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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Tuesday, October 27, 1998

Bears in good shape despite two losses

PECOS, Oct. 27 -- Two losses proved fatal to the Balmorhea
Bears' playoff hopes last season. But after the Bears'
second District 7-A six man football loss this past Friday
to the Buena Vista Longhorns, the Bears are in much better
shape as far as post-season is concerned.

The Bears dropped a 1-2 in district when they were edged by
Buena Vista, 51-48 in Imperial. That's the same spot they
were in a year ago, when they wound up 4-2 but lost a
three-way coin flip, along with Sierra Blanca, to Sanderson
for second place. A home loss to the Vaqueros forced the
coin-flip, but this year, if the Bears can close out their
season with wins over Sanderson, Sierra Blanca and Marathon,
chances are they won't need to worry about a three-way flip.

That's because Buena Vista has already lost twice, to Dell
City and Sanderson, and have to face first place Grandfalls
this week. Sierra Blanca is tied with Buena Vista at 2-2,
leaving Sanderson, 2-1 after their 65-36 loss to Grandfalls.
A win Friday at home over the Eagles would give the Bears
the second place tie-breaker advantage.

"As long as we win all our games and as long as Grandfalls
beats Buena Vista on Friday, we'll be O.K.," said Bears'
coach Ennis Erickson.

Extra points and a late first half turnover proved to be
difference in Friday's loss. Erickson said the Bears were up
34-28 after scoring a touchdown with 2:19 left in the half
on Roger Lopez' seven-yard run. "We were ahead by six points
and with the ball at midfield just before halftime when we
fumbled. They recovered and wound up scoring (on a Robert
Tarin 40-yard pass to Zach Braden) to go up by two at the
half, and it all changed after that."

Neither team scored in the third period, but the Longhorns
went up 43-34 early in the final period on a 27-yard run by
Braden, who finished with 282 yards. He would add a 30-yard
run with 3:14 left, less than a minute after the Bears cut
the lead to 43-42 on a three-yard Lopez run.

Balmorhea cut the margin to 51-48 just 21 seconds after
Braden's score, when Matt Sanchez passed 50 yards to Ariel
Ramon, but the Longhorns held on after that.

Erickson said Balmorhea was without Arturo Miranda and Jouse
Mendoza in Friday's loss. Both starters were out with
injuries, and Erickson said he was unsure of when they would
be back. "Possibly (Friday), but then again maybe neither
one of them will be back," he said.

NFL hears Houston, L.A. expansion plans

AP Football Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Los Angeles has the celebrities and
Houston has the cash. Two cities deserted by a total of
three teams in the mid '90s are ready to make their formal
bids to become the NFL's 32nd team.

Two groups from Los Angeles and a third from Houston go
before the owners today.

One of the LA groups, headed by former Hollywood agent
Michael Ovitz has Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Shaquille
O'Neal in its group, bidding to build a new stadium about 12
miles from downtown Los Angeles.

The other, headed by Ed Roski, co-owner of the the NHL's
Kings, is being helped by an active NFL player, Keyshawn
Johnson of the New York Jets, who was making calls on the
group's behalf, talking about putting a model of Carolina's
Ericsson Stadium inside the shell of the old stadium..

``You have to bring a team back to Los Angeles itself,''
Johnson said. ``I grew up within a mile of the coliseum and
I remember how life revolved around it in that

The NFL goes to 31 teams next year when the Cleveland Browns
rejoin the league, replacing the franchise that Art Modell
moved to Baltimore after the 1995 season.

But that will leave an odd number of teams, meaning someone
will have to get a bye every week of the season, including
the first week and the last.

That's why the owners are anxious to add another team as
quickly as possible -- but only one.

``You've got two cities out there, and there's only going to
be one more expansion team for a long time,'' says Denver
owner Pat Bowlen, who himself is hoping for a ``yes'' vote
for a stadium to replace Mile High. ``There are only going
to be 32 teams in the league.''

Houston, deserted by the Oilers for Tennessee after the 1996
season, is thought to be ahead of two Los Angeles groups in
the bidding for franchises.

That's because it has one group, headed by Bob McNair, with
financing already in place and Steve Patterson, a former
general manager of the NBA's Rockets as its general manager.
It has plans for a retractable roof stadium, to be built in
the parking lot of the Houston Astrodome.

And while commissioner Paul Tagliabue has said all along
he'd like Los Angeles back, he also has close ties to

Los Angeles lost two teams after the 1995 season -- the Rams
to St. Louis and the Raiders back to Oakland.

