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He’s Making a Mountain Out of an L.A. Laker

Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union Tribune writes that Yao Ming, the 7-foot-5 Chinese basketball player chosen in the draft by the Houston Rockets, already has done some popping off about Shaquille O’Neal.

“ ‘He’s a mountain in my way,’ Yao says, taking Shaq a few steps past a building. ‘I will try to conquer it by all means.’ ...

“But it’s not a good thing to anger Shaq. I’m thinking he doesn’t like to be called ‘a mountain’ by someone he hasn’t met.”

And certainly not “it.”

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Trivia time: When did Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak end?

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Her hang-up: Jelena Dokic, 19, of Yugoslavia had a superstitious routine at Wimbledon before she was eliminated Monday: She avoided stepping on white lines. She blew on her right hand while waiting for serves. She bounced the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second. And the ball boys and girls always had to pass her the ball with an underarm throw.

They won’t miss her, for sure.

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Won’t work: David Letterman suggested his top 10 ways to get Americans more interested in soccer. They include:

* “Constitutional amendment stating if U.S. wins World Cup, every American gets a brand new car.”

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* “More players who look like Mia Hamm--fewer players who look like Davor Vugrinec.”

* “Printed on every red card, a collectible ‘Star Wars’ photo.”

* “Instead of ‘Goooooal!’ have the announcer yell ‘Yahtzee!’ ”

* “Give Tiger Woods a soccer ball. America will never lose again.”

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Another Yogi-ism: Sports publicist-broadcaster Irv Kaze, who died Saturday, once told of having dinner with Yogi Berra. He said that Berra ate his main course down to the last bite before asking what it was.

“Veal cutlet,” Kaze told him.

Berra pushed the plate away, saying, “I don’t like veal cutlet.”

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Well, does he? Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The sports question people ask me most is, ‘Can you get me tickets?’

“But a close second is, ‘Do you think Barry [Bonds] does steroids?’ ”

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Out of it: Miami Dolphin Coach Dave Wannstedt has a one-track mind.

When he looked around his house recently, he told the Miami Herald, he knew something was different, but he didn’t know what.

Finally, he realized something had been added: a grand piano.

“How long has that been there?” he asked his wife, Jan.

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Said she, “Two months.”

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Oh, no! A minor league hockey team with an unforgettable nickname is moving from Macon, Ga., to Lexington, Ky. No more Macon Whoopee.

Trivia answer: On July 17, 1941, at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. DiMaggio grounded out to third base twice, walked and bounced into a double play.

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And finally: Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle on the feud between Bonds and Jeff Kent: “They’ve hated each other since the day Kent came to town in 1997. They hate each other today, and they’ll hate each other when they both join the feathered choir.

“The one who lives longer will attend the other’s funeral, just to make sure he’s dead.”


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