December 30, 2006

Cheney hails Ford's pardon of Nixon

WASHINGTON - The nation honored Gerald R. Ford in funeral ceremonies Saturday that recalled the touchstones of his life, from combat in the Pacific to a career he cherished in Congress to a presidency he did not seek. He was remembered as the man called to heal the country from the trauma of Watergate.

Ford's decision to pardon Richard Nixon, so divisive at the time that it probably cost him the 1976 election, was dealt with squarely in his funeral services by his old chief of staff, Vice President Dick Cheney.

"It was this man, Gerald R. Ford, who led our republic safely though a crisis that could have turned to catastrophe," said Cheney, speaking in the Capitol Rotunda where Ford's body rested. "Gerald Ford was almost alone in understanding that there can be no healing without pardon."

Hundreds of ordinary Americans lined up for a chance to view the closed, flag-draped casket of the 38th president late into the night and through the weekend. From teenagers in sweat shirts to mothers pushing infants in strollers, they flowed into the night in two steady streams along velvet ropes encircling the casket, pausing only for the periodic changing of the military guard standing watch.

The Washington portion of Ford's state funeral opened with a procession that took his casket from Maryland to Virginia and then over the Memorial Bridge — dressed in flags and funeral bunting — to the World War II memorial, past the White House without pausing and on to the U.S. Capitol for the first service and a lying in state that continues until Tuesday morning.

Although Ford's family planned the state funeral to emphasize Ford's long service in the House, Watergate quickly set the tone of the proceedings.

"In our nation's darkest hour, Gerald Ford lived his finest moment," said Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska told the Rotunda service. "He was the man the hour required."

Said House Speaker Dennis Hastert: "In 1974 America didn't need a philosopher-king or a warrior-prince. We needed a healer, we needed a rock, we needed honesty and candor and courage. We needed Gerald Ford."

The Rotunda ceremony was interrupted when William Broomfield, 84, a former Michigan congressman who served with Ford in Congress, collapsed. He was laid out on the floor of the Rotunda, and attended to by Sen. Bill Frist, a physician, before being taken out on a wheelchair. Frist later indicated Broomfield was OK.

Lights bathed the granite arch of the memorial commemorating the Pacific theater as Ford's nighttime funeral procession, bearing his wife, Betty, and the casket of the 38th president, stopped there in tribute to his years as an ensign and gunnery officer. The other arch, representing the Atlantic theater, stood in darkness.

Mrs. Ford sat stoically in the line of gleaming limousines, clutching a tissue and dabbing her face on occasion, then walked slowly at the Capitol in the arm of her military escort, soon followed by the casket bearing her husband of 58 years. Another round of cannon fire rang out.

After the ceremony, Mrs. Ford walked to the casket with the aid of her son and rested her clasped hands briefly on top of it.

The pageantry was muted, as Ford wanted, but the ritual unfolded with regal touches and according to exacting traditions dating back to the mid-1800s.

In one departure from tradition, pallbearers placed his casket outside the House chamber before it was taken to the Rotunda to lie in state. That honored Ford's years of service in the House as a congressman from Michigan and minority leader.

Similarly, Ford's body will rest briefly outside the Senate chamber on Tuesday, commemorating his service as vice president, which also made him Senate president.

On the way to Capitol Hill, World War II veterans and Boy Scouts gathered by the memorial and saluted at the brief, poignant stop. Mrs. Ford waved through the window. A bos'n mate stepped forward to render "Piping Ashore," a piercing whistle heard for centuries to welcome officers aboard a ship and now to honor naval service.

The event, without words, recalled Ford's combat service aboard the aircraft carrier USS Monterey. In December 1944, when a typhoon struck the Third Fleet, Ford led the crew that battled a fire sparked by planes shaken loose in the storm, taking actions that some credited with saving the ship and many lives. He sought no award, and received none.

The Capitol commemorated a man whose highest ambition, never realized in an era of Democratic control of Congress, was to become House speaker.

History intervened; he became vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned in scandal, then president when Nixon left office in disgrace. "A funny thing happened to me on the way to becoming speaker," he once cracked.

In Palm Desert, Calif., a 13-hour period of public viewing ended just as the sun rose over the resort community where Ford and his wife settled nearly 30 years ago. People waited up to three hours to pay their respects at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church before an aircraft from the White House fleet flew Ford's remains and the funeral party to Washington.

The funeral procession to the Capitol lacked the full trappings, by the design of Ford and his family. A motorcade was arranged instead of the horse-drawn caisson most familiar to Americans from the funerals of Ronald Reagan in 2004 and John Kennedy in 1963.

Ford, a man of modest character whose short presidency lacked the historic drama of JFK's and Reagan's, also was mourned without the riderless horse customarily included in the procession.

The thundering military flyover that is also part of a full-throttle state funeral in Washington will happen instead in Grand Rapids, Mich., where Ford will be entombed Wednesday on a hillside near his presidential museum. Ford represented the city in the House for 25 years.

Ford died Tuesday at age 93. He became president when Nixon resigned in August 1974 and then was defeated by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election.

Six days of national mourning began Friday with military honors and a simple family prayer service at St. Margaret's, where the Ford family has worshipped for many years. Mourners ranging from children to the elderly had walked through quickly and then reboarded their buses — a process taking less than two minutes.

Barbara Veith, 69, said Ford's "everyman" persona drew her to the viewing.

"There is something personal about his passing even though we didn't really know him," Veith said. "He just kind of had an everyman quality to him though he was far from it — he was the president."

During his weekly radio address on Saturday, President Bush called Ford a "courageous leader, a true gentleman and a loving father and husband."

"He always put the needs of his country before his own, and did what he thought was right, even when those decisions were unpopular," Bush said. "Only years later would Americans come to fully appreciate the foresight and wisdom of this good man."

When they return to Washington from their Texas vacation on Monday, Bush and first lady
Laura Bush plan to pay their respects to Ford while he lies in state at the Capitol. On Tuesday, the president will speak at Ford's funeral service at Washington National Cathedral before Ford's remains are taken to Grand Rapids.
Funeral plans for President Ford (all times are local):

Saturday, Dec. 30

_9:45 a.m.: President Ford's casket departs from St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif.

_10:15 a.m.: The remains will depart Palm Springs Regional Airport and be flown to Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

_5:20 p.m.: Ford's body arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, traveling to the U.S. Capitol. The motorcade will travel through Alexandria, Va., in remembrance of Ford's long residence in that city as a congressman and as vice president. The motorcade also will pause at the World War II Memorial.

_6:20 p.m.: The casket will be carried up the east steps of the Capitol to the door of the House of Representatives.

_6:30 p.m.: The casket will be received with ceremony at the east steps to the U.S. House of Representatives. The casket will proceed up the steps in honor of Ford's 24 years as a House member. Ford's remains will be met by a group of his former House colleagues. The casket will lie in repose at the open House doors. The casket will then be carried through Statuary Hall to the Rotunda for the Lying in State portion of the state funeral.

After the arrival ceremony, the Rotunda will open to the public until midnight. The public waiting area will be at the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds, across from the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Sunday, Dec. 31, and Monday, Jan. 1

_Ford's body continues in state. Rotunda open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 2

_9:15 a.m.: Lying in State ends.

_9:30 a.m.: The remains will depart the Rotunda and rest at the closed Senate doors in honor of Ford's service as vice president of the United States and president of the Senate. The motorcade will then proceed to the Washington National Cathedral, passing the White House.

_10 a.m.: The remains will be received with ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral.

_10:30 a.m.: National funeral service begins.

_11:30 a.m.: The remains will depart with ceremony from Washington National Cathedral. A motorcade will transport the casket from the cathedral to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., for a departure ceremony at approximately.

_12:15 p.m.: Departure ceremony from Andrews.

_2:15 p.m.: Body will arrive at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Grand Rapids, Mich. The casket will then be moved by motorcade to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, for a brief private service. During the service, wreaths will be placed at the casket by the presidents of Yale University and the University of Michigan in honor of President Fords law degree and undergraduate degree, from those institutions respectively.

Following the service, Ford's remains will lie in repose beginning at 5 p.m., until 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3. The public is invited to pay respects at the museum during repose.

Wednesday, Jan. 3

_1 p.m.: Remains will depart the museum with ceremony and proceed to Grace Episcopal Church, East Grand Rapids, for a private funeral service for invited guests only.

_1:30 p.m.: Remains arrive at the church with ceremony. Following the service, the remains will depart the church with ceremony.

_3 p.m.: Remains will proceed to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum for a private interment service.

_3:30 p.m.: Interment service and burial.

December 27, 2006

Ford's state funeral begins Friday

WASHINGTON - Gerald R. Ford's state funeral will begin Friday in his beloved California, with the late president then to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol over the weekend, a family representative said Wednesday.

Giving the first details of funeral arrangements for the 38th president, Gregory D. Willard said events will last until Wednesday, when Ford will be interred in a hillside tomb near his presidential museum in his home state of Michigan.

Ceremonies begin Friday, with a private prayer service for the family at St. Margaret's Church in Palm Desert, Calif., visitation by friends and a period of public repose.

On Saturday, Ford's body will be flown to Washington in late afternoon, his hearse pausing at the World War II memorial in joint tribute to the wartime Navy reserve veteran and his comrades in uniform, Willard told a news conference in Palm Desert.

The state funeral will be conducted in the Capitol Rotunda that evening and after that, the public will be able to file in to pay last respects. Ford was expected to lie in state until Tuesday morning.

In a departure from tradition meant to highlight Ford's long service in Congress, his body will also lie in repose outside the main door of the House and, later, outside the main doors of the Senate chamber.

