World Baseball Classic
The hardball World Cup begins on Thursday, when China and defending champ Japan meet at the Tokyo Dome. (See every game live at worldbaseball classic.com.) U.S. manager Davey Johnson is optimistic but has one regret: A-Rod will play for the Dominican team, not the U.S. "I [am] a Madonna fan," Johnson said. "I was hoping she would show up."
The National Memory Championship
It's the event for people who never have to look at their calendars. In New York City on Saturday, 53 "mental athletes" will test their skills by memorizing poetry and strings of numbers and playing-card sequences, and by matching names and faces. The defending champion is ... wait a second, it's on the tip of the tongue ... Chester Santos.
The Bald Truth
NBA superagent David Falk (his clients included Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing) gets real with, as the book's subtitle puts it, "secrets of success from the locker room to the boardroom." The follicle-challenged Falk has stories to tell (one section begins, "In the summer of 2006, I bumped into an old friend, Heavy D...."); his mix of anecdotes and biz tips is a page-turner.
On the Iditarod Trail
The Super Bowl of sled dog races—this is billed as Iditarod XXXVII—starts on Saturday, with 73 mushers pushing off in Anchorage. The favorite? As usual, it's Lance Mackey, the two-time champion (including last year's race). Mackey, 38, should be rested. He skipped last month's Yukon Quest, which he has won four times.
March 8, 2009
Mickey Mantle is on the cover, and Yogi Berra wrote the foreword, but this graceful collection by former SI photographer Marvin Newman (in stores this week) is more than just a pinstriped ode. It features scores of Newman's baseball photos from the 1950s and '60s and includes striking shots of a young Hank Aaron and an old Joe D.
The Pop Culture Grid
INSIDE THE GRID
"It's because of my name," says Fernandez. "My old Dallas teammate Mike Keane gave it to me. He figured I was from south of the border." Fernandez is actually from Ontario and is of Portuguese and French Canadian descent. Fontenot, whom Cubs fans often call "Fonte-yes," earned his preferred moniker "in Triple A because I did the Chicken dance in the clubhouse."