Contains items on Tak Kawamoto, Nadia and Bart, Erik Kramer and Gary Hall Jr.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Soon, every major league team might want someone like Tak Kawamoto.
The Japanese scout works for the Kansas City Royals, and his job is to feed the team information about hot prospects in his homeland.
Foreign scouts aren’t new in baseball. Richer teams have used them to sign players such as Chan Ho Park, a Korean pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Osvaldo Fernandez, a Cuban pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.
But the use of foreign scouts could trickle down to teams with smaller budgets. To stop wealthy franchises from dominating the new market, baseball is likely to institute an annual world draft of all college and foreign players.
Kawamoto, 52, offered his services to every major league club, but only the Royals took up his offer. The club signed him in August as an associate scout.
The Royals can’t afford a full-time scout in Asia or bidding wars for foreign players. But Kawamoto is a bargain. He travels at his own expense and has a vast network of connections, including Japanese players, coaches and businesses.
He moved to the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan., after signing with the Royals, and his daughter, Yukiyo, doubles as his secretary and traveling companion.
``My duty is to find good players and help them come over and play for the Kansas City Royals,″ said Kawamoto, who played college baseball in Japan.
For now, the Royals are tempering their expectations for Kawamoto’s scouting talents.
``He is a wonderful man,″ general manager Herk Robinson said. ``Where will it go? I don’t know where it has been. He wants very badly to help.″
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Nadia Comaneci, the queen of Romanian gymnastics, and Bart Conner, her American bridegroom, were married for a second time in a lavish church ceremony on Saturday, a day after a civil wedding.
About 2,000 spectators gathered in front of Bucharest’s Casin monastery, where seven priests, including Bishop Teofan, an assistant to Romania’s Patriarch, officiated at a traditional church wedding and blessed Comaneci and Conner, a 1984 Olympics medalist.
Six young girls, all of them gymnasts wearing white dresses and white stylish shoes, held Comaneci’s 7-yard long wedding dress train.
Comaneci wore a snow-white wedding dress embroidered with white roses, while Conner was dressed in a black morning jacket and white shirt with a white bowtie. Their wedding garments reportedly cost $90,000.
Top Romanian officials as well as former tennis star Ilie Nastase, who is running for Bucharest mayor, also attended the ceremony.
Later Saturday, Romania’s President Ion Iliescu hosted a banquet in honor of the newlyweds in the marble-plated main hall of Bucharest’s Cotroceni Palace.
Comaneci, who dazzled the world with her perfect 10s at the 1976 Olympics, said she would still retain her maiden name, but stated, ``Today the 1976 Montreal Olympics move on to second place for me.″
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Erik Kramer is in the right place at the right time, according Steve Rosner, executive vice president of Integrated Sports International.
The outfit recently signed exclusive marketing agreements with Kramer, Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake, Pittsburgh Steelers multi-purpose back Kordell Stewart and veteran defensive end Reggie White of the Green Bay Packers.
``Being quarterback of the Chicago Bears is one of the best marketing positions to be in,″ Rosner said of Kramer.
``He’s finally established as a top NFL quarterback, so we’re looking to capitalize on his play with various marketing opportunities.″
As for Stewart and Blake, Rosner said, ``We believe Kordell and Jeff are the future of the NFL on the field, which will translate into successful marketing careers off the field.″
He said Stewart already had been signed to appear for a national FootAction TV commercial.
PHOENIX (AP) _ Olympic swimming hopeful Gary Hall Jr. has set his sights on becoming the third generation of his family to win a swimming title.
Hall, one of America’s top freestyle swimmers, figures to have a shot at three Olympics medals.
His father, Gary Sr., now a Phoenix opthalmologist, won a silver medal at the Mexico City games.
His grandfather, Charles Keating, was NCAA 200-butterfly champ in 1946 while a student at Cincinnati.
Keating went to jail in the saving and loan scandal.
The grandfather and grandson are very close, and one reason young Gary hopes to do well in Atlanta is to bring some joy to Keating.