March 19, 2009
Thursday, March 19
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Truth & Rumors
Did U.S. WBC execs snub Torii Hunter?
Like baseball fans -- and many big leaguers -- across the country, Torii Hunter watched in awe Tuesday as players on the U.S. World Baseball Classic team dog-piled each other in wild celebration of a 6-5, come-from-behind, walk-off win over Puerto Rico. "You always want to be part of something like that," the Angels center fielder said. If only they had asked. Hunter is an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time All-Star, a 10-year veteran who is considered one of the best center fielders in the game, but he was not asked to participate in the inaugural 2006 WBC or this year's event. He's not sure why he was snubbed in 2006, but he has a pretty good idea why the selection committee chose Curtis Granderson and Shane Victorino over him this spring. In 2006, Hunter was quoted as saying team chemistry could be affected by players leaving camp to play in the WBC, and that injuries could present problems. "Oh yeah, they remember stuff like that -- it's probably why I never got asked," Hunter said. "I wasn't saying it's a bad event. I think it's good for countries to showcase their talents. (Los Angeles Times)
How Kobe avoided jury duty
For once, Kobe Bryant wasn't needed at court. The Los Angeles Lakers star spent several hours on jury duty Wednesday before being excused from an Orange County courtroom. He was quizzed for potential service on a misdemeanor vehicle tampering case, but attorneys agreed on a panel before his turn in the jury box came up. The Orange County Register reports the judge got some laughs when he looked at the basketball superstar and asked, "Bryant?" Bryant told attorneys he was a good listener and thought he could be a fair juror. During an afternoon recess, Bryant said, "Everyone has to do their duty."(AP)
Six teams looking at Harvin
Percy Harvin, the dynamic Florida receiver who doubled as a running back, will be in New Jersey Thursday for a private workout with the Giants. The 5-11, 195-pound Harvin, who did everything but run the 40 at his Pro Day Wednesday, said the Giants wanted him for a "special teams" workout. The likely mid-to-late first-round pick is expected to be both a punt and kickoff returner in the NFL, too. The Giants, who pick 29th in the April 25-26 draft, are likely looking for a receiver in the early rounds due to the uncertain future of Plaxico Burress. They did not sign a receiver during free agency. Harvin said he also has private workouts scheduled with the Jets, Dolphins, Vikings, Bucs and Ravens. (NY Daily News)
Must-See Photo
Saint Etienne's Bafetimbi Gomis (left) challenges for the ball with Bremen's Sebastian Boenisch during the UEFA Cup round of 16 second leg soccer match between Saint Etienne and Werder Bremen on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Must-See Video
A contestant on Russian Idol gets a little too excited about advancing to the next round.
Game To Watch
Blazers at Cavs, 8 PM ET -- Who needs college ball when you can watch LeBron?
Portland Trail Blazers
Cleveland Cavs
This Day In Sports History

SI Vault: More on Brett Hull
1991 -- St. Louis' Brett Hull becomes the third player to score 80 goals in a season.
1995 -- After nearly two years of retirement, Michael Jordan returns to the Chicago Bulls after nearly two years of retirement. He scored 19 points in a 103-96 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
1997 -- Utah's John Stockton has one steal in the Jazz' 113-100 win over the Celtics, becoming the first player in NBA history to record 2,5000 career steals.

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