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At $200,000 Per Pitch, Bush May Be Overpaid

Since President Bush earns $200,000 a year and throws only one pitch a year--on opening day--should he be considered one of the highest-paid participants in the game?

If so, it wouldn’t be by much.

Of the 26 opening-day pitchers in major league baseball, 23 are paid more than Bush, including the two who shared the mound with the President in Baltimore on Monday.

The Baltimore Orioles’ Dave Schmidt will make $625,000 this season, and Boston’s Roger Clemens will make $2.3 million.

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Bush’s toss Monday, by the way, was high and outside, which probably explains the salary discrepancy.

Just for openers: Opening day of the baseball season always brings its trove of statistical treasures, and Jim Shea of the Hartford Courant has gathered some of them together. A sampling:

--Ted Williams hit .449 in 14 openers.

--Bob Feller threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on opening day in 1940.

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--Babe Ruth won his first three starts as an opening-day pitcher and went on to hit .422 in 18 openers.

--George Bell last year became the first player to hit three home runs on opening day.

--Don Drysdale is the only pitcher to hit two homers on the first day of the season.

Trivia: Who started the custom of throwing out the first ball in the presidential opener?

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Numbers game: For only the second time in Sparky Anderson’s 10 seasons as Detroit’s manager, a rookie--first baseman Torey Lovullo--will start in the Tigers’ opener today.

Lovullo, from UCLA, was drafted as a second baseman-shortstop in the fifth round of the June, 1987 draft.

The Tigers must expect big things from the former Bruin, who has had only 177 at-bats in competition higher than double A. They gave him jersey No. 23, the number worn by Kirk Gibson when he played for Detroit.

Going up: Former NBA star George Yardley, speaking at a basketball awards breakfast in Anaheim on Sunday, had an observation about then and now.

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“I was watching some of the films of the old days in the NBA, back in the ‘50s, when I was playing,” Yardley said. “One thing I noticed right away: We all had the same vertical jumps that the girls have now.”

Extra Yardley: Yardley had another message for the prep all-stars in his audience: “Get involved with a sport like golf or tennis, sports that you can use for many years. Basketball is one of the first sports to desert you because of age.”

Aces: Reliever Mark Davis of the San Diego Padres had an enjoyable spring--up to a point.

He allowed one earned run in 18 innings and had two holes in one on the golf course.

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He scored the second of those aces in Palm Springs last week. Seeking a third, Davis went back the next day to try again.

He shot a 16 on the same hole.

Countdowns: Notice anything odd about the Lakers’ 138-98 victory over San Antonio last Thursday?

Magic Johnson had 10 assists, nine rebounds, eight points, seven free throws, six free throws made, five turnovers, four offensive rebounds, three personal fouls, two steals and one field goal.

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No mention of partridges or pear trees.

Trivia answer: William Howard Taft in 1910.

Quotebook: Said Senior Tour pro and accomplished golf instructor Phil Rodgers, after spending a week working with Greg Norman: “My wife told me to quit giving lessons and start taking them.”


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