Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002

Reports: Howe agrees to manage Mets

NEW YORK -- Art Howe will be the next manager of the New York Mets, two newspapers reported on their Web sites Wednesday night. One of the papers also said Lou Piniella had agreed in principle to manage the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Howe, who guided the Oakland Athletics to three straight playoff appearances, agreed to a four-year contract worth $9.4 million, according to the New York Daily News.

Newsday said Howe and his agent, Alan Nero, met with the Mets in New York on Wednesday and agreed in principle to the deal.

''It's done,'' the Daily News quoted an unidentified source as saying. ''The Mets' people were really impressed with Howe and they obviously proved that by giving him a four-year deal.''

Yao finally suits up with Rockets

SAN ANTONIO -- Yao Ming's NBA debut ended in an exhibition loss Wednesday night, but the 7-foot-5 center's welcome to the league was a memorable one.

Seconds after entering the game and setting foot on the SBC Center court, Yao took a pass in the low post and made a decisive move to the basket. But as his outstretched right arm rose above the rim, San Antonio's Tim Duncan, the league's MVP last season, slid over and launched the newest Rocket with a hard body bump that left him sprawled on the floor.

The San Antonio crowd roared their approval of the treatment of this year's No. 1 overall draft pick.

Yao, wearing number 11, took his lumps and then made the Spurs pay for a moment of satisfaction. He calmly stepped to the line and made two soft, arching free throws that put the Rockets up 28-23.

Five minutes later, as the second quarter was winding down, Yao returned to his spot near the end of the bench. He had added a fadeaway jumper to those foul shots, helping Houston to a 44-38 halftime lead.

But the story of the game was Yao, who arrived in the United States only three days ago. His final line: six points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line, four rebounds, four fouls and three turnovers in 13 minutes.

Sniper prompts Redskins QB to move

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins quarterback Shane Matthews is moving his wife and kids to Florida to get them out of the sniper's range.

Part-time Washington resident Michael Jordan called it a ''very scary moment for everybody.'' And off-duty police officers patrolled the woods next to Redskins Park before practice Wednesday, just in case.

The professional sports community has not been immune to the psychological impact of a Washington-area sniper who has struck 13 times since Oct. 2. No games have been canceled, moved or rescheduled -- as has happened with high schools and colleges -- but players and coaches are just as antsy.

''You feel like you're in prison,'' Matthews said. ''You can't take your kids to the park and play, you can't go to the grocery store, you can't go to a gas station.''

Jordan lawsuit claims $5 million extortion attempt

CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a woman he contends is trying to extort $5 million from him to keep quiet about their relationship more than 10 years ago.

Jordan acknowledged in the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court that he paid the woman $250,000 ''under threat of publicly exposing that relationship.''

Jordan, who plays for the Washington Wizards but spent most of his career with the Chicago Bulls, never agreed to pay any amount above the original $250,000, the lawsuit says. The woman attempted to extort the additional money from Jordan through her attorneys, according to the lawsuit. Her lawyers were not named in the paperwork.

The lawsuit asks the court to stop the woman from further attempts to get money from Jordan.

Alinghi ends OneWorld's winning streak

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Swiss challenger Alinghi edged OneWorld by 27 seconds Thursday to end the Seattle syndicate's winning streak in the America's Cup challenger series.

OneWorld was unbeaten in eight races in the first round, and opened the second round Wednesday with another win. Alinghi avenged its 10-second, first-round loss to OneWorld in another close tussle and secured outright first spot in the standings. Going into the match, Alinghi and OneWorld were joint leaders with eight points from nine races. OneWorld had nine race wins but lost a point for a rules infraction before racing began.

In other matches, Larry Ellison's San Francisco-based Oracle syndicate, with New Zealander Chris Dickson at the helm, beat Italy's Mascalzone Latino by 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

After losing four of the previous five starts, world match racing champion Peter Holmberg was dumped as Oracle skipper and replaced as helmsman.

Dickson had previously been sidelined from the Oracle sailing team after friction with teammates.

Defending challenger series champion Prada of Italy posted its third win in consecutive races, beating New York's Stars & Stripes by 41 seconds, while Sweden's Victory Challenge, sailing its new race yacht Orm, beat Le Defi of France by 1:19, leaving the French winless in 10 matches. Britain's GBR Challenge had a bye.

In the feature match, the yachts crossed the start line close together with OneWorld at the favored pin end, Alinghi to its right.

Alinghi picked up a slight right-hand shift of the first beat and was ahead when the yachts crossed for the first time. It around all marks, but by a peak margin of only 29 seconds.

''The pin end was definitely favored,'' said Alinghi tactician Jochen Schuemann. ''We started with us to the right and we had the advantage of being in position for a shift to the right. The first cross was in our favor and that was the race.''

Schuemann said the tight race had tested the abilities of the Alinghi afterguard, including two-time Cup champion Russell Coutts at the helm.

''The win keeps us at the top of the leaderboard which is good but the main thing is to be in the top four and we are there at the moment.''

The last placed of the nine challengers will be cut from the competition following the second round.

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