Mr. Flip always has felt a special affinity with Paul Newman. It could be because of his tremendous body of work or his appealing persona. But it's really because Mr. Flip often has been mistaken for him. (When the paper bag is off, of course.)
Newman, who died Friday at 83, made what surely is one of the funniest sports-related movies ever, Slap Shot, and he also starred in other films with sports themes - Somebody Up There Likes Me (boxing), The Hustler and The Color of Money (pool) and Winning (auto racing). (And that's not counting his role as Brick Pollitt, the former football player, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.) To remember Newman, let's recall some of his memorable lines from those movies:
* "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned." - Eddie Felson, The Color of Money
* "She underlines the [sex] scenes for you? If she underlines the [sex] scenes for you, she must worship the ground you walk on." - Reggie Dunlop, Slap Shot
* "I can always go back to whiskey. It's been very good to me." - Eddie Felson, The Color of Money
* "I don't need any sugar in his gas tank 'cause I'm going to beat that [guy] anyway." - Frank Capua, Winning
* "How should I play that one, Bert? Play it safe? That's the way you always told me to play it: safe ... play the percentage. Well, here we go: fast and loose. One ball, corner pocket. Yeah, percentage players die broke, too, don't they, Bert?" - Eddie Felson, The Hustler
* "All right, let's show them what we got, guys! Get out there on the ice and let them know you're there. Get that ... stick in their side. Let them know you're there! Get that lumber in his teeth. Let them know you're there!" - Reggie Dunlop, Slap Shot
* "It's a great feeling, boy, it's a real great feeling when you're right and you know you're right. It's like all of a sudden I got oil in my arm. The pool cue's part of me. ... It's got nerves in it. It's a piece of wood, it's got nerves in it. Feel the roll of those balls, you don't have to look, you just know. You make shots that nobody's ever made before. I can play that game the way ... nobody's ever played it before." - Eddie Felson, The Hustler
* "You know, I've been lucky. Somebody up there likes me." - Rocky Graziano, Somebody Up There Likes Me
(A Tip of the Flip to imdb.com.)
It should come as no surprise that the famously cursed Chicago Cubs also are apparently susceptible to the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. According to the Home Run Derby Web site, here are some of the repercussions:
* Sept. 8, 1969: Shortly after the cover appearance, the first-place Cubs dropped a two-game series to the Mets en route to losing their National League East lead and, eventually, the division to New York.
* Sept. 24, 1984: Rick Sutcliffe, who had a great season for the Cubs, made the cover and then ended up yielding four runs in the seventh inning of Game 5 in the NL Championship Series against the San Diego Padres.
* Sept. 21, 1998: Home run chaser Sammy Sosa got hit by the jinx in the postseason, batting .182 as the Cubs were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series.
* Oct. 13, 2003: Blame SI for Steve Bartman?
* May 5, 2008: Kosuke Fukudome's batting average has dropped more than 100 points since his cover shot.
Compiled from news service and Web reports by Mr. Flip, who doesn't believe in jinxes but thinks the jury is still out on the Easter Bunny.