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Who Loves a Parade? Thieves in an Atlanta Mall, Apparently

From Staff and Wire Reports

While Atlantans cheered the World Series champion Braves in a parade, as many as 200 teen-agers stormed Underground Atlanta for orchestrated shoplifting.

Merchants at the downtown shopping and entertainment complex, still smarting the day after the stampede, said Tuesday they’re fed up with being a magnet for unruly crowds during celebrations. They wonder how authorities will handle the crush of Olympic visitors next summer.

Merchants described whooping mobs that shouted out the names of stores, followed by a charge to the targeted shop.

“They got some chant going, like ‘Hee Yie, Hee Yie!’ Then one of them would holler out ‘Foot Locker,’ and they’d all run in there knocking everybody down,” said Al Warren, who sells sports memorabilia from a push cart.

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“The ones that stole stuff would rush out, and all the rest of them would just stand there blocking the way,” Warren said.

The manager at Foot Locker, who would not give his name, said he didn’t know how much had been stolen.

Although some vendors said the crowd wasn’t as unruly as some in past disturbances, they questioned whether Underground can contain the masses next summer.

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World Series ratings increased 13% this year over 1993, the first time they’ve gone up in four years.

Atlanta’s six-game victory over Cleveland averaged a 19.5 rating and 33 share, Nielsen Media Research said. The rating was well above the 17.3 rating and 30 share for Toronto’s six-game victory over Philadelphia two years ago but 3% below the 20.2 for the Blue Jays’ six-game victory over the Braves in 1991.

It was the third-lowest rated Series ever.

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Left-handed pitcher Jim Abbott, third baseman Tony Phillips, infielder Rene Gonzales and reliever John Habyan were the first of 13 eligible Angels to file for free agency.

Nine others, among them left-hander Chuck Finley and catcher Greg Myers, are also eligible to file by the Nov. 12 deadline.

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Star pitchers Jack McDowell, Jim Abbott, Andy Benes, Tim Belcher and Kenny Rogers were among 19 players who filed for free agency, raising the total to 30.

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Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox declined to exercise a $4 million option for 1996 on reliever Rick Aguilera and decided instead to pay a $300,000 buyout. Aguilera then decided to file for free agency.

The Seattle Mariners exercised their $3.5 million option on AL batting champion Edgar Martinez rather than pay a $200,000 buyout.

And in a technical move, the players’ association filed second baseman Ryne Sandberg for free agency. Sandberg retired in 1994, then agreed to return to the Chicago Cubs, settling on a one-year contract.

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A bronze bust commemorating Mickey Mantle’s 500th home run was recovered after a former Yankees security guard tried to sell it on the Internet after the slugger died. The bust had been missing for nearly 20 years.

Mantle died Aug. 13 of cancer.

Robert Pagani, 43, of Greenbelt, Md., tried to sell the bust for $25,000, according to a statement by FBI Agent Jack Campanella.

Basketball

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions will announce today whether California will be penalized for its recruiting of basketball star Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

The NCAA alleged that the school lacked institutional control because it did not stop Hashim Ali Alauddeen, a Cal alumnus and a graduate student, from helping Abdur-Rahim during the recruiting process.

The school says Alauddeen acted on his own in helping Abdur-Rahim, a fellow Muslim, and not as a representative of the school. Cal defended its position Sept. 29 in a hearing before the committee.

American University junior center Chris Ganz will undergo surgery next month for a torn knee ligament sustained while showing off his dunking ability at a Midnight Madness practice Oct. 15. He will sit out the season.

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Jurisprudence

A handwriting expert testified that a boxer’s signature on two copies of a contract with promoter Don King were identical, supporting a government theory that King faked a contract to collect insurance.

The testimony came as prosecutors in federal court in Manhattan considered whether to rest after a month of testimony meant to prove King collected $350,000 illegally from Lloyd’s of London. The trial will resume Thursday.

King is charged with nine counts of mail fraud in an indictment that alleged he faked a contract with Julio Cesar Chavez in 1991 so he could collect training fees that he had never paid to the boxer. If convicted, King could face up to five years in prison on each count.

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The bout between Chavez and Harold Brazier was canceled after Chavez cut his nose.

On Tuesday, handwriting expert Gus Lesnevich testified that the signature of Chavez on one copy of the fight contract was identical to that on a copy that prosecutors allege King faked.

Miscellany

Boris Becker and Michael Chang survived first-set lapses at the Paris Open, leading five seeded players through the second round. The third-seeded Becker, a three-time Paris Open winner, defeated Alexander Volkov of Russia, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Chang, seeded fourth, rallied to beat Byron Black of Zimbabwe, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

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Grand Prix discus champion Dmitry Shevchenko of Russia has been banned for four years after testing positive for a steroid.


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