"I know personally how much those two tributes themselves meant to President Ford," Willard said.

The last major event in Washington will be Tuesday morning, with a funeral service at the National Cathedral. Ford's remains will leave shortly after noon for a service and interment near his Grand Rapids, Mich., museum.

It will be only the nation's third state funeral in more than 30 years.

The ceremonies form a tribute to a man who rose to the White House in the collapse of

Richard Nixon's presidency, and who served the longest term in the House of any president.

"The nation's appreciation for the contributions that President Ford made throughout his long and well-lived life are more than we could ever have anticipated," his wife, Betty, said in a statement thanking the multitudes who offered condolences after her husband died Tuesday at age 93.

"These kindnesses have made this difficult time more bearable."

Ford is to become the 11th president to lie in state in the Rotunda.

One open question was how involved the funeral procession to the Capitol, often the most stirring of Washington's rituals of mourning, would be for a man whose modest ways and brief presidency set him apart from those honored with elaborate parades.

Planners are guided by the wishes of the family and any instructions from the president himself on how elaborate the events will be, how much of it takes place in Washington and more.

Ex-presidents routinely are involved in their funeral planning with the Military District of Washington, which turned to the task quietly but with increasing urgency as Ford went through several bouts of ill health in recent years.

The nation has only witnessed two presidential state funerals in over three decades — those of

Ronald Reagan in 2004 and Lyndon Johnson in 1973.

Nixon's family, acting on his wishes, opted out of the Washington traditions when he died in 1994, his presidency shortened and forever tainted by the Watergate scandal.

What happens in Washington, particularly, unfolds according to guidelines that go back to the mid-1800s and have been shaped over time.

No longer are government buildings draped in black, as they were in the time of Abraham Lincoln and before.

But if a chosen ceremony requires mourners to be seated, for example, seating arrangements are detailed with a precision dictated by tradition. The presidential party is followed by chiefs of state, arranged alphabetically by the English spelling of their countries.

Royalty representing chiefs of state come next, and then heads of governments followed by other officials.

Two presidents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Kennedy and William H. Taft. Reagan was buried on the hilltop grounds of his presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., in a dramatic sunset ceremony capping a week of official public mourning.

Former President Gerald Ford dies at 93

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Former President Gerald R. Ford, who declared "Our long national nightmare is over" as he replaced Richard Nixon but may have doomed his own chances of election by pardoning his disgraced predecessor, has died. He was 93.

The nation's 38th president, and the only one neither elected to the office nor the vice presidency, died at his desert home at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

"His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country," his wife, Betty, said in a statement.

Ford was the longest living former president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who died in June 2004, by more than a month.

Ford's office did not release the cause of death, which followed a year of medical problems. He was treated for pneumonia in January and had an angioplasty and pacemaker implant in August.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced Wednesday.

"President Ford was a great man who devoted the best years of his life in serving the United States," President Bush said in a brief statement to the nation Wednesday morning. "He was a true gentleman who reflected the best in America's character."

Former President Carter described him Wednesday as "one of the most admirable public servants and human beings I have ever known." Former President Clinton said, "all Americans should be grateful for his life of service."

Ford was an accidental president. A Michigan Republican elected to Congress 13 times before becoming the first appointed vice president in 1973 after Spiro Agnew left amid scandal, Ford was Nixon's hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. He was as open and straightforward as Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial.

Ford took office moments after Nixon resigned in disgrace over Watergate.

"My fellow Americans," Ford said, "our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule."

And, true to his reputation as unassuming Jerry, he added: "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots. So I ask you to confirm me with your prayers."

He revived the debate over Watergate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president.

That single act, it was widely believed, contributed to Ford losing election to a term of his own in 1976. But it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on.

The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the U.S. during his presidency with the fall of Saigon in April 1975. In a speech as the end neared, Ford said: "Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned." Evoking Abraham Lincoln, he said it was time to "look forward to an agenda for the future, to unify, to bind up the nation's wounds."

Ford was in the White House only 895 days, but changed it more than it changed him.

Even after two women tried separately to kill him, his presidency remained open and plain.

Not imperial. Not reclusive. And, of greatest satisfaction to a nation numbed by Watergate, not dishonest.

Even to millions of Americans who had voted two years earlier for Nixon, the transition to Ford's leadership was one of the most welcomed in the history of the democratic process — despite the fact that it occurred without an election.

After the Watergate ordeal, Americans liked their new president — and first lady Betty, whose candor charmed the country.

In a long congressional career in which he rose to be House Republican leader, Ford lit few fires. In the words of Congressional Quarterly, he "built a reputation for being solid, dependable and loyal — a man more comfortable carrying out the programs of others than in initiating things on his own."

When Agnew resigned in a bribery scandal in October 1973, Ford was one of four finalists to succeed him: Texan John Connally, New York's Nelson Rockefeller and California's Ronald Reagan.

"Personal factors enter into such a decision," Nixon recalled for a Ford biographer in 1991. "I knew all of the final four personally and had great respect for each one of them, but I had known Jerry Ford longer and better than any of the rest.

"We had served in Congress together. I had often campaigned for him in his district," Nixon continued. But Ford had something the others didn't: he would be easily confirmed by Congress, something that could not be said of Rockefeller, Reagan and Connally.

So Ford became the first vice president appointed under the 25th amendment to the Constitution.

On Aug. 9, 1974, after seeing Nixon off, Ford assumed the office. The next morning, he still made his own breakfast and padded to the front door in his pajamas to get the newspaper.

Said a ranking Democratic congressman: "Maybe he is a plodder, but right now the advantages of having a plodder in the presidency are enormous."

In 1976, he survived an intraparty challenge from Ronald Reagan only to lose to Democrat Jimmy Carter in November. In the campaign, he ignored Carter's record as governor of Georgia and concentrated on his own achievements as president.

Carter won 297 electoral votes to his 240. After Reagan came back to defeat Carter in 1980, the two former presidents became collaborators, working together on joint projects.

"His life-long dedication to helping others touched the lives of countless people," Carter said Wednesday. "He frequently rose above politics by emphasizing the need for bipartisanship and seeking common ground on issues critical to our nation."

At a joint session after becoming president, Ford addressed members of Congress as "my former colleagues" and promised "communication, conciliation, compromise and cooperation." But his relations with Congress did not always run smoothly.

He vetoed 66 bills in his barely two years as president. Congress overturned 12 Ford vetoes, more than for any president since Andrew Johnson.

In his memoir, "A Time to Heal," Ford wrote, "When I was in the Congress myself, I thought it fulfilled its constitutional obligations in a very responsible way, but after I became president, my perspective changed."

Some suggested the pardon was prearranged before Nixon resigned, but Ford, in an unusual appearance before a congressional committee in October 1974, said, "There was no deal, period, under no circumstances." The committee dropped its investigation.

Ford's standing in the polls dropped dramatically when he pardoned Nixon. But an ABC News poll taken in 2002 in connection with the 30th anniversary of the Watergate break-in found that six in 10 said the pardon was the right thing to do.

The late Democrat Clark Clifford spoke for many when he wrote in his memoirs, "The nation would not have benefited from having a former chief executive in the dock for years after his departure from office. His disgrace was enough."

The decision to pardon Nixon won Ford a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2001, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), acknowledging he had criticized Ford at the time, called the pardon "an extraordinary act of courage that historians recognize was truly in the national interest."

While Ford had not sought the job, he came to relish it. He had once told Congress that even if he succeeded Nixon he would not run for president in 1976. Within weeks of taking the oath, he changed his mind.

He was undaunted even after the two attempts on his life in September 1975. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a 26-year-old follower of Charles Manson, was arrested after she aimed a semiautomatic pistol at Ford on Sept. 5 in Sacramento, Calif. A Secret Service agent grabbed her and Ford was unhurt.

Seventeen days later, Sara Jane Moore, a 45-year-old political activist, was arrested in San Francisco after she fired a gun at the president. Again, Ford was unhurt.

Both women are serving life terms in federal prison.

Asked at a news conference to recite his accomplishments, Ford replied: "We have restored public confidence in the White House and in the executive branch of government."

As to his failings, he responded, "I will leave that to my opponents. I don't think there have been many."

In office, Ford's living tastes were modest. When he became vice president, he chose to remain in the same Alexandria, Va., home — unpretentious except for a swimming pool — that he shared with his family as a congressman.

After leaving the White House, however, he took up residence in the desert resort of Rancho Mirage, picked up $1 million for his memoir and another $1 million in a five-year NBC television contract, and served on a number of corporate boards. By 1987, he was on eight such boards, at fees up to $30,000 a year, and was consulting for others, at fees up to $100,000. After criticism, he cut back on such activity.

Ford spent most of his boyhood in Grand Rapids, Mich.

He was born Leslie King on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Neb. His parents were divorced when he was less than a year old, and his mother returned to her parents in Grand Rapids, where she later married Gerald R. Ford Sr. He adopted the boy and renamed him.

Ford was a high school senior when he met his biological father. He was working in a Greek restaurant, he recalled, when a man came in and stood watching.

"Finally, he walked over and said, 'I'm your father,'" Ford said. "Well, that was quite a shock." But he wrote in his memoir that he broke down and cried that night and he was left with the image of "a carefree, well-to-do man who didn't really give a damn about the hopes and dreams of his firstborn son."

Ford played center on the University of Michigan's 1932 and 1933 national champion football teams. He got professional offers from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, but chose to study law at Yale, working his way through as an assistant varsity football coach and freshman boxing coach.

