The 10 Spot: April 10, 2007
1. Baseball officials have moved this week's Indians-Angels series from frigid Cleveland to Milwaukee's retractable-roof stadium. Thanks a lot, MLB. Just when I'd gotten used to Milwaukee being a National League city, you pull this.
2. The early ratings for the Masters' final round are up from last year and a full 24 percent higher than the last time the tournament concluded on Easter Sunday, in 2004. Analysts credit the gains to Augusta National's enlightened decision to allow women to watch.
3. Zach attack: A number of readers wrote in to supplement Monday's meager list of famous sporting Zachs (or Zacks or Zacharys) after Zach Johnson's Masters victory. The biggest oversights were Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, Blazers forward Zach Randolph and Raiders fullback Zack Crockett. One name I did not know but am glad I do know is Zack Clayton, a former Negro League baseball player and Harlem Globetrotter who later became the first black man to referee a world title fight (the fourth bout between Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles in 1952) before working Ali-Foreman's Rumble in the Jungle. One reader suggested Tom Zachary, the pitcher who gave up Babe Ruth's 60th home run in 1927 before going 12-0 with the Bronx Bombers in 1929, still the record for most wins without a loss. Another suggested Zach Sharpe, who's the sixth-ranked pinball player in the world. Finally, Scott of Providence, R.I., humbly suggests Zack Barnes, the volleyball player portrayed by Peter Horton in the 1990 kitsch classic Side Out.
4. Hawks forward Josh Smith was suspended by the team for two games for an expletive-filled outburst at his head coach. Come on, show some respect. That's no way to treat Coach Whatshisname.
5. With former World's Fastest Man Tim Montgomery pleading guilty to conspiracy in a bank fraud and money-laundering scheme, it's time to revisit one of the more enduring canards of the BALCO scandal. That is the trope often heard from Barry Bonds apologists, that the whole operation is and was conceived solely to go after Bonds. That would likely be news to Montgomery. The sprinter, remember, was banned from track and field for two years due to his leaked BALCO grand jury testimony that he received steroids and human growth hormone -- despite the fact that he never failed one of the sport's many drug tests. All of his results after March 31, 2001, were wiped off the books, including his world record in the 100 meters of 9.78 seconds in 2002. He's fallen even further than that since, obviously, given his involvement in the criminal scheme. While none of the baseball players linked to BALCO have ever faced any discipline from their sport, Montgomery is one of several track athletes who received suspensions or bans. And the whole BALCO mess started, remember, when a track coach (Trevor Graham) anonymously sent a syringe of BALCO's designer steroid THG to doping authorities in 2003. But sure, it's all about Barry.
6. BYU has suspended two football players for kicking down two doors in search of someone who tossed a water balloon. Strange story. Mormons usually knock so politely.
7. Spare me: Here's a bowling video that's been making the rounds here at SI. It's a trick shot by PBA veteran Norm Duke, evidently made during the 2006 Denny's PBA Tour Skills Challenge. (Unlike, say, Nextel and NASCAR, it's nice to see a sponsor and tour fit as snugly as Denny's and pro bowling.) I don't want to spoil the shot, but the trick is called the Spinning Ball Spare Conversion and is well worth the 28 seconds it takes to view it.
8. Have a nice trip: The strange injury of the week award goes to South Sydney (Australia) Rabbitohs rugby forward David Kidwell. The burly 29-year-old known for his toughness is out for the season after apparently rupturing two knee ligaments while tripping over his 2-year-old daughter at an Easter Sunday barbecue. The girl is fine, but when Kidwell lunged to avoid crushing her, he landed awkwardly. Loyal 10 Spot readers might note that this is far from the Rabbitohs' first mention in this space. Russell Crowe is one of the team's owners, for instance, and the team name was once cited in a linked list of the 10 worst sports nicknames that brought a hail of angry emails from Down Under.
9. The much-reviled Carl Pavano and Alex Rodriguez led the Yanks to a key early-season win on Monday. Some Yanks fans were so perplexed they booed their dogs.
10. Quote of the week: "I'm not going to do the Nile. It's long but not challenging enough; it is just a small creek." Those are the words of 52-year-old Slovenian Martin Strel, who set a world record last week by completing a 3,272-mile swim down the Amazon River in 65 days. Wow. I can't even open my eyes under water -- the pressure on my sensitive eyes is too much to bear! -- and this guy is dismissing a swim of the entire Nile as too wimpy. Maybe it's time for me to man up. Then again, this couch is awfully comfy.
Reader submissions: Due to last week's Good Friday holiday, the monthly all-reader-submission edition has been moved to this Friday, April 13. Please send your entries by Thursday afternoon. Let's make this Friday the 13th full of mirth, not mayhem.