Manny being uncanny

With baseball’s regular season nearing its end, debate over who should win the National League Most Valuable Player award is heating up.

The Phillies’ Ryan Howard and the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, who won in 2006 and 2005, respectively, again top many lists. The Astros’ Lance Berkman and the Mets’ Carlos Delgado also are mentioned.

But two other names keep cropping up — Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez and Brewers pitcher CC Sabathia — on grounds that both played key roles in putting their teams in playoff contention after arriving in midseason trades.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic wrote: "Manny’s line since joining the Dodgers at the trade deadline: 38 games, .396 batting average, 14 home runs, 40 RBIs, 25 walks (14 intentional), a .776 slugging percentage and a .488 on-base percentage.

"That’s sick."

• SET IN STONE — Lou Holtz still uses a perceived inferiority complex to motivate.

After catching a glimpse of his statue Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium, the former coach said he hopes people will find inspiration to overcome challenges in life.

"I hope they’ll look and say, ‘You know, if that dumb sucker can do it, so can I,’ " he said.

Holtz, who was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in May, was honored Saturday at the statue dedication ceremony for his 100-30-2 record in 11 seasons and guiding the Irish to their most recent national championship in 1988.

• NOT SO FAST — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards thought he caught a break when a suburban police officer stopped him for speeding but did not write him a ticket.

But Edwards has since been served with the ticket after WOIO-TV in Cleveland asked about the matter.

Edwards was stopped Aug. 29 in Avon, Ohio, after police said he was driving 120 mph in his Bentley along Interstate 90. The officer who stopped Edwards apparently was star-struck, Avon police chief Paul Romond said.

"Because of (WOIO), it got brought back up, got resurfaced and there it was. I got a ticket," Edwards said Friday. "But I’m not the first person to get a speeding ticket."

• NO WAY, JOSE — Jose Canseco Street in West Miami is once again a hot political issue, and compromise appears unlikely.

County commissioner Joe Martinez wants to remove the steroid abuser’s name and revert the street signs to Southwest 16th.

Canseco backers, on the other hand, want it beefed up two more lanes.

• JUNIOR CIRCUIT — Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship today in New Hampshire. Asked about living up to fans’ expectations, NASCAR’s most popular driver said:

"You can never live up to those," he said. "I wouldn’t expect to."

• LOOKING BACK — On this date in 1923, boxer Jack Dempsey knocked out Luis Firpo in the second round at New York’s Madison Square Garden for his last successful defense of his world heavyweight title.


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