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Thrift’s Book Inspires Nice Throw-Away Line

Syd Thrift, former general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees, is an amazing man. At least, that’s the impression he gives you in his book, “The Game According to Syd.”

Consider this paragraph: “When I watch a baseball game, my concentration is so great that I get into an altered state where things move slower, allowing me to understand them better. I visualize what happens before it occurs, the way an artist envisions a completed painting before he picks up a brush.”

Said Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Press: “Incredibly, Thrift draws the reader into this precise experience. In fact, as my eyes flew toward the end of this unconscionably self-inflating paragraph, my concentration grew so great, I began to envision myself throwing the book across the room, which I did.”

Trivia time: Among active major leaguers, who has the most career hits?

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Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: Chicago White Sox Manager Jeff Torborg is quoted in the book, “Damned Yankees,” as saying of Billy Martin: “Not many people know this, but a lot of the guys he beat up in his life were being held by somebody else.”

Nothing to it: From Peter Ueberroth, claiming there was no big secret to making a profit on the 1984 Olympics: “If you have a sporting event that is only two weeks long, that you can sell worldwide television rights to for hundreds of millions of dollars, and sell five to six million tickets at $30-$40 apiece, and you hire 77,000 people to work for you and don’t pay them--then you’re going to have $250 million left over.”

Return to law: Toronto pitcher Mike Flanagan told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the Blue Jays’ kangaroo court is back in session after being discontinued last year.

Flanagan, the presiding judge, explained the long recess: “We got backlogged, just like the Supreme Court. We had scheduling problems, and cases piled up.

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“For example, a guy would be charged with chewing gum in the dugout, but the offense was six weeks old. We’d call the witnesses, and they couldn’t remember the evidence.

“It was a case of Reagan-itis.”

Trivia answer: Bill Buckner of the Boston Red Sox. With seven hits this season, he has 2,714.

Quotebook: Texas Ranger Manager Bobby Valentine, on the length of the grass at Tiger Stadium: “If your lawn looked like Detroit’s infield, you’d be saying, ‘Honey, I’ll get to it tomorrow, promise.’ ”

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