Those Mavericks (61--12, by golly) still reign in the NBA, the playoff-bound Stars shine in the NHL (10 wins in 12 games through Sunday), and how 'bout those Desperados! Led by prolific passer Clint Dolezel (above), they stood atop the Arena Football League at 5--0.
The dazzling Ms. Pressel rallied from four shots back to become the youngest golfer (18) to win an LPGA title. "I've always had big hopes and big dreams," said Pressel, whose $300,000 payday was capped by her touching, tearful salute to her mother, who died of breast cancer four years ago.
Classy Californian was overshadowed by otherworldly Michael Phelps at the swimming world championships (page 64), but she won five medals (two gold) and set a world record in the 100 backstroke. Said she, "I'm really excited."
The legend of the great unbeaten filly—she was put down after breaking her leg while leading Foolish Pleasure in a girl versus boy match race in 1975—continues to entice. Ruffian: A Racetrack Romance by peerless pony scribe William Nack hits bookstore shelves next month with a TV movie to come.
The Devils Rays closed the spring in midseason form (10--19) and lost on Opening Day, the NHL's Lightning (losers of five of nine through Sunday) fell to seventh in the East, while the Storm, the class of the AFL (five titles) and now benched QB John Kaleo (above) were 0--5.
Former White Sox closer and would-be Reds fireman Hermanson got cut by Cincinnati after putting up an unsightly 7.36 ERA in spring training. Said manager Jerry Narron of hopes that the 34-year-old who missed most of last season with back trouble would regain his form, "We just didn't see it."
Often-vilified Giants coach (an SI PLAYERS poll once named him the worst coach in the NFL) is now officially losing his grip. Of his treatment in the media he said, "Hitler and then me ... unfortunate, but it is."
As in Wizards forward Michael (left) of the late-game brain lock. Leading Toronto by three, he flung the basketball in the air hoping the last seconds would tick off. But Raptor Morris Peterson snagged it, heaved a three-pointer and Toronto would win in OT. Raptor Chris Bosh: "You've got to go to the libraries on that one."
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
Who is the biggest hitter in the NHL?
Dion Phaneuf, Flames D 49%
Jordin Tootoo, Predators RW 5%
Vitaly Vishnevski, Predators D 5%
Zdeno Chara, Bruins D 4%
Senators RW Chris Neil finished fifth (3.4%) and joined Tootoo and Kings LW Dustin Brown as the only nondefensemen in the top 11.... Brent Sutter, who coached the 6'3", 210-pound Phaneuf in junior hockey, has said, "He isn't trying to hit you—he's trying to hurt you"; through Sunday, Phaneuf had only 87 penalty minutes this season.... Tootoo outpolled Vishnevski 11.3% to 1.9% within the Preds' Central Division.... The 6'9" Chara was picked by 14% of his fellow Czechs.
[Based on a survey of 366 NHL players]
For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.
G. NEWMAN LOWRANCE/WIREIMAGE.COM (DOLEZEL)
HEINZ KLUETMEIER (NATALIE COUGHLIN)
ICON SPORTS MEDIA (RUFFIN)
J.L. MERIC/WIREIMAGE.COM (KALEO)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (TOM COUGHLIN)
PATRICK PRICE/REUTERS (HOCKEY)