Feud for Thought
Baseball chemistry is a complex science: As some recent lapses
of team spirit show, a good dugout dustup or clubhouse clash can
be a catalyst for success
Until June 25 neither Roberto Alomar nor Roger Cedeno had done
much for the Mets this year. The inability of the two off-season
free-agent acquisitions to set the table was a large part of the
reason that New York's offense had gone hungry. Then, before a
division showdown with the Braves, they made what could turn out
to be their biggest contribution to the Mets' cause all year:
They got into a fight in the clubhouse.
The spat started with Cedeno's teasing Alomar about the picture
on his 1988 rookie baseball card: Alomar is sporting a
pencil-thin mustache that makes him look rather like '80s pop
star El DeBarge. Alomar took exception, and the pair had to be
separated by Mo Vaughn. Alomar then went out and homered in the
first inning, and Cedeno sparked a Mets rally in the second with
a single and a stolen base. Clearly pleased, manager Bobby
Valentine dismissed the imbroglio that preceded the 7-4 win as "a
little Latin yelling." He added, "We were up for the game. There
was a lot of fluids going."
Well, if there's one thing good teams seem to have in common,
it's that they have more fluids going than Patrick Ewing wearing
a wool topcoat in a sauna. Two days after l'affaire Alomar,
longtime nemeses Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent nearly came to blows
in the Giants' dugout during a win over the Padres; each later
homered in the game. This is of course nothing new: Oakland
pitchers Blue Moon Odom and Rollie Fingers battled before Game 1
of the 1974 World Series, in which the A's beat the Dodgers in
five games. Three years later Reggie Jackson went from nearly
smacking Bronx Zookeeper Billy Martin to smacking three home runs
against the Dodgers to win the Series. In '97 Kevin Mitchell
pushed Chad Curtis into a Ping-Pong table during a dispute over
music in the Indians' clubhouse; the Tribe came within one out of
its first World Series title in 49 years. Two years later Curtis,
a serial feuder, ripped Yankees teammate Derek Jeter when the
shortstop chatted up Alex Rodriguez during a bench-clearing
brouhaha with the Mariners; the Yanks went on to become world
After Alomar and Cedeno followed their tiff with solid
performances, Mets G.M. Steve Phillips joked, "I might instigate
something, kind of a team brawl before the game." Here's a look
at some equally tense situations that could soon erupt and fuel
history-making second-half surges.
--Scott Rolen vs. Everybody The refusal by the Phillies' former
golden boy to re-sign has led to strained relationships with the
fans, media and his teammates, one of whom anonymously called him
a "clubhouse cancer." The last time that Phillies players had a
common enemy--their manager, Dallas Green, in 1980--they won the
--John Rocker vs. Jamie Quirk The Rangers' interim pitching coach
found himself on the business end of a Rocker hissy fit last week
when manager Jerry Narron pulled the reliever after just one
--Richard Hidalgo vs. Jimy Williams The Astros' rightfielder
didn't take kindly to being benched last month by the ever-grumpy
manager. Hidalgo chucked his bat bag across the clubhouse and
broke a chair upon learning that he had been removed from the
With this kind of dissension these teams should get hot soon. And
a quick note to all those general managers whose teams aren't
mentioned: Chad Curtis is available. --Mark Bechtel
The Real Soccer War
When Nike and Adidas compete, low numbers are not the problem
One hot rumor just before the World Cup final said that referee
Pierluigi Collina would do his best to make sure Germany won. The
reason? That should be obvious to anyone who's seen the
ubiquitous Adidas TV spots featuring the bald-headed Collina. The
ref worked for Adidas, the company that sponsors the German team!
Never mind that FIFA had approved Collina's appearance in the
campaign. According to conspiracy theorists, he'd surely work
against the Brazilian team, sponsored by Nike. After all, this
wasn't just the most important soccer game of the 21st century--it
was a showdown between two companies battling for $2.5 billion in
worldwide soccer business. Of course, in the end Ni..., uh,
Brazil prevailed. But in boardrooms, design studios and sporting
goods stores, Nike versus Adidas has only just started to get
The heated rivalry is something few experts could have foreseen
as recently as 1994. Back then Adidas, a 54-year-old company
headquartered in Germany, was the undisputed ruler of the soccer
world. Meanwhile back in Beaverton, Ore., Nike reflected
America's indifference to the sport, spending a mere $5 million a
year on marketing and bringing in $40 million in revenue. In
recent years, though, the company has changed direction as
quickly as DaMarcus Beasley shaking a defender. Nike spent a
reported $155 million this year for World Cup marketing, compared
with $40 million from Adidas. In August, Nike takes over
merchandising for England's Manchester United, arguably the
world's most popular soccer club.
