Some Best in Show awards for 2004, courtesy of the Arizona Republic's Bob Young: • "Best Story, By Far: The Red Sox exorcise the Curse of the Bambino and defeat the Yankees...

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Some Best in Show awards for 2004, courtesy of the Arizona Republic’s Bob Young:

* “Best Story, By Far: The Red Sox exorcise the Curse of the Bambino and defeat the Yankees to get to the World Series after trailing 3-0 in the ALCS, then go on to win the championship.

* “Worst Story, By Far: The whole BALCO affair. It’s all so Clear now. Or is it Cream?

* “Lifetime Achievement Award: Pat Tillman, and in a damn short lifetime.

* “We Hardly Knew Ye Award: Wally Backman, edging out that guy Jason Allen Alexander who was married to Britney Spears for 55 hours. Britney evidently can run a background check faster than the Diamondbacks.”

Maggie maim

Not only is rock star Rod Stewart getting sued by a Hollywood Bowl concert-goer for kicking a soccer ball into the crowd that conked him on the coconut, but the man’s wife is also a party to the suit, claiming the incident cost her the “companionship of her husband.”

“Why?” wondered Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Because she can’t stand looking at a guy with the permanent imprint of a soccer ball in his forehead?”

Math 101

Don’t know about the players at Saturday’s Kobe-Shaq showdown, but it sounds like the fans were giving a little extra during Shaquille O’Neal’s first return visit to Los Angeles.

“I think it was 89.2 percent cheers and 11.8 percent boos,” O’Neal told the L.A. Daily News. “But I’m used to that.”

I only have ice for you

Snippet from a Weekend Update “interview” on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” with locked-out NHL star Brett Hull:

Q: “Brett, you’re Canadian, what do you think of this new gay-marriage law passing in Canada?”

A: “That’s what happens in Canada when there’s no hockey. Guys have more time to hang out, talk about their feelings. Next thing you know, they’re in love with each other.”

Open that loophole

Have Michael Vick’s priorities changed since the Falcons quarterback signed that record $130 million contract?

“During the winning drive last week,” wrote comedian Argus Hamilton, “he asked his teammates to go out there and win one for the president’s tax cut.”

Talking the talk

* Elliott Harris of the Chicago Sun-Times, on the Raptors placing center Alonzo Mourning on the injured list after he was traded and refused to report: “Apparently with a bad case of bruised ego.”

* Ex-running back Darrell Thompson, to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, on former Packers teammate Reggie White: “Everybody played with at least some tape on a wrist or a finger or an ankle. But not Reggie. He didn’t tape anything. He just went out there like it was ninth-grade football.”

* Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun, on NBA commentator Steve “Snapper” Jones: “At a time when so many in the league seem to be taking themselves too seriously, Jones brings a joie de vivre to the telecasts. Joie de vivre, of course, is French for ‘nice hair on Steve Nash.’ ”

* Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, to the Colorado Springs Gazette, on playing on Christmas: “I don’t think we should be playing. But if I was home and not playing football, I’d want to see a game.”

Gone Fishin’

Sounds like Nick Saban plans to hit the ground running as coach of the Dolphins.

Rumor has it his first day’s itinerary is already full, what with sorting out the quarterback situation, working up a draft plan and denying rumors he’s leaving to take the Cleveland Browns job.

Dwight Perry: 206-464-8250 or