Indians slugger's hitting .356 and crushing homers (seven). Sweeter, still:He's got his own candy bar, a crispy chocolate thang called Pronk (Hafner'snickname; it melds project and donkey). Said Hafner, who gave away Pronk barsin the clubhouse, "It is the best candy bar I have ever had."
Hotter than where their namesake dwells. New Jersey had won 10 straight throughSunday to threaten the rival Rangers for the division title. Center Scott Gomez(left) on the team's surge to the playoffs: "Guys kind of got that Game 7mentality."
How're these numbers? A .353 batting average, 10 RBIs, his Cubbies at 7-4and-oh, yes-a four-year, $56.25 million contract extension. "I like ithere," said the enriched first sacker. "I want to be on that team thatwins a world championship ... and sees the city go crazy."
Hang on, they're moving fast. Pro Bull Riders, which just opened offices inAustralia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, landed a deal with Fox to air events onNFL Sundays. It also has an NBC deal.
April 23, 2006
Padres fans are just hoping their team will leave home without him. Therighthander got shelled for eight runs by the Marlins, dropping his career roadrecord to 0-16. Said a glum Brazelton before he got booted from San Diego'srotation, "All I need is one good start to turn things around."
Colder than their namesakes' homeland in winter. Onetime Cup hopefuls lost sixof their last eight to miss the playoffs and top defenseman Ed Jovanovski(right) may leave as a free agent. Said coach Marc Crawford, "We've beenhumbled."
A sad ending in Nashville? The Titans still won't let their alltime passingleader train at their facility (the team fears he'll get hurt and it will beliable for his $23.46 million contract), and McNair's heir may soon beapparent: Tennessee plans to take a quarterback with the draft's thirdpick.
Texas's big off-season imports-OF Brad Wilkerson (batting .185) and pitchersKevin Millwood (5.50 ERA) and Adam Eaton (hand surgery)-may turn wunderkindG.M. Jon Daniels gray at 28.
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
Who's the NHL's best coach?
Jacques Lemaire, Wild 15%
Darryl Sutter, Flames 12%
Barry Trotz, Predators 6%
Pat Quinn, Maple Leafs 6%
Who's the worst?
Ed Olczyk, Penguins 18%
Bob Hartley, Thrashers 17%
Ken Hitchcock, Flyers 6%
Gerard Gallant, Blue Jackets 4%
FAST FACTS: Players could not vote for their owncoach.... Most players were polled in early December; Olczyk was fired Dec. 15after an 8-17-6 start.... Hitchcock was eighth in the "best" vote(4.9%).... Lemaire's Wild was eliminated from playoff contention on April 7....Mike Babcock, whose Red Wings had an NHL-high 122 points through Sunday,finished fifth in the "best" vote (5.6%).
[ Based on a survey of 346 NHL players ] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.