Like countryman Pablo Picasso, Rafael Nadal (left) has an affinity for clay.Nadal's record 53rd straight win on the surface was over No. 1 Roger Federer.Later Fernando Alonso, racing before King Juan Carlos, became the firstSpaniard to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
Classic Boss barb--he grumbled about "the third baseman"--may havesparked A-Rod to homer in three Yankees wins. More sparks when George and wifeJoan celebrated 50th anniversary last Friday, and maybe more Saturday: HisHemingway's Key runs in Preakness.
In his 20th season with now highly competent Clippers (page 46), G.M. ElginBaylor will reportedly be named NBA executive of the year. Baylor baseball(33--19) beat No. 5 Nebraska three straight, including 12--2 on Sunday, theHuskers' first run-rule loss since '98.
Nine innings and lots of zeroes for his first career shutout, a two-hitter overthe Cubs. Said the Padres righty of the day on which he retired the last 13batters, "That was a lot of fun."
The Cubs are schlubs, battered by injury (Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee and MarkPrior, right), punchless on the field (NL-low 139 runs scored). The Chisox(minus injured starter Jose Contreras) struggled by Chisox standards (losingthree of four), and ex--Bears CB Jerry Azumah sez he wuz robbed--of $250,000 bya housekeeper.
Not a classic outing for former Cy Young winner turned ESPN broadcaster. In aguest spot on Padres TV (his old haunt), Sutcliffe rambled and slurred untilhis mike was cut off. He later apologized, saying he was "not in optimumcondition to go on live television."
The Devils, who've been in three of NHL's last five finals, and the Avs, whobeat them there in 2001, were knocked out of second round. Fallout in Denver:G.M. Pierre Lacroix (right) stepped down.
Five at bats and nothing but whiffs as Hensley tied a major league record forstrikeouts in a game. Said Hensley, an .071 hitter this season, "I couldn'tget a ball out of the cage in batting practice."
SI PLAYERS POLL
Do you favor the World Baseball Classic's being heldagain during spring training?
Would you favor interrupting the season once every fouryears to play in the Olympics?
FAST FACTS: Only 45% of starting pitchers voted"yes" on the WBC question, and, through Sunday, starters--including theTwins' Carlos Silva (left)--who pitched in the Classic were a combined 61--70with a 5.21 ERA this season.... Nearly 70% of foreign-born players said"yes" to the WBC, compared with just 51.3% of U.S.-born players....Last July the IOC voted baseball out of the 2012 Games. Said Aldo Notari,president of the International Baseball Federation, "The problem withbaseball is the best players are not going to the Olympics."
[Based on a survey of 470 MLB players] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.