Fields of Fear
In Washington, D.C., home of SI senior writer S.L. Price, this is
the season of the sniper
This is an article from the Oct. 28, 2002 issue
The 12th bullet hit home just before the 2002 World Series began
last Saturday night, and the rest of the evening rode that
strange TV pendulum from frivolousness to menace, from rally
monkey to murder scene and back again. It had become a familiar
drill. After all, the night the 11th bullet hit, we flipped back
and forth, back and forth from channel to channel, until the
Giants' pennant-clinching win over the Cardinals segued for good
into a report on the latest casualty. Bookshelves sag with
endless blather about baseball's virtues, but here's one that has
gone unnoticed: With so many gaps in the action, there's no
better sport to monitor terror by. You can switch to the nearest
news station, find out who, what, where and when, and never miss
Forgive the black humor. That's all we have left to distract
ourselves with these days in the Washington, D.C., area, where a
sniper has shot 12 people, killing nine, in the meticulous
rampage that began on Oct. 2. Since then, the region has spent
its days mixing the most banal of acts--pumping gas, buying
groceries, shuttling kids to school--with this sick jangle of
apprehension. The one respite came on Monday when two men in
Richmond were detained, until police announced they had nothing
to do with the case. Life then returned to abnormal, and we went
to bed listening to the choppers overhead.
All the fun stuff is gone: parades, parties, old-fashioned games
of every kind. Schools are on universal lockdown, with no recess,
and all after-class outdoor activity canceled. The weather is
fine and cool, yet fields stand empty.
Here and there, there have been some attempts at normality. On
Thursday night Maryland played Georgia Tech in football at
College Park, Md., but a beefed-up police presence kept watch for
white box trucks. Some high school teams played after a two-week
hiatus on Saturday, but many games were transplanted to fields
hours from home and, in the case of D.C. public schools, parents
had to trail team buses to find out where their kids would play.
People talk about pushing past fear, but then, nobody blames
officials in Prince Georges County, Md., where a boy was wounded
by sniper fire on his way to school, for canceling its games.
More than ever, this remains a region under siege. Sept. 11 made
local airports and planes suspect; last year's anthrax
infestation made mail suspect. Now a killer threatens the daily
routine. While families and coaches worry that lost high school
games could cost their stars a scholarship, those in charge of
younger kids haven't hesitated to halt play. In the Northwest
D.C. neighborhood where I live, nearly every house has a kid
stuck to the ceiling with pent-up energy. The soccer league has
all but disappeared. There was hope of salvaging the T-ball
season with a four-game jamboree this past Friday, complete with
cop cars and a shield of parents ringing the field, but in the
end, too many decided against setting their children up as
I didn't want to see my son dead either. Yet I took him out to
that same field on Friday afternoon, and threw soft pitches and
watched him get fired up and grow bored like kids do. Once or
twice I looked around at the tree line and felt exposed and
stupid, but then he'd hurl the ball my way and I'd forget about
it. The next night, number 12 went down.
On the morning after, Sunday, joggers huffed along in our
neighborhood. A few college kids played soccer. None of us were
being brave. It was just that we knew winter was coming, and
there were only so many good days left. If we were lucky, we
could come in and watch the World Series. If we were really
lucky, we'd get to watch the whole game.
After seven years the MLS is finally winning America's hearts and
On Sunday, almost lost in the noise created by the World Series
and college football, the NFL and the NHL, NASCAR and the NBA,
61,316 fans attended Major League Soccer's seventh title game.
And what went on outside Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.,
where the Los Angeles Galaxy beat the New England Revolution 1-0,
might have been more remarkable than that fat attendance figure.
Waving in the pregame barbecue smoke were many national
flags--Portugal and Jamaica, Guatemala and Ireland, Mexico and
Honduras. And yet the colors of the United States vastly
outnumbered the rest.
Too often, soccer fans in the U.S. are treated as if it's
un-American to follow the world's most popular pastime. Nonsense.
"Soccer is the most American of sports," says MLS commissioner
Don Garber. "This country is getting increasingly more ethnic,
and professional soccer is positioned to capitalize."
