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Fast Break

Wed., Jan. 28, 2009, midnight


He always talked a good game

Chatty first baseman Sean Casey is retiring after a dozen major league seasons with five teams, headed for a second career that suits him just as well.

Casey announced his retirement Tuesday and his move to the fledgling MLB Network, a 24-hour channel launched this month to about 50 million homes.

He’ll be a studio analyst initially.

The 34-year-old Casey spent most of his 12-year career with Cincinnati. Quickly, Casey became known for base hits and friendly banter – he chatted with runners at first base, respectfully referring to them as “Mr.”

“Throughout my career, everyone was always interested in what I was talking about at first base and everything like that,” Casey said. “Now people can see me talk on TV instead of wondering what I’m saying at first base.”


Johnson to coach women’s team

Mark Johnson’s first Olympic experience began in his father’s garage, years before he became part of the Miracle on Ice team.

His winding career will take him back to the Olympics, as he’s been appointed coach of the U.S. women’s hockey team for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Olympic tryouts are expected to be held in Blaine, Minn., in August.

Johnson plans to move to the Twin Cities this summer and will guide the team during an Olympic tuneup tour, featuring 10 exhibition games in the United States beginning Sept. 25 and the 2009 Four Nations Cup in Finland in November.

Johnson is glad the team will have time to bond.

“Part of why we were successful in Lake Placid is that we prepared ourselves,” he said. “We knew the opportunity we were going to have.”

Johnson played at Wisconsin under his father, Bob, before becoming a star of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal.

He scored twice in the landmark semifinal victory over the Soviet Union and assisted on the winning goal against Finland in the final. Johnson, who spent 11 years in the NHL, has led the women’s program in several major international competitions the past three years.

College football

Wa-Hi star will play at EWU

Walla Walla High School’s Spencer Hessler, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior who led the Columbia Basin Big Nine Conference in rushing and scoring with 1,256 yards, 20 touchdowns and 124 points, has made an oral commitment to play at Eastern Washington University next fall, according to his father, George Hessler.

The all-CBBN first-team running back is expected to play linebacker for the Eagles.

Associated Press Associated Press Steve Bergum


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