By former Denver defenseman Matt Carle (above left), the Hobey Baker Award ascollege hockey's best player. To pick up his hardware at the Frozen Four inMilwaukee last Friday, he needed permission from his new employers--the SanJose Sharks, who signed him to a three-year, $2.8 million contract on March 19,the day Denver was left out of the NCAA tournament. (The Sharks drafted him inthe second round in 2003.) Carle scored in his NHL debut six days later."It's almost like a storybook," he said.
By the Minnesota Lynx with the first pick in the WNBA draft, Seimone Augustus.Lynx coach Suzie McConnell Serio went to scout Augustus after the team won thedraft lottery and was sold immediately. "On my evaluation form, I didn'tfill out any numbers," she said. "I just wrote, 'Number 1 pick.No-brainer.'" Three days after she was picked, Augustus won her secondconsecutive Wooden Award; Ralph Sampson is the only other player to win theaward twice.
To one year and one day in prison for violating his probation by using cocaine,Dwight Gooden. The former pitcher was given the choice of incarceration or astint in rehab followed by probation. Last week he chose prison apparentlybecause he feared he wouldn't be able to stay away from cocaine, and a furtherrelapse would mean a five-year sentence. "Dwight Gooden needed to stayclean, and he admitted that today," his lawyer, Peter Hobson, said."This is not a case of a pampered athlete. He took it like a man."
By Brett Favre, a press conference to announce ... nothing. The Packers'quarterback, who at press time had yet to decide if he will play next year orretire, hosted his annual golf tournament in Mississippi last Saturday andagreed to speak with the press beforehand. A spokeswoman for the family said a"scoop" was expected, but when Favre, 36, showed up at the golf course,he had no news. "The fact that we're sitting here today at this pressconference, to me, is a joke because I don't have anything to tell you,"Favre said. "Somebody assumed that I would."
The career hits record at Wesleyan University, by Jeffrey Maier. Ten years agoMaier, then 12, notoriously reached over the rightfield wall at Yankee Stadiumand snagged a Derek Jeter fly ball in an ALCS game against the Orioles (above).Though it was obviously fan interference, the umps blew the call and awardedJeter a homer, helping the Yankees win. Maier, now a lefthanded-hitting thirdbaseman who goes by Jeff (inset), returned to the news on Sunday, when hepicked up his 168th hit, against Middlebury. "People seem to be noticingthat I'm a pretty good ballplayer," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer."What happened when I was 12 is finally just a sidebar."
By the Rockies, the entrance music of closer Brian Fuentes. The team's only2005 All-Star normally enters home games to the rocking strains of For You byStaind. But an Opening Day snafu led to his being greeted with the VillagePeople's disco anthem YMCA. "Oh, I heard it," said Fuentes, who pitched11/3 scoreless innings in a 3--2 win over Arizona. "It wasdisappointing."
By their own fans for being eliminated from the European Champions League,several Inter Milan players. The team was bounced from the competition on April4 with a surprise loss to Villareal. Inter then beat Ascoli 2--1 last Saturdayin an Italian league game. When the team arrived at Malpensa Airport thatnight, players were greeted by fans who shouted insults and turned violent. Twopolicemen who tried to defend the players were injured, and Inter midfielderCristiano Zanetti suffered a bruise on his head.
While driving on a Denver interstate, Nuggets guard Julius Hodge, 22. Therookie had just left a club just before 2 a.m. last Saturday when someone firedseveral shots into his car. Hodge pulled over, and a passenger in his carflagged down help. Hodge was released from the hospital on Sunday and could beback in action in three weeks. Police had no suspects and no motive."Apparently, Julius did nothing to provoke this at all," Nuggetsgeneral manager Kiki Vandeweghe said.
With a U.S. postage stamp, Sugar Ray Robinson. The former welterweight champ,who died in 1989, joins Joe Louis as the only fighters to appear on a U.S.stamp. The 39-cent stamp (left), which was unveiled last week during the GoldenGloves at Madison Square Garden and went on sale last Friday, resembles a1940s-era boxing poster.
At age 89, Billy Hitchcock, a former major league player and manager andtwo-sport star at Auburn. During his college days Hitchcock led the Tigers totheir first bowl game (the 1937 Havana Bowl) and their first SEC baseballtitle. He was an infielder on five big league teams between 1942 and '53,hitting .306 for the Philadelphia A's in 1951. He also managed three teams.
Of heart failure at age 58, Jim Clack, a guard who won two Super Bowls with theSteelers. Clack played seven seasons with Pittsburgh, starting at left guard inSuper Bowls IX and X. He also played four seasons with the Giants beforeretiring in 1981.
