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Tackle Gets Head Start on Fine Art of Defense

Kansas University’s football team might be on the way back, having improved to 4-7 in 1989 after a 1-10 season in 1988.

In 1990, if the Jayhawks follow the example of 270-pound senior defensive tackle Lance Flachsbarth, they can count on a winning record.

Working as an unarmed summer intern for the Lee County, Fla., sheriff’s department, Flachsbarth was traveling with an armed female officer. At a jewelry store in Ft. Myers, she was questioning a man thought to be selling stolen jewelry. The suspect said it belonged to his mother, but when the officer pulled a 1987 high school class ring out of his bag, he knocked her down and tried to get away.

Flachsbarth told Doug Tucker of the Associated Press: “I was standing there in street clothes. He was real surprised when I hit him right square in the chest, made a good wrap-up, and drove him right into the wall. Coach (Glen Mason) would have been proud.”

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Add Flachsbarth: The 6-foot-1, 210-pound fugitive didn’t give up.

Said Flachsbarth: “He bit me and I let go of him. When I felt his teeth close down, I pulled my arm out and I thought, ‘This guy is going to do anything he can to get away.’ ”

Then Flachsbarth noticed that the wristwatch his girlfriend had given him for Christmas lay broken on the floor.

Said Flachsbarth: “I was really upset. I stepped back for a second. He started to come back at me again. I told him, ‘You’re going to lose.’ . . . After he broke my watch I was really upset. He put up a good fight, but I just kind of swarmed him.”

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Last add Flachsbarth: As officers led the man away, Flachsbarth yelled: “You broke my watch. I can’t believe you broke my watch.”

The owner of the jewelry store approached Flachsbarth and introduced herself.

Said Flachsbarth: “She said, ‘I’m awfully grateful for what you did.’ And then she fixed my watch.”

Trivia time: Before Sunday, when Jose Offerman did it, who was the last Dodger to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat?

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Not in right now: Toronto Blue Jay pitcher David Wells noticed that his friend Mark McGwire, the Oakland Athletics’ first baseman, had sat out Tuesday night’s game with Boston, when the A’s lost to Red Sox ace Roger Clemens.

McGwire told Ron Kroichick of the Sacramento Bee that Wells left this message on his answering machine: “Big Mac, this is Boomer. Get your rear in the game and win a game for us.”

Wednesday, McGwire hit a grand slam in the 10th inning to beat the Red Sox, 6-2.

Incentive clause: From Joe Gergen of Newsday, in a column on whether the New York Giants should pay linebacker Lawrence Taylor $2 million a year and whether the New York Mets should pay outfielder Darryl Strawberry almost $5 million a year:

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“Does Taylor deserve a raise? Yes.

“Should they pay him $2 million? Only if he bats cleanup and drives in 100 runs.”

K-rations: Major league statistics through Friday’s games showed that 11 pitchers with six or more decisions had an average of at least one strikeout per inning.

In the American League: Mark Davis, Jeff Montgomery, Gregg Olson, Nolan Ryan and Bobby Witt. In the National League: David Cone, Rob Dibble, Ramon Martinez, Kent Mercker, Randy Myers and Lee Smith.

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Trivia answer: Pitcher Dan Bankhead, on Aug. 26, 1947.

Quotebook: Bobby Valentine, Texas Ranger manager, speculating on what might have happened if play had resumed after a 7 1/2-hour rain delay at Chicago: “I’ll tell you one thing, if a player had been injured he could have retired tomorrow. A lawyer would have jumped at the chance.”


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