Ford got his first exposure to national politics at Yale, working as a volunteer in Wendell L. Willkie's 1940 Republican campaign for president. After World War II service with the Navy in the Pacific, he went back to practicing law in Grand Rapids and became active in Republican reform politics.

His stepfather was the local Republican chairman, and Michigan Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg was looking for a fresh young internationalist to replace the area's isolationist congressman.

Ford got twice as many votes as Rep. Bartel Jonkman in the Republican primary and then went on to win the election with 60.5 percent of the vote, the lowest margin he ever got.

"To his great credit, he was the same hard-working, down-to-earth person the day he left the White House as he was when he first entered Congress almost 30 years earlier," Clinton said Wednesday.

Ford had three sons, Michael, John and Steven, and a daughter, Susan. He was the last surviving member of the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 and concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin.

After Ford's death, the U.S. flag over the White House was lowered to half-staff. The New York Stock Exchange held a moment of silence Wednesday in Ford's honor, while at Ford's presidential museum in Grand Rapids, a steady stream of visitors lit candles and lined up to sign condolence books about the former president.

December 19, 2006

Cartoon legend Joseph Barbera dies at 95

LOS ANGELES - Legendary Hollywood animator Joseph Barbera, whose characters Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Scooby-Doo made generations of people laugh, died on Monday at age 95, the Warner Bros. film studio said in a statement.

Barbera founded Hanna-Barbera Studios with his partner William Hanna nearly 50 years ago, and it grew to become one of Hollywood's best known animation companies producing hundreds of cartoons and winning numerous awards.

He died at his home in the Los Angeles-area community of Studio City with his wife Sheila by his side, Warner Bros. said. No further details were disclosed.

"The characters he created with his late partner William Hanna are not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved part of American pop culture. While he will be missed by his family and friends, Joe will live on through his work," Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer said in a statement.

By mid-afternoon on Monday, flowers were already being placed on Barbera's star on the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Barbera and Hanna, who died in 2001 at age 90, met at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio in 1937 and first worked together on the cartoon, "Puss Gets the Boot," which led to the creation of famous cat and mouse friends, Tom and Jerry.

The animation creators won wide acclaim in 1945 when they were responsible for getting Tom and Jerry to dance on movie screens alongside the very real Gene Kelly in "Anchors Aweigh." The pair of crazy critters are still kicking their way to stardom in "Tom and Jerry Tales," which continues to be broadcast.

Barbera, the animator, and Hanna, the director, left MGM in the 1950s when the studio shut down its cartoon unit believing TV would eventually end animation on movie screens.


Spurred by the challenge of creating cartoons for the new medium, the pair formed Hanna-Barbera Studios in 1957, where over the years they created characters like the stone age Flintstone family, the space age Jetson clan, the ghost-hunting dog Scooby-Doo and the goofy Yogi Bear.

The prehistoric Flintstones, which were first dreamed up in 1960, featured father Fred Flintstone, his wife Wilma and their best friends Betty and Barney Rubble, who all simply tried to live normal lives in their complicated world.

"The Flintstones" became the first animated TV series to air on prime time U.S. television, the first to feature animated human characters and the first to run beyond the standard six or seven-minute format. Its cartoons still air in over 80 countries around the world.

In the 1970s, the pair landed a hit with the Scooby-Doo character, a lovable Great Dane who worked with teenage ghost hunters to solve mysteries in "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" It was produced for 17 years and was made into a hit movie.

By the 1980s, Hanna-Barbera had taken cartoon characters the Smurfs and developed a U.S. TV show for them. That program, which is populated by the small, blue human-like characters called Smurfs. "The Smurfs" still air in some 30 countries.

Over the years, Hanna-Barbera won numerous Emmys, U.S. TV's highest awards, and in 1994 Joseph Barbera and William Hanna were elected to the U.S.-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame.

Barbera penned his autobiography, "My Life in 'Toons," in 1994, detailing his rise to cartoon legend from a childhood in New York City, where he was born on March 24, 1911. He is survived by his wife and three children from a previous marriage.

December 18, 2006

Pittsburgh 37, Carolina 3

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It may be too late, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are finally playing like last season's Super Bowl team.

Willie Parker rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown and Ben Roethlisberger threw for a score and ran for another to lead Pittsburgh past the Carolina Panthers 37-3 on Sunday, delighting the thousands of their loyal fans who turned Bank of America Stadium into a virtual Steelers home game.

The Steelers (7-7) also blocked a punt and returned another for a touchdown as they won their third straight game and kept their faint playoff hopes alive. The Steelers, who started 2-6, have allowed 13 points in the past three games.

"We've been there before. We've played on the road in December and we've played on the road in January," Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said. "This football team knows that mind-set you have to have to win."

It's still going to be difficult for the Steelers to make the playoffs, but Carolina's chances are virtually over after it turned in another stinker.

Chris Weinke, starting for the second straight week because of Jake Delhomme's thumb injury, threw for 170 yards and an interception and was sacked five times for the Panthers (6-8), who lost their fourth straight game and rank as one of the NFL season's biggest busts.

"It's embarrassing. I feel bad for our owner, obviously, to have paid for the talent we displayed on the field," receiver Keyshawn Johnson said.

Injuries continued to plague Carolina, as defensive end Mike Rucker left in the second quarter with a knee injury and receiver Drew Carter was knocked out in the third with a bad ankle.

The offensive line, without injured guard Mike Wahle (shoulder), gave Weinke little time to throw as he fell to 1-16 as a starter.

The Panthers were also limited to eight yards rushing in the first half and 43 for the game.

"We're just not a very good football team right now and it showed today," Panthers coach John Fox said.

But the Steelers are hitting stride behind Parker, who grew up nearby and was a little-used running back in college at North Carolina. He ran all over his local team, including a 41-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to put it away.

"I never did anything in the state of North Carolina before, so you know how much that meant to me, coming back and playing the Panthers," Parker said.

That touchdown run produced big cheers, with nearly half the crowd rooting for the Steelers and thousands waving yellow Terrible Towels.

The ratio grew when many Carolina fans left at halftime with Pittsburgh leading 17-3.

"It is frustrating that fans give their tickets away and the other teams get that many fans," Panthers fullback Brad Hoover said. "But in reality we just have to deal with it. Right now we're not playing very good football and when you don't play well, people don't want to come watch you."

Pittsburgh's lead grew to 27-3 on Parker's run and 34-3 on Santonio Holmes' 65-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter. In a telling sequence to sum up the Panthers' season, Holmes' touchdown came after Carolina recovered a muffed punt deep in Pittsburgh territory, only to have the play wiped out by a penalty.

In the fourth quarter, rookie Anthony Smith intercepted Weinke and high-stepped out of bounds while holding the ball by his ear. The hot dog move led to a shoving match between several players and a lecture to Smith from Cowher.

"I didn't appreciate his gesture," Cowher said. "We don't do that around here. He understood that. You won't ever see that again."

Roethlisberger, who was 11-of-18 for 140 yards and went over 3,000 yards passing for the first time, was replaced by Charlie Batch late in the game.

After going three-and-out on their first three possessions, the Steelers took control.

Five plays after Rucker was helped off the field, Roethlisberger hooked up with Najeh Davenport for an 18-yard pass play on third-and-12. Roethlisberger followed with a 1-yard touchdown run off a bootleg on the first play of the second quarter.

Jeff Reed's 19-yard field goal midway through the second quarter made it 10-0.

Then after another three-and-out for Carolina, James Harrison smothered Jason Baker's punt deep in Carolina territory, the Steelers' first blocked punt since Sept. 2002.

Three plays later Roethlisberger threw a screen pass to Davenport, who rumbled down the center of the field for a 13-yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead.

John Kasay's 37-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half gave the Panthers their only points.

"We allowed a team to come in here, that was playing for nothing, and ruin our season for us," Johnson said. "That's not what I signed up for."

Notes:@ The Steelers have won 11 of their past 12 games against NFC teams. ... Panthers tight end Kris Mangum (hip) and running back Nick Goings (shoulder) did not play. ... Steelers S Troy Polamalu (knee) sat out his third straight game.

December 07, 2006

Parker gets 223 as Steelers beat Browns

PITTSBURGH - The weather was nasty, windy, miserable. For Willie Parker, it was a record cold night. Parker broke the Steelers' single-game rushing record with 223 yards — a game better than either Franco Harris or Jerome Bettis enjoyed — and Pittsburgh excelled as usual in inferior weather by roughing up the offense-less Cleveland Browns 27-7 Thursday night.

Parker, the first player in Steelers history to have two 200-yard games in a season, broke John "Frenchy" Fuqua's record of 218 yards against Philadelphia in 1970, two years before Fuqua was the intended receiver on Harris' famous Immaculate Reception against Oakland.

Parker broke Fuqua's record early in the fourth quarter and might have approached 300 yards if the game had been closer. Because it was a Browns-Steelers game in December it wasn't — no surprise there.

The Steelers (6-7) withstood temperatures in the teens, a wind chill that was below zero in the second half and an occasional snow flake to win their seventh in a row against their Rust Belt rival, following up a 41-0 rout in Cleveland last December and a 24-20 comeback victory last month in Cleveland. Pittsburgh is one of the NFL's best clubs when the weather gets bad and the games usually are more important, going 21-6 past Dec. 1 since 2001.

For the Browns (4-9), this time of the year simply is a case of going from bad to worse. Assured now of their fourth consecutive losing season, they are 2-11 in December the last three seasons.

Parker went over the 1,000-yard mark for the second season in a row on Pittsburgh's opening drive and kept on going, following up his 213-yard game against New Orleans on Nov. 12. He had been limited to 129 yards in his last three games, but there was no stopping him Thursday as he helped lead the Steelers' two longest drives of the season.

