Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, June 2, 1998
Abila awaits baseball draft results
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, May 2 -- Pecos Eagles pitcher Jason Abila will be
waiting to see what happens either today or over the next
couple of days in the major league baseball amateur draft,
which held the first of its 50 rounds this morning.
Abila graduated last month from Pecos High School, and has
already signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Ranger
Junior College next year. But coach Bubba Williams said
Abila also has been told by the Chicago White Sox they would
select him sometime during the draft.
"If you're not drafted in the first 15 rounds, you're better
off going to college," Ranger JC assistant coach Brent
Leffingwell told Abila when he signed his letter of intent
in late April. "Below that, if you sign and don't perform
well at the beginning, they will release you after only a
few weeks, and then you lose your (college) eligibility."
Williams said the White Sox told Abila they would draft him
again next season if he attends Ranger this year. Under
major league baseball draft rules, junior college players
are eligible for the draft after their freshman year, while
players at four-year schools have to wait until after their
junior season before they're eligible for the draft.
Record-wise, Abila came off his worst season out of four
years on the Eagles' varsity, finishing with only a 2-6
record. Bad defense was the main problem for the senior --
Abila allowed just 17 earned runs in 49 innings while
striking out 90 batters.
Chicago's main concern this year in the draft is expected to
be pitching. The White Sox reportedly will draft Notre Dame
right-hander Brad Lidge with their first pick, the 16th
overall. Lidge, whose fastball has been timed at 97 m.p.h.,
is considered a late bloomer.
Meanwhile, Miami third baseman Pat Burrell was the likely
No. 1 pick in the draft, with controversial outfielder J.D.
Drew expected to go to the St. Louis Cardinals with the
Last year, the Phillies selected Drew with the No. 2 pick in
the first round and couldn't reach a deal with the former
Florida State outfielder. Burrell, a third baseman for
Miami, figures to be easier to sign.
``He's a big strong power guy,'' Phillies scouting director
Mike Arbuckle said.
Arizona State left-hander Ryan Mills and Michigan State
left-hander Mark Mulder also were considered by the
Phillies, but Burrell won out in the end, a pair of player
sources said on the condition they not be identified.
Burrell, 21, has a .426 average, 17 homers and 47 RBIs in
115 at-bats going into today's game against Long Beach State
at the College World Series. While a sore back sidelined him
for part of the season, the Phillies say he's healthy now.
``He's been examined by an orthopedic specialist with the
Florida Marlins and a back specialist in Miami,'' Arbuckle
said, adding Phillies team physician Dr. Phillip Marone ``is
very comfortable this is not a problem.''
Drew, who failed in his grievance to become a free agent,
will likely be negotiating the Cardinals. The three teams
that follow the Phillies in the draft -- Oakland, the
Chicago Cubs and Kansas City -- decided against Drew, the
baseball sources said, and the Cardinals were saying they
would take him if he's still around by the time they select.
Drew, seeking a $10 million contract, turned down a deal
from the Phillies that would have guaranteed him $3 million
and given him a chance to earn $3 million more. The former
Florida State outfielder played in the independent Northern
League last season rather than sign.
Oakland was thought to be leaning to the 6-for-6 Mulder, who
was 6-6 with a 3.40 ERA and 113 in 84 2-3 innings for the
Spartans. And the Cubs were looking at outfielder Corey
Patterson of Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga.
Stanford right-hander Jeff Austin could go to the Royals on
the fourth pick, and the Cardinals decided to take Drew
instead of Stanford right-hander Chad Hutchinson, the
Minnesota was considering the 6-foot-5 Mills, who pitched
six strong innings Sunday in Arizona State's 9-2 victory
over Miami. He is 8-3 with a 4.32 ERA and 133 strikeouts in
108 1-3 innings. The Twins also looked closely at Nick
Neugebauer, a right-hander from Arlington High School in
Arbuckle said the top picks probably will take some time
before they agree to contracts, waiting for the market to
Rested Jazz hoping to end Bulls' streak
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
SALT LAKE CITY, May 2 -- The Utah Jazz are tired of waiting.
