Saturday, July 15, 2006

Man, 83, Is Oldest Pro Baseball Player

Man, 83, Is Oldest Pro Baseball Player

By Associated Press
Thu Jul 13, 7:57 AM

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - No one in the bleachers at the Sioux Falls Canaries game was quite sure what was going on down on the field. They were all quiet, transfixed on the little old man digging into the batter's box.

The infielders moved up on the grass, giggling, and the pitcher looked as uncomfortable as anyone else. But to 83-year-old Jim Eriotes, it was serious business.

Eriotes led off Tuesday's game for the Canaries against the St. Joe (Mo.) Blacksnakes and took four big swings _ even fouling a pitch off _ before striking out.

Officials with the Canaries, an independent American Association team, said the at-bat made Eriotes the oldest man to play professional baseball. It was his only at-bat in the game.

The record didn't mean much to the Chicago native, a former minor leaguer.

"I don't give a damn about that stuff," he said, bothered by his failure to reach base. "If I got a couple more at-bats, I'd get a hit. Easy."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Toyota ride with Waltrip on the table for Mayfield

Toyota ride with Waltrip on the table for Mayfield

By David Newton, NASCAR.COM
July 14, 2006
06:10 PM EDT (22:10 GMT)

LOUDON, N.H. -- Jeremy Mayfield has been offered the opportunity to drive for Michael Waltrip Racing next season.

That could open the door for Elliott Sadler to move into Mayfield's No. 19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge as Bob Dillner of SPEED reported during Friday's qualifying for Sunday's race at New Hampshire International Speedway.

Waltrip said an announcement on Mayfield could come within the next week or two.

"It's more the ball's in his court," Waltrip said after qualifying 39th. "We've got a lot going on next week. We're going to Atlanta to do some stuff with UPS and Aaron's.

"Hopefully, it will come together and as soon as it does we'll let the world know. We've got a lot of things we need to accomplish between getting him signed and the 2007 season."

Mayfield, who has a year plus two option years left on his contract at Evernham Motorsports, has expressed frustration with this season in which he is 32nd in points after making the Chase for the Nextel Cup the past two years.

Team owner Ray Evernham left the door open for a change during a news conference last week at Chicagoland Speedway, where Mayfield questioned Evernham's commitment to the No. 19 team.

"All I can tell you is we hear rumors that he's going somewhere, and we thought it would be nice to talk to him if that's the case," Waltrip said of Mayfield, who is also from Waltrip's hometown of Owensboro, Ky. "Now we're waiting for him to call us back and tell us if all of that is going to happen or not."

Mayfield, 37, would join Waltrip and Dale Jarrett at MWR. He was not available for comment after qualifying 37th.

Sadler denied that he's had discussions with Evernham or anybody from Evernham Motorsports about leaving Robert Yates Racing, but admitted there have been discussions with other teams.

You'd be surprised at how many cars will open up next year," said Sadler, who drives the No. 38 RYR Ford. "I have not made my decision on what I want to do next year. Can I tell you something different in two or three weeks? Maybe.

"Right now, I need to concentrate on what we're doing here. I owe it to my sponsors. I owe it to Robert and Doug [Yates]."

Sadler said he had a 45-minute conversation with Robert Yates on Wednesday at Indianapolis. He said the talk centered around improving an organization that already has lost Jarrett and UPS, and hasn't won but one race in more than a year.

He disputed reports that he had until tomorrow afternoon to let Yates know if he planned to stay.

But Sadler confirmed he has an out in his contract that has two years remaining after this season.

"I don't know anything about a deadline or day," Sadler said. "Right now, I want to focus on that No. 38 car. I really want to get one more win in it."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Barbaro May Die Due to Foot Inflamation

Barbaro May Die Due to Foot Inflamation

6 hours ago

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. - Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro has developed a severe case of laminitis, a potentially fatal disease caused by uneven weight distribution in the limbs, and his veterinarian called his chances for survival "a long shot."

