Sports briefs | Bradenton Marauders release promotional schedule

January 29, 2014 

Baseball: Marauders release promo schedule

BRADENTON -- The Bradenton Marauders will offer fans carriage rides, kites and the chance to dress up as a Star Wars character during their fifth season of Florida State League action this year.

The Marauders, the high Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, released their promotional schedule Tuesday in advance of the opening of single-game tickets at 10 a.m. Saturday. Tickets also will go on sale for the FSL All-Star Game, which will be held July 14 at McKechnie Field.

New single-game promotions for 2014 include Pirates and Princesses Night on Opening Day (April 5), Indian Heritage Night featuring a bobblehead of Rinku Singh (May 17), "Go Fly a Kite!" Night (July 12) and Star Wars Night (date not released). Pirates and Princesses Night will feature carriage rides, "Go Fly a Kite!" Night will offer the first 500 fans a kite and the opportunity to fly it on the field.

Returning promotions include Easter Egg Hunt (April 19), A/C Warehouse Buyout Night (April 21), Halfway to Halloween (May 13), Military Appreciation Night (July 11) and Condiment Duel (July 18).

There will be four postgame fireworks shows (April 5, July 3, Aug. 1 and Aug. 30) and five Bark in the Park nights (April 6, May 13, June 26, July 12 and Aug. 17).

Weekly promotions include Family Fun Sunday, First Mates Kids Club on Tuesdays, Thirst Thursdays, Happy Hour Fridays and Silverauders Night on Saturdays.

Visit the McKechnie Field box office, call 941-747-3031 or visit www.BradentonMarauders.com for tickets.

ELSEWHERE-- Major League Baseball has approved a protective cap for pitchers to reduce the effects of being hit in the head by line drives.The new hat will be available for pitchers to test during spring training on a voluntary basis. Major leaguers and minor leaguers won't be required to wear it in games this year. The safety plates are sewn into the hat and custom fitted. They weigh an extra six to seven ounces and offer increased protection to the forehead, temples and sides of the head. ... Closer Aroldis Chapman agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract Tuesday, leaving the Cincinnati Reds with only starting pitcher Homer Bailey left in arbitration. ... Prosecutors have dropped a reckless driving charge against Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

College football: Athletes look to form union

CHICAGO -- College athletes say they are forming what they believe is the first-of-its-kind union to represent their interests.

Organizers of the College Athletes Players Association were scheduled to formally announce details Tuesday at a news conference in Chicago.

Several football players from Northwestern are involved, including quarterback Kain Colter, along with the Steelworkers union.

The NCAA has come under increasing pressure to do more to ensure athletes' health during their careers and after they leave school. Some athletes have also raised the prospect of being paid.

ELSEWHERE -- A person familiar with the negotiations tells the Associated Press that Rutgers is close to hiring former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen as its offensive coordinator. ... A published report says the University of Michigan has expelled ex-Wolverines kicker Brendan Gibbons for violating the school's sexual misconduct policies.

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