- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
By the Rams, director of football administration Samir Suleiman, for leaving a threatening voice mail for a sportswriter. In a story about front office infighting last month, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz wrote that "the head coach should be backed, not backstabbed, by associates." Suleiman later left a message for Miklasz: "Tell your source that I'm not a backstabber, I'm a f------ throat slasher, and he'll know the difference before it's all said and done." Said Rams president John Shaw, who didn't specify how Suleiman would be disciplined, "It's shocking that he would leave a message like that."
Of heart failure at age 60, former NFL kicker Toni Fritsch. In 1971 Fritsch, a former member of the Austrian national soccer team, was playing in Vienna, where the Cowboys were scouting for a soccer player to transform into a placekicker. Despite his never having seen a football game, Fritsch signed with Dallas and was an instant success. He kicked a game-winning field goal in his debut in '71 and was a Pro Bowler with the Oilers in 1980. He still holds an NFL record for kicking field goals in 13 consecutive playoff games.
By the Dodgers for baseball's Roberto Clemente Award and the players' union's man of the year honor, Milton Bradley (below). The outfielder, who had season-ending knee surgery this month, does charity work in Los Angeles, but his track record makes him an odd choice for humanitarian awards. According to the Los Angeles Times, police have responded to three domestic violence calls from his wife this summer. Last year he was suspended and underwent anger-management counseling after he threw a bottle into the stands during a game. And during the off-season he spent three days in an Ohio jail for obstructing police during a traffic stop.
By the Massachusetts Racing Commission, harness driver Todd Kolbe, 34, after he bet against himself at Plainridge Racecourse. Before driving overwhelming favorite All the Options on Aug. 30, Kolbe went to a betting window and wagered $18 on several horses in the race, none of them his. It is illegal for drivers to bet on horses other than their own; perhaps not surprisingly, All the Options finished fifth. Last week Kolbe was banned for 90 days and fined $250. "I don't think [Kolbe] altered the outcome of the race," Gary Piontkowski, the track's chief executive officer, told The Boston Globe. "I just think he was dumb."
By the Montreal Canadiens, unemployed former Expos mascot Youppi! The orange fur ball, who entertained fans at Olympic Stadium for 25 years before the Expos moved to Washington, D.C., this season, will be the Canadiens' first official mascot. Demand for Youppi! was high during his year off; several organizations, including the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, considered hiring him. Said Canadiens G.M. Bob Gainey at an introductory press conference, "That's why we saved [salary cap] room, for a situation exactly like this."