Meanwhile, the ninth-ranked Fernandez, a '92 Olympic gold medalist in doubles, has also been dogged by injuries in recent years, but since 1991 she has played every Fed Cup match she has been asked to play, going 13-7. In April she single-handedly bailed the U.S. out against Austria, winning both her singles matches and teaming with Gigi Fernandez in doubles to secure a 3-2 victory. "I'm sad, but I'm not bitter," Mary Joe said of the Olympic slight. "I think Monica had legitimate injuries." Still, the feeling among other U.S. players is that Seles had better show for the next Fed Cup match, against Japan a week after Wimbledon, or risk losing any credibility she may have left.
It's just about time for Pat Plunkett and his silent partner to hit the road. Plunkett is one of four men employed year-round by the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto to watch over and protect the Stanley Cup. And though Plunkett is not one of the two men who get to carry the hallowed hardware onto the ice after the last game of the Stanley Cup finals, he is the one who takes Stanley on its summer victory tour. "I'm proud to do it," he says. "The Cup has helped me make friends and go places I otherwise wouldn't have gone."
During the season the Cup spends much of its time on display at the Hall, though it's often summoned by NHL teams for promotional use—and where it goes, so goes Plunkett. That's also true in the weeks after the finals, when each member of the winning team is allowed to spend a day with hockey's Holy Grail. As a result Plunkett, 40, ends up toting Stanley to about three dozen parties, most of them hosted by players, in the U.S. and Canada. Plunkett carries the three-foot-tall, 34-pound Cup in a hard travel case lined with form-fitting foam.
Last summer goalie Chris Terreri of the champion New Jersey Devils had Stanley (and Pat) flown in by helicopter at sunset to a seaside country club in Rhode Island; the arrival of the Cup (and Plunkett) was announced to the accompaniment of fireworks. Plunkett also brought the Cup to the White House for the Devils' victory ceremony. He was treated like a vaguely suspicious dignitary, getting ushered into Bill Clinton's presence with the team—but only after he and the Cup were X-rayed and sniffed by a dog.
Plunkett knows that the next couple of months will be draining, with long days of travel and constant vigilance to make sure that the Cup, which has suffered dents and dings while in the hands of winning team members, isn't damaged or stolen. "When you get tired or wonder why you're doing it, you just look at the names etched on the Cup," he says. "It reminds you of the sacrifice those players made, and it's hard to feel tired or jaded."
Well, There They Go Again
The Toronto Blue Jays may be a Canadian team, but that hasn't stopped them from cashing in on advertising opportunities presented by an election year in the U.S. One new series of radio commercials promoting the Jays features the presidentially monikered Joe Carter and Otis Nixon bantering about baseball and politics. In one yet-to-be-released spot Carter offers this observation on his teammate's prowess on the base paths: "Mr. Nixon likes to steal." "Yes," responds Nixon, "but I am not a crook."
A Mixed Reception
It was with conflicting emotions that Bucknell lacrosse coach Sid Jamieson accepted the national coach of the year award from the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) last Saturday. On April 27 Jamieson's Bisons finished their season as the nation's only undefeated Division I team (12-0) but didn't receive one of the 12 bids to the NCAA tournament.
The selection committee says it declined to pick Bucknell because the Bisons' schedule was weak. But one of the teams the committee did choose was Army, which lost four times during the regular season, including 14-10 to Bucknell. "Since they ran the table," says Army coach Jack Emmer, "I thought they deserved to go."