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Names In The Game

March 21, 1997

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ When soccer coach Paulo Matta revealed his frustration at losing a game, he shouldn’t have bared more than his emotions.

The Rio de Janeiro Soccer Federation suspended Matta for 420 days on Thursday for pulling down his pants to protest a controversial goal that beat his team, Itaperuna, last week.

Matta was furious when the referee validated a goal by Vasco’s Edmundo in the 83rd minute for a 3-2 victory. Matta complained Edmundo was offsides when he received a pass and raced in to score.

Matta charged on to the field, pulled off his shirt and was removing his pants when police stopped him.

``It was a protest,″ he explained. ``This was my last game. I work honestly all week and then a line judge who’s in somebody’s pocket does something like this.″

Matta later thought better of quitting and said he planned to stay on as coach _ but he won’t be able to until next year..


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Claude Passeau, who pitched a one-hit shutout for the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series, will be honored Saturday by his alma mater, Millsaps College.

The 87-year-old Passeau will throw out the first pitch before Saturday’s doubleheader between Millsaps and Oglethorpe. The college is hosting the twice-delayed ``Claude Passeau Day,″ which has been postponed from two earlier dates this season because of bad weather.

Passeau played at Millsaps from 1928-31. He then won 162 games in 13 major-league seasons with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Cubs, and was a six-time All-Star.

At the time, his one-hitter was only the second in World Series history. It came 11 years before the Don Larsen’s perfect game, the only no-hitter ever in a World Series game.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Officials of the state agency that operates the Meadowlands racetrack are negotiating with Seagram Co. to sell the track’s name to the distilling firm, according to reports in two newspapers.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which oversees the operation of the sports complex that includes the track, envisions a 10-year contract worth roughly $1.5 million a year, according to an unidentified source cited by The Star-Ledger of Newark.

The newspaper said the track would be called ``Seagram Park″ under the deal, which it said was proposed by track officials at a meeting earlier this week with representatives the Canadian liquor producer and distributor.

Sports authority chairman Ray Bateman told The Record of Hackensack that discussions were under way, but said he did not know the amounts discussed, which side made the proposal, and whether other companies were interested.

The authority, in January 1996, renamed the building used by the New Jersey Nets and Devils as the Continental Airlines Arena for $29 million.


MESA, Ariz. (AP) _ Alex Rodriguez, the Seattle Mariners All-Star shortstop, drew a crowd of minor leaguers while he was getting in some batting practice.

He drew an even bigger crowd when he tossed out a dinner invitation Thursday.

``I was getting in some extra hitting after our game and some of the minor leaguers (who had just finished their workout) started watching me,″ Rodriguez said. ``I asked if they wanted to go out to dinner, expecting a few of tshem to say yes. I told them to meet me outside our clubhouse.″

About an hour later, 27 players were waiting for him. He had to ask John Marzano, the M’s backup catcher, to help shuttle the players to the restaurant and back to their hotel.

``Those kids were hungry,″ Marzano said. ``It might have been only 27 of them, but they ate like 50.″

Three hours after the dinner began, the players had consumed an estimated 600 buffalo wings and at least one full meal apiece.

The tab, which came to about $1,100, was picked up by Rodriguez.


NEW YORK (AP) _ Columbus Crew defender Paul Caligiuri won his breach of contract claim against Major League Soccer on Friday, an award which will pay him more than $100,000 and may require the league to transfer him to the Los Angeles Galaxy, his lawyer said Friday.

In a binding arbitration ruling, retired California Superior Court judge Dana Senit Henry essentially ruled MLS wrongly invalidated a contract signed by Caligiuri in December 1995 and forced him to sign a second one four months later, Caligiuri’s lawyer Michael Trope said.

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