Parker, a non-drafted free agent three years ago, ran for 26 yards on five carries during a 97-yard drive ended by Ben Roethlisberger's 49-yard TD pass to Nate Washington that made it 7-0 during the first quarter.

Later, Roethlisberger (11-of-21, 225 yards) finished off a 91-yard drive with a 2-yard bootleg TD run, crossing up a Browns defense that was expecting Parker to get the ball.

Cleveland never did find a way to slow down a Steelers running game that only two weeks ago was limited to 21 yards in a 27-0 loss to Baltimore. Pittsburgh gained 304 yards on the ground for the night — the Browns just 18.

Parker also had a 3-yard TD run on a 74-yard drive during the third quarter as the Steelers continued to wear down the Browns.

Cleveland appeared to be headed toward its second shutout loss in three weeks until Derek Anderson, making his first NFL start for the injured Charlie Frye, threw a 45-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards with 5:20 remaining. Anderson couldn't replicate his dramatic debut Sunday when he threw two TD passes to lead a 31-28 overtime win over Kansas City.

Until then, the Steelers hadn't allowed a touchdown on defense in nine quarters, or since the second quarter in Baltimore. Pittsburgh beat Tampa Bay and its inexperienced quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski, 20-3 on Sunday.

The only trouble with this latest Steelers late-season surge is it apparently comes too late to save a season that was all but over after the Super Bowl champions lost six of their first eight.

Fittingly enough given Parker's big night, it was this week a year ago that Bettis, in one of the most memorable runs of his long career, ran through Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher during a 5-yard TD run on a snow-covered field. That score keyed a 21-9 Steelers victory that began their drive to the Super Bowl.

The announced crowd of 55,246 was about 10,000 below Heinz Field's capacity, and there weren't nearly that many fans around even by the third quarter.

December 05, 2006

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" dress fetches $800,000

LONDON - The iconic black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" sold for 410,000 pounds ($800,000) on Tuesday, around seven times its pre-sale estimate.

The sale room at London auctioneers Christie's broke into applause at the end of a long and tense bidding session.

The dress, designed by Givenchy and worn by Hepburn in the memorable opening scene of the classic romantic comedy, was being auctioned on behalf of the City of Joy Aid charity which helps underprivileged children in India.

It was the star lot of the annual film and entertainment sale at Christie's.

Hepburn, who plays Holly Golightly in the movie, is wearing the dress as she emerges from a cab onto a deserted, early-morning 5th Avenue in New York and peers through the window of jeweller Tiffany while she eats her breakfast from a brown paper bag.

December 03, 2006

Mountaineers slam door on Rutgers' hopes

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Given extra chances on a championship stage, Rutgers couldn't finish the job. No. 15 West Virginia knocked down Mike Teel's 2-point conversion pass in the end zone to preserve the Mountaineers' 41-39 triple-overtime win over No. 13 Rutgers on Saturday night, denying the Scarlet Knights their first BCS berth and handing Louisville the Big East's automatic bid as conference champion.

"There's a lot of hurt in there," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "There are a lot of sad young men. They have invested a lot in this season and in this week and in this game. Emotionally and physically, it's just sad."

Jarrett Brown ran for one touchdown and threw the go-ahead score in triple overtime to help West Virginia (10-2, 5-2 Big East) cap its second straight 10-win season. Brown started for Pat White, who missed the game because of a sore ankle.

Brown, a sophomore, finished 14-of-29 for 244 yards in his first extensive play.

"We have every confidence in Jarrett Brown," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "He did a great job of using the opportunity he was given. I'm really proud of Jarrett and the way he kept his composure."

The ending was a peculiar finish to an improbable regular season for Rutgers (10-2, 5-2). A loser for so long, the Scarlet Knights started 9-0 before being upset at Cincinnati, then rebounded by beating Syracuse to set the stage for what would have been a historic win against WVU.

But while Rutgers produced its best season since going 11-0 in 1976, it wasn't enough to get the BCS berth the Scarlet Knights were hoping for.

Rutgers now could have to settle for the Texas Bowl. The Scarlet Knights dropped to 0-15 in Morgantown, dating to 1920.

"They have nothing to be ashamed of," Schiano said. "They played their hearts out."

West Virginia, which began the season with national championship aspirations, is headed to either the Gator or Sun bowls. The Gator notified the Big 12 that it will wait until Sunday to choose a team from the Big East or the Big 12. The Sun Bowl has the next choice after the Gator.

A month ago, the Mountaineers were third in the BCS standings before a Nov. 2 loss to Louisville dashed their national title hopes, then their BCS chances were lost with a shocking loss at home to South Florida.

"This football team has been through a lot this year, a little adversity," Rodriguez said. "You know we didn't play very well at times (Saturday), but nobody panicked."

Starting with the third overtime, teams are required to go for 2-point conversions following touchdowns. Brown hit Brandon Myles across the middle from 22 yards out for the go-ahead score against No. 13 Rutgers (10-2, 5-2), then found Dorrell Jalloh with a 2-point pass for a 41-33 lead.

Rutgers' Ray Rice then scored from 2 yards out. On the 2-point try, Teel scrambled to his right and threw toward Rice but Vaughn Rivers broke up the pass and several thousand fans in the sellout crowd ran onto the field in celebration.

Rice carried 25 times for 129 yards, including 90 yards after halftime. Teel completed 19-of-26 passes for 278 yards and made West Virginia's secondary look susceptible for the second straight game.

"Tonight, they made one more play than us," Teel said. "You felt that whoever had the ball last was going to have a chance to win the game. And we had a chance, but they made the play. We didn't."

No. 6 Louisville beat Connecticut 48-17 earlier Saturday, then waited for the Rutgers-West Virginia result.

It took awhile longer than expected.

Rutgers came from 10 points down for a 23-20 lead late in the fourth quarter on Jeremy Ito's 31-yard field goal. West Virginia's Pat McAfee kicked a 30-yarder with 53 seconds left to tie it at 23.

Both kickers made field goals in the first overtime.

In the second overtime, Rice's 12-yard run set up Leonard's 2-yard touchdown run and gave the Scarlet Knights their first lead since early in the third quarter.

Brown then found Myles with a 19-yard pass to the 1 on third down and Steve Slaton scored on the next play to tie the score at 33-33.

Slaton bounced back from his worst game of the season with 112 yards on 23 carries, including a pair of 1-yard TD runs. Without White, the nation's No. 2 rushing team was held to 195 yards on the ground.

November 28, 2006

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November 18, 2006

No. 4 Pitt downs Massachusetts 85-68

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh is good enough with Aaron Gray in its lineup to be ranked No. 4. What surprised Massachusetts was how good the Panthers were without their 7-foot star.

Pitt overcame Gray's injury and foul trouble by relying on its balanced scoring and a deep bench to beat Massachusetts 85-68 on Saturday and remain unbeaten.

Gray, the preseason Big East player of the year, drew his second foul 5 1/2 minutes in and didn't return until the start of the second half. Less than a minute after returning, he was cut on his lower lip and needed seven stitches. The 7-footer came back with Pitt (4-0) up 68-52 with 11 minutes remaining.

Despite playing only 17 minutes, Gray had 14 points and five rebounds. He was coming off a 24-point, 14-rebound game against Northeastern.

"We drew up three new plays designed to go right at him and get him in foul trouble," UMass coach Travis Ford said. "When he went out, I said, 'OK,' but it got worse. ... We didn't take advantage while he was out. They're certainly one of the best three or four teams I've seen."

Mike Cook also had 14, Levance Fields had 13 points and five assists, Antonio Graves added 12, and Tyrell Biggs had 11 points and eight rebounds in a reserve role.

"We are eight or nine deep, and when Aaron went out, Tyrell stepped in," Fields said. "When he plays like that, he's going to be tough to stop. We clicked out there and things went well."

The Panthers return eight of their top 10 players from a 25-victory team, and they relied on that depth to keep UMass from making any run to get back into the game during the second half.

"I felt I played strong," said Biggs, who made 5 of 7 shots. "I took smart shots and I took my time and I wasn't rushing shots."

Pitt has already had nine players score in double figures at least once this season. Pitt's bench outscored the Minutemen's backups 24-10.

"We got some good performances from our bench players, but I don't consider them bench players," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "We start nine players."

Stephane Lasme had 17 points and nine rebounds for UMass (2-1), which was outrebounded 36-26. James Life scored 15 — all four field goals were 3-pointers — Rashaun Freeman had 14 and Gary Forbes scored 12. Freeman and Life also got into foul trouble in the first half, playing only 13 minutes between them, and that helped prevent any comeback.

"I knew they had great players, but I didn't expect all those guys to make that many shots," Lasme said. "We learned we have to play better and we have to play harder. We're going to be a good team, but we're not there yet."

Ford said, "When we get outrebounded by 10, we're not going to win many games. Pitt is just really, really good."

Even with Gray sitting out, the Panthers scored the final seven points of the first half — Levon Kendall hit a jumper and added two free throws — to take a 46-37 halftime lead. They stretched that to 13 points early in the second half on Mike Cook's drive to the basket off Fields' pass, then held double-digit leads for most of the half. The biggest lead was 19.

"We ran into a great team that played great," Ford said. "We had to hope they played bad."

Both teams are playing three games in three days this weekend in the Colonial Classic, with Pitt taking on Oakland, and UMass meeting in-state opponent Northeastern on Sunday.

