Texas’ Nelson Cruz and St. Louis’ Albert Pujols on this week’s covers of Sports Illustrated; SI predicts Rangers in six

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Rangers postseason hero Nelson Cruz graces the national cover of the Oct. 24, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated — on newsstands Wednesday, Oct. 19 — while Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols appears on a regional cover available in St. Louis and eastern Missouri as well as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Below is the last time each team appeared on the cover and how many appearances they’ve had overall:

  • Rangers: June 2, 2008 (Josh Hamilton); seventh appearance
  • Cardinals: Aug. 2, 2010 (Stan Musial); 39th appearance

SI contributor Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) predicts that the Rangers will win their first World Series in six games. Sheehan credits both teams for piling up runs and closing out games with lockdown bullpens but says the Rangers have the edge on the mound. He writes (page 44): Their rotation, led by lefthander C.J. Wilson, is a bit better than the Cardinals’, and it matches up well with St. Louis. The Cardinals were able to take advantage of a Brewers staff heavy with fly ball pitchers, and no NL team hit fly ball pitchers better this season than did St. Louis. The Rangers’ starters, save for righthander Colby Lewis, are ground ball pitchers who should do a better job of neutralizing the Cards’ power.”

Will the trend of minimal starting pitching and prolific bashing continue? Rangers G.M. Jon Daniels tells senior writer Tom Verducci (page 40): “It could be more of the same [in the World Series] with these two teams. You still have to think somebody is going to come out one day and go eight innings, give up one run. But I guess you could call me naive for still thinking that. The off days in the postseason allow this [bullpen-heavy] strategy to play out a little more.”


Also from Sports Illustrated: The nicest player in the NFL, the trade that shaped the Division Series and Brandon Jennings’ Twitter hoops tour

You’ve seen all three of this week’s Oct. 10 covers and read about the rise of both the Lions and Alabama’s defense and seen our NHL predictions. Here’s what else is in this week’s issue, on newsstands now.

SI PLAYERS NFL POLL

Who is the nicest player in football? (page 17)

  1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers S….8%
  2. Drew Brees, Saints QB….6%
  3. Peyton Manning, Colts QB….4%
  4. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals WR….4%
  5. Matt Hasselbeck, Titans QB….3%

[Based on 272 NFL players who responded to SI’s survey]

FAST FACTS: Polamalu, the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, is known for his devastating hits (any chance Joe Flacco voted for him?), but he has clearly made an impact with his personality as well. He, Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha (2%) and Broncos S Brian Dawkins (1%) are the only defensive players in the top 15. (Eight of those first 15 are QBs.) In a Facebook poll Broncos QB Tim Tebow (39%) was the fans’ pick for Mr. Nice Guy.

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Also from This Week’s Issue: Brad Pitt Outtakes, The Boston Red Sox and their “New” Moneyball, Cam Newton Silences His Skeptics, The Perfection of Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and How Sports is Saving the World

You’ve seen the Sept. 23 cover featuring Brad Pitt and read our review of Moneyball. Here’s what else readers can find in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now.

OUTTAKES FROM BRAD PITT’S PHOTO SHOOT

To say that Pitt enjoyed his photo shoot with photographer with Simon Bruty would be an understatement. Check out some of the outtakes that hit the cutting room floor by visiting Sports Illustrated’s Facebook page today . To view the photos, click the “Like” button at the top of the page (if you’re not already a fan) and click the “Fan’s Only” section on the lefthand side of the page.

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Dustin Pedroia, a.k.a. “The Muddy Chicken,” Graces This Week’s Cover

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia graces the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated — dated Aug. 15, 2010, and on newsstands Wednesday — with the billing “Heart of the Red Sox.” Pedroia is the first Red Sox player to appear on the cover since Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz on the 2008 Baseball Preview (March 31, 2008). The last member of the Red Sox to have the cover all to himself was Jonathan Papelbon (Nov. 5, 2007).

Since 1988, The Red Sox are the only major league team to feature players from all nine positions — plus a starting pitcher, closer and DH — on the cover of SI. The list includes:

  • C: Jason Varitek (Oct. 25, 1999)
  • 1B: Mo Vaughn (Oct. 2, 1995)
  • 2B: Pedroia, Mark Bellhorn (Nov. 1, 2004)
  • SS: Nomar Garciaparra (March 5, 2001)
  • 3B: Wade Boggs (April 14, 1986 and March 6, 1989)
  • LF: Manny Ramirez (July 5, 2004)
  • CF: Ellsbury, Johnny Damon (Nov. 8, 2004 and April 4, 2005)
  • RF: Dwight Evans (Sept. 26, 1988)
  • SP: Buchholz, Roger Clemens (May 12, 1986 and May 13, 1991); Pedro Martinez (April 20, 1998; May 27, 2000; Nov. 8, 2004); Curt Schilling (Sept. 13, 2004 and Nov. 8, 2004)
  • CL: Papelbon (Nov. 5, 2007 and Oct. 1, 2007)
  • DH: David Ortiz (Nov. 8, 2004 and June 19, 2006)

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Also In This Week’s SI: A Ponzi Scheme in College Hoops, Get Ready for Bryce Harper and a 14-Year-Old Aspiring Sportscaster Going to School Via Robot

Inside the Ponzi Scam That Has Rocked College Basketball

Bryce Harper Is Ready for the Show—But Are We Ready for Him?

The Sportscasting Dreams of a Boy Attending High School Via Robot

Who Is the Most Entertaining MLB Player to Chat with on the Base Paths?

(NEW YORK – July 27, 2011) – In addition to the post-NFL lockout package touted on the cover, this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated—dated Aug. 1, 2011 and on newsstands now—includes the following.

DAVID SALINAS: THE MAN WITH A SCAM – PABLO S. TORRE (@SIPabloTorre)

Some of the biggest names in college basketball entrusted their money with David Salinas, who committed suicide on July 17 amid a months-long investigation into his businesses, including the J. David Financial Group. They are now part of a scam that bilked $55 million from investors both inside and outside the sport. On the hoops side, the duped investors range from national figures (Texas Tech’s Billy Gillispie, Baylor’s Scott Drew, Gonzaga’s Mark Few) to assistants (Gonzaga’s Ray Giacoletti) to NBA players (Warriors forward Ekpe Udoh and former Wizards swingman Cartier Martin). The damage done to those coaches’ and players’ finances is not the only aftereffect of this alleged Ponzi scheme (page 50).

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