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Piazza rehearsing for stage role in ballet

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Mike Piazza knows that some people think it's funny for a baseball player to take up ballet, but the former catcher hopes to turn whoever is jeering him now into dance fans when he takes the stage with the Miami City Ballet next month.

"You gotta sometimes have the courage to go out there and do something like this, and I think the overall effect will be positive," Piazza said Tuesday after his costume fitting for the role of a gangster in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.

Piazza will walk on stage and say a few lines in the company's May 3 production of the ballet George Balanchine choreographed as part of the 1930s musical On Your Toes.

"If I have to take a few good-natured insults, you know, I've taken a lot of abuse before so, no question, I've got big shoulders," he said. "The bottom line is to draw attention to the show, to the arts, the art of ballet and dancing in general. It's something I'm very excited about."

Piazza, who has 427 career home runs and made 12 All-Star Game appearances, didn't know anything about Balanchine when he first stepped into the rehearsal studio, though he did impress the dancers with the exaggerated accent and smoking habit he gave his character.

"He knows a lot about acting, which makes it a lot easier," said principal soloist Kleber Rebello, who will play the part of a jealous Russian dancer who hires Piazza's gangster to kill his rival.

Piazza, whose daughter is a student at the Miami City Ballet School, said he's eager to help boost the dancers' image among sports fans.

 

Ticats add QB Brohm

HAMILTON, Ont. -- Former NFL quarterback Brian Brohm is continuing his pro career in the CFL.

A CFL source requesting anonymity said Tuesday that Brohm has agreed to terms with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and is expected to be on the field for the start of the club's mini-camp Wednesday.

Brohm, 27, was taken in the second round, 56th overall, by the Green Bay Packers in the 2008 NFL draft out of Louisville.

The Buffalo Bills signed Brohm off of Green Bay's practice roster in 2009. The native of Louisville, Ky., appeared in three games over two seasons with the Bills, completing 27 of 52 passes for 252 yards with five interceptions and no TDs.

 

Summerall dead at 82

DALLAS -- Pat Summerall, the NFL player-turned-broadcaster whose deep, resonant voice called games for more than 40 years, has died at the age of 82.

Susie Wiles, Summerall's daughter, said her father died in Dallas.

"He was an extraordinary man and a wonderful father," Wiles said. "I know he will be greatly missed."

Summerall was part of network television broadcasts for 16 Super Bowls. His last championship game was for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, also his last game with longtime partner John Madden. The popular duo worked together for 21 years, moving to Fox in 1994 after years as the lead team for CBS.

At the end of their final broadcast together, Madden described Summerall as "a treasure" and the "spirit of the National Football League" in a tribute to the partner that complemented the former coach so well.

"You are what the NFL is all about, what pro football is all about, and more important, what a man is all about and what a gentleman is all about," Madden said.

Summerall played 10 NFL seasons (1952-61) with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants.

In his second career, he became a voice so familiar to several generations of sports fans, not only those of the NFL.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2013 D7

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