In what appears to be another attempt to distance itself from the South’s Confederate past, the University of Mississippi will banish longtime mascot Colonel Rebel from the field.
In the last decade, the school has moved to phase out racially divisive symbols such as Confederate flags at football games and has dropped “Dixie” as the school’s unofficial fight song.
Ole Miss officials insist they simply want a more menacing mascot than the Southern gentleman with his cocked wide-brimmed hat, white goatee and cane. Colonel Rebel was “an old man” and wasn’t “athletic,” according to Athletic Director Pete Boone.
Does that mean they’re busy designing a youthful plantation-owner on steroids?
Trivia time: The Jim Thorpe Award is given to the college football player who is best at what position?
Bags o’ pain: When Seattle Mariner pitcher Kazuhiro Sasaki was put on the disabled list recently after injuring his ribs while carrying suitcases upstairs, it inspired Jayson Stark of ESPN.com to review the three greatest luggage-related injuries in the history of baseball:
* In 1996, Minnesota pitcher Rick Aguilera strained his shoulder while helping his wife with her bags when she arrived at spring training.
* In 1997, Toronto pitcher Huck Flener suffered a chipped collarbone when carry-on luggage fell out of an overhead bin during a flight to spring training and landed on his shoulder.
* In 1992, Montreal pitcher Dennis Martinez strained a muscle in his side while tossing his suitcase onto an equipment truck. Richard Griffin, then the Expos’ publicity director, announced that Martinez would miss a start “with Samsonitis.”
Top choice: The most popular bat used by major leaguers is produced by Hillerich & Bradsby (Louisville Slugger). The model number is M110.
The M stands for Eddie “Bud” Malone, who was the 110th player with a last name beginning with M to develop his own model. The bat, designed in 1939, is 35 inches long and weighs 32 ounces.
Thirteen Hall of Famers favored the bat, among them Mickey Mantle.
Spotlight burn: If English soccer star David Beckham and wife, Victoria (Posh Spice), think the English tabloid press is invasive, wait until they hit the ground in Madrid.
The Spanish “pink press” is a multimillion-dollar industry of celebrity hounds with a never-ending appetite for salacious details about the rich and famous.
“England is nothing compared to what’s awaiting the Beckhams here,” said Carmen Cristino, an editor for the TV gossip show “Ahora.” “It’s going to be a brutal onslaught ... “
Visor advisor: The Dallas Morning News reports that Andy Roddick’s new coach, Brad Gilbert, told him to get rid of “that Freddie Couples visor” at Wimbledon “because I can’t stand it. It’s absurd. It’s just not intimidating.”
Trivia answer: Defensive back.
And finally: Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune, after learning that New Jersey Devil forward Jim McKenzie had let his kids take the Stanley Cup to elementary school: “Jeez, the Devils even win show-and-tell.”