Yes, MLS is still losing money. And regular-season attendance
averaged just 15,822. But attendance rose this year for the
second straight season, and billionaire Philip Anschutz, who owns
six MLS teams, broke ground on the Galaxy's new jewel of a
stadium, The Home Depot Training Center. Though Anschutz is being
investigated by Congress for his financial dealings with troubled
Qwest Communications, he insists that won't interfere with his
commitment to soccer. "Mr. Anschutz will spend $20 million a year
for the next 300 years if that's what it is going to take," says
Anschutz Entertainment Group president Tim Leiweke.
As we learned at the World Cup, the league is producing a
generation of precocious Yanks, including San Jose's Landon
Donovan, Chicago's DaMarcus Beasley, both 20, and New England's
Taylor Twellman, a 22-year-old striker who led the league in
goals. "They're much more confident and technical than previous
American players," says U.S. coach Bruce Arena.
That showed on Sunday. "This game was an incredible advertisement
for MLS," Galaxy defender Alexi Lalas said after Carlos Ruiz
scored in overtime. Afterward, an endless free-kick wall of cars
clogged the streets. On one car a pair of bumper stickers issued
a red, white and blue challenge. YO APOYO A LA SELE (I SUPPORT
THE NATIONAL TEAM) read one sticker. And the other? I'M PROUD TO
BE AN AMERICAN. --Grant Wahl
241 Fans of Oklahoma and Texas who spent the night in the
inebriation unit of a Dallas detention center after the Oct. 12
Red River Shootout at the Cotton Bowl.
$20 First bid, on eBay, for Olympic great Carl Lewis's "off-white
two-bread-holding, autographed toaster," which is being auctioned
15 Yards an NFL team will be penalized if one of its players is
found carrying a foreign object on the field under a new policy
informally known as the Terrell Owens Rule.
28 Players in major league history--including the Giants' Barry
Bonds and the Angels' Troy Glaus--who have homered in their first
World Series at bat.
$41.56 Average price of an NHL ticket, up 1.3% from 2001-02, the
smallest increase in nine years.
14,713 Career passing yards for Kenton (Ohio) High quarterback
Ben Mauk, who threw for 470 yards last Friday to break the
national high school record of 14,457 set from 1995 to '98 by
J.R. House of Nitro (W.Va.) High.
36 Starting position of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who won the Old
Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway from deeper in a Winston
Cup field than anyone else in the track's 47-year history.
Last week the Grizzlies unveiled the name of their new arena,
which will open in 2004 as FedExForum, marking the latest in the
strange sports trend of smashing nouns together and capitalizing
the first letter of a second and sometimes third word. "It's
alliterative," said Grizzlies vice president of business
operations Mike Golub. "It rolls off the tongue."
FedEx, which in 1999 bought the right to name the Redskins' home
stadium FedExField, is bringing a bush league phenomenon to the
big time. The past decade has seen the birth of minor league
baseball teams such as the RedHawks (in Oklahoma City and Fargo,
N.Dak.), the JetHawks (Lancaster, Calif.) and the RiverHawks
(Rockford, Ill.), as well as basketball's SkyHawks (a USBL team
in St. Louis) and hockey's IceHawks (a UHL franchise in Glens
Falls, N.Y.). Hockey teams, in fact, will jam virtually any
animal name after Ice. You've got IceDogs (Mississauga, Ont.),
IceCats (Worcester, Mass.), IceGators (Lafayette, La.), IceHogs
(Rockford, Ill.) and IceRays (Corpus Christi). No wonder people
say minor league hockey's like a zoo.
This is just a sampling of the double-noun nicknames, yet team
executives can't explain the phenomenon. "It's not grammatically
correct, but our ad agency thought it made a better logo," says
Steve Malliet, G.M. of baseball's independent Joliet (Ill.)
JackHammers. "I'm not really the expert on why words flow or why
FOR THE RECORD
REUNITED By happenstance, with Monday Night Football analyst John
Madden, Lindsy Kimple, 17, of Kearney, Neb. A Nov. 26, 1990, SI
story on Madden's cross-country bus travels included a photo
(above left) of Lindsy and her brother, Travis, with Madden when
the Kimple kids sought his autograph at a Kearney steak house.
