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Lord Stanley’s Trophy Is Their Cup of Tea

You think you know the people you’re working with, and then one day you see them lining up in the company cafeteria awaiting the arrival of the Stanley Cup.

I noticed most of those in line were advertising department types, and so I assumed they were just goofing off again, but it’s still a sobering thought to think there might be hockey fans in this building.

There was a table in the middle of the cafeteria with a white tablecloth, black skirt and four red place mats. This is the kind of table you see upstairs in the editor’s private dining room -- or so I’ve been told.

A little after 10:30 on Wednesday, a guy in a blazer rolled a trunk into the room, threw something that looked a lot like a horse blanket or the slip covers we have on our living room couch at home over the nice tablecloth.

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The man put on a pair of white gloves, removed the Stanley Cup from the trunk and the people I work with began oohing and aahing just like the audience on “Wheel of Fortune” when they show everyone the cheesy prizes someone can win. Did I mention most of the people in line were from the advertising department?

Steve Gorman, who works in advertising something or other, was the first to pose with the Cup. “My brother lives in Philadelphia and when I send him a digital picture of the Cup it’ll make his day.” If you live in Philadelphia, getting your entry in the American Family Publishers Sweepstakes is enough to make your day.

Gorman’s advertising department boss, George Stewart, or so she said, was taking his picture, while making it clear she was thrilled at the chance to be so close to the Stanley Cup. “It’s 110 years old,” a giddy Stewart gushed, and imagine what she might be like if given a chance to spend some time with the redwoods.

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IN A matter of minutes the cafeteria was bedlam. Everyone seemed to be armed with a camera, and they were all staring at this silver idol in the middle of the room. I remembered a scene like this in “The Ten Commandments” and how upset Charlton Heston got at the idolatrous Golden Calf, and I was sure glad he wasn’t here to see this -- especially knowing how strongly he feels about firearms.

Randy White, meanwhile, leaned forward and planted a wet one on the Cup, while the NHL baby-sitter said, “I take no responsibility on what you might catch.”

Now there’s no telling where that Cup has been in the last 110 years. I know there are 2,168 names on the Cup, and at the very least, every one of those guys probably kissed the Cup. I’m thinking there’s no way you could get me to kiss that until someone said, “What if you had a chance to kiss Madonna? There’s no telling where she’s been and there are probably at least 2,168 guys who have kissed her at least once, so would that stop you?”

I checked with White, who works in advertising. I asked him if he had given any thought to how many people had kissed the Cup. He began coughing. I think we know who will be calling in sick today.

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MIKE BOLT, the NHL’s Cup baby-sitter, said the Stanley Cup travels about 300 days a year. This week it’s going from Sears store to Sears store, which is how the wife spends many of her weekends.

“It’s the same trophy they pass out to the winner every year and the only trophy with all the names of the winners on it,” Bolt said. “The Larry O’Brien trophy, for example, would just say: L.A. Lakers.” Not this year, I told him.

We might have chatted longer, but Kevin Scanlon from Human Resources was putting his 10-month-old son, Patrick, into the cup atop the trophy, and Bolt leaped to his feet to stop the little one from sitting in the Cup.

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I made a point, of course, to tell the juvenile delinquent I’d be ripping him in the paper today for causing such a scene, and he grabbed my notebook and wouldn’t let go. Funny that Kevin Brown never thought of that, but a 10-month-old did.

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BOLT SAID he cleans the Cup every day, and “you know, it was looking pretty good today before I left the hotel,” he said. I wonder if Bolt has been spending too much time with the Cup.

There’s no doubt there’s an attraction to the thing. Jim Barrero, a sports copy editor with the day off, made the trip downtown just to see it. “I won’t touch it,” Barrero said. “The Kings have been so jinxed, I don’t want to be responsible for their not winning the Cup.” As you can see, Jim really needs the time he has off.

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It was also sports copy editor Mike Itagaki’s day off, but he showed up with his wife, Cecile. “It’s kind of a romantic date,” Itagaki said, and when you consider his first date with Cecile was at an IHOP, she was in heaven. In fact, when I left, the pair were walking hand in hand and giving serious consideration to going all out and ordering lunch in the cafeteria.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them I saw the cafeteria’s top chef running both hands across the Cup and hugging it earlier for the photographers.

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GARY SHAW, who is promoting the Lennox Lewis-Joe Nobody fight in Staples Center next month, told reporters the Sept. 13 rematch between Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya in the MGM at Las Vegas is “probably going to be the fight of the year.”

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That ought to make the folks at ringside in Staples, who bid as much as $4,000-plus for a pair of tickets, excited at the chance to see maybe the second-best fight of the year. The top ticket to see Mosley-De La Hoya is $1,200.

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THE COLTS have a conditional escape clause in their lease, which runs through 2013, that allows them to leave Indianapolis after the 2006 season, which is about the time the NFL would like to see a team playing in Los Angeles. What a coincidence.

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TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Nanci Fraser:

“How I’d love to golf with you, out drive you and score lower than you as you contemplate the sexuality of ladybugs.”

Did you know the male ladybug is usually smaller than the female and doesn’t make much of a fuss about it?

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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