'Sunday Brunch' loves mac and cheese

Originally Published: April 11, 2010
By Jerry Greene | Special to Page 2

We're all big boys and girls, right? We understand that sports is big business, so we accept that almost everything now is "sponsored," from the seventh-inning stretch to the two-minute warning. But here at the Sunday Brunch we still are startled to learn that a food company is sponsoring the destruction of an iconic stadium.

Texas Stadium was blown up Sunday morning, and Kraft Foods paid $75,000 to sponsor the event in order to introduce its "Cheddar Explosion" macaroni and cheese. Odd as all this seems, we must admit we are intrigued by the image of the grand old structure being covered in macaroni and cheese. We don't think that's what they mean, though.

An 11-year-old boy won a Kraft essay contest and the right to trigger the dynamite implosion. Presumably, his essay was not titled "Why I Love To Blow Up Things."

Speaking of big events at stadiums, is nothing sacred? Just weeks ago the Cleveland Cavaliers set the Guinness World Records mark for "largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets" at 17,758, only to see it shattered this past week by 43,510 fleece-blanket wearers at Angel Stadium during a Twins-Angels game.

Well, the Sunday Brunch proclaims this is one of sports' great records that will never be broken. It's right there next to the Joe DiMaggio 56-game hitting streak.

Or not.

What other appetizers do we have this week? Read on.

• Another footnote in sports history took place when Gerald W. Willis, 67, was sentenced to six months in federal prison. Why? Because Mr. Willis ran Puck Technology Inc. -- the company that gave us the Whizzinator. You remember the Whizzinator -- the male prosthetic that could be used with synthetic urine to fool a drug test. It was really big about five years ago.

• And in a strange companion note to the Whizzinator news, former Major League Baseball player Mark Littell appeared on "Lopez Tonight" to promote and demonstrate his personally designed athletic protector -- the Nutty Buddy. It's worth buying just for the name.

• "I had to do a lot of soul-searching about the whole thing." So sayeth IMG agent Mark Steinberg about continuing to represent Tiger Woods. Translation of agentspeak: "Let's see how well he does at Augusta."

• Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and his wife, Debbie, gave a $1 million gift to charity. The Brunch can neither confirm nor deny that the money came from the Yankees.

• Here are the important dates announced for the UFL: Draft on June 5, minicamps begin June 10, season begins Sept. 10; league folds Nov. 8.

• Airline Ryanair, based in Dublin, Ireland, may ask passengers to pay about $1.50 to use the bathroom on short flights by installing coin-operated doors. Sounds as if passengers had better make sure they have the right change or find a new use for the air-sickness bags. Imagine if they did that in the infield for the Daytona 500?

• Most Honest Sports Quote of the Week comes from Braves pitcher Billy Wagner about baseball's average salary being $3.3 million: "It's hard to look at your father, who's making $50,000, who has a chance to lose his job, and say, 'Yeah, I deserve this.' But if owners are crazy enough to pay you, what are you going to do? Turn it down?"

• And before we move on to the main courses in the Sunday Brunch, remember this, kids: Billy Payne is watching you.

• We begin by welcoming a newcomer to the Brunch: Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times (who may sing in the shower, but he's not that Tom Jones). He gives us "10 Reasons to Hate the Yankees" and even includes Derek Jeter! Who hates Derek Jeter?

• Is there anyone who hasn't seen the Nike commercial with the voice-over from Tiger Woods' deceased father? But while watching it, did you think of zombies? Charlie P. Pierce of the Boston Globe did.

• It's in Mike Bianchi's contract with the Orlando Sentinel that he must mention Tim Tebow in every column. This time he asks and answers this question: "Why is Tim Tebow rapidly moving up NFL draft boards? I'll tell you why: Because when league general managers spend at least 20 minutes with him, they realize how much better their lives are for it." And there are plenty of other tidbits, too.

• Will this be the biggest event of the week? Monday night is "Fan Appreciation Night" at Madison Square Garden for Knicks fans. Marc Berman of the New York Post provides the details, including half-off price for cotton candy. That could cause some upset stomachs, but Berman points out that Knicks fans are used to that. And a moment of silence for Berman -- he's been covering the Knicks since 1998.

• Finally, baseball's ceremonial "first pitches" are over, but Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle provides some fascinating history about presidential first pitches. Did you know this? "Richard Nixon was booed while throwing his pitch and he laughed good-naturedly. Within six months, all 46,293 fans had been drafted and shipped to Vietnam." There's more to end this week's Brunch. Enjoy.

Jerry Greene is a retired columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. He can be reached at