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Posted: Thursday April 12, 2007 9:46AM; Updated: Thursday April 12, 2007 4:41PM
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Red Sox fan
Apparently, you can become part of "the Nation" at any age.
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1. A Massachusetts hospital has started the "Red Sox Babies" program. Each child born at the hospital receives free gear, including a Red Sox cap and a certificate good for a tour of Fenway Park when they reach 5 years old. It's assumed that the infants will develop the Red Sox fan's peculiar blend of insecurity and arrogance on their own.

2. Quote of the day: "I hope he arouses the fire that's dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul. I plan to face him with the zeal of a challenger." No, that's not overwrought Spartan-speak from the current sandals epic 300. Rather, it was Ichiro's view before Wednesday night's showdown with fellow Japanese star Dice-K in the latter's Fenway Park debut. The Mariners outfielder, who was 8 for 34 (.235) against a young Matsuzaka in Japan, went 0 for 4 against him Wednesday night. Still, the game's spotlight was ultimately stolen by Seattle's Felix Hernandez, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and finished with a one-hit shutout in the Mariners' 3-0 win. Alas, Hernandez apparently didn't give any soul-searching (literally) quotes.

3. The NFL released its 2007 schedule on Wednesday to great fanfare. Among the highlights: The 17 bye weeks for Pacman Jones.

4. Pacman has been suspended for the 2007 season after his involvement in a Las Vegas strip club shooting, one of 10 incidents in which he has been questioned by the police. The one-year ban is believed to be sports' longest "rain" delay.

5. Former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn says he should be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. I say he's right. All he's lacked is some publicity.

6. Texas freshman Kevin Durant has declared for the NBA Draft. Good luck to the kid, but there have been longer pit stops in NASCAR.

7. The Knicks are upset with the Bulls for allegedly running up the score during Tuesday night's 98-69 defeat because fans would win a free Big Mac if Chicago scored 100 points. Come on, that's nonsense. Since when do pro athletes care about the fans?

8. Michael Waltrip has been charged with reckless driving after rolling his SUV into a telephone pole over the weekend. On the bright side, that's the closest he's been to a pole all season.

9. An Ohio State fan has named his newborn son Tressel Hayes to honor current OSU coach Jim Tressel and the legendary Woody Hayes. Nobody's more excited than the child's big brother, Cooper Clarett.

10. Hank Aaron says he won't be in attendance if Barry Bonds breaks his home run record. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean Aaron won't see it. Given the size of Barry's head, you could probably watch from space.

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