Who's playing, who's not
Most sports leagues, federations plan to uphold schedulesPosted: Wednesday March 19, 2003 10:56 AM
Updated: Thursday March 20, 2003 4:04 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Baseball will open its season in Anaheim, not Tokyo.
The NCAA said its men's and women's basketball tournaments, which start this week, will go on as scheduled. But men's games were forced off CBS as the network stayed with war programming.
The NBA and NHL said their schedules would remain unchanged, and those sports discussed security arrangements, as did the tennis and golf tours. This month's figure skating world championships in Washington plan to go forward.
NBA: Biggest effect felt in international scoutingWith 65 foreign-born players from 34 countries on rosters as of March 5, the NBA has a definite international presence. With the exception of Mavericks point guard Steve Nash –- who spoke out against the war at last month’s All-Star Weekend -– few players have said much publicly about it. Still, the NBA says it has taken extra security measures to protect both foreign and American-born players.
SI.com's Marty Burns says the war’s biggest impact likely will be in the area of scouting. Most NBA teams have been taking a wait-and-see approach to international travel. The Nuggets made a conscious effort to schedule the bulk of their overseas travel by Feb. 1, but other teams say they still plan to make trips later, depending on circumstances.
MLB: Pedro makes his pitch for the troops
"This country, when you look at yourself and think what they have to go through to protect us, it really seems like we're not doing anything," the Boston Red Sox pitcher said of American troops Thursday after throwing five strong innings to defeat Detroit 5-3 for his first win of spring training.
"It just seems like we're spoiled little brats around, we should consider a little bit more other people," he said. "I'll take my uniform off and lay it down so they can walk on it."
Martinez also said Major League Baseball was right not to cancel spring training games as the war began.
"I don't know really, but if you quit on things like that, right now, you're giving up on your people," he said. "I believe you're giving up. We have to show them that we're not scared. We're going to hopefully take the stress that those people get from watching TV and those reports and give them a good baseball game and something to look at."
Baseball did cancel the games between Seattle and Oakland scheduled for March 25-26 in Tokyo.
"Given the uncertainty that now exists throughout the world, we believe the safest course of action for the players involved and the many staff personnel who must work the games is to reschedule the opening series," Selig said. "It would be unfair and terribly unsettling for them to be half a world away -- away from their families at this critical juncture."
Formula One: No plans to alter scheduleInternational Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley issued a statement on Thursday to silence rumors that this weekend's Formula One Grand Prix would be canceled.
"Formula One is a genuinely international sport welcomed by a wide range of cultures across the world," said Mosley.
"Our sport has nothing whatever to do with the conflict in Iraq and the FIA fully supports the local organisers of the Malaysian Grand Prix in running this event in the usual way."
Formula One has always said that it would be business as usual on the grand prix circuit and world champion Michael Schumacher said on Thursday that he was satisfied with the security measures in place. "I think it's a matter of mentality," the German said.
Cycling: Lance feels vulnerable on his bikeAmerican cyclist Lance Armstrong is due in Spain next week for the Tour of Catalan and his concerns, if not his determination to compete, may prove typical of the reaction to the current conflict. "If I have to do the Tour [de France] with a war under way it would be very difficult for me," Armstrong, who will be aiming for a fifth straight Tour victory in July, said in January.
"In cycling you ride in the open -- there is no fencing or protection nets. But I will be there just the same, it won't be the war that stops me. Even if I am advised to pull out for security reasons I will still go."
NCAA: Games will go on
The NCAA has spent four months reviewing options in case of war. The latest ultimatum President Bush delivered to Saddam Hussein in a television speech Monday night "heightened the urgency of our considerations," NCAA president Myles Brand said.
He consulted Tuesday with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and members of the NCAA's governing bodies before deciding.
"We are also concerned that life go on as normal," Brand added. "We see no reason, after consulting with Secretary Ridge, to make any alterations to our plan."
CBS holds the rights to the men's tournament. But the network, which is owned by Viacom Inc., switched early coverage to ESPN in order to stay with war coverage.
Golf: Burk says scope of protests may changeMartha Burk thinks war with Iraq would "alter the tone and possibly the size" of her planned protest during the Masters.
But Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, said Wednesday she still intends to protest April 12 at Augusta National -- unless the all-male club allows female members or postpones the tournament.
