He's been working on a curse-ball

Times Staff Writer

In news that the Angels and Jered Weaver should find more than a little troubling, EA Sports has announced that Weaver will appear on the cover of its "MVP 07 NCAA Baseball" video game, scheduled for release in February.

The EA Sports cover curse has long been feared throughout the NFL, Shaun Alexander and his foot being the latest victims, and it recently spread to international soccer, with FIFA cover star Ronaldinho suffering through a miserable World Cup.

Another issue: Shouldn't the cover star of a 2007 college baseball video game be someone who played college baseball more recently than 2004?

Weaver won college baseball's Golden Spikes Award while pitching for Long Beach State in 2004 and was drafted in the first round by the Angels that spring.

In a related story, EA Sports had plans to put 2004 top NFL draft pick Eli Manning on the cover of its 2007 college football video game, but backed out once it realized the curse had already gotten to him.

Trivia time

Last season, Weaver tied the major league record for most victories to start a career by winning his first nine decisions. Whose record did he equal?

Big game seeker

Pitcher David Wells just returned from a three-week African safari, which prompted Kevin Towers, San Diego Padres general manager, to happily announce to reporters covering baseball's winter meetings in Orlando: "And he is not in the belly of a lion."

To which Times writer Steve Henson added, "And the lion is not in the belly of David Wells."

Wells told Towers he spent every day in sweltering heat, temperatures hovering around 110 degrees.

Hopefully, Towers asked Wells if that meant he had lost weight.

"No," Wells replied. "I had to drink a lot of water."

Enter Sandmen

Eric Gagne got the win, not the save, in a sandman-building contest sponsored by Kohl's at Santa Monica beach Saturday.

Gagne defeated the Lakers' Jordan Farmar in the celebrity division, his winning creation apparently inspired by recent Dodgers postseasons -- a sculpture of a relaxed sandman in Dodger blue reclining in the sun.

Farmar's sculpture, an obvious homage to money-grubbing NBA player agents, was a sand octopus.

Cruel and unusual

With disciplinary fines meaning less and less in this era of multimillionaire athletes, West Ham United came up with an imaginative way to punish Carlos Tevez after the Argentine striker left the soccer stadium because he'd been replaced during a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United.

Tevez was made to wear an embarrassing piece of clothing in front of all his teammates.

That's right, he had to wear a Brazil jersey during practice.

Besides the shame of donning his archrival's colors for two weeks' worth of training sessions, Tevez had to donate part of his salary to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children.

Trivia answer

Whitey Ford, who set the record in 1950.

And finally

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider, talking about hockey goons, to the Windsor (Ontario) Star: "They're kind of like nuclear weapons. If the other team has one, you want to have one. If they have two, you want two."


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