There are rumors going around -- literally going around, on the infinite loop of the ticker -- that Magic center Dwight Howard will be traded to Chicago or Dallas or possibly the Lakers. Rumor likewise has it that Knicks' forward Amare Stoudemire could be traded, as well as Blue Jackets' right wing Rick Nash, though sadly not for each other, no matter how up for it Knicks' management would be.
Tonight, Dan Uggla has a chance to become just the third man in the last five seasons to have a 30-game hitting streak. That's a shocking turnaround for a player who was hitting .173 when his streak began back on July 5, and provides a valuable lesson on the nature of batting average on balls in play.
It was 70 years ago, on a mild and misty night in Cleveland, before the largest crowd of the 1941 baseball season -- 67,463 in Municipal Stadium -- that Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak came to an end. The game became, in today's parlance, an "instant classic." It would have been destined for countless airings on many sports channels had only there been footage to air.
So now we sit and wait for Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit. I pray he gets the milestone in timely fashion. No one wants the distraction that comes when a player sits on 2,999 for too many games. We had that with Carl Yastrzemski in Boston back in 1979. We were all doing time on the Yaz Watch and the inimitable Peter Pascarelli, then with the Baltimore News American, said, "This is like waiting for Franco to die.''
With an RBI infield single Monday night against the Cubs, the Dodgers' Andre Ethier became the first man to collect a hit in 28-straight games since the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman hit in 30 straight in early 2009 and just the 10th man to assemble a streak of 28 or more games since the turn of the millennium. Impressive as that might be, Ethier is only half way to Joe DiMaggio's record of 56 straight games, a record he can only tie by duplicating the feat he has already achieved, something it seems safe to say isn't going to happen. In the 92 seasons since 1919, which is as far back as Baseball-Reference.com's game logs go, there have been 65 streaks of 28 or more games, not counting Ethier's; 28 of them didn't even make it to 30.
This much we can count on in the 2011 baseball season -- the passing of a few good milestones, the further elevation of a few good men. Sometime in early June, if his past is any kind of prologue, shortstop Derek Jeter will stroke his 3,000th career hit, and become (and this is pretty crazy when you think about it) the first player in the gilded, 100-plus-year history of the Yankees to reach that figure. In September, Jeter's teammate, Mariano Rivera, could save his 43rd game of the season (why not? he had 44 saves in 2009) and pass Trevor Hoffman as the major leagues' all-time saves leader.
It seems to me that every baseball fan's Hall of Fame would be a little bit different. My Hall of Fame is different from anyone else's* -- and so is yours. There are, for our purposes, an infinite number of combinations -- or, anyway, a number close enough to infinity to make the number beyond any of our imaginations -- and there are surely more than enough combinations to give every single person his or her own personal Hall of Fame.
Fill in answers as in a crossword -- except the answers are numbers. For rows or columns with multiple clues, enter answers consecutively. The sum will equal the red total at the end of each row/column.
During these daunting economic days, the sports fan, more than ever, deserves real bang for the buck. In that context, the SI.com Thrill Lists were born. These enumerate the athletes, past and present, who most infallibly have kept us on the edge of our seats; the men and women (and horses) whom we would pay to see.
I am told that if you want to be a part of today, you have to Twitter. So I am Twittering ? JPosnanski, if you want to follow ? but since I have no idea what I'm am supposed to say, I just posted this: Pete Rose's career hit total is made up of Jackie Robinson's number (42) and Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak (56).
One of the most tumultuous and controversial Triple Crown seasons in history is finished. Many questions remain about the five weeks just finished and about the years ahead for horse racing. Some of the questions, and some possible answers:
Manny Ramirez lives for his four or five plate appearances every night. The rest of what makes for his major league employment -- the necessity of having to wear a glove in the outfield, the need to run the bases (haste, however, not required), the infrequent intrusions from the media -- simply fill the time until the next occasion he can attack another at-bat the way John Nash might a thorny equation: with equal parts genius and joy.
In the coming years, it should be much easier for the nation to turn its lonely eyes to Joe DiMaggio, as the Yankee Clipper's name could be plastered on everything from casinos to pizzerias to - you guessed it - steaming hot cups of Joe.
If Barry Bonds fails to get voted into the All-Star Game, is there any chance Tony La Russa would not put him on the reserve roster? If La Russa snubs Bonds to make a statement, wouldn't that be a hypocritical move on the part of a manager who had Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco play for him all those years? -- Phil, Oyster Bay, N.Y.
If you watched any television last week it was difficult to miss some version of Managers Gone Wild, not in the spring break kind of way, thank goodness, but in the traditional blow-a-gasket, channeling-Billy-Martin vein. Even CNN and ABC News took their gaze off Iraq and Capitol Hill for a moment to wonder what the heck was going on with managers such as Lou Piniella, whose hat kicking and dirt kicking looked a little dated, like a BTO reunion tour; Bobby Cox, who umpires will tell you cries more than Paris Hilton; and minor-league skipper Phillip Wellman, whose commando grenade tossing act bordered on managerial comedic genius, more Robin Williams than Dick Williams.
On Sunday evening the scorecard said that Henrik Stenson was the winner of the Accenture Match Play Championship. Perhaps the real victor, though, was a gentleman who passed away in September at the age of 94. When Nick O'Hern eliminated Tiger Woods in the third round at the Gallery's South course, thus halting Woods's streak of PGA Tour wins at seven, Byron Nelson's hallowed record of 11 straight victories in 1945 acquired even more luster. Now it looks downright unassailable, and only one question remains: Is this the greatest individual sports streak of all time?
Derek Jeter's bat isn't all that different than the ones used by Yankees legends Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. There have been cosmetic changes over the years, but when you get right down to it, it's still a piece of wood.
In your opinion, are index funds the best way to go for someone already in retirement who is trying to be sure he doesn't outlive his money? Or should one buy individual stocks and bonds? - Bill Watson, Columbia, South Carolina
Jimmy Cannon, the wonderful New York sportswriter, once offered this memorable line about the heavyweight boxing champion known as the Dark Destroyer: "Joe Louis is a credit to his race ... the human race."