The Baltimore Sun

Orioles won't change season-ticket prices


The price of Orioles season tickets at Camden Yards will remain the same for 2009. Orioles director of communications Greg Bader confirmed yesterday that season-ticket invoices have been mailed and there are no price increases. Individual tickets go on sale in January. The Orioles raised ticket prices for select seats before last season, marking the first hike in several seasons. Attendance at Camden Yards in 2008 fell below the 2 million mark for the first time in the stadium's 17-year history. The Orioles suffered through an 11th straight losing season and finished in last place for the first time in 20 years. JEFF ZREBIEC

Cubs: : The team's owner is willing to sell a smaller share than initially planned because the credit crunch has made it tougher for potential buyers to obtain loans, a person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press. Tribune Co. was looking to sell a 95 percent share of the Cubs and other sports properties for more than $1 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported in yesterday's editions that Tribune, which owns The Baltimore Sun, was willing to take bids for a 50 percent or smaller share. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he remains as interested as ever in buying the team, dismissing a report that Major League Baseball might not want him as an owner.

Padres: : San Diego exercised its $9 million option on right fielder Brian Giles, whose .398 on-base percentage was one of the best in baseball. Giles hit .306 with 40 doubles, 12 homers, 63 RBIs and 87 walks last season.

Rangers: : Texas exercised a $6.2 million option on infielder Hank Blalock. The two-time All-Star has played just 123 games the past two seasons because of injuries. Blalock hit .287 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs last season.

Astros: : Houston signed right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins, a former Oriole, to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. Hawkins, 35, went 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA in 57 appearances for the Yankees and Astros last season.

Vasquez suspended for preseason game

col. basketball

Maryland coach Gary Williams said team captain Greivis Vasquez would miss today's preseason game against Northwood University for a violation of team rules. Williams declined to say what Vasquez did to earn the suspension but said it was a nonbasketball issue. "It's a good time [for the suspension]," Williams said, adding that Vasquez would be back at practice Monday. "Better than being in the penalty box during the season." DON MARKUS

Towson: : Coach Pat Kennedy announced the suspension of three players for a violation of team rules. Kennedy said the suspensions came out of the players' involvement in an incident at a university fraternity house. Freshman Rick Brown will be out the first five games, including the season opener Friday against Navy, and senior forward Junior Hairston will miss the first three. Senior forward Tony Durant will miss the opener. "Although you hate to see young people make the wrong decisions, the consequences and discipline can always help them in their later lives," Kennedy said. DON MARKUS

Maryland women: : Kristi Toliver had 19 points and 10 assists and Demauria Liles added 15 points and 11 rebounds as the No. 3 Terps defeated visiting Team Evolution, 107-37, in a preseason game.

IAAF president critical of Rogge


In a highly unusual show of discord between Olympic leaders, IAAF chief Lamine Diack sharply criticized IOC president Jacques Rogge for displaying "a lack of respect" for the sport of athletics. Diack, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, issued a strongly worded statement vowing to fight for the "rightful place of athletics at the summer Olympic Games." He assailed the International Olympic Committee president for criticizing Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's celebrations in Beijing and for suggesting that the Olympic track in London could be ripped up after the 2012 Games.

Doping: : Rogge expects at least 15 doping cases from the Beijing Olympics. He said it will take about six more weeks before all final doping results are available. In October, the IOC said it would retest samples from Beijing to search for CERA, a new generation of the endurance-enhancing hormone EPO at the center of the latest Tour de France scandals.

Obituary: : G. Larry James, who won gold and silver medals in track at the racially charged 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, died of colon cancer at his home in Smithville, N.J., on Thursday, his 61st birthday. James teamed with Vince Matthews, Ron Freeman and Lee Evans on the U.S. team that won gold in the 1,600-meter relay in the world-record time of 2 minutes, 56.16 seconds. James also won a silver medal in the 400 meters.

Johnson takes pole for Phoenix race

et cetera

Jimmie Johnson moved a step closer to a third consecutive Sprint Cup title by winning the pole for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Speedway. Johnson, the defending race winner, turned a lap of 134.725 mph in his Chevrolet to earn the top starting spot tomorrow. If he gains 57 more points than Carl Edwards, Johnson would need only to start the season finale to become the first driver since Cale Yarborough (1976-78) to win three straight titles. Edwards qualified 15th. Winner of the past two races, he trails Johnson by 106 points with two events to go. Jamie McMurray qualified second and was followed by Kurt Busch.

Politics: : Former Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware conceded a defeat in his race for a seat in the Florida House. With all ballots from Tuesday's election finally counted, Democrat Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda beat Boulware, a Republican who played at Florida State, by 440 votes.

Tennis: : Serena Williams (stomach injury) and Ana Ivanovic (virus) withdrew from the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar. Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic advanced despite losing, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, to Vera Zvonareva. Zvonareva and Jankovic advanced to the semifinals because of winning records in the round-robin stage of the tournament.

Soccer: : Stung by a disappointing season that left the team out of the Major League Soccer playoffs for the first time since 2002, D.C. United's owners Victor MacFarlane and Will Chang will assume the titles of co-executive chairmen and will make all top-level decisions. United went 11-15-4 this year.

Varsity: : Howard girls basketball forward Nyree Williams will sign a national letter of intent with North Carolina on Wednesday. The 6-foot-1 forward was Howard County's top shot-blocker with 98 last season.

NHL: : Joe Corvo's goal with 2:40 left helped Peter Laviolette (240 wins) become the winningest American-born coach in NHL history and led the host Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Golf: : Scott Verplank shot his second straight 8-under-par 64 to take a three-stroke lead in the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney in Orlando, Fla. Steve Marino (66) and Troy Matteson (68) were tied for second. ... Japan's Mayu Hattori and Miki Saiki shot 5-under 67s to share the Mizuno Classic lead in Shima, Japan. Women's British Open champion Shin Ji-yai was a stroke back in the event sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and Japan LPGA.

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