Thursday, April 23
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Truth & Rumors
Big Papi warns Joba
If young Joba Chamberlain misbehaves tomorrow night, he might face a spanking from someone else's Papi. With Chamberlain scheduled to start for the Yankees in the opener of a three-game series against the Red Sox, David Ortiz yesterday said the talented right-hander should avoid using Kevin Youkilis' head as a bull's-eye. "None of that, man -- just play the game the way it's supposed to be, and that's about it," Ortiz said, referring to Chamberlain. "This is a guy, as good as he is, the next step for him will be to earn respect from everybody in the league. He's not a bad guy, but when things like that happen, people get the wrong idea." Considering he has fired four pitches either near Youkilis' head or behind Youkilis in the last 20 months, Chamberlain quickly has emerged as a villain to Red Sox Nation in this rivalry.(New York Post)
Ovechkin takes jabs at Avery
That mischieveous imp Alexander Ovechkin was toying with Rangers pest Sean Avery Wednesday morning at the skate before Game 4 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Taking playful digs, poking back, engaging in the media game and, most of all, setting a tone. As he knew it would, the subject of Avery's antics in Game 3 came up, the first-period gloved punch to the face of Washington defenseman John Erskine and the game-ending conversation with goaltender Simeon Varlamov followed by a no-look, walkoff punch to the face. Ovechkin, who is working on his masters in media manipulation, loved it. Recalling Avery's act in last year's playoffs, when he faced Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and waved his hands to block the view, Ovechkin said, "Everybody knows him like kind of a guy who wants to distract the team's goalie like I remember he did last year against Martin Brodeur. He was just dancing over there. Too bad there was no music." Confronted with a provocative punch from Avery in Game 3, Erskine laughed it off as he watched Avery go to the penalty box. "That's why our team do best right now," Ovechkin said. "We didn't do any stupid moves, and we didn't answer back."(New York Newsday)
How far could Stafford fall?
This is the one question that Stafford's agents, Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, must have answered in their own minds: If the Lions pass, where does Stafford fall to and how much of a financial hit will they take for not taking the Lions' offer? The Rams have made it clear the one thing they are not doing is taking a quarterback. There's a chance Seattle might take him, but it's only a chance. I would suspect the Seahawks have Mark Sanchez rated higher on their board. The Browns? Who knows what they're doing besides trading their whole team, but on the surface, Stafford would fit the big-arm theory that I'm hearing Eric Mangini wants in his new quarterback. Jacksonville? Again, not sure where he fits in their minds, but I did learn Tuesday that the Jaguars are going to pick the highest-rated player on their board regardless of position and most likely will not take a wideout in the first round. All those words and I still haven't answered the question, right? I sense there is no answer, and that should cause Team Stafford some concern and maybe push them into doing a deal with the Lions. Right now, it's all about leverage, and I'm not sure Stafford has a guaranteed landing spot if the Lions pass. The value of being the No. 1 overall pick is very appealing, and Stafford must think of all his options as he weighs them in the next few days.(National Football Post)
Must-See Photo
In this multiple exposure picture, taken with three exposures on one frame, Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Frederico Gil during their Barcelona Open Tennis tournament Wednesday. Nadal won 6-2, 6-2. (AP)
Must-See Video
Well, this didn't go as planned. Or did it?

Game To Watch
NBA Playoffs, Round 1, Game 3: Bulls vs. Celtics, 8:00 PM ET, TNT.
Chicago Bulls
Boston Celtics
This Day In Sports History

SI Vault: More Jerry West
1954 -- The NBA adopts the 24-second shot clock.
1969 -- Jerry West scores 53 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers over Boston 120-118 in the opening game of the NBA finals.
1999 -- Fernando Tatis hits two grand slams in one inning -- the first player to do so in major league history -- to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 12-5 win over Los Angeles.

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