Ridnours pal pleads naivetŽ in ticket flap
Harold Reynolds is distraught over the controversy created when he attended the Trail Blazers-Washington Wizards game last week with Oregon guard Luke Ridnour (not 'Ridenour,' as flashed onto the Rose Garden's big screen).
Reynolds says he's been contacted by investigators from the Pac-10 Conference and NCAA and isn't sure if the Great Ticket Flap will result in a secondary violation against the Ducks and/or Ridnour. The only thing he is sure of, Reynolds says, is that if blame is to be laid, it should be at his feet.
'If anybody is guilty of anything, I am guilty of selling a ticket I got for free and scalping it to a college kid,' says Reynolds, a Corvallis native and ESPN broadcaster. 'All I know is, it was done out of total innocence.'
Reynolds has been friends with Ridnour and his father, Rob, for a couple of years. Reynolds was in Corvallis last week visiting relatives when he heard Michael Jordan and the Wizards were playing Portland. Reynolds tried several sources in an attempt to buy tickets, then contacted the Blazers, whose public relations department came through with a pair of complimentary tickets in the auxiliary media section.
The former major-league second baseman called the Ridnours, and Ñ no kidding Ñ Luke wanted to go.
A UO official says the school cleared Ridnour's ticket arrangement before the game.
Reynolds says both he and Ridnour were mindful of NCAA rules. Ridnour paid for his parking and food and drink. And Reynolds says he had Ridnour pay him for the ticket, 'just to make sure we weren't doing anything wrong.'
Reynolds won't say how much he charged Ridnour, but it was less than the $127 face value.
NCAA rules against such a thing are in place to prohibit boosters from offering added inducements to players, and for good reason.
What makes the situation more ticklish is the decision Ridnour, a junior who was Pac-10 player of the year this winter, must make in the coming months regarding turning pro.
'I don't think Luke has made a final decision,' Reynolds says. 'He is 22 years old, so he is no kid. He is also in a great position to go high in the draft. But he really enjoys his situation at Oregon and his teammates.
'This wasn't a planned thing. Had I thought it out better, I wouldn't have taken the tickets from the Blazers. They didn't do anything wrong, but neither did Luke. The kid has so much integrity, I hate to have his name tainted in any way.'
So does Reynolds, who had no intentions other than taking a friend to a game. He should have been more careful, and he knows it. Live and learn.
• Triple-A baseball is funny in some ways. One minute, you think you might be a little green. The next minute, you have experience out the kazoo.
Last week, parent club San Diego sent the Portland Beavers three players with a little extra savvy Ñ pitcher Charles Nagy, 35, and outfielders Brady Anderson, 39, and Mark Quinn, 28.
Nagy is a 12-year major league veteran Ñ all with Cleveland Ñ who has had four 15-win seasons and 129 career victories. Three times he was named to the All-Star Game. He had a 1-0 record and a 3.97 ERA in three spring-training appearances with the Padres.
Anderson is a 15-year big-league veteran Ñ 14 in Baltimore Ñ with 210 career home runs. He is a three-time All-Star who hit 50 homers as a lead-off batter in 1996 and became one of only three players to hit 50 homers and steal 20 bases in a season. He hit .196 with two homers in 51 spring-training at-bats for the Padres.
Quinn became the fourth player in major league history to hit two home runs in his debut with Kansas City, playing 17 games for the Royals in 1999. The next season, he hit .294 with 33 doubles, 20 homers and 78 RBIs and was third (behind Seattle's Kaz Sasaki and Oakland's Terrence Long) for AL Rookie of the Year honors. Injuries have limited his availability the last two seasons.
• The Pacific Coast League is celebrating its centennial this season, and one of the features is selection by fans of an All-PCL team from 1958 to present. Among the candidates are five former Portland Beavers Ñ pitchers Sam McDowell and Luis Tiant, catcher Tony Pena, second baseman Juan Samuel and outfielder Lou Piniella. Fans must vote before June 30 at www.pclbaseball.com.
• Tonya Harding is rolling. Now 2-1 after Saturday's unanimous decision in Tulsa, Okla., over Alejandra Lopez Ñ despite a shot to the face that made Tonya's nose bleed Ñ the former ice queen will spend April training for a pair of May bouts.
• Former javelin world record-holder Tom Petranoff will conduct a 'learn to throw' clinic for youths ages 8 through 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Westview High. Cost is $20, and each participant receives a 'TurboJav' training device.
• Story out of Chicago last week lists Portland as one of several cities Major League Soccer is eyeing for an expansion site. That's news to Metro Sports President Mark Schuster, who says the A-League Timbers provide a full plate for his company at this time.
'I have not spoken to anybody (from the MLS),' Schuster says. 'I guess we would be interested, but we are happy where we are right now with the Timbers. MLS is the best brand of soccer out there, but from a financial standpoint, it's not as feasible for us to get into.
'Our idea is, let us build a solid foundation and maybe get into something else later. The WUSA was talking about Portland last year. We said yes, we have interest, but let us get our ducks in a row.'