FAN FIGHTING FINE: The 31-year-old high school cross country coach and gym teacher who was at the center of Mark McGwire's disputed double has hired a lawyer and will fight his $518 trespassing fine.

Michael Chapes, of Waterford, Wis., went through the videotape of the controversial call frame-by-frame Monday to prove he did nothing wrong, said his attorney, Tom Boyd.

Chapes also is sure the ball should have been ruled a home run in St. Louis' 11-6 victory over Milwaukee on Sunday, Boyd said.

The National League on Monday turned down the Cardinals' request to reverse an umpire's ruling on the play.

"It's clear it was home run No. 66," Boyd said.


NBA TALKS ALMOST RESUMED: David Stern and Billy Hunter agreed almost two weeks ago that it was time to resume collective bargaining talks.

But when they tried to work out the details, the whole idea quickly fell apart.

Russ Granik, the deputy commissioner of the NBA, and Hunter, president of the players union, both acknowledged Monday that talks aimed at ending the lockout nearly resumed on Sept. 10, though they differed on why such a meeting never took place.

"We invited players to come back to the table, and they declined," Granik said. "They said as long as we would be talking about a hard cap or some system that set a defined percentage of revenues to go toward player salaries, they didn't see any point of meeting."

Hunter said he proposed a small meeting, with four representatives from each side. But when NBA Commissioner Stern asked that the meeting be held when the eight members of the owners labor committee were in town, Hunter declined.