At 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, meddlesome Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein is the hardest man to fan in the National League, striking out only 15 times in
229 at-bats this season, or less than once every 15 trips to the plate - without a nickname to show for it. "The Eck," of course, has long since been
If Eckstein were an insect, he'd be a mosquito. If Eckstein were a marketing face, he'd be the Energizer Bunny. And if Eckstein were an adjective,
he'd be annoying. So forget about the 5-foot-9, 168-pound Red Sox legend. David Eckstein is the real Johnny Pesky. And the bat he totes - not the
Fenway landmark - is the real Pesky Pole...
Nothing against the Florida centerfielder, but for the love of consistency, what kind of a name is Juan Pierre? Is that like Jean-Claude Rodriguez?
And is the Mobile, Ala., native named after French Spaniard or a Spanish Frenchman?
In a phonetic shocker, Cardinals outfielder So Taguchi - unlike Lions coach Steve Mariucci - is Japanese, not Italian. So what? So let's dance...
With four Dominicans (Hector Carrasco, Christian Guzman, Tony Blanco, Jose Guillen), three Mexicans (Luis Ayala, Esteban Loaiza, Vinny Castilla), two
Puerto Ricans (Carlos Baerga, Wil Cordero), a Cuban (Livan Hernandez), a Venezuelan (Tony Armas) and a South Korean (Sunny Kim) on their 25-man
roster, the Washington Nationals - who came from Montreal - are 48 percent international...
This past Monday, Anaheim's Darin Erstad gave Atlanta's Johnny Estrada a concussion and a sore neck after getting the better of a collision at home
plate. Erstad's hit was clean, but Estrada was furious, claiming the Angels first baseman had no right running through him like that. "Any time you
give the baserunner the plate, he should take it," fumed the Braves backstop. "He thought his only chance was to try and knock the ball loose, but it
didn't look like he tried to knock the ball loose. It looked like he tried to knock my face off." Indeed, looks can be deceiving. Erstad did what any
hard-nosed ballplayer should do with the game on the line on a play at the plate: Knock the catcher squarely on his butt. That doesn't make him a
head-hunter. Actually, it was a head's up move by a head's up player. As for Estrada, his head's up...his ass. Hence the concussion...
This past Wednesday, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez - who in 1998 went 40-40 with 42 long balls and 46 steals - became the 40th man to reach 400
homeruns with a 4-for-4, 4 RBI performance. I guess some bits write themselves...
Some blame it on the expansion-induced dilution of talent. Others point to the hellish trap unearthed by the Devils. Still, I know the NHL died when
newly-inducted Hockey Hall of Famer Cam Neely retired in 1996...
If Detroit repeats in the NBA Finals, Pistons coach Larry Brown will have conquered three of his six previous pro stops - Philadelphia, Indiana and
San Antonio - along the way. And as Detroit fans will soon come to learn, Brown doesn't just skip town. He returns, years later, with a quiet
By now, we've all come to know Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups as "Mr. Big Shot." And for good reason. The defending Finals MVP is a big shot who
makes a ton of big shots. But before "Mr. Big Shot," there was Robert Horry, now a member of the Spurs, who earned an eerily similar nickname as a
five-time champion with the Rockets and Lakers: "Big Shot Bob." So who's the bigger big shot? Simple: The big shot who makes the bigger big shots in
the NBA Finals...
Is there a rule in the NBA banning small-breasted women from televised events? Do bustier types prefer basketball? Or are all the league's cameramen
just easily distracted?
Who's who on the Western Conference champs? If Manu Ginobili is Balki Bartokomous, Brent Barry is Lloyd Braun, the insane computer salesman from
"Seinfeld." (Remember: "Serenity now...insanity later.") Robert Horry is ubiquitous popstar Will Smith, and Tim Duncan is an overgrown man-rodent
(take your pick - man-beaver, man-squirrel, it doesn't really matter). Fleet-footed Frenchman Tony Parker, meanwhile, is Speedy Gonzalez. I'm Dean