All soccer, all the time:
• Manchester United arrives in Portland on Sunday (minus David Beckham, now with Real Madrid). The team will spend much of the week training at Nike's Beaverton campus for a Tuesday game in Seattle. Nike sponsors England's most storied club.
Question: To help the sport and the financially ailing Portland Timbers, why was an exhibition between the Timbers and the United gang not scheduled at PGE Park? Local fans would have loved it, not to mention the players from our A-League side.
• Don't be surprised if a Bolivian team, Tahuichi Academy, claims the U-16 championship at this weekend's Adidas Beaverton Cup at Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District Ñ with 14- and 15-year-olds.
'It's an awesome group of players,' says Cony Konstin, director of the Westside Metros, who instituted a sort of exchange program with Tahuichi in 1991 that has taken about 1,500 local kids to train in Bolivia.
Tahuichi's mission is to get kids off the streets in Bolivia, keep them away from drugs and put them into an environment where they can succeed in life. And on the soccer pitch, of course.
• Groundbreaking ceremonies were last month and construction begins this week on the first phase of the Tualatin Hills tennis stadium project. By fall, a championship-quality center court, with temporary seating for 600, should be ready for events such as the state high school championships. Credit the Greater Portland Tennis Council and Tualatin Hills, the latter having donated the land.
Planners hope to raise about $250,000 to build a permanent facility with seating for 5,000 that could be used for World Team Tennis or Davis Cup or Federation Cup early-round play.
• Jack Ramsay is writing his third book, and his first since 'A Coach's Art' with John Strawn in 1978. The former Blazer coach and current ESPN broadcaster is writing a book that combines his life experiences with leadership lessons. No title yet. New York's Wiley Publishing will have it ready by the 20004 NBA All-Star Game. 'I'm feeling it could be pretty good,' Dr. Jack says.
• Portland's Mac Wilkins is serving as a volunteer technical coach for discus throwers through the USA Track & Field elite program. The Hall of Famer, who won Olympic gold at Montreal in 1976 and silver at L.A. in 1984, has worked twice with the top four men and women discus throwers in the country and will convene with them again in October in San Diego.
'I really enjoy it,' says Wilkins, 52, now working in risk management with Core Media in Portland. 'I feel like I have all this stuff I want to share.'
• The New York City Marathon has created the Alberto Salazar Award, to be given annually to the top U.S. men's and women's finishers in the annual race in November. The Portland resident and former University of Oregon great was a three-time New York City Marathon winner (1980-82) and the last American male to rule the event.
'I'm honored,' Salazar says. 'The whole focus is to get our distance runners back to a competitive level on the world scene.'
Salazar's 'Oregon Project,' which provides high-altitude training for U.S. runners through a retrofitted house in Northwest Portland, is going well, he says. Four of the five runners will be competing in major marathons this fall, including West Linn native Dan Browne, who will compete in the 10,000 at the World Championships in August, and Chad Johnson, who might be the top U.S. contender in the New York City Marathon.
• Published reports that Tonya Harding will fight on the Aug. 23 undercard of a bout between Christy Martin and Laila Ali in Gulfport, Miss., are incorrect, says Harding's Nashville-based promoter, Brian Young. Next scheduled bout for the Vancouver pugilist is Aug. 2 in Dallas. 'We are looking for an opponent,' Young says.
• Peter Jacobsen Productions will run the Jeld-Wen Champions Tour event at the Reserve and Vineyards Golf Club next month, but PJP's namesake probably won't be doing his famous impressions-of-famous-golfers routine. He did his gig annually along the 18th green at the Fred Meyer Challenge, but it's against PGA Tour rules.
'We have a past champions clinic on the driving range (on Aug. 26),' Jacobsen says. 'Maybe I'll do something there. But this isn't about Peter Jacobsen, it's about the Champions Tour. Listen, when I turn 50 (next April), I'll stick my big nose in there. Right now, I'm not.'
Here's one vote for doing it somewhere. Jake's takes on such players as Craig Stadler and Fuzzy Zoeller are classics. They never get old.
• A group in Seattle is now pushing to land a Champions Tour event, which would be scheduled the week before the Jeld-Wen Tradition.
• Patrick Dennehy, the troubled 6-10 center missing and presumed dead in the strange case at Baylor, played his first two college seasons at New Mexico under Fran Fraschilla. Fraschilla was succeeded by former Oregon State coach Ritchie McKay, who dismissed Dennehy from the Lobos squad after the big man walked off the court during one of his first practice sessions last fall. Dennehy subsequently transferred to Baylor, and now is the focus of one of the nation's biggest sports stories of the summer.
• Seattle Mariners ace Jamie Moyer can become the third left-hander in major league history to win his 20th game in a season after turning 40. The others: Warren Spahn (Milwaukee Braves, 1963) and Eddie Plank (St. Louis Browns, 1915).