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Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archive: February 15, 2001 - Page 39

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   Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - February 15, 2001, Winnipeg, Manitoba                                WINNIPEG FREE FEBRUARY 2001 SPORTS C7 Meet the anonymous N By Luclana Chavez Dominican Republic We are following Vladimir Guerreros black Lincoln Nav igator through the streets one of many barrios that dot the Domini can The Expos right field er is showing us the sights were headed to a ball field where he has practised since he was knee high to a Its a beautiful Sunday afternoon as we bump along the uneven pavement toward the Children play between Adults stroll the main drag or relax on front We find the and it is more than a little The grass is The graffiti on the cement fence reveals that Jesus is The dugouts and backstop are run A closer inspection shows that the mound is smooth and the field is level and picked clean of stands near the hands in his I ask if he has played here all his His face starts to light up and he confirming for my romantic baseball heart that this is where the Vladimir legend Weve been playing here he That megawatt smile is con stantly on display when Guer rero is in the Dominican But it does not jibe with the sullen image he has projected in his first four major league We have come his home town to learn about the man often described as the best young player in the to crack the for bidding exterior Guerrero exhibits during the his hard shell makes it clear that Guer rero likes his headphones his music loud and his reporters But at home its a differ ent he flips the going from sullen and unapproachable to quiet and relaxed in about the time it takes to fly from Montreal to this subtropical land between the Atlantic and the Caribbean Ill There are no street signs in the To find Guerreros bachelor pad in Don which is a few kilome tres from it has taken three stops for directions and the help of one guide on a j scooter price 50 Guerrero may be the leastrecognized star in He can still walk down the street undis turbed in any big sitting in his front yard surrounded by its even harder to identify His hair is longer than the close crop he wears during the Hes 20 pounds over his playing shirt less in 85degree looking comfortable anything but You would never know that a wealthy ball player lives in this Go to San Pedro de and youll see a huge com pound that Sammy Sosa built for his Moises Alou has an incredible spread in Santo You wont find that in Don Guerreros house looks like the oth Small and it fits into the neighbourhood The other houses in the as in most of the are made of cement or wood and painted in fresh Guerreros Altagra cia and live in the family home originally one now it has three but is far from grandiose across the street from Guerreros Guerreros family is tied to the The real Guerrero still hangs out at modest dusty ball field agracias The kicker is seeing Vladimirs clubhouse nameplate from the 1999 allstar game on the refrigerator with a collection of fruitandvegetable This is Guerrero older brother Wilton and Vladimir have their own but you would never know They pass through here eating helping themselves to whatever they find in Altagracia says with mock Theyre here all the At night they Im going to bed then they finally Ill and feels comfortable despite the multicultural atmosphere because he isnt the only person who doesnt speak GuerfeTo occasionally visits a local salsa but there is no And when he goes north for the he takes as much of the Dominican with him as His mother shares her apartment with assorted nieces and nephews and maintains an open so to for visiting Dominican play If you come from the and play you know When Wilton was in Los she helped Raul Adrian Beltre and Jose Vizcaino get helping with their cooking and Before each Expos home game she cooks for her sons and other Latin She even prepares an occa sional care package for manager Felipe No matter what she pre her son Vladimir will always feel most comfortable on the diamond where he first learned the Vladimir Guerrero prizes the privacy he gets while playing for the lowprofile Montreal the fourth of five and older brother who plays for the sponsor the Don Gregorio little league and give baseball equipment and advice to younger The family owns five other houses and a hardware but by all outward