This time, a TV crew working on a Madden documentary recorded the
chance meeting--at a Kearney barbecue joint. "Had I known there'd
be cameras, I'd have dressed up more and put on a little makeup,"
said Lindsy, who coincidentally wore a yellow shirt on both
ESCAPED From Toronto's Woodbine Racecourse and onto a major
Canadian highway, Andover Hall, one of North America's top
3-year-old trotters. While in Toronto for a $542,500 race in last
Saturday's Breeders Crown series, Andover Hall, who's won 11 of
22 lifetime starts, left the paddock, jumped a fence and galloped
for 5 1/2 miles along the shoulder of Highway 401 near Milton,
Ont. A British couple visiting Toronto spotted the horse, kept
pace with him in their car and guided him onto a grassy patch
near an exit. The couple then secured Hall by placing a blanket
over him and holding his bloody right hind hoof. Hall, who also
suffered front-leg cuts, was scratched from Saturday's race and
won't run again this year.
SUED For $40 million, by Knicks forward Latrell Sprewell, the New
York Post and the paper's Knicks beat writer, Marc Berman. In the
suit Sprewell says he was libeled by a Post story saying that he
broke his right pinkie in a fistfight aboard his yacht.
CHARGED With a felony count of false imprisonment and a gross
misdemeanor count of criminal sexual conduct, baseball Hall of
Famer Kirby Puckett, 41. According to the complaint, on Sept. 6,
Puckett pulled a woman into the men's room of a Minnesota
restaurant and groped her. "We will meet, and we will beat these
allegations in court," said Chris Madel, one of Puckett's
lawyers. Puckett, who works as executive vice president for the
Twins, retired as a player in 1995.
DIED After several years of failing health, Mel Harder, 93, who
won 223 games in 20 seasons with the Indians. A righthander with
a superior curveball and pinpoint control despite severe
nearsightedness, Harder pitched in four All-Star games from 1934
to '37 and didn't allow an earned run in 13 innings, still a
record. Harder threw the first pitch at Cleveland Municipal
Stadium when it opened in 1932 (he lost 1-0 to Lefty Grove and
the Athletics) and the ceremonial first pitch at the final game
there in '93. Joe DiMaggio, who hit .180 against him, once called
Harder "the pitcher I had the toughest time batting against."
--Of natural causes, swimmer and diver Aileen Riggin Soule, 96,
who had been the oldest living female U.S. Olympic gold medalist.
At the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Soule, then 14, won the springboard
competition; four years later in Paris she won silver in the
springboard and bronze in the 100-meter backstroke. After her
Olympic triumphs Soule traveled the world putting on diving
exhibitions and skated in Sonja Henie's 1936 film One in a
--After a long illness, Bob Gregg, 82, an auto racing legend in
the Pacific Northwest who was nicknamed Bullet Bob the Barefoot
Boy for driving shoeless. He raced from 1938 to '86, competing in
midget racing, sprint cars, modifieds and stock cars. In July
2002, Gregg was chosen as Driver of the Century by the Golden
The Sporting Life
OPENED In Manhattan, the Museum of Sex, which turns out, after
careful inspection, to have at least a couple of sports
connections. One display in an exhibit called "How New York City
Transformed Sex in America" commemorates the Howdy Club, a
Greenwich Village bar that in the 1930s and '40s fielded a
lesbian football team that played locally. Of even greater
historical significance is an exhibit devoted to the grandfather
of bodybuilding and muscle magazines: Eugen Sandow, a Prussian
immigrant born Friederich Wilhelm Mueller in 1867. Touted as the
perfect male specimen, Sandow toured the country at the turn of
the century under the direction of Florenz Ziegfeld (who later
created the Ziegfeld Follies), performing rare feats of strength.
He often carried a pony across the stage and amazed audiences
with an act called the Human Dumbbell. Two men would sit in
wicker baskets attached to either end of a metal bar; using one
hand, Sandow would slowly lift the bar above his head.
