Plagued by injuries ( Ryan Church, Nick Johnson) and using an ever-changing roster (a major-league-high 46 players this year), the NL East's Cinderella team had lost eight of 11 through Monday and seen its once 51/2-game division lead dwindle rapidly. The team, which has been outscored 377--370 this year, has struggled on the road, where beginning next week, it will play 19 of 25 games.
Rough off-season for Redskins owner Daniel Snyder: LB LaVar Arrington says Snyder owes him $6.5 million of a bonus (the case will go to arbitration); DB Sean Taylor was arrested for alleged assault and missed minicamp; and Snyder is being investigated for violating conservation laws when he cut down 130 trees on his Potomac, Md., property. Bad news too for K-State football coach Bill Snyder: Six signed baseballs (Mantle, DiMaggio) were allegedly stolen from his home.
UNC hoops coach Roy Williams (left) is under fire for breaking NCAA rules by approving gifts to graduating players while at Kansas. Williams says he didn't know the gifts were illegal and is "deeply saddened." One state down, South Carolina's football staff--including coach Lou Holtz, who left last November--was cited for 10 NCAA transgressions and will likely lose scholarships.
How to befuddle the scouts who see promise in the 28-year-old righthander who won 17 games in 2003? Ponson has lost his last four decisions, is Baltimore's only sub-.500 starter (7--8) and he saw his ERA balloon to 6.04 while getting pounded in a loss to the Mariners on Sunday. Said Ponson? Nothing. He has not spoken to the media, nor explained his silence, since July 3.