Dean Richardson, the chief surgeon who has been treating Barbaro since the colt suffered catastrophic injuries in the Preakness on May 20, said the Derby winner's chances of survival are poor.

"I'd be lying if I said anything other than poor," Richardson said Thursday at a news conference at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. "As long as the horse is not suffering, we're going to continue to try" to save him.

"If we can keep him comfortable, we think it's worth the effort."

If not, Barbaro could be euthanized at any time. Richardson said if Barbaro doesn't respond quickly to treatment, "It could happen within 24 hours."

Richardson said the laminitis, a painful condition, has all but destroyed the colt's hoof on his uninjured left hind leg.

"The left hind foot is basically as bad a laminitis as you can have. It's as bad as it gets," Richardson said, while adding that horses can recover from the disease. He said he has discussed the situation closely with owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who have stressed that their main concern is for Barbaro to be pain free.

Richardson said Barbaro's injured right hind leg _ the one that shattered at the start of the Preakness _ is healing well, but because a horse has to be evenly balanced to carry his weight, laminitis set in on the other foot.

A procedure called a hoof wall resection removed 80 percent of Barbaro's left rear hoof. Both rear legs are now in casts.

"The reason we cut away the hoof wall is because the hoof wall is not connected" to the bone, Richardson said. "If you had a nail that was separated from the end you'd pull it off. It's dead tissue that's in the way of living tissue. It's a problem in horses due to excessive weight bearing inflammation."

Richardson said it would take several months for the hoof to grow back. "What we're doing on this horse is absolutely unusual, but it's not unheard of.

"It's a devastating problem in horses that nobody has a solution to."

Perhaps what makes it even more wrenching is that the horse is acting normal.

"This horse, you look at him in the stall _ his ears are up, he's bright. He's looking around," Richardson said.

"He's spending some time in the sling. Other times, he's out of the sling. We are not torturing this horse."

The grim update came after nearly six weeks of what was considered to be a smooth recovery. Barbaro underwent five hours of surgery May 21 so a titanium plate and 27 screws could be inserted into three broken bones and the pastern joint. He has had three more operations in recent days.

"I really thought we were going to make it two weeks ago," Richardson said. "Today I'm not as confident."

Barbaro won the Derby by 6 1/2 lengths, was unbeaten in six races and expected to make a Triple Crown bid before his misstep ended his racing career. He was taken to the New Bolton Center hours after breaking down and underwent five hours of surgery the next day.

At that time, Richardson said the chances of the horse's survival were 50-50.

Since the break down, there has been a public outpouring of sympathy as well-wishers, young and old, showed up at the New Bolton Center with cards, flowers, gifts and goodies. And thousands of e-mails poured in to the hospital's Web site to voice concern and support.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Comedian Red Buttons Dies in L.A. at 87

Comedian Red Buttons Dies in L.A. at 87

By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer
3 hours ago

LOS ANGELES - Red Buttons, the carrot-topped burlesque comedian who became a top star in early television and then in a dramatic role won the 1957 Oscar as supporting actor in "Sayonara," died Thursday. He was 87.

Buttons died of vascular disease at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles, publicist Warren Cowan said. He had been ill for some time, and was with family members when he died, Cowan said.

With his eager manner and rapid-fire wit, Buttons excelled in every phase of show business, from the Borscht Belt of the 1930s to celebrity roasts in the 1990s.

His greatest achievement came with his "Sayonara" role as Sgt. Joe Kelly, the soldier in the post-World War II occupation forces in Japan whose romance with a Japanese woman (Myoshi Umeki, who also won an Academy Award) ends in tragedy.

Josh Logan, who directed the James Michener story that starred Marlon Brando, was at first hesitant to cast a well-known comedian in such a somber role.

"The tests were so extensive that they could just put scenery around them and release the footage as a feature film," Buttons remarked.

Buttons' Academy Award led to other films, both dramas and comedies. They included "Imitation General," "The Big Circus," "Hatari!" "The Longest Day," "Up From the Beach," "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" "The Poseidon Adventure," "Gable and Lombard" and "Pete's Dragon."