Unlike Mike Piazza, Sandow never held a press conference to
announce he wasn't gay, and probably with good reason; news that
he lived with a man and shunned his wife and two kids created a
stir. Still, he had devoted fans, and his legend solidified when
he began to appear nude, except for a leaf or tiny briefs, in
statuesque poses on posters and trading cards. As the exhibit
states, Sandow "created a popular interest in displays of the
male physique" that led to the explosion of muscle magazines and
muscle culture. Museum of Sex executive curator Grady Turner says
the first muscle magazine, Physical Culture, was published
shortly after World War I by health faddist Bernarr Macfadden,
who used to walk to work barefoot in the winter. Now there's a
surprise. Normally, you don't get into a sex museum for having
cold feet. --Kelvin C. Bias
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
OCTOBER 25 - 31
SATURDAY 10/26 > ABC noon > No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 11 Florida
An upset here and the Irish--who face Boston College, Navy and
Rutgers over the next three weeks--could be 11-0 heading into the
Nov. 30 game at USC.
SATURDAY 10/26 > NBC 1 PM > The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred
Racing's richest day centers on the final career race for
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem, who'll be heading
to Japan for the stud life.
SUNDAY 10/27 > Fsn west 5 PM (PST) > Showtime Dreams: The 2002-03
This hourlong American Idol-esque program captures all the pomp
(poms) and circumstance of the Laker Girls tryouts.
MONDAY 10/28 > ABC 9 PM > Giants at Eagles
Stay awake! The last two games between these NFC East rivals--both
Philadelphia wins--were decided by three points or fewer.
TUESDAY 10/29 > TNT 7:30 PM and 10:30 PM > 76ers at Magic; Spurs
Practice? No, Allen Iverson, this is the real thing. The NBA
season begins with Iverson visiting Disney World and the
three-time champs--sans Shaq--hosting Tim Duncan.
WEDNESDAY 10/30 > ESPN 7 PM and 9:30 PM > Wizards at Raptors;
Lakers at Trail Blazers
ESPN's first NBA TV broadcast since the 1983-84 season includes
an Air Jordan and a Jordan heir (Toronto's Vince Carter) and, of
course, those champs again.
>> DON'T MISS
SUNDAY 10/27 > CBS 4 PM
Broncos at Patriots
After starting the season with three straight wins, the Pats
were thinking Super Bowl repeat. Since then they've lost three
in a row, been outscored 75-37 and are now fighting to catch AFC
front-runners like the Broncos (5-2).
--Doing It the Hardaway
--Hammond at Home
--Like former Vikings receiver Cris Carter--who last week left
his analyst's job on HBO's Inside the NFL and signed with the
Dolphins--ESPN's newest NBA analyst, Tim Hardaway, is both young
enough (36) and skilled enough (last year he averaged 9.6 points
and 4.1 assists for the Mavericks and the Nuggets) to return to
his athletic life. So what does he say to NBA teams in need of a
point guard? "There's no calling me this year," Hardaway told
SI. "Call me next year." After beating out a dozen candidates,
including former teammate Alonzo Mourning, in a tryout two weeks
ago, Hardaway signed a one-year deal to work on ESPN's Friday
NBA doubleheaders. "He's engaging and very quick to voice an
opinion," says ESPN senior vice president Jed Drake. "He lights
up the screen." Hardaway's biggest challenge may be to rein in
his impulses. "Most of the time I'll be watching and I'll say,
'That guy, he ain't s---.' But I know I can't say that on TV.
Now I've got to say, 'What was that guy thinking? He's a better
ballplayer than that, and he needs to start playing better.'"
--After undergoing successful double-bypass surgery on Oct. 14,
NBC's Tom Hammond, 57, will miss his first Breeders' Cup telecast
since the series began in 1984. Rather than bring in a
replacement for the Oct. 26 broadcast, NBC will expand the role
of the other Breeders' Cup regulars--including Bob Costas and
Charlsie Cantey--and Hammond will provide commentary from his home
in Lexington, Ky.
--Hoops equality: Next March, for the first time in the 21-year
history of the NCAA women's basketball tournament, all 63 games
will be televised. ESPN and ESPN2 will carry the games. --R.D.
years." --HEADY TIMES, PAGE 30