The baseball All-Star Game is still the best all-star show in sports. What sets it apart from other sports is its rich history, something about the pageantry of players wearing their regular jerseys rather than a gimmicky league jersey and, most of all, it's the only one in which the players play the same kind of defense they would play in a "real" game. And given the depressed run-scoring environment of today's game, run prevention might be the star of the show tonight.
Here in Chicago the talk is Ryne Sandberg, Ryne Sandberg, Ryne Sandberg right now, and why not? The Cubs are awful and getting worse, and with Lou Piniella's abrupt retirement the public has been deprived of the grand non-sequiturs and occasional fitful furies that were, aside from the brilliance of rookie shortstop Starlin Castro and the free bicycle valet service at Wrigley Field, by far the best thing about the team. The prospect of a legend coming in next year to set things right has its charm.
Imagine a roundtable showcasing modern-day savants Yogi Berra and Charles Barkley along with ancient Greek poet Bacchylides. You'll find them cheek by jowl in the Summer 2010 Lapham's Quarterly magazine, an issue devoted to sports and games. The presence of the trio within three pages provides an idea of editor Lewis H. Lapham's audacious conceit: Intellectually stimulating, visually enriching yet often whimsical, this is sport presented as high art.
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.
Mark Buerhle joined one of baseball's most elite clubs on Thursday afternoon in Chicago -- the Zeros-Only Gang of 18 whose members have each put together 27 consecutive outs in a winning ballgame (sorry, Harvey Haddix). It's an elite club, but not limited to elite pitchers. In fact, Buerhle, a good-but-not-great hurler, slots fairly neatly into the middle ranks of the roster of perfectos.
I don't want to hear the clichés. I don't want to hear how Angles rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart loved baseball more than anything; how his 22 years were all too short, but packed with love and virtue. I don't want moments of silence before a game; a camera shot of an ADENHART jersey dangling from a hanger; a floral vigil outside the ballpark; a scholarship fund to help kids from his hometown of Silver Spring, Md.
Interesting career this Joba Chamberlain has had so far. There was that midge infestation during the 2007 playoffs in Cleveland, and the impersonator who was busted in New Jersey last year, and that little DUI incident last October. Now comes Joba The Movie.
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Hall of Famer comes every day, casually walking through the Cardinals' spring training clubhouse with a smile or a wave or a kind word. Though they earnestly refer to him as a legend, most, if not all, of St. Louis' players never saw the man steal so much as a single base. Heck, these guys are so young that they don't even remember the Tribe Called Quest song Check the Rhime, which immortalizes him in verse. "I'm old," he says with a chuckle. "No more speed in these legs."
During his latest hummina-hummina-hummina in front of the massed gadgets of the media on Tuesday, Alex "Tommy Flanagan" Rodriquez echoed the old maxim that "ninety percent of the game is half mental" while trying to not explain whether steroids had actually enhanced his performance. A-Rod also evoked more than one Hall of Famer while saying, "I understand the questions and the doubt. And I laid my bed, I'm going to have to sit on it" -- a beautifully tortured way of saying he realizes that he's going to have to recline in this jolly little mess of his own making.
So, I was thinking about Jim Rice and Andre Dawson and Dale Murphy and some of the other every-day players on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, and something occurred to me: There are really only three entry points into the Hall of Fame for position players:
Life coach Gail Blanke went to acting school to learn to improvise in any situation. Turns out the tricks that actors use on stage can help you score a date, land a job -- or just make any conversation more engaging
There are only 21 more regular season games left at Yankee Stadium and each is being treated like standing room only for a smash Broadway show -- it's the hottest ticket in town. That late summer game against Tampa Bay? It's going to cost you. Seats for the regular season finale are already going for more than a thousand bucks a pop.
The Miami Dolphins are very quietly setting themselves up to be an offseason power in the NFL. The waiving of quarterback Trent Green, wide receiver Marty Booker and offensive tackle L.J. Shelton this week added $9.9 million in savings to the 2008 salary-cap total, and helped boost the Dolphins' cap number from $29 million to $40 million.
With its diligence and reverence for record keeping, baseball is often held up as an exact science. Ted Williams chose to play on the last day of the 1941 season because .39955 -- his batting average that morning -- was not actually .400. The discovery in 1977 of an overlooked RBI for Hack Wilson in his record 1930 season was akin to scientists finding a new element, and thus made sacred the number 191.
By now everyone has seen the outtakes of Tiger Woods unexpectedly decking his costar in a Buick commercial, but no one has heard from the deckee, Al Nowicki. "It was a lot of fun," says the actor, who has appeared in about 50 commercials. "It was Tiger's idea, and I was fine with it. I haven't played football since high school, but it was a good hit." This was not, however, Nowicki's only experience with a sports legend: "A few years ago I appeared in an AFLAC commercial with Yogi Berra. Nice man. He didn't hit me; he just sat there." ... While Nowicki was upgraded to stunt pay (he also received a bruise on the forehead), Tiger made some extra cash that day too. At one point director Steve Chase spotted a vertically mounted light, a four-foot-by-eight-inch unit known as a Kino Flo, about 80 yards away. He bet Woods $10 that Tiger couldn't hit it. Woods dropped a ball, pulled a three-iron and busted the light on the first try. (A clip of the shot and other outtakes are scheduled to appear on buick.com.) Ch
Given the frequency with which aging men hook up with nubile babes in movies, prime-time TV and, let's face it, real life, you'd think that pop culture would have chewed over every last nuance of the May-December romance by now.
Yogi Berra filled a $10 million lawsuit against the Turner Broadcasting System for running an ad for its popular show "Sex and the City" asking viewers if a "Yogasm" could be defined as sex with the former baseball star and coach.