Oakland beat Northeastern 67-52 on Saturday. The tournament winds up Friday when Florida State, which won its three home games in the event, plays at Pitt.

UMass, one of the Atlantic 10's preseason favorites, and Pittsburgh were members of the former Eastern Eight from 1976-82 before Pitt left for the Big East. Pitt won nine of its 13 conference games against Massachusetts.
Paterno watches 17-13 win from press box

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - From his perch in the press box, Joe Paterno looked pensive, even a little nervous at times. He had reason to worry.

Anthony Morelli threw for two touchdowns and the defense clamped down after halftime as the Nittany Lions overcame four first-half fumbles to defeat Michigan State, 17-13 on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

It wasn't until Tim Shaw's sack of Spartans quarterback Brian Hoyer with less than 3 minutes left in the game that Paterno and his Nittany Lions (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) could breathe easy. It was Paterno's first game back at the stadium since the 79-year-old coach broke his left leg on Nov. 4.

"To drop the ball four times and to be in that football game, it's a tribute to our defense and how they played," said offensive coordinator Galen Hall, who was joined in the press box on Saturday by Paterno.

"Anytime you have that many turnovers, you have a very good chance of getting beat," Hall said.

Instead, Michigan State finished the regular season having lost four straight. The Spartans (4-8, 1-7) were foiled by mistakes of their own — including a couple of dropped passes, a blocked punt and two missed field goals — and head coach John L. Smith's four-year tenure ended on a down note.

Smith found out two weeks ago that his bosses didn't want him back in 2007.

"A couple of little different things and of course we win," Smith said. "That's kind of been the story the whole year."

Trailing the entire first half, Penn State took a 14-13 lead after Morelli found Jordan Norwood for a 6-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter. Kevin Kelly booted a 45-yard field goal with 4:28 remaining in the fourth quarter to give Penn State a four-point cushion.

Paterno watched from the press box after missing last week's game against Temple — the first JoePa-less contest for Penn State since 1977. The coach broke the shinbone and tore two knee ligaments in his left leg on Nov. 4 at Wisconsin, and had surgery the following day.

Doctors have said that Paterno must stay off his feet for at least another month.

"Joe was up in the box and had observations, saw some things and it worked," Hall said. "It was good to have him up there .... He was very much involved in the game."

He may not have been pleased with the first 30 minutes.

Penn State fumbled four times in the first half, while Michigan State's offense was able to move the ball easily at times on the stingy Penn State defense even without injured starting quarterback Drew Stanton, who missed his final collegiate game.

Stanton's streak of 24 straight starts was snapped. He had dizziness and headaches after getting knocked out of last week's loss to Minnesota by a hit so hard that it collapsed part of his helmet.

Hoyer filled in admirably, completing 30 of 61 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown. Michigan State confused Penn State early at points with short passes and crossing routes.

Morelli finished 17-of-37 for 220 yards, while Tony Hunt ran for 130 yards on 29 carries for Penn State. But Morelli and Hunt both fumbled twice in the first half.

November 15, 2006

Emmitt Smith wins ABC's 'Dancing' title

NEW YORK - Emmitt Smith, three-time Super Bowl champion, was named the winner of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Wednesday night. The NFL's all-time leading rusher beat out actor Mario Lopez.

The hunky, dimpled Lopez was generally regarded as the series most dynamic celebrity dancer, but the public's vote, the deciding factor after the contestants had tied in the judges' tally at Tuesday's final dance-off, brought Smith the victory.

"It is awesome! It is awesome!" declared Smith, after hugging his professional dance partner Cheryl Burke. "We came a long way, we really have."

Burke won last season, too, on the arm of singer Drew Lachey.

Smith had kind words for Lopez, who was gracious in his defeat. He called the former "Saved by the Bell" star a "true gentleman" and said he and partner Karina Smirnoff "raised the bar" during the competition.

"This whole journey was unbelievable ... And Karina, most unbelievable person," Lopez gushed. "It's something I'll never forget."

Smith and Burke wowed judges on Tuesday with a spirited samba, to the tune of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke."

"What's so great about you is you are the everyday man who became a dancer in our eyes in the past 10 weeks," judge Carrie Anna Inaba told Smith, who's been dubbed "The Big Easy" for his laid-back elegance and charm.

In the closing segment of Wednesday's decision show, Burke, in a video clip, praised Smith's work ethic.

"From the beginning, he just wanted to be the best possible dancer he can be," she said.

November 10, 2006

Oscar-winning actor Jack Palance dies

LOS ANGELES - Jack Palance, the craggy-faced menace in "Shane," "Sudden Fear" and other films who turned successfully to comedy at 70 with his Oscar-winning self-parody in "City Slickers," died Friday. Palance died of natural causes at his home in Montecito, Calif., surrounded by family, said spokesman Dick Guttman. He was 87.

When Palance accepted his Oscar for best supporting actor he delighted viewers of the 1992 Academy Awards by dropping to the stage and performing one-armed push-ups to demonstrate his physical prowess.

"That's nothing, really," he said slyly. "As far as two-handed push-ups, you can do that all night, and it doesn't make a difference whether she's there or not."

That year's Oscar host, Billy Crystal, turned the moment into a running joke, making increasingly outlandish remarks about Palance's accomplishments throughout the show.

It was a magic moment that epitomized the actor's 40 years in films. Always the iconoclast, Palance had scorned most of his movie roles.

"Most of the stuff I do is garbage," he once told a reporter, adding that most of the directors he worked with were incompetent, too.

"Most of them shouldn't even be directing traffic," he said.

Movie audiences, though, were electrified by the actor's chiseled face, hulking presence and the calm, low voice that made his screen presence all the more intimidating.

His film debut came in 1950, playing a murderer named Blackie in "Panic in the Streets."

After a war picture, "Halls of Montezuma," he portrayed the ardent lover who stalks the terrified Joan Crawford in 1952's "Sudden Fear." The role earned him his first Academy Award nomination for supporting actor.

The following year brought his second nomination when he portrayed Jack Wilson, the swaggering gunslinger who bullies peace-loving Alan Ladd into a barroom duel in the Western classic "Shane."

That role cemented Palance's reputation as Hollywood's favorite menace, and he went on to appear in such films as "Arrowhead" (as a renegade Apache), "Man in the Attic" (as Jack the Ripper), "Sign of the Pagan" (as Attila the Hun) and "The Silver Chalice" (as a fictional challenger to Jesus).

Other prominent films included "Kiss of Fire," "The Big Knife," "I Died a Thousand Deaths," "Attack!" "The Lonely Man" and "House of Numbers."

Forty-one years after his auspicious film debut, Palance played against type, to a degree. His "City Slickers" character, Curly, was still a menacing figure to dude ranch visitors Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby, but with a comic twist. And Palance delivered his one-liners with surgeon-like precision.

Through most of his career, Palance maintained his distance from the Hollywood scene. In the late 1960s he bought a sprawling cattle and horse ranch north of Los Angeles. He also owned a bean farm near his home town of Lattimer, Pa.

Although most of his film portrayals were as primitives, Palance was well-spoken and college-educated. His favorite pastimes away from the movie world were painting and writing poetry and fiction.

A strapping 6-feet-4 and 210 pounds, Palance excelled at sports and won a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina. He left after two years, disgusted by commercialization of the sport.

He decided to use his size and strength as a prizefighter, but after two hapless years that resulted in little more than a broken nose that would serve him well as a screen villain, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1942.

A year later he was discharged after his B-24 lost power on takeoff and he was knocked unconscious.

The GI. Bill of Rights provided Palance's tuition at Stanford University, where he studied journalism. But the drama club lured him, and he appeared in 10 comedies. Just before graduation he left school to try acting professionally in New York.

"I had always wanted to express myself through words," he said in a 1957 interview. "But I always thought I was too big to be an actor. I could see myself knocking over tables. I thought acting was for little ... guys."

He made his Broadway debut in a comedy, "The Big Two," in which he had but one line, spoken in Russian, a language his parents spoke at home.

The play lasted only a few weeks, and he supported himself as a short-order cook, waiter, lifeguard and hot dog seller between other small roles in the theater.

His career breakthrough came when he was chosen as Anthony Quinn's understudy in the road company of "A Streetcar Named Desire," then replaced Marlon Brando in the Stanley Kowalski role on Broadway. The show's director, Elia Kazan, chose him in 1950 to play a murderer in "Panic in the Streets," which starred Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas.

November 09, 2006

Paterno won't coach Penn St.-Temple game

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Heeding his doctor's advice, injured Penn State coach Joe Paterno will not be in the stadium Saturday when the Nittany Lions play Temple — missing his first game since 1977.

Paterno had surgery Sunday to repair a fractured shinbone and two torn knee ligaments in his left leg. The 79-year-old coach was sent tumbling along the sideline last Saturday by two players in the second half of Penn State's loss to Wisconsin.

Paterno had missed only one game in his 41-year head-coaching career — after his son, David, was involved in an accident. He also missed one game as an assistant in 1955 after his father died.

Paterno talked to his assistants Thursday morning during a meeting in his Mount Nittany Medical Center hospital room.

"You guys know what you're doing and what I want enough that I don't need to be there creating a huge distraction Saturday," he told them, according to a team statement. "Enough on me; let's get back to football."

Team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli advised the feisty Paterno that coaching Saturday might jeopardize his recovery. Paterno remained in good condition Thursday, hospital spokeswoman Maureen Karstetter said.

"He just realized he's got to be proactive in this condition," said Guido D'Elia, a team spokesman.

A decision on whether he will coach in Penn State's regular-season finale against Michigan State on Nov. 18 will be made next week.

