US sports history on display at new L.A. museumBy BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer Beth Harris, Ap Sports Writer Thu Nov 27, 10:27 pm ET
LOS ANGELES When Gary Cypres' sports memorabilia collection reached 10,000 pieces and threatened to overflow their house, his wife told him to get it out. The man who made his money in the finance, mortgage and travel agency businesses did just that, developing the Sports Museum of Los Angeles.
It opens Friday in a nondescript building Cypres owns in an off-the-beaten path area just west of downtown Los Angeles and located blocks from Staples Center.
Inside is 32,000-square-feet of American sports history, with an emphasis on baseball, football, basketball, golf, cycling, bowling and rowing.
Cypres' collection is valued at more than $30 million, with his priciest pieces being a T206 Honus Wagner baseball card worth more than $2 million and a uniform Babe Ruth wore in Japan valued in the millions.
Born in the Bronx, Cypres grew up as a Yankee fan and has been collecting for 25 years. He spent $1 million bringing the building up to city code during five years of developing the museum.
"I'm an excessive guy, I love to collect," the 65-year-old father of five said. "It gives me great joy. It's not necessarily the most expensive items that give you the greatest joy."
The museum has galleries dedicated to the New York Yankees (Brooklyn-born Cypres' favorite team), the Boston Red Sox, the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and baseball cards from their beginnings in 1887.
"This is more of a history museum," Cypres said. "I try to show how things progressed. Today most kids don't have any sense of history. They don't understand the importance of Jackie Robinson in baseball or Bill Russell in basketball and what they went through. It's good to go back in time."
The museum traces the evolution of sports as entertainment, with sports-themed arcade and board games dating from the late 1800s and giant posters from sports-focused movies.
Ruth's gallery includes his passion for hunting, with his shotgun and long raccoon coat on display. The Babe's 1934 tour of Japan is featured, including his uniform -- the only one known to exist, Cypres claims -- and a black-and-white photo of Ruth in the outfield holding a glove in his right hand and a parasol in his left.
"This is a cultural gem," said Jan Perry, a Los Angeles city councilwoman whose district includes the museum. "What I like about this museum is the human interest. Gary knows the backstory on everything."
Cypres has an extensive DiMaggio collection, including the ball that extended the Yankee Clipper's hitting streak to a record 56 games.
Cypres relishes the background of everything in his collection, so he also owns the ball that would have been DiMaggio's 57th consecutive hit -- snared by Cleveland infielder Ken Keltner -- and what would have been No. 58, which started a 12-game hitting streak by DiMaggio.
Younger visitors might be surprised to see posters and baseball cards from the era when smoking was closely tied to baseball, with players like Lloyd Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates boasting in a Lucky Strike ad, "Luckies fine flavor is enjoyable ... and they never cut my wind."
Cypres loves models, so he has detailed versions of Chicago's Comiskey Park, Brooklyn's Ebbets Field and New York's Polo Grounds.
Other exhibits show how sports uniforms and equipment have evolved over the years, with early examples of antique football helmets, tennis rackets, bicycles, gray wool baseball uniforms that eventually gave way to today's bright colors, and baskets with bottoms that required a ladder to retrieve the ball.
Los Angeles Lakers fans won't see Kobe Bryant, but a life-size version of Shaquille O'Neal in his old Lakers uniform -- including a 'Man of Steel' tattoo on his bulging left arm -- dominates the gallery on the NBA's best centers. Yao Ming's Houston Rockets uniform -- nearly the size of a flag -- hangs from the wall.
Cypres hopes to open the museum to cash-strapped charities for fundraising events.
Even before opening day, Cypres envisions adding another 14,000-square-feet of exhibits to include things he has in storage on the second floor, like hockey memorabilia. He wants to add boxing, and one of his sons asked him why snowboarding and surfing aren't included.
"This is a beginning," said Cypres, who designed the displays himself. "I believe being in Los Angeles and being in one of the great sports capitals, we can build a great sports museum here. All the halls of fame started out much smaller than this.
"I've got plenty to show," he said.
Bermuda to build pier for large cruise shipsThu Nov 27, 3:02 pm ET
HAMILTON, Bermuda Bermuda plans to build a second cruise ship pier in the island's western region to accommodate large ships.
The government says it hopes the multimillion dollar project will transform an old naval town into a new tourism hub.
The government said this week that it has signed an agreement with a local developer. Dockyard was chosen because it already has a deep-water pier that can accommodate ships longer than 710 feet (216 meters).
Bermuda has two smaller piers that have lost popularity as cruise ship companies build larger vessels. The government had warned that expanding those piers would damage the environment.
About 226,000 cruise ship passengers arrived through August this year, a nearly 18 percent drop from 2007.
Airlines baggage policiesBy The Associated Press The Associated Press Tue Nov 25, 5:20 pm ET
Baggage policies differ by airlines. Read the rules on the carrier's Web site or ask an agent before you fly. Here are fees that some leading U.S. carriers charge for a first, second and third checked bag, plus special rules for ski equipment on domestic flights. Note that most airlines waive baggage fees for elite members of frequent-flier programs, first- and business-class travelers and full-fare coach passengers.
American Airlines: $15, $25 and $100 for first, second and third checked bag. Skis are not normally considered oversize but count as one checked bag. Ski boot bag counts as a second bag.
Delta Air Lines: $15, $25 and $125. Ski bag and boot bag count as one piece of luggage; no oversize fee but can be charged $90 and up if they exceed 50 pounds.
United Airlines: $15, 25 and $125. Ski bag and boot bag count as one piece of luggage; no oversize fee but can be charged $125 if they exceed 50 pounds. Only boots and binding allowed in boot bag.
Continental Airlines: $15, $25 and $100. Ski bag and boot bag up to 50 pounds count as one piece of luggage; so does a bag with one or two snowboards. Boot bag can't exceed 62 inches in length, width and height combined.
Southwest Airlines: $0, $0 and $25. One pair of skis, poles and boots count as one item; one snowboard and pair of boots also count as one item. Skis longer than 62 inches are charged a $50 oversize fee, according to a Southwest spokeswoman.
A breakdown of revenue at the average U.S. ski resort:
Lift tickets, 46.1 percent.
Food and beverage, 13.3 percent.
Lessons, 10.6 percent.
Retail, 6.1 percent.
Rentals, 4.2 percent.
Snowplay and tubing, 1.9 percent.
Property leases, 1.3 percent.
Other, 6.8 percent.
Sources: Airline Web sites and officials; National Ski Areas Association.