A performer since his teens, Buttons was noticed by burlesque theater owners and he became the youngest comic on the circuit. He had graduated to small roles on Broadway before being drafted in 1943.

Along with dozens of other future stars, including Mario Lanza, John Forsythe, Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb, Buttons was enlisted for "Winged Victory," the play that famed director-playwright Moss Hart created for the Air Force. Buttons also appeared in the 1944 film version, directed by George Cukor.

Discharged in 1946, Buttons returned to nightclub and theater work. In 1952, CBS signed him for a weekly show as the network's answer to NBC's Milton Berle.

"The Red Buttons Show" was first broadcast on CBS Oct. 14, 1952, without a sponsor since the star was virtually unknown. Within a month, the show became a solid hit and advertisers were clamoring.

Buttons drew on all his past experience for monologues, songs, dances and sketches featuring such characters as a punch-drunk fighter, a scrappy street kid, a Sad Sack GI and a blundering German. The hit of the show was a silly song in which he pranced about the stage singing, "Ho! Ho!... He! He!... Ha! Ha!... Strange things are happening!" It became a national craze.

After a sensational first season, "The Red Buttons Show" began to slide. Reports circulated that the star had fits of temper and frequently fired writers, and the show ended after three seasons.

"Certainly I made mistakes, and mistakes were made for me," he said in 1960. "When you go into TV cold, as I did, it's murder."

While the failure was a severe blow to the normally optimistic comedian, he soon recovered and resumed his career as a guest star on TV shows. A straight role on "Suspense" brought him to the attention of Logan, who cast him for the career-making "Sayonara."

In 1966, Buttons starred in another series, "The Double Life of Henry Phyfe," as a humble accountant enlisted as a government spy. The show lasted only six months.

Over the years Buttons remained a steady performer on television, appearing on such series as "Knots Landing," "Roseanne" and "ER." He also took his act on the road, appearing at Las Vegas, Atlantic City, conventions, and returning to his beginnings in the Catskills.

Still in good health at 76 ("They call me the only Yiddish leprechaun"), he appeared in New York in 1995 with an autobiographical one-man show, "Buttons on Broadway."

It was his first Broadway show since 1948, when he appeared in a play with the unfortunate title of "Hold It." One critic, Buttons recalled, began his review: "`Hold It?' Fold it."

Buttons was born Aaron Chwatt on Feb. 15, 1919, son of an immigrant milliner, in a tough Manhattan neighborhood where, he once said, "you either grew up to be a judge or you went to the electric chair."

He struggled through schools in Manhattan and the Bronx _ "Mom and Pop went to school as often as I did; they should have graduated with me." He started performing at the age of 12, winning an amateur contest singing "Sweet Jenny Brown" in a sailor's suit.

At 16 he was working as a singer and bellhop in a gin mill on New York's City Island. Since all bellhops were called Buttons and Chwatt had red hair, he got his new name.

During his summer vacation, he worked as a singer on the Borscht Circuit _ the string of Catskills resorts catering to a largely Jewish clientele where Danny Kaye, Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks, Hart and others trained for stardom.

In later years, Buttons became a favorite at testimonial/roast dinners with his roaringly funny "Never had a dinner" routine. He cited famous figures who had never been so honored. Examples: "Abe Lincoln, who said `A house divided is a condominium,' never had a dinner"; "(Perennial presidential candidate) Jerry Brown, whose theme song is `California, Here I Go,' never had a dinner." (When he did "Buttons on Broadway," he altered the routine and named people who never did one-man shows.)

In 1982, Red Buttons finally had a dinner. The Friars Club honored him with a star-filled roast and a life-achievement award.

"When I was a kid in the Bronx and watching and dreaming from the second balcony," the guest of honor said, "in my wildest imagination I couldn't have written this scenario tonight."

Buttons was married and divorced twice in his early career. He is survived by his third wife, Alicia, their children, Amy and Adam, and a sister.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.