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Unruly Fan Made This Tiger Show His Stripes

Times Staff Writer

A Detroit ballplayer was once heckled so mercilessly that he went into the stands and beat a fan senseless, reported Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune. The fan was an amputee.

The ballplayer was Ty Cobb, who played for the Tigers, and the incident happened 92 years ago.

Added Downey: “It happened in New York, by the way, not in Detroit.”

Trivia time: Ron Artest played two seasons at what college?

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Quick on his feet: “Did you see Ron Artest during that fight?” asked reader Alex Kase- berg of San Diego. “When he was going after the small fan, he looked like Muhammad Ali. But when 6-foot-9, 250-pound Ben Wallace tore after him, Artest went backward faster than Ginger Rogers.”

Maturity factor: Deion Sanders was asked by James Brown on Brown’s Sporting News radio network show what he would do if someone threw something from the stands at him.

He said when he was Ron Artest’s age (24), he probably would have done the same thing Artest did.

And now?

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“I wouldn’t react,” Sanders said. “It’s not worth it.”

Different viewpoint: Charles Barkley, who at 41 is four years older than Sanders, expressed his view to Van Earl Wright and Andrew Siciliano on XTRA.

“I think it’s easy for everyone to say, ‘Don’t go into the stands,’ ” Barkley said. “But if I was walking in the street and a guy threw a drink in my face, I’m going to slug him. Period. That’s just the way it is.”

Narrowing it down: “Now, mind you, I’m no doctor,” wrote Jim Armstrong of AOL.com, “but I’ve got Ron Artest’s problem narrowed down to two possibilities.

“He’s either taken too many pills or not enough.”

A tough life: It’s not easy living the life of an athlete.

Wrote Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News: “It’s so bad, a man can’t even pull into a handicapped parking spot in his stretch Hummer and treat his posse to Cristal shooters and Beluga Caviar without some fool getting in his face.”

Motormouth city: “Detroit has really looked good, hasn’t it?” wrote Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press. “It has shown the world that its basketball fans can hit their intended targets, but its quarterbacks can’t.”

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On Thanksgiving Day, in a 41-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Detroit Lions’ starting quarterback, Joey Harrington, was benched late in the third quarter after completing 14 of 23 passes for 156 yards.

Looking back: On this day in 1934, the Lions played their first Thanksgiving Day game, and lost to the Chicago Bears, 19-16.

Trivia answer: St. John’s, although these days no one is associating Artest with a saint.

And finally: “Bad news for fans of the Chicago Bulls,” Jay Leno said. “Not one of their players was suspended for the year. They gotta keep playing.”

Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.


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