Posted: Tuesday April 24, 2007 12:21PM; Updated: Tuesday April 24, 2007 4:14PM
1. Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has already tied the April record for home runs with 14 after hitting two more on Monday night. Sure, he's hot, but let's see him do it on a winning team.
2. Michael Vick will address Congress on Tuesday to lobby for more funding of after-school programs. Vick passionately believes that every kid should have the arts-and-crafts skills to build better jewelry-stashing devices.
3. Swedish wrestler Sofia Mattsson won a bronze medal at last week's European Women's Wrestling Championships in Bulgaria, but she turned down another prize. The 17-year-old declined the title of Miss Europe, which organizers wanted to give to the "prettiest wrestler" at the event. Said Mattsson, "This is not part of the sport. We are here to excel and win and wrestling." Added her coach, somewhat more colorfully: "It's a load of rubbish! There are old codgers sitting there deciding who is the prettiest. It's terrible." Fair point, but we prefer to let our readers judge for themselves. Our Swedish is nonexistent, but we believe that's Ms. Mattsson on the left along with her sister Johanna, a fellow wrestler.
4. Cyclist Floyd Landis' backup urine samples have also reportedly tested positive, for synthetic testosterone. Don't worry, Floyd, maybe the third time's the charm!
5. Stat of the day: At age 25, Dontrelle Willis became the Marlins' career leader in games started when he took the hill on Monday night against the Braves. Willis's 132 starts are one more than A.J. Burnett's. Congratulations to new daddy Willis, but it's probably more likely for 25-year-olds to set team records for longevity when you tear down the franchise every few years as if it were constructed of balsa wood.
6. College football coaches are asking for a delay on a proposed ban against text-messaging recruits. It's going to take time to hand out enough Blackberrys so they can skirt the rule by sending emails instead.
7. Tigers first baseman Sean Casey returned to Detroit City Airport last week to find his car completely tire-less and propped up on cinder blocks. Ouch. Though some would say Casey (15 career SBs) didn't have any wheels in the first place.
8. The NFL Network will mount a camera in the boat of Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas while he fishes during Saturday's NFL Draft. The key question -- will there be more "largemouth" in the lake or the studio?
9. Phil Mickelson has turned to Tiger's former coach, Butch Harmon. Mickelson knew he had to make a change when Ben Wright crassly claimed that his "boobs" were getting in the way of his swing.
10. R.I.P. David Halberstam: The famed author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who died Monday at age 73 was much more than a writer of sports books, but that's how I'll remember him most fondly. Back in college my roommates and I passed around the Summer of '49, captivated by its vivid retelling of a great pennant race between the Yanks and Red Sox. We particularly enjoyed the tales of Red Sox pitcher Ellis Kinder, who went 21-1 from early August on during a career year. Kinder insisted that he pitched better the drunker he got the night before a (day) game. One night Casey Stengel instructed his backup catcher, Ralph Houk, a Kinder pal from past teams, to take Kinder out on the town the night before a crucial September showdown. While Houk nursed his hangover in the dugout, Kinder tossed a shutout while sweating profusely (as usual) through his thick flannels.
When a roommate and I were going through the interview gantlet for corporate jobs (I was originally an investment banker), we noted the tendency of firms to ply prospective employees with alcohol the night before interview sessions, presumably as some sort of test. We joked that Kinder would have been a dynamite job candidate in that environment, and would mime throwing a right-handed pitch when out at a corporate drinkfest. I thank Halberstam for doing so much reporting that the historical characters in his book really came alive. He will be greatly missed.
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