
``I was part of a team that not only played well, but I was part of a
group of guys who were committed to the game, who loved the game,'' Monk
Monk said he plans to concentrate on business and foundation work in the
Washington area. He also intends to play golf and fish. ``I can relax and clear my head,'' he said.
NEW YORK (AP) -- First, the NHL hit the highway to travel as a truly
continental league. Then, it drove deep into the Sunbelt.
Now, with the most ambitious expansion since it doubled in size three
decades ago, the league is paving some new roads and re-opening some old
It did so Tuesday, when its expansion committee endorsed bids from
Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Columbus, Ohio, and Nashville, Tenn.
The plan, which will expand the NHL to 30 teams by 2000, still must be
approved by the full Board of Governors on June 25. A three-fourths
majority of 26 is required, but that is considered little more than a
``I am confident that the strength of each of the recommended markets
and ownership groups will lead to a successful conclusion of this
process,'' NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.
As part of the expansion plan, the league and the NHL Players
Association agreed to a four-year extension of the collective bargaining
agreement through Sept. 15, 2004. That also is subject to ratification
by the governors and the union.
Nashville would begin play in the 1998-99 season. Atlanta would start
the following season, and the Twin Cities and Columbus in 2000. Each
franchise will cost $80 million.
Nashville and Columbus were the first-time cities to win endorsements.
Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul are the reclamation projects.
``The expansion committee has worked extremely hard over the past 12
months to formulate an expansion plan that positions the league for
significant growth and stability as we head into the next century,''
Limited for nearly a half-century to New York, Boston, Montreal,
Toronto, Chicago and Detroit, the NHL added Oakland, Los Angeles, St.
Louis, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for the 1967-68 season.
Piecemeal expansion followed until the early part of this decade, when
two Florida teams, two more from California and one in Canada were
added. Franchise shifts also brought hockey to Texas, Colorado and
Arizona, putting the league in every conceivable part of the United
States and most of Canada.
By adding four American cities, the league continued a trend away from
its Canadian roots. Only six of 26 teams are located north of the
border, and in two recent franchise shifts, the Quebec Nordiques became
the Colorado Avalanche and the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix.
The new franchise winners celebrated, believing they earned the right.
``This has been a very long and, at times, a very difficult process,''
said Craig Leipold, majority owner of the Nashville team.
``It's like an engagement,'' said Robert Naegele, who led the Twin
Cities' effort. ``The fiance has the ring and we're waiting for the
marriage to take place on June 25.''
Columbus mayor Greg Lashutka immediately warmed to the task of
``Yes, the puck stops here,'' he said.
Leipold and his partner, Gaylord Entertainment Co., were adamant that
they start playing in 1998. They are seeking a marketing edge over the
NFL's Tennessee Oilers, scheduled to play in their new Nashville stadium
in 1999 after two seasons in Memphis.
Originally, there were 11 applications. But the NHL earlier eliminated
bids from two of three groups in Houston, and one each from Hampton
Roads, Va., and Hamilton, Ontario.
A group from Raleigh-Durham, N.C., also applied, but withdrew before the
Hartford Whalers announced they would play in the Tar Heel State next
season as the Carolina Hurricanes.
Minnesota and Atlanta each get a second shot.
``Atlanta did not fail,'' a league source said. ``There was an ownership
``They couldn't get local ownership there, but they outdrew the Hawks.''
The Bloomington-based Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas, becoming
the Stars in 1993.
Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul will become the 10th and 11th
metropolitan areas with franchises in all four major sports leagues. The
hockey team will be the third Atlanta franchise controlled by the Turner
The return of the NHL removes the sting of the past in Minnesota.
``Minnesota was a disaster,'' the league source conceded. ``But they
were in a terrible building in the suburbs of Bloomington.
``This is actually a new city, in St. Paul, where they have local
ownership, a thriving downtown and a mayor with a commitment to do all
the things to tap into the market.''
Atlanta joined the league with the New York Islanders in 1972-73 as the
Flames, but the franchise moved to Calgary in 1980.
The expansion is the second massive one this decade. From 1991-93, San
Jose, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Florida and Anaheim entered.
Atlanta will begin constructing a $213 million arena on the site of the
Omni once that building has been demolished. St. Paul has arranged
financing for a $130 million arena, while a new building is about to be
erected in the Ohio capital.
Losing out in the expansion sweepstakes were Houston and Oklahoma City.
Modern arenas played a part in the selection process, said New Jersey
Devils owner John McMullen, also a former owner of the Houston Astros.
``Houston has the demographics and the television market, all the
ingredients that are so essential,'' McMullen said. ``But I think the
league just did not wish to commit themselves to play in the Summit.''
The NBA's Rockets want to move out of that arena, and Houston mayor Bob
Lanier is hopeful a new facility can be built, but there appears little
chance of that before 2003.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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