"It's in his best interest not to be on the field really for the rest of the season," Sebastianelli said Wednesday at a news conference.

Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and offensive coordinator Galen Hall will oversee their respective units. But Bradley, a Penn State assistant for 28 years, was assigned to make the tough calls on both sides of the ball.

"If a game decision needs to made beyond that, talk it out and if you can't agree, Tom will be the tiebreaker, because he has been around the longest," Paterno said.

Paterno's 41 years as head coach at Penn State ties him with Amos Alonzo Stagg for most seasons leading one school. Stagg coached at the University of Chicago from 1892-32.

Paterno turns 80 next month. His 360 career wins are second among major college coaches to the 364 of Florida State's Bobby Bowden.

Doctors have said Paterno could be allowed to return to the sideline for a bowl game as long as he stayed off his feet.

Paterno is under contract for another two years. His son and quarterbacks coach, Jay, has said his father has every intention of returning in 2007.

November 06, 2006

One tough Lion: Paterno plans to coach

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Joe Paterno wants to coach this weekend, but don't look for him to pace the sidelines in his blue Penn State jacket and rolled-up khakis.

The feisty 79-year-old coach was listed in good condition Monday at Mount Nittany Medical Center following an 80-minute operation a day earlier on his fractured shin bone and two torn knee ligaments. The injuries stemmed from a sideline collision during last week's loss to Wisconsin.

He was expected to be remain in the hospital through Tuesday, assistant athletic director Jeff Nelson said.

Paterno plans to coach Saturday against Temple, though it's unclear if that means from the Beaver Stadium sidelines or a coach's box.

"He woke up today and asked for the second phase of the game plan and scouting reports on Temple," school spokesman Guido D'Elia said. "He's been on the phone all day. He's still in charge."

Team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli anticipates a full recovery after several screws were inserted into the injured leg, which was also fitted with a temporary brace. Paterno might be able to put weight back on the leg in about six weeks.

Just in time for a New Year's Day bowl game, which the Nittany Lions would likely wrap up if they can win their last two games of the season.

The injuries didn't keep Paterno from catching up on work. Paterno's son and quarterbacks coach, Jay, said his father was already reviewing scouting reports and game plans from his hospital bed Monday.

The school canceled Paterno's regular Tuesday news conference at Beaver Stadium. Another news conference was scheduled for Wednesday with Sebastianelli. It was unclear if Paterno would be available.

Saturday, however, appears a done deal. The school said there was a "mobility plan" to make Paterno available for team activities on and off the field, though the exact details haven't been determined.

One football staffer had mentioned a golf cart as a possibility to get around on the sidelines. D'Elia talked about a "super-cart" or "souped-up scooter" as a possible long-term transportation device.

Or might Paterno, who stubbornly tried to shoo away help initially after he was injured, try walking on crutches?

Such are the questions buzzing around the football team now at Penn State, where even the left leg on the statue in his honor outside Beaver Stadium has been wrapped with a bandage.

Paterno is in his 41st year as Penn State head coach and under contract through the end of 2008. Only Amos Alonzo Stagg coached as long with one school, leading the University of Chicago from 1892 to 1932.

Paterno's 360 career wins are second among major college coaches to the 364 of Florida State's Bobby Bowden.

The Penn State coach went down last weekend after Nittany Lion tight end Andrew Quarless and Wisconsin linebacker DeAndre Levy ran into him. Replays showed Levy colliding helmet-first with Paterno's left leg after falling while trying to tackle Quarless.

The injury overshadows the Happy Valley homecoming of Temple coach Al Golden, one of four Penn State alums on the Owl football staff. Golden played tight end at Penn State from 1987-91 and was linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator under Paterno in 2000.

"I told some of my players the other day, 'This guy is 80 years old.' He didn't want to leave the field," Golden said Monday. "That's tough, now. We need some of those players on our team."
Paterno may need surgery for broken leg

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Joe Paterno isn't going let a broken leg keep him from coaching his team again.

The 79-year-old Penn State coach broke his left leg and damaged a knee ligament when two players ran into him during the Nittany Lions' loss to Wisconsin, and team officials said Sunday that surgery was being considered.

Paterno's son and quarterbacks coach, Jay, said he spoke with his father Sunday and there was "no thought whatsoever of not coming back this year. ... It's not even in the discussion. There's nothing more to read into this in terms of his career."

Paterno fractured the top of his tibia, or shin bone, on Saturday, according to team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli. The injury typically heals on its own with rehabilitation, though doctors and team officials were considering whether surgery would help the leg heal faster, said Guido D'Elia, director of communications for football.

"He wants to make the quickest fix," D'Elia said.

Paterno had some ligament damage to the left knee, though the extent was unknown, assistant athletic director Jeff Nelson said.

Paterno, who turns 80 next month, was trying to maintain his normal routine while working from home Sunday, reviewing tapes, talking to staff by speakerphone and getting ready for the next game at home against Temple.

"It was a matter of we should have done that, we should have done this," Jay Paterno said. "He had suggestions for everybody this morning."

The elder Paterno is in his 41st year as Penn State head coach and under contract through the end of 2008. Only Amos Alonzo Stagg coached as long with one school, leading the University of Chicago from 1892 to 1932.

No determination had been made about whether Paterno could return to the sideline for the Temple game or monitor his team from the coach's box above the stands.

Fans hoped for the best. A statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium had a bandage wrapped around his left leg, and one fan left a sign that read, "Get well soon JoePa, we love you!" Former players such as O.J. McDuffie, KiJana Carter and Michael Robinson called or sent messages of concern.

Paterno's 360 career wins are second among major college coaches to the 364 of Florida State's Bobby Bowden.

Paterno was knocked to the turf at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., when Nittany Lions tight end Andrew Quarless and Wisconsin linebacker DeAndre Levy barreled into him. Quarless had just caught a pass along the sideline early in the second half of the Nittany Lions' 13-3 loss to the Badgers (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten). Penn State (6-4, 4-3) lost to a ranked opponent for the fourth time this season.

Replays showed Levy colliding helmet-first with Paterno's left leg as the linebacker fell while tackling Quarless.

Paterno stood for several minutes along the sideline after getting hit before having to be helped to the bench, where he remained seated most of the third quarter surrounded by trainers and police.

"He's a wily old rascal," Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who filled in for Paterno in the second half, said after Saturday's game. "He's not going anywhere unless he has to. He's pretty tough."

Paterno was then carted to the locker room with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter, and flown back to State College on Saturday night ahead of his team.

It has been a rough season physically for Paterno.

Paterno had to leave the sideline in Penn State's game at Ohio State on Sept. 23 after he became ill — the first time he left the field during a game in more than four decades as head coach.

He returned briefly at halftime, then left again before coming back at the start of the fourth quarter.

In practice the following week, Paterno was blindsided by two players — one of whom was Quarless — going full-bore for a pass.

Paterno didn't run out with his team before the next game, a win over Northwestern, and looked a little hobbled pacing the sideline. Afterward, he jokingly referred to his "banged up ribs."

October 27, 2006

'Counselor at Law' Star Dies at 84
Actor also won a Tony for 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'

Arthur Hill, a veteran actor whose career was punctuated by two distinctly different roles — the weary, abused husband in the Broadway production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and the stalwart attorney in the television series "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law" — has died. He was 84.

Hill died Sunday of Alzheimer's disease at an assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades, according to his son, Douglas.

Known for his deep, pensive eyes and soft, calming voice, Hill fashioned a busy career over 40 years. He won a Tony Award for his work in the groundbreaking production of Edward Albee's "Virginia Woolf" and appeared in "More Stately Mansions," the Eugene O'Neill play that was the inaugural production at the Music Center's Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

Hill's portrayal of Marshall, a small-town attorney, ran on ABC from 1971 to 1974. The show, which featured such up-and-coming actors as Lee Majors and David Soul as Marshall's associates, was modeled after another popular ABC series, "Marcus Welby, M.D.," which starred Robert Young as a small-town doctor.

In fact, the shows had several joint episodes.

According to "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present" by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, in one episode "Marshall found himself defending the father of one of Dr. Welby's patients against a murder charge." In another episode, Brooks and Marsh note, he defended an associate of Welby's against a paternity suit.

While Hill was perhaps best known for his role as Marshall, he also delivered substantial performances in the TV films "Death Be Not Proud" (1975) and "Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys" (1976). His big-screen credits include work with Marlon Brando in "The Ugly American" (1963), Paul Newman in "Harper" (1966) and a potentially lethal virus from outer space in "The Andromeda Strain" (1971).

Born in the Saskatchewan town of Melfort, Hill was the son of a lawyer. After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, he earned his degree from the University of British Columbia. To support himself through school, where he planned to earn a law degree, he found work with the Canadian Broadcasting Co. performing in radio theater, and loved it.

"In acting, I seemed to instinctively know what was going on, while other students worked at it," he told The Times' Cecil Smith some years ago. "And in law, they seemed to take to it instinctively, while I had to work at it."

Hill moved to England with his actress wife, Peggy Hassard, in 1948. There he worked for the BBC in radio plays while expanding his activities to theater and television.

His break in London theater came in the early 1950s in productions of "Home of the Brave" and Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker." Hill first appeared on the New York stage in "The Matchmaker" in 1955.

In 1962, he was back in London working on a film when he received a copy of the script for "Virginia Woolf?" from director Alan Schneider. Schneider wanted him to play George, the beleaguered husband in Albee's drama of a long-married couple acting out their love-hate relationship during an evening of heavy drinking and stark profanity at their home on a college campus.