Nike embraced soccer when it realized that the sport helps it get
a foothold overseas for its entire product line. The 30-year-old
company, which generated $9.9 billion in revenue in 2001, expects
to do more than half its business outside the U.S. for the first
time next year, and while Adidas is still No. 1 in soccer with
$700 million in sales annually, Lehman Brothers analyst Robert
Drbul predicts that Nike will eventually take the top spot.
Sponsoring the World Cup winner gives its efforts "a sense of
authenticity," Drbul says. Still, Adidas, with $6 billion in 2001
revenue, built its business on soccer and is intent on being No.
1 for the 2006 World Cup, which will be held on its home turf.
Anything else would be unthinkable--but then, not long ago, so was
the U.S. team's reaching the quarterfinals. --Bill Syken
42,457 Persons in attendance at Wimbledon on June 26, a record
for the 116-year history of the tournament.
$391 million Value of the New York Mets as set by appraiser
Robert Starkey in April. Co-owner Nelson Doubleday, who last
October agreed to sell his half of the team to co-owner Fred
Wilpon at the price determined by Starkey, said on June 25 that
he will file a lawsuit contesting the validity of the price.
19 Members of last year's 85-man Northern Arizona football roster
who have been convicted of crimes, most of which involved
underage drinking, according to The Arizona Republic.
12 Strokes Seve Ballesteros took on the par-5 18th hole at last
week's Irish Open. He was later disqualified from the tournament
for mistakenly signing a 10 for the hole.
1,350 Miles between Olympic Stadium in Montreal and Boomer's Bar
& Grill, a Kansas City, Mo., watering hole owned by Expos fan
Bill Rumbaugh, who bought $4,500 worth of ads on Team 990 radio,
in Quebec, as a way of supporting the team.
PREGNANT ATHLETES WHO STAY IN THE GAME
Being pregnant hasn't kept racing's richest mare, Spain, out of
the running. On June 15, about four weeks after she was bred to
the leading stallion Storm Cat, Spain won the Fleur de Lis
Handicap at Churchill Downs by 3 1/4 lengths. Last Saturday the
5-year-old mare finished third in the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup
Handicap at Monmouth Park in Oceanpark, N.J., bringing her
lifetime earnings to $3,540,542. "If the filly or mare is in
racing condition while she is bred," says Richard Tramp, a
veterinarian with Exclusively Equine Reproduction in Valley
Center, Calif., "she can go on for about six months."
Humans, too, have competed successfully while pregnant, though
usually woman athletes stay on the sidelines after their first
trimester. Some examples of athletes with a baby on board:
Margaret Court, who reached the final of Wimbledon in 1971;
pitcher Michele Granger, who won two games in 1996 for the
gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic softball team; Britain's Alison
Hargreaves, who climbed the 5,000-foot North Wall of the Eiger in
the Swiss Alps in 1989; two-time U.S. Olympic hockey player Jenny
Potter (then Jenny Schmidgall), who took regular shifts for
Minnesota-Duluth as a junior in 2000; and Irish distance runner
Sonia O'Sullivan, who won the Tesco Women's Great North run in
The USOC's former drug czar says he's ready to name names
Somewhere among the nearly 100 boxes of papers in his possession,
Wade Exum may have a smoking gun: a list of U.S. athletes who
Exum, the United States Olympic Committee's director of drug
control administration for nine years, claims tested positive for
banned substances (ranging from stimulants to steroids, in and
out of competition) between 1984 and 2000 but were never named or
punished by the USOC. In July 2000, a month after he resigned,
allegedly under pressure, Exum filed a federal lawsuit against
the committee claiming that its members discriminated against him
because he is black and hampered his antidrug efforts. He is
expected to reveal the identities of the implicated athletes
after the trial date is set, most likely later this month in
In the lawsuit Exum claims the USOC had encouraged "the use of
performance enhancing drugs or doping methods" and "thrown
roadblocks in the path of anti-doping enforcement." He declined,
through his lawyer, John Pineau, to comment to SI, but he told
The Times of London last week that medal winners from the 1992
Barcelona Olympics and the '96 Atlanta Games were among the
If the case proceeds, the release of at least 11,000 pages of
documents should clear up many of the questions raised by Exum's
claims. How many, if any, unreported positives were there? How
many were from subsequent medal winners? Did athletes on his list
have prior exemptions for banned substances because of medical
considerations? Does the list include positives for just initial
A samples or also the confirming B samples? Did the USOC
systematically suppress the results of damning drug tests or was
it protecting the rights of athletes whose results were
overturned because of legitimate technicalities?