they are no different from the rest of the You must enter the family home to see how the Guerreros are the frpnt room is filled with memo rabilia Vladimirs Montreal A framed magazine cover that bears his A collection of Dodgers baseball cards from Wiltons first year in the Theres also older sister Glenis graduation One of Vlady and his twoyearold Vladimir snuggling A striking blackandwhite photo of Alt Altagracia Alvino is the heart of this A darkhaired woman in her early 50s with Vladimirs serious eyes peering through gold rimmed she is gen erous and warm but is not someone to be trifled The family matriarch is intent on seeing her children do good work and become good If that means living with her sons during the so be Alvino lived with Wilton during his early days with the The past few she has had her own apartment in the same downtown Montreal complex as Vladimir and Her youngest a Boston will get the same treatment when his time In the mean Alvino will return to Montreal in April to help care for Vladimirs who lives with his mother in San tiago in the Alvino doesnt apologize for her handson She keeps close tabs because she is a woman of strong She sees Vladimir becoming a big star and believes the adulation he receives conflicts with the Bibles She worries that her quiet son will lose his gentle She wonders what will happen if he leaves Montre al after his contract runs out in Her influence runs so when she says that Vladimir wont go to New York or Los Angeles if he ever changes she is Big city ideas have no place in Alvi nos She remembers the time visitors showed her a video of the house Sosa built for his mother in San She wasnt impressed she was She sees no need to leave the familys modest It was good enough for me and my kids while they were growing she her voice Its good enough for us HI Among bigleague Montreal is a Guerrero has been able to leave the island without leav ing his values He lives a guarded bachelor life At the field in there are no Wilton and Tigers shortstop Deivi who lives just beyond the centrefield work out here out of Any of the baseball academies would allow them to use their but there are none close few things remind them that they are major but nearly everything reminds them why they go through their daily The The The young players waiting patiently on the side This isnt a token The three run sprints and agili ty They take infield and bat ting practice for the better part of three despite the broiling Vladimir is sweating as hard as He did nt always have a reputation for dili Vic tor Franco He runs these daily workouts for the pros and for 30 to 50 aspiring He is about as close to being the one who discovered Guerrero as youre going to Hes the one who called Expos Latin American scout Arturo DeFreites eight years Ask him if he knew Guerrero would become one of the games and he casually chokes back a tosses you a youvegottobekidding look and says He didnt like to work when he was Franco The coach is watching the field with arms folded across his He just wanted to Franco He still likes to but he knows the work comes Ill There are two things that could stall Guerreros rise to superstardom a lack of improvement in plate disci pline and the English which could help him gain the sup port of the A smidge arrogant about the first and a little ignorant about the he says he doesnt need either Guerrero breaks the rules at the with his big phenomenal handeye coordination and power that funnels through his wrists during a swing so ferocious it looks like it He swings at everything and rarely strikes out But pitchers could nt stop him when he hit Padres Manager Bruce Bochy Hes kind of You no batting ItJs good old hard ball with Youre talking about an unbelievably talented Theres nothing he cant The Sporting News Spring training begins in Arizona Teams break out the equipment By Ronald Blum JUST 111 days after the final out of the World the bats and balls began to come out yesterday in sunny Florida and rainy The excitement for me is really start ing to new Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said in While some Cincinnati players showed up Tuesday in yesterday was the first day teams were allowed to work out at spring But Cal the Baltimore Orioles third baseman who broke Lou Gehrigs record for consecutive games learned he has a hairline fracture in rib cage and will miss up to a month of spring Was hurt at either working out in preparation for his 20th full season with the Orioles or