Red Sox slugger survived the trade deadline, then started a staggering surge--9 for 16 with three homers and 11 RBIs, lifting his big-league-leading total to 103. Not even the bloody nose and face bruises he got colliding with shortstop Edgar Renteria slowed him--or the first-place Sox, who have won nine of 11.
Pittsburgh rookie lefthander Zach Duke, 22, beat the Dodgers to become the first Pirate to open his career 5-0 since 1921. Also opening well: Dukes of Hazzard which raked in more than $30 million its first weekend. Then there's Duke guard J.J. Redick, who made the all-tournament squad as the under-21 U.S. team won the Global Games last week in Frisco, Texas.
The Great One is headed back to ice level, taking over as coach of the Coyotes and with ultimate job security: He's a part owner of the team. Also in the spotlight is Wayne's 16-year-old daughter, Paulina, a model who's on the cover of August's Flare, Canada's top fashion and beauty magazine, which had Paulina's mom, Janet Gretzky (née Jones), as a cover girl in 1988.
First, the big fella restructured his contract (less annual money, more guaranteed years) to enable the Heat to bring in stars Antoine Walker and Jason Williams. Now, fresh off a Rome vacation, he's in Virginia at the Bedford County sheriff's office taking firearms training and honing his skills as a cyber investigator for work he does protecting children from online predators.
Cubs slugger has just one home run over the past two weeks, and his batting average has slipped nine points to .307. On Sunday night his wild throw--and team-high 15th error of the season--helped lead to a 6-1 loss to the Mets, Chicago's fifth consecutive defeat.
Minnesota started a nine-game road trip having lost eight of 11 games and fallen seven back in the wild-card chase. With Gold Glove, good-hit centerfielder Torrii Hunter out with a broken ankle, are the Twins optimistic about making the playoffs for a fourth straight year? Outfielder Shannon Stewart to the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "We're on the Titanic right now and slowly going down."
San Francisco Giants radio analyst unfurled a racist (he said that the Giants have "brain-dead Caribbean hitters") and ageist (he said that 70-year-old manager Felipe Alou's mind has turned to "Cream of Wheat") on-air rant that got him a one-week suspension. That's not penance enough for the slighted. When Krueger offered to deliver a personal apology to the team and to Alou, the skipper said, "There's no way to apologize for such a sin."
Exactly two plays into a Jets-Giants joint practice last Saturday, Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey was in a full-on brawl (right) with the Jets' Oliver Celestin after Shockey was shoved from behind. Other skirmishes followed, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson traded sharp words. Said Jets head coach Herman Edwards, "We woke up at 4:30 a.m., so our guys were a little cranky."
SI PLAYERS POLL
Based on a survey of 450 MLB players
For an expanded version of the poll go to SI.com/scorecard.
What percentage of major leaguers use steroids?
50% or more ...7%
What percentage use amphetamines?
More than 50% ...27%
FAST FACTS: The poll was conducted shortly before the season.... Twelve percent of respondents to the steroid question and 16% to the amphetamines question said "don't know." ... Eight players--most recently Oriole Rafael Palmeiro and Mariner Ryan Franklin--have been suspended this season for steroid use. Major League Baseball does not test for amphetamines.
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (MANNY RAMIREZ)
GEORGE PIMENTEL/WIREIMAGE.COM (GRETZKYS)
ELSA/GETTY IMAGE (ARAMIS RAMIREZ)
JON WINSLOW/AP (SHOCKEY)
LARRY GOREN/ICON SMI (PALMEIRO)
ED BAILEY/AP (ANDROSTENEDIONE)