The 10 Spot: Oct. 18, 2004
1. This week's Tennis Masters Series men's tournament in Madrid will use female models to replace the traditional ball boys and girls. The trend is not expected to spread beyond men's events, because in the women's game the models are too busy playing tennis to chase after the balls.
2. The 16 Jazz players on the training-camp roster spent Friday working odd jobs across Utah in an effort to reach out to fans. Some feathers were ruffled, however, when Carlos Boozer broke his commitment to bag groceries at Albertsons after the Wendy's drive-through made a better offer.
3. Apparently drawing strength from the rabid Fenway faithful, the Red Sox beat the Yankees 6-4 in 12 innings to avoid elimination in Sunday's Game 4 of the ALCS. One jacked-up fan on Lansdowne Street threw Alex Rodriguez's third-inning home run ball back over the Green Monster and onto the field, though Boston center fielder Johnny Damon promptly threw it back onto the street. It turns out Damon thought the fan was showing him up by displaying superior arm strength.
4. Notre Dame beat Navy 27-9 on Saturday to extend its winning streak in the series to 41 games, the longest in NCAA history. The Kerry campaign immediately announced that under its plan, Navy would be better equipped to handle the offensive threats of the 21st century. The Bush administration responded that Notre Dame's victory instead shows the power of faith-based initiatives.
5. Is Leon coming to primetime? NBC has commissioned a pilot about the life of an egocentric football star from Just Shoot Me creator Steven Levitan and John Immesoete, who made the Leon commercial spots for Anheuser-Busch. According to Daily Variety, the untitled project "revolves around a Deion Sanders/Rickey Henderson-style character and focuses on his life with his family, agent, team owner and friends."
Here's hoping that the character is more Rickey than Deion. Anyone who read Tom Verducci's classic Rickey story in the June 23, 2003, issue of SI will understand. The article was essentially a Greatest Hits album of Rickey-isms, though Rickey might not like that description. After all, when Rickey was asked if he owned the Garth Brooks album with the song Friends in Low Places, he replied, "Rickey doesn't have albums, Rickey has CDs."
6. Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia threw four touchdown passes Sunday, including a 99-yarder to Andre Davis to tie the NFL mark for longest pass play. Eagles receiver Terrell Owens was not impressed, saying that a stronger-armed quarterback would have easily smashed the record.
7. The 10 Spot is puzzled by baseball traditionalists' grumbling about the team handshakes exchanged by the Cardinals and Dodgers at the end of their NL Division Series. The New York Times' veteran baseball scribe, Murray Chass, is among those who seem to find the idea abhorrent. "What's next," Chass mused in an item in Sunday's paper, "taking showers together?" Chass went on to say with apparent approval that, "Players from other eras, the Bob Gibsons, the Frank Robinsons, would be sickened by the Dodgers' and the Cardinals' display."
Why? It's one thing for hardened baseball vets to disapprove of the fraternization of players before games. But after a hard-fought series, why shouldn't the combatants shake hands to honor the competition? NHL players do so. Football players typically shake hands post-combat as well. Yet baseball players, who generally don't crash into each other all game, can't shake hands without it making a mockery of their competitive fire?
If that's true, the 10 Spot found a perfect old-school baseball player during last Thursday's SI hoops game. After the other team quit because it didn't like the referees -- or the fact that SI.com blogger Chris Ballard had just drained four 3-pointers -- I had the temerity to approach an opponent to shake his hand. He growled, "Get the [expletive] out of my face." What a competitor!
8. The women I watched the Yankees-Red Sox Game 3 with at my friend Kristi's party were not impressed by the Red Sox -- and this wasn't an all-Yankees crowd. It wasn't their play that offended, but their appearance. Damon trimmed a few inches off his overgrown mane before Game 3, but that's like reupholstering deck chairs on the Titanic. (Or de-upholstering, in this case.) Even so, the 'dos of Damon, Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez and the Amish-in-the-City goatee of Kevin Millar all got the thumb's down from Saturday's panel. So too did the pine-tarred batting helmets of Ramirez, Trot Nixon, Orlando Cabrera and others. George Steinbrenner's well-groomed Yankees, meanwhile, received high marks. The 10 Spot isn't sure what this means, but simply hopes that by squeezing an item out of the party we can write off the cost of the six-pack of Corona that we bought on the way to the bash. (That's $12 at New York City deli prices.)
9. Reality TV update: The 10 Spot would like to dedicate this update to my older brother Tom, whose celebrates his birthday on Monday. Tom dislikes sports but loves Survivor. That show is finally picking up steam this season thanks to a reshuffling of the tribes during last Thursday's episode. Until then, the old and/or lumpy folks in both the men's (Lopevi) and women's (Yasur) tribes had banded together to systematically eliminate the young and buff, making the show look more like Cocoon than the usual Mountain Dew ad. By shaking up the tribes, the producers engineered the ouster of 33-year-old Tennessean Travis Sampson, a pleasant if soft fellow who answers to Bubba. Still, viewers who tune in partly to watch hardbodies of either sex have so far been the losers. That's what happens when you don't rig the show enough.
As for The Apprentice, the 10 Spot walked past young Harvard debater Andy on Second Avenue and 81st Street last Thursday but resisted the urge to flag him down. We were afraid that he knew we weren't picking him among the top three.
10. Jeopardy! update: Is Alex Trebek getting sick of Ken Jennings? During Friday's episode, Alex not so subtly hinted that it would really be "something" if Ken "retired" while still undefeated. "I'm not trying to put thoughts into your mind, I'm not," insisted Alex. Yeah, sure. Ken found less opposition from his competitors, cruising to another easy win. He booked $34,600 before Final Jeopardy!, nailing it to finish with an even $40,000. (Category: Famous Pairs. A: They first teamed in 1974, one a quiet Latin teacher and the other a former clown college student. Q: Who are Penn and Teller?) That's a grand total of $1,976,300 in, by the 10 Spot's count, 58 victories.