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A new meaning to Bronx Bombers

The Yankees said accusations by an admitted mobster that their players fixed games in the 1970s were "beyond belief." Michael Franzese said this week on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that Yankees in the 1970s owed money to the Columbo crime family. "You got to work this out, get the money, borrow the money, do whatever you have to do," Franzese said he told the players, who were not identified. "And if all else fails, I got another way for you to make it up: You're going to help us win a game." Franzese said he told players to miss catches and deliberately not hit. "The charges made by Franzese are absolutely beyond belief," team spokesman Howard Rubenstein said. "The Yankees know nothing about any of these claims."

A Twist of fate

Tony Twist's rights were not violated when his name was borrowed for a violent mob enforcer in the popular Spawn comic book series, the Missouri Court of Appeals' Eastern District ruled. It said comic book creator Todd McFarlane was free to use Twist's name in his work of fiction _ partly because the only resemblance between the former NHL tough guy and the character was a reputation for violence. The ruling upheld a St. Louis circuit judge's November 2000 dismissal of a $24.5-million jury award for Twist, 32, formerly among hockey's most feared brawlers who has been out of hockey since June 1999 when his contract with the Blues expired. The character in question was Antonio Twistelli, a.k.a. Tony Twist, a Mafioso who ordered murders and child abductions among other evil deeds.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

How did Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who turned 29 and had the best game of his career with three homers and eight RBIs against the Rays on Tuesday, get his first name?

Answer below.

QUOTABLE

"Can any of you guys out there kick field goals? We'll give you a free education, we'll give you an F-16 or even an F-22."

_ FISHER DeBERRY

Air Force football coach talking to reporters after his kickers missed five field-goal attempts in the spring game

ANSWER

Nomar got his name from his father, Ramon _ only spelled backward.

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