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Even MVPs must make allowances

Morning Briefing By Mike Penner Times Staff Writer

February 12, 2007|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard appears on tonight's edition of HBO's "Real Sports," where he comes clean with an admission that will shock America.

Howard, the National League's reigning most valuable player, lives off an allowance from his mom, who serves as his financial advisor.

During an interview with Bryant Gumbel, Howard reveals that his mother, Cheryl, is his accountant who "handles the funds. Like, I'll get it, and then I won't see it. She'll let me look at the check, and then it's gone."

Gumbel: "I know I'm prying, but does he then get an allowance?" Cheryl Howard: "Yes." Gumbel: "You realize he may be the only major leaguer, let alone the only MVP I've ever heard of, whose mother gives him an allowance."

Cheryl Howard: "I would beg to differ. I would imagine that there are quite a few who, if they don't have a wife, they have a mother, and there has to be somebody there to keep them on the straight and narrow...." Gumbel: "I wish that were true!"

If it were, a lot more professional ballplayers would be getting sent to their bedrooms without any bling.

Trivia time

What current television character was inspired by Ryan Howard?

A one-man Arsenal

The cross-pollination of U.S. sports and English soccer continues at a steady pace, with Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks buying into Liverpool and Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke forming a partnership with Arsenal.

Initial reports had the Rapids changing their name to either Arsenal Colorado or Colorado Arsenal, which sounds a bit odd, but is certainly no weirder than Real Salt Lake. However, when terms of the deal were announced, the Rapids were keeping their name and changing their colors to the maroon and blue of the Colorado Avalanche, also owned by Kroenke.

The London Independent said the partnership "will primarily focus on Arsenal's push for expansion in America." As part of that expansion, Arsenal was believed to be in serious talks with Tank Johnson.

Working

without a net

Andy Roddick delivered a serve during Friday's Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic that could have Czech President Vaclav Klaus looking for new bodyguards.

Roddick is owner of the world's fastest serve -- he once hit one clocked at 154 mph -- and he smashed one against Ivo Minar that caused the ball to bounce up off the court and hit Klaus in the chest.

Klaus, an avid tennis player himself, was unhurt, and Roddick played on, oblivious to what had happened.

"I didn't notice that," Roddick said with a smile when told about the incident.

"But I said in warmups that most of the time, there's a net behind the wall and I saw that this [facility] didn't have one, so someone might be dodging some tennis balls today. But I promise you that it was nothing personal."

Trivia answer

Ryan Howard, played by actor B.J. Novak, is also known as the "Big Turkey" on the NBC comedy series "The Office." The Phillies' Howard played two minor league seasons in Scranton, Pa., where "The Office" is set.

And finally

Tony Stewart, on the "Best Damn Sports Show Period," discussing James Hylton's attempt to return to NASCAR at 72:

"I just hope I live that long and that I still have a valid driver's license at that age."

mike.penner@latimes.com

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