The wild-card in all this -- as he often is -- is Al Davis,
the owner of the Raiders, who moved his team from Oakland to
Los Angeles in 1982 and back to the Bay Area in 1996. He
also has made overtures about moving back and claims he
still has the franchise rights in the Los Angeles area.

Also on the agenda is expected to be a request from the new
Cleveland group, headed by Al Lerner, to begin hiring
personnel from other teams. The obvious target is San
Francisco, where Browns president Carmen Policy, former
president of the 49ers, would like to hire away general
manager Dwight Clark to run his operation.

Williams eyes record free agent pact

NEW YORK, Oct. 27 (AP) -- On the day Mike Piazza got
baseball's biggest contract, Bernie Williams made the first
move toward what might be an even larger deal.

Less than a week after helping the New York Yankees win
their second World Series title in three seasons, the AL
batting champion filed for free agency Monday.

Williams, who turned 30 last month, wants a seven-year
contract with a no-trade clause. The Yankees have been
reluctant to give him a deal longer than five years, but
Piazza's $91 million, seven-year contract, which formally
was announced Monday by the New York Mets, might change the

``We now know what a premium player is worth when
negotiating with one team,'' said Williams' agent, Scott
Boras. ``As what a premium player is worth when negotiating
with multiple teams, that's yet to be defined.''

Williams, cited by many as the glue that kept the Yankees
clubhouse together, hit .339 last season, with 26 homers and
97 RBIs despite missing five weeks with a sprained right

``I think I'll get a chance to stay,'' Williams told the
crowd at the Yankees victory parade Friday.

Then he motioned toward Yankees owner George Steinbrenner,
who was sitting nearby. ``You've got to talk to this guy
right here,'' Williams said.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Boras again on
Monday that re-signing Williams was the team's top priority,
but Boras said he wants to test the market first.

Piazza, traded to the Mets in May, will average $13 million
a season under his contract, topping the $12.5 million
average pitcher Pedro Martinez is getting from the $75
million, six-year deal he agreed to with Boston last

``The Mets showed incredible commitment to me,'' the
six-time All-Star catcher said. ``If I'm so fortunate as to
go into the Hall of Fame someday, it definitely will be in a
Mets uniform.''

Mets general manager Steve Phillips is expected to make his
next move Wednesday, re-signing pitcher Al Leiter to a $32
million four-year deal.

Williams' Yankees teammate, Tim Raines, also filed for free
agency Monday, as did three players from the NL champion San
Diego Padres: pitcher Kevin Brown and outfielders Steve
Finley and John Vander Wal.

Brown also is represented by Boras, who also spoke with San
Diego general manager Kevin Towers. The pitcher -- like
Leiter a victim of Florida's payroll purge, went 18-7 for
the Padres and wants a five-year contract.

Towers said Monday the Padres could sign one of their top
free agent-eligible players before the Nov. 3 vote on a
downtown ballpark.

It could be first baseman Wally Joyner, who has indicated
that he would like to finish his career in San Diego.
Although eligible, he has yet to file for free agency.

``I'd say we're moving in the right direction,'' said
Joyner's agent, Barry Axelrod.

San Diego appears to be leaning toward exercising the $1.9
million option on catcher-first baseman Jim Leyritz, who hit
four home runs in the playoffs. The Padres must make that
decision by Wednesday.

Also among the 28 players filing Monday were Baltimore
second baseman Roberto Alomar and Oakland outfielder Rickey
Henderson. Minnesota designated hitter Paul Molitor filed,
but is expected to announce his retirement later this year.

In other contract news, Colorado declined a $2.15 million
option on Kirt Manwaring and will pay the catcher a $500,000
buyout. Boston exercised a $750,000 option on pitcher Jim
Corsi, but declined its option on pitcher Steve Avery.

Los Angeles declined a $5.6 million option on pitcher Ramon
Martinez and will pay a $600,000 buyout. The Dodgers also
declined a $1.4 million option on outfielder Jim Eisenreich,
obtained from Florida during the Marlins' payroll purge, and
will pay a $200,000 buyout.

Philadelphia exercised a $3 million option on pitcher Mark
Leiter, but declined a $6 million option on oft-injured
outfielder Lenny Dykstra, who hasn't played since May 18,
1996, and a $2.75 million option on pitcher Mark Portugal.
Dykstra gets a $500,000 buyout and Portugal gets $300,000.

San Francisco exercised its $3 million option on first
baseman J.T. Snow, but declined a $1.4 million option on
pitcher Osvaldo Fernandez and will pay a $400,000 buyout.

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