Tiger bra a lift for Hanshin
On a rare winning streak that could bring them their first title in 18 years, Japan's long-suffering Hanshin Tigers baseball team got a little extra support yesterday from a newly designed bra. Cuddly "Truckee," the tiger mascot of the Osaka-based team, peeps out from each cup of the black-and-gold tiger-print brassiere, while the matching briefs feature a removable tiger tail. Maker Triumph International Japan plans to put 500 sets of the underwear on sale at ?10,000 (US$85) a throw when the league championship competition nears its climax next month. "The Hanshin Tigers have brought us some cheer amid all the bad news, so we wanted to provide a bright topic, too," said Hiromi Shinta, a public relations executive at Triumph.
Salary cap set at US$44m
The NBA salary cap for the 2003-04 season will be almost US$44 million, a jump of about 9 percent from last season. The league and the players' union released the new figure Tuesday night on the eve of the expiration of a moratorium on free agent signings. Their financial calculations showed the average salary to be US$4.917 million, which will become the starting salary for any free agent signed to the full mid-level exception. The new salary cap figure of US$43.84 million is the highest in NBA history. A year ago, the figure dropped from US$42.5 million to US$40.27 million -- the first drop since the salary cap system was adopted for the 1984-85 season. The salary cap represents the maximum amount of payroll a team can spend on player salaries.
Expos eye Puerto Rico
The Montreal Expos could play their entire home schedule in Puerto Rico next season under a plan being considered by major league baseball. To raise revenue, the commissioner's office moved 22 of the team's 81 home games this season to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. Baseball still hasn't come up with a permanent solution for the Expos, who were bought by the other 29 teams before this season. While baseball's goal is to have a decision by September, the sport's top officials say they don't feel bound by any deadline.
Dodgers sign Henderson
Desperate for offensive help, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed 44-year-old Rickey Henderson on Monday and acquired slugging outfielder Jeromy Burnitz from the New York Mets. The Mets, unloading another high-priced player, will receive three minor leaguers -- infielder Victor Diaz and right-handed relievers Joselo Diaz and Kole Strayhorn. New York will also pay part of Burnitz's remaining salary this season. "We really like these two guys," Dodgers general manager Dan Evans said of Henderson and Burnitz. "I think these two guys can come in and improve our ballclub. We're not asking either one to do more than they're capable of doing." The 34-year-old Burnitz, who has played all three outfield positions, figures to replace Brian Jordan in left field.