BOB BARKER had a consecutive-appearances streak that would make Cal Ripken Jr. envious. Last Friday, after a record 35 years, Barker's 6,586th and final episode of The Price Is Right aired. Before breaking into TV, Barker wrote news and sports for a Springfield, Mo., radio station. "I loved it," Barker, 83, says. "I've always been interested in sports."
Barker grew up in Mission, S.D., playing baseball, basketball and football, and running track. The 6' 1" forward got a scholarship to Drury University but a year later enlisted in the Navy as a fighter pilot (he never saw combat). He's still an avid hoops fan—"I was one of the few people who watched the NBA playoffs," he says—even if his jump shot is half what it used to be. "My shot is still good," he says, "but I don't jump." For the heck of it, SI gauged Barker's sports-related price-guessing skills.
IS THE PRICE RIGHT?
|BARKER'S GUESS||ACTUAL PRICE|
|LAKERS COURTSIDE SEAT||$500||$2,200|
|YANKEE STADIUM HOT DOG||$5||$3.25|
|MLB EXTRA INNINGS PACKAGE||$20||$199.96|
|CAB RIDE FROM THE PRICE IS RIGHT STUDIO TO DODGER STADIUM||$15||$25|
|PEYTON MANNING'S SERVICES||$15 MILLION/YR.||$98 MILLION/7 YRS.|
|REGULATION NBA BALL||$125||$100|
|32 OZ. GATORADE||$1.50||$1.89|
|SPURS FOAM FINGER||$5||$8|
Tired of basketball above the rim, a former NBA assistant coach kicks things up a notch
THE RATINGS for the Spurs' NBA Finals sweep suggest otherwise, but former NBA assistant coach Tom Newell believes there are people who want to watch fundamentally sound, team-based basketball. That's why last Saturday in Seattle, Newell staged a game with rims raised to 11 feet. The idea: Foot-higher baskets would cut down on dunking and three-pointers, leading to more passing. Says Newell, who called in 20 college and overseas players, "The game has been distorted so players don't use skills other than jumping."
The effects of the extra height were obvious. Outside shooting was tougher; interior players moved away from the basket to get a good shooting angle. (Dunks weren't allowed for safety reasons.) As a result there was less congestion and more ball movement. Newell was encouraged, but some players were ready to lower their games again. "I can't wait to get back to a 10-foot rim," said Adam Zahn, a former Oregon forward. "This showed me that I do rely on my athleticism a lot."
Former major league pitcher Rick Ankiel, 27, is trying to make it back to the Cardinals as an outfielder. How's he doing? SI's Ankielometer tells all.
ANKIEL WAS mired in a nasty slump (nine strikeouts in his last 13 at bats) when he and the Class AAA Memphis Redbirds arrived in Des Moines last Friday for a four-game series against the Iowa Cubs. But a few days in corn country got him back on track. Ankiel hit his 16th home run of the season in a 4-1 win on Friday, then busted out with three solo homers—his first career hat trick—and a single in another win on Saturday. Ankiel finished the weekend tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in home runs (19), second in slugging (.606) and tied for fourth in RBIs (52). (He is batting .282.) Ankiel, who like most hitters studies video of all his at bats, now has some serious highlights to look at next time he slumps. "I want to know what I'm doing right when things are going right," he told The Des Moines Register, "so when things are going wrong, I'll have something to compare it to."