THREATENED With punishment by the NBA, the 28 referees who
protested the suspension of a colleague by wearing their jerseys
inside out with his number (62) on their backs. Referee Michael
Henderson was suspended for three games last week after
erroneously whistling a shot-clock violation against the Nuggets
late in the Lakers' 112-111 win in Denver. Explaining the refs'
Friday protest, union spokesman Lamell McMorris said, "An
unprecedented job action was taken against one of their
colleagues, so an unprecedented response was necessary." A league
statement said referees who protested would be subject to
DIED At 86, Roque Maspoli, whose stellar goalkeeping helped
Uruguay defeat Brazil 2-1 in the final game of the 1950 World
Cup, one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.
As 200,000 astonished fans looked on in Rio de Janeiro, Maspoli
repeatedly stonewalled the attacking home side, which had scored
13 goals in its previous two games. "Maspoli performed acrobatic
prodigies in goal," English soccer historian Brian Glanville
wrote in 1973. "Time and again, [Brazil's] Zizinho, Ademir and
Jair, that terrifying trio, worked their sinuous way through the
blue walls of Uruguay's defense. Time and again ... an
interception by the flying Maspoli frustrated them."
PLEADED GUILTY To conspiracy to commit mail fraud, former major
league umpire Al Clark. An ump from 1977 to 2001, Clark admitted
to selling hundreds of baseballs that he had falsely claimed came
from games he worked during his career. Among the bogus spheres
were those Clark said were used in Nolan Ryan's 300th win and in
Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,131st consecutive game. Clark faces up to five
years in prison and a $250,000 fine and has already been ordered
to pay $40,000 in restitution to people he duped. According to
prosecutors, Clark made the balls look more authentic by rubbing
them with mud from the same New Jersey creek that supplies the
mud used to take the shine off all major league game balls.
RESIGNED As player-development instructor for the Yankees, Darryl
Strawberry, 41. The oft-troubled slugger was hired by owner
George Steinbrenner in November, but he decided last week that
his involvement with the Without Walls International Church of
Tampa didn't leave him time for baseball. "I just walked away
from a $70,000 job because I want to serve God," he said. "I
always put money first. This is God's time."
COLOR PHOTO: ANTHONY P. BOLANTE/REUTERS (NBA REFS) Protesting Refs