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MORNING BRIEFING

Diamondbacks on a play-now, pay-later plan

Hope that 2001 World Series title was worth it, because the team will be paying for it for quite a while.

August 12, 2009|Ben Bolch

The Arizona Diamondbacks will pay Bernard Gilkey nearly $1 million this year for being little more than a distant memory.

The outfielder last played for the Diamondbacks in 2000 and retired a year later.

But Gilkey still receives checks. And they'll keep coming in 2010 . . . and 2011 . . . and all the way until 2017. Gilkey continues to cash in as a result of the team's old business strategy in which it deferred large chunks of players' salaries, according to figures obtained by CNBC.com.

The plan worked in 2001, when the Diamondbacks had a payroll of $85 million en route to a World Series title while deferring $244 million. More recently, it hasn't seemed like such a good deal for the cash-strapped franchise.

Arizona began making back payments in 2004 and is still paying Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Luis Gonzalez, among others.

Before Dodgers fans scoff at the financial funny business of their National League West rival, they might want to ponder this friendly reminder: The Dodgers are paying Andruw Jones through 2014.

Trivia question

How much did the Dodgers pay Kirk Gibson in 1988?

Guzzling tickets

A beat-up car could get you free admission to a beatdown this weekend.

In a playful twist on the government's "cash for clunkers" program, fight officials are offering a free $45 ticket to the SummerFist3 mixed martial arts show Saturday at the Irvine Marriott to anyone driving a car meeting clunker criteria: no more than 25 years old and gets 18 miles a gallon or worse.

The best part about the so-called tickets-for-clunkers program? You can drive home in your jalopy after the seven-bout card, provided it makes it.

Or maybe that's the worst part.

Prime-time litigation

The Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press has threatened to sue the city of Naples and the Naples Police Department after one of its reporters was briefly handcuffed while attempting to interview former NFL star Deion Sanders during a youth football game.

Besides being a bit pushy, reporter David Dorsey's "crime" was failure to produce an official-looking work badge while wearing shorts and a baseball cap on assignment. Dorsey was released only after Sanders' mother told authorities he was allowed to be there.

"The amazing thing about this isn't that cops stupidly slapped handcuffs on a sportswriter apparently for the crime of doing his job in casual wear," opined Tommy Craggs of Deadspin.com. "The amazing thing is that he was arrested because he tried to interview Deion Sanders.

"Deion, of course, is a walking billboard for himself and a man not particularly known for being publicity-shy."

Trivia answer

Gibson made $1.83 million (excluding bonuses) for the Dodgers during their last World Series championship season.

And finally

NHL referee Kerry Fraser braced himself for a confrontation when a woman once approached him after a playoff game in Buffalo, according to the Toronto Sun. Said the woman: "I've got problem hair, and I want to know what you use because your hair never moves."

A relieved Fraser divulged his secret: Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine.

--

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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