Posted: Tuesday July 12, 2005 9:52AM; Updated: Tuesday July 12, 2005 1:30PM
Bobby Abreu's picture-perfect swing paid off in a big way Monday night.
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Every Tuesday, the 10 Spot will present our list of the 10 hottest people, teams or trends in the world of sports.
1. Bobby Abreu: The Phillies outfielder made Venezuela proud by hitting a record 41 homers in three rounds to win Monday's Home Run Derby, including a remarkable 24 in the first round. That was nine more than the previous single-round record, set last year by Miguel Tejada in Houston. It was also 24 more than Canada's representative, Jason Bay of the Pirates. Given Comerica Park's reputation as a pitcher's park, Abreu's performance was awe-inspiring, especially his clout that was estimated at 517 feet.
2. Detroit fans: Warren Evans, the sheriff of Wayne County, Mich., gave away 18 tickets to the All-Star Game and 20 to Monday's Home Run Derby on Monday afternoon. Evans had seized the tickets from online scalpers who agreed to meet their "buyers" only to discover that they were lawmen. Among the lucky recipients were a young boy who helped clear an apartment building during a fire and a serviceman who had recently returned from Iraq.
3. Night owls: Especially on the East Coast, they're the only folks likely to be up for the end of Tuesday's All-Star Game. There was an unintentionally ironic moment during Monday's Home Run Derby when at 11:10 p.m. ET, ESPN's Chris Berman noted that the youngsters shagging flies must be getting tired, since "that's late for these kids." Let's see, 11:10 p.m. should arrive on Tuesday at about the bottom of the sixth.
4. Steffi Graf: Mrs. Andre Agassi will return to the court on Tuesday to play for the Houston Wranglers of World Team Tennis. The 36-year-old mother of two will play the Sacramento Capitals, which will be led by Anna Kournikova. Which brings up another point: Did anyone realize that Anna still played tennis?
5. Sean O'Hair: Sure, it was a relatively no-name field at the PGA's John Deere Classic, but the rookie who turned 23 on Monday provided a nice story by winning his first tournament. O'Hair turned pro at 17 due to the urging of his frighteningly hard-driving father, with whom he now rarely speaks. Yet O'Hair seems to have rebounded from his rocky childhood and looks primed for a long and prosperous career.
6. Nudity: A Scottish sportswriter paid off a bet by gamboling in the buff in front of 100,000 fans at the British Grand Prix on Sunday. Last year, Daily Express reporter Bob McKenzie wrote that he would run naked around the Silverstone track if the McLaren race team, which was struggling, won a race last season. When McLaren did so, McKenzie donned himself in body paint with McLaren's colors and covered the course in 36 minutes before the start of the race. In deference to modesty, though, McKenize wore a sporran (a traditional fur or leather pouch donned by Scottish Highlanders) around his bangers and mash. In other nude news, Dennis Rodman ran with the bulls in Pamplona over the weekend and pledged to do so next year in the altogether. Rodman hopes to raise awareness for PETA and thoroughly disconcert the bulls.
7. Golf history: Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson will be paired during the first two rounds of this week's British Open at St. Andrews. That should lead to plenty of highlights from the pair's showdown at the 1977 British Open, which Watson won by a single stroke at Turnberry. Let's hope that Nicklaus and Watson make a side wager with a few of the five-pound Scottish bills that currently bear Nicklaus's likeness.
8. NASCAR feuds: For those who still can't figure out why NASCAR is so popular, how about the fact that the drivers regularly rip each other before going out to race cars at 180 mph in close proximity? That's drama. The latest war of words is between Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick, stemming from Saturday's Busch race. Biffle called Harvick a "punk" and a "chicken," while Harvick suggested that Biffle "quit whining or I'll stop it." Gentlemen, start your engines!
9. Fernando Martinez: The 16-year-old Dominican outfielder landed a $1.4 million contract last week from the Mets, one of the priciest ever for a prospect from the talent-rich Dominican Republic. Martinez, alas, can't play in the U.S. until he turns 18. That won't be for another two years or until the team finds another birth certificate, whichever comes first.
10. The Bryants: It was a good week for Joe (Jellybean) Bryant and his son Kobe. The scandal-plagued Lakers guard had his picture used in a Nike advertisement last week for the first time since his arrest two years ago for alleged sexual assault. The elder Bryant, meanwhile, was hired on Monday as an assistant coach with the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks. The question now is whether Phil Jackson's return to Laker Land can keep the good times coming.