Steinbrenner talks are near, Vincent says
Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent said yesterday that he expected that George Steinbrenner would soon clear away two lawsuits related to his banishment from baseball, opening the way for negotiations to begin over Steinbrenner's return as head of the New York Yankees.
Vincent said it was his understanding that Steinbrenner was moving toward seeing that the lawsuits were dropped. Though Vincent has said repeatedly that there would be no negotiations until the suits were dropped, his comments yesterday were the first sign that Steinbrenner was moving to do so.
The New York Knicks held an illegal New Year's Day practice at SUNY-Purchase and could draw an NBA fine for working on what is supposed to be a league-wide day off.
The NBA's collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from practicing Jan. 1 -- even on an "optional" basis. A Knicks spokesman said the players supported the decision by Pat Riley, president Dave Checketts and vice president of player personnel Ernie Grunfeld to practice yesterday. He also said the club was willing to deal with any consequences from the league.
* Johnny Brown of the Nashville Stars scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the World Basketball League All-Stars to a 110-99 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv of Israel in the Haarlem (Netherlands) Basketball Week Tournament. David Thirdkill, who played for the Boston Celtics, led Hapoel with 29 points.
The United States (4-1) moved into a first-place tie with the Commonwealth of Independent States in the World Junior Hockey Championships with a 5-3 victory over Canada in Fussen, Germany.
The USA-CIS game will be played today. The Americans finish Saturday against Czechoslovakia.
* A federal judge in Camden, N.J., refused to dismiss a pension lawsuit filed against the NHL by several former players. Chief U.S. District Court Judge John F. Gerry rejected a request by the NHL to dismiss the lawsuit, which had been filed in June. The NHL had claimed the lawsuit should be tossed out because a similar case is pending in Toronto.
Both suits claim the NHL has misused millions of dollars in surplus money from the old-timers' pension fund to finance the current players' pension fund.
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who attended a benefit basketball game Saturday at City College in New York at which eight people were trampled to death, has donated $7,500 to the families of the victims.
Tyson said he left when the event became unruly and that he saw people injured.
"There was nothing I could have done. I was frightened. I didn't know what to do," Tyson said.
The Major Soccer League's St. Louis Storm swept through the opening day of the FIFA-sponsored Zurich New Year's Indoor Soccer Tournament in Switzerland with a 3-0 record. The two-day event, which will end today, features six teams from five countries. St. Louis is defending its title.
* Lee Chapman scored twice and set up a goal, as Leeds powered to the top of the English soccer standings with a 3-1 victory at struggling West Ham in London.
A sports psychologist who helped Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz and was recently hired by the Atlanta Hawks confirmed that he has not passed national or state licensing exams required for certification in Georgia.
Jack Llewellyn said he plans to continue his duties with the Braves, but may change his title to avoid conflict with the state licensing board.
Llewellyn, who helped turn Smoltz into a second-half sensation last season, said Monday that he didn't think he needed a license to practice in Georgia. State officials said Llewellyn was mistaken.
Abide Bouazza of Highland, N.Y., won the New Year's 5-mile run in 24 minutes, 9 seconds in New York's Central Park. A field of 4,550, second largest in the history of the 13-year meet, participated in the midnight run.