To sign autographs in Toronto for fear of contracting SARS, Red Sox pitcher John Burkett. Sox officials had advised players to minimize contact with locals during last week's trip to Ontario, where 223 cases of SARS (and 13 SARS-related deaths) have been reported, much more than in any other region of North America. Burkett and his teammates stayed close to their hotel when not at the park. Most other Red Sox, however, signed autographs before games against the Blue Jays. "I understand there's still a very slim chance of anything happening, but why expose yourself?" said Burkett. "It's not that important to me to go out and mingle."
The Hobey Baker Award, by Colorado College junior left wing Peter Sejna, the first European to win it. Sejna, a Slovakian, led the NCAA with 82 points (36 goals, 46 assists) in 42 games and helped the Tigers go 30-7-5. He signed a two-year contract with the Blues on April 6 and in his first NHL game scored a goal against the Avalanche in Denver before many of his college fans. "[Winning the Hobey] makes me hope more European players will come play college hockey here," says Sejna, 23. The 5'11" 200-pounder wasn't eligible for the Blues' postseason roster and has gone home, aiming to play for Slovakia in the world championships.
Braves ace Greg Maddux, by the Marlins' marketing department, which took out an ad in several Florida papers last weekend inviting fans to COME SEE BATTING PRACTICE WITH GREG MADDUX AND THE BRAVES. At the time Maddux was , 0-3 with an 11.05 ERA. "Somebody who would [take out the ad] probably couldn't catch a ball if you tossed it to him underhand," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. Maddux responded by saying, simply, "Oh, lovely." Then he threw six innings of two-hit ball on Sunday as Atlanta beat Florida 7-1.
After 11 months in Florida's Gainesville Correctional Institution, eight-time All-Star Darryl Strawberry. The slugger, imprisoned for violating probation on 1999 cocaine-possession charges, returned to his home in Lutz, Fla., where he lives with his wife, Charisse, and their three children, and then went to California to visit relatives. Strawberry, whose colon cancer is in remission, has been voluntarily attending 12-step programs and has committed his Sundays to Without Walls International Church in Tampa. "He told me the incarceration was the best thing that happened because it made him look within," says Randy White, the church's pastor. "Darryl is working extremely hard on his sobriety and is out to prove himself to his family and friends."
Of complications from lung cancer, Chargers general manager John Butler. Before joining San Diego in January 2001, Butler, 56, spent 14 years in the Bills' front office—first as personnel director and then as G.M.—during which time he assembled the team that won four straight AFC titles. Butler, a gruff 6'4", 300-pound ex-Marine, was regarded as one of the top talent evaluators in the league. When he took over the Chargers, they were coming off a 1-15 season, but last year they contended for a playoff spot and finished 8-8. Said Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, "We lost a giant."
By the Arena Football League's Orlando Predators, seven billboards featuring model Kelly Newton in snapping position, with the catchphrase GET BEHIND YOUR TEAM. League commissioner David Baker threatened to fine the team $10,000 for every three days the billboards remained up. "We believe that every fan is entitled to a wholesome environment," said Baker. (In 2000 Orlando erected billboards picturing a model's enormous cleavage and the slogan, FAKE LEFT—FAKE RIGHT.) Predators president Brett Bouchy said he abided by Baker's mandate out of "respect for the league," but fans did get a glimpse of Newton at Orlando's home game last Friday when she was on hand to distribute 10,000 posters of herself in a Predators jersey. Orlando drew a season-high crowd of 15,016.