Chute Happens

A brief history of the aerial entrance
September 07, 2008

IT WASN'T a goodweek for parachutists. Last Friday, the Cincinnati Bearcats' mascot got tangledin a wire as he alighted with the game ball for the school's opener againstEastern Kentucky. The next night two parachutists landed at Duke's Wallace WadeStadium an hour before the Blue Devils' game against James Madison. Alas, theywere supposed to be at the North Carolina--McNeese State game in ChapelHill—eight miles away. They're just the latest evidence that maybe men (andmascots) aren't meant to fly.

April 1978
The first ball at a Triple A game in Tucson is delivered by a skydiver. A nudeskydiver. The prank was ordered by a Toros coach, and the authorities are notamused. "She tried to throw out the first pitch, but she couldn't get itthrough the screen in the paddy wagon," says Rich Donnelly, who was thenTucson's manager. "I think she was a dancer at the Cha Cha Club."

April 1983
As the mayor of Baltimore looks skyward, the Orioles mascot misses MemorialStadium on Opening Day and lands in the parking lot. The following yearPresident Reagan is on hand to watch the birdie give it another go—and nearlyimpale himself on the foul pole.

November 1993
Attention-seeker James Miller drops in on the Evander Holyfield--Riddick Boweheavyweight title fight unannounced in the seventh round. Wearing a chutepowered by a giant fan, Miller, 29, crashes into the outdoor ring and tumblesonto the apron, where he's pummeled by Bowe's entourage. "It was aheavyweight fight, and I was the only guy who got knocked out," saysMiller.

April 1997
As Florida's Billy the Marlin drops toward Pro Player Stadium, he loses hishead at 7,000 feet. Literally. Wanting to spare children the sight of aheadless mascot, the Navy SEAL inside the costume diverts himself into theparking lot. The head is found on the Florida Turnpike after three troublingmonths. "I was worried that it might turn up on a bank robber," saysFlorida's Jeff Conine. "I didn't want somebody to start wearing Billy'shead and go on a crime spree."

The Pop CultureGrid

How do sports stars fit in? Weirdest celeb name you ever heard I'm totally addicted to ... Favorite song to dance to Kimmel, Leno or Letterman ____ should play my coach on-screen
BRIAN ANDERSON White Sox CF Djimon Hounsou Texting and online shopping Any boy-band song Leno Cheech Marin (Ozzie Guillen)
BOBBY CARPENTER Cowboys LB Apple, Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Working out Cupid Shuffle Leno Bill Pullman (Wade Phillips)
JAMES RILEY Earthquakes D Coco Crisp (below, in milk) Rock Band, iChat and Korean food Put On by Young Jeezy Leno David Duchovny (Frank Yallop)
ANDY SONNANSTINE Devil Rays P Iceberg Slim Rock Band Hip Hop Saved My Life by Lupe Fiasco Leno Malcolm McDowell (Joe Maddon)

Go Figure

1
Players from Luxembourgh who have advanced to the fourth round of a Grand Slamtournament: Gillis Muller, who beat No. 18 Nicolas Almagro, at the U.S. Open onSunday.

130
Muller's world ranking.

16
Wins for Red Sox righty Daisuke Matsuzaka, which ties Hideo Nomo's major leaguerecord for a Japanese pitcher.

10
Games, the length of the Indians' winning streak that ended last Friday;Cleveland is the first team since 2004 to have double-digit winning and losingstreaks in the same season.

11
Blown saves—in 27 opportunities—by the Mets since the All-Star Game.

9
Blown saves by the Yankees and the Blue Jays all season, the fewest in themajors.

348
Rushing yards for Navy senior Shun White (on 19 carries) in a 41--13 win overTowson State last Saturday, a performance that broke Eddie Meyers's 27-year-oldschool record by 50 yards.

48
Years since Lincoln University of Chester County, Pa.—the nation's oldesthistorically black university—played a football game before last Saturday, whenthe Lions beat George Mason 34--7.

PHOTOV.J. LOVERO (BILLY THE MARLIN) PHOTODPPI/ICON SMI (PARACHUTE) PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONPHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SI IMAGING (PARACHUTE, BILLY THE MARLIN) PHOTOLENNY IGNELZI/AP (JAMES MILLER)PARTY CRASHER Miller was charged with a misdemeanor: dangerous flying. PHOTORONALD C. MODRA/SPORTS IMAGERY/GETTY IMAGES (ORIOLE) PHOTOTODD WILLIAMSON/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (LENO) PHOTODUSTIN SNIPES/ICON SMI (ANDERSON) PHOTOSILVER SCREEN COLLECTION/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES (MARIN) PHOTORONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (CARPENTER) PHOTODAVID SILVERMAN/MLS/GETTY IMAGES (RILEY) PHOTOTOM DIPACE (SONNANSTINE) PHOTOGARY BOGDON (CRISP)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)