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Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Updated: July 22, 2:50 AM ET
Out of their minds

By Eric Immerman
Special to Page 2

In advance of the ESPY Awards Show, Page 2 imagines what you might overhear behind the scenes of Wednesday night's ceremony.

Sarah Hughes
Sarah Hughes isn't an underdog anymore at the ESPYs.
Sarah Hughes, Nominee, Best Breakthrough Athlete
"Five nominations? You like me. You, with the possible exception of Michelle Kwan, really, really, like me!"

Victor Espinoza, Nominee, Best Jockey
"The ceremony just blows my mind. When I think of Shaquille O'Neal sitting to my right and Michael Strahan sitting to my left, I just think, wow, how am I ever going to get to the bathroom?"

Snoop Dogg, Musical Performer
"Shizel my nizel for rizel, Long Beach is in the hizel."

Torii Hunter, Not Nominated, Best Major League Baseball Player
"It's an honor just being nominated. I wasn't nominated? Oh. Well, um, it was an honor just being Harold Reynolds' selection for last Tuesday's Web Gem."

Michael Schumacher, Nominee, Best Driver
"Well, Joan, I'm wearing a classic tuxedo from the Mellow Yellow formal wear collection, a vintage mesh hat from Pennzoil, and these cuff links were purchased for $5,000 Camel Cash."

Anna Kournikova, Not Nominated, Best Female Tennis Player
"I'm really looking forward to the after-parties this year since I'm of legal drinking age. Speaking of which, does anyone know what kind of wine goes best with a first-round exit?"

Larry King
It's good to be Larry King.
Larry King, ESPY Award Voting Academy Member
"Has anyone ever actually seen Benito Santiago and Santana in the same room together ... Personally, I think Marcellus' briefcase was filled with Hanukkah gelt ... Mark my words, Jennifer Capriati will win an Emmy for her guest appearance on "Friends" ... Landon Donovan, you can exchange shirts with me anytime ... Speaking of sports movies, "Ladybugs" is unequivocally the best gender-bending soccer movie featuring that sassy woman from "227" ever made!"

Bob Burnquist, Nominee, Best Action Sports Athlete
"Are there any Cool Ranch Doritos in the gift baskets? Pringles? Snacks of any kind? Damn. Snoop's gotta have some Ho-Ho's or something. They're not testing the winners, are they?"

Bill Belichick, Nominee, Best Coach/Manager
"When I heard about the nomination, I just sat there stoically. Then I processed and analyzed the information in a logical manner. Then, in a monotone voice devoid of emotion, I told my wife the exciting news. Then I allowed myself a mild, appropriate gesture of satisfaction."

Gary Williams
Gary Williams would like a word with the ESPY committee.
Gary Williams, Not Nominated, Best Coach/Manager
"I suppose the Terrapins coached themselves to their first ever NCAA championship? I'm angry, I'm frustrated, and I'm sweating profusely. Fear the Turtle, people. Fear the *%@#&$* Turtle!!!!"

Curt Schilling, Nominee, Best Major League Baseball Player
"Is Bono coming this year? God I hope not. Last year I got stuck next to him in line for the bathroom and he wouldn't shut up about the need to eradicate the economic disparity plaguing baseball."

Cael Sanderson, Nominee, Best Male Athlete
"Chyna? I thought I was presenting with Tara Reid. What happened? It's the cauliflower ear, isn't it? It's always the cauliflower ear."

Rafael Palmeiro, Not Nominated, Best Major League Baseball Player
"I know this sounds like a cliché, but I'm just really excited to be here. I mean really excited to be here. Seriously, I'd back up like seven to nine inches if I were you."

Eric Immerman is a contributing comedy writer to ESPN The Magazine and "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn." His material has been featured on Laugh.com, and he is the creator and writer of EarDuster.com, a now defunct online newspaper devoted to sports parodies and satire. He can be reached at eimmerman@hotmail.com