Friday, April 05, 2002

Baseball notebook

Cable rift leaves some Yankees fans out in cold

The Associated Press

        NEW YORK — Some Yankees fans aren't worrying about Roger Clemens' hand injury or Jason Giambi's slow start to the season. They have a bigger concern: the cable TV business.

        Three million customers in the nation's largest TV market have not been able to see the Yankees on television because the team's new cable network cannot reach an agreement with the area's biggest cable company.

        The YES Network will carry 130 of the team's 162 games this season, and the dispute is enraging Yankees fans who are customers of Cablevision.

        At WFAN, the all-sports radio station, more callers have been talking about “premium-tier” cable prices than upper-deck home runs.

        “We even made a joke on the air this morning: "Maybe we can get a couple of calls about the game,'” program director Mark Chernoff said.

        YES, owned mostly by George Steinbrenner and his partners, insists on being carried as a basic cable channel, which probably would mean a $2 monthly increase for Cablevision customers. Cablevision insists on selling YES as a premium channel like HBO, charging considerably more — $8 to $12 — but only for those who sign up for YES.

        BLUE JAYS:

        When Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez paid a brief, friendly visit to the Blue Jays locker room during a rain delay at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, he violated one of baseball's unwritten rules, Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez said.

        “That's uncalled for,” an angry Buck Martinez said before the Blue Jays' home opener Thursday. “I don't understand the mentality of a player being in another player's locker room.

        “If I was Shannon Stewart, I've got to think of taking a pop at him or something.”

        In Monday's opener, the Boston ace hit Stewart with a pitch.


        Greg Maddux threw for 20 minutes in the bullpen Thursday and expects to start Sunday when the Atlanta Braves play the New York Mets.

        Maddux, who missed his opening day assignment on Monday because of an inflamed nerve in his lower back, received a cortisone shot Wednesday.

        FINLEY CASE:

        Actress Tawny Kitaen was ordered back to court April 29 to face charges she attacked her husband, Cleveland Indians pitcher Chuck Finley.

        Kitaen was to be arraigned Wednesday but told court officials she was ill. She was released several hours later and left jail without talking to reporters.

        If convicted of misdemeanor spousal abuse and battery, she faces up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

        The 40-year-old Kitaen was ordered to have no contact with her husband. But she will be allowed to live in the couple's Newport Beach home while Finley will stay elsewhere.

        Finley, 39, who missed his spot in the Indians' pitching rotation, was expected to rejoin the team today in Detroit.

        RED SOX:

        Boston starter Dustin Hermanson felt better Thursday and might not need to miss a start because of his groin injury.“They told me it might feel worse, but it feels better,” he said a day after leaving Wednesday's start against Toronto in the second inning. “I think if there's a question, they're not going to push me. But I'm going to push myself.”

        Chicago Claimed Mario Encarnacion off waivers from the Colorado Rockies, giving them a backup outfielder.


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