On Monday, USOC spokesman Mike Moran said the committee denies
"any coverups or misrepresentations on our part in the
drug-testing procedure." Moran added, "This man asked us, through
our attorneys, for $5.5 million to keep silent. We have nothing
to hide." --Brian Cazeneuve
There was Jordan driving the lane, then coolly sinking a jumper
while hanging in midair. But this was neither Chicago Stadium nor
the MCI Center. This was the Wooddale High gymnasium in Memphis
on June 24, and that was Jeffrey Michael Jordan, elder son of You
Know Who, playing in the AAU 13-and-under national tournament.
The Air apparent, a 13-year-old, 5'9" swingman, debuted with a
13-point game as his Deerfield (Ill.) Rising Stars fell 71-51 to
Virginia's Prince William Pacers. Jeffrey (whose 11-year-old
brother, Marcus, also plays AAU ball) added 18 points in the last
of his four games. "He has a decent body but didn't have
unbelievable hops or anything," said Ron Higgins, a sportswriter
for Memphis's The Commercial Appeal. Still, history shows the
danger of underestimating a Jordan. "You can't forget," said
Higgins, "that his dad was cut from his high school team in the
ninth grade." --Martin Bell
Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, the Viagra pitchman,
after an organist at Pittsburgh's PNC Park played Pop Goes the
Weasel and the theme from The Woody Woodpecker Show when
Palmeiro went to bat during the June 21-23 series. "It's really
not a joking matter," said Palmeiro. "Whether it's hemorrhoids
or hair loss, none of us is perfect."
By Pakistan's Sports Board, tennis player Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi,
22, a Pakistani Muslim, for partnering at Wimbledon with Amir
Hadad, an Israeli Jew. The duo lost in the third round on Monday.
By Southeastern Louisiana, football coach Hal Mumme, who led
Kentucky to a 20-26 record, including back-to-back bowl games in
1998 and 1999, before resigning. The NCAA later placed Kentucky
on probation for three years and stripped the program of 19
scholarships for more than three dozen violations committed
during Mumme's tenure.
As wrestling coach at Avon (Ind.) High School, Aron Bright, 31,
who admitted that he bit off the head of a live sparrow in front
of several team members last December in an effort to fire them
up for a meet. He will remain at the school as a history and
Of lung cancer, Jay Berwanger, 88, the first winner of the
Heisman Trophy. Known as the One-Man Gang at the University of
Chicago, the 6'1", 195-pound halfback, punter and linebacker
received what was then called the Downtown Athletic Club Award
in 1935 for his two-way excellence. (The honor was renamed the
following year for DAC director of athletics John W. Heisman.)
Berwanger was the first player selected, by the Philadelphia
Eagles, in the inaugural NFL draft, but he turned his back on a
pro career after the Bears, who'd traded for his rights, refused
his demand for $25,000 over two years. He served as a Naval
aviator instructor during World War II before founding Jay
Berwanger Inc., a manufacturer of plastic and sponge-rubber
strips for car doors and farm machinery.
Splendid Splinter II?
John Henry Williams, the Kid's kid, enters rookie ball at 33
The prospect of seeing the son of a living legend was enough to
draw only 15 fans (about five more than usual) to a remote
diamond in a deep corner of the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort
Myers, Fla. The occasion, last Saturday, was a Gulf Coast League
game between the Twins and the Red Sox, but the center of
attention was John Henry Williams, the 33-year-old son of Ted
Williams, who is taking time off from his career as the principal
caretaker of his 83-year-old father to attempt to break into
rookie ball. Alas, John Henry sat this game out, nursing a chest
bruise he suffered when he ran into a fence while fielding a
pop-up in practice the day before. "He's pretty old," said John
Cott, 59, a retired schoolteacher who was attending his first GCL
game, "but it makes for an interesting story."
Cott's reaction was a bit more evenhanded than those put forth in
the Boston papers last week: Boston Herald columnist Steve
Buckley called Williams's belated foray into baseball "an
embarrassment" and a "huge mistake." Boston Globe baseball writer
Gordon Edes labeled it a "ridiculous publicity grab." Skepticism
about his June 20 signing isn't completely unfounded. There's
certainly nothing about the younger Williams's baseball skills
that merits such a move, and the average age of his teammates is
19, a little younger than John Henry was when he had his only
other brush with professional baseball, a couple of spring
training workouts with the Blue Jays in 1989. Says Ben
Cherrington, Boston's assistant director of player development,
"Out of respect to Ted and what he meant to the Red Sox, our
ownership decided to grant John Henry this opportunity."
So far, the Kid's kid has struggled. John Henry is 0 for 6 in two
games, reaching base only when he was hit by a pitch in his final
at bat against the Gulf Coast Reds last Thursday. He is paying
for the services of an independent hitting coach, Steve Ferroli,
as well as speaking by phone to his father, whose health has
lately been improving after a series of strokes. "I'm lacking
seasons of hitting, seasons of real at bats," says John Henry,
who is single. "I'm taking this extremely seriously. My goal is
to lead the Gulf Coast League in hitting."
