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Who's Hot Who's Not

May 18, 2009
May 18, 2009

Table of Contents
May 18, 2009

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
BASEBALL
NBA PLAYOFFS
  • The greatest testament to the Lakers' star's offensive brilliance might be the lengths to which Rockets defensive specialist Shane Battier will go to stop him

NHL PLAYOFFS
TENNIS
SUPPLEMENTS
Departments

Who's Hot Who's Not

Who's Hot

This is an article from the May 18, 2009 issue

MARK MARTIN
It's been years since he was linked to a performance-enhancing drug—he stopped driving the Viagra car in 2005—and the 50-year-old NASCAR star is thriving with Hendrick Motorsports. His win at Darlington lifted him to 11th in the Sprint Cup standings. Said Martin: "I'm in my second childhood."

ANGELS
Torii Hunter's homer-robbing, game-saving catch on Sunday seemed like divine intervention for the fast-ascending Angels. Seven wins in eight games had L.A. on the cusp of first place in the AL West. Just wait till those three injured starters come back.

MARYLAND LAX
A win over No. 2 Notre Dame sent No. 14 Maryland to the NCAA quarterfinals. Terps middie Dan Groot (right) said the team felt "bigger, stronger and faster" than the Irish. Is this a sign? Notre Dame lost to the eventual champ in each of the last three tournaments.

EVAN LONGORIA
The young Ray struggled against the Phils in the Fall Classic (1 for 20), but he's having a spring to remember: 44 RBIs in 32 games through Sunday and the AL's player of the month for April. His secret? Longoria to the St. Petersburg Times: "I constantly try to humble myself."

Who's Not

JEREMY MAYFIELD
His positive drug test made him the first driver suspended under NASCAR's new substance-abuse policy—but at least he's first in something. The fading 39-year-old, who blamed a mix of over-the-counter and prescribed medicines, hasn't won a race since 2005 and has just one top 20 finish in his last 40 starts.

INDIANS
There was lots to discuss at their players-only meeting on Sunday: getting shut out two games in a row, having a big-league-worst 5.83 ERA, etc. After the soul-searching, Cleveland fell behind Detroit 4--0 in the second inning and went on to lose its fourth straight.

UMASS LAX
Solid seasons, but a lost weekend in the NCAAs. The men were halted by Princeton's peerless defense while falling behind 6--1, and then took a run of penalties that blunted their comeback in a 10--7 defeat. The women? Unbeaten Northwestern 23, Massachusetts 6.

B.J. UPTON
Tampa Bay's autumn hero (16 RBIs in 16 playoff games) has been a nonstarter in his new leadoff role. Is that .167 batting average through Sunday just a fluke? Or is it an indication that Upton, who missed the first week of the season, is not all the way back after having shoulder surgery?

SI PLAYERS NHL POLL

WHICH COUNTRY PRODUCES THE BEST PLAYERS?

Canada 30%

Sweden 28%

Russia 27%

United States 7%

Finland 4%

FAST FACTS
Players couldn't vote for their own country.... Russia beat Canada to win the world championships on Sunday.... Switzerland, which hosted the event, was not among the 10 nations receiving votes.... Carolina's Cam Ward (above right) played for Team Canada in 2007 and '08.... This year's finalists for NHL MVP—Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin (above left) and Washington's Alex Ovechkin—are all Russians.

Based on a survey of 324 NHL players

PHOTOMATTHEW T. THACKER/ASP/CAL SPORT MEDIA (MARTIN)PHOTOLORI SHEPLER/AP (HUNTER)PHOTOBRAD MANGIN (UPTON)PHOTOLARRY FRENCH (GROOT)TWO PHOTOSLOU CAPOZZOLA