Other Sports

Sports briefs: Dec. 13

Baseball

Pujols' wife speaks about slugger's split with Cardinals

Deidre Pujols, wife of former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, appeared on a radio station program in St. Louis on Monday morning to share what she termed the Pujols' "side of the story" concerning Albert's departure from the Cardinals and how he ended up signing with the Los Angeles Angels.

Deidre Pujols said she had been involved throughout Albert's free-agency process and that she wanted to "share the truth" because "I know what is right." She said many media outlets have gotten the facts wrong when it comes to exactly what Albert was offered.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals reopened talks with Albert Pujols earlier this month with a five-year, $130 million bid that eventually grew to 10 years guaranteed for $210 million but included significant deferred money. The Angels landed Pujols with a 10-year, $254 million bid free of deferred money and packed with enough milestone incentives to make the deal worth upwards of $280 million.

Deidre Pujols also said that she was surprised that many fans in St. Louis "turned on us so quickly" and reiterated that both she and Albert had hoped he would remain with the Cardinals.

"It just didn't work out," she said. "The offers that people have seen on television, I'm going to tell you what .... had that offer been the one that was given to us, with guarantee, we would have a bird on the bat. ... What I'm saying is it wasn't a guaranteed situation. When you have somebody say, 'We want you to be a Cardinal for life' and only offer you a five-year deal ... it kind of confused us. ...

"Well, we got over that insult and felt like Albert had given so much of himself to baseball and into the community that he at least deserved the opportunity to have real life-long — you know, I tell you what — we didn't want to go through this again. Free agency, it's stressful."

Deidre Pujols went on to say that neither she nor Albert is angry with the Cardinals organization and that they have respect for owner Bill DeWitt and the entire organization.

"We still love St. Louis and that will never change," she said.

■ The Cardinals and shortstop Rafael Furcal agreed to a $14 million, two-year contract, keeping the switch-hitter with the World Series champions.

■ The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to terms with free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez on Monday, agent Paul Kinzer told The Associated Press. The 33-year-old Ramirez played 149 games for the NL Central rival Chicago Cubs last year, batting .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI.

■ The Colorado Rockies bolstered their depth at catcher, agreeing to a two-year deal with veteran Ramon Hernandez. He played the last three seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit .282 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI last season.

■ The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a $2 million, two-year contract. Gwynn, who played at all three outfield positions with the Dodgers last season, averaged 0.11 assists per nine innings to lead NL outfielders.

Sports in the courts

Molestation claims against former AAU president being examined

Memphis police said Monday that investigators are still trying to follow up on allegations that ex-Amateur Athletic Union President Robert "Bobby" Dodd molested children 30 years ago, but they have not received a formal victim complaint. Investigators received information from the AAU about accusations, but would not disclose whether they are investigating one or multiple allegations.

Deputy chief Dave Martello said he could not provide details because the investigation is ongoing. He called the case "different" because the department was acting on allegations made in the media and by the AAU, not on a formal complaint from any possible victim, which is the typical protocol.

"Those are going to be a lot of baby steps," Martello said about the investigation.

ESPN reported Friday that two former basketball players have accused Dodd of molesting them as children.

The AAU has confirmed that it is investigating the claims, which date to the 1980s. One of the players, 43-year-old Ralph West, told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" he was assaulted in Memphis in 1984.

AAU Acting President Louis Stout has said that the 63-year-old Dodd has colon cancer and will not return to his positions as president and executive director.

Horse racing

Collapsed deal a threat to racing in N.J.

Gov. Chris Christie issued an ultimatum to New Jersey's Thoroughbred horse owners Monday, telling them they had a week to come up with a new deal in order to save horse racing in the state.

Christie blamed the owners for causing a private investor to pull out of an agreement to lease Monmouth Park racetrack.

He said a recent handshake agreement with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association was scuttled when lawyers for the group made new demands for $5 million in purse subsidies.

Christie said he was leaving it up to the owners to make sure horse racing remained in New Jersey.

"If they don't come to us in the next week with a deal that works and stop extorting the taxpayers for millions of dollars in subsidies to their industry, then we're not going to have a deal and we won't have a horse racing industry in the state anymore," he said.

The dispute threatens to derail the governor's plan to privatize both Monmouth and the Meadowlands Racetrack, deals he has said have to be executed at the same time, after he decided to end state subsidies to racing more than a year ago.

Christie has been looking for a way to get the state out of horse racing. A commission he appointed recommended ending a $30 million annual subsidy to racing, which has been done.

The Meadowlands was projected to lose $11 million this year. Monmouth Park was projected to lose $6.6 million.

Hockey

U.S. Hall adds Chelios, Suter, Tkachuk

Chris Chelios led a class of five inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night in Chicago. The three-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Olympian was joined by fellow defenseman Gary Suter, who played with Chelios at the University of Wisconsin and for the Chicago Blackhawks, forward Keith Tkachuk, Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider and broadcaster Mike Emrick.

Chelios played for three Stanley Cup teams, one for Montreal and two for Detroit, in 26 seasons. Suter was the NHL's top rookie for Calgary in 1985-86. Tkachuk scored 538 goals in 19 NHL seasons, and, like Chelios, played on four Olympic teams. Snider was among the Flyers' founders in 1966. Emrick, the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC and Versus, has called 13 Stanley Cup finals.

The last word

The Cincinnati Bengals' game against the Houston Texans on Sunday drew 41,202 fans, the second-smallest crowd in Paul Brown Stadium history and smaller than the University of Cincinnati drew for one of its games at the stadium this season. The Bengals have sold out only one home game this season — when the Steelers brought thousands of fans with them — and they're not likely to sell out either of the last two, which are played on Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said:

"It's disappointing. I think people are missing out. I get excited and I can't wait for Sundays to watch our guys play because I know it's going to be exciting. They're missing a great show."

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