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Forever-Perfect Pirate Manager Learns Charity Ends at Home

Her name will never appear in the official records, but Marianne DiFabio of Washington, Pa., is 1-0 as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ manager.

DiFabio’s husband, Bill, a Pittsburgh sportscaster, was the high bidder at a charity auction for the right to manage the Pirates for a day in spring training. DiFabio knew the ribbing he’d take if he managed himself, so he turned the job over to his wife.

Pirate Manager Jim Leyland made out the lineup card and the pitching assignments, but allowed her to set the infield, apply the bunt and steal signs and position the outfielders.

It was Marianne’s call to bunt the runners along in the ninth inning, setting up a game-winning wild pitch in the Pirates’ 3-2 exhibition victory over the White Sox.

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Add manager: Leyland’s appraisal:

“She ought to be in the highlights on TV. It was her day. She was right on the ball. I told her the key to managing is winning the one-run games, and she won a one-run game in the bottom of the ninth. I’m just glad I have a three-year contract.”

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Trivia time: Which two major league teams have never had a player who led the league in any triple crown category--batting, home runs and RBI?

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How about October? When Barry Bonds recently was quoted as saying, “I have nothing more to prove,” it brought an admonishment from Fly, the Sporting News pundit.

“Whoa, there, ‘Mr. April To September’ . . . " wrote the Fly.

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Straight talk: Ivan Lendl doesn’t appreciate the critics of Pete Sampras, tennis’ No. 1 player. “It is sickening that someone who is down to earth, polite, behaves well, is reasonably clever and wears nice clothes almost has to apologize for being the way he is,” Lendl told International Tennis.

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No Kidd-ing: Ballots have been distributed by AP for basketball player and coach of the year. The only West Coast player nominated--write-ins are not acceptable--is California guard Jason Kidd. Michigan, with Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose, is the only school with two. No West Coast coach was nominated.

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Changing times: Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post on the state of the Lakers and Boston Celtics:

“The two teams that each won 24 division titles, that finished first or second in their divisions 35 times, that met 10 times to decide the NBA championship, are officially pitiful.”

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Trivia answer: The Florida Marlins and Houston Astros.

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Quotebook: Former British heavyweight boxing champion Joe Bugner, 44, rejecting the idea of a comeback fight against George Foreman: “I wouldn’t even entertain such an idea. It would be pathetic. Why would anyone pay money to see us waltzing around the ring?”


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