From his ride with Dale Earnhardt Inc., two-time Daytona 500 champ Michael Waltrip (above, left). The 42-year-old, who is currently 20th in the Nextel Cup standings, will leave at the end of the season. Waltrip joined DEI in 2001, after running 463 races without a win, and promptly won his first race, the Daytona 500. He has struggled in recent years and his relations with DEI--and with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. (above, right), who caused him to wreck at a race in May--have been strained. Waltrip said one reason he decided not to return was that he wasn't guaranteed he would continue working with crew chief Tony Eury Jr., who is rumored to be taking over Junior's team next year. "I wanted to drive for Tony Jr. for the rest of my life," Waltrip said.
With misdemeanor assault for shoving two cameramen last month, Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers. The lefty, who was suspended for 20 games, turned himself in to authorities in Fort Worth on Monday--and got into a verbal confrontation with a cameraman inside the county jailhouse. He was freed on $1,500 bond. Rogers (right) faces one charge of assault with injury, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine, and one charge of assault, which carries a fine of up to $500.
July 24, 2005
To violating NCAA rules by authorizing gifts to players after they had exhausted their eligibility, North Carolina coach Roy Williams. The infractions occurred when Williams was the coach at Kansas; the school reported the infractions, which occurred between 1998 and 2003, to the NCAA last month. Williams said last week that he had, in fact, approved the gifts, though he didn't know that it was against the rules. "I am deeply saddened to say there was evidently a mistake," he said. No player received more than $400, and Kansas is not expected to be penalized.
To a buyout of the remaining three years of his contract, Pistons coach Larry Brown. The 64-year-old guided the Pistons back to the NBA Finals, but they lost to the Spurs in a series that was often overshadowed by speculation about Brown, who was rumored to be close to accepting a front-office position with the Cavaliers. (He ultimately decided not to go to Cleveland.) Brown developed a bladder problem following hip surgery last November that forced him to miss 17 games last year. Earlier this month he checked into the Mayo Clinic for a third bladder operation. In meetings with Pistons owner Bill Davidson and general manager Joe Dumars last week, Brown, who has coached for 33 consecutive seasons, could not guarantee that he would be healthy enough to coach the entire 2005--06 season.
At age 89 of complications from Alzheimer's disease, former Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Mickey Owen (above). One of the top backstops of the 1940s, Owen was a four-time All-Star, but he was best known as the goat who helped cost the Dodgers the '41 World Series. Owen dropped the third strike on what should have been the final out in Game 4, allowing the Yankees to rally for four runs and win 7--4. New York won the series the next day. Owen once said that he didn't feel his life had been ruined by the miscue: "I would've been completely forgotten if I hadn't missed that pitch."
At age 91, former Rangers winger Alex Shibicky, the first player to use the slap shot in the NHL. Shibicky, who scored 110 goals in his 11-year career, learned the shot from teammate Bun Cook in practice and unveiled it during a game in 1937. Three years later he helped the Rangers win the Stanley Cup; he also served as the vice president of the first NHL players' association, in 1942. He spent his later years in South Surrey, B.C., where he continued to be a student of the slapper. "I'm 90 years old, and I'll still go out there and demonstrate," he said last year. "I had it down to a science."
By the owners of the Kentucky Motor Speedway, NASCAR, for allegedly violating federal antitrust laws when choosing tracks to host Nextel Cup races. The Kentucky owners, led by Jerry Carroll, say NASCAR restricts races to tracks run by International Speedway Corporation--which is owned by the family of NASCAR founder Bill France. (ISC owns all or part of 12 of the 22 tracks on the Nextel Cup circuit this year.) Carroll's group, which opened the track in 2000, seeks $400 million in damages and a date on the 2006 Nextel Cup schedule. "[Carroll] was told years ago when he built the place there wasn't a Cup race in his future," said NASCAR vice chairman Bill France Jr. earlier this year. "Yet he's down there crying wolf."
For failing to show up at an Orange County (Calif.) child support hearing last month, Roscoe Tanner, 53, a former tennis star with a lengthy history of sidestepping the law (SI, Nov. 29, 2004). With a warrant out for his arrest, Tanner left his job teaching at a Southern California tennis club--in a car he leased with the club's owner Cecil Spearman. (The car is still missing.) Tanner led a tennis clinic in his hometown of Chattanooga in late June, allegedly flew to Sardinia and then surfaced last week in the draw of a British club tournament. "I've never seen someone with such an ability to endear himself," Spearman says of Tanner. "But that's part of the problem." (Tanner could not be reached for comment.)
To 3 1/2 years in prison, top female Zimbabwean track and field athlete Samukeliso Sithole, who was convicted in the town of Kwekwe of impersonating a woman (SI, Feb. 21). The triple jumper and sprinter competed as a woman at several international meets, winning a gold medal at a regional tournament in Botswana last year and five medals at a youth championship in Mauritius. Earlier this year a male acquaintance accused Sithole of being a man, which a medical examination confirmed. Sithole claimed a tribal healer made his male genitalia disappear--then caused them to reappear as revenge for not being paid on time.
The dugouts at Jerry Uht Park, home of the Double A Erie (Pa.) SeaWolves, after a midgame downpour flooded them last Thursday. Shortstop Tony Giarratano (above, in uniform) and his mates ran for higher ground--the clubhouse--then a few returned to the field for the requisite rain-delay tarp sliding. (One paddled on a makeshift raft in an outfield lake.) "When I saw garbage cans floating in the dugout," says radio play-by-play man Justin Kutcher, "I knew we weren't going to play that night."