Thursday, March 20
Updated: April 4, 1:07 PM ET
War's effect on the sports world news services

Twins home opener features 'pitch' for troops
MINNEAPOLIS -- The ceremonial first pitch for the Minnesota Twins home opener Friday won't come from the mound at the Metrodome. It will come all the way from Kuwait. Josh Tverberg and Greta Lind, two Minnesotans in the Army Reserve, will do the honors live via satellite shortly after 4 a.m. Kuwait time. Twins officials said they wanted to do something significant for the troops overseas before the start of Friday night's sold-out game against Toronto. More details

Iraq's Olympic headquarters bombed
BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi National Olympic Committee headquarters was bombed and largely destroyed by U.S. war planes, prompting mixed reaction from former Iraqi athletes who said they have been tortured by Olympic committee chief Uday Hussein, a son of Iraq leader Saddam Hussein. More details

U.S. fans
While tennis fans in Key Biscayne, Fla., recently displayed their patriotic feelings ...
Tour de France mulls security changes
PARIS -- The Tour de France is considering tighter security for this summer's race after Lance Armstrong expressed concerns about his team's safety because of the U.S.-led war with Iraq. Cycling's showcase race has not yet made additional plans to bolster security for the July 5-27 event. The Tour celebrates its 100th anniversary, with Armstrong chasing a record-equaling fifth title. More details

Gretzky ripped for backing President Bush
EDMONTON, Alberta -- A statue of Wayne Gretzky that stands at the entrance to the home arena of his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, was adorned with a sign that read "U$ Lackey'' on Tuesday. Employees of Skyreach Centre quickly removed the cardboard sign, which was placed in protest of the hockey star's recent comments supporting President Bush in the war against Iraq. More details

Capriati warms up to 'Bombs Over Baghdad'
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- At Jennifer Capriati's request, the 1999 Outkast song "Bombs Over Baghdad'' was played on the stadium public-address system before her most recent match at the Nasdaq-100 Open. "I like the song, and I wanted to support the troops,'' Capriati said. WTA Tour officials were reluctant but found a one-minute segment that they decided wouldn't offend anyone. More details

Hussein Olympic chief son turns on right-hand man
The longtime deputy chairman of the Iraqi National Olympic Committee was recently imprisoned by Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's eldest son and Iraq's Olympic committee president. Aseel Tabra, who reportedly was involved in the torture of Iraqi athletes and coaches who had angered Uday Hussein, is in one of the country's toughest prisons, according to the Iraq Press, a publication run by exiles from the Middle East nation and funded by the U.S. government. More details

NFL sends players overseas
PHOENIX -- NFL Europe will proceed as scheduled, a source told The Associated Press on Monday. NFL owners decided overwhelmingly to send players overseas, said the source. Players on the six teams had been practicing in Florida and will begin leaving Tuesday for Europe to begin play April 4-5. Three of the teams are based in Germany, with the others in Spain, Scotland and the Netherlands. More details

soccer fans
... Fans of the Vasco da Gama soccer club burned a U.S. flag after their team won the Rio's championship final at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
French fans heckled by U.S. fans
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- In response to France's opposition to war in Iraq, a group of fans at the Nasdaq-100 Open on Sunday shouted testy comments to French player Nicolas Escude and some of his fans. When some fans cheered for Escude in French during his match against America Mardy Fish, one fan shouted at the group, "Shut up, Frenchie.'' Later a fan shouted "Go back to France'' at the Escude supporters, causing some of the crowd to groan at the remark. More details

Atlanta NHL fans match crass Canadians' move
ATLANTA -- In their own apparent protest, Atlanta Thrashers fans made their own voices heard Friday night. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday that fans booed during the Canadian national anthem before that night's game against the Ottawa Senators. It was in response to Montreal fans booing the U.S. national anthem before the Canadiens' game against the New York Islanders on Thursday. More details

Iraqi ex-athlete chats with users
Former Iraqi volleyball star Issam Thamer al-Diwan answered questions Friday as U.S. troops moved into his southern Iraq hometown of An Nasiriya. He said that 95 percent of the Iraq's population will rejoice when Saddam Hussein is taken out of power. More details

Canadian NHL fans boo U.S. national anthem
MONTREAL -- Fans booed during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before the New York Islander' 6-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. The sell-out crowd of 21,273 at Bell Centre was asked to "show your support and respect for two great nations" before the singing of the American and Canadian national anthems. More details

NBA stars disagree on Iraq war
DALLAS -- Steve Nash, the Mavericks' All-Star guard and perhaps the NBA's most outspoken anti-war lobbyist, said Thursday that he has no plans to modify his stance. Instead, Nash reiterated his position after drawing criticism from a Texas statesman not known for critiquing his peers: Spurs center David Robinson. More details

NCAA tourney tips off on 'surreal' day
INDIANAPOLIS -- Moments after his team's first-round NCAA victory Thursday, Missouri coach Quin Snyder was dressed in expensive black leather shoes, a white dress shirt with gold-ish tie, a tasteful grey suit ... and a tiny American flag pinned through his lapel. Snyder is no expert on "shock and awe," or the Tomahawk cruise missile, or the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, but he can turn on a TV. More details

D.C. Marathon canceled
WASHINGTON -- Sunday's D.C. Marathon was canceled because of the war in Iraq and security concerns. Race director John Stanley made the decision after his office received more than 1,200 calls and e-mails from worried runners. More than 6,800 runners from 50 states and 14 countries had registered for the 26.2-mile race. More details

Japan cancels U.S. soccer trip
TOKYO -- Japan's national men's soccer team canceled two exhibition matches next week in the United States because of security concerns over the war in Iraq. "It's unfortunate, but we feel this is in the best interests of our players,'' Japan Football Association chairman Saburo Kawabuchi said Friday. More details

Despite war, NCAA's will go on
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA will not postpone or move any men's and women's basketball tournament games or other events if the United States goes to war with Iraq. "From everything we know right now, it's in the best interests of the country to go forward," NCAA president Myles Brand said Tuesday, a day after telling reporters the NCAA was still exploring options. More details

MLB cancels season opener in Japan
PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball canceled the season-opening series in Japan between Seattle and Oakland because of the threat of war in Iraq."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," commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday. More details

M's, A's alter spring-training schedule
PHOENIX -- The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics scrambled to reschedule more than a week's worth of spring-training games after Major League Baseball decided to cancel their regular season-opening series in Japan. More details

War will alter Masters protest
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Martha 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. But she said that war will ''alter the tone and possibly the size'' of her planned protest during the Masters, golf's most prestigious major tournament. More details

Rainbow/PUSH to reduce Masters protest
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition will reduce its numbers and demands during the Masters golf tournament in light of the war in Iraq. Janice Mathis, the group's vice president, said Tuesday that the coalition probably will avoid acts of civil disobedience and accept the two protest locations approved by local officials. More details

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