Cape Cod Baseball League Makes a 'Berry' Juicy Deal

WITH the Cape Cod Baseball League in a financial hole, the 110-year-old amateur organization went to the bogs, the cranberry bogs. In doing so the league came up with a perfectly named corporate sponsor: Ocean Spray.

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. of Lakeville, Mass., has been a minor sponsor in past years. Last week it stepped up with $45,000 to help offset a shortfall from Major League Baseball, which will reduce its support for the Cape Cod league from $85,000 to $40,000 this season.

For many regular visitors to the popular summer vacation region, high-caliber baseball, as played by college stars, is as much a part of the Cape atmosphere as sand dunes, miniature golf, and lobster dinners.

Jordan has outside shot at MVP

CAN a professional athlete who may appear in only 20 percent of his team's regular-season games be a league Most Valuable Player? That question has surfaced in the National Basketball Association, where Michael Jordan's late-season return has created a tremendous stir.

The MVP selection is made before the NBA Finals, by which point Jordan's Chicago Bulls could be bidding for their fourth championship in five years. Despite limited playing time, Jordan is eligible for the MVP award and all-star squads. Voters, however, might be reluctant to favor him over Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, and other season-long stars.

Montana bids adieu

Several disparate developments have put Missouri, and its athletes, in the headlines. The National Football League's Los Angeles Rams finally got permission from the League to move to St. Louis, a relocation that displeases Fox Sports, which figures its billion-dollar contract is diminished by having the Rams evacuate a huge television market.

In other pro football news, Joe Montana's long-rumored retirement, after four Super Bowl titles in San Francisco, becomes official today. Montana has played the last two years with the Kansas City Chiefs, although his fame was secured in San Francisco, where his retirement is to be celebrated. Thirty times during his career he brought teams that trailed in the final quarter to victory.

Brett Hull, a winger with the St. Louis Blues hockey team, also drew attention to the Show Me State when he scored four goals in Sunday's victory over the streaking Detroit Red Wings.

Touching other bases

r Jose Canseco, the slugger who now plays for the Boston Red Sox, joined the picket line Sunday -- the one locked-out umpires are walking. Canseco wants the regular umps back, as do many others unhappy with the replacements working spring training. The problem with Canseco's picketing, however, is that it could be interpreted as an attempt to curry favor with the umpires.

r You could almost hear the snickering the other week after the International Olympic Committee granted provisional recognition to ballroom dancing and surfing. That gives these endeavors hope of someday receiving official Olympic status. Seventeen other sports are already on the provisional list. Readers interested in seeing high-level ballroom dancing can tune in when PBS broadcasts Championship Ballroom Dancing, hosted by Juliet Prowse on Wednesday, May 10, at 8:30 p.m. ET (check local listings). Who's to say ballroom dancing and surfing don't belong in the Games? After all, ice dancing and beach volleyball are in.

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