By JOHN ROMANO
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 24, 2000
ST. PETERSBURG -- Bobby Seay is nearing the end of the longest season of his career. And he's ready to go halfway around the world to finish it.
The Devil Rays pitching prospect was one of 29 minor-league players named Wednesday to the U.S. baseball team that will leave for Australia next week. Rays Triple-A catcher Pat Borders and second baseman Brent Abernathy also were named.
Troubled by injuries during his first three pro seasons, Seay has remained consistent in 2000, pitching a team-high 1211/3 innings for Double-A Orlando while going 7-7 with a 4.15 ERA.
Because he has pitched more innings than any previous season, the Rays were not inclined to call up Seay in September when Orlando's season ends. Since he likely will be used as a left-handed reliever in the Olympics, Seay is not expected to pile up too many more innings.
"My main goal was to stay healthy and make all my starts and get my innings in," Seay said. "Now that I've done that, I'm ready to wind it down and get this Olympic experience in. Hopefully, that will lead me in to a good spring next year.
"I'm really looking forward to this. It'll be a nice way to finish the year. It's not like here where it's your job and sometimes the daily grind can get to you. This is something special."
The Rays are one of three teams to place at least three players on the squad. The Orioles had three, the Mariners four.
Borders, 37, is the oldest player on the roster and probably the biggest name among the ex-major-leaguers. The rest of the team is made up mostly of younger Double-A and Triple-A prospects, including San Diego's Sean Burroughs, Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia, Cincinnati's Gookie Dawkins and Houston's Adam Everett.
One player will be added to the team before it leaves for Australia. On Sept. 15, the team will be reduced to 24.
GYMNASTICS: USA Gymnastics officials selected Tasha Schwikert as the second alternate on the U.S. team.
The six-member team was selected Sunday, after the final round of the Olympic trials in Boston. At the time, national coordinator Bela Karolyi said he would consider Schwikert, Vanessa Atler and Rachel Tidd as the second alternate.
Meanwhile, Atler says she knew after the preliminary round at the trials that she would not make the team and that's why she performed so poorly in the final.
"It was flying all over the place that I was off (the team)," she wrote on her Web site (http://www.atler.com). "I was just going through the motions that second night."
Atler said she was not asked to be the second alternate.
TENNIS: Serena Williams will play doubles with her sister Venus at Sydney after an arbitrator turned down Lisa Raymond's bid to replace the defending U.S. Open singles champion on the American team.
Raymond, who played at the University of Florida, said she was extremely disappointed and insisted she deserves a spot on the team because she is the top-ranked doubles player in the world.
Coach Billie Jean King picked Serena Williams to play doubles. Raymond filed for arbitration, saying Williams had no doubles ranking. Her petition was denied.
Arbitrator Richard Jeydel said, the selection was made "in accordance with the letter, if not the spirit, of the procedures."
- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.