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Bob Castellini, the latest owner of the Cincinnati Reds, along with GM Wayne Krivsky and chairman Joe Williams, met with fans yesterday at Reds Hall of Fame and Museum to field questions and take suggestions. Of the suggestions fielded were a full-time organist at Great American Ball Park, as well as a Redsfest for season-ticket holders. One suggestion, however, centered around Manager, Jerry Narron. The suggestion was replacing him with Lou Piniella.
As reported, When pressed a bit later, Castellini said: "The most maligned Reds manager in my lifetime is in the Hall of Fame - Sparky Anderson. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. We care that you care."
Krivsky gave Narron a strong endorsement.
"I can vouch for Jerry Narron being very sharp, very respected. He can fool you with his quiet demeanor. He can lay down the law when he needs to. I've seen it."
Moving the outfield walls back: "Castellini replied, "No."
On the return of Redsfest: "It's going to be the biggest and most well-attended Redsfest we've ever had."
A group of nearly 1000 Orioles fans, that have said that they disapprove with owner Peter Angelos, protested at last night's game against the Tigers by leaving en masse in the middle of the fourth inning at precisely 5:08 p.m.
As reported by the AP, A majority of the protesters wore black T-shirts that read "FREE THE BIRDS," and many carried signs that had "For Pete's Sake" on one side and "Free the Birds" on the other.
They filled parts of six sections in the upper deck, then walked out in the middle of the fourth inning at precisely 5:08 p.m. -- in honor of former Oriole stars Brooks Robinson (No. 5) and Cal Ripken (No. 8).
The group walked in line through the lower deck before departing.
Angelos reponded by saying, "Whoever joins that protest has no comprehension of what it costs to run a baseball team," Angelos said in a telephone interview from his law office in Baltimore. "When you get down to facts, putting together a team that can compete in the AL East means having a payroll between $100-$110 million. That money comes from the consumer, and I have chosen to keep ticket prices to a minimum.
"Our payroll is $75 million, and our ticket prices average $22. Some of the teams we compete against charge an average of $45," Angelos said. "We're going to have to match the competition. How to do that is a decision I will make in the future."
The Orioles are in their ninth consecutive losing season. The Orioles are currently 24.5 games out on the AL East. and 23.5 games out of the Wild Card. Their Opening Day payroll of $72,585,582, places them at 15 out of the 30 clubs. Minnesota, who leads the AL Wild Card, had an Opening Day payroll of $63,396,006, which ranks them 19 out of the 20 clubs. *
Team Marketing Report shows that the average price for an adult at Oriole Park Camden Yards at $22.53, ranking them 12th out of the 30 clubs and above the league average of $22.21. The Orioles kept the average price the same this year from the year prior.
Contrary to some reports, George Steinbrenner is in good health, and he's willing to have anyone that doesn't believe it come and conduct a workout with him.
Steinbrenner in a rare interview with the AP said, "No, I did not have a stroke. I am not ill. I work out daily." He the goes on to say, "I'd like to see people who are saying that to come down here and do the workout that I do," he said.
On control of the club: "I have relinquished pretty much all control of the Yankees. I had to make room for the young people. You can't hold them back."
On the Yankees place in sports history: "We are the first billion-dollar baseball team," he says. "I never dreamt the team would ever be worth that much when we bought it for $8.8 million ... I'd say that was a pretty good investment."
On the Yankee's fans: [A]s "loyal and knowledgeable like no others in the world."
A federal Judge ordered Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada to jail yesterday for refusing to divuldge the name of the source or sources that leaked sealed grand jury testimony to them regarding Barry Bonds and other athletes as part of the BALCO investigation.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White sentenced Willams and Fainaru-Wada to a maximum of 18 months in prison after rejecting defense lawyer requests for fines. "The only appropriate sanction is to incarcerate these two individuals to the full extent permitted," Judge White said.
Both individuals will not have to report directly to jail as the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals must decide whether the reporters have a right to refuse to testify.
Both journalists could avoid serving the maximum if one or the other were to decide to release the source of the leak. Neither Williams or Fainaru-Wada seem willing to do so. "I do not wish to spend even a minute in jail," Fainaru-Wada said. "However, I cannot - and will not - betray the promises I have made over the past three years (to confidential sources)."
"I'm supposed to keep my promises when people help me and take me at my word," Williams said in court yesterday. "I do despair for our country if we go very far down this road, because no one will talk to reporters."
As also reported by the AP, In August, White ruled his hands were tied by a 1972 Supreme Court precedent that said no one -- journalists included -- was above the law and may refuse to testify before a federal grand jury.
A bipartisan bill currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee would give reporters protection from revealing their confidential sources in cases that involve federal authorities. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have media shield laws already in place.
The Chronicle reported that Bonds told the grand jury that he believed he was using flaxseed oil and arthritic balm, not steroids, supplied by trainer Greg Anderson, one of five defendants convicted in the BALCO scandal.
Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the two San Francisco Chronicle reporters that wrote Game of Shadows will learn today if they will serve jail time for not revealing who leaked to them secret grand jury testimony as it related to the BALCO investigation, part of which relates to testimony given by Barry Bonds.
As reported by the AP, The government will ask U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White on Thursday for an 18-month term. The reporters are seeking a "nominal monetary fine" and other punishment "short of full blown incarceration," including house arrest and weekend jailing, according to court documents.
Williams and Fainaru-Wada have said repeatedly they would go to jail rather than comply with the grand jury's subpoena and reveal their source or sources. (The AP)