The Chicago Bulls are just plain tired.
Those are two reasons for the pervasive suspicion that the
Jazz might be a good bet to bring an end to Michael Jordan's
dynasty in the NBA Finals, which begin Wednesday night at
the Delta Center.
With Jordan at full strength, the Bulls have won five
championships in the last seven years. Only when he was away
playing baseball, or just barely back from playing his
baseball, did the Bulls fail to win it all.
Now Chicago is in the midst of its ``last dance'' -- one
final run at a championship before the team is dismantled.
Coach Phil Jackson seems gone for sure. Scottie Pippen
expects to be playing elsewhere. And Jordan, pondering
retirement, might not be playing at all.
A farewell title would be a neat wrapup for a team and
player who have dominated the game in the '90s.
But the formidable Jazz stand in the way. The circumstances
certainly seem to favor Utah.
``In the back of all our minds, it's got to be -- this is
the year,'' the Jazz's Greg Foster said. ``We've played
great. We put ourselves in a position that we always wanted
to be in. So there's no excuses. If we go out there and blow
it, we blow it.''
This time, Chicago must win on the road to take the title.
Both teams were 62-20 in the regular season. But the Jazz
have the home-court advantage because they won both meetings
of the two teams.
And while the Bulls sweated out a seven-game series against
Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, the Jazz swept the
Los Angeles Lakers in four games. They are rested, and way
past ready, for Wednesday night's opener.
By the Game 1 tipoff, the Jazz will have gone 10 days
without playing anyone, the second-longest period between
playoff games in NBA history. Utah's players know there is a
fine line between being rested and being rusty.
``With 10 days off, which is an awful lot, we've got to get
back to the type of basketball we were playing against the
Lakers,'' Antoine Carr said. ``It's not going to be easy to
do against Chicago, because they're so quick and they
execute so well.''
The equalizer for the Bulls might be the unmatched desire of
``We may be a little tired,'' he said, ``but our heart isn't
tired, and that's what's important.''
It was that heart that was on display the last time the
Bulls played a playoff game in Utah, when Jordan, sweat
pouring off his body as he fought off the flu, scored 38
points in Chicago's 90-88 victory at the Delta Center last
year in Game 5. The win put the Bulls up 3-2, and they won
Game 6, and the title, in Chicago.
``A motivated Michael Jordan is a scary thing --
obviously,'' Foster said. ``The guy is such a competitor. I
don't know how he's still playing the game. He's got all the
individual accolades and team accolades you could ever have.
He's got all the money in the world. I don't know what
drives him, honestly.''
The Jazz need a big series from their MVP, Karl Malone, who
faltered in last year's finals. Malone said the important
thing against Chicago is to play a physical defense that
doesn't allow players to get to the positions they want in
the Bulls' triangle offense.
``When you let them go and don't have a body on them,
they'll kill you. They pick you apart,'' he said.
Utah spent most of its long layoff wondering whether it
would play Chicago or Indiana. Monday was the first practice
when the Jazz knew for sure.
``Our practice was a little more serious today for the
guys,'' Malone said after the workout. ``Coach Sloan is
serious every day. But there was a lot more business
Utah's experience in its first finals ever last year makes
the team more comfortable in its second appearance.
``We know that every ball counts for something -- every
loose ball, every rebound,'' Carr said. ``You've got to get
all the little things done. If you get all the little things
done, everything else will take care of itself.''
The Jazz had the second-best home record in the league
(36-5), and their arena is one of the loudest. Still, the
rust factor figures to play a part in the first game.
``One time, I had eight days off waiting for the
championship, and there is no way to stay in game shape,''
Indiana coach Larry Bird said. ``So Chicago has a chance to
go out there and get a game.''