"That script was the size of a telephone book, but I knew I had to be part of it," Hill told a Times reporter in 1967. "Later, when I learned the script would not be cut and that there would be no out-of-town tryouts, I fought to get out of it.

"Fortunately, I didn't."

Cast opposite Uta Hagen as Martha, and with George Grizzard and Melinda Dillon, the play was a sensation and ran for 664 performances from Oct. 13, 1962, to May 13, 1964.

"If the drama falters, the acting of Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill does not," critic Howard Taubman observed in his review of the play in the New York Times. "As the vulgar, scornful, desperate Martha, Miss Hagen makes a tormented harridan horrifyingly believable. As the quieter, tortured and diabolical George, Mr. Hill gives a superbly modulated performance based on restraint as a foil to Miss Hagen's explosiveness."

The production garnered five Tonys, with Hill and Hagen winning for best actor and actress.

In 1967, Hill was part of more groundbreaking theater work, this time in the first English-language production of "More Stately Mansions," at the Ahmanson. His co-stars were Ingrid Bergman and Colleen Dewhurst.

While the play was considered something of a mystery to critics and the casting reflected the importance of name value over story line, Hill, Bergman and Dewhurst all received high marks.

By 1968, Hill had moved to Los Angeles to mine the steadier veins of television and film.

In his memoirs, "Virginia Woolf" director Schneider reflected on Hill's decision to head west.

"The roles he now gets out there are bland/sincere or establishment/hypocritical. That is a loss to American theater, because onstage Arthur Hill, mature and attractive as he was and is, could give us something we do not have. The pram in the hallway does indeed remain the enemy of art."

In Hollywood, Hill appeared in films and some 50 television series, most recently "Murder, She Wrote" in 1990.

His 56-year marriage to Hassard ended with her death from Alzheimer's disease in 1998.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his second wife, Anne-Sophie Taraba; a stepdaughter, Daryn Sherman; a step-granddaughter; and two sisters.

There will be no services.

October 26, 2006

Pittsburgh picked to win the Big East

NEW YORK -- Jamie Dixon didn't hesitate to say his current team would not be able to do what his recent Pittsburgh teams have done.

"We've been a program that every year has exceeded where we've been picked in the preseason poll and we can't do that now," Dixon said Wednesday when the Panthers were selected No. 1 by the Big East coaches for this season. "It's something that doesn't mean anything, but it's still a great thing for our program. It shows where we've come from and where we're at."

The Panthers return eight of the top 10 players from the team that went 25-8 last season, reached the championship game of the Big East tournament and appeared in the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year.

Dixon is starting his fourth season at Pitt, and his 76-22 career record after three seasons is tied for fourth all-time.

The Big East had a record eight teams in the NCAA tournament last season and that number should at least be matched this season.

Pittsburgh was No. 1 on 10 of the 16 coaches' ballots. Georgetown was second with four first-place votes, while Syracuse, which won the conference tournament last season, and Marquette reach received one and were third and fourth, respectively.

"What makes this conference great is that it's always a different team that's making noise," Dixon said. "Everybody has had their run at the top and that's what different about this conference from the others and that's what makes it the best conference."

Georgetown made the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2001, with the Hoyas losing to eventual champion Florida in the round of 16. The expectations for national success are back at Georgetown.

"The players have shown the proper mentality to be in position to meet those expectations," third-year coach John Thompson III said. "I think our guys have handled it fine."

The Hoyas will have a familiar name back this season as Patrick Ewing Jr., the son of the center who led them to three Final Fours and a national championship in the 1980s, is eligible after transferring from Indiana.

Syracuse's run to the conference title last season as the No. 9 seed was led by senior guard Gerry McNamara, the hero in all four wins that came by a total of eight points.

"You hope coming into a new season that something like that has an effect on the players who are back," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who welcomes freshman forward Paul Harris, the preseason rookie of the year. "It's always hard to predict because this league is always so balanced. It takes a while to see how everybody plays in games."

Connecticut was picked fifth in the preseason poll but a new vote might see things differently.

The Huskies found out Tuesday night that 7-foot-3 freshman Hasheem Thabeet was declared eligible by the NCAA after questions about his transcripts from his high school in Tanzania were cleared up.

"He will do what a 7-foot-3, 265-pound athlete will do -- have an impact," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "This is conjecture on my part based upon a few years of experience, he will get in foul trouble, that's inevitable, and he will have an impact. He will be in the top one, two in having an impact, not in the Big East, in the country. He will, at times, make it very difficult to shoot layups. He has the ability to change games."

Louisville was sixth in the voting and was followed by Villanova, DePaul, St. John's, Providence, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Seton Hall and South Florida.

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese doesn't think the eight bids the 16-team league got last season has to be the record for long.

"I don't think it's a ceiling number," Tranghese said. "Talking to the people who run the tournament and the people on the committee, they assured me there is no ceiling. We're never going to know until it happens but people said you couldn't get eight in and we did it last year."

October 22, 2006

Mr. Spock's Mother Is Dead!

'Father Knows Best' actress Wyatt dies

LOS ANGELES - Jane Wyatt, the lovely, serene actress who for six years on "Father Knows Best" was one of TV's favorite moms, has died. She was 96.

Wyatt died Friday in her sleep of natural causes at her Bel-Air home, according to publicist Meg McDonald. She experienced health problems since suffering a stroke at 85, but her mind was sharp until her death, her son Christopher Ward said.

Wyatt had a successful film career in the 1930s and '40s, notably as Ronald Colman's lover in 1937's "Lost Horizon."

But it was her years as Robert Young's TV wife, Margaret Anderson, on "Father Knows Best" that brought the actress her lasting fame.

She appeared in 207 half-hour episodes from 1954 to 1960 and won three Emmys as best actress in a dramatic series in the years 1958 to 1960. The show began as a radio sitcom in 1949; it moved to television in 1954.

"Being a family show, we all had to stick around," she once said. "Even though each show was centered on one of the five members of the family, I always had to be there to deliver such lines as `Eat your dinner, dear,' or `How did you do in school today?' We got along fine, but after the first few years, it's really difficult to have to face the same people day after day."

The Anderson children were played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin, and all grew up on the show. In later years critics claimed that shows like "Father Knows Best" and "Ozzie and Harriet" presented a glossy, unreal view of the American family.

In defense, Wyatt commented in 1966: "We tried to preserve the tradition that every show had something to say. The children were complicated personally, not just kids. We weren't just five Pollyannas."

"In real life my grandmother embodied the persona of Margaret Anderson," said grandson Nicholas Ward. "She was loving and giving and always gave her time to other people."

It was a tribute to the popularity of the show that after its run ended, it continued in reruns on CBS and ABC for three years in primetime, a TV rarity. The show came to an end because Young, who had also played the father in the radio version, had enough. Wyatt remarked in 1965 that she was tired, too.

"The first year was pure joy," she said. "The second year was when the problems set in. We licked them, and the third year was smooth going. Fatigue began to set in during the fourth year. We got through the fifth year because we all thought it would be the last. The sixth? Pure hell."

The role wasn't the only time in her 60 years in films and TV that Wyatt was cast as the warm, compassionate wife and mother. She even played Mr. Spock's mom in the original "Star Trek" series and the feature "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home."

She got her start in films in the mid-'30s, appearing in "One More River," "Great Expectations," "We're Only Human" and "The Luckiest Girl in the World." When Frank Capra chose her to play the Shangri-la beauty in "Lost Horizon," her reputation was made. Moviegoers were entranced by the scene — chaste by today's standards — in which Colman sees her swimming nude in a mountain lake.

Never a star, Wyatt enjoyed career longevity with her reliable portrayals of genteel, understanding women. Among the notable films:

"Buckskin Frontier" (with Richard Dix), "None But the Lonely Heart" (Cary Grant), "Boomerang" (Dana Andrews), "Gentleman's Agreement" (Gregory Peck), "Pitfall" (Dick Powell), "No Minor Vices" (Dana Andrews), "Canadian Pacific" (Randolph Scott), "My Blue Heaven" (Betty Grable, Dan Dailey) and "Criminal Lawyer" (Pat O'Brien).

"Father Knows Best" enjoyed such lasting popularity in reruns and people's memories that the cast returned years later for two reunion movies. She also remained active on other projects, such as "Amityville: The Evil Escapes" in 1989, and in charity work.

When Young died in 1998, Wyatt paid tribute to him as "simply one of the finest people to grace our industry."

"Though we never socialized off the set, we were together every day for six years, and during that time he never pulled rank (and) always treated his on-screen family with the same affection and courtesy he showed his loved ones in his private life," she said.

Wyatt was born in Campgaw, N.J., into a wealthy family in 1910, according to McDonald, her publicist. Her father, an investment banker, came from an old-line New York family, as did her mother, who wrote drama reviews. They gave their daughter a genteel upbringing, with her schooling at the fashionable Miss Chapin's school and Barnard College.

She left college after two years to apprentice at the Berkshire Playhouse in Stockbridge, Mass. For two years she alternated between Berkshire and Broadway, appearing with Charles Laughton, Louis Calhern and Osgood Perkins.

While acting with Lillian Gish in "Joyous Season" in 1934, she got a contract offer from Universal Pictures. She agreed, on condition she could spend half each year in the theater.

During college, Wyatt attended a party at Hyde Park, N.Y., given by the sons of Franklin D. Roosevelt. There she met a Harvard student, Edgar Ward. In 1935 she married Ward, then a businessman, in Santa Fe, N.M.

The family will gather for a funeral mass Friday, followed by a private interment, family members said.

