After Ada ( Ohio) High senior centerfielder Nate Ulrey broke his right arm crashing into the fence early this season, he knew he could still play the outfield. "I'd broken my wrist when I was a freshman," he says, "and learned back then how to catch a ball with my left hand, take off my glove and throw the ball in."
What bugged him as he shagged flies with his right arm in a cast was that he wasn't getting his cuts. "Hitting, that's my thing," says Nate, who had two homers and 13 RBIs in three games before the injury. So he tried swinging with his good arm during practice one day. His teammates laughed—until they saw the results. "I hit the first pitch to deep right center," Nate says. "After that, none of the guys said much." In his first game as a one-armed hitter he bunted in a run and doubled down the first base line against Delphos Jefferson High. "Their team had been laughing too, but they shut up after I hit the double," he says.
Nate batted .404 for the season with seven doubles and a triple for the 6-13 Bulldogs. He came within inches of clouting a one-handed homer, too. "I hit a ball off the top of the 340 sign in left center," says the only one-armed swinger on the All-Northwest Conference team. "That one felt solid."
You've Got Mail—and Seats
Those pesky day traders aren't the only ones benefiting from online technology. Dallas Stars fans have been snapping up tickets to their team's NHL playoff games through E-Deals, a free service the Stars introduced in February. The team sends out targeted E-mail to fans who can elect electronically to receive stats, injury reports, info on tickets and merchandise, and now hot seats at the last minute.
After the league and the Oilers returned 300 tickets for Game 1 of the Stars' opening-round playoff series against Edmonton, says Dallas executive Brian Byrnes, "we decided to give E-Deals a shot." Subscribers who had requested E-mails about tickets were sent a message offering the seats at a discount. "In 20 minutes, 300 fans who never thought they'd get to attend the playoffs had tickets to the game," says Byrnes, who repeated the procedure to distribute hundreds more tickets in the days before Game 2. "In the near future this will eliminate the annoying sight of empty seats at major sporting events."
The Texas Rangers launched a similar service, Inside Pitch, two months ago and have signed up 5,200 subscribers. The Rangers are considering asking next year's season-ticket holders to inform the club if they won't be showing up for a game. Their tickets could then be offered to Inside Pitch subscribers on game day.
Dallas-based ROI Interactive, the company behind E-Deals and Inside Pitch, has provided software for similar systems to the NBA's Hawks and Mavericks and has deals pending with four NHL teams. "With this technology everyone wins," says ROI president John Palms Jr. Now if only he'd do something about parking.
Fleet Street Frenzy