Consecutive games in which Hanshin Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto, 38, hasplayed every inning, one game longer than Cal Ripken's longest run.
NHL games refereed by Don Koharski, the second ref (after Kerry Fraser) toreach that plateau.
Consecutive games started by Kevin Garnett of the Timberwolves before he satout Sunday's 84--83 win over Atlanta with tendinitis in his right knee,snapping the NBA's longest current streak.
Triples hit by Colorado centerfielder Cory Sullivan in the fifth inning ofSunday's win over the Padres; he is the 11th major leaguer to hit two triplesin one inning and the first since 1951.
Put it¬†in your driveway and it will teach yourkids to get some arc on their shots! Put it in your car and in certain statesyou're bound to get pulled over for a license-and-registration check! It's theseven-foot-tall Ben Wallace blow-up doll from PlayAir Systems. For $49.99 youcan have an immobile defender in your driveway without pestering RashoNesterovic to come over to your house. So lifelike in every detail, it'sguaranteed to not shoot. (Available at www.inflatabledefender.com)
Six years¬†ago Maggie Dixon's prospects for abasketball career appeared to be dwindling. A former captain at San Diego,Dixon failed a tryout with the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks in May 2000 and, atage 23, was thinking about coaching. Her older brother, Jamie, then theassociate head coach at Pitt, had this advice: If she was serious, she should"do something crazy" to get her start.
So Dixon, who died last Thursday at age 28 ofcomplications from an enlarged heart, drove from her home in Los Angeles toChicago--where she heard DePaul coach Doug Bruno might have an opening on hisstaff--and showed up unannounced to ask Bruno for the job. It was the start ofa brilliant, too-brief coaching career. Bruno took Dixon on, and by 2004 shewas his top assistant. She got another break last fall, when Army hired her ashead coach 11 days before the season started.
Dixon made the most of her short time at West Point:She led the Black Knights to a 20--11 record and delivered the program's firstNCAA tournament berth. Last month she and Jamie, now Pitt's head coach, becamethe first brother-sister tandem to lead Division I teams into the NCAA tourneyin the same year. (Army lost to Tennessee in the first round.) On April 5 theyhad breakfast together at West Point; Jamie says she seemed healthy, but shecollapsed at a friend's house that afternoon and died the next night. "Iknow she looked up to me," said Jamie, "but I always looked up to her,too." --Andrew Lawrence
Season of Hope
Right on time, New Orleans's minor league ball club, the Zephyrs, blows intotown
Weenie Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday don't sound likesignificant events, but that people in New Orleans can once again head down toZephyr Field for an evening of minor league baseball, and its goofy promotions,represents an important step toward normalcy. Last Thursday the Zephyrs, theTriple A affiliate of the Nationals, played their home opener, marking thestart of the first full season for a pro sports team in the Big Easy sinceHurricane Katrina passed through last August.
The team's owner, Don Beaver, never doubted it wouldhappen, even though when he vowed to return, Zephyr Field was being used as aNational Guard rescue operations center. Beaver spent more than $2 millionrepairing the stadium, which had its scoreboard blown into the seats. An SROcrowd of 11,006 turned out for opening night, and before the first pitch,players tossed their PROUD TO CALL NEW ORLEANS HOME warmup jackets into thecrowd. After the game, one Zephyr said he hopes New Orleans's other teams pickup on their message. (The Saints will return to the Superdome in September, butthe AFL's VooDoo scrapped its 2006 season, and the Hornets are on the fenceabout a return.) Says outfielder Tyrell Godwin, "If we come back, then it'sproof that someone else can rebound, too. And right now, any beginning is agood beginning." --Adam Duerson
GREG TROTT/WIREIMAGE.COM (CARLE PLAYING)
ELSA/GETTY IMAGES (CARLE WITH TROPHY)
NIHAL MAHAWADUGE (DIXON IN HUDDLE)
SHININGKNIGHT - Dixon led Army to a five-win improvement in her only season at theschool.
STEVE HELBER/AP (DIXON)
[See caption above]
COURTESY OF PLAYAIR SYSTEMS LLC (WALLACE)
¬©2006 USPS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (STAMP)
MARK LENNIHAN/AP (MAIER IN '96)
COURTESY OF WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION (MAIER)
JOE MAITREJEAN/NEW ORLEANS ZEPHYRS (GODWIN)
BACK TO WORK - Godwin (top) and histeammates gave fans their warmups.
ALEX BRANDON/AP (ZEPHYRS)
[See caption above]