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Sports briefs, Feb. 8

By Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Maine Games sets national anthem audition

The Maine Games is now accepting applications online for its sixth annual National Anthem Audition to be held at the Kora Shrine Temple in Lewiston, on Saturday, April 14 at 2 p.m.

The winning vocalist will have the opportunity to represent America and the Maine Games at events in Maine, including select Maine Games events, the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl, and a Portland Seadogs baseball game.

There is no cost to apply, but all singers must submit an online application available by visiting www.mainegames.org and if chosen, they will become one of 25-30 singers invited to perform the anthem before a panel of judges.

Calhoun to miss UConn’s next game

STORRS, Conn. — Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun will miss Saturday’s game against No. 2 Syracuse while on an indefinite medical leave of absence because of spinal stenosis, a painful condition in his lower back.

The school announced Wednesday that Calhoun would not be at the game at Syracuse. He missed last Saturday’s win over Seton Hall and Monday’s loss at Louisville.

Calhoun, who turns 70 in May, is scheduled to meet with specialists over the next few days to determine the best course of treatment.

He said he was feeling better Tuesday, but would not be able to coach this weekend.

Calhoun has been experiencing lower back pain since last summer. The condition grew worse last week and the Hall of Fame coach went on a medical leave of absence last Friday.

Baseball Hall to begin drug education program

NEW YORK — The Baseball Hall of Fame is starting a drug education program for students and young adults — in the same year Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa will appear on ballot for the first time after careers tainted by steroid accusations.

While adding PEDs to RBIs and ERAs among its interests, the Hall emphasized Wednesday that its new initiative wasn’t tied to the former stars up for election or the people who will choose them.

“It is not intended to cast a directive to voters about Hall of Fame worthy candidates,” shrine president Jeff Idelson said.

Mark McGwire, 10th on the career home run list, has never come close to election after admitting he used steroids and human growth hormone. Neither has Rafael Palmeiro, who topped 500 homers and 3,000 hits but was suspended for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds, a seven-time NL MVP, and Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, will appear on the ballot mailed to voters around Thanksgiving. So will Sosa, who hit 609 homers.

The Hall makes no attempt to influence members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America when they pick the players for Cooperstown.

Wings vs Leafs in 2013 Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A person familiar with the NHL’s plan says the Detroit Red Wings will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Winter Classic.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league is not expected to announce the lineup until Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, the University of Michigan Board of Regents authorized the athletics department to seek a contract with the NHL that would allow the league to hold next year’s showcase at Michigan Stadium. The NHL has offered to pay up to $3 million for a license to use the iconic college football stadium, according to the recommendation approved by the board.

Phelps using hyperbaric chamber to aid recovery

NEW YORK — Michael Phelps is the latest athlete to use a hyperbaric chamber to aid his recovery from training.

The 16-time Olympic medalist said Wednesday he had been sleeping “at 8,000 feet every night” for almost a year. The 26-year-old swimmer noticed he bounced back from workouts better when he trained at altitude, so he’s trying a device that simulates that.

“We’ve been able to realize after going to Colorado Springs so many times that it is something that helps me recover,” Phelps said. “That’s something that is so important to me now being older. I don’t recover as fast as I used to.”

He said the chamber looked like a fish tank: “Imagine, like, a bed with a box around it.”

“It’s kind of strange, but it’s good,” Phelps said during an appearance for sponsor Head & Shoulders. “I don’t mind it. There’s a giant door at the end of my bed. The worst thing is trying to watch TV in it. I’ve got to watch it through Plexiglas — it’s blurry.”

Measles patient at Super Bowl venue among 4 cases

INDIANAPOLIS — A person diagnosed with measles may have exposed others at Indianapolis’ Super Bowl Village to the disease, according to Indiana health officials, who say they’re not yet concerned about a widespread outbreak.

Two cases of measles have been confirmed in Hamilton County, with another two suspected in Boone County. One of the confirmed patients visited the outdoor Super Bowl Village on Friday afternoon. More than 200,000 people visited the Super Bowl Village that day, two days before the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

The Indiana State Department of Health said it notified the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and health departments in New York and Massachusetts, but it could be a week before new cases of measles pop up from that exposure.

Health officials noted the person did not go into the NFL Experience interactive fan exhibit at the Indiana Convention Center.

The person was infected by an undiagnosed sibling, according to the agency, which declined to provide additional information about the person.

Measles symptoms start with a progressively worsening cold and fever and end with a blotchy full-body rash. Serious complications can include meningitis and pneumonia. Greg Larkin, the Indiana state health commissioner, said symptoms typically don’t appear for at least a week after coming in contact with the virus.

Reyes’ hair sells for $10,200 in charity auction

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Jose Reyes’ hair was sold for a fraction of the price of the entire All-Star shortstop.

Five days after Reyes had his dreadlocks cut off on live television to comply with the dress code of the Miami Marlins, the auction for his hair ended with a winning bid of $10,200, the MLB Network said Wednesday.

Reyes left the New York Mets in December for a $106 million, six-year deal with the Marlins.

Proceeds of the auction, which was conducted on eBay, benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida.

Network spokeswoman Lorraine Fisher said the identity of the winning bidder was not known.

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