while plagng He played in consecutive games before voluntarily ending the streak in September then was bothered by a bad that limited him to 86 games in 1999 and a careerlow 83 last I woke up Tuesday and was hard to he Im a little a little disappointed because I was work ing hard during the winter and was real ly feeling With opening day 45 days teams are sure to take aim at the New York Yan have won three consecutive World four of the last Soon after helaririved in Yankees manager Joe Torre said he is interested in managing beyond this sea the final year of his current I think I would miss he In Vero Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Chad Kreuter was anx ious to get back on the This is what I Im a To start things again is always Fans wait all winter for the start of spring filling their time with hotstove talk of trades and But it was time to break out the equipment and get back on the Most position players report next and the pace picks up March 1 with the start of exhibition The Texas Rangers and their new Alex open the season against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1 at San Puerto In San Diego outfielder Tony Gwynn was talking about over coming his The eighttime bat ting who turns 41 on May had seasonending surgery on his trou blesome left knee last June I feel but that doesnt mean any he Ive been cautiously You cant speculate because you just iont know until you go out there and KATHV WILLENS ASSOCIATED PRESS Derek Jeter fields a ball during workout yesterday in do Over in Angels players couldnt do much on an afternoon of heavy rain with temperatures about 7 A lot of people dont think that we have good but the Angels have a lot of good young pitching and its good said 24yearold righthander Ramon Every young pitcher is a very good h Press Cycling International TOUROFLANGKAWL At Kuala Malaysia Eighth a 109 Paolo three hours 51 minutes 55 seconds Pascal Atetia same time Paolo same time Chris Wher Mercury same lime Glanluca Selle behind Christopher Credit back Walter same time Rlnaldo same time Alexandra AG2R Prevoy same time Rene CSC World same Jacob Michael Toron Mark Sveln same time Mln Van same time Greg same time Andrew Cory Gorton same Overall Standings Paolo Paolo Mapei Pascal Alexia Allumlnlo Chris Niklas Swe Mercury Rene CSC World Christopher Credit Soren Glanluca Selle Nick CSC World Online Jacob Michael Toron Mark Sveln Greg Mln Van Andrew Randell Gordon Fras Mercury Cory Vic ProLine Odds VIS BASKETBALL TODAY BKT BKT BKT BKT BKT BKT BKT HOCKEY TODAY HKY 41 HKY 42 HKY 43 HKY 44 HKY DET MIA CLE WSH SAC BOS CAL COL ATL TOR BOS COY HOME IND TOR DAL SA POR SEA VAN OTT BUF PHI TB STL BASKETBALL VISITOR WIN Visiting team MUST win by 6 or more points TIE A game decided by 5 points or less HOME WIN Home team MUST win by 6 or more points HOCKEY VISITOR WIN Visiting team MUST win by 1 or more goals TIE A game that Is tied at the end of overtime HOME WIN Home team MUST win by 1 or more goals In the event of any discrepancy between this Informa tion and the official Information from Western Canada Lottery Corporation the latter shall Point Spread H BKT 1 BKT 2 BKT 3 BKT 4 BKT 5 BKT 6 BKT 7 HKY 41 HKY 42 HKY 43 HKY 44 HKY 45 In the event of any discrepancy between this mation and the official Western Canada Lottery Corporation latter shall Latest Line San Antonio Is playing some of Its best bas ketball of the The Spurs are 101 their last 11 games and a solid 204 at Washington has lost four straight and Is just 421 away from The Wizards are totally overmatched here and the final score will prove Take San Antonio 12 for another Best Bet XFL Favourite Points Underdog Feb MEMPHIS MANIAX San Fran LAS VEGAS 1 37 Los Angeles Xtreme Feb BIRMINGHAM Chicago Orlando Rage 5 37 HITMEN NBA Favourite INDIANA TORONTO DALLAS SAN ANTONIO aPORTLAND SEATTLE VANCOUVER Points 5 9 12 Off 4 aChrls Webber Is questionable Underdog Detroit Miami Cleveland Washington Sacramento Boston Golden State NHL Favourite OTTAWA BUFFALO PHILADELPHIA LOUIS Goals 11 11 11 Underdog Colorado Atlanta Toronto TAMPA BAY Calgary Home Team In CAPS C TRIBUNE MEDIA Television listings G3 European PGA Golf Malaysian Open First Tape Delay CH 3D Auto Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Gatorade eatll PGA Golf Bob Mope Chrysler Classic Second fOSD World Cup Mountain Biking Taped CQ LPGA Golf Hawaiian Open First CO OS World Cup Skiing Mens Giant Taped Teams to Be Taped   

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