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Cardinals close deal to buy Triple-A Memphis team

Sports

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals now own their top minor-league team. The Cardinals on Friday closed on the purchase of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. As part of the deal, the city of Memphis, Tenn., acquires AutoZone Park and will lease the stadium to the Cardinals. Both are buying from Fundamental Advisors LP, the sole bondholder of the Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation.  Financial terms were not disclosed. Plans for the purchase were first announced late last year.

The Cardinals say the purchase agreement includes a significant investment in AutoZone Park, but did not elaborate.  The Memphis franchise has had financial struggles in recent years. The team drew more than 800,000 fans when the stadium opened in 2000, but has drawn fewer than 500,000 in recent seasons.

8AM Sportscast 03-28-2014

Podcasts, Sports

March 28th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Jim Field

Wacha pitches 5 strong innings for Cardinals

Sports

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Michael Wacha looked sharp in his final spring start Thursday, giving up a run in five innings of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-4 loss to the Miami Marlins. Wacha gave up four hits and struck out six. He is scheduled to start the Cardinals’ second game of the season, on Tuesday at Cincinnati. He will start the home opener in St. Louis on April 7.

Wacha did struggle in the fifth. Derek Dietrich led off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on Marcell Ozuna’s single and scored on Brian Bogusevic’s sacrifice fly to right. Marlins infielder Ed Lucas broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch. His injury should make room for Donovan Solano, who was sent to Triple-A New Orleans earlier in the day.

Iowa State meets UConn in Sweet 16 at Garden

Sports

March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

NEW YORK (AP) — Iowa State and UConn meet in the Sweet Sixteen with similar NBA-inspired offenses. The third-seeded Cyclones play the seventh-seeded Huskies on Friday in the NCAA tournament East Regional at Madison Square Garden. Both are coached by alums who enjoyed long pro careers.

Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and UConn’s Kevin Ollie first met as high school basketball stars more than two decades ago when they went on the same recruiting trip to Arizona.

The two were teammates for part of a season with the Chicago Bulls in 2001-02. Six years later, when Hoiberg was an assistant general manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves, he lobbied to sign Ollie because he knew the veteran could provide needed leadership. Those sorts of intangibles are why both lasted in the NBA so long, and why it’s little surprise the friends landed in coaching.

Olt and Kalish make Cubs’ opening-day roster

Sports

March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Third baseman Mike Olt and outfielder Ryan Kalish have made the Chicago Cubs’ opening day roster. Chris Coughlan will be sent to Triple-A Iowa to play outfield, and infielder Ryan Roberts has to decide whether he will report to Iowa or ask for his release, Olt, acquired from Texas in the Matt Garza trade on July 22, struggled with his vision last year and hit .197 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs at Triple-A Round Rock and Iowa. He was hit on the head with a pitch in the Dominican Winter League.

Kalish missed much of 2012 with Boston while recovering from surgery on his left shoulder, then had right shoulder surgery in January 2013 and missed the entire season. He had cervical fusion surgery in August, then became a free agent in December when the Red Sox failed to offer a 2014 contract.

8AM Sportscast 03-27-2014

Podcasts, Sports

March 27th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Jim Field

Cardinals sign reliever David Aardsma

Sports

March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals have signed reliever David Aardsma to a minor league contract, hoping the veteran can fill the team’s final bullpen spot. The Cardinals made the move Wednesday. Aardsma began this spring with Cleveland.  The 32-year-old Aardsma likely leaps to the front of a list of candidates that includes Kevin Butler, Scott McGregor and Jorge Rondon.

Aardsma is 23-15 with 69 saves and a 4.23 ERA in a seven-year major league career. The righty was 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 43 games for the Mets last year after missing almost two seasons with injuries.  Aardsma joins shortstop Jhonny Peralta in the Cardinals’ clubhouse. After Peralta finished a 50-game drug suspension last year with Detroit and later signed a $53 million, four-year deal as a free agent with St. Louis, Aardsma tweeted: “Apparently getting suspended for PED’s means you get a raise. What’s stopping anyone from doing it?”

Iowa House clears auto racing tax break extension

Sports

March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A tax break extension for the Iowa Speedway at Newton has won the Iowa House’s approval. The House voted 82-14 in favor of the measure Wednesday, returning it to the Senate for final consideration.

The racetrack in Newton already receives a state sales tax rebate, but it will expire on Jan. 1, 2016. The tax break has been contingent upon 25 percent of Iowa Speedway’s ownership remaining in the state. That requirement would be removed under the proposal, since the Speedway was bought by NASCAR last year. The plan also would extend the tax break by 10 years and would maintain a rebate limit of $12.5 million.

Rep. Thomas Sands, a Republican from Wapello, says approving the extension would benefit not only Newton, but the entire state.

Iowa looks for help at linebacker this spring

Sports

March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The only problem Iowa had with playing three senior linebackers last season is that it now has to replace them all at the same time. The Hawkeyes have six months to find three new starters, and the process of replacing the core of an exceptional defense began this week with the start of spring practice.

James Morris, Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens keyed a defense that finished ninth in the nation at just 18.9 points allowed per game in 2013. They’re all gone though, and backups Travis Perry, Quinton Alston and Reggie Spearman are first in line to replace them.

Federal Agency Says College Athletes Can Unionize

Sports

March 26th, 2014 by Jim Field

CHICAGO (AP) — In a ruling that could revolutionize college sports, a federal agency has given football players at Northwestern University the green light to unionize.

Wednesday’s landmark ruling by a regional director of National Labor Relations Board means the players are deemed employees under federal law and so can create the nation’s first college athletes’ union.

Union lawyers argued the Big Ten school’s football players are part of a commercial enterprise that generates hefty profits through their labor.

The NCAA, Big Ten Conference and the private school vehemently opposed the union drive. Northwestern argued that college athletes are students and can’t be put in the same category as factory workers.

The ruling in Chicago by director Peter Ohr can be appealed to the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.