The Jazz feel their play in Game 1 will determine whether
the long layoff is an advantage or not.
``If we win that first game, it might give us the advantage
for the future because we will be rested,'' Jeff Hornacek
said. ``But that first game will be questionable because you
can go only so hard in practice. Then to go against a great
team like the Bulls, it's going to be a different level of
The Jazz aren't buying the idea that the Bulls are
``They're the championship team,'' Sloan said. ``They're the
guys who know how to win, and have won, championship games.
Until you beat them, they're still the champions.''
Jones taking Gailey on tour of Texas
AUSTIN, May 2 (AP) -- Troy Aikman in the shotgun. Michael
Irvin and Deion Sanders in a five-receiver set, and Nate
Newton under 300 pounds.
These are the Dallas Cowboys under new coach Chan Gailey.
Whether or not any of this will help transform the aging
Cowboys, who went from Super Bowl champs in 1995 to 6-10
last year, remains to be seen.
Owner Jerry Jones and Gailey were in Austin on Monday, a day
before today's minicamp, to show Central and South Texans
the team still appreciates them despite moving training camp
this year from Austin to Wichita Falls.
``The Cowboys feel privileged to have the support of Austin,
South Texas and San Antonio,'' Jones said. ``We had some
great years here. We won three world championships while
training in Austin.''
But mostly, Jones is busy introducing Gailey around the
state. The former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator
is still somewhat of an unknown in Texas.
After years of coaching at the college and pro level,
Gailey's career path had never before brought him to Texas.
He was turned down for the Baylor job five years ago, when
Grant Teaff retired and Chuck Reedy was hired.
``I knew I was in trouble when I spent the day interviewing
with everyone but the (Baylor) president,'' Gailey said with
Gailey is enjoying the honeymoon of a new coach who hasn't
been in a game situation yet. There have been no run-ins
with players. But nothing has been mandated of them yet,
either. That starts next month in Wichita Falls.
He says his greatest surprise has been the work ethic of
``I think they are embarrassed about going 6-10 and don't
want to be perceived as a 6-10 team,'' Gailey said, adding
that he has seen no appearance of a focus problem and hasn't
imposed any team rules yet.
Gailey said 85 percent of his new offense has been installed
and will feature the shotgun almost exclusively on third
down and in two-minute situations.
He will employ four- and five-receiver sets, including
Sanders, who is recovering from surgery to remove a bone
chip from his left ankle.
If Sanders is forced to miss part of training camp, ``his
involvement in the offense will be delayed in the early part
of the season,'' Gailey said.
Gailey said he expects defensive end Greg Ellis, the
Cowboys' first-round draft pick out of North Carolina, to be
an impact player immediately.
``We expect him to play a lot,'' Gailey said. ``You expect
your first round pick to be an impact player.''
Ellis' ability to play becomes even more important with the
uncertain future of defensive end Tony Tolbert, who is
recovering from surgery on his chronically ailing knees.
``When Tony is able to play, he has to decide if he wants to
risk any further damage,'' Jones said. ``But I don't think
there's any question that a healthy Tony Tolbert helps this
Offensive tackle Mark Tuinei's future also is in question
after knee surgery.
The Cowboys have moved Larry Allen From right guard to left
tackle and acquired Everett McIver from Miami to play right
guard. Nate Newton, who has dropped from 350 pounds to
around 300, will remain at left guard and Erik Williams will
play right tackle.
Gailey said draft picks Michael Myers, a defensive tackle
out of Alabama, and Darren Hambrick, a linebacker from South
Carolina, also may have an impact as rookies.
``Both Myers and Hambrick have shown some flash,'' Gailey
Jones said in hiring Gailey he did more research than he did
when buying the team.
``(Pittsburgh coach) Bill Cowher told me I would find Chan
to be a serious person,'' Jones said. ``Not to be confused
with a somber demeanor. His intensity and intense focus on
the job has really been reinforced with me.''
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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