The Braves' George Lombard (right) talked with Chipper Jones while warming up on Saturday, Feb. 16 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Scott Audette/AP)
As with any normal baseball year, most things that occurred during February 2002 did so off the field.
The month opened with the Montreal Expos and Minnesota Twins -- the most widely rumored contraction targets -- being saved by an announcement to postpone the elimination of two clubs. It ended with the complete sale of one of baseball's most storied franchises -- the Boston Red Sox. Somewhere in between, players reported to Spring Training facilities in Florida and Arizona. Not all the news was happy, as the Padres dealt with the death of outfielder Mike Darr.
The Expos and Twins are spared an economic fate when Commissioner Bud Selig announces that contraction won't happen for the 2002 season. Columnist Mike Bauman writes that the announcement gives Minnesota fans a well-deserved second chance, while Matthew Leach writes that it's a sigh of relief for the sport.
The Anaheim Angels, speculated to have been a contraction target, sign closer
Troy Percival to a two-year contract extension. Eight months later, fans and their rally monkeys go nuts as Percival pumps his fist after getting the final out of the 2002 World Series.
In an unprecedented step, Major League Baseball officially acquired the Montreal Expos and named Hall of Famer Frank
Robinson the manager and New York Mets executive Omar Minaya the general manager. For Minaya, this represented a chance he had been waiting a long time to get. Commissioner Bud Selig announced the moves at a press conference.
The same day, the Marlins' sale is approved