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Jefferson Makes His Declaration of Dependence

Reggie Jefferson, the Boston Red Sox designated hitter and the team’s leading batter, was not pleased in a recent game when Manager Jimy Williams pinch-hit for him.

“It’s just making me sick,” Jefferson told the Boston Globe. “We were winning, 8-2, and I get pinch-hit for against a lefty. . . . I’m hitting .360 now, and I hit a three-run homer in the first inning to help us win the game, but then I’m not good enough to face a lefty with an 8-2 lead in the eighth inning. I don’t understand it.”

Jefferson needs every plate appearance he can get to be eligible for the American League batting crown.

Trivia time: What is the longest hole in one ever recorded?

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One on one: Greg Maddux, the highest-paid pitcher in history, still hasn’t figured out how to pitch to Tony Gwynn.

The San Diego Padre outfielder is batting .459 against the Atlanta Brave ace.

Never too old: Edgard Barreto, a retired high school chemistry teacher, played on special teams for Ashland University as an undergraduate in the 1950s.

He has two semesters of NCAA eligibility left and as a 60-year-old graduate student wants to play again for the Division II school.

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Don’t forget it: Inside the cockpit of Tony Jones’ 750-horsepower, 1,250-pound sprint car is a sign that reads, “Faster, faster, faster until the thrill of victory overcomes the fear of death.”

Jones’ father, Bubby, is a former sprint car champion who manages Perris Auto Speedway.

A 300-pound tumble: When Shaquille O’Neal visited his birthplace of Newark, N.J., to help dedicate a Boys & Girls Club, he was entertained by a group of tumblers.

“I could do that,” O’Neal said, “but I ain’t gonna ‘cause my knee’s hurting.”

Geography lesson: UCLA Coach Bob Toledo, who played college football at San Francisco State, has formed a coaching staff of a variety of backgrounds. His assistants come from Cal State Northridge, Chico State, Cal Lutheran, Texas Tech, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas, Northwestern, Illinois, East Texas State and, oh, yes, two from UCLA.

Stretched out: Fuzzy Zoeller won the U.S. Open in 1984 at Winged Foot, the storied course in Mamaroneck, N.Y., where the PGA Championship begins today. It plays to a par 70, which brought this comment from Zoeller:

“I don’t care what par is. It’s still a lot of holes over 450 yards.”

Trivia answer: 496 yards, by Shawn Lynch on the dogleg 17th hole at Teign Valley Golf Club in Exeter, England, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

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And finally: After Seattle’s Jay Buhner struck out on one of Boston pitcher Tim Wakefield’s knuckleballs, he was so agitated he threw his bat and helmet into the dugout, then headed for the mound where he picked up the ball and hurled it into the dugout, too.

“I was going to go after the pitching rubber, but I figured I couldn’t get it out of the ground,” he said.


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