Mere Mention of His Name Draws Raves

Something wonderful and terrific is breaking out in Durham, N.C.

Why, it's Wonderful Terrific Monds III, from Ft. Pierce, Fla., a 21-year-old outfielder who has, well, made quite a name for himself in the Atlanta Braves' farm system.

Monds, called Wonder for short, was a 50th-round draft pick in 1993. He recently was promoted from Macon to the Braves' higher single-A team at Durham after batting .275 with four home runs and 18 runs batted in at Macon.

This means Macon is down to one great name. Monds left behind a 1992 eighth-round draft choice and 20-year-old right-handed pitcher with a 3-1 record and 2.76 ERA.

His name is Maurice Christmas.

Trivia time: What do Karch Kiraly, Randy Stoklos, Kent Steffes and Sinjin Smith, the top four all-time money winners on the Miller Lite/AVP pro beach volleyball tour, have in common?

Oh, say, can you Zee?What's going on in Valencia? First, Valencia Country Club member Jim Larocca has a five-day golf outing with some buddies--in Malaysia, an 18,000-mile round trip. Then, member Jeff Zee and guest Rocky Haserjian play 81 holes in one day.

The reason? "It was my birthday," Zee said.

Culture down set point:

Strawberries and cream are a Wimbledon tradition, right? But at this summer's Wimbledon, hungry tennis fans flocked to the concession stands for something new--strawberries and yogurt.

This reaction is from the Fly column in The Sporting News: "Martina is leaving just in time."

They were rabid fans: From The Good Doctor in Inside Sports: "At their annual convention in Chicago, who did all of the top mascots from sports ask to see? Robin Ventura, Pet Detective."

Tee it up: For what it's worth, three early college football magazines are out with poll predictions. Athlon has USC No. 14 and UCLA No. 19, Inside Sports has UCLA No. 12 and USC No. 19, and Street and Smith's has USC No. 11 and UCLA No. 17.

Mascot update: The firing of Houston Rocket mascot Turbo last week in a front-office purge by owner Les Alexander that claimed 12 represented the second mascot termination this NBA season.

In May, the SuperSonics fired Squatch. Otherwise known as John Sweeney, Squatch is a former Arizona State gymnast, as is Jerry Burrell, the former Turbo. Actually, three other former ASU gymnasts are still employed as NBA mascots: the Gorilla in Phoenix, Hugo the Hornet in Charlotte and Boomer in Indianapolis.

Trivia answer: They went to UCLA.

Quotebook: From Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones in Inside Sports about former coach Jimmy Johnson: "He won me two Super Bowls? Hell, I won him two Super Bowls."

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