His team seems ready to accept him. While he posed for a
photographer before Saturday's game, several players teased him
by counting off the number of clicks made by the camera shutter.
Throughout the game Williams sat in the middle of the bench,
chatting quietly with trainers and teammates and cheering the
Sox to a 5-1 victory. "When John Henry arrived, we accepted him
as we would any other player who's being evaluated," says John
Sanders, Williams's manager. "We respect his desire to do this."
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
JULY 5-JULY 11
SATURDAY 7/6 AND SUNDAY 7/7--NBC 9 AM--Wimbledon Women's Final
(Saturday), Men's Final (Sunday)
If Tim Henman prevails on the gentlemen's side, it will be the
first time the English have seen a homegrown men's winner since
Fred Perry in 1936. The women's title will be won by somebody
SATURDAY 7/6--ESPN2 4 PM--N.Y./N.J. MetroStars at Columbus Crew
This post-World Cup matchup between U.S. team stars Brian McBride
(Crew) and Clint Mathis (MetroStars) was moved to the afternoon
to make it the MLS game of the week.
SATURDAY 7/6--FOX 7 PM
Last July, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s victory at Daytona, five months
after his father died on the same track, inspired enough
conspiracy theories for an X-Files reunion. This year Little E
will go for two straight under the lights.
SUNDAY 7/7--NBC 3 PM--U.S. Women's Open Final Round
With six wins in 12 events this season, two-time U.S. Open winner
Annika Sorenstam heads to the Prairie Dunes Country Club in
Kansas as the one to beat.
TUESDAY 7/9--FOX 8 PM--Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 30 greatest moments in baseball history (picked by a panel of
Hall of Famers, writers and broadcasters) will be unveiled
throughout the broadcast. Don't expect the 1994 work stoppage to
be one of them.
WEDNESDAY 7/10--HISTORY CHANNEL 8 PM--Stories from the Hall of
Worth a look if only for the grainy footage of Ted Williams
explaining his philosophy of hitting. The one-hour show is hosted
by future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
--Draft the Mikes
--NBC's Irish Blues
--World Cup Woes
While sports drafts can often make for tedious television, the
byplay between combustible TNT analyst Charles Barkley (whose
comments were broadcast throughout The Theater at Madison Square
Garden) and a rabid New York City crowd gave the network's final
NBA draft broadcast a heady anything-can-happen feel. Barkley and
fellow analyst Kenny Smith also mixed it up sweetly with NBA
commissioner David Stern; when the former players asserted that
foreign draftees will face difficulties because of their limited
English skills, Stern quipped, "When Kenny and Charles first came
into the league, they didn't speak English either." If the candid
comments of ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. were broadcast live
to a room of NFL officials and zealous draftniks, one can only
imagine the bedlam that would ensue. Let's hope that ESPN, which
will broadcast the NBA and NFL drafts next year, takes note of
TNT's innovation and pipes its analysts' comments to the
--The luck of the Irish has not rubbed off on NBC. The network
pays more than $6 million per year to air Notre Dame home
football games and promotes the team as fervently as any other
property. But the rights to the Aug. 31 Kickoff Classic at Giants
Stadium--the most anticipated Notre Dame game in years because it
marks the debut of coach Tyrone Willingham, against
Maryland--belong to ABC.
--Shame on ABC affiliates in Boston, Dallas, Detroit, New York
City and Philadelphia for choosing not to show the network's
midday rebroadcast of the World Cup final. Late-rising fans of
the once-every-four-years event deserved better. --R.D.
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: CHARLIE POWELL WHO NEEDS HARMONY? Three of the four players involved in intrateam squabbles last week immediately hit home runs.
COLOR PHOTO: KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS (COLLINA) HEAD GAMES Ref Collina (left) appears in Adidas ads with FIFA's blessing.
COLOR PHOTO: AMY SANCETTA/AP (GERMANY VS. BRAZIL) [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: MATT MOYER (SPAIN) MOTHER SUPERIOR Both Spain and Granger excelled while expecting.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO (GRANGER) [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP (EXUM) FORCED OUT? Exum says USOC officials encouraged and covered up drug use.
COLOR PHOTO: BILL ROSS/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL (JORDAN) LIKE MIKE Jordan's son Jeffrey mirrored some of Dad's moves in Memphis.
B/W PHOTO: BETTMANN/CORBIS Berwanger
COLOR PHOTO: PRESTON MACK (JOHN HENRY) SON OF A GUN John Henry gets tips from Ted (left), perhaps the game's best hitter.
COLOR PHOTO: BETTMANN/CORBIS (TED) [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO Dale Jr. (8) goes for another win.
"He's pretty old, but it makes for an interesting story."
--SPLENDID SPLINTER II?, PAGE 26