"If the country is at war it will alter the tone and possibly the size of any action that we bring," Burk told The Associated Press. "I want to stress that whether or not we are there is 100 percent the club's call."
NHL: Games will go on as scheduled
Said NHL spokesman Frank Brown: "We anticipate all games being played as scheduled. All appropriate plans for security have been in place and remain in place."
Cricket: Increased security at World CupCricket World Cup organizers say Sunday's final at Johannesburg will go ahead under increased security and regardless of the U.S.-led coalition strikes on Iraq.
"There's no 'wait-and-see' attitude at all," said Cricket World Cup communications director Rodney Hartman. "There certainly is an enhanced level of security around the tournament, including more security at venues ... but everything is on track, everything goes ahead."
Skating: World Championship still a go
The International Skating Union has no plans to postpone or move its March 23-30 world championships. The governing body said no teams have withdrawn and authorities are taking appropriate security measures. President and Mrs. Bush agreed last month to serve as honorary co-chairs of the event.
Football: NFL Europe opens April 5
Football players are working out in Orlando, Fla., and are scheduled to leave Tuesday and Wednesday to go to six European cities for the NFL Europe season, which starts April 5.
"We are monitoring developments, but at this point, there has been no change in our plans to go forward with the NFL Europe season as scheduled," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
NASCAR: Special bond with military
NASCAR is scheduled to race this weekend in Bristol, Tenn. The U.S. Army sponsors Jerry Nadeau's car and he visited troops in Afghanistan in December. The Air Force is an associate sponsor for Ricky Rudd, the National Guard is a sponsor for Todd Bodine, and the Navy sponsors the truck driven by Jon Wood.
"We believe there is a special bond between our troops and our sport," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "Every branch of the American military is represented in NASCAR racing, and our chairman, Bill France, has always described NASCAR fans as `the kind of people who go to war and win wars for America."'
Soccer: MLS to start as scheduledNEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Soccer's schedule will not be changed because of the threat of war in Iraq.
"Based on the information we know today, through consultation with the appropriate local and federal authorities, the 2003 MLS season will begin as scheduled on April 5," league commissioner Don Garber said Wednesday.
"Currently, four MLS teams are in Central and South America, and will maintain their travel itineraries," he said. "If the situation should change drastically, we will act accordingly to ensure the safety of our players, staff, fans and their families.
"We are confident in the security procedures established at our teams and venues, which were intensified late in the 2001 season."
The MLS season starts when defending champion Los Angeles plays at Columbus, the U.S. Open Cup winner. The other eight teams start play a week later.
Soccer: Japan may cancel trip to U.S.Japanese soccer officials are considering cancellation of two exhibition matches next week in the United States if a U.S.-led goes to war against Iraq.
"We need to monitor the situation very closely," Japan Football Association chairman Saburo Kawabuchi said Wednesday. "There is still time before we depart."
Kawabuchi said a final decision will be made at a JFA council meeting on Friday.
Soccer: Israel leagues will continue playingIsraeli domestic soccer is to proceed as normal despite the impending war in Iraq, but the situation will be reviewed if the country becomes directly involved in the hostilities.
"Clearly if Israel becomes involved in the war in some way, we will have to take decisions. But in the meantime, we will play on as normal," Israel Football Association spokesman Shaul Eisenberg told the Haaretz newspaper Tuesday.
Tennis: Nasdaq-100 starts Wednesday
Officials of the Nasdaq-100 Open tennis tournament plan to start as scheduled in Florida on Wednesday.
"Life goes on. I think that's what the president wants us to do," tournament chairman Butch Buchholz said. "We're just going to deal with it on a day-to-day basis."
Heightened security is in place for the 12-day event, which each year draws more than 200,000 spectators from around the globe.FULL STORY
Horse Racing: Big names are in Dubai
The Dubai World Cup races, the richest day in thoroughbred racing, will go on as scheduled March 29.
There are 13 U.S-based horses in Dubai, including Harlan's Holiday and Xtra Heat. Harlan's Holiday, trained by Todd Pletcher, is the likely favorite for the $6 million World Cup, the world's richest race, while the 5-year-old mare Xtra Heat will run in the $2 million Golden Shaheen.
Also running the World Cup is Blue Burner, owned by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Farm.