Who's Hot Who's Not

July 12, 2009

Who's Hot

MARLINS
After a dismal May their 11--1 start looked like a fluke. Now, not so much. Florida is 20--12 since June 1, and after shutting out Pittsburgh on Sunday, they had won five of their last seven series. The Marlins had risen to second in the NL East, a game behind the Phillies. Said starter Andrew Miller, "We like where we are in the race."

CANDACE PARKER
While L.A. fixated on Manny's return, the WNBA's reigning MVP played her first game, on Sunday, since her daughter was born in May. Parker scored six points in a Sparks loss. "I'd like to see Michael Jordan have birth and come out and play," coach Michael Cooper said.

TIGER
After Roger Federer's Wimby win, Woods texted his pal and fellow razor shill: "Great job. Now it's my turn." Hours later he clinched the AT&T National, an event he hosts. Federer has 15 majors, one more than Woods, but Tiger can catch him: The British Open is next up.

RASHEED
As in Wallace, the ref-baiting big man. He agreed to a two-year deal with Boston on Sunday, three days after the Celtics' Garnett, Allen and Pierce flew to Detroit to woo him. If things play out right for Boston, Wallace will be yapping at new Cav Shaquille O'Neal in the East finals.

Who's Not

METS
Granted, their DL has more talent than some teams' lineups, but New York is fading. After being swept by the Phillies, the Not-So-Amazin's had lost eight of 11 and were four games out of first in the NL East. There wasn't much sympathy for the injuries, either. Said the Phils' Shane Victorino, "You try to stomp them."

BARACK OBAMA
He gets no love from Russia. During his trip to Moscow, a Monday press conference was shown on state TV opposite a rebroadcast of a month-old soccer match expected to draw a huge audience. Some suspect the Kremlin was trying to divert eyes from Obama.

ELEPHANT CHALLENGERS
A day before the famous July 4 hot dog eating contest, Coney Island hosted a new event: humans vs. pachyderms in bun eating. It went as you might expect. The three humans ate 143 buns in six minutes, the three animals ate 505. The elephant in the room: Why?

BERNIE
As in Ecclestone, the outspoken Formula One CEO, who went too far while expressing admiration for strong leaders. He praised Saddam and the Taliban, and lauded Hitler as a guy who was "able to get things done." Funny, we figured Bernie, who's 5'4", for a Napoleon guy.

SI PLAYERS MLB POLL

SHOULD HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE IN THE WORLD SERIES BE DECIDED BY WHICH LEAGUE WINS THE ALL-STAR GAME OR BY WHICH TEAM HAS THE BETTER REGULAR-SEASON RECORD?

Regular-season record 83%

All-Star Game 16%

Neither/Don't know 1%

FAST FACTS
The All-Star Game has determined home field advantage since 2003, the year after commissioner Bud Selig called the game with the score tied 7--7 through 11 innings; the rule is intended to make the Midsummer Classic more competitive.... The team with home field advantage has won three of the six World Series since.... Twenty-two percent of voters in the American League, which is 11-0-1 in All-Star play since 1997, want to keep the All-Star Game as the deciding factor; 8% of National Leaguers voted that way.

Based on a survey of 380 MLB players

PHOTOTIM SHAFFER/REUTERS (METS) PHOTOLORI SHEPLER/AP (PARKER) PHOTOYANINA MANOLOVA/AP (ELEPHANT) PHOTOVALERY HACHE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (ECCLESTONE) TWO PHOTOS

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)