By Cubs first baseman Randall Simon, Italian sausages for the 330 fans sitting in section 112—behind first base—at Milwaukee's Miller Park at last Saturday's Cubs-Brewers game. Simon was making amends for the July 8 incident when, as a Pirate, he lightly struck a costumed Brewers employee with his bat as she ran in one of Milwaukee's famous sausage races. Mandy Block, 19, fell but suffered only scrapes on her hands and knees. Although Simon apologized and paid a $432 fine for disorderly conduct, he was booed upon his return to the stadium. He spent more than $1,100 on the sausages, which were distributed during that night's race (which went off without Block, who's gone back to college). "I think it got me closer to the fans," he said of the meaty gesture. "I wanted the fans here to know that I don't have anything against Milwaukee."
By Michael Jordan, an offer from Charlotte Bobcats owner Robert Johnson to take any position he wanted with the NBA expansion team. Johnson courted Jordan all summer, but in the end Jordan, who tried to buy the Bucks earlier this year, decided the job he wanted was Johnson's. "His goal is to be a majority owner of an NBA franchise, and we wish him the best in that pursuit," said Johnson.
To competition, the Iraqi national soccer team, on a tour put together by its German coach, Bernd Stange. After reorganizing in July and defeating Iran in Tehran 1-0, Iraq came to Germany, where it has played two second-division clubs, defeating Unterhaching 4-1 last week and playing Energie Cottbus to a 0-0 tie on Sunday. The Iraqi players—many of whom had endured beatings and imprisonment by order of Saddam Hussein's son Uday—are preparing for the start of World Cup 2006 qualifying later this year but must do much of their work on the road. "Soccer in Baghdad is impossible," Stange told reporters in Germany. "The main stadium is destroyed, and the field is now a car park for American tanks."
Into holding a 12-minute phone conversation with a man he thought was Canadian prime minister Jean Chr�tien, baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Marc-Antoine Audette of the Montreal comedy team Les Justiciers Masq�us talked to Selig about the future of the Expos. The commissioner told him that saving the team was "mission impossible" and that the actions of the team's former owners were "appalling." Selig added, "You know, I wish we'd had this conversation a few years ago." The exchange was replayed on Montreal radio. In August, Audette similarly duped Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, who asked "Mr. Chr�tien" to relax Canada's tobacco advertising regulations to help save the Canadian Grand Prix.
For divorce, Lance and Kristin Armstrong, who have been married for five years and who separated last January, then reconciled two months later. The Armstrongs and their three children were together this summer when Lance won his fifth Tour de France and the family celebrated at the finish line. They had planned to spend the rest of the summer in Spain but returned to Texas early. "We're doing this peacefully," Lance said. "The craziest thing is, were closer now and better friends than ever before. We're truly committed to maintaining a good relationship, but not a marriage."
By author Gerald Posner, that Prince Ahmed bin Salmon of Saudi Arabia, who owned 2002 Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem, had knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks before they were carried out. In Why America Slept: The Reasons Behind Our Failure to Prevent 9/11, Posner, who has written highly regarded books on the John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations, cites unnamed sources implicating Ahmed in an arrangement that had Saudi princes paying Osama fain Laden not to stir up dissent in their country, Ahmed, who died in July 2002, reportedly of a heart attack, bought War Emblem for $900,000 three weeks before the Derby.
After 15 seasons as a Ranger, goalie Mike Richter, who in 1994 led the team to its first Stanley Cup in 54 years, ending the longest title drought in NHL history. Richter, 36, went 301-258-73, making him the winningest goalie in the Rangers' 77 years. He hasn't played since last Nov. 5, when he sustained a concussion after being inadvertently kneed in the head by the Oilers' Todd Marchant. He'd also suffered a concussion nine months earlier and is feeling lingering effects. "I knew this day would come, but my script never included having it end from an injury," Richter said at a tearful announcement last week. "It's like the death of a close friend." A three-time NHL All-Star, Richter played on the gold-medal-winning U.S. World Cup team in 1996 and helped the U.S. win silver at the 2002 Olympics, where he was named to the All-Tournament team. Richter's stop of a penalty shot by Canucks sniper Pavel Bure in Game 4 of the 1994 finals is arguably the most important save ever for the Rangers, who will retire his number later this season.
After 19 seasons with six teams, 37-year-old forward Kirk Muller, who began his NHL career as a dynamic scorer for the Devils and ended it as a hard-nosed checker who helped define the Stars' gritty style. "Right into my 19th year, I was still learning lots about the game," said the six-foot, 205-pound Muller last week. Selected second overall by the Devils in the 1984 draft—right after Mario Lemieux—Muller proved a determined leader who in '87 was named captain at age 21, then the youngest captain in NHL history. Captain Kirk, as he was known, was traded to the Canadiens in '91 and led Montreal to the '93 Stanley Cup with 17 points in 20 playoff games. After playing for the Islanders, the Maple Leafs and the Panthers, Muller signed with the Stars in '99 and helped them to the 2000 finals. The six-time All-Star had 357 career goals and 602 assists in 1,349 games.