No well-come mat for Murray . ....


No well-come mat for Murray . . .

Baseball star Eddie Murray's lush canyon estate -- complete with blue lake and green soccer field -- is prompting cries of foul play from Canyon County, Calif., neighbors who say the castle-style manse is drinking their share of the common underground water supply.

The Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman's 10-acre spread northwest of Los Angeles is upstream from aquifers that also feed his Sand Canyon neighbors' wells.

"I think I started to lose my water when he came in here," said neighbor Fred Razavi, who has paid to truck in water since his two wells ran dry.

Murray would not discuss his property or his neighbors' complaints. Water officials say it is almost impossible to prove that one well affects production of another.

"Eddie doesn't know a heck of a lot about it," said his agent, Ron Shapiro, adding that the neighbors have not approached Murray about their water shortages.

. . . or from Don Mattingly

The Evansville (Ind.) Board of Zoning Appeals has tossed a curve to New York Yankees slugger Don Mattingly's attempts to build a higher brick wall around his home.

Mattingly requested a variance to build a 7-foot-4 wall in the front yard and 8-foot-4 wall in the back to keep out nosy fans.

The seven-member board Friday voted, 3-2, to approve the request. But it takes at least four votes to approve or deny a request, so Mattingly will have to try again at next month's meeting.

"They have their video cameras, their still cameras," said Mattingly's agent, Jack Schroeder said. "They knock on the door. They look in the window. They want autographs. They want pictures. They want to talk."

Geographically correct Slugger

Hillerich & Bradsby Co., which makes Louisville Slugger baseball bats, may be moving its factory back to Louisville, Ky.

The company wants to build a new plant within Louisville's waterfront-redevelopment area, possibly in connection with a baseball museum and corporate office complex, which had been proposed earlier. There are about 200 employees at the current plant near Jeffersonville, Ind., and about 60 more at corporate headquarters.

"We've talked before about putting our office and plant together again, and I think it's time to start moving with the idea," company president Jack Hillerich said.

Louisville officials were planning to meet with Hillerich and Jim Tennill, who heads a committee that former Jefferson County Judge-Executive Harvey Sloane set up two years ago to pursue the baseball museum.

Tennill said the committee has hired a consultant to look into the cost of the project, which could include a 150-foot tower in the shape of a bat. Hillerich said the bat tower could include an elevator to carry people to an observation deck.

Jordan's not their No. 1

Into each life some rain must fall. Even Michael Jordan's. In what may rank as his first setback since being cut from his high school team, Jordan has been nosed out as the first inductee into Nickelodeon's Kids Hall of Fame -- by singer-dancer Paula Abdul. Making it even worse, of course, is the fact Abdul used to be a Laker Girl.

Lunch break

Mark Koevermans was on the verge of upsetting Alberto Mancini of Argentina in Thursday's fourth round of the Italian Open at Rome. Leading 5-4, 30-15 in the third set, the 23-year-old Dutchman fired a hard first serve to Mancini's backhand.

Koevermans then sent a forehand volley to the far corner, sending Mancini scrambling. Mancini got to the ball and sent back a weak shot that Koevermans fired down the line for an easy winner. Double match point.

But a spectator at the Foro Italico had tossed a half-eaten ham sandwich onto center court at the end of the point. According to umpire Richard Ings, it had interfered with Mancini's ability to play the ball and Ings ordered the point replayed.

Mancini won the replay and went on to a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1) victory.

Koevermans said the sandwich had landed well after Mancini hit his last shot, and a television replay seemed to support his case. But, since it was a judgment call, all Koevermans could do was hold a short discussion with Ings, then continue playing.

In the second set, during a pause in play while Koevermans was rallying from a 4-2 deficit, another fan tossed an apple onto the court. Koevermans picked it up and handed it to Ings in the umpire's chair.

"Keep it and eat it afterward," a fan shouted from the stands.

The quote

Syracuse lacrosse coach Roy Simmons Jr. discussing his team's game today against fourth-seeded Johns Hopkins in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I tournament at Homewood Field: "If I had said to them before the tournament pairings came out, 'Guys, who do you want to play and where do you want to play them?' they'd have said, 'Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field.' The crazy fools. Ask me the same question, I'd have said the Little Sisters of the Poor at the Carrier Dome."

The quote

Boston Celtics' Kevin McHale: "You think the average guy who makes $6.50 an hour laying cement wants to hear about some guys making a couple of million dollars moaning about being hurt? I mean, who wants to hear that stuff? I don't. When I retire and I'm making $6.50 an hour, I'll get ticked off, too."

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