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October 03, 2006 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-03

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12 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

CHICAGO (AP) - Dusty
Baker is out as the Chicago
Cubs' manager following a last-
place finish and a failure to take
the team to the World Series in
his four years.
The Cubs made the announce-
ment yesterday, a day after
team president Andy MacPhail
resigned and the club finished
with a 66-96 record.
"I wish we could have gotten
it done but we didn't," Baker
said. "You see four years come
to pass very quickly."
Baker was in the last season
of his $14 million-to-$15 mil-
lion deal and had hoped to res-
urrect the franchise that hadn't
been in the World Series since
1945 and hadn't won one since
The Cubs got within five outs
of the Series in 2003, but never
came close after that.
He compiled a 322-326 record
during his time in Chicago.
Baker said he talked to the
players on Sunday.
"I just urged them yesterday
just to learn from some of the
things that they might have
understood, and some of the
things that they didn't under-
stand," he said. "Just retain it
and perhaps some day they can
use it on being better ballplay-
ers, and being, you know, better

Group buys
NBA's Grizzlies

Baseball legend Dusty Baker was fired after a 66-win season with the Chicago Cubs.

family men and just being bet-
ter people, period."
Known for his toothpicks
and wristbands while manag-
ing from the dugout, Baker was
popular with his players and in
his 14th season as manager.
Baker left the San Francisco
Giants after leading them to
the 2002 World Series, and
almost guided the Cubs there
in 2003.
With Mark Prior on the
mound in Game 6 of the NL
championship series, the Cubs
blew a three-run lead in the
eighth inning against Florida.
The Marlins scored eight
times, helped when Cubs fan
Steve Bartman touched a foul
fly ball before Chicago left
fielder Moises Alou had a
chance to catch it. It will easily
be the most-remembered inning
in Baker's tenure in Chicago.
The next night, the Cubs
lost Game 7 with Kerry Wood

They came back the next sea-
son, led the NL wild card by
1 1/2 games, only to stumble
again on a final homestand and
not make the postseason.
The 2004 season also marked
the end of Sammy Sosa in Chi-
Sosa left the clubhouse before
the end of the season finale, and
the fading slugger later accused
Baker of blaming him for the
club's failures.
Sosa was subsequently traded
to Baltimore.
Injuries to Prior and Wood
dogged the Cubs the last three
Nomar Garciaparra tore a
groin muscle and missed much
of the 2005 season as the Cubs
fell to 79-83, Baker's first los-
ing season since 1996.
The swoon continued this
year as Prior and Wood started
the season on the disabled list

again. NL batting champion
Derrek Lee later broke his wrist
and from there, the collapse was
Baker was the latest victim in
the Cub's history of losing.
MacPhail offered no excuses
on Sunday, but acknowledged
the Cubs hadn't developed posi-
tion players as well as pitch-
ers and pointed to the team's
uncanny stretch of injuries and
poor health.
Baker has said he does not
regret coming to the Cubs but
wished he'd been the one to
turn the longtime losers around.
That's what he expected upon
his arrival following 10 seasons
as skipper of the Giants, where
he was a three-time manager of
the year.
Baker previously coached
in San Francisco from 1993
through the 2002 season. He
compiled a 840-715 record
while coaching the Giants.

MEMPHIS,Tenn.(AP) - An
investment group that includes
Christian Laettner and his for-
mer Duke teammate Brian
Davis has reached an agreement
to buy 70 percent of the Mem-
phis Grizzlies.
Laettner is also interested in
returning to the NBA to play for
the Grizzlies, according to Davis.
"We'll try to make that happen
as soon as possible," Davis said at
a news conference Monday.
Laettner, who was with the
league for 13 years, left the NBA
after the 2004-05 season with
Memphis coach Mike Fratello
said he had heard nothing about
Laettner wanting to return to the
"I guess if you own the team,
you can put yourself on the ros-
ter," Fratello said.
Davis said an agreement was
reached with billionaire Michael
Heisley to buy his majority 70 per-
cent interest in the team for about
$360 million. Davis and Laettner
are putting a total of $40 mil-
lion of their own money into the
project. The remainder will come
from investors he did not identify,
but Davis said he has lined up the
money for the purchase.
Members of the group will be
made public, he said, after the
team's minority owners decide
if they will make an offer for the
Davis, who played in four Final
Fours while at Duke from 1989-
92, said he wants president Jerry
West and Fratello to stay with the
He added that he would like to
sign West to a lifetime contract,
though West said it was too early

for him to decide on his long-
range plans, "so we'll see what
The sale will take several
months to complete because the
minority owners have the right
of first refusal for 60 days from
the date they are notified. The
sale also must be approved by the
NBA, and Heisley said he expects
to remain with the team for sev-
eral months.
AutoZone founder J.R. "Pitt"
Hyde, a minority owner and busi-
ness leader who helped bring the
Grizzlies to town, said a decision
on trying to match Davis' offer
will take several weeks.
"In evaluating this whole prop-
osition, our No. 1 concern will be
what's in the best interest for the
city of Memphis," Hyde said.
Heisley bought the franchise in
Vancouver in 2000 for $160 mil-
lion and moved it to Memphis the
following year.
The Memphis Commercial
Appeal, citing team insiders,
reported Sunday that the Grizzlies
lost more than $40 million follow-
ing the 2005-06 season, spurring
Heisley to try to sell his majority
share. The newspaper first report-
ed the sale Sunday.
But Heisley said his motiva-
tions for selling were not purely
"I put a lot of time and a lot of
money in this franchise. But I look
at it and say, 'Am I the person who
can best take this team to the next
level?' And I don't think I am the
person who can do as good a job
as Brian can do," Heisley said.
"I'm almost 70 years of age, and
I'm not going to suddenly be out
there high-fiving with players. He

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