Wyatt is survived by sons Christopher, of Piedmont, California and Michael of Los Angeles; three grandchildren Nicholas, Andrew and Laura; and five great grandchildren.
Army women's team trying to move forward following death of young coach

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- On a rainy September day, coach Dave Magarity invited the Army women's basketball team to his house -- the one that used to belong to Maggie Dixon.

He wanted to be sure the players felt comfortable with him living in the home where they'd spent countless hours with their former coach, friend and mentor, who died April 6 of heart arrhythmia at the age of 28.

To help ease their pain, Magarity took a suggestion from his wife, Rita -- an impromptu backyard memorial service. The team read a poem, planted a flower bed and placed a stone, painted in Army's black and gold, as a centerpiece.

It's adorned with two words: "Maggie's Garden."

"It was something good to have as a remembrance and acknowledge the fact that she is gone and we miss her and wish she could be here," said Micky Malette, a senior captain last season and now the team's director of basketball operations.

Junior Cara Enright, the Patriot League player of the year last season, said she thinks the garden will help the team move on.

"I think it gives us a sense of closure and helps us to keep her in our hearts," she said.

Always in their thoughts, Dixon is buried at West Point Cemetery -- an honor rarely given to civilians.

That was not an easy decision for the Dixon family.

"It was very tough for me and my parents, especially my mom," said her brother, Jamie Dixon, who coaches Pittsburgh's men's basketball team. "The initial thought was to have your daughter as close as possible. As we thought about it, we figured it was the best thing to do as we saw how important it is and how inspirational the cemetery is."

Dixon's family visited the cemetery in June for the first time, coming across a group of strangers on a tour bus who also had made the pilgrimage.

"A couple of the girls have been to her grave," captain Jen Hansen said. "Just to say hi."

Six months after her death, Dixon's grave is just one of the constant reminders of her lone season at West Point.

Take Magarity, an assistant coach for Dixon last season.

He wasn't looking to get back into coaching when he first met Dixon last October. Magarity was at West Point representing the Mid-American Conference at a football game when he ran into Dixon.

"She had such a vibrant energy about her. She had a passion for the game," said Magarity of that initial meeting that lasted four hours. "After calling a few friends, I just knew it's what I wanted to do."

Magarity, who spent 30 years at Marist, Iona and St. Francis (Pa.), never had coached women's basketball before. But the team quickly took to him, joking about his fashion sense and advancing age. He quickly became a father figure to the players and Dixon.

"She really knew what she was doing," Magarity said. "I didn't want to step on her toes. I just wanted to help her along the way."

Before Dixon passed away, good friend and New Orleans Hornets general manager Jeff Bower offered Magarity a job with the team -- director of college scouting and player personnel. But Dixon's death changed everything.

Despite his inexperience with the women's game, Magarity was athletic director Kevin Anderson's clear choice to coach the Cadets this season.

"My biggest fear was Dave not taking the job and someone else fighting the ghost of Maggie," he said.

When the team began practice last week, Magarity smoothed the transition by keeping Dixon's system and staff, which includes Magarity's daughter as an assistant coach. Dixon hired her just days before her death.

"I could never give them what she gave, but what I can give them is some continuity because they knew me," he said.

Magarity has tried to change little from last season's team that went to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

"Everyone's really pumped for the season, but the team realizes she isn't here," Hansen said. "There's always going to be a different feel to it as you still expect her to walk through the door."

The Cadets, who return four starters, including Enright and rookie of the year Alex McGuire, will open their season Nov. 12 in the Maggie Dixon Classic.

The men's-women's doubleheader will feature the women of Ohio State vs. Army after Pittsburgh's men's team plays Western Michigan.

"Jamie was the motivating force behind it," Magarity said. "He wanted to do something to honor the memory of Maggie."

Jamie Dixon's working to make the Classic an annual women's basketball event at Madison Square Garden.

Before the game, Army will raise its 2006 Patriot League championship banner and a banner honoring Dixon's coach of the year award. The Cadets also will present Dixon's championship ring to her parents.

They'll continue to honor her throughout the season.

The players will keep Dixon close to their hearts, wearing shirts that say "We will ..." referring to a pregame routine -- saying "we will rebound, etc. -- that Dixon brought to the program from her time at DePaul. Also on the shirts are the initials MD inside a clover, similar to Dixon's tattoo.

"I want them to always feel that she's with us," Magarity said.

October 21, 2006

Rookies face off in World Series Game 1

DETROIT - When the Cardinals and Tigers last hooked up in the World Series, the starting pitchers in the opener were Bob Gibson and 31-game winner Denny McLain. When they get together at Comerica Park on Saturday night, Game 1 will have a pair of rookie starters for the first time, with Detroit's Justin Verlander facing off against Anthony Reyes. And the way Reyes sees it, two rooks are better for him than one.

"That's kind of good, knowing he's probably going to have the same feeling as me," he said Friday,

Reyes, 5-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 17 regular-season starts, has the fewest wins of any Game 1 starter in World Series history and is the first with a losing regular-season record since the Mets' Jon Matlack in 1973. He wasn't even on the Cardinals' roster for their first-round series against San Diego.

Verlander was 17-9 with a 3.63 ERA during the regular season. Despite Reyes' poor pedigree, Verlander doesn't think the Tigers are favored.

"I think we view ourselves as the underdogs, personally," Verlander said as the unexpected pennant winners prepared Friday on a cool, overcast day at Comerica Park. "Everybody has doubted us."

Detroit won a seven-game Series from St. Louis in 1968, and the Cardinals' Gas House Gang beat the Tigers 4-3 in 1934.

Back in 1968, the last World Series before playoffs, Gibson pitched a five-hit shutout and struck out a Series record 17 to beat the Tigers 4-0 in the opener at the old Busch Stadium. The Cardinals' Dizzy Dean pitched an eight-hitter to defeat Alvin Crowder 8-3 in 1934's first game at Detroit's Navin Field, as Tiger Stadium was then known.

The 23-year-old Verlander and 25-year-old Reyes have combined for 23 career wins — when John Smoltz opened the 1996 Series for Atlanta, he had 24 victories in that year alone.

The previous low for wins by a Game 1 starter was set by Howard Ehmke for the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He went 7-2 during the regular season, then beat the Chicago Cubs and Charley Root 3-1 in Game 1.

Coming off a draining Game 7 win at New York in the NL championship series Thursday night, the Cardinals pulled into their suburban Detroit hotel at 5 a.m. Friday. By late afternoon, they straggled onto the field at Comerica Park for a workout.

"Maybe that champagne is still stinging their eyes," Tigers reliever Jason Grilli said.

At 83-78, the Cardinals have the second-worst record of any World Series team, trailing only the 82-79 mark of the 1973 Mets. Detroit, which blew the AL Central on the final weekend of the regular season, gives the Series a wild card team for the fifth straight year.

"It's been a little bit weird," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's been crazy. It's been tremendous for baseball."

Detroit will be playing for the first time in a week, since completing its four-game sweep of Oakland in the AL championship series. The last six teams that began the World Series with five or more days of rest all went on to win — only twice in history have Series teams with such a long break not won, and both were led by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

"I think the game is so mental," La Russa said. "If you sit around and you're mentally strong, you're ready."

Reyes was selected by Detroit on the 13th round of the 2002 amateur draft but stayed at Southern California for his senior year, then was taken by St. Louis in the 15th round a year later.

He pitched just once in the playoffs, starting Game 4 of the NLCS — his first appearance since Oct. 1. He allowed runners in all four of his innings, walked four and threw 86 pitches. But he gave up his only runs on homers by Carlos Beltran and David Wright.

He found out Friday that he'll be starting.

"I'm just trying to not think about it right now, just trying to relax and just get rested up and get ready for tomorrow," he said.

La Russa could have gone with Jason Marquis, who wasn't on his NLCS roster.

"It's not an easy call. We wrestled with this," La Russa said. "Anthony took the assignment in the NLCS. I think he handled himself well. The experience will be helpful tomorrow."

St. Louis will follow with Jeff Weaver, Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan. Kenny Rogers will start Game 2 for Detroit, followed by Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman. Rogers pitched 15 shutout innings in the playoffs over two starts — both in Detroit.

"We wanted Kenny to pitch two games at home," Leyland said.

October 18, 2006

Paulus out indefinitely with a foot injury

Duke point guard Greg Paulus is out indefinitely with a foot injury, though it's not known if the Blue Devils captain will miss any games.

The sophomore injured his left foot Saturday, the second day of practice, team spokesman Jon Jackson said. Paulus apparently first injured the foot during high school, and reaggravated it over the weekend near the end of the workout.

Paulus, who was re-evaluated at the Duke University Medical Center on Monday, will not need surgery. Instead, he is expected to follow a rehabilitation plan and make a complete recovery, the school said in a news release.

"This is an unfortunate injury, but Greg is an extremely tough individual and we expect him to make a full recovery," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. "Our medical staff will evaluate Greg's progress continuously and he will return to action when the foot is fully healed."

Losing Paulus for a lengthy period would be a serious blow for a young team already looking for leadership. Paulus joined Josh McRoberts as the first sophomores in program history to be selected as team captains, while fellow captain DeMarcus Nelson is the team's lone upperclassman on scholarship.

The Blue Devils open exhibition play Nov. 2 against Shaw and begin the regular season Nov. 12 against Columbia in the CBE Classic. It's unclear who would play the point if Paulus was unable to play at the start of the season.

Paulus underwent surgery to remove a bone chip in his left wrist in March, shortly after the Blue Devils lost to LSU in the NCAA tournament's round of 16. Paulus played with a brace on his wrist last season and started in all but three games for Duke, leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 5.2 assists per game.