By Lindsey Vonn (above) in Sestriere, Italy, last Saturday, the ninth World Cup downhill of her career, tying her with Picabo Street and Daron Rahlves as the most successful U.S. downhill skiers ever. Vonn, 23, easily beat Canada's Kelly Vanderbeek with a time of 1:38.86; as her split times decreased during the 1.84-mile run, the Sestriere race announcer yelled, "She's a speed train!" Vonn now has four downhill wins this season and finished the weekend tied for the overall World Cup points lead. "Lindsey is pretty much unbeatable now," said U.S. downhill coach Alex Hoedlmoser.
At age 83, Karl Ehrhardt (below), better known as Shea Stadium's Sign Man. From 1964 to '81 Ehrhardt, a graphic artist, was a fixture at Mets games, where his witty, block-lettered signs served as instantaneous editorials on the team's play. Whenever outfielder Jose Cardenal went down with one of his many strikeouts, Ehrhardt held up one that read, jose, can you see?; during the Mets' 1969 World Series appearance he asked (11 years before the Lake Placid Olympics), DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? Ehrhardt, who carried dozens of signs to games and at one point had nearly 1,200 to choose from, stopped going to Shea after a fallout with Mets management in 1981.
At age 79, longtime National League umpire Ed Vargo. During a 23-year career that began in 1960, Vargo, a onetime minor league catcher, worked four World Series and four All-Star Games and officiated over several historic moments. He was behind the plate when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's mark of 714 home runs in 1974, and he worked the first World Series night game, in '71. He is also the only umpire to be behind the plate for a no-hitter and a perfect game by the same pitcher: He called Sandy Koufax's June 4, 1964, no-hitter and was there for Koufax's perfect game a year later.
By the team formerly known as the Devil Rays, fines for people who continue to refer to the club as diabolic. In November the franchise became known simply as the Rays and since then has maintained "Drop the Devil" donation boxes in its offices: Every time an employee uses the term Devil Rays, he or she is expected to donate $1 to the team's official charity, the Rays Baseball Foundation. On Feb. 1 team president Matt Silverman sent a letter to David Pinto, author of the blog baseballmusings.com, citing his recent name "violation" and asking for a contribution. Wrote Silverman, "Please note that repeat violations may carry a steeper penalty."
February 18, 2008
By the Brewers, an announcement that the 2009 contract option for manager Ned Yost (below, left) was exercised. The option was picked up in October, after Milwaukee had gone 83--79—its first winning season since 1992—and finished a surprising second in the NL Central. When a reporter asked Brewers G.M. Doug Melvin about Yost's status last Friday, Melvin realized that the club had never said publicly that Yost's contract had been extended. "We just completely forgot about it," Melvin said. The Brewers made an official announcement later that day.
After undergoing lifesaving surgery on Sunday night to repair a severed carotid artery, Panthers forward Richard Zednik. In the third period of a loss to the Sabres that evening, Zednik's teammate Olli Jokinen was upended in the corner, sending his right leg and skate flying upward. The blade struck Zednik, who was skating nearby, in the throat; with blood gushing from his neck, he was able to skate to the bench and was immediately taken away by ambulance. Despite losing a significant amount of blood, Zednik was in stable condition after the surgery, according to his agent, David Schatia.
They Said It
Maple Leafs coach, on what was going through his mind at the end of an 8--0 loss to Florida:
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
NBC is planning a curling reality show, hosted by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, on which contestants will vie for a spot on the 2010 Olympic team.