This is an article from the Aug. 21, 2006 issue
The last-place Bucs showed pluck with a sweep of the Cardinals--and their youngpitchers may augur better days. The Steelers' preseason loss to Arizona wasovershadowed by a far happier sight: Ben Roethlisberger (left) completing 3 of4 passes two months after his motorcycle crash. Head coach Bill Cowher: "Iliked the way he was out there."
In an L.A. groove. After struggling with the Cubs, the master is back incontrol, pitching to an 0.90 ERA and allowing just nine hits in 20 innings as aDodger. "I like being here," he says.
Tireless Reds G.M. (Does he sleep? "Probably not," says manager JerryNarron) keeps honing the surprising NL wild-card leaders. He acquired OF ToddHollandsworth--the 17th new player in Krivsky's six-month reign--then saw himmake a highlight-reel extra-inning catch in debut.
Miguel (.340 batting average) keeps carrying Marlins, Orlando (left, .284)keeps thriving in three-hole for Angels, and pesky Melky (.276) keeps shiningfor Yanks.
By day the Nats continued last-place play with an error-marred loss to the Metsand some profane outbursts in the clubhouse. ("I'm not &%$#@ hurt,"snarled catcher Brian Schneider when asked about his poor throwing.) By nightthe Skins' 19--3 loss to Cincy wasn't their worst--RB Clinton Portis (right)partially dislocated a shoulder.
Bumblin' in Baltimore. After struggling with the D-backs, the former 21-gamewinner (2003) is even worse for the O's at 0--3 with an 11.95 ERA. "Youtake the good with the bad," he says. "I've had plenty ofgood."
Man's man Dolphins coach famously made DT Manny Wright cry in last year's camp.Now, saying he won't tolerate "any of this stuff," he's refusing awaiver request from Wright, who says he's being treated for depression.
Fernando (5.95 ERA) keeps on flailing in the Indians bullpen, and the O'sDaniel (right, 5.40) keeps showing his wild side, with 17 walks in his last221/3 innings.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Which ballpark is the most difficult to play in as avisiting player?
Yankee Stadium ...... 21%
Fenway Park (Red Sox) ...... 20%
Wrigley Field (Cubs) ...... 10%
Citizens Bank Park (Phillies) ...... 10%
FAST FACTS: Among AL East voters, 33.5% picked Fenway;just 16.9% chose Yankee Stadium.... The Yankees will play five games at Fenwaythis week.... The A's McAfee Coliseum was fifth (4%).... Every stadium exceptfor Oriole Park at Camden Yards received at least one vote.... The Phillies are28--33 at home this season but 28--27 on the road.
[ Based on a survey of 415 MLB players ] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.