CLAIM TO BRAINSStanford grad (economics); SAT score: 1440 (out of 1600). Currently readingphysicist Brian Greene's Elegant Universe, which explains how superstringtheory reconciles quantum mechanics with Einstein's relativity theory.Bruntlett, 28, had his intellectual curiosity nourished early--parents Angelaand Craig (a Ph.D. in chemistry) introduced him to algebra in first grade. Hehad a 3.97 GPA at Indiana's Harrison High; these days he stays sharp playingSudoku. "I don't think Bruntlett says enough to come out with a dumbthought," says teammate Brad Lidge. "When he does [say something],everyone listens."
CLAIM TO BRAINSThree years at Notre Dame. Ancient civilizations buff. Though closers usuallycultivate short memories, Lidge loves the past. "One of my favorite booksis The Histories, by Herodotus," says the pitcher. "He lived more than2,000 years ago, and he learned about [people] who lived 2,000 years beforehim. It gives a good perspective." Bruntlett marvels at the breadth ofLidge's knowledge, but Brad Ausmus sees his teammate as a bit of a slacker."If Brad had spent as much time studying in school as he does in fantasyfootball," says Ausmus, "he would have been a straight-Astudent."
CLAIM TO BRAINSDartmouth grad (government). No grade below B. "He has one of the sharpestwits," says teammate Lance Berkman of the Gold Glover. Ausmus's father,Harry, is a retired professor of European history at Southern Connecticut Stateand the author of A Schopenhauerian Critique of Nietzsche's Thought, whichAusmus, 37, calls his "favorite book." Lidge says the catcher hasabsent-minded-professor moments. "One game Roger Clemens had to call Bradout [to the mound] three times because he kept messing up the signs," saysLidge. "I think at least two times Brad didn't know how many outs therewere."
Red Sox FirstBaseman
What was yourwelcome-to-the-big-leagues moment?
They dressed me up in a Hooters outfit my second day. I was in Toronto, and Iwalked into the locker room and all my clothes were gone. There was just aHooters outfit and shoes.
Sitting down to eat at a restaurant. It's such a normal thing, but when youtravel so much, you never have time to sit down for a real dinner. I savorit.
If I weren'tplaying baseball, I'd be ...
selling diamonds. My dad's in the diamond business. He tried to recruit mecoming out of college [at Cincinnati], but I got drafted instead. Someday I'dlike to take over his business.
If I werecommissioner for a day, I'd ...
cut out interleague play. I realize it's fun for fans to see players theywouldn't normally see, but when an AL team plays an NL team, it's just adifferent game altogether.
Youkilis (.435on-base percentage) scored in his 11th straight game as the Sox beat Tampa Bayon Sunday.
The Red Sox go toDetroit to face the first-place Tigers (page 40).
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
The Pop Culture Grid
How do sports stars fit in?
Person I'd most like to meet
Nickname as a kid
Most scared I've ever been
Song that reminds me of summer
Book I'm currently reading
Superhero I'm most like
JOHN THOMSON Braves P
When I got hit in the face by a line drive
Summertime Blues (Alan Jackson)
I don't read
JOEY CHESTNUT Eating Champ
Bill Clinton (above)
Puff (the Magic Dragon)
Being chased by pack of wild dogs at age six
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Eat This Book (Ryan Nerz)
HANK BLALOCK Rangers 3B
On my wedding day
Anything by The Beach Boys (above)
I don't read books
NICOLE VAIDISOVA Tennis Player
Watching the movie The Ring
We Run This (Missy Elliott)
Kiss the Girls (James Patterson)
Scooby Doo (above)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (YOUKILIS ACTION, YOUKILIS HEADSHOT); EVERETT COLLECTION (BEACH BOYS); HANNA-BARBERA (SCOOBY DOO AND SHAGGY); FRANK MICELOTTA/GETTY IMAGES (MADONNA); LESTER COHEN/WIREIMAGE.COM (CLINTON); MATT YORK/MLB/GETTY IMAGES (BLALOCK); YURIKO NAKAO/REUTERS (VAIDISOVA); JAE C. HONG/AP (CHESTNUT); TONY FIRRIOLO/MLB/GETTY IMAGES (THOMSON); JOHN GREEN/CAL SPORT MEDIA (BRUNTLETT); DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP (LIDGE); BOB LEVEY/WIREIMAGE.COM (AUSMUS, ASTROS HAT); CORBIS (CHALKBOARD); RUTH ORKIN/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES (EINSTEIN)