Rookies Ryan Howard (19 RBIs in 95 at bats) and Robinson Tejeda (2--2, 2.90 ERA) and sizzling sophomore Chase Utley (.312, 54 RBIs) have Philly in the playoff hunt. After Utley (above) belted an 11th-inning homer on Friday, then beat out a grounder to help ice a 2--0 victory on Saturday (Tejeda got the win), manager Charlie Manuel said, "This kid is playing some kind of great baseball."
Last summer she battled depression, which sidelined her for the last month of the WNBA season. This year? She's pacing the L.A. Sparks, leading the league with 18.9 points per game.
The men survived a grueling tournament--high heat, injuries, coach Bruce Arena's one-game ban--to nip Panama on penalty kicks, win the Gold Cup and move to an alltime high No. 6 FIFA ranking. And the women's new generation looks ready: By blanking Iceland 3--0, the U.S. stayed unbeaten (7--0) since Mia Hamm's farewell.
East Coast Big Men
The 76ers reportedly ponied up more than $60 million (for six years) to keep 6'11" center Samuel Dalembert, who averaged a modest 8.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last year. This, 10 days after the Knicks handed 7'1" Jerome James (4.9 points, 3.0 rebounds with Seattle) $29 million over five years. Tall is good.
First baseman Phil Nevin (one homer since May 28) played his way onto the trading block, while thirtysomething outfielders Dave Roberts (3 for his last 22) and Ryan Klesko (7 for 33) were a big reason San Diego had lost seven in a row and seen its NL West lead slip to 21/2 games. Manager Bruce Bochy to the San Diego Union Tribune: "Hitting is always a difficult thing to figure out."
Old warrior really thought his appeal of a split-decision loss to Jermain Taylor (SI, July 25) might be upheld. It wasn't. Now, a rematch won't happen until December at the earliest.
On Sunday the IRL rookie crashed during a race outside Milwaukee, finishing 19th. That was after she was the object of protest: Four fellow drivers boycotted a Saturday autograph session because organizers created a separate waiting line for Danica.
Most White Sox love going to Cleveland--they're 6--1 there this year. Not outfielder Dye, who says he got bitten by an insect in his hotel bed there during a post--All-Star series. The bites swelled, Dye needed antibiotics, and he missed four games. Dye's plans for future hotel stays? "I'm going to pull back the sheets."