- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Markman has speculated that big league " baseball keeps couples together by providing them with "a cheap and enjoyable form of entertainment"—having fun is one of the most crucial elements of a successful marriage, Markman points out—and by enhancing a city's economic strength. "The worse the economy, the higher the rate of divorce," he says.
Markman notes that Denver has a divorce rate 20% higher than the national average and "is a city in which many of the inhabitants feel unrooted. Many have come from somewhere else. There is a real need here for a sense of community." Markman believes that a major league franchise might help provide that sense. So let's raise a cheer: On Aug. 15 voters in metropolitan Denver began a courtship of sorts. They approved a sales tax to raise money for the construction of a new stadium, which they hope will attract a big league team.
GETTING HIS KICKS
Strange as it may sound, comedian-actor- Cleveland Browns booster Martin Mull's principal form of exercise is placekicking. Twice a week he totes a sack full of footballs to a high school field near his home in Los Angeles, laces up a pair of square-toed shoes and boots field goals for an hour or more. "I kick off a tee, which is cheating, but hey, give me a break," says Mull, who cm-ploys a head-on, Lou Groza style.
Two years ago the Browns invited Mull to a practice and had him try a 20-yard field goal under game conditions. "They even called timeout to make me think about it," says Mull. He recalls that the team "gave me [jersey] number 38, the one worn by Sam Baker, the worst kicker the Browns ever had. That way I had no expectations to live up to." Mull was disappointed that his kick just barely made it through the uprights, so he stepped up his training. A year later, with the help of some tips from Browns kicker Matt Bahr, who has become a good friend, Mull hit three 40-yarders before a Cleveland-Tampa Bay exhibition game. "He works very hard at his routine, he's deadpan in his delivery and he's funny to watch," says Bahr.
Mull, 46, hit a personal-record 47-yarder during one of his practice sessions this year, and he says his goal is to "kick my age until I'm 64, at which point I'll eclipse Tom Dempsey's NFL record for the longest field goal."
BARD OF THE BUSHES
Readers of a literary bent may have been intrigued by the haunting verse quoted in Leigh Montville's piece on the minor league Toledo Mud Hens (July 23). Scribbled in the clubhouse of Ned Skeldon Stadium are verses like "Heed the warnings of past Mud Hen ghosts/Whose own psyche has transformed into burnt toast," and bittersweet references to Detroit manager Sparky Anderson as "the albino general" of "the S.S. Minnow."
It turns out that the primary author of the doggerel is outfielder Scott Lusader, who has added to his oeuvre intermittently since 1987, when he began shuttling between Detroit and Toledo. Lusader's muse, he admitted to Jerry Green of the Detroit News last week after his most recent demotion, is disgruntlement at his treatment by the Tiger organization. "I've really been soured by the game, so I no longer look at my future as a ballplayer," said Lusader, who was hitting .241 in 87 at bats this season before he was sent down. "I love my future. It's great. Whether it's in this game or not is not important."
THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON